30 Years Young

Somehow I got stuck in the new block editor and can’t caption anything, so all the pictures of Pete not tacked up were taken last week to celebrate his 30th birthday. He is looking amazing this spring!!! The others are from Dusty and Pete’s riding time together from 2010 – 2015.

“10 year old Haflinger gelding. 16H $800”

Moments before Dusty had been sitting next to me on the couch and leaned over asking “When are you finding me a haflinger?” He had fallen for one at the barn Gem was in training at and wanted one of his own.

Mere minutes later I found that ad on Craigslist and had contacted the seller. Two days later we went to meet him. It was obvious from the moment we saw him that he was a) not a haflinger and b) not 10 years old, but it was also obvious we weren’t going to leave him in the dark and damp 8×8 stall with overgrown hooves and ribs showing.

So we brought him to Gem’s barn and quickly got to know him.

We still have no idea what his real breeding is. Likely a Belgian cross or some such draft breed with his coloring. Doesn’t really matter in the end. His exact birthday is also unknown but Gem’s is May 10th, so we chose to celebrate his then as well.

Pete has been an amazing horse to have around. He is scared to death on the ground and Wyatt still has to move very slowly and quietly around him and there are days where he shies even from me if I have a different hat on or a rain coat. I don’t know if that’s inherent to him or if someone beat the snot out of him, but nearly a decade later it hasn’t changed.

Under saddle though is a different story. The only other time Dusty had even ridden was 5 years earlier on our honeymoon trip in France. He got Pete and the world opened up for him. The two were a great pair together as Dusty is naturally athletic, doesn’t scare easily and has a great sense of humor. He goes with the flow even when that flow was Pete cantering sideways into a tree or nearly off a cliff. Pete needed someone who would laugh off his antics and Dusty provided that for him. Dusty needed a partner who was up for anything and always ready to go and that was Pete. I don’t think Dusty will ever find a better horse.

Pete is a trail boss and will go over, under and through anything without a second thought. He loves a good gallop and never puts a hoof wrong. What always really lit him up was jumping. Our barn in WI had a small xc course and those two would do banks, ditches and corners without batting an eye. Had we known Eventing was a thing back then (we were at a dressage barn and everything else within 2 hours was western) those two would have eaten it up. Had they been able to stay in the dressage court.

Dusty mostly retired Pete once Wyatt came around. He was 24 at the time and there just wanted enough hours with work and Wyatt. He stayed mostly retired until we moved to the rental farm in 2017 and Dusty tried bringing him out again. We trailered to Trainer’s facility for a fun ride and he went but then refused to be caught or come near us in the pasture for a week after.


He was done being a riding horse and that was fine with us. He was 28 after all and deserved to be retired if he wanted to be.


Now he gets to enjoy life with no pressures. He grazes and naps in the sun and gets his balancer twice a day in his stall. Two years ago I switched to Tribute feed and he has really blossomed on it. This is the best he has ever looked coming out of winter.


Summer makes me worry a bit as he doesn’t handle the heat well, but evening cool down showers and access to plenty of shade helps.

Happy Birthday Old Man Winter!! I have we have another 10 years with you.


New Items, Part 3 (and last I promise!)

For this I need all you bloggers to chime in please!

H’Appy needs a new bridle. The PS of Sweden I bought off Michele was meant for Gem and fits him ok enough. I love the dark chocolate color and the padded monocrown but otherwise it’s a bit meh for me. Plus, the throat latch snapped so I’ve been riding without one. No real big deal, I’m not sure that strap serves much of a purpose but still. I’d like a fully intact bridle for him.

Love how it matches the saddle perfectly

I looked at every single bridle that both my local tack stores had and didn’t really like any of them enough to buy. He has a sorta wonky shaped head too. The PSoS is a cob but the noseband is on the last hole and the brow band/crown is a bit tighter than I’d like. The cheeks though – those fit perfectly. I think maybe a horse size would be a bit better and more adjustable.

Donkey ears need an anatomic crown piece

Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • True dark chocolate brown. He is so orange and his saddle is a dark brown that any hint of orange in the bridle would be awful looking.
  • Removable flash or none at all. I don’t use it and won’t until I get with a trainer I love and they suggest I do. The less the better when I’m on my own and that little tab sticking out annoys me.
  • Padded nose and crown
  • Anatomic crown. He has massive freaking donkey ears and needs room.
  • No patent, no loud stitching, not insanely wide. Plain, dark and simple for his already highly chromed out face.

If I’m buying new it needs to be $250 or less (what I currently have saved from my Color Street sales!) but I’m perfectly fine with used. I’ve never actually bought a bridle new outside of Gem’s endurance side pull, so used is great with me.

Love when they all line up to eat

Any suggestions? I’ve seen Lund thrown around a lot in blog land. Anyone have a bridle that would suit and is for sale? I love buying from bloggers!


New Items, Part 2

While I don’t mind covering my horse’s flesh in chemicals to keep them from spending hours on end stomping and shaking and being irritated, I do like a good natural alternative when possible.

My go to since my days in WI, circa 2010, has been Belly Balm. I love that stuff. Aloe based and greasy as all get out, it was perfect to rub on ears, noses, chins and legs. It stayed through rain and sweat like nothing I’ve seen before and smelled amazing. If you like citronella. I stumbled on it when Pete reacted to the bugs in WI with massive welts all over his stomach and it not only kept the bugs off, but healed those welts and sores over night. I loved that stuff. Can I repeat that again?

Belly Balm has been my go to natural fly protection for 9 years

So you can imagine my immense disappointment when I went to the local tack shop to pick up a new jar to find the shelf void of Belly Balm. The owner told me that Professional Choice bought the mom and pop company that made it and discontinued the product. Thank you Professional Choice. I hate you now.

I wandered the shop hoping to find an equivalent. She is into natural products so I figured she’d have something. I’ve tried the non chemical sprays but they don’t touch the SC bugs at all. Might as well spray water on the horses.

Tack shop lady pointed me to Clac which she ordered to try in its place. It’s an all natural cream meant to rub on in place of sprays and the jar is a bit silly stating that it is helpful to avoid the spooky spray noise. Sorry company but I’m not sponging fly deterrent all over my horse. I don’t have 10 hours. Still, if it could be used on sensitive areas that I don’t want to spray it, it was worth a shot.

A bright orange jar that comes with an applicator sponge under the lid. At first I thought it was going to be a big PITA but it actually made it a bit easier to apply and the horses didn’t seem to mind it

I’ve used it  in place of my beloved Belly Balm and it seems to work about the same at keeping the flies off. I actually really like the sponge application as it keeps my hands from getting gross and it also spreads a lot nicer, covering more surface area with less product.

All three horses got it rubbed around ears, under eyes, along the chin and I put a stripe down the center of their back from wither to tail and barely made a dent in the jar. It should last a good long while.

The cream base caught me a bit off guard. It went on really nicely though

It smells great, is easy to apply and kept the bugs away just as well as my old faithful. I applied it Sunday late afternoon and it then decided to pour in the evening. By Monday night, through two rains and a long sweaty day outside, I could still see and smell it around their ears and along their back where I put it on the heaviest.

A little went a long way. This went all the way from wither to tail.

I’m not completely appeased from the loss of my trusty green goo, but early results are promising. For now I’m happy to have any alternative available and the horses are happy to not be bothered with flies where I can’t safely spray harmful chemicals. The Big Orange Butthead still needs a leg protection solution though since I don’t really want to rub this all over his legs. The other two are in Shoo Fly Leggings which I’m a big fan of, but he wears bell boots up front and eh…I’m not sure I like the idea of using both together. I’ll figure something out soon as the bugs are back in town and he ditches shoes too easily without the added stomping.


New Items, Part 1: Tights

New tights shouldn’t be hard to find but ugh. They were.

The Irideon Issential tight has been my go to since I bought them at Rolex in 2012. They have stood the test of 7 years hard riding and still look brand new. Even after all that wear and all the washing they still fit perfectly. They don’t make them any longer which is a real shame.

While they are my go to favorite riding pants, they do lack a couple key features I’ve found myself needing of late: pockets and belt loops. I’ve also been curious to try a silicone full seat, so I started a journey to find a new pair of tights that had all the features I need.

My heart was set on the new Horsewear Tech Tight. They look really cool and have some neat features plus they come in red and orange horse be damned, I’ll be an eye sore for red pants. Farmhouse Tack has them in stock so I wandered up there to try them out last weekend.

Comfortable yet durable  and the sizing fit me perfectly. Too bad they lacked some key features I really wanted in a new tight. Pic stolen from their website.

It was a bust.

They fit pretty great and I loved the mesh waist band but they lacked belt loops and only came in silicone knee patches. Also, while they had a big pocket it was placed on the front of the thigh which just felt awkward walking around. 

I tried on a ton of other brands including the Kerrits Ice Fill but none were hitting the mark.

Then I found FITS.

Wow. They were perfect.

Light and comfortable I barely felt like I had clothes on while riding

Belt loops: check! Pocket: check! Silicone full seat: check! Light weight yet felt durable: check!

Really the only two issues I had were that they only had a single pocket and I was between sizes. I’ve lost enough weight that medium is now a bit big but I’m still too large for a small. I hate feeling stuffed in my clothes so I went with a medium in hopes they don’t stretch out with time.

Hey! Quit staring at my ass!

I then also grabbed a new Kerrits Ice Fill tank and let me tell you this. If you want to feel like you are riding naked get one of these. It feels like there is nothing on. A glorious feeling as the weather really begins to heat up down here. Love love love this tank and want to go buy a bunch more.

The color is called ink. It’s a muted blue that looks super sharp in real life though pictures  make it look more grey.

Not sure any of you like tights. After riding endurance for so long I can’t stand most materials that breeches are made out of. That plastic feeling crap makes my skin crawl and so many are stiff. I’m slowly converting to wearing a belt though so who knows. Maybe I’ll convert all the way some day. Doubtful though when tights are so darn comfortable. If you are in the market for a summer tight to get you through the hot months, I’d take a look at these and give them a try. I rode last night instead of studying (oops!) and never wanted to take them off. 


Tackling Issues Head On

Nothing earth shattering happening over here. I have ridden several times since last posting all focusing on the one lingering fear that haunts my riding: running off.

Now, H’Appy is not going to really ever run off. Maybe to the next patch of clover or to the in gate but let’s be real here. Fat Boy ain’t going nowhere. But…I really dislike the feeling that I’m not actually in charge. It makes me very defensive and defensive riding is not the best.

Starting to form a shape other than “round”

So my rides of late have been all about making sure Mister knows who says what. To that effect I set up a very simple line of two verticals set at 60′. While I had the tape measure in my hand I went ahead and measured the height and then scolded myself for jumping so low and moved them up a hole. To a whopping 20″. I told you nothing earth shattering happening.

Anyway. The first night I started off trotting in and letting him canter out, then moved to cantering in and out but Homeboy decided he was going to decide how fast and where his feet went, so he got to canter in and then immediately return to the trot after the in jump and trot over the out. Then he got to jump the in, perform a 20 m circle and go over the out. I liked that it made him have to pay attention to me, but I worried that I was teaching him not to go through the line so I only did that a couple of times before returning to going straight through.

Overall that ride was pretty darn fantastic.

Wyatt finally got his white whale. He has been trying to catch a cat fish out of our pond for over a year. When he final did, he brought it up to show me. H’Appy got to meet him to but wasn’t impressed

The next ride I added a third jump on the diagonal to give me something to focus on after the line instead of letting him sneak in a celebratory gallop lap before coming back to me.  I started off wanting to really work on the bend on the flat before getting to the jumps hoping it wouldn’t take very long. I’ve been a little slack on that lately, letting him go around too straight.

Well, let me tell you Doofus was highly offended that I actually wanted real work and not just fun jumpies. He let me know it too. Lots of tantrums and lots of OPINIONS being thrown around.

My mini course. A 60’ outside line and a random diagonal vertical that could be ridden both directions 

You know what though? This was the worst he has been in months and it was still way better than his good behavior last fall. I remained calm, ignored him and carried on as if he was being the good boy I know he can be.

It took a while. Longer than I’d like, but he eventually got the memo that moving our rib cage is a thing we can do nicely and without giving me the bird in the process. It was hot that night, pushing 90F already, and humid with incoming storms so after he finally chilled out and gave me the flat ride I wanted, I popped him over the new three jump course once each direction and called it a night.

Phew boy but that ride was a lot of hard work.

I’m into the final push before my test so I’m not sure he will get ridden at all the next 10 days unless any local blogger wants to come down and hop on him. Free fun for everyone!!! I joke, but I’m also serious.