There is something wrong with me

How many of you read that title and were like “there’s more than ONE something wrong with you” or “let’s see which thing it is this time”? Uh huh, I thought so. Rude.

ANYWAY, in this particular scenario I’m referring to the fact that I have once again fallen down a slippery slope of internet browsing for pretty things. This time it was show shirts. In my defense I really haven’t shown much in the past few years and haven’t had a reason to accumulate any show shirts. Not that that’s really stopped me from uh, picking up one or two here and there (I may or may not have a sparkly navy one and a black Samshield one with glitter and an ivory lace one). Now that we aren’t too far away (hopefully) from getting the kiddos out to some horse shows, I had a look through all my show clothes to assess the situation. It’s… interesting.

I’ve got a couple pairs of white breeches that sort of fit. I’m good on show coats. The boot situation is fire. Helmets are also solid. Do I have some show shirts? Yes. Are they all a bit off-beat? Yes. I have no white shirts, nothing subtle, definitely nothing even remotely classic or conservative. I like my off-beat options, for sure, but also if there’s a chance that I might go careening across the dressage court on a wild baby horse, maaaaaybe I should dial back the outfit a bit? I should probably have at least one white shirt in my closet.

So off I scampered over to Riding Warehouse to see what they’ve got. And then, ya know, one thing led to another and I ended up with an obscene amount of shirts on my Wish List.

Thus now I’m making it Everyone’s Problem and y’all get to help me pick. Or weigh in if you have any of these. Or buy a few for yourself and we can compare notes. YOLO.

Naturally I was immediately drawn to all the navy ones, because we all know that I have a navy problem.

Hi, you’re my type.

Hey girl, so you are you.

Wait NO! No no no… the task at hand is a white shirt. A WHITE SHIRT. A SEMI-NORMAL, BUDGET-FRIENDLY, REGULAR WHITE SHIRT. Come on self, let’s focus.

Pikeur Kennya

This is probably the definition of basic for me – plain white. It does have the mesh top and arms though, which I really like, and Pikeur usually has nice fabrics. Is it too boring for me though?

Shockemohle Clea

This one is a little less boring, with it’s little metal beads around the collar. Still nothing wild but a little more interesting at least.

Horze Kaitlin

I really like the silver flowers on the shoulders, it makes it less boring. Plus the fabric looks meshy, which I like. Does the zipper make it too casual though? It also comes in navy and a light purpley-pink color that got me very distracted and wanting those for just regular everyday riding shirts. I mean, the price is right… (send help).

Ovation Elegance

This one would look very classic with a coat over it, but I always like anything with a lace sleeve.

LeMieux Amelie

Ok I like that this one has rhinestone buttons and the little polka-dotted mesh part at the top. It’s still interesting but classic enough since it’s white… right?

LeMieux Olivia

Moving on to long sleeve options, I loooove the laser-cut details on this one. It’s my jam for sure. Of course, with a coat on you wouldn’t see any of that. Gah I love it though.

Horze Sianna

Ok the ONLY thing that’s appealing to me personally about a ruffle is that it gives a little bit of a stock tie look. I like the lace on this one too, and the pearly snaps. I just feel like I might look ridiculous (George Washington, anyone?) in a ruffle, even if I like how it looks on other people.

Thoughts? Assistance?

Birthday week extravaganza

My birthday was last Friday, and per usual, I managed to stretch it out into several days worth of fun things. Sometimes all you need is a good excuse.

I kicked it off on Friday in the best way possible – behind my favorite set of ears. I flatted Henry a bit, popped him through some cavaletti, and then took him out for a gallop down the side of our road. His fans will be happy to hear that he is a cheeky little shit, dolphined aaaaaallll the way down the front fence line, and was extremely pleased with his efforts when he was done. I keep thinking I need to take him out one of these mornings for a fun little XC school somewhere to REALLY inflate his ego, but can the farm even handle Henry when he’s that full of himself? Guess we need to find out. For science.

Poor Presto, he tries so hard to make Henry love him and Henry is just zero percent interested

After that I loaded Presto up and took him down to Steph’s for another jump school training ride. He’s been getting better and better these last few times, and he was really good this time too. Except for his first time down to the line of bounces to the oxer where he was too busy looking off at her mom pulling weeds in the dressage arena/the pony hacking and didn’t even bother to actually look at the oxer, which was a good foot taller than it had been the last time he jumped it. He jumped it as if it was the same little oxer as last time, thus ended up swimming through that thing pretty spectacularly and sent poles flying. Luckily he somehow managed to stay on his feet. He seemed extremely embarrassed about his gaff for the entire rest of the ride because he majorly dialed back on his Presto-ness, listened, and paid much more attention to what he was doing. So ya know, I guess all you have to do to improve his rideability and attention span is go through a jump. Dingo.

Much improved baby horse after his whoopsy

My birthday present from the SO was the light blue Laguso coat I’ve been lusting after for months. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve even tried it on by this point, I just love it so much. And I can’t even really tell you WHY – its not like light blue is one of my colors or anything, but it just looks so good with white breeches and I think it’ll look especially pretty on Gemma. Gold star to the SO for this one, although I was about as obvious with this birthday present suggestion as humanly possible. The first time I took him to WEC I went directly into that store and tried it on and showed it to him and made sure he knew the name of the store and exactly what coat it was and what size I wore. Subtlety… it’s an art form.

Hey, it worked didn’t it?

On Saturday morning we took Gemma and Henry for a road hack – the SO’s first foray outside of the farm. He passed his basic proficiency “test” of tack up, mount/dismount, go, stop, steer, and make it the entire ride without grabbing the saddle or saddle pad – those were my requirements before he could road hack. Gemma got selected to go with him because Presto is a Troublemaker on hacks and ain’t none of us need to die. I’ll only take him out with other people who are experienced, because he tends to uh… manufacture problems. Gemma though, she’s a super good girl out there. No issues with traffic or cows or any of that, and she’d rather die than cause problems for no reason. She gets nervous about lots of barking dogs or galloping horses, but at least with her I know she isn’t going to try to murder me purely because she thrives on chaos (like, uh, someone else we know).

She would never, she’s too cute for murder.

This was only her second time going out on my “northern” route, up toward the rehab facility down the road. She was super good though, and led for a good bit of the way there. Once we turned around to come back, Henry’s pace magically tripled (amazing how that works) and she really had to powerwalk to keep up.

On Saturday night we headed to WEC for dinner and the Grand Prix, since it was the last one of the summer circuit. It was pretty well attended, all the best seats were full, and there were like 55 entries in the class. I dunno about y’all but my attention span does not last for leadline, a drag, then 55 rounds, 2 more drag breaks, and a jump off. I made it about halfway through the class by the time I was ready to go home and go to bed. Old lady problems. It was fun though… sitting at WEC on a nice summer evening eating tacos and watching horses jump is never a hardship in any way shape or form.

To round it all off, yesterday we went to Universal Studios in Orlando so I could finally see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I’ve always wanted to go, and now that I live 1.5 hours away there’s literally no excuse not to. Well ok, it’s not exactly a cheap day, there’s that. Worth it though, at least once. It was really neat to see everything and go in the shops and have a butterbeer (tried both the cold and the frozen) and ride the Hogwart’s Express and just basically be a complete nerd for a day. My favorite part of the whole thing was for sure Knockturn Alley and Borgin & Burkes. LOVED IT.

One big bummer though – I was kind of excited to get a wand, but they were totally out of Snape’s. Like, every single store in the park was sold out of Snape AND Sirius Black, both my first and second choice. So alas, no wand for me. I settled for a sweatshirt and journal from Borgin & Burke’s instead, and some candy from Honeyduke’s. Plus we had fish and chips for lunch, then some ice cream in the afternoon (had to try a scoop of the Sticky Toffee Pudding and a scoop of the Strawberry Peanut Butter, of course). By then it was all getting a little bit too “peopley” for me and I was ready to go, but still… really fun to see it all. I would go back (when they have Snape wands, anyway).

Now it’s back to the grind, working on pedigree reports and socal media packages! Hope everyone else is having a good week.

Gemma’s First Lesson

While I’ve definitely been putting a bit more time and focus into Presto (because he is A Lot), Gemma’s still been here in the background doing her thing too.

Not gonna lie – as a “horse in training” she’s easier than Presto. I don’t have to be quite as diligent about how often I ride her or keep her schedule quite as regimented. She can skip a few days or have a light week or whatever and still be pretty much the same horse every time. She’s got a bit of Hermoine Granger in her, this one. She’s smart and she gives it her all, both of which make her a good student.

Now that we’ve gotten more of a handle on Presto and he’s coasting along well, I decided it was time to start taking Gemma for some lessons too. Steph has ridden her once, so she has a good idea of what Gemma is like, and I felt like we were already starting off a bit ahead of the game.

I decided for this first lesson on Gemma that I should go ahead and haul her over to Steph’s. Mainly because Gemma has yet to go off property by herself, and it’s only a 5 minute trailer ride down the road. Perfect little first solo voyage. I also opted to keep it to just a flat lesson, so that if Gemma was worried or tense she’d be doing something “easy”. Trying to set her up for success and all that.

cutest little red mare alert

To Gemma’s immense credit, she loaded right up in the trailer by herself with just me, no problem. I put up the ramp, clipped her in, shut the escape door, and off we went. She was a little sweaty when we got there (it was like 2pm and pretty warm out, so that’s fair) and a little wide-eyed coming off the trailer, but she didn’t do anything stupid. I got her tacked up, swung a leg over, and walked out to the arena.

She definitely grew a hand or two on the walk over, but she kept a lid on it. We walked around for a while, letting her take in the sights and getting her bending and moving off my leg while we waited for the lesson before us to be done. We went in the dressage arena as that horse was leaving, and I guessed that she might get a little upset at “being left to die alone” (as Presto calls it). She did, but she expressed her opinion with just a couple neighs and some jigging, so not a big deal. I put her to work trotting and doing some serpentines and leg yields to get her brain engaged.

She was definitely a little ball of tension to start and it took a few minutes for me to get her to bend around my leg and go to the rail. The letters with the flowers on top were a bit sketchy, she said. She never spooked though, and the more I asked of her the more she started to settle in. We started the lesson and got to work on suppling her body, moving her shoulders, and getting her to reach down into the contact a bit more. Overall she was really quite good. There’s so much desire to please in that mare, if you make it easy for her to understand I’m pretty sure she’d turn herself inside out for you, no questions asked. It’s a nice quality, but one I also try to be mindful of and careful with.

ok baby mare, I see you

We worked for about 35 minutes at the walk, trot, and canter, before I could feel her quarter starting to run out. The tension in the beginning sapped some of her strength and stamina I think, and about midway through all the canter work she was ready to be done. We finished on a good note, let her stretch a bit, and called it a day with that. Other than the undercurrent of tension, she wasn’t that much different than the horse I have at home.

She got nice little hose down back at the barn then I loaded her back up (again very easily) and back home we went. I think it was the perfect first little Big Girl trip for her. This week I’m going to take her back over and we’ll play around with some jumps. Gemma’s been stringing together a few little courses at home but it’s hard to build on things with the green ones when you don’t have a ground person. She’s ready to start doing more though, I think!

Foal Friday: The Waterpark

It should come as no surprise that it’s still hot hot hot out in Texas at WTW West (for the sake of protecting the sanity of all my Texan friends, I’ll refrain from saying that the high here today in Florida is 89). Luckily, though, every WTW animal is nothing if not extremely spoiled rotten, therefore Michelle has been making sure that they get some relief from the heat.

“what do you mean, get out of the horse’s puddle?”
About to be removed by Pippa

They get sprinklers, and sometimes Michelle fills a few little puddles for them to splash and roll in. You’ll never guess who likes the sprinklers.

Baby Q, how shocking.

Quinlee and her BFF Teddy love to buzz back and forth through the sprinklers, chasing each other or chasing the spray of the sprinkler itself. They also seem to really enjoy a game of chicken, seeing how close they can circle by the sprinkler before it “gets” them and then acting offended when it inevitably does. Look, I don’t make the filly rules.

When they aren’t splashing in the puddles or running through the sprinklers, they make a game out of jumping back and forth over the drainage ditch. Teddy thinks this is very legit and impressive.

WHEEE

Q is… somewhat less impressed.

plop

No matter what they’re up to though – have no fear, they’re managing the summer just fine. Not exactly a tough life for these horses, it’s fair to say.

“Huh, I could have sworn she was taller than me a minute ago…”

Next I think they need a horse size kiddie pool…

Happy Foal Friday!

Career Ch-ch-ch-changes

Continuing with my apparent 2022 theme of Major Life Changes, on Monday I quit my job.

pro: more time to do fun stuff like this!

It wasn’t something I had planned. I’d worked there for almost 18 years, but recently they’d made some changes that I just couldn’t stomach, and treated me in ways that I just will not accept. Obviously I’m not gonna go into the very lengthy and boring nitty gritty details publicly (the Patreon facebook group knows the whole story but I don’t want to put it on blast to the entire world) but short version: managerial changes over the past few years made it unrecognizable compared to the company that existed when I started. The way I was treated the past couple months would never have happened 5 years ago, and the direction they’re headed just… isn’t for me. It was quickly getting toxic.

Alas, while quitting wasn’t something I wanted to do, at some point I realized that no one else was going to look out for me except for me, and I had to put myself first. Life is too short to feel like your soul is dying a little bit more every day, and I care about myself too much to put up with being constantly disrespected. Having to walk away from a career you’ve dedicated your entire adult life to, though… it’s a big step, and it’s scary, no matter the circumstances.

Once I actually ripped the band-aid off, I’ve mostly just felt a sense of relief. First the first time in months, I feel like I can breathe. I slept better last night than I have in a long time. I feel lighter and in a better mood already. Between that and literally all of my former co-workers (including my manager) saying “you did the right thing, I’m proud of you”, I feel like I definitely DID make the right choice, even if it was a hard one. I will miss the friends I made there, but I know we’ll keep in touch. I hated leaving some of them behind, especially knowing that my absence would make their jobs harder, but ultimately I had to do what was best for me. Everyone I care about was very supportive and understanding of that.

I have nothing else lined up yet. I’m going to take some time to focus on Breed.Ride.Compete. and I’ll be taking on a few more social media clients as well. Mostly I’m going to see what kind of opportunities present themselves. When I took that job in my early 20’s I sure never intended to dedicate my life to the corporate 9-5, so in a way this feels a lot like freedom, and a chance to find something that I find more fulfilling. I do live in Ocala now, after all… we’ll see what happens! If you hear of anything that you think might suit me, feel free to send it my way.

It’s In The Blood: 2022 WEG Showjumping

WEG showjumping starts tomorrow! As mentioned yesterday, I made a very extensive, in-depth spreadsheet for BRC (which is available here if you’re interested in the full shebang), but y’all know I love going through the data and pulling out juicy little tidbits. This time is no different. Granted, in the past we’ve only done the eventers, but we figured we’d branch out to the showjumpers this time too, since we’ve had a few requests for it. (I will admit though, we haven’t sold enough of the SJ spreadsheet yet to justify doing the showjumpers again, so… we’ll see how it shakes out. If you know someone who might be interested, please pass it along!) If you’re more interested in the eventers, we’ll be doing a big spreadsheet for them next month when it’s their turn. For now… to the SJ!

🐴 The most-represented direct sire is Chacco Blue, the sire of 6 entries, followed by Toulon with 5 entries, and Nabab de Reve with 3 entries.

🐴 The average blood percentage of all the horses in the field is 42%, with the highest being Django II at 77% and the lowest being Callisto des Bieffes at 18%.

Django II (Lordano x Brilliant Invader xx)

🐴 Django II is also the only entrant from a full Thoroughbred mare. His dam Flower Power xx showjumped to 1.60m herself and has produced three 1.60m horses and a 1.70m horse. Her sire, Brilliant Invader xx, sired six 1.60m showjumpers and three 5* eventers (including Olympic Gold Medalist and double gold WEG Champion Reddy Teddy).

🐴 Several stallions also show up in the damsire position multiple times, with the most appearances belonging to Nabab de Reve as the damsire of 4 entrants, For Pleasure the damsire of 3 entrants, Calvaro Z the damsire of 3 entrants, and Calido the damsire of 3 entrants.

Nabab de Reve

🐴 32% of the entrants in the field have a dam that competed in sport herself. This level of sport ranges from mid-level dressage to 1.60m showjumping.

🐴 Seven different mare families are represented twice among the entrants, including: Hanover Stamms 687 and 2191509; Holsteiner Stamms 1020, 671, and 741; Selle Francais 139; and BWP Merrielijn 2, Fokfamilie 8.

🐴 Five entrants come from a TB mare family and two entrants come from a French AngloArab mare family.

🐴 One horse’s sire competed to Grand Prix level dressage and another’s sire competed to PSG level dressage.

Wieland, sire of Jerico (Poland)

🐴 One entrant competed to 3* level eventing before switching to showjumping, and two entrant’s dams have also produced an offspring competing at 4*L level eventing.

🐴 73% of the entrants have a sire that showjumped to 1.60m level or higher.

🐴 Three breeders produced more than one entrant in the field: Getstut Lewitz/Paul Schockemohle bred 12, Eric Polfliet bred 2, and Witt Pferdezucht bred 2.

Who are y’all rooting for in the showjumping?

Not Dead, I Swear

Well last week was… something. Good news is, the covid has passed and I’ve officially tested negative. Aside from having an extremely sore throat (I couldn’t talk for like 3 days, much to everyone’s delight but mine) and being tired, it wasn’t too terrible. There’s a little bit of a lingering cough here and there, but I haven’t noticed any impact to my lung capacity or anything – I still feel the same amount of riding fit, and like I’m getting enough oxygen. Fingers crossed the random sporadic coughing resolves itself soon and then we can forget about all that mess.

I actually had every intention of popping up a Foal Friday post at least, and when I sat down at my computer to go through the pictures I realized it was Saturday. Whoops. I seriously lost track of days. So uh… my bad. I’ll make it up to you this week, I promise.

it’s always fun doing breeding reports with sires you’ve been following for years

I did take some of that forced downtime to work on some BRC stuff though, cranking out a few more custom pedigree reports (it still surprises me how much I really enjoy doing these, and I just love people’s reactions to them) and making a spreadsheet of all the WEG showjumpers. I pulled even more data this time, including whether or not the mare competed in sport herself and if so to what level, the mare family the horse is from, we made another page of facts, interesting tidbits, etc. Oh, and we gave a lot more sorting options so that hopefully it’s a lot easier to view and look through however anyone wants. We tried to make something that would be cool and useful both for breeders or for people that just want to follow along with the WEG horses at home and have all the info. My eyeballs may or may not have been bleeding after all 124 horses worth of data but… hopefully it’s useful to someone. But if anyone is interested it’s up in our Etsy store now.

there is… SO MUCH DATA…

Otherwise most of the fun stuff from last week happened over the weekend. Tack Shack was having a Clearance sale with 50% off of everything in their already-marked-down Clearance room. Had to go check that out. They actually had a bunch of the Cavallo summer shirts that I really love, but none in my size sadly. And plenty of breeches, but… I don’t need any. I did grab a smaller halter for Gemma and a tech material t-shirt for a grand total of $30. Not shabby.

Presto also had another training ride yesterday. We’d been doing a couple a week but obviously that got derailed last week until I was solidly testing negative, but he picked right back up where he left off. She had some grids and footwork stuff set up, which is perfect for him, and he was actually quite good for it. I’m going to try to take Gemma over for a lesson sometime early this week… it’s time to start getting her off the property by herself, and a 5min trailer ride down the street for a lesson seems like a good start. She’s been great at home so I’ll be interested to see how she handles things when she’s got to go out on her own.

Noodle bounces

Henry remains the real MVP, proving more and more every day why he’s the king. SO decided he wants to go on road hacks, and I said that before he can do that he has to demonstrate to me that he has at least the basic proficiency at riding. Which means, ya know… he can steer and stop and isn’t going to fall off at any second if the horse trips or whatever. So he got on Henry and meandered around the field, learning all the basic “controls” (non horse people are hilarious with their lingo). Henry thinks this job is THE LIFE.

SO taking pictures, Henry grabbing snacks

There are a couple other things happening that hopefully I’ll be able to give updates on publicly soon. For now though – everyone is fine, covid is (hopefully) behind us, and we’re ready to crack on. I promise not to be a ghost this week!

It finally got me

Well, I managed to evade covid for almost 2 1/2 years, but it finally got me. Probably no coincidence that it happened literally a week after the SO got here, and he was making me go all kinds of places I normally don’t. Usually I’m a hermit of epic proportions. I’m totally blaming him, although really… it was probably just a matter of time given the way covid cases are going around here. Thanks Florida.

our backup plan is the circus

I’m hoping it passes quickly, because we were actually starting to get in a groove here with our program. Presto’s had a few jumping-oriented pro rides now, mostly working on that annoying little head fling that he likes to do if you want to touch your reins the last 4 strides in front of a jump. He’s always done it, since Megan first started jumping him, and I cannot stand it. He’s a bit (just a WEE FREAKIN BIT) egotistical and overconfident, and so unchallenged by these smaller jumps that he can get away with flinging his head all over the place, but as a rider let me just say it is goddamn annoying. Really really goddamn annoying. And I also don’t think it’s something that can just be ignored, because it’s only going to become more of a problem as he goes up the levels. I have to be able to half halt and he has to be able to adjust without flipping me the bird… those are just facts. So ya know, now is the time to fix it. With Steph’s help, because I was at a bit of a loss on my own. She’s making slow but steady progress (he’s pretty dedicated to being right, who’s surprised by that?) and I can already tell a bit of a difference in him at home. It’ll take some time to totally iron out I think, but we’re headed in the right direction. Or we were, before I got stupid covid.

his face like “uggghhhh y’all are buzzkills” when Steph says he’s not allowed to fling himself at things

He had a couple days off but now we’re back to it, just waiting for a negative test for me so we can actually leave the farm/interact with other people again and schedule more rides. I also was going to start scheduling lessons with Gemma now that she’s back in full swing. It would be nice if both of these kiddos were ready to hit some horse shows by the fall.

I like how positive Steph is with him, even when he’s a complete dingo

And I’m feeling especially eager to hit the horse shows now because LOOK WHAT CAME.

About a month ago Hillary and I were lucky enough to get fitted for Fabbri boots at Luxe EQ when they were in town at WEC, and yesterday our boots arrived from Italy. Mine are the navy ones – they’ve got a metallic navy stripe and white piping. Hillary’s are the black ones, with a black glitter top and navy patent piping. I wanted something a little “wild” by my standards, because if you’re gonna do it you may as well DO IT. The goal for me was to make boots for XC that would be fun and unique and look good with white breeches. I think these meet all of those criteria. You’ll definitely be able to spot me on XC now, and I love the little touches of white – I think it’ll look bomb with white pants.

I couldn’t resist grabbing Hillary’s and laying them next to the mid blue Espoir coat, since it’s also got some black glitter details. And then I had to throw my black glitter helmet into the photo too. Ya know… FOR SCIENCE.

It’s stunning. I am obsessed. I dunno why I’m so obsessed with light blue coats right now but I 100% am. It would look amazing on Gemma, don’t you think? Hopefully we’ll find out soon.

Not much else has really been going on obviously, since covid. I did have a post all queued up for yesterday to announce that Breed.Ride.Compete. was open again for custom breeding reports, but uh… our email subscribers bought up all the available spots in 10 minutes. They got advance notice of when we were going to open, and my plan was to give them a 30 minute head start and then roll out the public posts. I just.. never actually made it that far. Sold out again! Every time we open the spots sell out faster and faster, which thrills me to no end. The reception we’ve been getting with these is just amazing. I wasn’t sure anyone would actually care, but so far the feedback has been wonderful and we’re already seeing repeat customers. I’m having a good time doing them (well, usually… sometimes I really have to get creative with my digging), so it feels like a win-win.

So now we’re rocking and rolling through this batch, hoping to be able to open up more spots ASAP. I’m also in the middle of working on the next phase rollout for BRC, which will be a brand spanking new service that I’m pretty excited about. More on that later this week or early next week! Big things are coming…