Happy anniversary!

Tuesday was my 2 year anniversary of owning Ricky Bobby. I can’t believe 2 years have flown by. We are really starting to come together as a team now and I trust him and feel like I know what he will do in most situations. He has helped me in so many ways. My confidence has come such a long way and my fear/anxiety have diminished to the point where I could canter a little course in my lesson tonight with no fear! This horse has changed my life and I can not thank him enough. It really takes a long time to build a relationship with a horse and we are getting there. Happy anniversary sweet boy and hopefully there will be many more!

I think he liked his present 🙂                   We had a perfect lesson too!

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Straight Shot Metal Smashing!

Now that I am getting back into the blogging thing after my short break I wanted to thank Beka at The Owls Approve for the lovely charms she made for me. Beka has a shop on Etsy called Straight Shot Metal where she makes custom bridle charms, bracelets etc. I ordered one bridle charm with a Latin phrase (Fortunam Iuuare) which translated means “fortune favors the bold”. I am a history nerd and also need a little reminder now and then to be braver, especially when I’m jumping. Beka kindly sent me 2 charms and a key chain! I am super impressed with them. They are really well made and I have been riding in them for a few weeks now. I am using one on my saddle and another on my jumping bridle. I like them because they are unique. I love skulls and edgier stuff and these charms are awesome. I have been eyeing her dinosaur charms because well, dinos are awesome. Everyone should go and check out her site. Thanks again Beka!

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Kastel Denmark Charlotte sunshirt review

I really don’t know how I rode in the summer before I found Kastel Denmark shirts. I prefer to wear long sleeve shirts as much as possible but in the summer here it gets really freakin hot. In Eastern Canada it is usually around 20-25 degrees Celsius in July and August and can feel much hotter with the humidity. Last summer I was mostly wearing t-shirts and some long sleeve Champion shirts I had. Both were ok but the Champion shirts were a little too hot for anything over 20 degrees and I hate wearing sunscreen and then sweating so the t-shirts weren’t ideal ether. I started seeing more and more people riding in sun shirts and I started researching. I tried the Tailored Sportsman Icefil, Under Armour Heat Gear and the Champion ones and I liked them all but only the TS came close to keeping me cool on the really hot days. I sweat. A lot…So I kept looking.

I read Amanda at the $900 Facebook Pony’s review on the Kastel Denmark Charlotte shirt and I knew I had to try them. Amanda has not steered me wrong on a tack review yet. I purchased four of the Charlotte shirts from Riding Warehouse (they special ordered 2 colors for me and are the nicest people to work with) and I’m in love. I have the peach/white, navy/white, black/navy and royal blue/white. I have been wearing the shirts for over a month now and they are really perfect in all weather conditions (maybe not blizzards). They are great for slightly cooler weather, around 15-18 degrees. For warmer rides the meshy material on the underside of the arms cools you off as soon as the slightest breeze hits it. It has been pretty hot here, 25- 27 degrees and I was fine. I have ridden in them for jumping lessons, hacks, schooling and barn work and I don’t feel any different than wearing short sleeves. They are actually better because when a breeze hits the mesh it really does cool you down. I have been living in them since I got them. I still wear my TS one but only when all my Kastel shirts are dirty and I’m too lazy to do laundry.

The white shirt is an Ariat show shirt also purchased from Riding Warehouse and the others are two of my Kastel shirts.

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Black/navy-

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I can’t recommend these shirts enough!

Weekend and lesson recap/ sorry I have been MIA

So this is an old post from 2 weeks ago that I drafted but didn’t get around to posting. Life got really way too adult for me and I had no time to blog and honestly I just didn’t feel like it. Anyway things are back on track now and I figured I would post this anyway since I wrote it. I will be getting back to keeping up with this blog this week. Thanks to anyone that is still reading. 🙂

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Last week due to the Canada Day holiday (Happy Canada Day all) I only had one lesson on Thursday. It was a private and it had some really good moments and some really bad ones. I had a good talk with my coach after and I am going to try to focus on the positive parts of each lesson/ride and not dwell on the bad. The bad parts were my hunchy shoulders have returned over fences and my none-committal distance finding caused RB to run out on a fence and another time I pulled him out because I thought our distance would be dangerous. My coach confirmed it was not in fact dangerous. Sigh. I’m trying not to be hard on myself because I am learning still and until a few months ago we were only consistently jumping cross-rails so 2’3 is way different and harder and I have a wonderful, tolerant horse who never holds a grudge. Positivity.

Good parts- jumping 2’3, release overall better and jumping tiny oxers. The takeaway from the lesson was putting RB’s shoulders where I want them. Amazing how you get your lead when you are straight… The whole lesson was gymnastics which I really enjoy. I’m still using a neck strap and it is really helping me feel where my body should be. I’m still sitting up a bit early but its better.

I was on a mini vacation from July 1st to the 5th. I rode every day! Lots of good schooling rides and hacks. I finally decided not to hack RB on the trails anymore. He just does not enjoy it. He is spooky and tense the whole time and it’s no fun for either of us. We do have two giant fields that he does like hacking in so we will just do that. Why torture him? He’s a hunter princess and trails are not fun for him. I love hacking in the fields so it’s all good. It was a great five days off and I’m sad to be back at work this morning but I’m off Fridays for July and August so I shouldn’t complain right?

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Pony also got his toes trimmed. It was apparently very tiring.

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My husband’s uncle took this pic in a local grocery store parking lot- so funny

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Blog Hop – Every day tack set up

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I saw a few other bloggers do this hop and I’m excited to do it too. Thanks to Stephanie at Hand Gallop for the great idea. Reading about other people’s tack setups is fun and dangerous. I want all the tack…

Saddle- Prestige Boston. I love my saddle. I’m lucky since it came with RB so it could have been a bad fit for me. It has a forward flap and its super comfy. It fits his high withers well and made me a huge Prestige fan. My leathers are no name brand from the local tack store. They don’t stretch and match my saddle. My stirrups are Jins and I like them. I love the wide foot-bed and how grippy they are.

Girth- Until recently I was riding in an old no-name fleece girth. It’s getting shabby and harder to get clean. I wanted to try something new so I bought a Professional’s Choice Ventech girth. They are really popular right now but RB was not a fan. He made his opinion quite clear. Several boarders at my barn have the Total Saddle Fit AP girths and I was able to try one. RB loved it so I ordered him one. They are anatomical girths and I really feel a difference in RB when I rode him in the TSF girth vs the PC one and the fleece one. It should arrive this week so I will write a review once I have ridden in it a few times.

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Bridles- I have 2 Vespucci fancy stitch bridles. One has the contrasting padding and the other is just plain. I LOVE these bridles. The leather is soft and I like how they look on RB.

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Bits- Flatting- D ring snaffle with a copper lozenge.

Jumping- Hollow mouth French link Pelham.

Saddle Pads- I love Ogilvy baby pads. I have a few I rotate between and my favorite is my black Jump Profile Pad. It has billet loops so it doesn’t slip at all. I also have an Ogilvy half pad and I love it too. It really helps my old guy’s back and is super comfy for me. I have been wanting to try EcoGold because I have heard a lot of good things so that might be my next saddle pad purchase.

Boots- RB wears fleece lined front and hind boots by Valena. They are good, basic boots but lately I have had my eye on the Equi-Fits.

That’s it really. Pretty simple setup. This was a really fun tag to do.

Weekend Adventures

This weekend was my father’s birthday (Happy Birthday Dad!) so we had dinner and cake with my parents on Saturday. I did squeeze in a quick ride on Saturday beforehand. RB was very spooky and distracted but I got him to focus on me by doing lots of 15m circles around jumps and random stuff in the ring. When he was more relaxed we moved on to cantering a pole course that were set up. We did a line in 4 strides and then an exuberant 3 (he LOVES poles) and some single poles on the diagonal. He was getting strong again and spooked at my husband P, who was kind enough to come hang out with us at the barn and was sitting in the same spot he had been in for the last 45 minutes. Sigh. The good thing is it used to bother me when RB got spooky and now I just laugh or get irritated. I realized later that some horses were playing and running on the other side of the arena so he was likely worked up by that. We finished with some calm stretchy trot and he got grass and minties.

Not a great pic but P tried.

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I had to pick up some more fly spray and Stud Muffins for his highness and I wanted to try a new girth too. We are currently using a sad, old, fleece, no name girth that came with RB when I bought him. It works fine and he likes it but it no longer washes up nice and I had heard good things about Professionals Choice girths. I happened on a used one for a decent price in RB’s size so I picked it up. Big. Mistake. RB is sensitive and he can be picky about tack. I could feel him kind of sucking back as soon as we walked away from the mounting block. We started just walking around on a loose rein and he wouldn’t walk forward. Trot was the same and he was swishing his tail and giraffing around. He only seemed comfortable in canter but it wasn’t his normal canter, kind of compressed. The only thing different was the girth. Several people at my barn have the Total Saddle Fit girths and one girl was kind enough to volunteer her’s for me to try. I hopped off, did a quick girth swap and we were off again. RB felt a lot better. I think he was still slightly pissed about the other girth but he moved out more normally and we were able to have a good ride. So… I went home and ordered the girth. I will review it here once I have used it. The weather wasn’t bad over the weekend. I’m only working Monday and Tuesday this week and I’m excited for a little 5 day vacay.

Pony treats!

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Lesson recap and a few random things

Monday’s lesson ended up being a flat lesson because we have had so much rain lately that both our outdoor arenas are flooded. It was ok. We started trotting large and doing 10m circles in each corner and at B and E. To the left went ok but to the right I was struggling to keep RB connected. We moved on to trot serpentines and sat the trot. This went ok but again I need to work more on my sitting trot. To finish up we did canter serpentines with simple changes. It was really hard to get RB back in time to trot on the center line and than the correct bend to pick up the canter all in the smaller indoor. This means I need to work on my aids. RB was a bit strong too so he was pulling a bit and not listening as well as he could be. We did have a really nice serpentine at the end though. All in all a decent lesson with lots of takeaways for work to be done. Flat-work is hard.

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Thursday’s lesson was actually pretty good. We did a quick warmup of spirals and smaller circles. I need to be able to move RB’s shoulders better so this helped me really control pace and path and focus was on not picking with my inside rein. We started over a small gymnastic, cross-rail one stride to a small vertical. My position was overall better and the grab strap is a good visual of where to keep my hands. We moved on to a 4 stride line. The first time through RB got excited and we did it in 3. My coach told me to really sit up and hold with my body in the line and we were able to get the 4 nicely a couple times. One time we had a weird chip and I pulled. That was the only time though so improvement right? Then we did a course- up the gymnastic which was now 2’3, down a vertical on the diagonal, up the 4 stride line and down a cross-rail on the other diagonal. I just really focused on pace and position and we had some nice moments. We got our changes too except one where I asked without half halting enough and RB kind of tripped and got mad and bucked. It was kind of funny. I also had a slight wardrobe malfunction. I have been breaking in new boots and not zipping them up all the way. Well the zipper went all the way down and my boot was flapping in the wind… I zipped them up and carried on. I think my boots are almost broken in now so the suffering is over… Why do boots have to hurt so much??

Just a couple things-

I’m sure you have all heard about the devastating fire at Crosby Stables. Miss Red Riding is a boarder there and her blog post has the info on how to help if you can. Please take a look- https://missredriding.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/fire/

A happier thing- Karley at All In is having a contest for her 700th post. Congrats. Check out her blog/contest-  http://dondeestahenry.blogspot.ca/2015/06/700-contest-time.html