Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Breeches collection and mini reviews video post

If you enjoy awkward things, this is the video for you!

I am filming myself semi-regularly in an effort to get more confident for a project I am doing for work. Other potential video posts:

Facts about the horses
Barn tour
Afternoon routine 

Let me know in the comments if you would like to see any of these!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Bates/Wintec easy change gullet tutorial

I recently purchased an older Bates Caprilli saddle. The saddle came with the easy change gullet system and I needed to change the med-narrow gullet which was installed to a medium gullet plate. This post outlines the process in photos, I hope it is helpful to anyone looking to change out a gullet on one of these saddles!

Things you will need:
  • Bates or Wintec saddle equipped with the easy-change gullet system (there are other interchangeable gullet saddles out there, this post only shows the procedure for the easy-change system!) 
  • Gullet plate you wish to install
  • The shortest Philips head screwdriver you can find 
  • Patience/free time (probably don't attempt this 5 minutes before your horse goes in the ring at a show etc.) 
  • Hand strength
  • Beer
  • Bottle opener (for the beer)

Step 1: Get your saddle and place on a level, firm surface, I did not need to remove my stirrups or thigh-blocks. There are 2 screws positioned at the head of the saddle. Using a short screwdriver unscrew and remove both screws and put them in a safe place.

 Step 2: Grasp the head of the saddle firmly and pull the lower section away, it will open easily as there is velcro. You can now see the gullet which will be removed.

Step 3: Pull the panels off the tree points on each side (this took some hand strength/ wiggling to do on my saddle). This will expose the screws holding the gullet to the tree.

 Step 4: Grab your screwdriver and remove the screws on both sides of the gullet, put the screws in a safe place. The short screwdriver really comes in handy here as it is a bit of a tight spot!

 Step 5: Now the gullet can be easily popped out!

Step 6: Insert the new gullet (I was changing it to the medium, which is black). I changed from narrow to medium which was not too big of a change. I have heard it is a bit more difficult when going from narrower to wider (from narrow to wide, for example). There is a small leather flap that goes behind the gullet to help hold it in place while you replace the screws. Also be sure the velcro pieces are not stuck under the gullet plate (I had not yet pulled them out in this photo!)

Step 7: Replace the screws holding the gullet to the tree. New screws are best but I did not have any so I re-used the old screws. Bates/Wintec recommends using a loctite type product if you are re-using screws. This took a little doing to get the screws to go in straight, what worked for me was inserting both screws loosely and alternately tightening each screw a little at a time.  

Step 8: Almost done! Slide the tree points back into the pockets on the panels and re-attach the velcro on the saddle head.

 Step 9: Get the screws from step 1 and replace them. Like the gullet screws it can be a little tricky to get them to go in straight, but I had success inserting each screw loosely and alternately tightening them.

Step 10: All done! You can replace your stirrups and removable thigh blocks at this point if you chose to remove them. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

SmartPak Piper Knit breeches review

Find them here
Retail: $69.95

I had been eyeing these for a few months before I finally decided to buy when SmartPak had a 20% off sale. The original Pipers never really appealed to me, I couldn't find a color I liked and heard of some fit issues. These knit pipers came in a solid color I was interested in (charcoal) and seemed like a heavier fabric and possibly better fit than the original version.

I ordered 1 size down from my usual per instructions on the SmartPak website and they fit perfectly! The fabric is a heavier knit "yoga pants" like material and is very stretchy and forgiving. I don't think they would work for the hottest summer days but will be great for fall/spring and maybe even winter with leggings underneath. The knee patches are a self patch with a silicon grip design, they look really unique and provide the perfect amount of grip. I have not washed them yet, it will be interesting to see how the silicon holds up. 
Silicon knee patches and my awesome leopard socks
The fabric does attract some dog/horse hair...but hey, what dark color doesn't?
The overall fit on me was excellent, I am very picky about breeches and HATE when they gap in the back, these have a stretchy waist band which did not gap at all even without a belt yet wasn't overly constricting.

No gap waist band, hooray!
The Piper Knits have some really cute details in addition to the silicon knee patches. I loved that the front pockets were big enough to fit a few treats and my cell phone. They also have a cute Piper logo on the bum! I think these are a great value for the money if you are looking for a fun, comfortable pair of breeches!

Cute logo on the back!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

PA national horse show benefit trail ride

This weekend I took Frosty to the PA national horse show benefit trail ride at South Branch Farm. I don't have any photos from this event because I was "flying solo" for the first time! Hauling somewhere by myself was one of the items on my 30 before 30 list and I did it this weekend! Even though it was only a few miles down the road I was very excited that I made it there with the truck (John's dually) and trailer (my short stock trailer...aka the pork trailer).

Pork trailer
Map of my first ever trailer trip!
The ride was on Sunday and it was blistering hot, although there was a breeze and most of the trail was shaded which was awesome. South Branch Farm is absolutely gorgeous, I rode in a show there last fall and try to attend as many events there as I can because the facilities are amazing. This was a 6-7 mile ride with great scenery we saw: cows, deer (2 nice bucks), baby horses, the river, and some of the walking trails around the farm as well as a short stretch of the rail trail. Frosty wore her easy boots with pads (I think I posted briefly about attempting to transition her to barefoot...the jury is still out on whether this will work or not) the boots seemed to work well, they stayed on even through mud and water and seemed to protect her well from the rocky ground. After the ride was over I hosed Frosty off (we were both very sweaty) and gave her a drink before loading up and heading home. She had a liniment bath when we got home and turned back out with some extra hay for giving me such a great ride!
Frosty showing at South Branch Farm last fall

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Loaded up and trucking!

John and I went on a trip for our 2 year anniversary this past weekend. The dogs went to a boarding kennel and we loaded up 2 horses in The Mothership v. 2.0 (our big trailer) and headed to The Fork farm in Norwood, NC. This is the farm that hosts The Fork horse trials and they have a lodge for overnight visitors and stabling for horses as well as a sporting clays course.
The Mothership v. 2.0!
The plan was to leave on Friday after dropping the dogs off. We got approximately 1.5 hours away when my truck started having wheel bearing problems. We turned around and thought about canceling the trip but ended up deciding to pick up John's truck and leave early on Saturday instead. I went to visit my parents on Friday night and came home to see that a new toy had been delivered to our property for John. 
More detailed post about this coming soon! 
Four AM on Saturday came WAY sooner than I wanted and we departed for the second time (I'm sure the horses were like WTF at this point). It took forever to get through the I95 traffic but the horses traveled very well despite the stop and start traffic. When we finally arrived it was over 100 degrees! John went to shoot sporting clays and I got the horses settled in. The stabling was beautiful and there was a nice breeze in the barns, plus we had it all to ourselves! We went to dinner in town (and John drank a $12.00 beer!) and then went riding around the cross country course and a small section of the property. The jumps for the horse trials were HUGE and the property was so nice.

A huge jump shaped like a shotgun!
Sunday morning we went for a ride before packing up and heading out. The drive home was also very long, one of the trailer tires blew off from the heat of the pavement and the heat shield on the truck rotor started coming off (John fixed this with hay string and a zip tie..somehow). At this point the horses were pretty much over being in the trailer and we were all very relieved to get home around 10pm.

I'm glad we went on this trip and that Chester (retired race horse) is such a pro at going to new places. He settled right in and was a champ for all of our riding, he ate all his feed and drank really well in the heat! I am so thankful that John has the mechanical knowledge he does and that we were able to get the truck down the road, also that he can drive The Mothership because it is huge.

After all that...we will be staying much closer to home for a while!! :)