Foal Friday: Stick with what you’re good at

By now we all knows that each of the foals has their own particular strengths and talents. Like, for instance, Patrick’s ability to throw shade and judgement with just a single glance.

no he’s not speckled, he was standing in the sprinkler, and he’s not impressed with you

It’s honestly kind of spectacular. Those eyes. I feel very judged. It reminds me a lot of Presto (who is always judging me and finding me unworthy). Of course, Patrick also excels at llama face, moreso than any of the others by a long shot. All facial expressions are a real strong suit for him, his range is impressive.

derrrrr

Obi’s strength is in his lion-esque tendencies. He plays with his brother much the way a lion takes down a zebra – either a big ol’ wither chomp and attempt to bring him to the ground, or just heading straight for the jugular. Obi might be an apex predator. Jury’s still out. He’s even got a lion-looking mane.

I NOM YOU

He does at least allow Patrick to return the favor, though.

Ok now you nom me

Teddy is the master of always feeling extremely superior in any situation, even though she’s the smallest of the bunch by a long shot. She’s the most clever and she knows it, so she always looks at them as if she thinks she lives with a bunch of idiots.

there’s a lot of judgment in this one’s eyes too, along with a smug sense of superiority

Of course, despite her clear excellence she’s not exactly the picture of elegance and grace that she’d like to think she is.

oh yeah, deep booty scratch
What are you looking at?

The elegance and grace (or as much as baby horses can have anyway) really all belongs to Pippa, let’s be honest.

so dignified. such manners.

This week Percy, dear sweet innocent loveable goofy little Perce, decided to try out a new role. He thought maybe, just maybe, he could be an apex predator like Obi. And um, well… you be the judge on how that one went.

AM I SCARY? RWARRRR!

Poor Percy. Maybe just stick with what you’re good at, kid.

looking cute and getting every radio station with 100 miles with those ears

Happy Friday!

The Learning Curve

I’m back from my quick little 24 hour jaunt up to DFW to ride Presto! The good news is that I had two very enlightening and helpful lessons. The bad news is that the media I have is all from the Pivo, which is over an hour of video, which hahahahaha is not compatible with my slow AF country broadband internet. I’ve pulled some screenshots and a short video clip but I’m gonna have to find real Wi-Fi before I can upload and actually sort through all that video.

At what point do I have to stop calling him Nugget? This is at least a Strip, if not a full on Patty.

When I got there on Tuesday it was overcast and kind of cool and misty raining, so Presto was feeling a bit alive. Nothing bad at all, just quite forward and more reactive to aids. Which would be great if my aids were as correct as what he’s used to with his pro rides, but alas they are not. We spent pretty much the whole ride trying to get me to post smaller (why tf do I want to post so big on this horse, I don’t know) and relax my seat/let my leg just drape around him. With, um… varied success.

Which wasn’t a surprise to me at all. I KNEW and have known for, like… years, that this horse was going to be very different from what I’ve had in the past and what I’m used to with Henry. He’s big (please don’t ask me how big, I haven’t sticked him since before he left and I’m in deep denial about the fact that he’s noticeably larger than the 16.3 1/2 he was in February), he’s rangy, he’s got suspension and power in his gaits…. I’ve certainly never tried to do dressage on a horse like this one. It’s why I’ve spent the whole time he’s been gone working on my own strength and fitness. And that’s helped a lot for sure, but being more fit doesn’t mean you just automagically get all the finesse and knowledge and feeling that riding actually requires. I’m set up for it better now, but I still have to actually, like… learn the things.

Day 1

The first thing right out the gate is that Presto’s rhythm has to feel way slower than Henry’s. Presto has a lot more suspension and ground cover in his gaits and if I try to move his feet too quickly he just plain doesn’t have enough time to get his legs under him and push the way he needs to. I had to slow myself down and be very mindful not to push him past his point of balance. Too much speed just tips him onto the forehand and makes him brace against the hand. That one was pretty obvious to feel and I could tell right away when I tipped past that point, so I just had to recalibrate my own rhythm.

The main problem though was how I’m sitting in the canter, which… isn’t well. Presto REALLY wants me to have a lighter seat with my leg mostly off and quietly draped down, like um, an actual good dressage seat. My leg could not compute how to make that happen for more than a few strides at a time and still stay with his giant uphill step. Presto is built so much different from Henry (tall slim narrow vs short stocky wide) and they move so completely different that everything just felt awkward and foreign, and my brain and my body parts were struggling to communicate. It was better/easier when I dropped my stirrups, but it was a real “this is gonna need a lot of work to do it correctly” type of thing. Duly noted.

Hi mom, learn to ride

I know that a lot of my struggle comes from the fact that my back/hips/hamstrings are chronically jacked up. They have been for… ever, basically. When I was deep into triathlon I went to a sports medicine guy weekly for chiro, stretching, etc to help because it got so bad that was the only way I could even stay “sound” enough to do it. I kind of failed to consider with my increased physical activity that I might have issues like that surfacing again, and ya know, maybe I would need to address it and get some help at some point. Literally didn’t even occur to me until I was strugglebussing to get my leg to do what I wanted and then I was like “Oh. Right.”. Good to know. Duly noted again.

I went to the hotel that night and watched some videos, read some articles, and did some stretches and exercises to try to loosen up my body. I watched my Pivo footage a couple times to help cement everything that Megan had said in the lesson and help set it into my brain. I think with Presto it’s going to be especially important to be mindful of my own body, because he tends to want to get stiff and resistant in his lower lumbar too, so as soon as I get stiff there myself, it immediately transfers to him and then we end up compounding each other’s issues.

The next morning I showed up a little looser and ready to try to build on day 1. Presto was definitely feeling a bit lazier, which honestly kind of worked a little better for me since he was a little slower to react if I got something wrong. But I felt like I was able to come back and apply a lot of what I’d figured out on day 1 and improve on it. My body was a bit more cooperative, and we worked a lot on the timing of my aids. What I really liked about Megan’s instruction is that she knows the horse so well by now that she could be like “he’s gonna try to do this, before that happens you’ll start to feel this, when you feel that you need to do this to prevent it… but if you’re too late with your timing and this happens then here’s what you do to fix it”. Extremely useful. Like massively.

If I could feel it coming and be quick and correct with my aids, awesome. Sometimes I was a little too slow. Sometimes I just wasn’t effective enough. But by the end I could feel EXACTLY what she was talking about, I was able to get his hind end truly connected to the front, and it felt glorious. I could feel what we will at some point eventually be able to do consistently, and it was really exciting.

This horse is for sure way different. I’m for sure in a league that I’ve never before found myself in. It’s a little intimidating, sure, but mostly it’s just exciting. I do this because I want to learn and be better, not because I just want to go horse show and win ribbons. This horse will be a new challenge for me, and a huuuge learning opportunity. The curve is steep and it is long, but I’ve come home feeling really invigorated and determined to figure it out. I think for the past couple years I’ve felt a little bit stuck in a rut, a little bored, a little burned out, a little uninspired maybe. Two rides on Presto and I’ve come away feeling like I’m really ready to dive in head first again and give it everything I’ve got. He’s 100% the horse I wanted, and now he’s got a fabulous training foundation, so it’s up to me to rise to the occasion and see what we can accomplish.

I came home with plenty of homework and gave myself some action items, all of which have already been initiated. First and foremost, I gotta work on my seat/position and a more correct dressage seat. I contacted the local dressage guy that I like and asked about lunge line lessons on their school horses, and I have my first one next Tuesday.

Second, I have to address my own physical issues. Several people recommended Airrosti to me, so I have my first appointment set up for next Wednesday (what a week of torture I’ve got coming).

Third, I have to do a way better job of stretching and keeping myself loose, I can’t just go hard on the spin bike in the morning, sit at my computer for 8 hours, and then expect to not literally turn into a block of stone. So this morning I started yoga. What I’ve learned so far is that I suck at breathing and my hamstrings are worse than I thought. Good times.

We’ll see how these few things work out and then go from there. It’s a start anyway.

It was a quick trip, barely more than a day, but I got exactly what I wanted out of it. I knew I’d have holes that I needed to address, I just didn’t know exactly what they’d be. Now I’ve got a better idea, and I can start working on all these things while Presto finishes out his time with Megan. She’s also coming down to Austin next weekend for a clinic and bringing Presto with her so I’ll get to ride him a couple more times before he leaves for his Tour de California in October.

I also remembered just how much I love this horse. Have no fear, Presto’s personality remains unchanged, and sitting on him still feels like home. Megan commented multiple times how well we suit each other and that we look like we fit well together, which means a lot. I’ve always really liked his type, his personality, his brain, and how he feels to ride, and now that he’s had 6 months of good pro training it’s only cemented all of those things even more. He’s still Presto, just a way more educated version. Sending him off to her longer-term was without a doubt the right decision. Sitting on him it feels like THIS is my horse, for sure, the one a I’ve been waiting for. I just, ya know… have to learn how to ride him. Working on it!

Gateway Drug

How is it already Monday again? And mid-September at that? Time is absolutely flying. Which is fine by me since fall is my favorite season. We got a couple of cool, crisp, low-humidity mornings last week that were just DIVINE (it was nice to not be a puddle of sweat on my spin bike at 6am for once) to the point where I even wore a sweatshirt for like a whole hour. Henry was a big fan of the cooler temps in our morning rides, too.

How dolphins do lead changes. It’s his face for me.

Even though the afternoons were still getting up into the 90’s, the humidity dropped significantly (down to 25%!!!) so it didn’t even feel that hot. Henry doesn’t have nearly as hard a time with the heat when the humidity stays low like that… which is rare here unfortunately. But the cooler drier weather did make it feel very fall-like which was pretty exciting for all of us. Yesterday it was back to being hot and humid but now today we’re getting some of the rain from Tropical Storm Nicolas – which we desperately need rain for the grass – and it feels pretty darn nice out. I’ll take the rain and 80’s high temperatures for a few days, thank you.

Henry’s been keeping to his usual riding schedule, although since the ground was getting pretty hard I’ve kept the jumps lower. Which Henry was not impressed by in the least. He jumped them all like this.

It’s just a canter step after all, right? He saved his enthusiasm for all of his dolphining in the corners. I like the spicier version of Henry though, he’s a lot more fun to ride in the fall and winter when his sass level and energy level increases. He’s like that because he feels good, and I’ll never be unhappy about a Henry that feels good. Even if there’s a lot of yeehaw. It’s entertaining to me.

Last week had some good mail days, too. I had taken advantage of a Vistaprint coupon and ordered a couple things in anticipation of showing Presto next year – a navy and white WTW banner (because I will rep the shit out of WTW in all situations) and a stall sign for Presto. I’d spent the past couple weeks wavering about the stall sign, not really finding one that I loved. I think I looked at every single one on Etsy, but nothing was quite right. I wanted navy and white, I wanted the WTW logo, and I wanted his breeding on it. And of course since it’s for shows I thought it would be helpful to have his photo and my phone number. I couldn’t find any that were as professional looking as I wanted, or weren’t $$$. But in browsing Vistaprint after making the banner, I saw that they make little aluminum signs, so I set to work making the design I had in mind within one of their templates. I had no clue how it would turn out once they printed my design but it was only $18 so… worth a shot.

I think it came out great. It’s nicely done, has everything I wanted on it, and it’ll look good with his stall set-up. Can’t beat it for the price. I’m still debating how I want to hang it… I could make holes in the corners and run a chain through if I wanted, or use adhesive photo hooks and run a chain from the back. Or other adhesive hooks. Or clips. Or command strips. Or velcro. Or just some duct tape on the back. Honestly I’ll probably start with the duct tape method and see how that works before I go overcomplicating things. It seems easiest, and then I can just stick it up wherever I want on the stall front or door that is out of reach of his mouth, depending on the venue. Either way, very pleased with my low-budget stall sign. Two thumbs up for Vistaprint.

I also finally got my package with my missing Epplejeck items from my July order. They weren’t the quickest to resolve the situation, but they did make it right and send me the two items that were missing from the original order. It took a few weeks to get here, but it made it and I’m satisfied with how they handled it overall. Of course I was convinced that since I’d had to jump through so many hoops to get these two things, neither of them would fit. Luck was on my side though, because both items fit and I really like them both.

These Quur Cardie breeches are pretty much a dead-ringer dupe for Equiline (complete with the little triangle badge thingy on the left leg) but I honestly prefer the fabric on these to the fabric on my Equiline. These are a true tech fabric vs a more cottony feel, which is more comfortable IMO. They call this color purple but it looked merlot to me online and it is indeed very merlot in real life – my pic makes it look more pinkish than it is. For under $100 (according to my receipt I paid $83 for them on sale) these are a great alternative. The website said they run small and they do seem about a half size small, which works in my favor. I kinda want more colors.

I had also kinda forgotten that I ordered the world’s best show shirt. Yep that’s navy glitter. Do I already have a navy glitter long-sleeve? Yes but the top part is white so under a jacket you can’t see it’s magnificence. This one is full on navy glitter. Even the buttons have glitter inside them. It’s dark sparkly perfection and no one can convince me otherwise. Plus it fits great, so yay.

AND, continuing on the sparkly navy theme, a late birthday present showed up from the UK – the most stupid beautiful saddle pad I think I’ve ever seen in my life.

This doesn’t even capture it

Look, I’m not really a lover of saddle pads. I’m not a connoisseur, a collector, or an enthusiast the way a lot of horse people are. I really have very few saddle pads and use the same ones day in and day out, I’m not into the matchy-matchy thing, I don’t do color, etc etc. Lots of people are into it but it’s just not my jam. At least, not usually. There’s something about those Kentucky saddle pads though. They do really cool stitching patterns that make everything look more elegant. And they put details on them that really dress it up without being overly in-your-face about it. They’re just mega classy looking pads, in a more subtle way. And also generally expensive, which is why I hadn’t bought any. Seeing this one in person though… man. I might have a new addiction. I can already see this is going to be a problem. The pad I got is the dressage version from the Glitter Stone line, but now I want the jump version of it too. Is it a birthday present or is it a gateway drug? We’ll find out sooner or later. These aren’t sheepskin lined so Henry can’t use them, but Presto sure can.

Speaking of the noodle, I spent yesterday afternoon making his next vlog installment for the Futurity, so hopefully that’ll be ready to post this week. Tomorrow morning I head up to DFW for a couple days to take my first official lessons on him, and I’ve not had time to draft any posts for while I’m gone so things will go dark here for a day or two. I promise to come home armed with lots to say and hopefully lots of media (I’m taking my Pivo, anyway). I’m equal parts excited and intimidated, mostly because I haven’t sat on him in like 6 months now and the horse I have today is definitely nothing like the horse I dropped off in the spring, nor is he at all like Henry. I know I have a very steep learning curve ahead of me, and I expect that, so that’s the intimidating part, but at the same time I’m so excited to get back on him and feel what I’ve got now. The challenge of learning to ride a “new” horse is invigorating too, I’m really looking forward to it. I just hope I don’t suck too much. Definitely glad I’ve spent the last 6 months getting in better shape at least, I have a feeling I’m gonna need it!

Foal Friday: Awkwards

We had pretty grand plans for Foal Friday this week. The foals were gonna get spiffed up, glammed, and ready for some real bonafide beauty shots. You know what they say about plans and horses, right? Instead of finding a field full of beautiful foals ready to model the next morning, somehow the foals had been replaced with yaks and llamas and giraffes. Growth spurts come and go in the blink of an eye with babies, they can look beautiful one day but awkward as hell the next. And that is exactly what happened. To all of them. At the same time.

Somehow everyone’s butt decided to shoot up while their neck connection went… somewhere. On vacation maybe? Obi is chunked up in an awkward way that makes him look like a baby Clydesdale (ok the blaze isn’t helping) and his butt is doing… something else. It’s a lewk.

we need to find him an audition for a Budweiser commercial

Just… none of his parts really match at the moment and all of his elegance has left the building. The saving grace with him is that he does have a totally adorable face no matter what kind of phase his body is in, so at least there’s that.

I wonder who’s responsible for all those chunks missing out of his brother’s butt

Patrick is more refined in general, so instead of looking like a chunky little sausage, he just looks a bit giraffey. Ok a lot giraffey. The neck got reeeeaaally long all the sudden, and his nice high neck connection went poof. He too still has a beautiful face though. If you take a pic of him in motion it’s not so bad, you can’t even really tell that his butt is a good 3″ higher than anything else. Just a lil baby giraffe, wandering the African plains. Nothing to see here.

As for Percy – um, well… at least he’s always sweet? He’s got the awkwards worse than any of them at the moment.

He’s 90% ears

Even the girls, who are rarely anything but beautiful, are looking a bit funky. Both are butthigh, and Pippa’s neck is doing whatever weird thing Patrick’s is up to. Hmm, now that I’m thinking about it maybe we should have just done a post of only headshots… too late now.

I think Teddy is probably the least awkward looking of the bunch this week. Probably because she’s a round lil’ pony, and even when round lil’ ponies get awkward they’re still mega cute by default, right? Especially when they come in a fun color.

still totally squish-worthy
Pay no attention to how much higher her butt is

So, um, this week may have been a bit of a bust as far as fancy glamour shots go. Hopefully this random onset of mega-awkwards will pass quickly, but who knows. You may end up getting a post of entirely headshots next week after all. Or buttshots, maybe? They seem to all look just fine from that angle too.

Happy Friday!

That’s a Dingo

I got Mina’s health results and breed analysis results back from her Embark test (someone sent me a refer-a-friend code for $50 off ours so there’s one here if anyone else wants to use one too)! I have no idea how accurate any of this stuff is proven to be but I will say that they were pretty fast and the customer service was good.

Her health results didn’t really return anything significant. She’s a carrier for Progressive Retinal Atrophy but since it’s recessive she isn’t affected herself, and she’s not a breeding animal so that doesn’t really matter. She also has one copy of the variant for Alanine Aminotransferase Activity, which on their paperwork says “Mina has one copy of a variant associated with reduced ALT activity as measured on veterinary blood chemistry panels. Please inform your veterinarian that Mina has this genotype, as ALT is often used as an indicator of liver health and Mina is likely to have a lower than average resting ALT activity.”. So, more of an informational type thing.

Her breed results were a little more interesting. I was guessing she had some Pit for sure, maybe with some pointer or something. I wasn’t totally wrong.

I admit that I definitely didn’t see all that Cattle Dog coming though. That one threw me a bit. I mean… just looking at her I didn’t really see it.

My friend Megan (Luxe EQ owner Megan, not Presto Megan… there are too many Megan’s in my life including myself) is a big Cattle Dog aficionado and has them herself, and she said she wasn’t surprised by it at all. She gave me a crash course in the origins of ACD’s and sent me some info so I could do some more research. ACD’s basically descend from a mix of Border Collie, Dingo, Dalmatian, and Kelpie. Apparently it’s not that uncommon when you get a lot of mixing and intermingling with ACD/Border Collie/other similar breeds to get kind of a throwback look with the phenotype taking on more of the Dingo/Kelpie look than what we typically think of when we picture an ACD.

dingo
Kelpie

I was kind of amused by this, because I’ve been jokingly calling her a dingo for weeks now, thinking she looked like one especially in her posture and how she moves. Turns out I wasn’t far off.

Once Megan and I started talking characteristics and personality traits, Mina does seem to have a whole lot in common with the ACD’s. Apparently they like to perform high surveillance, the higher the better, which explains a lot about Mina’s couch-climbing habits. The dog sleeps on the arms of the couch like a gargoyle and more than once has considered trying to hop up on the counter.

They like to sleep upside down a lot for some reason (check), are energetic (check), mouthy but generally not destructive (check), loyal (check)… I mean there was a whole lot in common.

I definitely learned something new here, and having done a little research and talking to ACD people, the results are 100% believable, even if not quite what I was expecting. One thing we know for sure – she isn’t the “lab mix” the shelter had her down as LOL. We knew that already, but it’s cool to be able to put together some puzzle pieces about her ancestry!

Happy, Happy Guy

The most exciting thing that happened this past weekend (at least if you ask Henry) is that someone got to dust off his XC boots and go for a whirl around his favorite stomping grounds.

just how casually can one lope over a Training fence…

It’s been… a hot minute since we went out XC schooling. Like I can’t even exactly remember the last time I took Henry, I think it was last fall or winter. It makes me sad to think it’s been that long, I don’t know where the time has gone or how that happened. I haven’t even thought about it really – Hillary asked if I was free and wanted to go, and I said of course. Naturally it ended up being one of the hottest days of the summer so far (it’s like Texas senses when you’re trying to have fun and then attempts to ruin it however possible) so we went early and I planned on taking it pretty easy with him. I figured we’d pop some warmup jumps, maybe a combination or two, and then canter around the Novice course. No pressure, nothing strenuous, just something to get our XC legs back and have some fun.

Hillary was stopping by to pick us up on her way to Pine Hill, so I gathered all of our stuff and made a pile on the driveway for quick and easy loading. It was kinda weird packing for XC again after it having been so long, I kept thinking I was forgetting something. Vest – check. XC boots – check. Figure 8 bridle – check. Breastplate – check. Neck strap – check. Saddle/pad/girth – check. Whip – check. Skull cap – check. I did forget to snap a pompom on the top though, so that was sad. And I didn’t even think about the helmet camera. Oops. I got all my stuff piled up, grabbed Henry to wait out front (he knew something was up) and when Hillary arrived we dropped the ramp, loaded Henry up, tossed my stuff in her tack room, and off we went.

Dis all seems suspicious

We got there and left the horses in the trailer while we went to sign releases and pay, and Henry let his presence be known by screaming at the top of his lungs (he calls it “announcing his arrival”) a few times. He’s got a very distinctive, ear-piercing, high-pitched voice that is easily recognizable so I could definitely still hear him down by the office. By the time we unloaded and tacked up he knew exactly where he was and seemed delighted by the day’s agenda.

I got on and did a fairly quick warmup, not wanting to get him too hot. We stretched him out a bit, practiced opening and compacting his stride, making sure he was straight and between my hand and leg, etc. All the usual checkpoints before you start jumping. I came around and pointed him at a little blue box and he absolutely PINGED over it. This horse has zest for very few things in life (usually food) but cross country is one of them. After the blue box we popped a little rolltop then came around and cantered the first Novice fence, and he was feeling great and ready to go but was still super rideable too.

We started off walking around the Novice course, with Hillary jumping bits of it and the combinations. Since it was already quite hot I opted to save Henry for the end to string more stuff together, so we just hopped over a Training coop and then through the Training water combo.

They just redid the footing in the water and haven’t actually refilled it yet, and Henry’s mind was a little blown when he went to drop down the bank into the water and there wasn’t any water. It was like he hovered in midair for a second going “HOLY SHIT DID IT ALL GO DOWN THE DRAIN? AM I GONNA GO DOWN THE DRAIN TOO?”. He’s schooled that water so many times in his life, but never without actual water in it and it took him by surprise. I was amused.

After that we went over to the start box so I could string a little course together. I intended on just doing the first half or so of the Novice course, but once it went back into the woods I honest to god could not remember where the hell that course went. I ended up just kind of meandering around the paths and making up my own course as I went, which was like half N and half T. Worked out pretty well actually. He was in heat-seeking missile mode, so anything I pointed him at got jumped. He was very proud of himself by the end. We haven’t left the start box and cantered around a course on our own like that in a couple years now, so boy was it ever fun to get to do it again. There’s no more fun XC horse than Henry, even when he’s rusty.

I really need to make a point to get him out there more often. It’s gonna be hard to juggle two once Presto comes home but I’ll have to figure something out. Henry’s noticeably happier for days after he gets to go do some XC.

Clips Pins Snaps

I sat down here to do my recap of last week’s happenings and had a hard time remembering what the heck even happened. How does last week already feel like such a long time ago?

Really though, I think between AEC and Bicton I spent most of my free time watching livestreams. The AEC one was bad for my blood pressure, they had a tendency to cut to commercial break or cut away to another ring/person RIGHT when the person I’d been waiting on was about to go. The only time their servers went down the entire time was precisely for the entirety of Tenny’s XC run and I don’t think I’ve ever yelled at a screen so much in my entire life. That was the one thing I wanted to see most, of course.

I am president of the Tenny fanclub. Well ok, maybe Tenny is the president of the Tenny fan club…

For a free livestream though I can’t complain too much, and overall we did get to see a lot, and at least something from every level. It gave me a little bit of FOMO (okay maybe not so much the first couple days when it was absolutely pissing rain) and extra sadness that Presto didn’t get to go. Then again I didn’t think the Novice looked particularly challenging, definitely not as technical as the course he did at Chatt, so… oh well. It was a beautiful show though and the courses were lovely, that’s for sure.

The Bicton live stream was great – good commentary and we got to see a lot of the course. The terrain was absolutely INSANE, that’s for sure, and the “bloodier” horses definitely seemed to fare better – the average blood percentage of the top 10 was 62%, and the average of the top 5 was 66%. Some horses just plain ran out of gas 3/4 of the way around after going up and down so many hills.

The Queen mare, Vanir Kamira

I did think it was interesting how many times the pin at the bounce coffin gave way – often on only one side. Of all the times it went, only one horse really whacked it particularly hard. Most just scraped over the top with the hind end the way XC horses often do when jumping into coffin questions like that, but they certainly would not have fallen or even stumbled if the pin hadn’t gone. Lots of 11 penalties where it wasn’t deserved, IMO. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of discussion comes about after all these penalties that have happened on the big stage lately.

The other highlight from Bicton was seeing Gemma Tattersall finally win a 5*. I feel like she’s a bit of a kindred spirit with that pompom up there on her XC helmet. Pom Club things. If Gemma can ball around a 5* to win it like a complete boss bitch in her lavender and white pompom helmet cover, the haters can definitely STFU about mine.

Anyway.

Otherwise the only interesting things to happen last week were the acquisition of a few new things. Free Ride had a sale so I finally caved and ordered the black shirt that I’ve been eyeballing for months. It has a little tone on tone stripe down the arm/side and sparkly glitter mesh so duh, I needed it. I do honestly need a few more shirts that are more fitted for when I tuck them in, so that plus sale plus free shipping seemed to justify it in my mind.

that moment when you realize that your shirt, phone case, and nails are all black glitter…

It’s a cute shirt for sure, although the fabric is a bit thick for a sunshirt, IMO. I’d call it more of a baselayer. Which works fine for me because I’ll be able to wear it more over the coming months. It’s really nicely fitted and Free RIde shipped the same day I ordered, big props to them there. I’ve always heard good things but this was my first time ordering from them.

nicely fitted but not tight

The week before that, when I was still high off my $40 amazon breeches find, I had ordered a show shirt from another Amazon company. I found it kind of by accident, hidden in a listing for sunshirts. They had navy and gray, both with full mesh sleeves, so I took a shot and ordered the navy one. The all mesh sleeve is really appealing to me because I’m pretty much always at shows that are hot, so I wear my Motionlite coats, but if you wear a short sleeve shirt under those you can always see the line really easily, which drives me nuts in pictures. The mesh sleeve seemed like a good compromise – you’d get the bit of white cuff at the wrist from the long sleeve, and the sleeve would be a nice flat smooth profile under the arm of the coat, but the mesh would be cooler than a regular long sleeve. In theory, anyway. I didn’t have super high hopes for a $30 shirt but figured what the heck it was worth a shot.

This one is another winner though, for sure. The fabric is nice – thin and stretchy, and the mesh sleeves are REALLY cool and breathable. The fit is great for a show shirt too, not too boxy. I immediately went back to order the gray one but it’s sold out in my size right now. I think these things will be magical for warm weather shows. The mesh is delicate obviously so my dumpster fire self will have to be a little careful not to rip it, but also… they’re $30.

sorry for my bathroom mirror selfies and really ugly bright ass orange shorts

The other acquisition/upgrade last week was my running martingale clip rings. Presto is jumping in a running right now, but I sold my last running attachment (Henry used one when he was greener and more, uh, enthusiastic too, but settled out of needing it) a couple years ago. I grabbed a cheap $6 adjustable running attachment from someone on facebook one day so I’d at least have something for when he comes back. I dunno about y’all though but I freaking HATE having to unbuckle reins to run them through the rings (ain’t nobody got time for that) so I wanted clip-on ones like the Prestige and CWD runnings have. Stacie pointed out that duh you can just buy the rings by themselves (I got mine on the same Amazon order as my shirt, it was $7 for 5 rings) and convert any running to the clip-on ring style. She’s a genius. All hail Stacie.

pre-op

It was as easy as cutting the old rings off with bolt cutters, then sliding the new ones on. Took all of 30 seconds maybe.

post-op

I got the 40mm, which are a little bigger than the rings that came on the running to start with, but I figured I’d rather them be slightly bigger so it was easier to clip them on and off over raised reins.

That was definitely the cheapest and easiest upgrade that I’ve done in a really long time. Unbuckling reins is for the birds, man.

We did get to do one other fun thing this weekend too but it gets it’s own post tomorrow! Hope y’all had a good long weekend.

Foal Friday: Bubbles

It’s become a bit of a game to find little toys and things to show the babies. It keeps things fun, and them seeing some scary stuff now when they’re little seems to help build their confidence and bravery for the future. Plus, ya know, it’s entertaining as heck.

This time the toys of choice were a little dog tunnel and a flower bubble machine. Right off the bat the babies spotted the human with the interesting new things and came up to scope them out. Ladies first of course, because they’re always the most bold.

The girls weren’t really all that impressed with the bubbles, to be fair. They sniffed it once and then wandered off bored. Obi, however, was skeptical of the death acid balls (his words) that it was shooting out at a very high rate of speed.

nope nope nope

You know who was a big fan of it, though? Mr. Percy. He LOVED the bubbles. He marched right up there, gave it a sniff, and then just keep standing there letting the bubbles accumulate around him.

When the machine ran out of bubble solution and shut off he almost seemed sad about it.

Where da bubbles go?

As for Patrick, he wasn’t really convinced that any of this business was safe or wise to participate in. He prefers to spectate all the various tomfoolery, thank you very much. If he was a human he’d always be the designated driver of the friend group, I think.

even when he stands kind of awkward, he’s still pretty darn cute

The girls didn’t really get that interested in this particular play day until the tunnel came out. Now THAT looked like it was worth investigating.

Especially once it got popped open and laid out to full size. They immediately had to scope it out.

At first (for, ya know, at least 15 seconds) they were a little skeptical of it, but it didn’t take long before it became basically a jungle gym. Especially for Teddy. Because Pony.

She’s now stomped it, sat on it, run over top of it, jumped over it, and scared the boys with it. What better toy could a girl want?

Happy Friday!

It’s In the Blood: Bicton 5*

Y’all know I can’t resist a 5* field, and Bicton being a bit of a one-off plus containing a fair number of first time 5* starters, I definitely had to take a closer look at the field. It’s a small group for a 5*, we started with 39 entries and are down to 33 as of this writing, but there are still some interesting horses and breeding to look at here. The course looks great, H&C will be livestreaming – what more could you want?

Chedington Bicton Park 5* Horse Trials 2021 - Bicton Arena

The first thing that stood out to me was the number of horses that have a full TB parent. There aren’t any full TB’s in the field, but 11 horses (33% of the field) have one full TB parent. As far as which side of the pedigree the blood is on, it’s split pretty evenly – 5 have a full TB sire and 6 have a full TB dam. If you go back one more generation, an additional 6 horses have a full TB damsire and another 3 have a full TB sire’s sire. Even with no full thoroughbreds in the field, the importance of TB blood in the modern event horse is still very evident, and it doesn’t necessarily seem to matter where in the pedigree the blood comes from. None of them share the same thoroughbred either – you see everything from the classic sires like Imperius xx and Hand in Glove xx to more modern sires like Tajraasi xx.

The average blood percentage for the field is 60%, higher than the usual 55-56ish that we’re used to seeing at the European 5*’s. MHS King Joules (by Ghareeb xx out of a Cavalier Royale/Morwood xx mare) has the highest blood percentage, around 84%, and Finduss PFB (by Saffier out of a Sarantos/Purioso mare) is the lowest around 33%.

MHS King Joules – Oliver Townend
MHS King Joules by Ghareeb xx

As far as where they were bred, as usual Ireland gets to stake the biggest claim, with 48% of the field having been bred in Ireland. Despite that, only three of the 16 Irish-breds are fully of traditional Irish breeding, the other 13 have continental European warmblood heritage (mostly Selle Francais and Holsteiner – the magical combination). Of the three traditionally bred Irish Sporthorses, they have a lot of blood in there to balance to Irish Draught – Alfies Clover is 72% TB, Diamond Ructions is also 72% TB, and Majas Hope is 77% TB. The other two countries that have bred the most entrants are Great Britain and Nederlands, with 6 horses each.

While none of the horses in the field share the same sire, we do see a few stallions appearing in multiple horses’ pedigrees. Clover Hill shows up in 4 different horses, once as the sire’s sire, twice as the damsire, and once as the dam’s damsire. Namelus R is the sire’s sire of two horses, with Rock King and Cavalier Royale in the damsire spot for two horses.

Rock King by Just a Monarch xx

We see a lot of jumper bred horses in the field, as usual, as well as some purpose-bred eventers. Top level 1.60m showjumper stallions Carambole, Iroko, Camiro de Haar Z, Hermes de Reve, Touchdown, and Tangelo vd Zuuthoeve are the sires of one horse each. Advanced level eventing stallions Mill Law and Jumbo both have one offspring each, and 5* eventing stallions Oslo Biats and Chilli Morning also have one each. Interestingly perhaps for US breeders, there are two sires of horses in this field that are now over here breeding in North America – Valentino (sire of VIP Vinnie) and Billy Mexico (sire of Billy Walk On).

Looking on the damside we also see some excellent performance horses. RSH Contend Or’s dam showjumped to 1.60m level and Fonbherna Lancer’s dam showjumped to 1.40m level. Two horses in the field have top level eventing dams – Chilli Knight out of 5* mare King’s Gem, and Mr Fahrenheit out of 5* mare Little Tiger.

Trot ON Hot Topics: CATCH UP WITH PHOEBE BUCKLEY-LITTLE TIGER RETIRES.
Little Tiger, by Java Tiger xx

In addition to performance mares we also see some who didn’t compete in sport themselves but have proven to be tremendous producers. MHS King Joules’ dam produced 10 foals – 2 eventers competing 3* and 5* and 5 showjumpers competing from 1.30m up to 1.60m. HHS Noble Call’s dam produced 5 foals – one 4* eventer and 4 showjumpers competing from 1.35m through 1.60m. Pencos Crown Jewel’s dam has also produced a whopping THREE 1.60m showjumpers. Billy Walk On’s dam produced 3 other eventers that have competed through 3* level. Mr Farenheit’s dam Little Tiger has also produced another 4* eventer, making her a excellent producer as well as a top performance horse. The same can be said of Chilli Knight’s dam King’s Gem, who already has produced one other 5* eventer a well as a 3* eventer.

I can’t wait to see how this new course shakes out and who finds themselves on top at the end. Who are your Bicton picks?

Logo’d Up

If there’s one thing I’m passionate about, it’s supporting the people and programs that I really believe in. And, as you may have noticed, I’m a big fan of the Willow Tree Warmbloods breeding program. I mean, I’m part of it so I’m biased, and Presto bears the WTW suffix, but ya know. I’m proud of what Michelle has built so far and am very proud to rep the farm and happy to help put the name out there as much as possible. Therefore, I have a lot of WTW logo stuff.

the last batch

As Presto begins to wind down his time in training, and the transition back over to me becomes more and more real, I find myself doing a weird equestrian version of nesting and prepping. I can’t really do anything right now except think about what we might do and where we might go next year. If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that I have no problem being a walking advertisement for WTW. Plus, like, the logo that Britt made is pretty sweet, so why not show it off. I’ve slowly been adding bits and pieces to my WTW apparel and equipment.

Mina is a big fan of the belt in particular

When Presto was a wee baby mostly I had stuff like a grooming towel, and a scrim sheet, and a polo shirt… stuff I could use when he was showing in hand. Plus the decals on my truck and trailer. Now that he’s a bonafide Real Horse it’s time to start expanding a bit. He got his fancy bonnet back when he went to Megan, because ya know… gotta have a fancy hat. I love his bonnet and how professional it looks, and I think the logo turned out great (it came from Equine Bonnets and only took a week – highly recommend). Otherwise though he wears Megan’s logo stuff, since obviously it’s easier for her to use her own pads and whatnot, and fair enough for her to also rep her own program.

But now that he’s headed back to me soon, I figured it’s time to start expanding on both his and my stuff and add a few pieces at a time so that we’re fully locked and loaded and logo’d to death by the time we ever actually hit a horse show. That’s part of the point, right? Pretty sure.

I’ve been needing to buy him some saddle pads anyway – all I’ve got are Henry’s sheepskin-lined ones and Presto can’t wear those because he needs the shimmable half pad. Oddly out of all the things I collect, saddle pads are not one of them. I have very few. But seeing Megan’s Pro Choice saddle pads this year, I actually really liked them, so I got him one of their XC ones – white with navy trim. Which…. uh… I kinda forgot until this moment that he needs pads for stadium and dressage too so good job self. You can see what phase I care about most. Anyway, I did order him the XC pad already anyway, and I definitely plan on having the WTW logo put on it. I just can’t decide which way I prefer the logo.

On one hand, the top one sits nicely with the shape of the pad and the text is bigger/easier to read, but the bottom is the classic WTW logo format and is more recognizable. There’s also room beside it to pin my bridle number if I don’t want it on his head or breastplate. Pros and cons. I put it to an Instagram poll but the results were almost 50/50 so that didn’t help much. The only thing I’ve decided for sure is that it’ll have the logo on one side and his name on the other.

I also snagged a banner and a stall sign on super sale from Vistaprint, we’ll see how they turn out.

The whole world will definitely know about WTW if I have anything to say about it. Like people will be begging me to stop soon. No shame in my game.

What is y’alls favorite logo item?