Monday, December 29, 2014

First Horse Show of 2015

Well the first show with Poppy for the new show year is in the books!  I am late doing this post so this was an AA show December 20 & 21st.

I got there early on the 20th to unload, set up, and bathe Poppy.  We showed about noon so plenty of time to settle in.  I did just one class on Saturday, the High Adult Jumpers (1.10m).

It was a pretty straight forward course.  The ring was big so it was important to be quick and not accrue time faults by getting sucked into "touring" the ring.  Poppy was VERY full of herself and did lots of leaping in the warm up ring.  She really just seemed happy to be there and showing.  I love that she loves her job.  We were clean in the first round.  My phone died so I only have a short clip of round 1.

In the jump off to jump 9 (an oxer) I pulled to a chip instead of kicking for a long distance and we had a rail.  We still came in 7th.

Mini Nugget makes a good ribbon model.

Sunday we just did the NAL Child Adult jumper Classic (1.10m).  I thought she would be tired from Saturday and a bit quieter but no.  She was leaping even more.  And rearing at the in gate.  The rearing seems to be our good luck charm though because she jumps clean when she rears at the in gate.

Again not too hard of a course although the roll back to the oxer at 9 caused some rails.  We were double clear.  In the jump off we were fast, did the inside turns, and were tidy.  We were 5th.  I was happy as Poppy did everything I asked and jumped superbly.  This also further strengthens my desire to move up a division.  It is scary how fast people run and take terrifying risks at 1.10m.  It's not worth it.  I would rather lose and be safe.  I don't mean to sound ungrateful, this is one of my frustrations with my division.

Shhhh don't tell Poppy we didn't win.  She was so proud of herself.  I love my little grey mare so much and love how hard she tries.  A great start to the new season!  Next up HITS!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Busy, Busy, Busy!!

I have clearly lost my mind deciding to show the weekend before Christmas!  Poppy isn't clipped but we are going anyway!  It will be fine.  From a few feet away you can't tell she's a furball.

Over the weekend we did some course work and jumped about 3'11''.  She feels great so I think we are ready.  I had to even take a photo of after an oxer.

I measured and this mare lands 8 ft off the jumps.  8 ft!

It's a whirlwind busy week but I will update from the show this weekend if I can.  I will definitely post quick updates from Instragram (luvjumperlife).

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Promoting Our Own

You may have already read this article that Chronicle of the Horse posted yesterday.  If not, please take the time to read it.  It talks about the YHS show series and how it began out of the need to showcase our U.S. bred horses.  You may recall that Luxxx and I participated last March (blog post #1 and #2) in a YHS show.

You'll have to excuse me while I get on my soap box.  I believe in promoting our U.S. bred horses.  In the day and age where we can ship semen we now have breeders in the U.S. that are breeding many of the same lines as found in Europe.  Why not support our own breeders (and economy) instead of importing?  I love supporting small local businesses versus the large corporations and this sort of falls along those lines.  This is also how to came to get Luxxx.  I was at a show and happened to meet a breeder and got to talking about his business.  The next thing I know I'm at his farm looking at babies.

If you followed yesterday's Chronicle article on Facebook you may have read some of the Facebook comments about U.S. bred horses versus Europe.  Opinions supporting importing talked about the lower costs of breeding, raising, & showing horses in Europe.   This makes for a lower price tag there and you get a horse that has been trained and shown.  We do have exorbitant costs for showing in our country.  The cost of campaigning a youngster is then passed along in the price tag.  In Europe they focus on training and provide a good dressage base for their youngsters.  As Sprinkler Bandit so spot on stated in her blog Tuesday many of our riders here don't necessarily train their horses.  Many of our top show jumpers purchase their horses already made.  We don't focus on correct development of youngsters here and to do so, it is expensive.

I think this show series is a great start though.  It was reasonably priced and they had shows in all regions of the U.S.  One show per region is just a start.  I hope it will grow and one day there are plenty of affordable shows like this to take young horses to for exposure.

What are your thoughts on importing versus U.S. bred?  Do you take the time to learn about bloodlines?  This is something I am enjoying learning more about and feel we all should be more educated on (no matter what breed).

Monday, December 8, 2014

Trying To Motivate To Go Horse Show

I am 12 days from competing in our first AA show of the season with Poppy.  She is still overweight and quite fluffy.  I can't so much about the overweight part in 12 days but I am diligently trying to work her 5 days a week to improve her fitness (yay for new lights) and have cut back on her feed (which she is very unhappy about).  I may or may not have her clipped by the 20th.  I ordered new clipper blades last week so when they arrive I can technically start clipping.  I just don't want to.  I have seriously come to hate clipping.  I know someone that I can hire to clip her but I can't stomach paying someone $150 to do something I am perfectly capable of.  So we will see.  I might be showing my overweight and still very fuzzy pony in 12 days.

I rode Poppy most of last week and lunged Luxxx (still not comfortable riding him under the lights yet).  So Saturday I decided to do some course work/horse show prep with Poppy.  It was an unseasonable 80 degree day and she is pretty fuzzy so she got hot and tired fast.  So tires that when I approached a vertical And half halted she would trotted.  She also rubbed my liver pool vertical a few times.  she rarely touches a rail at home.  I called hubby over to come jack it up a few times.  She didn't touch it again.  I have next weekend left to do more course work and set the jumps a bit bigger.  We stayed at 3'6 except for the vertical hubby jacked up to about 4ft.

Next I got on Luxxx.  He was last ridden the weekend before and lunged in side reins during the week.  The side reins have been helpful though as he now reaches down into the bit without me asking.  Of course he is 3 so there are the brilliant moments which are quickly followed by the giraffe imitations too.  He bucked pretty good when I asked him to pick up the canter.  My instinct is always to pick their head up.  M taught me that with the babies just kick them on and they will level out.  I always put a buck strap on for moments like these and instead of grabbing his mouth I grabbed the buck strap and kicked.  Instead of touching his mouth I left the loose rein and by pushing him forward he leveled out and cantered on.  I can't brag enough about his canter.  It is seriously like butter.  It is normally really hard to keep him cantering but Saturday I got about 3 laps in before he even tried to break.  Progress!

Since it was so warm everyone got a bath.  I tried to get hubby to snap some photos of Luxxx.  He thinks taking pictures is dumb so this was the only photo that didn't have his finger in it.

Still wet from the bath.  Sometimes it's better to take photos yourself

Friday, December 5, 2014

Solution For Saddle Slipping

Thank you for all of your suggestions for fixing saddle slipping!  Since others seemed to have similar slipping issues I thought I would share what has worked for me for the past several years for Poppy.

This small blue gel thing is amazing.  It's called Gel-Eze and was originally designed as a cold compress to go under bandages.  It also works  great as a non slip pad.  Another plus, it's inexpensive!!  I paid $25 at a mobile tack store at a show.  If you would like more info on them here is an online store I found that sells them.  Click here.

I use it at Poppy's withers, then put on the saddle pad, then half pad.

Here is Poppy's former half pad by Beval.

As you can see it is old and just needs to be retired.  RIP Beval pad.  It is thick and really did a good job with saddle fit.  When combined with the Gel-Eze I had no saddle slipping so I wanted a similar sized new half pad.

Although the Ogilvy didn't eliminate the need for the Gel-Eze, I am still very happy with it and love the look.

I switch between a Professional Choice girth and a fuzzy fleece one with Poppy.  I use the fleece one for shows mainly.  The girth I use doesn't help the slipping.  When I use the Gel-Eze there is no slipping with whatever girth or half pad I am using.

I am a fan of minimal tack/gadgets.  I only use a running martingale in the show ring.  So I love that the Gel-Eze is small and hidden under the saddle pad.  It is also small enough that it would fit under a hunter pad.

There's my sales pitch.  If you have any saddle slipping try the Gel-Eze!

  You'd never know it was under my saddle!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ogilvy Jumper Half Pad

I LOVE my new Ogilvy half pad however it did not fix the #1 thing I wanted it to.  Saddle slipping.

See the first item listed?  Nope, doesn't do it.  My saddle slips side to side on Poppy.  I use an anti slip pad that prevents this but I was hoping the new half pad would eliminate the need for it.  This means I probably need to look at saddles in the near future.  I love my Antares and it fits Luxxx perfectly but I have slipping (side to side) on Poppy if I don't use the anti-slip pad.  Why is the saddle slipping back and forth bad?  Try making a tight turn in the jumpers.  You and the saddle will slide ride down the side.  

So far this is my only complaint about the pad.  Although it is disappointing I still love it!  

Despite several people's recommendations not to order directly from Ogilvy I did it any way.  Unfortunately there aren't any tack stores here where I could order through so I took a chance.  I had no problems and it took 3 weeks from the time I ordered it for it to arrive.  That was an awesome surprise when I was expecting it to take 6-8 weeks!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

New Show Season

As I started writing this blog entry it reminded me to renew my USEF and USHJA memberships.  It also made me sad to mark Tank as "sold" and also surprised that the new owner didn't transfer ownership with USEF yet.

My first show of 2015 with Poppy will be in 2 weeks.  It is an AA show about 2 hours from home.  I plan to show in a 1.10m High Adult Jumper class Saturday and the NAL Classic Sunday.  Since it is so close to Christmas and I am already taking time off from work I am just planning to haul over early Saturday morning before I show and stay Saturday night.  The barn isn't going but trainer M is with another outside client so it will be a "quiet" show. Part of me wants to do the 1.15m class Saturday instead of my division class so I can prepare to move up to 1.20m.  Things to ponder...

I also may or may not have the fuzzy marshmallow clipped by then.  Same dilemma as last year.  Last year I got some great advice though, go fast and no one will notice!  

Next up will be HITS Ocala.  Marshmallow will definitely be clipped by then!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cyber Monday Special on Half Chaps!

I love my Huntley Equestrian half chaps and they are offering 25% off today!

You can purchase them on Amazon!

Like a Blur

The past couple weeks seem to have blurred by.  From the passing of a friend in our equestrian community to Thanksgiving.  It all feels like it has run together.  Here's the latest.

I have lights and can ride at night now!  Then we got 4 inches of rain and it was too wet to ride.

Ogilvy jumper half pad arrived!!!



Luxxx can now unbuckle his new Baker sheet and pull it off over his head.  He needs to work on this routine since he ripped the 1 week old sheet in the process.

Doesn't pull off her clothing therefore making her #1pony.

Thanksgiving happened and my days off from work were filled with in-law obligations instead of riding.

Recipe to get through in-law obligations (the middle bottle of wine was terrible by the way).

So one holiday down, one more to go.  Hopefully some riding in there and possibly a show.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Product Review: Huntley Equestrian Half Chaps

A lady who I have shown with for many years has started a company called Huntley Equestrian.  They are in the beginning stages, but she is putting out some very nice products.  I decided to try their leather half chaps.  I currently have a pair of tredsteps that I can't stand.  They don't fit my chicken legs well and are baggy in the ankles.  I like a tight fit in my half chaps and tall boots.  Before going for custom half chaps I thought I would try on the ones by Huntley Equestrian.
Here is their description of them.

"Ultra soft, imported Brazilian full grain leather provides an immediate custom fit along with flexibility and stability. Huntley's half chap design focuses on delivering a custom tall boot look with the convenience of easy on and off access of half chaps. The top line was carefully designed to reflect a "Tall" look near the knee by using a high-cut profile. The outer stretch panel is made of genuine nylon elastic to provide a closely contoured, snug fit. Reinforced inner leg is double layered with genuine suede leather lining for maximum grip and durability. Features include Outside YKK heavy duty black zipper that zips from bottom to top, Snap tabs at the top to reinforce the snug fit, Upper swagger tab and metal pendant, Imported Brazilian full grain leather contoured skirt over the instep, 3 ply thread used for all stitching."

Price: $129

They come in this nice bag.

When I tried them on they appeared a little drape like at the bottom as I put them on.  I think due to the thinner leather and being stiff and new.  However they really did have a lovely, comfortable fit for being off the shelf.  I liked how soft the leather was and the thinner leather allowed a snugger fit.  I ended up needing a size small, extra tall.  I am 5'7 so I would say these run maybe a tad big.  

I rode in them last night and was very happy.  They are already dropping so they no longer have that drape look.

- Comfort
- Tall, sleek look
- Reasonably priced
- Soft leather
- Spanish style top

- The zipper starting at the bottom.  I have to get used to that.
- A bit big on me at the knee, but again I have chicken legs.  

Overall I am happy with them and would recommend them to others.  I am anxious to see their longevity, but have no reason to doubt that they won't last.  They are as close as you are going to get to custom half chaps and at a much cheaper cost than customs.

I got mine from a local shop that's carrying them.  Huntley is building their website so for now you can purchase them and some other items of theirs on Amazon.  Just search Huntley Equestrian.  They also have a Facebook page.  Go check them out and support a small business!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Adventures of a Wild Mare

I haven't uploaded the videos of M's pinto mare from the show November 8th yet.  I will share with you that she got around all of her courses despite some spectators climbing on and leaning against the railings of the stands.  That was scary stuff for a 4yo.  I will spare you from my rant on how unacceptable this was for the gate steward to allow.  I will save that for my post on differences between rated and non rated shows around here.

Back to pinto mare...I don't feel inclined to upload her videos since I don't have to continue to post sale videos of her for M.  She is sold!!!  This has me so excited because a friend bought her so I will continue to get to see her.  And Luxxx will be happy as he has claimed her as his.  I can't wait for her to have a name!

(I needed a pic to break up all the text)

You may be tired of me griping about riding in the dark, I know I am.  Husband crunched some numbers to install stadium lights for me and that shit costs $8K plus!!!  Heck no, I want my all weather arena first.  So he found a less expensive solution and I now have some mega spot lights.  Just one up so far is enough to ride.  With the second one up (hopefully this weekend) I should have enough light to even jump!!

This can't come fast enough.  We had cooler temps on Saturday, combine that with minimal riding and it was the perfect scenario for Poppy to test my stickability.  Or maybe she was showing me that she could double as a rodeo bronc.  Whatever her motivation, she was hardly rideable.  After I was exhausted and she was a sweaty mess I called it a day.  I cancelled my planned trail ride on Sunday and planned to work her again.

I was then hesitant to get on baby Luxxx.  If my extremely broke horse was wild how was the 3 yo going to be???  I lunged him and he offered nothing silly, no bucks, nothing.  You know that means he is saving it all for when I get on right??  But no, he was perfect.  We worked without draw or side reins and he was relaxed, soft, and moving up into my hands.  He is already learning to rock back onto his hind while moving forward.  He is doing well with legs yields at the walk.  He's not ready to try at the trot yet.  His downward transitions are still abrupt but I'm not complaining.  Good brakes on a baby isn't so bad!

I rode Poppy again on Sunday.  We did a lot of flat work, counter canter, bending, circles, etc.  She was perfect.  Then I started jumping and she was... let's just say full of herself.  I love that she loves to jump but I really have to get her back on her program and leveled out.  I also think she is bored at our current division so there's that decision to make.

It's the end of the show year, don't forget to renew your USEF and UHJA memberships!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Local Show with the Babies

I headed off to the local show with Baby L and pinto mare (please someone buy her, this mare deserves a name!!).

I rode pinto mare first and she was nervous and a bit overwhelmed, but she is 4 years old.  She went to work and I just kept flatting her until she relaxed.  I have mixed feelings about these unrated shows.  They are a great way to get mileage inexpensively but I have little patience for the people who have no ring etiquette.  Pass left shoulder to left shoulder, people jumping take the inside track, don't jump oxer a backwards, doing the jumpers does not mean flying around like a maniac, no trainer supervision, etc.  I had not jumped the mare in awhile so I planned to take it easy.  She jumped everything 2' and 2'3 that I pointed her at.  I did a few 2'6 and she was great.  Could care less.  

Next I got on Luxxx.  I worked him in an outside arena then trainer N got on him in the big indoor where the jumpers go.  At first he was a bit upset by the chaos, but eventually settled.  I set up a little cross rail for him which he thought was boring. She also took him in the indoor with the ponies and he was good there too.

I am soooo proud of him!!  It made me happy to get to see him from the ground and I am pleased with his progress.  Proud momma moment.

He is wearing Hobbs' old show blanket.  This is why I love Baker, this has to be at least 12 years old and looks perfect!  Maybe one day I will switch my monograms over to my married name...

I will try to get the mare's videos uploaded and update you on her debut in the 2'3 jumpers next.  Luxxx didn't show and just hung out on Saturday.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Grooming a Grey Horse

Sometimes I hear or read people's comments about how they would never own a grey because of the trouble keeping them clean.  Poppy is my first grey and I really don't use too many additional tricks to grooming that I don't use with my other horses.  

Get used to dirt and Poopy stains.  Period.  I do not believe in over bathing so my horses do not get a full on soapy bath at home often.  Instead I curry (and curry, and curry) and brush daily.  This gives them a lovely shine.  Manes get brushed but never the tail.  

I use Ivory soap to bathe.  Not the knock off store brand, but actual Ivory.  When I do the legs I squirt some in my hand and hand scrub them.  I also dip her tail in the bucket and scrub her tail between my hands.  Her mane is pretty grey but her tail has some golden coloring so I will take some Quicksilver and scrub to get out any yellowing.  Leave it on for a few minutes.  You can also do this for the legs if they are REALLY dirty but 90% of the time, the Ivory does the trick.  Only after the bath do I spray Show Sheen (or whatever tail conditioner you choose) on the tail. When dry THEN you brush.  Dry legs and body with a towel.

Grey horses love to sleep in their poop.  It is inevitable that when you arrive at the show they will greet you from their stall with giant poop stains.  Here are poop stain removing tricks I use:

* dab rubbing alcohol on a cloth and rub onto stain.  You can also put rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spray stain if it is large.  Then scrub with cloth.
*  wet cloth (or sponge), put a drop of ivory on it and a rub stain.

To remove dust particles (especially after gorging oneself with hay) or to give a shine I like to use Alpha Keri.

I fill about a 1/4 of a spray bottle with Alpha Keri then the rest with water.  Shake well and either spray body or spray onto a cloth. It will bring dirt to the surface and you can wipe the coat clean.

It also helps at the shows to keep the stall regularly picked clean to keep staining arsenal to a minimum.

So clean she is pink

Ok enough Poppy spamming 😁

Monday, November 3, 2014


I'm feeling a bit grumpy cat on this Monday.

Sunday at 3am embarked the start of 4 months of grumpiness for me.  The start of getting home when it's dark which means riding in the dark and hoping Poppy doesn't kill me.  I don't know what this will mean for Baby L.  Obviously it is not wise to be riding a 3 year old in the dark.  It's just not worth the risk.  I hate to have baby get a 4 month vacation but my options are limited.  I am working on husband regarding lights.  Otherwise I can find somewhere to just turn baby out for 4 months or find a new job with flexibility.  The last one sounds dramatic but I am feeling really bitter right now that other people in the company who have children can adjust their schedules to accommodate said children and I cannot.

Also waking up to find Baby L pulled down part of his fence last night didn't help the start to my Monday morning. Knowing I will have to fix it in the dark when I get home has me really excited.

On a less grumpy note, at the half way point to Daylight Savings I should be getting my new custom Ogilvy jumper half pad.  Woohoo!!  I can't wait!!  This is the color combination I finally decided on:

Trainer N told me that choosing anything but white was tacky in the show ring.  This matched with a white saddle pad I don't find tacky.  What do you think? 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

A few years ago a friend sent me a pumpkin outfit for Mini Nugget. She's a bit of a plump chihuahua so it was a little snug.

And of course I didn't want kitty to feel left out.

No one trick or treats out in the country so our house will be quiet tonight.  I am dreading the time change tomorrow.  This puts a huge damper on my riding.  It also creates a rift with me and my work.  People who have kids leave early to pick up their kids so I get stuck staying because I don't have kids.  So why can't I leave early to go ride? I really need to start buying Powerball lotto tickets so I can retire and have lots of time for riding!

November 8th is a local show.  I plan to take Baby L and the pinto mare.  So this week's challenge will be finding daylight to ride.

Have a safe and fun Halloween!

His hind end is getting big!

Pinto mare last local show (August)