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We Are Flying Solo

Showing posts with label reviews+horse care products. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reviews+horse care products. Show all posts

July 24, 2015

Halt That Headshaking!

Nature no touchy!
Summer brings not just sweat, but the War of the Flies (sorry, William Golding).

You're attempting to make centerline approximate an actual line or ramble scenic trails or enjoy a sunset handgraze...only the tormented buzzing & biting around your horse's eyes & ears has you worried he might sprain his neck during the incessant attempts to shake the beasts off.

Bid Those Flies - And Sweat - Goodbye

It felt like my lucky day when our friends at Horze.com sent us their -

1.  Extended nose flymask (UV protection for your pale-nosed friends!
2.  Fringed mesh fly veil

Fine, I'll nom-model  (1)
I hatez dinner pauses  (2)
What Makes Them Different?

You know those days when it's so hot & sticky that the mere thought of anything touching you makes you shudder in aversion?  Well, the horses agree.  And fly spray can only do so much (particularly in places where you can actually hear the deer flies snicker every time you squeeze the spray-bottle trigger).

So I really REALLY liked that both of these combined a physical barrier with fabrics which maximized airflow.  A horse's ears appear to be a very small body part, but, being thin-skinned & packed with blood vessels (i.e. gnat nirvana), those twin radar dishes play a huge role in heat exchange, just like your head & feet.


The mask was made of a quality-feeling structured screening, much like the SuperMasks I use to screen eyes in the trailer.  However, where I almost never use the latter in turnout as the heaviness of both the mesh & fleece seem to layer grit & sweat on Solo's face, the unique combination of the technical wicking material & much narrower jaw cut of the Horze mask means he's more comfortable.

What, Does He Nicker Twice For Yes?

Not quite, although I did learn this winter that he has an "I want my blanket" nicker, LOL.  But he freezes & sticks his head out when I approach with it now (Solo must have tasty eyeball juice, the flies seem to prefer it to Encore's?) & when removed at night, there's only a small patch of sweat on his crown.

Yes, he also is a member of the Pig Sweat club.

The veil struck a similar nice balance.  The retro-hippie-rasta vibe was just a bonus!

I use old-school browband veils while riding Solo every summer (alas, Encore gets mad at his own bangs touching him & violently shook OFF a cotton bonnet, although I may have to try this once...), but his ears are unprotected unless I add a conventional fly bonnet.  Bonnet fabric usually ends up soaked in sweat & the tight-fitting ears mean the deer & horse-flies bite through them anyway.

Adding the loose mesh to a veil was a novel idea.  Airspace between ears & mesh creates a little wider "DMZ" protection from bites.  The super-light mesh kept things cool, although I wouldn't try to add it to a turnout halter, I'd be worried it would tear off during vigorous tree scratching.

And we still had the strings functioning as the perfect forelock (vital for Solo The Follicularly Challenged), constantly moving to deter landings while not obstructing vision or trapping heat.  And um, hi, $7 is the kind of budget-friendly I'M talking about, thank you!

Who's got bangs now, dudez??
Be Prepared To Trim Or Size Down

Both items have a bit of an odd measurement.  Lengthwise, they were fine for Solo & would be spot-on for Encore (both are a normal 'horse' size, but Solo is short from ear to mouth; if I had money to burn, I'd buy cob cheekpieces for his bridles).  But the jowl straps were ENORMOUS.

They may be purposefully designed that way, it's simple enough to trim off the velcro ends.  There is certainly plenty if you do happen to have a horse with the cheeks of a Shire!

Or, if you are a just-in-case person, you can invent velcro patterns like I did:


You can check them out along with Horze's other Fly Weapons here.  Thanks once more to the great folks at Horze.com for diversifying our arsenal!!
www.horze.com

June 30, 2015

It’s An Organizer! It’s A Mounting Block! It’s…A Pretty Sweet Box!


For 175 lbs of feet or bum! Solo box incl. for scale.
Raise your hand if you are so over digging for the hoofpick in the abyss that is your grooming box.

Yeah.  OVER.  IT.

Lucky for you, I've always got one eye open for the perfect box.  Brush box.  Clipper box.  Blanket box.  Boot box.  Organize ALL THE THINGZ box.

Well, what if it has a treaded top & is weight-rated for use as a mounting block (or picking ticks like a monkey braiding manes) too?  Oh yes.

 The polypropelene Horze Smart Grooming Box has not only that, but also sports a lock loop on the front for security & arrives in your matchy colour of choice (maaaan, I should have gone for the powder blue, it's our accent colour...but hey, there is even something for you crazy pink lovers!).

Removable divider & "bits 'n pieces" tray in place
With a lift-out accessory tote & divider, it doesn't become the dreaded Bottomless Purse.

Neat trick: the basket will sit on the edge for mud slurry avoidance needs!
Its only shortcoming: it is a tad too short for the critical "spray bottle test."

Derp.  But it's ok, your WD-40 still fits!!
BUT. Domed lid still leaves room for sticky-uppies. (It's a word now, deal)
However, as a compact organizer with double-duty stool powers, I think it's a great option with lots of flexibility, especially for the trailer:  a travel grooming, clipper, wrap, braiding, or what-can-you-think-of box for the trail or showgrounds that hangs around to give you a leg up, so you don't have to do that "I totally meant to slide off my trailer fender to check out my horse's girth VERY closely" moment (oh, is that just me?).

Added size information:  boost height is 12", while your standing platform on top is approximately 14" long by 11" wide.
For all your favourite matchy thingz!  Ok, so I really like blue...a lot... What product placement?? ;P
Check it out along with other great grooming goodies here; all products come with a 30-day 'happiness guarantee' & orders over $75 ship both ways for free!

Thanks again to the great & always friendly folks at Horze for the opportunity to share a hands- (& feet) on experience with you!
www.horze.com

September 14, 2014

Ordering Could Save You Money…And Your Life!

Horze signup_competition
Click to enter & get a 15% off discount for new customers!
Yes, you may now call me a Horze ‘ho. Albeit within the confines of a most basic TFS Commandment:  thou shalt always receive open, honest feedback!

I continue to enjoy our appallingly stylish (if you’ve read for a while, you know my trendiness aversion!) bell boots & gloves (week two: still no holes!).  But the goodies don’t end there:  check out two more!

#1:  Tired Of Losing Money In Trampled, Peed-On, Rolled-In Hay?

Another equine product that makes you want to throw things & scream:  the Hay Net.  The holes are too big.  The holes are too small.  That drawstring at the top has demonic intent to prevent the loading of any actual hay.  If it doesn’t have a drawstring, the holes are too big...again.  If the holes are just right & it lacks an evil drawstring, well, you must have entered a parallel universe of impossible fantasies.

Currently, I hang a small-hole drawstring net in the trailer.  Yes, it makes me want to scream very bad words while filling it.  But I love that I no longer lose huge quantities of $$$$$ hay onto my trailer floor.  It frustrates the crap out of Encore; unless I pull out a bunch of “starter clumps” for him to grab, he believes it’s too much work & gives up.  *insert eyeroll here*  In the fields, I dole out flakes on the ground or in an old trough with a pin-holed bottom.  I don’t. do. round bales.  (Unless someone wants to mail me a $300 net & a spear for the tractor…)

Hay Net 2
Mine!!
The Horze Slow Hay Feeder Net looked like a promising solution:  HUGE open top with perfectly-sized holes with a simple hanging design that I could move between trailer & run-in in a snap.  While slightly more expensive than my $11 trailer net, at $24 it was still half the cost of the $55 wall-mount from CinchChix & more flexible.

Loves:
  • I can walk up with 4 flakes balanced on one arm, pull the top wide open, & dump them in without loosing a bit
  • Easily holds at least 1/2 a square bale
  • Two simple mounting loops give you endless hanging options, including my carefully engineered “tie it to the rafters with hay string” technique
  • Two sets of short “shoelaces” are sewn into the top binding so you can dissuade Dobbin from just shoving his entire head in
  • Since the boys love to camp in their shed on rainy days, it lets Solo continue to “graze” under shelter & holds so much hay, I don’t have to worry about mid-day refills (not tested on Princess Encore-I-Like-To-Pee-In-My-Hay yet)
  • After I add a double-ended snap to each hanging loop, I can hang or move it anywhere by simply unclipping & don’t have to mount anything permanent
Hay Net 1 Arrows
Awesome MSPaint arrows indicate shoelaces
Minor Design Struggle:
  • The enormous top-load is amazing; it could be even better if the “shoelaces” were not both sewn onto the same binding edge.  I weave them to the other edge a couple times & tie a slip-knot for easy release, but it’s a bit awkward (hey, some people have weird, super-logical brains that struggle with lopsided things).
  • Alternatively (& what I initially thought the “shoelaces” were), a simple drawstring inside the top binding with a cord lock, like this, would be awesome!
One Sad Discovery:
  • Because the netting is softer than a traditional hay bag, it is easier for the horse to snag the hay, & hopefully will be less frustrating for Encore.  However, after about 5 solid days of Solo-use, the net string on a bottom corner is unraveling & pulling out of the side binding.  Mr. Shiny loves his hay & is serious about getting every scrap; it appears that the string is not strong enough for full-time shed residence. 
Despite this initial material failure, though, it shall receive some hay-string patching for continued use!  Horze DOES have a 30-day "happiness guarantee," should you have problems with any product, as well.  While not cut out for full-time “grazing,” I still think it has great functionality for trailering, temporary show-stabling, & other less “aggressive” situations where easy filling & hanging are key!

hunting visibility
Probably not the helmet I'd choose for deer season...
#2:  Serious Safety

While there are many things I love about the Carolinas, fall is not one of them.  It’s perfect riding weather, the trees break out their technicolour dreamcoats, the demonic insects begin their retreat.  What’s not to love?

Oh, it’s also rifle season for white-tailed deer.

A Little Perspective

As an employee of my state’s natural resource agency & a wildlife biologist, I get to see both sides of this…interesting time of year.  Nearly all of my co-workers hunt deer, as well as ducks, doves, turkeys, & feral hogs with bows, muzzleloaders, shotguns, & rifles, as personal preference varies.  And they do it right:  each one is careful, responsible, ethical, educated, & experienced.


wrong end of gun
MN wins the prize for Best Safety Graphics
Unfortunately, just like horse-world, riddled with double-edged swords, a conscientious participant in hunting-world is not a guarantee.  Outside of work, as a horse & property owner, I must always be alert for the bad apples.  It only takes one guy who thinks it’s funny to shoot a horse out from under someone, or brought a case of beer to the stand, or fires blindly at rustling leaves, or…it happens every year (and all over the country).

We Can & Should Share The Woods, But Be Proactive

As a result, many of us simply stay out of the woods once rifle season begins (the bow hunters & muzzleloaders are so much better at paying attention).  When we do head out on trails, we stick to state parks & private properties.  Even then, I always wear my very sexy DOT safety vest from work (sigh, trespassers…), attach a bear bell to my saddle (I need to fix that), & wear bright-coloured clothing.  I’ve got the vest on for tractor work too; the favoured.30-06 rifle can send a bullet 2-3 miles, so at least no one will be able to say I looked like a deer through the scope!

Solo Reflective Horze Strips Sept 2014 compressed
Glow-in-the-dark Solo!
TL;DR:

I have finally completed my seven-year quest for very affordable riding accessories that didn’t make my horse sweat & screamed “THIS DEER-COLOURED CREATURE IS NOT A DEER!”  And the answer…is $4!!!!

A handy set of four hi-vis reflective sleeves with open ends, the Horze Bzeen String Covers, despite their odd name, incorporate the two best elements of product design:  versatility & simplicity.  I’m not sure if this is standard, but I received two that had velcro down one side & two slightly narrower sleeves that were sewn on both sides.  I slid one of the latter onto a browband & velcro’ed both of the former on my martingale for a test run.

You can definitely see them!  I’m very excited to have these additions to my safety arsenal & am already pondering how many I could fit on one horse!  The nylon fabric feels thin, but sturdy & can get tossed in washing machine whenever needed.

My only “in a perfect world” very picky detail changes

  • Either include velcro on every sleeve or give the buyer an option
  • Offer them in blaze orange, the universally (or at least in the US) recognized hunting safety colour 

Thank you so much again to the super-friendly folks at Horze for giving me the opportunity to want more of their stuff try out their great products & helping me share them with you!
www.horze.com

June 22, 2014

How To Make Your Horse Lame

I suppose that got your “WTF???” click.  But I kid you not, Encore heard me typing the last part of the previous post through walls, in the pasture!  He made his final decision when his ears picked up the cell signal of my phone call to BFF, planning a conditioning ride today.  *sad yet unsurprised face*

So I got to spend yesterday afternoon staring at this:

Encore ColdFlex
ColdFlex wrap: back in action

anxiety
This may be true, but so?!
Two calls to the emergency Batphone in two months really is a bit much for my blood pressure, buddy.  Happily, (although probably not for him) Batman Dr. Bob himself was on call this weekend.  His cool practicality born of literally a lifetime of experience (his dad was a vet and a TB breeder, as well) is a perfect antidote for both my brain’s ability to leap from “it’s just a bump” to “lethal tendon injury in 0.3 seconds” AND my imaginary bank account.  Because I was already jumping into the pool of “omg, what imaging do I need?!”

It went something like this:
(I’ll make it easy and put Dr. Bob’s way-less-dorky-than-me-and-actually-useful comments in red

“Dr. Booooob (hahaha, my typing impression of my sad fatalistic voice makes him Dr. Boob, yes, I am 12), I came out this morning and Encore has once again telepathically overheard my attempt at actually scheduling something.”

Of course, he has, he is Encore!  (even he marvels at the ability of a horse with nothing inherently wrong with him to constantly hurt himself just enough to get out of real work)

Evening Pond Graze
But mom, dis all I want to do!
“He has a grape-sized soft swelling on the lateral side of his right front fetlock,  you can feel the ligament rolling back and forth in the squishy.  There is also a small swollen area on the medial side of the same leg, up behind his knee, in the check ligament area.  There is a small amount of heat in each, he is on his second cycle of cold hose/wrap right now.  I palpated all of the soft tissue in both front legs:  he had no reaction.  Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?????????????” (ok, that last I may have only said internally)

Is he hopping around on three-legs when he comes up?”
“No, he appears sound wandering around his paddock.”
“Is he lame at the trot?"
“I did not do any soundness evals, I didn’t want to mess anything up.”

“Ok, good.  Give him a gram of bute twice a day, keep up the cold therapy, leave him be, and we’ll evaluate on Monday.  To be honest, I’ve seen a zillion of these things and many of them are simple bruises or something similar that just need a few days off and they go away.” 
“Yes, I shaved the fetlock spot and there were signs that he could have knocked something.”
“Yep, let’s just get the anti-inflammatories in his system.  Since he lives outside, just leave him out, he’s not going to do anything goofy.  He can keep moving around so it doesn’t get stiff and increase swelling.”

“Ok, no worries, he is very chill.  It is Solo’s job to generally run around and do something silly.  Plus it’s hot.  I’m sure you’ll be shocked (end sarcasm font), but a couple of questions?”
“Sure!!”

“Should I put anything on it like DMSO or the magical ButaCort creme you gave me?”
“No, just bute and cold.  If there’s a small cut or puncture, I don’t want to put anything on there yet, but good question.”
Solo Stud Tap 5_2011 016 (Medium)
Master farrier at work
“Should I put him on the longe or anything and evaluate him or just leave him alone?”
“Just leave him alone, the treatment will be the same.”

“Cool.  One more:  Johnathan (awesome farrier) re-shod him on Friday and when he put the left front shoe on, Encore shifted funny when he set it down and felt weird under saddle that evening.  I checked the nails as best I could, and we know he has butt-loads of hoof wall, but he seemed a little weird around the toe.  Could this be a contributing factor?  He hoof-tested all four at the end like he always does, and they were fine, though.”

“No, I seriously doubt it.  Johnathan is way too good for that.  He may just need to reset a nail or the shoe a little, but if we look at him on Monday, we can solve two issues at once.  But as many years as I have been doing this, there really is no point right now to try and pin down a cause.  I’ll be happy if it is just gone on Monday and we can carry on, I don’t need to know why as long as Encore is happy.  I’m really totally fine with that!  Even on the off chance that the two are related…”
 “…the treatment would not change.”
“Correct.”

“Ok, thanks.  I will be happy if it just goes away too!!!  I sent Johnathan a message and will keep him apprised.”
“Bute, cold, go forth.”

End scene.

So I shall.  Go forth.  I’ve got two wraps in the fridge (so I can alternate; never freeze them) for extra cooling.  He was a little stiff walking off after standing in cross-ties for 1.5 hours, but then, so was I.  Three steps later, he was fine and pranced rather spectacularly for his dinner.  I maintain hope for minor windpuffs.
Longleaf Pines HT 4_2010 099
Solo models after a Novice HT in 2010

As for the ColdFlex wraps, wow, did that experiment pay off!  I bought two of them years ago to use on Solo post-XC because ice is just a giant pain in the tail and I only want to bring my little drink cooler.  I was so happy with them I bought two more immediately thereafter!  It wasn’t terribly cheap at $80 for four, but for their convenience, if they were as re-usable as the manufacturer claimed, it would be money well-spent.

Well, they were and it was!!  All four have sat unused in my trailer for at least four years (properly put away in their little baggies and cans with water, of course).  I grabbed the first one to slap it on when I found the injury and it was good as new!!  I soaked it down with cold water, set the fan in front of his leg, and let it do its thing.  I can’t tell you what a life-saver it was to be able to read my reference material, talk to the vet, get things from the house, put on fly sheet, spray horses – all while not having to hold a hose or watch a bucket or worry about ice melting or deal with a boot (they are basically a polo wrap made out of some weird jell-o stuff, so completely flexible).  Win!

Now...bump, I bid thee:  DISAPPEAR!!

March 14, 2014

How To Make Your Own "Soft Ride" Boots

Remember when I posted useful articles on this blog?  Me neither.  However, today, I actually do have something useful to offer you!  Do try & hide your shock.

soft ride boots
Soft Ride Boots:  the hottest trend in trailering when they hit the market two or three years ago (or less.  or more.  I lose track of time generally.).  "Reducing fatigue, enhancing performance, & helping treat & prevent injuries," these boots promise to pretty much eliminate the need for a vet, trainer, & sleep all at once!

Ok, perhaps I exaggerate a bit for effect, but while the concept of absorbing concussive shock traveling through the trailer frame to the floor & your horse's feet is a good one, marketing, as often occurs, goes a wee smidge over the top.

Note:  This post does not apply to use of any kind of boot for veterinary or therapeutic hoof issues which require daily wear.  I speak only in the context of booting a trailered horse for comfort.  Hopefully, those are obviously different scenarios to be addressed on a case by case basis.  

Not to mention, as with all normal things (human shoe inserts or foam cut-outs, anyone), give it a special horsey name & hint that it might knock a few points off your dressage score all while keeping Dobbin sounder, & you can mark up the price by approximately 4000%.  So, a gel pad that you stick on your horse's hoof which he will promptly stomp in his own poop can be yours, in a pair even, for around $200.

*pause for personal need to repeat hysterical choking sounds*

The Epics: great for non-forgers
Now, Soft Ride folks, my apologies if you are miffed at my badgering, but it does not carry any ill will nor even am I suggesting you have an unhelpful product.  I own a pair of both EasyBoot Epics (they did work when they stayed on...) & Cavallo Sport Boots, the latter of which I adore & are worn by Solo every time he is ridden off grass.

Both have had foam inserts for cushioning while riding as well.  Although both paid for themselves by replacing horseshoes.  And EasyCare has done the same thing as Soft Ride with the EasyBoot Rx hitting you up around $150 a pair, though they avoided some of the grandiose verbage.

I am simply offering an alternative solution for those of us who live down here in the real world (or even worse, my poverty world) where we have to actually CHOOSE which things we spend money on instead of just buy them all.  There certainly is value in convenience sometimes, but it doesn't have to be unreachable. 

If you are anything like me, every time you feel & hear that 'clunk' of your trailer coming down after a lump or hole, you murmur an apology to your horse that he is never going to get Air-Ride (unless HE comes up with $6,500).  But given what I ask my horses to do, I do want to lessen that series of a gazillion impact waves (particularly on VA cheese-grater roads) traveling up through the joints of his fetlocks, hocks, stifles, & back.  I just did not have & was not going to throw $200 at it.

Straight out of the bag
Enter the Hoof Wrap:  a step above buying a foam pad alone or cutting one out of insulation board & duct taping it on (duct tape tends to be single use only).  These are basically reusable (& extremely durable, it turns out) ballistic nylon foot napkins with a lot of velcro.

They also come with their own 1.5" thick EVA foam pad (replaceable for only $7 or you can double up) for cushion & if you want more (I do in VA!), you can add a gel pad (which even smells like odd incense thanks to an infusion of tea tree oil).

All components are reusable; I don't use the gel every time I use the wrap, but it's been on at least four long trips.  Want to go hog wild?  Mix & match all kinds of thickness & density pads for $14 & just cut to a fit you like.

And at $20 per foot for wrap & foam pad, you can instead spend $80 & come out with TWO pairs (I only outfitted his hind feet for a mere $40).  Like any type of hoof boot or wrap, they take a few applications to get used to.  But the straps are numbered in the order in which you should attach them (THANK YOU!).

If you make sure the foot is centered & you pull the velcro tight, they even stay put in the trailer.  If you like, add a strip of tape (hello, colour coordination!) around the foot for backup.
With gel pad added.  It had an odd aromatherapy...

Encore models
I would say it takes me a total of about four minutes to apply both hind wraps & I only use them for trips of two hours or more (or if I'm entering VA, period).  But effectively, it creates the same device at 1/4 of the price (1/2 if you add gel pads, but still...and hey, that rhymed).

And yes, I did observe a marked reduction of stiffness & let-down time coming off the trailer when I use them vs. prior long trips in just horseshoes.

You're welcome.

September 30, 2013

Back In The...Show Ring!

Fitness, thbpitness.  Eh, I think it's naptime anyway.
It was really sort of a ridiculous decision.

Encore came sound last Friday, bruises healed and body restored, a little over a week before the CT we completed yesterday.  In some form of horse-show-withdrawal frenzy, I scribbled his name onto entry forms and shoved them through the mail slot without much consideration of details.

Just little things, like, oh, test preparation (we haven't taken a dressage lesson since the beginning of July), or the fact that Encore hadn't seen coloured jump poles in three months, or the teeny issue that his rider was just as winded and out of shape as he was.

Lucky for us, his TB magic meant that with a concerted effort to ride/long line/hot walk him every day until the show, he regained more than adequate condition to perform two phases on a lovely fall day.  His rider had a generous crew who kept a bottle of gatorade and a granola bar close at hand so there were no dramatic fainting episodes and only a little gasping for breath.

Suzpension iz hard.
Leading up to the competition, Sunday-Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday-Friday-Saturday became long line-dressage-jump-hot walker-long line-dressage-hack.  I was baffled to discover that Thursday and Friday's trot/canter transitions had become flying bucks akin to a Lippizaner's greatest triumph.  Until it occurred to me that after what amounted to six weeks off for foot healing, Junior Pony was probably a bit sore after being thrown back into schooling every day.  They weren't long or particularly demanding sessions, but certainly awoke slumbering muscles in his hiney!  Hence Friday and Saturday's liberal application of Sore No More and a slow walking hack through woods and fields on Saturday to stretch and relax mind and body.  Hey, it worked.  Sorry, dressage judge, no entertainment for you!

Tip:  Sore No More contains witch hazel (which you can also buy on its own by the jug at the drug store).  Wait until the horse's body cools down completely and then begin rubbing it into the muscles.  Any areas where there are knots, tension, or heat will cause the liquid to foam up a little as you gently rub it in, indicating a sore spot.  You can then massage that spot some more or identify stretches or alternative techniques to relax and rest those a
Enter Working Cute.
reas.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little stunned that this all paid off.  We've not exactly had a run of amazing luck over the past two years and I'd just spent way more time and money getting my horse sound once again than I would have liked.  BUT IT WORKED.

In warmup, I focused on riding correctly and accurately and made sure to leave enough time before my test to do a little trot work next to the actual show arena so he could relax there (I've always rushed that part too  much in the past).  While he did sometimes get looky and tight in his neck and jaw in the arena, especially his corners, he was pretty obedient, there was NO acrobatic bucking, and that entering centerline felt really damn good (and nailed us an 8!!!!).  All of the judge's comments were spot on and helpful, encouraging us to work on creating more jump and straightness in the canter (oh lady, if only you knew how awesome it was that we HAVE a sound canter on both leads), and better bend where it is called for (definitely agreed!).



But he is finding that suspension!!!
He earned himself a SECOND 8 on his first medium walk and 7's on both impulsion and submission (o.m.g. we finally have some submission) in his collective marks.  I could not be prouder and I admit to squeaking with startled glee when the leaderboard whispered that Encore had nailed a 34.8.  With only one week of schooling, my earnest kiddo was only one point away from Solo's best score of all time.


Sure, I be dressage poneh, whatevs.
We've got the step, just need the jump!

We then had somewhere around 2.5 minutes to change tack and be ready to jump.  I confess, I wasn't thrilled about the horses not getting much of a break between the two, but it did mean that your jumping warmup merely required hopping over something a few times to get them thinking forward and over and you were good to go.  And that he was -- as soon as we entered the competition ring, a firecracker lit up underneath me.  Encore hadn't tackled a course in three months either and he fairly vibrated with excitement.  The whistle blew and we were off.



I sendz telepathik Cuna-thankz youz!
The detail-oriented among you might notice something different in our jumping outfit.  In a gesture of amazing generosity, the wonderful SprinklerBandit we all know and love from her adventures with the mighty Cuna and the new protege, Courage, sent us an incredible gift while she was sorting out her tack collection.  I found it on my porch after work last week, definitely one of the best ways to end my day in recent memory!

So in honour of the badass-ness of the Cuna/SB mastery of mad skillz, Encore very proudly wore (and I had long coveted) the gorgeous chocolate and powder blue Five Star Tack breastplate (which is just as exquisite in real life as I imagined) originally sported by Cuna during his reign of glory.  Encore must have absorbed some magic from the Cuna-dust in the elastic because we put in the first double-clear stadium round I can remember in a long time.  He was bold, he was rock-steady, and he galloped through the finish flags begging for more.  Oh, and his mom tried really hard to ride properly and WAIT for him.  It helps, really.

Thank you, Aimee and Cuna, we will strive to live up its legacy!!!

2'11"??  Heck, I'll take 3'11", mom, bring it!!!

The elegant beadwork of his Topline Leather browband just sets off that classy TB profile!
We went home a tired bunch, but oh-so-pleasantly-surprised with our fluttering white reward. My spirits are buoyed indeed for next week's cross country lesson with David and then...HORSE TRIAL.

Good pony.  Cute pony.  Honest pony.  At the moment, sound pony!  Who could ask for more?

July 20, 2013

Lusting After Your Own Absorbine TryPak???

That title ought to get me some Google hits, ha!  But you know you are.

Well, now you can win one.  And I'm going to tell you how.

Get ugly.

That's right.  And now I'm going to explain (apparently, I'm in the mood for announcing intent).

Snif.
We all know us working class horse people are broke.  Some of us more than others.  As a result, I do not buy a replacement item until its predecessor has well and truly collapsed into a panting corpse at my feet and gasped its final effort.

Example.  My VERY favourite gloves, a pair of mesh-backed Moxie gloves, never too slippery, never too sticky, always comfortable, inexpensive, and with a lifespan of TWO YEARS, as opposed to 6-10 months for my traditional SSG All-Weathers.

As an aside, I do now own a pair of SSG Digitals and another of SSG 10 Belows (sale on both) and they are worlds above the All-Weathers and so far excellent after their first year. 

When I finally had to give up on my dear Moxies, my skin was getting peeled off because they looked like...well, just look left.

It was a real shame -- had it been any other finger but my rein finger, they would have lived on, because the top still looked like...yep, look down.

2 yrs, perfectly fine!
I happened to be in a tack shop and replaced them with a pair of leather and mesh Heritage pull-ons...which got the first hole in the finger (I apparently have devil monkey claw fingers and toes, you should see my socks!) in ONE WEEK.  BooHiss.  This is what I longed in today (below).  The rest of the summer fall will be spent in a pair of sale SSG crochet-backs.

What they look like today.  I just cut off the fingers when they fell apart.
OMG, woman, this is the longest contest description ever!  Yes, you're right.  But here's what you do:

-Click the email link in my sidebar and send me an email titled "My Awesomest Gear." 
-Attach a photo to that email of your most persistent piece of equipment (dang, I should have taken a picture of my half chaps that are legally old enough to drive!). 
-If I don't get some photos of duct tape and hay string, I'm going to cry.
-Make sure all photos are submitted by Thursday, August 1st.

I want to see ugly, I want to see determined, I want to see creative!  However, said piece of equipment must still be in regular use.  I'm going to count on your honour for that!  I will post the top ten photos and the FIVE most talented salvagers (that's right, say thank you to Absorbine generosity) will be chosen by my mere whimsy careful scientific rankings to receive your very own Limited Edition TryPak Of Shiny Goodness to rock out in travel-size convenience at your next show or just to wave around the barn to the envy of everyone else.

Get out there and start collecting photos!!  May the most desperate poverty-warrior win!!

July 16, 2013

Absorbine Shine!

I owe the good folks at Absorbine a massive apology, but the climate has just NOT been cooperative.  I think we had something like 30+ straight days of rain, which is unreal for Carolina spring/summer.  

Getting the horses in from the pasture.
But ages ago, Absorbine sent TFS a nifty new product called the TryPak.  In this handy, dandy travel-sized kit is an equine body shampoo/conditioner, a green spot remover, and, naturally, their classic detangler/shine product, Showsheen. 


So I set to work (once it finally took a rain break for about an hour) giving it a go with the ambassador of shine himself.

Mr. Shiny is doing his best to impersonate Mr. Muddy.
Maybe the world's shiniest horse isn't the best demo, but Encore is always clean!
Solo was more than happy to be lavished with the attention as I soaked and scrubbed.  Shampoo first, then the stain remover on his white socks, and I finished by brushing the showsheen over his body and through his tail.

Here, mom, let me adopt my most awkward pose for you!
Now he has serious shine and immaculate white legs!!!
How is that for a clean orange horse?!  All three products worked really well and I was especially impressed with the stain remover, which got his legs amazingly white.  I absolutely recommend you give it a try!  We may even have a contest for you to win some of your own coming up shortly -- I just have to check with Absorbine, who may have disowned me by now for taking so long!

Hopefully, the sun is shining where you are today, we finally have a few moments respite from the clouds peeing on us here!  So I'm heading out to enjoy the blue skies while I can --