Monday, March 30, 2015

The Shame Game

This weekend, I did something I thought I would never do.
I deleted a published post from this blog.
The reason? I was embarrassed.
When I started this blog, I really wanted to not hold back. I wanted to show my journey as a rider, warts and all. I try to be really honest with myself about my shortcomings.
I really wanted to be the voice that other people who struggled, and who were not perfect, could connect with.
But putting it out there on video for the world to see was just too hard.
I chickened out and took it down.
There was some of this:
A little of this:
A sprinkle of this:
And a whole lot of this:
And... I just couldn't do it. It was just too ugly.
I was ashamed, and I took it down.
I wasn't afraid of the comments. There really isn't much anyone could say that could be worse than some of the things I have said to myself. I am my own harshest critic.
But having it up there in real time for the world to see was harder than I could do.
And so, you'll just have to take my word for it. We struggle. And we have improved.
The walk and trot have improved. The canter continues to be an issue.
But one day, I will have something I am comfortable showing to the world.
Just not right now.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Mixed Results

First, I have to appologize that I have no media from last night's cowboy ride.
I have issues with technology, which is one of my struggles with this blog in general.
I tried to video last night's ride, but I found it really distracting and I couldn't focus my attention or see what was going on through the tiny video camera screen, so I gave up pretty quickly.
The good news? Boca went exactly the same under saddle with the cowboy as he does for me. He started off with mini-cow kicks, and rushing off, exactly as he does with my rides. So, it isn't me. I'm not ruining my horse with a crappy ride.
The cowboy noted all the same things I do with him - his lack of balance, his tendency want to go counter-bent left with his ribs shoved in right.
At the canter, he got the same sun-fishing transitions. He got the same bucking after the transition. The difference was that he put a stop to it immediately, by disengaging his hip and making him go forward (whereas I am usually wondering "Is it me? Am I doing something wrong?") He did get one decent 20-meter canter circle in each direction.
We talked about roping horses, and how, often, if they can run in a straight line, track a cow and stop, they're considered broke enough to do the job and that's it.
We talked about Boca being older (he is 10 this year) and how it is harder for your body to learn to do something new when you are older, and don't have the muscle memory of youth to rely on.
The end result was there was no magic answer. He didn't jump on and have a perfect ride. He couldn't even say with certainty that it wasn't pain related. He said that with 3 or 4 rides, he could give me a better idea of what we're working with.
I have a lot of thoughts swirling around my brain. I feel like there are two paths to take - pursue a pain-related root cause, or a training-related root cause.
The issues present as: cow-kicking, ear-pinning and tail swishing when we start out. This is new behavior and he works out of it as the ride goes on. Walk/Trot is usually fine. We've always had issues with canter transitions and holding the canter. The issues present as: Sun-fishing into the gait, bucking and tail-swishing in the gait. He doesn't cross-canter or swap leads.
Here are a list of things it *could* be:
Lyme disease
Back issues
Left Hip
Lack of Training

Boca has never taken a lame step a day in his life. He tracks up evenly behind. The Chiropractor and Saddle Fitter said he is not in pain.

My instructor thinks it is weakness and lack of training. She believes I should work him on the longe 2-3x a week, to build up fitness in the canter without a rider.

The cowboy thinks he should learn to canter under saddle, with a rider, and that longe work will not teach him to canter under saddle with a rider.

The barn owner recommended having a pro ride him 2-3x a week to see if it is in fact a training issue, before going down the rabbit hole of seeking a medical diagnosis.

So I have a lot of thinking to do. I don't have unlimited funds and this all could get very expensive, very quickly.

I was a little discouraged last night. I have owned Boca almost a year now and we can't even w/t/c. But today, I feel better. Boca is a good boy. He tries hard for me. He isn't perfect and neither am I. My budget isn't unlimited, but I will do my best with what I can for my horse.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Don't Call Him A Cowboy Until You've Seen Him Ride

" 'Cause a stetson hat and them fancy boots don't tell you what's inside, no
And if he ain't good in the saddle, Lord, you won't be satisfied
So don't call him a cowboy, until you've seen him ride..."

Sorry, where were we?  I got distracted. Oh, right! Cowboys.
Specifically, I have a cowboy getting on Boca tomorrow night!

Ok, so he is actually a guy from Connecticut. But he rides western and wears jeans, so that kind of qualifies him as a cowboy, right? A New England cowboy?

Say What, Crazy Lady???
How this all came about is that there is an instructor at my barn who has a large young warmblood that she is in the process of starting under saddle. She has a young rider come out and help her work with her young horse. By all accounts, he is a fabulous rider and a tactful horseman.

In our lesson on Sunday, we attempted a canter in Boca's easier direction. We had the same porpoising, flailing, bucking and running that we had last year, where we left off.

The general consensus has always been that Boca just needs to get stronger, fitter and more coordinated, not that it is a pain issue or that he is a problem child.

I am pretty much the only person who has ridden Boca consistently since I owned him.
A different/stronger/more skilled set of feet in the irons is never a bad thing!

I would love to find out how much is me, how much is him, how much is the two of us.
The bonus is I will get to finally get some video & pics for my blog!

And so, tomorrow night, Boca will meet the cowboy.

Aww Hell No!


Sigh. Horses.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Animal Communicator

Years ago, I read a great book by Author Jane Smiley.
Not only is Jane Smiley a Pulitzer Prize winning author, she is also a rider, a breeder and an owner of race horses. Her book "A Year at the Races" documents some of her journeys with her homebreds.
Among one of the experiences in the novel that caught my attention was her use of an animal communicator to talk to her horses.
The idea lodged somewhere at the back of my mind, until I ran across a trainer in the Fall of 2013, that used an animal communicator with her own horses.
At the time, I didn't have a horse, but I did have Jersey, who has issues of his own (to put it mildly). I was really curious about the experience. Part of me thought it was pure hocum, but a small part of me was curious as to what the experience would be like.
At the time, the animal communicator's rates were $30 for 15 minutes. I have certainly found worse ways to spend $30 in my life, so I decided to make an appointment.
When I made the appointment, the communicator asked for the following info:
- Type of Animal (Dog, Cat, Horse, Bird, etc.)
- Breed
- Age
- Color
She did not ask me anything about myself or my household.
We set up an appointment for a call mid-week, around 11:30.
When the animal communicator called, she said she had reached out to Jersey and made contact with him. She said he was very timid and cautious. She explained to him that she was with me and that we wanted to hear what he had to say.
The first thing he said was that I was thinking about getting another dog the same kind as him (!) and that he wasn't excited about the idea. He said that he would be jealous if that dog was to come up to my husband or I and be pet in front of him. He said it would be ok if we got another dog and it lived in someone else's house.
He said that he knew he was loved and that he was happy with us. He asked if he could have rice in his food, as it made his tummy feel better. He said his back did not hurt at all, but that he had to remind himself when he was running not to turn too sharply and hurt himself.He also said that there was something in the grass around the house that made him itchy.
There was a few other things he said, but what really blew my mind was that, that fall, I had been begging my husband for another galgo. Not just any dog. I wanted to adopt another Galgo Espanol. The animal communicator was very specific. She said Jersey said I was thinking of getting another dog the same kind as him. Those were the exact words she used.
I would love to have another pointy-nosed, bat-eared dog.
As it turns out, Jersey.... not so much.
There were a few other weird coincidences that could not really be explained.
- Jersey has colitis and is on prescription dog food to manage his IBS.
How do we treat his occasional flare ups? Rice.
- I spent $200 to have a doggy neurologist to tell me there was absolutely nothing wrong with my dog's back. I should have just listed to the $30 animal communicator.
- 6 months later, Jersey pulled up lame after tweaking his shoulder at a lure coursing trial
- He sits down and itches his neck and back when we walk him in the spring - early fall.
My vet thinks it is a rag weed allergy.
I would love to call the Animal Communicator again, this time for Boca. Unfortunately, her rates have gone up. A 15 minute call is now $45. Coincidentally, that is the same price as one of my lessons. I can't reasonably justify (in my mind) swapping a lesson for a call with an animal communicator. Although I do wonder what Boca would have to say!

Only Child

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sometimes I Just Wish They Could Talk.

So last week, I had 3 phenomenal rides and one bad one.
You will recall, I had the one ride where Boca was half-rearing and kicking out with both hind feet. It resembled something like this:
Then, as mysteriously as it appeared, it went away completely.
I wanted to freak out and treat him for ulcers, but on the advice of my vet, I decided to give it a week and see how it went.
Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday were awesome. Friday night was the return of the angry horse. From the moment I swung my leg over, he was definitely PISSED OFF ROYALLY about something. We had the ear-pinning, kicking out, and trying to run off.
I rode it out, but it was just an ok ride, certainly not a great one.
I was really looking forward to my lesson on Sunday. I was hoping the angry horse would make a re-appearance, as my instructor had not yet seen these episodes, and has only my word to go on.
Now, unfortuantely, after one or two warmish days, winter has decided to make an unwelcome re-appearance to New England:
My Mountain Horse Ice Rider boots gave me some nasty blisters during the week, and it was windy as all hell at the farm, so I decided to ride in my chaps for my lesson, although I don't usually.
Boca was pretty up from a day off plus the cold and the wind. As we walked to the indoor, I told my instructor about Friday night's ride and the angry red horse. I told her I hoped he would make an appearance so she could see what was going on.  I said maybe we could make a video for the vet to see.
Sure enough, I got on, Boca took two steps and was PISSED.
Out came the cow-kicks and the pinned ears.
Only this time, my instructor said "Stop! It's the Chaps!"

You see, my chaps are the western kind. The ones with the fringe. I bought them way back in the day when I used to go team penning, and now only use them when it is really cold and windy. And never in lessons.
Turns out, the fringe was tickling Mr. Boca's sensitive sides. And he hated it.
I removed my chaps, and off we went, problem solved.
Horses. Man, sometimes if only they could talk!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Denny Emerson Tells My Story

Even though I am not an Eventer, per se, I follow Tamarack Hill Farm on Facebook.
I enjoy Denny Emerson's no nonsense posts and his entertaining way of delivering his message.

Imagine my surprise when a recent post basically "told my story" with Boca.
Kinda neat how true to life this post was for me. 
I followed the advice of gold medal winning rider, without even knowing it.

I've re-posted Denny's FB Post below for anyone who might have missed it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I Fail at Technology

Do you want to know the reason why the photos on my blog are so crappy?

Yes, that is my cell phone. And yes, it has been like that for quite some time.

I am like some weird hillbilly when it comes to technology. My behaviors are routed in suspicion and being a cheapskate. Not that I'm saying hillbillies are cheapskates. They probably spend quite a lot of money on tobbacco and firearms.

Don't come near me with them there fancy hand-held voodoo thingy
 The sad thing is, I am actually due for an upgrade. But I am convinced -- CONVINCED I TELL YOU -- that the moment I get a new phone, it will immediately be broken or get lost. I feel like the Gods of the Cell Phone are waiting to smite me the moment I get a new phone, and then they will all laugh.
Also, I have a weird loyalty to my phone. True story -- this cell phone survived flying off the roof of my car, bursting apart, and being found on the side of the road in pieces days later, where it was put back together by a kind stranger, who called to return it. That isn't even when the screen cracked. I feel it has earned its place in my life through its toughness. Yes, I am aware it is an inanimate object and it technically has no feelings. Technically.
So, for your viewing entertainment, let's look at some of the beauties I have snapped in the last week, trying to get some quality pics of the new barn.
Somewhere, down the mud lane, past the white horse that is actually an Appy, is where Boca's new turnout is.  Can you see him? Look closer...
Does anyone spot a white blaze and two pricked ears peeking out at you from behind the white Appy? :)
Here is another beauty shot. I call this one "Too busy with hay to pose for Mom".
You may be asking "Is the new barn weirdly foggy all the time? Or does her camera phone just suck?" I'm going to go with #2.
And lastly, the requisite between the ears shot. This one I took to text to my husband to tell him I was riding, like he didn't already know.
You will note I did go with the Mane-to-the-Right, English style.
I know you were all hanging on the edge of your seats for that cliffhanger!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

True Confessions: Overcorrecting

In the past, I have been guilty of overcorrecting my horse.

Part of the reason it was such a victory for me to detatch from Boca's meltdown on Saturday is that this is not something I would have been capable of in the past.

I have always struggled with being an emotional rider. I envy those who possess other-worldly teutonic cool. That's not me. For a long time, I was not able to NOT respond emotionally to my horse. I took things personally. I couldn't NOT. I just didn't have the skills.

I often would take out my frustrations on my horse. If things weren't going well, it would devolve into a pulling match, yanking on their mouth, pony-club kicking or even in moments of extreme frustration, I would lose it and smack so-and-so on the neck.

I was not proud of these moments, but I just didn't know any other way. I didn't have the tools to fix whatever situation I was in, and my emotions would take over. I would even sometimes get really resentful - I work a 40 hours week and sacrifice so much, and this horse who has stood in a field all day eating and hanging out with his/her buddies cannot even give me their attention/focus/effort for 30 minutes.

The shift in perspective happened for me back in the fall.

Waaaay back in the fall (a whole 6 months ago), Boca did not know how to turn off of the outside aids. In particular, tracking left, he could not / would not turn left off my outside aids, no matter how hard I applied them. I would always have to give up at the last minute and pull on the inside rein, which I KNEW WAS WRONG BUT GODDAMMIT WE ARE GOING TO CRASH INTO THE FENCE. I would end up losing his outside shoulder, and another ugly wonky circle was complete.

Combine that with the horses being led in for dinner, to Boca's complete and utter distraction, and we were in full meltdown mode. I ended up jerking him to a stop in frustration, hating myself and knowing something was missing, but having no idea what that might be. I was doing everything I knew, everything I had ever been taught or told or read, and it wasn't working.

In complete despair, I got off and went looking for my instructor, who miraculously had some time free before her next lesson. She came and got on Boca and had the magic answer. To help him understand that he was to turn off the outside aids, she shortened and raised her outside rein, all the way up to the top of his neck, way up by his 3rd vertebrae, and used it against his neck to help guide him around the turn.

Not only did it help Boca understand what we wanted, but a lightbulb went off in my head. I wasn't able to fix the issue, because I didn't have all the tools. Boca wasn't a bad horse or a jerk, or an idiot. He wasn't being deliberately difficult (ok maybe he was a little) but I didn't have what he needed to understand what was being asked of him. It was so black and white to me, because there was no way in the world, no matter how long I spend going in circles, that I would ever have come up with that as a solution.

I guess for me, it was a combination of a lot of things. It took knowing that I may not have all the answers. It took taking my ego out of it. I always wanted *so badly* to be a good rider. Now I accept who and what I am - a very average rider still learning. It took a horse like Boca, who I trust, and who doesn't escalate beyond a certain point, and who doesn't usually deliberately act like a jerk for no reason.

Last night I had a good ride at the walk and trot. I decided to put him on the longe and ask for canter. It was a mess. We had running, flailing, bucking and fuckery. I did not get one good transition.  But you know what? I didn't get upset about it. I shrugged and said to myself, "maybe he's not strong enough yet, maybe the longe is too small of a circle, maybe its just not his day." We didn't really even end on a good note.

Canter? Please?

But you know what? That's ok. Today is another day. We can do things we are good at, until my next lesson.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Horse Mom Hypochondria -- Guilty As Charged

Like many of us, I am a total horse-mom hypochondriac.
I once spent $200 to take my dog to a neurologist because I was convinced he had spinal stenosis. Guess what? He didn't. My poor dog was NOT happy about an extraneous vet visit that included being laid on the floor and having his various bits and pieces tapped and prodded for neurological responses.
I was so glad to see my instructor Sunday morning, I could have wept.
It was good to see a friendly face. Not that my new barn is unfriendly per se, but the culture is different and I am still adjusting. I don't have the easy friendships in place that I did at my old barn. There are new routines to learn, new rules to follow and new people with different goals, experiences and expectations of themselves and others.
We headed down to the indoor, and we had the entire place to ourselves. My instructor immediately made me feel better by saying that Boca showed zero signs of lameness. He was tracking up freely and evenly behind.
We did discover that the clicking only happened on a small circle, which is why I was hearing it when I was longing him. Like my vet, my instructor feels it is nothing to be overly concerned about.
Boca showed none of the under saddle behavior from Saturday, and was actually really good. Other than a lack of fitness, he retained all of the progress we had worked on all fall, and we had some really nice moments that felt really good. I wish I had some pics or some video from our lesson.
I did make a phone call to my vet yesterday, who was not so quick to jump on the 'Let's treat him for ulcers' bandwagon. In fact, she advised that I give it a week, see if any of the behaviors repeated themselves, and at that point we would determine our next course of action.
This is why I pay professionals, people. Because I immediately want to treat ALL THE THINGS I read about on the internet. The internet is a dangerous place for diagnosing illnesses and injuries.
 Edited to add: But of course not before I immediately went online and bought Slippery Elm Bark, because, ya' know, MAJICK POWDERZ!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Change is Hard, Y'all

We have completed our first week at the new barn.
And, it is officially a mixed bag.

I haven't written all week, because my thoughts are kind of all over the place and discombobulated. I kept waiting for it to make a cohesive blog post in my mind, but a week has passed and it still hasn't, so this will be word soup.

Boca has mostly settled in. I didn't really expect much different. He's an easy horse. He is easy to handle on the ground, and gets along with most horses. He's made friends with his paddock neighbors and his stall neighbors.

The biggest surprise to me was his total lack of fitness. I spent the first week mostly asking him to walk and jog on the longe. He has as joint behind (fetlock? hock?) that is clicking, the way your ankles or knuckles crack. I spoke to my vet and she isn't concerned. She says she gets a lot of these calls in the spring when horses go back to work. Because it is not associated with a lameness, our plan is to keep an eye on it and see if it resolves itself.

I did get on one day mid week and walked circles and serpentines, plus I walked our hilly driveway without incident.

Yesterday we went to the ring, and Boca was not himself. Ears flat back on his head, he did NOT want to go forward. He was all balled up under saddle, kicking out with both hind legs, half-rearing. I decided to get off and longe him. On the longe he was fine, no soundness issues, ears forward. After he warmed up, I got back on. He wasn't happy, but he was better. We ended with a quiet trot in both directions.

I was really proud of myself for not engaging in a fight with him. I was quiet, sensitive and firm. I worked through it without getting emotional, which is HUGE growth for me. I totally took myself out of the situation, evaluated what he needed, and tried to make good decisions.

Of course now, I am totally freaking out that he is riddled with ulcers from the move, or that he is back sore. My trainer is coming today, so hopefully I will get her input. Right now, it is a waiting game. It could have just been a bad day. It could be any number of things.

I've never been through a winter with Boca before, so I don't have a baseline on what is normal for him. I'm also not in a formal "program" with a trainer, so I don't have someone to run to when I'm not sure what's going on with my horse.

At my last barn, I had a community of friends and peers to bounce things off of. Right now, I am the new kid on the block. Those relationships are not in place, and I miss them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Non-Horsey Husband

Boca is continuing to settle into his new place. He definitely looks more comfortable in his stall and has already made horsey friends with his neighbors.
I still have no pictures because I = Bad Blogger. I am going to continue to blame this on being sick, but I do promise to get some pics this week.

Instead I am going to share with you my humourous non-horsey husband story.

On Sunday, as a show of support, Bryan decided to come visit the new barn.
I have been talking up the amenities of the new place, so he was curious to see for himself.

We stopped at Boca's barn first, so he could say hi to the pony and see his new digs.
The horses were all turned out as it was a nice, sunny afternoon.

Boca's paddock is one of the last in a group of 10 or so individual turn outs, at the bottom of a gently sloping hill. You have to pass 5 horses on your way to get to Boca.

As we made our way down the lane, Boca heard our voices, picked up his head, pricked his ears and stared right at us.

I said "Oh look, honey, Boca knows we're coming to see him".
I picked up my pace to get to him more quickly.

Behind me I hear "Oh hey Stinky!"

I turn around, and see my husband reaching out to Ted,
an aged chestnut TB gelding with a thin strip of white on his face.

Not Boca

"Umm, hon, that's not our horse." - me
"It's not? That's not him???" - husband, confused

"Well how about this one?" Husband says about the chesnut TB mare 
with the star in the next paddock.

"Hon, that's not our horse either." - me

Also Not Boca

'Well where is he?  Is it this one???" pointing to a small QH mare.
"Uhhh, no, that is also not our horse" - me

At this point, I am cracking up laughing, as my husband turns around, 
a bewildered look on his face.

"Well how am I supposed to tell??? They're all BROWN. They all look the SAME!!!"

"Hon, ours has the BIG WHITE FACE!!!"

"Oh, Hai. Iz me."

I hear muttered under his breath "Well I bet you couldn't tell my golf clubs apart, either."

Monday, March 9, 2015

This Move Brought to You By..

Just a quick update to let you all know that Boca successfully moved to the new barn this weekend.
Because I am a terrible blogger, I do not have a single picture to share with you all. 
Mea Culpa. In my defense, I came down with a horrible head cold on Friday - just 12 hours before the move - so my hands and pockets were full of dirty tissues, cough drops, caffeine and OTC cold medication. 
In addtion, my husband took our one communal phone charger to work with him over the weekend, so I had a dead cell phone for the entire day of the move on saturday.
Also, because I am stubborn and independent and refuse to be beholden to anyone, I moved everything by myself. Every single piece of tack, every bale of hay, every bag of grain, every last screw eye and bucket, moved by yours truly.
I have to say, the over the counter medication that pharmacists keep behind the counter because people make methamphetamine out of it?  That stuff is GOOD JUJU. I can see why people like it. (Don't worry, I took it as prescribed).  That, plus bottomless thermoses full of black coffee kept me going.
By mid afternoon on Saturday, i was all set up at the new barn. My loft was full of hay, grain and shavings. My individual paddock was set up with fresh water and hay. Boca's new stall was deeply bedded, his buckets were hung and full, my tack was set up and organized. The only thing left to move was the horse himself.
Here is where I ran into the only snag of the day. I hooked up my trailer without issue. I put the truck in 4-wheel drive. And... nothing. The trailer, which has been parked since October, was frozen to the ground. I literally had wheel chocks made of ice. Thank you Mother Nature.
I literally contemplated leading Boca to the new farm for many moments.

Luckily, with many efforts and much rocking of the trailer, I was able to get it unstuck from the ground. Boca loaded up like a champ and we had an uneventful 2 mile drive to the new farm.

Once again, I was incredibly greatful for my good-minded horse. By the time I reached the new barn, the only area available to park and unload on was a sheet of ice. Gambling on the fact that Boca is a good boy and that he has borium on all 4 feet, I decided to take my chances and unload him.

Thank God for the stock horse brain. Poor bewildered Boca, who has not been exercised or been off the farm in 2 months, backed off the trailer onto a sheet of ice and waited (a little white around the eyes but well-behaved) while I got my bearings.

I led him past 6 new horses to his new paddock, threw him a few flakes of hay, and turned him out. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

What Do Thursday: Fitness Schedule

As of right now, the plan is to get set up in the new barn on Saturday, and possibly move Boca over late Saturday afternoon or sometime Sunday.
Which leads me to my next question:

Do any of you have helpful suggestions for getting fuzzy pony back in shape?
What schedules do you follow for introducing your horse back into work?
Are there any helpful resources online that you can point me towards?
I would love to have some sort of structured schedule to follow, sort of a "Couch to 5K" for horses.
Please keep in mind we will be limited to the indoor for some time to come.
There are still too much snow on the ground to use the trails for low-impact fitness, which would be my first choice.
I'm not sure how busy the indoor will be, and I will have to be considerate of others, so lunging may or may not always be an option.
I really look forward to hearing any suggestions!
I will be checking the comments section frequently for your input.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Now THAT is Love... Or Dodging Insanity

I swear my husband does not read this blog.
But he must realize I am going slowly insane.
Or maybe he just really, really loves me.
Because he called me today to tell me he shoveled out my trailer so I can move Boca this weekend.


I got a text at work with this picture and the caption "Giddy Up":

Ladies, you can keep your chocolates and your roses. You can keep your mink stoles, your Prada blouses, your Fendi bags. You can keep your louboutin shoes and your champagne too. That right there is true love.

Or, he just fears for my sanity and this was the best possible resolution he could come up with!

Either way, I'll take it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Product Review: Riding Sport Competitor II Full Seat Breeches

So here it is, my first product review!

Please excuse crappy cell phone pic

As I mentioned, Saturday was my marathon search for the right pair of breeches.

I have never owned or worn full-seat breeches, 
so I wanted to see what I may have been missing.

Here are my criteria for breeches:
1) Around $100 or less
2) Colors suitable for schooling and/or local 1 day shows

I guess I am somewhat of a traditionalist, in that I found I generally prefer the fit of mid-rise, front zip breeches to the far more trendy side-zip, low rise pairs. I also was not a fan of  the more technical bottoms on some of the breeches:

Give me the old-style velcro-bottoms any day!

I also was surprised to learn that I didn't really care for the Tailored Sportmans, which are the *must have* on the H/J circuit. They were cut too straight for me, and the material doesn't have enough give.

Enter the Riding Sport Competitor II Full Seat Breeches.

Immediately, I really liked the fabric. It is a newer, more technical feeling fabric. 
It is stretchy and has give, but also has structure.

I went with the tan color, so that I can wear them for schooling or local one-day events.

The details are subtle, you can barely notice the suede patches. I actually wouldn't have been adverse to some fun color piping or stronger colored suede.

The wide belt is slimming. Overall, I felt like these breeches would be a good choice for curvier body types, like myself. I tend to dislike tight pants, which is probably why I'm not a fan of breeches in general. 

These breeches fit, without feeling like they were strangling me. I am between sizes, so while the legs fit well, the waist was a little too big. I was so happy with the fit of the rest of the breeches, I felt that it was well worth it to make do with a belt.

I have yet to ride in these breeches, so that review will have to wait for another day.

Edited to add: These breeches are currently on sale at Dover for $69.99 through March 15th. Check your Dover Sale Catalog, Page 89!

Monday, March 2, 2015

I've Got the Blues... or Maybe Just the Blahs.

This weekend was kind of sad and gloomy.
Although I tried to fight the good fight, I did feel a little down.
I may or may not have fallen off the eating healthy wagon.
Curses... my nemesis.

Which caused me to gain back every ounce I lost and then some, leading me to feel like a blubbery mess. I guess if I am going to get serious about eating healthy, a once-a-week binge is going to be a little too frequent for me to expect any real results.
Changes are hard, even positive ones. I am a little sad about leaving my current barn. To date, it has been the barn I have been the most happy and comfortable at. I told the BO on Sunday, and he was really great about it. Told me I was welcome back at any time. That was the result I was hoping for, but  it did feel a little bittersweet.
Also, sometimes people are not always going to be happy for you when good things happen in your life. They have their own baggage to deal with, so you can't take it personally. One or two people had less-than enthusiastic responses to the news of me leaving. This is something that may have bothered me in the past. Today I can just note it and move on. Ultimately, isn't about me and it isn't my burden to bear.
Also, it looks like my parents will be re-locating to Charleston, SC.
It is a big move for them, and one my father has been looking forward to for a long, long time. I am happy and excited for them, but also a little sad to see them go.
Lastly, Boca was kind of a dink on Sunday.

Yes. This face. Total dink.

Right now, because of the snow, Boca has been turned out with two other geldings. It would not be fair or reasonable to ask the BM to keep him in a seperate paddock. Boca gets along with other horses, so I have no problem with this arrangement.

Sunday, I went to pull him in for a grooming session. As he walked towards me, I saw the young gelding he is turned out with lunge at him and drive him back. Outraged on my horse's behalf, I went in and decided "I" was going to be the apha mare and teach the pushy gelding a lesson about manners at the gate. Little did I realize how on edge all the horses are from lack of exercise. I growled at the young gelding and swung my leadrope in his general direction.

Cue 3 snorting, tail-flagging horses, including my own, fleeing from me as if I were a fire-breathing, horse eating monster. Awesome.

When I was finally able to catch my pony, he was still white-eyed and completely ridiculous, eyeing me as if I was the world's meanest horse-abuser on the planet. I decided that someone was a little too high-as-a-kite to be groomed in his current condition. I took him to an empty pasture will plenty of ground cover, and let him trot and canter on the lunge. It was quite the workout in the deep snow, and he was blowing pretty good pretty quickly. I got to watch as the lard rippled where his muscles used to be.

After his imprompto cardio session, I took him in and groomed him as intended. I fed him a few peppermints and turned him back out. Because I am such a meanie and his life is soooo hard!
I know, I know, #firstworldproblems.