Friday, August 18, 2017

FUN CONTEST! Only two days left to enter!

Thank you all for entering so far! Here is what we have for guesses:

Emma 31
Teresa 25
Karen 26
Jamie 28.65
Carly 25.3
Rachel 19.7

Make sure you enter today if you haven't already!  Share with others! :-)

Here is the link with directions and to enter:

Sunday, August 13, 2017


How about a contest!?  

Win a USG A/P Pad and Bonnet in dark green/brown with matching socks!

Here's how to enter:

Step 1: Comment ONE guess as to what our dressage score will be at the Area I Schooling Championships on August 20, 2017.

Step 2: Like my Facebook page, Instagram page, or Twitter page (or all three for a better shot at winning!)

Step 3: For more chances to win, share this post on your social media, become a blog follower, or even make a comment on a blog post between now and Championships!

Steps 1 and 2 MUST be completed in order to win.  If you guess correctly but you do not follow at least ONE of my social media accounts, you are not eligible.

The contest will end at midnight Eastern time 8/19/2017, which means you must guess before we ride our test the following day!  

If there are multiple correct guesses, I will randomly pick a winner.  If no one guesses correctly, the closest guess wins.  This contest is not affiliated with any social media companies or with USG in any way.  I receive no compensation, this is just for fun!

HINT: Our scores this year have averaged around 27.55 and ranged from 18.1 to 33.13.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Product Review: EssentialEryn Saddle Covers

If you are looking for affordable and well made fleece saddle covers, look no further than Essential Eryn!  Not only does Eryn make saddle covers, she also does polo wraps, saddle pads, quarter sheets, and more! 

I purchased two green plaid saddle covers, one for my AP and the other for my dressage saddle.  
She even added a little card and a bag full of peppermints!
I had wanted a Kensington green plaid, but after an exhaustive online search, I couldn't come up with anything.

not to be found
Instead, I reached out to Eryn on Etsy and she also confirmed she could not find that same plaid above.  But she sent me several other options to look at, and I ended up choosing the green/black plaid.

I am glad I did because it is super cute and matches my trailer tack room set up so well!

My AP Stubben saddle cover is getting pretty worn out and the elastic is going.  My dressage saddle has a nice DK fleece cover, but it isn't really big enough for the saddle.

The cover my saddle came with when I purchased it.  There is nothing wrong with it, and it is a pretty color, but there isn't great coverage for keeping it clean.

It has a big cantle!
So when I first opened the new dressage cover, it seemed huge!  BUT that is a good thing because it covers my dressage saddle really well.

Not only does the set up look nice (because we all know I love everything matchy-matchy), but the covers are well made.  That is important to me, because obviously it stinks to buy a pretty custom item and it falls apart.  The elastic is just right, the stitching is excellent, and the black webbing down the middle is sturdy.  Granted, I have them for less than 24 hours, but I can tell they will hold up well and it is not as though I abuse my tack haha.  The only thing that generally goes wrong with a saddle cover in my experience is the elastic will give out.  Because I bought this from a real person who handmade it instead of just from a tack shop, I am willing to bet if the elastic eventually breaks or gets stretched out, I can pay Eryn to replace it. 

Overall, I love the new covers!  Thank you, Eryn!  I will definitely be a repeat customer!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hilltop Equestrian Center Horse Trials - August 6, 2017

When I decided to only event this summer, I really only had two venues in mind where I knew we could get solid experience close to home, Hilltop and Green Acres.  The only two HTs in Maine are over three hours away, so I figured these two venues in NH were our best bet.  

We were back at Hilltop for the third time this year at the beginning of August.  I almost didn't bother sending my entry, figuring we had already done four events (two at each farm), but I thought it would be a good last schooling before the championships later in the month.  Plus, Hilltop does a year-end awards program that I have never participated in, despite having shown there since 2007!  So, I figured it was worth the experience and chance at winning a fun year end award.

It was the most perfect summer day and I had great ride times.  My friend and her 4-H kiddos were going to come watch again but ended up not being able to at the last minute, so I was alone.  This is fine except it makes for limited and crappy media haha.  When I arrived, it seemed pretty quiet, and I found out at the secretary's booth that the judge had overslept, so the dressage hadn't started yet.  Whoops!  LOL!  Everything was going to be about forty minutes behind, which meant that I really had plenty of time to walk my XC and take my time getting ready.  I even hand grazed Snappy for about twenty minutes and watched a few dressage tests because I had so much time to spare.

When I grabbed my packet, I noticed the XC jump list said the wrong division name at the top, so I asked to swap it out with the correct list of jumps.  This venue doesn't do a map, just a list of numbered jump names.  Remember this, as it will matter later on.

Snappy was calm and warmed up easily.  I really love how laid back she has become at shows and how she transitions from the warm up to the competition ring without any issues.  This took Dreamy quite a while to learn how to do, so I appreciate Snappy's lack of drama.  We had a decent test, no problems, and I was pleased with her effort.  I didn't think it was our best test ever, but I was in for a surprise when I saw an 18.1 on the scoreboard.  WHAT?!?!  
So calm
In a small division of three senior riders, I was sitting in second, as the first place rider (let's call her J) had a 16.something.  We both were discussing our shock at our scores while warming up to jump LOL.  J had also been ahead of me after dressage at the last Hilltop HT in June by less than a point but had a run out at the black drainage pipe fence.  I teased her that she wasn't allowed a run out today and then she could beat me haha!  I told her she better sit up, leg on, use the crop if needed!  She seemed surprised I would encourage her to beat me, but let's face it: this is for FUN and why would I wish her to have a run out again?  I don't care what place I am in as long as I give my horse a good ride and we have fun!

We had about an hour to relax before XC.  It was pushed back as well, so I tried to be smart by keeping an ear on which division was up and not be ready too early for XC. Once I had done a bit of trot and a few fences, the warm up area didn't seem to be emptying out, so I asked the steward if everything was OK.  I figured a rider had fallen. 😔  Instead, she said the division before me had been given the wrong XC jump list, so they were allowing riders to walk the course.  

Remember when I said I had been given the wrong XC jump paper?  Yep, they accidentally switched the two lowest divisions XC lists in our packets and not many had noticed.  I am SO thankful I did because it would have stressed me out to have to hand off my horse to a random person or tie her back to the trailer in order to run out and walk my course.  It's not a short course either, and it took a good fifteen minutes for everyone to walk around the big field and out through the woods and get back over to the XC warm up and start box.  So despite the fact I tried to only give us twenty-ish minutes to warm up, it was closer to an hour by the time I actually rode.  It's not a big deal, mistakes happen, and it was a GORGEOUS day without high heat or humidity, so whatever.  I think I may have been cranky if it had been 900 degrees or freezing cold haha.  Normally this farm runs well organized events, so one mess up in the ten years I have been coming here really isn't anything to get upset about.

The course was changed around for this event, as the last two had exactly the same course, so that was a good thing.  They even moved the start box this time, so we had to go by the warm up area and all the horses/people and snake through the field in a totally different way.  The jumps themselves were all things Snappy has seen before, with tables, logs, hay bales, coops, and the black drainage pipe, and she was absolutely brilliant!  She didn't want to canter through the long stretch in the woods (ah well), but she did canter between a couple fences in the field.  GOOD MARE!

We went clear XC and went I returned to the trailers, I saw J, as she had gone out right before me. Of course, I asked her if she had made it over the black drainage pipe the first time.  She laughed and said yes, but instead her horse stopped at the white coop, the second fence on course.  WHOOPS!  That was a bummer for her.  I knew if I could go clear in stadium we had another win.  Heck, I think I could have had four or five rails down and still beat the other rider in the division because of our fantastic dressage score!

We had another hour or so wait until stadium.  After all the walking we had done waiting for XC to start, I knew she wouldn't need much warm up at all.  I just planned to trot a little and pop over two fences.  The course was a simple figure eight this time, so no issues and even a bit of canter again, which was great!  Right now, her canter is much less careening out-of-control exuberant than it has been, but now she has decided she only likes the left lead, so that's the only lead she picked after each fence haha.  I had to bring her back to the trot, but that's OK because she still cantered a bit without losing her mind.  I have to remember it is going to be a lot of small steps to gain this mare's confidence!

So, to end another great day of showing, we finished on our dressage score again!  I think we have been in second after dressage and moved to first at every event this year haha!

So impressed with herself haha

So those scores will never happen again!  Generous judge!!

A 9 on rider position?  OK!
messy hair, don't care
Next up is championships!  AHHHHHH!!!! So excited!  😁

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Tack Review: If The Bonnet Fits

After seeing all the fuss about these fly bonnets from If The Bonnet Fits, I decided I had to try a few for showing, one for dressage and one for XC/stadium.  You can do any type of customization and they are a great price point.

These fly bonnets are well made and Sierra is super easy to work with.  I am not a huge bling fan, and seeing as my show browbands are already pretty snazzy, I did not want to overdo it with more bling on the bonnets.   But you can choose crystals and such.

And even more fun, she offers embroidery on the ears, so I had to do my favorite saying:

Overall, I am super happy with these bonnets.  The teal cording that I first asked for was no longer available, so Sierra ordered from a different supplier.  It took a little longer than maybe her regular turn-around time, but she kept me informed and I really wasn't in a huge rush anyway.  I ordered cob sized, as Snappy wears a cob sized bridle and a yearling sized fly mask (no joke), but when I order again, I think I will go with horse size.  At our last event, she shook her head because of a bug right before we went into stadium and the green bonnet half fell off.  :-(  It fits her, but just barely tucks under her crown piece on the sides, so I need more bonnet behind her poll.  My horse has a weird shaped head LOL!

You can see that while there is plenty of bonnet directly under the crown, the sides are too short.

I would highly recommend checking out If The Bonnet Fits if you are looking for a great fly bonnet for riding!  :-)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Snappy's Weird Skin Problem

My horse is strange.  She has always been prone to small scaly spots on her body, but generally they go away with a bath, good grooming, and maybe a dab of Vit E capsule or Derma Gel.  However, since last fall, she has had THIS crap on her elbow.

And how fun!  And she now has the same spots on her hip and thigh.  Even the hair is dark in these areas.  :-(

close up of hip - I don't know why it looks yellow/green but it is not in person

close up of thigh
I have tried a million OTC products and nothing works.  I have tried both triamcinolone acetonide cream and dermalone ointment (corticosteriod) prescribed from my vet and those did not work either.  And I tried them for days/weeks each, trying to see if it would just take time to work. 

Nothing works.  
Not pictured is Bag Balm, Vit E capsules, and Lotrimin which all did not work
I know she lies down on this side at night, so the best I can figure is that these are essentially bed sores or pressure sores.  She is bedded well with sawdust on stall mats, so it is not as though I am skimping on bedding.  It is not like I can wrap her elbow, her hip, or her thigh.  I am completely at a loss and my horse looks hell.  :-(

Thoughts?  Anyone dealt with this crud before?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Green Acres Stables Horse Trials - July 16, 2017

Snappy and I were back at Green Acres in mid July for another horse trials.  We were last there in May and had a great day.  It was MUCH hotter in July than in May though!  ;-)  There is no shade and we all sweltered in the heat, but it was a successful outing nonetheless!

Snappy has pretty much figured out this entire showing thing and is perfectly easy to unload, tack up, and warm up.  She doesn't have any anxiety any longer and will mostly eat/drink during the day (though I wish she would eat more!) without any issue.  It makes it much less stressful and way more fun to compete with a horse that is calm and willing.  I swear she is calmer in a crazy warm up ring with horses going every which way than she is when I ride alone at home!  Her many years on the track must be the reason why she is comfortable and unfazed by horses bolting and riders who cannot steer.  

Generally I am alone when I compete (or sometimes can drag my 13 year old along for pics), but this time around I have an entire tribe of support!  It was slightly overwhelming to have so many people and questions after being used to going solo, but I did enjoy it!  My horse friend Rachel met us there, along with her two young girls, and two 4-H kiddos and their parents.  At the last moment before I left the house, my husband decided to come along, which meant we had both children.  The only tough part of having a bunch of people is that there wasn't a lot of time for me to socialize, as I had to warm up for dressage, ride dressage, take care of horse, walk the XC and stadium, sit for about twenty minutes, and then retack and dress for jumping!  LOL!  And with dressage running late I did not have as much time between.  I like when things are pretty close together to eliminate wait time when I am by myself, yet with the heat is was nice to be done within about five hours of arriving.

Snappy warmed up fine for dressage but was definitely showing some stiffness.  Time to change the game plan with her IV injections and in speaking to my vet afterwards, I think it is time to change to or alternate with Adequan.  We put in a decent test for a 33.13, just four tenths of a point above the second place rider.  There were four of us in the pre-elementary senior division and all of our scores were within a few points.  We had a bobble in the first halt where she halted and then stepped forward her front right hoof when I put my reins in my left hand to salute.  It was not very graceful and was our lowest score at a 6.  The judge remarked that the halt was achieved but not sustained LOL!   Collectives were all 7s and 7.5s and overall I thought her rhythm and connection were good.  I cannot WAIT until we iron out the canter enough to move up though.  I am bored with Intro B and I know she needs to move up.

Cross country was an inviting course of 12 jumps, with much less packed into the front field than back in May.  It was a similar course to the one we jumped in May, but with a big serpentine in the middle which rode sort of awkwardly.  Snappy didn't look at a thing and jumped everything without sucking back or hesitating, but she wasn't willing to try a canter, which bummed me out a bit.   It is a much shorter course than we did at Hilltop, it was hot, and she was definitely a bit stiff, so I cannot complain.  There were two new 2' coops that I wondered what she would with, especially because they were bright new wood, but she didn't care at all.

We were able to walk around for about ten minute before we did our stadium course, which was full of good lines and flowing turns.  She hit a cross rail fairly hard in the beginning with her hind hoof, and I am surprised it didn't fall, but everything else was fine.  Plus, it woke her up enough to remember that even small crossrails need to be taken seriously!  We went clear in both XC and stadium to finish on our dressage score for the win!

Sorry about the video, especially my child with his thumbs-up thing in the XC section LOL!  I have no idea what he was doing.  I tried to cut out some of boring trotting around in XC.  The dressage test is only the second part since he forgot to start taping until just after the free walk.  Let's face it, the entire video is pretty boring, but the point of keeping/posting the media is for me to have it to look back on, not to entertain the masses haha!  ;-)

Green Acres HT 07.16.17 from Elizabeth Sanborn on Vimeo.