Thursday, December 15, 2016

Horse product anti-haul (aka-what I'm not going to buy)

It's no secret that I love to shop for tack and horse things (especially online)...maybe a little too much. I also love watching youtube, one of the trends on youtube right now is people doing "anti haul" videos about things they are NOT going to buy. I think this is a really fun concept and thought I would try to do an equestrian version! **disclaimer** these are just my opinions on things that I don't think would work for me personally,  if you love them/they work for you that is awesome!

1. Five point breastplate-I loveee any type of strap good (bridles, breastplates, martingales, reins etc.) but the one thing that has never caught my eye is the five point style breastplate. So many straps, so much to clean!...and the sheepskin...which leads me to my second "anti haul" item...

Ovation 4-Star 5-Point Eventing Breastplate

2. Anything sheepskin-I had a sheepskin hunter pad once, it was so soft and looked amazing under my saddle...and wouldn't stay put for love or money, I swear that was the slipperiest pad I have ever put on a horse. I ended up selling it on ebay. It was also impossible to keep clean and a PITA to wash.
Fleeceworks Show Hunter Wool Pad
3. Any turnout 600 denier or less-Had one of these once, was like it was made of tissue paper. May work if your horse is turned out a field with no trees or sticks...and never moves or rolls, basically if you have a toy horse.
Schleich World of Nature: Farm Life Collection - Tennessee Walking Horse Stallion
4. More bridles-There, I said it, I, Christa R. will not buy any more bridles (*cough* at least until I sell one of my current ones) but srsly, there is no reason for one person to have four bridles for two horses that don't even go to shows or out in public, but here I am.
Western bridle with bling, love bling

5. Stable blanket-No reason for me to have one of these since my horses mostly live out so I need something waterproof. I guess stable blankets make more sense for people who have horses inside more often, or who go to a lot of shows...they do come in some cute patterns and colors though hmm...
SmartPak Stable Sheet - SmartPink - 84

That's all for now! What about you? Any horse product new to the market or otherwise that you just aren't going to buy? I'd love to hear! 

Horse history

I've been doing the horse thing for 20? ish years now and thought it would be fun to share a few of the many horses who where such a big part of my life leading up to now!

Roo-Arabian x Saddlebred gelding, he was my first lease horse. This horse was a saint with the greatest temperament. I started leasing him when I was 14 and he was everything I could have wanted and more. He took me to my first dressage shows and eventually to compete at east coast championships.

Empress-Arabian mare, my second lease horse and first experience with a young horse. She was feisty and fun! I showed her in dressage and sporthorse under saddle and we even made it to sporthorse nationals! After I was done with showing we went on to compete in 25 and 50 mile endurance rides with great results. I had a best condition award on her at my first CTR and won the foxcatcher 25 mi endurance ride with her. 
Zaderr-Empress' half brother! I started working with him as a 3 year old, he is the only horse I ever showed western and we got first place! (I was the only person in the class).

Hanna-Arabian cross mare. I was no longer able to lease once I started college but luckily I had some great people in my life offer me rides so I was never without a horse! Hanna was the first of these. Another feisty mare, I worked with her for a good friend of mine. She had a grass riding ring shaded by trees next to a stream for me to ride in, so nice in the summer!

Ginger-Hackney x Clydesdale mare, my first non-Arabian or Arabian cross to work with! Owned by a friend of mine at work, she was an ex driving horse who loved road riding. The barn she was boarded at had miles of quiet roads surrounding it and I spent many hours with Ginger exploring on summer evenings.

The four in hand-3 Hackney x Clydestales and 1 TB x Clyde. Liz, George, Kate, and Maggie these were the biggest horses I had ever seen let alone ridden! I rode all of them but George and Maggie were my main rides. I went to paperchases, foxhunted and hacked all over Unionville horse country with them. An amazing team of spectacular movers and jumpers!

Lakota-TWH gelding, after moving to Tennessee I was sad to be horseless once again. Luckily I found Lakota about 6 months after I moved. I lived on the farm where he was boarded. This horse was SO comfortable to ride and I often rode him bareback with just a halter. 

Speck-Spotted saddle horse gelding, my first horse! Since I lived and worked on a farm I had the option to board for free! Speck was purchased for me by my husband and I kept him on self care board. I took him trail riding all over TN from the Smokies to the hill country of middle TN, he even foxhunted! Speck moved with me from TN to my farm in PA where the living situation did not suit him as well. Speck (now Cochise) moved on to a wonderful home with great people who have now become close friends of mine!

Frosty and Chester-My current partners! You can see more about them in the horses tab on the blog.

Monday, December 12, 2016

10 questions for December

Does your horse need shoes? Yes they both have front shoes with borium 

What do you think of the barefoot vs shoes debate? 
If your horse needs them how is it even a debate?

Favorite season for riding? Summer obviously! all the other seasons around here are basically winter anyway sooo...

How many shows do you think you’ve gone to? I'm not sure? a bunch in high school, 1 in college, 1 post college/grad school

That one time I went to a show
Do you consider yourself a good rider? No I'm pretty bad actually lol

How experienced do you think someone needs to be to own a horse? It depends, if you are boarding at a full care facility with experienced staff little to none. If you expect to keep the horse at home you should at least know basic feeding guidelines and first aid/vaccine/deworming protocols. The hardest part for me to learn was all the property maintenance things such as how to hang gates, fix fence, mow, drive the tractor, spread manure, manage pastures etc. etc.
Driving the trailer is hard also
Have you ever gotten into a fight with your trainer? I don't have a trainer

Describe your dream horse. Chromed out! (see below) 

Does anyone in your family ride? No but my husband rides and grew up riding with his dad 

If you could ride any horse in the world, which one would it be? why? George, the hackney x clyde I used to ride for the people I worked for at the time, he was sold to a great home in the midwest. He was a seriously amazing mover and had a great, honest jump. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Location blog hop

Thanks to Sarah at ASSFS for starting this blog hop, this one is really interesting!

My horses are located at home in York county, PA. York is not really "Pennsylvania horse country" in the sense that Chester county/Unionville is but there is a fairly active horse community and the taxes and cost of living are considerably more reasonable. The ground is rocky and shale-y, it drains well but establishing good quality pasture can be a challenge. There is a lot of available trail riding but your horse should probably have shoes because of the rocks. We are in close proximity to the Hunt Valley, MD area which hosts a variety of horse events (shows, paper chases, fox hunts, Maryland hunt cup) and is home to my favorite tack store Maryland Saddlery.

Costs of horse keeping?

  • Trim-$30-$35
  • Shoes-$65-$120 for fronts (side note-we haul out for shoeing since no farriers in the area are able to shoe the 2 draft crosses)
  • Average cost of a month of full time training- I think around $700 but I've never had anything in training!
  • Average monthly pasture board- $300
  • Average monthly stall board- $500-$700 depending on facility
  • Hay: Small squares (grass) around $6.00, we make all our own hay in big squares 3x3x8 and the custom baler charges $10 a bale, I also buy big alfalfa squares from our neighbor at around $170/ton 

    • Mountain views? None, my neighbors have a nice farm though!
    Frustrating things about our area?:
    • Shit weather
    • Area is crowded/traffic (although not as bad as Chester county!) 
    • Some people are snobby 

    Weather? Is mostly shit December-April
    This is a picture of our place from the 1920s-looks like the weather sucked just as bad then!

    Riding demographic for the area? Some hunter/jumper. In my immediate area, mostly trail riders or people that have horses and ride on their farms (like me!)
    Other notes? The thing I most appreciate about where I live is the easy access to a variety of places for riding. I live within 20 miles of several county parks (one with cross country jumps!) and a few arenas I can pay to ride in if I want. We are also within an hour or so of Michaux state forest for mountain rides. The lay of the land at our house is very hilly so it is tough to ride at home but I can get it done if I need to. I've been turned off of foxhunting for the most part around here because the people were rude. The traffic can be bad and at times it feels crowded here, but I know there are other areas that are way worse! Overall I'm happy to have my first farm here (but I'm already ready for Spring!)

    So, tell me about where you live. Are there any frustrating things about your area? What is the weather like? How does the cost of keeping horses compare to where I live?

    Friday, December 2, 2016

    The start of the winter doldrums-and incentives for thoroughbred trail horses

    a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression

    This is a short post, I have not been blogging much because not much has been going on (not much positive that I feel like documenting anyway). With the time change my riding really gets limited as it is dark when I leave and get home from work. I don't have an arena and am not hardcore enough to ride around the farm when it is pitch black out :). I am working 7 days now (part time days on the weekends) which is kind of exhausting, but I like money so here we are. The stock tank heaters are in and blankets are on. All the horses at home have been trace/steeplechaser clipped, however, both sets of clippers died in the process so I am on the hunt for some A5 style clippers (gave up on the heavy clipmaster model a while ago, I can't make decent lines with those to save my life!)

    Image result for oster clipmaster

    I did find this interesting article on the Paulick Report, it states that the thoroughbred incentive program will be starting a pleasure/trail division with the opportunity to earn points for time spent trail riding. It is really nice to see this option available, especially for someone like me who does not show! Just wanted to pass this along for any other TB trail riders out there!

    Article here:

    My own TB trail horse

    Friday, November 18, 2016

    This is a cheesy post about things I am thankful for

    I am married to a man who puts up with all of my shit
    We live in a strange old house on a property that looked totally different 2 years ago 

    It looks different because he was and is committed to making it better (and because he loves equipment and smashing things) 

    I can enjoy this view on 2 of my very own horses

    I have 2 jobs that allow me to pay for the things I need (and some of the things I want)

    I have boots that are waterproof (and a coat and coveralls that are also)
    I have 3 dogs that are sometimes not a complete pain in the ass

    I got to go pheasant hunting this year
    ...with a gun that fits me and is smooth as silk to shoot 
    ...and the most magical of bird dogs

    I got to live in the south and go on the world's biggest adventure 
    ...and I got to come home

    Monday, November 14, 2016

    10 questions for November

    How old is the youngest/greenest horse you’ve ridden? I leased a 4 year old, that was probably the youngest 

    How old is the oldest horse you’ve ridden? I rode an ancient pony named Sparkle as a kid, I think she was 30+++

    Were you scared of horses when you first started riding? I don't think so? If anything I have become more scared as time goes on

    Would you say you’re a more nervous rider or a confident rider? Nervous, but I'm a nervous person overall, so there's that

    Accurate depiction of my personality
    Biggest pet peeve about non-horse people around horses? When they want to have my horses give their kids pony rides...just no

    Not a kids poneh
    A time you’ve been scared for your life? (horse related) My concussion was really scary...I don't know if I was scared for my life, but it was still scary

    Have you ever fallen off at show? What happened? Not at a show, but I haven't been to that many, I fell off foxhunting when my horse lost his shit at a check

    What’s a breed of horse you’ve never ridden but would like to ride? Probably a reining bred quarter horse

    Describe the worst behaved horse you’ve ridden? 17.2 hackney x clyde mare owned by someone I worked for who would blow apart for no apparent reason. She did it at the mounting block, lunging, walking around the field etc. etc. I eventually gave up on that one. 

    The most frustrating ride you’ve ever had? See above question re: falling off when foxhunting

    Monday, October 24, 2016

    Fun Halloween post: horse superstitions and wive's tales

    I have always loved myths and stories about horses. In honor of Halloween here is a small list of some of my favorite horse superstitions and wive's tales. I'd love for this to become a blog hop of sorts, feel free to post along if you know any good ones!:

    Picture from Dana's Doodles
    1. Horses with the prophet's thumbprint (indentation on side of neck) are fast/lucky

    2. Never wear anything new to horse shows or out hunting

    3. It is bad luck to change a horse's name

    4. All chestnuts/sorrels are hot

    5. The luckiest horseshoes are from the hind feet of a gray mare
    This is a grey gelding but whatever
    6. Hair whorls on a horse's face can predict personality traits (detailed article here)

    7. A horse is worth $100 for every time it can roll completely over

    8. A promise made on horseback can not be violated

    9. Wind knots that form in horses' manes overnight are created by pixies/fairies

    10.Untangling a horse's mane with your fingers instead of a comb is good luck

    Friday, October 21, 2016

    Questions for October

    Questions from the always fabulous Viva Carlos!

    What do you consider “jumping high” for yourself? I don't really jump anymore...I was going to teach Chester but meh 

    What are your short term goals for riding? Do you think you’ll reach them? -- 1 weekday ride plus 2 weekend rides until daylight savings...hopefully!

    Long term goals for riding? Do you think you’ll reach them? Have my own arena, go to a horsemanship clinic and try western dressage...I'm not sure? 

    How many barns have you been at in your riding career? Several for lessons as a kid, 3 boarding barns, and my current place

    How many different trainers have you been with in your riding career? Several as a kid, but only 1 for an extended period, 2 as an adult for (very!) occasional lessons. My riding career was shaped most by a friend who I worked for she wasn't my "trainer" I guess but taught me all the most important things I know about horses today. 

    Ever worked at a barn? What did you do? Oh yes! and still do on weekends. Clean stalls, water, turn in/out, first aid/meds, stack hay...other tasks as assigned LOL

    Have you ever given a lesson? What level was the rider? Nope

    What is your opinion on the accuracy of critiquing riders online? I don't do it and don't appreciate others who attempt it on me

    What is the ideal height of a horse for you? I love my 14.2 mare, but in reality she is probably too short for me. I rode 17.1+ horses for a while and that was definitely too big. I'd say Chester's size (16.1-16.2) is great!



    Just right?