Wednesday, 28 October 2015

I Blame The Blog-o-sphere

I'm an avid reader of blogs. My first hour at work is generally spent catching up on blogs and the news. I'm not a great commenter, because I generally don't want to comment for the sake of commenting and don't like to repeat what others have already said.  But I do read many blogs and I truly enjoy following along with other people's journeys.

Facebook's lovely "On This Day" feature showed me that it's been a year since I took Dee to the Halloween Hunt where my absolute favourite photo was taken.

When I was looking at it I noticed that aside from the Holy Shit strap, every piece of tack on her has been replaced.  For this I blame the blog-o-sphere!

Amanda and Sprinklerbandit are two of the biggest tack whore enablers I follow.  I seriously enjoy their blogs and I love all the stuff they open my eyes to, but holy bejeezuz, I have taken my tack collecting to a whole new level because of things I've seen on their blogs.

My simple fancy stitch bridle with a french link has been replaced by a PS of Sweden High Jump and a loose-ring waterford.

The elastic breastplate has been gifted to the neighbour girl for her stash of newbie eventing tack (and in her first year she went on to be Reserve Champion, must have been the breastplate). I've now got a PS of Sweden High Five breastplate.

The Forestier monoflap just didn't fit Dee so it's been lent out to a friend and I purchased my lovely new-to-me Amerigo monoflap.

The Bow Balance irons have been replaced with MDC Ultimate Stirrups (purchased used for $20!)

The Mattes jump pad has been upgraded to an EcoGold secure saddle pad (purchased used at a tack sale).

The beautiful Ogilvy half pad has been relegated to dressage only as my Amerigo requires something a little more substantial. So I've got a no-name sheepskin half pad with double shims in the front.

Saddle, pads and irons all upgraded
The Woof boots have been relegated to back up boots and I now have Veredus Evento XC boots. (I actually had EcoGold XC boots in-between but they rubbed so they've been sold onto a new home.)

My vest, helmet and boots have all remained the same.  I love all 3 so I don't' really have any plans to replace them, except my helmet is going to expire soon. :(

All the new equipment
And this is only for my jump tack.  Dressage is a whole 'nother subject.

I have no regrets!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Living the Dream

I've officially reached a life-goal! I have my ponies in my backyard.

It was a bit of an insane weekend.  On Friday I was setting up temporary fencing because the back fences require quite a bit of work. We've got to mulch/chop down a bunch of trees that are right in the fence line before we can even begin to replace the fence.

Saturday we insulated the attic. Let me tell you, that is it's own circle in hell.  I now understand why people pay people to do it for them.  It's not a complicated process but it is miserable, thankless job.  But at least it is done and we won't see all our heat escaping out through the roof.

Sunday we actually moved all our belongings in. We've got some awesome friends so everything was moved in in under 2 hours, and now my entire house looks like it exploded boxes and furniture.

This trailer is completely full.  We have too much stuff!

The exciting part is that both my ponies made it safely home.  I picked Chase up on Saturday evening and he unloaded and settled in right away.  He seemed a little out-of-sorts being all by himself, which resulted in some minor pacing. The appeal of grass kept him from doing to much fence-walking.

He's looking pretty good for a mostly retired old man

Shimmer-E and Sarah hauled Sullivan over on Sunday afternoon.  He loaded reasonably well (for never having been in a small straight haul) and hauled really well. When he got off the trailer, the first thing he did was try and kick Jill's head in because she was running around like an idiot. I'm glad she can't get into the field because the #littleasshole really doesn't like dogs.

He's fat and fuzzy! Just the way I like my young guys.

Once I turned him out with Chase the two of them became fast friends. Sullivan tested the fence once, got shocked and squealed, farted and bolted.  I've yet to see him go anywhere near that side of the pasture since.

I keep standing at the window and watching them just graze.  The Boy thinks I'm a little strange, but he's learned to just roll with all the crazy horse nonsense.

So pretty.

I'm siting in class working on this post and I just received this photo with the comment that Chase has decided that all the cookies are his, and iPhones are a terrible tease because they don't taste good. I think he's liking having horses at home too.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

SmartPak Favorite Products Blog Hop

Thanks to Breeches and Boat Shoes for converting this into a Blog Hop I can participate in (since I refuse to participate in a vlog).
What is your favorite equestrian-specific product that you use when you’re at the barn?
I'd say it's a tie so I'm including a product and a piece of equipment.
This time of year, I use EQyss Premier Equine Botanical Spray on a daily basis.  I absolutely love that it keeps the static at bay.  No more shocking the poor ponies while removing their blankets.  It also leaves their coats soft and shiny and I love the floral smell.
I also adore both of my PS of Sweden bridles(this one, and this one).  I've never had bridles I like so much. The quality, the workmanship, and the practicality make for really nice equipment.

What is your favorite non equestrian-specific product to use when you’re at the barn?
Baby wipes are a staple in my trunk. I've used them for everything you can think of, from a quick tack/boot wipe down, to cleaning wounds, to an alternative to showering.
What is your horse’s favorite equestrian-specific product to wear or use?
Dee absolutely loves having her face rubbed with a simple rubber wash mitt. Brushes and curry combs are not allowed, it must be a soft mitt.  
What was the best equestrian-related gift you were ever given, and why does it mean so much to you?
My mom gave me a horse for Christmas of 2013, which was pretty special and awesome but I think my favourite equestrian gifts came from The Boy for our first valentines day and my birthday (they're only 10 days apart).  We'd been together for less than 2 months and he got me 2 bling browbands that I'd been drooling over for Valentines Day. He then got me a brown Rambo cooler I had mentioned once in passing for my birthday. Both gifts were extremely thoughtful and impressive. I was sure he was a keeper after those for sure!
Browband and cooler courtesy of The Boy
If you had the ability to create any product or anything to make your time at the barn better, – no matter how ridiculous or against-the-laws-of-physics it might be – what would that be?
Jumps that set themselves up, reset themselves and then put themselves away. I love an empty arena!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


The Boy and I have been casually looking for an acreage for the past 8 months.  We got serious back in June when we put an offer in on a place. Unfortunately there were multiple offers and we got screwed over by the seller's realtor (as in he didn't even present our offer). So we kept looking. There aren't very many acreages available in our chosen area that are within our price range. As oil prices continued to drop more places started to come available but it also has become harder to obtain mortgages in Alberta, especially if you're employed in Oil & Gas (as both The Boy and I are). Things were looking rather bleak on the acreage front and we even discussed buying a place in town.

And then on August 20th our realtor sent us a listing that hadn't even hit the MLS yet. I knew right away that we had to look at it. When we got out of the truck I already felt like I could live there (before even going inside). So after some back and forth (and another multiple offer situation) we finalized the deal. Today we took possession and are officially home-owners together! (The Boy already owned his home in town, we kept it and are renting it out).
I'm going to be able to look out the kitchen window and see my ponies.
It's 4.6 acres with a 4 bed, 2 bath bi-level, attached garage and a 30x40 barn! There are a few places where the fences need repairs but the ponies are coming home on Friday. Dee is staying at the winter facility so I will have an indoor to ride in. This meant I needed a buddy for Sullivan and the stars aligned perfectly.  I will be picking up Chase, a 17 yo Paint gelding, on Friday.

The barn is unfinished on the interior, but cute as possible
I originally got Chase as a 4 year old and owned him for 9 years. He packed me around beginner jumper courses, even though he was not designed to be a jumper. As I outgrew his abilities I found him home with a lovely family who needed a safe and sane mount. Their kids are out of the house and Chase is just sitting so they approached me to see if we would like him back, just as we were finalizing this house. Kismet, I tell ya.

Such a handsome ponykins
The love is mutual (as long as there is food involved)

This whole process has been a rollercoaster of emotions.  I'm brimming over with excitement but we did just spend a bloody fortune so there have been moments where I've had to sit down and put my head between my knees.

The best part will be looking out the kitchen windows to see my fat and sassy beasts :)

Monday, 19 October 2015

One More Day

It's going to be an insanely busy week and tomorrow is a big day.  A really really big day. I'm so excited I almost feel sick. But more on that tomorrow...
Sneak Peek
Dee had the weekend off as I went to a tack sale on Saturday and then zipped down to my sisters to play with my nieces and get my hair done. For the first time EVER, I went to a tack sale and did not come home with a blanket. I did buy a few things but actually sold more than I purchased. I picked up a bridle bag (with long enough straps to use with my PS of Sweden bridles), a spare halter for #littleasshole since he's out grown one of his, a travelling saddle rack and 2 Ecogold dressage pads, all for $77! 

The pads need some TLC as someone dried them and the edging shrunk and the pad no longer is usable.  I'm going to pull the edging off and con my step mom into sewing on a new one. The rack needs a coat of paint but is going to be so handy to take to events.
Stock photo.  Mine is currently blue.

I also signed up for a clinic while at the sale, I actually got the last spot. Jessica Phoenix is coming to the area Nov 27-29 and we're now signed up to ride.  So much for not jumping until 2016, but I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to ride with her.

The Boy sent me this while I was out of town.
Apparently he went out and fed her and changed her blanket.  I'm pretty lucky.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

2pointober & How My Horse Likes to Sabotage My Plans

First off, thanks to L and Hillary for once again hosting 2pointober! This round may be the best yet.  They've lined up amazing sponsors and have a whack-load of participants. Last year this contest gave me a great drive to work on my two point. I worked my butt off, enlisted help from my trainer and managed to go from a measly 1:37 to 16:02. (Spoiler alert, shortening my stirrups and adding a riser pad to my uphill saddle increased my time by almost 10 minutes, it's amazing how the correct base will make it so mush easier)

This year my baseline came in at 10:16, and let me tell you, I sure felt my legs for the next few days.  I spent quite a bit of time with my "foam" roller (actually a PVC pipe because I find the foam too soft). I've been back to the gym more since the start of this competition than the entire month of September. Here's hoping I can keep the momentum going for the rest of the month.

I had plans to take Dee on a big long trail ride at Blackfoot Grazing Reserve on Saturday. Then when I came out on Friday I found this:

 It's the same bloody eye she injured earlier this year. I flushed it out with saline, put in some antibiotic drops and turned her back out in her fly mask. More drops on Saturday, Sunday and by Monday it was looking back to normal. We had big plans to trail ride, work on our two point and generally enjoy ourselves because it was likely the last beautiful weekend and a holiday to boot! Dee obviously felt that she need Thanksgiving off as well so I spent the weekend reading books, eating way too much turkey and consuming my body weight in Oma's cream puffs.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Summer in Cliffnotes and Photos

I can't seem to keep myself on the blogging train. Which is really sad, because I love being able to go back and see what we did (and how far we've come). I'm going to make a solid effort to rejoin the blogging community. While I haven't been posting I have been following and I've loved reading about everyone's journey whether it be full of shows, achievements and lessons or some of the most eloquent, heartbreaking thought on life and marriage.

I last left you in the midst of a clinic and then Blogger ate my scheduled posts and I had no motivation to continue. It's been a hell of a summer and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Cliffnotes version:

Becky Lee clinic in June ended with us schooling a bunch of Training courses

Went to a local jumper show.  Kicked butt!

We like winning!

Cochrane HT (at Entry) Finished on our dressage score (which turned out to be our best of the whole season)

Dee felt the need to smile for the camera

James Alliston clinic.  Fell off (pilot error, miscommunication), schooled almost all the Training fences, made new friends but didn't really feel like I learned anything


Had my first therapy session with a Sports Psychologist. Fabulous idea. I haven't had a single crippling panic attack since. She reminded me that everyone has baggage, its just how we pack it away that is different. I still have fear, but I feel like I can manage it much better.

Thompson Country HT - finished on our dressage score again. Found Entry to be boring and felt completely ready to move up at Rebecca Farm

Hauled down to Kalispell early to spend a week at Herron Park with Sandra Donnelly. Had some fabulous jump schools, climbed a mountain, ate way too much pizza and enjoyed having no cell phone. Sandra told us when we get our dressage better we will be ready for Training no problem. Made a ton of new friends. Discovered my horse cannot have a day off while living in a stall, she becomes a wild beast!
I'm spoiled to be showing with Isabel

Herron Park is just gorgeous

Ditch that actually had a creek running through it

Completed Rebecca Farm Novice, on our dressage score. My FB blew up when we were featured on Eventing Nation's "Who Jumped it Best?" (It sure wasn't us, apparently I felt the need to check to make sure the ground was still underneath us). Took 14th individually but my team placed 4th. The best friend and the boy both came down to support me.  I couldn't ask for better people in my life. Dee got a boot rub from her XC boots that managed to get irritated and ended up with full blown cellulitis. (NEVER ask how you haul the lame horses home from an event a full day away)
Rebecca Farm is no slouch either

Spent 10 days being wrapped and medicated, bounced back super quick.

Alhambra HT- Pre-Training, toughest PT course I've ever seen. Had a great dressage test, scores did not reflect but I was super happy. The weather was horrid and the footing was slick.  Picked up a 20 on XC when we slipped right in front of a jump and I pulled her off it (rather than risk near death). Still finished with time allowed. Pilot error in stadium gave us 4 faults but I was still really happy with my horse. (No media because everyone missed my stadium and dressage rides and the weather was too bad for XC)

Babysat a couple of baby Standardbreds in their first XC foray. Could have done without the 5 minute deluge and the flat tire but it was still fun.
The fabulous Jose Jalapeno and Shimmer-E

Had pro photos taken of the pony and dog, The Boy tagged along.  Dee thinks putting her ears forward is for fools
Favourite picture ever! Thanks to SMTT for the inspiration and how-to

I love them all. I'm glad the feeling is mutual

One of very few with pretty ears

The Boy and I look at a bunch of acreages

South Peace HT-Pre-Training. Rode my dressage saddle aside (only having ridden her sidesaddle twice before). My nerves got the better of me and I kept forgetting my test, which is a first for me. But them's the breaks. Had a fabulous clear stadium round and proceeded to kick XC butt (including our first buffalo jump) to finish on our dressage score once again.

Sullivan finally got branded

Skipped Championships to attend a small local jumper show that offers prize money.  It worked for us! I could only attend on Saturday so we did the highest divisions they offered (.75m and .85m). Took one second, two firsts and pulled one rail. We came home with over $600 and 3 coolers (I won two for classes, and won one in the door prize draw). Perfect end to our season!

See, we really like winning!
And that's our summer in a nutshell.  Dee just had her shoes pulled and is enjoying a week off before we spend the rest of this year focusing on dressage.