MCP horse trials – Part 2

While I opted to end Henry’s horse show early, Presto was still having himself a grand time. He had about 4 hours between dressage and stadium, and he was the last of Megan’s 4 rides (or I guess 8 rides for the day, with dressage and stadium for each horse) to go. The morning hadn’t been TOO terrible with the cloud cover – humid AF but not that unbearably hot. As soon as the sun came out though, it got absolutely miserable pretty much immediately. Luckily Presto copes with the heat really well, and seemed more than happy to come back out and warm up for some jompies.

tell me that’s not the cutest noodle

By this point the ride times had kind of devolved into a “sorta numerical order but also sorta whoever is just there and wants to go” type of thing, and he ended up having to wait for a bit after a larger group. Then there was a short hold when a horse slipped and fell in the muddiest corner, pancaking himself and his rider to the ground. It took her a while to get up but they were ok thank goodness. I have to admit that up until then I felt like maybe I’d been a little silly to scratch Henry, but when I saw that I was like nope I definitely made the right decision for him, I know he’d have been struggling in the corners. Plus like, if I’d been sitting on him in warmup when that happened I’d have been like nah fam, I’m out. Really don’t need a repeat of Coconino stadium where he slid through a fence, thanks. After she got up they came and put a load of sand in that corner, which seemed to help a little.

Of course, PestoPasta was still having zero issues with the footing at all. He had yet to slip or stumble or look at all unsure of any footfall. After the slight delay Megan went back to warmup to do some rapid fire transitions to make sure she had some rideability, then they went in for their round.

The course was set on the softer side for sure, it looked a little small and nothing was particularly spooky or difficult. It was a bit loopy though, with lots of turns and bends. Presto naturally didn’t look twice at anything and the round was pretty steady, aside from the outside 5 stride to 2 stride line that he REALLY thought he wanted to do in a 4 but Megan insisted that he must do in 5. Party pooper (Presto’s words). He lightly tapped a couple rails but nothing came down… I think his shape in the air is getting a little better.

y’all, lookit his jompies face

He did have time penalties though, as did literally everyone except 3 people. Yes, that’s correct, only 3 people made the time out of dozens of rounds. I was standing there for a while during a few different divisions and even people who made pretty freakin tidy turns and left out strides were getting time penalties, and we’re talking an average of around 15 seconds over – not a small amount. I have a strong suspicion that it was either wheeled incorrectly or the math was incorrect, because there’s no way that a tidy round with appropriate pace should be that far over time. I personally felt like the time should have been adjusted early on in the day when it was first realized that no one was getting it (because, ya know, the last thing we should want to do at a schooling show on muddy ground is potentially encourage people to try to make tighter turns and go faster), but it was what it was. Presto’s round was very appropriately ridden, both pace-wise and path-wise. He was happy and eager to jump around and looked plenty confident and forward-thinking, so you can’t be unhappy about that.

still not impressed by these fences in the least

After stadium I hosed him off, let him graze for a bit, and then he went back to his stall and fan to get away from the heat.

They didn’t finalize the XC course maps until later in the afternoon, because they were still out there checking the footing and deciding which fences needed to be taken off. The entire far field was extremely wet, along with patches all along basically the first half of the course. In the end 6 jumps were removed from the Novice (2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 12) leaving them with 13 efforts. There were definitely still some really boggy areas on the course, especially around the water and the stretch in between 5 and 8, but it all seemed manageable enough for Presto. All the jumps looked totally fine for him too, pretty straightforward, and I didn’t anticipate that he’d have issues with any of it. Which is… kind of a nice feeling to have at a horse’s second event and first Novice. I figured if anything he might spook a bit at the bridge crossings between the fields, which are narrow and dropped off on each side about 10-15 feet down to a creek. Those bridge crossings scare even some of the most veteran horses sometimes. By this point he’d seen them a couple times though, and they had to cross one even just going to and from the barn, so hopefully by Sunday morning it would be moot.

Sunday morning went by quick juggling Megan’s four horses, since she had two in the Prelim and two in the Novice. It was also extremely hot and sticky and just disgusting outside… watching her get on horse after horse was making ME hot. But we shuffled through them all pretty quickly, and Presto was the last of her group to go, just before 10am. He’d had to wait by XC warmup in his bridle so we could switch her saddle over to him after she got off the other Novice horse (something he had to do all weekend, which is good for him). We were standing sort of near the water while we waited and every time a horse came through he watched them very intently. I think if he could talk there would have been a lot of very enthusiastic Buddy The Elf type of cheerful feedback from Presto “Look at you, running and jomping! You look amazing! That’s incredible! WOW! You’re so fast!” while he watched the other horses go.

By the time Megan got on him I think the searing sun had baked any possible wildness out of him, because he went straight to business. She spent all of about 5 minutes w/t/c, jumped two jumps, and went straight to the start box.

We couldn’t see the first few jumps in the other field, but soon enough he popped out of the trees on his way to 8. He jumped the house, cantered through the water (like a big kid!), through the swamp and over the ramp at 11, then the little hanging log at 13. That all looked very easy. Hillary and I jumped on her golf cart to follow him over to the next field (it was too bouncy to try to video but it was kinda fun to follow along with him from a distance). There was a nice galloping stretch between 13 and 14AB, and you could see him starting to click into his gallop a little bit. He jumped the combination at 14AB beautifully out of stride, swung around to 15 which also jumped great, and then disappeared from view again into the trees. He popped back out pretty quickly though, having no trouble with 16 or 17, and cantered easily over the little ramp at the last. It was a really easy and very smooth round – quite professional!

He had a double clear round, finishing in 4th place. Most importantly though, he again put together three solid phases, and managed to make some clear improvements over his first show despite not having worked much in between. He’s in that phase where he’s learning so fast, and his confidence in his job is very evident. The XC especially seems to be his strongest phase, he just eats it right up.

With that we’ve got ourselves a Novice pony! Next up Presto is heading to Chatt (knock on wood that he doesn’t do anything dumb between now and then anyway) in Georgia for the first two weekends in July to tackle his first YEH class and run the Novice there. I get to go with him, so I can’t wait!

MCP swampfest – er… horse show, Part 1

Well that horse show was… something. It was considerably muddier than I expected, with plenty of standing water and even more boggy mud. You know what horse is a terrible freaking mudder?

I’ve never really ridden one that feels as terrible in mud as Henry does, but bless his heart he just really sucks at dealing with conditions like that and always has. I can’t even really describe how bad it feels. He balls himself up and gets angry, and loses all confidence in where he’s putting his feet. His little downhill short-strided way of going really doesn’t help things. The only time we’ve ever really had problems at shows with him has been when it’s muddy. Plus he’s not drilled and tapped at the moment because, ya know, he’s not really showing right now, so I didn’t have the option of putting studs in (I definitely would have if I could, that probably would have helped significantly). So… I was pretty skeptical about Henry’s ability to horse show as soon as I saw the footing.

not his cup of tea

I hacked him on Friday when I got there and he felt ok in the higher areas of the field, so I was hoping it would dry enough by the next morning to be passable. I decided to do dressage and see how he felt, and well… that was a shitshow. As soon as he got down there in that boggy ring he got super up and down, and I ended up just avoiding the muddiest parts of the ring (had to kind of chuckle at the “not accurate circle” and “did not use corner” comments… yes ma’am you are 100% correct, that was intentional). Honestly though by the second friggin circle I almost just stopped him and retired, it felt that unpleasant. A few horses pulled shoes, some struggled as much as Henry did, and others didn’t even seem to notice the mud. Henry though – he just was not handling that footing at-the-heck-all, so I went and scratched him after dressage. The footing in the showjumping was a lot better than that dressage ring (except for a couple of the corners) but I didn’t see a point in potentially causing a problem or rattling his confidence over a Novice round at a schooling show. I’d rather be overly cautious and save him for another day. Plus it was WAY hotter and more humid than the forecast had originally called for, and y’all know that’s really hard weather for him. Just not worth it. So, Henry’s weekend ended very early.

the angriest chonk in the squishiest ring

Presto on the other hand… he was one of the horses that didn’t even seem to notice that it was muddy. That kid has always been pretty good on his feet and on all different surfaces and that’s definitely true under saddle too. So, we’ll recap his show experience instead.

Henry was NOT pleased to see him, there was much squealing

They allowed schooling the day before the show started, so Megan took advantage of that and got him out to pop over some stuff. The plan right now is to do the YEH at Chatt in July, and 1) the 4yo YEH in the second half of the year includes a lot of Novice, 2) Chatt is pretty big and visually imposing anyway. Megan entered him in the Novice this weekend for that reason, but the Novice at this show was still soft, especially compared to Chatt, so jumping a couple bigger or more challenging things was a smart decision. Plus, like… Presto has yet to notice height or complexity in anything that’s been asked of him. He’s bold and willing and finds it all pretty easy. Megan hopped over a few smaller fences to warm up, then did a couple of Training combinations and called it a day.

It’s easy to forget how little this horse has really done and seen, or that he’s only been in training for 4 months, he comes at it so naturally. In the month since his first show at Texas Rose he’s had most of that time off, and had only jumped once. He’s only XC schooled a few times ever. But it just… makes perfect sense to him. Plus Megan has developed him well and prepared his basics so that the jumps just come more easily, and he definitely doesn’t find it to be physically challenging at all. I don’t think you’d look at him and guess he was as inexperienced as he really is. Definitely a different caliber horse than I’ve had before (plus, ya know.. never had the benefit of being able to put one in full time pro training, which… makes a huge difference)!

On Saturday for dressage, his warmup got a little bit interesting when a train came through. The edge of the warmup area has a fairly busy train track, and it is LOUD and kinda scary to see a massive train speeding by through the trees. He got a little worried and wound up (as many horses do there) but what I really liked about it is that he was able to go back to work and forget it once the train had passed. He doesn’t carry the tension around in his brain the way Henry does, or work himself up into brain overload. He has a moment, and then goes about his business again. It only took a few minutes to get him back together, and he was able to go in the ring and put down a solid test, train completely forgotten.

He scored 32.9, which was about a point higher than Texas Rose, but I thought it was a better test. He was more consistent in the contact and not wanting to look around/gawk quite as much. He maybe was a little less free in his ground cover, but given the footing I think that’s understandable. The stretchy bits are still hard for him (there’s so much to see, and wouldn’t you rather SEE ALL THE THINGS than stretch your head down?) but he did show a tad more inclination to want to reach down for the bit in the stretch movements in this test than he did in the last one. Considering that he hasn’t worked that much between the two shows, I thought there was still a clear difference, even if the score didn’t show it. Either way though, 32.9 is super respectable for his second ever dressage test and first Novice. He beat me and Henry by like 4 points hahahaha (literally no one is surprised by that, right?).

That was good enough to leave him sitting in 4th after dressage, off to a good start!

Tomorrow, the jumping phases…

Foal Friday: Chaos vs Cuteness

I don’t have any time today to dedicate to spinning the usual little Foal Friday tale, so instead I figured I’d let the pictures tell their own story this week. One balanced with equal parts chaos and cuteness, because that’s really what foals are, after all, and this group certainly has plenty of both.

Patrick’s no-good, very-hard life
I’m KING OF DA WORLD – Obi, probably
Pippa’s always got moves
but so does Teddy
can you believe how white Patrick’s face is shedding out?
FFF = Filly Friends Forever
Patrick didn’t want to be left out of the dance moves
It’s all fun and games until somebody turns on that sprinkler
I’m not sure that Pippa ever actually stands still
Teddy tried to help Patrick pull all the halters down but he didn’t approve of her technique
Happy Friday!

Been a while

So… I haven’t been to an actual event in almost 2 years. Coconino July 2019, to be exact. We’ve done some things here and there, but quick one day affairs (generally jumper classes) – things that are simple and require very little preparation or brain power. And while the show this weekend is a schooling show, and we’re running Novice for the first time since… 2016(?)… it’s still a multi-day affair that is a couple hours away and therefore requires a lot more effort than anything else we’ve done in the past couple years.

I started picking out show clothes early in the week.

While all the rain means that I’m definitely not very prepared on the riding side of things (who needs to jump a full course within a couple months of a show anyway….) it did at least give me plenty of time to get the rest sorted out. I tried on all my show clothes (some fit, some don’t), waffled over what to wear, and settled on just bringing “options” because decisions are hard. I’ve already been to the grocery store to get food and drinks for the weekend. I managed to remember to find my show XC boots and, uh… wash them. Nothing like using them, tossing them in your trunk, and forgetting about them for 2 years. They got a lot whiter than I expected. I also get to finally debut Henry’s sparkly Majyk Equipe leather boots, so that’s fun. I bodyclipped Henry about a week and a half ago (he does SO much better in the heat when he’s bodyclipped) and fixed up his tail last night. I didn’t re-sculpt the top but I brushed it out and dyed it and banged it, so he doesn’t look feral anymore. He’s officially ready to be seen in public again.

tail makeovers are always pleasing

I still have to like… learn my dressage test (bleh) and figure out how to work the newer Cambox v4 that I got over the winter (why does technology get harder as I get older, someone help), but I think I’ve remembered everything. Hopefully. This venue has a weird outlet situation for fans so I’ve got approximately 9000 adapters and extension cords plus two fan options. Henry has to have a fan. I’m packing my trailer today so I guess we’ll see how prepared I feel once that’s done. I think I’ve got my bases covered though. Oh, and I stocked up on Oatmeal Creme Pies, so… Henry should be golden at least.

I let the public choose the pompom. Rainbow it is – perfect for Pride month!

I can’t do as much about the lack of preparation for the riding aspect. We haven’t XC schooled since last fall, we’ve had one lesson in the past year, haven’t been able to jump hardly at all lately… it’s not ideal by any means but it is what is is. We’ve dropped down two levels from what we were competing at before, Henry feels GREAT in the work we’ve been able to do in between all the rain, and most importantly, this is just for fun. I have zero expectations whatsoever, and if at any point I need to scratch then I will. It’s whatever. Honestly it feels really casual and freeing and I’m excited about having no expectations. I can’t even remember the last time I went to an event and had an actual zero pressure type of situation. It’s exactly what I want right now, after so long away. Plus it’ll be good to ease myself back into things with Henry throughout the rest of this year, so that I’m back in the swing of it by the time Presto comes home and we can hit the ground running without me being quite so dang show-rusty. For now, though, I’m just going to enjoy a fun weekend away with my veteran Best Boy. And, BONUS, the nugget kiddo (aka the baby Best Boy) will be there too!

It was a little touch and go right up until a couple days ago as to whether or not he’d be able to go. Early last week he managed to hurt himself IN HIS STALL – cutting his leg on the inside of his thigh and causing a decent amount of swelling. When Megan found him he was fairly convinced his leg was broken, which was a little worrying because he’s usually pretty stoic. But ya know, an emergency vet call and some diagnostics later ($$$), all was fine. They cleaned the wound, gave him some antibiotics and NSAID’s, and said to get him moving around to help the swelling. Once he was active again he realized it wasn’t as broken as he was convinced it was, and within a few days it was better.

how did he even do this in his stall

Of course, between that incident and his virus incident a few weeks ago, he’s not worked much since the last show. Megan wanted to jump him some before she decided whether or not to enter him, but he’s totally fine and goes around like he hadn’t missed a day, so… to the horse show it is.

who dis nugget learning about getting to the base and keeping his shape off the ground?

I’m honestly looking forward to this weekend in a way that I haven’t genuinely looked forward to a horse show in a long time. Hopefully it’s a good one!

Summer (Equestrian) Reading

Surely I wasn’t the only nerdy kid who looked forward to the summer reading programs at the local library just about as much as the whole vacation from school part? I still read A LOT, every single day, although mostly non-horse fiction. Still though, I do quite enjoy the occasional horse book, usually non-fiction, and I’m always on the lookout for good ones. The one I got last week is definitely what I would classify as a super cool book.

Henry approved

It’s called Cross Country Completion: considerations about jump decorating, written by ‘r’ eventing course designer and cross country course decorator Janine Preece McClain. I’m always interested in anything about course design, or how horses read fences, or why jumps are set or decorated the way they are. It’s super fascinating to me. McClain has decorated courses for tons of different venues and big events, including 2018 WEG.

This book is especially cool, I think, being that it’s chock full of gorgeous illustrations and handwritten notes. It’s spiral bound, nothing fancy, but it’s just so freakin pretty. It kind of makes you feel like you stole a course decorators notebook.

Plus it’s full of really interesting information, like when and how to use groundlines, what materials to use, considerations regarding color, jump shape, etc. There were definitely a few tidbits in here that I’d never thought of, and I think I’ll be looking at fences a little bit differently on course walks. I have to admit that decorations aren’t something I’ve given a ton of thought to before, beyond noticing if something looked odd.

If you’re an eventer or a book collector, this would definitely be a cool addition to your collection. You just don’t see a lot of books like this one, but subject matter-wise and presentation-wise. I absolutely love it. Oh, and duh… you can get the book on her website here.

I’ve also had my eye on Trafalgar Square’s New Releases page. They’re the best equestrian book publisher in the game and I feel like they’ve always got some interesting ones in the works. There are two that have caught my eye in particular.

Still Horse Crazy After All These Years

Eventers have probably already heard some hype surrounding Jimmy Wofford’s new book, Still Horse Crazy After All These Years. This one is more of an autobiography, which I always love. He talked about it last week on the Major League Eventing podcast and it sounds like it has some good stories from the old days of eventing. Definitely up my alley, I find Jimmy to be super entertaining.

The other one that made my list is Ride Big, which is about building your confidence as a rider. Y’all know I love a good book about upping your mental game, and this one speaks to me for sure.

Ride Big

From the website description:

Haime invites readers to dive into three clear and informative areas of exploration:

  • The Confidence Building Blocks: Firm up the fundamentals.
  • The Confidence Builders: Systems and tips to help you build confidence.
  • The Confidence Threats: An inside look at what to watch out for in riding and in competition.

Throughout, those who have reached the highest levels on horseback in a number of disciplines share their stories, including Michael Jung, Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, Laura Tomlinson, Harry Meade, Oliver Townend, Mattias Tromp, Casey Deary, Beth Underhill, Fred Mannix, Jared Zenni, Jonathon Millar, and Kelly Soleau-Millar. These Olympians, champions, and medalists explain what they do in the saddle and how their techniques for performing under world-class pressure might help other riders develop a similar kind of confidence.

Gotta be honest, I’m kind of dying to know what Michi had to say on the subject.

What’s on your summer reading list? Any horse books caught your eye lately?

Glittervention

Is it possible for someone’s entire aesthetic to be navy glitter? I might need an intervention, y’all. Or a glittervention, if you will.

I have acquired yet another navy glitter piece to add to my collection, this time in the form of a show shirt.

It’s hard to see the glitter in a picture so here’s a gif for good measure. It’s beautiful.

It’s also soft and lightweight and just a really nice show shirt in general, so no regrets. And in my defense, I didn’t set out looking for this shirt. I was simply (innocently? naively?) cruising through some of my favorite European sites looking at shirts. Window shopping really, just seeing what’s new and beautiful out there because I do love me an interesting show shirt. Equizone (always dangerous for me) is where I found her, in all of her glittery glory. Technically it was on sale, and pretty cheap for a show shirt.

Add To Cart GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed by now, it’s that I will buy pretty much anything in navy glitter. I have built a fairly extensive collection, and I didn’t really accumulate it knowingly or on purpose, I’ve just gradually found things I liked and gotten them. Just so happens that what I like is definitely navy glitter. The shirt matches my sparkly navy socks pretty darn well.

Now the navy glitter collection also includes (but is not limited to, because I might be forgetting something)

  • leggings
  • gloves
  • brushing boots
  • open front boots
  • socks
  • show shirt
  • helmet

I think all I’m really missing at this point is a glitter pad, and if they made them with sheepskin I would definitely own one already.

I don’t have any riding boots with navy glitter though. We should work on that. I’m also not sure if the sorta sparkly coat I ordered counts as navy glitter or not. Teeeeechnically they’re little tiny rhinestones. Navy sparkles, for sure, albeit not glitter. That coat hasn’t come in yet though so as of yet it’s not an official part of the collection.

I did get my new (glitterless) Motionlites, though! I sold my other three and promptly ordered two new ones in the smaller size. Many props to Royal Equestrian, a UK store I hadn’t ordered from before – I ordered last Wednesday and they arrived yesterday.

Hillary and I combined our order so we could split the shipping cost from Europe. I just got a navy motionlite and a green motionlite… I decided not to replace the brown one since I had already ordered the sparkly coat. That’s, um, probably enough coats. This size definitely fits a lot better though, for sure, and I pretty much broke even money-wise in the end, so all’s well that ends well?

yes my mirror is dirty, you can either ignore it or come clean it yourself

Which, while we’re on the subject, both of my overseas purchases made it here faster than my Smartpak order. Yes, I caved during their last sale. Once every year or two I kind of forget how annoying my experiences with Smartpak have always been, and something on sale will get me. Sometimes it works out. Usually it doesn’t. This time it didn’t. I snagged a navy and white striped sunshirt, a new set of quilts (fronts and hinds), and some standing bandages. The standing bandages are Toklat, so they’re good. The quilts are Smartpak brand and they seem… cheap. But more significantly, they’re stained. Both pairs. All four of them. They came out of the package looking like this.

Naturally Smartpak’s live chat has been disabled, and I do not really want to deal with this by phone (considering pictures are important), so I sent them an email with photos attached. Their auto response said it could be up to 10 working days before they got to my email. Good lord, Smartpak. And so far, yep, a week later I haven’t gotten a response yet. Literally every single time I order from them they remind me of why I stopped ordering from them in the first place.

The sunshirt (Smartpak brand) is ok. I do like the stripes and the fabric is decent, but the fit is a little boxy and long. Not my favorite but I’ll wear it. So I guess of the 4 things I ordered one was good, two were failures, and one was a meh. And it took 10-13 days for things to arrive (because it didn’t all come together). When I placed my order the shirt was showing as in stock, but when I went back a couple days later my order history showed it was out of stock (even though it still showed as in stock on the item’s page). Just kind of a general hot mess type of experience. These stained wraps though… they’re something else. In a year or two when Smartpak pulls me in again with a sale, someone please remind me of this. Clearly I’m incapable of learning.

Oooo ya know what though, someone (that’s not Smartpak) needs to make navy glitter standing bandages! That’s what my collection is missing…

Finally

As you may have noticed, I finally got around to “rebranding” the site with it’s new name! Well, at least in that I got the new domain name, set up forwarding for the old one, put up a new banner at the top, and changed my socials. Considering how long I procrastinated about any of that (6 months, but who’s counting) it didn’t really take that long. I mean, I do have full intentions of actually updating the rest of the site too, which is woefully out of date, and maybe changing the layout a bit, but… those things are actual work and I ran out of give-a-shits by the time I got the banner figured out. But hey, new name anyway. The old domain will continue to forward for a while but update your bookmarks!

Why did I run out of give-a-shits? Well ya know… Millstreet was live streaming this past weekend. Priorities. Must always stop whatever I’m doing if there’s a chance to watch one of my favorite event horses.

Tullabeg Flamenco ❤ The obsession is real.

Plus I found a new horse to add to my favorites list in Tim Price’s Spartaco (an Italian-bred, don’t see that very often) who went around the entire XC course with his tail straight up in the air and his ears pricked to the max. He was having the absolute time of his life and it was adorable. A bit green but his excitement was so pure.

WHEEEEEE

It was a little bittersweet to watch Millstreet since that was supposed to be our next big destination event, now delayed thanks to covid. But hey, at least Millstreet is up and running again… hopefully next year spectators will be back. Ireland is calling to me in a major way and I must go.

Other than the blog rebranding, the biggest news around here is that it’s FINALLY stopped raining every day. I long ago lost my good humor about the radar always looking like this.

At this point we’ve been a whole 3 days without rain, which is the longest we’ve gone in… weeks. Texas is feast or famine, I swear. We did need the rain after an unusually dry winter, but once it started it just would not stop. We got like 6 months worth of rain in a matter of weeks. The rain gauges from last week alone were throwing out some pretty insane numbers.

The one benefit of this is that it’s kept our temperatures down in the upper 80’s/low 90’s, which is pretty mild for us for this time of year. Usually by June we’re hitting triple digits already. I mean granted the humidity is higher than usual too, but still… you don’t immediately liquify when you walk outside, nor does the sun feel like it’s scorching your actual soul. It’s not that terrible in the shade even in the middle of the afternoon. I’ll take this weather, thanks.

Naturally though this means everything here is very very very soggy. Normally we dry pretty quick but even our fields are still quite squishy. The forecast for the week looks fairly promising though, so I think the show this weekend might actually end up happening after all. Granted, I’ve hardly ridden in the past couple weeks thanks to the weather, and there’s a 0% chance that I’ll be able to jump a course at all this week, but… preparation is overrated, right? I’ve been able to flat Henry the past couple days (at least a little bit, in the center part of the field where it’s driest) and he feels good, so… meh. It’s fine. We’re just showing for fun anyway. I did decide to do my dressage test in my jump tack, we both seem more comfortable in it. Now I just need to like… look at the dressage test at some point probably.

wants to just skip to the runny-jompies part please

Oh – one other thing did happen this weekend! I helped Willow Tree Warmbloods get set up with a TikTok account. If you want bonus baby horse content and videos, give them a follow. Obi is already a star, naturally.

Foal Friday: Genetics are Weird

I am convinced that what we currently understand of genetics is just the very tip of the iceburg. I mean, it’s easy to understand or measure heritability when it comes to certain traits, like coat color or conformation. What I’m dying to know is what part of the genetic code is responsible for the weirder, more “niche” attributes. Like, for instance… Henry’s tongue thing. I found photos with his sire doing the exact same weird thing. Or how Sadie and all of her foals all have the instinct to want to sit on things (water troughs, trees, other horse’s heads, they’re not picky, but they all come out of the womb wanting to tackle problems butt-first and smash it…). Like, someone please explain whatever genes are responsible for those kind of idiosyncrasies, because I’m 100% certain there’s a “weird tongue thing” gene and a “just smash it with your butt” gene. One day we’ll find them.

And part of the fun of watching the foals start to develop their little personalities is seeing what traits come through, especially compared to their dams or their siblings. Teddy, for example, has been interesting, because we definitely all remember Ollie from last year. He was not lacking in character, that’s for sure. At first Teddy seemed like maybe she wasn’t going to be Mischief on Hooves the way he was, but little things are starting to come out that make me go “Oh yeah, there’s Ollie.”

I mean, the most obvious thing is the sass level. But then again, she’s a pony, and I’m relatively certain that sass has been bred into them since the actual dawn of time. Is there a pony in the world that isn’t sassy? Probably not.

We’re starting to see a little bit of a comedian start to show, too. Teddy’s got some jokes. I mean, usually they’re at Stormie’s expense (I think Stormie’s already got a “days til weaning” countdown on the wall of her stall), but she’s definitely got them.

MOM HI GIMME HUG
I SAID GIMME HUG

But there’s one thing in particular that Teddy’s started doing that made me go “oh my god, it’s freaking genetic”. Remember how Ollie made a game out of climbing over the top of round bales? You’ll never guess who else has adopted the exact same game.

gathering speed…
WHEEEEE
I’M QUEEN OF THE WORLD

Her technique is slightly different, so far she seems more inclined to attack it from a gallop rather than just climb straight up it, but the end result is the same. Thank goodness the round bale is so small for now, while she’s learning the game and figuring out the moves. I have a feeling that by the time a new round bale comes in she will have totally mastered it and we’ll be getting some truly impressive leaps, just like Ollie. This little filly is a powerhouse, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her scale a whole round bale.

taking off for her next lap as Stormie wonders what she ever did to deserve this
HERE I AM AGAIN

None of the other foals show the same “gallop and leap into the round bale” proclivity, they prefer to nap in them more than anything else. It’s so bizarre the traits that siblings share sometimes, I swear.

Champion of the Round Bale Leap (no one tell her Ollie held the title last year)

When somebody finds the genetic markers for Round Bale Leaping, let me know.

Happy Friday!

2021 Baby Bets Contest Winner(s)!

Well, our 2021 foal crop is officially complete. Unfortunately last week when Michelle checked the mare that was carrying Lissa’s second ET, she found her to not be in foal. She must have aborted sometime early on, after all the initial pregnancy checks, and being a chonky little QH mare it wasn’t really obvious until the end of term. Definitely sucks to not get Percy a full sibling, but at the same time it’s been a long hard stressful foaling season and there’s some relief at finally being at the end of it. Plus, like, who can complain about the 5 little cuties we did get? The class of 2021 is pretty cute.

Pippa WTW – Leprince des Bois x A Firm Question xx
Patrick WTW (aka Patticakes) – Faustino de Tili x Chanel Z (Crown Z)
Padawan WTW (aka Obi) – Faustino de Tili x Chanel Z (Crown Z)
Pheodora WTW (aka Teddy) – Usandro Tilia Derlenn x Stormie
Perseverance WTW (aka Percy) – Utrillo x Lasilissa (Lasino)

Pippa is spoken for and Teddy is a keeper, but the colts will be available for sale. There were a few big moments with this crop, particularly with the birth of WTW’s first embryo transfer foal (Patrick) as well as Michelle’s much coveted grulla sportpony filly – exactly what she ordered. We also had no red-based foals this year, only bay and black (although Patrick and Percy will go gray), and a couple daytime births: one at 3pm and one at 5pm. Comparing and contrasting the two full siblings, Obi and Patrick, has been pretty interesting. There are some similarities but also plenty of differences, not only in how they look but also in their personalities. Genetics are funny.

As for the Baby Bets contest, while in years past it’s been a really tight race right down to the wire, this year we had a very clear and decisive winner. Bethkira finished with a whopping 80 points, with the next closest competitors having 65. Much of her success is attributed to the fact that she very impressively (what kind of voodoo magic are you working with, girl?) guessed all 5 colors correctly, and 4 out of 5 genders. She also got Lark’s foaling date and Stormie’s foaling time, plus some of the markings. That was a much deserved win. Bethkira please shoot me a message or email so we can get you your $100 gift card!

100 Dollar Bill GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

We do also want to recognize a couple other really good efforts. Two runners up had 65 points each, Kelly Synnott and Sydney Salle. We’re in the process of setting up a WTW merch store with Two Socks Designs, and as soon as it’s open we’d like to comp you guys an item of your choice up to $30 value. Drop me a message with your email and once Two Socks is ready to open the shop we’ll get you guys hooked up with something. I think Kelly deserves a special shoutout too because she guessed the foaling date, color, gender, and leg markings of Teddy, along with the comment “all I want for my bday is Michelle to get her grulla filly out of Stormie!” – that’s exactly what happened, so the good juju paid off and was much appreciated.

Thanks to everyone who played along with the contest this year, and congrats to the winners! Whether you won or not we hope you’re enjoying the Foal Friday posts, and now WTW is hard at work creating our 2022 crop.

Unanticipated Side Effects

On Saturday afternoon my friend Stacy proposed that we meet at Dover and then go get Indian food. Which, if you’re after my heart, that’s the surefire way, it takes about 0% convincing to get me to go along with a plan like that. I didn’t need anything at Dover, but I’m always up to poke around and see what they’ve got. Plus, like… if they had some white breeches that I didn’t hate, I wasn’t opposed to adding a pair.

And then, a couple days before, I found myself lusting after a coat and shirt online.

if you make a shirt and coat that coordinate I will 9 times out of 10 want to buy them both
Hy Equestrian Roka Rose Show Shirt | Manor Equestrian
I love shirts with unique little details on them plus it’s NAVY so like…

They’re in the UK, naturally, because every damn thing I love is always from overseas. The brand’s size chart was a little wonky looking, and in centimeters, so I figured I’d do the responsible thing and actually measure myself instead of guessing at size. I measured… looked, and… huh. That measurement was a couple inches less than it used to be. So I measured two more times. Yup, that shit shrunk. This led me to go pull out all my Motionlite coats, which used to fit pretty well, and son of a bitch if they weren’t too big. Like… the bust and arms were saggy. I could fit an arm down the front of the coat. That’s not a cute look for riding clothes, y’all.

I mean, yes… since I got my spin bike in late February I’ve been riding it 6 days a week without fail since the day I got it because I love it. And I added weights 5x a week a couple months ago because turns out I really like that too when I’m in the privacy of my own home and not in a gym being leered at by creeps. I haven’t done it to lose weight though, I’m doing it because I took one look at Presto with a pro on him and was like “Damn bitch, you’re going to have to get a lot stronger if you think you’re going to stand a chance at riding that thing right”. And it’s true, I needed to – and still need to – get a lot stronger. He is a big horse that is A Lot to manage and I want to at least be physically up to the task by the time he comes home. I don’t even own a scale though (bad things happen when you give me metrics like that to obsess over, I learned that a long time ago), or even a full length mirror in the tiny house yet (who knows what I ever look like when I actually go out in public, I sure don’t have a clue). Plus like, 99% of the time whatever pants I have on are elasticized since I work from home these days. I did have to go buy new jeans a month ago and ended up with a size smaller than before so I knew there had been some changes in my size at least. Mostly I’m just excited that I can tell that I really do feel A LOT stronger, my core is noticeably improved, and my arms are starting to get some nice shape and tone. I totally failed to consider what these changes meant for my riding clothes though, particularly my show clothes.

that ONE TIME I wore my green coat…

Confession: I don’t put on real breeches that often, I usually wear my tights with the phone pocket when I’m riding at home. So after I tried on my coats I pulled out my whites and they were a bit sad-sacky too, although mostly in the waist. I always shrink from the top down (the boobs are the first to go, and that’s a-ok with me), I’ve got these big old child-bearing hips (that have never and shall never bear a child, thank you very much) and meaty thighs that always stay proportionately bigger than my top half. So now I find myself kind of in between sizes on breeches and all of mine are gapping majorly at the waist. I was hoping Dover might have some that either ran a little big or ran a little small and would fit my in-betweenness nicely, but no luck there. Mostly because out of the many racks of breeches there was only ONE model that I actually liked the feel of the fabric, but they were full seat with way too much silicone. I didn’t even try any on. We need to talk about fabric and how to use silicone appropriately, breech companies. It doesn’t need to look like you used 15 sticks of hot glue on the ass.

Since we were at Dover anyway, I found my way to the rack of Motionlites and tried on the size down from what mine are. I expected the smaller size to be too small still (because in-betweenness) but I’ll be damned if it didn’t fit way better. No more saggy arms or bust in the smaller size. DAMN. IT. My carefully curated collection of Motionlites – 3 to be exact – was undeniably too big. One of mine still had the tags on and another had been worn a grand total of once. I thought for a second that maybe I could just forget how much better the other size was compared to my current ones, but no… it was one of those things you can’t unfeel. Hence me coming home and listing all my coats for sale the next day. As soon as I sell the last one I will replace the navy and the hunter green ones with other size and we’ll call it a wash. All of this to say that if you see me with new coats and shit, or selling things, don’t be judgy… this is why.

damon dont judge | TV Recappers Anonymous

I did order the pretty coat and shirt from the UK though, and since I sat kind of perfectly between sizes on their chart (OF COURSE I DO) I ended up just ordering two sizes of the coat and two sizes of the shirt. I’ll sell whichever ones don’t fit for what they cost me to buy it, and someone here will get the benefit of not having to pay UK shipping, and I’ll get the benefit of not having to make a decision and end up with the wrong size. Win-win?

I did buy one thing at Dover though, and that was a sun shirt. As much as I don’t like most of their house brand stuff, I do think their sunshirts are decent, and they had one in a gorgeous steel blue color that I loved. I wore it for my lesson on Monday and 10/10 would recommend, it’s my new favorite color sunshirt I think. Looks on point with navy.

I swear it’s really pretty in real life, it looks drab in their pic

I have a few other sunshirts I need to sell, as soon as I can wrap my brain around it. There was one boon in all of this unanticipated spur of the moment clothes-trying-on at least – my beloved yellow and navy Boy O Boy belt that hasn’t fit in like 3 years actually fits again! And looks smashing with the steel blue shirt/navy pants combo. So glad I kept it!

I need to get another sale post organized when I have the energy. Today is not that day.