A Long Term Bridle Review

I have a confession to make. A lot of reviews don’t “do it” for me. I love seeing how everyone feels about how a product performs, feels, fits, etc., but I often have the nagging sensation in the back of my head saying, “well, how is it going to look after YEARS of abuse?” Because, when it comes to where I am investing my very limited budget of horse stuff, that is where I want to put my dollars. In the things that last. 

SO – here is a review of a couple of bridles that I have now owned for YEARS. 

Dover Figure Eight Bridle

Seriously, I bought a bridle from Dover… at least 5 years ago. I was looking for a sub $200 bridle with a figure eight and a mono crown. I had a nunn-finer bridle that I really liked, but it wasn’t a figure eight, and it really as a reddish-brown color. I wanted CHOCOLATE. 

This bridle fit the bill. My original impressions included the sheepskin on the middle of the figure 8 being WAY TOO FLUFFY. I always had plans to trim it, but to be honest, I was too afraid of making it look worse. When I dabbled in some hunter/eq classes, I ended up buying the matching fancy stitched browband and crank noseband for this bridle. It definitely wasn’t the same price as the bridle when I bought it… Link here

So how is it 5+ years later?

Clearly, I still really like it. It is in everyday rotation at the barn, and it gets polished up and brought along for SJ and XC at horse trials. Is the leather as buttery soft as the Vespucci bridles I remember from 20 years ago? Nope. It has held up really well, but instead of softening, a lot of the leather has kind of wrinkled into position. 

While it hasn’t started cracking or anything like that, I do feel the leather just might be, after all this time, and all the use, coming towards the end of its useful life. 

Harwich Padded Dressage Bridle by SmartPak

I guess they don’t really make the same bridle anymore, so this might just be commentary on quality and all that. This bridle was a pretty serious impulse buy. I had bought a Dressage saddle, and I wanted a bridle that would match. (It was also part of the same order as a girth and leathers… neither of which I use anymore.)

Either way, this bridle has been in and out of rotation since February of 2015, so I think I have used it enough to have some thoughts. 

1 – The reins are HORRIFIC. I mean HORRIFIC. I ended up putting the Micklem rains on this bridle after getting that bridle. 

2 – The leather quality is crap too. Sorry. Not Sorry. They must have rubbed this thing in motor oil in the photo on the website, because it does not clean up like that. 

3 – I still kind of use it. This bridle is… somewhere. It makes it into the rotation when I need a third bridle for some reason. (i.e. I want to put a happy mouth in May’s mouth when the temp dips super low, but I don’t feel like changing out my main bridles). I should probably sell it, but it doesn’t seem worth the effort for the $50 it might be worth. 

Horseware Rambo Micklem Competition Bridle & Reins

This bridle was a gift, and I have had it two years. That also makes it the newest bridle in my rotation. It is also the most expensive. 

The most hilarious part of this bridle is not the amazing, awesomeness that is the anatomical benefits to the horse. Honestly, I am not sure how much May really cares. I might be able to convince myself that she’s a touch more steady in this bridle vs. the figure 8 or traditional bridle with a flash. However, I do not think it is a $200 difference, so to me, that’s mostly irrelevant. 

The reason I really like this bridle? It sits in such a different place on her face that it is perfect when she gets any rubs from her muzzle. There it is. Right there. The best part of this is that it keeps me from worrying about the bridle rubbing in the same place as her muzzle. 

As for quality, it is a nice bridle that looks nice and, I think, flatters May’s face pretty well. As mentioned above, I did upgrade the reins, and I actually use thinline reins on it now. Would I buy it again? Not sure. I am happy with it, but there are places that I wish it fit just a SMIDGE better, and it isn’t that adjustable. There are so many options on the market now for anatomical bridles, and I bet there is something out there that would fit better. 

What about you? Any bridles that you have had a long time and are still in love with?

THeSe REVIEWs are NOT SPONSORED, AND THE ITEMS DISCUSSED IN THIS REVIEW WERE PURCHASED BY ME or a FAMILY member WITH our OWN MONEY.
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Breaking Out the Cold Weather Gear

I FINALLY had another lesson yesterday. I had taken the day off of work, and I was determined to take full advantage of it. On Sunday, the weather was warm and bright. The temperatures were in the mid-sixties, and there was just the lightest breeze. PERFECT fall weather… and it was my half-leaser’s day to ride hahahaha. 

So Monday, I had my lesson scheduled in the afternoon… and I woke up to 30 degree weather and snow flurries. That’s right. There was a 30+ degree drop overnight. Fun. Times. Also – what is this nonsense with the weather?

I bundled up, and I figured I would give you a rundown of my typical cold weather riding outfit:

32 Degree Jacket – LOOK HOW LONG!
  1. Smartpak Piper Winter Breeches – Do Not Recommend. Not even going to give you a link. Decently warm but too low cut, slippery, and stretch out oddly. 
  2. Under Armour in Baby Blue – Highly recommend. The link is to a more updated version, but I will never give up my UA base layers. 
  3. Ugly Christmas Sweater – Highly Recommend… but I couldn’t find a link to it. This sweater is at LEAST 4 years old, and I am pretty sure it is 100% acrylic. It is not floofy or soft, but it is WARM. AND it has held up to barn wear. Close enough to perfect for me. 
  4. Arctic Neck Warmer – Highly Recommend. These are 100% a staple in my winter, barn wardrobe. Keeping my neck warm is a nonnegotiable. 
  5. 32 Degree Heat Womens Sherpa line Fleece Jacket – GO BUY THIS. A lot of the comments complain about the cut (sleeves too long and a bit loose around the hips), but that makes it REALLY NICE to ride in. It does not bunch up around my hips, so keeps that lower back area warm in and out of the saddle. Horse hair loves to stick to this, but it lets me not wear my heavy jacket even when it’s 30 degrees and windy out, so I will deal with that inconvenience. 
  6. North Face Jacket – Highly Recommend, although, the link is to a newer style of the jacket I wear to the barn. The jacket I currently wear is probably older than 6 years old at this point. It was a hand-me-down from my sister. It is definitely a ski jacket, but I find these are long enough and more than warm enough for riding, and much prefer them to riding-specific jackets. The North Face is expensive, but several of the jackets I own from them are closer to the 10 year mark than brand new.  
  7. Heritage Winter Gloves – Meh. The gloves I used yesterday are so old that I am not even sure what the brand ever was. I also have these. The only point I will make is that I HIGHLY prefer winter gloves that are lined vs. bigger, bulkier winter gloves with synthetic material on the outside. Leather gives me grip, and I like that. They’re not waterproof, and I don’t think they are as warm as some other options, so if you are working all day at the barn, maybe avoid these. 

Would love to know if anyone has recommendations for super warm socks that aren’t too bulky? I typically layer thin cotton socks under warmer sock to make sure that moisture is wicked away from my feet without them getting chilled. 

Let’s Talk – Tall Boots

Now, I will readily admit that I am not a boot aficionado. My show boots? $600 Ariat Crowne Pro boots that I am just starting to fit back into. Let me start with this, to me, $600 is A LOT of money to spend on riding boots. I know, clutch your pearls.

My schooling boots for the past few years have been the Ariat Heritage Contour boots. In fact, these are actually the first boots in a long time that I held onto until they fell apart. Why did I hold onto these?

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  • They were still $200+… way more than I want to spend more than once every several years.
  • The black, traditional field boot design allowed them to transition from schooling boot to show boot with only a bit of polish.
  • The XW calf width, right off the shelf, meant they were always comfortable, even when I threw on leggings, winter breeches, and thick socks in the winter.
  • The foot-bed is super comfortable. I mean, I could literally wear these all day without my back bothering me, which is more than I can say for almost any shoe except my sneakers.
  • They’ve actually lasted me a decent amount of time.

I am abusive to boots. I really don’t want to be. I really do want to be the kind of person that puts my boots on right before I ride and then take them off as soon as I get off. The kind of person that keeps my boots in my temperature controlled garage, in boot trees, and wiped down after ever ride.

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Proof of abuse. This is now a massive hole (6 months later)

What kind of person am I? The kind of person that accidentally wears my tall boots out into the field, in the mud, to turn out my horse. (her needs first…. right?) The kind of person who tried wiping down her boots, about a month ago. And the kind of person that throws her boots in her tack trunk until next time. So when I buy a new pair of boots, they probably shouldn’t be my DREAM boots.

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Dream Boots. LM Easy Boot

 

Instead, I will probably follow one of two avenues.

  1. Another pair of Ariat Heritage Contour Field Boots. They’ve been slightly updated, but still the classic design and fit options. Not many reviews on the newer version, but my old version got a lot of great reviews for comfort and durability.
  2. The Mountain Horse Sovereign boots in black. They’re about $100 more than the Ariat boots, but they have a more interesting (but still classic) design.
  3. Tuff Rider Sure Grip Boots. These are by far the least expensive option, but I have never tried or seen them in person. Obviously, buying through RW would make things easy to try and send back, if necessary, but durability is hard to know without firsthand experience.

What boots do you ride in? What boots would you 100% stay away from?

End of the Season

This weekend marked the end of the eventing season in Kentucky. There’s one last recognized event in Tennessee this weekend, but obviously, May and I won’t be going. Once again, I am left with the feeling that we let another season go down the drain, but in the spirit of being thankful and positive, I figured I would list out all the things we DID accomplish this year.

Got Back in the Show Ring

2017 was the year of no shows for us, so the fact that we managed to make it to two shows this year, is a massive improvement. Part of me wishes we had made the jump to tackle BN at our second event, but the majority of me feels accomplished in the fact that we really seemed to slay some demons in the show jumping ring.

Found Our Barn Family

Some of them read this blog so… Hi! Moving to a new barn has meant a better routine for May and I (when she isn’t escaping), and easier access to the level of shows that I am interested in at the moment. However, more than that, it has meant new friends, a trainer whose program is really working for us, and very few days or nights at the barn where I am completely alone. It’s added back a part of riding that I hadn’t realized I was really missing – the social part.

Found May a Second Rider

This was one of those odd times where timing, circumstances, and luck all kind of came together. I guess it follows along with the vein of how I got May. I put what I wanted out into the universe and… the universe delivered. Life is weird that way sometimes.

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Our first full HT was 3 years ago!

However, now is a great time to refocus on the off season.

Get Fit

I guess this is a goal for both May and me. Having a second rider means May is being worked 4 – 5 days a week right now, which is pretty much ideal. As for me, I committed to working out with a friend of mine. First spin class is on the schedule for tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!

Get Lessons

Budget has been diverted to paying for things for the house in hopes of getting everything set before we have a full house for Thanksgiving (7 adults and 2 kids!). I will probably end up posting pics at some point. Either way, the extra income from a half leaser is going to, at least, somewhat, be diverted towards lessons.

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Make a Plan

Am I the only one already looking at the schedule for 2019? Budget will really drive our path next year, but I would love to do a recognized event at KHP at BN. Hopefully, that isn’t too much to ask for!

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Plan should include more of this!

Anyone else having all the feels at the end of another eventing season?

Ain’t Nothin But A Barn Dog

A lot of us talk about our horses all the time, and many times, our dogs come up. I have mentioned mine here and there, but I figured it was about time to devote a whole post to her. Hold on to your hats people, because there are A LOT of pictures.

Hannah (AKA Hannah Montana) is an 8 year old, Blue Heeler mix that the husband rescued from the shelter as a puppy.

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Do not let that face fool you. Apparently, this girl was… not a good puppy. How bad was she? Well, apparently she refused to be house trained… or crate trained. She thought the best use of a crate was to contain all of your poop and pee, so you can roll in it. Fun stuff.

How did Matt house train her? He threw her out with the goats for a while. Somehow this worked, and Hannah has turned into a really wonderful dog. When she met my grandmother, she was so excited that she ran up to my grandma… She must have immediately realized that her usual exhuberant greeting wouldn’t be appropriate, and she sat down in front of my grandma. Her whole body was shaking with excitement, but she didn’t dare jump up or bump into her. She just waited patiently for her pets.

She has met May a few times, and used to come to my barn in NJ regularly. My trainer at the time brought her two dogs almost everyday, but they were older, female, and (mostly) calmer. They got along great with Hannah, and Matt was able to come with me when we brought her. While May is great with dogs and Hannah is mostly good with horses, she doesn’t really appreciate me riding. She is very concerned for my safety and will whine as I ride past, especially at the canter.

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The first barn I was at in KY didn’t allow outside dogs, although she came by once when I had to make an early morning run to treat May’s eye before we drove to Kansas.

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Road trip time! #kansasbound #love4oleary

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She has not been to the new barn. Although the new barn is dog friendly, Hannah is… a wimp. How much of a wimp? She has been attacked at least twice since I have known her. Why? Because if a dog comes bounding towards her, wanting to play, she will cower and roll over and tell the world that she is a wimp. Soooo she gets attacked.

Let’s face it, she was the star of our engagement pics.

While the dogs at the new barn are very sweet, I think it just would be too much for Hannah. Last night, there were 6 or 7 dogs at the barn. They ranged from a big chow mix from next door to a small pug and from basically puppies to much older dogs. Just too overwhelming for poor Hannah, who really likes being an only dog with her own yard.

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Even Hannah is excited to finally see spring! #dogsofinstagram

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What about you? Do you have a dog (or other non-horse pet), and do they make it to the barn?

Blog Hop: Things I’ve Learned from Other Bloggers

The Roaming Rider posted about some things that she has learned from other bloggers, and I thought it would be fun to jump in. (Go check hers out first. It will give you all the feels.)

While I have been blogging for only a couple of years (can I still say only?), I have been reading blogs basically since I became horsey deprived in college. The flavor of blogs is as diverse as the people writing them. Some still make me laugh out loud at my desk at work, while others will instantly bring me to tears, but that is horses too. Many of us will describe our darkest and brightest days by the horses that surrounded them.

I don’t talk about other people on my blog as pretty much a rule, but I hope everyone will grant me a reprieve just this one because you all deserve a tribute for all have taught me! I wish I could include EVERYONE, but I am not sure ANYONE would want to read that, so here are my 5 highlights.

1. Emma from Fraidy Cat Eventing.

Fraidy Cat

Emma and I have somewhat similar stories. H/J backgrounds with a burning desire to event. While I tip toed my way in with lessons and then eventually moving my horse to an eventing barn, Emma JUMPED IN the deep end. Girl – you took a couple of lessons, bought a truck and trailer, and did the thing. You took a lease on an off breed horse and trained her into an eventer. When that came to an end, you took a pause before finding another horse and restarting an OTTB from the ground up. I hope you know how badass that is.

AHEM – Emma taught me to go for the things I want. To not worry if I didn’t have the fanciest horse or the most expensive tack. The only thing I had to answer to was my horse. As long as I was doing the right thing there, then I was doing the right thing.

2. Lauren from She Moved to Texas.

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(I am linking her personal website because I think something funky is going on with her blog site)

I am not sure when I started following Lauren, but she was the first blogger that I took back to the beginning. The first one that I did the blogger version of netflix binged on. Why? I would say it is because her writing is beautiful, and I am obsessed with that kind of thing (which is true); however, it is because she has been so true to herself and her voice.

I am not sure I would 100% categorize her blog as a horse blog. I would say that, if anything, it is a life blog about a person that owns and rides horses. She taught me that speaking my truth is the only topic that really matters.

3. Megan from A Enter Spooking.

AESpook

Is it hyperbole to say that Megan was my first Dressage instructor? My first ever introduction to Dressage was someone taking a 45 minute lesson at my barn. During that 45 minutes they continuously trotted around a 20 meter circle. I remember having to rake the ring after because there was literally a ditch growing there. “Nope,” I told myself, “Dressage is not a thing I ever want to do.”

Then Megan popped up on my screen one day, and well… just read this:

At the same time as straightening him on the outside rein to get him to step into the inside rein, TC needs to be a bit lighter off of my inside leg. His tendency is to lean into my leg with his ribcage, rather than engaging his inside hind leg and stifle under him.
– Knowledge Dump

I can feel what she feels when she writes, and I can feel her corrections. I never knew that people had these kinds of detailed dialogues going on in their heads while they rode, but here comes Megan with 81 posts tagged with “connection”. While Megan has opened up the world of Dressage for me, she has, more than that, taught me the important of really being a thinking rider.

Anyone else notice that the first three people are all from different disciplines?

4. Carly from Poor Woman Showing.

PWS

Does anyone ever know what Carly is going to do next? Carly teaches me and continuously reminds me that I am supposed to enjoy my horse. Not everyday will be sunshine and rainbows, but horses are there to be enjoyed. Does she compete? Yup. Does she win satin? Um, DUH.

Does she also stick her horse in a cart because it seems like a fun idea? Absolutely. Reading her posts reminds me that we don’t HAVE to have a serious Dressage schooling if we don’t want to. We can just go on that trail ride or attempt to jump crossrails while bareback. Dressage and “serious” eventing will be there, and I am not ruining anything by simply enjoying my horse.

5. Michele from Fat Buckskin in a Little Suit.

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I am going to be super cheesy here. I fell off the blogging bandwagon in 2017 a bit. Nothing was really happening, I had no jump saddle, I wasn’t really able to take lessons, and I was about to get married. Michele reached out to me and checked in. I was floored. Here was someone I never met who honestly cared about how May and I were doing.

Michele and I have gone through very similar struggles with our opinionated, rotund creatures, but Michele has taught me, more than anything, about how a love of horses really does bring people together and create friendships. I know you’re reading, so thanks girl. 😉

One day, I will get to meet some of you in person! hahaha Who else is going to join in on this positive blog hop?

Half Lease Update

Remember how I said I don’t talk about other people on my blog? Welp. That is also true for the girl half leasing May. However, I think you all deserve an update!

May was a perfect princess on Monday night. I mean like, I got on her, warmed up a bit, popped over some fences, and she was just soft and easy and in front of my leg. MMMMMK. (like this but probably SLOWER)

So what did I do? I made a friend get on her. I then made said friend jump some stuff. May continued to just pack around like a little school horse. Welp, I thought, she will probably be terrible for the trial tomorrow.

I was SO NERVOUS. Like our mutual friend has ridden May, but May is May. We chatted a bit as we tacked up. I gave her the barefoot history and gently explained that I have no bias against shoes, and I am happy to put shoes back on the horse if it looks like that is going to be a better solution than barefoot. She didn’t seem concerned. She did ask about my spurs (little nubs at the moment), and I told her that spurs are more for moving May’s body around than they are for speed or anything.

I rode first, obviously. May was almost as good as she had been the night before. I would say she was a bit stiffer through her body, but I wasn’t about to start an argument before putting someone else in the irons. At one point in the canter, I circled through the middle of the ring and just held the reins by the buckle to show that her balance will change, but she won’t run away with you. (or at least not with me.)

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I did everything I could think of to show that May was as represented. I popped over some fences, missed more than once, and then handed the reins over. Number one response everyone has had to getting on my horse? She REALLY swings through her back at the walk. I had no idea. I am just SO used to it.

There is definitely a learning curve with May, but the half leaser handled her really well. They seemed to get along, and May didn’t get frustrated or upset by any gaps in communication. She did decide to do the double add down the line of jumps… Oh mares. The strangest thing was being told how she is excited to ride something a bit more made instead of a greenie. I am still not used to the idea of my horse really knowing and doing her job. It’s a cool feeling and definitely true at this point.

Overall, it sounds like it is going to be a 2-day a week lease instead of a 3-day a week lease, but her being able to take lessons with my trainer is more important than May being ridden an extra day a week. In fact, she wants to take her first lesson the first week of November. Can it really just be this easy? I guess so!

The Joys of Owning a Smart Horse

I have ridden/trained/dealt with MANY fairly dumb horses in the 20+ years I have been riding. And I love dumb horses. These horses took patience and repetition to truly teach them concepts, but once learned, those lessons were set in stone. Teach a dumb horse to ground tie, and it could be scared out of its wits and wouldn’t move an inch.

Now, I do not own a dumb horse. I own a very smart mare. I didn’t really think horses could deeply reason or scheme or really PLAN until I met this mare. A mare that could learn the rules, and learn when she can break them. Case and point.

This weekend, my sister and dad were in town. My sister and I decided to take a quick trip to the barn to pet May/feed her cookies/ pick her feet. Almost the whole barn was at one of the last horse trials of the year, so I knew things would be fairly quiet.

We showed up to the barn, and we walked towards my trunk to grab some treats and a hoof pick.

What did we see? This face… looking rather put out at being caught in what is (definitely) not her stall. Fully in the stall. No food in there. No chain up. Just hanging out.

Notice – she picks the stall with pretty ribbons on it.

My sister, who has spent a lot of time around horses as a kid, immediately starts looking around for a halter. “Don’t worry about it,” I tell her. “She knows where she’s supposed to be.”

My horse loves me… right? LOL

So we start walking towards her stall and… she comes with us. Face full of all her opinions about it.

I opened the chain to her stall. The chain is still up. She doesn’t do this with brute force. She weasels her way under the chain…. and only when the barn is empty for a significant amount of time. Maybe she has figured out my trainer’s normal schedule and knows when things are “off”. I have no idea.

Either way, she was quite put off when we closed and secured her lower door. She even gave my sisters a snort when she told her to “be good”. This mare…

So… anyone have any recommendations for a stall guard? Doesn’t need to hold up to a horse leaning on it. Just needs to keep her from going under it.

Also – a friend of a barn friend is coming out tomorrow to give May a try. She just sold her horse and moved to the area, so she is looking for something to ride without taking on full horse ownership. Fingers crossed!

First Fall Ride

Other than taking a long walk up and down the road on Tuesday, May hasn’t really been ridden since…. um…. the first weekend of October? Even then, it was so unbelievably hot that she got an abbreviated workout. To say she is out of shape is putting it gently. So when I actually put on gloves, tall boots, spurs, and prepped for a real ride last night in 50 degree weather, I wasn’t really sure what I would get.

May is never malicious under saddle. However, she does develop selective hearing when she isn’t in full work. What do I mean by selective hearing? It means that she tries to set the gait, pace, balance, AND direction without any input from me. It usually lasts all of one ride and then she is back to normal.

So when I went to get on last night, she was wide-eyed. She didn’t want to stand near the mounting block, and I swear she grew 2 inches when we walked out of the barn. So I was ready for a difficult ride. However, instead of getting frantic or demanding, I got endlessly patient and calm.

She wouldn’t stand for me to get on? Then we will just keep circling around. Once on, I made her halt again, and I put her on the contact before we even got to the ring. Want to jig? Well, we will just do a little shoulder in until you relax over your back again.

Once in the ring, we did serpentines and did more walk/halt transitions than I even care to count. She had to move through her rib cage and over her back. After 10 minutes of walking, I felt her body start to soften, and I asked for the trot. Again, big loops through the ring, asking her to bend through her rib cage, and lots of soft, correct transitions.

Over and over again. By the time we got to the canter, I could get in a little two point and just let her cruise without her wanting to take over. And you know what? She was wonderful. We did a bit more trot work, where she really worked through herself, and when I popped her back into the canter, I let her figure 8 over a low vertical in the middle of the ring. She was rhythmic, calm, and in front of my leg. I could add, or leave out, or just maintain without an issue.

I gave her a pat and called it a day. Happy Horsey Mom.

P.s. Thank you for all of your support on my last post. Mentally hard decision to make, and it was so nice how understanding you all were. 🙂

If Anyone Knows Anyone…

First of all, is it possible to take Monday off and still feel like it is a long week by Wednesday morning? Apparently, it is.

The truth is, I am REALLY busy, and my life is only getting MORE busy. Unfortunately, the first thing that falls off my list when I get busy is May. Why? Because the other things are working, sleeping, and eating, and there is only so much of that you can cut before it starts to mess with your life in a big way. This means that, most weeks, I have been getting to the barn 3 days a week… some weeks are 2 days… and some weeks have even been 1 day.

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Let me start by saying that May does just fine mentally on very little work. She doesn’t get spooky, hot, or silly when she has days off. Yesterday was the first time riding her in a week, the temperature had dropped 40 degrees (I kid you not), the sun was going down, and I decided to walk her down the road with a friend of mine… past herds of thoroughbred broodmares. She was, as usual, a gem.

However, she physically really needs to work more. May was the most sound and most comfortable when she was working 5 – 6 days a week consistently.

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So after some thinking, talking, annoying all the horsey people around me, I decided to put May out there for a half leaser. I won’t move her off property, and I am going to be really picky about whoever I let part lease her. It might mean I don’t find anyone, and that is ok, but it could also be great. (Fingers crossed that it is great and not the worst idea I have ever had).

15.2 Belgian/QH Mare Offered for Onsite Half Lease Only

May is a stocky draft cross mare with experience eventing up through recognized BN and is capable of N with the right rider (i.e. not her owner, who is a chicken). While she is confident over fences and loves XC, she is also capable of being a straight Dressage horse and is schooling First Level. May is also an experienced trail horse and has been on hunter paces in large groups.

While May has never bolted, bucked, reared, etc, in the 3.5 years that I have owned her, she does require a confident rider who can be clear and consistent with their aids. She would do best with an adult rider who wants to have a fun, engaging ride but is not interested in riding a horse that spooks often, gets overly strong, bucks, stops at fences, etc. She would be especially well suited for an experienced rider who is new to eventing and would like to a fun intro to the sport.

Either way – if any of my blog friends know anyone in the Louisville area who can’t afford/doesn’t have time for their own horse but wants a fun ride 3 days a week – Let me know!

 

A Foot Update

Does it feel like everyone is talking about their horse’s feet a lot more this year, or is just because I am obsessing over it?

ANYWAY, we pulled May’s shoes during the first week of September. The dew from a typical hot KY summer was taking it toll, and May had managed to lose both front shoes. There is nothing like wet grass and rock hard ground to encourage shoes to come flying off of hooves. I was literally sending pictures like this to my farrier with calm messages such as, “THIS SHOE IS ABOUT TO COME OFF AND I HAVE A SHOW IN 3 DAYS.”

Mind you, these photos are from June. So things got WORSE.

Luckily, my farrier is not one for such dramatics, and he dutifully came out each time and fixed her up. He and I agreed that the issue was really microbes getting underneath the shoe and into the hoof wall. What was my breaking point? When he couldn’t clinch down nails on her black hoof because the hoof wall was just SMOOSHING away. (technicaly terms, but it made me a bit nauseous).

I tried a round of white lightning, which stopped the progression, but it couldn’t cure the issues going on UNDER the shoe or behind the nails. I put May on a hoof supplement, but the weather in KY continued to work against us.

At my last horse trial, my farrier was there. He came by to tighten her shoes and check on her, since he was going away for a week. I asked out glue on shoes, and he indicated why that probably wouldn’t work for us right now. He pulled out a shoe that would allow him to put the nails in different places because anywhere we had put a nail was just crumbling away.

“Well,” I started, “what about taking her barefoot again?”

His first question, “when’s your next show?” I shrugged my shoulders.

“If we don’t compete again this year, it’s not the end of of the world. I haven’t signed up for anything.” He nodded and agreed that pulling the shoes would probably be best. We would wait out the rest of this cycle as much as we could to let her grow as much hoof as she could, and then we would pull them.

And pull them we did. Then, hurricane Florence passed through KY, and we had one of the rainiest September on record. I think the pictures speak for themselves:

Immediately after pulling and trying to leave as much hoof as possible.

 

Better photos about one week after pulling shoes. (Her back feet are barefoot and BEAUTIFUL)

Right after 5 week trim. Leaving these photos big for everyone.

Black Foot. 

White Foot

I don’t know why the black foot looks so short and stubby here. It’s really not. 

Are they perfect? No. They are still in the process of changing shape and growing out the nail holes. Are they a lot healthier? Definitely. The hoof is dry, hard, and a lot stronger than it had been. I think once those nail holes fully grow out, we’ll be in good shape going into winter.

As for her comfort level – May was really comfortable in her hoof boots the day after being trimmed this week, and I was riding her completely barefoot towards the end of her last cycle. Fingers crossed that when I get back from my trip this weekend, she will be comfortable without boots again.

On a different note, woke up this morning to 50 degrees of fall greatness. ❤