Friday, January 31, 2014

Day 12: Your Favorite Horse Color

I love strangely colored horses.  Bays and chestnuts are pretty but there's something about a dapple-y palomino, or a grullo, or any other uniquely colored horse.  Go ahead and drool over these specimens with me.

Umm you have snowflakes on your body.

Just look at that dorsal stripe.

Your dapples are so luscious.

Now wipe off your drool and head on over to She Move to Texas to attempt to win some breeches and Dandyism to potentially win an ear net!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Day 11: A horse for sale you would want to buy

When I saw the topic for this post I assumed I would do a little internet research and find some fancy schmancy grand prix dressage horse.  Yet the weird part is I looked around, and was kind of uninspired and uninterested.  I guess it's because I've always had a project and have never had the opportunity to ride anything that was "made" which I think can be said about most of us ammy bloggers out there.  I have for the last few years however stalked the Camelot Weekly Auction Facebook page and wished I could rescue many of the cuties.  Therefore for this post I'm going to post a bunch from this week's sale folder that I would rescue in a heartbeat if I had the funds.  Of course they're all mares, but aside from that I have no requirements.

15 hand 9 year old Palomino mare

15 hand 6 year old Grullo mare

15 hand 6 year old bay mare

Warmblood-y mare, 15.2 hands, 10 years old

14.3 Appy mare, 12 years old

10 year old 14 hand Tri-Color mare
I think any of these mares would be absolutely stunning with some TLC, groceries, and muscle.  One day girlies, one day.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Day 10: How your friends/family feel about your riding

My family isn't all that thrilled with my riding.  They're all hockey players and are fairly certain I sit on my horse and she does all the work.  At this point it's not worth trying to convince them otherwise.  Thankfully I have the most amazing group of friends, made through riding horses, many of which I consider family at this point.  To commemorate those relationships, I'm going to post a crap ton of photos.

Friends from Journey's End Farm, 2009ish?

Journey's End Farm friends

One of my closest friends and I, on our 11 hand ponies.

One of our many "jumping days" at JEF

Heading out for a trail ride, in size order (2010)
Splashing through the ocean, Goddard Park
To this day this is one of my favorite riding memories.

Summer camp staff, Heritage Equestrian Center (2011)

One of my talented photographer friends and I.

Trail rides with friends along the water :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Day 9: Any riding injuries

For all the times I have fallen off of a horse it is absolutely miraculous that I have not suffered any serious injuries. (commence crazily knocking on wood as I type this).  I have had a few tumbles that scored me a nice scrape or bruise, but nothing too crazy aside from a broken tailbone.  I was in seventh grade and riding Mollie outdoors.  She tripped, got pissed (tripping is offensive), and bucked.  I tumbled over her right shoulder, flipped, landed sitting down, and broke my tailbone.  Of course there's not much to do about this so I sat on one butt cheek and winced every time I sneezed or laughed for the next few weeks.  Or months or years.  It felt like forever.

Another notable fall was a few years back, I remember being in college but I'm not sure what year I was.  I was riding a HUGE (and I'm not just saying that because I'm small.... he was a giant) TB at a barn I kept Mollie at and out of no where he let out a bronco style buck.  Now I've sat my fair share of bolts, bucks, and spooks but never in my life have I been launched out of the saddle like Sir Teddy did.  I can only describe it to being launched out of a cannon... not that I've done that, but it had to be similar.  I landed on my knees, immediately stood up, and both knees buckled and I just fell down again.  For several seconds I was certain I broke my patellas.  I have never been in so much pain related to a fall and literally had bruises on both knees from March-June.  All I have as evidence from this fall is a photo of me covered in dirt, literally clinging to a jump standard because I couldn't get up.

Thumbs up for broken kneecaps. 

My last "fun" fall was during the summer in 2012.  I taught summer camp at the barn and usually rode before camp because it was way too hot to do so afterwards.  I was hacking Mollie out in a back field and was almost done with my ride.  Coming out of the back field was a narrow stretch of grass in between the paddock fence line and a small stone wall that separated the property from the road.  I was cantering Mollie in the field and figured I'd let her canter down the stretch for a bit before walking back to the barn.  She had a different plan.  She bolted as soon as she saw the straight away and no amount of me hauling on her face (not my prettiest moment, but it was an emergency) was stopping her.  This wouldn't have been a huge issue except at the end of that "stretch" was a 90 degree turn, thanks to a tree planted at the end.  Despite my valiant efforts Mollie didn't stop and we plowed right. through. the. tree.  I seriously remember branches breaking off on my face.  Thanks ass-horse.

The best part of this fall was that I fell off in front of her (through the tree) and she then proceeded to knock me in the back of the head with a hoof, and step on my shoulder.  Thank god for always wearing a helmet or I would likely be dead.  My shoulder was bruised but the only good photos I have are the ones above of my scratched up arms.  Guess I did some tree trimming with those too.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Mollie is not a fancy horse.  Mollie lives in a barn of fancy dressage horses.  Most of the time I don't care because I love Mollie no matter what, but sometimes it's hard to watch all of them prance around fancily.

How I think everyone looks: 

How I think I look:

89Th50 on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

On days like today however I much prefer my non-fancy cow horse who has a brain to the fancy pants warmbloods who have NO brains.  Like none.  Today Rhode Island brought us 28 degree weather (an actual heat wave... I'm unfortunately not kidding) and 40mph winds.  When I got to the barn there were horses all over the indoor.  And I don't mean they were productively working all over the indoor... they were literally bouncing around, jumping out of their skin because ZOMG THE WIND IS MAKING NOISE!!  Everyone eventually "abandoned ship" of their own accord, thank goodness, and I pulled my fat cow horse out of the frozen tundra that is her field.

Molls doesn't have snow shoes... note the chunk of ice in her hoof.
I tacked Molls up, even put on her sissy-cooler to keep her back warm, and brought her into the ring. At this point the wind had picked up and everyone thought I was certifiably insane and borderline suicidal for riding.  And wouldn't you know Molls was a straight up superstar.  The only thing she gawked at was the sliding door in the back left corner of the ring because it was rattling like crazy every time we went by.  She gave it pricked ears and ducked slightly to the inside each time we went by but that was it.  I warmed her up slowly, doing lots of walking before trotting.  Then I essentially "human lunge lined" my horse around the ring at trot and canter.

I was riding in the snaffle again because I'm lazy and haven't put my bridle back together.  I was very impressed with how soft she was again and think I should probably ride her in the snaffle more often. When she's actually light and quiet in it our rides are way more productive than they were before doing double bridle work.  She collected nicely and we got some quality collected trot work done.  We did some shoulder in and then haunches out but I didn't drill it because she was good.  

Towards the end of our ride I was cantering her to the right on a large circle.  As I came through the middle of the ring she got a little heavy so I gave her a big half halt with my left rein and really sat back on my left seat bone and wouldn't you know that punk did a clean, quiet flying change and cantered off to the left on her own.  I was absolutely stunned, as I haven't asked her for a change in quite some time.  She used to have changes but the last few years she hasn't been able to do one without scooting off and scrambling... I chalked it up to her hind end/hocks not being what they used to.  I actually laughed out loud, loving the fact that my mare is so freaking sensitive, gave her big pats and got off.

She's a good horse, even if she is part cow.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 8: A little bit about the barn you ride at

My favorite photo of the barn.

I'm just going to go ahead and say that my horse lives better than I do.... and probably always will.  Over the course of my riding life I've ridden at a handful of different barns, and this one is hands down the closest thing to a slice of heaven as you can get (in my opinion anyways).  The barn was built recently and the first boarders moved in December 2012.  Mollie and I moved there October 2013 and she and I have loved it since the first day.

The barn is on the smaller side, which I love.  There are 14 stalls in all and each have an attached run in where the horses can go if the fields are frozen over, too wet, etc.  In the middle of the barn is a viewing room (overlooking the indoor), tack room/bathroom, grain room, and cross-tie stalls.  The outdoor is at the "top" of the facility, and can be partially seen in the picture above (the white fencing to the left of the barn).

Plenty of other photos of the barn can be seen on my Barn Tour Post.

I love that the barn is (relatively) low drama, everyone there absolutely loves their horse, and that it is full of mostly dressage riders.  I used to not care what discipline other people in the barn rode but after coming from a primarily Hunter/Big Eq. barn I've realized it's really nice to ride with people who think and ride like you do (and now I sound like the hoity-toity dressage rider everyone thinks we are ;) ).

I also love that the BO lives on property and is very much involved with the day to day operation.  The only downside to this barn is that it's a good 40-50 minutes from my house.  Seeing as I'm working full time it does make it difficult to get there as much as I'd like but I feel very confident that my horse is in good hands when I can't get there.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 7: Your favorite ribbon won at a show, and why

May 2010

Once upon a time I boarded Mollie at this facility pretty well known in the northern part of the state.  It's definitely a "backyard barn" but they have a huge lesson program and their own series of schooling shows over the spring/summer/fall.  Periodically we would show there to put experience on the green beans, or to take little kids who hadn't shown much before.  The shows were always very well run despite the very backyard facility.  Because the shows were so laid back the ribbons were not always from the same event, were reused, etc.  Therefore I could not have been prouder than I was in this photo when I won a reserve champion ribbon with "California Saddlehorse Breeders Association" printed right on it.  I mean, it's too good not to laugh and treasure forever.

Some other photos from that day:

Suck-tastic equitation, but she was cute.

I swear I was intentionally off center to this... had a sharp right
turn to make when I landed.

Molls can rock a HUS class like no other ;)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

In honor of the 10 inches of snow that were dumped on Rhode Island last night I've decided to post some photos I had taken of Mollie and I after a snow storm in 2012.  All photos are courtesy of Knoopdawg Photography

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 6: All the tack and riding clothes you have

This is quite possibly the longest "30 Day Challenge" ever, I just get distracted by blog hops and riding updates.

Seeing as I have an alarming amount of tack I'm just going to go with the things that I use everyday or at least frequently.

I like my saddle and it serves its purpose well.  It fits Mollie and I, has been adjusted a few times, and I've had it for years and it's still in great shape.  I do love that your stirrup leathers/stirrups rest under the flap because the flap has 0 rubs/discoloration.  Annnnd everyone always thinks I ride without stirrups ;)

Girths are boring, but necessary.  I've had this one forever.

I unfortunately can't even post a link to my bridle as I typically use a combination of bridles... I have a plain, simple snaffle bridle from Dover that actually came with my saddle that I use.  Then a few years ago I bought a double bridle at Equine Affaire, which doesn't quite fit.  I've taken the cheekpieces off of the double, added them to our snaffle bridle, and as a result you have our double bridle.

Ghetto double bridle is ghetto

AlBaCon Boucher Bit
AlBaCon Wide Port Weymouth Bit
As far as tack for Mollie goes that's about it... We're pretty minimalist.  Of course we have approximately 293849 saddle pads and matching polo wraps for each.  Go ahead and enjoy this picture of my disorganized tack trunk, and a small sampling of our polos:

Because everyone needs pink leopard... the two purple ones in the back
are tye-dye, don't be fooled by the innocent purple lining.

Now for my "stuff".  I haven't shown in forever and even when I did it wasn't often, so I don't have a ton of show clothes.  What I do have was purchased so long ago I'm not even sure some of it is still available.  Perks of not growing after 6th grade I suppose.  As a result the majority of my "clothes" are for schooling, and are practical but I like them to look decent too.  I have a bunch of different kinds/brands of pants because I'll basically buy anything that fits, and isn't outrageously expensive.  

Riding Sport Jean Full Seat
These breeches are soooooo freakin comfortable!! They're like wearing leggings, so naturally I love them.

Symphony No. 3 Rosa Full Seat Breech
I bought these in French Blue on a whim but they didn't have the full seats in store to try on.  I tried on the knee patch version and ordered the same size in the full seat, but the full seats seem to run a little smaller.  Because they're a little tight I don't wear them as often but I do love the material and look of them overall.

Kerrits Crossover Full Seat Breeches
These are hands down my FAVORITE breeches.  They get mistaken for FITS all the time but they're far less expensive.  I have a black pair and a gray pair, and it doesn't seem like they sell the gray anymore which is too bad.  They fit really nicely, have just enough stretch, and lots of "grip".  Plus I like the material and think they look nice when on.

The rest of my stuff is pretty boring... as far as helmets go the IRH's tend to be the only things that fit my head.  I currently use this one:

I know Ariats aren't everyone's favorite but I've been riding in these every time I ride for the last year and a half and they're still in awesome shape.  And yes I still wear children's boots....

Children's Ariat Heritage Select Zip Field Boot

So that was a total novel but I think it rounds up our "everyday" tack essentials.  I was thinking of doing an entire post on some New England Winter tack favorites, seeing as I know some of my viewers definitely live in different climates.  Thoughts?