I am the worst at taking selfies. The. Worst. I cannot seem to figure out how to get my face to look good, hold the camera still, and get my horse to not shove out of the way. I usually try to take 10 or so shots just to get one hopefully mediocre selfie.


I’m also not that good at taking photos. Sometimes I think I have a great photo idea, snap a bunch of shots, only to find that none of them work well and then I have nothing to put in my blog posts. *sigh*


But the worst thing to me is that I’m just not a good photo subject. My features are all a little to soft and my smile is crooked, my hair is always a mess. I could go on. I can’t tell you how many shots I have the boy take just to share one or two of them here on the blog. Agony, I tell you. And sometimes I just say screw it because the best one of Gus is rarely the best one of me and he’s the star of the show.


But all of this is to say that I’m thankful to have the memories. Every bad selfie. Every silly little video of my horse doing nothing. Every repetitive ear shot.


This last year dealing with the syndicate and Dandy has been hard. But then a picture will pop up on Facebook from years ago of me and Dandy and it will make me smile from ear to ear. And that’s why I take all the photos I can with Gus. Because someday I’ll need those moments.


A Story… Nothing More

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about recent events and it reminded me that I have a story to tell. I mentioned it briefly on the blog before but didn’t pay too much mind to it because in the end it was no big deal.

Once upon a time, Dandy bit his tongue. The equine dentist was out to do his teeth and, because Dandy would just not settle down and is not a cheap date, he had been given an extra dose of sedative. In the chaos and the numbness, he bit his tongue. And it bled. A lot. There was no major injury and he healed fine but this was right before Dandy shipped off to California the first time around so I didn’t get to be around for the healing process. JLE told me several times how sore his mouth was and how she had to give him hay cube mush to get him eating again. Even though the whole point was for her to ride and train him in a show environment, she didn’t because his mouth was sore. Dandy’s tongue healing had to (rightly) come first.

Anyway, that’s my story. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

House Renovation Update 10.24.16

This renovation has taken over my life! I haven’t been out to see poor Gus Gus in almost a week which makes me very sad. I am going out tonight though. No one can stop me! Even the threat of not getting the house done.

Because that is what I have been doing: house work. I get up early. Go to work. Work hard. Go home. Let the dogs out. Start working on the house. Dinner. Sleep. It’s ridiculous. For a while it felt like we were making really good progress but all of a sudden things seem like they’re dragging even though we are working on big important things.


To be fair. Painting took several weekends. They had this HORRID maroon paint on the bottom half of the wall through out the living room, the kitchen and the hallway. Not only did I have to pull the chair rail and spackle that, it meant we had to put primer down before we could actually paint. Then we had to do coats on top of it to make everything look even. And of course, after we had finished the second coat, it felt like we kept finding areas that needed touch up. I’m so done with it… and I haven’t even started painting the bedroom.


But at least the cabinets are in! The look awesome minus a few things. One cabinet was broken so that has to be replaced and they put the decorative panels only on one side of the island. That is not cool. It makes things look unfinished and I want it to be the same. The contractor says these things will get fixed. They better!

Today they are templateing for the quartz. Yes, I got quartz. The boy made me compromise on getting granite but then he picked out a marble (way too soft for us) and so we went back to quartz. I win.


Even this weekend felt like we got nothing done but we worked alllllllllll weekend. Saturday we spent several hours unloading 80 boxes of laminate. Okay, the boy spent several hours unloading laminate. I helped. Kind of.

It was heavy, okay?

Sunday we started laying it down and it went a lot slower than I expected it to. Especially once we got to the kitchen. I suppose that’s why it costs so much to pay someone else to do it!wp-1477243878905.jpg

And to think we still have baseboards to do after this.

XC Schooling at Ashland Farms 10.8.16

I almost started this post by saying that this was the first time I had been able to take Gus for a real XC schooling with coaching. But then I remembered we have done that before with Stephen Bradley. Oops! This is the first time with New Trainer though, so that counts. Right?


The story of how we actually ended up at Ashland is kind of funny. We were supposed to go to Poplar to school which would have been perfect since I have a schooling voucher from when our XC was rained out. Then New Trainer found out that Poplar had already put away a bunch of their jumps and since the whole point of this was for her to school her 1* horse, she came up with a new plan: Aiken. I was not really looking forward to the drive up to Aiken so I wasn’t too upset when Hurricane Matthew came and ruined those plans too. Finally, we decided to go to Ashland, which is local and has smaller versions of a lot of questions. It may not have been what she needed originally but it would be great for the green beans.


We ended up being out schooling for almost three hours, way longer than we realized. While Gus and I both started with a ton of extra energy, by the end, it was a push for both of us to get over the fences and we called it a day before I started getting refusals from anything other than my bad riding.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.


The water was no issue. Gus used to be terrible about going through water but I have always made it a non issue but also have not allowed a no. Going forward and through the water means the pressure comes off but going backwards means I put the pressure on. This was a pain at first, but now I have a good boy with the water.


Most of what we did with the water was going through and then riding to a fence a few strides out.


We even did a bank into the water!


The down banks were where we really struggled. Gus did not like them and it took us several times over the baby bank for him to get the idea of sliding down. Eventually we moved to the bigger BN/N bank and thankfully Gus was very willing though still not happy. I’m going to have to go back and do a lot of practice on my down banks.


Thankfully the up banks were no problem for Gus. Me on the other hand… yeah, we need to work on that.


The question I was most worried about were the ditches. I have never ever done a ditch. Never. I mean, I walked over the faux ditch at Foxberry but that is not the same as doing a real ditch. New Trainer walked us through how it should be and got us walking over the baby ditches. Before long, Gus and I were both going over them like they were no big deal. As long as I keep my eyes up and shoulders back, we should be able to conquer these ditches.


When we were over working on ditches, New Trainer had us do a small series of fences. We came in over a ditch, turned right to a small hanging log, back around to a coop, and then over a trakehner that was in the shadows.


We had no issue with the ditch, or the small log but when we came around to the coop it was HUGE. Hard to tell in the pictures but that was actually probably a novice level coop. I sat up put my legs on and said we are going over. We did. It was awesome.


Then we came to the trakehner. Gus was having trouble reading the question and was generally unsure because, again, it was big! He started hesitating a few strides out and I put my legs on. He paused at the base of the jump and I dug my spurs in. Gus lunged over the fence. But we did it. And then we did it again.


I’m really proud of some of the things we accomplished at this schooling. There were definitely some hard questions for us and there were some fences that really scared me. I tried to ride boldly to every fence and I think that helped both of us. I have a lot of technique issues to work out but those will come with time and more experience.


The plan is to go to the Chatt Hills schooling show in November. I need to see if I can get enough of my act together to make that worthwhile. What with all the house renovations Gus has sadly taken the back seat. Hopefully though that will change soon!


Tack Review: Majyk Equipe Color Elite X Country Boot

Color Elite X Country Boots by Majyk Equipe


As a somewhat side note before I get into the main review, how amazing is that slogan? I hadn’t seen it before doing this review and I LOVE it. I want it on everything. Does Majyk Equipe sell that on a hat? Because if so, I need it.



This review is going to be a little bit hard to write and not because I don’t have lots to say about the product, but because the boots are just so pretty and I want to share all the pictures!

Eliza Wallace Clinic-65

I was stoked when I heard that these boot were coming out. First, I had heard great things about the Majyk Equipe boots in general and second, because ORANGE. Yes, finally a company that makes something cool in my XC color (without having to do a super complicated and expensive custom order). That alone was enough to make me salivate.


Since I couldn’t go to Rolex this year, I waited for what felt like forever to actually get my hands on them but was finally able to put in a pre order at Four Star Eventing Gear. I don’t remember exactly what I paid for them since I was able to get a preorder discount  but they currently cost $99.95 for the fronts and $115.95 for the hinds over at Riding Warehouse(and we know they always have fun sales going on that can bring that price down).

Eliza Wallace Clinic-59

I’ve touched a little bit on the prettiness of the boot but lets go into more detail. They are super pretty. The orange (can’t speak for the other colors) is very bright but not in a neon way and really pops against the black. I got several compliments on the boots while XC schooling the other day.


The best part is that, so far, they have cleaned up after every use and nothing has dulled the orange underlying or muddied it. It’s my biggest pet peeve with all my orange stuff, once it gets muddy it doesn’t stay pretty. But not these. That “forever clean” coating they boast really seems to work! Can they just sell me a bottle of that? I need to coat everything I own.


The construction of these boots is really nice as well. I didn’t find any loose threads or areas where I thought they might come apart quickly, so far, so good. They are also thick. The outer coating is harder (but not hard) plastic while the inner lining is a perforated foam that allows the heat to escape. I was a little worried this wouldn’t work but so far I haven’t seen any extra heat in Gus’ legs.


If I had any complaints about these boots is that I’d really love to have double locking velcro like the woof boots. While I’ll secure these with black eelectrical tape out on course, I’d love to have just a little bit extra. Of course, I haven’t had an issue with the velcro so far so this is just me being picky.

Final Thoughts

While I still haven’t had these boots long (a few months), I have been very pleased with them. I have worn them trail riding, racing, jumping over all manner of things and never once have they failed to keep Gus’ legs free from (new) nicks and scraps. I even put them on over an older but not completely healed scab and when I took them off three hours later, it looked exactly the same, and hadn’t pulled the scab off. We’ll see how well they hold up over a more intense season next spring but so far I’m impressed.


Looking Too Close

When I was finally able to see all the photos the husband took at our Ashland XC schooling adventure, I was stoked to see this one:

Because it immediately brought to mind this photo of Dandy and I at Caber three years ago:

I was originally going to write a post about how sometimes progress doesn’t always manifest in pictures. How while my core is still not as strong as I’d like, I rode to that fence confident and bold. 

But then I really looked at the two photos side by side and cringed. 

Not because of the position issues or the fact that three years later I’m still jumping beginner novice roll tops, but because I’ve gained weight. And a lot of it!

I don’t generally stress about my weight because I am actually happy with how I look and I’m not actually all that much over my ideal weight. But that doesn’t mean that when I look at a picture and can see it, it doesn’t make me freak out just a little bit. 

Since the wedding, I have not been as good with my eating habits. Part of that is that I was so happy to not having to watch my figure and part of that is the renovation we’re going through. We are living out of a mini fridge so even if we had somewhere to store food, we don’t really have anywhere to cook. 

But this also highlights something I have not been good at recently: working out. 

The Sunday after we schooled (for almost three hours) at Ashland, I woke up and could barely move. My lower back ached, my shoulders couldn’t lift my arms above my head. I spent an hour in a steamy hot bath soaking with Epsom salts and then crawled back into bed with my heating pad. 

You know what didn’t hurt? My core. And we all know that means I wasn’t using it. 

There’s not a lot I can do about the healthy eating for a few more weeks but i can handle getting back into a work out routine. C25K, here I come (again). 

Not only will this help with the weight issue and make me feel better about myself, it will make me a better rider. Gus is only half of this partnership and I want to pull my weight.  Hopefully this will help Gus and I keep approving. 

Dreaming Big

Is it too early to start thinking about show plans for next year? I’m not talking about carving my show plan into stone here, cause, you know, horses… but I can start dreaming right? Good.

This will be the first year since I left Seattle that I will be getting ready for a season of recognized showing and I’m pretty excited. I’m incredibly lucky here in Area III that there are so many good one days that I’ve been able to use to prepare but it’s not the same. And even better I am preparing for a show season where I actually get to show my own horse! Miracles.


So all of that being said, I don’t know where we’re really headed next year besides Area III at BN. Exciting, I know. But I also want to be pushing myself and Gus so that next winter we can hit up some schooling shows at novice. I would also like to work towards qualifying for the AECs. Not sure if I actually want to go but I’d at least like to qualify.

As for locations, I’m sure I’ll hit up Poplar and Chatt. I’m not stoked to go to Full Gallop because you can’t bring dogs which is a pain in the ass for a family like mine (I mean, I suppose I could show by myself, but I would miss having the husband around for pictures moral support). For sure though I need to hit up River Glen to see Hillary and Annie though.

But I’m dreaming big and saving pennies now. Hopefully you’ll see us out there in a few months.

House Renovations

This month has been kind of ridiculous. It’s open enrollment at work which means, that for me at least, it’s the crazy time. Long hours, weird hours… doesn’t leave a lot of time for riding unfortunately!


The only thing that is keeping me happy right now is that the contractor and his team are hard at work on our main floor renovation. It’s kind of just a kitchen reno but then it’s really also not because we’re opening up our house to make just one main living area.


There are still some things that the boy and I will be doing on our own like the floors and resurfacing the fire place but I am so so happy with how things are going! We also need to get our butts in gear and finish the minor cosmetic stuff in the bedroom so that we can pull out the carpet and put down the new flooring.


It’s going to look so nice when everything is done. And I can’t wait until I can move out of my basement.🙂


New Trainer is the queen of last minute adventures. And I LOVE that. The latest adventure was a 7:00 am text on Friday morning asking if we wanted to go horse camping that night. Um, yes?! Does anyone not say yes if they are at all available? Especially when New Trainer offers to bring both living quarter horse trailers so you don’t have to sleep in a tent?

I think not!


The place we camped was a really neat 100 acre farm. It’s one of those places that could be just beautiful if they kept it in shape. But, they let us camp there for the night so I shouldn’t complain too much. Gus didn’t seem to mind the new digs though he was quite annoyed that we were late with his dinner.


The only bad part about the whole place was the caretaker who kept bothering us. Somehow we had miscalculated and were $25 dollars short. We promised him we’d get him that in the morning before we left. Well, new trainer and woke up around 8:30 and started taking care of the horses. Before we could even toss hay this creepy guy was stalking us asking for money. And he was kind of creepy (and they’ve had issues with him on previous trips with him accusing new trainer and  new farrier of wanting to steal his horses). So new trainer wasn’t too happy and I think we’ll be finding a new place to camp.


But anyway, the actual camping was great! And we had planned to do a nice long 4-5 hour trail ride the next day. Unfortunately Gus had other plans.


About a half hour into the trail, Gus slid down a little piece of rock. I thought nothing of it until Eric said “oh look he lost a shoe!” Well, while looking I noticed he did not just lose a shoe, he had also pulled his second shoe half off. Wonderful.


So I pulled the shoe off (new farrier was quiet impressed) and tried to carry on. Unfortunately, it was just too rocky and we had to head back. Still, we all had a wonderful time and will be doing it again soon!



Training Rides

It sometimes surprises me just how strongly some people feel about training rides. I’m not one of those people who thinks that just because someone else got on my horse for a few rides it means that I didn’t bring him up myself. I think having a professional on your horse once in a while (or more than once in a while if you can afford it) is super valuable. Especially if you’re an ammy like me. Not only does it give my horse a nice little tune up, it helps get him through concepts that I’m struggling with.

So anyway, new trainer wanted to hop on Gus for a few minutes this weekend and I said, why don’t you just ride him on Sunday? Thankfully she said yes.


He was a little bit of a pissant when she got on because he was annoyed about the flash (we won’t mention that it was so loose that it really wasn’t even there…) and the fact that he had not been allowed to go out with his friends since he was also shod that morning. Both are things that I expect him to work with. I don’t normally ride in a flash for dressage but if I do, I don’t want a tantrum.


But new trainer soon had him moving forward lightly in the contact and looking like a dressage horse. For the most part. He was extremely reactive to her spurs, using them as excuses get out of hard work but she just pushed him through it.


It was great for me to be there and see her thought process while she worked him. I’m impressed enough with people who can ride the ride and get results. I’m equally impressed enough with people who can explain to you what should be going on. So I’m doubly impressed that new trainer could do both at the same time.


The big thing that she stressed with me is that there are certain concepts, for example, accepting contact in the reins, that need to be a hard line in the sand. When he goes into giraffe mode, I need to immediately correct with my inside leg, seat bone, and rein. This is not a concept that is new to him so we (aka, me) are going to expect that of him.

He’s so bad with this that new trainer actually wants me to find time when I can just work on taking him from a loose on the buckle rein to connection over and over and over again. Basically for as long as it takes for Gus to get the message that starting work does not mean he tosses his head in the air.

By the end, Gus was looking like a real dressage horse. Okay, it was actually much more towards the beginning the end of the ride, but whatevs. I also felt like I got a lot out of it and will be able to use some of her exercises myself once I get back on. These next few weeks will be really rough for me so new trainer will be hoping on Gus again on Wednesday. Hopefully he gets another productive ride!