Friday, December 11, 2015

The Wanty List

As a self addressed tack whore, normally my Christmas list is much more extensive. This year, because no one ever gets me what I ask for anyways, I decided to purchase a lot of things I wanted and needed with my bonus. I don't regret it for a second, but I had to think pretty hard to compile an actual list of things I would want, that people might be able to afford. 

I did not succeed. 

There's this thing that horse things are outrageously expensive and when proposed to friends and family, they always sheepishly and politely decline. 

I don't blame them. 

I'm very lucky that I was able to buy most of the things on my own, and never discount that privilege. If I were to make a list though, and propose it to anyone, I wouldn't be able to resist asking for a few things despite the expense. 

For The Horse:

The latest and greatest on the market for eventing boots. Generally I don't jump on the bandwagon for much, since the prices are usually WAY over what I could afford....but at Riding Warehouse (where I got my Stubben girth) they're under $80. That's a price even I would pay for the quality. Cob Jockey did a review on these boots that completely sealed the deal for me and if I don't get them for Christmas or Birthday (in JAN), I will be purchasing on my own. What struck my fancy was the heat dissapation qualities, the fact they would match my bell boots (obviously) and the strike plate. I love this entire product and I need them in my trunk. What respectable eventer wouldn't??

Secondly, after Amanda from $900 Facebook Pony did a review on Teddy's Tack Trunk brushes (my wallet hates her) my brain decided I HAD to have them. 

Sadly this set is sold out, probably because of Amanda, but her review was informative and alluring. Bacardi is notoriously sensitive to brushing and primping and therefore I only run down with a quick brushing with the softest brush possible. Like many of us, I've never really thought too hard about my grooming kit and have purchased everything from my local TSC.  Getting mud off of him is a nightmare and the main reason I clip as much if him as possible. Even then, in the winter he reacts weirdly to something and has extra sensitive skin. These brushes look amazing and are high quality and they too belong in my trunk. I believe this set was about $65, but I can't quite remember. Again, if I don't get these as a gift, I'll most likely be ordering on my own. 

For The Me's:

Why yes those would be plaid full seat Pipers from Smartpak in which I am currently addicted. SIDENOTE they're having a sale today only on Pipers AND I have the code "MyPiper" for an additional 20% off. And yes it is working. I know because I bought yet another pair today. 

These however are just slightly out of my comfortable price range (which is sad) at $87 and I'm really begging for them this year. You can never have enough of your favorite brand of riding pants, and since I recently lost a ton of weight, my closet needed an overhaul. Sure I already have 3 pairs, but c'mon, PLAID. 

Some of you may be asking why I'm asking for another XC vest. I used to own a Tippersry eventer and I loved it with all of my being, but one of my very special ex boyfriends stole it and sold it on the internet after remembering me say how expensive they were. Along with my show breeches, coat and boots. 


Full price is outrageous and it was a gift from my parents years ago when they still gifted hugely expensive items like Tipperary, but I can't ask for this now from anyone. 

I can dram right? Sadly if I want to event, I will have to beg to borrow or suck it up and buy one off eBay. Luckily, my watch is still in my possession. Whew. 

Lastly, since I live by my planner, I stumbled upon Lily Pulitzer and was really turned on by their planners. Geek mode. Seriously though if it's not in my planner it basically doesn't exist and the one I have now is too big and isn't hardback. 

I dislike the bendy-ness of this massive guy and decided I don't like how big it is in general. The Lily agenda is a cheap $36 for a very well made and lovely planner. They even include stickers as reminders and many options for covers. I personally like the elephants!

Need it. 

Then, I have a list I always deem "The Unpossibles" since they're the most ridiculously priced items that I most likely will never own but have literally lusted after for years. 

Parlantis. Like oh my god. Totally customizable and fabulously well made. I want for them so badly. I've never had a really nice pair of boots and I think everyone should own at least one ridiculously priced thing in their life. I don't know if I could ever stomach the guts to actually ride in them, most likely would just sit in bed and pet them. At $1000+ pretty much out of my reach unless I win the lottery. 

Lastly but definitely not leastly would be the coveted Voltaire saddle. I personally hate all of you that are currently saddle shopping and will hatefully stare at my ancient and crusty saddles that dont fit me. Just kidding, I cherish them. But seriously what the fuck, a nice saddle would be amazing.


I really need to pay off some debt before I go further in for a saddle, but to say I haven't been deeply contemplating a payment plan is a total lie. I have. But adulting calls my name and therefore the beloved Voltaire at about $2000+ will have to wait. Someday. 

So there we have it, my not very extensive Wanty List. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Apologies in advance if this sound disjointed or rambling...I am beyond tired with life

I wouldn’t exactly call the last few posts unhappy ones by any means, just slightly snarky in regards to Bacardi’s healthy appetite for mischievousness under saddle

Not an actual picture from today
However, I am happy to report that we had an almost flawless ride the other night (Wednesday) in our brand new Stubben girth (!!!) and over fences for the first time in 4 weeks.

L to R, bridle, girth, breastplate ALLTHEMATCHY
I was actually completely blown away by his maturity and wasn’t quite sure how to handle it. I went into the ride thinking I would have a dragon on my hands, since he hasn’t jumped in quite some time, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Naturally, there was a lesson going on, but my trainer and I have come to an understanding that when she is teaching I do not canter and I stay at one end of the arena (because explosions). Then, when her student has a walk break, I do my canterwork /and or move about the arena freely. I truly don’t mind sharing the ring and love that shes tolerant of his antics. PLUS, I get to hear tiny tidbits of the lesson and stow those tips for later. Winning.

That being said, I really wanted to jump Wednesday, which means theres a lot more coordination to have when sharing an indoor stuffed with jumps.

Terribly drawn example 

I took advantage of her sweet exercise course, though we do not have enough experiences over fences yet to jump anything on a 20m circle, let alone 2-4 jumps. He did however, not refuse one thing, which was an issue for a while, and actually ATTACKED the fences.

Kind of like dis
I think hes starting to enjoy it a bit.

Sadly, no pics, but I can assure you, he was an angelXbillion

Truly, I thought I would be dealing with a wild bolting bronco, but he made me eat my thoughts.

After a slow warm up over poles and crossrails (another advantage of riding during a lesson- jump crew!) we began to tackle the 2’6 fences that were set for the lesson.

Mostly, I just wanted to shake off the spiderwebs and see how he would be over fences, since we are “competing” this weekend at a jumper show.

My goals were to maintain a semi-relaxed composure and not knock anything down. Pretty simple.

When he showed me that those were silly goals and he was ready to take on more, I figured, OK, lets work on getting true 5 strides on the lines and landing with our leads.

Um, nailed it. He was so relaxed and willing to listen. He took every jump with ease, landing on the correct leads and cantered off balanced and without a care…and never once ripped the reins out of my hands or left me in the dust. Granted, they were under 3ft, but that’s real progress.

I wish I could describe it better for visualization purposes, but just imagine riding a very bendy, bouncy, and light carousel horse. His canter was so adjustable and he was really listening to my leg aids in regards to change of direction and steering. The toughest to negotiate was the smaller jump in the center of the arena, as you only had 2-3 strides to get to it properly after the turn. We haven’t done much jumping or coursework and I thought he would fall in or miss the jump or jump it whacky, but he just rocked back with my half halts and turned on a dime through my leg. It was amazing. I cant even.

so floaty, like dis

After a few “rounds” (aka making course up in the fly) I decided to call it a day since it was the first time in a bit.

Overall, a really solid ride. The only issue we ran into was a slightly quickened pace on the outside lines headed home, but he listened when strong half halts were applied. Not exactly gorgeous, but we are not hunters.

Today, after a day off to rest (I was sore, he had to be too!) the same jumps were set up with the exception of one oxer.

He was pretty much the same but I worked more on riding a figure 8 and the changing of leads smoothly. Also, bending left still. He didnt seem horrible sore or tired and was very responsive and "stretchy" in his gaits. I would ask for more and he would give more, and then I would ask for less and he would compact. It was lovely.

He did refuse the oxer randomly, twice, but I think that was my fault. Our approach to it wasnt great and I think I quit riding. I'm incredibly sore from riding, gym and PT and my legs & lower back were not cooperating.

Other than tat, another really successful, fantastic ride.

I’m feeling good for this weekend, though I recently got word there is no warm up ring and the show starts before it even gets light out. I’m wondering how his sanity will hold up, but I am hoping if he gets turned out Friday AND I ride him, he wont be off the chain excitable.

I think right now, my expectations are low and my goal is to just use this as another opportunity to get him acclimated to such things. At the moment, the hardest part is figuring out how to clothe myself for a schooling show...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Brisk Sunday Gallavant

Disclaimer; do not look at my right leg asking for bend. Do not. Only look at sexy horse neck.
Brace yourselves, Bacardi pictures are coming.

I somehow got lucky enough to have The Boy offer to come out with us at EIGHT AM, on a Sunday, in 20* weather to come video, since we haven’t had any in quite some time. If he is not a saint, I don’t know what he is besides amazing. I don’t think even my own mother would do that for me unless it was the AEC’s or something like that.

I had approximately 80 screenshots from video to narrow down and I was so in love with almost all of them that I apologize in advance if this post is lengthy. But I’m  also not sorry, because pictures.

My last post  holds true unfortunately (firebreather), especially since it was incredibly brisk, yet sunny, when I rode.

To say that he was fresh is a massive understatement. I think he piaffed, quite wonderfully and worthy of GP dressage, the entire time I tacked up. He scared The Boy into the tack room who kept peering out, wide eyed and even asked, “are you actually getting on his back today?”

Yeah, he was that jazzed about being a horse.

"Wheeee I am Bacardi, watch me do horse stuff"

It didn’t help that there was, of course, a jump lesson going on inside and as soon as we tacked up, the barn/indoor began “raining”. I’ve never experienced this before with this barn/arena, (or any, TBH) since I always ride at night, and was highly perplexed at first. 

Apparently when it “warms up”, heavy condensation forms and then falls pretty rapidly for about 30 minutes. Science. 

Even with the quarter sheet on,  Bacardi was not opposed to showing his disapproval of the wetness hitting his princess hide, and it was then I decided that his ass was getting lunged for a good 20 minutes. 

I wanted to ride, but I didn’t feel like dying.

Normally I despise lunging to get the sillies out and silently judge people who do, since *I* believe lunging to be a tool and not something horses should associate with play. I just dont like my horses ot play on the lunge. Call me a hypocrite, I lunged his silly butt for 20 solid minutes before he stopped squealing and bucking enough for me to feel safe mounting. I don’t even care. Total hypocrite. One who is alive still.

Not repeating last winter again.

Then, after 20 minutes of lunging, B was still not happy with the water droplets falling, so I begrudgingly took the party outside and played with possible death.

Kidding, but in all seriousness, he has not been out in over a week, it was a brisk morning, and we had to ride in a field since the outdoor has now frozen. To say I was overly cautious and utilizing my half halts, and where applicable, pulley rein, is very very accurate.

Bacardi wasn’t totally batshit like last year, but he did not have a very firm grasp on his marbles.
A few times, as we warmed up outside together, he let me know how very excited he was to be outside with the grass touching his hooves.

ew, grass, what are this, how do I dressage

Thankfully, the “explosions” were nothing of the caliber from last year, and relaxed completely after about 5 minutes of giraffing.

I was freezing, and not riding great (per evidence of the video and pictures taken) but he gave me a decent and solid effort. You’ll note most of the pictures are to the left and I am sure s few of you are asking yourselves why. Lately, he’s been exceptionally stiff to the left, therefore, the majority of our rides consist of unlocking the neck and shoulders and swinging freely on that rein.

If only my inside hand stopped floating  to my lap

If only my thumbs didnt constantly point inwards


Inside rein release as reward for bending like  proper horse

While warming up, he was only mildly reactive to changes in direction, but maintained concentration as well as any fresh baby brain could. He was reaching nicely; active, mostly loose in the shoulders and neck and gave me lovely transitions.

Then I took off the quarter sheet.

Then horses started getting turned out. For the first time in almost two weeks.

I think his brain fell out of his head.

Cue stepping back about 3 steps in training for about 15 minutes straight. It was nearly impossible to get any sliver of relaxation from him, and all he could think about were the horses running about in the pastures surrounding the XC field.






I couldn’t be mad though. Truly. Poor guy has been cooped up forever and his friends were all playing and he was being asked to swing through his back and have non explosive canter transition. How horrible.

From there I pretty much wanted to call it a day, but knew I should try and get one, *ONE*, nice transition and some form of relaxation in his tense neck and back.

To the right, his brain seemed a little more inside his skull and could concentrate for more than 3 seconds at a time, so I left that direction alone after a few transition up and down, for the sake of living & ending on a good note.

Not horribly loose, but not horribly tense either

Deeply thinking about bolting while pretending to be a good horse

One day my position at the canter wont resemble a newborn child
Then, for approximately 3 minutes, I got his attention long enough to nail a majestic up transition, combined with his best leg yield right to date.

Seriously, what majestic creature is this?
 Very soft, not  distracted trot work... ear turned to the pastures

And BAM! Fucking gorgeous leg yield...


...into one of the best canter transitions of our lives even though very (VERY) sticky in the bending area. Seriously look how hard I am kindly asking him to please move his ribs the fuck over.

Ribs...must swing...left
WHA-BAHHM! We have bend, reach, activity, relaxation & magical clip powers

I could just DIE looking at this picture. All of it. This. 
From that maybe 2 minutes of work, I asked for a polite transition downward and we could be done.

A whopping 20 minute ride.

It OK though, I felt like we got some solid work put in, and even with some resistance, I dont threaten to sell him anymore when hes bad. He my horse and I truly feel that now. It easier to laugh off his shenanigans and get right back to work, rather than both of us melting down completely.

Hes mine and I love him in all his special pony glory.