Thoughts for my Grandfather 

My grandfather is unfortunately not doing well. He has been rapidly declining over the past few months and that has accelerated a lot the past couple of weeks. Trying to keep my head up and remember that he has lived a long full life. 

   

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Weekend Wrap Up: Automatic

Sunday was full of fun barn times! I woke up early and headed out to the barn to get Annie ready for our very first lesson together. We started her out on the lunge line because baby horse with no work… NT gave me some tips for lunging Annie which were very helpful.

After lunging NT hopped on Annie. I loved getting to watch him ride her. It really helped me to see what he was doing with his body and the responses that she was giving him. He told me that she seems to be a horse that really likes contact in the bridle. He reminded me that this needs to be followed up with my leg too. Annie really liked his ride and was looking great.

I wish that I had thought to get video but I as just enjoying seeing the baby horse go around. My fabulous baby horse has natural lead changes. Which I had already seen signs of but it was AWESOME SAUCE when she did them without effort for the trainer in her first training ride. I hopped on for a few minutes after and learned a great trick for getting Annie to pickup the correct lead if we get a little stuck in our transitions.

The trick is to post on the wrong diagonal as you go into asking for the transition. I was skeptical at first when he mentioned it but it really helped. More for me than for her as the issues were my balance more so than anything she was doing. All in all the first training ride/lesson was a great success. 🙂

After the fun with Annie I headed out to NT’s farm for a lesson on one of his horses. I had a blast and a half and LOVED the horse I got to ride. He was incredibly fun and game to the fences. Totally different than Annie from a feel perspective and also way bigger.

The main focuses for me over fences are for me to keep the correct canter and to sit up/back. I have a horrible habit of throwing my body towards the fences now and I want to break it asap. I also need to get more straight on the flat. I have a bad habit of leaning to the inside and not using enough outside rein. Luckily NT calls me on these things and has done a great job of explaining ways to overcome a lot of my equitation issues (form follows function anyone?).

I have another lesson with Annie tomorrow after work and hope to come up with a plan of action for the next few months to prepare for the spring.

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Annie’s First TN Ride

I talked with new trainer this week about lessons for the weekend and we discussed him helping me with Annie and then a lesson over fences at his farm. This seemed like a great idea until I remembered that the ginger hadn’t been worked in close to 2.5 months.

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Commence panic. Ultimately I decided to lunge Friday night – arena lights for the win! Luckily Annie still remembers how to lunge like  mostly civilized creature. Yesterday I went to tack up and turns out that the little red head has been packing on the pounds.

I am very pleased with her condition and TN seems to be agreeing with her. I am having some debate about giving her a trace clip… I am going to wait and see how much colder it gets and how much work NT thinks we should plan to be doing this winter.

How much work warrants any clipping for you all?

Onto our first ride at the farm! Trying to save myself I did throw her onto the lunge line for self preservation. She was super lazy and I should have seen through her guise but I decided to climb on board.

All things considered she was good. There was a lot of activity outside of the arena and while distracted she worked through. I am hopeful that NT will have good suggestions for exercises I can work through with her this winter. I am very excited to get someone to help me with her and that I have the opportunity to ride other horses in lessons so that I can get back over fences! 🙂

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Rider Review: Gun Dog Supply Leash & Collar

Recently I ordered our dogs new leashes and collars from Gun Dog Supply online. I ordered Sonny a 16″ Mendota Collar and a flat Mendota Leash. Stella got the same collar but in the 3/4″ style and a rolled Mendota leash.

Price: $29.95 Collar & $24.95 Leash (Sonny’s leash and collar). This price point was honestly the best that I could find for the quality. Between the great feedback I had heard about the website and then a friend putting in a good word I felt very confident placing the order.

Pros: The leashes and collars that we received are much nicer than I expected for the cost. The leather is strong and supple at the same time. The plates are well made and securely attached. Additionally the safety ring is the perfect place to attach the leash so that you don’t have to battle with the tail of the collar to use the main hook.

The sizing of the collars is exactly as the website suggests and they even provide a nice walkthrough for how to measure your dogs neck. I was a bit skeptical when Sonny needed a 16″ collar and Stella needed a 14″ collar but turns out that Stella is just a little beefcake. 

Cons: The only cons that I can come up with are the fact that the collars are a little stiff when you get them. That is the case with most leather products though so it’s nothing that I hold against the quality of the products.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for a nice quality leash and collar at an affordable price that is sure to last I would definitely recommend checking out the offerings of Gun Dog Supply. The customer service is fantastic and they ship things very fast.

Happy Shopping!

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Lesson Recap: Balance

This weekend I had my first Tennessee lesson and it was awesome!

I rode a spicy little jumper mare and while the lesson was very frustrating it was also incredible and fun. I think that this new trainer is going to be great for me.

I have gotten in the bad habit of over riding with my upper body. This is extremely apparent when I am jumping and makes me resemble this:

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Then I proceeded to get a few well deserved refusals and I was more like this:

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To break it down (more for me than for you all) I was getting nervous as we approached the fence and instead of remaining still approaching the fence I was throwing my upper body into more of a fetal type position.

Fetal Position

Obviously that is not the desired position over fences but I guess my general nerves about jumping combined with a new horse and trainer was the perfect combination for out of shape/practice me to make a fool of myself. The mare I was riding was not super into me totally changing my ride and balance as we approached the fence and wasn’t about to tell lies for me. No leg plus a floppy body makes for an unpleasant sight. She wasn’t dirty at all and honestly I probably wouldn’t have been on her back on the opposite side of the fence so I am not holding it against her.

I was much more upset about the events that occurred than new trainer (who is totally fabulous btw). As it became evident that my body wasn’t going to listen to my brain trainer had me hop off so that he could pop the mare over a few fences because I had gotten her a bit frazzled riding like a drunk monkey. Then I hopped back on and we were good to go.

Trainer talked me through it step my step as I got more comfortable and while there is a lot of room for improvement I can’t wait for more lessons. He is just what I need. Tells it like it is while still being kind. No sugar coating but just the right amount of assistance. He was still getting to know me too but I am sure that with more lessons he will whip me back into shape in no time.

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I am hoping to have 2 more lessons this weekend!!! This week can’t go by fast enough.

 

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Black Friday Equestrian Sales: 2015

nov15-03I am a little late to this game as Amanda has already shared hella deals and pretty much everything from my drafted post and more but I wanted to point out some specific items that you can get from some of the retailers that you might not have already seen…

The Herbal Horse: Small Business Saturday there will be a 20% off code WOOHOO and free gift with all purchases over $50. Cyber Monday there will be other surprise sales so check out her Instagram, Facebook, and twitter accounts.

Tack Of The Day: Nothing has been posted and won’t be until Friday but almost every year TOTD has a Back On Track sale and hopefully this year will be no exception. You have to check it out at 12 EST to know about the deal of the day.

Riding Warehouse: Incase you didn’t think that RW already offered the best deals around they are offering 20% off site wide (with some exclusions due to manufacturers). This includes some Rambo Horseware items too 😉

Smartpak: 15% off with some exclusions using the code – giftme15. I may have gotten a Christmas present of an Asmar All Weather Coat from the in-laws courtesy of this sale!

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Divoza: 25% off using the code – ws15dh25. All of you people that have been contemplating purchasing Dubarry Galways should check them out here… You can get them for like $290 in some sizes when you apply the code! And that is AFTER international shipping. I would be buying a replacement pair if I hadn’t used the code on some very special stirrups… Thanks Amanda!

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VTO Saddlery: starting tomorrow 11/26 20% off orders $100+

Farm House Tack: I love FHT and always stop in when I am in their area. Luckily they also send their amazing mobile shop to a lot of shows at the KHP which is how I ended up buying my new helmet from them. I am not sure on the specifics but I am pretty sure the you can take advantage of their in store deal over the phone with a sales associate drawing a slip up to 35% out of a jar and applying it to your order. Some items are not included (Tailored Sportsman and Ogilvy for sure will not be included).

Higher Standards Leather Care: On the HSLC etsy store you can get 15% off using the code SHOPSMALL15. I assume this is valid Saturday only but you could try earlier!
I reached out to a few other companies in hopes of getting details ahead of time on any sales they might be having but without much luck in getting any responses. Oh well. Happy Shopping!!!

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Rider Review: Dubarry Galway Boots

Dubarry Galway Boots 

Now… I always said that I would not be the person that spent such a ridiculous amount of money for a pair of boots that you don’t even ride in but I am so glad that I have these boots. Thankfully because with a hefty price tag of approx $480 if I didn’t like them that would be some serious buyers remorse! Or gift choosing remorse in my case because these were an awesome graduation gift from my wonderful parents.

Some of the key features of the Dubarry Galway Boots are that they are versatile, waterproof, and even trendy. I would say that these boots do tend to keep your feet fairly warm so while I did wear them through the summer I think they are the best Fall, Winter, and Spring.

Pros: Number 1 is hands down that they are waterproof! I love this feature. Who doesn’t love the ability to wander around in a giant puddle? My feet have stayed dry even while standing in water up to my shins! Another thing that I love about these boots is how classy they look. I get all sorts of compliments on these from horse and non horse people alike. I guess that the ability to wear them while cleaning stalls to going about your daily business is definitely a plus. The waterproof feature also makes it very easy to keep these boots clean as a whistle. They do require some care in terms of making sure to clean them with the appropriate soap, conditioner, and even protectant spray but I guess that I take appropriate care of all of my leather goods so why would I change that for these boots?

Cons: Keep your feet almost too warm in the summer. Not really made for walking – perfectly fine for day long use but I would not advise wearing this if you are planning to go for long walks – or if you are… maybe wear thicker socks than I chose to. If I could fit them in mine would probably have some insoles in them – or would have initially. Now that they are broken in they are much more comfortable – as with any shoes!

Care: I mentioned the usual care on the pros but I guess that some could see this as a con. It is not any different than any other product of its design but of course Dubarry does recommend that you use their care products. I happen to really like their line of leather care for these boots so I will continue to use that indefinitely. Not only is it effective but it also seems like it will last a really long time.

Bottom Line: If you have been thinking about buying a pair I encourage you to do so. I have only had mine for about 6 months but they seem like they will last forever and they clean up like new with some conditioner! If I assume that these boots will hopefully last me at least 5 years (I am hoping for much longer) then I would only be spending about $95 a year to keep my feet dry while still staying stylish… even if they only lasted 3 years that would still only make it about $13 a month! (Update to add that I have had them 2.5 years now and they are going strong and clean up great) Yes yes I do have a problem… I can’t help it that I have been trained to think about things in the way of their depreciation and how much they cost per year of use! This is how I justify almost all of my purchases 😉

If you find yourself with time you should definitely check out the other drool worthy items that Dubarry makes… Seriously some classy outfits to be had.

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Weekend Wrap Up: Moved

Friday afternoon the last of our things were loaded onto the truck and we spent our last night as KY residents.

Saturday morning we headed out to the barn to grab Annie for the big move. This was the first time I have hauled her in my own trailer and I was obsessing about everything. Luckily Kyle knew not to rush me and was along for the ride.

Not only is pulling a bumper pull not quite as smooth as a gooseneck there are also a lot more steps to the hook up process (when you add a weight distribution system and friction sway control).

Once we got hitched up and Annie was wrapped she loaded like a champ. The drive was incredibly uneventful minus some traffic as we entered Nashville.

Once we got to the farm Annie was a bit up… She was having a hard time taking everything in but immediately got to go outside and stretch her legs which she seemed to enjoy. 

Unfortunately I had to be back in KY today to close on our house so I was only able to check on Annie really briefly before hitting the road again. 

Thankfully the little ginger has already made a friend and BO reported that she seemed very content.
I can’t wait to get back to riding the red head again. Until then boxes on boxes on boxes. Oh the joys of moving!

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$900 FB Pony Blog Hop: Top 5 Horse Show Essentials

Amanda from The $900 Facebook Pony started a new hop and asked what are your top 5 horse show essentials?

I haven’t shown in over 2 years now so I can’t really say too much but when I was showing my essentials were:

  1. My Stanley Trunk is definitely on s Amanda also said this thing is the best! It is light enough that even when it is packed I can usually lift it into the bed of a truck. It is large enough to hold almost everything I need at a show except my medical kit – which is handily stored in another Stanley. My only complaint is that the lock that is built in fell out and the  buckles have  gotten beat up. I can still lock it though so no big. It isn’t going to win any beauty pageants but I still love it!eef5ad13-66f8-47e8-b887-4985ffeaf335_300
  2. Higher Standards Leather Saddle Soap will always be found with me at a show. I love that it somewhat conditions as you clean. There is also nothing like the pleasant scents. I always know my things will be in great shape when I have this stuff in my trunk.1402972942_large
  3. Next is my Braiding Belt which at this point I have largely improved on. I purchased dull metal needles at a craft store, hair clips, and sharper scissors which leave me armed to battle even the gnarliest of manes! With this thing everything I need is on hand and easy to get to! TSLT771015_90761
  4. Snacks requires little to no elaboration. Water, granola bars, candy, cookies, sandwiches – everything to keep you happy morning to sunset is vital. I am not a good rider when I am hangry!galway-leather-country-boots-walnut_1
  5. Last but not least are my Dubarry Galway boots. Rain or shine these guys are my go to. I used to wear Danskos when I was not in my riding boots but now I wear my DG to the barn literally everyday. 3 years strong and they still clean up great and are just as effective and useful as day one making them worth every penny!

What are yours? Join the hop!

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