Fans of the show Parks and Rec will immediately get the reference in the title – it’s the name of one of the main characters of the show. Loveable, goofy, and perhaps a bit of a derp, Andy is one of my favorite characters ever on TV. And there’s a reason why Randell WTW went from his nickname of Randy to quickly having his barn name morph to Andy instead… he is 100% Andy Dwyer.
He’s so incredibly sweet, but he does have a penchant for getting himself into a bit of a pickle. Like the time he took a nap and woke up on the wrong side of the fence. Or the time he fell face first into his water trough. Or the time he took a nap like an upside down turtle up against the stall wall and was baffled when he couldn’t get up. Luckily his response to such things is “Huh… what a conundrum” as he waits patiently for assistance.
He also LOVES people. It’s hard to even get pictures of Andy because most of them end up like this.
We are the very best of friends and he would prefer to be glued to me 24/7. I absolutely adore him. But getting far enough away from him to actually take pictures where his whole body is in the frame… that is a challenge.
I resorted to sneaking into his paddock while he was taking a nap in his stall and then waited for him to come outside.
There is nothing subtle about this child. He is unapologetically Andy, he lifts his leg up like a dog when you scratch his inner thigh, he would come sleep in your house if you let him, and just wants to do whatever you want to do. His mom has a very hands-off approach to parenting (she feeds him and makes sure he’s safe, but she also won’t let him near her food and does not tolerate any hint of shenanigans in her vicinity) which has made him very people-oriented. It’s great.
But on top of that, he’s also a really nice colt.
Even though he’s butt high right now, he’s such a nice type. Leggy and tall. I have a feeling he’ll be quite awkward in his early years (just like another certain kiddo we all know and love) but he’s going to be really lovely I think. He’s very much my type!
His new mom came to meet him last weekend and they instantly loved each other, so I think it’s gonna be a great match. This kiddo is special, and I’m only like 98.2% biased. How could you not love Andy?
It’s going to have to be a quick one today because I have too much to do and not enough time to do it, but I figured I should at least pop in and do a quick update on what’s happening here. Which is a whole lot but also not much. You know what I mean? Like when you’re very busy with a lot of things but none of them are particularly noteworthy or exciting?
The 2yo’s got gelded last week so between all their daily care and doing all the stuff with the babies, it’s time consuming but also kind of mundane. Groom Lead Medicate Cold hose Walk Clean etc etc etc. We’ve also officially entered summertime rainy season, so there’s a lot more shuffling horses in and out of stalls during storms, thus more stall cleaning. If I’m not doing that I’m probably working on pedigree reports or writing something. I’m assuming y’all probably don’t want a whole blog post about any of that, but the truth is that that’s most of my time at the moment. My finger is definitely still janky and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be swollen forever, but the good news is that I’ve become quite adept at just not using it.
A few other things have been going on though. Andy’s new owner came out this weekend to meet him and they both loved each other, which is awesome. I am particularly partial to him because he reminds me a lot of baby Presto (with a touch less chaos and mayhem) so I was hoping he would win her over too, and he definitely did. I also finally got his DNA kit yesterday so today I’ll be pulling some hairs to send off so we can finally find out which one is his baby daddy. If I had to bet my money is on Lingo, but I could still kind of see it either way. He’s tall (Araldik is taller at almost 17h) but he’s very leggy and rectangular (like Lingo), but he’s got Vee’s face so it’s hard to get any clues from that. So in summary, who knows. I guess we’ll find out for sure soon.
I haven’t jumped since the show, but Presto did get a ramped up conditioning day this past weekend when we went to gallop at Majestic. Where he proceeded to spook at basically everything he jumped the weekend before. He looked at the keyhole like WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS and denied having ever seen it in his life. He went sideways past the steps and the corner. He also had a spinning heart attack about an auto waterer near the last jump, which was also definitely there the week before because indeed, as I told him, “THAT’S ALWAYS BEEN THERE!”. Event horses, y’all. They don’t make sense.
I’m also trying to leg Henry back up a bit as I have time. He’s woefully out of shape and has lost most of his topline, which sucks. It’s light by 6am now so I’m able to start my days earlier, so I’m hoping to be able to squeeze in at least a few rides a week on him.
On Friday we’ve got the dentist coming for the horses, which I’m looking forward to. Dr. Bess is great and I’m curious to see what’s going on in their mouths.
Hopefully I’ll have a jump lesson later this week. I did submit my entries for our last two shows before summer break, Ocala and Stable View. I have already settled into my Ocala Privilege thoroughly enough that I’m feeling whiny about the extra effort that Stable View will require with hauling (its about 6 hours) and stabling and all that, but also it’ll be good to get out somewhere new that we haven’t been yet. I love our local facilities but we’ve seen a whole lot of them lately and a change of scenery will be nice!
There were some big happenings here this week in Babyland, with two of our younger kiddos getting to be turned out together for the first time!
Chanel and Peyton are great friends and both go out of their way to avoid conflict, so they were the best choice for the first mingling of babies.
The real question was, which of the foals would be the more socially bold? It might be easy to think it would be Rhett… he’s 100% colt and full of swagger. Lucy on the other hand is a little more cautious with a good sense of self-preservation.
But, Rhett made a big mistake the second we let Peyton and Lucy into his turnout. He came at Peyton all Hell On Wheels the way he does to his mother, on his hind feet. Peyton immediately said “ABSOLUTELY NOT, WE DO NOT BEHAVE LIKE THAT HERE” and got him with her teeth. Rhett was shocked. Pretty sure that was the first time he’d ever been disciplined by another horse in his life. He had it coming. He turned tail immediately and went and hid behind Chanel and stayed there. Eventually it was Lucy who’s curiosity finally got the best of her, and she approached Rhett first.
Which Rhett, who’s world had been turned completely upside down by Peyton telling him no, found to be a little terrifying.
He promptly went and hid behind Chanel.
Rhett was deeply curious about her, that’s for sure. He kept watching her, but he didn’t summon the courage to leave the safety of Chanel in order to go to Lucy. Eventually, Lucy approached him again.
And this time Rhett was a little more bold, and walked the last few feet to meet her. They made it almost to the point of touching noses.
But then Chanel noticed an intruder approaching her Perfect Angel Boy and immediately put the kibosh on that.
Lucy very smartly retreated.
That didn’t stop her from trying to tempt him into playing, though. And it didn’t stop Rhett from staring at her with laser focus.
As soon as the moms relax their rules a little bit, I’m sure these two will be playing more. They’re definitely very interested in each other, and have been running around together a little bit more. It’s hard making your first friend!
I walked the cross country course with Steph on Friday afternoon. This was the first time that Majestic Oaks was offering a Modified division, but the venue is known for being a more friendly one, thus it was chosen to be our move-up location on purpose. Still, since they’d never run the level before we weren’t 100% sure what it would look like.
They had the start box in a brand new location, back near the barns and past the treeline behind the showjumping ring. It’s normally closer to where jump 2 was or across the road sort of between the finish and fence 3. It was still a nice quick walk from SJ to XC warmup, although Presto was a little wide-eyed at the new giant XC warmup area. The facility just started leasing a big chunk of land back there and it’s stunning, with a legit hill (for Ocala anyway). Can’t wait to see what all they do with it.
Anyway, to the course (some of these are my pics and some are from the course walk group on facebook, because mine kind of sucked).
The overall impression after walking was that there were definitely some big jumps (3 and 4 were quite wide, and the white MIM oxer and the last very square table were as max as max could be) but the combinations were very friendly. I felt like it was a bigger Training, for the most part, which is a nice first Modified. My two areas of concern were 1) the keyhole – Presto has never seen anything like that before, but the part I didn’t like was that it’s right next to the busy road with oncoming traffic, and 2) the Palisade. Presto had also never jumped anything like that, and the times we’ve schooled at this venue he’s been really spooky just cantering past it. Definitely a weird, old-school jump that you don’t see much anymore. It’s a large U-shaped monstrosity with a faux ditch in front and a steep downhill dropoff on the landing side. I planned to just ride very proactively up to those jumps in particular.
I did make a point of not walking all the way up to the oxer or the last table on foot (don’t need to know just how big those are in relation to my body, thanks) but then Steph did as she was talking, and let me tell you, having a small Steph for scale next to XC jumps is not the vibe I’m after. Gotta make her walk at least 10-20′ away from them.
Presto left the start box a little wiggly but jumped the first one well, then I landed and really sent him out in front of my leg and said “Come on kiddo, let’s go do this.”. He hopped over two easily, and I opened him up to gallop a bit on the long stretch to 3. That got his attention.
I knew I’d have to slow down in the middle of the course for the more technical questions so I was trying to get a little bit ahead of time in the beginning. Fence 3 was super, and I actually found the nice deep distance to the base of 4 that Steph told me to get (“jump it like a triple bar”).
The first combo at 5AB rode easy peasy, as did the trakehner. Immediately after that I swung right and put him down along the fenceline, so he’d have as much time as possible to see the road/traffic before we got to the keyhole. Bless him, he did not even so much as blink at any of it, he popped right through the keyhole, down the bending line to the brush like it was all very normal. He got a big “GOOD BOY” and a pat for that.
Then it was up the slope to the log roll, with 9 bending strides to the big giant oxer. It had a downhill landing so it was like WHEEEEEE WE’RE FLYING. I am deeply sad that there were no pics of that jump because he jumped it freaking phenomenal. Did I mention it was giant? It was giant.
Then we had the brush roll before turning left to the coffin. After some of the coffins he’s seen at FHP this one was an easy breezy walk in the park, rolltop two strides, ditch, two (short) strides to another rolltop. Presto loped over that like it was a fun little warmup exercise.
After that we had a simple ramp before looping back around to the right to the ditch wall. I feel like I’m starting to maybe hate ditch walls a little less. Presto sure doesn’t give a crap about them whatsoever. Then we hopped over the A-frame
before heading down to the line at the water. There was a smaller (Novice height) coop set 7 bending strides before a skinny rolltop on the edge of the water. Nice of the designer to use a small simple jump to give us something to help set us up well for the jump in. It rode nicely.
We jumped into the water, hung a left out of it, and jumped the corner. Presto has seen plenty of corners by now, and definitely in closer proximity to other jumps/on harder angles, so this question was easy, he said.
And just like that we were only two from home! Heading to the palisade I gave him a little tap behind my leg, mostly to say “Hi hello we’re not done yet and the next one is a little scary, get in front of me and pay attention”. No worries there, he jumped it no problem and seemed to enjoy the fact that the ground sloped away quickly on landing.
He got a gallop stretch (he was still quite within himself at that point, happy to gallop and ears perked) before I had to get him back and set him up for the last table. It was really quite square so Steph had said to just make sure he was uphill and paying attention there, not coming in too hot or flat. He was very rideable to it and jumped it super.
Another clear round for the Doodle kid! We ended up 5 seconds over time, which I was totally fine with. I wanted to make sure that I still kept the rideability with the bigger jumps and higher speed, so I definitely slowed down a lot earlier to some of the combinations than I really had to. That’s the round I wanted though, so I’ll happily take my 2 time penalties. That did drop us from 3rd to tied for 4th, and I lost that tie because the other person was closer to optimum, so we ended up 5th. What a freakin good boy though, only adding 2 time to his dressage score at his first Modified!
I’m glad and relieved to have the first one under our belt, and excited to go back out next time and try to improve on some of the things I could have done better. Really though I walked away feeling like this horse is still very well within his ability (honestly he still isn’t trying very hard and is the least impressed with this) and feels really confident in his job. I’m very happy with his progression and I think Modified will be really good for him for a while so he can start learning more Big Boy things but still have it all be pretty easy for him. We’ve got two more shows on the calendar before his summer vacation, so hopefully we can make the most of them!
Technically this was also my first Modified, since the level did not exist anywhere near Texas back when I was competing Henry. Hence part of why we spent two years at Training before moving to Prelim… there’s a massive difference and Modified was a brilliant addition. I desperately wanted access to Modified back then, and I still think it really would have been Henry’s “sweet spot” level. Those days are bygone though, and I’m really pumped to now be in an area where Modified is so plentiful and readily available for Presto and I as our partnership evolves. We’re definitely going to take full advantage of it!
Since winter season is over and everyone that isn’t local has evacuated Florida, the shows are much smaller. Hence Majestic was able to run their May show as a one day, which pleased me greatly. My times worked out so that I dressaged a bit before 9, showjumped a couple hours later, and then went straight to XC after that. Badabing, badaboom, done before lunch.
Starting early did mean that it was easier to just pop over to Majestic on Friday afternoon to walk SJ and XC and pick up my packet, since it’s only about 15 minutes from here. Hillary stayed behind so that she could braid Presto for me, since my swollen zombie finger wasn’t really up for that particular job. A lot of people here don’t braid for the summer shows, but something about doing a National level at a recognized show and not braiding just made me feel all kinds of physically uncomfortable. More power to those who didn’t, I don’t blame you. But I just… couldn’t not. Presto is a massive PITA to braid though and his neck is 900 feet long, so… Hillary really is a hero for doing that for me, it’s not a quick or fun job in the least.
On Saturday morning we got there about an hour before my ride time and I slowly got ready. The worst part of this venue is the footing for dressage and dressage warmup (it’s grass, and it’s not very flat, and there’s a lot of random sandy bits or torn up areas in both the rings and the warmup)… some of you may remember that Presto and I did his first Novice here last October and he legit almost fell on his ass three times. Lesson learned, we studded up.
He was mostly a good boy for our test… as we circled the ring he was relatively mortified to see cows just through the treed fenceline behind the judge. It was almost a Big Thing, but I managed to divert his attention and stop it before it spiraled. Still though, he had one eye on the cows for the entire test so there were areas of tension, a late response canter transition, and some general lack of focus. It was fine, but we’ve definitely done better. I don’t love Test A for him quite as much as Test B… B is busier and has more happening more quickly, which is better suited to Presto. The less that’s happening in the test, the more he dreams about all the fun things he could make happen.
We didn’t get any 8’s this time, which was kind of disappointing, but he did get a 7.5 for the leg yield left, which is his harder direction, and 7’s on both of the canter lengthenings, which are definitely a challenge with him still when they’re on a 20m circle like this, so we’ll call it a small win. We scored a 32.8, which put us tied for 5th. He was the youngest horse in the division, so… I’m not upset about it.
Presto got to chill at the trailer for a bit while I went over to watch some showjumping. The course was not my personal favorite, the lines had so many strides in them and the approaches were long as well, which is just like an invitation for me to completely malfunction and change my mind a hundred times en route to something. Like there were literally a couple lines that walked in 8, one that walked 10, jumps way out of the corner, etc. Pack that shit in there and give me no options, please, it’s better for me that way.
While we were sitting there I saw very few people do the same number of strides anywhere. The 6 was a 5 or a 6 or a 7, the 10 was an 8 or a 10 or an 11, the 8 was a 6 or an 8 or a 9. There were a lot of options and most of them worked. I was hoping that watching the Prelim would help but it did not, it just confirmed there wasn’t one right/best way. Cool. Cool. Love that for me.
Presto warmed up great. He had one moment where he considered doing his favorite wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man impression, but it was fleeting. The jumps were coming up well out of stride and he was jumping well through his body. His shape in the air has definitely improved this year. He’s still not putting forth a lot of effort and most of the time still is just loping over these, but he’s getting stronger in how he does it.
Fence 1 was set to where an approach off the right lead was the obvious choice, but it was quite a ways out of the corner and I didn’t love that. Steph suggested that coming to it off the left might be better, since the turn would help balance, make me keep riding forward through the corner, and give me less time to mess with my rhythm. Plus 1 to 2 was a bending line to the left, so it made sense to me to approach off the left lead. When we had watched the Prelim only a couple people came off the left, but it did seem to work well for them.
We got to fence 1 nicely and Presto jumped it well, if not a little big (“mom, these grew a little”) and the first line jumped great. So did the second line, in it’s 10 strides. Then I slightly overshot the turn to 5 and got there tight. Presto didn’t care. We got down the next bending line fine and he jumped through the one stride super. The whole way to the next one all I knew is that I was not seeing anything, and I got him to that one tight too. He ticked the rail (righty so) but it didn’t come down. I had to land and step it up to make it down the line in 6, but he’s a good dude so he jumped the liverpool great.
Then we had another bending line to an oxer, which was fine, and then the triple up the outside – oxer two strides to vertical, one stride to another vertical. He jumped all that super. I mean, he’d already decided by fence 3 that these actually weren’t that big after all, and by the triple he was mega unimpressed, but he was a good boy and jumped a clear round, even with my mistakes. It moved us up from 5th to 3rd.
I don’t think you can ask for more than that from a young horse at his first Modified. He’s really starting to be a mature boy sometimes and do his job taking care of his mother when I need the assist. As much as I loathe making mistakes, I do place a lot of value on building the kind of partnership where my horse is confident enough in himself and me and his job to help me out when I’m wrong, just like I try to do my best to help him out when he needs it.
With SJ done we put on his boots and my vest and headed out to XC… more on that tomorrow!
Maybe I should start titling my posts the way a lot of emo bands title their songs.
Take the above highlighted song and replace “toe” with “finger” and it fits. Since I seem to be unable to go any period of time without injuring myself in some ridiculous way, last week I dislocated a finger. The left ring finger, at the middle knuckle, to be exact.
‘Anyway, when it happened I looked down and saw the top of my finger pointing 45 degrees to the left and said to Hillary “I think my finger is broken” and then I moved it and PING it popped back in and I said “Oh, good, it was just dislocated”. Dislocated is better than broken. Theoretically anyway. Still hurts like a mofo, stupid finger. Luckily the damage is really on the inside of that finger and not the outside where reins sit. It’s mostly annoying for carrying things or picking up anything heavy. Which is, ya know… totally fine at a horse farm. FYI the finger DOES NOT LIKE lifting bales of hay.
I had a lesson a couple hours after it happened and was very relieved to find that it still worked ok and I didn’t really notice it when I was riding. Thank goodness my horse isn’t particularly heavy in the hand because if a stupid dislocated finger caused me to have to scratch our Modified move-up, I would have been extremely the most annoyed.
The next day was Presto’s day off, which worked out well since I spent a lot of time icing and BEMERing and slathering Voltaren on my finger. Hillary took him for a pony for me (he gets so bored on his days off), which was comical. Or at least most of us found it comical. Lex did not. Presto has a few too many shenanigans.
We got a good bit of rain last week too, which we really needed, but it did mean the horses had so spend some time inside. This also meant the final death blow to Presto’s poor little monkey stuffed animal. It was missing an eye, both arms, and had been 80% decapitated. He also murdered his glittery soccer ball that Auntie Michelle got him. All in a day’s work, ya know? So much violence. This whole post is violence.
I managed to get through the rest of the week without damaging myself any further, and we did indeed make it to the horse show. Which I will post about ASAP… I was kind of stalling hoping that the photogs would get some pictures up so that I have something more than screen shots. Spoiler alert:
This week I’ve got some writing projects due and some pedigree reports to get cracking on, along with all the usual farm stuff. Rhett and Lucy are now turned out together so I should definitely have some cute Foal Friday fodder for you, too. Happy Monday!
Our final 2023 foal has officially arrived! Say hello to Radiance WTW, aka Lucy.
This kiddo was born over Kentucky weekend, as if she knew she was bred to event. Her sire is Future Hepsilon, a young British son of Tom Carlise’s legendary French Anglo Arab stallion Upsilon (who once won a 4* on a score of 17.3).
Her dam is our lovely TB mare Peyton, dam of Remi and Pippa, which makes Lucy 76% blood (a mix of TB and French AA) and the rest mostly German jumping lines.
She’s a sweet girl who likes people, and you can already tell that she’s gonna be a fiery one. She’s got quick reflexes, is athletic and bold, and it looks like she’s gonna be a good mover, too!
This also makes the second very chromey chestnut for Peyton, who carries a gene that maximizes white markings when it’s passed. And yes, before anyone asks, Lucy will turn gray like her sire.
The best news of all is that Lucy has already found her people! One of my trainer’s other students was very quick to snatch her up, and I think it’s going to be a really good match.
This also means that all of the WTW 2023 foal crop is sold out. Yup, all of them (except Rue, who Michelle is keeping) have already been claimed! And they went to people that I think will be great homes, so that’s the even more exciting part. Congrats to Caroline, Lija, Claire, and Hillary!
Last but not least for today, the arrival of all the foals (Daisy aborted her foal over the winter, which I know we talked about in the Patreon group but it occurs to me that I don’t know if I ever mentioned it here) means that we have also wrapped up this year’s Baby Bets contest. Y’all were really on it this year, particularly with Lucy… I have no idea how so many of you knew she would be chestnut with chrome! We had some of the highest scores we’ve seen in this contest yet.
The winner is: Jackson! Who unfortunately did not leave an email or method of contact, so hopefully they’re reading this. If so, please reach out to me through my contact page or my socials. If I don’t hear from them within a couple weeks I’ll move to the next highest score. Thank you to everyone who participated this year, and I hope you’re enjoying the foal content. 🙂
Y’all will be shocked to hear (insert heavy sarcasm) that things have been busy around here the past couple weeks! We’ve officially got all the 2023 foals on the ground now, which is exciting. You’ll meet the newest addition formally on Foal Friday (sorry to make you wait, but thems the rules). That means we’ve got 5 babies now, with the oldest being 2.5 months. Which means there’s a lot of foal training to be done too.
Michelle had to head back home to Texas, so Hillary and I have taken over everything with the babies and the farm. The childrens are fun but they are also time-consuming at this stage. We’re settling into a groove though, and everyone has been behaving themselves pretty well. We’re also officially all sold out of 2023 foals – all 4 of the available ones (Rue is being retained) are under contract! They’re in-demand, and that’s always exciting.
We also officially got Fay’s paperwork done for her sBs registration, and her microchip put in. She isn’t the biggest fan of vets or needles so I thought she might be displeased about the microchip, but I distracted her with cookies and she didn’t even notice. The perks of a highly food motivated animal.
Henry, meanwhile, got himself a pony friend.
At least for now. Nunez (who was just purchased by none other than blogger Holly!) is hanging out for a month or two before he goes to the boarding barn for training, and I kinda wanted to see how Henry got along with him for turnout. Henry generally dislikes everyone and is the top grumpiest dog, but he’s always seemed extremely tolerant of Nunez in particular. Sure enough these two are thick as thieves now, like two peas in a misshapen pod. Now I dunno what I’m gonna do when Henry’s pony leaves.
Presto, in the meantime, seems to have enjoyed his little mini-vacay. He’s been quite full of himself, destroying his fly sheet and two pairs of boots (my brand new Arion ones and his Majyk Equipe ice boots, for anyone that wants to cry along with me). This horse is kind of the actual worse when he’s had nothing to occupy his brain. He looks great though, and he’s clipped and fresh and ready for a few more shows before he gets to his real summer vacay in a couple months. He’s looking great with his cute little dapples, too.
We’ve got a couple lessons this week and then we’re gonna try our hand at the Modified at Majestic this weekend.
I did also make some time to watch at least half of the Badminton cross country which saw some real highs (Tom Crisp literally swimming in the water after he fell off was one of the best displays of a good attitude that I’ve ever seen) and some real lows (Ollie, come on man). For what is I think the first time ever I did get my Eventing Nation staff pick correct for the winner at least. I love Lordships Grafallo quite a lot, what a cool horse.
I’ve also reopened the pedigree reports for BRC, so if anyone has been waiting for a while, now’s your chance! I’ve also got a couple spots left for breeding consultations. If you’ve already purchased either of these things, we’re also running a giveaway drawing for a BRC swag package (shirt, vest or jacket, hat, and saddle pad!). To enter all you need to do is make a short and simple “review” type post about your report or consultation, either on your facebook or instagram. The post needs to be public and please tag Breed.Ride.Compete so I can see it! If you share the post to facebook groups (like the OTTB groups, the MLE group, Ride iQ group, wherever you feel is relevant!) you get one additional entry for each place you share it. Just send me all your shares so I can get them entered.
I’ll also work this week on calculating the winner of this year’s Baby Bets contest… I’ll have that ready to announce by Friday!
I figured this week we should focus on the two younger ones, our small but mighty colt contingent for this year. Especially since Randell has gotten to go outside this week!
He has found himself with the nickname Andy, mostly because he reminds me a whole lot of the character Andy from Parks and Rec. He is sweet and happy and bold, but he’s already rocking that total derp derp gelding vibe.
It’s been fun to see him out and about this week though. He loves to gallop and has pretty admirable mastery over those long spider legs of his already. He’s balanced and well-proportioned, and it shows in how he moves.
He’s also interested in people and pretty independent, I think largely because of Vee’s parenting style. She is a disciplinarian, not the doting type, so he’s already got a pretty strong sense of manners. She feeds him and takes care of him like she’s supposed to, but she also banishes him to the corner when she’s eating her meals and doesn’t tolerate any kind of extreme shenanigans on or near her. She’s raising a respectful kiddo.
Which is the exact opposite parenting style of Chanel, with Rhett.
She believes that he hung the moon and the stars in the sky, that he is the best thing to ever wear four hooves, and he certainly can do no wrong.
However, that has given Rhett the same opinion of himself that she has, and thus he is a bit of a lawless child. He does what he wants, when he wants, with his Mom’s full support, no matter how naughty it is. He’s climbing all over her like she’s a walking jungle gym, biting her ears, and she’s just like “isn’t he precious”?
His ego is off the charts and so is his sass. It’s a good thing he’s squishy and adorable.
Despite the best efforts of Spirit Airlines, I made it back from LRK3DE. Our flight leaving Florida was delayed almost 4 hours, and our flight coming back was cancelled, rebooked for 10 hours later, and then two and half hours delayed. Fun times. It’s one of those things where you keep repeating “at least it was cheap” a few hundred times in your head.
This year’s trip was largely for business, I had several various odd jobs to do, including some content creation stuff and meeting with a few brands regarding sponsorships on behalf of a couple ULR’s. We arrived at KHP on Friday morning, and much of the day was spent doing the latter. It was a lot of talking to people, but it was also nice to see some old friends again and put faces with the names of some newer contacts. It also gave me a chance to scope out some of the new products from various brands, or see some things in person for the first time. More on that later.
On Friday evening we had our second annual Kentucky tattoo appointment… well maybe our first actual appointment, since last year we did a walk in for those spur of the moment Pat Your Horse tattoos. This year we actually planned ahead, had drawings, and made an actual appointment at an actual nice place. My left forearm is now sporting a most-cute Presto face, complete with emo forelock.
After that we stopped by the Ride iQ happy hour to say hi to that group and grab a snack. Or rather, I couldn’t get to the snack table without rudely crashing through a couple conversations, so I texted Kyle Carter and asked him to pass me a cookie, and he chunked it so hard that if it had made contact I would have died. I ducked and it hit the ground behind me instead. Note to self, Kyle’s got an arm on him. (also please note that I know Kyle and we banter all the time, he was joking, not being mean, in case that isn’t obvious in the re-telling of this Near Death Cookie Experience story). I’m not sure anyone knew why I got a cookie randomly chunked at me, but I did eat the cookie anyway except for the part that had some mud on it. It all worked out.
Saturday morning we sat and waited for approximately 900 years for the crepe guy to open (he’s never open before 9am and it kills me every time, but the crepes are so damn good) while I mapped out my strategy for the day. I had riders that I needed to get XC content of for brands, so I needed to figure out where I needed to be and when, and draw up a schedule accordingly. My first one was out on course early, but I had decent gaps in between, so we spent much of the day traipsing around the 4* course and the 5* course, trying to cover as much of it as possible.
And you know what came in hella-handy? My amazing telescoping stool. We had to do like 25 demonstrations of them to various people, they were a big hit. Also 10 out of 10 for having a stool, my back was much less angry by the end of the day this year than it was last year. Very convenient to have a place to sit no matter where we were, especially since it spat rain on and off all day. Mine had LED lights too, which makes for a fun party trick. The stools were the absolute MVP of the day, will never do Kentucky XC day without one again.
On Saturday after XC we had our Patreon group get-together at our campground spot and it was awesome. I remain completely blown away by that community of people, they’re cool AF and really fun and easy to talk to. Our get-togethers are a real highlight of the trip for me!
Sunday morning I really wanted to see the jog because there were a couple horses I was interested to see up close (for breeding reasons, I like their sires). Plus, ya know, never gonna pass up a chance to stalk Mason up close and personal.
I remain convinced that he is the most attractive animal in all the land, and he looked fit and happy and was very well-presented.
Which is more than I can say for a couple other people. If you ever find yourself at a trot-up, I advise standing over where the horses come up and leave, rather than watching the actual jog strip itself. You see some real hinky shit over there. Like… people who clearly know the horse is lame but are trying their level best to hide it. And then riders pitching a fit about it. Very high profile people. It was gross.
After the jog we went back to the trade fair for a while, to get one last perusal in and chat with a couple more people. I was on a tight budget this year but I did get this super cute bracelet ($20 and they engrave it on the spot, I mean come on I was targeted), a shirt, and some horse boots. I felt like there were more deals this year than last year, although not on a lot of things I really needed, which is probably for the best.
There were several things in the trade fair that caught my eye though, so I figured they’re worth mentioning. Majyk Equipe always unveils some kind of new product at LRK3DE, and this year they actually had several. A new line of showjumping boots that I thought were STUNNING
Plus a new color combo of their XC boots, gray with blue vents, and new boot bags and backpacks. The prices on all of it was super reasonable too. I didn’t have room in my luggage for the boot bag, but I will be getting one STAT. It’s got a helmet compartment that comes off and the bottom of it is waterproof. It was only like $80, too, which I thought was quite nice compared to similar products, especially considering how well-made it is and how many features it has.
I also got to see the Eventing Nation pads in person… I helped design those! One side has an EN logo patch and the other side has a #goeventing patch. They look great, and so do the new Ecogold Breeze pads. They’re a lot lighter-weight and thinner than the standard Ecogold.
Last but not least, if we’re talking about innovation and fun new products to keep an eye on, my vote goes to ARRO helmets. They’re a new brand from New Zealand, just now starting full production, but the features on these things are really amazing, I’ve not seen anything quite like it. They’ve got MIPS, they’re SNELL rated, the brims easily come on and off (so one helmet can be a skull cap, have a regular brim, or have a wide brim, depending on your needs at the time), the buckle is like nothing I’ve seen before, the shell is super high quality and strong, and they have a ton of lining options to help customize fit. There’s even an option to attach a face guard. They’re just really really cool and I’m looking forward to seeing more from this company, you can tell it was designed by riders for riders.
We had similar seats for showjumping as last time, which were great, at least right up until the wind picked up and it started raining. Y’all, I was cold. I have gone full Florida lizard and even with 3 jackets on I was an absolute popsicle. That’s alright though, we survived. Plus all 4 horses on my Eventing Manager team finished in the top 15 (sometimes it works out to pick all your sentimental favorites based on their breeding. Not often, but sometimes.) so I won two of my leagues. Heck yeah.
All in all it was another great trip to Kentucky (and a very fruitful one I think, I got a lot done!) and I can’t wait to head back again next year.