Cali Part 2: Friends

I haven’t been out to the west coast in… a really long time. Not since I was a kid I think. I’m a grass and trees and pastureland kind of girl, so admittedly the Southern California landscape doesn’t really call to me, thus I just never seem to find myself there. But since I WAS going to be there for once – and indeed Presto was staying at a farm that some of my friends also keep horses at – I figured we definitely had to squeeze in some meet-ups. First on the docket was Emily and May of May as Well Event.

As is often the case when meeting other bloggers, I felt like I already knew Emily pretty well. I’ve been following her and May’s story for years, and we chat a lot online. I definitely wanted to finally meet in person, and of course meet the famous May. And since our horses are so very very very different, I was like… “we should take pics of them together”. It did not disappoint, the juxtaposition is hilarious to me. Proof that eventers come in all shapes and sizes!

just SLIGHTLY different types lol

Presto was absolutely obsessed with May. As soon as she walked over he was like OH MY GOD WHO IS THAT SHE’S BEAUTIFUL I WANT IT. May, on the other hand, was like “omg this idiot” and wanted nothing to do with him. She tolerated him, but was clearly totally disinterested in making friends and opted to just ignore him completely. Presto, bless him, is rarely deterred by how other horses feel about him though (zero self-awareness in that one), so he was bound and determined to fully investigate May regardless of how she felt about him.

Presto was very displeased when I dragged him away from May and put him back in his pen. If it was up to him we would have taken May home with us and she could have been the love of his life. I’m not sure what he liked the most – her size, her golden color, her apathetic attitude, or the fact that she thicc, but he was VERY into her whole aesthetic. Who knew.

The owners of the boot company Majyk Equipe also keep a couple of retired horses at the same farm, and they were out there around the same time. I’ve met Michael and Beverly before multiple times but haven’t seen them in years, so it was good to catch up. They have a 3yo Mighty Magic filly that they bred specifically because of Presto, so it was cool that they got to finally meet him in person. I was informed that he was big. Everyone keeps telling me that. Let me live in denial, people.

After they said hi to Presto we made plans for the next day. I wasn’t flying out until Monday but Megan was leaving with the horses on Sunday morning, and everyone else was also leaving sometime on Sunday. We all went to the show on Sunday morning for breakfast, and I stayed for a while to watch the showjumping and take some pics of Britt and Ricky.

he’s ridiculously cute

After that, Michael and Beverly picked me up and we drove out to Laguna Beach for lunch and some sightseeing. All I had really seen of the area so far was the drive between Ontario and Temecula and then back and forth from Galway to the Airbnb, so this was my one touristy day. They picked a great place, Laguna is definitely beautiful and a fun little beach town. We found a restaurant with rooftop seating, the weather was gorgeous, and we sat there and had lunch with a fantastic ocean view.

I’ve had worse Sundays

After we ate we strolled up and down the boardwalk for a while, taking in the very stereotypically California environment. Beach volleyball, check. People rollerblading, check. Surfers on the water, check. Vendors selling sea-themed art, check. Baywatch looking lifeguard, check. The people-watching down there is pretty epic too. We climbed the stairs of a hotel to get a good view of the beach and enjoy the afternoon. It didn’t suck.

After that we drove back to Ontario and they dropped me off at my hotel for the night, next to the airport. I figured since I’d had such a stereotypically California day already, I should top it off with one last thing, so I walked down the street to In-N-Out for dinner. Technically we have a few of those in Texas but I’ve only been to one once and it was probably a decade ago if not more. I wasn’t really even hungry but I got a burger and a chocolate shake and had zero complaints about it as I waddled back to my hotel room.

It was really great to finally put some faces to names as well as catch up with some old friends while I was in Cali. I had a great trip, largely thanks to all of these folks as well as Megan’s entourage, and got some great pics and memories out of it too. I’m not generally the best at maintaining my human connections sometimes, I tend to withdraw into my day to day minutia, but this whole trip really reminded me why it’s so important to surround yourself with good people and to keep up with those friendships. Perfect little mini horsey vacation!

Cali part 1: Galway

I’m back from sunny southern California! When I booked my trip it was originally supposed to be for Presto’s Training level debut… which clearly didn’t come to fruition since he decided to be a monkey in turnout and effectively remove himself from his entire fall schedule. I waffled a lot with whether or not to cancel my trip, but in the end I decided that 1) I wanted the break from work since it’s the last one I’ll get for a while, 2) I wanted to be there for Presto’s next vet appointment. The money was already spent on my plane ticket so… may as well, right? I got there on Wednesday afternoon and Megan’s mom picked me up at the airport, and we hustled straight to Galway so we could be there in time for the 2* and 4* jogs.

My Tynnyfer girl looking beautiful for her first 2*L. She was pretty sure all those people were there just to see her. I definitely was.

Once the jogs were done we went down the street to the barn Presto has been based at during his Cali vacation… very convenient that it was so close. Megan had told me that he’d filled out a lot in the past month and boy she wasn’t kidding. The spaghetti noodle is looking more like a manicotti these days. I guess standing in a pen doing nothing but hoovering hay may not have been so bad for him. He barely even greeted me, he was too busy with his treat ball. I said hello, gave him a couple cookies, and left him to his business.

busy, come back later

Thursday was dressage day, with Tenny going early in the 2* and then Mo going mid-afternoon in the 4*. Megan’s mom had gotten a VIP table for her entourage (which between family and owners was sizeable) and let me tell you, I was decidedly not suffering. Ringside table and full catering? I could get used to that horse show experience. We had a great breakfast and then headed over to watch Tenny’s dressage, which was lovely – she’s developed so much over this year. I mean maybe I’m biased because she’s my favorite but meh no I’m not.

Mid-morning we all loaded up and headed down the street to the barn for Presto’s vet appointment and to see Megan’s newest addition to her string (the first redhead in a mass of bays). This was Presto’s first Shockwave appointment, and my opportunity to talk to the vet in person.

He was a super nice guy, pretty much the first thing he said was “this is just a blip, it’s only temporary, he’ll heal up and this won’t be a problem or affect his career in any way” which is always nice. Clearly he’s used to concerned owners if that’s the first thing he offered up without any preamble LOL. I asked him what the most conservative, probably-overkill recovery and rehab plan was and he gave me an outline. We’re gonna do a couple more Shockwave treatments (which he didn’t think were necessary but said “definitely wouldn’t hurt”… what’s money, right?) and keep him rested for at least another month, maybe two, and then re-scan and see how it looks. We want any heat and filling to stay out of it and prevent him from irritating it any further. I’d much rather overdo the rest and recovery than try to rush him back to work and end up back at square one. Presto’s not missing anything (well ok he’s already missed everything there was on his schedule) so we may as well take it slow and be extra sure.

This does mean that he’ll be staying with Megan quite a bit longer than the original home-in-December plan. It’s not really possible to stall rest him here at home or do “controlled” turnout, and then it also seems a bit pointless for me to try to bring him back into work myself after he’s been off for 2-3 months. Plus, like, the whole point of him staying through the fall was so he could do a few more shows with her to solidify what he’s learned this year so… he should just stay. We’re already 9 months in, seems like it would be a shame to potentially throw all that progress away at this point. He can stall rest there, she can bring him back over the winter, and then he can go to Florida with her and get a few shows in. Then I can take lessons on him again and bring him home late spring. So yeah, I’m bummed to be Presto-less for longer, I was really excited to get him back, but horses are horses and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. I kinda wanted him to go to Florida to show anyway, so maybe it’ll turn out to be a good thing in the end.

there was ice cream in the VIP area every afternoon, I’m pretty sure I gained 20 pounds in 4 days and I regret nothing

Of course, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spiral pretty hard that night. I did. I promised Henry to Hillary for the winter to ride and show, and I REALLY do want her to ride and show him, it’ll be good for both of them. But that was based on the premise that I’d have Presto here, which now I won’t. Did I stay up until midnight looking at horses off the track? Indeed I did. The whole reason I ended up with Henry in the first place, for those who remember, was because I had leased out Sadie and spiraled hard a few months later, so there’s definitely precedent for this. Michelle talked me off the ledge though and told me I should just come get one of her mares to ride through the winter… something different for me to ride, a little excitement to look forward to, and no spiral-induced impulse purchase required. Yeah ok that seems like a much better idea. More on that later.

I also didn’t give in and buy a BEMER, which was my brains other “excellent idea” for a quick dopamine hit. It was tempting. I did manage to talk Tenny’s owner into one though, which was almost as satisfying.

His wife said I’m not allowed to hang out with him anymore because it’s too expensive. This isn’t the first time I’ve been told this.

Friday was cross country day, which kinda just makes me nervous when a friend and horses I’m truly invested in emotionally are running. The 2* looked fine (clearly I’ve suffered long term brain damage because I was like “these look kinda small”) but the 4* was YIKES. Like… YIIIIKKKEESS. Hard pass. No thank you. There were these big white rails headed straight down the side of a hill that you would have to pay me a massive amount of money to point a horse at. It was a big hard track, for sure, and the whole entourage was drinking hard and heavy first thing in the morning. Quick pause to say how freaking awesome her family and friends are – just the nicest people and a lot of fun. Which, I am notoriously bad at integrating into new groups with new people so the fact that I did so easily says a lot about them.

Megan’s two rides were only an hour apart, with the 4* running first, so we scoped out our spectating plan. We parked up by the startbox as she came out and went around the first loop, then booked it up to the main water so we could see her come through there. The first time through they had a big brush drop in, bending to a brush skinny, and Megan and Mo were baller through there.

It was a really tough course and took it’s toll, with only 4 people jumping clear. Megan ran into some trouble at the big downhill rails and opted to walk home and try again another day. There was a quick turnaround to get Mo vetted out of the box and then Tenny tacked up, then we were back at warmup. A bad fall on the 4* course caused a long hold and delay, so Tenny’s owners and I decided to head up to the main water to wait for Tenny. She came flying around that course like she was having the time of her life, looking absolutely fantastic and adding a nice double clear for her first 2*L. Great wrap-up to cross country day, and more importantly two happy sound horses… can’t ask for more than that.

Although when Megan was whipping from barn to barn in the golf cart doing post-XC care she almost ran over Billie Eilish coming back from dressage on her horse. That would have been bad. I knew Billie rode but didn’t know she evented, so that’s pretty cool. I mean, don’t run her over with a golf cart maybe, but welcome to our sport.

Saturday was showjumping day, and once again there was so much suffering happening up in the VIP area. I ate hash browns and oatmeal until I physically couldn’t anymore. Woe was me.

hot chocolate and a ringside view, sign me up

We ran over and watched the jogs (ok there was no running, I was full of potato) and then went and poked around in all the vendors for a while. It was disappointing, I found zero things I wanted. One trailer had some breeches and shirts that I liked but inevitably whatever color I wanted was not in my size and whatever was in my size was a color I didn’t like. The shopping gods said no that day, I guess. I did buy a sweater from a little clothing boutique (and talked Tenny’s other owner into a jacket and sweater and hat… I am an expensive friend) so it wasn’t a total failure. If they’d had the jacket in a darker color I would have gotten it but also how many jackets does a Texan really need?

Tenny showjumped a couple hours later, and while she’s still figuring some things out she’s progressed a lot in that phase too.

got to play with my new camera that I got from Hillary

I really love that mare. A lot. And may or may not have talked her owners into maybe doing an embryo transfer or two. Like… the husband was even looking at all of my bloodline spreadsheets with me on my laptop that night. No one else likes to nerd out at that level with me so I was delighted. Gimme some baby Tenny’s.

The horse show wrapped up with that but I still had a few more things to do and people to meet while I was out on the West Coast… more to come about those adventures tomorrow!

Presto’s California… vacation

When we last left off with our intrepid hero baby horse, he was headed to California for his fall season. Unfortunately that didn’t quite pan out.

He did indeed make it to California. They went straight from Texas to Woodside, where he was entered to show in the Novice. If you remember, he’d had a particularly rowdy night in turnout before they were supposed to leave and came in with a banged up foot, but by the time they arrived he was sound and looked ready to go. And then the next morning, before his midday dressage test, he had a, uh… baby horse moment, and spent the morning absolutely ravaging his buckets with his feet (ravaging things with his feet is his go-to I AM ANNOYED/BORED move, he does it a lot), managing to get his foot stuck on one in such a way that he half ripped a shoe off and made himself very lame in the process. So, we scratched Woodside, gave him a week off, had the shoe put back on, and he looked good by that point so Megan planned to bring him back to work.

He looked good on the lunge line so she did a normal flatwork ride on him, where he also felt totally normal, but unfortunately afterward there was some filling and heat in his fetlock. The vet came out and did xrays, which all looked great, but Presto reacted positively to palpation of the suspensory. Like… reacted pretty dramatically. Enough to where they though oh shit, he’s done major damage. Out came the ultrasound machine and after much searching it was determined that there were no lesions or tears, but both branches were inflamed and irritated. The vet recommended 30 days stall rest along with daily icing/surpass/wrapping. So… his fall season was effectively over, and his Cali trip would now be spent just hanging out in his pen.


While it definitely sucks in a lot of ways and I was super disappointed for him to miss YEH Championships, I was mostly relieved that it wasn’t anything major. Thank goodness for Megan’s astute and careful observation or it really could have easily ended up being much worse, since she caught the physical change in the leg before he was actually lame. And when I thought about it, if this had to happen then it’s honestly kind of advantageous the way it went down, because we really aren’t set up for stall rest here at home. We don’t have enough horses to keep one in all the time with him, and he’d absolutely go batshit at being the only horse in the barn. Nor can I think of any boarding barns where I trust them enough to look after him properly and do all of his care to the letter. At least there he’s got plenty of other horses around him all the time and he’s at a busy barn with lots to see to keep him occupied, and I trust Megan implicitly to do all of his care plus she’s there pretty much all day every day. He’s such a busy horse I was very concerned with how he would handle the stall rest but so far he’s been ok in his pen.

Well… he did try to remove his ice boot thus earning himself getting tied very short during ice time, but otherwise.

Dis it be bullshit

I ordered him some stall toys, including a Wubba and a rolly treat ball. I wasn’t sure if he’d figure out the treat ball but apparently he did so pretty quickly and is obsessed with it. Toss it around and it gives you treats… yeah that sounds on brand for him. He’s also bulked up a lot, just standing there eating, so Megan is like “He looks so big now!”… um, wtf did he look before??? STOP FEEDING HIM. Just kidding. Mostly.

When you’ve been on stall rest so you get a little bit of dorm for your farrier appointment but you’re an absolute friggin lightweight and can barely stand up

All was motoring along pretty well until yesterday, when Megan went to do his daily care and found a little bit of heat and some pulse in the leg when there hadn’t been any in a while. He’s sound, but she didn’t like the change and there’s no reason or explanation for it, so while he wasn’t scheduled for his next scan until this weekend she’s having him scanned again while the vet is out today doing a PPE. Fingers crossed that it looks okay… the last thing this horse (or any of his people) needs is an extended stall rest period. I don’t even know how to make that work. Trying not to panic and spiral too far, but, ya know. Mixed success.

Before he left I had already planned on going out to Cali for Galway, which is this weekend, and after thinking about it for a while I decided to still go. I couldn’t get full credit back for my plane ticket, I’d already taken the PTO, and this is probably the last opportunity for me to go anywhere until late next spring. Plus Tenny is in the 2*L and Mo is in the 4*L, and I have other friends showing, so it’ll be a fun little trip even without my own horse competing. The money is already spent so why not. By then we might know a little bit more about how Presto is doing and be able to figure out what his plan will be for the next few months. Naturally this has already ended up costing more than it would have if he’d stuck to the original horse show plan, between lost entry fees and vet bills and stuff, but what else is new with horses. At this point my only real concern is getting him healed up well and quickly. Fingers crossed for an ok scan today!

The Drama Llama

Hope everyone had a happy Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday,,, candy plus “dark”-themed things plus costumes… how could it not be my favorite. This year we were invited to a horsey gymkhana day, with costumes, and that was an opportunity I just couldn’t turn down. Let my inner 10yo horse kid out for a day? Sign me up.

Henry’s slight wardrobe malfunction. Peep Julie on Tiny in the background – she dressed up as a leadliner (she’s pocket-sized and Tiny is like 18h+) and her braids + bows were cracking me up all day

My original idea for our costume was to dress Henry up as a unicorn and me as a rainbow. But then while scrolling through rainbow bodysuits I stumbled across a llama onesie and I was like omg that’s it – I can be a llama and Henry can be the drama (not a stretch) so together, tada, drama llama! I was able to find the onesie on Poshmark for pretty cheap, snagged some rainbow hair tinsel for Henry, and bought a little button where you could record whatever you wanted on it. I recorded it to play the “is it me, am I the drama? I don’t think I’m the drama. Maybe I am..” soundbite. Which, if you have TikTok you will definitely recognize – it’s one of my favorite viral sounds and very suited to Henry. He also had a drama llama sticker on the other side of his saddle pad, Julie painted his butt to say “Am I…” on one side and “the drama” on the other, and his bonnet had a drama llama sticker on it too. Plus he wore his glitter boots.

I didn’t want to put so much on him that it interfered with his ability to be a gymkhana pony, because priorities, but it seemed to be enough for people to get it. The button was a hit, at least with those in the TikTok demographic. You can hear it if you scroll to the video in my Insta post. The llama onesie was hot AF but hilarious, so… worth it. Definitely a little slippery to ride in, but very convenient that the hood fit over my helmet easily.

Once we were all ready we got on and headed to the covered, took some pics, laughed at each other (there’s something particularly great to me about seeing adults have some childish fun with their horses) and then got down to the serious business of games. There was some pole bending, which Henry was actually quite good at. He caught onto the idea of weaving around the poles pretty quickly and was firing off lead changes at each one. We also did some kind of cup-moving race, and a relay and… something else that I already forgot. Henry was down for anything that required speed, and if it didn’t require speed, he thought it should. Maybe he missed his calling. After I did a few games I got off and Hillary got on, and I was like you gotta try the pole-bending though.

Henry was like YEAH I GOT THIS. SO FAST. He’s always pretty proud of himself and this was no exception.

A friend of mine had a polo mallet as part of her costume and asked if I wanted to try smacking a ball around. Sure, why not? I removed my hot AF llama suit for that, and made sure Henry was ok with me swinging a mallet around him. He’s fairly whip-shy so I wasn’t sure how he’d feel about it, but he didn’t mind. I whacked the ball around a little bit (with… um, mixed success) but I dunno that polo is for me. I broke my right elbow in a cross country accident years ago and something about the swing and the weight of the mallet made that old break ache. I handed the mallet back and we headed back toward the trailers to untack. The trailers were right next to the jump field, so I was like hey Julie, want to jump Henry?

her outfit made her look like a legit short stirrup rider HAHAHA I cannot

We were there, jumps were set, Henry was warmed up, Julie hasn’t been able to do a lot of jumping lately… why not hop around on King Henry. He was a little bit lit up because of all of his pole bending domination and the fact that now he saw JUMPS, but he was polite anyway. Julie got on and cantered him over some jumps and it was just really freakin cute. Then I was like hey Hillary, you wanna jump some stuff too? We already had a pony ride thing going on and Henry seemed to be quite enjoying himself. I handed over my boots, she hopped aboard, and off she went to jump some things too.

Good on my friends for always being up for a little horsey fun time. And of course Henry is the bestest boy in the world and seemed to enjoy taking everyone for a spin. It’s really cool to have a horse like this that you trust, that you know will be safe for people to ride and is fairly straightforward. This kind of stuff is his jam. He did keep searching the surrounding area for cross country (sorry buddy, not this time) but seemed pleased enough to get a few jumps in anyway.

We hung out and chatted and ate candy for a little while before making the trek back home. Another fun weekend with my best dude, and we even came home with candy… better than ribbons, if you ask me.