Friday, July 1, 2016

Jump All the Things!

Bacardi update: less lame, but still out of commission. Depressing.

Good news on the Yankee front though, he is flourishing, which is a relief. I am tentative to say we are out of the woods, but he has been 100% gastro wise, bloomed beautifully weight wise and now just needs to gain some strength back. Trying to pretend that nightmare is behind us for good...

fattttty <3 td="">
He was cleared for jumping this month and literally attacked the jumps on his first session a few weeks ago. This was also his first time with his leaser and they were still getting adjusted to each other. When I first got Yankee I was tentative to let anyone jump him, but over the years as he's grown more mature and learned his job a bit better, I've relinquished my hold on him. He's such a cool horse and loves to jump and I want to share that with anyone who wants it. I can see him carting around my future spawn over crossrails when he's an older man and its an adorable thought. The amount of spunk he has over fences is contagious....I wish I could find the photos from the first session, but they have disappeared (I know, how did this happen).

Earlier this week though we had another session together and this time I dug out his favorite hackamore and we used that instead of a bit. Its remarkable the difference that change makes for him and how much he prefers jumping with the hack over a bit.

V had had a few jump lessons with Supertrainer since our first jump session together but that was with the bit so I was curious to see how she would adjust to the hackamore and its particular set of skills.

not bad not bad

We warmed up over some low low grids and let V play with direction changes, rating and learning to cruise with Yanks. He was almost a bit lazy at first, until he woke up and then gave her some trouble with turning right--not surprising. She is a quick study though, and just in the short few weeks she's been with him, I have already seen her level of riding improve two fold. I love teachable people, especially if they are riding my horse, and she listens and does exactly what you ask...not trading her in for a long time, hahah!

Over grids, either her or Yanks have a tendency to drift left, so we were working on straightness. Additionally, worked in looping together the 3 lines we had set on an easy S curve. Yankee was lit after about 15 minutes, and we had to revisit a correct half halt but once that was established, V piloted him around like a pro.

zoomies
I advised that "hands high" is better than pulling low, since the hackamore is not really activated with hands at the withers. She picked up the skills quite fast and eventually nailed the half halts and was able to correctly sit him back, rock back through the turns and keep him straight through the grids.


As much as I wanted to climb aboard and take him for a spin, I am committed to this new partnership and am trying my best to be hands off.

Originally I was going to take Yanks to a hunter pace on the 4th, but V is doing a 2 day clinic with him and then Sunday going to their first jumper show together! I advised to keep the classes no higher than 2'6 for now, and just feel him out at a show.

He loves his job and his enthusiasm shows...but as most begin to notice, he is never dangerous--just exuberant! I wish  could be there to watch and it KILLS me that I have plans for Sunday, but I am sure someone will take pics or video for me....THEY BETTER.

Only over jumping a little bit...*eye roll*, its a crossrail Yanks
The most fun for me has been watching the partnership bloom, and I am so excited for their future together! The summer season is packed with schooling shows and recognized events and she sent in the entry for BN at Champagne Run at the end of July. I am more than stoked to watch them go, and in-between there's XC schooling, a jumper show and another dressage show...YAY living vicariously while my horse heals....slowly, haha!

They're adorable

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tack Review: Highland Browbands

First off, I want to thank everyone for you kind words regarding Dolly...it meant so much to me to see the support online through Facebook, IG and blogging. This is why I love the community. I felt so much less alone and more comforted knowing you all knew how I felt/am still feeling.

That being said, I need to put my big girl panties on and move forward, She will always be on my mind, but I am not allowing myself to wallow anymore. 

So without further ado, I bring you my first ever official tack review on this here blog. 



Besides that adorable red face (that tends to cut itself every other day...and is still lame) you might notice the wonderfully blue and sparkly bling browband adorning my sweet delicate flowers' face.

Oh yes, I went bling. I never thought I would do it, but I couldn't pass up this browband. I mean, look at it! Such bling. Very sparkle. Many shine.

Before I get too excited and jumble all my coherent thoughts together, I would like to say that the hardest part about ordering a custom band was picking the colors!! Did I want red, white and blue for America? Did I want straight white for extra bling? Did I want to go full teal (fav color) or did I want to mix up the blues?

I obviously decided on the mixed blues, and went along with the curved style. I LOVE how this fits B's giant forehead and it matches my bridle perfectly. I was a little nervous since it has a little bit of chestnut on the padding, but the havana color mixed right in. If you have a large boned horse I recommend the curved browband for sure.

In addition to custom browbands, the store has pre-made brow bands, rider accessories and items on consignment! Head over to the website to check it out! I also perused their IG for color ideas because I had such hard time deciding; highlandbrowbands


Looks good even on giraffe's

Additionally, the customer service is top notch. I am a huge stickler for prompt acknowledgment of any orders, questions and or concerns I might have and the owner was quite quick in getting in touch with me...also quite tolerant of my many questions. 

Shipping was also prompt and well within the timeline I had perceived to be acceptable. I was stunned at how quickly she got my order together and how well made and lovely it was when it arrived.

I was literally like a kid at christmas when I opened the lovely wrapping, and greeting card they sent along with the browband. I resisted running through the house shouting, "its here, its here!" because I am an adult. Instead I rushed to the barn and forced Bacardi to stand for a photo shoot.

The leather itself was buttery soft and already shaped for the bridle, no oil soaking needed. I've only ridden a few times in it, sadly because of B lameness, but after a few uses its broken in even more and fits like a dream! The crystals haven't budged and the craftsmanship is quite lovely. I can tell they took their time in creating my piece for me.  Only thing I am nervous about is cleaning it once my sweat machine goo's it all up, since I don't want to ruin the crystal sparkle (this is my only 4 our of 5 rating!) I will be ordering more of these though for sure, despite Bacardi's pleads against bling. Sorry buddy, my rules! Yankee too, isn't safe against the bling. BLING FOR EVERYONE.

Speaking of ordering more, you know how I am a tack whore on a budget and I wouldn't be caught dead spending an arm and a leg on custom tack. Starting at $50, these brow bands are not only gorgeous, they are affordable too. If you're interested, use my code "MONICA15" for an additional 15% off until July 31. 

In summation;
Quality: 4/5
Customer Service: 5/5
Craftsmanship: 5/5
Shipping: 5/5

Hello I'm gorgeous


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Tribute to Fyre

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of 
one's soul remains unawakened" - Anatole France

Death is such an interesting aspect of life, and one that I am blessed to not have encountered often. In fact, only a handful of people I have known have passed on, and only one close relative. I consider myself lucky in that sense. However, I have felt grief for countless animals, and those losses I sometimes feel deeper than any other.

Animals touch your soul in a way that humans cannot even begin to comprehend or match. It is a different kind of love, friendship and forever bond, and I know most of you agree with me.

Losing a horse though, is my worst nightmare and I was so close to losing Yankee this spring...those feelings stay with me. They surge on occasion, creating fleeting panic, squeezing my heart, constricting my breath and battering my thoughts with worry, pain and heartbreak. I know that when that horse goes, I will be inconsolable. I try not to think about it.

I did not expect to feel that type of pain though, for a horse I haven't owned in years. She was my first horse though, and they say you will never forget your first true love.

It was love. Love at first sight. I was ten years old, and my parents surprised me for Christmas with a pony. She was horribly ugly, her tail was gone, her head was huge,  she had tiny white spots everywhere and she was permanently fat from years of being a broodmare and she was a MARE...but I loved her instantly because she was mine

There were no iPhones back then, sadly

I had begged for years for a pony, like any typical girl would, but my parents made me work for it. She wasn't just a gift that a spoiled white kid got for christmas one year- I spent literal years proving I was ready for such a huge responsibility, and they were hands off for most of my equine years. I wish I had more photos of her, but anything we have is buried deep in the family photo album archives. 

A rare photo from our time together


Dolly taught me more than I can even comprehend, and to this day I am grateful for her sassy attitude, her sweet nickers, her willingness, her staying power and her mothering nature.

She was a registered, winning Arabian mare that spent her younger years as a western pleasure champion. She then went on to have 11 foals and then was sold to my parents for the rock bottom price of $700. I will never know what she was like in her earlier years, but I did find a few photos of her offspring floating around the net. They looked EXACTLY Like her, which I am not surprised about. 

Dolly carting my cute ass around a tiny jumper course
There was this one spot on her elbow that had a red heart inside of it, and that was my favorite thing about my horse. She had a heart by her heart!

Dolly was a raging bitch though, most of the time, and I struggled sometimes with her attitude. Typical chestnut (ARABIAN) mare. But I loved her anyways. She was the sweetest girl alive on the ground, and intended to keep you there. I think she bucked me off everyday for two years, hah!

Granted, I was new to riding, so coming off that often was no surprise, and I usually bounced back on, much to Dolly's displeasure. After a few tries to unseat me she usually begrudgingly settled into whatever we had planned for the day and did was she as asked by  my puny pre-teen self.

Oh the adventures we had!

I was incredibly lucky to grow up in such a cool area, and horse trails butted up against our property. My mom would give me a small pack and send us off for the day. How a parent was ever comfortable with letting her 10/11/12 year old go off all day, in the woods, on a horse, with no cell phone is beyond me, but that was my childhood. We explored everything! Galloped through fields, meandered down paths, and crossed streams. We laid in grassy knolls together, chilled under trees and played in the corn. It was a magical existence, a true fairytale.

BillyGPhotography

Dolly was the greatest gift I was ever given; she allowed me to find myself. She was my best friend and a shoulder to cry on. She was my comfort through the turmoils of being the youngest in middle and high school. She was my constant, my friend and my everything. We did 4H, jumpers, western, gaming, hunters and even dabbled in dressage and eventing. We completed 2 BN events together when I was 12, right before I got Spirit, the Wonder Pony (also RIP). She did everything I asked, with a little bit of sass.

Soon, she grew older and I grew much taller, but we still enjoyed each others company. She was in her mid 20s at this point, and I was moving on with life. Dolly girl was much too old to continue competing, but she still had some spunk in her! I remember one day I took her out for a bareback stroll and asked her to trot and the little B bucked me off (I was 16 at the time!) and I broke my arm falling off that damn 14 hand pony! Only horse related riding injury to date, on the tiniest horse I've owned, haha.

Eventually, I got Yankee, along with Spirit, and she needed a new job. I donated her to a friends non-profit horse camp for trouble teens, and Dolly flourished there for a few years. However, when the camp lost funding, Dolly found her new and forever home with a family in SC, where the winters weren't as harsh and she was only lightly ridden occasionally. She was about 25 at this point an I couldn't have been happier where she ended up. She lived the rest of her days at that farm with a wonderful family that loved and spoiled her...and thats all I could ever have hoped for for my Fyre Dawl.

Dolly on her 30th birthday
I got the news yesterday that it was her decided last day on earth and I simply didn't believe it....Dolly would never die, she was too spunky.  But 33 years later, my baby girl was leaving us.  I assume her body was failing her. I know most of her teeth were gone and she had trouble laying down and getting up. Until recently, she held weight fairly well..but at 33 her body was tired. I had the pleasure of knowing her for 15 of those years, and owning her for about 6, and I will never forget her snarky, beautiful face. 


Enjoying her last bath..and look at that tail! <3 td="">

The hole in my heart feels too big right now, like it won't close up for a long time. I cried and cried in the car, so much I had to pull over and just let it flow. Pulling myself together for the rest of the work day was impossible, and I left early. I just can't believe she's gone. I so wish I had had the chance to touch her soft muzzle one last time, or give that neck I had hugged so many times one more. My peace comes with the fact that she was loved until the very end and never worried about hunger or abandonment. Her family gave her what I couldn't, and for that I am forever grateful.

Rest in peace Fyre Dawl 1983-2016


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