Eventing Gets A Bad Rap

I will be the first to admit that there are many elements of upper level Eventing that scare the shit out of me. Going into eventing initially wasn’t really a choice for me but rather what I needed to do if I wanted to compete with the barn that I boarded at/ the trainer I rode with. My first attempts out were pretty disastrous though not dangerous. Then I moved barns – got some confidence – and bam I was right back out there.

1454590_10201818111153522_1656274926_nMy last 2 horse trials with Houston were a blast. I came out of the ring or off course with bold smiles on my face and there was no denying the rush. I was on a high over my first phases until I found out that a horse had not made it off course. I couldnt imagine being the heartbroken rider that came back from the ride alone.

That said the injury that happened could not have been prevented by anything USEA or even event managers could do and had nothing to do with the particular fence that the horse was jumping but rather was believed to be an aneurysm. I didn’t event after that but more due to financial and time constraints in addition to the fact that ultimately I determined that eventing with Houston wasn’t for me.

epictetus quoteWhile I do believe that there need to be steps taken to increase the safety for horse and rider on course I think that too many people are getting caught up with wanting immediate changes and playing the blame game on USEA. Also why is no one outraged when horses die at HJ shows? It is also incredibly unfair to try to act like there have been no improvements in recent years.

Amanda pointed out that I should take a look at the 1986 World Championships… HOLY SH*T guys! That was a crazy time. I can’t believe the number of people that had terrifying falls and GOT BACK ON. Guys, what in the world?!

USEA LOGO 2013USEA is a non profit. They do not make rules/ regulations or actually have any power when it comes to singlehanded changes to the eventing world. I personally think it’s crazy to think that if every USEA member committed $5-10 to the collapsable fence study that it would be fully funded.

I actually find it very interesting that in a study from 2014 we can see that the use of frangible pins/the move away from long format has coincided with a decrease in rotational falls/horse falls and the fatality rate has been cut almost in half – but sure no improvements have been made and USEA is the devil…

Articles related can be seen: RedBudEquestrian ArticleFEI Risk Management StatisticUSEA/USEF Safety Rules

DR1_9774I don’t pretend to donate to all causes or even to be particularly generous with my donations but this is one that I didn’t even second guess. It seemed like a no brainer to me. Yes, the changes won’t be immediate but I would prefer that an educated change be determined instead of causing a huge frenzy among event organizers to replace or update fences when we aren’t even sure if the change will be a good solution. There is a reason why most things related to safety or health (in animals and humans) requires testing before it is put on the open market… Just saying!

Even if you don’t have a vested interest in Eventing I think we all as riders have a general vested interest in the safety of fellow riders. This has been talked to death a bit but I wanted to get this off my chest.

 

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Annie’s Equine Elixir Reveal Giveaway

finalAs I have eluded to a few times before on the blog I have been working on creating an organic coat spray. After months of testing and altering the formula I am finally ready to start selling it as Annie’s Equine Elixir Coat Refresher (available in 16oz and 32oz). I still need to take better pictures for marketing material but I  am pleased with how the logo turned out.

The coat refresher contains: MCT, organic witch hazel, and a mix of essential oils.

In celebration of the best blogger weekend ever I decided to pick up a few things in Savannah and do a giveaway. Now that I feel the Coat Refresher spray is ready to be shared I wanted to include a bottle of that as well. Hopefully whoever wins will enjoy the coat spray in addition to a little taste of the best blogger weekend ;).

In order to enter you can do one of the following things outlined on the Rafflecopter App (doing extras provides additional chances to win):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Goodluck! 

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Weekend Wrap Up: Savannah Pt 2

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Friday was just the beginning of the adventures. On Saturday we got up bright and early again and and loaded up to head to Bluffton, SC.Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.32.36 PM

HOLY WOW about the facilities at Longfield Stables in Palmetto Bluff. If anyone feels like they want to move to SC and have a ridiculous amount of money to spend each month in board check it out…imagesMPB-Architecture-Longfield-Stables-Main-Barn-Exterior-800x532

Unfortunately I was destined to forget something and didn’t bring my vests for schooling. Beka to the rescue again!

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observing our future swim site
I started off the schooling adventure by WTC around and letting Annie see everything. She was a super star like usual and didn’t even bat an eye at the new surroundings. I was even more surprised given the fact that she was a lone ranger our there. IMG_8883 IMG_8917 IMG_8921 IMG_8930IMG_9003 IMG_9029 IMG_9031 IMG_9053 IMG_9094 IMG_9155 IMG_9174Schooling small logs was a great start. Initially Annie didn’t want to get into the water. It would have been way easier if I had a guide horse but I am really happy that we were able to work out her not wanting to get in.

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I personally am not a big fan of down banks. Luckily the schooling field had banks of varying sizes so I was able to get Annie comfortable with the question.
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I need to get my position back :(
Going up was no problem for Nanners and before I knew it she was flying up and off the banks like an old pro.
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Once we schooled most of the fences that were of reasonable height we strung a few things together. Annie dominated all of the things and is seriously coming into her own.IMG_9328

Please embrace Beka’s mad documentation skills below where you can see quality video and hear her camera going wild in the background!

Last but not least how Annie and I ended up swimming with an alligator… Becuase we were going to the beach the next day I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have Annie walk a few steps into the lake/pond on the way back… Apparently  I asked for one step too many because one second we were happily in shallow water and the next we were both swimming. After recovering from the shock of it I couldn’t help but laugh!  

Next stop Starter at Maydaze next weekend! Do you guys have competitions coming up? How many schools do you like to get in prior to an event? Or a move up?

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Weekend Wrap Up: Savannah Pt 1

This past weekend was amazing for sooooo many reasons. If any of you have been doubting how awesome Beka (The Owls Approve) is you need not. She is the bomb dot com. Seriously. We have been buddies through blogging for a few years now and I will admit to being slightly concerned that I may be catfished… But she was even better than I figured from our internet bestiehood.IMG_0548

The weekend included:

IMG_0553My first hours in Savannah flew by. Upon arrival we turned Annie out so that she could stretch her legs from he long drive. We made a lot of stops but I was worried to take her off the trailer while I was alone on the road. After margaritas and lunch Beka and Arch took Annie on our first trail ride in GA!IMG_0550You can read more about arrival day on Beka’s blog post (here). For my first full day we woke up bright and early to go for a ride with some of Beka’s friends at a local hunting club (no not like fox hunting).

IMG_0558 The ladies we went with are intense and said they usually trot and canter more than we did (which was all of like 30 steps)… IMG_0596Considering we rode like 7 miles and were already dying I have no idea what would have happened if I attempted the same feat at a higher pace. I wouldn’t have been comfortable asking that of Annie honestly and already felt a bit guilty.

Other than a sore butt and  a lost shoe for Archie we all survived unscathed.

IMG_6535Check back tomorrow to read all about XC schooling at Longfield Stables in Bluffton, SC. Especially me ending up going for a swim!

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Savannah Bound

As you all look at these random pictures from the past week or so I am headed to Georgia for the best weekend EVER with Beka. Be sure to check out my Instagram for updates through the weekend :) We have a lot of fun things on the agenda that include but are not limited to riding at the hunt club, the beach, and possibly XC schooling! 

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To Shoe?

When I brought Annie home she had a lot of stuff going on with her feet… Namely that she had front racing shoes on her hind feet… We ended up pulling her hind shoes to give her some breathing room and we kept front shoes on to help support a better shape. When I moved to Nashville I was able to pull her shoes through the winter until this past cycle. Unfortunately with more work and our trail riding adventures farrier thought shoes would help with the wear and tear she was having.

Houston is an entirely different story. When I bought Houston he had never had shoes on. He remained barefoot for awhile after I brought him home and then eventually ended up with shoes all around. For the past year and a half I am not sure exactly what program he was on but he came home with shoes on up front and was still growing out a abscess hole. I pulled his shoes and decided to let him be for a little bit. His feet have honestly been holding up alright and I would love for him to stay barefoot given the work that is being asked of him. He is rarely ridden more than 3-4 days a week and he is not asked to do that much compared to what he used to do.
  I debated having the farrier keep his front shoes on but after discussion I really feel that his feet will grow out and recover better without shoes. He is inside during the heat of the day and shouldn’t be stomping or pawing in a way that causes more damage to his hoof (originally I was planning to keep him on pasture). I am hoping to get his feet stronger over the next few months and that we can reevaluate closer to August. How do you all decide on shoes? Don’t like them? Only put shoes on for specific work levels? I imagine that at some point Annie may need shoes all around but for now I know that my wallet is rejoicing in the fact that I only have 2 shoes on the 8 possible hooves that I am responsible for!

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DIY: Bath Tub Boots

La Mundial has a reputation for poor customer service. In my experience they are all true and I would avoid the brand like the plague. The reduced cost is not worth the headache. I ordered two pairs of boots from them… They made me fight (for months) to get me my second pair… They messed those up and I literally had to call the AG of Florida to show them I wasn’t messing around. I even resorted to posting on COTHF about the hassle to try to get them to acknowledge my calls/ emails.Anyways, the boots did not fit me properly and my legs would go numb in both pairs anytime I rode with them zipped up all the way. I purchased DerDau boot stretch spray and used it without luck. After much debate I finally decided to try the bathtub method. I figured it couldn’t possibly get worse since the boots were already fairly unusable.

  • Boots
  • Bathtub filled with HOT water
  • Boot socks
  • Plastic bags

To start I would make sure that you have a towel laid out, your boots, and your plastic bags. I personally chose to dip just the calf of my boots given that the foot of the boots fit me alright. This essentially just involved me holding the boots in the bathtub and swishing them around. The water was so hot that I couldn’t keep my hands in it – this is key to this process working. Next I pulled the boots out (let them drip a bit so they aren’t totally soaked when you put them on), wrapped my feet in plastic bags, and on went the boots.

matching socks are important

Once the boots are on you have to wear them until they dry. This is the trickiest part because soggy feet/ legs is  not very comfortable. Luckily given that I work from home this isn’t as much of an issue for me. With the tighter boot I actually resoaked the boot a few hours in and started over.

Admittedly I do not wear these boots that much since I purchased new boots from a euro shop but they do fit a lot better after the bathtub method. I would recommend that anyone in this position try the bathtub method to get your boots to fit. The water didn’t seem to have any ill effects on the leather.

Have any of you tried this method?

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FOMO Got Me

Have any of you guys had a bad case of equestrian FOMO(fear of missing out) lately?

Starter @ Octoberfest

I had a serious case of FOMO when I was in Lexington last week listening to Katherine talking about all of her planned events this summer. Why is this Hunter turned Eventer turned back to Hunter lusting over eventing??? I honestly have no idea. I actually had a lot of fun with Houston at my last few events but stopped competing after Pine Top HT’s. Then I stopped riding – briefly. When I got Annie I didn’t really consider eventing an option. Hunters seemed like the way to go.Somehow  all of this FOMO led to me casually thinking about entering at Starter at an upcoming event… And then not so casually considering it… Until I bit the bullet and just went for it. Yep… This weenie is about to go to an event after 2.5+ years. Annie and I are entered in the Starter level at MayDaze HT. Starter is speed bump level so I have seriously no concerns. In addition to that Annie schooled most of the fences last fall without batting an eye. I can’t wait to see how it goes! Even better is that I will be visiting Beka next week. Thanks to the great idea from Amanda I think Beka and I are going to try to get out to school at a course near her. Yay for a blogger bestie to be my “scraper” haha. Welcome to the whiplash that is my indecisiveness about what discipline I want to do!

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RK3DE: Day 3

 

Sunday had some highs and some lows. I was supposed to have my second lesson with SB but Annie had other plans. I should have been more careful but essentially I was tacking up when a series of unfortunate events happened. A cat went scurrying down the barn aisle… Annie was spooked and the crossties didn’t release… Nor did the twine they were hung with… or her halter. I was trying to calm her down when the right crosstie let go. Annie ended up sitting in the barn aisle (luckily she wasn’t hurt) but I went flying/was drug and  somehow cut my hand. It immediately swelled up and was painful to use so I had to forgo the lesson I had planned.Incase you guys were wondering chlorhexidine burns like a mofo and I do not recommend using it on yourself. Thankfully I was not wearing any of my jewelry or rings to the barn otherwise it could have been worse. After we got cleaned up it was back to Rolex to watch stadium! Stadium and XC are by far my favorite days of Rolex and it is really cool to see how the horses go after a grueling prior day out on XC. Much to our disappointment it did rain on and off and Katherine and I were once again soaked to the bone.

Tate seems like a beast

I must say that while I obviously wish US rider could have won I am totally in love with Michael Jung.This brings me to the most eventful part of the day… Because of SB’s connections Katherine and I were able to get into the Sponsor tent. AKA where all of the important people and eventing legends are. I had a total fan girl moment with Michael Jung and while I probably embarrassed myself I am not sorry. We also got to meet a bunch of other people but I have to say that Sinead Halpin and team were my favorites. A few of her team were in the tent and were so friendly. Katherine and I felt like odd men out and they made a point to chat with us so we didn’t feel so out of the loop. All in all 2016 Rolex was a blast and a half. I hope that I get to go again soon in the coming years but even if I don’t this trip was definitely a good one to end on for now.

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RK3DE: Day 2 & XC

I was obviously excited about this weekend because it’s Rolex… but even more so because it meant I would get so spend 5 days with one of my best friends. As I mentioned in the Day 1 recap we were able to ride together on Wednesday and shop together on Thursday. Friday was the day of lessons and watching dressage.
The morning started off really foggy and it was actually kind of cool out. I really wanted to have my lesson in the new saddle but unfortunately the stirrup leathers that I bought were way too long and because of the style I decided to exchange them for shorter ones.

you seriously cannot have too much Ogilvy… Gummy is AWESOME btw

Stuart of CS Simko belts
I ended up having a really good lesson despite the mid lesson tack swap. I’ve never been so sore due to such a simple exercise. SB had me working on really feeling her hind end in our transitions to make sure that she didn’t just lunge into them but rather pushed into each transition. It was really hard to make sure I didn’t anticipate and encourage her to rush the transitions but we ended up getting some great work in. I was really proud of the baby ginger.
Baby ginger celebrated her awesomeness by having a really good roll – groans and all. She really liked all of the Kentucky spring grass she had this past week. After our great flat lessons K and I went to watch dressage. Admittedly I was really happy that we didn’t opt to watch both days of dressage – except that we didn’t get to watch MJ live. There were so many beautiful horses and riders but some of it just wasn’t as fun to watch. I guess I have a short attention span for watching the same test 50 times. What I can say is I don’t think I will ever be able to remember a test that long.
Much to our dismay it was really dreary on Saturday. Cross country day is one of the most fun experiences but you have to be fairly diehard to want to stand in the rain all day. Nothing good company and mimosas in the Land Rover pavilion won’t cure though! I have a family friend that always comes through for me and this year was no exception. I have actually never taken advantage of it the way I did this year and it was awesome.
Best of all… when we were leaving I saw the Eventing Unicorn!!! I honestly was surprised I didn’t see them sooner or more – that was my only sighting. Given the bad weather it was a pretty quick meet and greet but I got the required picture.The best Rolex dogges ever were wiped out from all of the walking and attention they got on Saturday. To sum it all up we rode, we watched fancy people ride, we got soaked in the rain, and I met the unicorn. All in all a raging success!

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