Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Year in Review

I'm going with a full, wordy, review of 2018 and I'm going to fit it all in one post. Never fear, I analyzed the year as a whole vs. recapping posts so there is some new information here and at least one picture I took for each month I'm recapping. Hopefully the media will get you through this long post!

Pretty weather but a really tough month for us
January:
In general this year was tough riding wise and it really all started last winter. January was a continuation on that and I only ended up with one lesson despite typically taking them weekly with Jane. I was dealing with SADD and anxiety and Katai was dealing with saddle fit, ulcers, and too much energy from not being able to work because of the other two. The happy things going on were that I was dating someone amazing, had an adorable baby puppy, and was looking forward to moving out of my grandma’s house and into my own apartment.

Pony was doubtful and I was enthusiastic. This was during the period of time where we were
 pretty much always at odds with each other

February:
I posted a grand total of 2 times and didn’t even get my saddle shipped out to be resized until early February. By the end of February I had my saddle back and had managed to fit in a couple of lessons but Katai was still full of energy and probably ulcery. I had also moved and was dealing with awful weather. Personal things remained awesome, other than some awful depression and anxiety that came from the move and living in chaos for a while, but pony things still weren’t going well.
Pretty tail, also one of my last photos at Jane's barn *sadface*
March:
March continued to be a struggle. The weather was awful, Katai was naughty and overly full of energy still. I also had my car break down and ended up replacing it which ate up my trailer savings. That was the final straw for me and I decided that I needed to move somewhere that could consistently trailer me to shows, having onsite clinics etc, so that I could have more opportunities. Plus I found out that Jane was selling her farm. I was also still dealing with the transition of moving into a major city that I wasn’t familiar with and was feeling a bit trapped (although I didn’t realize that until later) and needing to figure out how to manage my rescue dog who was having major anxiety and leash aggression issues that I didn’t post much about.

I did actually ride occasionally. You can also see in Katai's expression how much she hated this place.
This was her constant look whenever I had her in the barn.
April:
April was my highest posting month this year with a grand total of 8 posts. Less than half of the amount I was posting in 2017. I moved to the barn in WI and was, at the time, thinking I’d have a show in May which was exciting. The weather continued to do it’s best to defeat me and I was already struggling with figuring out how to get to the barn with all the snow and ice. I posted about my show plans for the year *sadface*, dealt with two fairly significant snow storms, and went to OH for work. Then I was very sick when I got back which just continued making it difficult to be consistent with rides.
 
Getting ready to interview for a new job. Thankfully my boss at the time found out and then changed up my work to make it more sustainable so I ended up staying.
May:
I almost entirely ended up missing May but posted three times right toward the end of the month. The weather had suddenly gotten unseasonably hot and because of pony behavior things we decided we needed to skip the May show. I then realized that I wasn’t going to be able to go to the June show because of previous plans to go to NC with my bf for a wedding. Unbeknownst to me at the time that caused a chain effect of the serious dressage crew at the barn, including my trainer at the time, to lose all faith in me and push me out of their clique. I was learning some great things from S2 especially around how to handle Katai on the ground when she checked out. Partially I was needing to learn this because Katai was ALWAYS checked out at this barn. I’m still not sure of the cause but she hasn’t had such consistently negative (anxious) behavior anywhere else which is suspicious in retrospect. I was also sick for a week or so again.

Pretty sure we make a weird perfect team
June:
The highlight of my riding year (accomplishment wise) was riding for Kristi Wysocki in a clinic and having her give me very little advice (based on riding and showing at 1st level) when I knew going in that she’s really tough. It definitely gave me confidence that 2nd level is in our grasp. I also got to bring Moshy to spectate at a dressage show and she was amazing! It was so much fun and I can’t wait to do more of this in 2019.

Riding blind, only a well trained dressage horse could
be so on the aids that they don't need to see right? *snorts*
July:
After only posting early in June I didn’t post again until late July and only got a few posts in. I had diagnosed many of the things that I had been struggling with so far this year and had a plan including moving to a new barn since I had realized that I had overextended myself commute time wise. Something I wasn’t posting about at the time is how much worse the people at the WI barn were making things for me since I was being actively pushed out. I wasn’t sharing because I hate adding in any way to barn drama. Plus my mental health was pretty fragile this year so I was having a tough time not feeling that it was deserved it despite literally doing nothing that should have caused ANY negative feelings from anyone at the barn.

Very few pony pictures were taken in August so enjoy a puppy instead
August:
August was a big transition month and when things actually started to slightly start to look up to me for the first time in over 9 months. I moved Katai in the middle of the month and cut my commute to the barn more than in half. Bf and I also decided moving in together was officially a thing and found an apartment at the end of August. Katai spent most of July and then August entirely off work which set us way back especially since I hadn’t been at all consistent prior to that since back in November/December.

Saying goodby to my cute little apartment
(and the amazing view lol)
Finally in the arena after all that time off even if we weren't riding much yet 
September: 
I didn’t post a single thing in September. Instead I spent the month moving myself and the bf into the new apartment, being really sick (again!), and starting to slowly work toward more time at the barn with Katai.

I can tell I was starting to feel better in October because I took way more pictures

She's perfected the mare glare
 October:
Things really started looking up this month which is funny since typically it’s October/November when I really start to suffer with seasonal depression. Kinda tells you how rough the rest of the year was for me. At any rate, I actually started to be consistent with barn time and was meeting my goals for October. I also posted a bit more about the apartment move and my new tack storage and shared new goals for the rest of the year, did some shopping, and got more media posted.

November:
Despite only posting two times I was doing so much better and averaged 5 times per week at the barn which was a combination mainly of lunging and riding. I was starting to get my position back a bit and Katai was starting to be more consistently cooperative for the first time in over a year. I shared a general update of stuff I hadn’t posted over the past year and reviewed my updated goals which were going well.

Starting to get better at our selfie game
December:
Things have officially been feeling way better and like the worst of whatever the universe was trying to throw at me is over. In December I pretty much posted about shopping (lol) but despite a real lack of any riding content I’ve continued to be really consistent up until this past week or so but I blame that on the holidays. Mainly I’m so looking forward to 2019 and having a way better year in every way.

I’m aware how quiet things have been this year and I apologize for the negative tone in the blog. It truly just has been a year where I kept getting kicked when I was down even with small things. To top that off I was really struggling with anxiety and depression in a way I never have. I’ve tried to keep some of that out of the blog since it’s just not helpful but to still be decently transparent. Saying this isn’t to diminish the amazing things that happened at the end of last year including my relationship with one of the most amazing people I’ve met, moving in with him, my amazing puppy, and my incredible pony. Thank goodness for my amazing bf and his ability to support me through this really tough year because I don’t quite know what would have happened this year without his support. Mostly though I’m looking forward to a fresh start this next year where we can have more fun together, I can accomplish more of my goals (which are mainly riding goals lets be honest) and where I just don’t have so much stress in my life.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

In Retrospect

Goals
I’m finally caught up enough to be able to talk about the ride I had Thursday! But first, I need to give a little context. This will be long so I don’t blame you if you skip it!

I think I’ve briefly described my current barn set up but I’m not sure I gave much detail and even I don’t want to go back and look it up so it’s getting explained again. Firstly, current barn is one of the less expensive barns I’ve boarded at especially within the last 4-5 years or so. The care and options available are amazing as is the location but the amenities are pretty scarce. When you first drive up the driveway (which is narrow and hilly – we’ll get to that later) you drive past pastures on either side and then paddocks and a parking space on the left. On the right, just after the house that my trainer, K, lives in is the indoor arena which is behind a 3 sided shelter with a grain room for the pasture and paddock horses. As you continue down the driveway you pass the hay barn on the left, more paddocks on the left and right, and one of the outdoor arenas on the right. Right after that is parking for the barn people and trailer parking on the right for all of the trailers.


All in all, it’s a bit of hike to take Katai from her stall to the indoor and I’ve been so proud of her steadiness as we walk through the dark and various terrain which can be muddy, snowy, slippery, frozen, rutted, etc. and past all of the potentially scary open buildings and farm bunnies which are everywhere and love to jump across the road in front of you in the dark. Secondly, for some reason the majority of the drama happens with the barn boarders and there are 1-2 people who board in the barn who are the cause of most of it (at least from my initial observation).

Also for context I’ve been doing SO WELL the past couple of months with getting to the barn regularly but this past week that’s fallen apart a little. I’m not overly disappointed and even left room for that in my December goals. It’s all because of holiday plans so it will calm down soon but it’s still disappointing. I had big plans to get back to 5-6 days a week the week of Christmas and even went out Christmas Eve morning but then on Christmas when I looked at the forecast they were predicting a crazy chain of winter weather. It was supposed to start with snow Wednesday evening, turn to rain through most of the day Thursday when the temps were going to be in the high 30s and 40s, and then turn back to snow in the later evening. Friday the temperature was supposed to drop below freezing, and then over the next few days we’re supposed to get more snow and then have a couple of extremely cold days with highs in the negatives.

Tack cleaning helper
This meant that my best chance to ride for at least a few days was to go out fairly early on Thursday. I’ve been working really hard over the past few months to not look for excuses or overthink going to the barn so I didn’t even worry much about the weather and just planned to go while I could. Luckily since it’s the week of Christmas work has been really quiet so I was able to get done a bit early. I wasn’t at all worried about the roads since it was so warm and they were absolutely fine. On my driveway up to the barn my car gave me a low traction warning but I figured it was a little slushy and nothing to worry about.

Nice dry pony. You can just see the one little wet spot. Also, ignore my horrible clipping lines.
It's almost time to clip again so I'll have a second chance at it lol.
However, everyone looked shocked and appalled that I was there. It was raining hard (and about 37*) and there was slush in the driveway but otherwise nbd really. Katai had her most waterproof blanket on with the neck rug and other than a small wet spot on either shoulder, where the water must have gotten between the neck rug and blanket, and a wet face she was perfectly dry. I had taken my tack home to clean it and was bringing it back so I was running between the car and the barn carrying armfuls of stuff. While I was carrying my saddle in one of the other boarders (one of the two drama causers who we’ll call NB) was acting especially shocked that I was there, and seemed even more concerned that I was planning to ride. Giving some context to this though, this same person had just the day before “tied” her gelding directly in front of Katai who was in crossties so that he could have touched her shoulder with his back end and then walked away while I was trying to ask her to move him forward a bit. She did eventually move him about 1’ forward but he just pulled loose and then wandered the barn while she followed him around tacking him up while telling him he was naughty. That same day she almost ran into people multiple times in the arena while riding.

You could say that I don’t have high confidence in her instincts.

She was insistent that it was REALLY slippery but all I’d encountered was slushiness which can be slippery but isn’t typically that bad so I let her know that I’d be careful and kept right on with my plans. We chatted a bit about the weather and then NB left and I got Katai tacked up while she ate in her stall. I took my time so that Katai could get plenty to eat and then covered her in a rain sheet since it was still pouring out and headed up to the arena. I was disappointed to find that not only was there a lot of slush and puddles, in the most compacted portions of the driveway there was skating-rink-like ice covered in water. Just about the worst case scenario slippery wise. We managed to avoid most of it through carefully choosing our path and only hit a couple more small slippery bits but in the dark and with how slippery it was we’re lucky that we both didn’t fall down in a pile.

Just her poor little face was wet
Once we got to the arena I walked for a while and then lunged to get some of the excess energy I suspected Katai had out. I was right to do so and probably could have lunged a bit longer but once she was being civil and listening I mounted up. The goal was to work on walk and trot and really getting her round over her back and oozing forward into the contact. Since the canter has been a point of contention recently I didn’t even want to go there that night. The only problem is that we’ve been building strength and then I took time off. That meant that I have a strong, capable pony with lots of pent up energy. We started at the trot and she was clearly really trying to keep a lid on it and listen but had energy bursting out everywhere. We settled at first for a VERY forward, huge trot and my focus was just keeping the strides slow and pushing vs. being quick. That quickly devolved into a tense running pony though and then she transitioned to canter and quickly used that as an excuse to let out an upset buck and slam to a stop. This time I just sat there for a while until she let out a big breath and then took her back into a trot.

I realized quickly that we were just going to need to canter to help Katai find her hamsters so when she nicely transitioned, going to the right, again I just let her go. I wasn’t trying to tire her out or let her just canter around and wear herself out. I was really working on getting her bent around my inside leg, cantering slowly and politely, and doing as many different things in canter as we can right now which isn’t many. She was actually really, really, really good and listening. She was struggling to bend to the right but wasn’t fighting me on it, she just was struggling a bit. After a lot of canter she was finally breathing evenly and really listening so we went down to trot, crossed the arena, changed the bend, and I cued for a canter. She slammed into the transition so I brought her back and did it again and she transitioned so nice! She was already clearly tired and the left lead is her strong lead so we didn’t do nearly as much in that direction. She dropped to trot a couple of times so we got some more practice at the transition and we ended on a great note.

I hopped right off since we had clearly accomplished a lot and were both feeling good about things. Plus, I was conscious of the potential for the weather to get worse and there wasn’t anyone else around so I didn’t want to push things too far. We walked for a while and I stuffed her full of treats and eventually I tossed her rain sheet on again and we headed out.

I got the Eskadron bandage liners from my mom for
Christmas but she got a size too big so Katai is looking very european.
It was immediately a much more hairy trip and not long after we hit the driveway Katai ended up right in the middle of the iciest part of the road. It was dark out and I didn’t dare move from where I was. Luckily I had her on the lunge line so I just gave her all the space she needed and she skittered her way back to good footing. I was so relieved and so glad that she’s a sure footed pony but also felt really bad. I stuffed her full of more treats and then luckily we had a much less exciting walk the rest of the way to the barn.

I untacked her in her stall, groomed, and got things put away fairly quickly since I was getting more concerned about navigating the driveway in my tiny car. Once Katai was all tucked in with a fresh, warm, waterproof blanket and some extra alfalfa pellets I headed out to my car.

Both of us being derps after a great ride
With some momentum I made it up the first hill to the first parking area but the scariest part was still coming up. There is a fairly steep hill down on the way back out to the road and now I knew that it was glare ice. The driveway drops down steeply on either side so if I misjudged I’d end up in the ditch. I had planned to just coast straight down and not touch the brake or steering wheel unless I needed to. The only problem is that my SmartCar has the engine in the back so it’s heavier back there and as soon as I hit the ice the back of my car started to come around trying to beat the front down the hill. Luckily with this many years driving in icy conditions I reacted quickly and got it straightened out, kept the momentum up the next hill and out onto the quiet road. I took a bit of a chance and also kept my momentum out onto the slightly busier road since otherwise I likely would have drifted into a ditch and then the rest of the way was on busy roads that had been cleared of snow so were just wet.


In retrospect I maybe shouldn’t have chanced it but I’m so proud of myself that I just went and did the thing and didn’t overthink it. I guess I could use this as a lesson to listen to my fellow boarders and next time I may take it more seriously despite the general lack of trust I have in their horse keeping instincts. I’m also so proud of how well the ride ended up going especially with the canter that I got and the work that we did plus the strength that Katai is showing currently is also really encouraging and I can’t wait for this winter storm to be over so that I can get back to it!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Lesson(s) Recap

My, apparently doubtful, co-pilot for Christmas shopping this past week.
One thing I’m hoping to do in the new year is more lesson recaps. I started this blog to journal what happens with Katai and my journey and since not much has been happening over this past year I’m not too disappointed that I haven’t been blogging as much but I do still wish that I’d been documenting more of it. With that in mind I’m going to try to catch up a little on what’s going on now so that I can start the new year in a good place.

First, I don’t think I’ve talked much about my current lesson format or it was a long time ago and we’ve all forgotten so let’s start there. I’m currently taking e/o week lessons with the trainer that works at the barn and rents the house there. She has a lot of training horses (and a couple of her own) and teaches lessons to a good chunk of the people who board at my barn. We’ll call her K. She is also how I found this barn. I’d followed her on Instagram knowing that she was in MN and she has a fantastic account. I always drooled over the really cute arena and after commenting on one of her Instagram stories and having her respond I finally asked where she boarded and found out about my current barn.

The results of our labor. Lots of tasty things, a few gifts, and some yummy alcohol
 There were so many reasons why I moved but the ability to work with her as a coach was a big one and luckily it’s proving to be just as great as I’d hoped. K is so, so low key. She can get really intense when needed but she’s just much more relaxed than previous instructors I’ve worked with and I really love it. I’m an adult and I do this for fun but my fun is to work on it really intensely and take myself way too seriously so having a coach who just is a little more relaxed and not such a perfectionist (which I so am) is extremely refreshing and really helps me not stress or dread my lessons. She’s really great about pushing and asking for new things but also not pushing past a point of comfort and even better she’s really got Katai pegged (probably since she’s very like her own mare) and is very thoughtful about how we approach things so that we don’t push Katai so far past her comfort zone that she hates the work. She does this in her own work with her mare too sometimes doing just groundwork, taking her out on the trails, or riding in a side pull. I can’t even tell you how nice it is to work with someone that knows how much those sorts of things can still help progress with dressage and just building a relationship with your horse.

Don’t get me wrong, I still miss Jane who was almost like a second mom, therapist, and friend. I’m not sure if I’ll work with an instructor who is so keyed in to what I need to do to improve and who holds me to such high standards again. Hopefully I’ll have that opportunity but if not, the skills she taught me are helping me in everything still so I’m incredibly appreciative.
 
One of the bf's extended family Christmases.
This was only about half of the gifts that showed up.
Back to the lesson recaps though! Our first couple of lessons were really allowing K to get used to me and Katai. Both of us were also incredibly unfit (and getting used to riding in a very small arena) so they were pretty messy and there were some mini meltdowns on Katai’s part. Fast forward to about 3 or 4 lessons in though and I had a HUGE breakthrough with the canter mechanic. Jane had been using the wording of keeping my body up and down which I think was making me shut down Katai’s stride and causing her to get sticky and pissy. I’m sure that Jane didn’t mean what I was doing but I couldn’t figure out how to do it differently. K had me concentrating on sitting up into the stride, without getting light in my seat, and half halting at the height of the stride. I had been thinking more of half halting on the down feeling and holding myself into her back. With K’s help calling out when I should be half halting I was able to feel it and it was such an amazing thing. Since then I’ve been able to replicate it and with that we’re finally getting Katai’s canter (and my canter mechanic) truly under control.

We’ve also had some nice breakthroughs with some of the items, or one main item really, that were getting us stuck in our 2ndlevel progress. Basically Katai doesn’t listen to my halting cues or she gets so upset that she has a meltdown and we can’t continue. K has been so great about making it more light and playful and helping make the change without demanding it and then just moving on. We’re working on all halts and half halts. Everything from when I’m leading, to lunging, to riding at all gaits and in all movements. That leads us to my last lesson which was on the evening of my birthday.
 
So tough to choose exactly the right thing for Mimosa's. I decided to get bf's opinion
Unfortunately I’d had an awful day (really tough conversation with a staff person right at the end of the day) at work and my anxiety was high which I let K know when we walked in. K is really good at not babying anyone but I think she could tell that I was a little shaky and emotional so she let me know that we’d try to keep it pretty easy and just do stuff that I felt like handling. Recently there have been a couple of days where the canter wheels fell off the bus so we decided to work primarily on walk and trot since she knows I can handle the on my own as/if it comes up and it was unlikely we'd make progress with it that night.

To start we worked on getting her really through at the walk and really “oozing” forward on the bit at the walk. I did some leg yield to get her accepting the leg aids without dropping behind the contact and coming up. After a good long walk warm up with lots of lateral work we went to trot and really focused on keeping her down and forward. We worked on me pushing the contact forward like a wheelbarrow and really allowing her to find her balance at that lower place since her default is to come up. We actually got some really good work like that and did a few nice leg yield in either direction. We took a walk break and talked about what we were going to do next and we decided to work on her 2nd level balance.
 
Sneak peek of some of my gifts. These were from K, my new trainer
The exercise was to do a shoulder in and then halt part way down the wall. Trot halts are pretty good but still a slight stretch so that goal wasn’t to get a perfect halt, just to introduce that it’s a thing we do and it’s ok to stop, with her weight balanced back, and then trot forward again still in SI. Once we started working on halt, while in a lateral movement, the wheels fell off a little so we did a lot of work accepting the try and making it into more of a game. By the end she was at least trying to understand the question rather than just getting tight and resisting. I’m really happy with how far we’ve come in such a short period of time with only e/o week lessons.


In addition, K is the first training I’ve worked with in a while who will ride her clients’ horses. Because of that and because of my goals for moving up to 2nd level for at least one show at the end of the year this year I’ve asked if she could start putting a couple of rides on Katai. She’s going to ride for part of my next lesson and then we’ll talk about how many rides and when. I’m not going to be able to afford to do it on a really regular basis at this point but I do think it would help us break through this barrier that we’ve been facing and hopefully, at the least, help K know some of Katai’s quirks that much better as she’s teaching us from the ground.

No new Katai pictures, I've seen her a few times this week but didn't have much time for pictures.
I can't wait to work with her tomorrow!!
Because I've been taking e/o Tuesday lessons and Christmas and New Years are on Tuesday this year we haven't figured out when my next lesson will be yet but likely the week after New Years. I can't wait!

There are some other exciting things that are starting to materialize in my life so fingers crossed I'll have more to share soon :) Also, Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Adjusting

Blurry but beastie pony :)

There has been so much to adjust to over this past year and I have to say that for the first time in quite a while I feel like I have a really sustainable routine. The main thing was moving Katai so much closer and changing from going home after work and then going to the barn after dinner to going directly to the barn after work. That’s possible thanks to having a partner able to help with puppy duty

My current routine Sunday-Saturday goes like this.

Sunday: No barn time. We’ve had two different DnD groups that meet on alternate weekends from about 1-7 so that pretty much takes up the majority of the day. We’ve now started leaving the morning open for my bf and I to do things together often involving house work and prepping for playing DnD the rest of the day

Monday: I wear clothes to work that are useable at the barn such as a sports bra and tops that are layered and will be ok to ride in. I bring breeches and socks and have my winter boots in the car. I carry my new grooming kit with me into work (everyone already thinks I’m weird so I’m over it) so that none of my stuff freezes. After work I change into breeches and tall socks in the public work restroom and then when I get to my car I put on my winter boots. I also bring with both lunch and dinner so that I can eat both at work and not starve. Most days I’m leaving work around 4:15-4:30 all ready for the barn. I typically get to the barn between 4:30-5:00 depending on when I left and how bad traffic was. On quiet days it’s less than 20 minutes and on bad traffic days it’s closer to 30 so not bad at all! Normally by then Katai is in her stall eating so I groom and tack up with her loose in her stall so that she can eat some of her dinner before I ride. I spend around 40-50 minutes in the arena between warmup, riding, and cool down, and then put her back in her stall to keep eating while I untack and groom. I typically give her more alfalfa pellets when I get back (since I purchase them for the barn to feed) and I like to help keep her calories up during the winter. I typically leave the barn between 6:00 and 6:30 and am home by 7 but often closer to 6:30-6:45.

Tuesday: Same as Monday only e/o week I have my lesson from 5:00-5:30 so I leave work slightly early and rush to get there and get ready on time to be in the arena just before 5 to warm up.

Wednesday: Typically this is the only week day that I don’t go to the barn. That means that I have an awful, rush hour drive home and spend about 45 minutes in the car in stop and go traffic.

Thursday: Same as Monday

Friday: Same as Monday



Saturday: I typically ride in the morning and head to the barn from home. I was always going to the barn both weekend days but since my drive is actually longer from home than work and it’s now easier to go after work Saturday is typically the only weekend day I go out. My drive is typically about 30 minutes depending on how silly all the weekend drivers are being. This is now pretty much the only day where I’m not tacking Katai up in her stall while she eats. I was a little worried that she’d forget how to come into the barn on her own and stand nicely in the cross ties but, knock on wood, she’s been a really good lady and remember all of her manners. I groom, tack up, and normally ride in the arena by myself which is nice. I typically take a little more time on Saturday unless we have plans so I’m able to do more grooming, trim her mane, work on her feet etc.

The only other thing that varies during the week is that my trainer typically teaches lessons M-W so Mondays and Tuesday (especially when I don’t have a lesson on Tuesday) are typically pretty busy. I’ve started to plan ahead for that and not plan to do anything too intense or that is too disruptive such as ground poles on those days. Thursday- Saturday I typically have the arena to myself so I do those things on one of those days.

Recently the weather has been really nice so that hasn’t altered this at all and I’ve got my fingers crossed that maybe we’ll continue to have the mild winter that we’re supposed to have!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Black Friday Shopping

This Black Friday was pretty boring for me. I got the fantastic grooming bag that I mentioned in my previous post but otherwise I didn't get much that was especially fun.

I did finally get a couple of Eskadron pony polo wraps in black and light pink. I already love the length, softness, width, and velcro set up but I'll do a review after I've used them for a while. I now have polo wraps in all of the colors of saddle pads that I use regularly so I can match #dressagequeen.

I also finally got a couple of sets of LeMieux bandage pads one set of four in black and one in white. Since Katai can't stand boots and polo wraps alone don't offer that much protection I decided that it made sense to upgrade and see what I think of these. I got each set of four for only $24 plus some change when normally on most websites they would have cost me $50. Not bad at all really!

Like these
We'll see what I think once I've had a chance to use these more as well.

I also picked up a set of, what I thought were, winter breeches but turned out to be summer breeches. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one that assumes the word thermal means winter gear. Oh well, I'll just exchange them for the same Horze pair that I have and love.

I also got a planner specifically so that I can plan out my rides better. I feel like at this point in our training it's taking more planning to actually accomplish what I want to between lessons and I'm hoping that having it laid out at least in a framework in a planner will help. It should also help me plan out when I'm going to ride better since I can make sure I don't run into conflicts like I have been a lot this past couple of months.
In pink of course
I also got a package of Lexol tack wipes. They aren't my preference for tack cleaning but for in between wipe downs of my saddle and bridle they'll work great. I've been using a damp cloth but I don't have a good place to put it now with the unheated barn where it won't freeze.

Last but not least I picked up another Asmar long sleeve tee. Awhile ago I snagged a bright orange one while I was checking out tack stores in WA or OR (I can't remember which) that was on clearance. I love it but also wanted one that was, you know, a more normal color. These were on sale at RW so I got the heather grey one and I'm already looking forward to wearing it more. At some point I want the black one and the navy blue one but this is a good start!


Overall I'm really excited about my purchases (other than those darn breeches) and will share more pictures and maybe a review or two soon!

Monday, December 3, 2018

End of an Era

So cute and so stained.
 It was also getting too small for all my stuff
Back when I moved into what I still consider my first "real" boarding situation I had a tack locker that was school sized. I actually sort of liked the set up at that barn with a large room for saddles and personal lockers just for the smaller stuff. Too bad the trainer who owned the place, J, was so awful.


Back when it was much less stained.
Also, I know I've mentioned it before but I still miss that pink lined bridle
At any rate at that point I knew that I needed something to hold my brushes that could fit in that space and when I went to the horse expo they had these containers and were able to personalize them. I've used this one ever since which has been about 4.5 years.

It's worked so well that I've never shopped for new ones but I realized that at my current barn where there is no heat I needed to figure out a different method. The problem is that I can't bring any liquids including first aid supplies since I don't want that stuff to sit in my car and freeze. I was carrying a "barn bag" back and forth with me which was basically a canvas tote bag but it was all just dumped in the bottom and it was tough to find what I wanted.

When the black Friday sales started I casually was looking for totes and organizers and found this!

Puppy for scale (she loves posing for pictures hehe)

See I hate the ones with the draw string bag type top. It's clumsy in my opinion and makes it really tough to find what you need. This one unzips at the top and has lots of separate compartments which makes it awesome. I have a tone of stuff in it including all of the first aid stuff I'm likely to need, polo wraps and bandages, brushes, and tack cleaning wipes. Along the outside I have all of my grooming spray and detangled as well as scissors and a few other odds and ends.

Because it has the handy shoulder strap it's easy to carry to work and then the barn each day that I plan to ride and that way I don't have to worry about any of it freezing. Since it zips closed it also keeps the majority of hair and barn smell contained. So far I really like this grooming bag and its working really well for me.



Thank You!

Thank you all so much for your messages and positive thoughts. I'm really really really really really really really really really really...