Thursday, October 25, 2012

Stolen Saddles!

In less than a week, two stables in my area have been broken into and saddles were stolen! One place lost 25-30 western saddles and the place that was hit today had dressage/english saddles stolen. No news yet on the details from that most recent one.

This is pretty bad. I don't remember hearing of tack thefts of this size around here for many, many years. Local folks are convinced it has to be the same people doing this. They are checking in with the auctions held in our state and neighboring states to alert them if someone comes in with a large lot of saddles to unload. People are also trawling Craigslist to see if things are posted on there.

Just today on Facebook, the Chronicle of the Horse posted about thefts of 150-200 bales of hay. You can read it here: Hay stolen from Kennebec farm

And apparently these kind of hay thefts are not unheard of, too.

Wow, desperate times? Has anyone else been hearing of things like this? Keep an extra watch on your possessions, folks. Be safe.

Monday, October 22, 2012

He's still awesome!

Even with the weather turning crisp and chilly, Joey continues to be his same, unflappable self. Can't ask for better than that. I have plans to enter our first hunter pace event the first weekend in November. I'm excited, a little nervous but determined to make it happen. My team is only interested in taking it easy, which is fine by me.

Here's some recent pix of my pony after a weekend ride on one of these lovely fall days:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Autumn in the air

Last night I rode Joey for the first time under the lights in the riding arena at the barn we now board at. Since the light switch is inside the barn owner's home, I have to text her and request the lights be turned on for riding. The barn owner is so, so nice and put the lights on for me even before I headed out to ride. It's been getting dark now at just 7:15PM and usually the earliest I can get in the tack is at about 6:45PM. So I have to bang out as much schooling as I can before daylight is gone. I've been holding out asking for her to put the lights on for me because it's going to be a long winter and I'm going to be requesting this a lot!

With the lights on early, Joey was able to adjust comfortably as we worked and daylight faded to darkness around us. Even with it being a chilly, windy evening, with strange sounds and gusty rustles he kept his mind on his business (which is so like him, anyway) and we schooled for a good 45 minutes. I'm trying to ride him at a lot of trot/canter work, I have plans to enter a Hunter Pace in November and I'm starting our conditioning now.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mosquito Bites, Tiger Balm and Fly Spray

Went to ride after work today. We had heavy rain late last night into the morning and everything is soggy. When it rains heavily, the mosquitoes get really bad at the new barn. They owners have two huge fans blowing through the barn to move the air and keep the bugs away and it does help but today was buggy even with the fans.

Poor Joey, he was miserable. Stomping flies as I tried to groom him, then to add insult to injury, the girl came to feed dinner as I saddled up. I kept stuffing handfulls of hay in his mouth since I felt sorry for him but I finished tacking up and out we went.

I planned on a short half hour ride, just walking and trotting because the bugs were so annoying. I swear at this time of year the critters just huff the fly spray and party on. I mounted up and once we were moving Joey seemed to get a little relief.

I kept my promise, 30 uneventful minutes later I dismounted and brought Joey back to the barn. I felt so bad for my hungry pony that I untacked him and then let him into his stall to start eating his hay as I finished up brushing him and adding another coat of fly spray. Once I finished brushing him down then he got his grain. I swear he sighed in relief.

Fly Spray - okay, here's where I need opinions from some of you folks in the steamy south, what brand of fly spray do you find really works to keep the flys and especially the skeeters away from your horse? I tried Mosquito Halt and it worked a little better than the Bronco stuff I normally use but how toxic do I need to get before my horse gets some relief?

And as for the Tiger Balm, well, I figured I'd spread the news that Tiger Balm works great to stop the itch from mosquito bites. I read it somewhere in some forum online and when I woke up at 2AM last night with 3 nasty, aggravatingly itchy bites on my leg I tried it.
You use a Q-tip and rub the Tiger Balm into the welt for about a minute. Then the itch is just gone! I was so happy it worked! Thank you internet!

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Good Weekend

So I rode both Saturday and Sunday and Joey was a rock star as usual. There were lots of jumps set up as the barn owner's daughter was prepping for competition at the Hampton Classic on Sunday. I played with the cross-rail, LOL. I also was daring and trotted him over the small liverpool she had set up. Joey jumped it with no hesitation and better than the cross-rail.

The best part was on Sunday, as I rolled up the driveway toward the barn, Joey was lounging in his paddock. I rolled down the car window and called out to him, "Hey Pony, whatcha doin'?". His head lifted and he watched the car as I parked at the barn.

As I got out of the car and walked to the stable I called him again and he started to stroll up towards his stall. Then he stopped, he never took his eyes off me the entire time. I went into the barn and was now out of his sight. I stood in front of his stall, opened the door and called him again.

There was the thunder of hooves and Joey burst into his stall at a trot and came right over to me sniffing my shirt and nuzzling me. Mind you, he doesn't get treats right away when I arrive at the barn and those are always in his bucket. So I guess it was the scratches and nose rubs he was interested in.

But after the past week or so of worrying about what was, I was really happy that he reminded me what IS!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pictures from Joey & I at our first Horse Show

Well, they were pricey, and it's taken awhile but I caved in and bought two of the pictures from Joey's first Horse Show. They arrived the other day and now seems like the best time to share them here. Both pictures are ©Bruce Smith of Digital Hoofprints.

We competed in the English Hunter Pleasure horse division. I know, he's a little too "framed up" for a pleasure hunter flat class. Too many years in the Hunt Seat Equitation ring, LOL.

Here we are in the line-up. He looks so cute here. 

There was only one other competitor in the classes besides me. Actually, we were joking with each other when were entering the ring that everyone else was afraid to ride against us!

But for my first horse show experience with Joey, I didn't care. It was a great day as I posted before and  I don't know about you, but my pony looks pretty happy with himself in both shots!

I know I was very proud of him!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

And by the way...

I rode my horse this evening, and Joey was a good boy.

The rest of the story.

Thanks for all the constructive comments. It reinforced the positive for me and I appreciate it.

After processing it all further, I guess I should be satisfied the original owner told me what she knew. I have struggled with whether it's good or not for me to put his past to words but I guess it doesn't really matter all that much at this point. Y'all know now there's a skeleton in his closet anyway, if I tell, maybe to some of you it won't even sound all that unusual.

In the beginning, Joey was one of the stars of her young sale prospects. He broke well to saddle, was very calm, kind and willing. All the things she presented him as on his page, he was.

Then he was sold, and she got good money for him. I don't know how long after that it happened but apparently he bolted or spooked badly and ran off with his new owner, causing her injury. New owner's trainer tried working with the horse and he did it to her, going through a fence and sending her to the hospital. Joey was returned to the original owner and traded in for a different horse but the damage was done. It was also revealed he was returned with a sore back, like extremely sensitive over the lumbar vertebrae. (I've never noticed any extreme reactiveness or pain in his back.) My first thought was my God, what did they do to him?

The owner tried to salvage her investment by having her trainer work with him and he went along okay for awhile and then did it again to her trainer. I don't think her trainer was hurt but the horse was deemed unfit for riding by the original owner. She also said he failed a vetting after he was returned and she pointed out the lump on his fetlock that I noticed in my own studying of his legs. (I had that fetlock x-rayed in my vetting of Joey and my vet said it was a "callous" on the bone, that he was not sensitive in that area and it would not affect him as a pleasure horse. He also passed the ridden flexion test in my vet exam, too.) He was supposedly sold from there as a pasture pet only. In all, she must have lost a lot of money with him and wasn't about to put any more into him with a damaged history. Obviously, he no longer fit her profile of the quiet, safe horses she sells.

And surprise, I call out of the blue maybe 2 years after horse is gone and tell her I have this horse and have been riding and working with him for a year and he's wonderful and the nicest horse ever and I just wanted her to know such a nice horse is safe with me. I guess she was caught off guard, too. She seemed surprised to hear the horse went on to a different dealer (who I bought him from).

She warned me he'd do it again. Out of the blue, with no warning. I said well, it's been a year and I've never had anything like that happen under saddle. She said well, she had him in her rotation for a year before he was sold and he never did anything like it and then it happened. She told me at the very least, never to allow anyone else to ride him. As I think on it now, it bothers me that she kept blaming the horse.

I know Joey is a sensitive horse. He is calm and by all appearances bombproof but will not tolerate heavy handling. He has so much "try" and will go along with almost every task I've asked of him. He's never refused any jump I've put in front of him. But I've moved slowly, I wanted to "take as long as it takes" for us to become partners.

One thing I noticed almost immediately after starting with him, he's very wary of crops and whips and you have to be very savvy in your use of these tools. I carried one in the beginning because he's so lethargic and was surprised how as soon as he saw it in my hand, he became worried and had trouble focusing. I noted that - especially since Monty also had a very big fear of whips and crops. But my experience with Monty taught me how to be very subtle with that tool and I have to say, Joey has become much better about me using it.

Hmm, Monty also was started in Virginia and fox hunted early in his career. Same fear. Just sayin'.

I had one instance in a lesson where my trainer told me to ask for a lead change after a small jump as we cantered to the corner. I just tickled Joey with a dressage whip behind my outside leg to emphasize my "ask" and he zoomed off into a gallop from fear of that little touch. But I simply circled him, told him a gentle "whoa" and he stopped immediately. Then we settled him and joked about how the poor thing is scared of the whip and we will definitely not be using that method to ask him for a long time.

After I described his past to my trainer, he said well, maybe that explains a little more why he's so scared of the whip. Maybe it had some part in his bad experience.

Now that I know what breeds go into Joey's genetics, obviously he's presenting more Thoroughbred than most of her crosses and though he looks drafty, there's a very sensitive, emotional horse in there. Maybe the problem was, he was sold and handled as a bombproof draft cross but needed to be ridden a little more as if he is a Thoroughbred. Which is exactly how I've been handling him. Because that's how I had to ride Monty, too.

One more thing, when I had his teeth floated this past fall, the vet said the poor horses' teeth looked as if they'd never been taken care of. He had hooks and a few ulcers in his cheeks from the condition of his teeth. If that is true, we have all heard stories of horses reacting badly in the bridle due to pain in their teeth.

Anyway, I could speculate and ramble on but I think it's all said. We move forward. We build on all the many good things so far in our partnership and we progress.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Well, suffice it to say, I did have a phone conversation with the farm owner where Joey came from. And it wasn't what I expected. I'm not sure how much I want to share, but the horse I have worked with and loved for just over a year didn't exactly match up with the horse she described to me.

I was stunned, disappointed and taken aback. What I can share is that he does have the American Warmblood Society brand and there are no registration papers available for the horse.

I spoke with my trainer about the phone call. He listened and then said he was glad I called as it might explain some of Joey's quirks that we've noticed and worked through. He also reassured me that if there are any dramatic issues with the horse, that after riding him and working with him for just over a year the odds are high we would have already seen it. He told me I'm an experienced, sensitive horseman and rider and I offer my horse considerate training and consistent quality vet, dental and farrier care. Everything is in the horses' favor to succeed and I should continue to ride and work with him.

Logically I know he is right. Emotionally, I wish I'd never gone searching. Ignorance is bliss but I guess informed is enlightened.

When you get a horse from a horse dealer, you get what you get. My trainer and I both knew this when we decided on Joey. This horse probably was pulled from an auction but we both felt he had potential to be a good horse with me. His past is most likely how he wound up changing hands and at an auction. That I even put this much together and found out where he started is a miracle in and of itself.

I thought Joey was rescuing me when maybe I was rescuing him.

So, the cowgirl in this English rider now wants more than anything to show that Joey's past is where it belongs - in the past. Every day is a new day. That his partnership with me is the better part of his journey. That I am his "Journey's End" just as I feel he is mine.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

OMG! I found him!

More searching with Google and more studying Joey's stifle. The more I look the more I'm convinced there is a brand there. It looks like a hot brand but the faint outline is there. It's hard to capture on my phone's camera but in person it is there.

So this morning I'm Googling some more and then it happens, I open a web page and there is my horse's sale page! My hands start shaking as I scroll down and I have this lump in my throat looking at all the pictures of him - foxhunting!! I watched his sale video, and he is still the same lovely horse.

It's definitely him. One thing about a painted pony is the markings don't lie. I can't believe it took me a year to actually do this. (Yes, this past August 4th it was one year ago I found my Good Horse) I guess I just took all information given to me on faith and was just so happy that Joey was so good to me. After what I went through I didn't want more than that. But this faint brand marking has stirred my curiosity.

I emailed the farm where he came from asking for any information they are willing to share about him. And I told them at the very least, I just wanted them to know he's safe, loved and has a forever home. I wonder if they'll answer me.

Click the link, and meet "Rembrandt" - now known as Joey.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Does Joey have an American Warmblood brand?

So the other day I was hand grazing Joey after a good scrubby bubble bath. As the sun is glistening on his damp coat, I'm admiring my chubby, handsome pony when I notice something on his left stifle area. Something I never actually caught before and it never occurred to me to even look. There seemed to be a very, very faint marking in the fur. The longer I stared at it and moved around him in the direct sunlight the more I was convinced there was something there. It almost looked like an uppercase "A" and these curvy things on the top at both sides. I rubbed the fur, smoothed the fur, even rewet it and tried to make it go away but I still noticed it if I stared long enough.

When he dried, it was almost non existent. When I went home I Googled different kinds of horse brands and there it was:

This is the brand for the American Warmblood Society. 

I now was even more curious, so the next day I went out to graze him again. I wet the fur on his stifle on the left side and took some pictures with the camera on my phone. Here's the best picture I took:

Look at this very carefully. Now look at this picture:

Look more carefully at the area circled in white. 

Do you see these lines and points? I added the actual brand to the picture to now help visualize.

Now I slid the brand into place. It seems to line up to what I saw.

Could my horse really have this brand? Would it be this size on a full-grown horse? I couldn't find many pictures online of horses with this brand to compare the size, it does seem a little large but I just don't know...

I know there are cases where horses are branded but the brands are so faint as to be almost impossible to see unless the horse is shaved to the skin. I don't feel like shaving off a patch of Joey's hair right now to look, but maybe if I body clip him in the fall all will be revealed. (I didn't clip him last winter so it would make sense that I wouldn't have noticed this then.)

And what would it mean if he is branded as an American Warmblood? I received no papers for him when I bought him but the brand would mean he is registered and passed some kind of inspection to have it, wouldn't it? So would there be some way to track him down or would that be a waste of time? Anyone familiar with these brands and especially the American Warmblood Society with any insight would be very welcome. :)

I love Joey no matter what he is. But if he is branded, how cool!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Home for Joey and Me

Well, a week ago we took the opportunity and made the move. Joey is now only 15 minutes from my house and from my job. He also now has a big bright stall with his own attached paddock. The stall has a rubber matted floor and the barn is very well ventilated. His stall is always dry and there is no "barn smell" about the place. At this time of the year, he is able to walk in and out, day and night, as the door to his stall is latched to stay open.

He's made friends with the geldings and the mini horse stallion on the one side of his paddock and has learned the mare on the other side prefers to be left alone.

I can have my shoer, vet and trainer. There is a good sized riding ring with sand footing (with no rocks!) that is watered and well maintained. There are lots of jumps of various kinds that I am welcome to use. It's great that the other riders all ride english/hunter/jumper.

The tack room is clean and nice, my big show trunk fits in the corner and there's a place for all my stuff. The best thing is it's locked and alarmed so I feel okay about leaving all my gear there. I have a key to the feed room too, and the hay is fresh and the feed is plentiful. There's even a good sized grazing area where we can graze in hand as long as we want.

It's quiet. I've ridden when the daughter of the barn owner rides once but I mostly have the place to myself when I'm there. And you know what, I like the quiet. My life is so busy and full of people that spending time with Joey alone in a calm, quiet place is so soothing. He's such a good boy and once he saw everything that needed to be seen and snorted at, he has settled down and we have spook free rides - even when the neighbors are in their pool and the dogs are playing in the yard.

I even see him almost every day now, which is another plus. Before the distance to the barn made it so I would only get there 3-4 times a week. Now I can stop in, even if it's just to graze for a few minutes and check his water.

I'm trying to get in touch with my farrier right now to schedule a shoeing. Hope he will come to this place and I don't have to switch.

Joey, just off the trailer and in his new stall.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Boarding Barns - what are your deal breakers?

Need some feedback. What are the things and amenities you feel you MUST have in a barn where you will be boarding your horse? What can you live without? Right now I have everything I could want but the future seems unclear where I am and I have to see what's out there that I can afford.


Is an indoor arena a must? ( I can function okay without one if I have to)
Must you have a large or grass turn out? ( I can function without this, too. Smallish dirt turnout is ok)
Group or individual turn out? ( I much prefer individual)
Can you ride whenever you want - within reason? ( I have been lucky with this so far)
How far are you willing to travel? ( Would prefer to keep it within a half hour drive - in other words, no further than I am now)

I could list more but I want your thoughts and opinions, please!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pictures from the show

Pictures from this past weekend's show are up on this website! If you would like to see them, they are at this site: Digital Hoofprints

Go to "galleries" you may have to register an email with them to view on the site. Once you are there, look for the 2012 gallery, the Smithtown Hunt Horse Show June 10th. We are in the Opportunity Pleasure division.

Joey is the horse with the blaze and hind stockings. Pictures are pricey. I will order at least one but not sure which to choose. If you have one you like, let me know in the comments and maybe I'll buy the one with the most requests.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Joey's first Horse Show - everything I hoped for!

We did it! Today was the show, our first Horse Show and we ROCKED! So tired but just had to share. I entered him in the English Pleasure Hunter Division and we won two 2nds, a 1st and Reserve Champion. Joey never put a hoof wrong and was a joy to ride. Just so happy! <3

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Show Ring Ready: How To Befriend the Show Office Staff

Show Ring Ready: How To Befriend the Show Office Staff

This past weekend I helped out at the show secretary's desk for one of our local Hunter/Jumper shows. I happened to come across this article and thought it would be worth sharing after my experience. In all, the exhibitors were all great to deal with. However, there were a few folks who didn't have their numbers in order and I feel their trainers could have done a better job making sure that their clients were well prepared for what could happen.

If you are a coach, and you are not a newbie at taking clients to horse shows, there is really no excuse for not being sure that they are ready at every level, from sign-in to ingate.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

RWR (Real Women Ride) No Knot Hair Net from EriQuestrian, LLC - REVIEW

With my upcoming adventures in horse showing, I am beginning to get my stuff together and see what still fits and what I need to update. One of the things I will need to do is something with my hair to get it neatly under this new helmet.

 In the past, I always had to fight with pins, clips and hair nets to gather my hairstyles up under my helmet. I do not "rock" the long straight hair look well and have usually had hair cuts that involved layers, which look great outside a helmet but are the devil to contain under one.

 I remember with much negativity the pins poking into my scalp under the helmet, which suddenly became much tighter with the hair stuffed up under it. I loathe hair nets and the discomfort of the knot if not positioned "just so". However, they are a necessary evil unless you want those wispy pieces of hair to keep popping out and make you look like a barely contained madwoman in show clothes.

 For years I just had my hair cut very short but with age and extra weight, the short cut looks less stylish and more severe on me. So here I am with a shoulder length layered cut and dreading pins, clips and hair nets again.

 And then I came across this nifty item, which has taken hair nets and "helmet hair" out of the dark ages! I enthusiastically introduce the RWR No Knot Hair Net!

 I HAD to have this! I ordered one right after watching the video. My hair is a lot of gray with some of my original brown in the back so I took a guess and ordered the blonde.

 When the package arrived, I couldn't wait to try it out. I copied exactly what the woman in the video did and it absolutely worked! Perfectly! The very first time! My helmet still fit and my hair looked neat and show ready without a lot of fussing for the first time in my life! When I rode with it, my hair stayed put. No sneaky wisps of hair peeking out after working with the horse and my hair looked as good after the ride as when I started.

 I love this hair net so much I now use it every time I ride because it's just so much more comfortable to ride without my hair all over the place and the bonus is when you slip it off after the ride, your hair is not as crazy-messy as it is without the hair net. Also, these are very durable hair nets, they are worth every penny of the price. I have been using it for a few months now and after a few rides, I wash it in the barn bathroom sink with hand soap and air dry it. It just keeps on doing its' job!

I give this product a 5-star thumbs up! Where was this all my horse show life? And now that I think of it, I'm off to order another one! Love!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Joey is now a USEF number

I took the plunge and registered Joey with the USEF/USHJA today. Big plans in the works. Luck be willing, we will be competing in a registered horse show in less than 2 weeks. Exciting and scary at the same time! His name is now officially, "Journey's End" but he'll always be Joey!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Joey update (with lots of pics!)

I know I haven't posted anything in awhile and have never posted any pictures of Joey and I riding. Finally, the wait is over! One of my barn buddies brought a camera with her last Saturday and here are some pictures of me and my little Clydesdale/QH doing our thing. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Equestrian Daniel Craig

Okay, after seeing the by now infamous Equestrian Ryan Gosling tumblr that everyone has been buzzing about and laughing out loud over the Equestrian Ryan Reynolds meme that was presented on the Tucker the Wunderkind blog, I decided to try a few with the celebrity hottie of my dreams.

I give you - Equestrian Daniel Craig

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Jumpin' Joey!

My riding lesson this past Wednesday was great! My trainer gave me some good exercises to work on. I'm particularly happy he gave me one to do to work on getting flying lead changes involving cantering over a ground pole.

The jumping we did was great, Joey is better over a bigger jump. I had a feeling he was bored with all the little cross rails we've been playing with. We started over a single 18" straight rail with a ground pole one stride out and that worked up to a 4-stride 2' line. Joey did so well!

Joey was so unfettered as we worked on all this that my trainer had to ask, "um, is he always like this, quiet?" So I laughed and said, "um, yes, that's why you wanted me to have him!"

Then my trainer set up a long approach X-oxer at about 2'6" with orange traffic pylons in front of it. I looked at him like, "you're kidding, right?" I hadn't jumped anything bigger than a little X-rail in a good year.

I was told to stop whining, that based on my level of riding experience I needed to knock it off and canter to this fence NOW.

So off we went, Joey cantered right up and over, he never even looked at the jump. In fact, he seemed happy to cruise right up to it, he liked the bigger fence! Now it was a little clunky, my take off was kind of long and not well thought out but pony was game and went for the distance.

We rode it again a few more times, worked on my approach and release (Joey needs a very generous release because he stretches his neck way down to his knees as he jumps) and by about the 4th time we nailed it!

My trainer asked me to switch his bit to a rubber snaffle. I laughed and told him I already tried that and he'd chomped a chunk out of it. So we agreed on trying a Happy Mouth bit because Joey is so calm, we want him to have as little mouth pressure as possible so as not to interfere with his forward roll to the fences.

So I'm motivated! Looking forward to next week's challenge. Just hope with the weather we're having this weekend that the indoor isn't too crowded for me to at least work on the lead change exercise.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Riding Lesson this evening

Okay, it's been 6 months since Joey and I became owner and horse. I figure that was plenty of time for us to get to know each other, for me to rehab my knee in the saddle, get back in riding shape and to form a relationship. I have decided we will start to put on a little more pressure and go into a lesson program, specifically to work on Joey's jumping style... or lack thereof.

He's honest and game over a fence but not always the most graceful goose in the pond if you get my drift. So I'm hoping to work with gymnastic exercises over fences under my trainer's watchful eye and school him to be more aware of picking up his feet, using himself with a little more effort and striding into an obstacle correctly.

But mostly I think it will just be fun to be challenged again!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

And in case you were wondering...

In case you read my previous post and were wondering what I chose for my new helmet, there it is, the IRH Elite Ultra Helmet in black.

My helmet budget is a little less these days than it was when I bought the GPA, so after much consideration, I decided this helmet had everything I wanted for under $250.00. Besides, a black leather covered helmet is trés chic, no? Kind of adds a touch of badass to my usual preppy, adult amateur self. ;)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Goodbye to my Trusty GPA Helmet

It is time.

I have prolonged this as long as I could but the time has come to let you go.

I bought your replacement well over a year ago because the tag inside you was marked "March 2005". I know all safety headgear should be replaced after 5 years or impact to the helmet such as from a fall.

But I've had a really hard time letting you go.

I've known you were coming to your end for awhile now. You have never been in a serious fall but have the many nicks and dings from a well lived life in the sun and rain, wind and cold. Your insides were no longer well padded and even starting to peel. Alas, there's no delicate way to say this but awhile ago you also began to develop a noticeable, embarrassing stink, especially in the summer. No amount of Charles Owen helmet cleaner and deodorizer or even Lysol could remedy it for long. It required that you be left in the hot sun to dry out completely to stop the smell but I knew that was also just speeding up your demise.

But we soldiered on, you and I, we were comrades with a past to bind us.

I remember when we first met. I shopped around online and found you for the amazing price of $375.00 with free shipping, a sweet string pack that had "GPA" screened on the side and as a special bonus - I got a free helmet storage/carrying case too! You had it all; Class, Style, your own Accessories and Safety. I was one of the "cool kids" with my new Titium GPA helmet!

Right from the box you fit my head like you were custom made. You never gave me a headache or complaint. The ventilation feature under your futuristic titanium strip was such a welcome change from all those hot stuffy helmets that came before you.

I am sorry we didn't go to more horse shows together. You would have fit right in in the Adult Amateur Hunters and I just know you'd have seen many blue ribbons if you had.

But we sure had fun doing everything else together - all the schooling, the jumping lessons, the dressage lessons, the trail rides, a mock fox hunt and the hunter paces. Oh man, did we ROCK those hunter paces!

I hoped there was a way to have you re purposed at the end of your usefulness and I even blogged about it and learned that there really isn't any other life for a well-used equestrian helmet. There isn't even any way to recycle any of your parts. And a helmet that has been well-used and worn must never be sold to another rider as it cannot guarantee safety to its new owner, who really doesn't know just how MUCH use that you were given!

So today I took your replacement to the barn. As I rode Joey around, I realized that this was the first time I'd used this helmet while working with him. I decided that as I set out to meet my goals with Joey this new year, we would do it with the nice, new helmet. It was time to let the memories of the past rest with you and move on with my newer, safer model helmet.

You will be joined in your retirement to refuse by two friends who you've worked with on several occasions: a much-loved pair of Mountain Horse boots with a broken back zipper and a pair of stirrup leathers that must have given me 10 years of service and have more self-punched holes than can be deemed safe. Still, throwing you away bothers me the most and I think I know why. Besides the fact that you were expensive, you were with me through everything - EVERY RIDE, EVERY TIME. The horses may have changed, maybe I used different tack or rode in different boots or clothes but you were the one piece of equipment that was ALWAYS with me. You saw it all - my joy with Monty, my frustration with Rugby, the return to happiness with Ruby, all the horses I tried as I searched for my next equine partner and you were with me on that first ride with Joey and every happy ride since.

So, I will miss you, my fabulous GPA helmet but I do have many treasured photos of us together doing what we did best and I thank you for your years of stylishly flawless protection.

Friday, February 3, 2012

For those with a Dirty Mind...

Um, I was shopping for a slightly longer set of spurs when I came across these pictured above. Okay, I get the concept and like the idea but I immediately started giggling to myself as I really looked at the picture. Do you see what I see? I almost want those even more for the Freudian aspect of them, LOL!

If you think your trainer will let you get away with sporting these, go for it here at Big Dee's Tack:


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wait - I've been a blogger for 6 years????

Just scrolling through my blog this AM and noticed I've been at this for 6 years!



I'm not the most consistent blogger for sure but I'm still here. And thanks to all who still stop by to see if I'm around. :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goals for Joey & I in 2012

Actually have decided on setting goals for Joey and I for 2012:

1) Get my horse trailer road worthy again.
2) Compete with Joey at a horse show. (planning on the english pleasure trail horse classes)
3) Ride in at least one hunter pace.
4) Ride as a capper with our local hunt at least once.
5) Win one prize with Joey - doesn't matter what it's for or what placing.

Seems very attainable. Will certainly keep posting here as we attempt each one!