Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sonoma Horse Park: Gucci Sponsored Giant Step Charity Show

Sometimes I go to horse shows and work while I'm there. Working meaning I have my computer on... a little bit. Why do I go?

This text from a work friend sums it up pretty well: "Random thought on a Thursday....whenever I need a pick-me-up during the work day I take a 5 min break and looks at pics of Westie puppies on Instagram or watch clips of Jimmy Fallon on YouTube.. I've done it twice already today and it's ony 9:42am!"

My response to her was the above. That I spend a day at a horse show to help remind myself why I subject myself to the office every day. Don't for a moment get me wrong- I LOVE my job!!! But the daily grind does get to me.

I do feel quite lucky when my boss calls and the convo goes like this....

Boss: "So you said you were going to a horse show tomorrow?"
Me: "Yes- I am meeting up with X & Y- we will be going to meet an account. It's legit. I'm going to bring my computer."
Boss: "That's fine. Have fun."

Poor Shawn promised me a fitting!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wilbur Update

Slowly but surely plans are being finalized to move Wilbur to a barn in the Bay area.

Paul is (mostly) on board, I found a great place, and his Pioneer vet will be able to help with whatever is needed in the new facility.

A big decision with a lot of considerations- time and money being two of the top- but I knew Marlene's place was not a permanent solution.

So we'll see. Timeline is up in the air but thinking about mid-Sept to let him settle in before rainy season.
It'll be nice to spend some QT with the most handsome guy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Major Braids

Apparently manes are supposed to fall to the right side, not the left. Who knew! No seriously- who knew this?

Every time I lesson with Kelly she makes the comment that "we" need to braid Ellie's mane over. Who is this "we?" So for some reason I chose the most humid evening to go stand on a stool over a fidgeting horse and attempt to braid a mane that is far bushier than I ever realized.

The result? Biggest braids. Ever.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Line

Being stuck in the indoor has its perks- it's small so we can't fit in too many fences. Four stride line it is.
Mischief Managed.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Stepping Sideways

We jump! For the first time in about two weeks- my confidence had been running a little low.
Rode in the indoor ring today- aka. sauna- and will continue to until the new outdoor footing is delivered on Monday.
Just a few trot fences and a line that we trotted into. One step forward, a few steps sideways. Ellie has a nice jump so we're working on slowing my body and hands down over the fence to allow her to come up to me. A concept I find particularly challenging since there's literally a millisecond of "airtime" in which to slow your body.
We actually had some success in eq modification so I consider it a win. Especially since I lost like 5 pounds in water weight alone.
Ellie got a rinse and finally got to go back and finish her hay. The look on her face says it all. "For the love of Gosh Mom...."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Is about all I can manage tonight. Ok- just two words. Forced selfies.
I forced Ellie to take selfies under the guise of a grooming. She would rather eat her hay.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Higher Standards Leather Care

I wanted to change up my saddle cleaning routine since I haven't felt like my Horseman's One Step has really been getting the grime off now that the saddle is serving double duty between my butt and trainers butts (who are using it for Ellie rides because of the fit).

On the advice of the blogosphere and numerous reviews I ordered Higher Standards Leather Care in the Combo pack- Viva Carlos soap and the leather balm. I finally had a chance to break them out during the usual Sunday scrub. The result? I'm quite pleased! I mean the saddle didn't turn into gold or anything but....

I love that the soap arrived with a sponge inside. Isn't there just something about a new sponge?

They both smelled fantastic and the barn contingent agreed.

The soap cleaned well, didn't lather too much, and I liked the way it worked into the leather evenly.

I used just a touch of the balm and will give it another go this week to see if I noticed a difference in the conditioning of the saddle. To be fair- I never condition the saddle leather and I use straight oil on the bridle so this might be the perfect compromise.

Lemon Scented Leather Care and a Limonata. Coincidence? I think not.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Saturday Trail

A lazy Saturday trail ride with barn buds was just the ticket!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Scenes from Austin

A few random snaps from the trip to Austin last week! As exhausting as these meetings can be it's always fun to connect with coworkers and friends!
The Lazy River was the choice method of travel for Margarita pickup

Welcome to the Resort

Camo awards dinner

I was wearing camo topped boots

The activity was a GPS scavenger hunt- fun but HOT!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Blogger Meetup in the Lone Star State

I had the chance to meet Lauren over at She Moved to Texas when I was in Austin for our sales meeting-  which is basically a miracle in itself as our time is normally scheduled down to the minute with these things.

Of course I didn't make it easy on her. This particular meeting I had flown in a day early and actually had a three hour break on Sunday before the Welcome reception. So when I got a comment from her suggesting we meet up I said SURE! But I need you to come out to Hyatt Lost Pines Resort located in the middle of nowhere and you cannot come before 2pm and you must leave before 5pm.
Bossy much? So in a flurry of late Saturday evening text messaging we etched out a rough plan and, like the trooper she is, showed up at the resort at 3pm on the dot.

Lauren is a super cool chick! We had a late lunch and gabbed about life and everything in it- including of course- the ponies and blogging. I want her to move to California and be my best friend.

When lunch came to an end I reverted back to my dork self, dragged her from conference room to conference room looking for S '15 English product to show, and then grabbed her shoulders (shaking her slightly) while saying "I am SO happy we got to do this" in a slightly maniacal way. Oh man. I suppose it's better than just blurting out something like- "I really like you- can we be friends?"

But seriously. I think all equestrian bloggers could be like some large, slightly dysfunctional group of best friends. It reminds me a bit of college- everyone lumped together with a few common interests (beer and frat parties- what?)- the circumstances and similarities creating easy camaraderie and a few life-long besties.
Writing and horses. Probably a more productive set of hobbies than the aforementioned.

A big THANKS to Lauren for taking time out of her weekend to meet up- so much fun!

Friday, July 11, 2014

And We're Off!

Feeling quite pleased with our lesson today. Not perfect by any stretch- but rather than be tense and nervous I had a ton of fun!
Now off to Austin, TX through Wednesday to look at BOOTS!
Ellie getting her hydration on

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pink Flowers 2. Emily 0.

Try, try again. Tomorrow.

At least this one doesn't seem to hold much of a grudge.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blog Hop: Unpopular

L. @ Viva Carlos asks in her latest blog hop- what's one unpopular horsey opinion that I have?

Inevitably whenever the hunter division is brought up on COTH, be it for poor hunter eq, jazzing up the courses, the "good old days," there's a general theme woven in asking the question- "We keep manufacturing a division for everyone at any level, and those divisions grow and take away from all the divisions. What can we do? We have top hunter riders, from pony riders through professionals, from all over the country. What goals are we having our riders aspire to?"

This quote comes from a Susie Schoellkopf at at the Chronicle in her article- How Do We Inject Excitement into the Hunters.

Oh man. I get a bee in my bonnet every time this comes up but I'm too afraid to comment lest I am murdered while sleeping. 

Listen Susie. Gone are the days when TBs (go OTTBs) galloped around an entry level 3'6" course costing nickels on the dollar. 
And it's not coming back. 

Adding the Crossrail, Long Stirrup, and 2'6" divisions at rated shows have opened the doors to the true amateur owner- one that has a career, family, and fits riding in whenever they have a spare moment. Their steadfast, although perhaps not derby, horses get them around the ring so they can come out with a smile and enjoy a glass of wine with their barn buddies. Some may use these divisions as a stepping stone and some may not. And there's no shame in not moving up. 

Let's get real. It's not like local rated shows attract a spectator audience anyway- so suggesting that lower levels weaken the crowd is quite ridiculous. There's not much of one to begin with. 

Frankly- it's a business. The more competitors that sign up- the more money for the show and trainer. What trainer wants to take 2-3 3'6" riders and leave the rest at home? What show only wants to open divisions to 3'6"+ riders? They'd cut their entries by more than half. Even at the 3' level. 

Cost. These shows are expensive. For real. And the horses that are winning in the big hunter ring are too. I'd love to get Ellie into that ring someday but also recognize that we probably wouldn't have a shot in hell of getting some satin (fingers still crossed to just get there). News flash- I've never shown above 2'6" at a rated show. Because I've barely been able to afford to own a horse- let alone one that was made enough to jump around the AAs. 

On a tangent- .70 meter Jumpers? Same damn thing- why does everyone gripe at the Hunters. 

So for me? I want to go to a rated show, be in the "scene," spend time with friends. I'm not chasing points. I'm there for the experience. And there had damn well better be a crossrail class for me to show in. Because if I have fifteen hundred bucks to drop on cantering around a course, be it crossrails or a derby, take my money and say "good luck." How am I possibly hurting the sport by showing in a crossrail division at a rated show, coming out of the ring, and saying, "GO ME!!!"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Green Eyed, Long Lashed Monsters

I can't help but be a tiny bit jealous of my favorite barnmates who are heading off to Oregon to horse show for the next two weeks. Doesn't that sound like the purest form of luxury and fun? Nothing to do but horse show. The ultimate escape from reality for sure! I know what I'll be doing with my pennies until next July!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sunday Routine

Sunday is a routine day for me. Home from whatever activity by around 4- laundry, cleaning, homemade dinner, in bed early so we can start the week fresh.

The same is true for Sundays at the barn. Ellie gets some type of spot removal treatment in the form of a bath or Cowboy Magic Green Spot scrub. Freshly laundered saddle pads are packed in the trunk. My black stirrups that have been accumulating grime all week are rinsed and my bridle is oiled and carefully hung.
And of course the hony gets lots of treats and some grazing time!

I ordered my first batch of Higher Standards Leather Care today in the Viva Carlos scent (thanks $900 facebook pony for the 4th of July Sales)!

This should add a luxe twist to my cleaning routine!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A+ for Effort (or A for Awful)

My Friday lesson is still haunting me. 8:30 am with Emma.
She asks what I want to work on that day with a laugh. That's what I love about this group- the courses are always tricky and the exercises technical. But for me? I get to pick what I want to work on- and news flash- it's crossrails. Again. So we start weaving a pattern together and no joke, if this were the Hunter Derby of Crossrails, Ellie and I would have won. Every distance came up beautifully, Ellie was balance and happy, we were clicking in a way we hadn't before.
Could I be satisfied with that? Some days- yes! But today there was a pink flowered vertical set against the rail that  called my name like a sirens song. We trotted it a few times before I asked Emma to raise the rail to 2'3". This is my game- I love the long ride to a single fence. We got this!

Actually. No. No we did not. Or should I say, I did not have game that day. In blurry video 1. we see Ellie and I riding a great pace towards the fence. 4 strides out I didn't see anything and rather than sit like a patient rider and wait......I kicked her forward shouting something like "LET'S GO FIND IT." In my head.

In video 2. we actually did wait and I would take the chip any day. Ells came to us having been rushed to fences a bit- and while she is game for the long distance- the trainers would like to see her sit back a bit. Hence the - DO NOT CHASE IT IS A MORTAL SIN.

Video 2.5- wait- there isn't a 2.5. That's because I chased her down to a long distance that had her drop a rail (hang head in shame).

So a well deserved video 3- where she shakes her hoof at me and lets me know she's had enough! Actually I think I worried her to the point where she no longer wanted to jump the fence. After her run out we trotted it one last time and called it a day.

Why is it still bugging me? It's amazing how quickly ones confidence can rise only to be shattered- I KNOW I will be thinking about that fence going into our Thursday lesson. Also- I really really don't want to ruin my young horse. I know this single sequence isn't going to cause major ongoing issues- but it's the lack of body control that worries me. In my mind I'm saying- "wait for it dummy!" But my body is reacting out of fear.

I think the best action I can take right now is to stay in my comfort zone. Build our confidence together over crossrails and 18" fences. When I get the urge to jump up- I need to jump another crossrail course perfectly. Three times in a row.
And know that I won't be perfect. Ellie won't be perfect. And we both need to develop a sense of humor about the whole thing. Because we? Are going to be awesome.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bell Boots: Weigh In

Ellie is forging and it should be corrected easily within the next few shoeing cycles by the farrier......but in the meantime....BELL BOOTS!

What are your favorites and why?

PSA: I will take all advice into account but will likely buy the Davis Boots in Purple Glitter. How can I not?

My list of potential candidates:
1. Back on Track Bell Boots
2. Eskadron Rubber Bell Boots
3. KL Select Italian Bell Boots
4. Professional Choice Ballistic Overreach Boot
5. Professional Choice Quick Wrap Bell Boot
6. Davis Bell Boots

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ellie in Oil

Ellie has been immortalized in oil by a fabulous Brooklyn portrait artist, Jacqueline Kudo. This was meant to be a housewarming gift from my sister but I don't think it'll ever make it out of the office. I love looking at it too much!