Monday, October 16, 2017

Sisterhood of the Traveling Tack

Some of you remember my amazing old man horse, Cuna.
hopefully you forgot my over-editing-photos phase
He had a very complex head--big, soft eyes, teacup muzzle, broad forehead. It wasn't until the last few months of his life that I finally found a bridle I really liked on his face. It wasn't even that expensive--a Mark Todd model from the UK that is now discontinued.


It's a lovely piece. I did put it on Courage once or (maybe) twice, but it was so wrong for his face that it wasn't even funny.
nope
Unfortunately, there was an era before google photos and the truly horrible shots are lost to the internet. It also didn't really fit him at all.

So I had this bridle. And it was special to me. But I also had no particular use for it.

And then a friend of mine got her own horse.
The lovely Ms. G
And see, this friend is someone who has meant a lot to me over the years and was really more of a co-owner with me on Cuna than anything.

It was only right that the bridle went to her.

Life changes and my friend ended up horseless.

But when I saw her last, she handed me a bridle bag and said to try it on Zoe and that if it didn't fit, she wanted it back.
awwww
It fits.

I'm rarely weird and sentimental.

Today, I'm weird and sentimental.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

SB Selling Stuff

I have a whole pile of things I've been meaning to list for a while. I'll do my best to provide descriptions and sizes. If you want anything measured, just ask. I will definitely do discounts for multiple items, consider offers, and combine shipping. Prices do not include shipping. I only do US shipping because customs forms scare me. Contact me through the comments or fb if you're interested--I am not the best at checking blog emails.
Cob size turnout halter by Kentucky Leather. Havana with brass.
Tried on, never used. $40 
SOLD

Royal sports warmblood length reins--inside rubber with hand stops
Black leather, hook stud ends, have martingale stops. $20

Western bridle with browband and split reins.
Western "horse" size, so runs smallish. $40

Red Barn cob size Capriole bridle
Padded crank and monocrown.
RUNS LARGE, fits more like horse. $120 with inside rubber reins
Peacock Leather Cob size halter
Black with sparkle purple padding, stainless hardware.
Jaw not adjustable. Barely used. $60

Royal Sports clincher bridle. Regular cavesson, padded monocrown.
Black with brass clinches on nose and browband.
Horse size (runs large-ish?). Includes flexible rubber reins. Does not include bit. $60

Ocala Tack Shack blue padded race noseband
Havana leather, diamond cut outs. Nice quality.
Horse/cob size. $35

Uisce Saddlery blue padded cutaway noseband.
No crank. Cob size. Black leather, stainless hardware. $35

Pagony dressage front boots. Brown.
Average horse size. $30

Majyk Equipe gen 1 dressage front boots.
Medium (average horse). Used a couple times, no sign of wear. $35
Barnsby Diablo jump saddle - 18" M tree, minor cosmetic scuffs
Havana leather. Stirrups not included. $450
SOLD
Invictus half pad - white, not shimmable
fits under my 18" saddle
$140
Let's make a deal! 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Zoe Dilemma

A strange phenomenon I've noticed since partnering with Zoebird is people telling me that they want one just like her, but nicer. 
mmm but she's so pretty
Like in those words. To my face.

It's actually a super rude thing to say no matter how you stack it up.

A different version of myself would be bugged about it. I'd think up some sassy answers that pointed out the obviously shitty nature of the comment without actually descending to their level and then I'd giggle about it while they figured out exactly what had just happened.

But see.
all smiles!
I just took my first lesson on my baby horse.
so curvy!
And if you're counting, that means aside from her initial training rides getting started, it's been all me for well over a month now.
all me looks like bareback and toodling
And not only has Zoe been a shining ray of positive energy in my life, but she's also such a game lady. Toodling bareback on a cold windy day? She's your gal. Taking a lesson and working harder than she's worked in her life? Sign her up!
lil workhorse!
Plus, I know the subtle implication of "like Zoe, but nicer" is that she just isn't fancy enough to pull down solid dressage scores.

But you know what I see?
mmhmm
I see a little mare with a walk that over-tracks several hoof prints without even trying, a jaw-dropping trot, a supple back, a developing canter, and a can-do attitude.
plus "cute as shit" should go on her CV
I mean. She's not a "10 mover" and we're not going to win for steering around a training level test, but she's going to be a force to be reckoned with in every arena we show in.
gotta try every option
And she's sharp as a tack, with a calm, willing mind. 
nose in, nose out
She never says no. She just keeps trying. She puts a smile on my face every single day.

And I guess I'm left with the question:
and sometimes she gets it right
How exactly would she be nicer? 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Training the Not-Hot Horse: The Unexpected

Small observations about Zoe-keeping that definitely caught me by surprise:

1) When there are no withers to keep your ass in the center, riding bareback requires actual skills and muscles
not pictured: skill or muscles. Plus Zoe and Lewis the Corgi.
pictured: both skill and muscles
In my defense, bareback riding hasn't been in my repertoire for many years, but now I have a horse that is safe, comfy, and fun. I'm working on it. Let's just say that.

2) It's almost impossible to keep her from putting her smooshy nose on everything--it's a part of her favorite game called "PUTS IT ONNA GROUND".
doorknob ONNA GROUND
I mean. Her smooshy nose is a major selling point so I'm not complaining. My barnmates might be less thrilled come winter and taking turns in the indoor.

3) It's nearly as impossible to pry visitors off said smooshy nose.
SMOOSH

I mean really.

4) She's a bit like keeping a buffalo in the barn--wooly coat, tape fences optional, and corner feeders are made to be removed when dinner isn't fast enough.
Courtesy of Courage Has Opinions

I'd say she's not my BO's favorite, but Courage definitely had his own set of challenging quirks that made him not-barn-favorite either. Let's just say she has be managed more like a force of nature than a horse. 

5) Zero-shits-given is Zoe's approach to life, which is fantastic and exactly what I need. It does require some mindset adjustments on my part though. 
hacking through the scary corner like NBD
I have a set of coping mechanisms I developed to deal with Courage's various antics. While they were useful at the time, they keep getting in the way of me riding Zoe effectively. Next up: putting weight in the right stirrup and breathing on windy days.

Zoe is such a fun horse to work with. I look forward to continuing to learn about her.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

App Review: DressMyHorse

As a founding member of a tack ho cult, I place a very high priority on outfit selection. Thus, when Horse & Hound did a write up the of the "DressMyHorse" app, I promptly mocked T for downloading it, then downloaded it myself to play with.

Full disclosure: it is a free app. I also got it for free. (Noted: search your app store for DressMyHorse with no spaces. Searching for Dress My Horse gets you some very bizarre results).

This app purports to allow you to try different looks on your horse without actually buying them. In theory, it's a boon for people like me who are HORRIBLE at visualizing the outcome of outfits.

In practice, it's SUPER IMPORTANT to remember that LIGHTING MATTERS.

To use this app most effectively, you really need a left side photo of your horse looking straight ahead. Zoe likes to look at me, so my photos are slightly skewed.


There are several manufacturer collections of outfits uploaded to this app. You can scroll through the available items, select what you want to try on, then upload it to the image of your horse (or several boring stock image horses) and voila! Well, not quite "voila" yet. You have the option to rotate and resize the different pieces to get them to match your horse's photo shape.
look book previews

Plus, once you put together an outfit that you like, you can save it to your "lookbook" and/or camera roll to discuss with your friends.
rotating and resizing the tiny boots is hard, ok? stop judging me
From the look book, you can send images directly to your friends and add items to an online wish list.

The actual operation of the app is a bit slow and clunky. Things take a bit to load and it's really hard to move boots around on tiny horse legs because your fingers are covering everything. That said, once you resize a certain collection, it seems to save the settings. 

For example, I dressed Zoe in LE Mieux Apparel:
fanceh
But then every time I did a different Le Mieux outfit, it automatically put the polos on like that. It's not perfect, but it's good enough to give you an idea of how it will show up. 
Now the real question: how does this pan out in real life? I actually have access to two of the outfits I put Zoe in (because tack ho), so let's look at them side-by-side from look book and real life:

Benetton blue Le Mieux and white boots

annnnnd IRL
And the plum set!

Plum Le Mieux set
















you'd never know i took both pics #fail
So I mean. It's not perfect. But the more I play with it, the more I enjoy it. It's super fun to try to put looks together and try things on. I thought I would hate it and instead I've spent waaaaay too much time on it.

To be more useful, this app needs access to more than just a couple fall lines, but if you want to entertain yourself for a slow hour on the cheap, it's fine. I wouldn't pay money for it, but it's fun to goof around with.
In terms of "does this app actually accomplish it's purpose", well, if the purpose was to convince me that Zoe NEEDS a peacock Le Mieux set AND shiny pink open fronts with an outrageous pad?

Yup, it totally worked. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

#plzshareunicornmagic RESULTS!!!

Edit: I intentionally leave world events out of the goings on for this blog. That said, last night's tragedy hits way too close to home for me. There is never a right thing to say or a best way to grieve.

I love me some fail photos and when Topline Leather offered to do a giveaway, it was the obvious contest choice.
actual quote. fo shizzle.
Let's do a top ten (ish) and count down to our lucky winner!!

Honorable mention: (because is it really a fail if it's an intermediate chevon)


10: (i applaud her enthusiasm and her photographer)

A post shared by Rhiannon (@rhiannonf77) on

9: (i love hampton too much to put him higher on a fail list)


8: (damn girl. damn.)

A post shared by New Equestrian Account (@diagonal_line) on

7: (oh nilla. you never disappoint.)


6: ("movement not required at this level")

A post shared by ✵Sierra✵ (@tr0tting_hooves) on

5: (jan's original photo was sans accouterments but i think they add a nice flourish)


4: (one of our contest organizers forgot to specify your insta needs to be public #itsme)

via Confessions of a Dressage Barbie


3: (this woman is my soul sister)

A post shared by Lauren G (@custard_lauren) on

2: (in high def omg)

A post shared by Kay Anne (@k.anne.equestrian) on

1: OUR UNICORN BIT WINNER (she stuck this. how.)



Thank you to all our contestants!! Definitely check out the #plzshareunicornmagic on instagram. There are some real doozies!!

Winner (and runner-up omg you get a prize too!!) will be contacted by Topline Leather to receive their prizes directly. Thanks for playing everyone--I'll catch you next year!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Bathtime Tips and Tricks: Zoebird Edition

Do you want your horse to have luscious locks like Zoebird?
O HAI
Then you should have gotten a horse with better genetics. JOKE'S ON YOU.

Giggle. I'm hilarious.

In all seriousness though, I live in a very challenging climate for hair--very dry, very, VERY dusty, sun that relentlessly sucks moisture out of skin and hair, and lots of fun static electricity. If you're like "wow that sounds like hair hell", well yes. It is.

Things that people with things like "humidity" and "clouds" can get away with don't fly here. Silicone-based products dry out hair, attract dust, and increase hair breakage. Goopy shampoos (I'm looking at you, Mane and Tail) and other similar options leave hair worse than you found it. (Also full disclosure: I am an unapologetic horse-hair-product snob who uses $2 shampoo on myself.)
can't argue with results tho

I think I've talked about Equifuse products before, but they are 100% the gold standard for primo equine hair care. You can order some of their line through Riding Warehouse (but not the things I like the best, which annoys me) or if you're local to me, you can contact the fabulous ladies at The Debonaire Mare for the full line up of products.

Anyways. Your next question is obviously "But SB! What products do I need??"

Here's what I do.

FULL BATH PROTOCOL

Step One: put a glob of the CFS coat shampoo in a bucket and dilute it with water. After wetting down horse, thoroughly sponge this in all over the horse's body, but ignore the mane and tail. We'll do those later.
photo by Equifuse

Noted: I treat the mane like the tail with the full conditioning treatment. If you are planning on braiding your horse's mane within a week of the bath, JUST USE CFS shampoo on it and NO CONDITIONER AT ALL.

Step Two: Rinse horse, bucket, and sponge.

Step Three: Take your Citrafoam Sulfate-Free shampoo and work up a lather in the mane and tail. I love this shampoo. It deep cleans without totally stripping the natural oils out and it rinses out so easily. None of that "spray the tail for 10 minutes straight and HOPE you got all the GODDAMN SOAP OUT to keep them from rubbing their tail". Nope. Lather in. Rinse out. Easy peasy.
photo by Equifuse
Step Four: rinse mane and tail

Step Five: Thoroughly work your CitraCreme conditioner into the mane and tail. This stuff is brilliant--it's lightweight and creamy and smells AMAZING and best part(!) moisturizes while leaving no residue. I try to use it about once a week in the heat of summer and it's freaking magical at preventing breakage from hair drying out. 
photo by Equifuse
Now the conditioner needs to soak in for a bit to get the full effect. I like to take this opportunity to do the next step.

Noted: if you're doing a bluing shampoo on white leg markings, this is also when I put it on so it can set up at the same time as the conditioner. 

Step Six: dilute Rehydrinse in 1-2 gallons of water in that bucket you already rinsed out. Apply to the horse's whole body (less the mane and tail) with the sponge you also rinsed out. 
photo by Equifuse
I'll be the first to admit that I looked sideways at "rinse" products. Like WTF rinsing is water taking the product off, not putting more products on? 

So don't think of it as a rinse if that's off-putting to you. It's like a super lightweight leave-in conditioner for the whole body that leaves the hair teddy-bear-soft without the gross slickness you get from things like Show Sheen. 

In the summer, I just put it on and let the horse drip dry while I do other things. Now that I'm contending with more hair, I scrape it off and still get that nice softening effect in the hair. 

Step Seven: rinse out the conditioner in the mane and tail (and any whitening products you left in). 

Hang in there. You're almost done. 

Step Eighth and Last: Put Gleam on your fingers pretty generously and run it through the mane (if you're conditioning the mane) and tail (no excuses). 
photo by Equifuse
Think of it this way--the CitraCreme conditioner does the deep conditioning. Gleam just kinda seals up the moisture and protects the hair. 

It's pretty fabulous. 

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but I go from grabbing my wash bucket in the tack room to putting it back in under 30 minutes and the difference in Zoe's mane, tail, and coat is AMAZING. In the dry, hot summer I try to make time for a quick bath every weekend. September-May, it's just kinda on an as-needed, as-weather-allows basis.  
fall baths are a lot wetter

However. We're working ammies here so here are some short cuts for the days you can't just go full-on spa treatment. 

1) I can stretch time between baths if I spray the mane and tail with conditioner as part of my grooming routine. I use Tarra's recipe: put a glob of Gleam and a glob of CitraCreme conditioner in a spray bottle and mix with water. Shake well. Spritz daily. 

If you're a person who likes spraying shit on things, you can also buy the Shine Spray. I'm told it's more of a body-spray like Show Sheen or what have you. I call it $20 I don't need to spend. 

2) If you're on a REALLY TIGHT time frame and need to just get in and get out, you can totally get away with just spraying your horse down and throwing a little gleam in her tail. 
unrelated riding pic

NOTED: I am neurotic about not leaving sweat on a horse. It bleaches the coat, dries out the hair, and creates that nasty "brown panda" summer look that makes me gag. Wear helmet and rinse sweat: every time, every ride. 

Who else has a bathtime routine? (And if you now think I'm crazy, blame T who apparently thought I hadn't written enough bathing posts.) 
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