Life has been…..stressful lately lol. But I kind of feel like whose life hasn’t been stressful?? haha While there isn’t “much” going on, there’s been a lot in the background, and a few things right at the forefront.
So the good things! First off, I got my spine shot! It was an epidural with a steroid in it, and so far, my back is feeling very well. A few ups and downs – the cold still bothers it a lot, so as long as I remember that sudden cloud cover + dips in temperatures means that it will be achy I can take precautionary measures, like slathering on lots of Sore No More lol. Otherwise, I’m two-ish weeks into my shot, and I’m super glad things seem to be going well with it. No idea when I can try riding again, but because of the many other things going on, I’ve benched that for a bit so I can take it slowly and wisely and not rush into anything so I can hopefully keep riding for many more years to come.
We’ve finally made all the arrangements for my family and I to drive up to Reno to visit my sister’s family for Christmas. We’ve got someone lined up to take care of the ponies for the time we’re gone, and we’ll be taking Oscar up with us as well. I’ve got a few stresses about that – namely the dogs. My sister’s dog isn’t the friendliest towards other dogs (especially small ones) and neither is Oscar. He tends to get pretty protective at times too, so we’ve come up with a few things we can maybe do while they’re both in the house. We’ll see how that goes, but we’ll have to keep them pretty separate most of the time, which is stressing me out a bit lol.
One thing that has been fun – re: hella stressful lol – has been getting the flooring redone in the house! It was a mix of tile and carpet, and the previous owners allowed their dogs to pee on the carpet, so it is – as you can imagine – quite gross. So we had the tile demolished on Thursday, and that was quite a loud ordeal. They were fantastic though, and ripped up the tile, the tile mastic, and then sanded everything down on the concrete so laying down new flooring would be as even as possible. A giant shop-vac helped keep all the dust down, so all in all it was a super smooth process.
It was hard hearing them rip up the tile at first. I felt like “ah, man, I’m destroying my sister’s house; what did I agree to???” so, it was a lot to process that day. But, now that it is thankfully complete, I’m glad we did all the tile at once. Having them come back would’ve been too much I think. The flooring installers don’t have much going on closer to the back-to-back holidays, so they were able to come out Monday to get started. They’re only doing half of the house for now – we only have so much room to move a few things around haha – and then we’ll focus on getting the rest of the house done.
But this is my first foray into completing a home improvement project, and let’s just say I’m certainly kinda overwhelmed! I’m also taking on getting replacement baseboards and putting them down myself – I will for sure have help to do so since my back will not sustain that for long, but I want to save a little bit, and it’s a good skill to learn I guess lol. But I think the other side of the house will be easier – no washer/dryer, no fridge, no bookshelves to move, no more tile to rip up, so it should go much easier than this one. Even still, nothing for a while lol.
I’m also oscillating between getting LRK3DE tickets for next year. With different pieces moving I’m not sure if I will be able to go, but if some bloggers are planning to be there next year, I really want to go to meet everyone for a blogger meet-up! Anyone else know if they are going next year?
Horses and dogs are doing well! Oscar has been a bit clingy at times, and I’m not gonna lie it melts my heart when different people offer him comfort but he instead runs over to me and asks for me to pick him up. As much as I wasn’t sure I wanted a dog after Choco (and of course, Oscar wouldn’t have gone anywhere else but with my family), I didn’t realize how much he and I needed each other. I’m glad he’s chosen me, and I enjoy coming home to his wiggly barking every day.
Amber, Kahlua and Whisper are doing well too! They’re liking the cooler weather we’ve been having, and poor Amber misses me. I go over and visit when I can – I still make grain and of course visit my parents every few days, so I always go up and give her some love. It does help appease her that I bring lots of apples and treats for her because of course, that is how one gets on their horse’s good side lololol. She’s grown more hair this winter, which is good because it has been dipping into the 30s at night the last few weeks. I also got Amber a halter I’ve been eyeing from my local tack store. I absolutely love it on her lol.
I hope everyone continues to do well! My family doesn’t have much planned for Thanksgiving. Just pretty quiet this year. What about everyone else? What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Even if you aren’t doing much, I hope your holiday goes well!
Hello everyone! Time for another (very boring) update, but thankfully pieces are moving and I’m excited about things going forward.
The only downer recently is that it’s been 1 full year since my sister’s accident, which feels impossible, but it has been that long. Labor day weekend was mostly spent keeping ourselves busy but hanging out with family. It was sad, but we still found ways to have a good time, which I will share in a bit. Only 3 days later we showed up in court for the driver’s sentencing, and each family member in attendance spoke – myself included. Not gonna lie guys, 0/10 recommend. I hate public speaking anyway, but getting up to speak to a judge to give testimony was atrocious. I really never want to do anything like that again. I am forever grateful to the 15 or so people who came to the sentencing to show our family support, but it was just not a fun day. And unfortunately no, nobody is happy with the sentence given out, but it is what it is. I’d taken the rest of the week off because I figured I’d need to be by myself or with friends and family, and that ended up being a good choice. I will say though that it is a huge relief to finally have that over and done with.
On more positive notes, I’ve finally gotten enough energy to get out and give Amber her much deserved love. It’s taken my thyroid medication a while to kick in, but I finally don’t feel like my legs will give out on me if I stand for longer than 15 minutes. She got a much needed bath, lots of treats so she wouldn’t be mad at me, and I could tell she missed me because she was very tolerant of all the face hugs and kisses I gave her. She soaked up all my attention, and had enough of it by the next day LOLOL. That was over Labor Day weekend, and my dad and I devised a plan to get my mom out and riding since I can’t ride with her right now and it really helps her with chemo to walk around on Whisper. Our plan? My dad was gonna ride Amber.
You guys. It was epic. My dad putzed around on Amber like he’d ridden her plenty of times. Amber was a happy camper, with ears up and a good walk and taking very good care of my dad. She never once got nervous or looked like she wasn’t having a good time – though she did pin her ears at Whisper when she got into her space bubble LOL. Then I hopped on and walked twice around the arena, and Amber got her molasses beet treats because she was bestest girl.
I am very optimistic that I was only muscle sore after riding. My PT and I think we discovered what has been hindering my progress – or at least has been around 80% responsible. When I was 12, I was riding my trainer’s lesson pony Air Myles and he bucked me off (as ponies do lol), and I landed hard on my tailbone. It was very bruised, and only 2 weeks later I hurt it again. Turns out it was a huge hotspot of pain, and I’ve been feeling so much better as we address that old injury.
It’s still a work in progress – 19 years of being that way will take time to undo, but I’m finally feeling better. My spine doctor appointment went well – I’m on my way for a neurology appointment to make sure my nerves are okay since my MRI did show my disk pressing a bit on my spinal cord, and I have an appointment with a pain management doctor to try cortisone and go from there. Thankfully, this means I’m really not a candidate for surgery, so that is a huge weight off. I am really hoping that since I am feeling so much improved, this will be all I’ll need and I can get back to riding my bestest pony girl again.
Oscar was goodest boy and cutest buddy the whole time I was home, and he was so sad when I had to leave for work again haha. He is his usual silly self, which has thankfully provided lots of laughter which we all need. Which I nearly forgot – he was most certainly NOT goodest boy a week and a half ago when he bit the groomers that I took him to. And then drew blood. Which I did not know about until I got a call from animal control at 4pm on a Saturday. Cue the panic attack. Lindsay kept great records for Oscar tho, so I found his proof of 3-yr rabies vaccine quickly and showed it to the very nice animal control lady who came by the house later.
I was extremely relieved that he got to quarantine at home for 10 days, and gave him a stern talking-to. He knew he’d done something wrong, but I won’t be taking him back there again. The groomers were way nicer than I was expecting them to be or I would’ve been had a dog bit me, but I think there’s something about the place he doesn’t like. There were other factors too that we wonder about whether or not influenced his behavior because he’s never bit anyone before, so I’ll be bathing him for the forseeable future. He’s difficult about his nails hence why I took him to the groomer, but with my mom and dad helping he should be just fine. So, aside from that, he has been goodest boy LOL.
Thankfully, things are looking up, and I’m excited to be moving forward!
Things were looking up for a pretty good amount of time, so I kept my eyes open for another horse in maybe the near-ish future as my back kept improving and I was feeling more confident to ride. I joined some FB sites, and just browse all the sale ads to see what I like and dislike to get a better judge of what I’d be willing to go see. I’ve had a few that I’ve gasped at and just loved, but timing was wrong and I just couldn’t spend their asking price when considering what I needed vs the greenness of the horse. I’ve of course showed my mom all my favs, and she has appropriately oohed and awed over them with me haha.
Unfortunately, just before I was going to try a horse my trainer had for sale on Labor Day Weekend, I got into a car the wrong way and immediately knew something was wrong. Sure enough my back worsened over the holiday weekend, I couldn’t see the horse, and it is unfortunately extremely similar to when I first hurt it back in February. My PT has been very concerned about how it’s reacting, and that has been very validating in me knowing with this setback that we really need to do something else to help it. Thankfully my GP is on the same page, so I’ve got an appointment with a spine surgeon in October. This way we can hopefully identify why my back isn’t allowing me to progress any further and is causing me such pain. I’m a bit nervous about it, but also hoping that I’ll get some good answers with a positive prognosis and that it will be a “simple” fix. As the weeks have gone on it’s gotten less painful, but I have noticed a click in my back when I raise my right leg any more than a few inches off the ground. Since that irritates the hell out of the area, most activity is still a no-go.
On a positive note, I finally discovered what was influencing a lot of symptoms and issues by being diagnosed with hypothyroidism. If anyone is unfamiliar with what that is, it is where my thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. This can lead to extreme fatigue, hair loss, tingling and numbness in the extremities, and many other symptoms I was experiencing. It’s been relieving to know why I’ve felt so fatigued – so much so it was difficult to get out of bed in the mornings or on weekends. We aren’t sure yet what caused it, but I do know that for probably 2-3 years I haven’t really eaten much iodized salt. Not for any particular reason, I just liked using sea salt better, but we’re wondering if that was a big factor. So, use table salt guys haha.
I’ve already been on medication for a few days, and so far it’s definitely helped. I’m still tired, but not to the extent of trying to pry my eyes open in the morning or remaining sluggish, brain fogged, and weak-legged all day. That feels like a big win to me, and it certainly goes far into helping my mental health since I’m feeling better – especially knowing the numbness and tingling hasn’t been from my back but from low thyroid hormone. There are foods I need to stay away from and others I should incorporate into my diet, but thankfully, most are already foods I have/haven’t been eating, so I thankfully don’t need to change too much on that front.
Now, we just have to figure out my liver and my back… One down, two to go!
All animals are doing just fine! Amber is doing well, and I’m hoping now that I’m not feeling so horribly fatigued I’ll be able to actually go over and give her lots of grooming and love. With my fatigue I’d only be able to manage 10 minutes if that, and I haven’t done chores because of my back so I miss her. Whenever I can see her, I ply her with treats so she won’t be mad at me. So far it’s working, just don’t tell her my secret lol. I don’t have any new pictures of her, but plenty of Oscar as you can see. He remains bestest buddy and sits close when I’m not feeling well or he’s clingy, and provides lots of laughs at his silliness. Just the other day, I got him to howl at Zootopia lol Please enjoy if you haven’t seen it on Instagram yet lol.
That’s about it so far! I hope everyone is doing alright!
(And to anyone who’s read this, thank you! I am mostly cataloguing these issues I’m having so I can go back and look if I need – doing it for myself doesn’t really motivate me, so putting it in a post while updating everyone on the animals helps me to actually sit down and write about it!)
I finally got the guts to try another ride. This healing process has just been so slow, and when I set myself back a few weeks ago I’ve been extremely hesitant to really do anything. Monsoon weather has been upon us and while I’m loving the rain, clouds, and humidity, it makes me a walking weather station, too. The barometric pressure makes my back ache like crazy, and if my neck and left ankle decide to hop in on the pain-train, then I confidently tell people we will have rain in no more than 2 days (literally have done this about 3 times now, and all 3 times we’ve had rain haha).
When it aches that badly, I really just want to lay down and snuggle with the dog. It is extremely uncomfortable. But, I also have to figure out what pain it is, if it requires heat, ice, or movement, and many days I’m too tired to really figure it out. Recently though, I wasn’t keeping up with my exercises as thoroughly as I should have, and my PT knew it. So he gave me a bit of an ultimatum when I asked if I could ride. It helped to kickstart my brain into just doing the exercises, to where mucking stalls actually made me feel better instead of making my back feel so fatigued that my legs would shake. That, more than anything made me think that maybe I could hop on again.
And you guys, I feel so positively about it! I only walked, and maybe a little less than 10 minutes since my back felt a bit spasmy as Amber and I were walking, but it was great! My back hurt a little because it just felt so normal again to ride that I’d forget to really engage my core to keep it steady. When I hopped off there was no numbness and no tingling in my legs! Last time, while my back felt better during the ride, I still got a bit of numbness in my legs that thankfully worked itself out within the hour after I’d done my exercises. So it is a huge improvement for sure! I iced it and was a little sore, but that was muscle stiffness thankfully – my actual disk and bones felt super normal! It was also very off-putting to feel normal and I was waiting for the other shoe to drop haha.
Thankfully, it never did, and the next day I was even able to muck without pain during or after. Before, mucking two days in a row was extremely painful.
Amber was bestest girl as always, but definitely gave my mom and I the side-eye as we were tacking up haha! Despite still enjoying work and wanting to be out, she’s embraced this whole retirement thing by now and doesn’t really want to do all the things anymore. Which is fine by us! I certainly can’t do much more than walk at the moment, and I’m trying to get my mom to do more with Amber since Whisper isn’t totally rideable at the moment. My mom doesn’t need much, so Amber not really wanting to do too much is also absolutely perfect for her.
She was an angel for my mom and took very good care of her. She stumbled a little, and my mom got a bit off-balance but nothing to worry about, and Amber still stopped to make sure she was okay. Okay, it really was more of an excuse for Amber to stop working haha, but I’d still much rather a horse do that with my mom than anything else! My mom laughed it off and Amber went forward willingly again, an easy trot for my mom to be able to ride. I know my mom really misses riding – we both really do – so I’m hoping that as I recover and try to ride more I can convince her to putz around on Amber and have some more fun. Whisper is still recovering from a nasty crack in her LF, and I know my mom is continuously disappointed when Whisper jogs off lame. So hopefully she can have some fun on my girl while we’re all getting stronger.
Oscar is still bestest buddy, sleeping adorably and being his usual protective self. Well, except for that time he bit a groomer *facepalm. They were way nicer about it than I thought they’d be, but they also know the circumstances so have been very forgiving that it’s just been a lot for poor Oscar. I ran over to get him out of the cage again – he’ll go in very well, but after that no one but me seems to be able to get him out of the waiting cages – where they were very nice and allowed me to schedule an express groom. That way, he doesn’t get put in a crate, and he was a very good boy with no shenanigans when he was done with the express groom. He looked very handsome with the most perfect bandana ever.
I am also very excited – and very very very relieved – that I have only one week left of school! I am so looking forward to my weekends being my own without being overshadowed by the need to do schoolwork.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading a very boring update!
When I first tried to ride again some weeks back, I was left feeling disappointed. I’d ridden bareback, 10 minutes at a slow walk, and just didn’t feel too well after. With just a chiro, my back was hitting a plateau, so he agreed to refer me to a physical therapist for added help. I’ve seen this PT before, so after we had a thorough evaluation, we got to a few exercises. I hadn’t even known my legs were mildly tingling constantly until the exercise he had me do helped move my disk from putting pressure on my spinal cord. I instantly felt a lot more confident about being able to ride again.
Unfortunately, after looking at my MRI, he pointed out that I don’t just have 1 bulging disk – I have 3. Which doesn’t include the one in my neck. Like….oof. Not what I want to hear at all. Thankfully, the disk at L4/L5 is the only one actively causing my issues, but the other two are already starting to go. They’re not bulging yet, but the MRI clearly shows that they’re close to my spinal cord already. So all the exercises I do going forward I will have to do for the rest of my life. Not honestly that bad, but ADHD does not lend itself well to discipline, so it’s something I’ll have to really make myself do, not just when I’m not feeling well.
I did get to ride the other day tho, and was very relieved to find that it felt like it used to – my back felt stable, sitting in the saddle was like coming home, and Amber was bestest girl and walked so politely as I kept stock of my back. It was feeling so good that I even trotted, probably for way longer than I should have, but I just felt so good. Granted, I was on maybe a total of 15 minutes, and five of it was trotting, but you know what, I’m not even mad at myself. My disk and vertebrae felt fine themselves, just a lot of sore muscles that haven’t been used in a long time since I’ve been healing. I just need to keep it up and not do anything to muck my back up.
Which, I managed to do a dumb Sunday evening and very much proceeded to muck my back up. I’m a terrible patient. Someone please just slap me for my stupidity. Because all last week my back just hurt. Most of the issue was that week my dad took his annual flying trip with other people from their glider club, so it was left to my mom and I to muck stalls and dump the bucket – which our physical therapist has told us not to do. And boy, was my back angry at me for trying to muck. Then because it’s monsoon season and I can’t be a normal 31-yr-old, my back was just aching from the sudden influx of rain and wet weather, and by Sunday night I was just done. I used to pop my back before I injured it (and even occasionally after I injured it) because it relieved that ache and pressure and felt lots better.
And what did I do? I thought “well, I have a chiro appointment Monday and I am just so freaking done with how much it aches, so if I mess it up, the chiro will fix it” like the dumb idiot I am. So I popped it. Lots of relief from the ache. Tons better. And yet…. the pressure may have been gone but oooooo-boy it didn’t feel right. I did something when I popped it, and no bueno. Thankfully, the chiro on Monday and PT on Tuesday seemed to help, but it’s nowhere near how good it was feeling last week. I’m really worried now I negatively impacted it worse than I may have thought. I really want to smack myself. Just….why??
Ugh. My apologies for venting but I’m just so done with being hurt and being in continuous pain. The chiro and the PT are working well for me, but it’s money I have to spend, time I have to take out of work or anything else I like to do, anxiety when I get weird twinges at night sometimes before I go to sleep that make me worry my back will never be better. Plus, it’s been a year since we had to let Choco go (which is…. unfathomable to me), it’s been 9 months since my sister was killed (also extremely unfathomable to me, and I shy away from realizing it’s been so long), and a guy at work I’ve known for years passed away earlier that week, and it upset me a lot (his wife ultimately lost her battle with cancer 6 months earlier, so he was having a very hard time without her). So, I know why honestly, I’m just mad at myself for doing it and just having so many continuing health issues. Not that there’s much I can do about the health issues, but it still makes me frustrated that I can barely do anything because I’m being physically limited by my back and it’s just being so stubborn. Or maybe I’m the stubborn one. Who knows anymore.
But, I still look back on that one ride and feel a lot of positivity about it. Even when I was worried I did too much, my PT exercises helped a lot, and I just felt muscle sore the next day. So much better than the last time I tried to ride. Amber wasn’t feeling too up to it; her right front was hurting her a lot that day, which was probably better because it made me quit riding when I might have kept going and I shouldn’t have. Her arthritis has gotten pretty bad recently on that RF of hers, so I worry about her since she’s 12 now. I hope I can keep her comfortable for more years down the line.
I’ve set myself back though, and I don’t know how far. So hopefully after a bit I can get that feeling back and I can ride again with the same positive feeling as the last time. Not soon cause stupid me was stupid, but I’m trying to stay positive. Amber loves her retirement but she also loves our quick walkabouts, and I miss riding her.
I hope everyone else is remaining healthy and able to ride! I’m soaking up everyone’s adventures so I can ride vicariously through you guys!
I thought this would be a very fun thing to do, but was supposed to get this posted a while ago, and I just never got around it it haha. Well, better late than never! After reading Amanda and Michele’s blogs I figured this would be fun to do while I haven’t had much other news to report. The original idea came from Anxiety at A on this blog post here.
1: What is one of your favorite brands specifically for your horse, and why?
If it’s specifically for Amber, then I kinda have to say Back on Track products. She seems to respond very well to them, despite the fact I can only use certain things in the winter because it’s just so horribly hot here. But she loves her BoT saddle pad, and I think with all her ouchies it just helps her muscles. Because I have lots of neck stiffness from my bulging disk, I bought a neck wrap from them, and it honestly helps me a ton. Otherwise there’s not too much brand-wise that I really swear by. Maybe the Sore No More Ultra gelotion since I use that in conjunction with BoT on Amber and myself. I know it’s mostly the arnica in it that helps, but I can’t deny that it does since we both have issues from all our injuries lol.
2. If you were given a gift card for a tack shop with unlimited funds, what would you buy first?
Oh geez. Um, I basically have everything I need…? I mean, I’ve got everything from western matchies to english matchies so I am honestly not sure what I’d get first. Maybe a crap ton of supplements?? I mean, I’d love a new dressage saddle, but that’s waiting until I potentially get a second horse, sooooo…? I have no clue haha.
3. What horse event/clinic do you really want to audit or participate in? (Events like Equine Affaire, or the LRK3DE, or even local events, etc)
I was able to go to LRK3DE in 2017 and that was fantastic, so I’m hoping to go again in 2023. I’d also love to meet some bloggers there if others are going. I’ve always wanted to participate in a clinic instead of auditing like I’ve mostly done, but I’ve got no idea who I’d want to have a clinic with at the moment. Considering all the injuries I’ve gotten riding, I actually really want to participate in a Landsafe clinic to learn how to tumble off of a horse. I think that would be a hugely good skill to have in the toolbox for me wanting to event in the future.
4. What is something your horse has taught you that you didn’t expect to learn?
That I can forgive myself if I make a bad decision. Whenever Amber didn’t understand something or was just having a bad day, I’d break it down for her to understand or I’d pat her, tell her we’d take it easy if she wasn’t feeling it, and we’d just have a good time together. If I could do that for her, why was I always so hard on myself for missing a sign, for not understanding something, for making the wrong decision? If I could forgive her, why couldn’t I forgive myself? So I started changing it. If she did something in response to me, but I made the wrong choice or couldn’t get my body working, I’d walk her and pat her and tell her she was good girl, that was totally my fault. And I’d laugh, and I’d let it go, and I’d do it better the next time. She’s truly been my most wonderful friend and teacher.
5. If you could take your horse anywhere, right now, to do anything, where would you go and what would you do?
We’d go ride on the beach. Absolute bucket list item right there. She dislikes water, so I highly doubt she’d actually be happy with waves, but I’d take her anyway haha! She’s the only horse at the moment I’d want to do that with, and she’s been great about letting me drag her anywhere and everywhere, so I’d do that with her. I’d also love to play around a starter XC course if she was able to jump; she’d love the open spaces and the trees, but I know after a bit, she’d definitely say it was too much work and want to walk LOL.
6. What are your favorite colors to put on your horse? (think saddle pads, tack colors, browbands, etc.)
Navy/blues of any kind are the best colors on her. With blue on the opposite end of the color wheel from orange, and Amber being – well – orange, it makes sense. But I oddly love her in French blue. It just looks *chef’s kiss* on her. But I also love variety every now and then because one color all the time bores me (yay, for ADHD lol), so I still like her in greens, whites, browns, and the occasional deep red.
7. What is your least favorite equestrian brand?
Ahhh….. I’ll have to think on that one? I mean, there are some that I think are overrated, but there isn’t really a brand that I terribly dislike that I can think of at the moment. I’ll come back to this one if I think of anything lol.
8. If you could change one thing about your discipline, what would it be?
Since I’ve actually trained/shown reining, I’m going to answer this question on that. I don’t feel I have enough experience in eventing to fully comment on anything there. But boy, I’m hard-pressed to keep it to just one thing I’d change about reining. So I’ll keep it to one thing, and then honorable mention the other two haha. First, and what I do consider most important, I’d change the ages of the horses that show. It’s a big reason I switched to eventing, seeing these horses in their upper teens just romp around a 5* course and be sound and absolutely in love with their job. Reining horses don’t really compete past age 6 unless they become youth horses, and they have very little longevity. This makes me really sad to see these horses used up so hard before they’ve ever really lived their lives. So I’d love to see competitions that celebrate an aged horse, that the futurities aren’t held until the horse is 4 or 5 (preferably 5) and they’re still competing much later in life.
So my honorable mentions: if a reining horse is supposed to drop their hind end to slide to a stop, why in god’s name is everyone breeding them to be built so freaking downhill?? And: everyone is narrowing the gene pool by breeding to too many of the same stallions, and too many mares are just getting shoved in the breeding shed without having a show history or proving they’d be adding good quality to the reining QH.
9. Did you grow up in an ag/equestrian familiar family, or are you the first person in your family to step foot in a barn?
My mom always had a horse, always loved horses, and I was the only sibling that took to it like a duck to water. I often joke I’ve been riding since in utero, because I was the only kid my mom could ride with until she was 8 months pregnant. I’ve been extremely lucky to always have access to horses and that my parents were willing to pay for horseback riding lessons and didn’t make me stick with piano lessons or soccer lol.
10. Do you like the bit that is in your horse’s mouth currently or do you want to try a new one?
I like Amber’s current bit. It’s a Myler eggbutt, and the straight mouthpiece is really the only one that fits her tiny mouth. The roof of her mouth doesn’t allow a lot of room between it and her tongue, so it’s really the only type of mouthpiece she likes.
11. If you could change one thing about your horse, what would it be?
To not have had injuries haha. I’d heal those babies up so we could get back to doing fun things together. It’s the only reason I’m looking for a second horse – if she weren’t injured, it’d be a different story. Other than that, I adore everything about her, so I wouldn’t change anything else lol.
12. What is one thing about horses you are weirdly obsessed with? (i.e wrapping techniques, footing, grooming, hair care, clippers, saddles, etc)
Ahh, sniffing noses haha. For as long as we’ve had Whisper she’s had the absolute best smelling muzzle ever. I have had other horse people agree her nose smells awesome haha. They’ve also agreed that if I ever found a way to bottle the smell and magically put it into a candle they’d buy it lol. Amber’s nose is not equal, and does not smell as good as Whisper’s haha. Yes, I know it’s weird. Do I make Whisper put up with mandatory kisses every day just to smell her nose? Yup. I do lol.
13. What is the most advanced horse you have ever ridden, or what is the most advanced move for your discipline you have done?
Since my last post there really hasn’t been much that’s been going on, but in an effort to get back into blogging a bit more frequently I’ll do a bit of a recap. It’s been a long waiting game for many things the past few months, but I’m excited for everything moving forward finally.
The beginning of February I managed to hurt my back…while sleeping. I’m pretty sure that’s not supposed to happen until I’m 40, not 30…. But, that’s how it goes I suppose haha. It was extremely painful, and I could barely walk without limping, and standing and sitting were also off the table. It improved until about 60% and just plateaued, and I was very glad my chiro was just as miffed as I was about why it’s not been getting better. I’ve been super anxious about it in the last few weeks since it’s chronically painful.
Thankfully, after x-rays and an MRI, we finally know why it’s been hurting so badly and has been taking longer than anticipated to heal: I have an annular tear in the L4-5 intervertebral disk and degeneration in the facet bones, causing pressure on the sensory nerves and lessening the space for my nerves to exit, causing the sciatica I’ve been experiencing. While this isn’t good, and is usually seen in someone 15 years older, this certainly doesn’t mean I have to stop riding (which I’ve actually been very worried about). If anything, I need to keep up the exercise, get the surrounding muscles and tissue stronger to help protect that area, and riding will certainly help with that. I’m just going to take it slow building up muscle, but I am extremely relieved that I can continue riding and that it will help. I’m just going to be taking it slow since annular tears take around 6 months to heal, so I won’t be riding since I don’t want any repetitive motion to make the tear worse. I want to give this tear as good a shot as it can get to recover so that I can ride in the future. If I continue to have pain I may need a few injections, but thankfully it’s looking pretty manageable for the foreseeable future.
Work is finally turning a corner too. For the past year I’ve been trying to talk to my management about changing my hours, or getting the workload I was promised, or moving in the direction of IT since that was the plan last year, and I’ve been turned down and brushed off every time. But at the beginning of the year I got a fantastic opportunity to do part-time IT work amidst my other duties that I perform. It created a lot of tension unfortunately, so I’ve felt the backlash from my management on that. But in the short time I’ve been there I’ve learned a lot, and it showed me that IT was definitely a direction I’d rather go over what I have been doing. And as of last week, that manifested in a full-time offer in that position, and I accepted it.
I’m really excited to be able to start doing that and be challenged to do more. I’ll also have huge flexibility to my schedule and hours, and likely will not be working any more 10hr days – thank god – unless absolutely necessary. I’ll also no longer be working with my increasingly toxic coworker, and for the most part will be working by myself which as an introvert makes me very happy haha. I’ll have a lot to learn, and will be hitting the ground running, but I’m eager to prove I can do the job.
I’m also nearly done with my IT degree – graduation date set at October 1, 2022! And then I’m never doing school ever again haha. This degree has been good, and certainly has helped me a lot, but at this point I think the school of YouTube and certs will be more beneficial lol. And while I say that, there is the potential that the position I’m moving into will want me to get a masters, which….hoo boy haha. I really don’t want to, but I’m not going to fully say no just yet. If I’m going to have two horses, potentially show, maybe move in the next projected years… it may just be worth it.
Which brings me to my next puzzle piece – horse #2. Now that I’m cleared for riding again, will have a much more flexible job, and will not have school after the end of August, I’m starting my search for horse #2. My back is going to limit me a little in what I might get, but to be honest I never really planned on buying a horse with a lot of athletic talent. I want to be proactive with my back so I can ride for many years to come, and this has also changed my preferences to look for a horse that’s a little more finished than I was initially thinking. I’ve joined a lot of sale pages recently, just looking at what I like and what’s on the market. Once I can get back riding with my trainer I’m going to have her look around for me as well. If you guys have any page suggestions for me to look at please put them in the comments! I’d love to check them out!
If you guys have made it through this far, thank you for reading my very mundane update about what’s been going on. Thankfully, Amber, Whisper and Kahlua are all doing well, as are Oscar and Zeus. As much as it sucks not to ride and Amber does want to get out, it’ll be more beneficial for me to rest up a while longer before I actively try to ride again. I’ll try to put out more updates on Insta as well since I haven’t been blogging much at all.
I hope everyone has been doing well. I’ve kept up reading many blogs but haven’t always commented, but I’d love to know how everyone’s doing!
Ugh, they got me.
Despite some good Black Friday and Christmas sales at most places, the things I needed were not discounted – supplements, gloves, BOT, and others. Most things on sale just weren’t things I wanted anyway.
BUT PS of Sweden had some killer sales this year between Black Friday and Christmas, and they got me. I’ve bought their horse products before but never their rider collection, and for a few years now I’ve really wanted to try their breeches and shirts. They look fantastic and like they’re good quality, but with all my other life expenses I just couldn’t justify putting down that much money for a shirt or a pair of breeches. It’s hard to find reviews on their clothing line, so I also wanted the opportunity to know how their clothes fit someone with my shape. Since most of the items I wanted to try were on sale, I caved and took advantage of the opportunity (tho I just now got pictures lol).
Plus, I needed some pretty, matchy retail therapy, so why not?
Tara Fine Knit Sweater:
So far, I really like PSoS’s merino wool shirts. I actually really hate turtlenecks because it feels like the neck is choking me, and crazy me bought 2 of them, but I’m amazed I actually like them. I am also very picky about the merino wool I can wear – not only am I mildly allergic to wool, but I also have SPD (sensory processing disorder) so certain fabrics that are fine to most people feel itchy and unbearable to me. Their merino wool is so soft it’s amazing. It’s 80% merino wool/20% poly which would normally make me very itchy, but these are not itchy at all. The two shirts I got are incredibly light yet also amazingly warm. I only needed a vest over it when I rode Amber out in 45 degrees with a wind chill that made it feel like 35. So, since the Tara Fine knit turtleneck I bought on the Black Friday sale did so well, I bought another one during the Christmas sale. I even got my mom on the bandwagon and she bought one of the merino wool shirts, which looks just as fantastic on her (she got the Linnea knit sweater).
As much as I dislike turtlenecks, I just really liked the shape of the Tara Fine knits when looking at them on the model. Once I put it on, I thought the shape was just as good on me – which doesn’t happen very often for me (perhaps because I mostly shop via Amazon lol). I think they’re a very flattering, loosely fitted shirt, and I love both the coffee and burgundy colors. The neck of the shirt is a little on the tight side, and normally that feels terrible, but these don’t feel that way at all strangely enough. So far I’m really liking how comfortable they are.
I initially really liked the Robyn breeches PS of Sweden had but alas, I think they have been discontinued. I still wanted to try their breeches, so I shopped their selection and found the Paris breeches. High waist breeches can feel odd once I’m sitting on a horse, but I quite liked the silhouette of the Paris breeches. I’m very hourglass shaped, and the breeches struck me as very flattering for that, so I nabbed them in black.
Of course, I tried them on right away, and I absolutely love them. These feel perfect. I really really like them so far. They feel completely made for a curvy figure, and this is one of the first pairs of breeches that I don’t feel like I have to squish my bum into them. My first thought was “I have a bum pocket!” haha because they just popped right over. This means that when I move my legs, it doesn’t pull the fabric at my bum and waist because it allows space for those of us who have bums. I dunno about you guys, but if my pants need to be held up by a belt because any movement pulls at the back of the pants, I actually get lower back pain. These didn’t pull one iota for me, and my back felt just fine.
The four-way stretch ensures that the breeches are beautifully fitted, but I didn’t feel at all like I’d burst out of them. These are also the only other breeches I’ve tried (Horze Grand Prix being the first) that don’t feel too tight around my calves. I think part of that is the four-way stretch, but I also think they were just made with larger calves in mind. There are definitely equestrians that require a slim fit, but I know for me (and many other ladies I know) the more fit I am, the more leeway I need in my clothes. So because these aren’t too tight on my calves, they don’t pull at my knee, which then don’t pull the breeches down. These just… fit. Like a glove. I don’t think I’ve ever had pants that aren’t leggings fit this well.
They are definitely a summer breech, since when I rode in them my legs were absolutely frigid by the time I was done. Even if it’s Vegas, I don’t recommend riding in summer breeches in the winter lol. So I won’t get to ride in them much until spring, but I’m very excited for them. They’re 89% poly/11% elastane, and the four-way stretch is amazing. I kneeled to put on Amber’s boots, bent over for the things I dropped, contorted my body in all sorts of ways and those breeches just did. not. move. They didn’t fall, I didn’t have to hike them up my knees like I normally do. I’m just… really in awe of them at the moment haha. They are so comfortable, and the mesh leg makes for a nice fit at the ankle. The pockets are huge, and I’m glad the zipper pocket is not just for decoration.
These breeches didn’t go on sale, so I bought them at their full price, currently $179 USD. Generally, that’s higher than I prefer to go for breeches, but that’s really not a bad price and so far I think these are so worth it. The website says they are made with a “focus on curved cuts that highlight hips and waist,” and I think they absolutely nailed that on all fronts, which makes them worth their price in my opinion. If they ever come out with more colors other than navy and black I’ll be in serious trouble.
Ria knitted sweater:
This one was another Black Friday purchase, and I love this sweater vest. This vest is 60% merino wool/40% poly, and it is also very very warm. I haven’t worn it to the barn yet because I’ve been wearing it to work and around the house because it’s just so comfy and cute. I think it’s a great sweater, and I’m glad I went ahead and took the chance in buying it!
I also got two of their baselayer shirts – their hunter green and dim blue colors. I like the fabric and it’s a good material, and they also fit nicely. These feel more like summer shirts, especially being 73% poly/27% elastane, so just like the breeches I may not get to wear these much until the spring. I am perfectly okay with that – I’ve been going through my things, and there are shirts I don’t wear anymore that I should sell or give away, so these two shirts will replace those. Despite being the same baselayer, they’re actually a little different in the feel of the fabric and the design of the shirt. It doesn’t bother me – I quite like both.
I also got two of their Christmas collection pads (not on sale), and one that was. I love green on Amber, so I grabbed their green/brown pad and wraps that were on sale. Because matching, why not? Anything to help me keep riding lol. It has helped a little, but mostly what has helped is me feeling better bodily after seeing a chiropractor (finally, for the love of god, why didn’t I go sooner??). But I finally got Amber all bathed and sparkly for some pictures, and then didn’t have enough time before the sun went down to get some good natural light photos. Either way, I love all three of them on her, and they’ll definitely be gorgeous on any future horse I have as well.
I’ll try to keep you all updated on the clothing as I wear them more to let you know how it all holds up! So far I love everything I’ve gotten!
I have a few draft posts of lessons I’ve been taking, different horses I’ve ridden and learned on. I got backed up on those despite wanting to post more because I didn’t have time to edit video footage, and my schoolwork is ramping up (I’m in the 300/400 level classes now – only 4 more classes to go), and obviously because of everything else that has happened. I did more lessons because I needed something that made me feel better after Choco and my sister, and it was the right decision. I love Amber dearly, and it’s great that I can hop on her and go, and I don’t have to exert energy I don’t have into any training. But, I still love the challenge of riding towards a goal, working towards improvement with every small step, and Amber is unfortunately limited in what she can do now. I really want to jump again, so I want to work more towards that.
Because of that, I’ve been starting to look more seriously at the horse ads I see out there, what type I tend to be drawn to, and joining more sale groups. I still won’t consider actively looking until I’m finished with school, but it will take me a while to get into habits, take regular lessons, get a lot of things sorted for a new partner to come along, so there’s no harm in starting now.
It’s been very hard to ride recently, despite knowing I feel better once I have. If lessons are one way to help myself when riding my own is difficult, then that’s what I’ll do. We’ll see how it goes. Right now there’s a lot of unknowns. I’ve also been insanely busy, and my time off of work has been to let myself relax and heal more. So, I’ll be posting old drafts when I can (hopefully with media, but I can’t promise much) of the horses I’ve ridden who have helped me learn much these past months. I plan to have more lessons starting 2022.
There will also be some new faces around, since part of all that’s been hectic is that I am moving into my sister’s house. I think it’ll be good for me to have dogs around again, especially since the loss of Choco and my sister were only three months apart. These two are the bestest boys, and I know taking care of her dog and having him snuggle with me will be good for me. I’ll have a roommate there too, and despite me being an introvert and enjoying being by myself, I think it’ll be good I’m not alone.
Right now it’s taking it one day at a time. It’s not going to get any easier any time soon, but I’ll take what I can get.
As I mentioned before all of this, I’d like to get more review posts out. I haven’t bought much that’s new, but there’s older things that I’ve had time to use and abuse, so that might work in a few item’s favor. We’ll see. I have drafts, but the problem is finding the time to either get or find the media that can go with it. Pictures help a lot, that’s for sure!
Also, thank you everyone for your kind comments and well wishes from my last post. It’s appreciated more than you know. Happy New Year and first day of 2022 everyone <3.
Waiting is one of the hardest things to do, I think. My worst enemy (and I feel so many of us riders can relate to each other!) is cantering down an entire long side and waiting for that jump. In my case, it was my last lesson I took, and I surprised myself by actually managing to be patient and wait for the “bounce” poles, keep a good pace, and finish positively. It was actually a fantastic lesson. I really needed it.
But today, I am not going to talk about the lesson. I want to talk about a similar waiting game, and that’s waiting a few more seconds to turn left at an uncontrolled intersection when you’re driving – especially if you see a motorcycle as part of oncoming traffic.
As some of you may have seen on my Instagram, just a little over a month ago in the first week of October, my sister was killed in an accident because someone didn’t wait to turn left. She was riding her motorcycle with the flow of traffic on her way to meet a friend for a ride, and was only two blocks away from their meet-up point. The cars the person darted in front of could swerve and stop. She could not. This is why you see many riders lay down their bikes because it’s their best bet to be as safe as possible to mitigate an accident. Unfortunately, in my sister’s case, the person turned so close to oncoming traffic that she didn’t have time to do so. She tried, but… well. I don’t think we’d be here if she succeeded.
Left turns at uncontrolled intersections are apparently the major cause of motorcycle fatalities, something I had no idea happens as often as it does until this became my family’s reality. I’ve always tried to be conscious of motorcycles while driving once I knew my sister did so, but this introduced something I’d never known before. Now, I take extra precautions when turning left at an uncontrolled intersection.
So, to whoever this reaches, whether you ride, know someone who rides, or don’t ride at all, please just wait a few extra seconds when you are turning left at an uncontrolled intersection. If you see a motorcycle in oncoming traffic, please please please wait those extra seconds. One small decision to wait could mean someone’s life. The ricochet this has caused, not just for my family but for everyone who knew my sister, is extremely overwhelming. It’s lists upon lists of things we should’ve never had to do, and always the small, little things that constantly nick and poke and expose the fact that she’s not here anymore.
These holidays, hold your loved ones close. You really don’t know when might be the last time you’re able to do so.
Again, please beware of motorcyclists as the weather is nice for them to get out and ride – especially in the west coast. There are always stupid drivers who aren’t aware of riders, as I’ve witnessed many times, and it always makes my heart race whenever I see it. Through this I now know so many bikers, and I worry about them now as well, and hope they’re as safe as they can be whenever they ride.
There really aren’t any proper words, anything I can really say to encompass who my sister was – there just aren’t enough words, and even if there were, they’d never do her justice. So, this post is dedicated to my sister.
I have…..many breeches so this post will be quite long. I’ve never liked buying form-fitting pants – I have always preferred loose fitting, casual clothes and I hated jeans for the longest time. Mostly it has to do with me being a very hard shape to fit (mostly hourglass, a bit pear), and that I have SPD (sensory processing disorder) which can make clothes feel constricting, scratchy and itchy, so I’m very particular about fit and fabrics. But low and behold – I am a bit of a breech hoarder. Something I hadn’t quite realized until actually going through my drawers to catalog this post. Most of these I’m planning to give away or commission at my local tack store since many don’t fit anymore, but those will definitely still be included in this list. This post is about the basics – which brands/types/colors I have and their fabric, style, durability, cost, stain resistance, stickability, and fit. Also, I started this post a while back, so while styles have changed a bit, I’m trying to also provide good links for all the breeches I have.
And at the end, I list my top 3 choices so if you want to skip ahead and avoid my rambling, by all means!
My expectations and fit:
Fit is a huge reason why I am constantly on the lookout for good-fitting breeches. Despite being a bit uncomfortable sharing this, I firmly think it’s important to include my body shape/type and how things fit so that others who have my predicaments or who are not my same shape can make a better informed decision on the breeches I am reviewing. So I am 5’5″, usually a size 30-32, and I usually buy things a little roomy. Most of the time though, my size is a 31 with relative consistency, which many breeches I like don’t have that size. Unless apparently you’re in the UK and they do. I digress. Some brands fit me very nicely and are a size 30. Most brands I go with a 32 tho. I really don’t like feeling like breeches are too small and I’ll split them with one wrong move. Size 30 pants fit my waist the best since I’m hourglass, but most of the time I need 32s to fit my pear and sprinter’s thighs and butt so I’m almost always wearing a belt. I also size up because my thighs are long and my calves short, so breeches will fall down/be pulled down because they tend to taper where my knees should be and not where they are. By getting breeches that are a little bigger, I have a little more knee room and my pants don’t fall down as badly. So, now that you have that rundown, let’s go to my expectations.
As prices rise, so do my expectations. I do have a bit of a price divider – anything over $85 I expect a lot more, and anything under that I have an attitude of “you get what you paid for.” If it’s a light color breech, I am not expecting them to have the best ever stain resistance. Light colors are always more prone to staining, but for a darker color, I expect them to resist stain very well. I’d like for silicone pants to be sticky and long-lasting – especially if they’re full seats – and I expect the silicone to wear well and not come off easily. I always expect for there to be more wear in the thigh rub area since a thigh gap I do not have haha.
As just a quick aside, all of these breeches come up to or just below my belly button because low-rise breeches don’t fit me well nor are they flattering to my body shape (for me personally). So, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it!
Ovation Aerowick tights – $ 62.95 bought on sale for less than $40
Style: summer silicone full seat , sock bottom, Euro-seat
Fit: I bought the large (equal to size 30), and they fit pretty true to size – they’re even a little loose. So if you’re an in -between-sizes person like me and prefer a bit of a tighter fit, I’d size down. These also don’t have a length choice. I do, however, like the fact that it had belt loops should you want to wear a belt and make them look a little less like tights.
Fabric: AeroWick™ – smooth ultralight spun polyester spandex (this is all I could find on fabric specifics)
Durability: I got these around a year ago but when they were on a “heading into winter” sale, and they are….not durable. Not really at all. Within about 5-10 rides the stitching was already fraying. And this was even me not putting them through the ringer and only riding in them when the dead of summer hit. They did fray in the thigh rub area first – which I expected. However, within 5-7 short rides? Eh, I must admit I expected a bit better from something that was originally over $50 (they ARE under $85 tho so I guess it’s moot?). I also just grazed a spot of fencing in the stall and there was an immediate hole. So the fabric isn’t durable either. This is probably the lowest rating I’ve ever given or may ever give, but considering threads are STILL coming out, these get a 1/5 in the durability category.
Stain resistance: Well, they are black so not many stains are noticeable if at all. So far that’s a 5/5.
Closing thoughts: I would not buy these again. Even on a sale for $40 or less. These are the “older” model; the newer ones may be a little more durable but they’re the same price point and the same fabric blend, so maybe/maybe not. The silicone was sticky for the first 2-3 rides, and now it’s not sticky anymore. They’ve gone below the stickability range of knee patch breeches, which isn’t positive for tights that are supposed to be full seats. The only reasons I wore these a lot this summer was that they were my only pair of tights, and not only was it so hot that my legs were swollen and I just felt too hot in my other breeches, but my weight was also fluctuating a lot at the time, so the tights went on easily and didn’t feel restrictive.
Final Rating: 2/5
Ovation Grip-Tech Unifleece Winter tights – $ 69.95 bought at RW for around $60
Style: fleece-lined, silicone knee-patch tights (but styled to look more like breeches), sock bottom, Euro-seat
Colors: black (in certain light against certain colors they look brown. In other lighting they look gunmetal-gray. Next to black they look black.)
Fit: I bought LG (equal size 30) and these fit nicely, if a bit loosely. Because they’re tights, they conform well without being restrictive in any given area. They were a little loose when I bought them, so again if you like a tighter fitting breech then you may want to size down. I bought them to be a little on the larger side so I could stuff my winter Under Armour tights on underneath them. It never got cold enough for me to need it haha. These breeches don’t have a length choice either.
Fabric: 95% polyester, 5% elastane
Durability: I actually haven’t gotten too many chances to ride in these. It was unusually warm in Vegas the winter that I bought these, and then the next winter Amber wasn’t rideable, so I can’t completely attest to their durability. However, the few times I’ve ridden in them they haven’t split any threads nor is there pilling yet. The silicone knee-patch feels very secure and durable, and looks like the same silicone used on their Aqua X breeches. So far a 4/5.
Stain Resistance: 4/5 so far since they’re black/brown, but still I haven’t been able to test it much so I’m doing a bit of guesswork for these.
Closing thoughts: These are okay, but I honestly don’t like them. They feel like a better quality than the Aerowick, and the fleece is quite warm. They’re tights, but look like breeches, and you can wear a belt with them if you like. I did, since they were a little big on me. I wouldn’t say these are a bad quality, but I really can’t attest to how well they’d hold up in colder climates with a lot more use. I only wore them a few times, and the last time I did sealed the deal for me. I have a lesson recap here describing how they just didn’t work at all for me. They bunched strangely underneath my thighs. The silicone grip tho – the same grip that’s on the Aqua-X breeches – DID work very well. But the grip along with the loose fit just didn’t work for me.
Final Rating: 3/5 I don’t personally like them – and someone else might – but I also feel I haven’t quite put them through the ringer to give them a higher or lower rating.
Ovation Aqua X breeches – $ 139.95 now; bought from RW at $116.95
Style: silicone knee-patch, Euro-seat, sock and mesh bottom (my old navy pair are the only ones with the mesh bottom)
Colors: navy, Aegean blue, green and tan
Fit: These breeches fit me second best. All pairs are size 32 to accommodate the summer expansion. These breeches fit well, and I don’t get the giant gap in the back. They fit smoothly and I love the look of them. I think they’re a very slimming breech, and I love wearing them. The only aspect about these breeches that doesn’t fit me is around my knees. They taper a bit, and since my thighs don’t, they’re a little tighter there and want to pull down. A belt fixes that no problem though, and these pants have double belt holders in the middle of the back, which personally is a favorite feature of mine. The only negative on fit with these is that there is no choice of length – only regular. Which is fine for me since I’m only 5’5″, but it may be a problem for taller people.
Fabric: 77% Nylon, 16% Aqua-X, 7% Lycra
Durability: I’ve had these breeches for over a year, and I’ve worn the crap out of my navy pair. I’ve washed them a LOT, and unfortunately, the silicone has started to flake off a little on my abused navy pair. But the stickability of the navy pants hasn’t gone down at all, and that pair is still my favorite. The silicone hasn’t come off of any of my other pairs, so I do wonder if that’s in part because I washed them right side out instead of inside out on their first washing. Even still, no stitching has started to fray, and they’ve held up to all the torture I’ve put them through lol. They retain their shape out of the wash with no extra stretch or extra shrinkage, and have held up very well as my summer staple. A 4/5.
Stain Resistance: The navy and hunter pairs are very good on stain resistance. 4/5. The only reason it isn’t 5/5 is because I have gotten a few tiny dots of hoof oil on my navy pair, and because the navy is very dark it’s super hard to see. Alas, tho the stain IS hoof oil and is mostly gone, it’s still a 4/5. The Aegean blue and tan are not so stain resistant. The light blue shows a lot of dirt, and maybe I’m just clumsy but I got a bit of hoof oil on those, too and that didn’t come out as well as my navy pair even tho my light blue pair went into the washer faster. My tan pair as well suffered a stain fate too, but theirs is a most amusing story. Unfortunately, it was a very hot day, and my new Kensington bareback pad along with lots of ass sweat caused the blue pad color to stain the butt of the tan breeches. I did not know this at the time, and left the pair of tan breeches sitting with that stain for about 2 weeks before I rode in them again and discovered this sadness. To give them credit tho, the blue stain actually halfway came out after like 3 treatments of Clorox 2 and 4 washes, but at least the butt isn’t so blue anymore. So, even tho it was a bit of work, the fact that some of it came out at all after 2 weeks raises the lighter color stain resistance rating to a 3/5.
Closing thoughts: These breeches are advertised as moisture wicking, summer breeches, and these absolutely fit the bill. Even my navy breeches don’t feel too hot in the summer heat. They have really been instrumental in keeping me cool during the summer, helping to wick away sweat. I love the way that they fit on me and how they look, and even though they’re a tad more expensive than I usually like to spend, I can tell that these breeches are a really good quality. I mean, I do have 4 different colors of these, and I like every single one I’ve worn. The tan ones are the coolest since it is a lighter color than the others, but they’re all great. Even though these breeches are a 4-way stretch and feel like they’d slip on a saddle, these definitely aren’t slick like some other breeches I’ve ridden in! They’re pretty sticky for only kneepatch breeches, and I feel secure and stable when I ride in these. These are definitely tied as my favorite breech to wear, and I am almost always pulling out a pair of these to wear at any given time.
Final Rating: 4/5 I wish these were still only $116, but the price is still very doable compared to other breeches of this quality.
Style: silicone full seat, sock bottom
Colors: turquoise plaid (discontinued), brown, navy & black
Fit: These breeches fit me the best. If I were to pick a breech made for my curves, this one would be it. The size 30s fit me perfectly, and if you look at their sizing chart it shows that they technically measure at 31.5 – which is pretty much my fit exactly. No wonder. They still have great room around my thighs, don’t taper as much around the knee but still give an extremely flattering look. These also don’t gap in the back as most breeches have. I like the wider waistband and the double front clasp, and they have a soft panel of fabric so the clasp back doesn’t irritate your skin if you don’t tuck in your shirt. I also like the unique X-shaped belt loop in the back that help keep your belt in place and evenly distribute pressure. The breeches don’t have a choice for length either – however, these breeches ere on the long side. Perfect for mid height and taller people, but perhaps a little too tall for someone who’s 5’3″ or shorter. These hit right at the tops of my ankle bones for length reference.
Fabric (turquoise plaid): 63% cotton, 30% polyamide, 7% elastane
Fabric (all the other colors): 93% Polyamide, 7% elastane
Durability: I’ve been impressed with the stain resistance on these so far. I’ve worn my brown ones almost relentlessly and not only have they come out of the wash looking new almost every time, but they’ve also retained their shape and fit. Neither pair have shown any signs of threads coming out or premature wear and tear, so I’m plenty happy with how these have been holding up, especially since I’ve worn the crap out of my brown ones haha. And, even with all the washing (inside out – I learned my lesson lol) the full seat stickies remain sticky. They have lost some of their initial really-stick-your-bum-to-that-saddle stickiness, but to me, they’re just the perfect, broken-in stick if that makes any sense haha. There is a bit of pilling and the silicone stickies have come off in the non-thigh-gap area, but that happens in every single pair of pants I own (even jeans) so I see that as normal (for me) wear and tear. They’ve also remained one of the few pairs that have fit me great even as I’ve gained some weight from quarantine and my ankle injury. So a 5/5 on this for me.
Stain Resistance: I’m pretty impressed with the turquoise plaid breeches. I’ve had a few brushes with silver spray and saddle color getting onto the breeches, but they’ve always washed out beautifully. My brown ones have gotten dusty and sweat-soaked and goodness knows what else on them, but so far they’ve washed out extremely well with no staining as far as I can see. Now, I do only have the darker colors, so that is a factor in my rating. I do eventually want to get the white pair that I can dye rust because I love rust breeches, and I can never find any that are both affordable or fit me very well. They do have a lovely dark green now, and I’m very tempted, but have so far been able to hold off the impulse purchase haha. So, for the colors I do have, my rating for stain resistance is 5/5.
Closing thoughts: I’m sure you noticed that I put two different fabric contents, because believe it or not the breeches actually are different. To me, even the fit feels a little different. The turquoise ones feel a bit more snug and restrictive, and can tend to irritate the backs of my knees (that area is super sensitive for me anyway, so that may not be the norm for other people). Also, because they are 63% cotton, they’re hotter with less stretch than my solid color breeches of the same model, so I really don’t wear the turquoise ones as much even though I still really really love them. But no matter which pant, the silicone full seat helps me feel extremely secure when my muscles are out of shape for jumping, and help me have good stability in the saddle when I was working very hard on building up strength for dressage last year. Probably the ONLY thing that isn’t absolutely perfect on these is that the seam for the sock bottom is placed directly above a previous injury. The injury is on my left calf, and I noticed it was pretty sore after a jump ride. But, I made sure to wear tall socks under my breeches the next time (since I usually don’t) and it became a non-issue.
Final Rating: 5/5 These pretty much hit it out of the park for me.
Horze Grand Prix Thermal Breeches – $ 139.99
Style: Silicone full seat, sock bottom
Colors: Navy (though currently they only have grey and black)
Fit: These are a mid-rise and run just a bit big, even a little bit bigger than their regular breeches. The reviews on Smartpak did say to size down, but I still ordered my normal size 30. They’re just a little big, but a little big is how I prefer for things to fit, and I especially like that in winter clothes. So it’s a plus for me.
Fabric: 88% polyamide, 12% elastane, fleece insulation
Durability: So far these are pretty durable. I haven’t needed to wear them all that much since Vegas isn’t very cold, and since I’ve become more heat-intolerant over the years I’ve certainly still been warm enough in the winter to not need to wear these much. The softshell is really nice, and holding up quite well to the general thigh-wear. So far so good for these! Just to be safe I’ll give them 4/5.
Stain Resistance: I’ve worn them various places with plenty of different horses, and I’ve never once noticed a stain, no matter what I’m handling. And I am pretty prone to getting some sort of stain at some point whenever I’m around horses. They’re also a very dark color, which helps with stain resistance in general. So a 5/5 for me.
Closing Thoughts: These are so comfortable. They’re warm enough for me to even get a little overheated in the mild Vegas winters, so I think they’d do well for the colder climes. Despite fitting a little bigger, they have the exact same fit as the summer Grand Prix breeches, so they taper at my waist and are very flattering.
Final Rating: 4/5 only because I haven’t put them through the ringer enough yet.
Style: knee-patch, euro seat, mesh bottoms
Colors: hunter & white
Fit: These are probably my 3rd best fitting breech. I bought the 30s, but again with what has happened in the past year since I bought them they don’t fit as well now and I don’t pull them out nearly as much as I used to. And, well, they were always a weeeee bit on the tighter side and were a titch uncomfortable near my knees. While the Aqua Xs did taper at the knee, those don’t hurt or bother me, but these RJs can get just a little bit restrictive for me. It may be because the knee patch is suede and not silicone so it causes a bit more restriction, but I’m not sure. So, while they fit my shape and don’t gap out at the back either, I’m sure they’ll be even better once I size up. I’m a bit skeptical tho about sizing up, mostly because I might need a 33 in these – so the 32 might still be a bit small but a 34 would probably be too big. I digress. Even still, they do seem to fit curves well, and I like the classic, slim look of these breeches. The pockets aren’t too deep, but I also like the double front hook on the breeches and wider waistband since that is a preferred feature of mine to combat the muffin-top (though definitely not a deal-breaker). These also come in regular or long.
Fabric: 92% nylon/8% elastic, clarino knee-patch
Durability: I’ve had these for about a year now, but I haven’t worn them as much as a few of my other pairs on account they’re generally just that liiiiiiittle bit too tight. However, they have still held up very nicely. The clarino knee patch retains its grip, and the pants retain their shape in and out of the wash. I haven’t seen any threads coming out, on the seams or the knee patches. The mesh hasn’t gotten any nicks in it either, and the pants have certainly held up well so far. However, since these haven’t been through the ringer, I’m giving it a mid score of 3/5.
Stain Resistance: Well, I haven’t worn these too much, so I’m not too sure how they would hold up to a few stains. In general, the enormous amounts of dust and dirt and mud and globs of green horse snot have all come out of these well. Although, I’m not sure I really got tons of snot on them, but since the ones I wore were the green ones, it’d match, right? Again, since these aren’t well-worn, I’m giving it a mid score of 3/5.
Closing thoughts: These are actually the most expensive breeches I’ve purchased, and yet they aren’t exactly my faves. I’m REALLY happy with that since most of the time the more expensive it is, the better it fits me and the better I like it haha. Such is life. Again, I’m sure if I bumped up the size they would fit me a lot better and I’d be a lot more gung-ho on wearing them. As it is right now, with finding the Grand Prix and Aqua X breeches that fit me so well and I always seem to grab, I’m hesitant on spending the extra money on these for a bigger size just to see if I really do like them. Even still, please don’t take my mid-range thoughts for dislike. I do really like the breeches – if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have kept them and worn them throughout last summer and into winter.
Final Rating: 4/5 I think they’re a very nice breech, and it has all of the same good qualities and feel of the Grand Prix and Aqua X – I just need the right size and I think I’ll wear them more often and therefore have a better judge of their performance.
SP Piper Original Kneepatch – $ 79.95
Style: suede knee-patch, sock bottoms, euro-seat, pockets
Colors: navy/emerald & navy/dove grey – used to have a grey/sapphire pair
Fit: While I do actually have 4 pairs of Pipers, these breeches fit a slightly straighter figure than they do a curvy figure. My shape is quite hour-glassed with a dash of pear thrown in, so a straighter cut isn’t necessarily ideal for me. However, I still relatively like the fit of these. They are size 32s, very conforming from my ankle up, and have enough room for my thighs and butt. However, for an hour-glass like me, the waist is bigger than I was expecting. They do gap in the back and pooch a bit in the front, but end up looking fine once you have a belt in place. Funnily enough tho, as I’ve put on a few pounds in the tummy from not riding/working out as much, the waist fits better lol. Even still, because they’re a lot bigger in the waist a belt is a must and these breeches fall down more than any other I have.
Fabric: 63% Polyester, 32% Viscose, 5% Spandex
Durability: The durability on these are so-so. My navy/emerald pair were the first ones I got, and have been my stalwart Piper pair since I got them spring 2016. They fit the best and all the stitching has stayed in place with nothing fraying or coming undone. The knee patches have stayed tightly stitched. Both pairs clean up very well, and have retained their shape well. My navy/dove grey pair have not done as well as my other pair. The stitching on the knee patch started to come undone within 5 rides. It hasn’t unraveled any more than the initial spot, but even still I’m a bit disappointed by this, tho not entirely surprised. Other reviewers on the SP website have had this happen to them as well. So that lowers this to a 3/5.
Stain Resistance: With navy as a base color for both breeches, I haven’t had any issues with staining. I think I do have some spots on them, but the color is so dark that I can barely see it. So for that, I give them a 4/5.
Closing thoughts: Even though the fabric content isn’t cotton, these are definitely a heavier weight breech. They’re not a winter breech, but these are a little too hot for me during the dead of summer. They do breathe and aren’t as hot as full cotton or the turquoise Grand Prix breeches, but the dark colors do retain the heat a lot more than the others, so for me this is a spring/fall/warm winter breech. These were my first “official” breech that I bought when I was first getting into English in 2016, and they were at an affordable price point. At $80 I do wish the quality was a little bit better, but for someone starting out, wanting some cute breeches or are very easy on their pants, then I think these are really great. I must admit tho that their biggest draw is all the matchy matchy potential and that they are quite unique. They come in so many colors that are fun and can cater to so many people, and as someone who likes things a bit unique, I do still enjoy these pants for that very reason. But, compared to my better-fitting pairs, I hardly wear these.
Final Rating: 3/5 (My original review of these breeches can be found here, and I gave them a 4/5. This rating has gone down since then since I’ve found other breeches I like a lot better that are, in my opinion, more worth your dollars than these are)
SP Piper Silicone Kneepatch – $ 79.95 (they have a different type now – these that I have are on clearance)
Style: silicone knee patch, euro seat, sock bottoms
Fit: These fit almost identical to the description I provide above – including being a size 32. The only difference is that because the knee patch is silicone, the pants fit better around my knees than the regular knee patch breeches do. This means that this particular pair doesn’t fall down nearly as much as the regular knee patch ones. I still need a belt since the waist fit is the same, but I don’t have so much trouble with these. The legs feel a little looser on this pair of breeches, so I like the fit of these better than the previous two. These also come in the option of regular or long.
Fabric: 63% Polyester, 32% Viscose, 5% Spandex
Durability: I bought this pair when I went to Rolex in 2017, and these have become my favorite Piper pair. I’ve worn them pretty well over the past year, and they’ve held up well. No threads fraying on these yet, and since there are no suede patches, the silicone has done it’s job as remaining sticky and none of the little bumps have come off. There is a little bit of pilling around the thighs, but again I’m not too surprised because that is perfectly normal wear for me, and for $80 I think these have held up better than the suede knee patch Pipers. 4/5
Stain Resistance: I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how stain resistant this pair of breeches has been. The base color is tan, which could very well stain easily, but so far they’ve cleaned up very well with every washing. I haven’t gotten any major stains on them like I have my others (WHY is it always hoof oil?), but I do believe I got a spot of yellow wormer on them at one point and it actually came out. Granted, the breeches went into the wash as soon as possible (which was still about 30-40 minutes later) but even still – color me impressed. 4/5
Closing thoughts: Out of all the Piper breeches I own, these are my favorite. I like the fit better, and I’m just a bigger fan of silicone than I am suede. Plus, because these breeches’ base color is tan, they reflect the sun much better than their navy counterparts, so these breeches I am able to wear in the dead of summer. I still prefer not to tho, considering that the fabric still is a heavier weight and I really can’t bear to think about wearing a thicker breech when it’s that hot out. I actually really like this color tan as well – opposed to other tan pants that are more beige. These have a bit of an olive/taupe tint to them, a bit of a deeper tan, and I find I really like that compared to the beige/khaki color of most tan breeches (like the tan Aqua X’s I own).
Final Rating: 4/5
SP Piper Silicone Full Seat – $ 79.95
Style: silicone full seat, euro seat, sock bottoms
Colors: dove grey/indigo
Fit: Again, the fit of these is pretty much the same as the Pipers above. These are also a little bit looser than the suede knee patch breeches, which also makes me like them a little more. These, like all Pipers, come in the option of regular or long length. Probably the only thing I don’t like as much about the fit of these is the seams on the inside of the thigh due to the full seat. Unfortunately my skin is a sensitive snowflake, and when the seams are too big or continuously press on my skin, it gets pretty sore. These seams do bother me – more so the ones on the inside of the leg that are covered by tall boots. If I get tall socks and put the socks on underneath the breeches the seam doesn’t bother me nearly as much.
Fabric: 63% Polyester, 32% Viscose, 5% Spandex
Durability: I’ve had these breeches ever since last winter. Oddly enough I bought them as a winter breech because the fabric on all of these has been thicker so I thought they would be perfect for desert winter, right? Well, while they are made of the same material and have the same percentages as the other 3 Pipers, the material on these actually feels thinner than the others. So, a thicker mid-weight breech this particular one is not. Maybe because the color is lighter…? Which is odd to me but then I have experienced lighter colored breeches sometimes tend to fit differently than dark-colored breeches of the same brand (weird, I know. Is it all in my head? Eh, probably). Either way, these are actually better for summer, since it’s thinner fabric and the light grey helps reflect the sun. So far, the stitching on these has remained tight and I haven’t seen any fraying from these, nor pilling. 4/5
Stain Resistance: That being said, I haven’t had the grey stain yet. I got some saddle marks when riding in these in my new-to-me dressage saddle, but the marks always came out. I did wash them right after I rode tho since I didn’t want them to stain. 4/5
Closing thoughts: These are a “meh” breech for me. I wish the fabric was thicker since I bought them as a full-seat winter breech option and they really aren’t ideal for when the temperatures start to get a bit nippy. Even as a summer breech they’re not as cooling as my other favorites, and I really haven’t worn them too often. I do like that the silicone is grippy, has remained that way, and none of the dots have come off. They’re fun to match. But, these are pretty mediocre in my opinion, and maybe I’d buy a darker pair to see if they’d work and be a thicker fabric, but at $100 and not meeting most of my expectations? I don’t think I ever will.
Final Rating: 3.5/5
Iridion Essential Boot-cut Tights – $ 79.95
Style: suede knee-patch, boot cut
Colors: black & brown
Fit: I bought a size large which is equivalent to a size 30. They fit just as I would expect tights to fit – not too tight or too loose. These pants come up a little higher than many of the others and hit either right at or just above my belly button. Normally, these would be a little too waist high for me, but it actually works. The waist band isn’t too tight so that is fine, but riding in them on their own they are a little slick.
Fabric: Issential™ Microfibre: 88% Polyester, 12% LYCRA®; knee patch Chamisoft™: 55% Nylon, 45% Polyurethane
Durability: I think I’ve had these around maybe 3 years now, but I’ve only used them sparingly. I actually bought these tights specifically to go underneath my western show chaps. And, well, to act as leggings for work actually haha! I’ve worn them more for work than I have for riding, and as a work tight, they do a good job. No one even notices the patches, and as much as I’ve worn them for that I haven’t noticed any pilling yet or threads fraying. As for showing, they’ve been durable for that. It could be that they’ve mostly been used underneath chaps, but they’ve still held up well. A 4/5
Stain Resistance: I have dark colors, and most of the time they’re worn for work or under chaps so I really haven’t worn them around the barn enough for a lot of stain testing. Granted I’m not the neatest person, but so far, even if I did get something on these they’ve washed out clean since I’ve never noticed anything haha. So a 4/5.
Closing thoughts: By using these under chaps, the tights provide a way for me to stay cooler in the summer, and they’re not as stiff as jeans or as unflattering and uncomfortable as “show pants” that are often used under chaps. They also cut down A LOT on bulk while riding, which I find is a lot more comfortable. They have belt loops so you can add a belt to your outfit (as many western shows require a belt) so there isn’t much of a downside to using these underneath your chaps. As for English, I’ve only ridden in them perhaps 2x, and I didn’t like them for that at all. The knee patch came too low on the calf and didn’t extend far enough up the thigh for me, and they also felt a little too slick for me to feel stable riding in them.
Final Rating: 3/5 (They’re okay tights, and the 3/5 is really due to my personal opinion)
Kerrits Flow-Rise Permormance Tights – $ 69.00
Style: suede knee-patch, wide waist band, elastic ankles
Colors: dune (unavailable/discontinued color)
Fit: For tights, these fit exactly as I would expect a large to fit – equal to a size 30. I can’t quite tell if they do come in long or regular, but it looks like it’s only 1 length. Unfortunately, these are a very thin tight, so if you’re like me and not fond of the thigh cheese, these don’t do anything to hide it. I actually have a few pictures of me in these pants and you can clearly see my kick mark through these as opposed to my other fav breeches. Perhaps the style has changed a bit, but when I first bought these the waist band was very wide, and very restrictive. While the rest of the tights fit well, the waist band felt like those tummy control things you wear underneath dresses or something. It was very uncomfortable for me and the band would curl and do all sorts of weird things when I rode.
Fabric: 91% Polyester, 9% Lycra/ knee patch 100% Recycled Ultra-Microfiber
Durability: These pilled pretty quickly, being polyester. The stitching was okay, but some of it around the ankle did come out a little. I was wearing mostly paddock boots and half chaps at the time, so that could be part of it, but I was still expecting a little better from these. 3/5
Stain Resistance: These were pretty stain resistant as far as I could remember (I finally sold them after I didn’t wear them for like a year and a half). They washed up well. 4/5
Closing thoughts: Being over 90% polyester made them slippery for me. I remember feeling like I was sliding all over the place in these, and they were either too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. I don’t know. They were a bit odd, so for me probably just a spring/fall tight. Perhaps it’s weird, but my legs felt….jiggly….whenever I wore these haha! When I wear my others, I feel fashionable and I feel good about myself in those. These just…..really not. I wouldn’t buy them again, probably not even if they were on a $10 clearance sale. And that’s really saying something because I love sales lol. These are probably great for people just starting out, but they seem a little too expensive for me and not quite the quality to be worth nearly $70.
Final Rating: 3/5
Devon Aire Versailles tights – $ 34 – $ 48 (depending on size/color price can be a little more or a little less)
Style: clarino knee-patch, elastic ankle, draw-string waist
Colors: sea blue & charcoal
Fit: These do not fit curvy me. Or I should say that they do fit curvy me, they’re just not very flattering to my cellulite and jiggly-ness lol. The drawstring waist creates a narrow “band”, narrower than sweatpants or gym shorts to give a comparison. The elastic ankle is thankfully not Velcro, so that’s a plus in their favor. Other than that, they really don’t have much shape.
Fabric: 90% cotton/10%lycra 4-way stretch, clarino knee patch
Durability: The cotton 4 way stretch has relative durability, but I would still get little nicks here and there. Mostly picks from Velcro if I ever wore any, but these really weren’t half bad. I remember them being really good when I was a teen. 3.5/5
Stain Resistance: I’m pretty sure these were good on stains haha. Since I don’t really remember because I stopped wearing them about 4 years ago, a 3/5.
Closing thoughts: To give a bit of history, I used to wear these tights as a kid and up until about 14 or 15 when I stopped riding English and switched to western. I remembered liking them and that they fit well, so these were the first ones I looked up when I started back into English. Also, they were $30 or less and at the time I couldn’t imagine spending more than that on pants (I still cringe at $50 for a pair of jeans yet breeches for $119/$150/$130 are totally acceptable prices for me. I know, I’m weird). So I nabbed 2 colors and started wearing them. They were infinitely cooler than jeans for one, and the heat still got to me pretty badly so I wore these even when riding western. But, the cotton remained a little too hot for me, and I’ll admit around that time was when I found a lot of blogs that outlined their fav cooling summer clothes. So, I put these aside. Now, I do think these are a good starting-out breech, perhaps even better than the Kerrits. These weren’t as slick to me as the Kerrits, and I like the clarino knee patch better than the suede microfiber. These would be especially good for kids, since these are a less expensive tights and definitely won’t break the bank as they continue to grow. I think these would be fine even for an adult starting out that isn’t completely sure they’re going to keep riding or ride a lot. They’re just not for me.
Final Rating: 4/5 (mostly for affordability lol)
So, there you have it! My very long guide to all the breeches I have. There have been quite a few of them over the years, and I’ve now settled more ore less on the ones that I like/love. So, to condense it, my top three breeches from this list are:
Either way, if you even got to this last paragraph, congrats haha! It’s certainly a super long post!
On July 6, 2021, we had to say goodbye to our most beloved family member. She officially turned 17 on June 24.
I honestly don’t think it matters whether the downward progression is slow or sudden – losing a beloved pet is devastating. For Choco, it was sudden.
About 3 or 4 weeks before that Tuesday, we had a vet appointment after her first round of antibiotics for a cough that we thought was due to a small infection. We discovered that her heart was a little enlarged – which was concerning since that hadn’t been there at an appointment a month prior – and that she had a slightly collapsed trachea, which caused her coughing but wasn’t as concerning. But she remained active and happy, and still moseyed around the house and kept wanting to go on adventures with me to my apartment.
A few days after her birthday on the 24th, we could tell she slowed down more than usual. She could walk herself places, but it was slower going. Both my mom and I knew we might need to make this decision soon. Part of it was for us to be as prepared as we could be (though you can never be prepared, in my opinion), but it was also to ensure we were constantly looking so we didn’t miss a sign if something was wrong. But when I had her with me Saturday night, she had her first episode. We still aren’t sure what it was, but it was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. She lost her balance, so I went to pick her up, and all her muscles just went limp. It was only for a few seconds, and she was only a bit disoriented, but it felt interminable. After I’d called my mom and discussed what we should do, within 20 minutes Choco was walking, interested in eating, and eager to sniff around outside. Her breathing was a little elevated, but otherwise she was back to her old self. Even still, I knew it probably wasn’t a good idea for me to take her with me anymore after that weekend. So I kept her Sunday and into Monday morning, and I am very glad I did. I nearly didn’t – I was worried if it would cause her stress, but something in me just couldn’t. I think somewhere deep down, I knew I’d only have a little more time left.
Monday evening we all actually ended up discussing what we may need to do (me, my mom, and my sister) and made a tentative appointment for the end of the month. But Tuesday morning she wouldn’t eat, was breathing much harder, and had another, similar episode later that morning. My mom and I knew that was it. She wasn’t stressed, but she didn’t really want to move and definitely wasn’t herself, either. She still gave us kisses, like she was trying to comfort us because she didn’t know why we were so sad. Unfortunately, our vet wasn’t doing in-home visits anymore, but Choco loved car rides, so we weren’t too worried. Our vet – who has been Choco’s vet for 17 years – was so amazing and stayed late so he could see us, and we got to be there with her and take her home with us. We decided on a good spot for her with her nose pointed towards the prevalent west winds that she always loved to sniff.
I still find it amazing that for a relatively still active, 17-yr-old dachshund, she had so few issues. She got her joint meds for general arthritis – glucosamine and previcox – along with eye medicine to help prevent ulcers in her eyes. But other than that she had no back problems, no spine issues, no heart meds, nothing. Even until the day we had to let her go, she was walking herself and could still hold her bladder. She never messed inside the house unless we weren’t as vigilant taking her out when she’d try to tell us, which was still extraordinarily rare.
She was without a doubt the kindest, sweetest, most gentle little soul I’ve ever known. It gives me such relief in knowing we did the right thing, that looking back on all the images I have of her and all the times with her I remember, we didn’t miss any signs before this that it may be time. She was playful, happy, and active for her age. She always knew when it was Thursday or Friday, and would get herself out of bed after I’d completed chores ready to head out for a car ride/adventure where she and I would snuggle for the whole weekend. She’d even get upset if we couldn’t snuggle as much as she wanted. Even though she never quite understood the concept of stairs or a ramp to get to the bed (despite running up stairs in her younger years, silly girl), she was always down for learning new things. She learned how to be an off-leash dog at 15, and she and I both found new ways to work with her waning eyesight and general loss of hearing. She learned different ways for us to pick her up so we could support her back, and knew that if she leapt off of my (very tall) bed I’d be there to catch her to lower her to the floor (and god knows how many heart attacks she gave me when I wasn’t always prepared but somehow managed to catch her anyway).
Choco has been such a huge part of my life – and my family’s life – for such a long time. She’s been with me since I was 13 years old, and while I didn’t always have her when I was in college or my first job, she’s always been there. She has been the light of my life since she was 4 weeks old and we got to puppysit her for her breeders. She loved to bite at the sprinklers, chase the airplanes when they flew overhead, and hunt birds and desert squirrels. She always had a wag and little squeaks when she missed me. Her favorite place to snooze was on a blanket in my lap from high school to now, and no matter how hard the homework was, it was always easier to do when she was with me sleeping peacefully. She’s been there through all of my hardships, a constant part of my life whose presence was soothing and healing. When I was so worried Amber wouldn’t recover from her laminitis, Choco was there, putting a paw on my foot or crawling over me to smother me in her own way of showing love. She always knew when I needed her, and we absolutely spoiled her rotten. She was just so sweet and had such a love of (sleepy) life that it was impossible not to. She had such a strong spirit, and I know she loved us all fiercely in her own quiet, unwavering way. Unfortunately, no matter how strong her spirit was – still trying to comfort us when she was the one not feeling well – her body just couldn’t keep up.
Grief is never an easy thing to articulate because everyone processes it differently, but I know that we all know just how devastating it is to lose our precious dogs. Most of the time I just feel listless, lost, like I’m missing a limb. What do I do now that she’s gone? So much of my free time on weekends and an extra hour after a long day at work was wrapped up in spending time with her, that I don’t know what to do. She has left such a huge hole in all our hearts. I miss her all the time, and these weeks since have been so very long. But, like with anything, I know I just have to take it day by day. Some days are better and some are worse, but that’s how it goes. Amber has been a big help, and Kahlua has surprisingly been too. I’m not as close with her as my mom is, but she’s an amazingly emotionally intelligent little burro, and will just stand there, lean her shoulder against my hip, and hug my head with her ear when I’ve got my forehead resting on her neck. It’s honestly the absolute sweetest thing.
Unfortunately, I am not in a position to get another dog. My apartment complex has breed restrictions, and I also work 10 hr days most of the week and am doing school. I need to plan moving to another place in a few months, and rent is ridiculously inflated here. I would need to lean heavily on my mom for help during long days, and to be honest, despite how horrible and empty and lonely the house/apt is, neither one of us is ready for another dog. For us it’s just too soon. But my sister and her fiancé live very close by with their dogs – dachshund Oscar and mini schnauzer Zeus – so they are getting plenty of attention from us when we really need a dog fix. Plus, I really want another dachshund if I’m going to get another dog. Choco really made us fall in love with dachshunds, and Oscar, while very different from Choco, has solidified that.
This goodbye has been the worst I’ve ever had to say. I could barely even post her tribute on Instagram, and this tribute in itself has taken so long to write and even publish because I can barely get through it. So I’ve had to wait and revisit, because as hard as it is, in it’s own way it’s healing to write about all the good things about her, and remember all the wonderful years we’ve had with her through copious amounts of pictures. We actually took “molds” of her front paws in play-dough years and years ago to use as Christmas ornaments, so I am going to use one of those to draw her paw as the center of a tattoo for my own tribute to her. She was already tattooed onto my heart, so why not reflect it on my skin, too? We miss her terribly, but I know she knew how much we loved her.
So, farewell my best friend. Thank you for choosing us to be your family – we were so fortunate to love you and take care of you all these years, and to have you love us back. I will sit on our bench beside you, and remember you always.
Oh wow, I haven’t blogged in 6 months! Not too much has been going on, so there hasn’t really been too much to say. Ever since I hurt my ankle and was recovering from that I have been taking it easy. No lessons, and Amber doesn’t need much work so there was no rush on that front. Which is a good thing because it turned out it needed a good 5 months to heal and another month before it felt normal-ish again. I swear I don’t know how I keep injuring myself so badly.
Bestest news within these 6 months tho – my mom is officially in remission!
She still needs regular checks to monitor her blood levels, but they’re still looking really good, so the doctors are pleased (as are we, of course). She’s still been out riding despite the tingles she gets in her fingers and feet. She’s a tough one my mom.
She even tried to show this year at our local show club, but unfortunately it hasn’t panned out. First the weather, and then something aggravated an old injury of Whisper’s, and now that it’s feeling better, she’s got residual lameness mostly in her left hock. She’s on adequan tho like Amber, yet it doesn’t seem to be helping that one hock as much as it should. I wonder if something else is going on – she is 19 – but we have a vet appointment in a few weeks to check her psoas and just get a general read on that hock. Amber will get an x-ray on her foot to make sure things are still a-okay on that front, and Kahlua will get her shots and worming done.
Kahlua has become such a reluctant love haha. Not that we were really doubting that with how sweet she is, but she’s asking for pets and attention a lot more now. I give her her nightly ear scratches, and then we hang out together with my hip pressed to her shoulder with soft pats as she looks out and guards our girls. She’s gotten very good with the daily on/off of the fly mask, and will let me do it now, too. She’ll let my mom fawn all over her, hold her face and love on her. She totally doesn’t want to admit that she loves it, and resists most times, but she adores it. Working with her has been such a boost for my mom as she’s gone through chemo.
Amber has been her goodest self as always. We’ve mostly been doing western since I’ve been giving a friend’s younger sister “lessons” and horsey time when she comes to visit since she doesn’t have the opportunity anymore when she’s back home. Amber really likes her, which is always a plus!
We’ve been doing a bit of english again to strengthen Amber’s right side, although I know it’s because my right side is weak. Amber does get anxious going english, and I think that’s more because of her imbalance compounded by my weak right leg than dislike of the discipline. Helping support that side with my leg really helped our last english ride – she still wasn’t totally steady trotting to the left, but was much less anxious, so we’ll keep working on that side for her and me. Whisper is also doing more english to strengthen her left side. I’ve been doing weekly bodywork on her, but it’s only helped so much. After realizing also how narrow my mom’s english saddle has become, she’s using mine until we can make sure that Whisper can continue to do english before my mom decides to go ahead and purchase a new saddle.
I wanted to do more blogging and post on Insta in the last few months, but with school, new opportunities and new directions at work, horses, and other things I’ve tried to squeeze into any of my free time, it fell way at the bottom of the priority list. There’s just so much I want to do, and have been wanting to do for a while, so I’ve been doing that instead of blogging:
Like assembling my own gaming computer.
Learning how to bind books so I can have a physical copy of my favorite works.
Which all take time, so I’ve been doing that since I haven’t been riding. Temperatures are consistently 105+, and it’s still 100* and over at 8 pm. With Amber needing to spend a night at the vet to get fluids last year, I’m being really cautious about getting her out and doing anything in this heat. Especially when the temps were 110+ for a solid week, both she and I were really struggling. She’s basically getting 2 scoops of electrolytes a day because she won’t drink rein water, and only sort of tolerates pedialyte. Honestly, that horse is picky about the weirdest things lol. (She’s not even sure she likes oatmeal crème pies – now there’s some horror for you haha)
I want to post some of my review posts that are all nearly-finished drafts, and hopefully it won’t take me another 6 months to do so. Even still, I’ve been trying to keep up with everyone and read your blogs, even if I haven’t been commenting much or at all. I’m glad everyone is still doing well!
I looked back at when at last posted and that was at the end of August. So it’s been a while!
Between helping my mom after her treatments, nearly tearing the ligament/tendon in my ankle, more school, and everything else going on, I haven’t been doing anything horsey. Because my ankle was so bad, I couldn’t ride (I did borrow a scooter for work and that thing was sooooooo much fun), or do anything remotely fun for around 7 weeks, so there was really nothing to post about. I have spent tons of dachshund time tho so I have tons of pictures for that.
I haven’t bought anything new for the ponies that’s worth a review – well, except for my early Black Friday present to myself: a Pivo! The silver was on a GREAT sale ($70 off), and I found it on Amazon with the same discount (and sold by Pivo themselves) so it got to me the next day.
I know I’m not doing anything at the moment or only doing flatwork, but with Amber on Adequan and Whisper potentially needing Adequan or another round of hock injections, my mom and I have two potentially problematic horses. I get very nervous for Amber if I’m working her too hard or if she feels off, and because most days my mom and I can’t ride at the same time, we’re by ourselves and it’s hard to see if our horses are off or not. Judging via shadow isn’t the most reliable, either. So, while the Pivo will be great for media should I start posting a lot more (and, well, riding a lot more), I mostly want it to assess my rides to make sure both Amber and Whisper continue to look positive under saddle.
I’ve only played with the Pivo a little bit since I got it, but I’m really excited so far. It tracks just like it should so far, but I have yet to really dig into its features and start trying to record anything horsey. Hopefully I’ll be able to use it a bit more in the coming months considering the holidays generally offer more days off than usual.
I was actually able to ride Amber twice this weekend! I’ve barely been able to fit my ankle into any type of shoe except my Uggs, and it was still a chore fitting it into my brown boots with the brace. I was only able to do a little bit of trotting – let’s be honest with all that time off that’s all I wanted Amber to do too lol – before I had to call it quits before I reinjured anything. I mean, I’d already reinjured it 4 weeks after the initial injury, so I really don’t want to have to use crutches or a scooter again lol.
I’ve certainly been lagging in blogging. I get halfway through before something else comes up, or I’m working on other things, and it falls by the wayside. There’s just not much for me to really say even, especially since it’s been god-awful hot and I don’t want to ride, and Amber has actually been ridiculously sluggish as well, so she doesn’t even want to ride either. So it’s been a slew of hiding in the air conditioning lol. I wanted to ride last weekend, but both Saturday and Sunday were already 105 at 8 am, so it was a hard no for that. It won’t go below 110 until next Monday, and looks like next weekend will be a cool 106 and 104. It’s really unfortunate when 106 and 104 actually feel cool once it’s been over 110 for a while. Ick.
Tuesday it reached 119, with some clouds coming in and upping the humidity to 17% while still being 117 as I was doing chores for the evening. I seriously wonder if this is how chickens or turkeys feel when we put them in the oven. Either that or I’m just melting. It’s just gross. Wednesday was 118, Thursday was 114, and it’s generally still 100 degrees when I go out for a barn check at 10 pm.
Amber’s been doing well, too. After discussing with my vet, Adequan seemed a good way to go to keep Amber more comfortable. Her knee has been bothering her more often than not for the past few months, and both of us thought that adding Adequan would help her a lot. So far it has! Before, if she got a little too happy and ran and bucked and had fun, that knee would swell, and I’d have to wait a few days for it to feel better before doing much more than fifteen minutes of walking and trotting. Within a week tho, the swelling was down, and even after a happy episode of running and bucking, her knee only had the teensiest bit of swelling. So she gets another injection this Saturday, and then once a month until it runs out.
I have a lesson this weekend, so that will be a plus to everything I’ve got going on. Between my grandma’s sudden passing, and my mom getting diagnosed with cancer, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind these past few months, so I’m glad for the lesson. I’ll be “taking over the ride” on Whisper for my mom, keep her fit and add to her training to get her just right for when my mom can ride again. I am also hoping to get lessons more regularly, since horses are my happy place, and I’ll need to ride more than I currently am. Whisper and Amber are short, easy rides, and I’ll get the challenge when I lesson. Hopefully that works out and I can put that plan into motion a little better than I have in the past.
I’ll try to at least keep posting on Instagram since I (still) won’t be blogging much, buuuuuuuut I haven’t been doing that much either lately haha. So I’ll try to be a little more active there, but I’ll still at least be following and commenting where I can!
Until next time!
The end of May, my sister and niece Kaylee came to visit. Kaylee is 4 now, and is still the cutest, most opinionated niece ever. I am totally not going to lie that being the “cool aunt” was absolutely awesome haha. I would come over in the morning to visit and after five minutes of being excited to see me, it was “are we going to ride Amber?!” It was great.
My mom has a beautiful Pre de Nations saddle that she’s kept forever in her trunk, and it’s been labeled as the kid’s saddle for whenever kids (more specifically grandkids) were to ride. Well, Kaylee immediately wanted to see the saddle, and try on her kid’s helmet that I bought her as I assembled the kid’s stirrups onto the saddle. So then obviously, we had to ride.
I wasn’t sure how much Kaylee would be able to do, but my plan was to have her sit on Amber all by herself and try to start steering Amber. So I grabbed my Lund bridle, my extra pair of spur straps, and lashed together a sidepull to put on Amber so Kaylee could start practicing steering. I let Kaylee do as much as she could, such as leading Amber and brushing her. Safe to say it was her favorite part of the day. And Amber….. Well, Amber was just the best. I’ll let the photos tell the story from here <3. (Let me know if the videos don’t work! I’ll compile them into a youtube video if they don’t)
After I’d written my Friday post, Genevive texted me asking if I was sure I’d like to ride since it was a) supposed to be the hottest weekend yet and b) she didn’t really have a horse for me to really jump on. Which is no big deal at all – at least the horse part haha. The heat is a definite factor, but I’d been excited for that lesson since I’d made it three weeks prior so I wasn’t going to cancel! As much as I have really enjoyed riding Amber this week and she’s been great, I have missed lessons. And, I ended up jumping a little anyway, so it all worked out. Plus, she offered to let me ride TWO horses – how in the world could I say no to that?!
I will admit I was terrible and got pretty much no media. I forgot my helmet cam, and it was hot as hell out, so I focused a lot more on hydration than media lol. But, I absolutely love the two I got to ride. The two she had were a Lusitano cross gelding named Rooster, and a TB mare named Ellie. I was super excited to ride the TB mare – especially since I’m following a lot of OTTB pages as a possibility for my next horse. We were getting an early start too – lesson at 730 and 930 to not get too caught in the heat. So I drove up armed with a giant jug of cold water, a whole Pedialyte, tech clothes and my really airy helmet.
Unfortunately, shortly before arriving, there was quite an odd smell coming from my truck engine, so when I parked I popped the hood to take a look. I couldn’t see anything at first, but then noticed liquid all over one part of my engine, with it bubbling on top of the battery. That was reeeaaaaallly not good. So I called my dad and proceeded to my lesson.
I rode Rooster first since he was more of a kick ride, and had an absolute blast on him. It helped that he liked me haha! He was such a super chill dude, and being a Lusitano good lord his canter was so lovely and lofty. So rhythmic and steady – at least, once he realized that breaking to a trot was a no lol. His trot was lovely and so steady too, and even Amber gives me a little more up and down push than he did. It was just so nice to ride. He’s green, but green as in merely uneducated. He does want to do what you’d like, he just doesn’t know how to do the fancier stuff yet lol. But G has done a fantastic job with him, and even though he’ll probably get sold for dressage, she’s educated him in some jumping! After a good warm up so he and I could get used to each other, we hopped over to the second arena , picked up a canter and headed to a little crossrail in the middle of arena, set up exactly like the crossrail in my previous lesson with Wyatt. Rooster does have a left drift, but he popped over the little jump so steadily and never once tried to run through my left leg or rein. We ran into a little bit of a hiccup when I asked him to land left lead, he landed left lead, and then just as I was steering left he switched to his right lead lol. So we sorta ran into the fence lol, but he was all “oh, okay? Sorry? I guess we carry on? K cool” haha. He was super chill about it, and we nailed two other passes at the crossrail before calling it a day with him.
I really liked him. He was super brave, very willing, and while he is a bit lazier, when it came to jumping I liked that feeling. Despite only have a bit of jumping education, he was steady, and I felt confident enough to actually work on my position a little. I think biking at home that whole week really helped my legs, and riding Amber in my jump saddle also really helped me be more aware of my upper body so that my shoulders didn’t collapse so much when I went to jump. So that lesson was successful! G had a little girl in between my two rides, but it was great to cool down and rest up before I rode Ellie.
Rooster was really great – he’s nosy and cheeky and has personality and is steady and sweet and I loved his gaits. But Ellie. OMG Ellie. I loved her. She’s not as outgoing as Rooster, not as confident, but you could just tell she was so sweet. I was a bit intimidated since she’s a lot bigger than I’ve ridden recently (maybe she’s about 16.2-ish?), but after grooming her and brushing her it just melted away. Maybe it’s just because I love mares, maybe it’s because her energy felt so reminiscent to Whisper – I don’t know. But I really like her. I even rested my cheek on her forehead and stroked her nose, something that I do with Whisper a lot when I feel she needs it. And Ellie just sighed, and it seemed to have the same effect on her as it does Whisper. She really just seemed to be that way the whole time I rode her too – I recognized a lot of Whisper in her, but she had the easily accessible go that Amber has.
By the time I had Ellie tacked and warming up it was about 108 degrees and 10 am. Just ICK. But the rest and water and Pedialyte had done its job, and I had energy to ride. It was so different though hopping on Ellie right after Rooster! Maybe it’s just me, but as much as I feel at home on Amber, I love feeling the differences in horses. It’s just so cool lol. Anyway, I walked with Ellie, and while she constantly had an ear flicking to the excitement going on, she was constantly coming back to me with an ear too, listening when I’d talk to her, listening when I’d pet her. When we trotted, she started off super fast – there was definitely a lot more OOMPH there than with Rooster! Amber has done that plenty of times, so it was a bit amusing for me to feel something so similar in such a completely different horse. (Maybe it’s that mare factor….? lol) But, this is another reason why I love riding with G, and riding her horses. Some of our cues may not be the same, but our philosophies for working with horses are, so when I sat tall, got a firm hold on the reins and tightened my leg, she came right back down to a lovely, steady trot. It was such a nice trot, but I needed to be firmer and steadier with my lower body, a cool difference since I didn’t need to be as on top of it with Rooster since his trot had less upward momentum to it.
This girl had a lovely lovely hunter canter as well. Again, such a difference from Rooster. It was just so cool to get to feel the differences back to back, because their movements were so different from each other, but I liked them both equally. Even though Rooster was a little lazier and required me to be on top of it before he broke gait, Ellie required more body control and subtlety from me. Super cool.
After we had a good warm up, we ventured back out to the uncovered arena to pop over some poles and crossrails. Ellie is a lovely hunter-in-training, but boy when I first pointed her towards the poles she was all OMG JOMPIES and she was SO EXCITED guys lol. The first time we cantered through the poles she was okay, but the second she was like NOPE HANG ON, WE’RE GOING, I HAVE THIS. And the half halt was non-existent and we had a very bad, unbalanced turn haha. So, note to self – we do not pull on reins and push in stirrups. I am not too sure why I always tend to do this initially, because I don’t do this with western, so maybe it’s something I never fixed in English? Either way, I gave myself a silent reminder to sit down, then sit up, then leg support, THEN we balance with the reins. We did a quick trot circle – a half halt to a halt and then back a few steps. Pause, back a little more. Just to reinstate Ellie’s half-halt.
So we made a pass again, this time cantering to the inside of the first pole jump and aiming to the second. I did all of my little reminder, just with a little too much pull, and she broke to a trot, but we picked the canter up again, and had a great stride over the poles. Half-halt success! We came the other way, and this time we got a super half-halt to re-balance to end with a great pass over the poles. G put that one up to a cross rail for us to trot, and Ellie totally clunked over it the first time lol. And it was totally my fault because my freaking shoulders hunched at the last second. Curse my hunchy shoulders haha. Either way, we popped over it two more times, with Ellie being awesome and me not being as terrible with my shoulders, before I had to call it quits. I wasn’t at my limit with the heat, but I was getting there, and I knew if I kept going, I wouldn’t physically be able to support Ellie the way she’d need. It was still a great point in the ride to finish the lesson, and a lot of good things to think about!
Unfortunately, my truck still wasn’t fixed. We weren’t sure what was wrong with it aside from the fact that for some reason it was not charging my left (main) battery at all, and diverting all power to my right (auxiliary) battery. Which meant it was pumping 18.5 volts into that battery, when batteries should only be charging around 13 to14 volts. Yikes. That’s certainly a fire hazard. The sulfuric acid from the battery that I’d tried to rinse off had still corroded through a few cables, so those would need to be fixed. We didn’t leave the property until about 130, I took a much-needed nap from 2-4 before driving back up north to see if we’d fixed the problem. Apparently not. So, we finally got back around 730 pm, and I finished up horses before getting a ride home. I was definitely feeling the effects of the heat – which, go figure my truck decided to have this issue on the hottest weekend projected for July. It got up to 114 (with the historical average only be 104), and was still 105 at 8 pm, despite the sun having gone down around 730.
The next day my dad and I were back at the property, troubleshooting my truck. We were there for a few more hours, and still nothing. It climbed up to 116 that day, and Amber was definitely having an issue, so I spent a good thirty minutes outside continuously hosing her down and giving her an impromptu bath. She was certainly much better for it! But boy it so miserably hot that when I went out to hose off Amber I could literally feel my brain swelling inside my skull. At least it was breezy, so once I hosed Amber, I hosed myself down too.
Monday morning saw me back at the property to meet the tow truck. At this point Genevive and I were joking that I really should’ve just brought my riding gear for the past two days – I could’ve had two more rides lol! I’m glad I didn’t end up having an episode from the heat, but I certainly came close a few times. I’m pretty sure Aleve and Pedialyte were my saviors. So now my truck is at a dealership to hopefully fix the problem. From browsing forums and speaking to a few Firestones and Ted Weins, it seems like it’s a pretty common problem in the PCM for my year of truck. Go figure. Hopefully that is the issue and it’s an easy fix, but I’m not super positive. When we first asked about the PCM part on Saturday, the dealership said they don’t make it anymore because my truck is too old. Womp womp.
So, it was certainly a very busy weekend lol.
It has certainly been interesting since I last posted. I’d meant to post an adorable photo dump of Amber being the perfect babysitter for my niece (and I still will post that), but things started happening one after the other so it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.
My family has had a slew of health problems in the last few weeks – thankfully not due to covid – but it has been really hard, so I was in need of some retail therapy. I haven’t really bought anything I don’t absolutely need for Amber in probably the last year and a half, so when RW’s 15% popped up, I figured I’d snatch up a few things I’ve been eyeing.
First were the BOT Royal Hind boots. Amber has responded very positively to BOT products, and it isn’t as if I can’t use any of these things on the next horse I get right?! Haha, so into the cart these went. I’ve been eyeing these for a while. Amber definitely needs back boots now that she consistently interferes with her hind legs, but as good as the cheap ones were, there was always a nagging in the back of my mind that a boot this style with hard plastic would benefit her more.
Next was a navy BOT jump pad, because why not? She loves her dressage one, and always moves so well with it. I actually really like this pad almost more than her dressage one tho because it’s a lovely mesh on the bottom that is super moisture wicking even tho it has the Welltex particles in it. It’s super lightweight, and it fits her nicely. Most of my jump pads look weird now, especially since I’m shimming up my half-pad so my jump saddle fits her, but I like the way the BOT one looks on her.
I went back and forth on these, but eventually I just said why not, and added the MDC Sport stirrups. My knee pain hasn’t been bad, especially since I’ve left my stirrups long in my jump saddle, but I’ve experienced a lot of foot numbness the higher I raise my stirrups. I thought about trying the Freejump stirrups, but the price wasn’t quite low enough for me to bite the bullet and try them just yet. But it was certainly different riding in these in my jump saddle! I raised my stirrups, and it was crazy just how easy it was to push my heel down in these. I’ve never had a problem with lowering my heels – if nothing else I push them down a little too much. But I hadn’t noticed there was a slight resistance in the wide composite stirrups until I tried these.
It took a good twenty minutes before I felt numbness in my toes, and usually it’s only about five or ten minutes in that they start to go numb in the composite ones. I had absolutely no knee pain whatsoever, so fingers crossed that continues. My ankles were killing me tho, but I think that had more to do with my boots than the stirrups. Since it’s god-awful hot at 5 pm here (I think when I first test-rode everything it was still 105 at 6:30 pm), I’ve been trying to use the heat and my sweat to my advantage to further break in my black MH boots. I always have ankle problems breaking in new boots, and these seem to be a little tougher to break in than my brown MHs. But, so far so good on the stirrups!
I also tried the BOT boots and pad on Amber in that ride, and she felt really good. I think I was right that the hard plastic of the hind boots, combined with how stable they were around her ankles really helped her feel way more steady in her hind end. She tended to come out of frame a little more, and was a little “hotter” than usual, but that was more due to lack of fitness and my raised stirrups than lack of comfort. I was actually super pleased with how nice she felt. Her left canter felt uphill (for her lol), and her right lead was actually steady, something I am super happy about considering that is her very bad lead now.
All this arrived certainly at the right time! Trainer G has a horse for me to ride now, so I have a lesson with her this weekend that I’m super excited about. Since I am still out of shape, I am trying to ride Amber a little more – get good riding and 2pt practice in – and am working out on my home cycle-bike so that perhaps I have some semblance of “fit” for Saturday haha. Hopefully I’ll be able to post more soon!
When we first got Kahlua, it was really hard for me to work with her. I liked it, but there was also always this sense of dread whenever I needed to work with her. I ended up putting a lot of pressure on myself and it just wasn’t working.
So I backed up for a while. Didn’t work with her at all aside from feeding, mucking, and treats. And honestly, I think it’s been the right choice for me, but actually for Kahlua too. She’s been with us almost a year now, but through our daily routines she’s super willing to come up to us now. She is so delicate taking treats tho – it’s legit the cutest thing haha.
Perhaps two weeks ago, we noticed her right eye was kinda weepy and the flies were really bothering it. We can’t put a fly mask on her yet (she’s totally not broke to that) so we just monitored it. Almost overnight on the second day it just expanded into this huge sore below her eye. She was rubbing it on everything, and taking the skin off her knees even from how much she was itching. We had the vet out as soon as we could get him (thankfully she was considered an emergency), and dosed her with wormer and copious amounts of swat on her eye. Even just by the next day, it looked ten times better.
But, we still had to apply swat and meds to it. She still wouldn’t let us approach to touch her, and she definitely wouldn’t let us near with a halter, so we had to rig one of our panels as like a chute for her. It worked for the first….3 or so times schooching her in there. And then she’d just stand there in one of the corners and stare at us with a distinct “I am not going in there” look about her.
Has anyone ever mentioned how smart burros are? Well, they’re smart. And she was not going in there, no-sir-ee. Even after tapping her on the butt with a lead rope. Nope. She’d just stand there with a leg cocked and let us lightly tap her. She knew we weren’t going to hurt her, and she’d just look at us like “No thanks. I don’t want to” with those big brown eyes.
Well. Hurray that the panel is not connected to any part of her run, so we can move it wherever. I’d have to coax her a bit but we’d get her in her fav corner and move the panel. Her face when the panel moved was absolutely PRICELESS. I’m not kidding, her ears drooped LOL. We only had to move the panel twice more to different parts of her run before she realized there was no escaping her fate haha. She ended up being even better without the rope. Within a few days of her willingly moving towards the far corner, I now just point with my left hand, gently move my right, and cluck to her. She knows exactly what this means now, and just calmly walks over. I even managed to get her over there with treats and following me, so she’s coming around really quickly.
We’ve been haltering her, putting medicine on her, grooming her, and she’s been a champ through it all. I think this time that we’ve just been letting her be, giving her treats has let her settle really well. She knows we won’t hurt her, and through lots of slow, methodical work she’s letting us do so much with her. We still need the panel to apply meds to her face, but where we once had to squeeze her in she just stands relaxed. She’ll even look at us now, sniff my hands, let me scratch her face. And that sore is practically all healed now, which is a relief.
We give her plenty of carrots and apples and grain immediately after we’re done, and she comes right up to us again because she knows the treats are the best part! I swear she won’t even eat her dinner (and it’s alfalfa!) until we’re done because she knows all the treats are coming haha!
A few weeks ago, we had a TIP trainer local to Vegas that we called to come out an help us. While she’s doing well with us, we know nothing about gentling a wild burro, and I know from working with her that while her mentality is similar to horses, it’s the wild factor that’s stumping us. But the local guy is great, and you can tell he really loves working with horses and burros. A lot of what he explained what he does with them makes a lot of sense to me, and I really enjoy that he uses so many aspects of their wild life/nature to gentle them.
We’ve had him come out weekly so far, and after only 2 appointments Kahlua has come leaps and bounds! We’re able to touch her and pet her now, and my mom has been putting in amazing work with her. She can brush her, put medicine on her knee, touch her nearly all over (tho left side only for now) – all without the chute! She still won’t let my mom get meds on her face without the chute, but with how she’s coming, we know it’ll only be a little while before we can do that. In the chute I’ve practiced haltering her, and she’s a pro at it now! It’s certainly helped with the free work that we’ve been doing.
So far, she lets my mom do the most with her, but since I am back to full-time, in-office work again right as I started another IT class I haven’t had nearly as much time as I would’ve liked to get Kahlua comfortable with me. But, she lets me walk up and pet her just fine, so I’m okay with that for now! She’s come such a long way in just three short weeks, so I can’t wait to see how much further we’ll be able to get in a few more!
There really isn’t any excuse as to why I haven’t posted anything, but alas, I have not haha. I noticed through this that while I’m home, I tend not to visit social media a lot. No FB, no Insta, no blogging…. So I’m trying to change that a little with this post haha. I’m enjoying being unplugged from most social media lol. I still follow, but it’s definitely been less. The no blogging has mostly been because there’s not really a lot for me to write about, but a few (very) good things have happened recently amidst all this and it’s a huge relief.
I am extremely lucky in that short of not going to work every day, nothing has really changed for me. I am a very typical extroverted introvert, so while I do miss the occasional brunch outing with a friend, I have found it to be extremely relieving to slow down, spend time doing things I couldn’t before, and let myself be quiet.
I still care for the horses every day. I know that this could be a bit controversial, especially since my parents are in the older age-range for the virus, but since I always take care of the ponies and burro, I never stopped helping my mom care for them. I am there every day, whether just hanging out with my parents or doing chores. For me, with my mom being in that older age-range, I didn’t want her to get too run-down being the only caregiver and then be even more susceptible to getting sick if the extra work, hay dust (we’re both allergic to it), etc lowered her immune system.
With our barn being just us, there really was no change in that respect. Amber is loving all the extra time I’m getting to spend with her, and we’ve been working her fitness back up slowly. We look a little janky at the moment – her dressage saddle is again a little too wide for her since her loss of muscle tone, so we have on all our dressage gear and a 5-point breastplate lol. Amber is much happier with the set-up, and we go back and forth between dressage and western, and I keep our riding objectives the same across both disciplines.
Just the other day we had a vet appointment to x-ray Amber’s left hind, and it’s still looking good! She’s not grown as much sole this time, and her toe is a little long, but I think that’s a battle that will always be there, so I’m pretty stoked with the news that her foot is doing just fine even after 6 months of not checking on it. Her knee and stifle are still doing well, especially as the weather warms her arthritis feels better. So we’re going to keep riding! I’ve taken to riding in a pair of really slick yoga pants to help my strength too haha. Her trot is not bouncy, and she’s much happier at a slower trot pace than what I had her at before, so the slippery yoga pants have been great helping me get muscle and balance back lol.
As for Whisper, for probably the past year and a half we’ve been battling some soundness issues. It appeared in her front feet, and mostly her left front. The biggest setback was how hard it was to really get a read on just what was wrong with her. For the 16 years we’ve owned her she’s been the picture of soundness, and only needed her hocks injected two years ago. So it was very odd that she was having this mystery lameness. Radiographs only told us there was a teensy bit of swelling in her navicular bone, but other than that she never matched any other positive navicular signs. Plus, Whisper is not stoic whatsoever, so she definitely tells you when there is the slightest thing wrong. For a while we toyed with the idea of driving down to California to have an MRI done on her left front since her symptoms were similar to a tear.
Before that though, we decided one last option: consult another vet Dr. P, one who specializes in equine podiatry. I just really need to give a huge, huge, huge shout-out to these guys on here, because it really became this network of people working together to figure out what was wrong with Whisper. Dr. W, our vet here, would work with our farrier, send all the x-rays to Dr. P, who would then consult with both W and our farrier. It helped that W already knew P, and it has been a good 5 shoeings of collaboration between these three and my mom. W would x-ray and take molds of Whisp’s feet, send those to P, who would then handcraft shoes for Whisper and send them back to us with the molds, then consult with our farrier on how they needed to go on her foot based on the x-rays and molds. Rinse, repeat for 5 farrier appointments lol. It was extensive. But, we finally figured out that Whisper has contracted heels, which explained practically all of her symptoms. Once we got the angle of her wedge right, it’s been home free, and this last shoeing just the other day looks so positive. She’s walking so wonderfully on her front legs now, so that is a huge, huge, huge relief for me and my mom. Whisp is just the sweetest, and she’s been a champ through it all.
Well, we were well on the way of getting her sound when she came up lame on her left hind leg. And that just made our hearts sink. But thankfully, such a simple solution. The same vet appointment for Amber’s x-ray the other day was to flex test Whisper, and she’s merely hock sore. So we stuck her on Equioxx, and while she’s looking better, after a week we’re thinking we may need to inject her hocks. Which, after all the crazy with her front feet, we’re ecstatic that’s all she’ll need. Pretty soon my mom should be able to get back to riding her main girl, and both her and Whisper look much happier now that Whisp is feeling better. We’ve still got a week or two on the Equioxx before making a final decision, but Whisper is 18 this year, and if hock injections are all she needs now that we’ve figured out her front feet? I’ll take it lol.
Choco is living her best life. She’s ecstatic to have way more snuggles and adventure time with me at my apartment. She gets very upset with me if she doesn’t get to lay in my lap at least twice a day for a few hours each time haha. Her little snores are the best, and it’s been really great to spend all this time with her. Dogs are certainly living their best lives!
I loved the post that Liz from In Omnia Paratus wrote on Friday, and definitely wanted to add to the positivity. I’m grateful that….
Too much? LOLOLOL Stay safe and healthy everyone!
It has certainly been a very quick, interesting couple of days. A lot has happened in a short amount of time, and a lot of us are reeling.
Tuesday night, the Nevada governor issued a “close all non-essential businesses” directive for 30 days – casinos are directed to completely shut down, and other places had to shut down no later than noon on Wednesday. Essential businesses such as grocery stores, police, fire department, hospitals, etc, are still running, but only to essential personnel.
The directive went out at 6 pm Tuesday night, so I rushed over to our feed store to get food for Choco and hay for the horses since we wouldn’t know if our feed stores would be considered essential or not. We didn’t have a 30 day supply of food for the horses, so I ordered just enough to get us through. Thankfully, our feed store is still delivering hay for orders, which eases my worries on that matter. Our vet office closed their doors, but it looks like they are still open for emergency needs.
I’m worried for everyone here. Vegas runs on hospitality, and practically all of hospitality is closing. Schools have closed, but thankfully the teachers are still getting paid. UNLV students living in the dorms had to pack up all their belongings and go home. People are dressing as Nevada Energy workers and robbing people for food, water, and money at gunpoint. When I went to my grocery store right around the corner, there was a team of policeman – one manning the parking lot and the other the store. There were more than 600 people “in line” to get in when Sam’s Club opened. Which totally defeats the purpose of social distancing and staying in your homes, but I digress. People have been taking so much from the grocery stores that the seniors can barely get anything for themselves, so some places like Target are using their first hour of business for seniors – and they’re checking IDs to make sure the age is correct.
The streets have less cars on them than ever. As I was driving home Thursday night, it was really disconcerting to see practically no traffic when the streets are usually inundated with cars. With everything going on, hopefully places will be understanding about bills and people won’t go into a bigger panic than they already are.
My office is down to essential personnel too, so while there’s not any in-office work that I can do from home, there’s still a lot of extra training I can do so that I’m not just using up my PTO. So as of next week I’ll get a little bit of an unplanned “vacation.” This does mean more horsey time, so I am glad I’ll still be able to ride, and I’ll take care of ponies as always.
Despite things going a little crazy around here, I’m taking this opportunity to find the positives. I’m okay, my family and close friends are okay. I am extremely lucky that my work is fabulous with its employees, and they’re supporting all of us. So in this time that I am not going work, I am going be positive – finish up my final paper for my class early, go see the horses more since I’ll have daylight to do so, start those YouTube yoga or fitness videos I keep saying I’ll do but haven’t yet, really clean my place, catch up on any adulting things I may have fallen behind on, and keep eating healthy since most of the grocery stores still have all the healthy food haha. Obviously I’ll be working as well, but not needing to be at the office for 10 hours at a time will allow me to do more in the long run.
I am sad Kentucky needed to be cancelled, but I am letting my tickets roll over to next year since I do want to go. I thought about just getting a refund for a while, but since I want to go next year, I decided to just let them roll over. I understand what a huge hit they’re taking this year, especially since they’re non-profit. Hopefully next year they’ll have really awesome attendance, and I think they will. I was really looking forward to seeing my grandma and hopefully meeting some fellow bloggers after Kentucky, but that can always wait until later when things aren’t so hectic.
If you could, please keep Vegas in your thoughts! I hope you guys are doing alright this week!
As the week went on between my last lesson and my Feb 1 lesson, I kept remembering how well the line rode (tho still not perfect) when I sat up and back in between the fences. So, I made that my goal for this next lesson, with my leg, mentality, and all the other things I’d made a note of last time a priority for this one too.
This lesson this past Saturday has been the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I always have fun jumping, and this lesson was hard and challenging but I did it and it was an exercise I’ve always wanted to try but never had a horse that I could try it with. I love challenging exercises like this. When it comes to horses, sometimes just sending me out to do it where I have to be on the ball, think really fast, and feel my way through an exercise really makes me ride my best. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but for the most part I really love challenges like these. They’re like puzzles, and I love puzzles (I am such a Ravenclaw lol).
Genevive had three obstacles set up – a jump in the middle, and two cavaletti at either end of the arena. The jump started out as ground pole, and as always, Genevive had me start with pace, position, and track. Wyatt and I warmed up really well, and only did a bit of testing out the circles with the ground pole before Genevive made it into a crossrail and put the cavaletti at their max height.
Initially, we were supposed to start with a trot over the cavaletti then go naturally into the canter, and we did that once, and Wyatt just trotted easily over it lol. Try again, this time with a cluck and a bigger squeeze over the cavaletti, aaaaaand nothing lol. So Genevive had me give him a little tap with the whip and just go straight into the canter. We did one circuit around before capping off the ends with the cavaletti. We did the same to the right, and once we were keeping our pace, position and track, she had us start to the left with the cavaletti first and then on to the crossrail.
And I totally botched it lol. And yes, I got media of it – both helmet cam and ground video because my mom was there to video me haha.
I rode up to the crossrail, sitting, waiting, closed my leg thinking “support to the base” aaaaaand I had too much leg which made Wyatt take an absolute flyer lol. So then I figured I needed to get it together, left out the cavaletti and approached again. This time I had no leg, didn’t ride, and he fully felt that and we climbed over the jump. Same approach, but this time it felt different. The ground video doesn’t look bad, but you can see on the helmet cam how his head went down, we climbed over it again, and I had the distinct feeling that if he wasn’t such a brave, honest, saint of a horse he would’ve stopped. He’d never stopped at anything before, and that was when my brain decided to kick in. It gave me a really good talking to, basically shouting, “What the ever loving hell are you doing?! You know how to ride, and we’ll be damned if we teach this horse to stop. So get your act together, sit up, and ride!”
And, what do you know, it worked. I made the quick decision to put the cavaletti back in rotation, got that done, and rode like I meant it to the jump. I rode, I waited, I had leg on, and we popped over. He had the slightest hesitation, but I think my determination and support and not biffing the distance gave him more confidence, so our next approach went seamlessly. We finally got a break – Wyatt with many many pets – and discussed what had all happened during that, with the reminder of pace, pace, pace, then track lol. Once we’d had that, the position and distance worked itself out.
The right was better. I’d learned my lesson going to the left, so we had a much better go at that to the right. But, while my right leg had been amazing so far (it’s my weaker leg so I’ve been working on strengthening it), it was immediately apparent that my left leg was very blah and unhelpful this ride lol. Because the barn was to the left of us, he bulged left over the jump, which resulted in him switching leads over the fence. And because of my non-functioning left leg, I wasn’t stopping his shoulder from dropping left. Wyatt has very good changes, but I have yet to learn how to ask him for them, so we worked on simple changes. I decided not to fix my left leg that lesson for two reasons – one, I was finally getting the hang of the right amount of leg Wyatt needed before a jump. If I messed with my left leg, I didn’t want that to cause us to have more issues approaching that crossrail. Two, both Wyatt and I needed the practice with the simple changes.
We’d trot, go back into the correct canter, but I started biffing the cavaletti, and after about 3 times Genevive had me stop. I thought it was due to me seeing a half-step and my body going all wonky. But Genevive pointed out to me that once we trotted, I lost the pace, I lost my feel for the rhythm, and that’s why I kept throwing my shoulders too far forward, throwing Wyatt off as well. He was still a very good boy and jumped it, but I’d only get my pace back by the crossrail, when I needed it most in time for the cavaletti.
So she sent me out again. We hit the cavaletti well, got in great to the crossrail, switched, and I immediately did a simple change, kicked him back out to try for that pace again. We were a bit off of it, but it was a lot better, so I was able to make the better decision to just wait, make my body wait, and he chipped but the execution was much better. At one point, he was really losing steam coming off of the rail, so I gave him a tap and he took such offense to it LOL. You’ll catch it in the video but it was just so funny lol. We repeated that a few more times, and finally he didn’t swap over the crossrail! He held the lead for 3 jumps (cavaletti, crossrail, cavaletti), so G and I let him stretch down and go straight before walking.
We quit there, which I thought was a perfect way to end for both him and me. He’s still green when it comes to jumping, and since it’s been a struggle for him to hold leads, the fact that he did was a great place to stop. That, and he was tired and sooooooo sweaty lol! We were both tired actually haha. You can tell towards the end of the video, but we still got it done I think.
That definitely went down as my fav lesson in a long time. Aside from my momentary lapse of sane thought with the crossrail lol, it was such a great exercise and I think Wyatt was probably the perfect horse for me to learn it on, too. I left really excited for my next lesson, but I started my next class that Monday, and knew I’d need to wait a weekend before another lesson.
Since then tho, I kept thinking about the previous ride, when I finally sat up and back, and then this ride, how I was much more successful at doing that this lesson than before. Obvi I still biffed it a few times, but I started to realize that for the past few years in lessons that has always been an issue for me. I tend to crouch in two-point; whenever I’m English I’m always in two-point at the canter. I did that with Amber when I first had the jump saddle too. The only times I’ve sat were in my western and dressage saddles, which sit very differently from jump saddles.
And I had a bit of an epiphany. Almost immediately as I started drawing up a plan to practice going from two-point to sit on Amber (without losing forward), I immediately heard my brain yell “no! get off their back!”
Now it made so much sense! For four years in Hawaii when I rode the lesson pony Air Myles, my teacher would always always always tell me to get off of his back. I’d always sat for the canter before, but Myles didn’t like someone sitting on his back at the canter, so she’d always yell at me to get off his back if I sat for more than five strides. Even in flat classes I’d two-point. I’d never sit. Then we got Whisper, I did western, and my last real experiences with jumping were those lessons in Hawaii until the very few, very sparse lessons these past few years. I’m actually really really liking dressage now, because doing dressage with Amber has actually helped exponentially in making me aware of my shoulders, how I tend to tip forward and not sit, and it’s made me sit up and back.
So, now I can really work on teaching myself to go from two-point to sit up and back. I couldn’t completely fix the problem until I knew why I did it, and can now change my reaction.
Onward from my cerebral observations, I figured I’d do some small but targeted rides on Amber. Since her injection in her knee, she’s been feeling a lot better, so I plan to practice my two point and going from up to sitting back on her until my next lesson. It’ll mostly be fitness/learning rides for me, but I feel more okay doing that with her now that she’s better.
Unfortunately, the lady who owns Wyatt has a second horse that’s working better for her, so Wyatt will be headed for a new home soon and I won’t get to have anymore lessons with him. We’re not actually sure who I’ll ride for my next lesson, but we’ll figure it out lol. I’m disappointed because I felt like Wyatt and I were finally getting into a good groove together, but it happens. Riding different horses is one reason why I’m taking lessons and not just leasing or buying a horse. I’ve had a lot of experience riding plenty of different western horses, but I want more experience riding lots of different English horses too. Helps me know better what type of feel I’d like from horses I try in the future.
Either way, I’m still looking forward to my next lesson, whenever it is!
This lesson on Jan 25 was good. I’m sure it had to do with my attitude/plan/better day, but we synced a lot more. In light of my last lesson, what Genevive said about wanting him to stretch down over the jump and that we were trying to teach him rhythm and consistency in pace to make him a good ride for his owner really stuck with me. I realized that I had been treating him like a jumper horse that last lesson – let’s go go go! – instead of what he REALLY was, which was a Hunter horse. Lightbulb turned on, thank you very much brain.
So for this lesson, I was determined, and had my points all thought out:
For this lesson, we tried Wyatt in a new bit. He’d never been ridden in it before, but I had a feeling he’d adjust just fine with him being a western-ish started horse. And true to form, when he kinked his neck all weird I just gave a soft bump and he immediately got the message. After that, I only had to massage my ring finger, and he was a good boy.
I still had my dressage whip, but I let Wyatt warm up easy. I mostly focused on my position, let him start out slow as he warmed up. Despite his lethargic start, he could immediately tell my leg was different, much more like Genevive rides him, and he could certainly tell the difference. Pretty soon I had him in a pretty nice, forward trot for him. He needed just the smallest tap, but for the most part was quite good about going forward when I’d squeeze and/or cluck.
Most of the ride I was laughing at myself because while I felt that last lesson I jumped better (read: stayed out of his way) and this one I flatted him way better than I jumped. That’s horses and learning tho, right? All in a day’s ride.
So I’ll skip to the fun jumping part since flatting mostly consisted of…well…flatting, and trotting over poles and counting and more practice on me grabbing mane. As he did in the first two lessons, before the jump he’d get squiggly, not wanting to straighten up out of the corner and go so we had some straightness issues. Those obviously knocked our striding off, but it was still a really good learning experience for both of us, and he was still an absolute saint in that he jumped every single time I asked him to. This lesson though was a good learning curve for me since I had had practically no leg on last lesson, and then coincidentally had too much leg this lesson haha. Yay learning lol.
I kept (appropriately) thinking LEG LEG LEG, just don’t forget your leg before the fence, he needs support. You know, all good things. Except, since we’d done very well together on the flat, he was a lot more attuned to my leg than I was expecting when we started to jump. Dude was such an awesome saint of a horse tho, because I kept biffing the distance. Not because I couldn’t see one but my brain was like “yes, we go to right here” and then my legs closed too hard, or didn’t close at all, so he’d go long or I’d bury him to the base of the trot crossrail. Oi. Brain and limbs – let’s actually communicate and do the same thing please!
So usually, our trot jump was just…bad, and then the five strides to the vertical came up okay. We were still long 90% of the time, but hey, this is how we learn lol. You’ll be able to see in the video, but it was a very easy exercise that was just really hard for us to nail. Despite being forward on the flat, and feeling him forward to the jump, it felt like he decided forward wasn’t a thing three trot steps out from the crossrail and our straightness would suffer which mucked up the rest of the line. Y’all know how it goes.
I finally gave him a good smack in between fences. We drifted right, but he powered better, which got us a better distance to our vertical. That time Genevive had raised the vertical, so when we really drifted right, he caught the rail and knocked it. But, was a good boy and tried extra hard the next time. The last time we went through was our best (naturally), but I’m always fine with that. Even if I have a lesson where I struggle, if I can get it once I like to end on that note. Having the good one be the last just really solidifies it in my mind. So Genevive put a trot pole about two steps out from the crossrail. This caught his attention, so he was looking at it instead of throwing his head up and wobbling, and I put my leg on a little too hard. He responded tho, tried a canter step but the pole made him trot, and then up and over the crossrail we went. I gave him a good kick, sat up and sat down, and the vertical came up in 5 lovely strides with no drift.
Which, you know, our last good one was the one that I finally figured out to sit up and back lol. Oh well. It still helped set the tone for the next lesson, so I was perfectly a-okay to quit there. Despite only getting the line once, this overall lesson was still much better than the last. I was a lot smoother to Wyatt with my aids, I had a different mindset coming in, and I know he appreciated that. I don’t generally worry about not getting an exercise as well as I’d want, mostly because as long as my overall mindset and way of riding is correct, I know that the exercises will get easier as I get more experience. Which is why, while I didn’t feel like I jumped as well this lesson, it still felt like a way better lesson than the last one because I was smoother and made sure I didn’t get as frustrated with him.
So, that was it for that successful lesson!
I had jump lessons! Yay! One was on Dec 13, and the other one Jan 10, but at least I’m finally getting around to writing about it? lol I have helmet cam footage for my Dec 13 lesson, but I was running a bit late to my second lesson, so it was either go back to my apartment and grab my helmet camera or get caffeine. Well, I chose caffeine. And once the lesson was done, I wished I’d skipped it and gotten my camera. Ugh. 20/20, I guess.
Either way, both lessons were good. I got to try out a new pony – western pleasure wasn’t the right discipline for him, so now he’s having a blast in his (very) new and (recent) transfer to the hunter ring. He’s absolutely so adorably sweet, and amazingly enough he’s like this crazy-great mix between Amber and Whisper. I am in love. I may or may not have pestered Genevive about where she got him, because he’s 16 hands too and feels like my kind of horse.
The best thing, too? I haven’t gotten my jump saddle made narrower yet (will I ever? I have no idea LOL), but it’s absolutely perfect for his QH shoulders and wider back. (Meaning I need a horse like him because I am deathly afraid that next-horse will need a different saddle lol). Soxie felt longer but more adjustable, with a huge engine if you only thought about it. Which – of course – she was a jumper mare, but I really liked the way that felt. Wyatt feels shorter but less adjustable, with an engine that needs consistent reminders to stay forward. I feel more confident going to a fence on a horse like Soxie, but I feel safer on Wyatt because he’s so steady. He might be slower, lazier, with a “go” button that doesn’t feel forward, but you can feel that he has no stop in him whatsoever and he’s good off of the ground. This was especially apparent in my second lesson.
So, first lesson. I was mostly just getting used to him, but Genevive gave us some super fun exercises to do. She had set up a five stride line (blue x’s), a cavaletti bounce (green lines), and a single vertical with a loooooong approach. She gave me a bit of background with him – he’s generally lazy, gets wiggly before jumps so you just need to enforce forward, but he’s a good guy and will jump anything from anywhere. And he totally gave me that feeling. Despite being wiggly, I never felt like he wouldn’t jump, and he has such a rhythmic canter that it’s the easiest I’ve ever been able to count strides in a line.
He was really good through the first two crossrails, and once he saw the bounce he was ready to go, but coming off the end for the long approach to the vertical he’d get really sucked back. It caused us to miss our distance the first time. The second time around, after a tap-tap on my boot, he went forward enough and the distance came up flawlessly.
Most of the lesson was us getting used to one another, and ensuring that he stayed forward. He had a bit of trouble continuing through the corners at the canter, but he was so steady whenever going over those crossrails from a trot that I always felt confident going towards them. All in all, it was a fun lesson on a new lesson pony with some super fun exercises!
The next lesson I was super excited for, but it ended up being a bit of a blah ride. I was having a blah day, got really frustrated by what felt like lack of forward for Wyatt, and that translated to him. He didn’t really want to go forward, and he’d throw his head and bulge left, but then had a right drift so we kept going in crooked to the jumps. I just got frustrated with him this ride, and it showed in how not-smooth I rode that day.
The only good thing I can attest to that ride was that I really got my knuckles in his neck and grabbed mane for our exercise. I felt a bit behind most of the time, but considering I have a tendency to crouch with my shoulders and bring my hands up to hang weirdly in mid-air, I was happy that I was solidly in a grab-mane, slightly-left-behind mentality the whole ride. Genevive had set up a cool one-stride exercise of a crossrail to a vertical and two cavaletti angled to the side of each of them. I’d trot in the one stride, circle around and hit the cavaletti.
Wyatt was a good boy despite me getting frustrated. I wanted to hit the combo straight, with forward impulsion, but he’d throw his shoulder left cause he didn’t want to go forward, then when I’d block him he’d haul right, so it was interesting getting to the crossrail for one stride to an upright vertical. We had some okay flat work before, but as I said the ride was meh. I’m a little blurry on everything we did this lesson (thank god I had helmet cam footage for my December lesson or I wouldn’t remember anything lol), but I still learned a lot, despite it not being my best.
She had me end both ways off of the one stride to hit the other cavaletti, so we kept Wyatt on his toes a bit about whether we would go left and circle around to the left cavaletti, or go right and jump the right one. He was super solid through the one stride despite how crooked we’d get going in. It was really cool to feel him get in there and get out over it, especially since Genevive made the out vertical a solid height. I don’t know how tall it was, but it was taller than she’s normally had me jump, even with Soxie. But yeah it was an awesome feeling riding that combo because he was so game to do it, and it felt so cool. Which is why I was so glad I was just grabbing mane so I wasn’t in his way.
The one stride and the cavaletti all rode well, and I feel I rode them well once I was in them, but definitely the in between was where my frustration was a lot more apparent if he wouldn’t canter, or he’d suddenly start wiggling before the crossrail. I’d get hunched, try to pull him or something, and I’d execute our transitions badly. Looking back at the videos from the last lesson to this one I think the reason he got so wiggly was that the crossrail faced directly away from his stall, and he definitely sucked back towards the barn.
Towards the end though, he really wasn’t wanting to hold his right lead, so Genevive had me canter a circle around the one stride before pointing him towards the cavaletti. Our goal was to approach, straighten without him swapping leads, and pop over the cavaletti. He was so good though, and did it great on the first try, so we stopped there. So while it certainly wasn’t my best ride, I did learn a lot through it.
Stay tuned for my next lesson!
Aside from some lessons (which will be posted soon!) not much has been going on around here.
Back in December I noticed Amber’s knee swelling again. The farrier had just trimmed her, so I knew it wasn’t her foot bothering her. While her stifle had gotten injected back in November, we didn’t inject her knee because it was fine on the day they checked her. But the cold weather was setting in, and I was noticing that she was stiff on that leg. So, I made an appointment and started wrapping that leg in her BOT quick wrap. It definitely helped her stay more comfortable until the vet came out.
Amber felt better immediately. By the next day she was moving much happier, and within 3 days that swelling had gone down again. Thank god! I still gave her about a week of rest, but then we had some bad weather so it was more like 2 weeks until I could get her out. But she feels a lot better now, so I’m hopefully going to be able to hop on her a little more.
Kahlua has been her usual squeaky self – begging for treats and food. She’s been coming inside a lot more with how bad the weather has been, which is really good. She still leaves when we walk by, but usually her hunger outweighs her caution so sometimes she stays in.
I don’t have a lesson planned for the long weekend, but I’m actually glad of that since The Sick finally caught up with me. It’s been roaming around my office with people coming in still coughing, hacking, sniffling – and one person even came in with a mask over their face. OMG PEOPLE WHY ARE YOU AT WORK IF YOU’RE WEARING A MASK?! DO NOT INFECT US PLEASE! But no, people like the office where I work so they all come and infect the place, no matter how many times I wipe down everything with wipes. I’ve held off getting sick for 3 months though, so I suppose that was a good run lol.
So now I’m just hoping I won’t stay sick for too long. But, I’ve finally managed to finish all my lesson recaps with their media, so I’ll be posting those next week! Happy long weekend everyone!
I loved the 2010s post May As Well Event did, so before the end of 2019, here is mine!
This was my second/third semester in college. I was having a blast beginning my Equine Science degree, but not getting up at 6 am for all my 7 am classes. This photo isn’t actually from 2010, but I actually can’t find a photo from 2010 lol. I still love Fort Collins tho, and I actually miss the snow and these gray days.
This was the year I was assigned to Amber, but my most memorable moments were from my Packing and Outfitting class trip. That will forever remain one of my absolute best memories. I had to pick two photos for this year – one to show just how beautiful fall was in the mountains, and the other one where we got to see a golden eagle and bald eagle hanging out together on that same trip.
This was the year that Amber got sold to someone else, was then sold back to me, and then injured herself lol. But this started our journey together, and I’ll never regret one moment of it, even the heart-stopping ones!
I started a job in Texas working for a reining trainer this year. I got to see a new side to all things horses, and also realized Texas was somehow colder than Colorado lol.
This was my second year working for a trainer, where I got my own string of horses to ride. This guy was one of mine to keep working on, a super sweet stallion by Wimpy’s Little Step.
I came back to Vegas this year with Amber in tow, and ended up getting a job very different from training horses. But, I got to try a few new horses out for a friend before coming back – including this really cool mare that I really liked.
This was the year Amber and I ventured into showing together since we never had before. We started in the walk/trot, and won a lovely buckle.
This was the year I started my blog! And the year we showed again, this time in canter classes while I hunted around for some new english gear for Amber and I to start eventing once the year of showing was over. However, this was also the year I visited Kentucky for the (last ever) Rolex, and that kind of tops the photo’s list lol.
Alas, it was not meant to be, as Amber had stifle surgery and laminitis, and the bulk of the year was spent waiting. But, I did have some super fun lessons, and got to ride Soxie, one of my favorite red mares ever.
This has been a rollercoaster of a year. Not in terms of horses, really, but I think my happiest moment in 2019 was getting a clear for light riding with Amber. She’s still doing well, still likes the occasional work, and it makes me very happy to ride her.
So, a lot has happened in a decade! It sure doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, since time sure flies, but I can’t wait to see where life will take me these next 10 years!
We’ve had cold and wet weather since the week before Thanksgiving, which for Vegas is not par for the course. Temperature-wise it was colder last year, but it was sunny and dry. This winter we’re cloudy and wet with warmer temps, but the lack of sun and the increased humidity has had everyone feeling quite a bit colder than normal. There’s been a consistent 10-degree temp vs “feels like” difference as the days have remained cloudy, and this definitely affects the ponies.
The day before Thanksgiving was windy with a wall of threatening clouds coming over the west mountains, and I decided it was a good day to ride Amber. I…don’t know why haha. The day before was beautiful and I didn’t ride! But nasty weather, let’s do it lol. Either way, Amber was frisky. She had some extra pep in her step. She was so good about trying hard and keeping a lid on her happy, so I just let her canter out. That was one happy pony! I let her just go for one time around the arena, then sat back and asked her to work. Turns out that little “run” was all she needed, and her extra friskiness gave her good pep and energy for us to work on her canter. She gave me some of her best right lead canter to date, and I kept each one short. I needed to lift her up a little, remind her to sit on her butt, but despite the happies she really did well.
We settled to a nice trot, and she was the bestest pony for the remainder of our short ride. I fitted her with all my BOT stuff and fed dinner a little early.
I haven’t been able to ride much since Thanksgiving, but I had considered at the start of December using that month for a no-stirrups instead of November. But in the end, I decided not to, and I was super glad. When I next rode Amber, she was fantastic. She tried so hard at the trot, and her left lead canter was the absolute best I have ever felt that horse canter. She really took to heart the reinforcement of bending through the ribcage, and she was actually light on my inside rein (usually her weight is just consistently in the left rein but I know why that is lol). She was rhythmic, felt wonderfully uphill (for her), and it just felt magical. It was such a cool ride that day. And I think we rode a grand total of 15 minutes because she was so good. She nailed everything I asked. There was no reason whatsoever for me to keep pushing anything. She got so many pets and treats. You should’ve seen her face after though. She knew she’d been a good girl and fully expected all the attention haha.
That ride was the only one I got that week. In between work being hectic, a company Christmas party, and homework I just couldn’t get out there. Last week though I made sure to get out there, but…she just hasn’t seemed herself. She hasn’t liked her scratches as much. She doesn’t have as much pep in her step. I know her right SI ligament is sore, so I made sure to massage her and slather sore no more on her stifle. She has what feels like very minor swelling on her left side. She looks at me like “WTF are you doing, mom?” when I push on it, but she doesn’t move away, isn’t reactive to my hand or leg pressure. So, not sure what that is. But, she’s just seemed overall a bit blah, so I think this persistent cold and wet has her feeling a bit achy. Plus she gets her feet done today. So hopefully it’s just an assortment of things that are making her feel a bit blah.
I did get to ride this Tuesday/Wednesday, though Tuesday was an odd/funny ride. She BUCKED. Haha! This horse hasn’t bucked with me since she was barely 2 and something startled her lol! But we cantered, we were okay for 2 strides, then she full on bucks, and not a little crow hop either! She really tipped me onto her neck. I did get after her a smidge – I love her to death but bucking is not allowed. However, she got the point across to me that something wasn’t right. I asked her to canter (right lead) again, and she did, held it together, but boy she was unhappy and her ears were pinned back. That’s never happened either, so I switched leads, and she was so wonky and uncomfortable cantering to the left with, you guessed it, her ears pinned. So I checked all our stuff before lightbulb going off of “oh this saddle looks way further back than we started…”
Sure enough, it’d slipped back (I was experimenting fit, and that experiment was a big nope). So I hopped off, readjusted, then hopped on and asked for a right lead canter. Huge difference. Collected, correct, with very happy, pricked ears. So I just did a wee bit more trotting before calling it quits. She was a very good girl, and while I appreciate that she told me something was wrong, we just shouldn’t buck lol. We’ve known each other long enough that I would have noticed the wonky feel and pinned ears by themselves. But she still got pats, treats, and plenty of love. Wednesday was much better, with a happy horse but still kind of slow and sluggish in the trot work. With her being kind of sore, I think going slower has been easier for her, so I’ve let her so long as she’s trying and isn’t running through my left rein.
So we aren’t riding as long anymore, and I’m just sort of keeping an eye on her attitude and how she’s looking in case there is something that’s bothering her. I’m hoping that the wet and the cold is the culprit, but we’ll see. I’m going to give her a massage, let her get trimmed, and see how she feels after that. Hopefully she feels better!
After our good lesson, Amber and I have had some par-for-the-course rides. Most good, some in between.
Since I mentioned it in my other post, I’ll start with our “off” ride sometime mid-November. Amber had been really good the day before. It was nearing our 3 weeks post-injection, so I wanted a bit of video of how she was moving to show my vet. I’d gotten good footage the day before, and wanted to show him 2 days of riding in a row. Well, I hadn’t known my cousin was visiting, so in the middle of our ride when they wanted a few pics of me and the horse. Someone had been eating an apple, Amber was very intrigued. We got our canter footage after, and then when I continued to ride, they watched.
After the photos, Amber seemed to get in a Mood. I think part of it was smelling the apple, but mostly people were chatting at one end of the arena, laughing and having a good time as they occasionally watched us, and Amber wanted to be in the thick of it. She did NOT want to work. It was the first time in a really long time she really told me no. She wouldn’t settle, she wouldn’t move off of my leg, and then she’d collapse to a walk when we’d pass by people.
It was also dusk, and I set out cones, so I kept in mind that this may have affected her – the cones reminding her of the past lesson, and dusk since she’s been bothered by it since our last facility. But, despite keeping that in mind, and despite me giving her lots of opportunities to say yes, she blatantly refused. The biggest ways were not wanting to come off of my left leg, not wanting to bend, and blowing through all that I was asking her. I’d bring her to a walk, or a halt, reinforce what I was asking, but no dice. She’d race down the long side to get to the group, and practically slam on the brakes when she got there. Usually, I’d work her butt off in that area, go to where she doesn’t want to be and stop. But really, she just wasn’t listening all around the arena. It’d come and go in patches, so I just kept going around, circling when she’d get too fast. I’m sure I perched forward like I tend to do which didn’t help, but the circles helped us both.
As much as I’m sure there were things my body did that wasn’t helping matters, at the same time, even if I’m not at my best the horse needs to do their job. She knows her job. Even though some of this is new for her, what we were doing (serpentines, circles and whatnot) is not new. She was also great the previous day and got those things down pat. This horse knows that I expect her to do her job, and she gave me a big fat no that day. Usually, I don’t mind when Amber tells me no. It’s always for a very good reason when she does that, and usually she’s trying before it comes to a “Mom, I really can’t do this!” reaction from her. I’ve been especially mindful recently to make sure whenever I get hesitation from her that she understands or is physically able to do it. That ride she was always distracted, would always flop her head and ears in the direction of laughter. She was just not tuned in one iota, really. So I got it a little better, since by that time it was really getting dark and I didn’t want to overwork her muscles. But it was definitely not a pleasant ride.
I never mind if she’s in a Mood (god knows I get in Moods too so I can hardly be critical) but she at least always tries, and I scale back the ride if that happens. But, since this was a different mindset, she still needed to know that that behavior was not okay. So she got tied after the ride with few pets or attention. I let Amber go before feeding everyone but still, very few pets.
Looking at the the clips of me in the royal shirt, it’s hard to believe the rest of the ride right after that wasn’t great lol Also, there’s a quick shot of Kahlua at the end of the video moving the rabbits away from her food lol
That was Sunday, so I gave her Monday off since it was also my long day, and planned for Tuesday. It was a new day, so no hard feelings. Same approach of patience. I just really hoped she decided to listen. Spoiler: she did.
Last year, I purchased a dressage whip so that the few lesson horses I rode would actually freaking go. After the once or twice of using it for those horses, it sat, barely being used. So I snatched it up. My spurs aren’t harsh, and I was having to work way harder to get her to move off of my left leg than my right. Since our lesson she’s been fantastic with the right. But she’s been like a lead weight on the left. So, she needed more incentive to get off of my leg.
Amber hates whips and ropes. I know she’s never been hit with them, but it’s always been something that makes her jump out of her skin. The snap of a lunge whip is terrifying to her. She’s always been a brave, gregarious horse, so I’m not too sure where it’s come from. Not that I’m complaining tho lol. I’ve never ever ridden her with a whip, so I wasn’t too sure how she was going to react considering she hates the things. But, she didn’t even seem to notice it until I started to work on her ribcage while we warmed up. Just like I hoped though, she kept her head, and really didn’t seem all that bothered by it. I used our warm-up walk to move the inside hind underneath – left, right, left, left, right. She was doing very well, and barely tapping the whip on her left or right haunch helped me to get my point across without the cue getting muddled.
She got a little more wary of the whip when I tucked it against her left shoulder as we trotted, but she stopped worrying too much about it since she was trying very hard to do what I was asking. I was super pleased. She still got really stiff at the left, to where it feels like she throws her weight to the left side. But I just brought her to the walk, reiterated the bend with the whip, picked the trot back up. Not much later, I was able to do that at the trot. She certainly respected the whip, but there was no change for the worse in her pace or mind. More like it really helped that light bulb to go off in her brain. I cantered a touch, she was amazing, and even better she had no other thoughts for cantering when we proceeded to trot again. I did the serpentine once. It was just a bit better than the previous ride, but she tried so much harder this time that we only did it once. The walk break was again reinforcing that bend, that when my leg goes here you do this.
We only trotted for a bit more, and she was a very good girl. As I walked her out I again reinforced it, dismounting at her least favorite part of the arena. I made sure to give her lots of praises, grab her face for lots of pets, and she definitely took to heart the previous ride with little physical or verbal praise from me. She was extra cuddly, wanted extra reassurance that she did well. She definitely deserved the extra praise, so I hung on to her face a little longer, and she sighed happily.
Though the ride was great, I still tied her. But she knew this one was different. I just wanted to cement the ride in her mind, and every time I passed her as I mucked, I’d touch her or kiss her nose. She even got treats when I let her go.
With how much the whip helped, I do think that she may not have quite understood the cue, and that had something to do with our off ride, but at the same time, I don’t think it was the major cause. I think that and a few other things contributed, but it was the attention that was the main cause. That was just not the horse I normally get. Even when she’s having an off day herself she’s not like that. Either way, it was a good reminder lesson for her, and it was good for me to approach the issue a different way and offer an easier way to understand what I was asking. It got better, so that’s a win-win in my book!
That I am FINALLY getting to after a month haha. This was a pretty good lesson. Amber was certainly a bit lit for the majority of the trot work and a bit reactive. But I think that’s more due to her being unbalanced and a bit fatigued. I generally don’t ride her longer than 30 minutes, and our lessons tend to be around 45, but I have been filling that 30 minutes with less walking.
This lesson was definitely about figuring out Amber’s balance. I asked Genevive to work with us on our serpentines and transitions, though really the whole lesson centered around those serpentines once we we figured out that Amber was having trouble with balance. In the rides preceding this lesson, Amber got really quick and unbalanced curving left, which helped me decide to inject her stifle to see if it would help – and to just help her stay more comfortable. You can see in the video after we start trotting that she’s being a very good girl and trying, and then just gets super imbalanced when we try to do the right curve through the cones. After a few off steps she got the balance back, but I was very glad that Trainer G had been able to see one of the issues we’d been facing. It just…happened on a different side, but it works haha.
I was really glad I had my helmet cam for this ride. It proved really good for me going back and listening to our conversations. There wasn’t too much in terms of variety. Most of the lesson was focused on that one serpentine exercise, with a little bit of canter and a little bit of free walk thrown in there. But, one of the biggest nuggets of wisdom I took from this lesson was Amber’s bend pattern. You can see in the video (and I add Genevive’s explanation) that Amber is bent from her withers forward, but she has no softness or bend in her ribcage. The main exercise for this was to get her hind leg stepping underneath her. She over bends from wither to poll, but this put the pieces together that I hadn’t even been realizing I’d been searching for. I’ve mostly been thinking about pieces of her body to create that curve of inside leg to outside hand. When Genevive introduced the ribcage with hind leg coming under, it made my mind suddenly transfer that into an image of a whole body bend that starts with hind foot coming under.
And boom there it was! It took Amber a little bit to get it, but once she did, she certainly tried her heart out every time and I could feel the difference. You can definitely hear me praise her in the video when she tries lol.
The biggest problem in the lesson was that she wouldn’t settle until we had a long walk break. She was too fast most of the time, and that fatigues her muscles more quickly. This isn’t really conducive to lessons, so I’ve been thinking on ways of formatting the lesson a wee bit differently, and discuss with Genevive whether this will work for her or not. This lesson gave us some good homework though!