December 31, 2016

Happy New Years Eve!

We are getting slightly better at this selfy thing. Someday, when I look like Heidi Klum, I will know that I've mastered the selfy thing. That will happen, right?
Happy New Years Eve! It seems like most people want to put 2016 behind them, but around these parts we had a pretty good year. That's one of the reasons I haven't blogged much this year. I've been really busy, really happy, and just living life. I am looking forward to 2017, in hopes that it continues on the trend 2016 started. Fingers crossed.

The boys enjoying the "grazing" track in the snow.
Now that we've lived on our little hobby farm for a few winters, we are finally getting smart about things. One thing we've learned is that when we get a heavy snowfall, we must plow a track in the pasture. Otherwise the horses just stand around the barn for the rest of the winter. In addition I spread the hay, half a flake at a time, around the track. This keeps them moving around, and presumably prevents them turning into giant marshmallows.

Have a great NYE everyone! I hope if 2016 sucked for you, that 2017 treats you much better.

August 19, 2016


As the David Bowie song goes "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, Turn and face the strange".

That kinda sums up my flying change training technique. Granted I can't take credit for it. I was inspired to try this method when I was watching a Buck Brannaman clinic in Bozeman a year and a half ago. He randomly talked to the crowd about teaching western horses their flying changes. I liked his method more than what I'd been taught to do in the past. That being ride straight toward a wall and make the horse swap...or ride into a wall. Really, I've never been a big fan. Buck's method used small baby steps that slowly and successfully get built on until the horse naturally does the change. I absorbed everything he said and filed it away, knowing that I would be putting it to use one day.

That day was yesterday.

I have been working up to asking Gentry for a flying change over the past couple of weeks. I knew he was capable, as he does them in the pasture all the time and on occasion would do one voluntarily after picking up the wrong lead. Given that caveat, by dressage trainer suggested that we train him to do flying changes now, and capitalize on his malleability.

So I did. I can't wait until she gets back from Germany so I can show her!

What I've been doing to work up to the flying change:

Ride down the long side at the canter. Do a 10m half circle and canter back to the long-side on the diagonal. At the rail break into trot and do a simple change picking up the canter again in the other direction. Repeat in each direction a few times.

I did this a for a few different sessions until it was clear that Gentry had memorized the pattern and knew what to expect.

Then I went for it. After changing direction by cantering down the diagonal, just before the rail, instead of a simple change I and asked for the flying change. KABOOM! He picked it up perfectly. I was so proud of him we quit on that good note. I can't wait to try it out again.

Hooray for changes.

July 17, 2016

A new first!

After two months solid of rather intense dressage training, I felt we both needed a break from the routine. Today I dusted off my jump tack and set up some jumps.

Gentry has some limited jumping experience from his 30 day start three years ago, but I haven't jumped him over anything but the occasional log while in my dressage saddle.

So I set up an exe and an 18" vertical. We started with that and went over a few times in each direction. He didn't even put out effort to jump the exe; just trotted over it. We moved on to the little vertical. He nicely trotted in, jumped and cantered out on the correct lead!

I was so pleased with him that we ended on that good note. I think I will try and have a jump day once a week to mix it up. It was a nice break for both of us. And hey; I had fun jumping my pony!

July 15, 2016

The Results

It has taken me all week to catch up on sleep, work, and life. Actually, I still have some catch-up to do on the life end, but I'm getting there. The important stuff is all sorted out at least.

The dressage show this weekend was a big success. Not only was I competing both days, but I am one of the organizers of the show, so I've been extreamly busy with all things show related for the last month. It went well though, and we are planning to hold the show again next year.

While I didn't feel that we were fully prepared for the show, I couldn't have been happier with how Gentry performed. We could have used another month in training prior to the show, but those were the cards that were dealt us. Thank goodness we busted our bums the past two months getting regular lessons though. We had a respectable performance and it was a great learning experience for us both. 

TLDR: At training level we brought home two seconds and one fourth, with decent scores. 

This was Gentry's first recognized dressage show, and my first one since 2011. Even at that I've never shown training level at a recognized show, just the material classes. A material class is basically a group rail class in dressage tack, not so different from ye old hunter flat classes. 

The whole new and different thing was no big deal to me getting ready for the show, because I'm good at talking the talk to myself. Plus I've ridden training level in schooling shows, just not on Gentry. So I was cool as a cucumber going leading up to the show. However, on the morning of the show I woke up (not that I actually slept a wink) with a pit in my stomach and proceeded to act like a brainless idiot during our first test which was at 9:21am. 

Shockingly we got away with a 58% on Training 1. Honestly, it could have been worse, and thank goodness it wasn't. While there was room for improvement across the board, the big mistake I made was that I rode a long diagonal instead of the short. I even had a reader. Who was my trainer. Boy was she annoyed with me. The problem is that I have been practicing the darn test with a long diagonal, so I did what I had practiced, not what was read. I seriously had no clue that it was supposed to be the short diagonal. Like I said, brainless idiot. Gentry was a little lookey and tense in the indoor, but he was a good boy. I think he was probably only tense because I was. I schooled him in there the night before and he was perfect. Our sucky score was all 100% on me. Not so shockingly at 58% and 9 riders, no ribbon.  

Because I am a competitive person and I hate when I mess something up, and hell I am good at showing and I don't have stage fright (WTF?), I proceeded to spend the next four hours until my next test neurotically practicing the test in the showbarn isle dirt. Practicing with my reader, practicing it alone, and practicing it some more. You get the idea. Let me tell you, I rode the heck out of that test and listened to my reader. It was the Training Level Rider test and we got a 68%, and a second place. Much better!

Day two was much improved. After our second test the first day I felt like I got my show groove back. The nerves were gone. We rode Training 1 much better. Unfortunately Gentry picked up the wrong lead in our first canter circle, but otherwise I couldn't have been happier with how he went. We ended up with a 61% and fourth place. After the first day's performance, I was very happy with that. Later that afternoon we rode our Training Level Rider test again and spanked it with a 71%, and again second place. 

So, all in all it was a successful venture and I am very proud of Gentry. I wish that we could do more recognized shows this summer, but it just isn't in the cards for me in terms of free time or cash flow. Our club is putting on another schooling show in October, so I think I will take Gentry to that before we turn into marshmallows again for the winter. Next year though, we are going to rock Training Level..maybe even try to qualify for Regionals, and start schooling first level. I can't wait!

July 8, 2016

All tucked in

We are officially ready for our first recognized show. Gentry is tucked and ready for bed; now I just need to manage to sleep!

May 30, 2016

Introducing Side-reins on the Longe Line

Yesterday Gentry had a new first. I longed him in side-reins! I don't know why I haven't done it sooner, I should have. However, as I have been working with him on contact lately, I suddenly remembered my side-reins, and thought it would be helpful for him to sort out contact without human error involved.
Longeing in side-reins, at the walk

As this was Gentry's first time in side-reins, I took it slow and properly introduced them to him. Here is what I did.

Introducing Side-reins to Gentry:

  1. Gather the proper equipment: Bridle, longeing caveson, rubber donut side-reins, training surcingle, German style swivel longe line, and longe whip.
  2. Put the longeing caveson on over the top of the bridle with reins twisted and secured with the throat-latch, or removed.
  3. Attach longe line to the top ring on the longeing caveson. I like the swivel end snap kind because the line does not get twisted up.
  4. Attach side-reins to the bit and to the low ring on the surcingle. Initially set them to the longest setting available. Always have the side-reins the same length on each side. I like the rubber donut side-reins because they provide give.
  5. Ask the horse to walk, and let them get familiar with the side-reins. Let the horse take their time and work through it. The horse may initially halt when they feel the pressure from the rein, until they learn to stretch down onto the bit. Gentrly ask them to walk-on, don't allow them to halt, but don't make them over react either. It is important to take this step slow so that they do not get overwhelmed with the pressure and rear up.
  6. Once the horse is comfortable with the reins, ask for the trot.
  7. Once the horse is comfortable at the walk and trot, shorten the side-reins a bit. Not as short as you will eventually use them in training, but just a bit more for them to get the feel of them.
  8. Do this in both directions.
  9. Keep the first session short and easy. Give lots of pets and cookies!
That's really all there is to it. I've never had a bad experience using this method. However, I have heard horror stories of horses being longed in side-reins, which is why I take it really slow at first and only ever use this method. Using the longeing caveson to introduce side-reins is key, because it keeps the pressure of the longeline off the bit. You don't want he longeline to interfere with the pressure that is coming from the side-reins to the bit. That will confuse the horse. Eventually, once my horse is well trained and used to side-reins, I will longe them in full tack and off the bit, if I am longeing before I ride. Generally, if I am just longing and not riding I always longe with the caveson and surcingle. 
Longeing in side-reins, at the trot

The Results:

After our 20-minute longe line session, I hopped on Gentry for a ride. It was like magic. Even with the side-reins longer than they "should" or eventually will be for proper training, he got something out of his little longe lesson. I was really impressed with how much he sought out contact compared to our previous rides. There was basically no fight about putting his head down, and he seemed to understand more clearly what I was asking him to do. He even had a little bit of foam on his mouth during the ride! That was a first. I am encouraged and definitely plan on longeing in the side-reins more often.

May 28, 2016

Baby Got Back

The main problem with having horses at home, is the problem of riding frequency. Granted, if I had an indoor, or even a sand arena as opposed to grass, this would not be an issue at all. However, if you are a humble horse owner like myself and don't have all the bells and whistles at home, the weather can severely crimp your ability to ride regularly. That doesn't mean I don't ride in questionable weather, I have to, but this spring has been really bizarre. While I will ride in slight wind or a drizzle, I will not ride in a hail storm, 35mph winds, or a downpour. That means our training progresses in spurts. It also means I day dream of boarding frequently.

Ready to Ride

Last week I rode Gentry once. Once! He was good, albeit full of energy, but a saint all the same. He even remembered what we have been working on and gave me a really good effort. I thought afterward I would turn him out for a nice relaxing grazing session on our vibrant green pasture.

Gallop Much?
So much for relaxing. Gentry definitely had a lot more energy to burn off, and galloped around like an insane man for a while! Usually I ride in the evenings, after he's had a few hours of turnout, so it was interesting to see just how much get up and go he still had after a fairly strenuous ride. The thing I notice in this photo is how much his balance at the canter has improved. Under saddle his canter has always been comfortable, but I think it looks like he is using his hind end better than he did in the past. Given that we have been mostly focusing on walk and trot work, I am assuming that the trot work has improved his hind end engagement and that has happily overflowed to his canter as well. I am encouraged! We still have a ways to go before I'll feel confident showing him Training Level in July, but at least I know he'll give me his best, even if his best at that time isn't the best it might be one day. Now if this spring weather could sort itself out, that would be great!

May 17, 2016

Outside Rein

It's always the outside rein, is it not? Oddly it's just my left outside rein. The right outside rein is just peachy. For some reason I have a death grip on the left outside rein which is in-turn causing me to have an even bigger death grip on the inside rein. So, that is one of the big a-ha moments of my lesson yesterday. The other aspect of life that Gentry is having to learn/accept is contact. He's making progress, but trying the typical baby tricks of blocking (probably my fault because...outside rein), then trying to duck behind the bit since he's not allowed to go up, then we inch our way forward and he finds the sweet spot, only to loose it an instant later. Rinse and repeat. Lastly, he also has to trot like a normal friggin' horse whistle attempting to seek contact. Though he may never make it to 3rd level, he could definitely rock the piaffe. He thinks that's easier than trotting while on the bit! 'Tis a sight to behold.

The list above may not seem that big, but it is actually a lot to complete in the next 2 months. We need to be ready for training level come July, as I sent my show entry and 'UGE check off in the mail this morning. Dressage under the Big Sky I & II here we come. May we stay sound and not make complete fools of ourselves! That's all I am asking for.

May 4, 2016

The World of Leadline

JR rode Gentry solo!

Previously, JR has only ever ridden with me on the random occasion when I'd be riding and he'd ask to hop up. I have never forced or encourage an interest in horses with him. Despite the fact that the first thought I had once I got pregnant was to buy a pony, I have never wanted to push horses on him. I figured that was just a sure fire way to grantee he'd have no interest in horses at all. Also, I figured it would be just fine if he never developed an interest in horses, both from a financial and safety standpoint. However, he does seem to be genuinely interested, at least a little bit. So yay, maybe a pony in the somewhat near future?
JR's first time "riding", on Rose, right before I sold her.

First things first though. JR hopped up in the saddle with me a few months ago and shrieked about the pommel hurting him (ya know, boy stuff). I decided it was finally time to invest in a leadline saddle, since he wasn't comfortable alone in my saddle or bareback. His birthday was coming up, so I used that as my justification and got him his own saddle for his 4th birthday.

If you have never looked into it before, there are a wide variety of leadline saddles out there. I have also spent nearly five years researching the options. There are some western ones, some all purpose ones, and some rather fancy huntery leather ones that would be nice if your kid showed leadline on the circuit. While JR might do a leadline class at some point at a show I'm riding in, it is doubtful, and in addition there really isn't the leadline pomp and circumstance in this area that you see on the East coast. So, I resisted the urge to buy the fanciest leather leadline saddle I could find. This was actually really hard for me to do, but I did it. Gold star for me for adulting.

image credit:

What I Got

I went with the Shires Bambino First Leadline Saddle, which I got for a screaming deal on Chick's discount saddlery here: If you have a little one that you are thinking about getting a leadline saddle for, I recommend it at the sales price. I don't think I'd pay the full price for it though. One thing I like is that the "gullet" is velcro so you can take it off and adjust it to fit your horse's spine however you like. Granted I doubt that a 35lb kid really makes a difference in terms of saddle fit, but it is still nice. Otherwise, it's basically a treeless saddle with a super deep seat and awesome handle on the pommel. I also like that it sort of looks like a dressage saddle. Especially given that I only show dressage these days, if JR did do a leadline class it would be at a dressage show anyway.

Putting it All Together

To finish off the leadline saddle birthday present, I bought a couple of children's size black stirrup leathers (they were still too long and needed more holes punched), found some peacock stirrups and a random brown (cringe) fuzzy girth that I've been hoarding in my tack room for years. I also manage to find a tiny sized C4 saddle pad laying around that is too small for my dressage saddle, but plenty big for the leadline saddle.

JR's first solo ride on Gentry

JR was very enthusiastic about riding all alone, and refused to let us hold onto him. Gasp! Mommy anxiety went through the roof. However, he obviously was nice and secure in the saddle and with the stirrups. He rode all the way down the driveway and back with me leading. Gentry was a bit confused by his lightweight passenger, but was a saint about it. JR now knows how to ask the horse to walk and stop. He definitely got a kick out of being able to "control" the horse. Nothing like a pre-schooler on a power trip! I'm looking forward to more leadline rides with my kiddo. It's exciting to think where it might lead.

May 2, 2016

Lessons & Showing

This past Friday I had my first lesson with my trainer in almost three years! That is hard for my brain to process/accept. Yes my friends, having a kid changes everything, at least for the first few years. JR also turned four on Friday. It seems like just yesterday I was planning to make some saddle pads, but made a baby instead. Remember that post?

The lesson was terrific. G-Love was calm and had no anxiety about being in a new place. He settled in quickly and got straight to work. He and I have so much to work on, which I knew hence the lesson, but now we finally have the direction I was seeking. I am hoping to start regular weekly lessons at the end of May, once JR is out of pre-school for the summer and I have better access to my babysitter. For now lessons will unfortunately be spread out because of schedule conflicts.

Mostly our lesson revolved around Gentry learning to be a big boy, and accept/seek out contact and bend his body on a circle. Lots of balancing inside and outside rein stuff. I'd explain it in greater detail, but you know, outside rein. Great things to work on, and he did well, retaining what he learned and building on it the next time I rode him. I've also got a ton of work to do on my position. My old hunter habits just creep up anytime I loose concentration. Lots to work on.

So, why the focus on all this all of a sudden? Aside from the typical personal advancement/achievement aspect of everything, I am taking Gentry to two registered shows in July, and doing training level. If anyone is interested, and possibly also attending, the show is in Bozeman, MT and is called Dressage under the Big Sky I & II. You can find info on it here: or on Facebook.

As much as I would like to show him more than that this summer, I don't think I can swing it. Next year is another story though. I'd like to show him 1st level and start earning points toward my Bronze medal. That means I'll probably have to do more than two shows next year, unless we just magically rock 1st level. I have to give credit to Sprinkler Bandits for inspiring me to think big once again with my riding and deciding to go for my Bronze. I don't know that Gentry can make it to 3rd level given his conformation, but I am certainly willing to try. I can alway finish it up on another horse if I need to. So that is my vague plan in terms of our training and showing.

April 20, 2016

Slow Feeder Update

Last fall, in an effort to make our lives easier, we purchased plans to build some wood box slow feeders. They were pretty easy to build, but then again Hubs has mad carpentry skills. We put these puppies under the run-in shed to stay dry. It’s not like the horses ever used the run-in for anything anyway. Now they do, at least while they are eating. My hope was that Hugo would get as much hay as he needed, without the other two "fatties" turning into massive free feed hay bellied whales over the winter.
6 months in use and holding up great

The Expected:

It worked! The horses were all a little annoyed at first that it was harder to get their food. After much attempted destruction of the boxes, they accepted their new dining apparatus and learned to live with it. As a result my main goal was achieved. No matter how much hay I put in the boxes, they don't eat any more than if I fed them two meals a day. Somehow, despite this, the fatties got thinner (they almost look like normal horses now) and the giant thoroughbred held his weight beautifully through the winter with no blanketing. I am a fan for life...and no, I didn't get paid for this review. I don't get paid for anything that I blog about.
G-Love....eating SLOWLY!

The Unexpected:

The horses are all more relaxed. Because they have food all day long if they want it, they don't get aggressive toward each other fighting over the five million hay piles I used to throw. They also all just seem to be better friends now. Also, there is no longer the panic frenzy that used to happen whenever the "food lady" shows up. Given that I have a four-year old human running around helping with chores, this is a very good thing for keeping my mommy anxiety levels low.

We can go away for the weekend! What? This is probably the absolutely best aspect of the whole slow feeder thing. I just put a full bale of hay in each box and it is enough to feed three horses for 48-hours. In the summer it lasts even longer because they don't seem to need as much hay to keep warm. I am paranoid though, so I still have someone check on them once a day when we are gone. But now, if I can't manage to get someone to stop by, it's not the end of the world, and no one needs to be there twice a day.

No more hay blowing away in the wind or getting ground into the mud un-eaten! I put the ugly tire feeders on Craigslist, and am no longer wasting any more hay. Hooray.

The Bad:

On the rare occasion, the metal grate gets stuck at an angle against the wood lid, preventing the horses from being able to eat the hay. With two boxes always full, this isn't a big deal, as I check the horses at least twice a day. However, if we were out of town this could be bad news...which is why I still have someone come check on them once a day when we are gone.

Once in a while the horses scrape their foreheads on the inside corner of the lids. They are just superficial wounds where the hair gets scraped off. I think this can be fixed by routering the inside edge of the lids. I plan to do this next time someone I know that owns a router comes to visit us.

The latches suggested in the plans seemed a bit too small to work, and the inside location seemed a bit awkward for easy use. I put regular heavy duty hasp latches with carabineer on the outside of the lids instead. Works great.

The metal grates and the wood lids make a banging sound when the horses pull the hay through. It can be a bit noisy when the hay levels get low.


The pros massively outweigh the cons. I love these slow feeder boxes because they make my life easier and the horses happier. I definitely plan to have them in use for a long time! If you are interested in building some for yourself, the plans we purchased were from Slow Grazer and can be purchased here:

April 12, 2016

Feeling Like My Old Self

It's been four (nearly five) years since the last time I did it, but this week I rode my horse five days in a row. The last time I did that was in 2011, during my first trimester. It's funny how a little thing like that seems like a big deal to me now. Having a kid really does change everything. JR is finally at the age that things are really getting easier and we are starting to be able to do the things we used to do again, and in somewhat the same way we used to do them. Hooray!

Back to the riding. Last Thursday was day 1. EB rode with us. The ride was okay, nothing great. Both Gentry and I are out of shape and he generally has a case of the Mondays on day 1.

Day 2 was a great ride. Solo Ride. Gentry got his front shoes put on that morning. Hugo for some reason didn't call at all when we rode out. Gentry was rusty on all things bending, suppeling, and stretching, but he was willing, and we made a lot of progress. By the end of our ride he was completely covered in sweat, so I pulled his tack and let him graze in the arena for a while. Then Hugo called. Gentry called back, jumped straight up in the air, bucked, farted, and proceeded to gallop around the arena five or six times. Apparently, regardless of the frothy sweat, he was not all that tired.

Galloping Fool

Day 3 was terrible. Solo ride. I shouldn't have even ridden, as we hauled and put up four-tons of hay in our barn that morning through mid-day. However, the weather was once again amazing, so I couldn't resist. Seriously, it's been in the 70's and sunny all week. In Montana. You know with weather like that I am going to ride my horse, no matter how tired I am. Well, Hugo called the entire time, so our ride was more or less pointless. I just dealt with trying to calm down Gentry's anxiety issues for an hour and fifteen minutes. The ride would have been much shorter, but darn it, I was ending on a good note and on my terms. We got there eventually.

Day 4 was awesome. EB rode with us and Gentry appeared to have actually learned something from our previous rides. We had the best shoulder in, haunches in, free walk, and canter transitions to date. I also ran him through Training Level Test 1 for the first time. It was pretty good for a first attempt. I feel confident that we will be ready to show training level this summer.

Day 5, yesterday, was equally great. AJ rode with us, and despite Hugo losing his mind being left at home alone and calling non-stop, Gentry didn't care. He may have also been very tired and/or sore. When he saw me walk to the paddock with his halter he turned around and walked away from me. That was a first. I gather it was his attempt at communicating that he did not want to work five days in a row. Regardless, I caught him easy enough and we had a great ride. We ran through Training 1 again, and although not much improved, I am feeling even more confident about it.

Selfie attempt. I have no idea how you gals make these look so good. I am at a loss.
The sun flair greatly helped us out I think.

Today I tortured Gentry with grooming, treats, and half a pulled mane. No riding though, he gets a day off because tonight is date night (speaking of things we used to do). Regardless, G-Love definitely deserves some down time for the next couple of days, then we are back to it on Friday. I put a call in to my trainer today to start up lessons again. I am very excited about that. I haven't had a lesson since I sold Rose, which was just about 3 years ago. The first schooling show is in May and darn it we will be ready for Training Level!

April 6, 2016

Spontaneous Saturday

The horses are currently locked in the, rather spacious, dry-lot. Unfortunately, because we are farming newbies didn't know better, last summer we left them on the pasture 24/7 resulting in them over-grazing it. Lesson learned. Now that the ground has thawed, they are off of it until the grass is 6" tall. Then they will be given limited grazing; only munching it down to 3".

I am not exactly cool with the no turnout situation. As such, our current farm project is the building of a new paddock. There is a large area of our property along the road that we don't use for anything and has never been fenced. Given the location it is pointless to mow it, so we decided to fence it off. This paddock will be handy for so many reasons. Turnout when the pasture is off limits, longing, ground work, and new horse quarantine, etc.

New Paddock Location

In the last year and a half, I have learned that farm projects happen according to the weather, not my schedule. This does not exactly work well for my overly organized self, but I am learning to adapt. Last Saturday we were outside enjoying the delicious sunny 60 degree weather, while I loaded the horses to haul to the vet for spring shots and coggins. I randomly ask Hubs when he thinks the timing would be good to dig post holes for the paddock. Things were moist but not muddy, and the permafrost finally melted. He looked at the ground and said "now".

By the time the horses and I got home from the vet, there was a bright yellow one-man auger sitting in the driveway, and an ecstatic JR begging to run the thing. However, we had friends arriving for a barbecue that afternoon and couldn't start the project until Sunday.

The one man auger. It worked better with two people though.

JR insisting on standing in the hole

Sunday morning came bright and early, and we spent the whole day measuring and digging post holes. Thankfully EB came out to ride that afternoon and then generously offered to play with JR until dinner time, allowing us to finish all the holes before having to return the auger. We were however 20 posts short, so the project is ongoing. Hubs is picking up the rest of the posts on Thursday, and then we will get back to work on setting the posts in their holes and installing the equifence wire. I cannot wait to get it done and let the horses have some turnout again!

Post holes all dug, some posts set, some needing to be set, and more needing to be purchased.

January 26, 2016

Cannon Bone Wound: One Year Update

Can you believe that it has been an entire year (and a couple weeks) since Gentry sliced open his hind canon bone? I can't actually. That icy January day will probably be etched in my memory for all time. I can't help but think about it every-time I ice skate to the barn on my crampon laden muck boots. In good blog land form, I present you the one year update, before, stitched up, and one year later.

January 8, 2015: Stitched up.
January 17, 2016: All healed, one year later!
Interestingly, he has less winter white hair on the scar than he did this summer. I am hoping this will equate to less white hair this summer as well. Fingers crossed!

Now that it has been a year, that ligament should be fully healed up and I am in the all clear to start jumping again. You may notice the snow in the current photo however. so there won't be any jumping for a while yet. However, it will be a fun thing to tackle together this year, and I am excited about the prospect! It will just be fun casual jumping though, no showing over fences. We are focusing on Training Level dressage, in terms of showing this year.

January 13, 2016

Tack Minimalist?

There always seems to be a lot of discussion about Tack-Ho addictions in the blogosphere. This is not one of those posts.

I have been getting rid of horse/barn related things, including tack! Now calm yourself down. I know this is a strange new concept to anyone who owns a horse. No, I am not sick. I'm not depressed. In fact, I think for the first time in years I am starting to feel like I am myself again.

As an adult, I have always been more of a minimalist by nature, than a collector. It always perplexed me why people complained so much about moving. I could quite literally put everything I own in my car and move house in a matter of hours. I never thought about this before. It is just how I was, and since it caused me absolutely no issues I had no reason to ever think about it. I just continued to happily move whenever roommates got annoying or I decided to up and move across the country or overseas.

Then, ten years ago I met Hubs. Then I bought a condo. When I moved into my place, I realized I owned nothing but clothes and a few things in storage tubs. I furnished the condo. I became tied down by a mortgage. I obtained stuff. I bought Rose and obtained a lot of horse stuff. She was always growing, so I collected horse stuff in all sizes. Then I got married to Hubs and moved in to his house. Hubs has never been a minimalist. Now there was a lot of stuff, but I still didn't think much of it. Then we had JR, and good lord the amount of baby stuff that abruptly exploded into our lives was insane. Then we sold Hub's house and moved to our current house in the country.


There was so much stuff to move! Now I understood why people complained about it. I immediately started getting rid of things while packing. Getting rid of my stuff was easy. Hubs? Not so much. He was definitely more attached to random things than I have ever been. Fair enough. I'm not out to force anyone to live with just a pair of undies and a toothbrush. I packed all the stuff he thought we needed into boxes, and after the move, I never unpacked them.

A year later all that stuff was still sitting in boxes. Unused. Unnecessary. Unneeded in our lives. I started with the baby stuff, and my own stuff. Weekly, items were sold on Craigslist, baby hand me downs went off to friends, loads of donations were dropped off at Goodwill, and then of course some stuff went to the dump. It has been liberating. Surprisingly, Hubs suddenly got on board with the notion too. After realizing he lived a year without all the stuff in the boxes that I never unpacked, he was willing to let most of it go. It was a cathartic moment!

Then I turned my attention to the barn. I had about five different high quality dressage girths that don't fit Gentry sitting in tubs, some random bits, and a lot of other random things I never use and likely won't for a long time. I had nice breeches (immediate post-pregnant sized) that no longer fit, some old show clothes, etc. There was no reason to keep these things around. I never use them and it is highly unlikely that I will need any of these items within the next year. That being my requirement to keep anything, I took the horse stuff to our local tack store, Four Corner's Saddlery, and listed them on consignment. Quick as a whistle they sold and I had a lovely amount of store credit that I could spend on a new Show Coat, or whatever else I actually need in Gentry size.

It is so liberating to only have to see, clean, store and enjoy the tack that I actually use. So I may be a freak of nature in the horse world, but if you ever feel overwhelmed looking at your vast quantity of unused horse stuff, I welcome you to join me as a Tack Minimalist!

January 2, 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

I hope your year is off to a good start. The weather was perfect for it, so we celebrated New Years day with a bit of skijoring fun. EB and fiance come out, skis in hand, to join us for a little tow. This was their first time ever trying it and they had a blast. Then EB and I switched places and she pulled me. You guys, I thought riding the horse was fun, but I was wrong. Being towed is extremely fun! Gentry had a good time again and as did our dog Burke. 

My first time skijoring

Best of wishes in 2016 everyone!


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