RK3DE Count Down Begins

A week from today Amanda and I will be making the trek up to the Kentucky Horse Park for one of the best weekends of the year – RK3DE! Amanda actually flies in Wednesday night – we will get to play with the ponies before we head out Thursday afternoon!

A couple weeks ago I noticed that there was still one campsite remaining onsite at the KHP campgrounds. If you have ever been to Rolex you probably know that the parking is a nightmare. Doable but it takes forever to get in and out. I considered a preferred parking pass but I didn’t want to spend $150-200 for just parking. When the spot came up I made sure Amanda was on board and then we made plans to camp. Not only do we get a primo parking spot we also will never have to leave the park if we don’t want to. Win win! (We will be on the left outer loop but for safety sake not going to post exact location – because crazy ppls…)

Immediately following the camp planning conversations my trailer went into the shop. Turns out it might or might not be done in time for our departure. For those of you that have been to Rolex…  img_0325.jpgYou can back me up when I say that it is pretty much always wet at least one of the days. Truck Tent Glamping is a blast and all but not so much when you are going to be like a wet dog all weekend. img_0332.jpgFrom there I started looking into RV rentals. What do you know there is an RV version of AirBnB! Most of them are way more than we will need but I am pretty pumped that we wont have to go outside to community showers and we will also be able to cook to save some money for some of our meals. Plus AC.

Still ironing out specific details but as of now we will be Lexington bound Thursday afternoon! Hope to see any of you guys that are going at the Taco Party! Who else is in???

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Trailer Improvements

I have had my awesome sauce 4Star trailer for a little over a year now and it was time for it to go into the shop for maintenance. Considering how many miles I hauled last year I maybe should have taken it in sooner but here we are.

Since it would already be in the shop for that and a repair to the padding because of the WORST DOGS EVER I decided to add a few other features. None of these are necessities but I think will make the trailer even better than it already is. trailereyes

  1. Trailer Eyes Wireless Camera
    • For Christmas this year Kyle’s parents gave me a trailer eyes camera. Technically you can use this without it being wired but the 9V battery won’t last very long. I decided to have the camera hard wired so that I can use it on longer hauls. I am excited to finally get to see what is happening in the trailer when I am hauling.hayring
  2. Hay Net Ring
    • My trailer came with hanging mangers which can be nice but Annie is an aggressive hay consumer. I really like for her to have the hay in a net. Because of where the current hooks are I don’t have a great place to hang her hay net. Enter the above ring – any ring would do but I like the idea of being able to hook it up.buckethook
  3. Water Bucket Hook
    • A couple of friends have installed bucket hooks in their trailers. I figured it might be nice to have in mine as well and decided to “splurge” and get this model that is supposed to keep the bucket from tipping. I figured this would be useful for long hauls.4starlatch
  4. Interior Door Latch
    • After getting the truck tent I started trying to think of ways to camp for just one night without having to set up my tent. In came the hammock. Only problem is that my trailer has exterior latches on the escape doors – similar to those on a ramp – so that you can convert it to a box stall and not worry about the escape doors coming unlatched. This means that I cannot close the door from the inside when I am sleeping in there. I have rigged it a few times but with limited success. We will see how the latch works!

Have any of you added things that I am missing here? I might end up with a water tank sometime but for now that’s staying on the wish list. Next up will be tack room organization as I still haven’t ironed out a set up that I like.

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Laziness Leads To Innovation

hydraulicjackIf you have a trailer you have probably at some point grumbled about the hitching up process. I actually find my GN to be a lot easier than my BP was in terms of hitching up and general hauling. Normally it’s not a big deal to hitch up a couple times in a weekend. That is usually inevitable. This past horse show though I got to wishing I had a hydraulic jack. #eventerproblemsmakitahammerdrillOnce I got the idea in my head I couldn’t let it go. I even went as far as to ask for a quote on installing the hydraulic jack. Twelve hundred ($$$) heck no’s later I got to thinking and remembered another friend that used a drill to raise and lower her trailer. After a little consulting with the handiest barn owner ever and a trip to Home Depot I present to you the Makita Solution. Technically the brand of drill isn’t important but the type. I wanted something reliable and as a bonus the battery packs were included. Don’t try to use a regular drill and expect that to work. You need a lot more torque and thus a hammer drill is required. I highly advise the kit and/or purchasing a side handle. I purchased a Makita 18-Volt LXT Brushless Lithium-Ion 1/2 in. Cordless Hammer Drill Kit for $299 and had even the trailer repair shop owner impressed! Win for #eventersolutions

I am sure that there are other brands/options and ways you could spend less money. If you know more about power tools and try something else let me know how it works out! Would love to be able to share other options at varying prices. Have any of you come up with creative ways to improve your travel get up?

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Spring Bay 2017: Cross Country

I tossed and turned all night on Saturday. I wasn’t so much worried about the fact that we were running novice but rather super anxious to run in general. Turns out I need not have worried. Annie dominated the course despite me. Unfortunately I forgot to use Course Walk when I walked the course… And even more unfortunate is that my stupid Cambox wouldn’t cooperate. Also can’t seem to determine if there was a show photographer. Super thankful that Rachel Lynn Creative got the shot below.

All that matters though is that we finished on a number and not a letter. We didn’t have the most pretty run. There were plenty of learning moments for both of us but when the going got tough Annie took over and really packed me around. I picked at the distances and got her to some bad spots and she still jumped with all of her heart. That cannot be taught.

We still ended well out of the ribbons but moved up 10 places to finish in 15th place. Not too shabby considering the division had 25 people and we were in last place going into the day. 

We have a lot to work on but despite the ugly bits I still crossed through those flags with a grin on my face and an unexplainable amount of gratitude for the little red dragon. Not sure what is on the docket next but I am sure we will only continue to improve! 🙂

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Spring Bay 2017: Dressage and SJ

This weekend was spent in Lexington, KY at Spring Bay HT. This event was a bit of a brain jam for me as the last time I competed there was with Houston and we were eliminated on XC. I was determined to come away from the weekend with a number not a letter though!

jdpanicThe weekend got off to a not so great start when my TPM light came on. It turns out I ran over a screw and had to handle that mess before getting on the road. Shout out to my awesome barn owner who saved me like $350 by plugging my tire when the tire store said it wasn’t possible and that I would have to buy a new tire. pocgreat

Once I finally made it to the KHP my anxiety kicked in full force. I managed to convince myself to get on the dragon and we actually had a pretty decent school before calling it a night. I am not sure why I was so nervous because while our dressage is hideous it isn’t dangerous. She’s not stupid she’s just opinionated.  Saturday morning our ride time rolled around and Annie predictably was belligerent in the sand box. We secured our usual last place position and I felt pretty defeated about heading into stadium. pocworldend

Warm up arenas (for SJ and XC) might be the worst part about horse shows. The entire time I am in one I feel like I am in a war zone. Annie was a super star though and warmed up great. All I had to do was SIT  BACK FOR THE LOVE OF GOD and keep her stride compact. Guess what I didn’t do… Thankfully Annie was incredibly rideable in the hackamore and tried her heart out for me. Unfortunately I went into fetal position mode and picked at all of our distances which cost us 2 rails in stadium.  I was tired, frustrated, and honestly just poor company Saturday evening. pocstuKristen was kind enough to let Annie crash at her lovely little slice of Lexington on Saturday night. I am sure that Annie appreciated getting off the concrete at the KHP and getting to stretch her legs. I am saving the best for last and will talk about Annie’s XC beast mode/ my continuing inability to ride tomorrow.

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Clinic Value

As riders I think we can be categorized one of two ways. Some of this may be due to discipline. Some of this may be geographic location and accessibility. Whatever the reason it seems to me that people are either for or against clinics. For the record I am not stating that there is a wrong or right way to feel.

Eliza Wallace Clinic-6I personally never participated in many clinics and still wouldn’t say that I am a frequent flyer. Now I am in an area that can be a veritable waste land of quality instruction for my discipline. The instructor I do ride with is gone frequently either competing or wintering in FL. This leads me to finding myself more intrigued when a clinic pops up with a BNT/R due to my current circumstances.Eliza Wallace Clinic-13

I am not one to talk myself up. I am capable generally speaking and I acknowledge that as a pair Annie and I still need help. I am also able to “keep the lights on” so to speak when I find myself going months without regular instruction. Obviously in a perfect world I would get to lesson 1-2x a week and would be making all sorts of continuous progress. As I do not live in such a world there are times of the year where I find myself riding sans instruction for months on end. Maintaining and improving are not the same thing and right now we could use some finesse.

Eliza Wallace Clinic-38There used to be a time when riding with a new instructor gave me serious anxiety. Or worse showing with a trainer I didn’t know. If last year taught me anything it’s how to go with the flow. No trainer no problem. New trainer? Still no problem. More often than not the money spent on a clinician is better spent getting 3-4 (depending on the clinic cost and your regular lesson prices) lessons at home than 2 group sessions with a trainer you have never worked with. Sometimes though having a fresh set of eyes on you and your horse can be very helpful and for that reason I think I probably land somewhere in the middle. I want regular lessons but I also see the value in an outside opinion or a successful rider and instructors feedback. Riding with Elisa Wallace (Day 1 & Day 2) for instance. Definitely plan to do that again! Eliza Wallace Clinic-56

Lainey Ashker is well known for being great with OTTB’s. After multiple suggestions to ride with her I am taking the plunge. Here’s to a fun weekend with my favorite red head. Bonus: getting to see Lauren and Gus!

What about you guys? Do you like clinics? Only go to audit? What are you willing to pay to ride with a BNT?  

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Last Minute Plans

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I had entered my first recognized HT of the year and then promptly started to FTFO. As we are now less than 2 weeks out I hoped to get one more good school in before next weekend. Unfortunately there really aren’t that many local schooling opportunities. This left me looking for options in the 4 or so hour range.

Noooo touchy! 🦄💜🦄

A post shared by Hillary M. (@equestrianathart) on

Lucky for me I was able to determine that one of my favorite venues, River Glen, is having a hunter jumper show this weekend. This way I could knock two birds out with one stone and get practice both in the arena and out. I was kind of bummed that it was looking like I would be making the adventure solo but then another opportunity opened up so I have some options!

Still shot because I am obsessed with her…

Originally I had planned to attend a Lainey Ashker clinic this weekend but I cancelled because Luna tried to break herself last month. When Lauren posted today about being able to get into a different group of the clinic I decided to reach out to the organizer again. As luck would have it there might be hope for me to attend the clinic after all. I have 2 great options and the weekend is sure to be a fun time regardless of where we spend it! Do you all have fun weekend plans coming up? Given theses two options which would you choose?

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Adventures In Farm Sitting

Having a farm is not for the faint of heart. If I have learned anything from having horses at home in highschool and now farm sitting it is that it is legitimately a 24/7 job. When you board horses you write a check and you can go home. If it is in the single or triple digits you can stay inside… If it is raining or snowing guess who is not soaked or chilled to the bone? YOU.

Depending on where you board and how often you are able to get out to the barn as a boarder you have the flexibility of  “not feeling like it”. I am grateful that right now I am able to go out to the barn nearly every day but also have my horses in the care of people that I trust explicitly in the event that I am travelling or unable to make it out.

jonsnowBecause I am at the farm all the time already (sorry Kyle!!!) it was a pretty easy gig (famous last words) to just step in and take care of things when my BO’s are out of town. Or so I thought. Unfortunately the weather gods hate me and literally EVERY SINGLE insert string of expletives TIME I farm sit the temperatures either plummet and it snows or they spike and it is a scene from Twister. I seriously don’t know what I would do if weather was just semi stable and there weren’t 30* temperature swings and some version of natures middle finger slung at me the next time I take care of the horses. I am not sure how it is even possible for one person to be assaulted with the weather so violently and consistently just when the phrase “can you take care of the farm x days” is spoken. This week has been no exception and come Monday afternoon at pretty much the exact same time I was finishing up the majority of chores and about to leave a storm rolled in. It caused the barn room to start flapping, random doors to fly open, and for me to end up under an awning with the resident studly while we both stared in disbelief while plastered to the wall at what the actual heck was going on. In summary farm sitting has left me wondering if my dream to own a farm and keep all of my horses at home is really what I want. I always thought that 20 acres would be the sweet spot. I could have my own place, going to ride wouldn’t involve a car ride, things would be so easy. Then I remembered how spoiled I was in high school to have my horses at home but not be responsible for all of their care or maintaining the property. dorothyWhile speaking from experience I can say that there is nothing like looking out your window and seeing the creatures you love so much. There is also nothing like spending hours taking care of the farm and horses when its below freezing or during the middle of a storm that might have you feeling a little like Dorothy from the wizard of oz. Maybe just a few acres to keep baby(ies) and retirees at home? The “dream” continues to evolve. All I need is a few more terrible weather incidences while farm sitting to totally crush it!

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Replacement Post Fall

Most of the riders that I know wear helmets on a regular basis. We all have different preferences but it seems that we all agree you only get one brain. You should do what you can to protect it. Mind your melon!mindyourmelonhc

It seems that a lot of people have varying opinions on how frequently and due to what circumstances a helmet should be replaced. I started thinking about this after a fall last week… “Sit Back Or Die” is a great motto that I still don’t follow well enough! I have always been told that any time you fall and your head/helmet hits the ground it’s time to replace your helmet. After that if you manage to survive approximately five years you need to replace it anyways. With all of the different options out there what is the deciding factor on what brand you prefer?COAYR8RidingWarehouse

For me it has always been about the safety and comfort. I shy away from some brands – specifically if they have ridiculous horror stories. I loved the Charles Owen replacement policy and wore them for quite a few years. When I started looking for helmets that would be a bit more comfortable and cooler in hot weather I fell in love with Samshield. Not a Miss Shield but I have serious grabby hands over this new model.MissShieldRidingWarehouseMy most recent addition is a OneK that I purchased on a whim due to affordability. It is still comfortable but fits slightly different than my Samshield. I was hoping it would be a level playing field because the OneK replacement policy is much better but alas my huge head is apparently more Samshield shaped than One K.OneKRidingWarehouse

In a sport where falls are pretty much inevitable I am curious about everyones different thoughts on what helmets you will wear and what makes you replace them? Anyone else in the market?

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Weekend Wrap Up: XC Schooling and Bell Boots

I did a thing last week and entered my first recognized HT of the year. Naturally I proceeded to fall off during a jump school the next day(why can I not SIT BACK!!!) and then had a huge pit in my stomach for cross country schooling on Saturday. I had a fall a few years back where Houston literally slid out from under me due to a sloppy arena. I was fine but since then I have a mild panic attack any time I ride on slick footing. It stormed all night on Friday so the footing at our schooling venue was less than ideal. The bright side was that the water complex was nice and full, the weather was unbeatable, and the company was perfect!

Thankfully minus being exceptionally full of herself Annie was a trooper and we had a good outing. She was able to literally pull through my nervous moments. We schooled most of the fences that were Novice height and due to the terrain it felt like way more than that! I want to get back out next weekend so that we can have one last confidence boosting school before we head to the KHP in April.

The only casualty of the day was one of Annie’s four bell boots. Yes you read that right – she gets to wear double bell boots due to her ninja shoe pulling abilities. I had never heard of this plan before my current farrier but it works for us. For now I just plan to buy stock in bell boots because while we shoot less shoes off it still stinks when she pulls a whole boot off while schooling. She wears a Weaver Rubber Bell Boot on the bottom and then I layer a Ribbed Bell Boot on the top. Pulling them on and off is kind of a pain but it keeps my farrier from making what I call “bonus” trips down here (he doesn’t live in TN). No hoof no horse and no farrier no hoof! Did any of you have fun adventures this weekend? Or on the bell boot front anyone have a brand of Velcro bell boots that are super durable? I would love to be able to have one pull on and one Velcro instead of double pull ons.


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