Making a Wishlist

With my sister’s birthday approaching, I was determined to get her a great gift. She has a very specific style and taste that keeps up with trends enough to be “on trend”, but most of her items are classic enough to stand the test of time. I also can’t just buy her horse stuff… since she hasn’t ridden in more than a decade and has no plans to start again. (boo)

After spending much too much time scanning through the websites of places I rarely visit (department stores, beauty boutiques, anything that shows up in a mall), I finally caved a bit and asked her if there was anything she wanted. She had a list… on a Department stores website. She forwarded it along to me, and while I didn’t have to search out the perfect gift, I did get to pick something out of a (rather long) list of things that I knew she would love. I could get her someone she wouldn’t just have to return, and I could cater my gift to my budget. Awesome! (budgets are important… unless a pony really needs something)

Since most of my family is 90% unfamiliar with my sport (especially if it is eventing specific), I figured this might actually be a helpful tool for them! I checked around on various equestrian sites (riding warehouse, dover, smartpak, horze, greenhawk, bit of britain), and it looked like only Smartpak, bit of britain, and Dover offered these features. While Dover has an amazing return policy, there isn’t a single actual store in Kentucky and the shipping costs can be a bit outrageous (and slow). Bit of Britain is also somewhere I have ordered form multiple times, but never actually returned anything to. So I decided to build a list on Smartpak!

26 Items made the list. Here are the highlights and why:

Schooling Breeches – Romfh Sarafina & Smartpak Hadley

Schooling Breeches

I own both pairs of these breeches in other colors. The Romfh Sarafina breeches are my favorite pair of pants (ANY KIND OF PANTS) I have ever owned. They are flattering, they are comfortable, they stay up on their own. And they should… They’re incredibly expensive. As a result, I only own one pair, in beige for clinics and shows where I don’t want to wear white (and we’ll get to that in a second).

The Hadley’s are much more affordable. They are SLICK though and not as flattering of a shape. However, I appreciate the fairly classic styling and, for schooling pants, they hit the mark for me. The colors aren’t too crazy without being beige, black, and brown. The rise is a bit higher than the Piper’s, which I like, but they also definitely need a belt, as (you can even see this from the pictures) they are not nearly as high rise as the Sarafina’s.

I did throw in one pair of the Kerrits “power sculpt” riding tights. I haven’t ridden in Kerrits in forever… or tights for that matter, but the marketing ploy of “Power sculpt” got me, and they’re a reasonable under $100 option.

Sunshirts – Kastel & Goode Rider

Kastel Sunshirt

I own 1 Kastel sunshirt, 2 of the Dover Cool Blast sunshirts, 1 tailored sportsman sunshirt, and 1 ariat sunshirt. The Kastel (in a light, butter color) is BY FAR MY

FAVORITE. It is the only one that I actually feel is cooler than a plain cotton t-shirt, it looks flattering, and it actually protects my skin from the sun. I got my original one for an incredible deal, and I would love to add more to my collection.

I was shocked to find that the Goode Rider sunshirt was more expensive than the Kastel’s, but I figured it would worth adding as just another option to try.

Various Show Stuff – Romfh, Ice Horse, Competition Pinny, Tredstep

White BreechesRemember when I mentioned white breeches? Yeah – I have one pair, and I absolutely detest them. I think I might still own them out of a sense of obligation for needing white breeches. (There’s no rule that says you have to wear white, any light, neutral color works). However, I am still shamed into owning a pair of pants that I hate and that hate me. Enter the Romfh Sarafina pants in white… full seat… and beautiful.

I also don’t own a single pair of ice boots. (I know, I am terrible). When I needed to ice May last year, I took the liner out of my BOT quick wraps, filled them with ice, and left that on. It worked and was effective, but I probably shouldn’t be seen in public in them. The Ice Horse Evendura Wraps would just be a nice thing to have. Oh – and laugh you hearts out – I don’t own a pinny. I have begged and borrowed (but never stole) one when I needed one, but it’s probably about time I spend the $14 and get one… I really don’t need a custom one… right?

CollarAnother “wish list” item, would be an interchangeable collar for my tredstep solo pro coat. This is a total whim item. Like, why is this thing $50? But I still think it would look nice on my Navy coat with May in a white saddle pad… without being too much. 

Items I Couldn’t Find

This was a strange thing. There are 11 breastplates on SmartPak’s website (Bit of Britain has 20 and Dover has 12) and not a single one was even the style I was looking for. Every single one attaches to the front D’s of the saddle. (not a great setup for a horse like May, where it is more likely to just pull the front of the saddle down, rather than hold the entire saddle forward). I would much prefer one that attaches to the girth. Like this one from Dover, or this one from Bit of Britain.

Also – my favorite saddle pad is the EcoGold Secure XC Saddle Pad. Smartpak apparently only sells it in White, where Dover had both black and blue, and riding wearhouse had the black version. The blue is really the one I have been eyeing.

Finally, XC boots. I put the outdated version of the professional choice XC boots on my list at smartpak, but it is the new ones you can get from riding warehouse that I am really interested in. I current have the majyk equipe boots (the Gen II versions), but I have been using them for a couple of years now, and they aren’t really in “show” condition anymore. In fact, the one boot is missing almost all of the fabric edging near the bottom. I wouldn’t mind something that fits a bit better. I have been eyeing both the Professional’s Choice Performance Elite XC Front Boots and their Performance Hybrid Splint Boots. Let’s be honest, at BN, we probably would be totally fine with just the splint boots, and they may fit May’s corgi-legs better.

Whew! Well that was a lot. Tell me – what’s topping your wish list right now?


Some Days – We’re a Drama Llama

One thing May has really lacked as we have bumped up her fitness is true connection. Sure, she’ll put her head down and look cute, but the back end wasn’t taking on the workload like it should. Part of this was likely the soreness of the hind end that has since resolved with the injections. My original plan was to do a long and slow walk on Saturday, when the weather was supposed to get up to around 50, and then do real work on Sunday when it was going to be a bit cooler.

Instead, about 40 minutes into our long and slow walk, I realized something. I had no breaks. She wasn’t “running” away with me, but any aids I gave to halt were met with straight up refusal. The head got flung in the air, and she just barreled on. No mare… That’s not how this works. So I spent the next 20 minutes establishing a halt, and I decided that we probably needed a few minutes of actual work.

Might have been cold today. But the sky looked like art. #may #horsesofinstagram

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I hopped into the outdoor arena and began asking her to move off each leg, and I was met with… nothing. I swear some days this horse puts in ear plugs, decides that she knows how to be a trail horse, and that should be her true occupation. Today, however, I had my Dressage whip in my hand. So after she ignored my rather wrong leg aids, I gave her the slightest tap with end of the whip just behind my leg. Cue May flinging herself sideways and throwing her head around like I was beating her to death. The yield got rewarded, and the dramatics got ignored.

After a few more leg yields each way, with less and less drama and definitely no more of the whip, I asked her to step into the trot… And I got “ER MAH GAWD, RUNNING NOW!” I just concentrated on keeping my body still and slowing the front end. Slowly, the weight rocked back, and we finally got some solid work in.

I added in a couple of minutes of canter. (the canter was really nice, and we we were over the dramatics by then.) Then, we went back to walking for another 15 minutes, and we sprinkled in some really nice, soft halts. See the math? Ended up being an hour and a half ride… because she didn’t want to halt.

I did end up getting some (rather poor) media from this. May looks mostly the way she felt, which is a good thing, but GOOD LORD what are my hands doing? Definitely putting more of on emphasis on bending my elbows and riding her up into my hands again. However, I am really happy with how well she is doing with trot poles. This has to be the clearest point of improvement for her after injections. Before, she would try to stuff an extra step into the poles or even just knock them around. Now, she is properly pushing through them, even when she comes in under powered.

Does your horse ever have days where they prefer to be in charge?

Updates with Video

I was DETERMINED to get media on Tuesday. May felt so much better, but I hadn’t had any opportunity to see if she looked better. Haven’t we learned by now that if we are REALLY DETERMINED to get something done with horses on any kind of a timeline, the universe will make it as difficult as possible?

Enter – The Ride That Just Was

I showed up to the barn after work to find some serious winds. The 60 degree day felt more like it was in the 40s, and the sun was stubbornly sitting behind some clouds. I figured video quality wouldn’t be great outside, but it would be fine. I had plenty of time until dark. (In case anyone was curious why May needs a muzzle in March, it’s because the below is her turnout field right now!)

I climbed out of my car. Opened up my trunk. And discovered I had left my tall boots and spurs at home. Fine. I will ride in my paddock boots that don’t zip anymore. Nevermind that I am wearing my slickest pair of breeches. On a positive note, May is responding to getting cookies every time I catch her in the field. She walked a total of 8 steps towards me, and I am calling it progress.

I threw on my Dressage saddle (jump saddle + paddock boots + slick pants + wind + alone = no way… seriously, I would rather ride bareback), and I hopped up. After doing our walk work, I found a great place to set up my phone. I learned over to set it up, and May spooked, shooting forward (like 2 steps, but still). A few 4 letter words left my mouth, and I tried to set up the camera again. Not perfect, but I really just wanted to see a few trot steps (and maybe catch a clip of her going over some poles).

#blurry #ponyspam is better than no pony spam! #may #horsesofinstagram

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I picked up  my trot, trotted through the poles. Then, I had a brilliant idea. I would trot directly away from the camera to assess her back end better. Brilliant! I looked for my phone… and saw it face down in the dirt. The wind had taken it for a ride. UGH! But I am determined. I am an eventer. I do not give up on pony media!

So I went into the indoor. Resigned myself to getting blurry, mostly crappy media, and set up my phone. Then, I realized a new problem. May in the indoor is significantly less forward than May in the outdoor. Without spurs or a whip… I was without recourse. The ride was… blah. Without her securely in front of my leg, the contact was very inconsistent (apparently, forward is important or something). Her canter work was flat and shuffly.. but the walk was surprisingly nice. All the walk work we have been doing out of the ring with hills and such seem to be making a real difference.

I tried doing some lateral work.. that was laughable. She kind of shuffled sideways while flipping me the hoof. I don’t think it was a response to things hurting, but I do think it was response to being out of shape and lacking muscle. It ended up being a short ride, as I felt myself getting frustrated, and I knew nothing good would come after that point. I got off, gave her the rest of my apple, and put her back out in her field.

There is always another day… Especially when the rider’s lack of preparation is 90% of the problem. But I AM HOPING to have better media next week. Maybe even some jump media if I can convince the husband to make a barn trip with me…

How are you all getting back into the swing of things?


One Week Update

Saturday was our “one week” mark from May getting her injections. I wish I had more media to share with you, but I will explain why that wasn’t possible. Promise!

All in all, May felt really good. She has always had trouble through trot poles.This weekend, there were 4 fairly spaced trot poles set up in the outdoor, and we could do them from a slow trot without an issue. She could push through them without falling on her forehand and running past my aides. But why no media? Well, both days this weekend we had to share the arena with the horse-eating carriage.

Today we learned that the cart does not eat horses. #horsesofinstagram #may #isthatspringisee

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In fact, on Saturday, our ride lasted  more than an hour. We walked, like usual, started our trot, then the carriage showed up. May was… not amused, so we walked. We followed the carriage for about 15 minutes. Then, they started trotting, which makes a lot more noise, and May had to be convinced to follow it again. By then half hour mark, we could reliably walk and trot with the carriage in the arena. Then, I tried to canter, and May put up a big fight. Flinging her head around, not allowing me to sit on her, and trying to run off with me… Fun. When I got a decent canter, I let her walk.

Then, the carriage needed a video, so I ended up walking around the arena while they took the video. After the video, I asked for the canter again, and I was able to get a mostly relaxed and collected canter. Whew!

The next day, I showed up to the barn still a bit sore from the day before (holding back the May freight train was a workout!). Of course, as soon as I tacked up, the carriage horse went out to get hooked to his trailer… cool. I went out and got on before they got out there, and another rider lamented that if the carriage came into the ring, she would probably end her ride.


Nope. No Way. Not doing that. It was one of the first 50 degree days with sunshine in a while. I didn’t have time to stop my ride and pick it up again. We were riding through this.

Luckily, May ended up being a lot more relaxed about the carriage this time around. Not totally relaxed, but at least, totally rideable. In fact, I ended up loping over a few fences with her, all of which she took quietly and out of stride. Good girl!

Hopefully, we can get a real jump school in soon. Has your horse ever seen a carriage? Or have there been any majorly “spooky” things you have had to school your horse through at home?


3 Word Blog Hop

I am so behind on this one, but I thought it would be an entertaining one for May.   Three Day Adventures with Horses started this blog hope, and I figured better late than never! Below are 3 words that I think describe May, although she would probably tell you differently.


It is not that May is every really bad. However, she will 100% let you know what she thinks about whatever it is you are doing. Our first ever lesson? She tried to run out the gate on me while we were just trotting around. The right shoulder dropped, and she spun towards that open gate. Our first BN event, I gave her a tap on the shoulder at the first jump, and she jumped over it like it was on fire. How dare I touch her with that weapon. I mean, the below was just because I wouldn’t canter her around with bit loops in the reins, while she plowed along the forehand:




You know that old saying that an elephant never forgets? May never forgets. Good behavior stays pretty solid, but a bad behavior once learned has to be forcibly unlearned. She is also fabulous at making decisions. Not sure about the footing on cross county? She will slow down and figure it out, no matter how wound up she is. If terrain changes, she is going to read it and adjust accordingly, not just throw herself down a hill and hope for the best. (see the below jump then hill sequence to see what I’m talking about)


May Downhill


That’s right. I think my draft cross, unflappable, corgi horse is complicated. And she is. My trainer often reminds me that she is not a straight forward ride. I have to ask for things correctly, or I do not get them. If I let things go wrong once (i.e. let her run down to a jump on her forehand), we will be spending the rest of the lesson fixing it. She might not run out, take off, spook, or throw me, but she challenges me everyday. It shows up in new ways every day.

One day, she will stand perfectly still to be groomed and tacked up, other days she wants to dance around and needs to be constantly reminded that her feet should remain still until I tell them to move. It makes her decisively not a beginner horse, and often not a horse for an accomplished rider that lacks strong horsemanship. She has run away (in a slow trot) with at least 3 people, and she once put a friend of mine in the dirt after a small crossrail. How? She just put her head down and shook it, but she could tell she wasn’t being taken seriously. She let everyone know that was a bad idea.

She might be the least spooky horse I have ever ridden, but if she feels you aren’t paying attention, she will decide the trail ride should be over, and it’s time to head back to the barn. It’s never mean or nasty and is more of a gentle attempt to get her own way than dangerous, but I have no doubt that if she wasn’t corrected properly, her behavior would snowball. I will say though, that this kind of rebellion gets more subtle and less severe as the years have worn on.

❤️ #may #palomino #draftcross #ponylove

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Vet Visit Wrap Up

I am going to fully admit that most of the below is for my own notes and recollections, as joint injections are something that are still relatively new to me, and I like having detailed notes about my vet visits outside of regular shots and coggins. There is a TL/DR section further down this page in bold, if you don’t want to read the whole post.

HOuse XC

One of the joys of living within an hour of Churchill Downs is access to some amazing racehorse/lameness vets, and at prices that strongly undercut their NY/NJ counterparts. A few factors led to me looking for a vet to come look at May to discuss what (if any) maintenance we should be looking at:

  1. May had her hocks injected in October of 2016. She was showing some lameness and the vet at the time prescribed this course of action. Both hocks showed changes at the time, but I was never really certain that the improvements I saw were due to fitness or the injections.
  2. May’s job was fairly mild in 2017. If she jumped 6 times, I would be surprised. Between having shoes off, my wedding, our lack of jumping saddle, and zero competition goals, she was never really pushed in 2017, so I wanted an experience eye to look at her before I really started jumping or added in any heavy Dressage work.
  3. A couple of times, May has shown some weakness behind. She tracks up normally, but would be VERY sluggish going up hills and doing any lateral work that required her to rock back. One or twice, I swear I could feel one hip coming up a bit uneven vs. the other hip, but I could never recreate it near the mirror.
  4. While May is not a “high performance horse”, she is a horse that I need to stay very happy in her job. Ideally, she could continue to work and maybe even pack some kids or a timid AA around starter well into her late teens and early twenties… or do some lower level Dressage. As her owner, I think there is an ingrained responsibility to helping your horse be comfortable and happy in their work for as long as possible.

Originally, the workout was supposed to be on 17th, but due to the banamine in May’s system and the subtleness of what we were looking at, it was decided to wait a week. Good news, May’s eye got a thorough recheck and is healing even better than the vets had hoped for. Yay! Bad news, they definitively identified some lameness.

I really do love this horse! #may #eventing #knockingtherustoff #horsesofinstagram

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The way this vet practice works is there are two vets that come out for these types of calls, and they bring one helper to jog horses, hold horses, and basically just make it easier for the vets to do their jobs. The appointment started with the vet going over May’s entire body, utilizing acupuncture spots to see if any soreness jumped out. They also utilized hoof testers to make sure we weren’t looking at hoof pain, and they checked teeth. (May’s need to be done… not surprised, but something I am going to have to wait a few weeks to do. I had to prioritize current pain over a developing issue in this case.) They didn’t check eyes because… they had stared at her eyes a LOT lately.

Unsurprisingly, May reacted to none of their tests. Everyone kind of shrugged and acknowledged that she’s a pretty stoic girl, who would rather you stop poking her. Thank you very much! So we moved on to jogging her on hard ground. The vet explained that, if we didn’t see anything jogging on hard ground, we would move to small ground, and then to seeing her under saddle if nothing showed up. Fair enough to me.

Here’s the interesting thing. The hard ground (pretty much the only hard ground left in this part of KY… pretty much everything flooded this weekend) that we jogged on is on a slight incline. Going up the hill, May had a slight head bob and irregularity in the hind end. Heading down the hill? She looked totally sound. Huh. Ok. (Below is from before I injected her hocks the first time, you can see the lameness the most when we change directions)

We flexed the back end, first targeting hocks, although any flexions you do on the back end will stress both the hocks and the stifles. It’s not like the front end where you can clearly isolate a knee. However, the left hock showed a bit more positively than the right side. Then, we tried irritating the stifle a bit, and she looked a bit off on both sides. Then, we tried one last stifle flexion, and it really made no difference in the diagnosis. So what to do?

Again, we went back to the fact that I wasn’t really confident that the hock injections made a huge difference in 2016. The vets indicated that I had the decisions to only inject hocks and then decide on the stifles, but they were fairly confident that the stifles were also a problem and that I would just be calling them back again to do the stifles anyway. Given that I don’t take putting a horse under sedation lightly (especially not a draft cross of unknown breeding), I decided it would be best to do both sets of joints. She was testing positive both ways and showing clinical signs of issues in both joints.

May was put under fairly light sedation, again due to her assumed draft breeding. (Draft horses are often “light weights” when it comes to sedation and are more likely to have severe consequences from sedatives). She was sedated so lightly that, a few times, she picked her head up to stare at some noise she heard or some animals in the woods outside her stall. (yes, the below is the only media I got)

#drunkpony status 😂

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We decided to do the procedure in her stall since there is a step up from the aisle to her stall that would be difficult for her to navigate while drugged, her stall is large enough to allow everyone to move around comfortably, and there are lights in her stall. I acknowledged my concern with joint injections and infection, etc. I am not sure if that is why 2 people took nearly a half hour to fully clean and scrub down the area, or if that was their general procedure, but I was thankful to see it. I held May while they did the procedure, not because their weren’t enough hands, but because she is better behaved for me than strangers.

Both vets were great about explaining to me what they were doing, why, and what their opinions were on what they were seeing. We first injected the right stifle. While a good amount of fluid did come out and it was clear, it was noted that the fluid was on the thin side. A good indication that this joint would actually benefit from these injections. May continued to watch the world around her, unconcerned as a needle was shoved into that joint.

Moving on to the right hock, the vet had a difficult time getting a need. into the joint. Since this was the less positive (less lame) hock, we discussed the possibility that it was fusing. Everyone seemed to agree that it was likely and that next time we looked at injecting the hocks, it might be worth taking X-rays. (I had gotten them taken with the last set, so I knew we already had changes there.)

We moved to the other side. This stifle showed a bit more normally upon piercing the joint, but there was still some liquid. (of note, neither stifle palpated like it was full of liquid, but given the size and location of the joint, no one was really surprised.) The other hock, which flexed positive and was the one where I had felt the “offness” earlier, was clearly not as close to being fused at the other. It had a fair amount of liquid of the thin variety, and we were happy to get some relief in there as well.

TL/DR – Injecting both hocks and stifles was clearly necessary, but she was only showing the worst of her symptoms in there right stifle and left hock. 

I was very happy to have decided to go with the whole round (although ask me next week if it made a difference). I do believe that doing one set would not have resolved the whole issue and that soreness in one area was likely making soreness in the other area worse.

We then rechecked the eye (easier to do under sedation), and everything looked as it should. I stayed with May for another hour – hour and a half. I wanted to make sure she came fully awake before she was fed, and I wanted to talk to the afternoon barn staff about not turning her out.

Around an hour and half after the original sedation (remember this was a very light sedation), May took a loooooonnnnnng pee and got the bright look in her eye. 30 minute later, the afternoon staff arrived to feed and turn out. May was nickering and banging against her door, asking for dinner. I watched her eat her (very very small) amount of dinner (probably unnecessary, but I am a worrier and it was only another 15 minutes anyway) and gave her one last brushing over before heading home.

When you overdo it on a #monday #dogsofinstagram

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When I visited her on Sunday, she was laying down, but she quickly popped up and said hello. She got a ton of cookies (and more goop shoved in her eye). I gave her Monday off too, and haven’t decided yet if I will begin her back in super light work on Tuesday, or if I will just wait until Thursday. Either way, I won’t really see results until a solid week.

All in all, happy I did this, and it gives me a bit of confidence knowing that I am helping May feel her best as we enter this competition season.


Thankful Thursday

Amidst all the driving back and forth to the barn, I have had an opportunity to reflect on what I am more thankful for in my riding career. However, the thing I am most thankful for, is the mare that turned out to be much more than she was ever supposed to be.

I have talked a lot in the past about how May was a complete impulse buy. You can read the full story here: A May As Well Purchase However, I am not really sure I ever explained what I was expecting. Originally, when I bought her home, we joked that I had overpaid for her. After all, she couldn’t even do a 20M circle before she popped her shoulder and ran in the opposite direction, a canter took nearly 20 steps of trot to pick up, and I quickly learned that she had never seen a gymnastic.

To be honest, my original thought for buying her was that, if she didn’t work out, I could recoup most of my money and just sell her as a trail horse. She was sane, and sensible, and had color. All the things trail people want. Right? I mean, she could comfortable carry a larger rider for miles without discomfort. Then, we went to our first CT. It was a W/T Dressage Test and 18″ stadium round.

And we had SO MUCH FUN. She was a champion, and I finished with a giant smile on my face. I was hooked on competing this horse, and I think the man in this situation finally understood what it was all about. She never was supposed to be as cool as she is, but gosh… she is really cool…


I think she has turned out to be really cool… And I can’t wait to see what more she has to show me.


Plans & Horses

Remember that cool calendar I made at the beginning of the month? And the vet appointment I had set for Saturday? We make plans and ponies laugh. This weekend was going to be the perfect weekend to get I all done. The forecast called for warmish weather and some rain, I had a three day weekend, and May had been in fairly steady work for a few weeks now.

Then, I got the call from the barn at 3:30PM on Friday…

May had a small ulcer and significant scratch on her eye. Instead of my lameness evaluation on Saturday, we got a stain and recheck of the eye. As you can see, that damage took up a serious amount of stain (but swelling an general pain seemed to have eased).

The green part is what needs to heal...

(The green is the damaged part of the eye) Saturday, it also snowed…

A @subaru_usa in its natural environment #snow #ItWasntSupposedToSnowToday

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MMMMMMK! So instead of working, May got the day off. Not a huge deal. Unfortunately, I had already planned on Sunday being a day off because I had things to do related to real-life and not-horsey life. However, I still made multiple trips to the barn to give May her eye medication. (Glad we moved a lot closer because 15 min 3x a day is a lot easier to swallow than 45 min 3x a day… and the barn is mostly on my way to and from work this week)

On Monday, I awoke to a 65 degree day… a day that was going to get up into the 70s. May still has her winter coat. Immediately, I knew that we would be having no heavy workout. Instead, I opted for a long, forward walk with some hills it in. May got warm and a little sweaty, but never to the point where I was concerned for her. She still has a heavy coat and trot & canter sets after the weather spikes are definitely not what the doctor ordered. The long walk encouraged her to drink some water, but she cooled out really quickly.

I even got the opportunity to wash her legs and tail. I know her legs will be covered in mud again almost immediately, but I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to get things cleaned up and to make sure I wasn’t missing any sores/scratches/irritations/etc. All checked out, and as a bonus, May’s farrier showed up clean legs and feet! He was, understandably, pretty thrilled. (He even texted me about her eye, as I hadn’t thought to warn him about it.)

The actual lameness evaluation will take place this Saturday, as long as everything clears up with the eye. Since she got banamine for the swelling in the eye on Friday and Saturday, the vet didn’t feel like it was worth doing a lameness evaluation, as it would be too easy to miss something. Since they’re coming to recheck the eye this Saturday, there is no harm in putting off the exam an extra week. (May’s eye was fully open and she was doing much better as early as my late check on Friday night)

How are your Spring plans going with your horses? It seems to be a totally mixed bag of people getting things moving, and other people just praying for winter/mud season to be over! I guess we are officially in the latter camp on this one.


30 Facts About Me

I saw this on a youtube video, and I thought it would make a fun blog topic!

1. I’ve been riding since I was 6 year old (nearly 22 years ago!)

2. I didn’t ride at all when I was at college, but I did ride 6 horses, 6 days a week each summer I was home.

3. My first horse was actually a buckskin, QH type. Unfortunately, we only had her for a year before we found out she had fairly serious bone cancer and needed to be put down.

4. I didn’t start riding with an eventing trainer until 2014. Before then, I had only ridden hunter/jumpers.

5. I received my bachelors degree in Economics Finance.

6. I work in the Hedge Fund world… doing compliance and operations.

7. My favorite colored horse is black… with minimal chrome

8. I rode one horse for more than a decade. He was an OTTB, and the first horse I got on after I recovered from breaking my hand and getting surgery. (Even before I got back on my own horse at the time)

9. My favorite breeches are the Romfh Sarafina breeches… I just can’t justify more than 1 pair for shows and clinics.

10. I have worn some of the most expensive helmets on the market… and I still prefer my OneK. (although the new technology in the Back on Track helmets make me think twice.

11. I have no desire to ever go beyond Training level eventing… The upper levels just are never going to be my cup of tea.

12. My favorite horse I have ever ridden was a fairly poorly trained Irish Sport Horse, who could jump the moon.

13. I am a dog person… but I do give the barn cats love whenever I am at the barn.

14. I hated Stubben saddles growing up… and now own 2 that I really like.

15. Both my left ankle and my left wrist suffer from the remnants of some old ligament injuries.

16. The only bone I ever broke around horses happened on the ground… lunging my old horse.

17. I almost took a job out of college that would’ve forced me to spend a year and a half out of the country. It was a higher salary than the job I ended up taking by $12,000, but it was completely the right move.

18. I hunter paced about once a month each fall and spring while I was a young teenage. I keep trying to get back to it, but haven’t found an opening. (Totally different leopard App below)

when I used to jump spotted things in the woods all the time #tbt

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19. Some days I seriously consider quitting eventing, buying a western saddle, and just trail riding. May wouldn’t care much either way… as long as we don’t go straight Dressage.

20. I used to play Eventing 2001 with a friend of mine… religiously.

21. The only time I have ever fallen off of May was in front of Marilyn Payne in her clinic. It was nearly 2 years ago, and I haven’t written about it yet.

22. I worked in NYC for nearly 3 years. It was a 3.5 hour commute to the barn to ride my horse at night… and then a 45 minute commute home… all to get up to catch the 6:14AM train the next day… but NYC is an experience.

Sometimes NYC shows it's pretty side. #nyc

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23. I have one, older sister.

24. My mom lives in Florida… but about 3.5 hours from Ocala.

25. I drive a Subaru, and it has gotten me out of some seriously icy and snowy situations. I wish I had it when I was going to school in MA!

26. My favorite saddle I have ever ridden in is a Butet… but I have never owned a horse that one would fit.

27. I might have a serious chocolate addiction.

28. My favorite non-horsey store is Lush. (Can I count this as a horsey store if I say their bath products are my favorite after a long day in the saddle?)

29. If I could live anywhere in the U.S., it would be PA in the summer and Aiken in the winter.

30. I would love to try fox hunting, and I think May would really take to it. She has no issue with dogs whatsoever, and tends to be very logical in a big group of horses.

All that being said, May is doing great with her fitness. I have a new vet coming on Saturday to do an evaluation and recommend if there is any maintenance we should be doing. (May had her hocks injected in Summer 2016, but hasn’t seemed to need them redone until recently.) Do you do any maintenance with your horses?


Some (Free) Tech Upgrades

In a lot of ways, riding has stayed relatively low tech. There are really no substitutes for sitting on a real live horse, in a field, doing basically the same thing thousands (millions?) of people did hundreds of years ago. However, we are in an age where nearly everyone rides with a cell phone in their pocket, or at least nearby. (just check out those new USEF rules about headphones in the warmup ring!)

There are a lot of REALLY EXPENSIVE upgrade options that I would love to own, but cannot justify the price. A clinic or a Solo Shot? A show or a Equisense? Fun fact – the training will always win out. BUT I have found some free options that I am finding are really making a difference in my rides. Of course, neither of these things are horse-specific (or I am sure they would come with high price tags!).

Google Sheets

Remember that nifty calendar from the beginning of the month?

February Schedule
This one!

Well, it came from Google Sheets. Completely free, completely editable, and, best of all, easily accessible to me on my phone. Why is that important? Because I am often in the saddle and completely at a loss for what was supposed to be on the calendar that day. I can pull up the calendar, check my schedule, adjust if needed, and get on with my ride… and all before my 10 minute walk warmup is over.


Now this one took a bit more research. For Christmas, I got a very inexpensive stopwatch. While the big, eventing watches are cool, they are also far too big for my wrist and tend to just roll around throughout a cross country course. A smaller, and cheaper, runners watch should do the same job, and just as easily.

So when I wanted to start timing the intervals of my rides, I pulled it out and set to work. And then I realized how much trouble it is to set up more than 10 intervals on a watch… Back to the drawing board. Then I figured, there should be an app for that!

💋 #gomogo #eventing #eventersofinstagram #appaloosa #horseaccount

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(Pic of my absolute favorite eventing app, courtesy of my previous trainer’s instagram)

Eventually, I found “IntervalTracker” on the Apple App Store. It allows me to quickly and easily set up training intervals, and I can even set them to different noises so that I know when I am supposed to walk, trot, and canter, without interrupting my ride at all.

To decode this for everyone… a 10 minute warmup. Then it does an interval of low followed by an interval of high and repeats for how many sets you have. In this instance, you have 3 sets of trot with 3 minutes trotting and 1 minute walking. (Low is Trot and High is Walk). Then 2 sets of canter (Low is Canter and High is Walk). Then, I added one more set of trot (3 min trot and 1 minute of walk) before a 10 minute and 25 second cool down. Walk is a “Ding, Ding” noise, Trot is a single “Ding”, and Canter is a “Whistle”. All in all, this is working really well!

This is what the app looks like when you start. Obviously, you can choose to play music if you want too. (Thomas Rhett is a serious favorite right now)

What about you? Are there any cheap (or free) technology upgrades that you use to make your rides and horse life better?

On a totally unrelated note, has anyone ever worked with a nutritionist? I have cleaned up my diet (more vegetables, no red meat, no added sugar etc.) and have been really, really struggling with feeling normal (lots of nausea, headaches, etc).