FHP Halloween Show – Dressage and SJ

When we left off yesterday, Presto had completely and firmly lost his brain when we were schooling because he had friends. I woke up Sunday with a heavy sigh and a “if we could not do THAT again today, that would be great…”.

he has no apologies for his behavior

First order of business was getting the tips of Presto’s mane and tail sprayed pink, to match my mohawk. Priorities. I didn’t have dressage until 10:50 but I did want to get there extra early so that Presto had time to chill at the trailer. So at 8 we loaded up and off we went to Florida Horse Park, with Presto pawing angrily basically the entire way there (the “entire way” being like 35 minutes – FHP is one of the furthest show facilities from me around here, and my Texas self hates my Ocala self a little bit for even daring to think that it’s “far”).

He came off the trailer with a few screams but settled into his hay net pretty quickly. This gave me hope. I figured he’d either devolve completely, or he’d settle down and get over it. Luckily he seemed to choose option B. I got on him for dressage around 10:20 and first headed for the further away, grassy area that only had a couple in it, vs the smaller busy warmup ring. But that grassy area was closer to cross country, and his focus kept drifting into the distance, so I quickly changed tactic and went to the busy ring instead. That worked much better, and he instantly had to focus on me in all the hubbub. Every show I learn a little bit more about this horse and how to handle his brain. In a lot of ways he’s very opposite from Henry… bigger/louder/more is what gets Presto’s attention and settles him.

When it was time for our test, as we were trotting around the outside of the ring waiting for the bell, the judge stopped me and asked if I knew that we were supposed to be doing Novice Test B. As I’d been in the warmup ring I did notice a couple people getting rung for errors, but I guess it had been happening A LOT. I said yes I knew it was supposed to be Test B. She asked me if I knew Test B. Me, who had been 99% certain 5 minutes ago, was now like “Yes. Yes? I think so?”. She seemed skeptical. So was I, now. To be honest I hadn’t even ridden this test one time before… I’d just realized a few days prior that we were doing B, and learned it via the Ride iQ read-along. Now all the sudden I was second-guessing my whole life. This is why dressage is by far the scariest phase.

But on with it we went, and turns out I did in fact know Test B. After how much of a come-apart Presto had had the day before, my whole goal for this show was to have a quiet, boring day. I wanted a quiet, boring test with no yeehaws or screaming, and if that meant that I “went for it” a little bit less, that was fine by me. Let’s dazzle them with mediocrity.

To give Presto credit, he’s now 2 for 2 at being easier to ride at shows than he is during schooling or at home. Also very different from Henry. I think its finally enough of a pressure situation to make him want to pay attention. It was not a fantastic test in any way, but it was very consistent, scoring all 6.5’s and 7’s straight down the sheet. Quiet and boring, achieved. Our score of 32 actually somehow put us in 2nd out of 25 horses. Note to self: it helps to know the test.

After that I had a couple hours before stadium and XC, so I went to learn the stadium course and watch a couple friends go. The arena at FHP is MASSIVE, I was like “why it gotta be so big though, this is just a lot more room for Fuckery…” but the course was very basic and the jumps seemed small. Again I just really wanted a quiet, boring round.

I did learn from the last show that stadium warmup is not a place where Presto thrives (he feeds off chaos, and that is always supreme chaos) so I deliberately got on a bit later. Still had a bit too much extra time, but I was able to keep him occupied. I’m figuring out all these little things about Horse Show Presto, bit by bit. Knowing when to get on and how to warm up is such a big part of the whole strategy.

We went in the ring and took the long way around, so I could trot him past all the banners and spectators on the far side, then picked up the canter. My instructions from Steph were to keep him busy and not use too much of the ring, so I picked up the canter, asked him to be active and connected, and away we went, directly to the first jump. He jumped that first single oxer a little wonky because he was looking off at the warmup ring, but that got his attention, and after that he actually put in a really good round. He paid attention, he did what I asked, he stayed in his rhythm, and he even gave me a couple flying changes. Clear round! Steph called it an equitation round… considering this horse was a flailing hot mess like 3 months ago, I can’t be more pleased about that.

this cute lil lead change tho (also – Patreon members: full videos of all 3 phases are on your dashboard!)

We kept our 2nd place standing (I didn’t even know that at the time because I never look at scores during the day) but really I was just happy that it had been what we set out for – quiet and boring. It felt easy, he stepped up and listened, and we both stayed cool in our heads. This is so new for us as a partnership, that’s really the whole point of doing these shows. Brick by brick laying a foundation that will hopefully serve us well for later.

After that we had a 30 minute gap before XC, which we’ll talk about tomorrow!

Pre-show Prep

So, uh… turns out I completely forgot to post Foal Friday last week. I drafted it, I just didn’t post it because Friday came and went without me even realizing that it was Friday. On the bright side, that means Foal Friday gets to last a little bit longer?

Anyway, part of why I totally lost track of days is because Presto and I were busy getting ready for our next show. Two shows only two weeks apart… what a luxury. Having so many nice, affordable, well-run schooling shows right here in my own backyard is legit life-changing.

Presto had gotten the previous weekend off, since I was gone to TerraNova, and I hadn’t jumped him since the previous show, so I scheduled a jump lesson with Steph. I thought he might be a bit of a dingaling but nope. He was actually freaking stellar.

We’ve been jumping him a little bigger, since honestly he’s so blasé and unimpressed with anything little these days. As the jumps get bigger, he gets better and better. He’s staying rideable, he’s listening, he’s doing his job, and the quality of his jump is improving as he’s getting stronger.

He was so good that we literally jumped two courses and then called it quits with that. He’s the kind of horse where you really have to know when to push it vs when to leave it alone, and the ultimate reward (in his mind) is being done with work. Plus, like… he’s five. If he’s being super, there’s no point in drilling him.

The show was on Sunday, and on Saturday we went XC schooling. Hillary was with us this time, so that meant Presto had a friend with him in the trailer, and we met up with a group from my trainer’s barn. Presto with friends is never good. I thought, though, that since he’s spent the last few months doing things alone, he might just have an initial hissy fit and then get over it. Spoiler alert: he did not get over it.

He was an actual terrorist. As soon as we walked out to the field to warm up he was screaming, and alternating between wanting to spin back toward our group or staring off into the distance at other horses. And it got worse instead of better, because it went from a little naughtiness to him actually being genuinely Very Very Worried. When we tried to jump a few warmup fences he went to spinning again and was super nappy about leaving the group. He hasn’t done that in months (since, well, the last time he had a friend come with him on the trailer). Steph basically just sent us off by ourselves to jump around the whole course, because clearly the group dynamic was not going to work for Presto that day. To Presto’s credit, he did leave the group with encouragement, and there was no more napping, but he screamed his head off the entire time. Like that deep, soul-shaking screaming bloody murder type of neigh that you can hear from 3 counties away. Constantly. While he was actively jumping fences. The actual jumps themselves were no problem, he didn’t bat an eye at any of that and jumped them all fine. His poor little teeny brain had just completely fallen out of his ear though.

I jumped around a couple times by myself, then went off away from the XC and had him walk around the showjumping arena and dressage arenas. Again, he never stopped screaming, but there was no more napping. He really gets so freaking worried about what everyone else is doing when he goes places with a friend. He needs to travel solo for a while to these one-day outings until he finds life in general to be less exciting and can focus on his own life. My ear drums can’t take it.

That evening was spent getting our costume together for the show. I mean, it’s a Halloween event and it says “costumes encouraged” so yes, I’m in. I decided to go for the low-hanging fruit and do a Punk Rock theme, since I already owned most of what I needed for that.

It’s my usual aesthetic

The only thing I had to purchase was the hot pink mohawk to go on my helmet. Because naturally, a mohawk seems necessary for this kind of costume right?

10/10 it was worth the $15, because I could not stop snickering. It was so entertaining.

I also used the Cricut and some silver glitter adhesive vinyl that I already had to make a little punk rock decal for the back of my leather jacket.

And I made some anarchy symbol stickers to go on Presto’s saddle pad too. Because he IS walking anarchy, really. Hillary also picked me up some hot pink hair spray so that I could do the tips of his mane and tail in pink to coordinate with my mohawk. He already wears spiked browbands on both of his bridles, so that was really all he needed.

I was happy for the costume distraction so that I didn’t have time to overthink how he might end up behaving at the show the next day. I wasn’t sure how badly the schooling had rattled him, and whether or not his brain would climb back up it’s tether, into his ear, and re-velcro itself back into his skull. One never really knows. He’s one of those horses that tends to remember everything, so mostly I was just hoping I wouldn’t end up being That Person at the horse show with the screaming spinning idiot. Lofty goals over here.

Swamped

Yes hi I know it’s late on Tuesday afternoon and this blog post was meant to be written and posted yesterday morning but as usual I have possibly perhaps overbooked my life. Apologies, but also… is anyone surprised.

Here, look at Mina in a unicorn hoody

Last week I had a bit of a last minute request to provide breeding info for the TerraNova live stream, and at this point I don’t say no to anyone when they ask anything of BRC, but also I’m still in crunch mode trying to get all the pedigree reports done this month, so. This is fine. Between that and the various social media stuff/website work I’m doing for people, I’m just a wee maxed out at the moment but still trying my best to make time to come do updates here as I can. When I disappear for too long y’all start to wonder if I’m dead… which is fair.

Good news: not dead.

Did strongly consider getting this panda head at Aldi but I could not justify $10 for no actual purpose

Anyway. Last week I was also on Ride iQ’s Office Hours, which was stressful (I’m not so great at speaking “on the spot” I feel like… I’m better in print.) but really fun. I love those ladies and that group so much, it’s just so damn wholesome. People had great questions too, so I loved that.

It also decided to be HELLA FUCKIN COLD in Florida last week. A couple nights were just completely ridiculous.

This shit was definitely not in the Florida terms and conditions that I agreed to. Luckily it was short-lived and this week I’m back to sweating. Much better. I did have to pull out everyone’s blankets last week though, and there for a few days they all resembled dragons more than horses. Well ok, Presto doesn’t pass for a very scary dragon when he’s wearing unicorn pajamas, but still.

On Saturday I headed down to TerraNova for the weekend to cover the event for EventingNation. It was a fun assignment, meant to produce more casual and fun pieces (and Instagram story content) rather than just competition reporting, so I had free rein for some creativity. I hadn’t been to TerraNova yet and that place is definitely something. Kind of a Tryon-esque feel, I would say? It’s high end, for sure.

I’m not going to re-tell those days in detail since I already wrote that up for EN, so we’ll skip ahead. After I cranked out my Day 1 story, I spent Saturday night catching up on the replay of the cross country from Mondial du Lion (seriously one of my favorite events of the year, I would never miss it entirely) and found a few favorite new horses to stalk as they make their way up the levels. There’s also a really cute 7yo Duke of Hearts stallion that I may or may not be trying to now convince his owners to send frozen semen to the US. Oh, and I spotted a Frenchman in a helmet pompom, and that kind of made my night.

Sunday it was back out to TerraNova to wrap up the weekend with the FEI XC and the lower level showjumping. The most exciting part of the day was meeting one of the 4* horse’s emotional support mini, though. Like… big fan. Nugget is the best. If you missed his story you can read it here.

LOOKIT HIM THO OMG

Ok yeah the 4* was cool too. Not many horses in the field but some nice ones, and the course was pretty. I ate a lot of Italian ice and got a lovely ballcap sunburn, so…. weekend well-spent. Although everyone kept saying that they saw alligators in the ponds at TerraNova and despite my best attempts I couldn’t find one. I’ve been in Florida for almost 6 months and still have YET to see a freakin alligator.

Dana Cooke and FE Glamour. From the media spot you could see the live stream camera guy up in his basket.

By the time I got home (TerraNova is like 2.5 hours south of Ocala) and got my Day 2 story written and submitted, it was basically bed time. Yesterday I was trying to get caught up with the horses here since I was gone all weekend, and cranked out a couple breeding reports. Today I rode Presto, bathed him, and tried to body clip him, but the BRAND NEW blade that I just bought YESTERDAY was super dull straight out of the package. Horse is very clean and not incredibly hairy, blade was struggling from the get-go. I ended up using last year’s blade that has already done two clips, at least to get started. So now Presto is 1/3 clipped (the parts that get the dirtiest got first priority because I am not bathing that demon again), I went back to the store and bought two more blades (seriously for what I’ve spent on blades at this point I could have hired someone else to clip him) and we’ll try to finish tomorrow. He was annoyed. I was annoyed. Fun times.

I’ve got a lot more stuff to do this week (chiro, farrier, saddle fitter, lesson, pedigree reports, breeding consultation, website, content creation – thisisfine) and then we have a horse show this weekend, but I’ll try not to be too scarce. Hope everyone else had a good weekend!

Foal Friday: Weaning Time!

After the inspection was over, Inca and Quinlee moved out into the big pasture with the Thoroughbred mares and weanlings (all boarder horses). Most of the foals out there had already been weaned, but there were a couple mares still left, too.

As you can see, they were very excited to get to go out in the giant field with the other foals.

Well… Quinlee was excited about the other foals. Inca wasn’t so sure about the local riff-raff. Naturally it was Quinlee that made the first approach. Inca was close behind, making sure the children at this school were appropriate friends for her kid.

“Hi, I’m Quinlee Quesadilla and I’m superior to you in every way” – Quinlee, probably

Inca’s involvement caused the little herdlet of weanlings to scatter, but that didn’t bother Quinlee much. She just make a break for it and took off after them, much to Inca’s chagrin.

BYE MOM

Quinlee does what Quinlee wants though, so she quickly inserted herself into the herd and assigned herself a high social standing.

And really, that was the end of that. It was a very low drama introduction, and Quinlee assimilated into the herd with no issues.

NEW FRENN

The next day was when the real weaning happened – Inca got on the trailer to head back to Texas, and Quinlee stayed behind with her new friends in the weanling field.

Quinlee neighed a little bit on and off for that first day, but Inca didn’t. She walked out of that field and never looked back once. That’s the case with a lot of mares by the time weaning comes around – they’re ready for a break!

Now Inca is back to her cushy center-of-attention life with Michelle in Texas (she is delighted) and Quinlee is Queen of the herd here in Florida. Queen Quinlee Quesadilla… has a nice ring to it.

Thursday Things

Mmmmk first and foremost, the pro pics from our first event. This noodle. Lookit him. LOOKIT HIM.

My favorite thing about this one is my trainer’s daughter trying to make a hasty getaway in the background. I too would like to run away from the dressage arena as quickly as possible, so I get it.
Captain SideEye, reporting for duty

Excuse me sir, excuse me. Why are you so cute?

The S J pics just made me chuckle because he looks equal parts bored by the height…
Yet simultaneously impressed with some of the fillers

Second of all, I wasn’t joking when I said we almost ate shit in the dressage ring.

Moving on.

If you haven’t yet downloaded your free copy of the Maryland 5* breeding data spreadsheet, you’ve got until the end of the weekend before the link disappears! You can get it on breedridecompete.com – the download link is near the top of the page. John Kyle used the sheet for the live stream commentary, and this morning Chris Ryan absolutely made my day by commenting and saying that it was “fantastic”. Deep respect for Chris Ryan and his breeding knowledge, it’s as close to a fangirl moment as I get.

I’ll also have an article with in-depth breeding info of the top 3 finishers coming out on Eventing Nation I think today (edited to add: it’s up! You can read it here.), so if you’re interested in knowing more about that very diverse podium, keep an eye out for it! Also I’ll be at TerraNova 4* this weekend doing the coverage for Eventing Nation so if you’re going drop me a link and we can coordinate a meet up. I was busy this week getting the breeding data together for their live stream too, which will be on Horse & Country TV. There’s no escaping me right now.

In Florida news, it is for some reason cold AF this morning, which is the only reason why you’re getting this post. I’m not riding until it warms up because I don’t have a death wish. When I went out to feed this morning Presto was levitating around his paddock snorting like a dragon, which was in sharp contrast to the unicorn pajamas he’s wearing.

What else is going on… my brain is mush.

Oh yeah, Patrons – we’re hosting a Secret Santa this year so if you’re interested, check your dashboard!

Last (I think?) but not least, Hidden Heights Fitness is hosting another facebook giveaway for a free one-on-one virtual training session, if you missed out last time! If you’re hesitant about the whole “working out” part, she also does a lot with biomechanics, stretching, etc so she can tailor the session to whatever you’re after. Cannot recommend enough!

It finally happened – my first event with Presto!

I mean, ya know… how many years have we been waiting for this? How many different things have happened along the way that made us (at least me) think the day might never come? It has been a whole entire journey just to get the beginning of this journey. Breed another horse, they said. It’ll be fun they said. Ok “they” was me. And I was right. Mostly. But boy, if we go back to when I actually chose the stallion and planned the breeding, I have 7 years invested in this horse. I love him and he’s everything I wanted (um… most days…), thank goodness, but whew.

Anyway. Our debut show together was in the Novice at Majestic Oaks. We’ve schooled there a few times, it’s close (still blows my mind that multiple whole-ass horse shows are a mere 15mins away)… it made sense. For the sake of my no-longer-working-in-corporate-America budget, I want to stick to schooling shows for a while. Here they’re at the same venues as recognized, over the same questions, so… why not save some money while we’re getting to know each other and establishing a partnership.

The benefit of close horse shows: no stabling required. The downside: mom makes you wear dumb pajamas so you don’t get filthy overnight.

A little backstory: Presto was not particularly good last week. For as good as he was in our showjump lesson the Friday before, on Monday (our last lesson before the show) he was awful. Like… awful. So full of demons and tantrums that at one point he spooked at a pole, leaped up in the air like a Lippazaner, and whacked me directly in the nose with his poll. I bled all over the place. Profusely. Poor Steph had to make two trips to retrieve enough paper towels to stem the flow.

The rest of the week wasn’t as bad, but he wasn’t great either. By the time Friday rolled around I was like “welp, hope I don’t die tomorrow, haha. ha. haaaaa. halp.”.

But ya know, such is the way with young horses sometimes, and you just gotta get on with it. So I trimmed up his mane a bit, banged his tail, gave him a bath (he still hates baths, if anyone is wondering, that hasn’t changed in his entire 5 years), cleaned all my shit, and packed my trailer.

On Saturday morning we pulled into the showgrounds around 10 minutes after 7, and I tied Presto to the side of the trailer with a bucket and a haynet. He just isn’t the type that you can leave standing in the trailer all day by himself, he feels like he’s missing something and then tries to climb out. Hard nope for me, dawg. He’s better off, and considerably more relaxed, if he’s out where he can see things and move around a little. He was wired when I first unloaded him, so I got on him a little earlier than planned so that he could walk around and check stuff out. I think once he got to warmup he realized what was happening, and immediately took a breath. He hasn’t been to that many events (he did 4 last year I think?) but I guess that was enough for him to get it. He’s never done a one-day though, so this format was new for him.

It’s funny… the footing in warmup felt great. A little dew on the grass but it’s so sandy underneath that I have never (literally ever) had an issue with horses slipping here. My trainer went a few horses ahead of me and when she came out she warned me that our grass arena felt slick. Duly noted, I’ll keep it in mind. So ya know, woe was me when we trotted up centerline, turned left, and Presto immediately almost fell on his ass. Like… he barely saved himself. I think we both went “oh… fuck…”.

Bless hims little heart though, he kept on trying for me. He didn’t spook at the tent, he didn’t get distracted by the other rings, he just put his little (ok big) head down and did what I asked. Granted, after that he was really protecting himself and hesitant to move out the way he normally would. I was also scared to ask for as much as I normally would. It was not our best effort. He slipped pretty badly one more time, and after that his canter more resembled a pogo stick because he was just trying his best to keep himself on his feet.

It was not our best work. I mean, all credit to Presto, he really gave it his best. But a big baby horse in small very very slippery grass ring just was not working in our favor. Lesson learned, I will absolutely stud him from now on anytime we have dressage on grass. Better safe than sorry.

Unfortunately every time he slipped we got a 5 for the movement, and his canter circles were quite stilted and not entirely circular. He still managed a 34 though, so ya know… if we could do a dressage test instead of Icecapades I think there’s potential there for a good score.

there was also some slope to this ring that wasn’t helping our situation

I was quite pleased with him really, considering. He did what I asked with no shenanigans, so I couldn’t be unhappy with that. Truth be told he was more rideable in the ring than he usually is at home.

After that we had a few hours until SJ. At this show they did SJ and then 15 minutes later you did XC. My plan was to showjump, come out, put his XC boots and my vest on, and then go to XC warmup. This facility is nicely laid out to where everything is quite close together, so I pretty much passed right by my trailer on the way to XC anyway.

While we were waiting we walked the stadium course… I didn’t take a pic of the course map but did my absolute best artwork for y’all below. That’s a lie, this is terrible and definitely not totally correct in it’s scale or placement but whatever you get the idea.

Sadly I have no stadium video. There weren’t many of us there in our group and my priority was on not dying rather than recruiting someone, so ya know. Hopefully the photographer got something… I didn’t notice if she was standing over there or not. We’ll see. Sorry.

Anyway, Presto was decent in warmup. Got a little spun up a couple times when horses were buzzing past him, but nothing bad. We jumped a couple, walked for a bit, jumped a couple more, then went to the ring. He was so freaking spooky and naughty the last time we were in that ring, I was more concerned about the corners than I was about the jumps. Really though, he was pretty good. I felt his eyeballs wander a little bit a couple times, but he kept going forward and jumped everything fine. The only issue we had is that I got him a bit deep into the in and out and didn’t support him well enough to that distance, and he ticked the rail there. I’ll take the responsibility for that one.

After that it was back to the trailer to put on his boots and my vest, and then over to XC warmup.

Again I am a media failure because I didn’t take pics of the jumps. To be honest, I only walked like half the course. Everything there is mostly in one big field, and only a few things had moved, so… we just walked enough to make sure we knew where everything was, and walk the related distances. And I was too busy listening/focusing to stop and take pictures along the way. Clearly I need a horse show assistant.

It was your pretty basic Novice though. Friendly ramped first fence, stacked log thingy, table, ramp, ditch to hanging log half coffin, another table, house, water, bank up out of water, 5 bending strides to a sharks tooth thingy, then a corner, some tires, a house, a down bank 4 strides to a house, a skinny log, a trakehner, and a rolltop brush.

When I first picked up the canter in warmup he was like YEAAAAAH ZOOOOMIIEEESSS. Which, like, ok dude thanks for the forward-thinking enthusiasm, and I’m glad you remember and like your job, but… brakes are cool too. We went forward and back a few times, threw some 20m circles in there, jumped a couple jumps, and then he was golden. I still had a few horses in front of me so we just walked and let him settle more. Then over the startbox and before you know it I was hearing something I haven’t heard in a very long time… “3, 2, 1, have a great ride!”. My favorite words in all of sports.

out of the startbox we go!

I honestly had no idea what to expect of him out there. Sometimes when we’re schooling he wants to pretend to be nappy, or pretend to be spooky, and in those cases he’s kinda hard to ride because you’re never sure if he’s gonna take off or stop dead. I figured I’d know his frame of mind by the time we got to jump 3, since that one turned directly away from all the other horses and went off into the Nether.

He popped easily over 1 and 2, we turned to 3, and he was just game on. Big ol dopey boy ears were happily looking for the next jump, listening to me and keeping his good steady canter rhythm. Everything just… came right on up. 3 and 4 were easy, we turned back to half coffin and hopped through there (I did get him to the ditch on a not so great distance, I just sat up and put my leg on and went “please don’t fall in that hole” and he figured it out), down the hill into the water, then up out of the water (ok he jumped up that bank in the most awkward way, like… literally all 4 feet at once. I dunno what that was.) and the bending line over the sharks tooth. They had a big bunch of flowers right in the middle of the corner which he flicked an ear at, and then I did give him a little tap on the way to the tires just to make sure he stayed in front of my leg there.

The rest was just basically coasting on autopilot. I pointed him at it, and he jumped it. It was easy. I didn’t have to do a whole lot besides keep him balanced and straight. I did kind of forget that Novice speed is slow and you don’t have to ride routes that save ground, so we were almost too fast (errybody be out there circling LOL) but just squeaked in there for a double clear. I had not worn a watch because I didn’t want a distraction.

At the beginning of the day Presto had wanted to roll in the sand pit in the trailer parking area and I told him that if he was good I would let him do it at the end. I keep my word, which led to the best photo series.

Yup, this is my swamp donkey
there was sand EVERYWHERE
That’s alright though, it made him happy

We did manage to snag an 8th place ribbon, which is nice, but mostly I’m just really happy with him. We left plenty of points on the table for sure – there is a lot of room for improvement – but for our very first run together I couldn’t have asked for more from him. He showed up, kept the Fuckery to a minimum, and did his job. Gold star for the kiddo. He hasn’t been out since last August, and I haven’t done an actual honest to god 3 phases in THREE YEARS. Can you even believe that?

It feels good to be back, and to take my baby kiddo around our first Novice. I got a glimpse of what he can be – what we will be – and it was really fun. Moments like that are why we do all of this stuff day in and day out, after all.

Not-Foals Friday: sBs Inspection (it’s the mares)

It occurs to me now that I could have done this as like a “Mare Monday” thing rather than a Foal Friday but technically it’s still part of our sBs inspection series so… it kind of counts?

Anyway, when we left off last week we’d just seen the yearling fillies, which meant that it was time to move on to the mares. There were 5 total for sBs to look at this time – Peyton, Vee, Grace, Daisy, and then of course at the very last minute I decided to toss Gemma in the line-up.

First up was Peyton, who – true to form – was unimpressed with all of our crap. She has better things to do, like nap and eat. She humored us though, and trotted and cantered around for a few minutes. While she didn’t really show us the best of what she’s capable of, it was still good enough to earn her approval into the mare book. She is in foal to Future Hepsilon.

Next up was Vee, who gave us at least a little bit more enthusiasm. I wish pictures could capture how gorgeous she is, she such a stunning mare in person. The judge thought so too, granting her breeding approval with the second highest score of all the mares, just barely off the high score. Vee is in foal to either Lingo van de Watermolen or Araldik (there were half-doses left of each, so they used both!).

It should come as no surprise that the highest score went to Grace, who you’re all familiar with by now from the blog. She brought the Snorty Prancies and showed herself off well, which worked in her favor and earned her Premium status. Grace isn’t in foal herself but she does have an embryo transfer foal coming next year by the Thoroughbred stallion Sea Lion.

After Grace I snuck Gemma in real quick, and y’all already saw the pics of her from the inspection, except for maybe this one.

She wanted to make sure the judge knew that her zoomies were top notch. Unfortunately “zoomies” are not actually a criteria on the scoresheet. Still, she scored pretty well, with her trot and canter being her highest marks.

Last but not least was Daisy, the Paint mare.

I have to be honest, I always love to see these warmblood registries and their reaction Daisy. She walks up looking like a QH (a nice one, she’s a good looking mare, but it’s obviously not a warmblood or TB like they’re used to seeing) and they always look skeptical, then she starts to move and they’re like “Oh. Oooohhhh. Yeah, ok, we get it.”. She’s a freaky good mover by sporthorse standards. Her foal next year should be interesting too – it’s by the Irish 4* eventing stallion Philanderer.

Daisy too earned high enough scores to get entered into the sBs mare books, so we went 5/5 for breeding approvals for the mares!

We do have two more foals coming next year, but those mares have already been approved by sBs in the past so they didn’t need to be inspected again. Those two are Chanel, in foal to Usandro (where are all the sporthony lovers?), and then an embryo transfer by Utrillo out of Lissa, for a full brother to Percy.

That wraps up the 2022 WTW sBs inspection! Never fear, I do have at least two more posts worth of photos from it so that we can milk a couple more weeks out of this photo set (I can’t be the only one that’s unwilling to let go of Foal Fridays) before we have to quit for the year.

Slightly Large

As someone who spent most of their life in Texas, I have severe trust issues when it comes to fall weather. Texas does this thing where it roasts you for 4 months straight, gives you a week or so of semi-pleasant (like, high 80’s) weather to where you’re like YAY FALL and then bam it suckerpunches you with Second Summer that lasts another two months. I’m always relatively distrustful when the temperatures drop the first time.

not sweater weather, but “light vest for a couple hours in the morning” weather

Florida hasn’t really done any of that though. It hasn’t been intensely hot since August, and every day has started out a bit chilly and ended up just downright glorious (if you’re a lizard like me and enjoy low to mid 80’s, anyway). I mean it hasn’t really rained in like a month, but man. The weather this time of year is hard to beat.

Since it’s been absolutely stunning, I’ve been riding a lot. Okay, I’ve been riding the same amount, but it’s considerably more pleasant for all of us and doesn’t feel nearly as draining. If we were still in Texas I would already have bodyclipped Henry by now, but 1) it’s not nearly as hot, so he’s not getting hot either, 2) he’s not as hairy as he usually is by this time of year. I’m hoping I can wait until next month before I have to clip both him and Presto but we’ll see.

Last week I had another jump lesson with Presto, this time with the jumps all moved into the ring. That was a challenge in and of itself considering the ring is much smaller than the jump field. Not sure if you’ve noticed but this horse is slightly large, and still figuring out how to be rideable. Several jumps were literally only 2-3 strides out of the corner, and basically everything ends up on some kind of related distance. It was good for both of us though. Him because he actually had to stay focused for more than 5 seconds, and me because I was really forced to ride every single step with purpose or the jumps weren’t going to happen. It helped me react faster and be more proactive. Presto was actually really good, it went better than I imagined it would.

For jumping we switched him to a french link beval bit (so ya know, basically just gave me a hair of leverage compared to his plain loose ring) and I really like him in that bit. It’s just enough to get his attention a little more quickly.

I also have to do a quick PSA for this new shirt I got from Amazon. It’s advertised as a “golf shirt” but perfect for riding too since it’s a nice thin breathable material and a flattering cut – really impressed with it for $26. Just wish they had more colors/patterns! Love the navy and white stars though.

This week is already a bit busy (what else is new these days) plus tomorrow I’m gonna head over to the OBS yearling sale to watch some of the farm’s thoroughbred colts go through. We got the book last week and it’s massive – over 600 horses! I’m obviously not going to be shopping or anything, but when you have a chance to see this many Thoroughbreds at once, it’s an educational opportunity. Gotta go see what catches my eye! It’s called research, ya know…

I’m bummed that I couldn’t make it up to Maryland for the 5*/YEH Champs this year, but hope everyone that’s going has a blast. I’ll be watching at home! I did buy Kentucky tickets this morning as soon as they went on sale though, so that’s totally happening again in April. Anyone else quick on the draw for Kentucky tix this morning?

Foal Friday: Yearling Fillies sBs Inspection

Continuing on in our sBs recap (am I stretching this out? you bet. it means we get to keep Foal Friday for as long as possible.), this week it’s the girls’ turn! We had two yearling fillies for sBs to look at – Teddy the sportpony and Pippa the eventer.

“who’s this guy?”

We brought them out together since it was easier and saved time. They looked at Teddy first, who is a little roly poly pony at the moment. She does not miss a meal and you can tell.

Rude

They looked at her conformation, watched her walk and trot in hand, and then she went over to wait while Pippa stepped up.

While Teddy is definitely butthigh at the moment, otherwise I think you’d have a hard time guessing her age. Pippa on the otherhand… she is very much a YEARLING.

She’s 81% Thoroughbred, although at the moment she looks maybe 81% giraffe. She’ll grow into herself eventually, it’s just gonna be a bit gangly for a while. Pippa and Teddy really could not be more of an “odd couple” pairing. Funnily enough though, Pippa is super quiet and chill and rarely into shenanigans, whereas Teddy… well she is a pony after all.

That theme continued when we turned them loose for the judge to see their free gaits. Teddy immediately stuck her little tail up in the air pranced around like she knew everyone came to see her. Pippa was like “but why are we running?”. Pippa just has zero chaos factor, bless her.

Teddy put on quite a show, with Pippa just kind of following her around.

I AM PONYYYYY
Pippa: but why

Pippa did eventually make a few fancy laps of the paddock, and boy… I gotta say, I had yet to see her really move but that girl is something else. Her step is massive, she covers a crazy amount of ground.

Once she grows into herself she’s going to be a gorgeous mare. Dying to see her really gallop!

No surprise that Teddy earned Premium (all that strut really worked out) and Pippa juuuust barely missed it. She’s just so darn growthy right now, that’s not a surprise. They were both registered and branded, so they’re now officially official!

You’re right, I’m amazing.

Overall a good showing for the girls!

Next week… the mares.

A couple lil Thursday tidbits…

Trying to catch up on some projects so no “real” post today, but I did want to drop in a couple little items worth mentioning.

Slightly related to yesterday’s post, after XC schooling Presto on Sunday I was feeling a bit sore in my hips and lower back, so I pinged Laura at Hidden Heights Fitness. She turned it into the topic of one of her weekly videos! I did as she suggested and it definitely helped, so figured I’d pass it along. I’m really enjoying her weekly series on facebook.

I also finally (after like… I dunno… 3 or 4 years of people asking) got around to making an Amazon storefront. I went back through 5 years of orders and put things on there that I like and have used or worn on a regular basis, or things from DIY’s that I’ve done on the blog, or stuff I’ve reviewed on the blog. It’s a pretty wide range, everything from saddle dyeing stuff, breeches, sunshirts, those seamless Lulu knockoff shirts, my trailer camera system, my exercise bike, trailer equipment, the scale I use to weigh feed/hay, clipping stuff, the dye I used for my breeches, etc etc. It’s random AF. Which… seems pretty accurate.

BreedRideCompete opened again earlier this week for pedigree reports, but (again) they sold out before I got a chance to post about it here. I know some people have been waiting a while to try to snag one… if so, shoot me a message!

And last but not least, if you’re a Ride iQ member keep an eye on the Office Hours episode for next week…