A western product made it out here on Review Wednesday! Since last week I wrote about the Ovation bridle this week I will write about a western bridle I’ve had for about a year or so. Today we’ll go over the Cashel Rawhide One-ear Headstall.
There were a lot of things I liked about the bridle: the rawhide, the intricate buckles, how easy it is to change bits, and the fact that when I saw it in the store it was $40. Now it is about $45+ depending on where you find it. This was a bit of an impulse purchase when I bought it – I wanted a western bridle that didn’t require too much maintenance, but would end up being a training bridle before I’d switch out the bits to my show headstall. And as many pictures I posted can attest – the bridle actually ended up becoming my show bridle.
The fit is what I usually expect for a western bridle. It’s a little big on her, but I didn’t need to punch any holes and it’s not on the tightest holes, either. Her head is cob-sized, so I’d say this would fit most western horses from maybe 14.3 up to 16.2-ish hands.
There isn’t too much to say except for $40 it’s a nice bridle that does it’s job. English bridle works have spoiled me to really quality leather, so I won’t say that the leather is really good because I’ve felt much better. The leather is a bit scratchy and not the most supple. I’ve tried softening it with neatsfoot and Passier lederbalsam, but it’s only softened a little. The rawhide is nicely done, and despite rawhide being pretty much impossible to clean it really hasn’t gotten dirty despite Amber’s propensity to sweat buckets. The leather has lasted this long without a problem, but then again while I rode in it nearly every day for a few months, I was also not switching bits which could potentially wear out the thinner leather where the bit is attached faster than other parts of the bridle.
I actually started to show in the bridle due to the rules of the Ranch Riding and Western Dressage classes that were part of the requirements to win a buckle. In those classes it is against the rules to have any type of sparkle on your gear. This was an open and local show, and considering that horses were competing in numerous other classes (pleasure, horsemanship, trial) back to back we were allowed to wear bling shirts (though I did dress down for WD) and have bling on our tack if that’s all we had and we didn’t have a break to change. Since my saddle doesn’t have any silver and I had a nice looking bridle that matched pretty well, the Cashel one-ear became my show bridle.
Other than that it was very easy to clean and keep clean, and held up to all of Amber’s sweat and my abuse – which is to say that I never kept it in a bag or in a very climate controlled area so it got the intense heat of Vegas summers and the chill of the winters as well. I’d throw it over things in the tack room, or it’d get tossed with all my other things in the back of my truck, so it took a lot of abuse and still looks good. I’ve also hardly even cleaned the thing – I probably cleaned it before the November show and didn’t even bother to clean it before then.
Despite the leather not being the same quality of my English bridles, again for $40 I think it was worth it. Plus, the bridle has functioned really well for me in the shows and just riding at home, and it’s proven so far to be a very hardy strap good despite the cheaper price. I definitely don’t regret buying it and think it’s a great starting or even long term bridle for those that want a good-looking headstall without (seriously AT ALL) breaking the bank.
Especially this weekend (and today really), this meme is my spirit animal right now.
My parents are gone for the week in NC visiting my grandma, so I’ve got the horses. The winds were horrible Thursday to Saturday, and Friday night was especially bad.
9:30 pm – Checking horses; they seem fine. Winds are at 12-13 which isn’t too bad, so I’ll just leave Amber’s stall open (winds are usually from the south and since Amber’s on the south side of the barn she gets closed in) because they should be that way all night till 7 Saturday morning.
11:00 pm – Go to bed.
1:30 am – Woken up by winds because the weather app was wrong and they’re now in the 20s. Jump out of bed, run out to close Amber. Both horses are a bit frantic. Amber calms down with food (of course). Whisper is still a bit harried. Take her to arena. She calms down, but now Amber is getting worked up. Stand in the wind for a few minutes deciding what to do. Walk Whisper back to her stall where she proceeds to pace again. Change blankets because it’s actually not that cold and Whisper will sweat in her heavier weight one. Ply Whisper with alfalfa (it doesn’t work), and finally give up and go inside to go back to sleep. It’s now 2:15.
4:05 am – Hear Choco spitting up. Find thankfully not a whole ton of liquid but 3 chunks of food. Clean it up and go back to sleep.
5:00 am – Hear Choco licking a lot. A LOT. Hazy sleep brain wants to go back to sleep but then aware brain thinks OH GOD NO. Jump out of bed and take Choco to the laminate flooring just in time for her to throw up. Since it’s 5, clean it up, put her out, and feed her breakfast. Take a quick look at horses. They seem okay. Push back alarm to 6:30 because it’s 5:30 and tired brain wants to sleep.
6:30 am – Go out to feed horses. Whisper and Amber are okay but it’s still windy. Put Whisper in arena anyway and tie a bucket in the arena for her so her alfalfa mix doesn’t blow away. She looks pretty content. Let Amber into her run in hopes she’ll pee (horse holds it like a house-trained dog; I swear). She doesn’t, so close her back in and go back to sleep.
8:30 am – Wake up again. Wind is bad. Hear horse calling. Jump out of bed and Whisper is cantering in the arena. Throw horse clothes back on and bring her in. Feed them some more food because food helps everything. Whisper is calming down with her fly mask on and more food. Realizing that inside she’s out of the wind.
After that I took the whole day to chill and paint and play my game and only pause to feed grain and muck when there was a small break in the wind. Saturday night was infinitely better – I actually got enough sleep, and Sunday was beautiful. Horses were turned out for a long time and I wanted to ride but I had a lot to do. So I proceeded to shop and do my laundry amidst my friend watching Hercules, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Prince of Egypt, Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves (whish didn’t work too well because I’d sit down and watch it too lol). And am now super tired because we didn’t realize what time it was and ended up going to bed past midnight.
Permanently exhausted pigeon is my jam right now.
I mentioned in a previous post that I’d talk about what I bought for the RW president’s day sale. It was unfortunately underwhelming. I put a bunch of stuff in the cart, but due to other monetary needs (and let’s face it – I really didn’t NEED any of that stuff) I slimmed it down to sore-no-more, a sweater that was on too good of a deal to pass up and a girth I didn’t need but wanted to try.
Let’s do tack first, shall we? I grabbed this Kavalkade girth in a 28″ because girlfriend is not at a 30″ anymore (thank god, even though she still looks substantial). I really like my Nunn Finer Passage girth, but I still have kept my eyes out for a brown girth that was good quality with a d-ring in the middle to make it easier to attach any breastplates and that won’t break the bank. It looked like a nice girth, and with RW carrying more Kavalkade items that look really nice, I figured what the hell. It was 15% off. So far, I’m really liking it. I like the width to disperse pressure and it fits the same as her other 28″. I like that there’s less leather above the buckles than what the Nunn Finer has, and it feels soft.
I already provided a link to it but I’m also really liking the Ariat merino wool sweater I got. Due to the closeout price and then the 15% off added to that, it was about $35, which is definitely a good deal for Ariat for me. I think it’s very flattering, it isn’t too tight on my arms, and it’s been a very warm addition to my wardrobe after the weather has turned so cold suddenly.
The last thing I bought was the Sore-No-More ultra performance gelotion. I really liked the properties of this one more than the classic. This one has arnica, ginger and a few other essential oils I can’t remember, and to me it doesn’t smell bad which is also a plus. I also loved that it was described as helping loosen tight tendons, ligaments and muscles, and I thought it would help perhaps with joint pain as well. As I mentioned in a post before, I was noticing an increased stress on her outside tendon, and am hoping that until we can get a knee injection or take a closer look at her knee, this will help. I’ve already applied it a few times, and I’ve noticed that each time I used it (on her knee and stifle) her gait was easier and she definitely felt better. I will be adding this to our regimen as well.
Unfortunately not a huge haul but it’s good when I like everything. I was thinking of joining the blogger yard sale but I still have things for sale from the last time I put stuff out there so I figured it’d be redundant. Oh, well lol. Happy Friday all, and have a good weekend!
I don’t usually do Throwback Thursday posts, but I was hit with a wave of nostalgia while looking through pictures as I was trying to find others. I found the huge stash that I’d grabbed from my sister’s pro camera, and was set laughing and “aww”-ing at them. So have fun with a bunch of pics!
And last but certainly not least (but this was not taken in 2016 – it was sometime….eh before-ish lol) is a dachshund photobomb! Holding an injured pigeon that she actually managed to catch lol. She just held it in her jaws and was so proud of herself. And while she would shake it if it moved, she had the gentlest hold on it and never pierced the skin. She definitely got the bird/small foul hunting gene!
Yay! Finally another Review Wednesday! Today, I am going over the Ovation Plain Raised QH Hunt Bridle with reins. With this review comes a new review category: Stuff That Wasn’t Up to Snuff. If I put a product in this section, it will be based mostly on my personal opinion that it wasn’t up to my standards, or didn’t perform the way it was advertised/supposed to perform. Let’s get started!
Initially out of the box I really liked it. I also loved that it wasn’t going to break to the bank, and that it came with 64″ reins which Amber needed. I loved that it was chocolate, and I loved that it was plain and without fancy stitching. My mom has had good luck with Ovation products in the past, and as I was starting my foray into English I wanted something that was also matchy with my new bling browband. The bridle was about $109 when I bought it in Full size, and it’s now gone up to $115, which I believe is still a very manageable price. I wrote a review for this product on Dover a week after I’d had it, which approximated to about 3-4 rides. I oiled it and took care of it, but I should have known that a few of things I commented that I wasn’t a fan of initially that they would become a deal breaker. So, let’s get into those deal breakers.
I was initially drawn to this bridle because it was breed specific. As stated on the website it is “designed with specific consideration for the conformation of the stock type Quarter Horse….It’s sized to allow for a wider jowl and broader forehead, but without a larger noseband. The browband, noseband and crown are padded for horse comfort.” For a QH, I think Amber actually has quite a hard-to-fit head. Either that or every single QH has a difficult head to fit and nobody knows because they’re mostly ridden western haha. But to get back to it, Amber has a very large brain space – as in she needs slightly bigger than a full for an anatomical bridle to fit her ears just right, and she can easily wear an oversize browband because a full browband isn’t long enough most times not to pinch her ears. She’s also a cob length-wise from the corner of her mouth to her ears. But she’s also got a much more curved jawline than most horses I’ve seen, so I prefer a full-size noseband to give her room.
The browband was absolutely perfect. I’d have kept it if I could have sold the bridle without it, but alas. Even though the browband was perfect, I felt that the bridle really didn’t allow for a wider jowl. I’ve seen plenty of jowls bigger than Amber’s, and hers isn’t even that big, but even a full-size throatlatch strap barely fit her. I had it on the very loosest hole and there wasn’t any room to make any other holes. So that part of the bridle didn’t fit her well. Interestingly enough, the cheek pieces fit more like a cob bridle, which fits Amber’s head well since it’s cob-length.
The noseband wasn’t changed, as stated in the product’s description, and this was the part that had me more concerned than others. Amber was transitioning from western to English, and I’d never put a noseband on her before. Perhaps this doesn’t seem as concerning to others as it did to me, but this was after I had read quite a few articles about nosebands – especially tight nosebands – causing tension and increased heart rate in horses. I didn’t think the noseband was going to be a problem though. I was thinking that full-size bridles still come with a good amount of leather, so she should be fine. But I could barely get the noseband on the second hole, and after only 5 minutes of riding I could tell that Amber was bothered by something. I loosened the noseband to the loosest hole, and she was much more comfortable after that. Because I could barely close the noseband, I found the 4 keepers on the noseband strap so cumbersome I ended up cutting one off. The strap with the 4 keepers also had padding on it, so that also cut down on noseband space I could use, though I can completely understand that the keepers were to keep a very slim look.
After two months, I kept looking at the bridle, wanting to take it to a leather maker to see if I could fix the noseband and take off the padding and then maybe I could live with the cheek strap being really small. But I finally gave up. At that point it wasn’t worth it to pay the money, and I just didn’t like the bridle anymore. After 3-4 months of use, I found someone who loved it and bought it from me.
Of the whole bridle package, I still have the reins. I actually use these a lot, and I don’t think I’ll get rid of them. I’ve been using them with Whisper since they’re long enough for her long neck, and I used them in the last 3 local shows for English/hunter day. The length is just perfect for the QHs. They aren’t my favorite strap good that I have – I do wish the leather was better quality, but they work very well for what I need them to do and they still hold up well.
Perhaps the bridle is more suited to the hunter QHs. They seem to have a more TB head structure (just look at Whisper) whereas Amber looks much more like the ranchy side of the QH breed. However, I still don’t think that should make that much of a difference in the bridle. I do think there are better quality leather goods out there for only a little bit more money than this one.
Unfortunately, this bridle made it into my “not up to snuff” category, but this doesn’t mean that in and of itself it isn’t a good bridle. This could be great bridle for someone else and work perfectly; I just didn’t like the way it fit my horse and I do wish that the leather was of better quality.
I have pretty much no media from this weekend. Otherwise, though, it was a good weekend. We actually got snow on Friday. SNOW. Like wtf weather! We were only supposed to get a 45% chance of rain which basically means there was going to be no rain (for rain here it must be 60% or above usually). But noooo. It skipped the rain and went straight to snow. Which, coincidentally, we’re supposed to have a 60% chance of snow/rain tomorrow, too.
Thankfully, the few items I’ve bought in preparation for the winter that has just now visited us in February are finally coming in handy. The Ovation fleece griptech breeches have pretty much become a staple at the moment, and the thicker Pipers and Horze Grand Prix breeches have been good in the 45-50*+ weather. I also took advantage of RW’s president’s day sale and got a few things I’d been eyeing, a few things for fun, and another recent staple in the past few days – a really warm Ariat merino wool sweater that’s also on closeout for anyone who’d like to grab a lovely, warm sweater. And I’ll do a blog post on what I got because so far I’m liking it all!
Recently, as I’m sure you noticed from a few pictures, I put Amber back in a bit! It was just to test things out and to see how she was coming along. She was a little unsure at first, and not wanting to lift her back, but after a little time the lightbulb went back on and she was remembering what we’d been working on before all of her time off. She did seem a little hesitant to push into the bridle, which I completely understand, but I didn’t ask for much and it was a good day of walking. I could tell that she was happy we were actually doing something more than walking on a loose rein.
Saturday I started off riding Whisper and then popped on Amber for a little bit, then drove to north town to have a lesson. While it was pretty simple, it was an absolutely perfect exercise for me. It was a simple 3 jump grid set 18′ apart as a pole exercise first and then pushed out to 24′ as she raised the jumps to 2′ or so. This exercise was great in that it was one jump right after the other, and really challenged me to better my position.
This lesson really felt like a breakthrough for me. I’ve been working on little things, and as much as I enjoyed a mini “course”, I felt again as though I had a lot of realizations in this lesson that are really going to help push me forward. Liam was an excellent guy through the lesson, and I was really pleased with how Liam and I are starting to speak to each other better, that I’m learning better about him and what he needs and vice versa. But to keep things short and sweet, I’ll outline the biggest takeaways I got from the lesson:
There were good challenges – like in learning how to utilize my leg in that the first one was a pole on the ground but still set at 24′, so I had to push to get the one stride before jumping 2, and then sit and wait on the last one since then we’d be motoring. Also, I got left behind badly one go through on the middle jump (poor guy was an absolute SAINT because I felt how hard I got him in his mouth), but I was actually able to catch up over the third one and still make it an okay go through. This lesson was just really great in focusing on my position over fences.
Ending the lesson we had 4 passes through the grid – 2 each direction and at a trot and the jumps back down to poles. This exercise was really good to reiterate Liam’s pace, and when he got a little speedy through it to do a half-halt, stay quiet, and keep his pace in mind. I was super tired after; mind blown! But in a very good way. I can’t wait for my next lesson; hopefully with scheduling and everything going on I’ll be able to do one this weekend but we’ll see.
Sunday I rode Amber and Whisper again, but I decided to switch it up. Amber did well the previous time I’d had her in a bit, so we tacked up English and I had my mom hop on her. Whisper is a hard horse to feel things on – it’s one of the reasons I started riding her English because there’s less leather in the way so we can feel each other better and communicate better. Amber is much easier to feel – she has a more forward walk and more animated movements, and everything you do has a reaction. So I challenged my mom to ride Amber – only at a walk – and to feel what she’s doing (i.e. when her left hind hits the ground and when her right one does, though one side at a time). Since Whisper has been benefitting from the hip in but still moving forward exercises I’ve been doing with her, I think it’ll really help my mom to feel it with Amber and then transfer that to Whisper.
The other thing I think will be great about my mom riding Amber is that if you don’t do it right, Amber won’t do it. Not out of spite by any means; she’s just used to me asking her, so if it isn’t quite how I ask, she draws a blank it’s a little wonky lol. Whisper is a better ammy horse in that regard, but I really think this will help my mom. Since it’s only at a walk, it’s not hard on Amber, and it’s a good place to start for my mom. Plus, I enjoy letting others enjoy my horse. She’ll never run off and is never mean under saddle, and she’s also a very very forgiving horse, so even if you both are struggling, she never holds it against you.
So this week, my mom and I officially switch horses so she has Amber and I have Whisper. Hopefully, the weather cooperates since it’s supposed to get windy later today, snow/rain tomorrow, and gusty winds again Thursday – Saturday. Well, I suppose we’ve escaped the weather Nov-Jan so it’s about time it’s all hitting us lol.
As those of us who’ve done this particular blog hop have noted – a lot of us talk quite a bit about our horses and aspects of our lives that revolve around horses but not too much else. Since I’m still a relatively new blogger, I’d like to hop on the hop and share 30 things about me that you might not know.
1. I am very artistic. I love to draw and paint and write fiction. I still have an old binder full of my pencil sketches, but I’ve moved to painting more since I love color but hate coloring with colored pencils. I still currently write fiction when I have time, and maybe one day I’ll actually publish the story ideas floating around in my brain.
2. I took piano lessons when I was younger, and know how to play the basics (and only 1 full song lol) but I disliked having to play boring pieces. I still play occasionally.
3. I only have a few very close friends; it takes me a while to warm up to people, but if you do become a good friend, I am fiercely loyal and will hurt someone if they hurt my friends.
4. I am a germaphobe…..yet not. I do not wipe everything down all the time – I am especially non-germaphobic when it comes to horse germs. But I greatly dislike people germs, and I get claustrophobic in public restrooms, so I’m “that person” that uses the handicap stall.
5. I was (and honestly still am) a tomboy. I am not the most athletic person but I love playing sports. I played soccer for 4 years and was good at it. I also played volleyball for 2 years, and am a pretty good catcher. As much as I love playing sports, I do not enjoy watching regular sports on TV. I’ll maybe watch a season game or two of hockey or volleyball, I’ll watch the Olympics, but other than that nada.
6. On being active, I can’t do too much cardio if I don’t bring my inhaler. I have exercise induced asthma due to really bad bronchitis when I was very little so my lungs have scarring and don’t function as well as they should.
7. Despite how active I was as a kid and the sports I played and all the horses I rode, the worst injury I’ve had was 3-4 cracked ribs and a mild concussion – and that was actually due to a horse.
8. I have been horse-obsessed since before I can remember, but when it comes to things like decorating I do not like to decorate with horse things. I like southwest-looking patterns, but the only real “horsey” aspect I decorate with are pictures of horses (with or without me) that I rode/ride. Most are of Amber (of course).
9. But I WILL decorate with dachshunds. Because DACHSHUNDS.
10. My favorite horse I’ve ever ridden (besides Amber) was a little filly I named Pippa. She was out of Tejana Chic (full sis to Chocolate Chic Olena) and by Gunnatrashya, and she had talent in spades. But she was a super sensitive, one-person horse, and I was amazingly lucky to start her and she bonded to me. Unfortunately, shortly after she turned 2 the owner decided to turn her out with a mare that disliked younger horses, and she got kicked in the shoulder and it fractured. It never healed properly and she became a broodmare.
11. The only online “gaming” game I play is Star Stable Online, a 3D horse game. It’s mostly made for the younger crowd and teenagers, but I love playing and in game I can have 40+ horses when that is SO not gonna happen IRL haha. Otherwise it’s only Mario Cart for me. I really suck at all other video games.
12. Most people don’t believe that my favorite music is rock/heavy metal. I can fall asleep to Evanescence, and Disturbed, 5FDP, Nothing More and Starset are just a few of my favorites.
13. I have 2 sisters – both older than me and all three of us look alike.
14. I love taking quizzes. Be they more on the legit side or just “what Disney character are you” I enjoy taking them.
15. I love Disney movies, and my favorite one is Fox and the Hound. I am not sure why it’s my favorite. Still kind of can’t believe that Mickey Rooney and Kurt Russell were Todd and Copper……
16. I like movies more than TV shows, but my fav TV show is Cold Case. I’ll watch any movie that I think is pretty good and honestly can’t really watch any horse movies. Other than that I’ll watch things like Forensic Files or some other true crime things but mostly I don’t watch TV. I just Netflix or Amazon Prime. I loathe commercials.
17. As I’m sure most of us are, I would much rather hang out with animals than people, and I have a natural inclination towards them.
18. I may live in the desert, but despite my giant aversion to the cold, I don’t think I’d mind living in inland east coast (preferably VA or lower because warmer) away-ish from the cold Atlantic wind because there is now really good cold-specialty clothing. (There wasn’t when I used to live in VA)
19. One of the reasons for my aversion to the cold is that I get seasonal depression. I thankfully am very lucky that I don’t have to do too much for it – I just need to get a membership to a tanning salon and go 3+ times a week if it’s too consistently cloudy. I had to go to a tanning salon after just 3 days of clouds when I lived in Colorado, but thankfully mine is manageable. I haven’t had to go while living in the desert since it’s usually sunny.
20. I have only lived in 5 different states – Nevada, Virginia, Hawaii, Colorado and Texas. I’ve visited (or driven through) many more due to cross-country road trips. My favorite state that I visited was Kentucky (so much with all horses) and my favorite state I lived in was Colorado.
21. I love spicy food and the way it tastes. Unfortunately, I am mildly allergic to it. I don’t need any emergency help, but my throat will close and my tongue will swell if I put too much. I’m also allergic to Champagne and the sulfates in red wine. Even if I only drink a little bit, I get flu-like symptoms.
22. I have RNF – resting nice face. People come up to me all the time because I apparently have a nice resting face. I really kinda wish I had RBF instead.
23. Being an extroverted introvert describes me to a T, and I am the type of person that really enjoys being in the same room with someone but not talking.
24. I don’t think I’ll ever have or want kids.
25. I may not be very old, but I remember riding in all the old saddles – the ones without knee patches. I also remember giant computers and TVs, dial-up internet, and the AfterDark programs with flying toasters and the rat race. My friend’s sister who is perhaps 13/14 doesn’t know what a landline phone is or how it works. It makes me feel old.
26. Humor is my thing. I like making people laugh. I like telling corny jokes and I have a very sarcastic and dry sense of humor. I will choose humor over drama (like TV or movies) any day.
27. I could live without my phone. I enjoy all the things a phone does, but I know as long as I have GPS and a camera I’d be fine without it.
28. Reading is my favorite non-horsey activity. I am an insanely fast reader, but have to force myself to read slower because I will speed read and miss things. For reference – I read the ENTIRE Harry Potter series in about 8 days (I found the series after the 7th book came out and borrowed all 7 from a neighbor). And yes, I barely slept when I was reading it.
29. Harry Potter is my favorite book series. I could write essays and have hours and hours of discussions about the nuances of Harry Potter and STILL have things to talk about.
30. My major in college was Equine Science – I work at an engineering contractor as the office administrator.
And there we have it! I totally got stuck around the middle mark like “crap what else do I say?!” but hopefully I found other interesting things to make up the other half haha. TGIF and have a good weekend!