Thursday, May 19, 2016

Farm Life

The Other Half brought this on himself.  He grabbed them a bag of apple ginger snaps at the store one day.

We're in our first spring at our little farm.  It is a beautiful property, and it the past couple weeks it has become even more beautiful with everything coming into full bloom.

Part of the trail that goes around our property.  Sooo pretty!

Another part of the trail.

Our place is also like watching Animal Planet live every day.  It's pretty awesome.  We have wild turkeys that we see daily.  Sometimes when I come out in the morning I hear them gobbling in the woods.  We also have a deer family that I see almost every single evening either in the arena, or by the muck pile.  We have a resident hawk that we actually saw flying around over one of the pastures with a snake in his talons the other day.  There's a possum that hangs out in the one pasture at night sometimes.  And now, just this week we have a new resident that has made an appearance every single night, a raccoon.

There are two other raccoons that have come to the yard with him but we haven't seen them since.  But this guy comes to visit every evening and in addition to putting cracked corn out for him, The Other Half throws him pretzels and bagels from the front window.  

I love all of our wildlife.  They don't bother anything.  We did have one big tom turkey that was attacking his reflection in one of the basement windows.  Stuff like that won't be tolerated but he hasn't done it since.  I really thought he might crack the window.  Not cool.

The Other Half recently put up a temporary paddock that is fenced with electro-braid.  They all know very well what electric fence is, and they respect it.  This paddock is also something they will only be in when we are home.  It just gives them another area to graze and gets The Other Half out of mowing for a few days.  He came up with this idea on his own and after getting the supplies had it up really quick one evening.  Klein and I were jumping and before we were done it was up and Mochs and Wes were in it.

 How awesome is it that I took this from sitting on our couch in the living room?

The ponies approve!  Especially Mochs since that gave her access to the BIRD feeder, which she promptly renamed the PONY feeder.  

 *face palm*

I KNEW that if any of them messed with the bird feeder, it would be her.  She got into the plat form feeder and tried to go for the suet cakes but couldn't get them out.  I watched her and despite me opening the window to yell at her she completely ignored me and went about helping herself.  We will just run the fence in front of the bird feeder so that doesn't happen again.  It was worth a try!

There is this dirt patch on the top of the small hill that they each take turns rolling in too.  

Klein rolling in their favorite spot.

Wes taking his turn.

I'm out of town for work until next week so The Other Half is holding down the fort and doing a great job like he always does.  He even has the ponies walking obediently from their temporary paddock into their stalls for dinner, which is surprising.  Normally Moch would take off like a wild thing but she's been a model citizen.  Her trot is looking better these days too.  I am going to take a really close look at her on the longe line after they are trimmed next week. 

The Other Half proving that Mochs is behaving!  The ponies have also Facetimed me while they ate dinner one evening this week too.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Plantation Field May HTs

 Rolling into Plantation on a beautiful morning.

Klein and I competed at the recognized HTs at Plantation last Saturday.  The day started out beautiful.  Actually I'd say 90% of our day there was beautiful.

We got there early in the day so I could make sure to walk xc twice.  Our dressage ride wasn't until 1:36 so we had most of the day to hang out.  Klein hung out on the trailer in the shade with a nice breeze and a hay bag full of alf.  She snacked and napped until it was time to get ready for dressage.

She actually warmed up better than ever for dressage.  Last time she had an ok warm up but this time I had her full concentration.  I did go to the warm up a little earlier this time too.  The rings were set up in a completely different area of the facility that day too.  The ring were right by the main road in, which was funny to me because I thought of the dressage show I went to a few weeks ago when they told me to wait to drive by the ring because someone was riding their test.  Here was a recognized event with three rings running next to the main road with all kinds of show traffic coming and going as well as a constant flow of cyclists.

Klein was unimpressed with the activity.  She really didn't need much warm up.  Most of our time was spent just meandering at the walk on a loose rein.  She warmed up so nicely what else could I ask from her??  She gave me some of the most balanced down transitions she ever has.  I think we've recently come to a new understanding in our down transitions, a higher level of balance.  When we took a lesson with Grand Prix dressage rider/trainer Eugene Abello he told me to think of a half halt as a "might halt" because that's basically what it is.  That popped into my head because of how balance and controlled Klein was to my half halts in warm up that day.  We flowed.  It was awesome.  I suspected a good test was coming.

We had a great test.  The only two negatives I knew for sure had happened were she wavered just a bit in our free walk and for the first canter to trot transition I didn't prepare her soon enough and she came to the trot at M instead of between B and M, and that is completely my fault.  We ended up with a 30.40.  Not our best, but definitely not our worst.  I remember in our early days when we would get 40's or a 41 and think a 38 was the greatest thing ever.  Klein would pretty much have to jump out of the ring for us to get a 40 now.  I'm not saying it's not possible for her to have a bad day and get a 40, but these days it would HAVE to be a bad day for that to happen.  Just crazy to think how far we are from where we started.

By the time dressage was done the sky was getting cloudy and I was crossing my fingers that storms would hold off just a couple more hours.

We went to warm up for stadium and unfortunately, it was pretty clear that the storms were headed right for us.  I tried not to let it bother me and we just warmed up like usual and hoped we could go early.  We only had a few more horses in front of us and I was heading for a warm up oxer when we were SLAMMED with the leading edge of the first storm. A 50mph wind hit us and blew over every single jump in the warm up and no less than half of the stadium course.  It was BAD.  That wind brought a 20 degree temperature drop and a cold rain.  Horses were freaking out and riders were jumping off of them and trying to calm them down.

Notice the jumps on the ground.  The last one standing in this pic blew over right after I took this.

Klein wasn't bothered so I just kept her moving despite being freezing myself in the cold rain and wind.  Of course I had a t-shirt on under my vest.  A few minutes later we were told to get off the hill NOW and get back to our trailers because lightning was in the area.  Some people were saying they were going to call it a day and there was talk of the event actually being canceled for the remainder of the day.  Then an announcement was made for us to just wait at our trailers and they would reassess everything in 10 mins.  I left Klein's tack on and put her on the trailer to keep her out of the rain.

10 mins later, an announcement was made that the line had broke up and to get back on and get up to the stadium ring.  Luckily I had a long sleeve shirt in my trailer and had just enough time to change into that.  We headed back up to the ring in the rain.

We went around the warm up for a few minutes and jumped another warm up fence to get back in the mindset then in we went.

I was SO cold.  I was shivering going into the ring.  The thought crossed my mind to just call it a day.  Yes, we just competed in a cold, pouring rain two weeks ago and ended up winning our division, but the wind with the rain made it extra cold that day.  I'm that person that is always cold and my fuse is short when I'm cold.  I start to not care about a whole lot when I get that cold.  Nothing is worth being freezing to me, no matter how much I paid for it or how far I traveled.  But somehow I convinced myself to just pretend we were in Florida and just go.

I let Klein down to the second fence.  I felt like I was riding in the fetal position because I was so cold and I just didn't sit up and make a decision and she stopped.  We circled and she went over, then the rest of the course was fine.  That's my fault for being weak and only caring about 80% instead of 100%.  So because of that, we picked up time because of circling.  Plantation stadium defeated us again, because of my own weakness.

Huge void in stadium between 5 and 6.  It was like this last time too.  Anyone that has been to Plantation, do you guys think this is kind of strange?  Why is there so much weird space in their stadium courses?  This is the first place I've ever seen such a thing.

Klein wasn't terribly forward in the xc warm up.  Our xc time was about 10 mins after our stadium round.  We headed over to jump the xc warm up fences and it was SLIPPERY.  Awesome.  I had walked the course and was so ready to ride her like I stole her and that idea went right out the window when we slid into the warm up fence.  I VERY seriously considered withdrawing again, wondering if I was about to make a very dumb decision for us because there was a lot of down hill gallop on that course that day.

I decided to just go ahead and if I felt it was too slick, or if Klein was backing off at all, that we would retire on course.  I've never considered actually doing that before that day.

We got in the start box and off we went, and she had a little slip even before the first fence.  That cemented my decision even further, if she was just straight up slipping around we were going to retire.  She is my teammate, she is not a piece of sports equipment.  This is my hobby, this is not what my income depends on.  It is not worth it if I felt we had a serious chance of face planting.  I decided to just slow down going down hill.

Our course was going better than I thought it would until we got to 15.  It was the world's friendliest roll top of all things but where they had it, the footing went up, down, and it was on a left slant down hill.  I just couldn't see the distance.  I feel pretty dumb because Novice fences are by no means big, how could I not see a distance to a freaking Novice fence?  I don't know.  I think part of it was me worrying about her on the wet footing.  Because I didn't commit, she didn't either and we had a stop on xc.  That hasn't happened for quite a while.  But again, due to my own incompetence, and there was no one to blame but myself.  Thankfully Klein needs me to ride, and stuff like this only gives me a riding lesson, it was just unfortunately at the cost of a recognized ht.  So, quite and expensive riding lesson.

I apologized to her and we circled and she went right over, because I was there for her.  Soooo, because of that we picked up some time.  We didn't have time to spare that day because of slowing down on the downhill parts of the course.

Oh well, we completed it.  We ended up being 11th.  It was a frustrating day, but lessons were learned.  I am really, really, REALLY hoping we have some nice weather for our next recognized which is coming up soon. 

Here's the course walk, notice how bright and sunny it was when I walked it:

 Long downhill gallop.  Good fun when it's dry.

 It was all down hill after this fence to #3.

 Straight downhill after this to #4 too.

 And, straight down hill into the woods after this one too.



 Just another view between 13a and b.  It was down and straight up to b.

 This pic was too close to show the up and down footing getting to this.  But, see?  Easiest roll top ever.  Of all things to have an issue at...

Into the water.

 And out over this.

Yeah, not so sunny and happy anymore.

Here is a helmet cam clip of 13a and b. 

Klein did awesome.  She was still ready to all out attack if I would have let her, and given her that ride.  When we got back to the trailer, I had already given her a granola bar and was getting her wraps ready when I heard her soft, low nicker.  It melts my heart.  She does this EVERY SINGLE TIME after xc at a HT.  She doesn't do it schooling, only after we compete.  It's like she is saying "I did good didn't I?  I was good, right??  We killed it, didn't we??"  I jumped out of my tack room and went over and told her she was the best horse in the world again and hugged her and gave her some more pats on the neck and kisses on the nose.

I made a pit stop on the way home at a local liquor store to get myself some wine and Klein a tall can of Guinness.

We had a frustrating day, but if you ever needed to put what you think is a crappy day in perspective, well, Saturday was the day. 

I had looked at my phone before stadium and noticed some FB posts about the loss Philippa Humphreys.  I did not see what happened to her because I had to start tacking Klein up at that point.  After I got Klein taken care of and loaded up to go home, when I got in my truck I checked my phone again and was stunned to see Philippa had been lost at Jersey Fresh only a couple hours before.  We were only about an hour and half away from Jersey Fresh.  My heart broke for her family and friends.  My frustrations with the day immediately vanished.  I drove home thinking about her family the entire way and being incredibly thankful that I was driving my truck and trailer home myself with Klein safely in my trailer.  Who cares what happened with our day??  The only thing that matters is both of us were safely on our way home to The Other Half (he had to work that day so we went alone), Wes, Mochi, and Manny.  When I pulled into our drive way The Other Half was outside waiting and came and gave me a big hug when I got out of my truck.

On my way home, there was a HUGE full rainbow in the direction of the Horse Park of New Jersey.  I got goosebumps and couldn't help but wonder if that was Philippa waving good bye.  I took a picture of it.  I sent it to EN and they posted it today.  It still gives me goosebumps to look at it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

If The Bonnet Fits - Custom Fly Bonnet

Last month I ordered a custom fly bonnet from If The Bonnet Fits from the recommendation of a Facebook friend.  Let me tell you guys...if you want a custom bonnet, you seriously need to order from If The Bonnet Fits!!  Sierra is AWESOME!  Her customer service is UNMATCHED!  She gave me a detailed run down of all the options for her bonnets and the sizes available, and then said she was also happy to take custom measurements to make sure my order was 101% how I wanted it.  Since Klein is in between sizes in just about everything and it is really brand dependent on which size fits her, I sent measurements.  She also told me if the fit was off at all, to just send it back and she would make sure it was perfect.

Sierra repeated everything back to me, colors, measurements, material, etc... to ensure she had everything correct then sent me an invoice and got started on my order.  She made sure I had my order faster than I had hoped.  It fits Klein PERFECT and looks GREAT!  Thank you again for your amazing quality work! 

I look forward to ordering from her again in the future and really hope you guys do too if you are looking for a high-quality and very reasonably priced product.  She is on Facebook:  If The Bonnet Fits - Custom Fly Bonnets and Instagram:  ifthebonnetfits .

Sunday, May 8, 2016

For Sale: Duett Fidelio Dressage Saddle, Bridle, and Show Jacket

Duett Fidelio dressage saddle, 38cm tree, 19" seat:

I'm selling my Duett Fidelio dressage saddle (for real this time).  I've put it up for sale a couple times but didn't really care if it sold or not because I really do love that saddle.  I have finally come to the realization it is just too big for me.  I was told by a few people that this model runs small and to buy the next seat size up, so I did.  That is incorrect.  This saddle runs true to size in the seat.  I ride in an 18" because I have a long legs.  I can fit in a 17.5" but my leg is the issue, not the seat, with that size.  So you can imagine a 19" is pretty inappropriate for me, which is what my Fidelio is.  I would go back and forth about it, I'm ok, no I need a smaller size, I'm ok, no this isn't working.  Part of my issue was that it does fit Klein nicely, and it IS really, really comfortable to ride in.  But, when I'd change saddles and ride Moch in my Isabell, which is an 18", the difference was noticeable.  My position was better, more upright, down transitions were better, there was no room for me to slide to the back of the saddle, it is just overall more comfortable. 

The Isabell fits Klein too, so about a month ago I switched to riding her in it for dressage and put the Fidelio away.  I'm noticeably more effective with certain movements in the Isabell on Klein too.  Things are easier because I'm not working against my saddle.  So, long story short...who wants to buy a beautiful Duett Fidelio size 38cm tree and 19" seat??? 

$1,200 firm for it, this includes shipping to anywhere in the U.S.  PayPal only, cash is acceptable if you pick it up in person if you are local (Philly area), or if you are going to be at any shows that we are, I will bring it with me and you can pick it up then.  I'm sorry, but no trials because I just don't want to run the risk of shipping this saddle back and forth and having it end up damaged along the way somewhere. This saddle is $1,799 new, see for yourself here:

If you are curious about fit, you can do a wither tracing and send it to Nancy at Duett and she will be able to tell you if it would fit or not.

Horze Shiny Prague Bridle, black, Cob Size:

This is a brand new bridle.  The brow band and nose band are shiny patent leather. I tried it on Mochi once and it didn't fit her right.  She is in between Cob and Pony size, so it is really hit or miss with specific brands of which size will fit her.  It's a sharp looking bridle, reins are included.  $65 shipped to anywhere in the U.S.  Again, PayPal only please, unless you are a local pick up and have cash.  No trials, no trades.

On Course Show Jacket, Navy, size 12:

I have too many show jackets!  This one is in excellent condition!  $55 shipped anywhere in the U.S.  Again, PayPal only please, unless you are a local pick up and have cash.  No trials, no trades.

If you are interested in any of these items, please contact me at