Teeth n’ Sheath n’ Crack n’ Juice

It’s been busy times around these parts over the past week! Mostly with the horses getting everything they could possibly need and my bank account getting more anemic by the day. So ya know… life as usual.

the pasture bale next to a 3-string bale

Rather than me driving to the feed store every couple weeks to get the $40 3-string bales of Orchard, we decided to hop on a load and get a big, more economical pasture bale delivered. I don’t know what I had pictured a pasture bale to look like in my head, but my god this thing is massive. I come from the land where it’s either a 2-string, a 3-string, or a round bale. Watching them unload this massive square bale was kinda fun. Almost as much fun as cutting it open and watching the giant flakes melt off of it. So far it’s worked out just fine to tear chunks from it to feed, and it’s a shitton of hay so we’ll see how long it lasts. If nothing else it’s saved me from having to haul and unload the 100lb bales by myself, so I like it for that reason alone.

Wednesday was dental day for all the horses.

I used Dr. Bess Darrow (she was just on the Equestrian Voices podcast and was REALLY interesting, especially her input on tack, if you want to give that a listen) who came highly recommended by my local friends, and she did not disappoint. First of all, her rig is amazing. It’s a trailer that’s been reconfigured to have everything she needs, and it’s legit the smartest thing I’ve ever seen. The horses get their sedation at the bottom of the ramp, load up as it’s setting in, get their teeth done, and then unload off a ramp in the front. There’s a fan in there and all of her equipment is right where she needs it, no setup required. Brilliant. Makes things quick and easy. I was a little worried about how the horses would feel about getting in the trailer by themselves and all that, but the timing with the sedation is pretty perfect, and all of them had no problem.

Dr. Bess was also one of those people that I could tell right away was my kind of people. She was super nice but also no bullshit, and you could tell she really loves the horses and is passionate about what she does. Also found out she only lives a couple miles away! She was really great, and definitely glad to add her to my team. Overall the horses got good reports…

Henry loves the afternoon rains here

We started with Henry, who is generally the “troublesome” one when it comes to teeth. He’s got a decent overjet, history of broken teeth, and has had a few different procedures over the years. She thought generally his mouth looked pretty good… we’ll have to watch one of his molars (the one that had a filling a couple years ago) but otherwise there was nothing out of the ordinary. He had a few sharp points and some ramps, got those taken care of, got his weiner cleaned up while he was drunk, and he got a Gold Star from Dr. Bess. She loved him, as all medical professionals seem to do.

The only notable thing is that in the middle of his exam she said “wow he has so much extra tissue under his tongue, you don’t see that a lot in thoroughbreds”. She pulled up this massive handful of extra skin from under his tongue and showed it to me. I started asking questions, because in all the years I’ve owned this horse and all the good dentists that have looked in his mouth, no one has ever told me about that. She said that sometimes horses that have that (which is usually warmbloods) can find bits uncomfortable because that extra skin can move around and get stuck in between the bit and teeth or the bit and the gums. It was like a massive moment of clarity, I looked her dead in the eye and was like “I ride him in a hackamore, I’ve never been able to make him 100% happy in a bit”. She said “thank you for listening to him, that’s probably why he doesn’t like bits”. Omg. OMG. Finally, some kind of possible explanation for why this horse is SO different in a bit vs bitless. This led us down a road of conversation about bitless and competition and all that stuff (she’s very pro-allowing horses to go bitless) and yeah… we have very similar opinions on all that.

Next up was Presto, who apparently is a very cheap drunk. She said he has a pretty nice mouth structure-wise, and again had nothing particularly out of the ordinary, just some sharp points (and also a very clean ween).

Presto got a big ol’ LIGHTWEIGHT note at the top of his chart because he was drunk as a skunk from a regular dose of sedation

Last but not least was Gemma, who got the comment “lovely mouth!”… it’s apparently very correct. She had a variety of sharp points and ramps, and the points way up in the very back were causing some small ulcerations in her mouth. We got that all taken care of and then she was good to go. Well behaved kiddos all around, and nothing major, so… good dental day!

The next day was Dr. Redman, for chiropractic and acupuncture. I really wanted him to come out for Presto, who seems to do best with regular chiropractic, but I figured I’d go ahead and have him look at Gemma too while he was here. I have no pictures from his visit because the whole time we were with Presto I was trying to keep him from knocking the poor guy off the bale (Presto seems to think that’s the game), and the whole time we were with Gemma I was trying to convince her that he was not in fact trying to rip her legs clean off her body (slight drama queen).

Presto, as usual, was a bit of a mess. Dr. Redman did a lot of adjustments from the neck to the SI, which Presto seemed to like. After that we did acupuncture, or more specifically aquapuncture, where he injected teeny amounts of B-12 into the acupuncture points. Presto was not so into that. Gemma was highly skeptical of the Dr in general (STRANGER DANGER) but overall cooperative. He said she was very easy to adjust, particularly in her neck… “really nice neck joints, fluid and very easy to adjust”… how’s that for a unique compliment? I was worried that we might have to scrape her off the ceiling if we did aquapuncture but we decided to just try it and see. I’ll be damned if she didn’t seem to quite enjoy that part of it. Go figure. Anyway, he said Gemma actually felt quite good and didn’t think she’d need to be done again anytime soon. Presto on the other hand is on a 4-week schedule for… probably forever. His little roach back just makes this kind of stuff more necessary for him, particularly right now when he’s been off work for so long and is so weak. I could immediately see a difference in Presto’s back after his session though. I really liked Dr. Redman – another good professional added to the team. That’s the great thing about being in this area.

The horses got a little break after that stuff, but otherwise we’ve just kind of been chugging right along. Dr. Redman recommended pretty much the same exercises for Presto that I was already doing, plus a couple more, so Presto basically lives in a maze of poles and cavaletti these days. The good news is that he’s actually trotting over them now rather than just jumping clear over them all. So. That’s an improvement.

All of the kiddos are feeling great, knock on wood, and I’m happy with the progress we’re making with building up our team. I mean, I still have to find a trainer… details… but at least the horses are feeling good!

Foal Friday: Mommy and Me

While Quinlee definitely got some of that beefcake booty from her dad, there’s no doubt that she still looks a whole lot like her dam, Inca. Especially in the face.

Quinlee is pretty independent overall (which was originally much to Inca’s annoyance, but she gave up a long time ago) generally preferring to insert herself right in the middle of the herd, although every once in a while she does like to hang out with her mom. Coincidence that those times happen mostly when the human is outside with a camera? Probably not. We all know Quinlee’s affinity for having her photo taken. And the pics she deigns to take with her mother? They can be pretty cute.

Ok, sometimes.

“MOOOOM, I’m doing my best alien abduction pose for all my fans and you’re BLOCKING THE SHOT”
Inca says “omg this little brat, SOMEONE COME GET YOUR KID, IT’S KICKING ME… oh shit it’s my kid…”
“DON’T KICK ME, YOU LITTLE….”

Inca, bless her heart. Every single day she’s wondering who signed her up for this motherhood thing. She loves her kid and all, but… she also seems like she’s really looking forward to weaning time and getting some alone time back.

They do eventually get their ish together sometimes though and manage to sync up for some cute Mommy and Me pics. Mostly at speed, since that’s one thing they can both agree on: zoomies rule.

Zoooooooooom
WHEEEEE

Oh wait, hang on… quick snack break.

Ok, good to go again.

Admittedly they aren’t always the best at coordinating their flattering moments…

one noble, one derp

But sometimes they do manage to get it exactly right.

ditch-jumping twinsies

Happy Friday, everyone!

Review Battle Royale: Sunshirt Edition

It was between breeches and sunshirts for this week’s battle royale, and the Patreon group voted for sunshirts, so… sunshirts it is!

And, to be fair, I only own sunshirts that I actually like. If I didn’t like them very much, I got rid of them either a long time ago or before I moved (for instance: the San Soleil and the Piper ones, among many others, did not make the cut). How much I like the ones I have now varies, but they wouldn’t still be in my collection if I hated them. That said, they certainly do not all rank equally in my eyes, and if we’re gonna do a battle royale then it’s time to get brutally honest and perhaps maybe overly critical. Fun! Also yes, these shirts were all paid for with my own money, none were given to me, I’m not receiving anything for these reviews, blah blah blah etc etc standard disclaimer.

Some of the collection, representing al of today’s contending brands. Top row L to R: It’s a Haggerty’s, Dada Sport, Dover, Ariat, Urban Strides. Bottom row L to R: 70 Degrees (performance), Free Ride, 70 Degrees (laser cut), Kastel, Esprit.

It’s a Haggerty’s

This brand made their name by doing custom sunshirts, and that’s exactly why I have one too – we got them made for the sBs inspection way back when Presto was a baby. We did them in sBs colors, which… is a big part of why I don’t wear it much. For as much as I love navy blue, it’s cousin bright-ass-royal-blue is not so much my jam. That’s not the shirt’s fault though. The fabric on these is decent… it feels really nice and silky to the touch but for some reason I don’t find it as cool or breathable as a lot of my others. I also think it runs long in both the arms and the body. They are definitely slim-fitting though, which I like (I wear a medium), and it’s fun that you can order basically anything you want.

Dada Sport

Look, this thing is French and it looks like it. It’s a gorgeous dark navy, it has it’s quirky-yet-simple little logo on the body, a heavy duty gold metal zipper, and fun metal buttons at the cuff that let you know it’s high end. It fits like a glove, because FRENCH (I wear a Small). It’s bougie and it’s high end and you have to love it for those reasons alone. That said, the weight of the fabric is also scaled to what I have to assume is a French summer, and Florida… ain’t that. This one lives in my fall/winter collection instead.

Urban Strides

I got these when they were on clearance for a smokin deal (I have two – blue and burgundy) and they’re quite nice. Not as ULTRA lightweight as some other brands, but definitely still light enough to wear here. The white collar does get dirty (or maybe I just have a particularly disgusting face) but I like the contrasting color stripe at the bust and down the side. Well, I do until I have to figure out what breeches to pair the shirts with and then I get a little stuck thinking there’s too much color going on or things don’t match, because I am the blandest person in the world when it comes to colors. The fit and fabric on these is nice though, and their new styles look equally interesting. I also love that Urban Strides puts little sayings on the arm (the ones I have say “do what you love”), I think it’s a cute little touch. I wear a medium in this brand.

Dover Coolblast

My French blue Dover Coolblast shirt decorated with some after-market Spanish moss

Dover, Dover, Dover. You got these like 80% right. Let’s start with the positives. First, the fabric. It’s really similar to the old school Kastels that I liked so much. It’s light, it’s soft, it’s UPF 100, and it’s great for summer. They come in tons of colors (many admittedly ugly in my color-hating opinion) and patterns (if you’re into that sort of thing). When Dover does their BOGO sales, which they do on a fairly regular basis, the price is very right (the USEF discount stacks, too – last time I got two for $27 each). Let’s talk about the one thing I hate about these: the fit. First of all, their sizing scale… it’s very generous even for American sizing. I wear an XS, and could even go down to XXS – it’s STILL very roomy and boxy in the body. For reference, I am not an actually small woman, I’m 5’6″ with fairly broad shoulders – very average. With these shirts I always have a lot of fabric to tuck in and it doesn’t lay nicely like my better-fitting shirts do. Even the arms are baggy – I always find myself pushing the sleeves up on these (see above photo) when I usually can refrain from doing that with other sunshirts. If you like your shirts baggy and boxy then these are probably your jam, but for me they juuuust miss the mark with that fit.

Esprit Equestrian

To be fair they call this a base layer, not a sun shirt, but it does have SPF 50 and mesh under the arms so it could probably be seen as either. I like the color block design, although wish the white wasn’t in the dirtiest spots on my body. Ok I wish there wasn’t white at all really. It does look nice though with the contrast. For me (I swear the Small) I think it runs quite long in the body so there’s a lot to tuck in (I would hem it a good 3″ shorter), and fabric-wise: believe them when they call this a base layer. It’s definitely too thick for a summer sunshirt. That said it’s pretty cheap at $55 regular price and it looks really good with black pants especially. It lives in my fall-winter shirt collection.

70 Degrees

70 Degrees French Stripe Performance shirt

So I have two different shirts from this brand, the French Stripe Performance Shirt in navy/white and the Laser Cut in gray. Both have really light and silky fabric (it’s right up there among my favorite fabrics) but they’re slightly different. The French Stripe is like your typical sunshirt design with the mesh under the arms. I love the design details of this one, it’s got a nice solid metal zipper, navy at the edge of the collar so it doesn’t show all your face dirt, it’s tagless, has 50+ SPF sun protection… great shirt, super comfortable. I do wish it was cut just sliiiiiightly slimmer in the body but it’s certainly not nearly as baggy as some. I accidentally washed this shirt with something that bled a lot of pink and it was one of the saddest laundry experiences of my life, but I’ve managed to get most of that out and it looks white again. Gold star for that.

The Laser Cut one does not have mesh under the arms but it has little triangle cutouts up the arms, shoulders, neck, and along the back for lots of ventilation. I love this shirt, love the unique styling, and love that the neck doesn’t have seams. It’s slightly less sun protection at 30 SPF. My only complaint about the gray color in particular is that when you sweat and then it dries, it leaves slight sweat marks. They come out when you wash it, but if you plan on running errands or something after the barn and you get particularly sweaty, I’d get it in a different color. Still though, love these shirts and absolutely will buy more (the laser cut comes in a light blue now and I wannit). I wear a small in this brand.

70 Degrees Laser Cut shirt

Free Ride

I can’t find the particular sunshirt I have on their website now, but it was just your basic black sunshirt with glitter mesh under the arms. Black plus glitter… y’all know how I feel about that combination. Looks-wise it’s absolutely stunning. The fit is pretty good, nicely form-fitted, and it’s a good length, not too long or too short. The fabric though is just too heavy for a true southern summer. This one also lives in my “fall/winter” sunshirt section – best when highs are under 80 degrees. Their newer shirts have mesh on the sides too so I’m kind of interested to try those for comparison, since I do like this brand’s fit (I wear a medium).

Ariat Sunstopper

I have that navy and white polka dot one that literally everyone in America has by now I think. The price is right, it’s a cute enough shirt, its UPF 45… hard to go that wrong. I don’t LOVE the fabric, but it’s also cooler than I expected. It feels a little bit scratchy to the touch almost (compared to some of my super silky sunshirts anyway), but air flows through it well. It’s almost… slightly meshy? It feels about how you would expect for the price point, but it does the job, so. How’s that for a review? In reality I don’t wear this one a lot but I couldn’t tell you exactly why… I think because my brain sees polka dots and goes “LOUD PATTERN” even though it’s really not. I do wish it was a little more form fitted so it tucked in without having as much extra fabric around the middle, but it’s not bad. I wear a Small in Ariat.

Kastel Denmark

Heavy Sigh. Look, Kastel was my absolute hands down favorite for YEARS. They had the best fabric for really hot summers – super lightweight and cooling when it got wet. Even with that stupid little blob of fabric under the zipper that never quite sits right (I cut it out of mine), I still dearly love my older Kastel shirts. I know some people didn’t like them because the cuff didn’t allow you to push the sleeves up (I try not to push mine up anyway lest I get more weird tan lines) and yeah the mesh was a little delicate, but… they felt so nice. The problem is that the newer ones just aren’t the same. The fabric is different, the colors and prints are… very much NOT my aesthetic… it’s just been a real disappointment from them lately. I haven’t bought any new ones in years and probably won’t. That said, my old ones are still some of my favorites, even if my Mediums are a little big on me now.


Ok that was maybe a little brutal. Bonus points if you made it this far. Drum roll please for the winner…

70 Degrees!

This one wasn’t easy. Price-point-wise, at least when they’re on sale, Dover is very appealing, but if we take that out of the equation then would I buy them? Probably not. Therefore they certainly can’t be the winner. Their fit just makes me annoyed every single time I put them on and they lack some of the nicer details. I do love my old Kastels, but I also can’t hand them the title when I don’t actually like the newer ones. 70 Degrees, though… they get so many of the pieces right: lovely fabric, good fit, unique styles, attention to detail, small (woman-owned, in the USA) business, etc etc. I’m really looking forward to seeing their brand grow and expand. The price point is very fair, I think, they’re certainly nicer than others in the same price category. I do always find myself reaching for those shirts the most, they just feel so nice to wear and they look good too. When I went through my phone looking for pics for this post, I was wearing a 70 Degrees shirt in most of them. I think that says it all. Deserving win!

Breed.Ride.Compete.’s Official Soft Launch

Midday update: we sold out in an hour! Will let y’all know when we plan on opening up more spots!

It’s the day we (ok, maybe just I) have been waiting for – the official (soft) launch of Breed.Ride.Compete. to the public!

Well, ok… ish. I did buy the domain name and put up a basic website as a placeholder, but it doesn’t have details or any commerce ability yet. We’ve obviously already been providing data to live streams (the Kentucky shoutout was fun!), and we did offer the pdfs and excel spreadsheets of the Kentucky data on Etsy. That went… a lot better than I expected. We’ll be doing the same sort of data for Luhmuhlen, so keep an eye out for that.

BRC is about a lot more than just live stream data though, and I wanted to get started on one of the main offerings that I’m excited about, and probably the thing that’s been most requested: custom pedigree reports. Since we have limited capacity (and don’t want to bite off more than we can chew, so to speak) I thought it would be best to launch all of our offerings in stages and at set quantities. That means, to start out with, we’re only offering 5 custom pedigree reports for the month of June. Once we get a better idea of how time-consuming those end up being, we’ll either offer the same thing in July or open up more spots. What we don’t want to do is open it up completely as a free-for-all and not be able to put out the kind of product that I want. So – better to start small!

To celebrate the official (soft) launch, we’ll also be offering these first 5 at 20% off.

Let’t talk details.

Here’s what we require: For now we are limiting these to thoroughbreds and warmbloods only. If it’s a TB, we only require the registered name. If it’s a warmblood we need either a photo of the papers or a link to the pedigree (it’s possible that we can find the horse without this, but please contact me to check before you pay!)

Here’s what you get: a 3-5 page pdf report with details about your horses ancestors, information on what else they produced, what the bloodlines are known for, any siblings or other related horses of note, photos, etc. These reports are really geared towards riders and owners who aren’t very familiar with the breeding world, interested in knowing more about their horse, but donโ€™t know how or where to do the research (or don’t want to spend hours spiraling into the abyss). If you have any follow-up questions related to any of the information in your report, we’ll be happy to discuss those with you too!

And the fine print: If for whatever reason we are unable to gather enough data to complete a satisfactory report, we will issue a refund. We will complete these on a first come, first served basis, with the expectation of having all 5 completed in the month of June.

Since we don’t have the commerce part of the website up yet, we’ll sell these 5 spots through our Etsy account here. Thanks for the support, we’re excited to kick things off!

Also keep an eye out on the BRC facebook and instagram pages, we’ll be doing some fun giveaways this summer (we hope you like swag)…

Take Your Pick

I was thinking last week about how different all three of my horses are.

I don’t mean different like “different” but that works too

They have some similarities, to be sure. They’re all blood horses, all are pretty forward-thinking, and all are sensitive. Some more than others. Certainly none of them are heavy, plodder, kick-ride types, though. Thank goodness because those are not my jam. That’s about where the similarities stop though, since all three of them are in different stages of training, working on different things, and need/want to be ridden in different ways. It’s been such a long time since I had this many horses to work on a regular basis, it’s been fun for me to have to be more adaptable. I get bored easily, but it’s pretty hard to be bored when you’re juggling three horses that are so different.

The spanish moss keeps attacking me

Henry is like slipping into your favorite slippers, he’s so familiar and feels like “home”. I know him better than I know myself, really, and we’re very tuned into each other. Especially when we’re jumping – I just think something and he does it. He’s the most trained, the most been-there-done-that, the most reliable, and probably the simplest of the bunch. Makes sense, he’s got 10 years on the other two. This makes him fun though, because he doesn’t require quite as much brain power as the others. I can hack him out on the buckle without a second thought, I can set up whatever weird jump exercises I can imagine, etc etc. Plus he really doesn’t care what kind of headspace you’re in – he’s the same horse every time. Granted, riding him is a constant effort of putting him together and trying to ride him more uphill. He’s simple, but he’s not necessarily easy due to his conformation. I mean, if you want to just sit up there in 2 point and float the reins at him he’s happy to roll peanuts all day long, but… we try to do things properly and keep him fit and strong and working correctly. That’s a bit of a job.

Presto is… a lot different. Both physically and mentally. First of all he’s a big narrow lanky horse. A big narrow lanky LONG horse. It’s very far from that little walnut size brain to his hind feet. Despite his size though, he’s quite light and maneuverable and balanced. Sometimes he’s almost a little TOO light though, and if you ride him with much hand (like… more than a teeny bit) he does not like it at all. He wants to be ridden 98% from your core and your seat and your leg. If you can do that, he carries himself quite nicely for such a big horse. If you can’t do that, or if you resort to your reins when you should have used your core or seat or leg, he will let you know immediately by rooting your ass out of the tack then flinging his poll at your nose. Subtle as always, Presto.

whaaaaaat? I would never.

You have to be deliberate and make sure that your hands are just kind of there in one spot, while using your body and leg to actually ask for everything. When you get it right he gives you a lovely feeling, like… SO NICE. You’re just floating. Boy is he ever a core workout though. Like your abs will be throbbing by the time you’re done. His gaits are big and lofty and you have to have decent body strength in order to stay with him. You also have to be very mentally present. If you only show up with 50%, he’s probably going to take advantage of that. He’s still young and mentally immature, and… well, he’s Presto. He’s not exactly the most serious, studious, focused horse in the world. You have to be the leader and the boundary setter, and you have to insist that that’s your role, not his. If you do that, he’s great. I actually really love riding him, he’s constantly making me think and do better and have more finesse. He finds his job to be quite easy and will jump anything you put in his path although he’ll try to do it his way. He’s certainly not the one you would pick if you want a leisurely carefree hack around, though. He’s work and you have to be a step ahead of him, but he’s the kind of horse that will definitely make you a better, more educated rider.

Then there’s Gemma, the greenest of the bunch. I will admit though, as green as she is, she learns SO FAST that I think she’s really fun and rewarding to ride. I mean at this point she’s had about 2 months of post-track rides and she already goes around like this.

She puts more weight in the contact than Presto does (but not as much as Henry) and seems to find comfort in it. She’s also really responsive to seat and leg aids. Sort of a mix between Presto and Henry I guess. I feel like a dressage rider would love her because she just gets the flatwork so quickly and finds it pretty easy. She’s at the point where you can start asking for more – more forward, more bend, more suppleness, more quality in her gaits. Her leg yield and shoulder-in are pretty darn decent. The transitions are still… abrupt (she may have missed her calling as a reiner) but they get better day by day. Gemma is physically a bit polar opposite of Presto – she’s a hand shorter and much more compact, so she’s pretty easy to sit and not hard to put together.

What I really like about her – and what I really like about thoroughbreds in general – is that she always shows up to work and she always tries. She’s sensitive, but not stupid or explosive. She does have a pretty strong sense of justice though, and if you ask for something too harshly (in her opinion) she isn’t shy about pinning those ears and making a nasty mare face. There will be no guessing how Gemma feels about anything ever. To hack out she’s pretty solid – she might look at something but she’s never belligerent or stupid. Gemma hacks down the road better than Presto does, honestly (Presto is always looking for reasons to be silly, which should surprise precisely no one). I still haven’t jumped her a lot but she does poles and cavalettis basically every ride, and she’s starting to understand how to use her body more, and where to put her feet. She’s pretty darn honest to the jumps, too. Sometimes has absolutely no idea what to do with her body and flings herself into the air like a deer (gymnastics will be the name of the game with her I think), but she definitely jumps whatever I point her at.

I think all together they make a pretty good mix. Each of them is a totally unique ride, working on different things and making me think in different ways. It keeps things interesting, that’s for sure. And if you’re gonna have two 5yo’s, having a Henry there to offset them is definitely the way to go.

Which one do you think you’d like to ride the most?

Foal Friday: Say Cheese (er… Queso?)

Poor little baby Quinlee aka Quesadilla aka Queso has also added the nickname “Cheese” to her growing repertoire of titles. Which, to be fair, Cheese suits her just fine. Exhibit A:

say CHEEEEEEESE

She thinks she’s a supermodel and loves to go around posing for pictures, ears perked and giving the camera her best little baby horse smolder. Cheese definitely isn’t lacking in the self-confidence department. I mean look at her.

did you get the picture, human?
make sure you get all the angles and lighting, human, so I can pick my favorite

If she was a person I think she’d be one of those Instagram models that spends all day taking 100 selfies to find just the right one to post.

gotta get the booty angle, booties are all the rage these days

She even manages to look like she’s posing as she (very deliberately, I suspect) runs back and forth past the camera. Hopefully this means that she’ll grow up to be one of those horses that always has great horse show pictures with a perfect expression and textbook form.

make sure you get my good side, human!
just kidding, every side is my good side, DUH

She’s such a ham. Ham and cheese? Oh no, the nicknames just keep coming.

I also want to congratulate Samantha P. of Maine on her purchase of Quinlee Quesadilla Queso Cheese! It’s always exciting when the foals find perfect homes and we think this one is a great match.

Happy Friday!

Review Battle Royale: Glove edition

Welcome to a new series of review posts! I had a few people wanting me to bring back more product reviews, but truth be told they’re really my least favorite posts to write. So to make it a little more fun for me (and hopefully maybe for you too) I decided to put a little twist on it. Instead of just a single product, I’ll go over every product I have within said category, compare and contrast them with each other ruthlessly, and then pick a favorite. We’ll do that once a week until I, uh… run out of categories I guess. Hopefully this makes it a little more interesting than having to write or read a whole blog post about just one item.

this pic doesn’t necessarily have much to do with the post but Henry is so friggin cute and that’s the only reasoning I need

So let’s kick it off with what I consider to be an important item, and one that I’m really weirdly picky about: gloves.

Ego7 Air Mesh Gloves

These are the newest addition to the collection so I might be able to comment a whole lot on longevity yet, but I still have plenty of thoughts. I bought these because I really wanted a mesh-back glove for the summer (in all honesty I went looking for the Roeckl Laila but 1. no one had them in my size at the time and 2. I was a little worried about those being durable enough for me, I am a bit rough and tumble). These Ego7 gloves are maybe a little more substantial than I was after with a true everyday summer glove… they come down farther on my wrist (some people might like that, I find it a little annoying), aren’t fully mesh on the back, and have a double reinforced rein area on the palm/fingers. It does make me think that they’ll last, they’re pretty rugged, but it’s not quite as light of a feeling as I was going for in the Florida summer. I will say that their touchscreen capability is probably the best of my particular bunch though. If you have long fingers I think they run small – I usually wear an 8, sometimes 8.5, but I had to size up to a 9 in these to get enough length in the fingers. I feel like these are a good summer show glove but maybe not the best summer everyday glove (at least not for people that live in super hot/humid places).

Sweet Iron Co Second Skin Gloves

I’ve talked about this Australian company and their gloves on here before – the skull ones have been my go-to cross country gloves. Lately though I’ve found myself gravitating to them more and more for every day. The palm material is similar-feeling to Roeckl and the top is a pretty thin stretch Lycra. They’re comfortable and slim-fitting, not bulky, and don’t feel too thick. I like that they have so much stretch to the material, they’re very easy to pull on and off and comfortable to wear. They work decently well on a phone screen and dry pretty well overnight, AND they don’t dry stiff/crunchy like some of the other Roeckl type materials do. To be totally honest though the real selling point of these for me is the skulls. I just love them, they bring me joy. I have these gloves in both the navy skulls and the black skulls, although they come in solid colors too. Aside from the aesthetics they are truly pretty solid gloves in their own right, but the skulls just give them that little extra bit of fun for me that elevates them. I also think their longevity is pretty impressive, I’ve been using my older pair on and off for like 4 years (I tend to rotate my gloves by season) and they’re just now starting to get worn in the fingers. I’ve tossed them in the wash a couple times and they seem to survive that just fine and come out looking clean again.

Woof Wear Event Gloves

These are quite possibly one of the biggest disappointments I’ve ever purchased. I was SO excited when I found them because they’re super lightweight, cut shorter at the wrist, the material on the back is really breathable and thin, and they were under $30. They feel GREAT to wear too, especially in the summer heat. However… boy did they shit the bed real quick. See all those black flakes on my wrist? That’s the edge material just flaking right off, and I’d only worn them maybe 5 times when that started happening. It’s a real bummer because gah I can’t even wear them without having little black flakes stuck all over my arms. Basically garbage. Womp womp. I guess the price really was too good to be true.

RSL Rider’s Touch Malibu Gloves

These are, to be honest, perhaps my most confusing gloves. If you think they look green, you’re not wrong. They look real olivey. However, they’re listed as being gray and navy. If you put them right next to something true green they do look more gray, but otherwise they just look like a strange green. I don’t hate it, I just wouldn’t necessarily choose it. The fit is also a little strange, it’s like they assume that if you have long fingers you also must have very thick fingers and a very large palm, because I certainly don’t have small hands yet have a ton of extra room in these. They come so far down my wrist that they cover my watch almost completely. If you like looser fitting gloves or have thicc fingers then maybe you’d like the fit of these, but it’s not my jam. They just feel really baggy. The quality seems fine though, and they’re not a bad price. The material on the back of the hand could be lighter weight too, if I’m being picky. All in all they’re just… fine. I almost never reach for these out of the pile but there’s nothing terrible about them either.

Epplejeck Shine Gloves

Look, did I buy these purely because they’re navy glitter? Of course I did. They were cheap and I won’t feel shame about that. Really I got them to wear at shows and I think I’ve only worn them once so far. Are they great? No. Can I complain too much for $15? Absolutely not. They wouldn’t be the gloves I’d buy and expect to wear every day for a year but they’re definitely fun and nicer than I was expecting for the price. They’re kind of a Roeckl-style dupe just with cheaper materials and perhaps lower quality execution, but they’ve got glitter, so…

Roeckl Lona gloves

Speaking of Roeckl’s, yep I have some of those too… I think everyone has some model of Roeckls. When it comes to fit I do think they’re the best of the lot. They have room where there should be room, and they’re fitted where they should be fitted. The material is fairly lightweight and they’re not too bulky. I do think the longevity is a bit meh considering the price (at least if you use rubber reins like I do) but they do have some decent color options that make them a bit more fun than just your standard black or navy. I don’t think this particular model is as breathable as I would prefer, and they take longer to dry than some of my others, plus they can be kinda stiff when they get super saturated (which is like daily for me) and then dry. They’re one of those that I’d buy repeatedly on sale but not for full price.

So – where would I rank them? Who wins this particular battle royale?

It’s a close one for me, but in the end it’s gotta be the skull gloves. They’re comfortable, they fit well, they’re about middle of the road price-wise, and they’re just really damn fun. I get comments on them all the time, and they make me happier than any gloves truly should. Most importantly though they’re functional (grippy and phone screen friendly), they’ve had pretty good longevity for me, and they seem capable of standing up to my lifestyle of rubber reins and machine washing. I find myself reaching for them every day and kind of have to force myself to chose other ones… that’s probably the most telling factor.

Hope you like this new little series! Let me know what item you’d like to see go head-to-head next week.

Learning and Exploring

Happy… Tuesday? I feel like every week I’m like “wow where did the last week go, time flies” and then tada there we are again at the start of a new week. It felt like a productive one though, which is always good.

I very productively ate all this ice cream

Last week I had to go pick something up at WEC, so I timed it over my lunch break. I’m not stupid, and I definitely won’t miss an opportunity for tacos and ice cream. I’ve certainly had worse lunch breaks from work, I can tell you that much. I guess there was a Paso Fino show or something going on, someone asked me if I rode Pasos. LOL. No ma’am, no ma’am I do not. There’s always something interesting going on there though, you can count on that.

On Friday I met someone from Instagram for lunch at Yum Yum (Don’t mind me, just eating my way across town. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you move somewhere new, right? It’s called assimilating.) which is this little food truck that’s only open for half the day and only accepts cash. It’s a local treasure and always busy, people always rave about it. I have yet to find the thing on the menu that makes me love it, but the things I’ve had so far have been good. I’m willing to keep trying things until I find my order. For, uh, science.

the cheesteak was pretty good, i give it a 7

My favorite thing to do when I go places now is to try to find a different route home, even if it means driving farther. I’m trying to learn the area, #1, and I also am just nosy as hell and want to see what all is where. Sometimes I just turn down a road for the hell of it, to see where it goes. I discovered a whole new connecting road on the way home from Yum Yum with some bougie farms on it (that I drove slowly past like a creeper) so it was all in all a worthwhile expedition. I like exploring the “neighborhood”.

Lest you think all I do is eat, I’ve also been doing plenty of riding. The way I’m rotating the horses around means I’m usually only riding two a day, but it does mean I’m riding 7 days a week. I have zero complaints about this, considering there for a while over the winter I was only getting to ride one horse a few days a week. It’s challenging though because all 3 horses are so very different and want to be ridden very different ways. It keeps me on my toes and thinking.

I’m still figuring Presto out, especially. He expects to be ridden a particular way (he is pretty light and wants a lot of finesse/correct timing from your seat and core… lower your expectations bro, you’ve got an amateur now), and sometimes it feels a little bit like trial and error trying to learn where his buttons are. Not being able to have had that transition period between having him in full training and me taking over the ride has been a bit frustrating, because sometimes I know there’s just something about the way I’m asking him to do something that he doesn’t understand or doesn’t like, and it would be simple to solve if only I knew what he was expecting. Luckily he’s patient, and he’s pretty obvious, so when I do figure it out he’s like “there ya go human, you did it!”. Nothing quite like getting educated by a 5yo.

They’re all getting their teeth done next week, and then after that I’ll get serious about finding someone around here to take lessons with. I feel overwhelmed with options, and I don’t know anyone super well nor have I seen them teach, so… I’ve been a bit hesitant to be honest. There are so many good trainers here, but trying to guess which one will be right for me and my horses is a really hard one. I need to just start testing the waters and see how it goes. Thinking about heading over to one of the schooling shows and creeping around the warmup ring… I feel like that tells you a lot about a trainer. We’ll see though. It hasn’t been super high up on my priority list yet, but it’s working its way up.

On Saturday night I got to experience some super fun pop-up Florida thunderstorms. The forecast said literally 2% chance of rain and there was not a damn thing on the radar when all the sudden a wall of water just appeared from the sky across the street and swept across to us. It stormed like hell for a couple hours, with tons of lightning and wind. That was probably the worst storm we’ve had here yet, so now I have severe trust issues with both the forecast and the radar. It’s made me very hesitant about leaving the horses out at night, at least until their shelters get built (waiting on some backordered metal). I always worry so much about lightning.

lost a tree in Henry’s pasture ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I did get one project done (or, well, semi-done) this weekend: I painted the inside of the little farmhouse. It was very tan. Tan tan tan tan tan. It made the floor look very orangey and the whole inside just looked kinda dingy to me. Granted, I freakin hate tan so I might be biased.

tan is the actual worst

I went and got a nice warm gray instead, and it’s amazing to me how much it completely changed the look of the interior. I started on Saturday just painting around the trim, removing the tv wall mount and spackling the holes it left, removing old picture hooks, etc. I wasn’t sure how the gray would look with the floor since it did look so orangey before, or the countertop since it looked so brown, but Rejan (who I shall now refer to as paint guru) was certain that it would work, and she’s got a way better eye for this than I do. As soon as I started painting around the trim in the kitchen I was like oh yeah for sure, this is way better.

in progress

She was 100% right, it changed how everything looked. Now you can see how much gray the counters have in them, and it waaaaaay toned down the floors. I think it looks a lot cleaner in general too, and no longer dingy. Also, whoever decided that walls need texture, what the hell man. I had to roll this shit twice to get it all in there. You know what’s not that fun? Painting twice. The outcome was worth it though.

I still have to do the two bedrooms but my arms were killing me after this, so that’ll have to be an ongoing project. I also can’t wait to replace all those boob lights… there are 7 of them in the kitchen/living room area alone, you could nurse a litter of kittens on that ceiling.

As a reward for painting I went to my favorite little Italian ice place and tried the mango. It’s so good. Considering I live kind of in the middle of nowhere I have not been disappointed with the food game around here.

does not suck

Things are ticking right along here really. It feels like there’s never a shortage of things to do, but we’re having fun with it. I am anyway. And Presto definitely is… he always is. I do love having him back, he certainly knows how to spice up day to day life with his shenanigans.

Hope everyone else had a good long weekend!

Foal Friday: You do You

There are some technical issues getting new pics uploaded, so instead today I’ve a video of Quinlee being… well… Quinlee. It’s made even better by Michelle’s narration.

Happy Friday everyone, and happy Memorial Day weekend. I won’t have time to put together a list of sales but Riding Warehouse has up to 40% off, if you’re looking to burn some cash. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Benjamin Button Effect

I was admittedly a little worried about moving Henry to Florida.

Mainly because of the weather. He struggles in heat and humidity, and was basically miserable from May through October in Texas. Like, huffing and puffing all day even under multiple fans, didn’t sweat very well, etc. So I was really worried about how he’d handle the humidity of this area.

What I failed to really take into account is that Texas, at least where we were, is just as damn humid as Florida. It’d be 85 degrees with 98% humidity at 7am, and even when the intense heat burned off some of the humidity, the heat itself was just so incredibly brutal. There was no relief from it until the sun went down (at which point, cue the rise in humidity again). The weather was already starting to do that in Texas by the end of April, setting itself up for an extra long and miserable summer. It has been considerably more pleasant these past few weeks we’ve been in Florida than it was in Texas last month.

It’s humid here, for sure, don’t get me wrong. I’m covered in sweat by the time I’m done riding every morning. That’s not at all new though, it was the same way in Texas. I’m used to moist air. What’s different, and I think what makes the difference, is that the heat just isn’t as intense. Even if it’s the same temperature it doesn’t have that “rip the air out of your lungs” baking suffocating intensity that the Texas heat has. And it’s definitely not as unrelenting either… most afternoons some clouds roll in and make it downright pleasant, even if it’s warm. And when they don’t, it still cools off significantly in the early evening, with a nice little breeze (not a “rip your goddamn eyeballs right out of your head” wind like Texas loves to feature). So even in the heat of the day, Henry stands and naps under the trees in his turnout, and has had no issues at all yet. Not even a hint of a huff or a puff. And the heat of the day isn’t like, 8 hours long anymore. He’s been much happier and is coping way better than I would have imagined.

Granted, I know it’s only the end of May and things will definitely only get hotter, but the fact that it IS the end of May and he’s still this happy with zero signs of struggle… that in itself is so much better. Normally he’d have been on the struggle bus for a few weeks already by now.

The other interesting thing (that I had not accounted for at all) is how much better he feels on this softer ground. The ground in Texas is hard and rocky pretty much all the time, even though he lived on one of the best soils you could find in that area. Still… it was just hard ground. Here the ground is so sandy and springy and soft… it feels like he’s aged backwards 5 years. He’s felt absolutely fantastic since we got here, and we were even able to pull the pads out of his shoeing setup last week. He’s done a whole Benjamin Button thing since becoming a Florida horse basically – def not 15 years old anymore, I think we’ve reset back to 10. Which of course makes me absolutely delighted.

no pads in dem feets!

We’ll see how he does as summer ramps up for real, especially with his skin. That was my other concern here. So far so good, but I’m being pretty diligent. Henry and Gemma both have really sensitive skin. Of course, the only issue I’ve actually had so far is Presto’s little pink nose getting sunburned since he likes to nap in the sand pit in his pasture in the afternoon sun for literally hours. Had to get him some stuff to put on his poor lil nose!

I haven’t felt like I’ve needed fly sheets so far either, which I’m glad about. I was worried the bugs would be so unrelenting that I wouldn’t have a choice, but so far daily fumigations with Pyranha and Swat have worked pretty well at keeping the bugs off. I think we’re all glad to have escaped the horrible bot flies that were so bad in Texas in the spring… they drove Henry NUTS, he would start running frantic circles in the pasture to try to escape them, and they weren’t deterred by any fly spray. Horrid things.

Fingers crossed, but so far so good with their general acclimation to Florida, especially Henry. Would would have thunk it?