October 10 Questions

October 10 Questions from Liz from In Omnia Paratus!

  1. Most equestrians quote fall as their favorite season to ride. Are you one of those that does? Or maybe not; what is your favorite season to ride, if so?

I hate the fall. I’m an odd one yes, but I’ve always HATED fall. I hate losing daylight, I hate it getting cold, and I hate, Hate,  HATE the angle of the sun. I  HATE THE ANGLE OF THE SUN! I have always had the worst headaches of my life in the fall. So there is that. Plus the impending doom of the winter doesn’t help either. At least after winter there is spring, but after fall there is only winter…

So no, I’m not a fan of fall. But the riding weather is great.  If only it stayed lighter and the sun wasn’t so deadly!

  1. Do you clip your horse in the fall? Or maybe you wait a little longer?

I clip Jiminy (less his head and legs) in the fall. I should have clipped him in September and then again in November, but I was lazy and waiting until last week so I don’t know if I can get away with one clip or if I’ll have to clip again in December… Last year I did a bib clip in September and full clip in November. Either way, fall has just been way too warm.


If I’m going to ride Batty,  I’ll probably do a modified chaser clip soon. It’s still so warm that he’ll be fine unblanketed for several weeks and since he’s so fuzzy, he’ll probably be more comfortable anyway. He gets 1 clip for the season and  that’s it.

  1. Have any costume riding events in October on/near/around Halloween? What will your horse be dressed as? What about yourself? What would you dress as if money/time were absolutely no issue?

Nope. Not a costume person, but I’m sure Jiminy could be fun to dress up…

  1. Is your horse afraid of any autumn colors? Or maybe has a certain quirk that appears only in the autumn?

Nothing that I can think of… I’m sure the hoovers try and eat dead leaves but….

  1. Pumpkin spice. It’s everywhere right now. Find any natural pumpkin [squash] spice-esque recipes for your horse?

Haven’t tried anything. I’m sure Jiminy would eat anything. Subi wouldn’t. And Batty could go either way (he says yes to everything but fig newtons, bananas, watermelon, and cough free powder).

  1. We’re getting to the end of the calendar year, any final few “big-bang” shows to look forward to?

There was a show this weekend but I decided I’m broke and no more shows on Ranger this year. Just can’t afford it as much as I’d like to.

But, a friend of mine is trying to convince me to do a schooling dressage show on Batty in the  beginning of December. Forget the fact I have never ridden a dressage test in my life… So we’ll see about that one… Since  it’s close and I can haul myself and no trainer fees and I can do 1 test, I could swing it. We’ll see…

  1. Winter is coming. What are you doing to winterize your trailer/rig/car?

Errg. My trailer is only about 4 years younger than me… It’s survived this long… Meanwhile I plan to actually take my truck to the car wash this winter to make sure  we wash the salt off the bottom of it…

  1. Do you have any autumn traditions you/your horse follow?

Survival? Hopefully some trail rides… is it even fall if it’s still in the 70s and 80s? Seriously PA?

  1. October in many places marks the beginning of deer hunting season. Does this affect your riding at all? Do you wear blaze orange or modify your schedule to accommodate the season?

When I take out trail rides, we do try and remember to wear orange/neon yellow vests and talk a lot. I think it’s either small game or bow and arrow season right now in PA? Hunting allowed except for Sundays in PA.

  1. What are you most looking forward to goal-wise as the final months of the calendar year approach?

Again, surviving. Also trying to actually ride and death of the bees! I definitely want to ride and maybe do the Black Friday paper chase at Fair Hill this year. I rode with strangers last year and had fun so we’ll see… Batty needs to get in shape!

Fair Hill FHI Musing (Part I?)

So I’m not actually sure how much of an actually recap this is going to be. My brain is still fried from Fair Hill almost a week later but I do have a lot of media to post. Most of it I haven’t even started sorting through. Hopefully over the next week or so I’ll post some of it.


Tayler Stewart and Ideal Contini — I’m in love with this horse, especially after watching the pair’s stadium round. 

Overall, it was a great year at FHI and the first year I managed to attend the event in its entirety (though Sunday morning I needed to drag myself out of bed and if I didn’t have my volunteer shift, I’m not sure if I’d have gotten there for the 2* or 3* stadium–I’m glad I did!).


Grace Fulton and Wild Orange

High level takeaways (I can’t seem to handle more than this):

  • The weather was less than ideal and I was  NOT adequately prepared and purchased more clothing than necessary including first a grey cowl because I was freezing despite wearing what I though were enough layers and a blue FHI jacket that Michele talked me into (not really but it’s fun to blame her for all purchases like those boots this summer…). I really needed gloves, but I was too lazy to drive home and get gloves and refused to buy any (the only really warm gloves were in the Dubarry booth and I don’t buy nice gloves or I cry when I lose them).
  • I lived on the crab soup.

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan

  • I wish I had ventured in to the tea tent before Sunday. OMG the tea was amazing and the volunteer tent had coupons for free tea… I could have used that… every day?
  • The cross country course walk with Jennie Brannigan and Tim Bourke was incredibly interesting. Jennie had to leave part way through for YEH awards so we mostly walked the 3* course with Tim (who, by the way, was one of the NICEST people I got to meet and took the time to introduce himself and talk to everyone on the course walk). Media from this  to come. It was a shame he had so much trouble on cross country… I also almost crashed into him before his stadium round. I did NOT hear him almost walk RIGHT INTO HIS PATH as he was approaching fence 1 after resetting the damn Devoucoux fence… Sorry Tim! At least he and Obie went double clear…

Kevin Keane and Sportsfield Candy

  • So nice to meet people including Michele, Emma,  Rachael, and others!
  • My dog is a traitor… Turns out she decided she will ONLY take french fries from Michele and when my friend Sandra walked away for a phone call, Hermione had a near panic attack… Thanks Hermione, I  love you too.
  • Had a nice chat Saturday with Muggle’s rider, Nilson Moreira da Silva. He told us that Muggle was exhausting to ride and hurt his back because he was such an athletic jumper. But Muggle looked exhausted at the end of cross country and barely made it through the last couple fences.


Cornelia Dorr and Louis M (So disappointed that stadium did not go well.  He looked exhausted and she looked tight.)


  • Saturday was probably the nicest day weather wise though I think they called for nicer weather on Sunday. Sunday rolled in rainy and freezing with predicted temperatures reaching 75… Yeah. I got there just in time for the CCI 2* Stadium and the wind was blowing and it was drizzling and I was again freezing. Reminded me of Thursday. I managed to survive the 2* before I hunted down tea and realized I couldn’t handle more  crab soup (until next year crab soup). Then in was time for JUMP CREW.

Will Coleman and Off The Record

  • Probably the most volunteer shift of mine was jump crew for the CCI 3*. There were 5 of us (include a 10 year old kid who worked HARD) and we got to sit in the middle of the ring surrounded by straw bales and probably had the best view of the course. The bleachers while OK did NOT provide the best view of the course. As jump crew, we had a few jobs: put the jumps back together, re-position poles (bow down) after hard rubs, and STAY OUT OF THE WAY OF THE HORSES (1 near fail was pretty good–sorry Tim!). In the CCI 2*, Buck often would tell the jump crew to adjust stuff so with 3 horses, we were afraid he’d be yelling at us, but thankfully no riders yelled at us to change things. We got off easy. While it was work, it was actually fun. And it was nice being IN the ring. Definitely volunteering for jump crew next year for both the 2* and 3*. Granted,  I somehow missed Boyd Martin though I obviously watched him and just failed to notice it was him. We were all sort of brain dead by that point. At the end we also reported that jump 13 was down when there was no jump 13 so…

Savannah Fulton and Brave New World

  • Afterwards we were asked to stay and deconstruct the rings. Pull down the flags, pull the plants, sort the plants, etc. Unlike some shows, the majority of the plants are on loan from neighboring nurseries and are returned afterwards whereas some larger H/J shows (IE: Devon) the flowers are  donated and sold after. The mums were donated and  the boy scouts were going to sell them. Which we didn’t  know. But, the people handling flowers just told those of us helping out if we wanted mums to grab them and hide them. So we each took 4 (of a million), stuck them in our straw hut, and went back to work. When we were leaving and carting our mums to our cars (since we were told we could drive in and then realized we couldn’t bring our cars in since no one had and extra vehicle pass) — thankfully a nice courtesy golf cart rescued us — we saw the boy scout mum sale. Oops.

Tamra Smith and Glock Pullman (So happy for her to get the win on Sunsprite Syrius.  She was so ecstatic after her stadium round! 

Anyway, more musings and media later, but overall it was a fun (and exhausting) 4 days!!

On an unrelated note, I finally opened my trailer and did  NOT get stung by a wasp. I also clipped this idiot…


On an unrelated note, I finally opened my trailer and did  NOT get stung by a wasp. I also clipped this idiot…


He’s lucky he’s cute and seriously easy to clip (though he requires the big clippers for  EVERYTHING… I can’t do anything with my Andis clippers on him… not even his face… which won’t get clipped till spring.)



Ranger Recap: “I have to warn you, it hasn’t been a good day.”

Following abnormally warm weather, today was wet, cold, and miserable and a nice day to ride in the toasty indoor ring. Which was why we were enjoying the wet and windy weather in the puddle filled outdoor… (by the time my lesson started, we enjoyed all these things under the lights).

It’s never a good sign when I show up and am immediately warned by some of the other students that EVERYONE has fallen off today, including the trainer’s daughter who was bucked off by one of her ponies. Great. So I grabbed a mud covered grey and brown paint version of Ranger, worked on grooming, and contemplated my escape. Eventually he was clean and the rider in the lesson before came in and chanting, “I DIDN’T FALL OFF! I DID’T FALL OFF! I DIDN’T FALL OFF!” I’m pretty sure there were cheers… That can’t be a good sign. Her mom told me things were crazy out there and asked if she was sure I wanted to go out…. That made me wonder if NOT falling off was the success of the lesson, not the that the lesson was fabulous…

Anyway, I looked at Ranger, stuffed in his mouth, tossed on my helmet, put on his bridle, and headed out to see my fate…


Just keep looking at that face…

A lunge lesson was finishing up and a 5 year old was battle her once slow now speedy pony around the ring at the canter. As I walked in the ring, my trainer looked at me and said, “I have to warn you, it hasn’t been a good day.” Way to instill confidence… Ranger and I took off trotting and I could see what she meant. His attention was NOT on me. But we trotted and trotted and trotted. And trotted through puddles where I insisted he use as much energy as possible (he did NOT appreciate that that was the only stop he could speed up — the HARD PLACE — but still, his attention was NOT on me. And things didn’t improve when the lunge lesson and the 5 year old headed out for a short walk around one of the fields and proceeded to leave the gate WIDE OPEN which angered Ranger immensely. He tried to insist on leaving the ring and then when he realized that was NOT happening, he tried to speed towards the gate. Yeah, no. Gate was soon closed but speeding attempts continued so we added some halts and backs much to his chagrin… We eventually added some circles, but while they looked decent, he was never really with me. That said, he was lovely at the canter which lately has been our best gait. Leg required through out sticky, puddle side, some upward tugs required heading towards the in gate, because gate = fast, but nothing that took much effort.

We started working back and forth over our outside single. First starting the “easy” direction then the hard way. First time was actually perfect mostly because we didn’t rush and I didn’t overthink. It’s amazing how that works. Now if only we could end there. Second, “hard” direction, was less lovely but… effective? Mostly we worked on upward tugs to keep him from dropping his monster head and dragging me to the fence. But, the spot was ugly so in my opinion = fail. Evidently the exercise was not about the spot but about the ride and the ride was fine, but… since it didn’t all come together… I don’t like bad spots and I have appear to have an abnormally good eye so not that we’re making me adjust too many other things, I’d not always able to adjust to the spot I should get and I HATE IT. Evidently I’ll get back there once I get used to getting him back on his butt… Grr. Repeat first “easy” direction and instead of being good it sucked. I turned late, didn’t ride to the spot I saw, rode the right side of the jump, chipped it, yeesh. Ugh. I think we repeated this and then when I remembered to TURN (and use both hands) and give the TINIEST of tug ups in the corner because a certain pinto was convinced he knows EVERYTHING, the jump worked. Amazing. When I do things right things work? Then the hard way I got him on his butt with some tugs, allowed him to move up and get a bit forward because it was just easier and he was extending, not pulling, and thankfully the jump worked.


He can talk you into anything…

We then did this same lovely exercise with our straw bales. First time going towards the road the jump was fine, but SOMEONE decided to act abnormally and drag on the landing (going away from the barn?!). So we eventually halted, backed hard, and repeated the jump (to a less great spot that I tried not to dwell on but dwell indeed since I’m remembering it now). Landed, got a lovely halt (I lifted coming in since he was trying to drag me to something in the corner… the jump, the gate, who knows….), backed just because and then was told to do it the hard way…. Strangely enough, the hard way, heading DIRECTLY TO THE GATE, was actually easier? Mostly because we weren’t picking up our canter while heading to the gate and had time to stabilize? He was forward, but listened and got off his front end and the jump felt fabulous.

We then moved to the “hard” inside line which, once I figured this line out 2 weeks ago (when it took most of the lesson), it stopped being hard. The line was super easy (it’s a stay out on the rail forever and then turn with both hands. The line does NOT work if you turn early — well, you can get the second jump to work, but the first jump doesn’t work) and the height didn’t bother me at all! I even forgot about the puddles.

We ended with the evil jump, Straw bales around the stupid boogey jump (the weird inside single that Ranger likes to bolt towards half the time). The turn is hard mostly because I turn way too late and then add the fact that I’m usually trying to prevent someone from taking off… Mostly I have a fear of this jump. Bribe was jump well and end… Gahh. So, we did the straw bales towards the road landing correctly (thank you Ranger!) and I actually remembered to turn my head AND tug up a couple of times. The turn was supposedly perfect though I was a bit conservative and the spot wasn’t quite there (I held more than I needed to because I don’t trust him AT ALL on this jump). But, thankfully we’re focusing on the ride, not the distance and it was awful (I wasn’t thrilled, but when am I if the spot isn’t perfect?). But we decided to take it as I did what I was asked to do.

But we are poorly behaved when we want to GO OUT or EAT TREATS

​All in all, we were successful and supposedly won the night. We did much more than stay on and had a fairly normal and strong lesson. I love Ranger. He’s fun and just enough of a challenge to keep things interesting. And we get along. As my trainer said, we’re soulmates. Though, it’s really just all the treats I stuff into him to keep him tolerating me…

Happy 11th Anniversary Subi!

Yesterday marked Subi’s 11 year anniversary with me.

He was young and spry 9 year old when he joined the family.

He’s now a 20 year old retired senior with some arthritis and hind end issues that are starting to slow him down, but he’s still my quirky and lovable chestnut.

It’s been an interesting ride and he was the one who started me down this road towards madness and I wouldn’t have it any other way… except on those days he chooses not to eat.


Thank you Subi for 11 wonderful years. Here’s to many more with my Subliminal.

(He celebrated with carrots and peppermints in his breakfast)

Countdown to Fair Hill

It’s Fair Hill week, one of my favorite times of the year! Of course the weather here is anything but typical for early October (yesterday’s 80 degrees, rain, and 95% humidity was disgusting…). Still, I cannot wait for this week!


So close!

Sunday I had the fun and (mostly) frustrating experience of helping set up the dressage rings for Thursday and Friday. All I can say is when it’s drizzling, windy, and all you have is tape measurers and NO LASER, it’s nearly  impossible to line everything up.


Stupid line isn’t straight…

Especially the corners.

And when you can’t  have any gaps in the boards on the judge’s side, things get interesting…


Sadly this wasn’t the problematic ring… I didn’t take a picture of the one that almost made me cry…

Just saying. Straight lines and right angles are hard.

And they shouldn’t allow perfectionists and anal people to work on these things either…


Taking a picture while driving probably wasn’t the best idea but… 

Next Sunday I’m on jump crew for the CCI 3*. If you’re in the area and wish to volunteer, there are  plenty of opportunities still available. Perks of volunteering include free admission for the entire weekend.

Ranger Recap: Riding through it

Thursday evening continue to be my Ranger time. Pretty much the highlight of the week. However, before I get to that, the REAL highlight of the week might be this gem I found at work.


Books, glorious books


As a librarian doing collection review, we’re currently trying to weed the collection (it’s a 5 year project that involved 3 million books…). Anyway my subject areas are health sciences and agriculture. Fine. But, somehow under health sciences I also have sports and recreation? Somehow it relates to athletic training which lives in the college of health science to which I am the library liaison (yay academia). Anyway, while working on that section yesterday, I found a book called the Big Red Machine. Instead of just looking at circulation stats, I actually opened it up to see if it was about Russia or Secretariat (answer: Soviets). But, this book is a GEM. img_5277

Anyway, I have NOT weeded it from the collection and will be reading it.


Seriously, this book is gold. 

More later.

the caption is priceless…

Ranger. Ranger. Ranger. What can I say. Last lesson he was SLOW and just wanted to eat cookies. Last night? Slow? Yes, at the trot he was slow.

We had a GORGEOUS canter. That canter should have warned me he was not going to repeat last week’s slowness. Canter took NO effort and NO leg.

We warmed up with my FAVORITE think (sarcasm). Cantering a half circle over our log jump. Left lead was amazing. We had a nice pace, turned with both hands and when I remembered where I was going on the landing, we actually picked back up the correct lead (user error). Right lead? Well, other than that one time when I forgot to keep my leg on him and saw a really nice, but long spot and Ranger laughed in my face and ducked out to the left… So then I remember to keep my leg on and it was fine… Thanks Ranger. I don’t know, I HATE this exercise but it is good for me. Pace was LOVELY. This would NOT last.

We then cantered down the long ride to second jump of our inside line (going the wrong way) with the stone pillars. From here, we were to continue to the other inside line (green line). Last week I had a HELL OF A TIME with this line so the goal was to remember to STAY OUT using both hands and then turn using both hands. To the first jump he felt a touch strong but was OK and then we nailed the line that we struggled with. All it took was 6 times last week for me to finally figure it out. Go figure…



From here, we repeated those 2 jumps and then continued down our outside single towards the barn and then continued around to the inside line doing the whole line the correct way. So, again, towards the first jump, he was strong, a touch stronger and I tried to lift, but didn’t. Then we needed NO LEG to the next line, but again the first jump was lovely. The single was actually OK (but a touch quick) for feeling HUGE since no one put the jumps down and it was legit LARGE but Ranger doesn’t care and then the inside line which concluded at what felt like a massive oxer (again, legit big oxer because no one put the jumps down) and I curled up in a ball… We made it through, but it was ROUGH.

So after chatting about somethings (and Ranger offering his thoughts about how he REALLY SHOULD  BE OUT IN THE FIELD WITH HIS FRIENDS BECAUSE ALL THIS WORK WAS ABUSE), we attempted the course again, this time my goal was to sit back and lift him up and not let him drag me around. The first fence was OK. I help him to a closer spot than I’d have liked, but he actually came sort of back to me and it wasn’t a RUSH AND BOLT type of fence. The green inside line a lovely. Since I’ve actually figured the entrance out, I instead focused on the middle and was able to tug up a bit and fit in a nice 6, rather than the OMG RUSH like the time before. We held the canter and a couple tug ups gave up a NICE outside single (though the thing was still huge) and then the inside line was NICE, like let go and just a slight tug and then sit and  wait nice. Somehow during the course I learned how to ride and Ranger remember to listen and it all worked out. And I didn’t curl up in a ball! What a nice change from the course before!


This is what we think of work. 

This was probably the first ride in a while that Ranger has been strong and forward and that I’ve been able to get him together without needing to halt and back which is our normal solution. We just continued doing what we were doing and kept him in check. I mean, he never truly got THAT strong (been there, done that), but definitely had his moments of “I want to go, Go, GO!” that were building on it that, but I think I stayed ahead of him this week instead of behind which I sometimes do. Either way, we ended after my last course (and  I realized I never actually freaked out out loud about the size of those 2 fences — sort of hard to do that when you’re trying to keep your horse in check…) which Ranger was super thrilled about.

He was less thrilled that he needed a shower and time to cool out… And was super impatient in the crossties… After inhaling carrots and being reminded he DOES know how to walk on properly, he politely waited for me to remove his halter in the field before galloping off to find his friends… Yep, no looking for more treats this week…


Me, poorly behaved? NEVER!

Nonetheless, he’s still the best. I may get a different ride each week (slow, quick, strong, heavy, light-ish), but he’s always the same, safe, honest Ranger who will NEVER stop at a fence, even if I bury him at an awkward, horrible spot (which I’m happy to say I rarely do). I’ll love him for that forever.


Riding the GIANT horse

In an attempt to make some money this weekend, I took a  few trail rides for friend/part time employer in additional to my usual Saturday barn lesson stuff. With good weather, I usually take out a trail ride most Saturdays, but I added in an extra on Sunday as well.

The past couple of months I’ve been riding Peter, our 25-27 auction rescue who isn’t actually quiet enough to put any clients on. He’s quick footed (though wonderful and will NEVER move beyond a nice, forward walk unless you ask him to), but has a pesky habit of not standing and well, hopping when asked to stand. And we have to stand quite often to wait for CT, our PERFECT trail horse, to catch up. His feet barely leave the ground, he’s not trying to rear, but it certainly would freak out any beginner. He’s getting MUCH BETTER  and  if  I ask him to turn and face the other horses, he rarely even does it anymore. But, nonetheless, he’s not client approved… Still, he’s a great trail mount for me, especially at a compact 15 hands… (well, he also doesn’t yet stand for mounting without being held, but that’s improving as well–he’s especially as he’s beginning to be used for light lessons). If it weren’t for his teeth, you’d have NO IDEA he was an old man!

Good old Peter!

So, imagine my surprise on Saturday when I looked at the board and saw my 3 person trail ride has a 5 horses and I had the options for Heidi (our hafflinger mare who I adore, but she’s NOT relaxing), Seairra (No, just no. A TB who gets ridden 1x/year. NO. Not my ride anyway.). And Sam, a boarder’s belgian/TB cross who stands a whopping 17.3/18 hands at 6-7 years old. I chose Sam. A friend of mine joined me and ended up taking Peter (why he wasn’t on the initial list, no freaking clue).

Sam is actually pretty awesome so I took him out again on Sunday. He has issues that are pretty much user error. He’s big and stupid, but generally wants to be a good boy. But his ground manners are atrocious. Which is why, when the first girth a grabbed didn’t fit, my saddle ended up crashing to the ground. I was NOT HAPPY. I ended up needed a 56″ girth AND  girth extender. Holy crap. He had some time off while his owner debated selling him…? Not his fault. But,  I really want to play with him in the ring because he’s so freaking fun.


Giant nose for a  giant horse…

Anyway, Saturday we stayed in the back of the  pack while Peter led the way and just had a ball hanging out with the slow pokes, chatting and meandering around. He’s such a good boy. It was chilly and the wind was blowing, Sam did NOT care, even when a bicyclist almost ran him down…

Sunday he led the way of our 3 client trail ride and was happy to lead. He was bold and brave and forward. I worked on leg yields and bending on the trail and he went from being an 18 hand board to flexible and fabulous. I can’t wait until I can play with him in the ring!


It’s not the angle, he really is that big…

Today my arms hurt. I could barely reach to get the saddle on his back or his bridle on (I need a step stool). But, I had fun with Sam! If only his ground manners were better! 18 hands of baby horse… Oy. He’s actually not bad, just … annoying on the ground.

Sam pictures from last summer,  he’s not any smaller, but normally the 54″ fits. This weekend it was a 56″ AND girth extender… So I guess he’s rounder and/or grew? He’s still young… Damn.