Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rolex, some shopping!

ROLEX!!!  Yesterday was our annual trip to Rolex  The shopping was so great we totally missed all of the dressage tests but one, I plan on catching up on some of the dressage today while I'm home waiting for XC to start.

The weather was FANTASTIC, although it doesn't like it will be as nice today!

I'm not a huge spender, it helps that I just bought a truck and trailer, so I did lots and lots of window shopping!

Here are a few things I loved but DID NOT buy.

The Alexus riding top by Smartpak.  First, duhhhh, purple!  This is a tech fabric shirt with a UPF rating so you're good in the sun.  The stand up collar buttons up under your dressage coat to provide a very traditional look but folds down and shows some nice color on the neck, plus the slimming color contrast side panels.  Loved it!


The Romfh lace show shirt another very traditional show shirt with some non traditional flare under the arms acting as nice ventilation.  The lace was soft and could only be seen without a coat, although I think this was a little "risque" to wear without one.


The Fits Ruffle Show Shirt  I really loved the waffle weave texture and having your stock tie built right in!

I liked the ventilated mesh back of the FITS show coat, a smart idea when you want to wear your coat for dressage and it's a summer day.


I sat in a bunch of saddles, just because.  I wanted to sit in the CWD saddles since so many people have been swooning over them and I wanted to figure out why.  I liked the saddles, but I didn't find anything SPECIAL about them for me at least.  They felt fine to sit in, but nothing that said "you will be at PSG in two months."

I loved the feel of a Stackhouse similar to this one.  It was made of this interesting suede like material that you were supposed to oil and make it look like normal leather while retaining the grippy texture.  These saddles are entirely custom, made by the owners of the company and they are produced to your exact measurements and your horse's measurements separate.  I liked that it was a smaller company who could be more focused on each buyer and not on mass producing almost identical saddles.    It did mean that all of the saddles I sat in were total customs so none made exactly for me, although I think if you sat in enough you'd get a good idea of what saddle worked for you.  This saddle was a work of art, and I love the flap design.  Very unique.



I LOVED the innovative design of the Bliss of London Paramour  Dressage saddle.  Sometimes I'm disappointed in monoflap saddles because even though there is only one layer, the leather is so thick it doesn't really make a difference.  The Paramour saddle had a thinner panel of leather and one of the reps put her hand underneath the flap and you could clearly feel it.  The flap really felt almost extraneous which I really enjoyed, something to keep my breeches from getting sweaty, but not enough to put a mountain between me and my horse.   My favorite part is that little dip between the seat of the saddle/the panels and your leg, it gave this ultra close contact feel as the supportive seat dropped away under your thigh to provide a great feel of your horse.  The thigh block also felt supportive but not restrictive, I'm a big fan of being able to feel like I can move around in my saddle when I need to.  With the hoop tree I think this would be a great saddle for someone on a wider barreled horse without making the twist so wide it was uncomfortable.




I hope everyone liked my reviews and I'll continue to add more as I remember all of the great things I saw!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What's in YOUR trailer?


I've been moving things into my trailer that I want to live in it so I don't always have to load every single thing every time I want to go somewhere.  I've got brushes, an extra lead rope, extra halter, stud chain, lunge line, plus some whips that are living in the trailer.  Most of my "show" supplies such as my showsheen, detangler, quik braid, are all in my 

Stanley travelling tack box.



Which is also where my Finish Line Fura Free Salve was living when Stella turned herself around in the trailer and scraped herself up.  



Luckily, eventers are awesome people and I was able to borrow some Corona Ointment from a friend.


It did get me thinking about what other things of things need to live in my trailer.  For sure some sort of first aid things, but what?  What kind of basic supplies do I need for minor horse injuries while at a show/lesson/trail ride?

How about tools?


What's in your trailer?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Horse Show Hack

Saturday morning I took Stella to the Heartland show sponsored by the Heartland Region Pony Club at the Hoosier Horse Park.  I realized that she hadn't actually been to the horse park in a "normal" for us capacity although she had been there for the open show last summer, so I wanted to get her out and about at a very busy show and take advantage of the low key day.

It started out with a healthy dose of trailering experience, I 65 was a two lane construction zone most of the way, I took my normal exit and immediately hit a road closed sign.  We pulled into a truck wash and my boyfriend googled an alternative route, which I knew existed but had never run backwards before.  I am also not comfortable taking roads I'm not familiar with in my truck and trailer so yeah!!!!  Experience!

I had reconfigured my trailer to see if Stella was more willing to load in a bigger space and forgot to tell my boyfriend to keep her head screwed on straight in case she tried to turn around.  There really wasn't enough room I thought......

but I underestimated Stella's bendiness and her determination so she turned around in the trailer leaving half her ass in the process.   Ooooops.




After we settled in I hacked Stella all over the showgrounds, especially down all the crowded barn aisles, which had been an issue at the open show last summer.  She handled everything great and only hesitated when we got to the dressage arenas with their scary bleachers.  I schooled her for a bit in the show jumping warm up, making sure I had a gas pedal at the faster gaits in a crowded situation.  I did experience some nerves, mostly "oh my god if I ask her to canter is she going to stop?"  Yes, yes, she did.  We were fine.

Here's a picture of Stella being slightly grumpy as we "waited" in line for our show jumping round.  She was just fine when she was moving and exploring but became impatient and antsy anytime I asked her to stand still, so I made her stand still here.



As you can see in the picture, she's wearing her Renegades which you can find new at their website.  I put her boots on because I was concerned that her lameness issue was an abscess and I didn't want to irritate soft feet on all the concrete and gravel at the showgrounds.

I got lots of questions about her horse "crocs"



I'd never thought about it, but I guess they DO kind of look like Crocs!!


At the end of the day Stella visited the mobile tack shop run by local business, The Stable Tack Shop to pick out some horse cookies.


I'd like to add a huge THANKS! to my ever patient horse show boyfriend, who not only reassured my nerves on the drive in, but helped carry all my stuff, and followed behind us as we hacked in case we had any issues.  


After that we packed up and headed home.  Stella gained some experience at a show, I gained some driving experience, and my boyfriend gained some sore arms!!!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Show no show

I was supposed to be headed to our first show of the season right about now, the Heartland Region Pony Club combined test, but SOMEBODY was convinced they had broken their leg on Monday night and could not go on.


She wasn't visibly lame to anyone else except in a few spots where she very clearly headbobbed, it was more of a general reluctance to reach out with her front leg, slamming on the brakes, and being in a general pissy mood.  She's nothing if not dramatic and I decided to air on the side of caution and scratched her from the show.

Honestly, it was a bit of a blessing.  I had been unable (and a bit unwilling a few times) to make ANY winter jumping lessons and combined with my bout of self doubt I had not really actually jumped anything and have been in need of some serious lessons with my trainer.  I had been on the fence about scratching anyway, I didn't want to enter the ring with confidence issues and not be able to provide her the positive support she needed. 

Luckily the show had quite the waitlist so I am able to get most of my money back!  

She was magically %100 sound a few days later.  Either she had an abscess that resolved itself, she had tweaked something in her lesson and was now better, or she was making shit up because she heard the word "bath."

With the entire weekend free, and my very own truck and trailer at my beck and call I decided to go ahead and take her up anyway the morning of the show to hack around all the rings.  She's pretty good at shows but she could always be better, and it will be the first time she has hacked outside since last fall.  It'll be a nice low pressure atmosphere and I think it will do us both some good.

Hope everyone else is enjoying the nice weather on their horses!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

FEI pulls World Endurance Championships from UAE

In a statement issued on April 7, 2016, the FEI announced that it was pulling the World Endurance Championships from the UAE.


They acknowledged that efforts have been made by the UAE to guarantee horse welfare since their reinstatement in July 2015, but that they could not guarantee that horse welfare would be fully protected.

There have been horse welfare concerns in the UAE for years, phantom races, catastrophic horse injuries, races being run too fast, riders filmed beating horses, hordes of chase vehicles, and horses with very poor vet scores have all been concerns.

As a result the UAE was actually suspended last year in March.  An eventual deal was struck where the UAE would agree to abide by FEI rules, and would be carefully monitored.  It was a test of the UAE's ability and desire to abide by FEI rules, and the FEI's ability to maintain control of the races and the UAE was reinstated in July.

However, the Sheikh Zayed Bin Mansoor Al Nahyan Junior and Young Riders Endurance cup made headlines in February, where 18 out of 55 starters finished.  A video showing the last 7 minutes of the race was circulated, raising multiple animal welfare concerns.

Other disturbing pictures and videos of horses with catastrophic leg injuries, and a callous lack of care to those horses are even more telling.

Will the UAE clean up its act?  Does the UAE belong in the FEI and can the FEI and the rest of the world influence them?  Do they give endurance a bad name?


Half Chaps and size charts

My half chaps bit the dust a few weeks ago so I started shopping for a new pair.  Something nice enough to show in because I'm lazy about boots and schooling shows, and something cheap because I'm cheap.

Horseloverz was having a sale on several of the Ovation half chaps so I decided to order the Ovation Turin

I tend to be an adult size "medium" in half chaps but one can never be too sure so I started looking for a size chart.  First, why don't tack stores have the size charts listed??????  Especially on things like half chaps.  So aggravating.

I finally found a size chart attached to the Turin half chaps at Victory Canter, measured my calves, and saw that I once again fit into adult size medium.

The chaps arrived a few days later and I couldn't even get them zipped up!!!!  The size chart on the package was totally different from the one listed at Victory Canter.

So now I'm faced with paying Horseloverz restocking fee of $8.95 to return my useless half chaps and find a pair actually connected to the actual correct size chart.  Typically when I order sized items I try to order from a website such as Smartpak or riding warehouse due to their excellent free returns and exchanges program, I took the chance since I'm a pretty standard size and there was a size chart but now I'm out of luck.

Upon further research I see that these half chaps are on sale in several different places, perhaps because of the sizing?

So fellow readers, know of any sales on half chaps?  Smooth leather, zipper on the back, suitable enough for schooling shows but under $60 shipped would be perfect!!!  Start shopping!

Friday, April 8, 2016

ACTHA kaput

Since I had so much fun last year at an ACTHA ride, and did a blog post on it, I feel like I have the obligation to tell people that ACTHA is now kaput.  Not only that, but they seem to have forgotten to pay people or refund money.  Not cool.



The ACTHA website is down and I have heard that their phone number has also been disconnected.

In addition, if you go to the ACTHA Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ACTHA, you will find that many ride managers have not been paid from last year, and ride participants not only seem unable to get their 2016 membership dues back, but several people have been double charged.

I know that Little Trails Horse Camp



 had issues with being paid for last year, dropped ACTHA, and picked up Equine Trail Sports which has a very similar format and took all former ACTHA dates in my area.  They were wonderful hosts and I hope that ETS works out for them.




Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Buckwild Breeches

I really love breeches that are unique, tan gets so boring!  I also like nice breeches that I can show up for lessons or clinics in, or hack around the night before a show.

For Christmas my wonderful boyfriend did some sleuthing and purchased me a pair of breeches from Buckwild Breeches  who carries breeches in a wide array of obnoxiously loud but fun breeches.  I just got a chance to wear them last week so I thought I'd give my review.

I got the Buckwild Breeches in the argyle, they are a high waist breech (stops about two inches below my belly button) with a faux suede in an argyle print and are machine washable.

Here are the breeches with my butt inside.  One of the things I didn't like was that, although they are stretchy, they are a bit loose in the bit and the leg area.  The waist area fits me perfectly so I'm not sure if going down a size would be too small, or if they are simply meant to fit loose.  I purchased a different brand around the same time and they fit both me and my larger friend the same relaxed fit so it might be a trend.  I am also used to wearing lots of riding tights so that could be another factor coloring my review.


My only other complaint is that I wish they had a sock bottom or something slimmer, my tall boots are quite fitting and I had difficulty zipping them up over the cuffed bottom.  Someone with paddock boots and half chaps or looser boots would not have an issue.

Besides that I really like their fun colors as well as the easy clean factor.  I'm SOOOOOO not dry cleaning anything.

Price?  I can't really comment here, I thought they were expensive which is why I got them as a gift.  However, I'm super super super cheap and I don't think I've ever paid over $60 for a pair of breeches.

They do run sales quite often so be sure to like their FB page and keep an eye on things!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Trailer repairs

Part of owning a trailer, especially a used one, is keeping up with average maintanence and doing repairs of things that don't seem like big deals but actually are.

One repair I've done is to run weather stripping around the escape and mangers doors to try and prevent water from leaking in and causing rust.  I also ran silicon around the gap between the wood that replaced the rust out mangers to prevent hay/grain/dirt/water from entering the dressing room and causing the wood to decay and the walls to rust.



After every big storm I run out to the trailer and run my hands down the walls to check for leaks.


Another repair I did myself was to purchase Rustoleum paint and to sponge roller white rust resistant paint on the roof and manger areas to stop any rust from continuing to get worse and to freshen it up.



I also ordered butt bar covers to give Stella something to poop on, I mean lean on.  I still need to do another coat of the rust paint on the roof as well as the rest of the metal parts, and I have a different paint for the wood on the walls and divider.  I think the paint really freshens the trailer up!

Something I had done was have the trailer rewired.  Most of the wiring was circa 1980s and some of the repairs were very hack job and "creative" I.E. housing conduit to attempt to rewire the brakes.  



 In this picture you can see some of the rust on the plug, as well as the housing conduit spliced into the trailer wiring harness.  Yikes!!!!  I think this was done when the axles were replaced on the trailer?  The rest of the wiring appear to be original.


Here you can see the corrosion on the trailer plug, as well as what was supposed to be a temporary until we can get a better repair done job splicing the wiring together.



I purchased the main wiring harness at an RV place, although it would have been cheaper but slower to order the part online, and I bought the wiring by the foot at Home Depot. 

All of these repairs were necessary but not an emergency (although the wiring really needed to be done) and were mostly hidden when I purchased the trailer.  I have a few other things to do over the summer to freshen things up a bit and I'll post pictures as I do them.  

Molly Sue Kinnamon Clinic

Last weekend I participated in a Molly Sue Kinnamon clinic at local dressage/eventing barn  Greystone Equestrian Center .  Although I had s...