Saturday, May 25, 2019

New Toys

I really do want to be blogging more but this whole having a life outside of horses and work thing is still taking some getting used to :) My goal is to increase back to my previous blogging rate by the end of the year! I’ll have some more updates on Katai and the adventures we’ve been having soon but wanted to get this posted now since I’ve had this sort of drafted for a bit and have a new exciting item to add!

Electronics:



Equilab

I’ve had this app awhile but as I mentioned I wasn’t using it. I’ve now been able to build it into my routine so I’ve been bringing it with us regularly on rides! Unfortunately since I haven’t been riding very regularly there still isn’t much data but at least I’m remembering to use it every ride.

I’m especially using it to keep myself honest with how long I’m riding and how evenly I’m working on each side. I also like being able to identify trends in comparison with other users. It clearly doesn’t have nearly the sophistication of something like the Equifit but it’s also much cheaper!

To use this I’ve been tucking my phone into my left bra strap now that I’m not wearing jackets with helpful pockets anymore. So far it’s working but at some point I may need to invest in some other way of carrying my, rather large, iphone safely.


Airpods

I’ve had these for a while now and ADORE them and I can’t imagine going without them. I bring this up because I've recently transitioned from listening to my playlists over the speakers in the arena to listening with these while I ride since I'm using the Equilab app on my phone.

Because they aren’t really sound canceling I just have my music turned down pretty low and can still hear all the ambient noises I need to be safe but can listen to music while I ride which is really important to me.

Bonus for the fact that I can listen to Kanye without bothering anyone!



Pivo!

This is the newest of my new toys and I’m pretty pumped about it! This is basically a very cheap Pixio (by the same company) that utilizes the camera on your phone through an app that controls the mount via Bluetooth.

I bought it for the object tracking piece of the app which, theoretically, should allow me to use this for the same purpose as a Pixio but for about a 10th of the price (at least for me since I funded it for $75 through Kickstarter as an early backer). It’s looking like it will be somewhere between $100-$200 though in the future which is still way cheaper.

It took a while to arrive but I just got mine earlier this week. I haven’t been able to test it at the barn yet but in testing it with Moshy it seems like it will probably work. Honestly, even if it loses me occasionally for that price as long as it can find us again at some point it will be AWESOME!

I’ll be testing soon and will do a review once I’ve given it a chance to succeed or fail.

Tack:



Thinline bitless bridle attachment

One of the things that I really liked about K (my trainer) when I found her profile on Instagram was that despite having a large moving young mare and riding upper level dressage she still regularly rides all of her horses in a plain sidepull.

When I was working with K’s trainer and she mentioned that Katai was tense about the bit at times I thought it might be interesting to just switch things up for her a bit. I think it’s always good to have various ways to communicate and would love to be able to use a side pull as a tool. I was looking at the Black Jak bitless attachment and was curious if I could finagle it onto my PS of Sweden bridle (which I do think would work) but then she was unavailable for so long that I gave up. Then I needed to order dewormer through Riding Warehouse and stumbled over this sidepull attachment.

I’m going to be using it with my PS of Sweden bridle since it’s the only thing I have but at some point I may purchase a cheap bridle or headstall to attach this to. I actually haven't used it since springtime mare hormones are no joke but I'll post more of a review once I have!

Other:


Shinto Rasp

I think I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve been doing Katai’s feet now for just over a year. As a way to continue learning and to be able to ask questions I’m part of a few barefoot groups on Facebook. I started seeing them talk about this rasp and thought it looked awesome for my purpose but guessed it was very pricy.

Since I don’t use nippers and just rasp if I go more than a week or two without doing any work with Katai’s feet it takes a lot of effort to get the excess foot off especially in the summer when her feet are rock hard. Apparently this rasp can take off a lot of foot so I’m planning to use it primarily for that purpose and then my normal rasp for finishing things off and for when I am doing weekly work. At any rate I eventually searched for them on Amazon and found this 9” one for just over $15! My other rasp cost way more and is going to need to be replaced soon so I was happy to pick up this one to test out. At that price even if I don’t like it I won’t be out much!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Bandage Liners Review

Well this is an old photo, this was the first time I put her dressage boots on
I love doing review posts but haven’t really bought much that’s new and interesting recently since I’m working to stick to my budget. However, I have been using a new set up to protect Katai’s legs for a while now and wanted to share some info and do a review on how it’s working for us. First though, some background.


Still using the boots but Katai wasn’t happy about it

I know that leg protection is a contentious topic and with that being said there are so many variables for each person and each horse that I would never seek to encourage anyone to do something different if they have something that’s working for them. I believe that everyone should seek out information, including the latest research, on the various options and make a decision for each horse about what’s best for them. With that being said, I’ve had multiple friends need to retire their horse or nurse it through a long recovery related to interference injuries so this is something that I may be a bit more picky about than others. I know that most horses shouldn’t NEED protection, however, as we’re building strength, learning the lateral work, figuring out our balance, and occasionally having tantrums I’m way more comfortable knowing that Katai has that extra protection.

Also still wearing the boots.
Side note: I can't believe how far we've come from this!
She was engaged here but not that up in front and now we're getting that much more.
In my area, Minneapolis, MN, the weather only reaches 90* and above for a month or two each year and even then we have very few days that are actually above the 80s. In addition, I don’t ride for that long, or do extensive conditioning work, especially when it’s that hot out since I do not handle the heat well and typically end up with heat stroke if I do any athletic activity when the temp is above the low 90s. Because of those factors I don’t worry much about heat retention and to reduce the risk further I typically skip the bandages if I do ride on those very hot days.

Here we were finally starting to use polos (without bandage liners) full time
Side note again: I love this picture so much! Now we just need to get back to this level of work :)
 
Finally, I think boots are great. They can be way cooler than wraps, are quicker and easier to put on, can stay cleaner, and limit the risk of wrapping injury for those who don’t have instruction on proper wrapping technique. However, Katai hates them with a passion. She will literally pin her ears and threaten to kick me if I put her gorgeous, fluffy, dressage boots on and I don’t even put them on that tight. I’ve tried various boots and she hates all of them. When I realized that it was the boots and not that she was anticipating work, or ulcery, I switched to using polo wrap but never felt comfortable about the lack of protection they offered. Then it seemed like bandage liners were becoming more popular so I did some research and decided to try them out. Over Black Friday I bought two sets of Lemieux bandage liners and then for Christmas I got a set of Eskadron liners.


See how poofy?

Lemieux Bandage Liners
Size: small

I got one black set and one white set of these from Riding Warehouse. They were way cheaper than the Eskadron’s and got really great reviews. Here’s where having a smallish equine might affect my choice a bit so YMMV. They’re rather thick and made out of memory foam that varies in stiffness. Two of the white liners are very soft and give well, the other two are way stiffer and all of the black set are stiffer, thicker foam. With that, because Katai has small legs, they’re really poofy and even with good wrapping pressure they made her look like she’s wearing casts on her legs or 80s style leg warmers. I’m not a fan of how poofy they are and how thick and the varying thickness of the foam makes me wonder about quality control.

I was also using these during the winter in an unheated barn and in that environment the memory foam was especially stiff. In order to get them snug I needed to pull the wraps pretty tight and then when they warmed up they became more pliable and were looser than would be ideal.

My Opinion?: Overall, I wouldn’t buy again for my purpose. On a larger horse or a warmer environment they would likely work well.

Much better

Eskadron Bandage Liners:
Size: small horse
I got a set of these in white from my mom for Christmas. Unfortunately she got me the small horse size vs. the small pony size but luckily this just makes Katai look very European and adds extra protection so I’m pretty ok with it.

I adore these bandage liners in every way and have been using them for almost every ride since I got them. These are very consistent and much more pliable than the Lemieux liners and seem to be cooler underneath than the Lemieux liners after a ride. They’re easy to wrap over and because they’re evenly pliable I’m confident that I’m able to keep the pressure even.

My Opinion?: I love that Katai has extra protection from interference during rides I will absolutely be buying more of these. I’ve got a black set in small horse size and a white set in small pony size on my list so that I can rotate and wash them more easily and have a smaller pair for when I want to be less obnoxiously DQesque.


And the polo wraps come in cute colors that complement our saddle pads!
Side note again: forgive the slightly messier wrapping job here.
I was still figuring out how to wrap the back ones so they don't go up as far as they should.
Polo Wraps:
With my bandage liners I’ve been using polo wraps rather than exercise bandages because they’re what I’m comfortable wrapping, and are more widely available. I did have to get some new polo wraps though because my very cut down polos that were the right length for a pony without liners were way too short for use with liners. I got two sets of Eskadron pony polos (one of the few brands who actually carries pony polos) and a set of PS of Sweden polos.

The Eskadron pony polos are narrower width rather than shorter length and are AMAZING to wrap. The narrower width means that the coverage when wrapping is easier to get consistent and it’s easier to maneuver them around smaller legs. They’re also nicely stretchy and the Velcro is set up to not have a bunch of extra velcro tab sticking out based on the smaller leg circumference (of course the liners also help with this).

The PS of Sweden polos work well also but are much wider so while I can still wrap them very safely they don’t look as neat and are tougher to get a good wrap around the fetlock with small pony legs. I do like the material they’re made out of though and they have an appropriate amount of stretch.

Katai’s Opinion?: I was curious if wrapping with the liners would make Katai mad since the only thing she’s liked so far were plain polos. However, as of today after using these consistently for almost 5 months she still doesn’t seem to care when I’m wrapping her legs. With that I’m giving them the pony mare stamp of approval.

I purchased all of these items with my own money or received them from family members as gifts. I am not being compensated for this review.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Finally!

There are certainly some nice things about MN but the weather is not one of them. It is FINALLY nice here! By nice I mean that I wore a sweater to the barn today and it was only 48 to start but warmed up to the 60s later in the day and it was sunny!

This weekend was lovely but that was after a seriously awful week that is really just fully explained with this very popular cartoon by K.C. Green.


I'm not going to go over it in detail but in summary: Moshy got hurt last weekend which resulted in two vet visits this weekend with no answers. We did get x-rays and the next step may be orthopedic surgery. I was also thinking an opportunity may open up that didn't but I didn't find out until on my way to get x-rays for Moshy on Friday. On top of all of that I had a dentist apt for fillings on Wednesday. One hour turned into two and I got so many injections into my lower jaw that it was incredibly bruised and painful until this weekend. With all of that they still couldn't get my tooth numb enough so I have to go back for another 2 hour apt in just over a week.

This weekend though it started to turn better.

How could it not when I get to spend time with this girl <3

First I got to sleep in on Saturday! Then I did a bunch of cleaning and food prep which was sorely needed. In the afternoon when it was warmer I went to the barn. I thought Katai might be spicy because I, I think understandably, hadn't been able to make it to the barn much this past week. However, she was a sweet, well behaved lady and we actually accomplished something for our ride! We did a bunch of great canter, she listened well, and only had one minor melt down. Then this morning I had a lesson with K who had flown in this weekend to teach lessons.

I've been doing training braids so her mane (at least what wasn't rubbed out) is adorably wavy.
But then there's that bit at the top that's sticking straight up...

She hadn't seen us in a LONG time so there wasn't anything groundbreaking since she was getting to know us again. However, she did have some great advice and exercises for us which was awesome. Primary though I was really proud of Katai who had almost and hour under saddle (albeit with a lot of walk) and just kept trying to do what we were asking the WHOLE time. She had no melt downs, never said no, and never really got frustrated.

My wraps keep getting neater and neater!

This is big primarily because it's spring, I haven't been riding consistently, and we're both weak. When we were both fit we had weekly hour long lessons and I was riding another 3-4 days a week but right now we are so far from that it's not even funny. With that being said, she barely got sweaty and was never breathing hard. However, I'm fairly certain she's going to be muscle sore so I'm going to use that as an experience to do some low pressure, light, fun things this week. On the schedule are  a trail hand walk, a short bareback bitless ride (to try out my new bitless set up!), some grooming, and some work on her feet. With some more slow, consistent fitness work we'll both be back to it soon!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Not Rolex

Like really not Rolex. As usual the MN horse expo fell on Rolex LRK3DE weekend and while it’s nowhere near as fun as LRK3DE would have been it is still a big horse event with lots of good shopping. I didn’t go last year and wasn’t sure this year but I ended up with an appointment in the morning and rather than taking just the first half of a Friday off I took the whole day. With that it would have been silly not to go really.

Moshy has a slightly sore hind leg, probably from getting tired on a walk, so she's taking extra naps.
If it's not better by Monday there will be a vet visit. Despite being able to prance around on it she's being pretty pathetic about it, poor baby :(

I had two goals, talk with the Shadow trailer dealer and do some shopping. Having checked out Jen at CobJockey’s Shadow trailer I’m pretty sure that’s the trailer I want to buy. For the last few years the Shadow dealer has been at the Expo. Not only do they offer deals (not that I’m necessarily in a place to get something but still!) but I also wanted to talk with them about some of the items I’d want installed on my trailer to see what it would take and if they could do it. Unfortunately one of the main buildings that trailer vendors utilize had a roof collapse during one of our recent snow falls. In the end it seemed to mean that many of the normal trailer distributers decided not to go. Oh well, I’ll be in a better place spring of next year to consider buying something and hopefully they’ll be back then!

My other goal was shopping, particularly at the going-out-of-business local tack store's booth. Based on how much they had left to get rid of when I was there a few weekends ago I figured they’d have some really good deals since this was the last weekend they were open. When I finally found their booth I walked around looking at the racks of clothing and strap goods they had and was sort of disappointed. Still great deals but again, 50% off of items that are $100-$400+ is still a lot of money.

Katai got mane training braids :) Her poor, rubbed out mane :(

Then I saw a few bins on the ground and realize they were full of show shirts and there was a sign that said $5 per shirt in those bins. That was more like it! I did some digging and found two Pikeur show shirts and scored the deal of the century. One fits me perfect now which means it will be slightly big when I finish losing this extra weight but the other, which is slightly too small now, will be perfect. Both shirts were over $100 list price so this was a fantastic deal.

$220 worth of Pikeur show shirts for $10 makes my budget very happy

I stopped and picked up a coffee at a food truck, pretty much the only vegan thing I could find :), then I walked back out towards the entrance to leave. On the way out I discovered that there was another vendor building that they typically don’t have open for the expo. It was at the opposite end of the grounds but I decided to go check it out and walked all the way back. I didn’t find anything but I’m pretty sure it was the universe fixing my timing because when I headed back out to leave I ran into someone that I haven’t seen in a while back at the entrance and found out some AMAZING info. I don’t have anything to share now but will as soon as I can!

Options

With my current decision to move I didn't have to think that long to decide which barn I would move to if I could. The barn I'm movi...