Foal Friday: The Ellie-phant in the Room

Guys, there’s no hiding it: Sadie birthed an actual giant this year. Ellie. Is. Hugenormous.


For reference, Daisy (the grulla) is 15.3h.

I have this photo saved as heckinchonker.jpg tell me I’m wrong

Despite being the youngest of the 2020 foal crop, at 2 1/2 months old now, she towers over the other foals. Which makes sense with Ollie (full pony) and Oakley (half pony), but she’s even got Remi beat, and Remi is a good size foal from good size parents, plus he’s the oldest. Theoretically he should be the biggest. He… is not. He’s normal sized. Ellie looks like she’s been mixing Miraclo Gro in her milk.

it’s a monster

And naturally, her favorite method of play is to turn into a biped, which makes her look a little bit like Godzilla.


Even Ollie knows to vacate the premises when this thing truly goes vertical

None of Sadie’s other foals have been as big as this filly. They all go through a chonky stage, like Ellie is currently in, but none have had her sheer size. She’s been a beast since she was in the womb (when Sadie was so big that Michelle and I were both a bit concerned that she was carrying twins that had been missed on ultrasound), and it looks like she has every intention of staying that way.

when you try to measure Ollie…
but Ellie be like “pffft why bother, measure ME!”

And, ya know, being that big is really exhausting. Which is why she’s taken to using round bales as her own personal bean bag chairs for naps.

just sprawled out across the entire thing, no big deal

Sadie is quite pleased with her creation though, which makes sense because 1) she’s a total mini-me, 2) Ellie is big enough to reach Sadie’s back so they can (and do) give each other fantastic back scratches. I suppose that’s Sadie’s reward for having to birth this thing.

Despite her size, Ellie is amazingly light on her feet and athletic. Girl can gallop, turn and burn, and contort herself into a pretzel when she feels like it. Her 68% TB might not be so evident when she’s standing around, but you can definitely see it when she’s in motion.


always with a side of sass, because filly

Thank goodness she’s sweet and well-behaved with humans.

It will be interesting to see how she grows over the next couple years… sometimes these giant foals end up being relatively normal size horses, and other times these giant foals end up being giant horses. Time will tell.

Happy Friday everyone!


Grand Prix Ready

Well guys, things are getting pret-ty serious around here. Presto trotted his first course of poles yesterday.

seriously though, how can he even see through these ridiculous bangs

I set up a very basic little course of four poles in the dressage arena (I have to be honest, I don’t always trust his steering well enough yet to be sure that I won’t be decapitated by a tree out in the jump field), two making an outside line and then two singles set diagonally. He also got the additional challenge of “skinnies” since one pole is 8′ long but the other poles were only 6′ long. It’s what I had as spares without taking poles off my jumps, so… it was fine. He may as well get used to that stuff from the beginning.

he’s filling out again!

He was in rare Presto form while tacking up, really antsy and non-stop putting stuff in his mouth. Some days he’s not just 3, he’s like… extra 3. But I got on and he went right to “work” with no dramatics. We started out by walking over the poles, making a little course. I want him to learn that the game is to go to and over the sticks, so right away we just starting going from pole to pole. After he’d been around them all a few times at the walk, we picked up the trot.

very serious big horse business

We did a couple of simple courses to start with, then I dialed it up a little bit by angling some of the poles and making (generously sized) rollbacks. He thought that was great fun, and definitely seemed to understand that the objective was to go to the pole. He didn’t miss a single one, and the “harder” I made it, the more engaged he seemed to get. At one point he was so proud of himself he just needed to canter after one of them, and I briefly considered having him keep going and try to canter the poles, but for his first time I wanted to keep it super uncomplicated and easy. That’s a small ring for him to try to be cantering poles in, at this point in his training. Big horse, small space. No need to get greedy.

feelin’ himself after angling the bending line

We only rode for about 15 minutes, but I think it was short and sweet and to the point. He understood, and he was willing, so… mission accomplished. It will be many months still before I actually start jumping him at all, but doing some work with poles like this is really good for him I think. Not only does it help his steering, but it’s also introducing the idea of skinnies and angles and lines and all that stuff that’ll be relevant once he starts jumping. Plus it’s something different and fun. I need to go pick up some flowers and brush and convert a few of my poles into flower/brush rails, to give them a little something more interesting. I’ve been meaning to do that for months.


So ya know, Presto is basically ready for Grand Prix, as long as someone can find me a GP at ground pole height. He’s could totally dominate the heck out of those up-down pony kids.

When we were walking out afterward he still kept homing in on the poles and walking over them, even on the buckle.


Smart kid. I like it. That’s what I’m after. Many pats and good boys for finding them on his own. Once we were done in the ring I walked him a lap around the outside, where he showed off his giraffe skills for the Pivo.

omg stahp

I swear, no tree is safe if it comes within 6′ of his face. Growing boys need their snacks I guess.

That was ride number 21, if we’re still counting. Go ahead and add Pole Trotting Champion to his resume. He catches on to things so quickly that I’m gonna have to start getting creative to keep his brain occupied with fun stuff. I do want to try to get him out on another trail ride soon, hopefully in the next couple weeks.

face hugs from crazy mom

So far he’s really just a lot of fun to ride and train. I can’t complain about this one.

Big Boy Things

Presto is sooooooo close to being a big boy. Well… in stature he’s already got it covered, but I mean in age. Four years old is tantalizingly close. And while in the realm of the riding horse 4 years old is the babiest of babies, in the baby horse world, it’s graduation age. Like “welcome to real life, you’re an adult!”.  I’m trying not to get too excited about it because in reality he’s not even 3 1/2 yet and I know the next 7 months until he’s officially FOUR are going to drag, but still. 

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Its Been 84 Years GIFs | Tenor

And I will say this, if all the covidiots rambling about their freedumb end up ruining my horse’s 4yo year by getting everything cancelled again, I might consider a career change to assassin. If I don’t get me some Coconino next year, heads are gonna roll.

But I’m living in the land of happiness and denial, and pretending that 2021 will be totally fine, and Presto will get to go to some horse shows. Just… give me this. So when the video of Henry demolishing an oatmeal cream pie won an Instagram contest that garnered us a Halter Ego gift card, it took me about .5 seconds to decide what to get. 


Look, I gave away two other bridles, stop judging me. Also, it’s SO PRETTY.

See, I figured that most likely Presto will spend his first year doing the dressage in jump tack, because that tends to be easier, but all of my brown bridles are either bitless or figure 8’s or partly green or too small for this beast’s noggin. So I wanted to get him a pretty brown bridle. When I saw the Olympia, I knew it was the one. I loves me a chonky noseband with slightly darker padding. THIS was a big boy bridle, for sure.

Big Boy
Baby Boy

I did take the standard browband (brown with clear crystals) off and put his spikey Dark Jewel Designs browband on it though. There is nothing that says PRESTO more than that browband and I’m just as obsessed with it as I was when I got it. I ordered the bridle with stainless hardware specifically so that it would match his spikes. It pleases me deeply. Gorgeous bridle, badass browband… it just works. I’ve decided that the overall look is called “Posh Punk”. Posh bridle, punk browband.


I’ll review the bridle at some point eventually. It occurs to me that I need to do like one big bridle review post because I don’t think I said much about most of them… at least not Presto’s QHP or Henry’s La Cense, the other two latest additions. I did take a picture of the Halter Ego bridle next to my PS of Sweden hackamore, so you could see color and leather comparison.

He will probably mostly wear his green QHP bridle at home though, that’s his designated schooling bridle, and we’ll keep the Halter Ego nice for special occasions. Presto tends to scratch or break anything you put on or near his head, and I’d hate to have to strangle him with his pretty new bridle.

While Presto has been getting fancy big boy things, I’ve remained unable to stop dyeing my riding clothes. There isn’t much left that I haven’t gotten to yet. But I did have a couple that I’d already done and wanted to change, one of which being the light blue shirt that I’d dyed with RIT. It was fine, but not as good as the ones I’d dyed with Jacquard (RIT’s pigmentation is weak sauce in comparison), and I kind of wanted to play around with some dye techniques. 

Before. It looked more blue outside but I told you it was weak sauce.

My original idea was to do an ombre, and I had a plan of action all figured out and everything. I wanted to go from a pale blue down to a deep, more french blue, so I bought some navy dye. I got my water ready, put just a little bit of the powder in to start with (like… not even half a tablespoon), and got ready to do the first dunk. The plan was to start with lighter colored dye water, dunk the whole thing, add a little more pigment to the dye water, dunk 2/3, add a little more pigment, dunk the bottom third. 

this stuff has become one of my favorite things

But as I was standing there, about to wet the shirt and then lower it into the pot, I was like… hmmm… I wonder…

Originally I would have loved to tie-dye one, but this fabric and the way it needs to be dyed doesn’t really lend itself well to that technique. But I wondered what would happen if I just balled the dang thing up, got it partially wet, and then dunked it quickly in the dye water. Would that give me the splotchy look?

Figured it was worth a try, if it didn’t work or I hated it, I could always go back to my original ombre idea. So I balled it up, ran it under the faucet, and then dropped it into the pot. I gave the ball of fabric one little swishy stir and then quickly fished it back out with my tongs. It was in there for all of maaaaybe 8 seconds at most. 

still a bit wet

It has almost a stonewashed look, and I kinda dig it. It’s not tie-dye, but in the same realm. I think it’s neat, and unique anyway. You can buy an ombre shirt, but I haven’t seen one like this. I went ahead and washed it and waited for it to try before I decided for sure.

In the meantime, I still had a pot full of dye water that had been barely used. Seemed like kind of a waste. So off I went into my closet, looking for something else that might want to be blue. Then I spotted my Kerrit’s Ice Fill tights, which were “navy” but a brighter/lighter tone than I prefer. I checked the tag and they are indeed mostly nylon, so I went back to my pot, added a little more pigment, and in went the tights. I was hoping I could get them to a nice deep navy. Twenty minutes later I pulled them out, washed them, waited for them to dry, and voila!

All dry! New outfit, basically

It worked really well, they’re a much deeper navy now. Which is good to know, because I do like the Ice Fil tights, but Kerrit’s has some absolutely god awful heinous color choices. Turns out they can be quite easily changed.

I still have most of the jar of navy pigment left, plus most of the jar of the pink I used for the dusty pink shirt. And some green coming, so I can try to fix that hideous bright turquoise that I did and hate. But I’m out of riding clothes to dye at this point. Which is sad, because it’s kind of fun. Who knew this would be such a slippery slope…


Tiny Home Tuesday: It’s Finally Time

Well, this is happening almost four months later than originally planned, but this week we’re FINALLY finalizing all our paperwork for the tiny home order. In the end I think the timing worked out okay… we’re able to put more $ down, and we got a great rate for financing. The only bummer is that with covid and all of it’s repercussions, the build time has doubled from 5 weeks to 10 weeks. That takes away basically aaaalll of our “cushion” time that we were hoping to have, which gets my nerves rattling a bit. But it is what it is, so hopefully it’ll work out fine.

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How can we teach children to read if they can't even fit inside ...
I can’t resist a tiny home/Zoolander joke

We went back up to the builder a couple weekends ago hoping to walk out with everything done, but I didn’t realize that their financing guys didn’t work on the weekends. And of course a few days before we got there they had sold the one we really wanted to see right off the lot. It was kind of irritating at the time, although we did get to see a different version of that model (that they didn’t have last time we were there) and look at all the options again in person. Which… I tweaked one of the standard floor plans a bit and we changed our minds on some colors and appliance options after the fact, so… not a wasted trip. But it does make all the paperwork and back-and-forth take longer since we’re having to do it via email. The dealer is over 3 hours away and the SO can’t get off work during the week for the foreseeable future (apparently luxury car repairs and upgrades are BIG BUSINESS right now for whatever reason, they’re super busy) so another trip up there in person just isn’t in the cards. It is what it is. We submitted all of our final options/floor plan approvals this morning, so now we just await the all the final paperwork. Hopefully we’ll get everything completed and submitted in the next day or two so we can get this show on the road.

In the end we couldn’t get everything we wanted, because it pushed us over the price point I wanted to stay under. We had to prioritize and compromise, but I think we still made something really cool and functional.


This particular house was our “inspiration” I guess you could say. We liked almost everything about it. We changed most of the colors, the style of the front porch, some of the appliances, tile/backsplash/countertop, and a couple of door locations. More specifically, the exterior will be gray and white, like this one (different model, but you get the idea):

SO’s favorite thing about this color is that it’s called UFO, because he loves watching dumb alien shows

We went with a plain galvalume (so “silver”) roof because the color options were crippling and it’s literally the only one we could agree on. That’s kind of the story for all of the colors involved here. SO really likes a white, red, orange color palate and I really like a blue, purple, green color palate. The only thing we both like is gray and black. So, there’s a lot of gray. And we decided to paint the exterior of the front door black. He wanted red, I tried to compromise with burgundy, but the only thing we both liked was black. I have a black horse head door knocker that I think will look really cool on a black door. It’s like… goth farmhouse. (gray house black door. There’s something a little bit Addam’s Family about it and I’m here for it.)

The inside walls are white with gray trim, like in our inspiration house. The flooring is a grayish tone – “Fumed Oak” (again, same as in the inspiration house):

Fumed Oak Linoleum

The cabinets are painted gray (again, same as inspiration house)

Grey Paint

The countertop is “mercury vesta”. I liked the splotchy rain look.

Mercury Vesta

We went a little bold with the backsplash at the last minute, opting for matte black tile. I wasn’t in love with any of their other options (which were basically gray, cream, and tan) but when I googled “black backsplash” I dunno, I just really liked the look. Plus it ties in with the front door. There’s very little actual backsplash space, between the kitchen and the bathroom, so it’ll just end up being a touch of black. I went through like a billion pics trying to find someone else that has put in the black backsplash option in one of these tiny homes and I couldn’t find one. Had to go with my gut on that one, hopefully I’m right in how I’m picturing it.

The shower tile is Platinum

Platinum 8" x 36"

and the exterior decking is gray (the only options were gray and brown so stop judging all my gray right now).


We “splurged” on the upgraded stainless appliances (dishwasher, full size french door fridge with bottom freezer drawer, microwave, oven) and on the porches. Specifically the back porch, which we opted to fully screen, like our inspiration house. It was the most expensive thing we did, but it gives us a really nice indoor/outdoor space (and a “bonus” 150 sq ft, since porch spaces don’t count as actual square footage). SO got a tv jack out there, it’ll be wired for a ceiling fan, we’ll have space for a table and chairs… basically like a little sunroom. The cats and dogs can both hang out there too.

we made our rear porch bigger than this one, for extra space, but you get the idea

We also added a little reading nook up in the loft (again, like in our inspiration house). Since it’s only 399 square feet and one bedroom, and we both like having personal space, we tried to give the house as many good usable spaces as possible. The fancy fridge and all the tv jacks were SO’s splurge items, and mine were a fancy deep stainless sink with pimped out faucet (because I love me a good sink), USB ports in one of the kitchen outlets (so I can charge all my shit without having to go find several plug adapters) and a transom window above the front door (so I can put up a stained glass panel).

I’m staking claim to the reading nook and I’m prepared to fight dirty for it. I will absolutely pull hair and claw eyeballs.

The things I changed from the layout of the inspiration house were: 1) only 1 bathroom door. Honestly, I’d rather the bathroom be more private and not connect to the bedroom. I don’t really need the toilet to be 8′ away from the bed and separated only by a little pocket door, thanks. Give me a solid wall. 2) I moved the location and style of the closet door. Now it’s a pocket door that opens on the “hallway” side by the back door, rather than a regular door that opens on the bedroom side. This is because we have a California King, and that bed is gonna be TIGHT in that room as it is. It will be much easier, and better flow, to access the closet from the hall side.

Because we did spend so much on the rear porch, we had to sacrifice some little things, like a super fancy front load washer/dryer, upgrades on the tile or countertops, the rain shower head, fancier stair and railing options, etc. Little things that we were okay giving up in order to have that awesome screened porch.

This is the first time either of us have ever built something for ourselves, and it was kinda hard to choose, even with relatively limited options. But in the end I think we’ve made a pretty functional space, and something that will be comfortable to live in despite the small size. We’ll see in a few months I guess! Let the adventure begin…


Hurricane Hanna hit south Texas this past weekend, and while Austin is too far inland and north to have really felt any hurricane effects, she did bring us some much needed rain and a break from the triple digit temps. I dunno about y’all but it feels like it’s been summer for about 8 years now and we’re only halfway through it.

hello Hanna

Since they weren’t quite sure how much rain we were going to get from this, I switched up the horse’s schedule a bit in the preceding days. Presto got ridden on Wednesday, and they both got worked on Friday just in case it was too wet on the weekend. On Wednesday, Presto went for another hack out to the back. Ride #20! Feels like some kind of milestone. Honestly pretty thrilled with where he’s at after 20 rides, especially considering how slowly we’ve been going. Most horses have 20 rides within their first month or so of being started, but he’s 5 months under saddle now. He’s gradually getting stronger and more confident, which was the plan with this approach, without making him sore or tired or sour or overwhelmed.

always one ear on me when he’s a little unsure, it’s really cute

For his hack I got on him at the barn and rode straight out again, no lunge or arena riding first. He had a lot of pep in his step, and he behaved, aside from one genuine honest-to-god spook when something moved in the bushes. That’s the first time he’s really spooked under saddle, and it was mostly just funny. He did a very obvious wind-up to where I knew what was coming, and then he just spun around in a pretty darn balanced pirouette. I was barely even jostled. Considering that Henry’s spooks are more like teleporting 15′ away with little to no notice, Presto’s was fairly adorable.

I hear MOO DEMONS!!! (wtf am I gonna do with that forelock…)

We walked back to the scary bush, made a couple circles, and then carried on. He got over it immediately and that was the end of it. I was pleased with that. Horses are gonna spook sometimes, that’s just the nature of the beast, what’s more important to me is how quickly he moves on from it.

On Friday Presto did a quick lunge session. I set up my Pivo at E this time, mostly because I wanted to see how well it worked from there. The new Beta tracking makes it so that you no longer need to have it in the middle of the ring, and I figured E would give me a better view than C. It never really occurred to me before to use it to film a lunging session because, well… that’s boring. But I actually got some interesting footage (to me anyway) and some good screengrabs from it, so I might start including some of that footage in Presto’s monthly vlogs.

he’s starting to stretch more and more

is it really necessary to be this tall at not-even-3 1/2-yet?

I did a quick dressage ride with Henry (because it was approximately 9000% humidity on Friday and we both start to feel like death after much longer than 20-25 minutes) with the Pivo at E and I definitely think that’s my new favorite placement. Having it outside of the arena is obviously easier, and it tracked perfectly from there. Seriously tickled with the new tracking, I’ve now used it for jumping, lunging, and flatwork without any issues. Y’all don’t even know how exciting this is as a thirsty blogger who always needs media but is also always alone. Revolutionary.

Plus I really like being able to watch the rides, it’s helpful. I don’t get lessons very often (um it’s been like a year almost?), especially not right now with covid plus the heat. Being able to see the footage gives me some kind of feedback, at least.

Luckily the rain held off until Saturday afternoon, so I was able to fit in a quick jump school (we did some little gymnastic-type exercises over small jumps so I didn’t bother to get the Pivo out) with Henry, and just groomed Presto and added more air back his ball. I dunno what they’re doing to that thing at night, but it was waaaaaaaaaaaaay in the back by the neighbors fence and looked like it taken some serious abuse in the process. I feel like this ball might not be long for this world either.

I was hoping to ride Presto on Sunday, I had plans to set out some poles in the arena and trot him over them, but Sunday morning it kept raining more. Both boys got a mini-spa day instead (ok mostly I just groomed them, brushed out and re-banged their tails and chopped some mane off).

Pre tail bang. He’s starting to fill out again though!

While there wasn’t as much riding this weekend, it seems like a fair trade to have a short reprieve from the heat and some moisture for the ground. My jump field was starting to get hard, and any kind of rain in July is nothing short of a miracle around here. The last remnants of Hanna should be cleared out by tomorrow, so hopefully this week I’ll be able to do Presto’s first groundpole ride!

Foal Friday: Friendship

Well guys, gone are the days when it took effort to get all the babies together in one shot. They’ve all gotten bigger, bolder, more comfortable with each other, and the helicopter moms (ahem PEYTON) have relaxed a bit.


let’s all just ignore the fact that the youngest foal is also the biggest

And while they don’t always play in one big group, none of them have really paired off either. They play with each other without a whole lot of preference, and for the most part they all seem to like each other and they all get along pretty well.

The girls hang out with each other…



the boys hang out with each other (generally with lots more biting involved)…



and they also mix it up as well. They’re very good comminglers, an equal opportunity kind of group. Admittedly, a lot of the commingling includes Ollie, because he’s a terrorist.


Don’t worry, Oakley dishes it out right back



“oh crap, retreat!”

But Remi isn’t afraid to play with the girls sometimes either (even if he is generally quite out-matched and less bold about it than Ollie).


I think the real friendship story here though – the ride or die, the thick or thin, the BF5Ever – is Ollie and the round bale. He is kind obsessed.

He climbs it

he cuddles it

he scratches his bum on it

he uses it as a stool to say a proper hello to the other moms and steal some hay out of their mouth

But his absolute, most favorite, #1, bestest activity to do with the round bale? Jump in it. Cowabunga style, complete with a running start.

Happy Friday everyone, and I hope you have someone that loves you the way Ollie loves his round bale (although perhaps a little less violently…).


It’s in the Blood: Strzegom 4*S

Yeah I know, I don’t usually do these bloodline posts for short format events, but… since 2020 has killed pretty much all of my nerd joy, y’all are just gonna have to give me this one. Plus this was kind of an interesting field at Strzegom (in Poland) last weekend. It drew a good mix of been-there-done-that horses and up-and-comers, from all across Europe. If you’re itching for some cross country live stream action like I was, you can watch the replay here (they’ve also got the replay up from the 2* pony division, which I’m not gonna go into here but it’s pretty freaking fun to watch).

If you haven’t seen the results yet, I’ll go ahead and ruin it by saying that Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk won it on a 19.4, almost a 15 point margin over the second place pair. However much of this was down to XC time – Chipmunk was the only double clear, not particularly surprising since most of these horses have had quite a light year so far and many probably weren’t really going for the time.

While the upper level European fields and the short format events tend to always be lighter on full TB’s than American events, this one had particularly little representation with only one full TB. This field definitely was not lacking in TB blood though, with 14 starters (23% of the field) having one full TB parent and 32 (53% of the field) having a full TB somewhere in the first 3 generations. French anglo-arab blood had some presence as well, with 8 horses (13% of the field) carrying some AA within the first 3 generations.

FRH Butts Avondale is about as close to full TB as you can get without actually being full TB.

The average blood percentage of the field was 52%, which is slightly lower than what we tend to see at 4*L or at 5*, but not significantly off. The range of blood percentages was all over the board, with the lowest at 18% (Sacre Coeur – who was withdrawn after XC. Interestingly, this horse has also showjumped to the 1.55m level.) and the highest – if we toss out the full TB – at 99% (FRH Butt’s Avondale – who finished 11th). If you average the blood percentage of only the horses who went clear on XC, it stays pretty much the same – 54%. If you average the horses that finished in the top 10, it’s again about the same – 53%. You don’t see any variation until you average the top 5 finishers – then it’s bumped up to 61%.

Looking at the TB names with the most representation here, we see some of the same we’re always used to seeing. Heraldik shows up in 5 horses, Jape in 3, Chef’s Supreme in 2, Sir Shostakovich in 2, Betel in 2, Hand in Glove in 2, plus some we’ve seen several times before in other fields, like Sunlight, Esteban, Ostermond, Star Regent, Hill Hawk, Nobre, Sadler’s Wells, Lucky Boy, Likoto, etc.

Sir Shostakovich xx: horse, pedigree - rimondo
Sir Shostakovich

I think my favorite part about this particular field is that we had THREE full siblings participating – Bandaras, Belfast 35, and Barbados 26. I’ve yet to see that before! It’s quite a feat, all things considered. All 3 are Polish-bred, by Moravia out of a full TB mare, Babilonia (by Jape). Moravia was bred in Germany, by French AA stallion Monsieur out of a Westfalen mare, and Babilonia is a Polish-bred TB by turf champion Jape. Clearly these two were a good cross and brought lots of blood – their offspring are 70%. All 3 horses completed, with Banderas the highest placed at 27th.

all 3 brothers – Banderas, Barbados, and Belfast

Moving on to the warmblood stallions who had multiple progeny in the field, we’ve got more familiar names. Valentino had 3 direct offspring, Jaguar Mail had 2 direct offspring, and Stalypso had 2 direct offspring. Valentino especially should perk the ears of American breeders, since he now stands in Canada and is available to us here in North America via fresh semen. His highest placed finisher was Valentine FRH in 7th place.

If we move beyond just direct sires and go back a couple more generations, stallions that we see multiple times are Contender with 5 appearances (3 via his son Contendro), Ramiro Z with 2, Silvio with 2, Empire with 2, Lavall with 2, and – less typically – we also see the dressage stallion Flemmingh twice, both times via the dam’s side. Not such a surprise considering that although Flemmingh was a very successful dressage sire, he has a very “jumper” pedigree.

Flemmingh | The Horse Magazine

There was definitely not as much repetition of the same sires in this field as we’re used to seeing, probably because the Polish horses gave the field more diversity than we typically see in the western Europe events. Those tend to be dominated by Irish and German blood (we only had 3 Irish horses in this field).

And of course while the mares produce many fewer offspring and therefore are harder to spot patterns with, we all know they are the most important part of the equation. If we look more closely at the dams of the top 10 horses, we find some really cool mares among them. FischerChipmunk’s dam Havanna produced several offspring, including 2 Chipmunk full siblings, one of which is eventing at 3* level and the other has made a career in the A/O jumpers and GP through 1.35m. Dimitri N.O.P.’s dam Jorine produced a whopping 15 foals, most of which competed in dressage (one to GP level). Herby’s dam Naomi competed in sport herself, showjumping through the 1.30m level, and has produced 9 foals, mostly showjumpers (successful through 1.50m level).

fischerChipmunk full sibling Campino

I don’t know whether you guys love this stuff as much as I do, but boy does it feel good to get my spreadsheets up and running again. I’m really missing the 5*’s this year, but hopefully this will tide all of us over for a little while, until the next interesting event comes along. I’m holding out hope for some of the big fall events, at least in Europe!

I can’t stop

Y’all, I might need an intervention. In the past week I’ve dyed 4 old sunshirts and 2 pairs of riding tights. I’ve done: dingy white to light blue shirt, yellow to merlot shirt, taupe to dusty pink shirt, faded blue to turquoise shirt, gray to eggplant tights, and gray to dark green tights. However, I think I’m perfecting my technique now and getting a good handle on the dyes, because I’m quite pleased with how most of them came out. Last week after I was lamenting about how I wished I had more old sunshirts to dye, I found two more that I had totally forgotten about because I’d tossed them into a “give away” pile last time I went through my closet. I really didn’t like the color of either of them. But now… I could change that!

The blue was super faded, and the taupe one has always been an odd color that I’ve never quite been able to figure out. Sometimes it looked gray and sometimes it looked tan. And I hated how the pink collar/zipper looked with that color. I decided to try to take that one to a dusty pink, since I was already starting out with the “dusty” part, and with the blue one I wanted to go teal.

Since I already had the gray tones from the original color, I just bought pink Jacquard Acid Dye (I learned last week that I thought I preferred the Jacquard colors to the RIT) to go over this one. I put only about 1/3 of the powder into my pot and only left the shirt in for 4 minutes. These Jacquard colors are very pigmented and take to the fabric quickly so I knew I needed to err on the side of caution lest it end up super pink. You can always add more dye to the water or leave the shirt in longer, but you can’t undo it once it’s gone too far.

And I’m super pleased with how this one turned out, it’s pretty much the exact dusty rose color I had in mind. I much prefer it to the original taupe and don’t find myself hating the pink zipper anymore.

after it’s initial wash and dry

The blue one… I wasn’t so happy with. This is totally my fault, because when I bought the dye I kind of forgot just how blue this shirt already was, and I bought a tone that also had far too much blue for what I was trying to achieve when I should have gone much more toward the green side. That was not well thought out on my part.


So while the color definitely came out refreshed and vibrant and turquoise, it’s just… way too bright for my taste. Way too bright. My bad.

So either I can brew up some more pink with what I’ve got leftover and take it toward purple, or I can get some green and see if I can balance it to a darker teal that my eyeballs will find less objectionable. Bright just isn’t my jam so I’m concerned that if I put pink over it, it’ll just be bright purple that I’ll also hate. So… maybe leaning towards the green.

The other big experiment was dyeing my gray Ariat tights. I like these tights a lot, but I just… don’t like the gray. Like at all. However, they are a polyester blend, and polyester requires a different type of dye. It’s also generally more difficult get it to take dye. I had no idea if it would work at all, but hey I’m feeling adventurous right now. So I researched all the poly dyes before I settled on iDye Poly in green.

They don’t have a ton of color options (they only had green and kelly green, which look almost the same on my computer screen, the green maybe slightly darker and more subdued than the kelly) so I went with green, hoping that since the tights started off gray, it would add some depth and a little bit of blue tint to the green. But also I was just… mostly hoping that they would take the dye at all, because I’ve never tried to dye polyester. It’s pretty much the same process as nylon though, so it was pretty simple. I will say, this dye STINKS way worse than the other dyes, the fumes were intense. I had to open a couple windows and move a fan to the kitchen to blow the stench out. It also took longer for the polyester to get to it’s full color – I left it in for about 45 minutes. BUT… I’m pretty thrilled with how they came out.

this is the color I wanted to buy in the first place but Ariat doesn’t make it

These were definitely riskier, because a) I wasn’t sure it would work, b) while I was pretty confident that the vinyl lettering and silicone would survive just fine, I wasn’t 100% positive. Luckily this worked out great, and no damage was done to the tights at all. After a wash and dry you definitely would never know that these hadn’t started out this way. The color is really nice. I wouldn’t hesitate to dye some polyester again.

tag shows the color they would have ended up if they’d started out white… which is why it’s so important to take your base color into consideration when choosing the dye

So far I’m ridiculously pleased with this whole dyeing experiment. The only “fail” is that I didn’t like the color I picked for the blue shirt, which… can be changed. No harm no foul, just some wasted dye and time.

I will say though, now that I’ve washed the merlot shirt (which was dyed with Jacquard Acid Dye) and the sky blue shirt (which was dyed with RIT) it really just solidified my preference for the Jacquard dyes. The colors are more vibrant, more pigmented, they dye more quickly, and now that I’ve washed each of those shirts 3 times… the merlot isn’t fading one bit. The light blue one, though… already looking noticeably paler. I’ve definitely got to give the edge to the Jacquard. It’s powder instead of liquid, and it requires some vinegar, but the quality is just better IMO.

I have to be honest, I’m not super bummed that the light blue one is fading, because I found myself wishing that I had tried an ombre technique on that one. So now I’m going to re-do it, but with Jacquard, and attempt to ombre it. Why not?

If you’re planning that intervention please wait until I’m finished with that, please.

There’s still a pandemic

Can we talk about the elephant in the room? Everyone knows we’re still smack dab in the middle of a pandemic, right? And that large parts of country (like… the entire south pretty much) are trending really really badly in the wrong direction?

Just checking.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about continuing to live our lives and ride and take lessons and school and horse show, as long as it actually makes reasonable sense. Like smaller, shorter shows that draw a local crowd and adhere to covid protocol… okay. You can convince me of that. But national championship shows that draw large numbers of people from all over the country together in one place, require a lot of travel across states, and at least a week’s stay at said destination before everyone re-disperses? I’m just not sold on that being wise.

I definitely do agree that there is a relatively low risk of spread at the horse show itself, given that spectators are extremely limited, and given that people adhere to the guidelines (which, whether or not they do is a whole ‘nother ball of wax in and of itself), that they stay masked, and don’t congregate in large groups and/or indoor spaces. But… what about everything else involved? Like the travel to get there, which for some people can be days of hauling across multiple states, stopping at many gas stations/restaurants/etc. And then the hotel stay when you do arrive to your destination. And the going out to restaurants and into stores. And so on and so on and so on, for at least a week. So you’re gathering all these people from different places, assimilating all of them into the local population, and then sending them all back out again.

Pin on Lol
shots fired

I don’t know about y’all, but I’d be especially leery of Texans and Floridians and Californians and Georgians and and and right now (reminder: I am a Texan, and I would totally get it if you wanted me to stay the heck away, I’m doing my best to stay the heck away from other Texans too). Particularly in the states that actually have a handle on their case numbers or have made some progress at flattening the curve. Some states have put into place requirements or recommendations (lol “recommendations”, let me tell you how well that’s going with mask-wearing down here in Freedumbland) that anyone coming from the hot spot states should quarantine themselves for 14 days. How exactly would that work?

So I’m over here peering over my theoretical glasses at things like Pony Finals, AEC’s, and Equitana. I mean, does… does any of that really seem like a good idea in the next couple months? How do the residents of Kentucky (which has already had a 231% increase in cases in the last two weeks, one of the biggest) feel about that? Because, I’ll say it: it’s just not possible for no one attending these events to have covid, or to not come into contact with someone with covid somewhere along the way. Someone, or many someones, will for sure have it. Just by sheer numbers, especially from the worst states. And maybe there won’t be any transmission at the horse show, but it’s gonna be quite the feat if you can spend a whole week traveling and eating out and going to stores and manage to not either pass it on or come into contact with someone who has it.

Your One-Stop Coronavirus Meme Collection – Voices of Monterey Bay

I kind of suspect that since it hasn’t really made an impact on the equestrian community yet – in that no one “big name” has gotten a bad case of it or died from it, and no horse related things have been reported as mass spreader events – that we’re just kinda flying under the radar and trying to pretend that we’ll be fine. But I have to wonder how wise it is to be holding national level championship events when the country is literally on fire. Yes, of course everyone wants to go. Yes, of course it would be devastating to a lot of people for these things to get cancelled. No, no one wants that. At what point is it the responsible choice, though? Are there other safer/smarter options that we could be pursuing instead?

Pony Finals is the first thing up on the docket, so we’ll see how that goes. Maybe I’m just being crazy. Maybe the covid ship has long since sailed and it’s too late anyway. Thoughts? Would you feel comfortable going? Would you feel comfortable with your barnmates going and then coming back into your shared space? If you’re in Kentucky, how do you feel about all the travelers coming into your area? Do we think all of these events will actually get to happen or will the Kentucky governor step in?

I’m Impressed

My typical horse-filled weekend was a little truncated this time due to Real Life commitments. Boo. But it’s also kind of nice to look forward to the weekend days so much that even when you can’t go to the barn because of something else exciting, you’re still super disappointed to miss out on the day with the horses. One might say I’m a wee bit obsessed with them.

this creature is sort of starting to fill out again

It kind of worked out anyway though, since the boys got their feet done on Friday. The babies have resumed their evening gallops around the pasture as of late, and the ground is slowly but steadily getting harder and drier, so Presto had managed to break off a decent chunk of toe from one foot plus he had a little bruise on the toe of the other. He was sound anyway, but they were ugly. And Henry’s feet grow like crazy in the summer, so even at 5 weeks he was growing over the outsides of his hinds. So they got their pedicures on Friday (I have taken to tipping my new farrier every time because he always shows up when I ask and actually texts me back, works with my vet, and he’s been successful at keeping shoes on Henry which not many have been able to do. Plus he has a female assistant. Anyone else tip their farrier or am I crazy? I want to foster the relationship and reward the good service.) and then they got Saturday off.

I don’t even know what to do with this janky forelock anymore

Last week when I posted my Pivo update post they actually released another new software update, a beta version of their horse tracking that was supposed to be capable of tracking the horse even when it was going straight away or coming straight at the camera, and maybe even jumping. I was really itching to put that to the test, so I made sure my Pivo was charged up and figured I’d throw the ultimate test at it: a jumping session.

it cut us off a little here since this jump was closest to the tripod

I have to be honest, I didn’t expect it to work out in my jump field at all. Knowing that the software is looking for a rectangular shape, and knowing that it had issues with a) obstacles in it’s path b) lots of changes of light/shade c) jumping horses when they go airborne d) horses changing direction at speed e) things not being level… this whole scenario is kind of Pivo’s worst nightmare. My jump field is on a bit of a slope, there are several trees, lots of changes from light to dark not just with the shade but also with the background, plus there are all the jumps out there. I didn’t think it would even be able to track me around the trees, much less at speed while we were jumping. I just figured hey maybe it’ll catch a few fences and that’s better than nothing.

And, y’all… even with all of those challenges, it only lost me once. I’m completely floored by it. The new tracking updates take this thing from a useful little gadget right up there to champion status. Now it can film jump courses! So delighted that Pivo has not only been listening to our feedback, but actively (and quickly) working to improve this tool specifically for equestrian use. It’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite purchases ever. Look how well it did!

And yes, Henry is proud of himself. Like 110% of the time. At least he didn’t buck through all the corners this week.

When Pivo released this new update it was really meant for all the people that had been requesting to be able to place it at C outside of a dressage ring so they could record virtual tests. It struggled with that placement before, since it was looking for that rectangular horse shape all the time, which is lost when the horse comes directly towards or away from the camera. So I figured for Presto’s ride I would place it at C and go ahead and thoroughly test out this new beta tracking in one day.

right before he stepped out of the ring and knocked the Pivo over

By this point it was hot AF and I was getting kind of brain fried, though, because I flubbed some things. First I COULD NOT figure out why I couldn’t find horse mode (because I hadn’t selected AI yet… freaking duh…) so I fiddled with that for an embarrassingly long time. This thing literally takes less than a minute to set up when you’re not being an idiot. And then once I did get it started I’m pretty sure I forgot to select auto zoom, because… nothing zoomed. Major facepalm for myself here.

But the good news is that it did follow me pretty well from C. A couple times I got too close (I should have placed it further back from C, not as close to the rail as I did) and it lost me until I came back in the frame, but pretty good. I think for my purposes I would prefer to place the tripod at E or B, to get a better view for video. Next time I’ll try E, and set it about 10′ back from the arena rail. And uh, remember to select the right settings.

note to self, always check the auto-zoom

I haven’t ridden Presto in the ring in a couple weeks nor have I been doing his mid-week lunge with balancing reins, and you could tell. I struggle to have enough time for both horses on the weekdays.

I was just about dying of heat stroke after 20 minutes with Presto. It’s just too freaking hot now by the time you get past mid-morning. Luckily he handles the heat really well though, because he wasn’t even so much as breathing heavily by the time we were done. I’m super glad about that… having one heat intolerant horse is enough of a problem.  If it’s going to stay at/near triple digits I’m thinking of maybe taking one ride a week from Henry’s schedule (he’s at 5 rides, so that would cut him down to 4) and adding one to Presto’s (which would give him 2 rides). Maybe one hack and one arena day? Usually August is Henry’s yearly vacation, I just hack him a few days a week, but this year there’s really been nothing to give him a vacation from, plus he was off for Dec and Jan with his foot bruise. But he does struggle with the heat this time of year, so an extra day off wouldn’t be bad for him, and it would give me more time for Presto.

How’s everyone else holding up in this weather?