Monday, November 30, 2015

what's in my grooming tote?

A couple weeks ago I wrote about my top 5 horse show essentials, and hinted that there would be another blog hop post forthcoming shortly in a similar vein. Well. Here ya go!

See, a little while ago, I  saw a post on Breeches and Boat Shoes about "What's in my grooming bag?" and wanted to play along.

the kit in its entirety
So, without further ado - ladies and gentlemen, may I present the contents of my grooming tote:

grooming tools

  1. Liniment, detangler, and shine spray. I have a full-size shine spray too... tho that usually stays home. Also, depending on the season, add fly spray.
  2. Rubber and plastic curry combs. I also have a jelly version as well (thanks Erin!) but that hasn't yet made it to the barn. Isabel personally prefers the hard plastic, but sometimes I think the rubber and jelly varieties can speed along shedding a bit better.
  3. So many body brushes omg. They are sorted from stiffest to softest bristles, top to bottom. The top brush is exclusively for mane/tail, and the bottom red brush is for her face. The two in between are my general go-tos for the body, with the red/green (medium stiffness) getting the most use.
  4. Mane / tail brush (typically only used in conjunction with detangler or conditioner).
  5. Hoof picks. #canneverhavetoomany

odds and ends in constant rotation

  1. Vet wrap, small sponge, and triple antibiotic ointment. Not exactly a full first aid kit, but these things come in handy pretttttty often.
  2. Baby wipes. Never knew I needed them until I got them. Super convenient to have on hand!
  3. Hole punch. It's unlikely you'll ever find me with a grooming kit unequipped with one of these bad boys. 
  4. Random stuff - Herbal Horse Be Calm Lavender Balm, and a random velcro-on sheepskin cover that typically covers the curb chain on my mechanical hackamore. 
  5. More random stuff - rubber bands (needs no explanation) and hand sanitizer.
  6. Leather balm and a dedicated sponge. An embarrassing amount of my tack and gear gets it's last little face lift on the actual show grounds haha.

tools and gadgets etc

  1. Extra leadline and double-sided clip. Both are highly HIGHLY convenient. 
  2. Medical armband lives in my grooming kit and is therefore never forgotten. Plus a pen and a sharpie are nice to have on hand. 
  3. Scissors (tagged with my initials - and note in the very top pic there are velcro straps - snipped from an old saddle pad - connecting the scissors to my tote. I clearly have trust issues when it comes to scissors at a barn!) and a mutli tool - this one specifically for use with horses!
  4. Stock tie. Same idea as the armband - it'll never be forgotten if it lives here!
  5. Liniment concentrate to be mixed into water buckets for sponging off.
  6. Spurs, hair net, and nose shaver. These are very specifically useful on show days. 

outtake cattake
Obviously we also stay well stocked with cats.

tidily tucked away and covered up!
I found this heavy-duty tote and cover for sale at the consignment shop. Best $8 I've ever spent! Maryland Saddlery ftw!!

unwanted recent additions for the scratches... ugh....
These are not permanent residents of my grooming kit.... but given Isabel's ongoing scratches situation I'm stocked up. Ugh fml.

the ever-essential barn rats
And obviously no kit is fully complete without a couple young riders around to help out!!

So.... yea... that's my standard kit that goes most places with us. What's in your grooming tote?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

the most majestic of creatures at liberty

Guys Guys GUYS!!! I can WALK!!!! Like, still with the help of crutches - but only bc my leg is a little weak and I'm a little unbalanced. But the leg can *do* it - it bears my weight now!!!! So freaking exciting, it's hard to explain. I almost feel like a whole new person. Amazing.

And as such, I managed to get in some actual quality time with my mare after Thanksgiving. She had her farrier appointment and - GASP - I could actually hold her for it!! And then I even managed to crutch down the hill with mare in tow to head into the round pen to let her move out a little bit.

I had intended to let her loose in the arena, but missed the brief window before lessons resumed again. Oh well, the round pen is fine. Not quite enough room for her to really open up, but eh, good enough.

And ya know, it was fun. Maybe silly, and maybe serving no real purpose other than putting a little cardio fitness back on the creature. But whatever. FUN. And yes these gifs and video stills are from the same exact source material. My middle name is 'media overkill.' So sue me ;)

the very prettiest

airborne! and it's my totally unbiased opinion that she's coming off her month-long vacation looking QUITE good. sure, there's no real topline... but recall there wasn't one before anyway...

that moment of suspension tho!

does anyone else's horse insist on ONLY cross cantering when on the lunge or in a round pen?!?

trit trot! haha just kidding, zoooooom!

"on the forehand wut?!?" - isabel

"uphill HUH?!?!?" - isabel

"i am ze queen of cross canter" - isabel

she thinks she's *very* impressive

zomg much fierce, so shake, very dignity!


"i stick my tongue out in your general direction!" - isabel

clearly a wild and out of control arab haha

"i mean, i looked pretty cool tho, right?" - isabel

wild and craziness aside, she loves small children. LOVES. especially camp kids. and especially the grass directly where they are sitting

"yesssss small minions, come clooooser" - isabel

Feels so GOOD to be able to actually, ya know, DO THINGS with the horse again, even if it's a little silly. We'll be truly back in action sooooooon!!!!! :D

Friday, November 27, 2015

grateful for the bloopers: 2015 video edition

As promised, I also clipped together a quick video of some of Isabel's and my moments from the past year that are.... erm, less "glory" and more, um, well, you know. lol

Seriously tho - we've definitely had our fair share of 'learning opportunities,' and more often than not it's my own mistakes or poor decisions that lead to some spectacular moments of fail.

But I prefer to laugh about it. Learn, yes, and do better next time... but also laugh. So to that end, enjoy this little compilation (much shorter than our earlier video for those of you with short attention spans haha - certainly not bc we were lacking in material!)

Enjoy! (ooh and here's last year's blooper video if you're into that kind of thing)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

happy thanksgiving!

I hope everyone in the US is enjoying Thanksgiving! My plans include LOTS of eating. We're talking serious over indulgence. Borderline opulence. Copious quantities of overly-rich fare. It's gonna be GOOD!

i relate to this image
And also, ya know, spending quality time with the extended family and all that too. Obvi ;)

and also this one
But really, wow, so much food! And PIE!!

and mayyyyybe a wottle of bine or two (shared, natch)
Hope everyone is having an equally good day - and even if it's not a holiday where you are, hopefully the day includes some mouth watering and tasty delights :D

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

feeling thankful (with video)

'Tis the season for expressing gratitude about all the good stuff we have going for us. Sure, it would be easy enough to feel bitter about getting sidelined and missing out on some planned activities (and I'd be lying if I said I hadn't leaned in that direction every now and then...).

grateful for a photogenic mare
But really, this year has been HUGE for me in many ways, particularly as they relate to what Isabel and I have been able to accomplish.

grateful for the quiet moments between rides
 It feels like I'm constantly going on and on and ON about what a special horse Isabel is, but, well, it's true. She's pretty awesome. And I'm so very grateful for her, and all the circumstances that have allowed for our various successes this year - both small and large.

grateful that she is just so darn sweet
So like last year, I put together a little compilation video of some of my favorite moments from this past year - from our very first show of the season (equitation in an indoor!) to finishing strong at Loch Moy last month (regardless of what the final score was).

I hope you enjoy it!

And for those of you celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow - hope you have a great time and get lots of good food to eat :D

Also - stay tuned for the flip side to this video shortly, bc we can't just bask in glory when there are giggles and bloopers and other fun moments to enjoy too, right?

Monday, November 23, 2015

got to see my mare!!

Amazing how much quieter my weekends are these days, but we still managed to get out and see the ponies a little bit. Brita and Kaitlyn got to go to a lesson at OF (complete with grids plus a SUPER fun twisty course) and then I actually got to *touch* my horse, and see her up close rather than just from across the fence line. Exciting stuff, people!

'oh yes, i remember you, kinda' - isabel
Poor mare hasn't exactly been spared much attention in my absence - the scratches (or whatever it is) battle rages on, and the BM eventually decided it was time to call the vet. So mare now has some new prescription topical dressing, plus she's on Doxy for a couple weeks. Hopefully this will finally do the trick?

At least she seems to be otherwise enjoying her vacation. Sure there are plenty of people who could ride her and keep her in work (and might really truly enjoy doing so), but eh... she worked hard this year. A month plus off won't do any harm, and we can ease back into it together. Hopefully after tomorrow's check up with the specialist, I'll have a better idea of *when* that might actually start happening!

new fun gear!
Because in the meantime, check out the new piece of equipment added to my arsenal - a Harry Hall Zeus body protector that my mother got me for my birthday. This was one of the more budget-friendly models that Amanda wrote about in her posts describing various vests and safety standards (this vest meets the Beta 2009 standards, a higher safety rating than what's required in the US).

Just trying it on in my living room, it's quite apparent that it is a VERY different beast from my Tipperary haha. So I'm pretty pumped to actually try it out on the cross country field in the not so very distant future (maybe). Will definitely let you know more about what I think of it at that point.

Oh and here's another cat handling the stairs in a fashion very similar to me. Because why not, it's Monday, who doesn't need cat gifs?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

it's saturday. have moar gifs

A funny thing about crutches is that literally every single thing is more complicated. As such, I feel like this poor girl trying to pour ... vinegar? ... is a kindred spirit. Sometimes things just blow up lol.

And I also may or may not have had a few moments on the stairs that look like this cat. Or worse, when I'm slowly ascending and the extra crutch that's resting against the wall goes tipping back all the way down the stairs.... womp womp.

This one tho... well... lol idk.

But at is it, things are steadily getting better. Today marks 4 weeks (!!!!) since I broke my leg, and I'm back to nearly 50% weight-bearing capacity on it. Things that felt impossible just two weeks ago are suddenly doable again. The crutches aren't quite so awkward anymore. I'm actually starting to be able to go out and DO things now!!

Feels good, man. Feels good. So here's to having a bad ass weekend full of actually getting out and around a little bit!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Zen Baby: Equestrian Haikus

Because why not, here are some equestrian haikus for Nicole's blog hop contest. Enjoy lol.

Isabel wants noms
peppermints carrots cookies
anything will do

over confident
we careen toward the rolltop
this will end badly

all a DQ needs:
bling brow bands and shiny boots
dressage nirvana

cross country for days
stadium like no big deal
dressage tho? just no.

that jump looks giant
take a couple steps backward
nope still humongous

that jump's too scary
oh but 12 year olds do it?
still not trying it

one stupid misstep
poof: season's over early
isabel approves

my leg is broken
did baby race horse do it?
nope i just fell down

gonna NAIL this course!!
oops too long; damn now too deep!
oh well, just 3 rails....

give take, squeeze release
quiet communication
haha just kidding

curried, clipped and combed
horse is groomed to perfection
commence mud rolling

ugly fetlocks and
a terrible parrot mouth
can't stop Bali's cute

just me and my horse
and ill-advised adventures
someone hold my beer

ditches eat horses
the water's filled with gators
why do i event?!?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

audit all the clinics!!! (while Pig feels feelings lol)

So one of my birthday treats was skipping on down to Austen's barn to catch Stephen Birchall teach a few lessons. This is the same clinician that Austen rode with a little while back (click that link for more excellent gifs haha), and he was also here the last time I visited the barn.

i like a clinician who is comfortable lecturing
I really enjoyed watching him teach - and got to observe three lessons (on three very different horses) to see which tactics stayed the same and which changed horse by horse.

also huskies. even if they eat mice, Lyra
In particular, the second horse reminded me a little bit of Isabel. Namely, the horse had plenty of GO, but simultaneously got a little stuck behind the leg and btv. So not a true connection.

included purely for entertainment value
Takeaways of interest included:
  • Leg is sacred. When Stephen first got on the horse (he started out in the saddle for two of the three lessons before passing the horse back to the rider. and for the third, he schooled the horse for the full session), he was very explicit that his legs stayed OFF the horse. No nagging, no constant nudging. No nothing. But when he *did* do something, he wanted a reaction. It had to mean something. 
  • "When I close my leg he has to go forward and take my hand, NOT go faster." Yeeaahh. I need more of this in my life haha. 

the horse went like isabel... but did not look like her at all haha
He also focused extensively on keeping the horse even between both reins, and employed a tactic of "rattling" the reins. The riders I saw seemed to be a bit too slow with the movement, but when he did it himself it almost resembled (quickly) turning a door knob with his hand/wrist. 

pictured: dis how you sit the canter
 He also lectured a bit on the 'elusive connection' - how to find it? The answer: Patience.

Womp womp, no magic bullet.

this horse was SUPER adorable
Another tactic that isn't particularly original (but is right in line with how I need to ride) is to keep focusing on asking for softness by opening and closing the rein - like a vibration - and then be QUIET. And after asking for the horse to soften, you close your leg to push them into the hand.

Like I said - not exactly earth shattering, but just steady consistent patient training, every step of the way.

husky balls!!
One thing that really stuck out to me was that no matter the rider, no matter the horse, the focus was always on improving the gaits and connection. Stephen played around with some movements like half pass and changes while he was schooling the third horse, but generally while teaching it was all about quality quality quality. Inneresting. 

 Then I got to stick around a little while longer to see Pig go through his paces with Austen.

'three tracks = no problem' - Pig
Such a pleasant pair to watch - tho Pig's hotness was very apparent after watching all the big lumbering warmbloods lol. This guy's got ZIP!

pictured: Pig feeling feelings
Then off for phase two of birthday celebrating - beers and fried mac and cheese and beers!!! (Tho not before I saw my life flashing before my eyes when Pig spooked at something - mouse farts? - and spun in my general direction. Not particularly close to me... but plenty close enough to set my crippled nerves ablaze and slam down my broken limb... womp womp). 

I'm actually thinking that a third (and belated) birthday treat might be to sign up for a lesson with this clinician sometime this winter if he continues to brave the blustery north. We'll see!