Monday, October 31, 2011

Tree Trunks

Are what Jetta has for legs. Sigh. Mare, what am I going to do with you?!

I came out to the barn last night and found this:

At first I was like, ok, she's stocked up, but then once I pulled her out of the stall I saw that she was really stocked up. The pictures definitely don't do them justice.

I immediately grabbed a lunge line and brought her into the arena to see if she was lame. She trotted off just fine with those massive legs, though to my amateur eyes I may have detected a bit of shortness on her right hind (the biggest leg) and a bit more clumsiness, but that's probably something best attributed to her freakin humungo legs.

I saw the BO walk by and asked her if she had noticed her legs. I was a bit ticked that she hadn't texted me that my horse's legs are three times their normal size. Usually she's super good about letting me know if Jetta is just a little bit off, and I'd say that this was more than just a little bit. "She's fine." Was her response. Uhhh, but her legs are ginormous! "It's called stocking up, she's been in her stall for the weekend. It's normal." No, it's not. And duh, I know what stocking up is. I wouldn't be so alarmed if they weren't so huge, but then again, I didn't ride her Friday or Saturday so she's been stuck in the stall for a bit, but she's never done this in the three years I've owned her. Not when she was on stall rest, not last year at this barn, never. The BO said she turned her out on Friday, but that she was in all day Saturday. I wish I knew when the swelling started.

So I'm thinking a) it's just stocking up and I'm being paranoid and should stop stressing since she isn't lame on it, b) she bruised, pulled or ripped a tendon/ligament in her leg while on turnout or c) she's had an allergic reaction to something. Her bedding was the same (obviously because it hadn't been cleaned in, oh, what looked like at least a day or so, grrrr) but she had been fed something else. I ran out of grain (which is another rant against the BO who only told me two days before Jetta was out, and I thinking that "low" meant maybe a week of grain left, waited until the weekend when I could go home and get the grain) so she had to feed the barn grain for two days until I was able to bring her food. So it could possibly be that, but I don't think it's very likely.

Such a pretty girl.

Are you done yet? My food's waiting...
 After lunging Jetta for about 20 minutes, where she showed no reluctance to move, pivoted fine on her right hind and even backed very willingly. I put her away and decided that I would ride her lightly the next day.

Today I come out and her hind feet are just as massive as yesterday. Why???? I pulled her out and made her trot out again, but still nothing. Maybe just a tad short on the right hind, but it's minute and not consistent. The kind of thing that someone like me would come up with when I stare long enough at any horse. She's tracking up nicely, doesn't mind pivoting, transitions well, etc, etc.

I ended up taking her for a long trail walk and then bringing her back to the barn and wrapping her hind legs. Of course all my standing wrap gear is at home and I just don't have two and a half hours to drive home and get it, so I borrowed someone else's wraps and then went and bought some more for myself. I'll go re-wrap her legs tonight after my bio midterm...

Before is on the left and after I lunged/walked her is on the right. There's improvement, but I still don't understand why. So frustrating.

All wrapped up... with too short borrowed wraps.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Funny & Cute Video Overload

This is what I do when putting off studying for my Bio midterm...

Friday, October 28, 2011


Thank goodness it's Friday and thank goodness I have horses to keep me sane!
Because I couldn't function without all of this:

The view from the back of my horse

The smell of leather
A horse who greets me at the fence in the morning like this

The smell of grass in the early morning watching my ponies graze

A muzzle to kiss that looks like this

This face
The relaxation of an evening trail ride
I ♥ Horses - can't live without 'em!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

To Ride or Not to Ride

To ride or not to ride? Usually a straight forward question - DUH, ride! But to ride in a lesson or not to ride in a lesson? Hmmm...

Karen O'Neal is available for a lesson again next weekend. On Wednesday. At first I was like, yes! Wednesday's are a good day for me because I get out of class at noon. But. I am still volunteering at the vet hospital for another two weeks. So I wouldn't be done until 4pm. That means that the earliest I could be at a lesson without rushing around like a crazy person is 7pm. Which then means that I wouldn't be home until 10pm after putting Jetta away. Karen mentioned that "usually" she'd be out at the barn until 8pm, so if there are other people that want to have a lesson at 7pm too, I wouldn't feel bad about being there so late. But do I really want to be there that late? That is the question. Jetta and I really need the practice of jumping and I like Karen a lot, so...

I'm thinking I'll just email and see if a 7pm lesson is possible in the first place. After all, I don't have to get up for class until noon the next day. We shall see. If I continue to take lessons with Karen, next year at Inavale I could go with her barn which would be super nice cause then I wouldn't be all alone!

Karen O'Neal riding TC Royale

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First Frost

Brrr, it's cold outside! I'm typing this while wrapped in a nice warm blanket. Winter is almost here, as is evident by the weather. These last few days have been busy as usual, but good.

Jetta got her bath on Monday. Amazingly when I went out to the barn yesterday she was still clean! Absolutely astonishing. I was sure she was going to punish me for giving her a cold water bath by laying in the filthiest corner of her stall possible. Though it's still soon to tell, she may just be biding her time ;)

Still loving this cooler - it looks so snazzy on her!

Noms. I'm trying to make up for giving her an
 icy bath by doing some grazing in the sunshine!

Yesterday we had a pretty nice ride in dressage tack. After being such a brat on Sunday I expected a little more resistance in our ride, but she was totally fine. I think it's just the whole cross country thing that gets her a little too excited... She's actually been super good lately. I forgot to mention this, mostly because it was a nonissue, but Jetta's been in heat the past week and it hasn't been a problem. Shocking I know. She's usually a complete witch when in heat, throwing hissy fits, overreacting to my leg, bucking, running away with me, etc. But not this time! Hmm, could it have to do with the Mare Magic she's been getting? Someone gave me a ginormous bag (I can't remember why they gave it to me, but I think it might have been because they sold their mare) and since raspberry leaves can't hurt I've been feeding them the past few months. Interesting thought.

Today I'm going to go ride Jetta after all my classes and my volunteering at the Large Animal Hospital. I think we'll do some more dressaging and do some jumping on Thursday. It's been kind of a mixed bag volunteering at the Large Animal Hospital. Well, really, "volunteering" is the wrong word to use - it's more like "spectating", though I hope I'll get to do some hands-on stuff eventually. The first day was just a little disappointing. I show up a few minutes early and they just told me to sign in, grab a scrub top and go find a group to follow around. Okaaay - I don't even know where to start. But luckily a group of vet students were standing right outside the office so I just kind of hung around and saw what they were doing. Turns out they were in an exercise science class so they had a cute little stallion that they hooked up to ECG monitors on a surcingle and they put him on a treadmill to show how you can monitor their heart rate and make sure everything's normal at faster paces if you can't hear anything wrong at a standstill. It was really cool. The horse was completely fine with walking on the scary treadmill and responded to cues to walk, trot and canter. Super neat. When they're cantering, they usually run from 15 to 20 mph on the treadmill. They can even make the treadmill incline. They said that they always pull shoes before going on the treadmill so that they don't come flying off or get caught on any machinery. There's also a crash mat in case the whole horse comes flying off - scary! Another interesting fact that I learned - did you know that a horse on a high starch diet (high grain diet, such as corn, oats, barley, etc) makes a horse have pule of 10 to 15 bpm faster than a horse on a diet consisting of more fat for energy? That's something they've found using this type of research with the ECG monitor and treadmill. Very neat. No wonder horses are more hyper when fed like that!

So what was the bad part? Well, I'm supposed to volunteer for three hours and the exercise science was only 30 minutes. The next class was a bandaging lab... for two and a half hours... It was pretty neat though seeing how they make splints and casts, etc. But two and a half hours is a little long just to be standing there watching and not doing anything. Then I messed up and broke my personal rule: Whenever at a vet hospital, do not touch any of the animals because I will get in trouble somehow! Seriously, whenever I pet an animal I get in trouble for some reason or other. No body else petting animals gets in trouble ever, just me. It's a talent. This time I was petting a teaching mare in her stall, she was a little nervous cause her buddy was leaving so I had found her itchy spot on her neck to distract her and was giving her some scritches when one of the vets came up and gave me a lecture about how dangerous that could be because she could squish my hand in the stall bars. Oops. That upset me because 1) I knew I shouldn't have touched that horse! But I was so, so bored! And 2) I have been around horses a long time, I can read body language, I know when they're about to body slam the stall wall. I'm not (that) stupid. So that made me pretty bummed that on my first day out there I managed to get in trouble.

The second time out there was so much better!! This time the vet that was on duty was super nice, and when I arrived, she even had the other pre-vet volunteer helping out by clipping the surgical site. Awesome, we actually get to do something! I didn't get there in time to help, but she did tell us that we could come watch the surgery. They got us outfitted in gloves, hair nets and masks, stuck us in the corner and we got to watch a laparoscopic ovariohysterectomy. It was the neatest thing ever. I found it absolutely fascinating and had no trouble standing there for the full three hours, I would have stayed longer if I didn't have to be somewhere else! They only removed one ovary in that time! And it was the normal ovary, not the diseased one. That was seriously interesting to watch because they had the little camera go inside and you got to watch it on the tv screen.

So I'm hoping that today is a good day!

I've been riding Katy while her owner is still out of the game due to her broken finger. And now Katy is lame. She was lame before her owner broke her finger, got adjusted by the chiropracter, was totally fine, was ridden for three days (I rode one day, ML the other and her owner after that) no problem, then came up lame again. She isn't as bad as the first time and is actually getting a lot better by the day so her owner just asked me to take her for some walks along the trails just to stretch her muscles. We're hypothesizing that she may have gotten a "hitch" in her shoulder from running around bucking in the arena and was brought back to work too soon, so we'll see what the vet has to say this Friday. But I still love riding Katy even at the walk.

Yesterday evening's ride on Katy. That's some long-legged horse!

As you can see - no more riding in the field :(
It's been tilled so our gallops are no more.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ear Bonnet Giveaway!

Well, I'm not giving it away, but Get My Fix is!

I really would love one of these, they're beautiful. When searching for an ear bonnet last summer, I had settled on either a Pessoa one or one by Eskadron. The Pessoa ear bonnet had sparkles, but the Eskadron one had stretchy ears. I settled on the Eskadron one, but get this - these ear bonnets by De La Coeur, can have both sparkles and stretchy ears and they can come in your colors! Want one? Scratch that, I need one of these! I can picture it now - navy blue with aqua blue trim and piping with clear crystals.

All I can say is wow. Go to to learn about how to enter the contest!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Finally a lesson!

Guess what we did yesterday?? A jumping lesson! It was completely last minute and totally unexpected, but I'm glad we were able to do it.

An eventing stable about an hour away was having Karen O'Neal out for lessons. I was really bummed about not making it to the clinic and derby last weekend so here was my redemption! It was the last lesson before they put away/covered the cross country jumps so it really was a last chance kind of deal. I didn't even really know I was going to go until noon and my lesson was at 5pm. But I'm a last minute kind of person really, so it wasn't anything new.

Of course I just like to make everything crazy so an hour before I needed to leave I went out to the barn and unloaded the trailer of everything I didn't need and loaded it with what I did need. Then 30 minutes prior to leaving... I realized I didn't have my cross country vest. They usually require it when you jump cross country. I thought it was in the trailer or my tack box, but it of course wasn't in either. So I zoomed back to my apartment aaaand it wasn't there either. So it must be back at my parent's house. But that would mean a 45 minute detour and I needed to leave in 30 minutes. So no eventing vest and since I had went to look for it, I now had no time to groom or lunge Jetta. Sigh. But such is my life.

Jetta loaded up and we headed off for our lesson. Mapquest promised that it only took an hour and five minutes (lies!), but we pulled into the barn an hour and 20 minutes later, so everyone else in the lesson was already tacked up and on their horses in the field. Great first impression I'm sure. But except for my vest, I had at least remembered all of my other tack.

As soon as Jetta stepped off the trailer I could tell she was hyper. My nervous energy transfered to her having obnoxious energy so I knew I was in for a fun ride! She was pretty much a brat the whole time, but I was still glad I had a lesson.

We warmed up in a section of the pasture with stadium jumps. Jetta was very forward and wanting to rush so we did some circling and leg yeilds, which helped, but still not enough. We started with an itty-bitty little cross rail set up over a picket fence panel. And what does Jetta do? She stops and refuses the jump. Well, first time it's ok - the jumps are way different from anything we have at the barn. She sniffs the jump and then touches the corn stalks to the side of the jump and leaps away when they move. Silly horse. With that out of the way, we trot towards the jump and she stops again. Naughty pony. Eventually she was going over it nicely and we change direction and then add in a three jump bounce. And Jetta refuses again, trying to run out to the right. One I finally get her over the first fence, she refuses the second jump. What a bad horse! She hasn't refused a jump in weeks! And these are miniscule - maybe 18" to 2' tall. After a bit of a discussion, we jump through all three jumps. Mainly it's an experience thing - we haven't done a whole lot of jumping, but then the other half is me - one stride out from the jump I basically stop riding, I really need to follow through and keep leg on, but still stay off her back and not trying to jump ahead. With Jazz I could trust her to take care of me even if I stopped riding, but not so with Jetta!

We put together a course of the first X plus the bounces and then three more jumps. Jetta refused the jump with the box, but leaped it from a halt so we came back and took it again, then we made it over the mini-oxer and a striped panel with no refusals! There's my girl!

Other things I need to remember:
  • Cross country = defensive position, Karen is very specific with this
  • I need to sit back, turn from the waist, no leaning! And toes out to the side a bit more - I took this as a compliment since I've been working so hard at correcting my feet for dressage!
  • Since Jetta refused so much = leg on!
  • When Jetta leans on my hands, bump her in the mouth and with legs too, then release so we don't get in the vicious cycle of she leans, so I pull which makes her lean more, which makes me pull more and so on.
Karen made the observation that with show jumping, we need to work on bravery and with cross country we need to work on control. Very true. Cross country was not very good, but I don't think Karen noticed me careening around out of control for the most part, which was good! Lol. And another success was that we jumped a bank!

Last time she wouldn't do it, so we had to follow Jazzy up the bank and still barely made it. But we did it from a trot this time, so I was happy with that. Overall, a good lesson. I'm so incredible sore today! Jetta got the day off and got a bath and I cleaned tack.

Here's the naughty pony after our ride last night:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Acrobatics and Another Horse

I like Thursdays. I get to sleep in a bit, then head out to the barn before class. Today I got to ride another horse - remember Katy? Her owner broke (or rather, shattered) her finger and had to get surgery on it this week, so this means that I get to ride Katelyn.

Today I got on her first, and after a breif reminder that both legs = forward she was super good. I like riding her a lot, but she's definitely very different from riding Jetta!

I worked on collecting her and walk-canter transitions. I popped her over a few jumps to make sure she hadn't forgotten anything. Then we went galloping! Poor Katy, she probably hates me. This person who hasn't ridden her in months jumps on and makes her work really hard, getting her in trouble for being lazy then not only jumps her, but makes her run flat out in the field. Such a hard life. We then went for a walk on the trails... the slowest walk of my life... but I figured that she earned it after being so good for me.

And I had a video, yet it won't upload again. Sigh. I guess I'll have to take my phone into the store and see if they can figure it out. Its worked before - it says "uploaded" but its not on youtube. Technology, what can you do? I promise that there'll eventually be some videos on here!

This is Paris, the barn dog and my trail buddy :)

It was a nice difference from riding Jetta. I can't decide whether I prefer a hot horse (Jetta) versus a lazy horse (Katy). They both have their benefits and drawbacks, lol. Anyways, then I just lunged Jetta in side reins. Holy cow. I'm glad I decided to lunge! Before I even asked her to move off she took off trotting and leaping and kicking. Dang. If I moved my lunge whip at all or if she heard a loud noise she'd take off again. And she was wired. She didn't try hardly at all to reach down and stretch in the side reins and if she didn't have them on she would've looked like a giraffe.

By the end she had settled down and was doing well, but I was glad I didn't ride!

Good pony at the end!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jumping Star

Jetta was so good yesterday! I decided to jump and she just did so well. I started her with bounces when first jumping, but I really think that they made her nervous so with just one single jump she just does so much better. I'm hoping that we can put together a course well enough by spring that we can enter some shows and do well. The next step is to add some two or three stride combinations because right now our single fences are doing well!

Jetta didn't do as well warming up as our last awesome ride when she felt amazing, but still not bad. I warmed her up over a crossrail and then adjusted it to a vertical that was roughly 2'3" or 2'6", though probably closer to 2'3". She trotted over it very well, though the first time she jumped it after I raised it she got in too deep and had to mega-leap it to clear it and since she jumps so round I had to really throw the reins forward so I wouldn't hit her in the mouth, resulting in me literally throwing one of my reins at her lol! But it was all good, we can still circle with one rein :)

After trotting over quite a bit I decided to canter and it was great! She did get a little too fast at first, though really not bad and after a few times over it she was cantering it perfectly. Yes! Though I must admit we were only jumping in one direction - her "good" direction toward the back of the barn. I don't know what it is about jumping in the other direction, but she gets a lot more rush-y so that'll be something we definitely need to work more on.

Here's her sporting the new splint boots. I saw some on ebay for $95 new! Wow, I think I got a good deal on them for $8.

We went for a trail ride after as a reward. The weather's been super nice lately which is unusual for this time of the year so I'm trying to soak it up while it lasts!

Here's some pictures from our ride.

They're cutting some of the trees out of the forest
at the back half of the property. First thought when I
saw these? Cross country jumps!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Successful Weekend Part 2

So for the show on Sunday, my dressage team was putting it on - we do a fall and spring show - and I am the president of the team as well as the show manager for this particular show. This equals mucho stress. Plus I was planning on riding in it (which was allowed because its a league show). That night I already had two club members contact me saying that they couldn't be there. Sadly these two shows are our only required events for members to show up to and only half of our team came.

Anyways, people canceling made me really worried that we wouldn't have enough people to help. Then I started thinking about what I had to do the next day. I realized that not only was my trailer not loaded, but it also still had things in it that needed to be unloaded. Thinking more about it, I realized I wouldn't even have time to braid Jetta. Oh well, at least she just had her mane pulled and I'd get up an hour earlier at 5 to deal with the trailer.

This internal discussion went on until about 1 in the morning as I thought and worried more and more about the show. If I rode my first test, I wouldn't be able to go get lunch. Solution? Only ride one test. But then I wouldn't have enough time to warm up for my second test - my tests were directly before and after lunch. If the four other members showed up, I still wouldn't have enough people to cover all of the roles so that lunch could be picked up. I eventually drifted off into a restless sleep and got up at 5. So I got less than 4 hours of sleep.

When I woke up I still felt worried about the show and the more I thought about it, the worse the situation seemed. At 5:30 I decided that I wasn't going to ride. I conked out on the couch for another hour and then headed to the show.

Once there we still had to assign every rider a number as well as the letters still had to be measured out and placed around the arena. Our judge was Anne Appleby and she was so nice about everything, including helping us place the letters properly. A couple days before the show I had made up packets for the competitors - we had an awesome local tack store donate not only the cooler for the high percentage award, but also hoof picks with their flyer attached and I also printed the show schedule up, so at least that was done nicely. Our ribbons arrived on time and looked amazing - if you need show ribbons, try out - they do custom ribbons and they look awesome, we got many compliments on them and actually paid $200 less than the ribbons for our previous show. Everything came together wonderfully. It was sunny but a little cold. The night before it was raining, so I had been stressing about that as well. Except for my rides and another team members ride, no one else canceled. We ran on time all day, sometimes even ahead if schedule and we were out of there by three!

If it ran so smoothly, why was I so stressed? Well, it was because our last show was a disaster. We had all new members because the older members had all graduated - therefore we didn't really have a clue what we were doing. Our president bailed on us and the secretary for the show accidently scheduled too little time for the rides, resulting in us being massively behind schedule. We ended up being three hours behind and the show ended at 10 at night. We had scheduled too many rides (120 rides, while the max should have been 80) and a lot of people were pissed off. Most people were very understanding, there was just the few that let us know how unhappy they were and I totally sympathized. I don't want people to dislike the team or our shows, I want them to run well and for people to be happy, thus my nervousness.

But all that stressing was for nothing. It was literally the perfect show. Very laid back, I think everyone had a good time and we had no problems. I was thoroughly exhausted though after we put away the dressage ring in record time, ML and I went out and rode the horses. I was really disappointed that I didn't get to ride, especially because it would have been possible, just too stressful though. It was hard watching everyone else and thinking "I bet Jetta would do better than that horse".

And of course to add to my disappointment in not being able to show off our moves I had a great ride on Jetta. We ditched the arena in favor of the field because it was so crowded inside. After a couple minutes of Jetta going "Outside? Galloping time!!" she calmed back down and we had some great work, cantering circles and figure eights with simple lead changes (!) in the middle. Doing shallow trot serpentines across the field and asking for some lengthen trots and really asking her to put more weight on her hiney. We went back inside to walk and cool off but I couldn't resist trotting again. It was seriously the most amazing, BEST trot we've ever had - it was so elastic and round, she was really stretching forward without rushing or being heavy on the forehand. Ah-maz-ing. I was so proud.

The cutest, bestest dressage pony EVER!

Sporting her new dressage pad.
 So that was my weekend. Stressful but good. The only bad things were that I missed out riding in an eventing clinic/derby at a local farm that I'd been planning to go to all summer, but luckily they also have one in the spring, and I didn't get to ride in our dressage show. But I'm content - I'm just happy the show went well and I can stop stressing! Maybe. I somewhat foolishly signed up to start volunteering at the campus large animal veterinary hospital because I want experience with that sort of thing and need to work with at least two vets to get into vet school. But it's only for four weeks, so I'm sure I'll survive. I hope...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Successful Weekend Part 1

I'm back! And I survived this absolutely insane weekend so I'm hoping this week will be "back to normal" though somehow I highly doubt that...

Anyways, here's how my (very, very long) weekend went:

I left off on Friday when Colton was supposed to arrive, but didn't. I had a bit of a crazy time because I had to drive home for a work meeting but decided to stop at the post office and pick up a package that didn't get delivered and waited in line for forever so I was almost late to my meeting but it ended up being fine.

Then I went home and enjoyed dinner with my family. It was nice because with being so busy I don't get to see them a lot. I then had to print out all of the dressage tests for our show and by the end I was about ready to toss the printer out the window. No matter how much or how little paper I put in at a time it would grab like 5 papers at the same time and print them all at once as if they were one page. The result was five pages with one test printed across all five and a very frustrated me. I had to literally feed the stupid printer one page at a time. Remind me next time to take it to Staples or something and have someone else do it!! Eventually they were all printed...

I then headed back up to school and stopped to groom Jetta as I wouldn't have time on Saturday night before the show. I pulled her mane because it had gotten sooo long and really needed to be shorter, especially if I was going to braid! I did it in record time too - 30 minutes! Woo! I'm turning professional at this... Not. I still hate pulling manes but Jetta actually stood still for it - she wasn't tied or anything, just loose in her stall. Usually in cross ties she walks forward, and back, forward, and back or if her feet are still, she's bobbing her head. Except for trying to bite me a couple times (bad pony!) she was super good.

A very bad "before" picture. She wasn't up for posing...

Half way done! The look in her eye says "Enough already! Geez, lady."

Done! So much better.

The damage

"I wants to chomp you!"

And then it was time for sleep for my next exciting day! The Canby Tack Sale...

I got up bright and early for the tack sale. The sale started at 8am and I'm sure if you've ever been to a tack sale, you know you have to get there early or all the good stuff is gone! I left at 6am and it was an hour and a half drive. I get a little nervous about driving to new places because, while I don't usually get lost, when I do get lost, I really get lost. Like the time it took me almost 2 hours to get to a clinic at a barn that was only 20 minutes away... But I digress. I was glad to get to the sale a half hour early because the line to park was incredibly long so by the time I actually parked, the sale was open. It's a 4-H sale and they must make bank on it! They only charge a dollar to get in but hundreds of people come to the sale, plus the tons of people who buy a spot to sell their stuff.

The main buys for the sale were winter blankets - tons and tons and tons - or western tack. There wasn't a whole lot of English tack, which I expected, but I was still able to find a few good things and it's fun anyways just looking through everything even if you don't buy anything. Last year I got a dressage pad, my amazing Duett Fidelio saddle and an adorable slinky for Jetta.

This year, I did miss out on a couple things that looking back now, I should have bought. For instance some Herm Sprenger stirrup irons - I have bad knees (already, I know!) so I've been kind of wanting some of the bendy stirrups. They were $10. Seriously. I couldn't find any maker's mark on them, but I was sure they were Herm Sprenger like the tag indicated. The reason I didn't buy them was because they were missing the pads for the bottoms and had some kind of strange homemade pads on them. But it would have been such a simple fix! Maybe $15 for new pads and voila! Herm Sprenger stirrups for 25 bucks! Oh well.... And then there was a full cheek Myler for $15 that I looked at and said "That might be nice to have two bridles for Jetta with the same bit" and walked away. When I came back it was gone. Granted, I don't think that it was actually a 5.25" bit so it wouldn't have fit Jetta but I should have checked! I also found a company that makes really cool blingy western tack. My western saddle is in need of new stirrups because one is about ready to break and they had inset crystal stirrups that were slanted. My trainer has some slanted stirrups that I love so I may end up putting these on a wish list for Christmas because I didn't really feel like spending $85 on stirrups. But they were really nice!

So what did I buy? Well, I made up a list of things that I wanted for sure, so that I wouldn't get carried away. On that list was another white dressage pad because I've found that I really do need more than one show pad. Last year at the tack sale I got a dressage pad for $2 (it was all I had left!) and it is my favorite pad ever! It is smaller than a lot of dressage pads which is nice because Jetta has a small barrel and some pads just overwhelm her. And it is a really heavyweight quilt which I've found are easier to keep clean and they don't bunch up or shift under the saddle. This year at the same exact booth I found another pad that was almost identical to last year's pad - heavyweight and smaller size. Woohoo! And it was listed as $30 but I got it for $15. They probably would have taken $10, but oh well. I love it already :)

New dressage pad has already been tested. Awesome!
Notice my awesome Duett saddle that I bought at the tack
sale last year.
I also bought a pair of Veredus splint boots. I don't have any xc boots for Jetta and I was hoping to find some nice Woof Wear ones, but they were either too small or way too used. I know Veredus is a good brand and these were the right size and in good condition. For $8! I left content with my buys and headed to Gallops Saddlery as they were having a sale and I'd never been there but had always wanted to go.

I love Gallops! They have a huge selection of very nice tack. Locally, there are only two tack shops in my area - one is a resale store with a few extras. They have a very small selection and not very much nice tack- usually cheapy stuff that is very used. And the other one has new stuff but a very small selection. Gallops is definitely a new favorite and I can tell you that I'll be visiting again. I tried on a bunch of different breeches because I need new show ones. I tried some FITS, Tailored Sportsman and Ariat. I found that the side zip Tailored Sportsman were not for me, but the front zip plus one size smaller than my usual, fit perfect. Love! Then came the Ariat breeches. I was a little hesitant about them because I just don't think of Ariat as a breech-maker, just boots. But I loved them even more than the Tailored Sportsman! They're definitely going on my Christmas list because they retail for $180. Ouch. The FITS, I've decided, may not be for me. I like the idea of a segmented full seat because I can't stand regular full seats, but the material was thinner meaning that you could see my shirt all bunched up from being tucked in. Maybe I just need to learn how to tuck my shirt in better. They were obviously very well made though and I'd say if you're interested in them go for it! They're on the very pricey side though, but oh so nice.

Gallops carries not only a wide selection of nice breeches, but also good tack - Antares, Five Star, Ecogold, Nunn Finer, Herm Sprenger, Prestige, EquiFit and more! I've really been wanting a Five Star bridle but I'm biding my time until the bridle I want comes on sale... It was neat to see them in person because they really are nice bridles. I also found the EquiFit boots and fell in love. They are so sharp looking and the removeable squishy foam liner is awesome! Going on the wish list :) I know Sprinkler Bandit has some and I'm officially jealous. Ebay here I come! Or do I want the pretty Antares boots with blue elastic that match my breastplate? Though I'm sure the likelihood of finding an affordable pair would be near impossible. They also carried the casual Ariat boots (for humans, lol) which look amazing by the way. I could have probably spent the whole day there. But I stuck to my list of things I was allowed to buy and bought some all-weather black gloves (sadly passing up some amazing silk lined faux-leather winter gloves) and a girth d-ring for my new breastplate since my girth doesn't have one. I could probably use a new girth (this one's going on 10 years!) but if it's not broke it doesn't need to be fixed, right?

The sale was in the loft and there wasn't a whole lot. I resisted buying some Goode Rider jean breeches because even on sale they're weren't in my price range but tried on some Tailored Sportsman. They looked fabulous and they were a $260 pair on sale for $100. I didn't buy them though... because they were denim. I need show breeches, not more schooling breeches! I reluctantly put them back :( I did buy a very nice Tailored Sportsman Coolmax show shirt - white with long sleeves and the snap coller. I was two sizes smaller than I normally wear, but I tried it on anyways and it fit! And.... I paid a whopping $20. Very good buy :)

Overall I was a very happy person driving back home to go to work. The next day was time for the show and after getting as much prepared as I could I tried to get some sleep. Operative word was "try" though.

To be continued...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Introducing...Wait. Nevermind

I had a post all planned out today aaaand it didn't happen.

Colton (Katy's full brother, another Gypsy Vanner cross) was supposed to arrive at my house today, but I guess my aunt's truck wasn't working so he's not actually coming. Bummer. I was so excited! But he will eventually get here. My plan is for him to just hang out this winter and be Grady's buddy. He'll get a little bit of groundwork done this winter when I have time, but mostly just chill in the pasture and maybe lose a few pounds! Make that 50...

But anyways, the craziness continues. I may or may not have posts in the next few days. Luckily it looks like the weather is going to be nice for our show. Yay! And tomorrow I'm going to a giant tack sale so that should be fun :) Last year I got some great buys, so I hope to find more good stuff!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beautiful, crazy life

Today was such an absolutely gorgeous fall day but also a hectic day in the craziest week ever.

The sun was shining and it was 65 degrees which made it feel sooo good to be outside - I'm glad the weather was nice because it made my mood 100% better so I was able to just soak up the sunlight in the middle of my crazy day!

Why so crazy? Well, first thing was that I had the weirdest morning. I have an 8 am class on Wednesdays so I need to get up at 6:40 which my phone alarm is set for. I ended up waking up four times this morning thinking that it was time for class. Oy vey. First my watch alarm went off at 5 am. I jumped out of bed ready to start the day before realizing that it was only 5 am. I have no idea how my watch alarm got set or how to make it stop. I hope this isn't going to be a regular occurance! I go back to sleep and then at 5:40 my phone alarm goes off. I turn on my bedside lamp and close my eyes thinking "just a few more minutes..." I was thinking that it was my 6:40 am alarm. Anyways, I snooze for way too long and nearly have a heart attack realizing that I had fallen asleep again and frantically look at my phone. It's 6:30 am. I still had 10 more minutes until I had to go to sleep. My phone did not have any alarm set for 5:40 am. I don't know if it was some kind of glitch or a dream or what, but that was totally the weirdest morning ever and I was completely drained of energy all day.

Starting a morning like that isn't the best indication for a good day, but at least I only had three classes today and they went well. I go back home and immediately conk out on the couch, thinking that a roommate will be home around 1:00 so I could sleep for 20 or 30 minutes and when they get home I'll leave for the barn. Yeah... an hour later I wake up and realize that I need to get my butt to the barn if I want to ride before a 4:00 meeting.

The barn was super busy today, there were four other riders in the arena with me. Jetta was really good, especially since I didn't ride her Monday or Tuesday, though she did get ridden on Monday by ML. I just haven't had the time to ride! Sad :(

I got Jetta all tacked up in her new tack. I bought myself the Antares breastplate as a kind of b-day present to self kinda thing and then I also got a pair of thinline reins for my jumping bridle. Love! Jetta looks so awesome in the breastcollar. It matches my saddle perfectly and it just goes with her dark bay color perfectly.

Purdy blue elastic...

Fancy stitching...


 The Thinline reins are fantastic as well! So glad I got them. They're thicker than normal reins but not as wide (if that makes sense) so they fit perfect in your hand and are uber-soft. The problem I have with laced reins is that they sometimes rub and I can get blisters if I ride for a long time. This definitely won't be a problem with these reins! The only problems I have with them are that I wish I had gotten buckle ends instead of hook studs, but these were on sale and so it's not a "problem" at all. And the thinline material is a magnet for dust. I don't know if that's just because they're new or what, but the great thing is a damp cloth along the reins = voila! Brand new clean looking. So they really have no problems at all and are perfect :)

After riding for a bit we went on a nice trail ride. I rode without a coat (whoo!) and the sun was warm and the fall leaves were so pretty! Here's a little bit of what I was seeing today:

Don't worry, there's a stop sign there that you can't see ;)

Blue sky!

The rest of the week doesn't look like it's going to be any less busy, which is a pity because I'm supposed to be riding Jetta in a schooling dressage show this weekend and I don't want to embarrass ourselves! This show is the one that my dressage team is putting on and since I'm president and show manager it's giving me such a headache. Since we are a campus club, we get some money from the university and they extend their "protections" over us and we get some other little bonuses like help with event planning, extra money for trips, motor pool vehicles for traveling, free printing, etc. but in the overall scheme of things, they are a pain in the butt! (random side note - we are a "club" and not a team because you know that horse activities aren't actually sports... Yeahh) I know they're trying to help but the paperwork is horrendous. This week they just contacted me saying that we need to submit our contract with the judge and with the facilities we're using. Uhhh, contract with judge is ok, we've got that, but contract with facilities?? We've never had a contract with them for all of our shows this year and they hadn't said one word about it and now they're requiring that we get one and submit it for review. Yikes. Luckily the barn owners were super great about whipping up a contract and getting it to me so I could submit it, I'm super thankful that they were totally fine with it, now we're just waiting for it to be "approved"... I'll just be glad when this is all over. I'm really hoping this show goes smoothly. It's going to be a small show - we only have between 30 to 40 rides but that's ok with me. Please let the weather hold! It's going to be in the outside ring so if it's rainy it's going to be pretty miserable.

The show is Sunday and I also desperately need to have a spa day for Jetta. Her mane is ridiculously long so it has to be pulled and I'll probably give her a bath too. On Saturday I have to work in the evening and then I really want to head up to a giant bi-annual tack sale that is held an hour and a half away before work so I'm going to try and cram it all in.

Sigh... such a crazy life but it's wonderful anyways.