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Friday, December 3, 2010

It's Getting Mighty Cold Out: Don't Lose Touch!

When the weather gets cold like this, it becomes harder and harder for me to go out to the barn and ride. The horses get thick with fuzzies and the cool down time seems to take forever if you get them wet at all. Not to mention if you forget that when you get off that the ground has frozen, and slam your poor cold feet on the dirt only to feel that oh so familiar sting that goes all the way up your spine.

I find that it is times like these when it is important to keep track of what my goals are in my riding and keep inching forward. It's the worst when things not only become dark at 3pm, but stagnant in the ring with your partner. So I would encourage any reader out there to keep a log of what you do and where you would like o be through these winter months and see how far you get through your goals come the spring thaw. Be sure to set some obtainable goals, don't make them all impossible so as to not reach a single one, but then also have others that are going to be difficult, if not impossible for you to reach. In fine fashion... I'll share some of my own personal goals with Fire for these winter months:

- clean flying changes both on the left and right side
- clean and clear transitions, especially from the trot to walk, staying through in the back
- a stronger left side canter that has a more clear jump in it and equals what is happening currently on the right side now
- comfortable mini half passes in both the canter and the trot, on both sides
- at least one, if not two successful trips to another facility (he's only ever been off of his own grounds once!) THIS is a HUGE deal for us
- work the "big" clippers and get comfortable with them

I don't know how all of these goals will turn out, or if any of them will turn out. I do know, however, that I do have them all written down and have them in my tack trunk so I can see them every day before I get my gear together to go ride. This helps me to stay focused and on the ball. It doesn't mean that every day I work flying changes, or the mini half passes, because we don't. But it does mean that because this list stays at the front of my mind we keep on working and my trainer will see a difference when he comes back into town from Frorida, and things won't get stagnant.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Get back on the horse...

minor mishap... more great posts coming soon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It Doesn't Always Start Well...

I had a lesson yesterday with Ryan Yap. I usually try to get on early and at least start my warm-up before he gets there, but I wasn't able to. I began the warm-up and was getting frustrated because Fire has started with "thing" where he warms up with his head up in the air like a pig. I can't force him into any sort of frame because then our entire ride is just crap. So I asked Ryan if this "cow frame" was acceptable for warm up, and he said that it was, that it might be a phase and that some horses just warm up like that. So, I accepted it and moved on.

After that bump in the road we went on to have a good ride. I relaxed and so did Fire. We worked on shortening and lengthening his stride to get him to really sit down into his transitions. In the past, Fire has gotten very upset while doing things like this, but took it like a star and didn't act up at all. The exercise was to ride in a circle and ride one 1/2 on a long strided posting trot, and then the other 1/2 was a short strided sitting trot, keeping the same rhythm. Many times Fire came above the bit when shortening his stride, but as long as he did not curl, this was okay and I just kept him in the short stride until he gave in the neck to then let him out in the longer stride. This really helped to engage his hind end in the trot and made him very active.

The canter work was next, where we worked on picking up the canter from the walk. The first transition was generally crap because Fire wasn't necessarily paying attention. I find it helpful to speak to the horse and tell him "canter" before the transition at this point so he is ready for what I want and has an upward and correct transition during this training period. Once we began working that way, they improved greatly and were followed by a lot of praise.

We quickly moved into asking for a counter canter, which admittedly, we were not ready for. If you're not ready for something, then don't do it! We did an extra circle and came back around to try again for the shallow serpentine that we had been asked to execute. At this point we had better balance and it was performed without hesitation and with good jump and balance. So then we moved to a harder counter canter: across the short diagonal and then around the short side and across the short diagonal again back to correct lead again. Since we had been practicing three loop serpentines going from correct lead to counter canter, this was not difficult for Fire to do, and he stayed very well balanced and did not try to run or break. I could tell that Ryan was pleasantly surprised, and moved onto the next move, mini half passes.I do have to admit, that one surprised me! I didn't think that Fire was ready for me to ask him to move in the way a mini half pass would have him move in the canter, but he surprised me and seemed to move very well, and all the way from the wall to the centerline. What a champ he is sometimes!

After the lesson Fire was very tired and earned his vetroline bath and time out eating in the pasture. My butt and stomach are super sore today from all the work my muscles got in yesterday, and I can't wait to see what is is store for us next time. I can really see good marked improvements. And it was nice to hear Ryan say that he was very impressed with our progress since we're alone and I don't have him to help me often. A very nice thing to say I think.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Straight off the Runway, and onto your Horse!

Well... straight from Paris and Dior, the new fad... wear your horse's tendon boots! Who would have thought, right? The Paris fashion show was set with a packed paddock of steeds with girls trotting down the runway in odd things like these, fake breeches and other odd flat boots that resembled polo wraps. And the new "it" accessory isn't a chic bag, no no... it's your riding crop!

What is this world coming to? Soon we'll be able to just turn to our tack trunks for everything!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

There Must Be Something In The Air

Hell, I know that it has cooled off since earlier this week, but MAN did the horses all have something up their big round asses today!

I first got the the barn and let a few of the girls outside to get some exercise, and Meme tried to run me over. Alright, granted she hadn't been out yet and it was brisk and they were taking down (ie: the corn was being farmed) the field right next to the farm, so it was sort of expected and not the end of the world. I then got on Fire and decided that I'd like to go ride him out in the field that he usually gets turned out in and not ride in the ring. Though I've never done this before, I didn't think anything of it because it's the same place he's been turned out since he was a little boy. No big deal right? BAWHAHA! He threw a complete temper tantrum. Upon reading his behavior, which included sucking back in the bridle, pawing at the ground, chomping the bit and flicking his skin, I knew he was not confident and he was actually scared. Fire doesn't like to be alone, and though I was on him, I felt like he was feeling alone during this whole thing. I tried to console him and sit heavy to show him that I was confident (but light enough so if he did take off or shoot into the air like a rocket I wasn't going to fall to the ground like an idiot rock).

I didn't fall off, nor did I get off. I sat confident and patted him and talked to him and pushed him around the property (stupid horse... he's lived here his whole life), but I realize that we've got to do A LOT more work on being alone. We've probably got to do some work with being turned out alone (he usually gets turned out with two other horses and they are very much so the three amigos). He needs confidence, and I'm there to help him with it. But man oh man, is it scary to think you're on top of a 1400lb animal that does not have confidence and is thinking that the smart thing to do right that moment is to suck back and then rear. Gotta work on that one before a show...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Why You Should Never Take Yourself Too Seriously

Sometimes we all get wrapped up in the competition and who is winning and what is going on and who is beating whom (or what horse is being put in rollkur) but I think that it's always good to take a step back and realize that we're all just there to have this great bond with our amazing animals. Okay, so... maybe not all  of us are there for that reason, but really "dressage" is training and within that training is the fluidity and movement that only comes from a pair that is is true harmony with each other. If you're up there, all nervous, or all tense, or angry because you missed that last change, then your horse can feel it. He can feel it in his back from your seat and he can feel it through your arms and hands in his neck and jaw.

I suggest that if you are having one of those days where you're taking yourself too seriously, to just step back and look into those big doe eyes that work so hard for you day in and day out, and ask yourself if it's really worth it to be so worked up. Go on a hack, take extra time brushing him or her off, take your anger out on a real super stall cleaning, but seriously folks, don't take yourself too seriously in all of this. Even Edward Gal has shit days, even the masters have totally dropped a horse at the WORST time ever and felt like a jerk. It's not worth it to get worried about and tighten your whole body up over, or take it out on your horse in some other way.
It's just dressage.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Boot Fitting.... again

Take two on trying to fit into my old amazing Cavallo boots. I've had them since I was a young rider and they are still in great condition. I brought them to the leather/shoe guy to have them stretched and have zippers put in them since my calves are not the svelte size they were when I was riding professionally, over 8 hours a day. Since the boots mean a lot to me and I didn't want him to mess them up, I stressed that I did not want him to over stretch them, but just stretch them a little and put the zippers in. Well, apparently this meant to the great shoe guy... don't stretch them at all and just put the zippers in. Which is just GREAT because once you put the zippers in, you can't stretch them. Well, I guess, you can't forcefully stretch them. You can sit in your couch and force them on your legs for hours at a time and try to stretch the leather out. So... welcome to my life now. The first few tries I wasn't even able to get the zippers up all the way, but now I can. As you can tell from the photo of my poor leg, that's what happened after quite a few hours of having the boot on over my sock (no pants yet). From left to right the marks are: edge of boot, zipper pull, edge of boot and snap that goes over the zipper. *Youch!*
I just hope that it gets better by show season! I guess I've got some work to do... 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


You just get my weird dogs on this one... no horses.

I did a few little tweeks to the site here now that I've got more and more followers. I would love to facilitate some chat on the comments section, so any suggestions would be helpful, or just start commenting - there are a lot of you out there, I'm sure someone else would have something to say back. I added an area to give a type of "rate" at the end of the posts... to say if you liked them, or not, or thought that they were informative. Any sort of feedback can help me to write more on what you readers are interested in reading and not just the silly stupid crap that is coming through my head. I also added that you can "retweet" things and also link quickly to facebook from the blog or from each post. Hopefully that will help to get to articles out there if you think that they are particularly worthy.

Just thought I'd write a small post to explain a few of the things I added and why I added them. OH! Also added a search bar at the top, since there are quite a few posts now. Hope that helps. Have any other ideas? Post ideas? What you would like to hear more or less of? Feel free to leave a comment and I'll do the best I can.

Just don't tell me I've got ugly animals. Mi babies are butes'!!!!

What gets the Blue Ribbons?

Though my career in riding and in life I've won many blue ribbons for different things. I've won them for artwork, for speech competitions, for moot court competitions, for dog training endevors, for poetry writing, and for horse shows of course. To this day I believe I still have giant Nostrums boxes under my childhood bed packed tight with ribbons from every event I've ever done.

Not everyone shows though, or understand how it works and I have been asked how one person gets the blue ribbon over the other horses in the competition, and what are the different components that are looked at, that come into play when being rewarded. And how the HECK, as a rider, do you get yourself to line up with what the judge wants that moment to get that ten cent rosette and three drop ribbon that will be placed with the rest in do time.

Well, there are many different ways that one can come about a blue ribbon while at a dressage show, and those would be (in no particular order)...

By default. Sometimes I have been the one who stayed in the arena. Sometimes not. If you're the lucky one that can keep your "cat in the bag" while the others all lose their minds, you win. Great job!

By having the nicest horse. Shameful feeling, to school the babies and take ribbons from newbies and kids. Note to self: remember to show unjudged next time under those circumstances. This happanes a lot when you have a young really nice mount and want to show a low level to get this horse use to the grounds/getting out/showing and you're up against "the back yard gang" of the local weekend warrior kid's riding club. Whoops. But you still win.... score one for BLUE!

By surprise. Sometimes you don't know your horse is a rockstar until it happens. This is a nice surprise. You look at the line up for the day and think you'll find yourself as a good mid-pack contender... only to see that you've blown them all out of the water. Nice. Savor that one because it's real and it has to do with training.

By determination. That you will beat the woman whom has been running down your home-bred Warmblood, or your Throughbred all season. She has an excuse afterwards but you have a 69% and it's the last show to qualify at. Sorry to say, it felt great. Take that snooty dressage queen!!

By luck. The judge looked down during the airborne canter depart. Or you have Burton as a judge and he most likely fell asleep for a portion and then asked the scribe or gave you the benefit of the doubt.

By accident. Pigeons fly up and your horse gives you an extension he never had before and never will again. As long as you stay on and don't scream out... you're golden. Go pick up your ribbon.

By hard work and consistency. I wish this one seemed to have more to do with it all but looking back, it really does appear to be somewhat random. But without this you're not even getting your horse on the trailer. Have to get at least to point A (and enter collected canter...)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Setting Goals

As the weather starts to change and the summer hair begins to shed off, I started to think about prepping for the upcoming cold months. Personally, I hate winter up here in the freezing north and I despise going to the barn at 5pm and already having it be pitch black out and below freezing. This is also the time of year when my trainer heads south for the Florida circuit so I'm left completely high and dry, unless there is a clinic set up or something (not that I can afford/take that many lessons in the first place, but its more than zero.)

So, I was thinking about setting some goals for myself and for Fire to try to get to by the end of the winter. This might help me to stay motivated and to actually keep creeping toward things, even when I'm stuck in the indoor and I feel like I'm not going anywhere all winter.

I find having short term goals to be very beneficial. Obviously the long term goal is to get up back into the FEI ring, but when that is your goal you can sometimes feel like you'll never get there and become discouraged, or feel like you're moving at a snails pace and lose your footing.

I also think its good to realize it's not the end of the world if you don't reach your goals by your set time too. I think that goals should be lofty and out there so if you were to reach them it would be a big feat. So, once you do get to that time.... say... early March, you reevaluate what you set up for goals at the time and then you see where you actually are at, what portions of those goals you did meet, which you did not and then figure out why you fell short and reassess things. This at least keeps you moving forward on your training continuum and keeps you motivated and you can actually see your process.

Though I wish I had a fun little app for my smartphone to *click*click* on and keep track of goals and things, I do find that this blog itself is a rolling "goal check" for me. I write and try to keep a very realistic outlook and open mind to things.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Genius Moment

This photo doesn't show the moment I'm speaking about, I just loved the power it shows. Look at that tail flip! Woosh!!! Anyway...

I wasn't able to ride for a few days in a row because I was out of town. Because of this, I thought I would come back to a horse who was stiff and just needed some good long, low and super stretchy work. This isn't uncommon and how we usually have to work many of our "first day back" days. I think this is a good frame of mind and body to have for restarting work when you've had time off (for both horse and rider). So we stared our ride and I thought it was going to be the usual first ride because he was fighting the bit some and was way above the bit. I began our work with a few large figure eights with hands wide asking for a low frame and he gave in right away, telling me that he was more ready and willing that I first thought. He actually then came up and moved into the bridle very nicely and with some very even back movement. I thought "okkkk", and just went with it.

Since my own back wasn't in a good place to be doing some "tough" work for the day, and Fire seemed to be in a really good upward place in his bridle, I thought we could work on some mediums and lengthenings in the trot. He did the mediums quite nicely but needed some more sit down for his lengthenings to really be engaged properly. This is where the genius moment began because I thought I'd ask him for some 1/4 turn on the haunches. If you've read before, you know that Fire can get a little nervous with the "slower" movements of collection, so in the past when I've tried to even think about this movement it's just been a disaster. IE... I think last time I tried he kicked a hole in the indoor wall and he tried to toss me out the open door in the side of the arena. No joke.

We began by walking to the left against the wall in a collected walk with the whip to the outside near the shoulder. I put both reins in my inside hand and brought my outside leg very far forward near his shoulder to let him know that I really wanted him to move his shoulders away from the wall in this movement. I spoke to him this entire time to keep him quiet and in a forward motion. It is very important to keep the motion forward while turning and keep the horse into the bridle without sucking back, and without "spinning" around. And low and behold... Fire did it like a champ. It wasn't the tiny pivot, but I'd say it was very very very close to it, like he barely came off of the wall and he did not get nervous and he stayed forward and into the bridle and he then did not get nervous when I asked him to do it again, which is wonderful.

I think this shows that he is beginning to grow up some. He is accepting work in his life and that things that were once hard are not always difficult and can be overcome without a fuss. Which makes my life just that much easier. This ride was one of those rides for the books. One of those rides that you want to keep in your head to recall when you want to crumple up in a ball. It was a great day of clear communication where I didn't have on any spurs, where we "spoke" mostly through the saddle and accomplished a lot.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Giddy Up!!????

Are you guys ready to be sitting in a saddle not only when you ride your horse, but when you're flying with American Airlines or Delta? Aviointeriors’ SkyRider seats are more like a saddles with armrests than like the traditional flat-cushion seating that fliers are accustomed to. The seats make our room on the plane even snugger than it is already, from the 28'' that we get now, to a snug 23''. To be fair, the Italian comapny is proposing that the planes equipped with these seats only be used for flights that are 3 hours or less in length, because hey, cowboys ride in their saddles all day with no issue! But I'm not seeing a comfy cowboy in that photo, are you? I see a lady who looks like she's got a stick up her ass with a plastered smile on her face. And what happens when you get the "horse" sitting next to you, as what is common in many flights in the US? there won't be any "buy two seats" for these thin saddles... what then?

I wonder what happens when the plane hits turbulence. Should all of the men be warned to wear cups now when they fly? And will it look like an English class with the entire plane posting trot in unison?

Why not do away with seats entirely, and utilize a system of closely-spaced poles? Why, a move to the “recto-pole” system could even do away with the need for seat belts. Even cheaper yet!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Scratches/ Mud Fever

F?or us, it's the time of year where scratches/mud fever pops up. Since Fire has those super pink legs with the pink skin (since he's pinto), he is susceptible to things like this. Tie that to the fact that he just can't go without going outside with his buddies almost every night into the pasture, and you get this horrid fungus foot issue. "Scratches" is a term that refers to a skin problem on the lower legs of horses, caused by a fungus (and sometimes complicated by bacteria). The affected area becomes crusted, scabby and thickened, creating bumps and sometimes open sores. In severe cases the affected skin may ooze or the whole lower leg may swell, and the horse may become lame.

Since it can be such a complicated issue, everyone seems to have their own method of trying to fix scratches, and there seems to be no one method that works with all horses, or works 100% of the time. So, since Fire is currently laid up with a nasty bout of scratches (pictures included are of random horses, not Fire) I thought that I would compile common methods to help "fix" what has now made my poor pony lame.

Before I do post the methods, it does seem to be most common that people are in agreement that the area should be kept first and foremost DRY. If you can keep the horse from being in wet areas, great. If the horse must get its legs wet, they then must be dried as soon as possible, and then kept in a dry clean stall. The majority also agree that the area needs to be kept clean with antibacterial soap, washed just about daily. There are a few people that say they don't wash the legs in their method, but the majority say it is pertinent to keeping the fungus and bacteria at bay. As far as removing the scabs, it seems as though the consensus is that once you can get them soft, if you can gently remove them that is preferred and the more common approach as well. However, again, some people believe in allowing the scabs to drop themselves. Alright.. now onto the methods:

- very common: 4oz of Desitin (40% zinc oxide), 2oz of Neosporin, and 2oz of cortizone cream, some say do scrub, some say do not scrub, all say keep the area clean with a antibacterial wash. (this is similar to Panalog creme, but a lot cheaper)

- also common: a mix of nitrofurazone, DMSO and thiabendazole (a cattle wormer that is also a good fungicide)

- the "old" common method: "Bluecoat" sprayed for a few days until it washes off (methylene blue mixture).

- some people use a product called "Shapley's Original M-T-G" the ingredients are not listed on the bottle, but have been determined to be: Petroleum distillates, sulfur 4%, zinc stearate, glycerin, cade oil rectified.

- Hibitane slathered over scratches, not washed off.

- put a bread bag on the horse's foot, pour a can of sauerkraut in it (with juice) and tape it up and leave it for 2-3 days.

- mix up Zink Creme (diaper rash) with sulfur powder and apply on cleaned and dry scratches.

- wash with antibacterial soap and then apply a spray of 50/50 bleach and water

- French recipe:1 part Imaverol 1 part corticosteroid creme 1 part baby creme 1 part vaseline.

- Soak in epson salt and water or providine and water and scrubbing. Then apply a 1:1:1 mixture of DMSO, fenbendazole, and furazone and wrap it with vet wrap. (many disagree with the wrap)

- 1) diaper rash ointment, 2) triple antibiotic ointment, 3) hydrocortisone cream

- In a container with a tightly sealing lid, mix: 1 tube 1% hydrocortisone cream, 1 tube 2% miconazole cream (found in a 7 day vaginal yeast infection treatment kit, just throw away the applicators), 1 tube 20% Zinc Oxide Ointment (like Original Desitin – NOT the creamy version), 1 teaspoon-ish of nitrofurazone ointment. Mix well, label the container. The mixture should be a light yellow color. Place on washed and dried legs, wipe off later and reapply, do not rewash.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I really an not fond of mares

My current side project is this stupid (okay, really really damn smart) bitch of a mare I'm trying to break now. She's this cute as a button mover, good work ethic bouncy, would make a great all around horse for someone, girl. That is, if we can ever safely get in the damn thing. She's SUCH a mare!! This breaking process has taken months longer than it should have, mostly because people have run out of time to be able to consistently work with her, but also because her brain just doesn't want to be there. Now that she is a bit older and wiser she's safer to get on and get working with.

As of now she's been backed twice. After much practice with putting weight on her, and leaning over her etc., we finally swung a leg over her and decided to go for a pony ride. On this one, I'm the person on the ground and the barn owner (her owner) is the "meat on a stick" or "dope on a rope" or... rider if you prefer. So, the first time she got a leg over the mare didn't protest and we walked off comfortably. the pony ride went well for almost an entire 20m circle before the mare decided she had had enough, and promptly tried to remove the owner. She did it completely without warning, and this is partially why I hate mares, because they pull shit like that. NO warning! And she did it not because she was scared, but just because she decided she was totally done. Fine... we dealt with that rodeo of bucks and rears, I kept her close to me on the ground so she couldn't get up any momentum, and she stopped. We took a few more steps forward with the rider and were done for the day.

Then we move to day two, yesterday. I pre-lunge her and get her nice and sweaty, more tired than the first time... and then line her up for the mount. As I turn to look at her before the rider mounts, I look into her eye and I can just see it... I can just see "oh we are SO not doing THIS" in the mare's eyes. I know that we're both going to be in for it this time, even before we've got a chance to start. Again, this is why I hate these stupid bitches. A gelding... nay...not even a stallion will pull crap on you like that. This premeditated "I'm going to burn you alive and trample your unborn children" bullshit of a mare. So... here we go. The rider barely gets her leg over the saddle and we were off on a bucking and rearing frenzy. At one point the mare came down with her head square on MY head (note to self, wear helmet during next go round) and I almost lost her because the sun was setting and I got turned around into the glare of the light. This time the "fit" lasted longer than the first one, but the rider still stayed on (by the hair of her teeth) and we were able to move on. This time, however, the mare didn't really relax much and still had the "trample your unborn children" look in her eye for almost the entire length of the bitchy pony ride. I think that if either myself or the rider gave and let go of her head at all she would have gone back into launch mode. No good.

So, I think its safe to say two things... one... I'm not looking forward to going back and doing pony ride number three with this horse. I'm sure as I'm alive she's going to be worse than she's been these past two times and it's just going to be ridiculous. I'm bringing thicker gloves on this next one, and a helmet, you can be sure. The second thing is that I hate mares. I owned one, and she drove me nuts. And I'm sure that with this one, once she's broken and moving, she'll make someone else a wonderful partner... but just not me. Personally I hate putting up with this moody crap that happens with them. I like the boys much better, the geldings and the stallions. I'll take a young stallion over an in-heat mare any day of the week.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Today we had a great ride that was mostly compromised of gymnastics. Fire started our ride not wanting to connect and be through today. Granted, I hadn't been out there for a while and he had a good 4 days off with no instruction. So, when you're given a lemony horse, one has to be able to make something of it, right? Right.

So to get him connected and thinking in the correct frame of body, and frame of mind we began with some big 3 loop serpentines, and then worked into some good leg yields from the center line. Once I started asking him for the leg yields, it was like he knew what I wanted from him and began working correctly from back to front and into my hands. We were then ready to work into the gymnastic part of the ride. Since Fire had started so evasive, I wanted him to understand that the reins go all over the place, but the constant is that I need him to keep searching out for the contact without getting upset (he tends to get frustrated with this concept). So we began in the trot because this is what is easier for him and what he is most familiar with. I'd ask him to come up into the frame for one 20m circle, and then ask him to stretch down and out for a BIG 20-25m circle and then back up into the collected frame. Once in the collected frame we would go straight down the 1/2 of the long side, then around the short side, and then I'd ask him for a medium trot down the long side. After that I would ask him to collect up while going back into our 20m circle, and once he collected from the medium, I would begin again into the bigger 20-25m stretchy trot. I noticed that with this gymnastic movement up, down, up, and out he began to carry himself very surely and correctly.

After the trot work I actually did some canter work. Fire really HATES walk work, so I decided to do it last. In the canter we worked a similar up, down and out. In this he is not very good at bringing himself out and just wants to go down. He's not on the forehand, but likes to keep his head down when he runs, even while in turn out. I'm sure in further training I'll just find a way to reward him when he does bring his nose out here or there.

The final work was done at the walk. What use to happen, and if you read through this blog you'll see, that Fire likes to rear and gets very upset while doing walk work. So, I knew there would be some tension while I was trying to work him in this gait. So, I slowly was asking him to walk forward and marching, while having a loose rein and then having short spurts where we did collection. He did not throw a "Fire" tantrum, so that was progress. I increased the amount of time I kept him in the collected frame and by the end of the ride could get him about 1/2 around the ring before letting him back down into a looser rein walk. The only protest he showed was grinding his teeth on the bit. Though nasty, that's much better than what I've run into in the past.

I think this was a good ride that showed how far he's come in his ability to shorten and lengthen his body properly when I ask. It's a very important step in the training process and sometimes can get lost while one is thinking "collection collection collection". I'm sure while we continue to keep work like this strong, our lengthening trots will come very easy when I eventually ask for them in full force. Fire has an extremely free shoulder (see: "Fire likes to Spanish walk when he's pissed) so I'm sure he'll have magnificent movement in the extensions.

Bonus: another fellow boarder mentioned how Fire looks to be losing weight! Finally he's starting to lose his giant white belly some! Maybe he noticed that I was losing some, so he thought he'd try to as well.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Piece of Cake

I couldn't ride yesterday or today. I've got something weird going on with migraines. I tried to go out and even got as far as the car before I realized it wasn't going to happen. The headache stopped me from being able to see very well, which means I can't drive. So, I couldn't really get out of the house and get to the barn, so I decided to bake.

Now, I LIKE to bake, but I'm not afraid to say I'm a much better rider than I am a baker. I won't be on "Ace of Cakes" any time in the near future. But, it was something to do that wouldn't give me more of a headache (theoretically, though I did screw up the icing... twice!)

I decided to make my first layered round cake, ever. And in making it I didn't just buy some in-a-can easy to use icing... nooooo... I made my own icing. Mind you, before this I think I've touched the Kitchenaid mixer all of twice. So I dove in head first and on top of deciding to make a six layered cake, thought that I would make a Swiss Meringue Buttercream icing. It invloves double boilers and not too much heat and butter that is soft but not too soft and a hell of a lot of beating.

So, I made a cake... its six layers and I don't think it would win me any huge awards unless they were for effort, but it kept me sane for the day and showed me that I could do something that I never had even closely attempted before. I've got a few photos now of the prep etc. but for some reason my phone doesn't want to send the rest of them so I'm missing three... which includes that finished cake. It's really alright though, you're not missing a lot, its a round, badly iced white cake. [edit: got them to send and inserted them. the photos are now from top to bottom the start to finish. It's supposed to be a "rainbow" cake but apparently one needs an entire bucket of color to properly color the layers.]

I'm sure it tastes damn good... with how much butter is in it! Now I know why some people who bake stuff just watch others eat it. After making this thing I don't think I want to be 50 feet from a stick of butter right now.

So, sorry for the detraction from all things that smell like horse poo and sweat. I promise once I figure out what's going on with my migraines and get a hold on them and figure out something else to write I'll be back on the correct track here. But for now... let them eat cake.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


It didn't use to be like this. I didn't use to have to take drugs before almost every single ride. Now that my back has gotten as bad as it is, and I no longer keep myself in the amazing shape that I once did, I'm finding it a more common occurrence that I'm dipping into my "goodie" bag before heading out to the barn.

Everything that I take... from pain pills to nerve drugs to God knows what is prescribed to me. I don't take them daily and I try not to build up a tolerance to them, I've been there before. But I do find that it is becoming more frequent that I'm taking them for every ride. It started that I would take them for lessons. I didn't want to have my back freeze up on me while riding with Ryan or with a clinician, so I would preemptively take my pills so as to block things. Then I started taking them on the rides after my rides with my trainer because my back would be sore from riding so hard because I would block so much with the drugs from the previous ride, that I would need assistance for the next ride. Now its just becoming a vicious cycle where I'm starting to think about if I'm hurting myself by over blocking my bodies signals to back off and give it some time to heal, or if I just need to block things with the prescriptions and I'm able to push through them and will just become stronger once I get over this hump.

But I have no idea what this "hump" is. Is it just that the weather has been a bit wetter than usual so I'm reacting to that? Is it because I was studying for the bar and sitting on my ass for so long and then just picked up and started riding a lot after? Is it that I'm starting to actually ride Fire in earnest now and we're actually going to "work" and my back just can't take it? I don't know. I just know that I' get tired of reaching into my purse before each ride and knowing that I have to use the crutch of some pills before taking a lesson or having a hard working ride. I mean, it's not like I'm schooling Grand Prix here, we're working first level movements, and it's only one horse, not a barn full of horses like it use to be.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Today it was a bit cooler out than it has been for the past few weeks. I had gotten use to walking up to the stall to a lackadaisical young man that didn't care whether he worked that day or just had an apple and went back to bed. I knew today was going to be different when I walked into the barn to him screaming and could see black and white spots bucking and rearing around the end stall. I thought that he might paw through the stall mat before I opened his door, I knew I was in for some sort of interesting ride.

He stood nice for getting tacked up, which was great because the biting flies were out and not showing much mercy. I though that maybe his mini "hi Mom" tantrum was a fluke and it was just him showing how excited he was to see me.

No dice.

I started him inside just in case he pulled something quick and fast right off the bat. Did he? Not yet. We had a great start inside, riding around with another horse in the ring. He seemed to be listening well and moving off of my leg correctly, so I thought I'd go outside. I mean, we hadn't been able to ride out there with the weather for some time now, so it was a great excuse to get out there. Once he was on his own and not by anyone else, it was game on. Now... we've ridden outside countless times with cars and semis blowing by, tractors pulling up, tarps blowing in the wind... everything. Today there was nothing special going on, but Fire saw ALL NEW THINGS. All of a sudden it felt like I was riding a real-life bob-omb. You know, those bombs from Mario brothers that walk around minding their own business, until just the slightest thing sets them off, and BOOM! Shit everywhere.

So we're going along and I'm trying to get him out of bob-omb mode. At this time we're trotting along and I'm trying to get him to listen, so I'm doing some easy things but things that will try to get his head back in the game. I start just doing figure eights, except that every time we switch directions and I put my new inside leg on, it was like it was hitting airspace. He would just totally curl his body around my leg and toss himself out to the new outside. ARG! I haven't been so aware of where my feet where in the stirrups for a VERY long time, but today I was because I felt like I was riding on a nonexistent horse for a while there... a nonexistent horse that at the drop of a leaf was going to explode. It was so strange, everything that moved he was super sensitive to and had a "oh LOOK" face on with his head up in the air. I pushed through a majority of it and decided to not tempt to Gods and went back to the inside arena to walk him out.

Once in the indoor he no longer felt like a scared bob-omb, but like a pissed off child who just wanted to be done. I tried to walk him and he started pawing at the ground. This is a telltale "Fire is throwing a fit now" sign. So... we went back to work. Except this time the work consisted of a bunch of transitions... transitions that were each met with a twist or a buck or attempted rear for about... five attempts. After the five attempts we had two very clean walk canter departs without him throwing a hissy fit, and then we stopped and just stood for a while in one place.

Its nice to know that that last tantrum only took about five attempts by the Fi man. I feel like even though this post may look negative, that there is a silver lining. Every horse has a rough time here or there, but its good to know that Fire is seemingly growing up some and isn't protesting for the entire ride.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Great Lesson

I had a lesson yesterday with Ryan Yap at 1pm. Other than lightly perspiring (who am I kidding, it was gross and sweat was dripping down my back and off of my face), the lesson was a total success. I'd be lying if I said I had 100% confidence when I went into it. Since the last one was so bad, I was scared that Fire was going to have a repeat performance again this time.

I recently changed Fire's bit from a hollow broken snaffle, to a copper solid snaffle. I think the added weight and different type of metal in his mouth has been very helpful in our training. I find that he is wanting to hold the bit more consistently and since he now has more "respect" for it the connection is easier to find and his ability to just disregard the bit and toss it in his mouth is a lot less.

In the lesson we worked hard on our downward transactions and stretching. Since Fire hadn't properly been sitting with his bit for some time, he had learned a few bad habits. He likes to pull through the rein and pull me off of my center of balance when I ask for a downward transition, mostly from the tort to the walk. Ryan had me doing 10m circles and asking for the transitions within the circle, so that Fire had to push out and hang onto the outside rein. It really started to work with him, but we stopped before getting a "breakthrough" with it because of Fire's previous history with getting upset at the walk and rearing.

Once the lesson was over Ryan said that he could tell a big difference in the horse and he was stronger than the last time that he came out. He said that our next aim should be to start working shallow serpentines at the canter and counter canter to try to gain more strength. We should be able to set oen up again for this next Wed... so as long as the weather cooperates (can we say 105 degrees with the humidity?!?!) I should be able to work him through some more things and go even further for our next lesson. I'm sure I won't be so stressed this next time.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mom: Back in the Saddle

Today I gave my Mom a lunge lesson on Fire. She hadn't been on a horse's back in over 13 years. She recently told me that she wanted to start taking lessons again, and would like to have someone to get on to do a dry run on before she "embarrasses" herself on a horse she doesn't know with someone she doesn't know. So, I offered up a lunge lesson with Fire... just a bit of walk-trot.

It was all very cute. She get on him and exclaimed "oh he's SO big" and tilted over and gripped onto his mouth. Good 'ol Fire just walked on, waiting for her to figure out what was going on up there. She started to relax though and find her center of gravity... just like riding a bicycle. She did really well trying to get him to trot off and even posted on the right diagonal on her first try! For him being a decently big mover, shes stayed with him, and he was great... taking all of her unsure movements in stride and just listening to me on the ground to keep on moving forward.

I think its really great that she wants to get back into riding. Its something that she's done since she was little and then kinda left when I started in with Young Riders and got an upper level horse. I know that she really enjoys it and enjoys the atmosphere of the barn, so it should be a great thing for her to get back with. I was really proud to help her get back with starting with riding with my horse, the same way that she helped me start when I was little and I began riding. Except I think it took me a much longer time to get diagonals!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Basics Can Set You Straight

Today I decided that I would go to the barn and do a total overhaul of things. The ride itself wasn't necessarily an overhaul I guess, but I did try to work on the core of things. We worked a lot today working over his topline and to stretch down and out. Fire has a tendency to like to curl under and suck the bit up. So, in really moving him up and out today, I attempted to reestablish his foundation some more. On top of working on trying to get him to properly work over his back correctly throughout the ride, we also worked hard to get some more "schwing" established. To work on this bit of foundation, we worked great even circles and three and four loop serpentines. I tired very hard to make this a very forward thinking and happy work day for Fire, but one that really got the foam built up.

Our ride went well and the pair of us stayed happy and balanced. Since I had been studying for the IL bar for so long, I felt like I had been riding very sloppy, of halfheartedly in the past few weeks. It was really nice to get back on today and push the fundamentals and feel like I had a really good partner on a wonderful Saturday afternoon.

Beyond that, of course, Fire did get a megga scrub down and polish. Since he is such a dirty horse all of the time, having an entire week off just made him dull looking and grungy by nature. So I curried, and got a giant bucket of some brightly colored purple shampoo that turns his whole body purple, and went to work. I scrubbed every inch of the dirt ball, even the extra dirty parts. After I cleaned up an inch from his life, I braided his mane in hopes that one day it will finally fall to one side (a girl can hope). And I also cleaned and oiled all of my tack really well.

I think I did all of this because my world has felt so turned upside-down for the pest three months. The barn has always been my safe haven, and it was over the three months, but because of studies, I wasn't able to put in the time and effort that I would like to into things. not into Fire, and not into my pension for keeping things nice and neat and clean. So though I'm sure Fire will be dirty when I show up tomorrow (he had already tried to rub out the braids before I got a chance to leave the barn tonight), and my tack will get dusty once I ride outside in the sand tomorrow... my world feels just a little but more right after this major overhaul today. Sometimes I think its just getting back to the fundamentals, the basics and getting them all checked off to set things back in correct motion.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I'm scheduled to take the IL Bar this coming Tuesday and Wednesday so I won't be posting anything until I'm done with that. Sorry for the sparsity... I've been focusing on my studies and have not been out to ride in a while. I did get a chance to take a short break out to the show at Lamplight and saw a few of the horses in the Young Horse Championships. Lots of very nice horses, lots of action going on. Glad to see some bigger shows again and I do hope that they stay large like this. It is always so much nicer to have the big shows to go to and to show at. Maybe we'll get a chance to show there this time next year.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I know I know...

I've been slacking. It's hot as hell outside though and I'm studying like a crazy person. Yes, I've been to the barn, and yes I've ridden since the hay incident. I just didn't have time to write anything. Nothing particular happened last time I rode aside from getting wacked in the face by some branches that need to be cut in the outdoor. That and Fire had a ton of energy and was almost a bit out of control. I found out this was because he hadn't been turned out for two days because of the rain. This tells me though, that if I'm going to have a lesson I should ASK that he be kept in at least the day before so he's got a bit more pep in his step. Espescially with this crazy heat!!

Oh... and I got my new bareback pad! Oh yea... western style! Sans stirrups because stirrups are for pussys.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hay on Fire

After my ride today the last batch of hay caught on Fire as Bob was driving it down the rode back to the farm. I'm glad that it was only a 1/2 load or so, and that no one was hurt. Pretty scary though. Kinda over shadowed my semi crappy ride. Though, on a positive note, it was completely divine outside to ride in the wonderful weather!! Just another reason why I will always be a boarder and never will strive to be a barn owner.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What to do in the heat?

So it's no hidden fact that it's hotter than hell out this time of year and that many horses don't want to do much. Hell, not many riders want to do very much either. So, even if you don't want to do a traditional training ride on these hot days because you can't get out to the barn at 4am to beat the heat (I know I'm not getting my ass out of bed that early!) then there are other options out there:

1. You can clean tack. I know, its not the most glamorous thing to do, but it needs to be done. And I bet your beeswax conditioner is nice and soft in the heat too. Just be sure to get all of the sweat and crud off of your tack first! I personally use the Passier Creamsoap and then the Passier Lederbalsam. The Lederbalsam is great and has beeswax in it but doesn't have oil so it doesn't over saturate the pores of your leather. Everyone has their own methods, and these are the things that are in my usual arsenal of tack cleaning. That, a good sponge, a clean rag and a tooth brush for those tough places.

2. You can scrub your horse, pony club style. I myself was never a pony clubber, but I've heard that if one was ever to follow all of the rules in the handbook that you would never have time to actually get on the horse. If you're deathly curious as to how a pony clubber meticulously grooms their pony to gleaming brightness, you can click here for the instructions and try yourself. I'm sure it will take up an afternoon for sure.

3. You can bond with your steed by doing some confidence building ground work. Set up a mini obstacle course and convince your horse to follow you through the areas either having your horse have to do tight turns, or have to go by or over scary things like big blue tarps or stacked up plastic chairs. This can help for future showing situations, and since your horse is hot and tired already hopefully he'll be less willing to spook.

4. Since it is so gross and smelly out, you could strip your horse's stall down to nothing and scrub it, but I would be VERY impressed if anyone did this in this heat. If you do, send me a photo and I'll post it here! That might help with some of the uber icky smell that can come along with the summer though...

5. Or you can just go to the barn and get some beer and sit around with your barn friends and shoot the shit. I personally vote for this one. Hose the horses off to cool them off a little and then set up shop under a tree with some of your gal friends and chat about whatever gossip is going on in your local dressage world, or your work, or just have a good laugh.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Not Everyone is Cut out For Young Horses

Not everyone is cut out to work with young horses. They aren't easy, or always fun. It's much easier to buy a schoolmaster and ride them and have a nice fun easy time. I myself enjoy the challenge and what comes with a young horse. Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot from having the schoolmaster that I had. Frenchie was a wonderful horse to learn from. He taught me to be slow with my aids and to appreciate the finer movements of FEI and just... so many other things that I can only describe as the magic that happens between a horse and rider when you just have to think the movement and it happens. That is what he taught me, but there is something about having a young horse to teach that is just a totally different realm.

You see... Fire is a silly idiot. A silly and potentially very talented idiot of a horse, who I happen to love. In the training process there are bad days and good days, no reason to hide them. I actually think that I have so many people coming back here because I don't try to hide those crap days. I think others can relate with these *(#&$&#@ days that I run into with my idiot fun little five year old warmblood, because they too have a young horse, or a silly naughty horse that has had a bad day too. But within those bad days lie the good wonderful moments as well. I've put a decent amount of work into Fire. Decent enough for someone with a part time job who is also a full-time student. And today, we rode bareback walk, trot canter with great cadence and fluidity, no whip, no spurs, great transitions, great leg yields having a wonderful time.

Some people don't want to take the time to work with young horses. They don't want to go through what it takes to deal with the growing pains and the learning curves and the temper tantrums that will inevitably occur with every single horse. I rather enjoy being there for the entire process, even if it means getting a little banged up here or there, or having to take a step back to reevaluate a training process. I find it a wonderful bonding experience, one I wouldn't want to trade for anything.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Being made to sit in class while the ENTIRE nation has the day off is complete torture. Another reason not to take Kaplan.... Barbri has the day off. So not only does Kaplan have classes like every single fucking Saturday when BarBri does not, but we have to have class today when everything on campus, and in the town is completely closed. We had to call the POLICE to let us into the building because everything was LOCKED. Had anyone told me this at the beginning I would have gladly paid the extra money for Barbri.... THIS SUCKS.

Yes, I want to sit here and listen to Professor Morris blab for four hour about wills. Oh yes... its not even a SHORT DAY, but one of our LONGEST DAYS that we have. I HATE THIS. GOD. We are 36 pages though the outline thus far and still going strong on hour three... just shoot me now.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and The Rearing

Alright... so I guess I should have quit while I was ahead yesterday. The ride was going great! First, it was a beautiful day out, you couldn't have asked for a better day to ride a horse; it was about 75 degrees outside with a slight breeze and not a lot of humidity, it was just wonderful. I was at the barn at the same time as another rider, but she opted to ride in the indoor, which gave me sole access to the outdoor arena while the sun was setting. So serene and a wonderful time to work on training. So we began and things started out alright. He didn't want to carry himself and was slamming up against the bridle, which is common with him trying to figure out how to correctly come into the bridle through his back and then down his neck and pole, so I just waited. We did some easy bending exercises where I tried to push him alternatively into the right and left reigns, just some easy 3 and 4 loop serpentines. He became supple and began to work very nicely. I began pushing him through while doing a walk exercise that I created. We would, for example, go to the right at the walk, and once we got the the long side, leg yield off the wall toward the 1/4 line until about the 1/4 line, and then I would push him into the opposite left reign, as for almost a turn on the forehand movement, but on a larger circle, until he became parallel again to the opposite long-side, and then leg yielded back to the wall. Once we got back to the wall I would ask for a canter transition, then asking for him to walk again about 5 strides later when we were nearing the end of the short side to prepare to do the exercise again. In doing this he became very balanced and I decided to take the chance to do some work with canter walk simple changes that we had been working on.

So we began the work on the canter-walk-canter changes across the diagonal, changing lead at X. He was a star. He did them and was balanced and really picked up the transition very well. There was a lot of "hop" in him and I was very happy with the movement. I then got it in my head to see what would happen if we went across the diagonal, and after doing a bunch of these in a row, didn't ask him to walk, but just really changed my aids and his bend. And you know what? It happened. A clean clear as day flying change. TADA. Now, no more of that... because we have do to counter-canter before we can start with those things. But that was fun, good boy.

And that's where I'm thinking I should have just stopped. I should have been happy to end there and just done a free reign walk and been done with it. But no, it was beautiful out, we hadn't worked that hard, and everything had been going so darn well!!! So what did I ask for then? Something so simple... connection at the walk. OH MY GOD. He lost his marbles. Mind you I had been trying to stay away from his face really at the walk to not impede his walk stride, but come on now, he's 5 and he can actually have connection and do some work. Fire disagrees. Walking if for relaxing to Fire, not for working. So he preceded to show me the tops of the trees by rearing and leaping in the air. WONDERFUL. I so wanted to be done and to do some easy walk work. SO then it was a bit of a.... discussion. You've all had them before. I wouldn't call it a "fight" because I wasn't going to fight a 1700lb horse that was rearing into the sky with me, not a good time to pick a fight. That's a good way to get a horse on top of you. But I did make rearing quite uncomfortable. We did work through it. It was icky and involved some odd leg yielding cow herding looking movements mixed with caprioles, and head flicking, but we got through it. Eventually I talked him down off of the baby tantrum ledge and we could finally walk with some look like a normal horse with our head in a semi okay position with actual connection (but not enough for my liking... baby steps.)

But I guess we need to take the good with the bad. Some rides, like one I talked about earlier in these posts, began like shit and ended up brilliant. This one just happened to be the opposite.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Attack Plan

Today's plan: get some really solid connection into the bridle and go forward FORWARD FORWARD (as Ryan would put it, because things tend to come in threes with him.)

I'm sure this is going to be a barrel of monkeys for me, so I'll be taking something for my back so I can really sit on Fire correctly to help him along. His issue seems to be an incredibly lazy inside leg in the trot once we really get going... so maybe today we can work on that.

I'll report back. Hopefully it'll be good and not all gobbly gook crap.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What a Difference a Year Makes

It has been a little over one year since I first broke Fire and started riding him. I looked back on things and it looks like I broke in in late March of last year. Though he is still Mr. Rollie Pollie in the middle I can see a marked difference in his ability to move. He is carrying himself much better and is listening to my aids with an understanding that I didn't think we would have when we first started out. I've taken two recent lessons with Ryan and I think they have helped a lot too. I wish I could afford them all the time because I can see a drastic improvement in my riding and in the communication between Fire and myself in just a very short amount of time. Below are some photos... some "then and now comparison.

First, then, last year about this time:

Then, some from yesterday. It was about a million degrees out, so excuse the tank top!!

What a difference a year makes!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Helmet Awareness Day

UPDATES BELOW!!!!!!!!!!!! UPDATES BELOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

National Helmet Awareness Day will be Saturday July 10th. There will be many events held that day around the US raising money for helmet awareness, brain injury foundations and for special helmet sales. Look below for a comprehensive list of retailers that will be offering discounts on helmet purchases that day as well as other events that well help to raise money and awareness.

Here is more info via USEF on the whole drive

Participating manufacturers to date include: Troxel, Charles Owen, Aegis (Devon-Aire) and GPA. If you are a retailer that sells helmets from one of these manufacturers in your store, please contact the manufacturer directly for details of the promotion.

BIG UPDATE: the word is that many of the retailers have let out their deals: 15-20% GPA
15% Ovation, 15% Charles Owen at this point!! Look out for more! If you're a retailer, know you can contact these manufactures and get in on these one day deals for your store too!!

Most recently Ovation and IRH have joined the ranks as well!

You can find the great "Strap One On" shirt for sale HERE if you like. Many colors available! They come from the Courtney King-Dye Medical Fund and are all being sold via EBay.

Participating Retailers (offering a discount on helmets purchased on July 10th) If you are a retailer who will have specials in your store and would like to be included, feel free to contact me and your store will be added!

This list will be updated periodically.

National (online):

Equestrian Collections

Dover Saddlery (online and in all store locations)

Smartpak Equine

will be offering 15% off any Charles Owen, IRH or Troxel helmet on the 10th!


Rick's Heritage Saddlery

will be offering 15% off of all helmets now through the 11th!

Valley Vet Supply


The Pampered Horse and Rider, Inc., 16211 N. Scottsdale Rd., Ste A-7, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Will be offering on GPA, Troxel and Charles Owen between 15-20% off


Tack Room, 5437 McHenry Ave, Modesto, CA 95356

Will be offering 25% off of all helmets on the 10th!

(209) 526-6650

Mary’s Tack and Feed, 3675 Via De La Valle, Del Mar, CA

San Diego Saddlery, 1783 E. Main St., El Cajon, CA 92021

Calabasas Saddlery, 23998 Craftsman Road, Calabasas, CA 91320

Kahoots Tack and Apparel, 31 Poindexter, Moorpark CA 93021

Is offering 15% off of Troxel helmets


The Equestrian Center, Riverdale Farms Bldg. # 12, 136 Simsbury Rd., Avon, Ct. 06001

Will be offering 15%-25% on helmets depending on brand



Saddle Up Tack, 7818 Lithia Pinecrest Road, Lithia, FL 33547-1880
(813) 681-1600

Winning Edge Saddlery, 6998 N US Highway 27 # 112, Ocala, FL 34482

All helmets are 10% off for the entire month of July (Tippery, CO, GPA, International & Ovation)


Advanced Equine Products, Palm City, FL

15% off of Charles Owens helmets on the 10th


Spectrum Saddle Shop, 6738 N. State Road 7, Coconut Creek, FL 33073

The Tackeria, 13501 Southshore Blvd. #107, Wellington, FL 33414


Bar G Horse & Cattle Supply, 1060 Astondale Rd Bishop, GA 30621

Troxel, Charles Owen and Ovation Helmets will be 15% off. A few styles will be up to 50% off!! They will also be at the Four Seasons Farm Horse Show in Madison, Ga. with helmet safety info on the 10th!



Saddlers Row, 20066 N. Rand Rd., Palatine, IL 60074

Will be offering many specials from 15-20% OFF of all brands, including GPA helmets... and free gifts with purchase!
Expert helmet fitter Holly Lemanski will be there to fit helmets
847- 776-6700

Oros Saddlery, 1931 West Wilson Street, Batavia, IL 60510

Will be offering GPA helmets for 20% off!

The Riding Store, 3050 Hobson Road, Woodridge, IL 60517


KBC Horse Supplies, 140 Venture Court, Lexington, KY 40511

KBC Horse Supplies, 7500 Turfway Road (Stable Area), Florence, KY.

Bob Mickler’s Inc., 1093 West High Street, Lexington, KY 40508-3113


Briggs Tack Shop; Trailer Sales, Inc, 623 Hanover St, Hanover, MA 02339


Sporthorse Saddlery, 56840 Grand River Ave., Suite 800, New Hudson, MI 48165

Millbrook Tack, 510 68th Street SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49548

New York:

Green Valley Tack, 792 County Route One, Pine Island, NY 10969

20% off of Ovation, Troxel, GPAs and CO


Horse and Rider Tack Shop, 528 Bloomingburg Rd, Middletown, NY 10940

Beval Saddlery, 859 Peach Lake Road, North Salem, NY 10560

The Horse Connection, 38 Village Green, Bedford, NY 10506

The Cheshire Horse of Saratoga, LLC, 402 Geyser Road, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Brennan’s Bit and Bridle, 42 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton NY 11932

The Hunting Horn, 1867 Penfield Rd, Penfield NY 14526

The Equestrian Corner, 81 Pondfield Road #234, Bronxville, NY 10708

North Shore Saddlery, Ltd., 6308 Northern Blvd. (Rt 25A), East Norwich, NY 11732

Shupperd’s Tack Shop, 305 State Highway 8, Bainbridge, NY 13733

Horseman’s Corner 307 White Plains Rd Eastchester, NY 10709


Schneiders Saddlery, 8255 E. Washington Street, Chagrin Falls, OH 44023


Malvery Saddlery, #1 E King St., Malvern, PA 19355

South Carolina:

Meeting Street Tack, 720 Dupont Road, Charleston, SC 29407-6092
(843) 766-4346


Rose Hollow, 19073 I-45 South, Suite 120, Conroe, TX 77385

Charlotte’s Saddlery, 114 W. Main St., Tomball, TX 77375

Charlotte’s Saddlery, 11623-A Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77079

Equine Goddess, 202 Market St., Eddy, TX 76524

It’s All About the Horse, 3115 W. Parker Rd #420, Plano, TX 75023


The Saddlery, Inc., 731 Walker Road, Unit E, Great Falls Va 22066

15% off of Troxel, Tippery, CO and Ovation


The Tack Box, Inc, 7 W Federal St, Middleburg, VA 20118

Saddles N Stuff, 216 Amsterdam Road, Daleville, VA 24083-3156

Corner Tack Shop, 7960 Richmond Rd, Toano, VA 23168



Extreme Tack, RR#1 Tees, AB T0C 2N0 (will be at Thompson County Horse Trials July 10th)
(403) 755-6025