Blog Hop: Would You Rather

I am mentally drained this week to the point where I’m probably going to take next week off of the blog and social media entirely, so… here’s your pre-Christmas content. It’s the best I can do. Thanks to Anxiety at A for the fodder.

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Spooky or Steady:

  • For their own sake, not spooky. No one wants a horse to be stressed and worried on a regular basis or have a horse that is reactive and could hurt themselves or a rider. That said, I don’t mind taking a spooky one and making it more steady, which is why I tend to do a lot of desensitizing with my young horses.

Matchy Matchy or Mismatched

  • Not really either? I’m not a fan of mismatched but I prefer fairly boring colors, not like… everything pink or turquoise or yellow or whatever. If I had to pick one I guess matchy.

Tall boots or Half chaps

  • Tall boots. No contest.

Indoor or outdoor

  • Outdoor, always. This is one of myriad reasons why I can’t live somewhere cold.

Bay or chestnut

  • A nice rich dark bay is always my favorite.

Hard shell boots or sport medicine boots?

  • SMB’s are death traps of heat, hard pass. I wouldn’t really choose hard shell boots either unless they’re well ventilated, but not much is worse to me than SMB’s.

Free Board for a Year or 20k for a shopping spree?

  • Easy choice, 20k please. Even that “relatively small” amount of money would be life-changing for me.

Long or short mane or roached mane?

  • Short, first choice, roached, second choice. I like having something to grab if I need to but I don’t like how a long mane looks so I’d still pick roached over long.

Lazy or hot horse?

  • Hot. I’d prefer them to not be bordering on belligerence, but something responsive to seat and leg that’s light and forward-thinking is always my choice.

Private barn or a boarding barn?

  • Private barn, 100%. Way way way 10000000x better than the whole boarding experience.

Create your dream barn or own your dream horse?

  • Dream barn, but I did have to sit here and think about it for a second.

Roman nose or dished face?

  • Roman. It looks noble to me, I’ve never minded a roman nose. My brain reads dishy as delicate for whatever reason.

Ride an Olympic-level horse or take a lesson with an Olympian?

  • Depends entirely on what horse or what rider we’re talking about. I’d kill for a lesson on Tullabeg Flamenco, but I’d also kill for a lesson from Ingrid Klimke. How do you choose?

Own a miniature horse or a donkey?

  • Gosh I love mini donkeys but for the sake of practicality and things I could do with it, I guess I’d pick a mini horse.

Shouldn’ta Done That

Alright, let’s see, what else has been going on around here besides that whole farm closing thing…

her eyes are closed more often than not, I swear

While most people are off work or on vacation, Dec/Jan is actually the busiest time of year for us with my job, particularly the last two weeks of December. Last Thursday was a 5:30am through 8pm kind of affair. Everyone’s trying to close out the last of their year’s invoicing and budgets, so it always puts us in a rush to get things out the door and completed. Nothing new there, we just kind of hunker down and power through.

I’ve still been able to ride most days though, thanks to working from home and having the horses in the backyard. Last week Hillary came out and rode Henry some before she left for her Christmas trip, so I set up a single barrel exercise, which they nailed. He’s pulling out all his party tricks for her.

I modified the exercise for Grace, making a little mini-gymastic with a skinnier fence but no single barrels. This mare definitely loves to jump and is really quite quick and clever with her footwork considering she’s such a stout horse. She’s different than I expected her to be, but I do quite like her a lot. I’m pretty sure she’s one of those that can and will do her best to jump from pretty much anywhere, no matter how she has to contort herself. The brakes aren’t always 100%, but she does love the job and you never doubt that she’s gonna find the other side.

she remains very unimpressed with me

Granted, I almost got yeeted right over her head that day because she “fancy footworked” her way right out of a bell boot, flinging it into the air on the other side of the pole coming out of the grid, causing it to land right beside her as she was cantering away. She thought it was a horse-eating pterodactyl and I had some chestnut mane for lunch. Near death experience for both of us.

didn’t die tho

Hillary also let me ride in her saddle while she’s away, just to see how I feel about it. I’ve been feeling increasingly discombobulated in my Devoucoux, like I’m constantly having to fight to keep my balance where I want it to be. See, it’s a 18.5, which when I bought it years ago I really needed an 18 but that was the only one I could find in my budget that had the panels Henry needed. It was close enough, and while it was always big, I never really felt like it was too big. Fast forward to now where I’ve lost a good bit of weight and gained a lot of muscle and the Dev is now definitely way too big. As in, I can fit two hands behind me when I’m sitting in the seat kind of big. Two sizes too big for sure. I find that I’m constantly trying to shift myself to the front of it, and it pulls me backward, shoots my leg out in front, and I just cannot get my balance right in it. I end up gripping with my legs to try to hold myself where I want to be, which as you can imagine doesn’t work in any regard.

Granted I wasn’t totally sure if it was the saddle or me… maybe both. Hillary’s is a 17.5 Voltaire, so when she offered to let me sit in it I jumped at the chance. I wanted to see what problems carried over from the Devoucoux and if a better fit for me really made much of a difference. And well… I maybe shouldn’ta done that because it made a huge difference, right off the bat.

The instability I’ve been struggling with for months, the gripping, the shifting, the leg getting shot out the front and always being tilted back on my seatbones… all massively improved. I can actually sit in the saddle securely and way more balanced, where I’m supposed to be on the horse. My leg lines up way better underneath me, so my whole base of support is more stable. I was hoping there would be some difference of course (please god let it not all be my own shit riding) but it’s a massive one. Not that I’m magically a super rider or anything, but at least I’m not constantly struggling with the same things over and over day in and day out. Of course now that I know this it’s to the point where I don’t even want to ride in the Devoucoux anymore, it just makes me sad and frustrated. But it’s the only saddle I have, and there’s no room in my budget right now to casually drop the few grand it would cost on a used saddle, so instead I just get to be depressed about it. Cool, cool. This is fine.

I swear there’s nothing more frustrating than knowing you have the wrong equipment. Wasn’t it Bill Steinkraus that said something like “Get your tack and equipment just right, then forget about it and concentrate on the horse”? Well shit.

The Cat’s Out of the Bag

If you follow WTW on social media then you got a little bit of a head start on this news.

I’ve been trying not to spill the beans on this for months (not until everything was signed and done and dusted and certain), but a lot of you already had a pretty good idea via context clues. WTW has officially purchased a second location!

I haven’t mentioned it but we’ve been throwing this idea around for years, really. The Texas location is great in that it’s where Michelle’s family is, she has nice big foaling stalls, all of her breeding equipment is there, etc. What it’s lacking is space and lots of nice grass for babies to grow up. Plus it’s not really the best location to sell foals from – there’s nothing else nearby to draw people to the area. A second farm on the east coast would be much more ideal for raising foals as well as the commercial aspect of the breeding business, so we’ve been poking around for quite a while now.

At first the search was kind of all over the east coast, but eventually we narrowed it down to Aiken or Ocala. It just makes more sense, with those being major hubs. People are through those areas often, there are a ton of horse shows and events locally that make it cheaper/easier to get young horses out and about, and the warmer weather is easier for us Texans to cope with. At the end of the day, though, Ocala just ticked a few more boxes than Aiken did. Originally we were thinking longer term, more like a few years from now, but with the explosion of the Ocala area since WEC opened (and now with the news that they’ve purchased OJC to turn into an eventing/polo facility as well), it was kind of a “now or never” thing as far getting a farm with enough land and not being priced out.

Bobby and I looked at couple places when we were in Ocala in April, and it was pretty much right after that that the search began in earnest. Michelle and her husband flew down over the summer to look at a bunch more, putting an offer in on one that was under contract already but accepting backups, but that one didn’t pan out. Option B was this place, a 58 acre farm that’s been a racehorse breeding/foaling/raising facility for the past few decades. They put in an offer, it was accepted, and so began all the red tape and BS that comes along with a big purchase like this.

Michelle and I flew out to see the farm in October before we went to Maryland, and that was my first time seeing it. We spent a few days walking around, taking in the layout, thinking through all the options for how it could work, and making lists. With 5 barns, tons of turnouts, round pens, two homes, and a eurocizer, it’s got some really great bones. It’s even got a breeding lab and two foaling stalls with viewing windows from the office, so it does have the capability for breeding/foaling to happen there in the future as well. There’s definitely some work required to get it cleaned up a bit, get some fences repaired, old equipment cleared out, things painted and restored to their former glory, some landscaping put in, road repair, etc. It’s perfectly functional as-is though, so a lot of those things can be done over time, which is the plan.

The idea is that the racehorse mare/foal boarding aspect of the business will stay, as those boarders want to stay on. The barn worker also wanted to stay on, so essentially no part of that will be changing, at least for a while. The facility is large enough to accommodate multiple things. The first “new” thing that’s happening is preparing it for it’s new seasonal trainer – Megan. Michelle and Megan have had a working relationship for a few years now, Megan has some WTW horses and Michelle plans to send her more, so… it makes sense for her to have a permanent place in Ocala that she can base out of in the winter. Getting the property ready for a riding operation to come in for a few months requires a little bit of scrambling at the moment, but it should work out. The first order of business is putting in a new all weather riding arena – something that also everyone else in Ocala is trying to do right now. The location of the farm is hard to beat though, we drove to some of the main facilities while we were there to get a feel of how far they were and what the drive was like – 10mins or less to OJC, Sweet Dixie, and Majestic Oaks, 18mins to WEC. It was blowing my mind just how close everything was. For someone who has to drive 2 hours each way just to get to the closest XC schooling venue I can’t even fathom having 5-10 options all within half an hour, much less all the different shows happening everywhere all the time.

Going forward once the foals are weaned at the original WTW location, they’ll be shipped out to WTW East to grow up in the big lush pastures of Ocala. Anyone interested in purchasing can view them there, and if desired they can continue to board the foal there until it’s riding age, something we hadn’t been able to offer before. As a business it gives us and our clients a lot more options. And the person in charge of giving them their early education and raising them to be good equine citizens? That’ll be me. I have a lot of stuff to wrap up here, tons of logistics to figure out that I haven’t even started on, and even more things to get in order, so the move won’t happening be right away. Most likely guess would be about 6ish months. We’ll just have to see how things shake out. The current barn worker onsite at WTW East is plenty capable of taking care of them in the meantime. Michelle will remain at the Texas location to do the breeding/mare care/foaling out.

About a million people have asked me about the t!ny h0use – will it stay or go. That I don’t know yet. The Ocala farm has a little house for me (well I claimed it immediately anyway, so… it’s mine now lol) so we will have to decide if we want to sell the tiny, keep it here and rent it out, or take it with us and turn it into a rental. A lot of yet-unknown factors weigh into that decision, obviously, so for now I’m not sure which it’ll be. The little house on the farm is also small, maybe 600 sq ft if I was guessing, which is the perfect size IMO. It has 2 bedrooms though, which would be nice for the SO to be able to have room for all his stuff. It’s also about 40 feet away from the small cinder block barn that I’ve claimed for my horses, and all of it is toward the middle of the property, away from the seasonal rental front barn and well back off the road.

So there ya go – beans officially spilled, cat finally out of bag. I think this mostly gets you caught up on everything that’s been happening behind the scenes over the past few months. Now there’s even more to do, we really haven’t even begun yet, but I’m pretty freaking excited to finally have sight of what’s next. This is the beginning of the next phase for WTW and for myself!

Foal Friday: Decorating for Christmas

How are we only a week away from Christmas already? I’m definitely not ready, but Michelle is a big Christmas fan (she’s one of those people that binges Hallmark movies, help me) so naturally she added some decorations to the barn. The babies were inside anyway since it was also farrier day, and they were quite interested in the decorating process. Or, in some cases, just posing with said decor when it was up. It made for some cute pics.

I swear Patrick poses like this on purpose
Maybe it’s genetic
But Pippa is pretty good at it too
These two are just a mess

And while eventually they weren’t very impressed with the decor…

Percy the llama

when it was first getting pulled out and hung up, they had a few opinions on all that stuff.

OMG DO Y’ALL SEE IT TOO??? – Percy
just be really still and maybe it’ll go away – Pippa
do I eat it or snort at it? – Patrick
Is it still there? – Percy, again.

Once the barn was decorated they got to try on their outfits for next week’s “formal” Christmas shoot. We figured we’d do one more themed Foal Friday post/photo shoot for them, especially since next week’s falls on Christmas Eve. Couldn’t resist the occasion! So out came some hats.

Patrick was offended
Percy just wanted to eat everything
And Teddy was… well… Teddy.

Merry-almost-Christmas-week from the WTW babies!

The Accidental Blue Bucket Experiment

You know how sometimes these random bits of horsey information just live in the back recesses of your brain until you actually see/do something that brings them to the forefront again? I’ve been having that experience over here this week.

I don’t even know where I originally heard or saw this, but I knew there had been some kind of study done about horses seeming to prefer drinking out of of blue buckets. Specifically light blue or turquoise.

I’m not crazy, it was a thing

Maybe I heard it on a podcast, maybe I’d seen someone post it on facebook… who knows. I had definitely heard about it, but it just kind of went in one ear and out the other since it was information that really didn’t pertain to me. I’ve never in my life owned a turquoise bucket, I always tend to buy ones that match my stuff, like navy, black, dark green, etc. I was skeptical that it was particularly true at all but reasoned that it probably just had something to do with how horses see color. I know that horses have dichromatic vision, so they mostly see blue and yellow with everything else in shades of gray or brown… mostly red is really indistinguishable for them.

6 Questions We Ask Ourselves About Our Horse's Sight | Equisense - Blog

I have an app that I like to use on XC at shows to see the jumps how the horses do – it’s always really interesting. What seems bright or crazy colored to us almost never looks like way to them.

Anyway, back to buckets.

When Grace got here and we got her stall ready, we originally pulled the two red buckets out of the stack of barn extras. Then we realized that one of the red buckets had a crack in it, so it got traded out for the next bucket, which happened to be turquoise. She had a red bucket and a turquoise bucket in her stall, and I didn’t think anything of it. Fast forward about a week and I started to notice that no matter where the turquoise bucket was (I dump and clean the buckets daily so sometimes it ended up returned to the corner spot and sometimes it ended up in the middle spot) she ALWAYS drank more of the turquoise bucket than the red one. Even when she came into her stall and went to get a drink, she would pass the red bucket and go straight for the turquoise one.

caught in the act

Once I noticed it I started moving the turquoise one around on purpose, and sure enough EVERY single night she would pretty much empty that one and barely touch the red one.

But, ya know… maybe it was just Grace? I figured a better test would be Henry. He had two purple buckets, and he ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS uses his corner one just for discarding his unwanted hay scraps into (he won’t drink it unless he’s absolutely desperate in the middle of summer and he’s already drained his other bucket). So I grabbed the second turquoise bucket out of the storage barn and put it in the corner position. I’ll be damned, y’all. I’ll be damned.

what is this sorcery

It’s been 3 nights now and he’s drank more from the turquoise corner bucket than he has from his previously preferred bucket every single night. I can’t even stress how bizarre that is, he just does not drink from the corner bucket ever.

I have to admit that I think there’s definitely something to this whole bucket color thing. I mean, I’m not sure that they’re drinking more overall than usual, but they definitely do seem to show a preference when it comes to which bucket they drink from if given a choice. Don’t mind me, just off to buy a bunch of ugly turquoise buckets…

Photo Dump/Catchup

I always keep photos in my phone so I remember to circle back or mention stuff in blog posts, and then sometimes that never actually happens. I have no way of even going back now and making it cohesive so we’re just gonna dump all this stuff from the past couple weeks into one post with some mini-updates and call it done.

First, all the Black Friday stuff has arrived. I don’t have full opinions on everything yet – I haven’t even used everything yet – but it’s all accounted for at least, even the overseas stuff. I’ve worn the sunshirts from Urban Stride, definitely a good buy. They’re a great weight and really cute. I love the sleeve detail.

don’t mind if I do

I’ve also worn the Pomme breeches, which I definitely like, but don’t quite love as much as my Quur. I don’t love anything as much as those right now. The Pomme have a nice higher rise, and I think they’re fairly flattering, but just a couple fit tweaks would make them better for me personally (more booty space, less knee space). They’re comfy though, and I’ll definitely wear them. I think the styling of them is really cute too.

I think my favorite detail is how the knee patch is little silver silicone letters of their brand name.

I also got the ROM breastplate which just came a couple days ago. The shape of it isn’t quite right to the horse’s anatomy, it’s a bit too square in the collar, but it still sat fine enough on Grace. We’ll see if maybe it improves a bit as it breaks in. Likely I’ll probably use this one at home and save my custom one for special occasions. I do like that the ROM comes with a girth strap and running attachment, so you can just put that on to use a running with it rather than having to use a different breastplate entirely.

Grace is getting good at Pivo modeling

The other big thing was Henry’s nebulizer, which I have yet to even take out of the packaging. This isn’t the time of year when he needs it, and my brain just cannot handle having to think too hard about this right now. We’ll play with it in a few months when the weather gets hot again and I (maybe) have more brain capacity.

Speaking of weather, Texas has been doing it’s usual Drunk December thing. For the most part it’s been warmer than usual (it’s been… really nice actually? which just makes me nervous, I don’t trust it…) but last weekend it went a bit off the rails for precisely 24 hours.

It’s the kind of forecast I think every horse person fears the most, going from 85 to 30 and then back to 80 in a short period of time. I soaked everyone’s dinner and added extra salt to make sure everyone stayed hydrated. Quinnie said I ruined her meals and thus her entire life and called me some rude names. Henry and Grace both seemed to like their mushy meals, slurping it all up and licking their bowls clean. We all escaped the weather swing in one piece, at least.

Well, ok, the human was cold. I think I’m still traumatized from the Snowpocalypse in February, I am NOT A FAN. I put on a lot of layers, including my ski pants, and my hands were still so cold they hurt. I might bitch a lot about the heat, but at least it doesn’t make my hands hurt. Cold is the worst.

everybody remember to bring your Texans inside when it’s under 50 degrees, we’re not ok

Other than that one day it’s been pretty warm and humid though, so… I guess I can’t complain too much yet. I’m glad I clipped the horses last week because they were both getting sweaty even just in turnout, and Henry especially had a ton of hair.

the final hair pile, with foot for scale

Grace was definitely the better behaved of the two, Henry is just so dramatic that he’s twitching before you even touch him with the clippers. Plus I was really having to play musical clipper blades because the 10W I got SUCKED, I forgot how bad the finish is on the Oster blades, so I was having to use the last bit of sharpness in all my old T-10’s. The current T-10 shortage is a real problem. I was able to use my new blade sharpening kit (remember that silly black friday purchase? It actually WORKED. It was a PITA, but it did work) to bring a couple of them back to life well enough to get both horses clipped.

now who wants to volunteer to come do manes?

I mean, did I make my hands bleed in two places while trying to sharpen the blades? Maybe. Minor details. It worked out in the end.

As for Presto, he’s been granted turnout access again, which he immediately seized the opportunity to be his naughty, trouble-making self.

Luckily he didn’t run around or anything, thank goodness, but he did free himself and a bunch of other horses so quietly that the people in the barn didn’t realize what was happening until he’d accrued his own little herd. Typical.

Gotcha x 8

Guess what I did 8 years ago today?

Indeed it’s Henry’s Gotcha Day, and I can’t even believe it’s already been EIGHT YEARS. On one hand, I don’t remember what life was like without Henry in it, but on the other hand it still feels like only yesterday when I was like “surprise, internet! Look at this random horse I bought off facebook after thinking about it for like an hour! No, of course I didn’t pre-purchase him! LOL”. I’m crazy, yes. These days it’s kind of normal to buy them sight unseen off of facebook though, isn’t it? Whatever, it’s fine. “To live greatly you have to risk greatly”… or something like that.

This year things are a little different in that Hillary has the ride on Henry for the winter. I thought I couldn’t possibly love that horse any more than I already did, but seeing him bop around with her over some bigger jumps and give her confidence over tougher questions is so friggin cute it feels like my little black heart might explode on a daily basis.

ITS SO CUTE I CANNOT

To know him is to love him, and while she was already a Henry fan before and has sat on him a few times in the past, riding him regularly and taking him XC schooling this past weekend really seemed to seal the deal. Now she comes rolling in here with her BEMER blanket and her arms full of bags of cookies and boxes of Oatmeal Creme Pies and he’s like “FINALLY someone who appreciates me properly!”. As if the world didn’t already revolve around him before. Please. That horse gets an obscene amount of cookies every day and my whole life revolves around making sure his needs (aka wants) are sufficiently met. Details, he says.

Hillary’s jumped Henry at home a few times now, and last week I went out and bumped some of the jumps up to Prelim height for her. Part of me was wondering what she’d do… would she rise to the challenge and attack it with the gusto I know she has in her? In true baller fashion she jumped them all without even bugging her eyes out at me once. So proud. And the reason I wanted to bump up the showjumps at home was in preparation for the Pine Hill trip over the weekend.

he always gives juuuust as much effort as required

It’s hard to fully explain to someone who hasn’t ridden him, but XC is Henry’s element. He’s a totally different horse out there than he is anywhere else. He’s very bold, he’s forward-thinking, he’ll take care of you, and he really wants to find the flags. All he really requires is that 1) you keep your shoulders back 2) you don’t shut down his gallop too much. If you can do those things, he’ll take you to anything with a smile on his face. And if you don’t do those things, he’s quick to let you know with some pinned ears and a wringing tail. EXCUSE ME HENNY NO LIKE.

I figured that if I could get them comfortable together over some height at home, it’d be more likely that Hillary would be comfortable pointing him at some of the Prelim questions. I mean, the entire point of her riding him this winter is to get more experience over bigger/harder/more technical questions, so… if we’re gonna do it, let’s do it. And boy did they.

Name one animal cuter than this one, I’ll wait.

They started over mostly some Training stuff, getting him solidly in front of her leg and getting her used to carrying more pace and riding him positively up to the jumps. They did some Training combos easy peasy, and as we went around the course and got more comfortable together, they started tackling some of the Prelim ones. Y’all, it was cute. So cute I have died a thousand times over since then from sheer cuteness.

Wheeeeee

She rode him really well, and you could totally watch things coming together through the combinations. If he needed to set his feet back down and add, she sat and supported and let him do it. She found the skinnies out of the combinations and rode up to them like she was hunting them down. She controlled her body up and down the terrain questions. By the end she was even willing to jump down the trio of banks, and Hillary hates down banks. I was sitting there feeling like I was watching something big clicking into place, and it was SO fun to have a front row seat. I don’t know who I’m prouder of, Hillary or Henry. Sharing is caring, but on a selfish level I get a lot of joy out of it too. I could watch Henry jump around XC all day long with hearts in my eyes, I just love him so much. Plus I’m very familiar with how fun XC Henry is, so seeing him put a smile on someone else’s face… I know that feeling exactly. Being able to give that to someone else is pretty awesome.

@breed.ride.event

Henry is the goodest boy, I love watching him take my friends around! #gobestfriend #equestrian #eventer #eventing #ottb #horsegirls #hearthorse

♬ TWINNEM – Remix – Coi Leray

I seem to find myself humbled by this horse’s kindness and generosity on a regular basis, and this is no exception. Henry has done so much for me, and seeing him happily give miles and confidence to a good friend like Hillary makes him even more priceless, if that was even possible. Being able to put someone on him and know for a fact that he’ll a) teach them something b) keep them safe… there’s a lot to be said for a horse like that. He is the most golden egg from the inside out, even when he’s making nasty faces at me in the barn for taking too long with his dinner or putting his blanket on in a way that doesn’t please him (he’s always got complaints about “the help” aka me). Never change, Your Highness, it’s your world and we’re just living in it.

Would he pass a vet check? No. Is he ever the fanciest horse in warmup? Definitely not. Is he a top tier athlete? Nope. Would anyone ever pick him out of a crowd? Doubtful. But he’s living breathing proof of why you shouldn’t overlook or undervalue these kinds of horses. Very few of us need a world-beater, but we all need one that’s kind and genuine and safe, and that’s exactly what Henry is, in spades. It took time and patience to build him, but the payoff is more than worth it. Henry is absolutely the goodest boy ever, and he’s got a home with me for life. Here’s to hopefully many more Gotcha Days.

Week Two

Grace has been here for two weeks now, and we’re starting to get into a groove. I’ve been able to keep riding her regularly despite the fact that she sprung a shoe two days after she got them put on and stepped on the clip in the process. Which, the farrier was convinced it would abscess so he wanted to wait to put the shoe back on, but I had flushed the spot immediately and kept it clean and wrapped in Animalintex, so it was fine and we didn’t have a problem. I ended up riding her in a boot for almost a week before he came and put the shoe back on, and she was ok with that too. She seems good about just kind of rolling along with whatever.

tired of me already

I jumped her for the first time last Wednesday… just a handful of jumps because she still had the boot on, but Hillary and I had planned a trip to Pine Hill to XC school on Saturday so I was like “uhhh, I should probably jump her before that”. She’s got a very lemme-at-em type of approach to jumping, you can tell she loves it and she gives you the feeling like she’d happily jump anything you pointed her at. It makes her pretty fun. Sometimes she’s a little less keen to listen to your input about striding, but really she’s quite straightforward and honest to jump. I can 100% see why she was such a good event horse for an amateur, it’s the kind of horse you feel like will always get you to the other side and enjoys the job.

apparently I was boring her

She’s also settled into the farm routine really well now. She’s quite a low drama horse (especially compared to a certain bay gelding we all know and love) and easy to deal with in the barn, aside from the fact that she refuses to poop out in her run like the other horses and poops exclusively in her stall.

She’s funny though, Grace snorts a lot, at a lot of things. Like… snort snort snort snort all the time. If you didn’t know her you’d think that a blow up was imminent, but despite all the snorting she’s only ever spooked maybe one time. She’s just snorty AF, that’s her way of saying “oh that’s interesting!”, which has become pretty entertaining to me. But we’ve already done farrier x 2, vet, trailering x 2, and body clipping, and she’s been extremely easy for everything. She snorts her way through all of it but she never even so much as flinches, just stands like a rock. It’s really amusing once you figure out that her snorts do not mean what normal horse snorts mean.

On Saturday when we headed out to Pine Hill a cold front had blown through overnight. The temp was actively dropping, the wind was howling… it was gross. But, ya know, Grace is Irish. Not phased one bit.

I didn’t do a whole lot with her at Pine Hill because she’s still just coming back into work and doesn’t have much fitness yet, so I didn’t want to make her sore. Plus I’d only jumped her once before, so it was kind of a learn-as-you-go type of thing. I could tell from the first little log I hopped over that I was indeed on a cross country horse and she was in Game On mode. We hopped over some of the stuff on the Novice course and she was very bold about all of it. A little bit looky about the bushes we had to canter past when we got back in the trees (to be fair, with the wind they were making all kinds of noise) but still jumped everything I pointed her at with no second thoughts.

showing me the dance of her people when we cantered into the cold, deep water

She’s also really gotten onboard with the amount of cookies that are doled out around here. I definitely give all the horses way too many, but whatever. They’re cute. She tried Henry’s Oatmeal Creme Pie cereal and liked it, so I of course had to try a real OCP. She was a fan. I think she likes the German Horse Muffins (or the Beet Treat version) the most, but so far she’s eaten everything I’ve offered. Not a surprise, she didn’t get this stout by accident.

first OCP

I’m enjoying having something different to ride and new things to work on, and having a chestnut around here has really grown on me. I’ve always been quite adamant that I’m a bay girl through and through, don’t really like chestnuts, definitely don’t want a gray or a pinto, yadda yadda yadda. I mean, part of the appeal of Mighty Magic is that he doesn’t have a red gene and therefore cannot produce a chestnut foal. Same with Diarado and a few of my other favorite stallions. Bay is my jam and always has been, it’s pretty and it’s easy. But… there’s something about the fiery red-orange that really grows on you. Especially the way it looks in the sun this time of year.

the fiery ring around her ears

Am I becoming a convert? I dunno about that, but I’m finding the red ones to be more and more appealing. Or at least I no longer have the automatic “wish it was brown” reaction to seeing a nicely put-together chestnut. I mean… I stopped dead in my tracks at this mare in one of the OTTB groups yesterday. If it was 6 months from now, this one would already be in a trailer on her way home to me, chestnut or not. I’d strongly consider sawing off my right arm, and I don’t say that very often. She looks like a TB version of Grace.

she’s a warhorse, too! GIMME.

Am I convert? I dunno. Grace is starting to convince me though…

Foal Friday: Scruffy Bebes

Remember a few months ago when the foals were all cute and shiny and fancy-looking? Not so much these days… they’re looking decidedly more scruffy in all of their winter coat baby horse glory.

They’re still pretty cute though, if you ask me. None of them have quite hit the yearling uglies stage yet where you have to hide them behind the barn and pretend like you don’t notice that none of their parts match. Right now they’re chunky and fluffy and squishably adorable.

Obi is look very au naturale
just me or does Teddy kinda look like a mustang at the moment?

Some of them have been weaned now, which was fairly uneventful. They’re pretty independent by this point and have gotten good at entertaining themselves. For the most part they’re just hanging out enjoying being baby horses and growing up.

“this looks like trouble, I’m in” – Teddy, definitely
Percy Smoosh

The two brothers and their antics are still one of the most entertaining aspects of the group. Obi and Patrick have only bonded more and more as they’ve gotten older, and are fairly inseparable at this point. They’re constantly antagonizing each other, chasing each other, biting each other, etc… all the things that colts do best.

I nom you, big bro
I SAID I NOM

They’re quite evenly-matched though, and seem to enjoy taking turns dishing it out. At least their winter coats seem to help prevent quite as many bite marks?

yeah you better run!

Wherever these boys go, they might just have to go together. I dunno if we can break up this comedic duo anytime soon.

“he’s behind me isn’t he?”
“halp!”

I know they’ve got a Christmas shoot coming up, and after that we might be nearing the end of the Foal Friday posts for the 2021 class. I’ve stretched it out longer than usual because they’re just so entertaining. After we wrap with this year’s foals I’m working on an update post for some of the previous years’ foals so we can take a look at what they’re up to now… stay tuned!