Big Star Offspring @ Bolesworth

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If you are a fellow breeding nerd you might have seen that a Big Star colt sold for £92,000 at the Bolesworth Elite Auction – holy moley! The colt in question is out of a mare named Tinka’s Serenade (Tinka’s Boy x African Drum) who competed under Billy Twomey at the ’12 Olympics in London as well as ’10 WEG Kentucky.

Tinkas Seranade
Of course I felt it necessary to point this out to Kyle… His first question was do you think you would sell Luna for that much? (Disregard that Luna is not worth that much and not out of a mare that had a successful top sport career). I am not totally insane so my first response was an enthusiastic yes… Then I made my contemplative face with some sighs and Kyle said you know what nevermind… Lets not go down that path. HA! He is a keeper.

After a few seconds Kyle then pointed out that this is how I broached the initial purchase… Oh look what a great investment this is… So and so “could” be worth this much one day… This list goes on. Maybe I do this because it makes me feel better? Now naturally I know that horses are literally the fastest way to a small fortune — if you start with a large one! It is fun to think about my horses potential value even though history proves that I am not very good at selling them!

Any fun comparisons that you guys make?

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Follow The Leader

Equestrian sports are very unique and all too similar to other sports at the same time. For parents/children and amateurs the culture would imply that we are all supposed to have a leader and follow them blindly. In a lot of ways that would make it much easier for the professionals in the industry. Unlike in a corporate setting a job interview for an equestrian position can be a lot like playing trust fall. This is honestly how it feels as a rider or owner when trying to find a new trainer as well.cat-trust-falling

A decent amount of the lower level equestrian professional population do not seem to have vast records that support their careers. Please note that I am not saying that every professional needs to be experienced at the upper levels. That said just because  you can WTC a horse or hang on over fences doesn’t make you a trainer. Honestly even being a good rider doesn’t always qualify someone as a good trainer or instructor. Not

It feels like there is an opinion that amateurs or anyone with the (perceived) means should support up and coming talent. I don’t necessarily disagree with this. If I had the means to do so (while also riding/showing my own) I would happily give a talented up and coming trainer the ride on my horses where appropriate. It is a two way street though.  A lot of the people that are in the middle grounds get taken advantage of. Not everyone with nice horses is a millionaire and a quick way to get those with the dollars to spend to run is to always have a hand out. If those young or up and coming trainers/riders want the ride on horses that could quite literally be their ride to the top it seems like there should be a give and a take. I totally understand that most professional equestrians are not getting rich by any stretch of the imagination. I am not implying that they don’t deserve to be paid either. BUT I do think that if you are going to go pro in this industry you need to be realistic about what to charge for services given relevant experience.

What is giving some of these professionals this mentality? It seems like it should not be that complicated to operate under a business model where you don’t take advantage of your clients and only expect to be paid what you have earned. If you didn’t find the horse/ actively search in my eyes you don’t deserve a commission. If you didn’t ride the horse you don’t get paid. If you didn’t actually do the service that is showing up on the bill please explain why any of us should be expected to pay for it. I know that I am not alone with saying that I don’t like surprises on my bills. I have even gotten to the point now where I don’t let most horse people bill me. I want to know what you charge for the service you have agreed to provide BEFORE it happens. I do acknowledge that that can be easier in eventing land when its 3 parts over 1-2 days 95% of the time vs assorted #s of classes spread over a week.

I just want to say that I respect the hell out of the pros in my life but it makes me a little sad that I have to be so skeptical when finding them. To all of the great horsemen/women that have groomed all of us to this point kudos to you!

How do you guys feel about this? Have there been specific areas that you have lived where this is more prevalent than others? Maybe even a specific discipline vs another?

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Catch Up and Making Plans

Unfortunately an ugly bug had me down for the count the past couple of days. All of the creatures are doing well and between farmsitting, cabrewing, and a trail ride this weekend was packed to the gills before the plague hit! Thankfully I seem to be on the mend now and no worse for the wear.

All in all things have been going pretty well with Annie. She continues to improve on the flat – though we are far from consistent. I go back and forth pretty regularly on if I will continue to event her. We have so much fun over fences but trying to get through a dressage test with her – despite hours of work at home still makes me want to throw up. At some point it will kill all of the fun from eventing anyways and I really don’t want to get to that point. We aren’t there yet and will continue to give it a go but the idea of staying strictly in the jumper arena for competition purposes has crossed my mind. I guess I will know when I know if that time has come.

This weekend coming up is not only my birthday but also a fun schooling event at a local HJ venue. Here’s to hoping that the wheels stay on the bus as we haven’t been anywhere since Spring Bay in April.

As I prep for this schooling outing I have been thinking about what could be next on the calendar. Some unexpected potential travel plans have July a bit up in the air but some (unlikely) options are:

July:

August:

I am honestly not sure if any of these things will be happening but it’s fun to think about. What do you guys have on the docket?

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Rocking E Cowgirl Blog Hop 10 Qs

Summer-blog-hopWhat is your earliest, clearest horse memory? I am not sure that I could pinpoint one specific memory most. I was always obsessed with horses and I remember being little and asking my parents to take a riding lesson. They said “when you are 8” I am sure thinking that I would forget or grow out of it. Well come my 8th birthday I had set up my own first riding lesson and the rest is history.

Describe the perfect summer day. A day during the summer where it feels like spring or fall???

Are you reading anything right now? Tell me about it. I am perpetually reading something. Right now I am in limbo though and haven’t picked up a book in months which is a long time for me!

Do you follow a celebrity (horsey or non) that you’re embarrassed to say fascinates you?  Totes obsessed with Michael Jung for obvious reasons. Not embarrassed. I am also totally a Kaley Cuoco fangirl. She loves all of her animals so much and I respect that she seems to appreciate what she’s got.

What is your single most biggest horsey dream or goal? This tends to vary but ultimately I would love to run Training or mayyyyybe Preliminary in eventing and my end goal in the jumpers would be the Low AO jumpers which is about 1.2M-1.25M? Not sure that’s at all doable but for now I will keep on keeping on and see where that gets me.

If you were at Starbucks right now, what would you order?  A cake pop. Because SUGAR!

What is your biggest equine pet peeve? People that don’t take care of their horses. Or any animal for that matter.

With everything going on politically and in the media, tell me, do you follow it religiously? Tune it out? Or something in between? Somewhere in between. I try to stay current.

If you had to show your horse to a song, what would you choose? This is tough. For now I will just say this is what comes to mind for dressage.

What are you most looking forward to this summer? New house new house new house. Cannot wait. Horse wise probably River Glen in August because that is my first for sure show planned and RG is one of my favorite places ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Camping Essentials

Much to my mothers shock I have grown to LOVE my horse show glamping set up. I was honestly surprised myself that I enjoy it so much but it is so convenient. Admittedly Rolex with the camper kind of ruined my version of glamping just a touch. I did want to expand on my horse show glamping set up though for anyone considering the truck tent/hammock trailer set up. I have now camped at pretty much every show or clinic that I have gone to in the past year (unless someone I know has AC and lives near by ha!) and I have been constantly improving my camping essentials list.yt45b_f

Thankfully before camping even entered the equation I had purchased a YETI cooler. Yes it’s expensive and you can totally make due without one but I personally LOVE having ice cold drinks and food available for days at shows. RTIC is a more affordable brand that I have heard great things about. In line with the cool products is the HydroFlask. hydroflask

Last summer a truck tent joined the team so that I could start camping at shows. This has now evolved into the addition of a hammock for 1 night stays. I was able to snag an Eno and I really like it. Very comfortable and doesn’t take up much space for storage. Side note: the fact that they make a hammock that supposedly 2 people can sleep in blows my mind.eno

Next up was the purchase of a nice sleeping bag. Enter the Kelty! Kyle convinced me to buy this as I had previously been making due with sheets and blankets.  Haven’t regretted it for a second and it works quite well to be cocooned in my hammock during the cooler months. kelty

Anything solar powered is awesome as well. Most of the time I pay for a primitive electric hook up because a fan is vital for summer time camping. Sometimes though I don’t have access and in those times portable or solar powered items are the bomb.

evapolarThe only thing that I kind of want to add is a portable AC cube called Evapolar. I think it would be boss to be able to plug in a small unit to keep myself from roasting in my trailer. I recently saw an add for it on IndieGoGo and I am debating if I want to splurge and invest in one. I don’t have any events or shows on the horizon so anything I purchased probably wouldn’t be used much this year. Do any of you guys that camp out of your truck or trailers have good solutions for the sweltering times of the year?

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Kaitlyn Karssen Photography: Houston B

Months ago a friend shared a promotion that this photographer she knew was running for equine portraits. I figured it wouldn’t be feasible to get the photographer to Nashville but wanted to reach out anyways. Turns out there were a ton of us that wanted to get pictures done and before I knew it photo shoot day had arrived!

Houston was up first and was a acting a little feral… I was a bit anxious about how his photos would turn out and I can’t say enough about how trilled I am with the end result. Thank you Kaitlyn Karssen Photography for the wonderful shots of my boy! I love how well she captured his personality while showing off his good looks – yes I am a bit biased! I cannot wait to see the pictures she got of the girls! I would highly recommend Kaitlyn to any of my friends considering having professional shots of their horses done. Now I will let the images speak for themselves!

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$900 FB Pony Blog Hop: Favorite Exercises

Yesterday Amanda asked what our favorite exercises are. I have to say I am looking forward to reading everyone’s replies and finding new things to work on. It is very easy to get stuck in a rut with both flat work and jumping if you aren’t deliberate in setting new exercises and asking new questions.

diagnalexerciseA barn buddy likes to set up a fun course/ exercise of sorts that is almost like an  pattern. It is 5 jumps – these can be any assortment of verticals and oxers depending on the number of standards/ poles you have. I want to say that we set it as 3 strides for the outside lines and then it is an angled 2 stride between each of the diagonal fences? But I can’t remember and might have to update this at a later time. This can be ridden as separate lines, individual jumps, and angled fences. I love that it leaves a lot of room to work around the fences while giving you the ability to piece a small course of sorts together.

LA1My next and most recent favorite is the bounce grid that I fell in love with at the Lainey Ashker clinic that was the inspiration for my cavaletti building last weekend. This exercise is a vertical to an oxer with 4 approx. 9′ cavaletti canter poles between them. You can start with just a couple of bounces and add more in or start with poles even if you wanted to. I have found that not only does this exercise force you to be really aware of where the feet are it also encourages your horse to balance back and think about the jumps. I have noticed with Annie that it even helps improve her technique and she has been jumping like a total freak lately.

temporary.jpgOn the flat I still try to incorporate as many circles and serpentines as I can to get the horse loose through the back and on the aids. For Houston who is more advanced in his training I can work on a lot of lateral work to get him moving his shoulders and haunches. For Annie who is obviously greener in her training I make sure to work on more challenging things in short bursts and then go to something that she understands so that I don’t end up frying her brain but rather increase her confidence.

In a recent lesson the trainer had me thinking about where her shoulders were and actually counter bending her through a turn and then correct bend after and it was amazing the difference that made in our balance. Transitions out of a leg yield has been very useful for her as well. In terms of using poles on the flat I find that setting up two poles as a gate of sort can be a great tool. This allows you to set a focus point for where you want to do transitions as well as helping to ride very deliberate turns.

What are some exercises that you like to use? If you are participating in the hop lmk and I will go check it out!

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Cavaletti Building

After the Lainey Ashker clinic I decided that regular grid work needed to be a part of Annie’s life. Not only are they great to incorporate into flat work they are perfect for use in grids to help balance ginger dragons. Annie is already a freak of a jumper and setting up exercises from the Lainey clinic has only continued to improve her style. The exercises we have set up have encouraged her to really rock back and focus on the task at hand and calls out when I let her get too flat or strung out.

We don’t have cavaletti blocks at the farm or a huge surplus of poles/standards so if you set up a grid that is pretty much the only thing you get to work on. Enter light bulb moment where I realize that I refuse to pay stupid money for blocks but will pay the amount for 1 set of blocks on the supplies to build 4 cavalettis. With about $100, some power tools, and a couple hours you could make your own cavaletti too.

Things you will need:

First you will want to cut down the 4×4’s being used to make the ends of your cavaletti. We used two 2′ sections and then used a circular saw to clear out a notch so that the pieces could interlock to create the x that would hold our raised pole. When I say “we” I mean that my BO used the saws… He wisely gave me the tasks that didn’t involve sharp power tools. Once he cut the notches it was my task to clear them out. After they were clean we simply applied some wood glue, put in a couple screws for security, and moved to the next step. Technically we could have made the feet of the x’s a bit more attractive? But it was muggy and I honestly don’t care what they look like as long as they do their job. The last steps are placing whatever you choose to have as your pole on top of the x’s and sanding if necessary. I didn’t buy long enough screws so we ended up using wood glue and shorter screws to stabilize. It will still serve the purpose just fine but if I did it again I would skip the glue and just use longer screws. For the finishing step I sanded down the edges of the top 4×4 to create a softer/smoother edge. Again you could sand the whole thing if you wanted but for me the amount of time required to do that wasn’t worth the benefit… If I am looking at how pretty my cavaletti are when I am approaching then I have bigger problems… Look where you want to go! That shouldn’t be down!

An important step that I missed is where you realize that these are going to be heavier than a mofo and make you want to die every time you have to move them… Yes BO warned me… No I didn’t listen. spongebob-marshmallow-lift-o

Having done it now there are a few things that I would have done differently. First I would have bought a different pole/ post for the top of my cavaletti. I think that a landscape timber or round post would have worked quite well and then I wouldn’t have to worry about the sharp edges of a 4×4 being an issue. I also imagine that something like that would be quite a bit lighter. All in all though I think we will get a lot of use out of these cavaletti and it was time/money well spent. Thanks again to my awesome BO who helps me build all the things! I can’t wait for them to dry out so we can put them in the arena!

Have you guys built any fun jumps or have anything on the docket to create?

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