Presto’s First Juju Socks

As we talked about a few months ago, there aren’t too many things I’m superstitious about. I’m not one of those people that always has to put my left boot on first or thinks it’s bad luck to change a horse’s name. But if there’s one thing I do firmly believe in when it comes to riding “luck”, and that’s the importance of the right socks, particularly for XC. I swear they carry at least a little bit of juju.

Like with Henry for instance. First we had “Carpe the Fuck out of this Diem” socks, which were perfect for those years when we were going like gangbusters trying to qualify for championships and awards and stuff. And then during the move-up year to Training I replaced them with “Thou Hast Balls” socks, to supplement my courage. And then I bought the custom ones with his crazy XC face on it, which have been my go-to ever since. They’re a great reminder that the horse loves his job, I just have to trust him and let him do it.


Ok yes maybe I’m reading way too much into a pair of socks. But it’s my thing and I like my mystical sock juju, so… that’s just how it is. Don’t try to deny me this.

So naturally, I’ve kind of had an eye out for some Presto socks. He’s a long way from leaving the start box, but 1) it’s always good to be prepared 2) lucky XC sock juju carries good juju for other occasions too. It’s never too early for good juju socks. I wasn’t really sure what kind of socks I wanted for him though. Magic themed? Buddy the Elf? Something cheeky? Perhaps motivational? I’m still learning what he’s like under saddle. But I’ve kept one eye open, figuring something would come along.

and maybe it’ll come with someone who will actually groom this animal properly rather than his negligent mother who was in a hurry

Trying to pick out socks for his first XC adventure this past weekend was embarrassingly difficult. He couldn’t wear Henry’s XC socks, those are Henry’s juju. I went back and forth between the Bob Ross Happy Clouds socks, a pair with anchors, and my french socks that I got in France. Eventually I decided on the French ones in an attempt to channel his dad’s boldness and badassery, but whew… it was a tough decision. When I got home I decided to get a little bit more serious about looking for some lucky/XC socks to wear for those kinds of occasions.

I scrolled for a while, especially after I fell deep down a rabbit hole looking at magic-themed socks. Nothing really jumped out and grabbed me. Then on a whim I googled “Presto socks”.

Y’all. I did not know that there is an Australian brand of cycling apparel called Presto. And I certainly did not know that they made socks.


The fact that some of them say “hey presto” also makes me laugh, because HEY is probably the word I say to Presto the most. Like “HEY quit it!” or “HEY let go!” or “HEY pay attention!”. That’s just kind of how it goes when you’ve got a 16.2h baby labrador with ADHD.

I like that they’re crew height, which is my preference, and they’re that nice lightweight knit with meshy parts for breathability. Normally I don’t really even take sock quality into account when it comes to my lucky socks, but… it certainly is a perk. Of course, the company is also in Australia (NATURALLY) so if I was going to order socks, I figured I might as well make it worth my while. In for a penny, in for a pound? So I got 3.


Technically justifiable, I threw away a whole bunch of sad and semi-holy socks a couple weeks ago. And these literally say Presto on them so I don’t really feel like I really have to explain myself.

Plus I got a chuckle out of the confirmation email.

I did try to order a shirt too but they were out of my size. Sadness. It’s a good thing I’m not really cycling so much anymore or I probably would have also been buying a new kit. Their logo is cute, you have to admit. The lightning bolt is like BAM, PRESTO IN DA HOUSE.


These will fit the bill perfectly until he’s older and earns his way into a more unique pair of socks befitting his XC personality, whatever that may be. I never in a million years thought that socks existed with his name on them. Now I can appropriately label my feet every time I ride him (here’s where I admit that I never wear my “Ringmaster of the Shitshow” or “This meeting is bullshit” socks when I ride him, lest he live up to that particular juju).

So really, if you do nothing else today, I urge you to google “your horse’s name socks”. You never know what you might find if you’re prepared to do some digging.

Custom Oh Henry Socks By Ofutlu - Artistshot
uh oh…


Presto’s First XC Adventure

I definitely can’t call this a “xc school” because, ya know… Presto is 3 and didn’t actually jump anything. But it was his very first time being ridden at a XC facility, so we’ll go with “adventure”. He’s been to Pine Hill a couple times before – once ponying with Henry and once just me leading him around. I figured it would be a good place for his next off property ride, and since Trainer only had a couple other folks meeting there for a quick school, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to join.

The trailer camera is still perhaps the best purchase ever, I don’t even remember what life was like before I had it

This was a little bit different than his trail ride outing a few weeks ago in that this time he was flying solo, we weren’t picking up a buddy along the way. Once again he made life easy though – I got to the barn, loaded up my tack, pulled him out of his pasture, and put him right in the trailer by myself. That’s what I was working towards by taking him places those first couple years so I’m delighted that so far, so good. As someone who often goes places alone, I can’t appreciate that quality about him enough.

When we got there and unloaded he definitely perked up and was wide-eyed taking it all in. Not in a nervous way, but in a baby horse “OOOO THERE IS STIMULUS AND I AM THREE DID YOU KNOW I’M THREE?” kind of way. The facility was emptier and quieter than I’ve ever seen it (thanks covid restrictions!) which I figured could also work in our favor. Less to gawk at.

Trainer: is that a sparkly unicorn whip? Me: Of course it is. What do you have, a regular whip? Laaaaame. 

I opted to just tack him up and lead him down to the XC field to mount up along with the other two folks. Sure he hadn’t been ridden in a week and sure he’s 3 and sure we walked out into a great expanse of open space, but… I didn’t want to lunge him unless I absolutely had to. 1) all lunging really does is warm him up (like I use lunging at home to make him think more forward/sharp/focused) 2) I honest to god HATE having to “lunge them down” any time they think something is exciting or new, so I don’t want him thinking that’s a thing he gets to/has to do when he goes places. I want him to be able to do his job like a Big Horse, so I’m going to treat him like one unless there’s an actual safety issue that prevents it.

I mounted up with no problem and we stood for a few minutes waiting for the others. He was a bit wiggly, but mostly he was interested in meeting the other two horses and telling them his life story. He likes to just march right up into their personal space like “HI I’M PRESTO I’M THREE THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE WHO ARE YOU ARE WE BESS FRIENDS WHATS THAT”. You could pretty much see the older, more mature horses like “oh jesus, can someone get this kid a Ritalin?”.  But once the introductions were made we headed out, with Presto leading the charge.

he has no idea where he’s going, but he’s going there first

We pretty much just stood around or walked circles while the other horses warmed up. I mostly wanted him to stand on a loose rein, but if he just couldn’t keep his feet still, that was fine, we’d walk for a couple minutes and then I’d ask him to stand again. And largely, he just stood. We did go trot a few circles away from the group, because I wanted to see what he’d do if I asked him to go away from them. He went just fine so we came back and resumed our standing. Presto took an instant shine to the thoroughbred in the group, and was REALLY INTENT on watching him jump. Presto was very impressed by his athletic prowess.


We tagged along around the course while the others jumped. The group worked our way through the front field and into the woods, around the back to where the big mound is. I had him climb up it and watch from higher up, which he wasn’t super impressed by. Mostly I was just glad he stayed on his feet, because, ya know… baby horse. I’m not always convinced that he’s going to stay upright.

find the bebe horse

He was really good back in the woods (better than Henry, who does not like the woods and is pretty convinced he’s gonna get murdered back there some day) although he was a little bit looky about sudden footing changes. I thought that was kind of funny, because never before in his life has he noticed or cared about random sandy or dark spots on the ground. If that was his version of being spooky or wild then… ok. He still went, he just peeked at them first, so no harm no foul.

Mostly though, we alternated between walking to the next jump and standing there looking bored.

well, one of us looked bored anyway

It was relatively uneventful until we got to everyone’s favorite: the water. Yaaaasssssss. This is why we came. We can’t really do anything else very interesting at this point, but he can DEFINITELY go in the water. And go in he did. We walked back and forth across the shorter way a couple times, then (once I was sure he wasn’t going to try to lay down in it) we walked back and forth across the long way too.

very exaggerated walking in the deeper part

Once we conquered that, I wanted to trot across it. Because now that he was confident about where his feet were going, I wanted him to go forward across it rather than stare down into it.

And because splashing is fun. I’m an eventer, after all.

He trotted right across, although it took him the whole first pass to figure out how to trot through it well. I don’t think he was expecting all the resistance from the water, so his first attempt was a little stuttery and awkward. Heading back across the second time was better. You could almost hear him thinking “whew dat was harder than I thought it would be!” as he came out the second time. For instant butt workout, just add water jump.


After a little bit more ambling through the woods (well… the others jumped, I ambled) we all called it a day. He was still bright and interested but he had definitely settled more as we went around. And he never did anything dumb or bad.

I thought he might have a little bit of a meltdown when we “ungrouped” and went our separate ways to our trailers. And he did neigh a couple times, and wiggle around looking for his new BFF, but he didn’t get belligerent about it. I untacked him, took him to the washrack to hose him off, let him graze for a few minutes, then loaded him up and off we went back home. He slept most of the way.

Overall it was another successful outing. His first time getting ridden off property without having brought a buddy with him, and he handled it really well. For anyone who’s still keeping track, that was ride #16. Now we just have to decide where we’re gonna go next!

Foal Friday: Who Run the World?

Maybe I’m just feeling a bit musical these days with Skee-Lo last week and Beyonce this week, but… the foals pick the themes, I just write the posts.

Who Run The World Girls GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Both of the girls have been really big into showing off these days, although in different ways. Ellie’s finally found her legs and has no problem going toe-to-toe with Ollie’s zoomies and prancing.

Ellie: “my canter is TWICE AS BIG” Ollie: “short jokes R mean”

Oakley has taken a different approach and really thrown all of her effort into beating Remi at his modeling game. And I gotta say… I think she’s nailing it.


work it girl
“‘Cause I’m a model, you know what I mean”
“I shake my little tush on the catwalk”

I think Remi’s perilously close to getting dethroned from his position as WTW’s Next Top Model.

Which, poor Remi, he’s also not always having such great luck charming the ladies as of late.


and STAY up on that hill if you know what’s good for ya!

One time he even got summarily rejected by both girls within one minute.

Can you guys believe this crap?

But he’s not alone, Ollie’s been dominated at every turn as well.

be careful what you start, short stuff
you might not like how it ends

Luckily it has provided Remi and Ollie with a little bit of bro bonding time, as they commiserate together over their female woes.

“Bro what’s their problem?” “Bro I know, what the heckin’ heck!”

And it still hasn’t stopped Remi from being any less whipped.

Oakley in her best Regina George voice: “like, why are you so obsessed with me?”

Clearly it’s the queens, both big and small, that are running this particular kingdom (queendom?). I guess it’s a good thing that Remi and Ollie are learning this life lesson early on.

And in case you find yourself feeling a little sorry for Remi… don’t. Oakley still throws him a bone every once in a while – on her terms, of course.

Happy Friday everyone!

Presto Vlog #3 – April/May 2020

So, uh, it’s possible that I procrastinated a little bit with this one. I would like to say that it won’t happen again but we all know that’s probably a lie. A lot of little milestones happened in those two months, though… the beginning is always a little bit more exciting because everything is new and seems to happen quickly. We started April at ride #5 and finished May at ride #12, plus he ventured outside of the arena for the first time. Obviously since I’m riding him so infrequently the progress is slow, but… I think you can see it?

The good news is, this one’s not as long as the other two! I’m slowly figuring out this vlog thing… hopefully now with the Pivo I’ll actually have decent video for the next one.


Let me know if there are any questions you want me to answer in June’s vlog or if there’s anything else you want to see!

Wrapping up the Woes

There seems to be something about airing ones frustrations to the world that somehow makes a difference. As you already know, my Pivo finally came last week, but so did  everything else I’d been waiting on.

Package Delivery GIFs | Tenor

So the PSoS/Horselet fiasco, which has consumed far too much of my time and probably done terrible things to my blood pressure, is finally resolved. I think so, anyway. After the Swedish UPS rep telling me last week that the package had been delivered to me (it hadn’t, it was delivered to a UPS warehouse in Kansas City) he completely ghosted me and never responded again. But PSoS did get back to me and when I showed them what had happened, they just gave up on getting UPS to fix this and sent me a whole new package. Two days later I had my quarter sheet from Sweden, no problems at all, and they tossed in some leather cleaner as an apology for all the trouble (and, to be fair, they were quite apologetic via email too).

maybe in 6 months I’ll actually be able to use it!

As for the original package… who knows. Guess it’s just gonna be lost in a warehouse in Kansas City forever? That makes me sad to think about. Maybe someday they’ll figure it out. I was concerned that since that original package hadn’t really been resolved that UPS would somehow still try to keep me on the hook for the freight fees associated with it, but as of right now nothing is showing as due on my account anymore. I will probably lose my last shred of sanity if UPS tries to collect from me again.

So the summary of that story? PSoS/Horselet made an honest mistake, kinda took a long time to figure it out, UPS was absolutely useless in helping resolve it which made it take even longer, but PSoS made it right in the end. Knowing what happened and that they’ve fixed it, I would order from Horselet again in the future. UPS, however, stays on my shit list.

Maggie//Juice Ortiz - 04. shit list - Wattpad

The Smartpak box also arrived, so now the only outstanding thing I have left is the mega-super-backordered bitless bridle that I ordered 3 months ago and have no idea when I’ll actually get it. That’s a supply chain issue with the  manufacturer, so it’s not as frustrating to me as one that’s trapped in shipping purgatory or something that’s marked as in stock taking over a week to leave the warehouse.

I also wanted to update and say that I’ve FINALLY found some tights that I love, thanks to y’all. After many tries (like… eight?) and several that were aaaalmost right but not quite it, I took the recommendation of a few readers who recommended the Ariat Eos tights on my last post. I was a little grumpy about spending that much on tights, but… damn y’all were right these are perfect. Perfect fit, perfect fabric, lots of pockets, love the waistband, so comfortable, they’re exactly what I was looking for.

I don’t love the huge logo but it’s glitter so it’s ok

The only bummer is that the colors are kind of limited, and RW only carries two of the colors. I opted for gray since I don’t really like the red stitching on the navy “team” color. I emailed them a couple days ago to see if they could special order the black camo ones for me, because those are straight fire, but haven’t heard back yet. Fingers crossed. I’d like to get one or two more pair of those and sell all the rest of the tights I tried and didn’t love. The search is over. Ariat please make these in more colors (like hunter green and burgundy specifically? K thanks.).

The black camo though. Can I wear these with brown boots? I’m wearing these with brown boots.

It’s kind of a nice feeling to not have any packages in weird shipping limbo for the first time in a while. First world problems, I know. All’s well that ends well? Now that I’m officially out of distractions and excuses maybe I can finally finish Presto’s April/May vlog today…

Pivo: First Impressions

Yay, FINALLY four weeks after ordering it, my Pivo arrived! The plus side of it having taken a while to get here is that I had a lot of time to peruse the Pivo facebook group, which helped me learn a lot about how it works and gave me some good tips in advance. If you have a Pivo or are thinking about purchasing one, join this group and spend some time looking at other people’s videos and troubleshooting. I would not have had nearly as much success with mine right off the bat if I hadn’t. Knowing how the technology works is SO IMPORTANT.


So what is a Pivo? It’s a relatively simple device, really, just a little rotating pod that your phone sets on top of. The pod syncs via Bluetooth to the Pivo App on your phone, and the app and the pod work together to make their magic. The app records the videos on your phone and saves them to your gallery. There are currently two Pivo pod options – the original Red Pivo and the newer Silver Pivo. The only difference is that the Silver can move twice as fast as the Red. It’s a little bit more expensive, but I opted for the Silver and I’m already glad I did. Originally the Pivo didn’t have any zoom capability, only turning, and the Red could keep up with a horse just fine in canter. But as of last week the new software update includes a brand spanking new Auto Zoom feature, and people with Silvers are having fewer problems especially at the canter. Sometimes the Red can’t quite keep up when it’s zooming at speed.

Before I get into my own thoughts on the Pivo’s performance, let’s talk about how the actual software works.

There is no “tag” or tracker that the pod is syncing with in order to follow you, it’s tracking capability is completely software based. The software is looking for two main things in particular: shape and contrast. There are 3 shooting modes for the Pivo: face, body, and horse… obviously the horse mode was designed for horse tracking, and when it’s in this mode it’s basically looking for the rectangular shape of a horse. In order to find and successfully track said rectangular shape, first it needs to be able to clearly see it. This means that you need some contrast. Take into account your arena color, background color, and horse color. If everything is light, you need to add some kind of contrast, maybe a colored or dark pad/boots. If everything is dark, think about adding something bright or light to contrast, like a white pad or white boots (the Pivo also seems to really like high-viz neon pink). Important item #1: the software has to be able to clearly see you in order to track you.

make us flashier against the dark background: check

As for the shape, as I said it’s looking for that rectangular horse shape. Because of this, Pivo recommends placing the pod in the center of the arena (ie at X). When the horse is coming directly towards or traveling directly away from the camera, it’s no longer in that rectangular shape that it recognizes as being a horse, and the software is more likely to lose you in those moments, especially if they’re prolonged for more than a few seconds. Same goes for if you get too close – it can lose the shape. In the facebook group some people have had success with placing their Pivo’s at E or B, just outside of the arena, but it’s definitely a little bit more finicky with that placement. There is also some distance limitation here: it will lose you once the horse is less than about 10% of the screen, so it’s really meant for an area more like dressage arena size or maybe up to 60m x 60m square. It’s probably going to struggle to see you beyond that distance.

Also keep in mind that due to how the software works, it will have problems staying locked on you if there are multiple horses in the ring. Sometimes it seems to struggle if you have a lot of jumps in the ring or a lot of varied lighting (lots of shadows/bright spots/trees) as well. If you think of it from the software’s perspective with regards to what it’s looking for – shape and contrast – that makes sense. So, 1) understand the software, 2) keep your environment in mind.

my settings for our maiden voyage

This isn’t a $1,000 SoloShot or Pixio, it’s a $100-140 pod that syncs with your phone and follows you around as best it can. If you’re expecting SoloShot or Pixio performance, you’ll likely be disappointed. But if you want a budget friendly gadget with quick and easy set-up that will help you get some video for training purposes or for social media, your expectations are in the right place.

With all of these things in mind, before I even got my Pivo I knew that I should put some light colored stuff on me/Presto. Our arena footing is fairly light, but in some places the background is bright whereas in other places it’s dark. In the bright areas Presto himself would be good contrast, but in the dark areas I wanted to make sure there was something bright for it to “see”, so I wore a white shirt, put on his white saddle pad, and borrowed Henry’s white cross country boots. I placed the Pivo at X in our dressage arena on a tripod. You can set it on a barrel or a jump standard as well, plenty of people seem to have success with that, but a tripod is what’s recommended due to the height and stability. You can get one on amazon (even with a built-in level if you wanna get fancy) for under $20, so not a big deal to buy one. Pivo recommends that the pod be at the same height as the horse, not too low to the ground. Again, this has to do with the software reading the shape of the horse.

Ok, SO… how did it work? As you saw from yesterdays post, pretty darn well for a first try.

I would recommend actually reading through the app’s initial tutorial (don’t just swipe it away) so you understand how to access all the screens and settings. I also think its a good idea to sync it up and play with it a little bit at home first to familiarize yourself with the settings and how to change them before you’re standing in an arena holding a horse and trying to squint at the screen to figure it out.

As for actual usage, it was very quick and easy to set up. Put the tripod at X, put the Pivo on top, turn it on, pair the app to the Pivo, select my settings, put the phone in the pod, and voila. It took all of a minute, which is a big selling point to me with a young distractable wiggly horse. I did make a couple of mistakes out of the box, though. 1. I underestimated how tall Presto and I are together. I had the tripod at about stirrup height, but in reality I think it would be better at saddle pad height. The Pivo doesn’t have an “up/down” tilt or pivot ability, only left/right. Having it a bit too low put me in the very top of the shot the entire time, so it’s something I need to be more aware of next time and raise it probably 6″ or so. 2. I also need to make sure the tripod itself is totally level. Admittedly I didn’t check this, and I think that’s also contributing to my framing issue.

Otherwise I didn’t really have any major problems. At no point did the Pivo lose me completely, I was never totally out of the frame during the entire 20 minute ride. There were times when I changed directions or circled and Presto ended up “head on” or “butt on” with the camera and it lost the rectangular shape for a few seconds, but it always recognized him again as soon as we got more parallel and before we left the frame.

As I mentioned, the auto zoom is a totally new feature in it’s first release, and I think it needs a little bit more tweaking. I’m REALLY excited to have it at all, it’s already a huge improvement from before with no automatic zooming capability, but it does seem a bit slow to zoom back out once it’s zoomed all the way in. I think they already know this and are working on it.

I’m pretty excited about this little gadget and think it will be invaluable in getting footage of Presto both for my own purposes and for his vlogs. That’s what I wanted it for and my first impression is that it’ll suit that purpose just fine One ride in and I’ve already got GIF’s and screenshots for the blog and sent some video to my trainer.

So overall, here’s what I would say so far if you’re thinking about buying:

  1. Have realistic expectations. Know what the Pivo can do and what it can’t do. Figure out if it will suit your needs.
  2. If you order one, I definitely recommend the Silver. The Red seems to do just fine, but with some of the updates they have planned I think the Silver is going to perform better overall in the long run.
  3. Please for the love of all that is holy, join the facebook group. I can’t stress this enough. There are a lot of people on there with great advice that have already been using theirs for a while, you can learn from other people’s trials and tribulations. There’s even an actual Pivo rep in there helping with troubleshooting. If you have any issues you can upload a video of the problem and they’ll help. This is some of the best support I’ve seen for ANY gadget. There are also a lot of good videos on youtube that talk about the different settings so you can see what other people are using.
  4. Take some time to learn how the software works and how it “sees”. This will set you up for success instead of frustration.

Right now I would say that if you’re looking for something that can reliably shoot an entire dressage test from C for virtual shows, this is not your tool. You probably need a SoloShot. Pivo is working towards that goal in the future, but it’s not there yet. It might work somehow for lessons, I know they’ve added a Live Stream feature recently but I haven’t paid much attention to that. I would check the group for more details on if/how well that works if it’s a need for you.  If you want something to record a full jump course, I also don’t think this is your tool yet either. People have had success recording a couple of fences (with the horse traveling parallel to the Pivo, so like if you just jumped in a circle or oval it would probably be fine) but it’s just not realistic to expect it to shoot a full jump course the way a human being does. However, if you’re someone who is often riding alone and wants something that can be your “eyes on the ground” and provide social media content… the Pivo could definitely suit your needs.

The big benefit of the Pivo being software based is that it means with every release you get the latest and greatest updates, you don’t have to go buy a newer fancier unit to get newer fancier functionality. Pivo also seems actively dedicated to improving the performance of the pod specifically for equestrian use, releasing new features pretty regularly. They are listening to the feedback.

I took some clips from Sunday’s ride and kind of talked through how the software was working in a few different places and with different things. Keep in mind these are mostly the more “problematic” areas of the entire video, so you’re seeing the worst things it did and why I think they happened based on what I’ve learned so far.

As you can see, even with a few little issues (and my own setup mistakes) it still did a really good job. 20 minutes of footage with my horse easily visible in the frame is a hell of an improvement from what we had before without the Pivo. Next time I’ll raise and fix my tripod and hopefully that’ll make it even better. First impression though? Really positive! The reviews and experiences in the facebook group are pretty mixed, so admittedly my expectations were not that of perfection. The software can definitely be a little particular and how you need to use it can vary depending on your own particular circumstances or even different conditions from day to day. But if you’re willing to do a little bit of learning and keep your expectations appropriate for the price point, I think it could be a great tool to have in your toolbox. I’m pretty excited about it!

Figuring it Out

My favorite thing about baby horses is that there’s never a dull moment. That’s especially true of Presto, who certainly isn’t lacking in personality or opinions.

hi it me

We’ve been continuing our Wednesday/Saturday lunge and Sunday ride routine. I’ve been really pleased with how he’s started to figure out the balancing reins the past few weeks, I think they’re definitely helping make things click a little bit for him. Both of his weekly lunge sessions with them are generally very short, maybe 10 minutes if that. Partly because on Wednesdays I’m rushing to get back to my computer, and partly because I just don’t think he needs to go any longer than that to get the message.

But he’s a baby horse, so sometimes he chooses an evil path and his fate changes. On Wednesday I went out with his stuff to lunge him out in his field. I’ve lunged him in there before several times, no problem. I tossed his equipment on and walked out to flat clear space and sent him out. He trotted a few circles before he decided to give in to Satan’s demands and he just BOLTED. Luckily he’s never subtle when he’s naughty so I saw it coming and braced myself. He hit the end of the lunge line and flopped around like an angry fish before we repeated that over and over for the next 20 minutes. I never even got the chance to put the balancing reins on, that was an aborted mission. Instead I waited until he could give me some polite w/t and listen to the voice commands for a few minutes without being a turd, and then put him away. Some days they’re just dumbabies and that’s fine.

On Saturday we tried again.

much more civilized

He was back to normal, totally workmanlike and listening. He wasn’t super thrilled when it started raining on him, or when all the other horses bolted for cover, but he wasn’t naughty at all. And in fact I was quite pleased with how he’s continuing to show improvement in his carriage. He’s not fighting the bit anymore, his mouth is a little less fussy, and he has moments where he’s really coming from behind really nicely. He’s even starting to show a little bit of a desire to stretch.

It’s pretty quick progress, all things considered. I think he really just needed to figure it out on his own terms. He’s still very inconsistent of course, but the good moments are getting longer and more frequent. I also think he’s starting to get a bit stronger in his hind end and topline, which obviously helps too.

Our Pivo finally arrived on Saturday, just in the nick of time for me to use it for Sunday’s ride. I’ll talk more in depth about my initial impressions of it tomorrow.

As I was setting up the Pivo and the tripod a little group of deer decided that was the perfect time to hang out in the woods at the far end of the arena just behind C. Great. Super. Presto spotted them too and reaaaaaaaaaaaally wanted to stare. I thought I might have a real problem on my hands but decided to just carry on as if they weren’t there and see if he would settle. They stayed up there the whole ride but other than causing him some distraction at that end (ok at times it was more than “some”) and one little spook it wasn’t a problem. I was proud of him for that. Henry probably would have lost his mind. I did find myself wishing I had remembered my whip a couple times though, when he got a little too focused on looking for the deer and forgot I was there. While distractions like deer can seem really annoying at the time, I’m also really glad for them. Learning how to handle things like that are all part of the process.

mostly the distraction affected our steering

Despite all that he was overall quite well-behaved. Right now these once a week rides are really fun because I can get on every week and feel a clear improvement from the ride before. Now that he’s stopped wanting to fight the bit, everything is obviously a lot easier. I can actually ride him. He’s in that phase where he hasn’t quite figured out this contact thing yet, so he bounces back and forth from a little heavy/braced to a little bit BTV, with some correct steps in between. I’m trying to really reward him when he gets it right and just keep asking him to come forward with a steady rhythm the rest of the time. He’ll figure out the middle ground eventually.

He naturally wants to be uphill, even at this awkward age, and the feeling he has in those moments when he does get it right are pretty exciting. We had a few moments in particular yesterday (of maybe 5-6 steps each) where he really stepped up with that hind leg and swung through his back and I was like DIS HORSE OMG. It’s REALLY fun to see the natural aptitude come through. I love Henry to death, of course, he’s my best boy and tries really hard, but in 6 years of work I don’t think he’s ever been as uphill as this horse is on ride 15. If Presto can be as good as Henry about the XC I’ll be mega-thrilled.

Next weekend we’re going to try to go on another adventure, this time to an XC schooling venue to just hang out and walk around and see the sights. And tomorrow we’ll talk more about the Pivo!


Foal Friday: Baller

The babies got introduced to the ball for the first time this past week, and honestly I think Ollie’s name really should have been Skee-Lo (“I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller, I wish I had a girl who looked good, I would call her”… there’s your very obscure 90’s reference for the week). It should be of absolutely no surprise to anyone that he took to the ball immediately and absolutely loves it. He might be the littlest in height, but he’s definitely got a huge personality.


The babies always get to see the ball outside of the fence first, so it’s not as scary. Naturally Ollie, being the super curious and mischievous one, was the first to come over and investigate. Once they all got to see that it was there and they didn’t care about it, the ball got chucked into the pasture.

whut is dis ting?
Is dis for me?
I use mah teef and mah feets
I smoosh it left!
I smoosh it other left!
uh oh, uh oh, uh oh…
I gots it. All good.

The other babies were much less impressed with the ball. It took a little while for Remi’s mom to let him go check it out, and when he finally did he wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to do with it.

whut in the heckin heck?

Oakley was interested in it a little, and gave a half-hearted attempt.

dis ting is weird
I guess I just smoosh it? How is dis fun?
Meh, I tink I’ll just pose wit it for the ‘gram. Ma, did you get da shot?

Ellie couldn’t even be bothered to pause from her incessant sassing long enough to notice it’s presence.


But ya know… I think Ollie is totally fine with having it to himself.

Byeeee Imma take mah ball wit me

If you want to see some video, you’re in luck. This event was well documented.

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope your weekend is as fun as Ollie’s is shaping up to be.

Top Creeper

You know how on Facebook if you interact with a certain page a lot they’ll be like “You’re a TOP FAN, here’s your badge!”?

Facebook Top Fan Badges – And Why You Should Be Interested - Isentia

I dunno about y’all, but for me personally when Facebook tries to tell me I’m a “top fan” of a certain page it really means either “top person who really just doesn’t know when to shut up” (look, I got real frustrated on COTH’s page during all that SafeSport/GM nonsense) or “top mega creeper stalker” (whaaaaaat? meeeeee? noooooo…). Facebook ain’t playing when it calls me out with that Top Fan badge.

OK YOU CAUGHT ME I’m a real creeper about certain pages. Particularly the above farm who stands a stallion that I really love that of course is only available for breeding in Ireland. I have talked about him a little bit on here before because he’s the sire of my favorite 5* horse Tullabeg Flamenco, among others. As the kids would say, I’m a major stan.

Watson chips in for victory
Tullabeg Flamenco. Go ahead, try to judge me.

And see, since this stallion isn’t available outside of Ireland, it’s possible that I may have developed a wee little fantasy about someday trying to buy a filly by him to import/ride/breed. (note: by wee little fantasy I mean major obsession because I don’t really do much of anything “wee little” let’s be honest, it’s all or nothing)

Therefore, naturally, I stalk the farm’s page like it’s my damn job. Particularly during foaling season. I like all the foal pictures, I comment sometimes, heck I’ll even friend request Irish people who breed to him (note: y’all shouldn’t accept my friend request, I’m a lunatic. but also please accept my friend request so I can stalk at a more in depth level.). It’s a compulsion and I can’t stop. Ok I don’t want to stop.

I’m obsessed with her – out of a full sister to Imperial Sky – but they don’t know yet if they want to sell or not

Like… is this the true motivation behind the Ireland trip I wanted to take this year? YES. OK? YES IT IS. I wanted to see Tullabeg Fusion and some of his foals in person. But then ‘rona ruined that idea so I just turned into an even more epic online stalker instead. If there is a Tullabeg Fusion filly listed for sale publicly in Ireland, I guarantee I have seen her (note: I’m probably also stalking the owner and/or farm on facebook. please don’t tell anyone). It’s also possible that one day I got really side tracked because one sale website also listed Irish farms for sale and I was like “Ooooh yeah, this seems like a reasonable possibility”. (note: moving to Ireland is not reasonable) (subnote: it did not stop me from casually perusing real estate for an hour)

It’s also possible that I may have roped Michelle into being an accomplice to this scheme. I mean… a filly with top Irish bloodlines? Makes total sense for a breeder. (note: I can rationalize anything) (subnote: this is why it’s dangerous to be my friend) I mean, think about it… the filly could even stay in Ireland until she was 3, get bred to another stallion that’s only available in Ireland, of which there are many, and then be imported. It’s cheap to raise them there. Or ya know, if you import under the age of 2 it’s not that terribly expensive. (note: see above note about how I can rationalize anything)

Potential Eventer: Dun 2yo by Tullabeg Fusion |
This one’s 2. I volunteer as tribute.

Clearly it has to be a buckskin or palomino though, because this is my wee little fantasy and I said so. Preferably buckskin. We’ve talked about my secret obsession with this color before, don’t clutch your pearls. And if I can get it in a super sporty package… no judging.

So ya know, it’s possible that every time the farm posts a new buckskin foal I come screeching in out of nowhere like “hI iZ  tHiS oNe A fIlLy AnD iF sO iS sHe FoR sAlE???”

Crazy Eyes GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I’m creepy, I know. But geez Facebook, why you gotta call me out? I feel attacked.

(note: did that stop me from accepting the Top Fan badge and displaying it proudly? no it did not. fly that freak flag high.)

When in doubt just add dolphin

Apparently the universe is just pushing me for funsies, because once I absolutely lost my mind with frustration Monday/Tuesday (and yelled at a Swede. sorry? no I’m not), everything finally started to move.

PSoS has given up on UPS resolving the shipping mistake, so today they sent me a whole new package. It makes me sad to think of the original sitting abandoned in a warehouse in Kansas City (what do they do with all the stuff that ends up there, anyway?) but I’m pleased to finally have some resolution. Hopefully. Maybe. If UPS tries to send me another bill it won’t be pretty. PSoS has been really apologetic about how this whole thing went down. Every UPS rep I’ve talked to in all this, which would be 6 including the Swedish one, has been 0% helpful. Absolutely the damn worst. The Swedish one tried to tell me that they delivered the package to me on Monday – I responded and said no they didn’t, they delivered it to “UPS OVERGOODS” in Kansas City, you can see that right there on the tracking page – and I haven’t heard a peep from him since. Useless. Just as useless as all the US-based UPS reps that just shrugged and said I should talk to the sender.

Schitts Creek GIFs | Tenor

The Pivo package also finally showed some movement and made it into Texas as of yesterday. Maybe I’ll get it within the next couple days? I’m feeling more hopeful anyway, especially seeing it heading in the correct direction that would indicate that the second tracking number they gave me is actually the right one. It would be nice to have it in time for Presto’s weekly ride.

And my Smartpak order shipped! it’s as if everyone’s ears were burning yesterday now that my blood pressure finally went through the roof. Thank goodness I have horses to “talk me down off the ledge” so to speak, because omg I was irritated.

well ok by “horses” I meant I have one dolphin and one giraffe

Between the annoying UPS people and some work BS I had steam rolling out of my ears yesterday as I headed to the barn. It was really humid and already getting hot/gross even at 9:30… Henry was contently grazing but already starting to sweat. Humidity is his kryptonite. I figured with my mood and him already pre-melting, we would just keep it light and fun. We went out to the back pasture where we have our little gallop path/hills for just a light w/t/c.

Well that’s what I intended anyway. For a horse that can’t really get any oxygen when it’s humid, someone was real full of himself.

I used a hair tie to secure my phone to a tree (while cursing Pivo the entire time) and had originally just planned to get a couple passes of us trotting and cantering past it. Cuz, ya know… need something for the ‘gram. But as soon as we’d made one lap of the track at a trot and I turned around to trot the other way, Henry decided he was done trotting. Jig, yes. Canter in place, yes. Walk, yes. Gallop, yes. Those were my options apparently. Trotting iz stoopid. So we galloped a lap each way, with him dolphining most of the second lap (he likes to give himself a warmup lap or two before he starts yeehawing, it’s his thing).

As usual, I was cackling at him the whole way. He knows how to be just ridiculous enough to make me laugh. Cheeky little shit. But he 110% fixed my mood, that’s for sure. All of my ire was magically gone by the time I rode back up the barn and dismounted. What do people without horses even DO with their emotions?

Also Presto was the last horse I’d ridden, and when I slid off Henry I did that thing where I misjudged how close the ground was. Henry’s withers are really the only thing giving him any height, his back itself is probably a hand lower than Presto’s. I guess my body forgot, because WHAM feet into the ground. That was still kind of entertaining because hey… that means I’m getting used to riding Presto.

By the time I got back to my computer I was in a much better mood than when I had left, that’s for sure. Thanks dolphin boy.