Ok so it’s Saturday… I lost track of days and forgot to post this yesterday. I swear I had it drafted, gimme a break…
While Quinlee is the only foal at WTW West this year, she’s certainly not suffered from a lack of companionship. She’s got her own little built-in family really, with a few moms and a couple sisters.
Most of the time though, she can be found in the Trio of Fillies, which consists of Quinlee, Pippa, and Teddy.
It’s an interesting dynamic. Quinlee obviously is the silliest one, being the youngest and full of that bouncing foal energy. Pippa is more of an old soul, so she’s the the older sister of the group… she participates in some of the shenanigans but she also knows where to draw the line.
Teddy is somewhere in between. She’s a yearling, so not as full of beans as Quinlee, but she is a pony after all, along with everything that entails (chaos, it entails chaos).
She’s the cool badass older sister that Q always wants to hang out with. Thus, it’s no surprise that Q sometimes attaches herself to Teddy like velcro. Literally.
And yes, Teddy might sometimes act as though Quinlee is her bratty annoying unwanted little sister, but for the most part they’re two peas in a pod. She’s found someone more in tune with her maturity level.
Well, at least until Q gets a liiiiittle overboard on the playing… then Teddy starts to wonder if she’s created a monster. The answer is yes.
First off I have to apologize in advance for being extra scarce around here this week. I’m on PTO and the SO just arrived from Texas at the end of last week with all of his stuff, so… my schedule this week is just a wee bit scattered.
I’m trying to even remember what went on last week that I should catch y’all up on. Thank goodness for my camera roll to remind me because my brain is just all over the place at the moment. I do know that the horses got new shoes, not just because of the pictures but also because the painful it to my wallet. Hard to forget that. Their feet are all looking and feeling good again though, so that’s what matters right? I’ll keep muttering that to myself every 5 weeks when I venmo an absurd amount of money to the very lovely farrier man who puts up with my horses and their bullshit. Note to past self: no, having 3 horses isn’t “basically the same” as having two. They’re lucky they’re cute.
We’ve also been cracking on with Presto’s new little program. Since our flat lessons had been going really well, it was time to start jumping, but I opted to start that venture with some training rides first. It’s kind of hard to explain to someone what Presto feels like to jump, so… I figured she could just play with it herself. He wants to kind of fling his head around and get crooked the last 4 or so strides, especially if you make any attempt at balancing him. He’s always done that, but it’s something I really do not like and would prefer to nip it in the bud now while we’ve got all the time in the world. It seems to largely stem from a lack of balance and him wanting to be a bit behind the leg. He’s come a long way with that on the flat so it’s a matter of carrying those concepts over to the jumps as well. He’s such a big horse, and really he only had about 6 months in a program last year, so… par for the course.
He did get some bodywork last week too, our favorite person was back in town for a few days so I hopped on that immediately. He had a few tight spots here and there but overall she was really pleased with how much better he looked and felt since the last time she saw him a couple months ago. He’s definitely filling out a lot and putting some muscle on.
Steph has been great with Presto though, she’s patient and positive and thinks his cheekiness is funny (I do too, luckily) but she’s got a good feel and also isn’t afraid to insist that he step it up. It also helps that she really likes him and thinks he’s a real deal horse, or could be eventually. It’s always nice to work with someone who genuinely likes your horse and believes in his ability and enjoys riding him. Sounds simple to say but we all know that certainly isn’t always the case with our horses and professionals. Especially in the moments with Presto where he wants to tell you that he knows everything and you’re stupid and therefore are ruining his life. Which he does at least a couple times every ride. I’m relatively convinced that five is the worst age when you’ve got a slightly cocky, over-confident type of horse.
He’s been really good though actually, especially about trailering over there and back. It’s a very short trip but sometimes he can be a little dramatic about stuff like that, and so far he’s been very easy to deal with loading myself, hauling down the road, unloading, tacking up, going to work, then loading back up and going home. It’s good for him I think. And to his credit, with the riding stuff he always tries hard once he realizes that he may in fact not quite know everything. What I particularly like about him is that he learns and retains things super quickly, from one ride to the next, so the progress is more evident. He’s just got feelings and opinions about it along the way. What else is new with literally any horse I own.
Speaking of, the other two are doing well also. The weather has been pretty nice so Henry is happy, and it’s still kind of blowing my mind how much better he feels living in a place with softer footing. Texas quite literally is a rock, and I knew that, but boy can you tell a massive difference with this horse in particular. He’s springier, he’s looser through his body, and he’s full of himself even more than he was before. I really love having him to ride since he’s such a contrast to the two young ones. I can get on him and know it’s going to be a good ride, and he’s always the same horse every time. Of course, riding him while also riding two very well balanced, naturally very athletic young ones just highlights the fact that Henry is the literal friggin King for taking me around Prelim despite his conformation and way of going. He’s still the one that can always put a smile on my face every day, even when he’s deliberately whipping me in the eyeball with his tail when I tack him up (ask Hillary, she can confirm that it’s very malicious).
I do think he wants Hillary to come back though, she did more fun jompies than I do. I swear I need to haul him over to XC school somewhere like once a month just so he can feel like he’s maintaining his Boss Bitch status.
Gemma is doing well too, I gave her a couple weeks off because she was feeling ever so slightly funky after some shoeing changes last cycle, but things appear to be back on track now. I rode her this morning and she was quite glad to be back doing something “fun” I think. She’s one that gets bored if she’s left to her own devices too much, she’d much rather come out every day and get some attention and have something to do. I’ll give her an easy week to ease back into things and make sure she’s feeling good before we return to a normal schedule.
HEY FREENS. Quinlee got something very exciting that she wants to show you.
Did you see it? HOW BOUT NOW?
I mean… it’s pretty hard to miss that halter. Which means it suits Quinlee perfectly, because she’s nothing if not very extra. Turquoise padding? Check. Patent? Check. BLING? CHECK!!! I think she loves it, there was a whole lot of celebrating when she got it.
She even tried her very best to show it off to all the other horses. She made a few laps around the perimeter so everyone in the neighboring fields could see. They were… not as impressed as she was hoping.
She even tried some Grade A high quality strutting, but still… no one was as enthusiastic about her new halter as she was.
So, well… she gave up on trying to impress those boring old basic horses. Hopefully her internet fans will appreciate the beauty of her latest acquisition a little bit more than they did.
If I thought Noodle was being good the week before last, he did a real “hold my beer” last week and was… even better?
In the last lesson we worked a lot on getting his hind end under him and getting him to unlock his neck and lumbar, especially in the canter. He gave it a good ol college try, and ya know… about half of the canter was pretty decent. It was as if he went home and used his day off to think about it though, because I got on him for the next ride and it was just… there. Instead of 50% of it being good, 90% of it was good. And throughout the week every ride we got a little more and a little more. He wasn’t bracing against my hand, or trying to root me out of the tack, or flopping onto his shoulder, or swinging his butt around to avoid using it. He just… cantered, like a broke and civilized animal. Well alright then, kiddo.
Steph and I had planned for him to have a training ride next, because I feel like it always helps a lot if whoever is giving me lessons has actually sat on the horse. They can feel what I feel, and play around with some things to help me figure stuff out. So on Saturday I hauled him over and Steph rode him.
Which, poor dude, it started raining like the second she got on, and got increasingly more torrential as she went. I thought Presto might have a bit of a meltdown but to his credit he didn’t, he stayed on task and they had a quick but productive ride. Steph immediately remarked that he already was going better than he had last week (I can execute homework, that’s one of my few talents). She played around with a few things to see what was most effective for him and was definitely able to feel even more than she had seen. Plus she really liked him, which of course it’s always nice when a professional thinks your horse has a lot of potential.
The next day I took him back over for a lesson, because I wanted to take advantage of the training ride still being very fresh in both Steph and Presto’s minds. And aside from the fact that he thought the poodles were going to kill him
He was yet again really good. We were there at midday so it was a bit hot and he’d been ridden 5 days in a row so with those two things combined he was definitely feeling a little tired. Still though, he showed up and he tried for me, and we were able to build even more on everything from the week before. His trot is definitely getting looser, he’s starting to step under more with his hind end, and his canter is like night and day… he can (and will) actually carry himself again.
He is a lot of work, don’t get me wrong. Timing is so crucial, he requires a lot of core strength, and even just changing something by a millimeter can make a massive difference in how he goes. I have to be a little quicker with my aids and not be hesitant to keep asking for a bit more and a bit more… he’ll step things up if you ask, but he’s not going to just volunteer it, and he’s got plenty more quality to give if we keep developing it the right way.
To be honest this lesson was probably the first time I’ve felt actually competent on this horse. He’s a whole new world from what I’m used to, and just a lot more in every way. We’ve still got a really long way to go and plenty of room for improvement for sure, but I love riding him because he challenges me to step it up and be better. He’s re-ignited some of the excitement in me about things. I find myself really looking forward to our lessons, and whatever else may be next. After a few years of not really being particularly “on fire” to go to a horse show, I’m eyeballing the schedule again with actual interest.
This week we’re going to start jump lessons… we’ll see how that goes. I want to have Steph jump him first to get her thoughts, and then we can go from there. Now that he’s feeling stronger though and we’re starting to get the canter wrangled, that’s definitely the next step. I’ve been hopping him over cavaletti and very small fences at home for a while now and he’s definitely gotten better about waiting, listening, and keeping his shape to the base, so… I think he’s ready to delve back into the jumping for real again now that we’ve got help.
He’s also starting to fill out a bit over his topline, finally. He looks more and more like a real horse every day! Well, aside from the fact that he’s always got hay in his forelock and a raging case of side eye… he’s still Presto, after all.
I have to admit, I’m starting to feel a little bad for my Texas friends. They seem to be on a bit of a hair trigger lately, probably because they’ve been sizzling on a triple-digit frying pan for like 2 months now and is basically never rains so everything is apocalyptic and the ground is gross and there’s no grass and their brains are just quite literally fried and the price of hay is insane. I’m over here like “here comes more rain, the grass is getting out of control, oh noooo” (please read with heavy sarcasm).
It makes me wonder – is this how everyone else in the world has been living this entire time? You mean to tell me it’s not god awful 9 months out of the year in other places? I mean sure it’s hot here during the day and yes I sweat profusely every morning when I ride, but I also sit outside at the end of the day and enjoy the 75 degree evenings. And the grass… there’s so much of it. It’s blowing my mind a little bit. I keep seeing everyone back in Texas posting their pics of dust bowl pastures and not being able to ride because it’s so damn unrelentingly hot and I feel… the opposite of whatever missing something is. Plenty of people love it there but I didn’t really realize just how much it was not for me until I left. I’m happier here for sure.
We’re out here having our best Florida summer. On days when it gets above 90 I bring them all inside under fans for the afternoon, and they come inside when it storms, but otherwise they’re outside a lot. Presto is looking a little bit sunbleached but he’s also filling out a lot and seems content with his life, so… he can be a little buckskin. That’s fine. He had a training ride and another lesson this weekend, but I actually got a lot of media from that so we’ll do it in a separate post. Otherwise we’ve just been chugging along working on things “brick by brick” style at home, and doing lots of hacking.
Aside from riding and taking care of the beasts, I’ve also been busy getting other stuff done too. We’ve officially got a washrack now, which is pretty exciting considering I’ve just been hosing my horses off on the driveway and neither Presto or Gemma is particularly great about standing still (that is a massive understatement in Presto’s case). I’m delighted to be able to crosstie his ass and hose him off with fewer dramatics. Hopefully now I will get less soaked in the process. We managed to do the washrack for next to nothing, since we already had base from another project and I reused the mats that were previously under a hay storage area. They’re older mats that are a little beat up and none of them are quite the same size, but they certainly do the job. Also, shoutout to the MVP item of the week that made it possible for that to be a one-person job.
I also had to run a bunch of errands on Friday so I tacked on some fun things at the end, making the trip into town to Aldi (god I love Aldi) and stopping to pick up a repaired halter (thanks Gemma) and my new custom sparkly whip from Tack Shack. It’s got real unicorn vibes and I love it, although now all I can think about is how I could build so many others with all kinds of fun options and I’m concerned that this could be a gateway drug situation. Someone help.
I’ve also been working as fast as I can in my spare time (lol) to crank out these July custom pedigree reports for Breed.Ride.Compete. They’re a lot of work but I’m having fun with them (gosh do I fall down some rabbit holes due to my own curiosity sometimes though) and really like getting feedback from people about them. With every one we finish I feel like the process gets nailed down a little bit more. I love helping people learn more about their horses and their ancestry, so I find it to be really rewarding. The next phase to roll out for BRC will be the breeding consultations, so I’ve also been thinking about how I want to structure that, the cost, etc. Hopefully that’ll be ready to go soon.
Otherwise things are just kind of slowly moving along, as they do. The SO sold our house in Austin (it was on the market for two whole days) – they closed last week and he’s supposed to be moving down later this week. Things might get a bit more hectic for a little while after that.
Until then, if anyone needs me, I’ll be out here scratching baby horse bums.
I think it’s safe to say that we have well-established the fact that Quinlee is cute, right? Like… she’s a little Glamour Shot machine, with all her posing and her gorgeous face and all that oozing charisma.
But, that said, she’s still a foal. And foals do some very strange things sometimes, especially when they’re still figuring out how to coordinate all those legs.
Not to mention the growth spurts, where your butt ends up in a different stratosphere than the rest of your body. Hard times, being a baby horse.
Turns out that even Quinlee, who is one of the most photogenic foals that has ever starred in the Foal Friday series, isn’t immune to the awkward shots. And this week… well… it was an awkward one.
Gotta admit though, even with all of her awkwards, she’s still a pretty qute little quesadilla. Hopefully next week she’s back to her usual photogenic self!
I will admit that in the days after I ordered my Arion, I was wondering if I was massively crazy. First and foremost because any saddle purchase is always a big one, and for me this was by far the biggest one I’ve ever made. It was my very first brand spankin new saddle. And while I had a good feeling about the company and the rep, the fact remained that Arion is newer compared to the stalwarts we’re all used to (Devoucoux, CWD, Voltaire, County, etc) and I rode in one for a grand total of like 15 minutes before I took the plunge. I was sweating maaaaaybe a little bit.
A lot of factors drew me to pick Arion. The price (a bit lower than comparable brands), how the saddle felt to ride in, the turnaround time (they quoted only 5 weeks compared to 14-18 from others), etc. I liked the rep I spoke to in Kentucky, and I thought it was a bit serendipitous that the Florida rep is actually a good friend of one of my good friends. I tend to have a deep-seated mistrust of a lot of saddle reps at this point due to various experiences over the years, so having someone that I liked and felt like I could trust was a big selling point as well. I decided to go with my gut, placed my order with Arion, and proceeded to wait.
Luckily I didn’t have to wait long. Only 4 weeks later, this beautiful hunk of buffalo showed up at the farm. Four weeks from order submission to arrival from France is pretty damn impressive for a custom saddle. Full disclosure, I did have some initial disappointment because I ordered it with blue on the cantle and obviously there is no blue. They did offer to make it right though, either with a new saddle or with an accessory of my choice. The rest of the saddle was perfect, so in the end I decided the blue wasn’t a dealbreaker and I opted to get a girth instead of a whole new saddle. Slightly sad it doesn’t have the blue on it, but… meh. I needed a new girth, so it’s fine. I did appreciate that they were immediately responsive, apologetic, and willing to fix it.
As for the important part – it felt great from the very first ride. The buffalo is GRIPPY (I hemmed and hawed about that upgrade but am 900% glad I did it), the balance is impeccable, and I feel very secure in it. Henry’s saddle is a Devoucoux Chiberta, and I had been riding in Hillary’s Voltaire Lexington, and in my opinion the Arion rides kind of in between both of those.
In the Devoucoux I felt secure, but also like I was always struggling a bit to keep my leg from getting too far out in front of me. In the Voltaire I liked it a lot for flatting because I felt very balanced, but when jumping I felt like it pitched me a little forward and made me want to pinch with my knee sometimes. I have neither of these issues in the Arion. I just am where I need to be, and there’s no struggling. I can move where I need to, but it wants to help me stay where I’m supposed to be. I honestly like it even more now that I’ve done more things in it. I hack in it, flat in it, jump in it, go XC in it, and from horse to horse the overall balance and ride remains really good. So far I have no complaints about that at all, I think it’s an exceptional saddle, particularly for cross country. Hillary made the mistake of riding in my saddle “just to see”, not expecting to like it as much as her Voltaire, but turns out that was a big whoops because now she wants an Arion too. It has that effect on people.
I opted for the pro panel since I needed it to fit two young horses that are still growing and changing. Luckily Presto and Gemma are similar in shape so I can get by with one saddle for both of them at the moment, and the pro panel is a pretty good fit. I did opt for the shoulder relief option in the panel and could tell an immediate difference with Gemma. As they both grow and develop I may end up having to re-panel it later, but for now it’s working out well. Happy backs and free shoulders.
Luca has already checked in with me twice to make sure I’m happy and everything is going well, and to ask for my feedback on the saddle. So far I’ve had nothing but good things to tell him. I do appreciate that their reps don’t just take your money and disappear. He even came by last week when he was in town to check up on us in person and make sure me and the horses are happy with the saddle. I get the feeling like if I did have a problem, they’d do whatever they could to fix it… which is important, because it’s certainly not the feeling I get (or the experience I’ve had) from other brands. Everyone I’ve talked to and dealt with has been great, and from what I have seen they seem dedicated to good customer service and happy riders.
A little bit about Arion in general, for those who haven’t seen much of this brand yet and have been asking me…
They’re a French-made saddle company, relatively new to the scene but have been around for enough years to have started making an impact. They have a lot of h/j riders in particular, and really started pushing more into the US eventing and dressage markets in the last year or so. What I think is of particular interest about this brand is that in addition to their full custom line, they also have a more affordable semi-custom line called the Atlas. Those are similar design, also made from buffalo, but start at only $3500. Super attractive price point for a French-made buffalo saddle (fun fact, Emily Hamel rides in the Atlas line), and could be a good option for a lot of people.
Arion has got all your standard options – close contact, xc, and dressage models, sizing and specs out the wahoo, customization, etc. I will also be 100% honest and say that on the most extremely superficial level, the fact that all their brand’s stuff is navy makes me very happy. I cannot even tell you how much I hate the green and yellow of Devoucoux or the the bright red of CWD or the brown and turquoise of Voltaire. Vomit. But my navy Arion saddle cover and saddle pad and shirt? I’m in.
I also know the Texas rep, so if anyone in Texas or Florida wants their info, drop me a message. So far I’m very pleased with my decision and my saddle! I’ll check back in after more time goes by, but at this point I have to say that if you’re looking for a new saddle, Arion is definitely a brand worth checking out.
We’ve officially got our second Ocala lesson in the books now! Yesterday I took Presto over to Steph’s for a dressage lesson – all of 5 minutes away, which has yet to stop blowing my mind. I don’t miss anything about Texas, including the amount of time I always had to spend hauling to literally anything.
Steph of course is willing to come to me like she did last time, but I wanted to take Presto on his own solo off-property adventure. He was a little stuck and herd bound and nappy on his last couple adventures with friends (better the second time, but still) so I wanted to load him up and take him somewhere alone. He actually was super good about it – loaded right up, stood tied to the trailer while I threw tack on him, and walked down to the arena with no real issues. He neighed a couple times and was a little wide-eyed at a few things, but that’s perfectly fine. This horse is really quite well-traveled for his age, he should be pretty good about this stuff by this point. I think he’s better alone than he is with friends.
He did make a few new horse friends as a group was finishing up their jump lesson before us, and after a stop to say hello to them we headed into the dressage arena. I thought he might have a bit of a tantrum when they all finished up and left, and Presto definitely did notice that he’d been abandoned, but I put him to work and he decided against any theatrics. He gave the hairy eyeball to the big arena sprinklers and the rubber mats by the entrance, but after a few serpentines to click him into work mode he decided none of it was really that interesting.
Soon Steph came out with her CeeCoach, we got everything hooked up, and away we went. Right away she said she was pleased with how much better he was starting out than the first time she saw him the week before. I spent that time in between really getting him thinking more forward again, responding quicker to the aids, trying to get him softening more through his ribcage, starting to step under more with the inside hind, etc. Now that he’s stopped getting so mad at me for wanting more contact and weight in the reins (that was a few weeks of some animated discussion) he’s becoming a lot more rideable.
He still isn’t totally convinced that he has to give me 100%, and sometimes I swear he spends more effort insisting that he doesn’t want to do something than he would if he just did it. That’s like… every 5 year old that has ever existed. He’s a naturally more uphill horse but he still finds it easier to plop his weight down into his shoulders and try to curl behind the vertical, rather than shift his weight back, hind end under, and bring his shoulder and poll up. We’re working on that. He’s BIG, work is hard, and he had like 7 months off so he’s still weak. Plus I’m still learning him, and he’s still learning me. It’ll take some time. It’s great to have some eyes on the ground again though, I do feel like we have made a lot of progress even just in the last week and I feel like we’re finally on the same page and the right track. Steph’s helped add some direction, and I’m able to work on those things in between lessons.
The more time I spend riding Presto, the more I really like him. He’s definitely different than my other two, but I think he’s really fun. Not always particularly easy (I feel like I’m in pretty good shape right now and my core/thighs were screaming by the end of the lesson) and he’s got an army of orangutans in his brain, but he’s smart, and he does have moments of WOW where you can feel how nice he’s going to be. They’re short and fleeting right now, but they’re in there. It makes him exciting, I think. He’s just my type of horse in pretty much every way. Which, uh… I guess that’s a good thing, considering the substantial amount of time and money I’ve got into him at this point.
After we were done I untacked, put him back in the trailer, and we were home again by lunch time. Granted he did scream the whole way home because he was convinced he’d fallen in love with one of the lesson ponies and didn’t understand why she couldn’t come with him. He’d forgotten about her by the time I unloaded him though, so I guess the orangutans reached the limit of their short term memory.
Also, MVP award to the exceptionally kind lady who sat through my entire lesson and took like 7 minutes worth of video clips for me even though she’d never met me before in her life. Patrons got the whole video with all of Steph’s commentary, but I pulled some GIF’s for here on the blog too.
All in all it was a great outing for him. I thought he handled everything better than I expected, we got some positive feedback, and some stuff to take home and work on until next time. It’s definitely nice to feel like we’re finally getting back in the swing of things, too. For the first time in a long time I find myself actually interested in looking at what shows are on the calendar, and starting to consider which horse might be able to do what. It’s been a few years since I felt any kind of motivation like that. Being here in Ocala where it’s possible to do so much more, and there are so many more options for things to do… that’s a big part of it.
Although Quinlee is the only foal this year, she hasn’t been lacking for company. Inca has been pretty tolerant of other horses interacting with her baby (ok, in all honesty I think Inca is like “you want her? take her!”) so Michelle has been able to put Inca and Q out in the field with the yearling fillies. Both Pippa and Teddy are still young enough to be nice to the baby, and close enough in size to not put her in any danger when they get to playing. The three of them have become pretty good friends, and now they’re the official Girl Squad.
They spend a lot of time together, these three, doing everything from shenanigans to gossiping to just contemplating baby horse life. Sometimes they stand around just looking like they’re having serious baby horse chats.
At least until the baby side of Q wins over and before you know it she’s gotten distracted and started gnawing on the fence.
And while Inca doesn’t do a lot of reprimanding or chaperoning, their field neighbors some of the other mares, and ya know who’s ALWAYS up for playing Fun Police?
And while Quinlee definitely loves her horse friends, she’s also really into her human friends too. Like… it can be hard to get pictures of her sometimes because she sees a human coming and makes a beeline for them.
Especially when said human brings a squad with them too, plus fun things to play with, eat, or drink. All of Q’s favorite things.
Which is why so many of her pictures end up coming out like this…
She was born a social butterfly and apparently that particular quality is here to stay. Especially now that she’s got her very own posse of fillies. Lord help whatever colts are born next year, can you imagine having a whole crew of big sisters like these?
The last couple weeks have been super busy. The day before Hillary drove down, my friend Megan (of Luxe EQ) got here and spent one night here at my place before moving over to her airbnb. She was in town for a week getting one of her mobile shops set up for the summer circuit at WEC (if you’ll be at WEC this summer go check out the store – it’s right next to FarmVet in the outside vendor area near Emma’s Patisserie), so it was good to have time to hang out with her and Hillary both at the same time. Megan left last week to go back to Michigan, and Hillary and I continued on doing all the things. As it fit in between my regular work hours, anyway.
We stocked up on stuff for the horses, got some projects done around the barn, ran a bunch of errands, and of course managed to fit some fun things in there too. I will assume that people are mostly interested in the fun things and skip straight to that. We stopped at Tack Shack to order me a new XC whip… Hillary had accidentally dropped mine at Pine Hill last winter and we realized it too late, so the property owner put it in Lost and Found for us. By the time we got back to Pine Hill to pick it up from Lost and Found, someone had stolen it. Bad bad bad karma on that person. Also, if anyone sees someone in Texas with a navy and gray jockey whip with a silver glitter stripe (it’s pretty ballsy to steal such a unique whip, honestly) that would be mine. Tell them to give it back, it’s seriously bad luck to use a stolen whip and I’m totally sending them bad juju through it. But I did get to go into the back room at Tack Shack, where all the magic happens, and pick out all the colors for a new one from their rack. That’s a fun experience. 10/10 would recommend. There are like 5 different types of glitter alone.
Like I mentioned yesterday, we also went XC schooling again, this time at Sweet Dixie. Hillary took Henry and he seemed very pleased with himself as usual.
She also took a lesson on him with Steph on Sunday when she came out, and Hillary said she had a pretty mind-blowing epiphany from it, so we’ll call that a success. Steph also agreed that Henry is Perfect, which always earns bonus points with me. He is the best creature that has ever existed, and if you can tell that about him then clearly you have good taste in horses.
Hillary did make the mistake of riding in my new Arion saddle (ok it was not a mistake, it was very deliberate) and now she wants one. I’ll talk more about the saddle next week though. It’s really interesting in comparison to Hillary’s Voltaire and my older Devoucoux.
We also took the kiddos on road hacks with Henry – Gemma one day and Presto another day. I take Henry out for road hacks all the time so he’s pretty trustworthy, but obviously I’ve been hesitant to take the young ones very far by themselves. Much better to wait until someone else is here with me and they can go with Henry. Gemma was quite solid, aside from getting upset when some dogs came charging through the woods barking. That’s fair enough. Presto was more skeptical. He is somehow managing to be the bravest and yet spookiest horse all at the same time. He’ll jump anything you point him at, wants to lead the group everywhere, is curious about everything, but then will have a random conniption about a mailbox or a sign or a pile of dirt. And he can go from zero to teleport in half a second with no warning. I find it kind of puzzling considering how much I hacked him out and trail rode him as a 3yo (and ponied him everywhere his whole life) and he was never like that at all. Not even a little. I will say that he’s gotten much better in the past few weeks, and I’ve changed some things up with him, so we’ll see how that keeps progressing. I may end up having him scoped just to cover all my bases… the Presto I know just is not spooky and never has been, so I suspect there’s a reason for it, whether it’s physical or not. He only does it when I ride him out, and not every time, so… who knows what’s going on in that little orangutan-filled brain of his.
We also hit the Saturday Night grand prix at WEC both weekends, and the timing was perfect since those were the two bigger FEI classes. I got to see some stallions jump, including Faustino de Tili (who WTW has 3 foals by now) and Chacco Blue II (who I am now perhaps deeply in love with, my god can that thing jump). My friend Stormy who I evented with in Texas just bought a farm here and she was able to meet up with us this past weekend for the GP, so it was good to see her again too. We had a full table of friends both weekends.
Considering that I was a complete hermit between the last time Hillary left in mid-May and last June when she came to visit, I think I definitely made up for it in the past couple weeks. I had more social interaction in the past two weeks than I’ve had in probably years. It’s good though, I need to meet people here and start getting myself out more and making connections. I’d say we certainly did that. Last night I was so tired I went to bed at 8 and slept all the way til 5:30 this morning. Introvert battery recharge.
Now everyone is gone and I’m alone again for a while, which means everything is my responsibility again and there are considerably fewer fun things happening.
BTW thanks again to everyone for the support with the BRC stuff, despite adding more available spots this time, we sold out of pedigree reports even faster this month – they were all gone less than an hour after I posted. If you missed out this time and want to sign up for email updates, go to our website, hit the contact button, and enter your email address. We will send out an email the day before listings reopen and let you know exactly what time it’ll go live! Patrons of course always get the option to buy before it opens to the public, but the email notifications will let you know what time the listing will be publicly available. We’ll do our best to get through this batch ASAP so we have an idea of when we can open for more!