Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Monster Birthday

Baby Monster aka Luxxx aka Luxxxifer aka Baby L is 4 years old today!!!!!

Such the goofball!!  I even have a video of when he was a baby.
Yes, he was a little shit even back then!  But seriously freaking adorable!

Despite rain I've been able to hack Poppy this week (yay)!  Crossing fingers I can again tonight before packing up and heading to HITS tomorrow.  It's a rainy forecast for the weekend :(  Oh well we will make the best of it.  I will try to update from Instagram (luvjumperlife).

Have a great rest of the week and happy riding!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Jin Stirrups Product Review

I could make this really simple and say I love them.  Buy them.  End of story.  But you probably want more details.

The rubber on one of my bendy stirrups tore so I felt the need to go in search of new stirrups.  I had heard a lot of good things about Jin Stirrups and the colored ones seem to be all the rage in the jumper ring.  This led me to send Rachael at an email asking at a hefty price of $260 what makes these stirrups so great?

The Original in silver

Or lots of colors to choose from if that's your style.

Rachael attested that out of all the stirrups that she has ridden in these were the best.  When asked why she said basically the quality, weight, feel, and that she never loses her stirrup with these.  Ok, I'm intrigued...

Almost hooked...  Just to be sure I asked some friends.  After hearing more good feedback I was sold.  One friend wasn't sure how but felt they gave her more ankle support.  And just to persuade me more, Rachael has an offer on her website for demo stirrups priced at $195.  Winner winner!

I ordered these Tuesday and they arrived Friday.  I went with standard silver.  Although I see the colored ones showing up in the jumper ring I am not a fan of the bright colors.  And what if I went in the hunter ring?  When they arrived I was surprised at how big they are.
Quite the size difference between old and new.

They stick out from my saddle

They are pretty though!

I have both hacked and jumped in them and am in love.  I am used to the cheese grater bottoms which provide better grip and keep your foot in the stirrup.  The wider base made me feel more secure.  With the old stirrup I would find they weren't always where I wanted them and would be adjusting them as I'm riding (sort of kicking the stirrup around until I got the spot I liked).  I didn't do that at all with these.  It was like my foot was glued to them.  Husband also made the comment that they looked really nice and good quality (men love shiny metal things).  They are extremely light weight.  I haven't done any two point position work to see how they help ankle support yet (I will let you know next October).

If you are in the market for new stirrups and can swing the $200 price tag by all means get these!  Especially at this reduced price at!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Horse Show Week!

Once again Poppy and I are gearing up to go to HITS on Thursday!  I got some jump schooling in this weekend.  My grass footing is still mushy in spots due to all the rain we have had so I didn't jump much but she was feeling great so we will just go with that.  There is more rain coming so I hope I can get some hacks in before we leave.

I also rode the baby Monster.  Apparently pulling his stall mats up 2 days in a row while I was riding Poppy made him tired. He was pretty lazy and fussy at times.  I get the fussy part---he's 3 and has not been ridden consistently so he gets a pass on that.  Trainer wanted him in either the neck stretcher or draw reins at the show so I thought I would try him in one when I rode Saturday.  I typically don't like him in either.  I only lunge in side reins or the neck stretcher but decided I'd try riding in the neck stretcher.  Nope, I REALLY don't like him in it.  He tries to root down.  I can get him soft and into the bit eventually but I can do the same without one and not have to deal with the rooting so what's the point.  Not every horse benefits from these aides.  We are only 12 days...12 DAYS...from clocks going forward which will allow me to get the Monster back into regular work!!  He is getting better at steering and his circles are less lopsided.  Whoa is still his favorite word. He really needs to work on responsiveness to leg.  He is pretty dead sided, worse to the right.  Verbal commands are helpful but it should not take us half a lap around the paddock to canter.  Then one lap later he's like "cantering is sooooo exhausting.  Lets take a break."  When I got off I felt like I had worked harder than he had.  I was exhausted and even out of breath.  So much to work on...

Tired baby Monster.

Ahem...notice the mane in the picture though???  It's growing!!!!!  I am praying to the Mane Growing Gods and using MTG every 5-7 days.  And I'm sure the cold weather is helping.  Whatever, I will take it.  I just want it to grow out!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Floridians are Wimpy

Floridians are wimpy when it comes to cold weather.  I can say that because I've lived in FL for 22 years so I think I am now a Floridian.  Yesterday the high was mid 40s and the low was 26.

So this was how I dressed to do barn chores.  I am also a tad ashamed to admit I declared it too cold to ride.  I know you northern climate folks are laughing.  It's ok.  I admit it.  I'm a wimp. I am sure I will be regretting that decision next week.  I leave for the show Thursday and rain is on the forecast starting Monday.

This is how wimpy Florida folks dress their body clipped Florida horses.

Anyone remember the Hamburgler???

I hope everyone is unthawing and gets some riding time in this weekend!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mini Nugget Update

Last week I posted about my beloved chihuahua, Mini Nugget, getting diagnosed with canine cushings.  It was a rough week for me and of course Nugget too.  She went through the testing for 2 days to one determine the issue then a second time to specifically test for cushings.  After feeling like the breath was knocked out of me because i was convinced she's dying, I am learning that dogs can live with cushings.

My husband gave me Nugget for Valentine's Day when we were dating.  I had just lost my corgi.  Nugget was the first puppy I ever had and she was from my S.O. so was special.  She's also not your typical chihuahua. She is not snappy or yappy.  She is always happy and loves everyone.  At that time I was boarding my horse (yes once upon a time I only owned one) so I brought her to the barn daily for the kids to play with. She was very socialized from the start.  She goes everywhere with me.  Nugget is my co-pilot to horse shows, she loves the boat, she tags along anywhere she can.  Small dogs are easy that way.  If she sees my truck hooked up to the trailer she bounces around in excitement and stalks me until we leave.  I can't not take her to a show.  She makes sure of it.

Even if it's cold.

One time I left her home because the weather was miserable.  I won't do that again.  People were mad at me.  They missed seeing her.  During this recent ordeal my mother has reminded me she's not just my dog.  She's everyone's.  So many people adore Nugget.

Dogs not allowed at the hotel?  What dog?  

I have to go ride at the show?  Not a problem...
Don't mind me, I'll just sleep in my bed here until you return from showing.
Have bed, will travel...

She doesn't run off at the shows.  She stays on the golf cart, or in the truck if it's cold).  But just in case, you will always notice her pink leash attached.  She's perfectly well behaved which means people usually ask if they can watch her too.

As her owner I owe it to her to help her feel better.  
I've changed her food to all organic vegetables and meat.  No more processed foods.  I eventually hope to make all of our dogs' food but I'm starting slowly with these changes.  This week Nugget is starting on meds for cushings.  I hope to try some herbs and holistic treatments and try to reduce or eliminate the need for western medicine. There is so much info out there that it is overwhelming.

Husband is struggling with her symptoms.  She drinks an excessive amount of water therefore urinates constantly which means she is having accidents.  To him this means she is ruining our wood floors.  I'm working with her on using the pee pads and trying to teach him to help let her out more.  It's a struggle.

I cannot imagine driving my truck and trailer without her next to me or being at a show without her, or really anything without her.  It's inevitable one day but at only 10yo I wasn't thinking it would be this soon.

I appreciate your kind words on my initial post on Nugget.  I hope to have some good news soon and I am sure in no time I will be an expert on canine cushings (I never knew before this that dogs could get it).  Or at least the crazy chihuahua lady that spends more money feeding her ten pound dog than herself.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Day in Pictures

Despite my one round at HITS being less than stellar, my mare still looks good in pictures.  A friend was gracious enough to take some photos that day and they turned out amazing.

My favorite...

Looks like we were jumping the car hehe

I have more that I will post later.

I didn't get to ride my little grey mare last night due to a monsoon.  I am hoping it dries up enough this evening to ride.  We have 8 days until we leave for HITS again.  Woo hoo!!

That also means less time to spend with the Monster.  A little over 2 weeks until we turn the clocks forward though and I get more day light!!!!!  What does the time change mean for you?  More riding?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Product Review: Luckie Doos Bridle Charms

I love supporting small businesses and helping spread the word about products I love!  Please forgive my cell phone photos mixed in here.

Luckie Doos is a small business that makes hand made bridle charms.  She has a wide variety to choose from.

(Photo from their Facebook page)

First I bought this adorable sea horse charm.  It came to me lovingly wrapped in a cute box (it's the little touches).

I chose to clip it on Poppy's bonnet versus the bridle for our last show.

Of course you can clip it anywhere on the bridle, saddle, your boots, in braids, etc!

When I asked her for something related to my college alma mater she happily took on the challenge to make a new charm!

So many cute options!
(Photo by Luckie Doos)

(Photo by Luckie Doos)

(Photo by Luckie Doos)

(Photo by Luckie Doos)

(Photo by Luckie Doos)

So nicely put together.

The prices range from $15 to $25.  Check out Luckie Doos on Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy!  Email is

Monday, February 16, 2015

Local Show and Baby

Friday I loaded up the baby Monster (his new nickname, seems fitting) and hauled him to a local unrated show to play show pony.  Since he has hardly been ridden I had no plans to show him but wanted to take advantage of an inexpensive show where he could school, spend the night, and take in all the sights and sounds of a horse show.

He loaded fairly easily (he's easily bribed with cookies.  "Nah I don't want to walk on that thing.  Ohhhhh you have a cookie?  Okay!"  Then proceeded to paw and scream.  He needs to work on his standing on the trailer skills.  The pawing and screaming is annoying.  Then while I was getting his stall ready there were sounds coming from the trailer that sounded like it was not going to be left in one piece.  Am I making a case for the monster nickname yet?

He settled in fine.  Friend next to him and a hay net full of hay and he was happy.  I lunged him before getting on.  That was uneventful until a pony came in the ring and he did his best Arabian stud impression.  The pony wasn't impressed and eventually Luxxx went back to being a quiet baby Monster.  I took him for a walk around the rings and once I felt confident he wasn't going to kill me I got on.  He was good and unphased about people hacking around him.  Since I ride alone at home this is something he isn't used to.  He was completely unresponsive to my leg to the right (I later realized I failed to put my right spur on) and as usual I felt like I was working much harder that he was.  If someone wanted to talk he was like "yay let's stand!"  The consensus from friends was that he will make a nice hunter.  That's better than "maybe he should do dressage" but hunter isn't what I bought him to be.  No worries though, it's still to early to know what baby Monster wants to be.  

Trainer N rode him both Friday and Saturday which gave me a chance to video and also see him from the ground. 

Saturday was cold and very windy so I was rather proud of him.  I also had to lunge him way out in this field on Saturday where we park the trailers.  It's spooky for even the seasoned horses.  I seriously had visions of him freaking out, getting away from me, and running down the nearby road.  I had gloves on and a death grip on the lunge line.

Overall it was a good experience for him. He just needs time under saddle.  As the days are getting longer that should happen soon.

On a side note, BOTH of my zippers blew out of my Dehner paddock boots.  I may get them replaced or just buy new boots.   I have used Dehners for probably 15 years and am considering something less expensive (they are $279).  Other than Ariats, what do you recommend?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

HITS Week IV (part 2)

I realized after my last post I forgot to tell you that despite that ride on Saturday I came in 6th place!  Only 4 people jumped clean!  We were the second fastest four faulter.

I was excited for Sunday and to try to smooth out my riding.  Sunday was the NAL Adult Jumper Classic.  We were 5th in the order of go with an 8am start.  I don't do well with classes that early.  I like time to learn my course, walk it, tack up, etc.  Fortunately a friend was able to bring Poppy to the ring for me to give me time to walk the course.  In my self created chaos I forgot to snap a photo of my course.  It was a pretty technical course with many options.  It also had a really wideLiverpool.  Trainer N and I came up with a plan and I got to watch a couple before I went in the ring.  Lines were tight so I saw a lot of rails.  This is when having a small adjustable horse is nice.  Here is our first round (we jumped clean).

It was an "a" option only so I had to jump off at the end.  That meant going back to the barn for an hour.  I was 3rd in the order to jump off.  15 made the jump off.  I don't have a video of the jump off.  In one spot I forgot where I was going for a moment and lost time.  We were clean and good enough for 5th!!!  Yay!!  And a $225 check.  Double yay!

Overall I was extremely happy with Poppy.  I couldn't have asked her to be any better.  I love that little grey mare!  3 more weeks and we go back to HITS!  

This weekend I am taking baby Luxxx to a local show to school and hang out.  No rest for the weary!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

HITS Week IV (part 1)

In true horse show recap style I'm going to drag err divide this up into a couple parts.

Friday we entered the High Adult Jumpers (1.10m).  They were scheduled to start at 2:30pm and didn't end up going until after 5pm!  Yay horse shows!  That left entirely too much time for me to find the tack stores.

We showed in the Grand Prix ring.  They had a real water jump set up (not in our course though) so it was fun to show it to Poppy.  She was like "that's a BIG puddle."  It was late and the sun was going down so the ring was nice and shadowy.  Poppy was quiet and didn't look at anything (woohoo).  It was a speed class so I galloped between jumps.  I was not smooth in getting her back in front of 3a and she pulled a rail.  Everything else was great and it was just a 4 fault round.  No ribbon but I was thrilled with my mare for going in and marching around like it's her J-O-B.  My little mare is growing up (sniff, sniff).

Saturday we again entered the High Adult Jumpers (1.10m).  This one was in a different ring.  I don't know what my deal was Saturday but I was just off my game.  I don't do well some times when warming up with a group.  For instance the horse in front of me stopped at the warm up fence so I would have to circle or it would pull a rail and I would have to circle.  This would annoy Poppy and she would start leaping in front of the fence.  Try finding your distance riding that.  I couldn't either.  So we had some eek moments in the warm up ring.  That translated to "Oh Dear God" in the ring.  I was that rider.  The scary one.  She was running and I didn't get her under control.  

The video isn't as scary as it felt, but still some horrible riding on my part.  We were shockingly clear in the first round and one rail in the jump off because I missed badly into an in and out.  Here's video of round 1:
Aaand my jump off (feel free to close your eyes, I sure did watching):

Soooo mare got lots of pats, carrots, and kisses for continuing to jump after all that.  Moving on...Seriously.  After days like that you let it go and move on.  I was looking forward to Sunday to redeem myself.  Fortunately all my mare knows is that she was good.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mini Nugget

I had a post I was working in to sum up the horse show and I just couldn't finish it.  My chihuahua Nugget went to the vet yesterday and had blood work done.  Results came back today and she has Cushings.  I am heart broken and also feverishly searching for holistic treatment and dietary changes.  As soon as I can wrap my head around this I will finish my horse show post.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

We Arrived!

I waited for the rain to stop this morning and we headed to HITS.  Fortunately it was a smooth trip and by the time we arrived the sun came out and it started to warm up.

Poppy found the drive exhausting and snuck in a quick nap before we hacked.

We've had LOTS of rain so the rings were pretty mushy.  Fortunately it will be warm and sunny the next few days so it should dry out.  We show in the High Adults Friday afternoon.  I will try to update from IG (luvjumperlife)!