As the only foal on the property at WTW Texas this year, Quinlee has had to learn a lot about not being annoying. There are no other foals to participate in her shenanigans, and the older horses maybe aren’t quite so interested in taking part in her idea of a good time. I mean… hard to imagine that any of them would think she’s ever annoying, but that is indeed the case. She’s here today to share her wisdom with the masses of adoring fans that she’s 100% certain she’s accrued, and she’s pretty sure she’s got this all figured out, so listen carefully.
First and foremost: food zoomies. Apparently you’re not supposed to just run full speed through someone’s food while they’re eating. Who would have thought? She can’t quite figure out why they don’t like that much, considering it’s so fun.
Turns out that a lot of “annoying” things have to do with food. Or rather, interrupting access to their food. Like did you know that pushing your way to the front of the group to get better round bale access is apparently annoying? Yeah Quinlee can’t figure out why either.
Also you’re not supposed to climb through someone’s food when they’re eating, that’s highly frowned upon too. Who would have guessed? Another one that makes no sense, considering how fun it is.
Oh, something else she’s learned: supposedly it’s “rude” to sniff and/or perhaps lightly nibble at someone’s butt while they’re eating. I know, I know, sounds preposterous but I guess that’s classified as annoying behavior too?
Mom also keeps telling her things like “I do not exist purely for your entertainment” and “I am not a jungle gym” and “stop biting me you little twerp”. Quinlee can’t quite make heads or tails of what any of that means either, only that Inca seems to disapprove of having her halter or mane bitten and yanked on. Yet another annoying thing. So hard to keep up with all these silly rules.
I guess it’s a good thing she’s cute, which some of them also find super annoying, because everyone gives attention to the cute fuzzy little foal instead of them.
Quinlee just can’t win. She knows that none of these rules make any sense at all, but hopefully you’ve been able to learn a thing or two about how to not be annoying. Happy Friday!
Alright, a couple weeks ago I promised y’all the full story of the tattoos that Holly, Hillary, and myself got at LRK3DE, and I’m finally circling back around to deliver on that.
A few weeks before the trip even started, I had said something in our group chat about how we should get some kind of matching tattoos while we were there. This isn’t the first time I’ve had this idea, and I can’t even tell you why. Last summer when we went to Chatt I was convinced Hillary and I should get our noses pierced while we were there, but with one of my dogs dying and me missing the first week, that didn’t come to fruition. And for some reason my brain went “hey, horsey girls trip = memorial body modification time?”. Yes brain, fantastic idea.
Side note: a few days ago on tiktok I came across a guy who gets a tattoo wherever he travels to and I was like OMG THIS IS THE BEST IDEA I’VE EVER HEARD I MUST DO THIS TOO but anyway the point is that I’m not the only one that thinks like this.
Anyway, we talked about the group tattoo idea and everyone was in, but we just couldn’t come up with something good and fitting that we all liked. The idea fizzled and died and was forgotten (except in the deep recesses of my brain, apparently).
So fast forward to XC day at Kentucky. We’d wandered around the course during the 4*, stopped by the blogger meetup for a bit, grabbed lunch at the RV, and then headed back out to find a good spot for the 5*. Our other objective for the afternoon was finding the Ride iQ tailgating spot to go say hi to them. We had talked to Jessa and Kinsey the previous two days briefly at their spot in the trade fair but wanted to support them and bring more people by their tailgate.
Another side note: one of the best things about big events like LRK3DE is getting to finally put faces to the names of people you’ve talked to so much online. I’ve been a Ride iQ fan since the beginning and have happily sung it’s praises, and have chatted a good bit with Jessa and Kinsey in doing stuff with them on the blog and in my Patreon group. They’re just as awesome in person!
So anyway, we’re at their tailgating spot and they have temporary tattoos with the Ride iQ logo. I jokingly said to Jessa “how much is it worth to you if I tattooed the Ride iQ logo on myself for real?”. She laughed and said “you could do the tagline ‘pat your horse’!”. And ok, I know she thinks she was joking, but bam it hit me like lightning.
I immediately was like HILLARRRRRYYYYY HOOOLLLLYYYYYY LISTEN TO THIS IDEAAAAA!!!
And ya know, if they’re hanging out with me then we already know they’re certain types of people, so they were like
See, “Pat your horse” is something that Kyle Carter says in a lot of his Ride iQ rides, which is why they adopted it as their little slogan, but obviously it has a lot of meaning to any horseperson. Always remember to show appreciation and gratitude for your horse, basically. It’s cute. I loved it. I told the Ride iQ ladies that we were gonna do it and their faces were just absolutely priceless… it was 50% omg this is the coolest thing that has ever happened and 50% are these nutjobs for real right now??? I’m not sure if they thought we’d really go through with it.
Once I have an idea though, it’s off to the races. I started googling looking for tattoo parlors pretty much immediately. By the time XC was over I was on the phone calling all the ones that were open late enough (we had a happy hour at our camper for our Patreon members that evening, so we couldn’t make it anywhere until like 7) and had an opening that night. That narrowed it down to a grand total of one, so I made the appointment, gave them a deposit, and it was on.
Once happy hour was over we got cleaned up and headed out, debating where we were going to put our tattoos. I had told Jessa and Kinsey when we parted ways at their tailgate that I’d keep them updated if we could find an appointment, and when I sent them the above pic from inside the tattoo parlor I’m pretty sure they were like OMG THESE CRAZY BITCHES ARE ACTUALLY GONNA DO IT. Which, since they’re cool, it delighted them to no end. Kyle Carter found it very entertaining too.
We all got the same words and the same font, but different locations and thus different sizes to fit said locations. I opted to get mine on my right arm/wrist, just above my glove line on my right hand. That’s my dominant patting hand after all, and I thought it would be fun to be able to see it while I was riding.
Hillary opted to get hers on the inside of her middle finger, which I think we were all endlessly amused by. It’s a pretty darn clever spot and I thought it looked great there. The tattoo artist kept warning her over and over that finger tattoos hurt like a bitch, but Hillary was unimpressed. Granted, women deal with pain way better than men do (a fact that the tattoo artist also wholeheartedly agreed with). Hers was done pretty quickly.
Last but not least was Holly, the only tattoo virgin of our group. She decided to come out guns blazing on her first tattoo and get it on her rib cage. Again the tattoo artist was telling her how awful it would be, even going so far as to do a “test letter” with no ink just to make sure she could tolerate it. Holly too was unimpressed, and after a few minutes – tada! Group tattoos. Girls trip tattoos, LRK3DE tattoos, Ride iQ tattoos… all of the above, whatever you want to call them.
We also heard some really interesting stories while we were in that shop, since the manager was bored and had nothing better to do than tell us some of their wildest tattoos they’ve ever done. All I’m gonna say is that you can’t unhear some of these things. They certainly cannot be repeated here.
Once we were all done Holly and I got our tattoos wrapped like normal, but since Hillary got a finger tatt he opted to put a glove on her to cover it instead. Which… he put the glove on before she had put her rings back on, so she put her rings back on over top of it, to our endless amusement. She looked like a rich young widow on her way to her poor dearly departed’s funeral. Especially with her little handbag.
Naturally we went to White Castle right after and since Hillary was driving we made her hand her card to/take the food from the cashier with that hand. We all found it to be extremely hilarious but to her credit that cashier didn’t even so much as flinch at this one-gloved, ring-wearing weirdo. I guess if you work the night shift in the drive thru of White Castle you see much stranger things than that on a regular basis.
The next day we headed up to the Ride iQ booth in the morning to show them the finished product, and their faces were just priceless. Jessa’s jaw just dropped. They were delighted, we got fun tattoos and a great story… what more can you ask for?
Is it the best quality tattoo I have? Lol no. Definitely not. It’s… got some character. I’m glad it does though, because it really lends to the whole vibe of the story. If it was perfectly executed, it wouldn’t be a last-minute, seat-of-the-pants, Lexington-Kentucky-type of tattoo, now would it? I freakin love it though, it brings me joy every time I look down and see it, and it sits perfectly exactly where I wanted it above my glove line.
Next on the docket to get one is Kyle Carter, but all the Ride iQ folks agreed that they have to hit x number of subscribers before he can get his. Now it’s become a fun game to tell him that we’re more dedicated than he is, and he’s definitely anxious to get his tattoo.
So ya know, if you want Kyle to also get a pat your horse tattoo, get your friends to sign up for Ride iQ. How’s that for a marketing strategy?
I had every intention of posting this yesterday but I spent a while struggling with trying to get photos uploaded before I figured out that I had finally exceeded the photo storage amount for the blog’s “premium” level account. And then the farrier came, and then I had work stuff to do, so… I didn’t circle back around to it until late afternoon. I had to upgrade to a “business” account to get more photo storage (it was either that or start mass-deleting old posts, which I didn’t want to do) which is 3x as expensive per year. That’s… fun. But anyway, here we are, back up and running.
The first full week in Florida was pretty great.
It’s just gorgeous here. Every time I walk outside I think that. Definitely a stark contrast to Texas, and this place makes my heart sing in a way Texas never did. Florida also decided to do me a solid and make the weather absolutely freaking STUNNING for my first week. Mornings in the mid to upper 50’s, afternoons in the low to mid 80’s, and nothing crazy on the humidity. Considering it was 106 back in Texas (and I dunno why everyone thinks Texas is a dry heat, where I was from in South-Central TX it was humid ALL THE TIME) I was luxuriating in the fact that I needed a hoodie to go feed the horses in the morning. You don’t have to keep selling yourself to me Ocala, I am already well past sold. Thanks for the lovely welcome though.
Mostly I’ve been trying to lay down a routine. Obviously I have 3 horses to shuffle through, but I really only have time to ride 2 every morning before my first meeting of the day. I could probably squeeze all 3 if I tried, but I like spending the time grooming them properly and not feeling rushed when I’m riding. I’ve got a schedule for them so that they get staggered days throughout the week and nobody gets more than one day in a row off. I go out in the morning around 6:15 to feed, come back in and get myself and Mina fed and answer some work emails, and then go out around 7 to tack up the first horse.
Riding in the mornings is the best way for me to structure my day. Being an hour ahead of the rest of my group is advantageous in that regard… I get an “extra” hour in the morning before I have to be on that first call. Of course, it has meant that I’ve found myself logging in for a meeting or two at 6pm, but still… I love having the morning to get all my own stuff done.
I’ve slowly put surely been booking appointments for all the things I need to take care of with the horses. Saddle fitters, farriers, bodywork, dental, etc etc. I had stuff that needed doing that was really difficult to coordinate in Texas, so I put it off. Last week it was the Custom saddle rep/fitter – I called her to come see if she could fit my dressage saddle to Presto and/or Gemma. It was definitely sitting too low in the front on both of them, too wide and not enough wither clearance, but they’re a fairly similar shape so I was secretly hoping she could make it workable for both of them. We talked about where they are in their training, age, etc (they’re both at the point where they should fill out and add more topline in the next 6 months) and she looked at it on both horses.
She agreed that it def sat too low in the front and was too wide on both of them, but she felt pretty confident that adding flocking to the front would be a great improvement. Off she went to her truck, fluffed up the front, and then we put it back on both of them. It’s not a perfect fit, but she felt it was certainly a workable fit. She recommended a sheepskin pad for both of them (lucky for me I have sheepskin built into all my pads…) but didn’t think any shims were required. She said to ride in it and let her know how I and the horses feel, and she can re-assess as needed. She’s only 15 minutes away, which is something I finding with basically all of this kind of stuff… everyone is so freaking accessible in a way that blows my mind a bit.
BTW, I always feel a little weird when presenting an old saddle to a fitter, like “gah please don’t try to make me buy something new or act like this is a burden”. No such experience here though, she saw the saddle and went “omg this is an original Wolfgang Solo, these are so hard to find. *intense eye contact* NEVER SELL THIS.”. Duly noted. No one tell her I paid peanuts for it. Great experience though, I liked the saddle fitter a lot and was glad that she didn’t try to make me feel any certain way about my old saddle and trying to make it work for two horses.
Since I’ve set aside the morning pre-work time for my horses, the late afternoons are for farm stuff. What that may look like depends on the day. Last week I spent an afternoon taking one of the thoroughbred race mares (a boarder… we don’t have any race mares of our own obviously lol) across town to get bred. The barn manager warned me that it was pretty far and Ocala traffic could be bad. It was 40 minutes, and I sat at like 3 stop lights. Adorable. I mean, I get it… on the road at the farm you might have a car passing by every 15 or so minutes, and all these rural roads out here are lightly traveled. Plus everything is close. Like 20 minutes can get you basically anywhere you need to go. So yeah I suppose if that’s your “normal”, then 40 minutes and driving through an actual town are a lot. By my standards of living outside a major city with tons of traffic and having to drive across it all the time, that drive was very easy. I pulled up at Ocala stud, waited for them to come get the mare from the trailer, then waited for them to bring her back, and off we went on home. I don’t mind being the shuttle driver, especially right now when I’m still trying to learn my way around.
Other afternoons I work with the WTW babies. Percy and Patrick are here living their best lives in the yearling colt herd with all the race baby boarders, and they both look great. They do still need to be handled regularly though to make sure they don’t go feral, and to start prepping them for any kind of in-hand showing that they may eventually do. Patrick looks fantastic, he always has been a good-looking colt, and Percy has really improved a lot in the past few months as well. Being out here is really helping him catch up from his rough start, I think. He’s filled out a ton since I last saw him at the end of February, and he’s looking way less gawky.
Other days I do little projects around the farm, like finishing painting the rails that the saddle racks are on. These had to be put up quickly before the seasonal boarders arrived in March, so there wasn’t time to get the wood painted before then. There’s time now though, so I circled back and got it painted, and it looks way better.
There are lots of little projects like that all over the farm, as well as lots of old stuff to go through, throw away, etc. They’ve done soooo much already in a short period of time, but it’s a big farm with lots of stuff, and there’s always more to do. There will be no end to the projects for a while I think. I don’t mind it though, it’s rewarding to put the time into something and see this place start to come together bit by bit. Plus if nothing else I’m definitely getting my steps in (since I’ve been here I’ve averaged 9.4 miles of walking every day) and sleeping pretty darn hard. I’m tired at the end of the day!
This week has already been full of stuff too, I think I’ve already got something booked every day, so I think for a while these week-in-review posts might at least be interesting.
Quinlee is nothing if not entertaining. She’s cute and sweet, but she’s also bold and precocious, so she’s running her poor sweet mother ragged with her antics. Luckily they’re now living out in the field with another mare and both of the yearling fillies, so at least Inca isn’t Quinlee’s only source of entertainment. And while a lot of foals are really shy around older bigger horses at first, Quinlee has had no such reservations. She wormed her way right on in there with Pippa and Teddy especially, whether they really wanted to be friends with her or not.
She also really likes her human friends, like MK.
But her bestest most favorite friend?
Say hello to Hay Bale.
I mean, how could you not love Hay Bale?
You can nap on him…
You can roll on him…
You can smoosh him…
You can climb on him and be REALLY TALL…
You can – oh crap, oops –
Anyway, you get the point. There’s no disputing the fact that Hay Bale is the ultimate BFF, even if sometimes your other FF’s might get a little annoyed about it.
I figured I should do a recap post of the long weekend and everything that happened while Hillary was here, with getting the horses settled and my shit unpacked. But then I also figured that no one really wants to hear about my shit getting unpacked or the mundane tasks and errands associated with a move, so let’s talk about the fun bits of what we did while she was here instead.
It felt like we were busy doing shit from sun-up to sundown every day, and well… we were. But we made sure that the first couple hours of the day were set aside for the horses and riding. Partly because it’s a fun way to start the day before you have to get into all the drudgery, and partly because I think it’s important to keep the horses moving and keep their routine, and to be able to get on them and feel how they’re feeling.
We did a light stretchy hack with Gemma and Henry on Friday morning, and they both felt as good as they looked. Which was really nice because in addition to the long trip they’d also had a couple weeks off before that. Gemma went around like she hadn’t missed a day or traveled 1100 miles.
Henry looked shockingly good to me too. Usually time off and travel make him look stiff and weak really quickly, but nope… he was quite spry. We just did a few minutes of flatwork to get them moving and then went for a walk around the farm.
We had a bunch of errands to run that day (including picking up our awesome new-to-us Jump4Joy chevron from Kyle Carter, who brought it back from Kentucky for me, where Jen had brought it from Indiana… this jump is well-traveled), and we had to stop by Seminole and Tack Shack to get some things for the horses, which obviously got slightly sidetracked.
After that we had to run out to Tractor Supply, which is very conveniently located around the corner from a BOMB little ice cream place that has some of the best Italian Ice ever. It’s only 15 minutes from the barn which is information I probably didn’t need but will definitely use (frequently) over the summer.
The rest of the day was work and sweat and carrying things. After we finally got dinner and got settled at home and were about to go to bed, a big ol’ storm rolled in out of nowhere. Out we sprinted to bring the horses in, which was… super fun to do at almost midnight. They were pissed to be inside, but once we got back to the house the skies REALLY opened up and there was tons of lightning, so… it was the right choice even if they were mad.
On Saturday morning we were up early again to turn them out and clean stalls, then Hillary got on Gemma and I got on none other than everyone’s favorite Noodle.
Lord he’s tall. And long. Just a lot of horse and surface area. I forget sometimes, especially since Gemma and Henry are both a good hand smaller and waaaaaay more compact. It’s like being on top of an elephant, but a really nice elephant. I didn’t bother lunging him or anything, I just tacked him up and got on, and away he went like no biggie. I hadn’t ridden him since last September, and he hadn’t been ridden at all since October, so I was pleased that he pretty much got right to business. He’s a good kid in the ways that count, even if he drives me crazy with his continued removal of his fly boots ALL THE DAMN TIME.
I only trotted him for a few minutes since he doesn’t have much muscling or topline left to speak of, and then I asked Hillary if she wanted to take him for a spin. Zero arm twisting was required, and she got on and trotted him a few times each way too. He’s definitely a very different feeling from the other two – aside from being about 45 miles long he’s also got a lot a lot more suspension in his gaits and requires a lot of core strength to keep together.
Once we were done with the kids I put out a couple jumps for Hillary to pop Henry over, including setting up our new chevron out in the field so you could ride out of the ring and jump it. Henry was absolutely delighted to be doing his thing and happily christened the new jump.
Before we arrived we had already scheduled bodywork for the horses on Saturday mid-morning with Jen Oliver, who is fantastic. She did all 3 of them and spent some time chatting with us about them and what she was seeing and feeling.
Despite the long trip she thought they all felt pretty good. There were some tight spots here and there and some knots to work out, as expected, but generally it was really not bad considering their journey. A comfy trailer ride (it never ceases to amaze me how much better my horses look and feel after traveling long distances in a straight stall vs a slant) and then lots of turnout time seemed to do the trick.
After that we had an afternoon of more errands and unpacking (there is no end to any of it, I think), and then had a quick hour or so free before we were meeting someone to talk about training. So ya know… we headed over to WEC. Because why not. Well ok I’ll tell you why not – there was a massive car show going on at the same time and therefore it was crawling with muggles, but we quickly hit some of the main shops anyway. Technically I grabbed something for the barn at FarmVet so it wasn’t an entirely self-indulgent trip, and at least we were quick about it, but… ya know. I don’t feel bad about it.
Sunday was pretty much the same thing on repeat. Ride in the morning, then work and errands. Pretty sure I’ve put more miles on my truck in the last week than in the last 2 years. The good news is at least I kinda know my way around pretty well by now since I’ve seen most of Gainesville and Ocala and Williston and everything in between by this point.
We rode in the morning again, just another light stretching ride and then hacked out. Presto met his official fan club (aka the yearling colts) and now really wants to know why he can’t go live in their pasture. God, can you imagine what it would be like if he had 9 little yearling dumbasses as minions? The farm would implode.
We were pretty freaking exhausted by the afternoon, after days of running around and doing shit, so we gave ourselves a few hours of luxury to sit inside and watch the Badminton cross country replay. It was definitely something. How about that XC performance from Mason (aka Presto’s brother from another mother) though? That boy just romped right around there for fun! After having watched him come up the ranks for so many years it’s really fun to see him doing so well especially at something like Badders.
Monday was Hillary’s last day here, and we opted for just an easy road hack with the horses in the morning. Figured it was best to do that for the first time when both of us were here. Presto was a little snorty about everything but Gemma and Henry enjoyed it. One great thing about living here is that people passing you on the road in vehicles don’t go ZOOMING past, or honk at you, or whatever the fuck else. They know horses, so they slow down and they’re friendly about it. Blew my mind a little after so many years of road hacking in Texas, where you never know how many people are gonna try to deliberately run you over.
After that we did a little more stuff around the barn, ran a few more errands, and then it was sadly time for me to drop Hillary off at the airport. Big sads. So many. She tha real MVP though for giving up an entire week of her life to help me move myself and the horses. There’s no way in hell I could have done it without her. I still have plenty to do here on my own, and riding 3 horses requires some schedule juggling, but it’s manageable now since we got a lot of the big stuff taken care of in those first few days.
Now I’m flying solo! There’s still a lot going on this week, which I’ll catch you up on with next week’s recap post, but that brings you up to speed for moving weekend at least…
It’s officially official – myself and the horses are Florida residents!
We left Texas last Wednesday, overnighting in Pensacola, and arriving in Ocala on Thursday afternoon. It worked out really well that the barn owner in Texas, Rejan (who is also moving full-time to her Florida property down near Wellington) had a 4 horse trailer and only one horse to bring down with her. Their trailer is a nice big airy insulated head to head complete with fans and all the horsey comforts, so my 3 kiddos were able to ride in luxury with hay and water in front of them at all times. It was probably the best any of them have ever traveled.
I drove my truck and trailer behind them, so we had a little caravan going. My poor truck and trailer were crammed full of STUFF – mostly t!ny h0use accoutrements (like the stairs, tank, etc), all our tack, various farm equipment, some trunks, etc. My Titan has been a loyal servant the entire time I’ve owned it but let’s be real, she is 11 years old and has 161k miles on her at this point. She doesn’t really tow over these long distances as well as she used to, at least not when she’s fully loaded down like that. True to form though she did her level best, and she got us through… it was the trailer that caused us issues.
The trouble started pretty early on when we were at our first gas stop on the far side of Houston. I thought one of the tires looked a bit low (I had checked them all the day before) so I drove around to the air thingy to check it. When I stopped over there I could see a spot on the tire that was a blowout waiting to happen, so we changed that tire out to the spare. We almost made it the rest of the day without any further drama, but then when we only had about an hour to go until our layover, that spare tire blew out in the middle of nowhere Mississippi. It was just too old – I should have replaced it before the trip but didn’t even think about in with everything else going on. We called ahead to the trailer with the horses to let them know, and together we limped to the next exit and off the interstate.
We made a plan to send Hillary and the BO’s husband Justin with my trailer to a tire place a few miles away that (very luckily) was still open and had a couple tires that would work. We slapped the previous about-to-blow-but-hasn’t-yet tire back on and away they crawled. The BO and I went on ahead with the horses, crossing through the tip of Alabama and into Florida. We split up that way because my name was on all the health paperwork for the horses, so I had to be there with them at the ag stop in Florida. We got through the ag stop quickly and made it to our layover in Pensacola just after dark. The horses had ended up spending about 12 hours on the trailer, but all of them came off looking bright and happy and hydrated.
In the meantime, Hillary and Justin took my card and got two new tires for my trailer. It was honestly pretty lucky that the whole fiasco happened when and where it did… at least there was a tire place not too far away and they were still open. They were able to get it in and get the new tires on it quickly, so Hillary and Justin were only about 30 minutes behind us by the time we’d done the ag stop.
We got the horses unloaded in Pensacola, bedded down, fed, the trailer cleaned out and prepped for the next day, and then headed to the hotel. By that point it was 10pm so we pretty much just showered and passed out. We were back in the truck at 6:30 the next morning to go feed and hook back up, then make our way to Ocala. Rejan and Justin were going to drop my 3 off and then proceed the other 3-4 hours down to Wellington with Quinnie. We knew she wouldn’t be very happy to be left in the trailer alone so we planned a very quick unloading… essentially we just dropped the ramp, took my 3 out, closed the ramp, and away they went. Quinnie is nothing if not intelligent with an excellent sense of self-preservation, so she quickly settled down and rode the rest of the way just fine solo.
As for my 3, they were VERY HAPPY to be out of the trailer after 2 days of driving.
They were a little pissed at being separated into individual turnouts, but sorry kids, thems the breaks. Henry is way too mean to Presto and Presto drives Gemma nuts and Gemma makes Henry clingy, so… that’s just how it is. Quinnie was the only thing that made that group dynamic work. It’s fine though, because their paddocks aren’t really big enough (or are so shady that the grass isn’t quite as lush) to support multiple horses on them without murdering the grass. This way is better for everyone.
After a few gleeful minutes of galloping they all settled down fine, and we made sure all 3 of them knew and understood their waterers.
Then Hillary and I had some quick errands to run before stuff started to close for the day. We went to the feed store to get hay and grain since mine eat different stuff than what the racehorses get. We also picked up a few little things for the tack room and house, hit Horse & Hounds for dinner, and then stopped at Publix to pick up some groceries.
That takes us up through last Thursday, arrival day! We made it, the horses made it… everything is now officially here in Florida. As for everything else that’s been going on since then, that’s a story for another day.
That was… epic. There’s just no other freakin word that can fully encompass the experience that was LRK3DE this past weekend. We’ve been planning this trip for a while and it got delayed thanks to covid and then I considered cancelling this year altogether with the move, but man I’m so glad I didn’t.
I don’t have time this week to give a detailed play by play of the whole weekend and everything we did. Today I’m busy working and packing, and we’re rolling out of here bright and early tomorrow morning, so this is probably the only post you’ll get from me this week at all. We’ll hit the details at some point later on, but for now we can touch on the main points.
The way I see it, you really make the trip to LRK3DE for a few main reasons: the competition itself, the shopping, the comradery, and the memories. This year really delivered on all counts.
First – the competition. Look, maybe I’m a massive traitor, but if Michael Jung is in the house, I will always be rooting for him. Watching him ride is just such a pleasure, you can learn so much from sitting there and observing what he does. He’s a master of the sport and I was absolutely delighted to see him win. I mean… maybe he didn’t have to trounce the Americans quite so soundly (18 points between him and the top American – OUCH) but he absolutely deserved it. Once again, he gave us a master class in all 3 phases. Last time I was in Kentucky I watched him win aboard Rocana, and seeing him do it again on Chipmunk was equally as thrilling. It was also fun to see Pippa. My own personal favorite horse/performance of the weekend though? Palm Crescent. I’ll take one of him to go, please. No need to wrap it. He impressed me last year in Maryland and continued to impress me even more here. He’s got so much try in him.
On to the shopping. Ouch. All I can really say is ouch. I went there looking for one particular thing (a sheepskin monoflap girth for Gemma) and it felt like I came home with everything BUT that. It wasn’t for lack of trying though, I looked in every single freakin vendor and didn’t find anything that was exactly what I wanted or not 9 million dollars (possible slight exaggeration). I did find plenty of other things though, but basically everything was on sale so I don’t feel that bad. And a lot of it was clothes, which I do kinda need more of since I got rid of most of my clothes when I packed the t!ny h0use. Whoops. Marie Kondo ain’t got nothing on me when I’m in the mood to get rid of shit. I’m pleased with the things I got in Kentucky to help fill that void, though.
The final tally is:
5 t-shirts: Majyk Equipe, Ride iQ, a TB-centric short sleeve, a TB-centric long sleeve, and a Mango Bay “Beware the Mare” short sleeve.
2 sunshirts: one navy and white, one gray, both from 70 Degrees (really love this brand, it’s gonna be dangerous)
1 jacket: a black mesh jacket from 70 Degrees that I’m weirdly obsessed with, it’s like a scrim sheet for humans.
a pair of breeches because damn you Harcour for making the prettiest dark green and putting GLITTER PIPING on them. I was powerless.
a lightweight down vest that was on clearance at Free Ride for a great price and it’s packable so I refuse to feel shame about this since I sold or donated all my other vests.
a Ride iQ hat
a black sparkly Majyk Equipe XC helmet cover (it was free with purchase, so it really doesn’t even count)
a black XC Majyk Equipe pad, the new style one that just came out with the built in half pad. The fabric is so nice and lightweight I thought it might be the perfect Florida pad for Presto. We shall see.
navy and silver Majyk Equipe XC boots for Gemma. Look… I really wanted the navy and silver ones when that first limited edition came out however long ago, but I waffled for too long and ended up being just hours late on snagging some, they sold out so fast. So when I trotted my happy ass down to the Majyk Equipe tent and saw that they had restocked that color combo, I just didn’t really have any choice did I? Henry’s XC boots are too big for Gemma anyway. We’ll call it serendipitous and leave it at that. They’re beautiful.
I also snagged an OTTB iron-on patch that’ll go on something for Gemma at some point.
The freebie stuff that places were handing out was hit or miss. I got some cool stickers and several new pens (I always need pens) and a couple chapsticks and some nice little microfiber towels that I will definitely use. Some places had hats and keychains and cups and all kinds of stuff, but I didn’t need any of that and wasn’t sure if it would fit in my bag anyway. All in all I’m pretty pleased with my final haul. Definitely not what I planned on getting but ya know… here we are. I also got to sit in some saddles (Arion and Voltaire in particular) and got a couple contacts to try to work out a new jump saddle once I get to Ocala, so hopefully that ends up being fruitful.
Next up – the legendary LRK3DE comradery. It was like a girl’s weekend on steroids. I went with old friends, made new friends, saw tons of people I haven’t seen in forever (it always astounds me how small the horse world is sometimes), do some business networking for BRC, and met people in person that I’ve known on the internet forever. I somehow have SEVEN new contacts in my phone, and I dunno how even. I’m generally not the most social person to say the least but when you’re in Horse Girl Heaven it’s a little different. I had a fucking blast with our friend group and with so many other people as well. You can’t possibly ask for better company. Nothing bonds you more than blackout level shopping and 4 straight days of sweaty chafing ass cheeks.
And last but most definitely not least, the biggest reason you come to LRK3DE is for the memories. I feel like I have so many stories from this weekend that I could literally write a novel in trying to retell them. I laughed so much and so hard that my abs were hurting the entire time (and still are, btw). We did ridiculous shit, indulged in all that is horsey, and let the rest of the world just fade away for a few days. We went on course walks, stalked a crepe vendor, lost an RV key in someone’s underwear, crammed a couple jumps into an SUV (shoutout to Jen, the jump fairy), drank a fairly obscene amount of cream soda to wash down what felt like a few buckets of cheese curds, hiked from one end of the park to the other about 100 times, and sat in the Kentucky bluegrass and sunshine just enjoying the sport and the horses and the return to something that felt blissfully like normalcy after two years of covid. Oh, and maybe we got some permanent souvenirs.
I’ll tell the tattoo story in it’s entirety when I have time to do it proper justice, I promise. The weekend was quite the adventure, that’s for sure.
Until then – to everyone I saw at Kentucky, it was fabulous to see you again. To everyone I didn’t see, I hope to catch you next time. To Hillary, you remain an impeccable travel companion/enabler/instigator. To my other two RV roommates Holly and Lindsey – never at any point did I want to suffocate either of you with a pillow, and I can’t think of any higher praise than that (although I fear Lindsey may never be the same again after a weekend with us). To those who weren’t able to make it to Kentucky this year, get your asses there next year and do some ridiculous shit with us, please. What else are horse friends for?
I keep getting tagged in this meme that’s been making it’s way around social media…
Which is totally fair, because I have indeed fallen in love with a chestnut mare. I mean it’s still very early days of course, but Gemma continues to impress me. Don’t get me wrong, she is definitely a chestnut mare complete with all of her opinions and judgments, but let’s be honest Henry is also a chestnut mare on the inside so I’ve had years of experience with that by now. Gemma has yet to throw anything at me that Henry has not. Their sass levels are fairly equal.
It’s been years since I’ve had a mare (not by deliberate choice, that’s just how things worked out) and I’m reminded why I’ve always tended to gravitate toward them more than geldings. Gemma is so intelligent, and she definitely has decided that I’m her person. She likes attention and her humans, as long as you don’t do ridiculous things like try to pet her in the wrong places or come without cookies. I can identify with that.
Under saddle she just gets better and better with every ride. I’ve never had one off the track that “got” the flatwork as easily as she does. She’s pretty steady in the contact now, the leg yields are decent, the shoulder-in is coming along, and she’s offering the beginnings of a stretchy trot. We’ve been adding in more transitions too, both within the gait and between gaits. The canter transitions still aren’t great but they’re much improved for sure, and every one we do is a bit better than the last. She’s already pretty fun to flat, and the more you ask of her the better she is. She’s so clever and can figure out what you’re asking pretty quickly. Definitely different from Henry, who has never been very good at dealing with any kind of pressure on the flat and gets frustrated/worried easily. Gemma has none of that.
I’m now having a lot of regrets about not entering her in RRP, because even if she wasn’t ready for the jumping stuff I think she could have gone and done well in the dressage. One of the first orders of business when we get to Florida will be having the saddle fitter out to fit my Custom dressage saddle to her.
My jumping saddle doesn’t really fit her either (BECAUSE WHY WOULD IT) which… it doesn’t fit me anymore either, but my bank account is so not ready to talk about that. I think I’ll end up keeping that jump saddle because it fits Henry, and then get something else for Gemma and Presto. Luckily those two are pretty similarly shaped so I think I should be able to find something that I could make work for both of them. I can’t wrap my brain around that particular very expensive thing at the moment though… gimme a few weeks.
I’ve also jumped her a couple times at home now too. Yep, that makes three whole jumping sessions under her girth now… guess you could say things are getting pretty serious. Really though she also shows her cleverness in that area too. She isn’t always sure what to do with her feet or her body, but she’s always willing to try. She hasn’t even so much as blinked about anything I’ve pointed her at – flowers, the pig fillers, or even the little wannabe liverpool tarp. My poles are also only 8′ wide, which isn’t the easiest on a wiggly green horse, but she canters right on down there and she tries.
We haven’t jumped much, or done anything particularly formal, but once we get to Florida we’ll make a real plan for her and put a bit more structure in her training program. Gymnastics and cavalettis would do her a lot of good I think, so she can learn to be a little more methodical and focused with her feet.
For now though, she’s gonna get a mini-vacay. Yesterday was officially our last ride here in Texas for the horses. Today I have a lot of errands to run and work to wrap up, and then Hillary and I leave at the buttcrack of dawn tomorrow for LRK3DE. Once we get back from Kentucky we’ve got one day to pack up the rest of my stuff (which is pretty much just the horse’s stuff at this point) and then we’re loading up and heading out to Florida.
It’s been a little surreal this past week, watching everything slowly either get packed up or thrown away or sold off. We jumped the horses on Sunday, and then yesterday I sold the majority of my jumps. There are already enough jumps on the property in FL so I’m only taking the standards that are in the best condition, and all of my square poles. The rest of it wasn’t really worth taking nor do I have the space to bring them with me anyway, so I sold it all as a cheap package deal to someone who hopefully will fix them up a bit and be able to get as much use out of them as much as I did. Those jumps might not have been fancy or beautiful but they served me just fine for years. It was the end of an era loading them up in to someone else’s trailer though, and now seeing the jump field sitting empty once again.
Times they are about to be changin.
But first… KENTUCKY! I wrapped up my last bit of writing yesterday with the TB-centric piece for RRP/EN, so I think I’m done with all the actual work stuff. Mostly.
I’m beyond ready for a fun weekend in Kentucky, even if it looks like our odds of getting rained on are fairly high. If you’ll be in attendance keep your eyes peeled for people wearing the Breed.Ride.Compete. logo – come say hi if you see us!
I’m a bit late getting to the blog today – I was fast and furiously trying to get all my LRK3DE breeding data and articles updated and ready to go to print! I did put up a few stats on the Breed.Ride.Compete. facebook page along with a link to the instant download of the spreadsheet too, if anyone is interested in that.
Ok anyway, on to the subject at hand! As I mentioned yesterday, Hillary and I made a quick overnight trip up to Michelle’s original (or “west”, I suppose now) WTW location in Midland last week. And I like to call it a menagerie, because between Michelle’s animals and all of her neighbor’s animals, you’ve got a veritable petting zoo right there.
Between those guys and baby Quinlee (the filly) I got to pet ALL KINDS of fun things in a very short period of time. 10/10 would recommend.
Visiting in the peak of breeding season also means that you’re likely to find Michelle with her arm up a mare’s butt at all hours of the day or night. This trip was no exception – she was checking both Sadie and Vee every few hours to track their cycles for breeding.
She roped Hillary into giving it a go and scanning Sadie, which I of course documented via video (Patrons, it’s on your dashboard) because Hillary was making some absolutely classic faces. She ended up shoulder deep in Sadie, and found an ovary on the scan! Pretty good for a first shot I think. Of course now we may have created a monster, because Hillary wants to take breeding courses and learn how to AI mares. I’m 100% in support of this idea btw.
I was also extremely proud of how organized Michelle’s breeding area is, especially her MASSIVE white board. I’m a really big white board fan and I’m pretty sure she thought I was crazy for it in the past, but we’ve got a convert because LOOK AT THIS THING OF BEAUTY.
It was also nice to finally see Vee and Peyton in person… believe it or not I may have helped picked them out, but I had yet to see either of them in the flesh yet. Peyton is a classic TB type and gorgeous mover, and Vee might be one of the most beautiful mares I’ve ever seen, period. Like, she looked pretty in photos, but in person she’s an absolute knock out. Gorgeous mare with a great temperament, and VERY food-motivated. We already know Peyton is a great producer, but I can’t wait to see a Vee baby too. Fingers crossed!
Back to the actual point of this little adventure: Noodle pickup.
I thought he might be a moron in the trailer, considering that he’s basically been on stall rest or paddock rest for over 6 months at this point, and he’d come to consider Obi his BFF at Michelle’s (which, btw Obi, thanks for taking a chunk out of Presto’s tail despite Michelle’s best efforts to prevent it). I thought there might be fireworks when we loaded him up and drove away. He was pretty good though, and rode the whole way home with minimal complaints, even when the stupid GPS decided for some reason to route us all the way around and through the outskirts of Austin (we love sitting in lights and traffic with a horse trailer, you know) and made it take almost 8 freaking hours to get home.
We turned him out with the other 3 horses, and Henry and Quinnie immediately seemed to remember him (there were definite “oh my god, not him again” vibes from those two) but Gemma had a whole lot of opinions about him. Most of which were expressed via squealing. She’s a pretty submissive horse in general and definitely not confrontational, but Presto just would not leave her alone no matter how much she tried to distance herself. Personal space and respecting boundaries are not exactly his strong suits.
That situation was causing Henry to assert his extreme dickishness and chase Presto into corners to try to murder him, so we had to break them up. That herd dynamic just wasn’t great with the 4 of them together. We split Henry and Gemma into one pasture and Presto and Quinnie into another. Giving each 5yo an older horse (and removing Henry from Presto) seemed to do the trick and they’ve been great ever since.
Well okay, Quinnie isn’t sure why she got stuck with the annoying one, but Presto knows better than to antagonize her too much… she spent some time raising him, after all.
Presto’s feet are not in the best shape from being barefoot for so long, he’s worn them down to little sore nubbins. I’ve got him in boots until the farrier can come out, although I’m not sure if we’ll be able to get shoes on them not. He looks fine in the boots though (aside from the fact that he knows how to unvelcro and remove them) so that works for now. Grow little feeties, grow.
The most annoying thing was that the size boots he needed are of course the ONLY ONES I had packed up and sent in the t!ny h0use (I have an ungodly number of hoof boots and those were literally the only ones I packed and sent ahead), so I had to make an emergency run to Dover and buy him a new pair. Who needs $200 anyway.
The good news is that with the boots on he looks pretty darn sound, despite all the yeehawing he’s done now that he’s back to full turnout. I haven’t even bothered with getting him legged back up yet, I figured I’d wait until we’re all settled in Florida before I even begin trying to wrap my head around that. For now I’m just grooming him every day to try to get the last of the winter coat off, and I trimmed his mane, cut his bridlepath, and clipped off the goat whiskers under his jaw. He looks… slightly more presentable anyway. Aside from all the bite marks and scratches all over him (thanks Henry).
It’s a little frustrating that he couldn’t just go back to the same training program and continue what I’d already invested a lot of time and money into (they didn’t have space), but I’m working on a couple options for him in Florida that could be promising. In the meantime I’m plenty happy to have him back here with me, even if he’s single hoofedly increased the Chaos Factor of the farm by 500%. I sure did miss his big ol’ noodle noggin.