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.
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.
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.
Q is… somewhat less impressed.
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.
Continuing with my apparent 2022 theme of Major Life Changes, on Monday I quit my job.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…
Ok so it’s Saturday… I lost track of days and forgot to post this yesterday. I swear I had it drafted, gimme a break…
While Quinlee is the only foal at WTW West this year, she’s certainly not suffered from a lack of companionship. She’s got her own little built-in family really, with a few moms and a couple sisters.
Most of the time though, she can be found in the Trio of Fillies, which consists of Quinlee, Pippa, and Teddy.
It’s an interesting dynamic. Quinlee obviously is the silliest one, being the youngest and full of that bouncing foal energy. Pippa is more of an old soul, so she’s the the older sister of the group… she participates in some of the shenanigans but she also knows where to draw the line.
Teddy is somewhere in between. She’s a yearling, so not as full of beans as Quinlee, but she is a pony after all, along with everything that entails (chaos, it entails chaos).
She’s the cool badass older sister that Q always wants to hang out with. Thus, it’s no surprise that Q sometimes attaches herself to Teddy like velcro. Literally.
And yes, Teddy might sometimes act as though Quinlee is her bratty annoying unwanted little sister, but for the most part they’re two peas in a pod. She’s found someone more in tune with her maturity level.
Well, at least until Q gets a liiiiittle overboard on the playing… then Teddy starts to wonder if she’s created a monster. The answer is yes.
First off I have to apologize in advance for being extra scarce around here this week. I’m on PTO and the SO just arrived from Texas at the end of last week with all of his stuff, so… my schedule this week is just a wee bit scattered.
I’m trying to even remember what went on last week that I should catch y’all up on. Thank goodness for my camera roll to remind me because my brain is just all over the place at the moment. I do know that the horses got new shoes, not just because of the pictures but also because the painful it to my wallet. Hard to forget that. Their feet are all looking and feeling good again though, so that’s what matters right? I’ll keep muttering that to myself every 5 weeks when I venmo an absurd amount of money to the very lovely farrier man who puts up with my horses and their bullshit. Note to past self: no, having 3 horses isn’t “basically the same” as having two. They’re lucky they’re cute.
We’ve also been cracking on with Presto’s new little program. Since our flat lessons had been going really well, it was time to start jumping, but I opted to start that venture with some training rides first. It’s kind of hard to explain to someone what Presto feels like to jump, so… I figured she could just play with it herself. He wants to kind of fling his head around and get crooked the last 4 or so strides, especially if you make any attempt at balancing him. He’s always done that, but it’s something I really do not like and would prefer to nip it in the bud now while we’ve got all the time in the world. It seems to largely stem from a lack of balance and him wanting to be a bit behind the leg. He’s come a long way with that on the flat so it’s a matter of carrying those concepts over to the jumps as well. He’s such a big horse, and really he only had about 6 months in a program last year, so… par for the course.
He did get some bodywork last week too, our favorite person was back in town for a few days so I hopped on that immediately. He had a few tight spots here and there but overall she was really pleased with how much better he looked and felt since the last time she saw him a couple months ago. He’s definitely filling out a lot and putting some muscle on.
Steph has been great with Presto though, she’s patient and positive and thinks his cheekiness is funny (I do too, luckily) but she’s got a good feel and also isn’t afraid to insist that he step it up. It also helps that she really likes him and thinks he’s a real deal horse, or could be eventually. It’s always nice to work with someone who genuinely likes your horse and believes in his ability and enjoys riding him. Sounds simple to say but we all know that certainly isn’t always the case with our horses and professionals. Especially in the moments with Presto where he wants to tell you that he knows everything and you’re stupid and therefore are ruining his life. Which he does at least a couple times every ride. I’m relatively convinced that five is the worst age when you’ve got a slightly cocky, over-confident type of horse.
He’s been really good though actually, especially about trailering over there and back. It’s a very short trip but sometimes he can be a little dramatic about stuff like that, and so far he’s been very easy to deal with loading myself, hauling down the road, unloading, tacking up, going to work, then loading back up and going home. It’s good for him I think. And to his credit, with the riding stuff he always tries hard once he realizes that he may in fact not quite know everything. What I particularly like about him is that he learns and retains things super quickly, from one ride to the next, so the progress is more evident. He’s just got feelings and opinions about it along the way. What else is new with literally any horse I own.
Speaking of, the other two are doing well also. The weather has been pretty nice so Henry is happy, and it’s still kind of blowing my mind how much better he feels living in a place with softer footing. Texas quite literally is a rock, and I knew that, but boy can you tell a massive difference with this horse in particular. He’s springier, he’s looser through his body, and he’s full of himself even more than he was before. I really love having him to ride since he’s such a contrast to the two young ones. I can get on him and know it’s going to be a good ride, and he’s always the same horse every time. Of course, riding him while also riding two very well balanced, naturally very athletic young ones just highlights the fact that Henry is the literal friggin King for taking me around Prelim despite his conformation and way of going. He’s still the one that can always put a smile on my face every day, even when he’s deliberately whipping me in the eyeball with his tail when I tack him up (ask Hillary, she can confirm that it’s very malicious).
I do think he wants Hillary to come back though, she did more fun jompies than I do. I swear I need to haul him over to XC school somewhere like once a month just so he can feel like he’s maintaining his Boss Bitch status.
Gemma is doing well too, I gave her a couple weeks off because she was feeling ever so slightly funky after some shoeing changes last cycle, but things appear to be back on track now. I rode her this morning and she was quite glad to be back doing something “fun” I think. She’s one that gets bored if she’s left to her own devices too much, she’d much rather come out every day and get some attention and have something to do. I’ll give her an easy week to ease back into things and make sure she’s feeling good before we return to a normal schedule.
HEY FREENS. Quinlee got something very exciting that she wants to show you.
Did you see it? HOW BOUT NOW?
I mean… it’s pretty hard to miss that halter. Which means it suits Quinlee perfectly, because she’s nothing if not very extra. Turquoise padding? Check. Patent? Check. BLING? CHECK!!! I think she loves it, there was a whole lot of celebrating when she got it.
She even tried her very best to show it off to all the other horses. She made a few laps around the perimeter so everyone in the neighboring fields could see. They were… not as impressed as she was hoping.
She even tried some Grade A high quality strutting, but still… no one was as enthusiastic about her new halter as she was.
So, well… she gave up on trying to impress those boring old basic horses. Hopefully her internet fans will appreciate the beauty of her latest acquisition a little bit more than they did.
If I thought Noodle was being good the week before last, he did a real “hold my beer” last week and was… even better?
In the last lesson we worked a lot on getting his hind end under him and getting him to unlock his neck and lumbar, especially in the canter. He gave it a good ol college try, and ya know… about half of the canter was pretty decent. It was as if he went home and used his day off to think about it though, because I got on him for the next ride and it was just… there. Instead of 50% of it being good, 90% of it was good. And throughout the week every ride we got a little more and a little more. He wasn’t bracing against my hand, or trying to root me out of the tack, or flopping onto his shoulder, or swinging his butt around to avoid using it. He just… cantered, like a broke and civilized animal. Well alright then, kiddo.
Steph and I had planned for him to have a training ride next, because I feel like it always helps a lot if whoever is giving me lessons has actually sat on the horse. They can feel what I feel, and play around with some things to help me figure stuff out. So on Saturday I hauled him over and Steph rode him.
Which, poor dude, it started raining like the second she got on, and got increasingly more torrential as she went. I thought Presto might have a bit of a meltdown but to his credit he didn’t, he stayed on task and they had a quick but productive ride. Steph immediately remarked that he already was going better than he had last week (I can execute homework, that’s one of my few talents). She played around with a few things to see what was most effective for him and was definitely able to feel even more than she had seen. Plus she really liked him, which of course it’s always nice when a professional thinks your horse has a lot of potential.
The next day I took him back over for a lesson, because I wanted to take advantage of the training ride still being very fresh in both Steph and Presto’s minds. And aside from the fact that he thought the poodles were going to kill him
He was yet again really good. We were there at midday so it was a bit hot and he’d been ridden 5 days in a row so with those two things combined he was definitely feeling a little tired. Still though, he showed up and he tried for me, and we were able to build even more on everything from the week before. His trot is definitely getting looser, he’s starting to step under more with his hind end, and his canter is like night and day… he can (and will) actually carry himself again.
He is a lot of work, don’t get me wrong. Timing is so crucial, he requires a lot of core strength, and even just changing something by a millimeter can make a massive difference in how he goes. I have to be a little quicker with my aids and not be hesitant to keep asking for a bit more and a bit more… he’ll step things up if you ask, but he’s not going to just volunteer it, and he’s got plenty more quality to give if we keep developing it the right way.
To be honest this lesson was probably the first time I’ve felt actually competent on this horse. He’s a whole new world from what I’m used to, and just a lot more in every way. We’ve still got a really long way to go and plenty of room for improvement for sure, but I love riding him because he challenges me to step it up and be better. He’s re-ignited some of the excitement in me about things. I find myself really looking forward to our lessons, and whatever else may be next. After a few years of not really being particularly “on fire” to go to a horse show, I’m eyeballing the schedule again with actual interest.
This week we’re going to start jump lessons… we’ll see how that goes. I want to have Steph jump him first to get her thoughts, and then we can go from there. Now that he’s feeling stronger though and we’re starting to get the canter wrangled, that’s definitely the next step. I’ve been hopping him over cavaletti and very small fences at home for a while now and he’s definitely gotten better about waiting, listening, and keeping his shape to the base, so… I think he’s ready to delve back into the jumping for real again now that we’ve got help.
He’s also starting to fill out a bit over his topline, finally. He looks more and more like a real horse every day! Well, aside from the fact that he’s always got hay in his forelock and a raging case of side eye… he’s still Presto, after all.
I have to admit, I’m starting to feel a little bad for my Texas friends. They seem to be on a bit of a hair trigger lately, probably because they’ve been sizzling on a triple-digit frying pan for like 2 months now and is basically never rains so everything is apocalyptic and the ground is gross and there’s no grass and their brains are just quite literally fried and the price of hay is insane. I’m over here like “here comes more rain, the grass is getting out of control, oh noooo” (please read with heavy sarcasm).
It makes me wonder – is this how everyone else in the world has been living this entire time? You mean to tell me it’s not god awful 9 months out of the year in other places? I mean sure it’s hot here during the day and yes I sweat profusely every morning when I ride, but I also sit outside at the end of the day and enjoy the 75 degree evenings. And the grass… there’s so much of it. It’s blowing my mind a little bit. I keep seeing everyone back in Texas posting their pics of dust bowl pastures and not being able to ride because it’s so damn unrelentingly hot and I feel… the opposite of whatever missing something is. Plenty of people love it there but I didn’t really realize just how much it was not for me until I left. I’m happier here for sure.
We’re out here having our best Florida summer. On days when it gets above 90 I bring them all inside under fans for the afternoon, and they come inside when it storms, but otherwise they’re outside a lot. Presto is looking a little bit sunbleached but he’s also filling out a lot and seems content with his life, so… he can be a little buckskin. That’s fine. He had a training ride and another lesson this weekend, but I actually got a lot of media from that so we’ll do it in a separate post. Otherwise we’ve just been chugging along working on things “brick by brick” style at home, and doing lots of hacking.
Aside from riding and taking care of the beasts, I’ve also been busy getting other stuff done too. We’ve officially got a washrack now, which is pretty exciting considering I’ve just been hosing my horses off on the driveway and neither Presto or Gemma is particularly great about standing still (that is a massive understatement in Presto’s case). I’m delighted to be able to crosstie his ass and hose him off with fewer dramatics. Hopefully now I will get less soaked in the process. We managed to do the washrack for next to nothing, since we already had base from another project and I reused the mats that were previously under a hay storage area. They’re older mats that are a little beat up and none of them are quite the same size, but they certainly do the job. Also, shoutout to the MVP item of the week that made it possible for that to be a one-person job.
I also had to run a bunch of errands on Friday so I tacked on some fun things at the end, making the trip into town to Aldi (god I love Aldi) and stopping to pick up a repaired halter (thanks Gemma) and my new custom sparkly whip from Tack Shack. It’s got real unicorn vibes and I love it, although now all I can think about is how I could build so many others with all kinds of fun options and I’m concerned that this could be a gateway drug situation. Someone help.
I’ve also been working as fast as I can in my spare time (lol) to crank out these July custom pedigree reports for Breed.Ride.Compete. They’re a lot of work but I’m having fun with them (gosh do I fall down some rabbit holes due to my own curiosity sometimes though) and really like getting feedback from people about them. With every one we finish I feel like the process gets nailed down a little bit more. I love helping people learn more about their horses and their ancestry, so I find it to be really rewarding. The next phase to roll out for BRC will be the breeding consultations, so I’ve also been thinking about how I want to structure that, the cost, etc. Hopefully that’ll be ready to go soon.
Otherwise things are just kind of slowly moving along, as they do. The SO sold our house in Austin (it was on the market for two whole days) – they closed last week and he’s supposed to be moving down later this week. Things might get a bit more hectic for a little while after that.
Until then, if anyone needs me, I’ll be out here scratching baby horse bums.