I really wanted to wait to do this little dude’s introduction until after we’d gotten some pictures of him outside, but with Kentucky happening this week and me having to draft this post early, new pics didn’t happen. Man apologies. I’ll make it up to you next week. But I did debate delaying his intro another week and decided that would be cruel, so you’re welcome for at least not doing that. Compromise.
Anyway, say hello to Vee’s very first foal, Randell WTW.
He’s named after one of Michelle’s vet friends that was instrumental in helping Vee through some late term complications and making sure that mom and baby made it to full term safe and sound.
And they did! This dude is huge, and with Vee being a maiden she really had to push hard to get him out, but she did a great job with just a little assistance. Although he did go face first into the water tub during his initial attempts to stand up and I literally had to full-body lift him out of it like an equine lifeguard. Lil Randy might not ever live that one down.
In all seriousness though, this lil dude is leggy and tall and very elegant, and he seems to have gotten Vee’s absolutely gorgeous face, complete with an adorable little marking. His curly mane is giving me life too, even though it won’t stay like that for long.
Some of you may remember that this is also the foal who was the product of combining two half-doses of frozen semen, some from Araldik and some from Lingo. We’re in the process of getting his DNA kit done so we can determine exactly who’s the baby daddy, but for now it’s a very hotly debated topic around here. Who do you think the sire is?
We’ve now only got one more foal left for the year, and it’s due pretty much any day now. For those keeping tabs, we’re now at 2 bay colts and 2 bay fillies! Can’t wait to see this last one, it’s probably the one I’ve been anticipating the most.
Welcome to what is always the best part. Settle in.
We are no strangers to Training at the Horse Park by now, with this being our 4th run at the venue. As usual the course was 100% entirely different from any other time before, and our goal here was to have an easy, boring round to put a nice little deposit in the confidence bank before we attempt to tackle Modified.
While the courses for Festival are listed as “Challenging”, I think pretty much every Training at FHP is on the challenging end of the scale. In truth, I thought this one was overall a little softer than a couple of the ones we’ve done here before. They gave you a lot of inviting single fences to get going before hitting you with the first combo (unlike last time where there was a pretty intense bank combo starting at fence 3) and there were several nice long gallop stretches to get into your flow or regroup in between things (unlike another previous time where it was jump turn jump turn jump).
That’s not to say that it was easy though, because it definitely wasn’t. It had pretty much everything you can possibly have on a Training course, including their trademark coffin, a jump in the water, skinnies, an ABCD sunken road combo that was pretty big, and two waters. Welcome to Ocala.
My concern for the first 5 jumps is that it wouldn’t be interesting enough to catch his attention and he would start looking for fun things to spook at. That’s one of his favorite pastimes. So we left the box with intention, and I asked him to really get out in front of my leg and pay attention, no sightseeing. He was great over 1, strongly considered pretending to spook at the videographer next to 2 (but didn’t), pretended to mini-spook at a big rock on the way to 3 (just like I knew he would when I saw it when we walked) and then made the turn to hop over the steeplechase at 4. All that was an easy peasy lope-over experience. He thinks he’s a big boy now.
Fence 5 was a cabin, after which we hung a hard right to our first combo, 6AB. This was a hanging log on the edge of the crater, 8 strides through the crater and out over a skinny wedge. Super good boy through here, very professional.
After that we had a nice gallop stretch to 7, a table, which he loped over so casually that it was honestly insulting. Then we made the right turn to the coffin at 8ABC – MIM rail, two strides to a ditch, 6 slightly bending strides to a corner that was snugged up to a tree. When we walked the course the afternoon before I didn’t think about how the sun would be in that combo the following morning… the shade from the tree put the entire corner in shadow. Presto really didn’t see it until the last stride, but he was a genuine boy there and went anyway.
After that we had another long gallop stretch to the first water. Here we had a steeplechase brush fence set about a stride before the water, with a slightly bending line to a skinny-ish rolltop. Some of you may remember that a couple of shows ago is where we encountered our first jump in the water, which Presto did not understand and we very nearly parted ways. We’ve since schooled those a couple times to make sure he got it, so it was a different story this time – he locked on and went straight to the rolltop with no problem.
Then we had another little short stretch, crossing back through the tree line and hanging a right over the MIM oxer, then a rollback left over another table. He’s to the point now where I really can just let him keep coming to these and not have to help him with his balance anymore. He’s matured so much in his strength and and his style since last fall.
After that it was another little gallop stretch across the field to the most challenging question on course – 13ABCD. It’s not often you see a D element on a Training course! This combo was a ramp, four strides to a pretty decent drop, 4 strides to an up bank, and then 3 strides to a slightly angled skinny table. Trainer’s instructions were to ride it like a gymnastic at home. My concern was that Presto might rocket launch himself off the bank and make the 4 strides to to upbank difficult to get. And while the 4 did ride slightly tight, he was quite mature here and didn’t do anything particularly extravagant. He marched through that combo straight as an arrow and looking for the flags.
Getting through that one felt a little bit like “home free” but there were still a few more left. Next up we came to the second water, which had a house a stride before the water and a skinny house out of the water. Presto is Pro at these by now, no problem. Then it was a nice ping over the wagon…
at which point I realized I had ample time left, so I just let him coast the rest of the way home and over the last jump.
Ultimately we came in 16 seconds under time, which I was happy with… Modified speed is about 40mpm above Training speed, so I wanted to open him up a bit more on this one and just let him flow more. And in reality, it didn’t feel fast in the slightest, or like I was having to push him. He’s much more balanced and confident jumping out of stride than he used to be, so less set-up time equals a faster round even when you aren’t actually adding much speed between the jumps. Just a few months ago I was still having to help him a lot and we’d have a couple time penalties but his last 3 rounds have been easily double clear, with time getting easier and easier to make. Every time out he’s shown improvement.
Our double clear helped move us back up the leaderboard to end up 5th on our 30.7 score, although if not for that stinkin rail we would have won. That was a little painful to realize. Still though, it was the quiet, chill horse show we were looking for in order to get the green light for Modified next month at Majestic!
Presto and I were back at it again last weekend (well really we went on Thursday and Friday, so last week)! Season is very much winding down to a close here in Florida, and Ocala International Festival of Eventing is basically considered the last event of the season. It’s also known for challenging courses and a lot more atmosphere, so we chose to do one more Training rather than make the move to Modified at this show. We’ve run several Training’s at the Florida Horse Park by now, so the goal was really to just have a very boring and ho-hum weekend. Spoiler alert: mission accomplished. Perhaps too thoroughly at times.
This show was set up different from every other one we’ve been to at the FHP. Our dressage was down on the polo field, and showjumping was up where the dressage rings normally are. I thought Presto might take exception to things being different, but really he didn’t care. Signs of maturity or is he lulling me into a false sense of security? Who knows with him, could be either really.
We were in the Training Horse division and our dressage was Thursday afternoon, so I braided him before lunch, stuck him on the trailer, and headed out. I put studs in him this time since we were on grass, and he had no trouble with the surface. He warmed up pretty well and then literally AS we were heading over to the ring he became convinced there was something in his ear and started shaking his head like crazy. He had a bonnet on, so I dunno if maybe he got some sweat in his ear or if he was just imagining things, but at that moment we couldn’t do much about it, so Steph just pulled his bonnet off and away we went with his wild mustang forelock leading the way.
He continued to slightly shake his head a few times through the test, which was frustrating and distracting, but it wasn’t too severe. Overall he was a little heavy/flat in the heat and I was slightly late with a couple of transitions. It wasn’t brilliant but it was decently good, and there were no yeehaws in the lengthenings, so I’ll take that. Boring… we like boring.
We scored a 26.7, which put us in second place only half a point behind the leader. As Presto’s breeder I will never not be proud of this horse finding his way to the top of the pro/horse divisions in Ocala… it’s literally all the good pros on their nice young horses, most of them imports, and he can hold his own even with an amateur on board.
After dressage we loaded up and headed back home where Presto was delighted to wallow in his sand pit that he’s created in the corner of his turnout.
Showjumping was early Friday morning, so were up early and at the Horse Park before 8. I was prepared for him to be a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man, since SJ warmup is his most favorite place for those shenanigans, and I thought having a “new/different” warmup from the usual place was just begging for antics. Color me very shocked when he was The Most Civilized animal in warmup. Like… so quiet it was suspicious. But we did our w/t/c, hopped over a few jumps, and then there was an open gate, so we went in a little early.
He definitely lit up a bit when we went in the ring, mostly looking around the outside edges at the bleachers, photographers, ring crew, etc. Normally when he’s in there it’s dressage courts, so that’s fair. We picked up the canter, came around to the first one, saw a good distance, and I literally felt him go “yeah yeah there’s a jump, but WHO IS THAT GUY OVER THERE” as he left the ground, and he whacked the everloving shit out of the first jump. Presto. My friend. Pick up your feets, bro. He’s super duper not impressed by the 1m anymore and when he’s bored his focus tends to stray pretty easily.
After having the first fence down he decided maybe he should pay attention, and he jumped the rest super, even when I got him to a bad spot into the first two stride. He did a real Good Boy job there. Otherwise it was a nice, very normal round. So ultimately we had one rail, from him just not paying attention, although honestly I deserved a rail at the two stride and he kept that up, so… we’ll call it even.
The scores were tightly packed enough that a rail dropped us from 2nd to 7th. Ouch. It ain’t over til it’s over, though, and we still had cross country left! Stay tuned…
Well, y’all, it’s official… we’ve got the cutest foal ever created on planet earth. I might be a little biased, but… no I’m not.
On Monday Chanel had THE MOST ADORABLE colt I think I have ever seen in my life. It was a quick and easy entrance into the world and he was up and trotting around in no time. This guy… be still my heart.
He’s kind of an interestingly bred little dude… his sire is the French pony jumper stallion Usandro Tilia Derlenn, and then of course Chanel is a Zangersheide showjumper mare. Usandro is 1/4 welsh and the rest warmblood, standing at 14.2h. Chanel is 16.1h and by a 1.60m showjumper stallion out of a mare who is also by a 1.60m showjumper stallion. Chanel had two foals in Europe before she was imported, one that’s shown to 1.50m and the other 1.45m. Chanel herself jumped to 1.40m. That makes this colt 1/8 welsh and the rest warmblood, and bred to JUMP.
Obviously Chanel is a friggin nice mare who has produced some really exceptional foals. Crossing her to Usandro was a bit of a “well let’s just see what we get” kind of thing, and I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say it was a roaring success. Who wouldn’t want one of these?
He’s got THE CUTEST FACE, and he’s so correct and nicely put together. Like… wow. So much quality in this guy. He’s a super mover, really athletic, and bold. He ticks all the boxes (except Michelle’s, where she wants them to be fillies so she can keep them).
He’s bigger than I expected, I’m guessing he’ll probably be somewhere around the 15.2h mark – perfect hony size. He’s is gonna be a hell of a little sportscar athlete, that’s for sure.
He was sold within two days, without advertising him at all. Because again: LOOK AT HIM. His name is Rhetorical WTW, barn name most likely Rhett. Welcome to the fam, little dude!
We also had another one join us late this week, but I’m gonna wait to formally introduce him until next week once we get some photos of him outside. Until then:
Yes hi hello, my presence is very spotty right now because it’s almost Kentucky week (and then Badminton) and I’ve had about 9000 writing assignments and spreadsheets and the like. I think this is the busiest time of year to be involved in equestrian media. I’m definitely not upset about it, but I’ve been typing my little fingers off. That’s a lie, they’re not little, I wear a size 8.5 glove.
Anyway, things are speeding right along around here. Last Wednesday Presto and I were entered in our first Modified CT. The dressage went okay… he got a little bit riled about some imaginary monsters in the trees while we were warming up and had to opine about it. For the test he had moments of brilliance (got an 8 for one of the leg yields!) but also decided to yeehaw through one of the canter lengthenings (STOP DOING THAT, IT’S ONLY PARTIALLY FUNNY) so we ended up with a 31.
It was Modified Test B and I actually REALLY like that test for him, it’s my favorite we’ve done so far. There’s a lot to do in there and things go rapid fire, especially with turns and transitions, but I think for Presto there’s actually enough to keep him busy and the way it flows plays to his strengths. Looking forward to taking another stab at that one after we’ve actually had a chance to work on parts of it in a lesson… the show was my first time riding it all the way through. Still, we were sitting in 2nd after dressage.
I ended up scratching before SJ (which wasn’t until almost 5:30) because after spending all day walking around the show my ankle was starting to get mad. Steph wrapped it up in KT tape but she and Hillary both said it looked like a zombie foot (they’re not wrong, it had a greenish pallor). We were supposed to go XC schooling the next day, which was higher up on my list of priorities than a showjump round, so it seemed prudent to not jump around a 3’5″ course on an extravagant young horse if I wanted my ankle to actually be useable the next morning. I hate scratching and I really wanted to jump the course because it looked super and so completely in our wheelhouse, but… I’m trying to do a better job of taking care of myself.
Scratching was definitely the right decision, because even though my ankle felt a lot better the next morning, by the end of XC schooling it was starting to get irritated. I don’t think I would have had many jumps in me at all if I’d done the showjump round the evening before. I mean I’m still annoyed about having to scratch, but it was the right call, as grumpy as it made me.
Anyway, we went to Rocking Horse to school, because 1) they’re never open to the public for schooling and they made it available by appointment only for just a few days last week 2) they have so many recognized shows there during the winter and still had all the courses up from their last show 3) the Modified at Rocking Horse has a ditch wall that I hate because I made the mistake of walking up to it on foot once and seeing how deep it was and made direct eye contact with the big gouge marks down the front that made it look like someone definitely met their death inside of it.
Don’t make me explain why I hate ditch walls so much, there’s not really a rhyme or reason, I just do. I’d rather jump pretty much anything else.
The cool thing though, is that Presto literally gives no fucks. I think you could put the Grand Canyon underneath a jump and set it on fire and he’d be like WOW COOL. He’s just brave as hell and this is all a fun game to him. It gives you a lot of confidence to be sat on a horse like that. Henry was the goodest egg but didn’t have a huge depth of talent… this horse has the most talent of anything I’ve ever personally sat on. It’s just so easy for him, he’s not even having to try or think that hard yet. Steph thinks he could be an Advanced horse and she might be right. The rideability is the part that takes more work with him.
I mean, I did think I was gonna die there for a second when a cow made an appearance in the pasture next door, but… details. We jumped a bunch of Modified stuff including the skinny brush wedge to corner combo, the skinny wedges combo, the water to water combo (there are two waters right next to each other a couple strides apart, so the first water had a rolltop in the water, then you cantered out and dropped down into the second water, with a skinny just on the other side), the coffin, the trakehner, and a few other randoms. He was exceptional. Sometimes he thinks he knows best, which is where his age and inexperience shows, but it’s all just so ho-hum for him. It makes him really freakin fun.
This week we’ve got Ocala International, running the Training again, and we’ll see how that goes before we determine the next move!
Oh, also, my purple coat came in.
The color is very pleasing. It might be too hot here this week to wear it, but we’ll see…
The mares and foals got to move out into a new bigger pasture this week, switching places with the 3 mares that are still due to foal (all within the next couple weeks!). They all found that very exciting, for a variety of reasons. The mares basically put their noses down to the grass and have barely looked up since… the grass in that pasture is really nice and plentiful compared to the smaller paddocks they had been in.
The fillies, Rue and Rihanna, born a month apart, are in two very different and distinct growth phases at the moment. Rue is still in the “WOW I HAVE FOUR LEGS AND I CAN ZOOM SO FAST, WATCH ME FLY” phase.
Rihanna, bless her… she’s in a bit of a fatass couch potato phase. She thinks the world is delicious and she wants to taste all of it.
Rue, in all of her bubbly happy sweetness, tries her best to get Rihanna to run around with her. Every once in a while it works. Usually it doesn’t. Most of the time Rue just ends up running circles around Ri. Literally.
Round and round and round Rue goes. Bless her. It’s not for lack of trying. It’s just that Ri’s favorite hobbies these days tend to be such titillating things as:
Rue won’t give up though, she cheerfully keeps up her attempts to play with her (only, at the moment) friend.
But ya know… every once in a while, it works. At least for a minute or two.
I would say Happy Monday but I have been informed that it’s actually Tuesday. Whoops. Anyway, lets catch you up on the goings-on up in these parts.
On Saturday we had our first jump lesson in a couple weeks… our schedule had been interrupted the week before by TerraNova, so we missed our usual weekly lesson/jump school that week. It was also the first lesson back since I said something about how I need to jump a little bigger again before we start looking at a move-up, because we’ve kinda just been cruising through season keeping the fences lower. And, well, be careful what you ask for.
Trainer was like lol hold my beer (coffee?) and cranked a couple of those bitches right on up. Don’t ask me how big, I dunno. Big? Then she has the audacity to be like “now the Modified definitely won’t look big.”. She’s probably not wrong.
Jokes aside, Presto was really good and every once in a while it seems to benefit him to jack the jumps up a little bit. He’s a blasé, lazy, minimalistic sort of dude so if you don’t challenge him once in a while he really doesn’t ever try that hard. He whacked the oxer once and then was no-touchie after that, and jumped around the whole course with much more focus.
The next day I planned to just give him a nice loose stretchy ride and all was going quite well until I decided to canter a couple poles. Well ok, the first pole went totally fine. Loped around to jump it again, the distance was spot on, and WHAM – Presto fell down. Like pretty hard. He floundered for a few strides trying to catch himself, scraping his head along the ground so hard that his browband will never be the same again, then hit the deck on his left side and skidded a ways.
My lower leg was pinned under him during the skid, but the only thing that really took any damage was my ankle. It’s got a minor sprain. The scary part was that he didn’t get up right away, he just laid there sternal, groaning, then took a couple bites of grass before he finally got up. I was convinced he’d broken all 4 legs. I had to stand there for a few seconds for the initial wave of pain to subside to make sure my leg was okay. Poor Hillary saw the whole thing and I think she’s scarred for life… her face was something else. Presto seemed ok though so I got back on and trotted him a bit to see how he felt, and he was miraculously fine.
Luckily my ankle really does seem minor. I’ve been icing and wrapping it and I can walk fine. I rode yesterday and that was ok too. I’ll keep icing and wrapping it for a bit.
Presto still seems fine, I buted him and have put the BEMER on him a couple times, and this morning his bodyworker came and worked on him for a while. Other than some tightness in his neck and left gaskin she said he felt great. Yesterday when I rode him he was trotting around like a wild arabian with his tail in the air, so yeah… I’d say he feels fine. That was a scary one kiddo, please keep all 4 feet underneath you. Figures that he can jump like 4′ on Saturday with no problem and then eat shit entirely over a canter pole on Sunday. Horses, man.
In better news, a couple days ago I texted the vet that did the majority of Presto’s care while he was in the clinic as a newborn. I haven’t reached out to her in a couple years, so I sent her some recent pics of him and let her know how he was doing, and thanked her again (there aren’t enough thanks in the world for this woman). Her response was really cute.
She’s the best. ❤
In also more fun news my custom whip that I ordered a couple weeks ago is finished, and it’s awesome.
Rue is, without a doubt, one of the sweetest fillies I think we’ve ever had. She absolutely loves people, wants to live in your pocket, and she’s very sweet and kind. She’s also real stinkin cute.
But if you ask Rue, there’s one feature she’s got that is fascinating above all others.
Yep, you guessed it, it’s her tongue.
She is convinced this is the coolest appendage a horse has ever owned, and she loves to put it on display as much as possible.
It’s real Henny vibes, honestly. She walks around with it hanging out one side or the other, sometimes flopping, sometimes dragging it along things. Especially people. You haven’t lived until Rue has dragged her blep up your leg.
Horses are weird in the most adorable ways. What makes some of them so fascinated with their tongues?
I feel like social media is very quick to point out when companies or brands do something bad/wrong. Which is totally fair… I appreciate knowing things like that so I can take it into consideration when buying something. There have definitely been several times that I’ve used my own social media and blog to vent and warn people about situations that I was frustrated with or times that I had a dissatisfactory experience.
I also make an effort to commend these companies when they do something great, or go above and beyond. So today I’ve got two goods and one bad to share… settle in for story time, my friends.
It just occurred to me that I also talked about Romitelli the other day, letting me switch out the custom boots I ordered for something else because I didn’t like how they came out. They get some bonus points for that also.
On that note, let’s start with good ones.
I think at this point a lot of saddle brands – particularly French ones – have a bad reputation, the CWD/Devoucoux conglomerate of brands in particular. So many of them are known to have horrific customer service, or – best case scenario – your experience depends entirely on your rep and how honest/willing they are to stand by their product. Unfortunately a lot of those brands also seem to run through reps like Kleenex, so… that part becomes a bit sketchy. The internet is full of horror story after horror story of saddles that don’t fit and the brand refuses to make it right, or just completely ghosts people, or what they got isn’t what they ordered, etc etc.
I had never ordered a new saddle before so that was something that really freaked me out last year when I was thinking about buying something. Its a lot of money to fork over to someone you don’t really trust. Which probably makes my decision to go with Arion even more head-scratching, being that they’re a newer brand, but 1) I knew the FL rep via a friend, outside of his involvement with the company, 2) I dunno y’all, I just had a good juju feeling, ya know?
And I will say with confidence that they will stand behind their products 100%. Let me tell you what had happened.
Everything went pretty smoothly when I ordered. Rep came out, I tried saddles, horse got fitted, I ordered, saddle came like 4-5 weeks later (which is insanely fast for a custom saddle, most companies were telling me 12-16 weeks). They did forget to do the blue piping that I’d ordered around the cantle, but they offered to either take it back and put the piping on, or I could have some accessories for free. I chose the accessories because honestly I didn’t love their blue that much anyway, it was a little bright, and I was by that point already questioning my commitment to the blue. Worked out fine. I love my saddle.
Fast forward a bit and the bottom of one flap was starting to wear weird. I sent a pic of it to my rep, who responded immediately and said “it shouldn’t look like that, let me talk to the owner of the company.”. Half an hour later I have a text back that says it looked like a defect, they basically went too deep with the stitching so it caused a weak spot there in the leather, and they would make a new saddle for me for free.
They did want to check the fit again on my horse though before they re-made it, since it’s been almost 10 months and Presto is a young horse, which could mean he had changed since the first fitting. I appreciated that, and their desire to make sure it was right. In the meantime there was a different rep, Kristin, that was specific to the Ocala for the winter season (my original rep was based in Wellington), and when I saw her set up at one of the shows we got to chatting and I mentioned the whole situation to her. When I saw Kristin again last weekend at TerraNova she was like “Did you get your new saddle ordered?” and I was like “You know what, no I haven’t done that yet.” and she immediately offered to put me on her schedule for this week. Even though she wasn’t the rep I originally went through, and none of this is her issue to solve. She knew it would be faster and easier for me since she was already here in town, so she offered that to me completely of her own free will, which I appreciate a lot. She didn’t know me from Adam, there was no reason for her to offer me that.
Kristin came out on Tuesday and immediately thought that we should change the panel configuration a bit. Presto is definitely wider than he was last June, and she thought he needed a bit more room in the tree. She had me ride in one of her demos that had a slightly different spec with the panel, simulating the fit she wanted, and I could definitely tell a difference at the canter, so I think she’s spot on with that. When I mentioned that I wished they had glitter piping (their sample photos only have a few basic colors) Kristin was like “Oh we can order that if you want it!”. Um, yas please. Give meh the glitterrrrr.
So now I have a whole brand new saddle coming, with an updated fit to the panel, and black glitter piping – even thought its been almost a year since I ordered the first one. It should be here in about a month, so stay tuned for the conclusion of this story, but I have to say that I’m extremely pleased with Arion’s customer service and their willingness to stand behind their product and make sure that’s it’s 100% right. A lot of other companies would not have gone to anywhere near this length, that’s for certain. They have been so incredibly pleasant to deal with, and their company seems to have a heavy emphasis on customer service. It actually feels like you’re working with the whole company instead of just the rep. It’s refreshing.
Good story number 2 is (thankfully) much shorter. This one goes to Design by Dalia Lehmann, a Polish company.
A few weeks ago I lost my whip, so I had to go into Tack Shack to order a new one. I love my black and silver glitter theme, but it does make for a mega-boring whip that isn’t very distinct, so after much deliberation (like SO MUCH… color is hard for me) I opted to add a little purple to it. I got black with a purple stripe, a silver glitter stripe, purple stitching on the popper, and silver lightning bolts on the popper. It’s not bright but it’s still fun, and purple was my mom’s favorite color so it’s a bit of an homage to her.
I ordered the whip and, because of who I am as a person, I was like “you know what I need – A SHOW COAT TO MATCH IT”. Specifically this one, which has had a grip on me for several years.
I’m pretty sure I’ve posted it here before. I dunno why I love it so much but I just do. The super dark purple, the black crystals… it’s just chef’s kiss. Did I need it, no. Did I want it, yes. Y’all know how this goes.
So I left it in the hands of fate and decided that if I could find a good enough coupon code, that would be a sign from the gods to buy it. I looked around for a while and discovered that I’d actually missed a coupon code by just two days. Dangit. No coat for me then I guess. I commented on the post something like “Darn, saw this a couple days too late!”, not thinking much of it, and within 5 minutes they had PM’d me a coupon code to use.
Look y’all, who am I to spit in the eye of the gods. Clearly it was their will.
But really though, I appreciate that the company did that for me because they certainly didn’t have to. They could have just as easily ignored me or vaguely hinted at a future sale, or some such thing that most places probably would have done. This is the story of how I became the owner of a coat I know my mom would have totally loved.
Now we’ve saved the worst for last. Or mostly just… the confusing one? The annoying one? I dunno, I’m puzzled by it.
Back during the Christmas/New Year’s time frame Empire Research, a supplement company, was doing several days of giveaways. Most of the days were to win a certain supplement, and then the grand prize last day was the entire product line. They have a salt and an oil and some cookies that I was interested in, so I entered and won. They tagged me in the post, sent me a PM asking me for my address, and I shared the post to my stories as a thank you.
Nothing ever showed up. I have messaged them several different times for an update. The first time they told me they had already sent it and it should have been delivered, and they said they’d look into it. I never heard back. A couple weeks later I messaged them again, no response. A couple weeks later I tried again, still no response. They’ve read all my messages. I’ve given up.
Did they “wrong” me? No. But it does leave kind of an icky taste to do a big giveaway thing, clearly pick the entrant with the most followers as your winner, get your shout out from me, and then ghost me entirely. Like… why? They’ve continued to be active on social media, their website is up and running, so there’s no particular reason that I can find. I’m also not hard to please, if you just respond to my messages and tell me what’s up, I’ll happily wait a really long time. I am the queen of taking forever to do shit because I am a busy human being, so I completely understand that part. But… the reading my messages and choosing not to respond at all part. That part I don’t love. At least respond and tell me something. Now the whole thing just seems sketch.
I have to assume I probably dodged a bullet there with that one?
Whew it has been a bit of a week. Florida has been treating us to a bit of a summer preview with temps around 90 every day, and I’m going to assume from the fact that I feel like a walking piece of beef jerky that I have not done a very good job of hydrating.
BUT, last week Niamh of Hoof Woof Images was in town! So many visitors lately. She met the herd, petted some babies, and was kind enough to snap some quick pics of Presto. I have no idea how Niamh gets such stunning pictures, but it’s gotta be either magic or witchcraft. Maybe both.
Highly recommend contacting Niamh if you’re looking to book a photog for nice photos. She was also quick, which is a good thing because Presto was seeing actual demons at the end of the barn aisle.
On Thursday Hillary and I left for TerraNova. I was reporting on the 4* for Eventing Nation, and Hillary got to come in an official capacity as well, to help with interviews and social media. On our way out of town we stopped at WEC because our new Romitelli boots had finally arrived.
To be honest I ordered mine under extreme duress (it was a really really bad day) and they didn’t turn out how I had pictured. Originally I wanted them to coordinate with my light blue coat, so I’d ordered black boots with like a pebbly gunmetal top part and light blue stripe. In actual application I didn’t like the top bit I’d picked (too shiny) and the blue was very different from the sample color, so instead of being like the sky blue of my coat it was like a bright, almost bordering on turquoise color. I just didn’t like how it turned out and they def wouldn’t coordinate with my coat. Womp womp.
Luckily Romitelli is very accommodating and helped me look through all the boots in my size that were in the store, the latest shipment, and the storage trailer to see if there was something I liked better. I saw many things, y’all. Many interesting and bright things. But I did really like these dark gray boots with metallic silver accents.
They don’t really go with the light blue coat but they would def go with my black and silver glitter theme, or just look good with all the black I tend to wear at home. So they let me trade mine out for those. Crisis averted. We’ll see how they look with the XC outfit maybe?
After that we were officially en route to TerraNova. It’s only 2.5 hours away but my Ocala-privilege ass has gotten very used to everything being under an hour drive and honestly I have no idea how I used to spend so much time in the car when I lived in Texas. It’s maddening.
But we made it around lunch time, set up our stuff in the media area, and immediately headed out to walk the 4* course, get photos and video, and decide on our plan of attack for XC day.
We only got lost once (totally blaming Will Coleman for that, he saw us walking the wrong way and chose to let nature take it’s course… which I probably would have done as well) but it still took us a couple hours to get everything we needed and for me to wrap my head around all of it well enough to write up the course preview. We headed back to the media area very hot, moist, and dehydrated. Spoiler alert: the entire event would see us in much the same shape.
Anyway, I won’t bore you with the details of what all we did, because the short version is: watch the 4*, write about it, stalk riders for interviews, spend 900 hours trying to pick the right song for a reel, double and triple check info on FEI, shoot video, record literally everything, sweat, eat our weight in italian ice, go to press conferences, and get sunburned no matter how many reapplications of sunscreen occurred.
If you want to see the coverage we did, the course walk is here, recap 1 is here, recap two is here, and Instagram reel 1 (aka an ode to Chin Tonic) is here and reel 2 is here.
On Saturday we apparently forgot all the mistakes we made during the course walk on Thursday and headed out on course to photo/video/watch/walk 4 hours of XC without any liquid sustenance whatsoever. Hillary posted videos on Insta stories like a machine, I took notes, and mostly we just felt like death the whole time as we made our way around the course and tried desperately to find any bit of shade (were we at one point crouching on the ground behind a Novice rolltop? maybe…). Event reporting, is is glamorous.
I didn’t even ride but I still felt like I got run over by a Mack truck pretty much all day yesterday. Today is marginally better.
There’s no rest for the weary though because this week is looking pretty full as well. Better to be too busy than not busy enough! Hope everyone else had a good weekend too.