Twirling Noodles

Gemma got her own post about how good she’s been, and it was deserved, but I figured I should also tell y’all what else has been going on around these parts.

When I bring Henry and Gemma in, this is how she prefers to walk

Since Hillary has been in town we’ve found plenty to do to fill my free time. You already saw that she rode Gemma at Majestic Oaks for XC schooling, but I also took Presto along that day too. I didn’t really want to XC school him, we’re still working on reinforcing some things on the flat and over small jumps, but any chance to get him off the property is one I’m happy to take. Especially since he hasn’t really been anywhere (aside from moving) since last fall and had all that extended time off… I thought he might be a bit of an orangutan.

And well, he kind of was. Mostly when Gemma left the group and he thought the love of his life was abandoning him forever. There were some legit dance moves and we had a couple of conversations about what is and what is not acceptable protest behavior. Twirling in circles = naughty noodle. To be fair though he hadn’t been ridden in a few days because his neck swelled up a bit after an IM injection, so he came into it already more fresh than I would have wanted. I did walk him up and down some banks and go through the water, and then at the end I cantered him over a couple little logs (I took him far away from the group to do this and he screamed the entire time, which honestly made him a little easier to ride… less oxygen making it to his brain maybe…). He didn’t get a gold star for his behavior the way Gemma did, but he wasn’t bad. I need to keep taking him places so he can get back in the groove of being a working citizen and everything will stop being so exciting.

On Saturday night we met some friends at WEC for the first big FEI GP of the season. It really doesn’t suck to be in a community where this is the thing to do on a Saturday night.

there isn’t a single bad seat in the house, even when you’re sitting up top at a table

On Sunday after we rode we went over to meet a friend at a farm where she was trying a sale horse. This place does a ton of sales and some breeding, and they were telling me the bloodlines of some of them. I’m always down for chats like that.

hunter stallion Maximus. He and Presto share a grandsire.

The other really exciting thing that happened – my saddle came! It only took 4 weeks from order placement to delivery from France… pretty impressive, especially considering all the supply chain issues and stuff. I know people waiting 3-4 months for saddles. I have never before in my life purchased a brand new saddle, so it was pretty fun to get to open that box.

Honestly I think the best part about it was greasing the new buffalo leather… it’s so satisfying.

I’ll write more of a review of it in a few weeks once I get to ride in it more. So far so good – I got a shoulder cutout in the panel and Gemma in particular really seems to like that.

Otherwise we’ve just been in major work mode getting the last of our July pedigree reports done for BRC (we beat our self-imposed deadline by a day, so I’m calling that a win) and I’ve been dealing with a whole lot of regular work stuff. FYI for the people that missed getting a pedigree report last time – we’ll be opening up July spots on the 5th, and there will be 8 available. If we get through those quickly we may open up more later in the month, but for now the plan is to offer 8 for July. The price will be going up, just based on the fact that we’re spending an average of 5-6 hours on these, and they’ve ended up being twice as many pages as we’d originally planned. I’ve been hesitant to post an entire sample report publicly because there are already people sniffing around that give me major “here to rip off your idea and execution” vibes, but I’ve been leaking a page here and there on Instagram to give people an idea of what type of info is included. Hopefully now that all of the first round of reports have been delivered we’ll start getting some reviews, too!

Gemma the Genius

I know Mondays are usually recap posts of what’s been going on the for the past week, but today we gotta take a minute to talk about Gemma.

Hillary and Gemma popping down into the water like nbd

Hillary came down last week and is spending a week or so with me while she’s here, and I also just so happened to have been invited XC schooling by a couple local friends. Of course, we were set to go schooling like the day after she made the overnight drive from Texas so poor Hillary was in zombie mode, but she’s a trooper. The day of the XC schooling ended up being one of the hottest mornings we’ve had so far, so it was a no-go for Henry. Instead we loaded up the two 5 year olds, and away we went over to Majestic Oaks. It was only 15 minutes. I’m still a bit mind-blown by how close everything is here.

Gemma is lightly traveled at this point as far as shows and schoolings go. She went to a couple in hand during her rest period just to hang out, but as of yet her only under saddle off property experience was that one little XC schooling she went to (which was also her first time jumping). Hillary and I have been building her up gradually over time and letting her build strength and get more educated to the sporthorse ways in general.

very elegant mare

Hillary got right on her at Majestic Oaks, we warmed up in one of the rings, and then headed out to the XC. We had no real plans or structure for this trip… if all she did was hack around I would have been perfectly pleased with that. Hillary has only ridden her a handful of times so there was absolutely no pressure on either of them. We headed over to the water first and Gemma walked right in no problem. Then she trotted through. It was so uneventful and she was being so quiet, I was like well lets see if we can find some little Starter stuff for her.

And that’s how Gemma basically ended up schooling the entire Starter course. She just hopped right over everything without so much as a second thought, even the little faux trakehner. She’s so brave, and she seems to like having new things to conquer. Then Hillary left the start box area and jumped the first half of the Starter course as if it were an actual XC run, and Gemma was friggin adorable. Very proud of herself but still 100% rideable. To cap it off she hopped down off the smaller bank into the water like she’s been doing it all her life. She’s really started to figure out the jumping in the past couple weeks – I’ve made a point to hop her over a few little cavaletti every ride, and that’s definitely helped her start to figure out the game. Hillary and I were both really pleased with her XC schooling… honestly she could go run a Starter right now and do really well, I think. I just want to take a little extra time to put her through some gymnastics and work more with showing her how to use her body and how to be quick with her feet and confident. We’re in zero hurry so I figure why not take the time upfront to cover all our bases… I think ultimately it’ll end up being faster that way.

that time last Tuesday when she ripped off a bell boot and a shoe literally 12 hours after the farrier had re-set her. Still haven’t found the damn shoe…

Gemma’s flatwork is really coming together too. I swear the more you ask of her, the more she delivers. Her leg yields and shoulder in are getting pretty good, and she’s starting to reach down to the bit and want to stretch her topline. It’s still just moments, and it’s not consistent, but she shows some lovely bits in there. She’s starting to get some really fun buttons and her topline is filling in slowly but surely. This week we’ve been playing a little bit with stretching and lengthening and it’s just kind of crazy how quickly she picks up on what you’re asking. She’s like a little sportscar.

it blows my mind a little bit that she’s had not even 3 months of post-track work

She got some new fans at Majestic Oaks, including one “now THAT’S the kind of mare that should be bred”, so that’s always fun. Such a good girl!

Bloghop: 20 (very random) questions

Thank goodness for Anxiety at A because I was definitely not prepared for a Battle Royale Review this week and this is a much quicker, easier, and more fun replacement. We haven’t had a blog hop like this circulating in quite a while it feels like. We’ll get back to the reviews next week when I’m more organized with things, but for now I thought there were some really good questions in this blog hop!

1: What is one of your favorite brands specifically for your horse, and why?

Majyk Equipe would be high up on the list, especially if we’re talking sheer volume and range of what I own from the brand. I’ve got their XC boots x 2, their sport boots x 3, their ice boots, their jump boots x 3, saddle pads, etc etc. I’ve had great luck with their products and they’re great people, so win-win. Next would probably be Premier Equine, but really just their merino wool saddle pads. I have 5 and it’s about time to order a new round of them, they’re by far my most used pad and they’ve held up so well.

2. If you were given a gift card for a tack shop with unlimited funds, what would you buy first?

I would normally say a saddle but since I just bought a new saddle (which is on it’s way here from France as we speak) I guess I’m not allowed to say that anymore. Or bridles, since I have like 12 (If I have unlimited funds though I’d prob need this one to make it an even 13, ya know?). I’d probably pick up a couple nice super fancy sheepskin girths for Gemma and then I’d march my dumb ass straight into Romitelli and buy like 3 more pairs of tall boots that I don’t need but definitely want. It’s a sickness.

3. What horse event/clinic do you really want to audit or participate in? (Events like Equine Affaire, or the LRK3DE, or even local events, etc)

I love spectating big events and I’ve been lucky to see some major ones, but the big ones left on my bucket list are Millstreet 4* in Ireland, Lion d’Angers 6 and 7yo World Championships in France, and Aachen in Germany. Someday!

Lion d’Angers is iconic

4. What is something your horse has taught you that you didn’t expect to learn?

That I have to stop worrying about what everyone else does or what we think we’re “supposed” to do, and pay more attention to what I actually want to do. Life is too short to live by someone else’s rules and ideas.

5. If you could take your horse anywhere, right now, to do anything, where would you go and what would you do?

Hunting in Ireland. But like their baby version, not the one with 7′ hedges and giant canals. Oooo or team chasing looks really fun.

6. What are your favorite colors to put on your horse? (think saddle pads, tack colors, browbands, etc.)

Navy. Navy navy navy. And black. Or Navy. Black and Navy. With black or navy glitter.

7. What is your least favorite equestrian brand?

Ooooo we out here throwin hands! Buuut… probably Tailored Sportsman. I refuse to give those people one hot cent of my money, they are astonishingly awful to both retailers and customers. Millbrook Leathers would rank high up there too due to some really not-great things they’ve posted on their social media. Oh what’s that awful pyramid scheme company run by felons that brews their injectable “joint supplement” without any FDA regulation… Summit! That’s it. Hard fucking pass absolutely the fuck not. KEP Helmets after that insane debacle a few years back with their falling-apart helmets and how they responded to it. I’m sure there are more that I’ve written off and completely forgotten about.

8. If you could change one thing about your discipline, what would it be?

Improve safety for horse and rider.

9. Did you grow up in an ag/equestrian familiar family, or are you the first person in your family to step foot in a barn?

Nope I’m from a family of muggles.

10. Do you like the bit that is in your horse’s mouth currently or do you want to try a new one?

My horses go in different bits (or different bitless setups) depending on a variety of things. Right now I’m happy with what each of them is in (Henry mostly goes in the bitless, Gemma is in a Myler comfort snaffle, Presto is in a HS WH Ultra Sensogan), but if I wasn’t I’d change it up.

11. If you could change one thing about your horse, what would it be?

I’d make Henry live forever, Presto not be a walking vet bill 24/7, and turn Gemma into an easy keeper.

12. What is one thing about horses you are weirdly obsessed with? (i.e wrapping techniques, footing, grooming, hair care, clippers, saddles, etc)

I’m sure I’m weirdly obsessed with lots of things by other people’s standards but I can’t think of one thing that ranks above most other things to me. I’d say I’m particular about… almost everything. I just have preferences after all this time.

13. What is the most advanced horse you have ever ridden, or what is the most advanced move for your discipline you have done?

I got to ride some really nice GP jumpers when I was a teenager, and I’ve sat on a couple upper level eventers (3* and 4*) and a GP dressage horse! Oh and a pretty nice cutting horse, which was really fun.

14. What is your favorite type of reins?

Rubber, but not too thick and not the cheap shitty ones that melt in the heat.

15. What are you a diva/stickler about in terms of equipment quality?

A lot of things. Mostly I hate really shitty leather, especially the stiff dry stuff that just never breaks in well or molds to horse or rider. Life is too short for shitty leather. I also don’t like things that aren’t designed well for the horse’s anatomy or comfort (like saddle pads with no wither cut, or badly placed seams, etc etc). I feel the same way about riding clothes with regards to fabric and fit.

16. What is your favorite barn hack you learned?

uh. I have no idea what I do that would even qualify as a barn hack… I feel like most of the “barn hack” posts I see are just full of DUH things. Like the one about how to kink a hose to stop the flow of water. You gotta be shittin me.

17. What is your least favorite piece of equipment and why?

If I see one more person put a curb chain on an elevator bit and then use it with one rein on the bottom of the gag, usually waterskiing on their horse’s mouth while running cross country, I swear to Jesus (and what a coincidence, 99.99999 times out of 100 the person with that setup also has really bad hands and gaping holes in their flatwork).

18. If your horse was a character from a Disney movie, who would they be?

I admittedly have not watched a Disney movie in forever but based on what I can remember of them off the top of my head Gemma = Princess Merida, Henry and Presto… I don’t think this is a Disney movie but it’s animated so I’m saying it counts – Henry is Shrek and Presto is the Donkey.

19. If you could change one thing about the property you are at right now with your horses, what would it be?

Mostly I’d just fast forward 5 years to when all the projects will be complete. This place is STUNNING and has such great bones, it was just a bit neglected and run down, so it’ll take time to get it back to it’s former glory and then mold it into what we’re eventually envisioning for the facility. One of the first big things is pasture maintenance! Gotta get rid of the weeds and get the grass lush again.

20. What is the purchase that you regret in the horse world?

The air vest that I bought when I first started eventing because that trainer at the time said it was essential, so I listened to her and bought one before I started researching things for myself and asking my own questions. Never did wear that thing, finally sold it a few years ago.


This month marked the official launch of the next phase of Breed.Ride.Compete. and perhaps the part that I was most excited to roll out – the custom pedigree reports. In my head it sounded like a really cool idea, but of course I am a breeding nerd so I always think stuff like that sounds really cool. I had absolutely no clue how it would be received by the public in general though, or if anyone would actually even buy one. I also wasn’t 100% sure just how long they would take me… I wanted to get a handful done first and see how they went.

When we opened the listing for sales, we set the quantity at 5 and I figured we’d give it a couple weeks and see how they went. It was pretty shocking to me to sell out in about an hour. Shocking but in a good way, because you have no idea how delighted I am to see how interested people are in this stuff. The whole point behind starting BRC in the first place was to make breeding info more accessible and help raise public interest/help increase knowledge.


The level of interest was a complete surprise to me for sure, but it’s also invigorating. If people are excited about this, I want to make sure that what they’re getting is something worth the excitement. Plus if I’m going to dedicate my time and energy to it and put my brand name on it, I want it to be something that I’m really proud of and pleased with. Not boring, not half-assed, not decent, but I literally want every document to be THE BEST I can do.

Which is how something that was originally conceptualized as being fairly simple in design and maybe 3-5 pages long has ended up being… um, not that. I dunno who’s surprised to hear that, but I’m sure not. I spent a relatively embarrassing amount of time tweaking the template, playing with layout and colors and the flow of the document, and what I wanted on each page. Charts, infographics… you name it, it’s probably in there. Once I popped I couldn’t stop. And do you know how many times I changed the navy by like the tiniest shade? Yeah no I’m not gonna tell you, you’ll have me committed. Did I completely miss Foal Friday last week because I was so focused on that? Indeed I did. Didn’t even realize it until Sunday. I’ll make it up to you this week, I promise.

But once I got the template in place (I mean, as much in place as it can be, every report will be a bit different depending on where the research takes me) I was finally off and running. The first two reports are now complete and have been delivered, and I’m currently working on the third. And so far, I’m actually enjoying myself. This is the fun nerd shit that I LOVE, following endless rabbit trails into oblivion, and it’s extra fun when I stumble across a juicy little tidbit of info that I know the owner will be excited about. On the other hand, I’ve also prooooobably underestimated how much time I’m really going to end up spending on these. I’m going to have to rethink the price point a bit, lest I end up not even paying myself minimum wage (which is how it’s trending at the moment). I’m certainly not trying to get rich by doing these, but also it’s a lot of effort and at the end of the day I have to make it at least somewhat worth my time in order to justify it at all.

Once I finish the rest of this first batch I’ll have a better idea of just how long they’re taking on average but I do know that so far they’ve ended up being 7-9 pages rather than 3-5. Technically I could scale it back but then it’s not as thorough as I want it to be, and if it’s not thorough why even bother?

We’ll open up spots for more reports in July but again in a limited number (the last thing I want to do is overpromise and underdeliver) and probably will end up having to raise the price a little bit. On one hand I don’t want to do that at all, because I want people excited about breeding and I want people to have this information. But I also have to be careful how much of myself I’m giving away. Honestly not a bad problem to have though, since in my head I thought we’d be lucky to sell 5 in the first month at all, so… I’ll take it! It’s been really fun to bring the idea to life.

But Will There Be Tacos

The truly gross heat finally made it to Florida last week and now I’m officially willing to say that it’s hot. Still doesn’t have that “searing the insides of your lungs” quality that Texas has, but by the time I’m done riding in the morning I am well and truly soaked with sweat, usually dripping a trail behind me wherever I go.

Because of that, we’ve made some adjustments to our routine.

good soup

I’ve started riding earlier, and then feeding after I ride. This means I’m on the first horse by 6:30 and they get fed around 9. I go out at 5:50ish, throw them a flake of alfalfa, come back in and eat breakfast and change, and then go back out to grab the first horse. They’re still getting used to this, and seem slightly offended to be the last horses on the farm to get fed. Presto in particular was PISSED AS HELL the first day.

look at that shoulder reach tho

He had a tantrum of fairly epic proportions that day. It’s hard being 5. I told him he should write a letter to the ASPCA, maybe they’d come save him from this clearly abusive situation.

I’ve also upped their salt intake and started soaking some pellets to go in their meals. Presto and Gemma are excellent sweaters, which is great, but they also do sweat A LOT in the humidity, so I want to make sure they’re staying hydrated. Henry of course is not a great sweater, so as soon as it gets above 90 degrees he has to come inside, get hosed off, and stand in front of his fans eating hay all afternoon like the absolutely rotten princess that he is. And since he has to come in, they all have to come in, so they’re all rotten princesses by default. Afternoon shower with a buffet and nap time in front of a fan. These other half-feral 24/7 pasture dwellers around here wouldn’t even know what to do with that.

He desreves all of his royal treatment

I’ve also backed off on the intensity of their rides a bit. I’m still riding them as often, but I’m careful not to get them too hot. Gemma and Presto cope with it pretty well, but I’m definitely quite careful with Henry. On the days that I ride him, I always ride him first, and I keep the actual “work” parts of his rides short and sweet.

We’ve also taken the opportunity to do a lot of hacking. Gemma and Presto have both had an excursion in the “snackamore” now, and they were both very good. Gemma loves to explore, and we’ve been checking out the big empty front pasture and it’s little mini-swamp. I’m determined to find a gator but so far no luck. Since Henry is a more trustworthy and very road-broke horse, I’ve been walking him farther and farther down the roads in each direction, exploring the neighborhood. He thinks that’s pretty fun.

just a bebe TB (with lots of Swat)

This past weekend was the first Saturday night GP of the summer season, so I met up with a local friend at WEC for tacos and showjumping. That’s my version of a fantastic social outing. Granted, my friend suggested the showjumping, I suggested the tacos… I have priorities, ok? I got there at 6:30, made a beeline for the taco place, and by 7 I was settling into my seat with a lap full of food. I wasn’t sure how packed it would be since it was the first one of the summer (on one hand, it’s been a few months since the last Saturday night GP, on the other hand, the first week or two of this series isn’t as highly attended) but there were plenty of seats. We got front and center right by the triple combination and I was definitely living my best life. The tacos alone were enough to make me happy. WEC does a pretty darn decent food game, I gotta be honest, pretty much everything I’ve had from the various restaurants there has been good. The taco place is my favorite though.

cute little irish horse
The sunset was insane

Yesterday afternoon we finally got some rain, which helped cool things down tremendously. Once that storm passed it dropped the temperature 20 blessed degrees. It was glorious. I’d brought the horses in during the storm, and when I went to turn them back out they were all WILD AF. Even Henry was doing dolphin laps in his paddock.

they’re all 3 waiting for the cue to explode

Today is a little cooler, which is nice, because it’s farrier day. Off to meet him now. Hope everyone else had a great weekend and isn’t melting too badly, wherever you are!

Review Battle Royale: Schooling Breeches Edition

Wooo boy, everyone’s favorite thing! Well ok, it’s a love/hate relationship really, isn’t it? Breeches are fun and we love collecting them in all the colors, but also finding just the right fabric, fit, and features for you can be… annoying AF. Like how many pairs of breeches do you own that are aaallllmost perfect, but not quite? I don’t think I have yet to even find exactly the PERFECT pair. Especially because most people’s bodies and weight fluctuate, which affects fit, plus if you’re anything like me you go through phases of what you like to wear, PLUS the changing seasons… I’m not sure the ONE perfect pair of breeches exists. Not to mention the fact that we all have different preferences, shapes, sizes, climates, etc. Luckily there are A LOT of options on the market, and it’s more and more possible to find something to suit just about anyone and any scenario. The bad part is, there are A LOT of options on the market. It can be overwhelming.

I’ve always got an eye out for ones that I might like to try, so I figured… let’s go through my current collection and talk about them, what I like and don’t like, and then do the impossible task of trying to pick a favorite. It’s a Battle Royale, we gotta be ruthless like that. I’m not touching the tights for this one, I don’t feel like that’s quite an apples to apples comparison for me, so, this is just the breeches and just the ones that are in my schooling collection, not the show breeches. I have some that are definitely not your typical Ariat, Dover, TS, Smartpak, Romfh, or whatever else is popular these days so maybe there are some hidden gems in here for someone. I’ve talked about some of them before, but not all of them, and my opinion has probably morphed a bit based on others, so… let’s just do a reboot.

Harcour Jaltika

These are a newer addition to the fleet, my “splurge” item from Kentucky. I had zero intention of buying this and felt a lot of guilt about it for a couple days afterward, but that all evaporated pretty quickly once I rode in them a couple times. These are just… chef’s kiss. The fabric is stretchy and comfortable, thin enough to not be too hot, but also not so thin that they show every ass dimple. The green color is PERFECT (almost no one gets green right, I swear) and I quite like the silver glitter trim. Every single time I post pics with these someone asks me what they are. I love them. The downside is that they’re expensive… regular retail is $290, but creative googling can find them for less sometimes. I have to say though, I think they’re worth it. I love them. They’re European sizing, so add 10 to your normal US size (I’m a 28 US/38 Euro).

Quur Cardie

I have two pairs of these and really like them. They’re definitely an Equiline dupe, but honestly I like them more. The fabric is way better and I think the fit is more suitable for a fuller-figured (read: has thigh meat) person. The price point is also significantly better at $130 USD regular price. The bad news is that you can only buy these from Epplejeck, which is in the Netherlands. The good news is, they have sales ALL THE TIME and their shipping is reasonable. I have two complaints about these: 1) I wish they came in knee patch. Luckily the full seat is not very grippy so I’m fine with it, but I still prefer knee patch in general. 2) I wish they came in more/better colors without the contrasting trim. It makes it hard for my brain to put acceptable outfits together with the rose gold trim on my navy and burgundy ones. They do say that these run small – I wear a 40. For how much they cost, they’re really nice pants.

Espoir Inspire

the seaming of the back makes them fit SO well and it’s super flattering

Despite the fact that I got an Espoir show coat last fall at Maryland (I’m seeing a trend with 5*’s causing me to buy shit) these breeches really weren’t on my radar at all until recently. I know the US distributor for the brand, and when Hillary and I were getting ready to do our white breeches vlog for Patreon she offered to send us a pair of the whites to borrow for that. When I got them out of the package I thought I would hate them, so imagine my extreme surprise when they turned out to be my favorite (and a favorite of the group of us involved in the try-ons in general). They’re just… so neat. The stock photos do them no justice whatsoever. The design and cut is nothing I’ve seen on another breech, it makes them extremely flattering and comfortable. The fabric is stretchy but still has structure to it. I LOVE the glitter piping details and the cell phone pocket on the side. My only complaint is that I think the waistband could be a touch wider. Still though, I liked the whites enough to get these in navy and black and I wear them A LOT. I do find the sizing to be a little off on the site though… these are Italian sizing, and in my experience a US 28 is an I-42 or I-44 depending on the brand. They say that their I-40 is a US 28, but… that’s not how they fit for me. I got my normal Italian size of I-42 and they’re perfect.

Free Ride Lux

These could technically probably go in the leggings category too, but they do have a zipper and buttons so they call them a breech. I think of them as a bit of a hybrid – they have the styling and features of breeches but the fabric (and pockets) of tights. There’s a lot I like about these. They’re lightweight, super stretchy fabric, comfortable to wear, the mesh sock bottom is super breathable, I love having a cell phone pocket on each side, and they’re flattering. For true summer weather the fabric is hard to beat. There are a couple things I don’t like, though. Mainly having to do with the waist. I feel like they come up too high in the front, like they should be cut lower there. Once you’re sitting in the saddle the front rides up, and to me where it sits is annoying and makes an unflattering silhouette in the front. The waist also has a thin band of a elastic inside of it to help keep them up and I find that to be a little annoying too. These are still probably my favorite legging type breech that I’ve come across though, and at $90 the price is right. I have a Medium in these, but could probably size down to a Small… maybe that would help my annoyance with the rise (but not the annoyance with the elastic).

Horze Aubrey

I’ve talked about these before, and they’re still a staple in my collection. I don’t wear them as much as some of the others, but I do like them. The rise is a little higher than I prefer but the fabric and fit are good and they’re light enough for summer. To their credit, they’re holding up to my abuse well. I still don’t like the ridiculously long pockets but for a lower budget breech these are pretty solid. I think they have discontinued these, which Horze loves to do with literally anything I like, and yes I’m salty about it. As with most breeches in these brand, they run big – I wear a 26.

HKM Sunshine

I just bought these off someone secondhand last week, but I’ve worn them a couple times so I wanted to at least include them since they’re so cheap. For the price, they’re pretty decent. The fabric is lightweight (is it the most flattering? No.) and they’re cut for people that have some curve to them, especially larger hips/thighs. They do run small IMO, unless the ones I got were shrunken somehow… the size 30 fits me pretty well, I think a 28 would be like sausage casing. They do stretch out when you wear them though, so there’s that. Are they in the same realm as my Harcour or Espoir? No. Do they wash as nicely as my others? No. Are they totally acceptable for a budget breech? I think so, yeah. Not bad, HKM. They won’t be a favorite but I’m not mad about them.

Montar Megan

If you want stretchy, these are your jam. I like the fabric, although I wish it did have just a taaaad more structure. To be fair, the ones I have are a size too big now, so that’s probably not helping my feelings. I also think, like the Horze, that the rise is a little higher than I prefer, but they are advertised as high rise and I have learned I prefer a mid. They’re nice breeches, and in the solid middle of the road price range. They come in lots of colors too, which is always a plus. IMO they do run a bit long, for whatever that’s worth. I’ve liked them enough to keep them (which is saying a lot in and of itself because I’m annoyingly picky) but again they aren’t my go-to. If they were a size smaller and a mid-rise this might be a different conversation.

Gah this is hard. It’s taken me days of back and forth bickering with myself.

Espoir Inspire

In the end, it’s the pocket that gave the Espoirs that final nudge. I have become absolutely addicted to having that cell phone pocket when I’m riding, and it’s why I wear my Espoir breeches the most. The Harcour are an extremely close (like… by a HAIR) second. I think I like the fabric of the Harcour more (and the color… oh man the color is divine) but the styling and design of the Espoir is really genius. Naturally they’re both the most expensive members of my collection, because my ass has champagne taste. We’ve known this for a while.

Head of Security

I was admittedly a little worried about how Mina would handle moving halfway across the country.

I was worried; she is not

She is a super submissive dog who really likes a set routine, expectations, and she gets a lot of comfort in knowing who her people are, where her people are, and knowing her environment. She doesn’t like getting in the car, she’s anxious in new places, and she can be skeptical of people and things she doesn’t know. She’s a great dog, but I think having been dumped at the shelter twice has left some lingering trauma on her psyche.

Luckily she made that transition from shelter dog to barn dog much better than I had originally anticipated – you never really know with those city raised dogs how they’re going to take to all that. She listens pretty well though, has great recall, and isn’t the type to wander off. I think she really liked the idea of having a big space that was hers – hers to rule, hers to protect, etc. She knew that Texas farm from corner to corner, she patrolled it, and she thrived in that role and routine. So uprooting her from there, when she really hadn’t been settled in for very long (hard to remember I only got her last summer!) was a concern. I didn’t know how she’d take yet another drastic life change, a new farm, different people, etc.

clearing the hacking route of any rogue squirrels or cranes

Really though, she’s handled it exceptionally well. I think because she’d settled into her farm dog role so well there, she seamlessly adopted the exact same role here. It took her a few days to relax and realize this was her new space, then she was like “aye aye captain” and took her job and ran with it. Well ok, her perception of her job. Really she doesn’t have a job at all, but she takes the farm dog thing very seriously.

Mostly I think she sees herself as head of security. She figured out the farm boundaries very quickly, and the people who are allowed to come and go here regularly. Perimeter control: check. Personnel authorization: check. She herds the squirrels and the birds from the places she thinks they shouldn’t be. If anyone shows up that she feels shouldn’t be there (aka someone that isn’t here on a daily basis) she is front and center to find out what their reason is for coming onto her farm. One day I’m pretty sure she scared the living daylights out of the UPS guy because he dared to just BACK HIS TRUCK up to the barn without first acknowledging her existence and authority. She ran up to him barking like she isn’t actually the most submissive dog on the planet.

very busy securing this toy

When I’m riding she parks herself either at the entrance to the arena or in the parking area at the front of the barn and every few minutes she’ll get up and walk a lap to patrol. She keeps an eye on me and an eye on everything else that’s going on. If I go out on the road to hack she sits up at the barn parking area and waits for me to come back, which… is really nice. One of my biggest concerns about this farm is that it has regular 4 board fence, no no-climb, so she could easily just leave the property whenever she wants. She did that once, in the first few days we were here, but once she figured out the boundaries she has yet to step foot outside them again.

at her new vet’s office (the UF clinic at WEC) yesterday getting her new patient exam and some flea meds

It’s a little bit cute how seriously she takes her role and how convinced she is that this is HER farm and she’s here to protect it. Well ok it wasn’t cute the first couple days the barn manager’s kid was out of school and he came down to help mow… Mina was like INTRUDER ALERT, STRANGER DANGER, I DO NOT KNOW YOU, YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED. Poor kid. She would definitely never bite someone (I think she’d rather die) but she does put on a very convincing show of barking until she decides someone is allowed to pass.

I’ve joked about finding a little Security badge for her to go on her collar so she looks more official. I mean, no one tell her that these squirrels are toying with her and she misses half the deliveries because she’s dead-ass asleep on the couch half the time. Those are minor details. Mostly I’m just happy that she’s happy and settled in here so well… it’s been a definite relief.

Teeth n’ Sheath n’ Crack n’ Juice

It’s been busy times around these parts over the past week! Mostly with the horses getting everything they could possibly need and my bank account getting more anemic by the day. So ya know… life as usual.

the pasture bale next to a 3-string bale

Rather than me driving to the feed store every couple weeks to get the $40 3-string bales of Orchard, we decided to hop on a load and get a big, more economical pasture bale delivered. I don’t know what I had pictured a pasture bale to look like in my head, but my god this thing is massive. I come from the land where it’s either a 2-string, a 3-string, or a round bale. Watching them unload this massive square bale was kinda fun. Almost as much fun as cutting it open and watching the giant flakes melt off of it. So far it’s worked out just fine to tear chunks from it to feed, and it’s a shitton of hay so we’ll see how long it lasts. If nothing else it’s saved me from having to haul and unload the 100lb bales by myself, so I like it for that reason alone.

Wednesday was dental day for all the horses.

I used Dr. Bess Darrow (she was just on the Equestrian Voices podcast and was REALLY interesting, especially her input on tack, if you want to give that a listen) who came highly recommended by my local friends, and she did not disappoint. First of all, her rig is amazing. It’s a trailer that’s been reconfigured to have everything she needs, and it’s legit the smartest thing I’ve ever seen. The horses get their sedation at the bottom of the ramp, load up as it’s setting in, get their teeth done, and then unload off a ramp in the front. There’s a fan in there and all of her equipment is right where she needs it, no setup required. Brilliant. Makes things quick and easy. I was a little worried about how the horses would feel about getting in the trailer by themselves and all that, but the timing with the sedation is pretty perfect, and all of them had no problem.

Dr. Bess was also one of those people that I could tell right away was my kind of people. She was super nice but also no bullshit, and you could tell she really loves the horses and is passionate about what she does. Also found out she only lives a couple miles away! She was really great, and definitely glad to add her to my team. Overall the horses got good reports…

Henry loves the afternoon rains here

We started with Henry, who is generally the “troublesome” one when it comes to teeth. He’s got a decent overjet, history of broken teeth, and has had a few different procedures over the years. She thought generally his mouth looked pretty good… we’ll have to watch one of his molars (the one that had a filling a couple years ago) but otherwise there was nothing out of the ordinary. He had a few sharp points and some ramps, got those taken care of, got his weiner cleaned up while he was drunk, and he got a Gold Star from Dr. Bess. She loved him, as all medical professionals seem to do.

The only notable thing is that in the middle of his exam she said “wow he has so much extra tissue under his tongue, you don’t see that a lot in thoroughbreds”. She pulled up this massive handful of extra skin from under his tongue and showed it to me. I started asking questions, because in all the years I’ve owned this horse and all the good dentists that have looked in his mouth, no one has ever told me about that. She said that sometimes horses that have that (which is usually warmbloods) can find bits uncomfortable because that extra skin can move around and get stuck in between the bit and teeth or the bit and the gums. It was like a massive moment of clarity, I looked her dead in the eye and was like “I ride him in a hackamore, I’ve never been able to make him 100% happy in a bit”. She said “thank you for listening to him, that’s probably why he doesn’t like bits”. Omg. OMG. Finally, some kind of possible explanation for why this horse is SO different in a bit vs bitless. This led us down a road of conversation about bitless and competition and all that stuff (she’s very pro-allowing horses to go bitless) and yeah… we have very similar opinions on all that.

Next up was Presto, who apparently is a very cheap drunk. She said he has a pretty nice mouth structure-wise, and again had nothing particularly out of the ordinary, just some sharp points (and also a very clean ween).

Presto got a big ol’ LIGHTWEIGHT note at the top of his chart because he was drunk as a skunk from a regular dose of sedation

Last but not least was Gemma, who got the comment “lovely mouth!”… it’s apparently very correct. She had a variety of sharp points and ramps, and the points way up in the very back were causing some small ulcerations in her mouth. We got that all taken care of and then she was good to go. Well behaved kiddos all around, and nothing major, so… good dental day!

The next day was Dr. Redman, for chiropractic and acupuncture. I really wanted him to come out for Presto, who seems to do best with regular chiropractic, but I figured I’d go ahead and have him look at Gemma too while he was here. I have no pictures from his visit because the whole time we were with Presto I was trying to keep him from knocking the poor guy off the bale (Presto seems to think that’s the game), and the whole time we were with Gemma I was trying to convince her that he was not in fact trying to rip her legs clean off her body (slight drama queen).

Presto, as usual, was a bit of a mess. Dr. Redman did a lot of adjustments from the neck to the SI, which Presto seemed to like. After that we did acupuncture, or more specifically aquapuncture, where he injected teeny amounts of B-12 into the acupuncture points. Presto was not so into that. Gemma was highly skeptical of the Dr in general (STRANGER DANGER) but overall cooperative. He said she was very easy to adjust, particularly in her neck… “really nice neck joints, fluid and very easy to adjust”… how’s that for a unique compliment? I was worried that we might have to scrape her off the ceiling if we did aquapuncture but we decided to just try it and see. I’ll be damned if she didn’t seem to quite enjoy that part of it. Go figure. Anyway, he said Gemma actually felt quite good and didn’t think she’d need to be done again anytime soon. Presto on the other hand is on a 4-week schedule for… probably forever. His little roach back just makes this kind of stuff more necessary for him, particularly right now when he’s been off work for so long and is so weak. I could immediately see a difference in Presto’s back after his session though. I really liked Dr. Redman – another good professional added to the team. That’s the great thing about being in this area.

The horses got a little break after that stuff, but otherwise we’ve just kind of been chugging right along. Dr. Redman recommended pretty much the same exercises for Presto that I was already doing, plus a couple more, so Presto basically lives in a maze of poles and cavaletti these days. The good news is that he’s actually trotting over them now rather than just jumping clear over them all. So. That’s an improvement.

All of the kiddos are feeling great, knock on wood, and I’m happy with the progress we’re making with building up our team. I mean, I still have to find a trainer… details… but at least the horses are feeling good!

Foal Friday: Mommy and Me

While Quinlee definitely got some of that beefcake booty from her dad, there’s no doubt that she still looks a whole lot like her dam, Inca. Especially in the face.

Quinlee is pretty independent overall (which was originally much to Inca’s annoyance, but she gave up a long time ago) generally preferring to insert herself right in the middle of the herd, although every once in a while she does like to hang out with her mom. Coincidence that those times happen mostly when the human is outside with a camera? Probably not. We all know Quinlee’s affinity for having her photo taken. And the pics she deigns to take with her mother? They can be pretty cute.

Ok, sometimes.

“MOOOOM, I’m doing my best alien abduction pose for all my fans and you’re BLOCKING THE SHOT”
Inca says “omg this little brat, SOMEONE COME GET YOUR KID, IT’S KICKING ME… oh shit it’s my kid…”

Inca, bless her heart. Every single day she’s wondering who signed her up for this motherhood thing. She loves her kid and all, but… she also seems like she’s really looking forward to weaning time and getting some alone time back.

They do eventually get their ish together sometimes though and manage to sync up for some cute Mommy and Me pics. Mostly at speed, since that’s one thing they can both agree on: zoomies rule.


Oh wait, hang on… quick snack break.

Ok, good to go again.

Admittedly they aren’t always the best at coordinating their flattering moments…

one noble, one derp

But sometimes they do manage to get it exactly right.

ditch-jumping twinsies

Happy Friday, everyone!