Tuesday, September 27, 2011


My favorite bridle!

Bobby's bridles are great quality at a decent price and look good, whether you take care of them or not!

Both of my brown show bridles are Bobby's (well, most of pieces are, anyway), and a lot of my students have them also. The leather is great, the padding looks wonderful and they tend to fit true to size- my horses actually wear HORSE size, not cob!

Murphy and Jazz sporting their Bobby's bridles.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Best of Craigslist, take 2!

Remember this awesome warmblood mare from my last Craiglist bashing post?

She actually looks kind of nice now!

She may be a nice horse for someone!

Then, there is this guy.

The ad reads:


Incredibly, this horse is a whopping 18.5 hands tall.

With renowned breeding, Roman horses are rare and according to a quick google search, the horse conformation and breeding expert, Virgil, states this about them:

"From the first, the foal of a noble breed steps higher in the fields and brings down his feet lightly. Boldly he leads the way, braves threatening rivers, entrusts himself to an untried bridge, and starts not at idle sounds. His neck is high, his head clean-cut, his belly short, his back plump, and his gallant chest is rich in muscles. Good colours are bay and grey; the worst, white and dun. Again, should he but hear afar the clash of arms, he cannot keep his place; he pricks up his ears, quivers in his limbs, and snorting rolls beneath his nostrils the gathered fire. His mane is thick and, as he tosses it, falls back on his right shoulder. A double ridge runs along his loins; his hoof scoops out the ground, and the solid horn gives it a deep ring."

Here is a photo of the breed standard:

Thankfully, he is 100% coggins free, and the vet must feel pretty strongly that he is because he was given an incredibly rare certificate stating his coggins-ness-less.

As most 18.5 hand stallions are, he is as gentle as a St. Bernard.
He also loves to be Barebacked.

(Other images that comeback when google searching "bareback" are not appropriate for ANY eyes... of course, in this area, anything is possible.)

So, anyone looking for a nice project horse, whip out your checkbook and get ready for your 18.5 heathen to come home, corral, wagon and all!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Super exciting weekend!

Amy came out to give a clinic on Saturday, and I think we ALL had a great time. I was super excited about all of my students improvements during their lessons, so I thought I'd give them kudos for their great moments:
  • Amanda on new horse Zara jumping 2'6" for the first time confidently (and maybe 2'9"!)
  • Shannon cantering jumps on Pumpkin flawlessly!
  • Leslie trotting over crossrails on Sam in good style!
  • Kelly starting to "put it together" on Scout and understand adjustability!
  • Jess understanding available energy on borrowed horse Clair, jumping 3'3" from a trot!
  • Kellyanne SOARING over a 2'9" oxer on 14 hand Pumpkin- both of their biggest jumps to date!
  • Olivia getting the right lead on Major on the first try! Lets keep it up!
  • Tori and Snickers keeping up with the BN group in the clinic even though she was nervous about it!
  • I should mention that Rion trotted over his first cross rail and we saw the first glimmer of "getting it" on his very last effort. :)
Special thanks to Amy for making it all happen!

Amanda and Zara!
Kellyanne and Pumpkin at their first show together a few weeks ago
Tori and Snickers over a big coop at Butlers Bend!
 I also heard that Miss Ansleigh had a great time at the clinic she attended today, jumping a 2'6" course on HER new horse, Classic, while little sister Diana rode Ibn around in the grass, and I'm assuming, cantered in the open! 

 We also tried a new horse for Hannah today, a super cute polka-dot pony named Apache, who we are hoping will be a good match for Hannah to event and just enjoy riding, and Hannah's mom to trail ride!

Plus, earlier this week, Julia had her first jumping lesson on Cowboy and he took to it like a duck to water! Look for his eventing debut this spring!

 AAAAAAND lastly, huge congrats to Panther Springs Riders at Flying Cross- Megan had a FUN, CLEAN XC on red-headed wonder, Mia and I'm told Stacy had a great, clean round on Doc.

Congrats to ALL my friends and students on a fabulous weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2011

T3D: Fun things!

Of course I've been conditioning all summer, that's part of life with a draft cross, I found, but I'm definitely logging more saddle time on Brandy now than I have previously. In fact, I'm doing my 20-minute post-dressage hack as I type this with my right thumb. Not kidding. Anyway, the neat part about that statement is that that means I'm not desperately trying to keep Brandy on the bit with both hands as we hack. Which means she's walking. Flat footed. Which actually has never happened before. I think it's a combination of 2 reasons- I did notice a vast increase in her willingness to walk when I started riding her in the Micklem bridle, and I also mentioned to Amy that I hoped the more hacking I did with her, the more she might understand that it's okay to Just Walk. I'm hoping that is finally the case!

I am fortunate (?) that Brandy's normal walk is quite forward, so there is no kicking her along, but IF she's walking and not jigging, her gait is usually quite animated- something that would look nice... Oh, say, pulling a cart. Imagine that. But today she walked like a normal horse on a loose rein! That makes me happy! Roads and tracks will be much more pleasant if she keeps that up!

The other fun thing is her dressage. She's no grand prix horse and definitely not a warmblood, but I've never brought a horse as far along as her and it's just COOL. We're currently installing leg yields for the T3D and she's really starting to enjoy trying to answer the questions I'm presenting her with on the flat. We knew that would be the case, it's just been a long road to get there. Since I grew up with NO dressage background at all, I'm learning with her and it just never ceases to amaze me what these horses, even the most unlikely ones, are able to come up with when you find the right buttons!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ari's still lame

No surprise there, right?

Anyway, I'm considering SI injections. Anyone out there have any experience with these?

My vet and I discussed Lyme, PSSM and SI issues again. He thought the first two were possible but not probable and he actually was the one who said "You know, we did talk about SI issues, it might be time to go that route." So... I'm wondering if it is. And if it's not... whats another $300, right? I mean, I'm just going to be paying on my vet bill until the end of time.

Weigh in, horse friends.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thus begins the road to the Training 3 Day.

Thiiiiiis is an entry. Not just ANY entry, though. See that upper right hand corner where it says T3D? Yep. A lot of things have to happen between now and trotting out for phase A in 40 days or so, but I am EXCITED!

My goal is to document as much as possible for you and me both, and since a conversation with Amy (my fabulous, wonderful trainer) this morning has my conditioning schedule planned out and my entry goes in the mail tomorrow, I guess today is the "Start of the Road to the T3D."

Well, I guess technically it started in... 2008? Three years and three horses ago.

Initially, my goal (along with a dozen or so others) was to run the T3D in 2010. I was supposed to run it on Ari. At this point, Ari may or may not be destined to run training. He may or may not be destined to be sound enough to be a lesson horse... I don't know... but in the meantime, I've been blessed with an incredible, unlikely partner in Miss Brandy, aka SPF's Big Idea- aptly named by Susan minutes before I sent her first entry in to KY Classique in 2009 after selling my first (successful) eventing partner, Lyra.
Lyra at our first Novice (and last show together)
Baby Brandy, just 8 months under saddle at her first BN
I'm sure most of you know her story, but in short, she was a (ubercheap) Craigslist purchase, intended to be my lesson horse for a couple larger adults who wanted to trail ride. After all, a draft cross should be pokey and quiet right?

Wrong. Brandy is forward, quick as a WHIP and um... expressive (aka opinionated.) However, she is also brilliant to jump, so our dressage has been hit or miss, but she has taught me SO MUCH about jumping and XC and given me oodles of confidence!

So, assuming my entry is accepted etc, my basic conditioning schedule will include riding 6 days a week. Two days of dressage with a 20 minute hack out on the hills, one jump school with a 10 minute hack, one day of trot sets (3x5), one day of canter sets (3x5), and one day of walking hills for about 45 minutes. I'm certainly open to amending this as needed, so anyone with experience, please chime in! Brandy is a drafty, but not very heavy. She's fairly easy to keep fit, so she's not your typical draft, but she's definitely no thoroughbred!

We did our trotting 3x5's today and, as always, Brandy was delightful. I did, however, learn that she knows how to count. Maybe not while she's trotting, but after two minutes of walking, she's DONE and she knows it, and don't you try to tell her otherwise!

Brandy's "pre" picture

As for my "ground crew," I'm very, VERY lucky to have my friend Megan in my crew. She has decided not to show so that she can be there for me, and I can't tell you how glad I am! She's also excited to attend the clinics etc, but I just know I'm going to be relieved to be able to know B is in good hands in between phases.
I'm hoping Stacy (the queen of the T3D herself) will be around to help me, and Julie (groom to IEA's 2010 T3D Winner) as well.

I know I'm going to be relying heavily on Stace and Amy to educate me in the next few weeks, and any one else who's done a T3D, please, I need your guidance!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Many Adventures of Lauren, a pictorial guide.

I'm running on what's left of my one remaining functional brain cell, but I had to throw this up here really quick because I think it's pretty indicative of my life. Not everyone can have two such contrasting pictures posted of themselves within a few minutes!

The first is Brandy being a total freaking rockstar this weekend on cross country with me in the drivers seat.

The next is me looking awfully girly (self-applied makeup and all!) at my joint 27th birthday party with my bestie/roommate Robin. It was a super-hero themed murder mystery, hence the cape (and the girl decked out in fishnets and boyshorts in the background).

So there you go- the many facets of Lauren, in two pictures. 60% Bad ass eventer chick, 30% die-hard theatre geek, 10% girly-girl.

Birthday girls!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


You may have guessed that since I have a bunch of students and clients and friends who ride, I've got a list of recommendations for my "go-to favorites." I usually know what is cheapest and of reasonable quality, but I definitely have become a tack snob after years and years of buying whatever I could afford, so now I know what hold up to abuse at a reasonable price and will last you much, much longer than the "cheapest" version- therefore making it worth the extra money you would spend. So, I thought I would show-case some of my suggestions in case someone is looking for a new piece of equipment to try.

So, my first FAVORITE comes in the form of breeches. I like wearing anything by Kerrits, their sizing is appropriate, their cuts flattering, their fabrics wash and wear very well, basically, their clothes are made with riders in mind. My favorite breeches from Kerrits are the Microcord Riding Breech in the knee patch style.
I have these in the full seat version, too, but don't like them nearly as much. (Incidentally, the Kerrits Flex Tight Fullseats I really like, just not in the humid TN summers- chafe city!) My favorite parts of the Microcord breech are the waistband- a wide stretchy elastic band in back, a v-shaped panel in the front- flattering AND non binding, plus it never flips down- and the fabric is thick, corded (again, flattering and long lasting) and they're cut slightly higher in the back. These are a little on the long side- I'm 5'9" and have to roll the elastic cuff at the bottom up, but being tall, I'm totally okay with that! These are the breeches I wear on XC and have considered getting a pair to wear for dressage and stadium too- the only thing holding me back is my hunter heritage- these are pull ons- no zipper- but they do have belt loops!

I just bought four pairs to replace my worn every-day schoolers, so I'll let you know next year how they're holding up!

Monday, August 22, 2011

An insight to the mind of an eventer.

You guys are probably famililar with this conversation:

Non-rider: So, hows life?
Rider: Pretty good! My horses are good, I'm riding a lot. I'm happy!
NR: Awesome! Anything else going on?
Rider: Uh... well, I went to a show/clinic/lesson and had a great ride!
NR: That's great... anything else exciting? Like, non-horse related?
Rider: Um...

Or this one, when meeting a new person...

Potential New Friend: So, what are you into?
Rider: Well, I love to ride, love horses, I show occasionally...
PNF: Awesome! And what's your job?
Rider: I train horses and teach lessons.
PNF: Oh, how cool is that. Livin' the dream, huh? What else are you into? Hobbies?
Rider: Oh, I event!
PNF: *looks puzzled*
Rider: Event... horses... *insert tirade describing this crazy sport*
PNF: *backing away slowly... trying to fade into the background*
Rider: Uh... I also cook... er... have dogs... um... I love cupcakes!!! *sigh*

It's pretty much an all consuming habit, this horse thing...

Anyway, last week, I had the option to have a day off. This never actually happens in my life, but somehow, someway, that week, it did. What happens is that I schedule my week on Monday, trying to fit all my lessons and rides equally across the week so I'm not stuck with a ton of things towards the end. I minor-ly rearrange as the week progresses, if its too hot to work a specific horse one day or I get an extra one ridden etc etc.

My ride-board. My life blood. I would die without this.
So, I managed to ride a few extras on one nice day last week and was able to clear my Sunday for what could have been a day off. As I sat thinking about having a day off, I was slightly horrified. What would I do? I had to go to the barn to... stare at my horses? Clean tack? Sleep in?

So, I did what any self-respecting eventer would do. I called my MY trainer and scheduled a lesson- between getting to my barn, loading the trailer, catching the horse, loading the horse, driving to Columbia, having a lesson, general chit-chat, cooling horse off, reloading, driving home, unloading horse, turning horse back out, unloading trailer and parking my rig back, it's at least a half day proposition, so I knew it would consume most of my free time on my "day off."

Because, you know, I wouldn't want to have to find something to do that didn't involve my horse. Like... clean. Or get my hair cut. Or go shopping. Or try to meet new friends or something.


Ari's still lame.

I had the vet out last week Wed.

He was looking pretty good, I had him back in shape but he was still a little sticky on the left hind. Amy saw it in our lesson but thought he looked pretty good a week later when I had him out on XC. We had an amazing school and then when I got him up again on Monday, two days later, I could feel a pretty significant "stick."

Vet assessed that yes, he did look lame but not SUPER lame. He didn't feel that blocking would create a significant enough change to help diagnose. He thought hocks. Accupressure points= SCREAMING hocks. Everyone else was no reaction. Nothing chiropractically, nothing registered for that foot.

He asked when I'd last injected his hocks.
My answer: May.
Dr's response: Look of horror.

Cue conversation regarding frequent injections, other options such as alcohol fusion (my turn to be horrified) in which I immediately say "I've heard that is a REALLY high risk procedure!!!!" and begin minor panic.

We discussed if I'd shot xrays of the hocks yet, no, but we talked about it when he was being injected as we thought he may be losing "space" between the joints. I figured we'd have to shoot them this time around and we did.

We looked at the right hock first. As he studied them he looked fairly unimpressed. I hovered over his shoulder thinking they looked pretty darn good to me, but what the hell do I know, anyway? His response "Well, I don't see anything that makes me worry. In fact, I'm impressed with how nice they are." He pointed out a couple of things and I made a joke that if that one looked good, the other was surely a train wreck. He laughed and agreed.

We pulled up the left hock. Nothing. Nothing. He asked why I was injecting this horse? I said something about "12 year old joints" and he said "they didn't look like any 12 year old joints he'd ever seen!"

Yay! Great news! He has awesome looking hocks!!

So, uh... why is he still lame?

We shot his ankle, too, since it's a little "big" just for kicks. Again, lovely. Comments about how nice they looked. So now what?

Do another loading dose of adequan and see if that helps.

I ran him on a course of bute this week to see if it was muscular pain... 2g of bute on board makes no difference in how he moves.


I'm going to have him massaged, I think, possibly shoot the abscess foot again and then probably just wait until Jump Start? Or Hagyard? to bring him back to Lexington to have him looked at.

This is killing me slowly.

Oh Brandy...

So, any of you who pay attention know, by now, that Brandy lives for cross country. She loves stadium and simply tolerates dressage.

She has spent the last couple of rides in her jumping bit, to hopefully make her a little more compliant.

I set her back up in her dressage bridle today and decided to go out to the field to do our dressage school. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Horse that lives for XC+snaffle for first time in a week+riding in the field= very. forward. dressage school. She was really actually very good though, in the end, so I guess there's that...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Today I...

  • Rode seven horses, including a 13.3 hand POA pony followed by a 17 hand Irish Sport Horse
  • Weed-whacked the front yard in lieu of using the (broken) mower
  • Picked the dog hair off of my last Gigi's cupcake after it fell off my plate not once but TWO TIMES
  • Continued my journey is trying to eat every last edible thing in my house before I go grocery shopping again (Enchilada bake, not too bad for trying to use up the random things in my house! Tomorrow may be tougher...)

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Appy Diaries: When baby steps become big-boy steps

Rion has been doing well being ridden in the arena. I still need to roundpen him before I get on for a minute to get his sillies out. I admit that I wish I could longe in the arena to expedite the process a bit, but I do think the roundpen gives him a little more of that "recess" feel instead of "straight to work!" He usually does some playing in the roundpen, then we work for a minute to get in the mental game, then up to the arena where I get on.

He has been nothing but business under saddle from the first day I got on him. I cantered him last week for the first time- I just snuck in a "caaaanter!" *kiss* as we trotted down the long side- he stepped right off before he could think about what was going on and I was happy with that. I asked one more time and got a few steps of lovely (baby) canter and quit.

Today I worked him as normal, then hopped on in the arena. When you start a youngster, they typically are very tentative to go forward for two reasons- one is the new weight on their back, and two is because going forward (or being in front of your leg) is foreign to them and also- it's work!

You have to ride a baby horse like they're an adult so they begin to understand the concepts, but you also have to understand that they DON'T know what you're asking, and patiently explain it to them, one step at a time! They're not born knowing what we mean! So, for example, as soon as I start asking a horse to turn, I start using my legs. They are associating the cue the with action.

He has begun to understand the concept of a forward working walk and is moving nicely away from my leg. He is very reactive to shifting weight, so I've been riding him in my western saddle to stabilize my weight on his back- he seems happy with that solution for now.

Today, I asked him to trot off like I normally do, expecting a little back and forth like we normally have- I ask him to trot, he stumbles off a step or two and then walks. I ask him to trot and he complies, slugglishly. I kick him up a little and he finally goes on and trots pokily around the arena, finding a couple of forward steps here and there and stopping every so often. Instead, he jumped right into a nice, forward trot and he kept a lovely steady tempo the whole time. He moved away from my leg all over the place, weaving between jumps, going into all corners of the arena, switching directions, making circles and moving happily past the open gate without sucking back or dropping his shoulder! He even gave me a step here or there of softening into a bit of a shape. I was so impressed! He felt like a big boy for sure!

There is nothing more fun than when the first tentative baby steps under saddle start to become glimpses of "real horse!"

Also, after I turned him out this afternoon, he galloped out to the end of the pasture to meet his friends... so I got to witness the first view of what promises to be an INCREDIBLE gallop. As I said on facebook earlier, "This little red appy promises to make someone a NEAT event horse!"

Does it get any better than this?

I wish I had more pictures from the weekend, but I was a slouch and failed to get any of things like: Lisa, Megan and I on horseback all at the same time, Megan teaching her reiner how to jump, Lisa riding my friend's big QH XC for the first time etc etc.

But I did get these two, and they're super cute. What a way to sum up my Saturday:

PSF gang after waiting out the storm on Saturday, ready to ride!

Me, Lisa and Megan out at Drakes that evening. Wish I had one with Leslie, Tracy and Amy in it too, but again, forgot!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Good has so many practical definitions in the horse world.

When you ride, you learn to see the good in everything... for example: "Well, I fell off in the ditch on XC, but that means I got to school XC the next day, so that was good!"

And then there's "Well, I stayed on, and we (eventually) jumped everything, so it was a good school..."

Or "He was good... he nearly ripped my left arm off the whole way around and we jumped the first three sideways, but it was a good run."

And then you get into "Well, he was good." (As in nothing stellar, but nothing bad happened either.)

Or when you come out of the show ring and look to your trainer and the only thing she says is "Good." Which is generally followed by "But...."

But on the other hand, you might get a "Good!" which means just what it sounds like!

But when you have a really, really, really good day, sometimes all you can think to say is "REALLY, REALLY GOOD."

I had a REALLY GOOD school on my one-eyed boy on Saturday. He hasn't been willing to jump down into the water since I had his eye removed without one helluva fight. On Saturday he jumped in the first time I asked him from the trot, a little sideways, but in none-the-less. We went around the next time with a strong canter and he popped right down again. Then we changed the entrance location (so he could jump in straight instead of at an angle since we were avoiding a jump on the "out" side of the water) and he went right in again... crooked, but IN!

He's still out of shape, so we didn't do a lot, but he jumped everything, schooled the banks and ditches and put a couple things together. You always hear the big names talk about time slowing down on course and it never really makes sense until you experience it. When you're not fighting for every step, you find that you have time to make some adjustments and ride the horse underneath you. I've had that with Brandy a few times now, and felt it on Saturday with Ari. I'm hoping this is the new ride I have with him- it felt good and I walked off course saying "I really DO think we can go training together... maybe just once, but there is no reason to think he can't do it." He was very rideable and I can't think of a time he flipped his head.

The other "good" thing going on is the discovery of my horse's love for the Micklem bridle. Ari took it IMMEDIATELY. I mean, really. It was a no brainer to keep him in it. His whole manner and way of going has changed. I have never felt him really stretch into a connection over his topline before but he does it in this bridle. I don't know why but I'm not going to question it. With the strap configuration I think it is very "snug" but comfortable around his mouth which encourages him to be soft instead of bracing. We'll see!

Brandy in her new bridle!
I had to order a different one for Brandy, because apparently the Princess is a "large horse" (FINALLY, she says, someone who acknowledges that I am a Very Big Pony). It arrived on Friday and I rode her in it today. While it wasn't as instantly brilliant as it was on Ari, it was an improvement and I noticed a couple of things that make me think it's "good" for her. First, a few times as she was trotting around in a steady connection, I saw her big, adorable ears start to "flop"- just for a second, but no denying it. Floppy ears mean relaxed horse, so that is a very good thing. Second, while we were doing some trot work, I heard her tummy rumble. This could very well be coincidence, but again, rumbling tumblys usually mean happy horse and it's not something I typically hear while doing dressage so? Maybe it was the bridle. The last thing was when I walked her out, she dropped her head, poked her nose out and walked happily without jigging or snatching the bit.

I would encourage ANYONE who has a fussy horse to give this bridle a try. I'm slowly trying it on any of my fussy horses in the barn. At this point my two seem to like it. Snickers doesn't normally go in a flash- I think eventually she would come around to like it, but she wasn't an "instant win" like Ari and B. I will try it on Gracie soon, who also doesn't go in a flash and see how she responds as well! More to come on that. :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Test post!

I just got a blogging app for my phone... Testing it out to see how it works!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How to organize for a horse show...

One of my dear friends is just getting back into the swing of traveling to horse shows, and had a bit of a hard time getting her "stuff" together at the her first one back. Unfortunately, she was stabled down the barn aisle from us so we didn't have a chance to help her as much as we could, so I told her I was going to do an organization clinic for her... which turned into a blog entry, in case anyone else in the world is interested in how I organize.

Until this year, I had to rely on others to haul to events, so I needed to be neatly organized with as little "fluff" as possible. I got down to three Rubbermaid trunks, my two saddles, a fan, a bale of hay and my horse. Now that I have my own rig, I can spread out a little, but I can still revert back to that if I need to split a trip and ride with someone else!

Having traveled with SO MANY different people has helped me gleen a bunch of different ideas on packing, organizing and set up at a horse trial, and while what I do may not work exactly for everyone it sure does work for me! Different venues require different set-ups, of course, but overall, this works pretty well.

The most important part for me is having lots of organizing within organizing- for example, in my biggest trunk, I have several different bags to keep things from getting jumbled. Also, at the show, as many hangers to put "things" as possible- I have found the four prong bridle racks that hook over your door to be helpful, and currently love the four prong tack hook hangers more than anything.
Over the door bridle hanger
Four-prong hanging tack organizery-thingy-bobber

The next thing you need is this amazing checklist, originally by my dear friend Kelly, and since modified to suite my needs. The more you show, the more doubles you'll want of everything. There are very few things I lay hands out outside of a horse trial, most everything stays packed away so I don't have to worry about getting it packed back up. I have a crop, dressage whip, helmet, boots, saddle pads (three), XC and show jumping boots, pitch fork, wheelbarrow, buckets, hose, all my hardware, fan, grooming equipment, bath buckets, belt etc that are dedicated to showing. That is another expensive expenditure, but it really does pay off in the end.

From there, I keep things organized like this- I have a 50 gallon Stanley Trunk that lives in front of my stall. In it resides:
  • Standing wraps
  • Hardware bag- snaps, clips, hangers, zip ties, staple gun, bungee cords, chain, rope, extension cords, etc. etc.
  • Horse-boot bag- I use re-useable shopping bags from Kroger, since they are a great size, cheap, and can be chucked in the wash and keep my stadium and XC boots together plus an extra set of bell boots
  • Anything I need for stall set-up- bridle racks, the hanger I hang my hay bag off of, tack hangers, stall guard, saddle rack if it will fit
  • Stud kit in a small tool box
  • Poultice, shop towels and gloves
  • Rags, in another re-usable Kroger bag
  • A towel to hang over the stall between the stall bars and my saddle/bridle rack
  • My nifty as-seen-on-TV folding stool that I get so much crap about
Blue grooming bag, the pink zipper bag has the hardware in it, by boot bag is hidden, but you can see my purple stud keep peeking though. I never said I was neat... just organized!
The Stanley trunk has a tote in the top of it as well, and I've just ordered an extra, so I'll have two. In the top of it, I keep:
  • Hand mirror
  • Baby wipes
  • Braiding kit (bands, EZ braid comb, hair clips, etc)
  • SHARP scissors 
  • Sharpie
  • Duct tape
  • Stock tie and pin
  • Safety pins
  • Old bridle numbers to turn over and re-use on my horse's halter at competitions
  • Emergency poncho
  • Horse treats!!!

 From there, I have another Rubbermaid tote that keeps my saddle pads- one for dressage and stadium (I share a white pad for both events), one for XC and one for schooling. My XC vest, along with my new pinny holder, and any coolers or sheets and half pads I may need for my horse for the weekend. If I'm traveling with someone else, this will also get my girths and bridles if they'll fit neatly, plus my clippers.

Another small tote holds my horses rations, separated into ziplock bags for each meal, as well as extra probios, electrolytes, bute and other supplements- Brandy's omeprazole packets, Ari's MSM and some extra grain and beetpulp in case of emergency.
The little blue tote is for grain etc. The kitty little box is my garbage can in the trailer, and the small garbage can actually holds beet pulp and a scoop.
And thennnnnn, I get a little obsessive with bags...
Garment bag, boot bag, XC helmet bag, velvet helmet bag, with show halters hanging and extra whip and crop, also.
 My XC helmet has its own bag which contains the helmet, a hair net, my XC gloves, watch and armband. All in one place. The only issue I have with this right now is if do stadium and dressage the same day, I find myself without my armband sometimes. Honestly, I will probably eventually just buy another out of convenience, but my armband has found itself living in the tote of my Stanley trunk, lately.

My dressage and stadium helmet has its bag, and in it I keep another hair net and my "nice" gloves.

My boots have their own bag, with their own set of spurs attached to them.

My garment bag holds my coat and white dressage breeches, and in the pocket, my belt, an couple pairs of boot socks and regular socks and an extra pair of seamless beige underwear and an extra sports bra, just in case.

While I'm packing at home, I have another canvas bag that holds three pairs of breeches (schooling, stadium and XC) plus two white Kerrits ventilator shirts (my show shirt of choice) and my pink XC shirt AND some extra socks. (Do you sense a theme here?!) This bag stays with my show stuff and doesn't go back to the hotel, since I forget to pack for the day often.

All of these bags can fit into my Stanley tote if I'm traveling with someone else, as well as my grooming bag- which is dedicated to showing so I don't ever worry about forgetting something. My grooming bag has all the vitals (including a bot knife!!) plus WD-40 and STICKY SPRAY!

Yet ANOTHER bag has my first aid equipment, hole punch, farrier equipment (rasp, nail puller, clinch tightner, etc)- this stays in my trailer for the show and if I'm traveling with someone else, I check to see if they have their own and if they mind sharing so it can stay home.

My buckets live stacked within each other, one for grain, two for water and three small buckets for soaking beet pulp or cleaning tack and the top one is my bath bucket with shampoo, conditioner, sponge, hose nozzle and scraper in it.

Another grooming tote holds various tack cleaning equipment, polishes, waterless shampoos, hoof polish, show sheen, detanglers, quick braid- things that may spill, basically.

I also keep a binder with my horse's coggins, health papers, a copy of every dressage test from USDF Intro A to First level and USEA BN-Training, directions to venues, old dressage tests, fliers of things for sale that need to be put up, extra packing check-lists, dressage arena diagrams etc.

When I traveled with others, I had a bag for each of my saddles so if they had to be lobbed somewhere, I wouldn't worry. It saved a lot of hassle. The bags are put away for now, but I will certainly pull them out again if need be!

From there, a cooler stocked with drinks, an insulated zipper bag (Supah-proof) with snacks, my folding camp chair, rubber boots... and I'm ready to rock!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Wear your damn helmet, reprised!

Remember this post? About wearing your damn helmet? Posted April 27, 2010?

And how I mentioned Courtney King Dye, who'd had a fall and was recovering from a traumatic brain injury?

Here she is now. I suggest you watch the whole thing.

Here she is prior to her accident.

And here is her blog, that I follow. It's really fun to read, honestly. She has such a good attitude and reading about her therapy is always incredible- she has been doing mounted therapy and has switched onto a clients horse (I believe that is the story) that is a quiet but has dressage training, so she can start incorporating therapy with her passion.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Appy Diaries: Rion rides and other exciting chronicles...

Three horses and three exciting stories!

The view from "up there"
Brandy's best thoroughbred impression
I don't have a current "new" pic of Ari, so here's an old one.
 Rion is going nicely under saddle. It AMAZES me what people DON'T teach horses. Remember, Rion was started before I had him, I started him over to make sure all the right education was in place. The first day I rode him, I kind of slithered into the saddle from the tallest mounting block. I had gathered that he wasn't going to be too keen on me stepping onto him for the first time, but he had no problem with me just being up there. So I slid on him the first two times and then tackled the mounting issue today. It took... 10 minutes? To teach him to stand to be mounted the traditional way. Really? We skipped that step the first time around? Of course we did. 
Big smiles for our first ride!
 Anyway, in the space of four (three??) rides, we're walking and trotting, moving away from leg, steering at the walk and kind of at the trot (the round pen is too small to really do much steering at the trot), very responsive to "woah". His gaits so far are very balanced. He is on the lazy side with me on his back, but is much more forward moving while longing than he was, so I'm hoping he will not be a kickkickkickkick ride in the end. He was already more "in front of my leg" today. I will probably ride him in the round pen one more day then move to the arena for more space. YAY!!

Good boy! Lots of pets!!
Brandy and I did our third training together and finished with just one rail. We should have had a 38 in dressage, but mom forgot her test and went down the long diagonal instead of the short... OOPS. Oh well! Honestly, we probably got the better end of the deal because our first free walk was AWFUL. She was high as a kite in dressage warmup, she wouldn't hold still or steer, for the most part, and was just wound tight. I didn't have a chance to let her stretch because... well... she wouldn't... so our stretchy work in the test was just okay. Our trot lengthening was lacking but we got good marks early in the test. Overall I was pleased. In the meantime, I've ordered Brandy a Micklem bridle to see if it suits her delicate sensibilities better. I'd thought about trying Ari in one as well, so I can test it on both and then order one in each color if they're happy in it. Spoiled.

Also, I don't have a picture of Brandy and I doing dressage in our new duds yet. I've been wearing my new navy coat and white breeches and I think it looks snazzy, but can't really tell. Will have to try to remedy that.

Our stadium was not stellar, we had kind of a rushed warmup and she was still fussy. SHE was good, I didn't ride nearly as well as I did at Midsouth. We had a rail in the triple... lots of long approaches and time for me to mess up.

Good over the first...
Not the best pic, but I LOVE her shape and SCOPE in this shot!!
And I love this one, too!
XC was BRILLIANT! I think I said something like "XC runs like this one make everything about this sport worth it!" after we were done. It was not perfect. Far from it. But it was educational. We were lovely to 1, 2 and 3. Four was a combination, down hill, and she actually sucked back a tiny bit to it, so I landed and OFF WE WENT to fence 5, a double brush we've jumped every time we've been out since we moved up to novice. I wanted her to go on and gallop it, so I didn't quite re-balance enough to it, which caused me to start riding a little backwards... to 6, a big table, and through 7A and B, a chevron combo... where we got four in a three and still took off a little long to the second. OOPS. I fixed it to 8 and 9, two skinny brushes, then blaaaazed up the hill in the infield in another long gallop to 10, a little log. No problem there, and then my nemisis... the ditch and brush... it scared the hell out of me. I ended up simply NOT riding the last three steps, but Brandy jumped anyway, bless her heart, even though when she finally caught sight of the ditch (when she was in the air) she would have liked to put on the brakes, but scrambled over for me anyway.

LALALA... there is no ditch... LALALA
Up and over!!
She was great the rest of the course, including skipping right through the full coffin and down the bank into the water. The weather was perfect, overcast, coolish, but humid. She recovered quickly and we were about 20 seconds under optimum time. ATTA GIRL!
Into the coffin... she's no dummy... she knows what is coming...
Panthers reside below!
Brandy makes a splash!
Last, but not least, Ari is back! Fitness wise, he's more than fine. We did 15 minutes of trotting over terrain today and he was barely blowing. We did a 2 or 3 minute canter at the end and he was hot but not out of breath. Thoroughbreds. Gotta love em. Strength-wise, he's definitely lost some ground. Unsurprisingly. I'm still getting the occasional "twist" in the left hind in the sand, but I'm hoping with more strength this will remedy itself. We can only wait and see. He did jump this week, just hopped around some 2' jumps, and he was fussy but willing (Micklem?!). The good news is that the "break" seems to have done us both some good, since my own balance, position and strength have gotten better, so his rampant head tossing is really easy to ignore and just put my leg on and send him forward. We'll see if maybe this breaks the cycle. It may just be him forever more...

Overall, a great July! Now, if only this heat would break for day or two so I can regroup and have a day without dripping sweat!