Friday, January 30, 2009

Epona Oatmeal After Exercise Rinse

I'm going to look at some horses on Sunday. This is the woman who had the young horse for sale who I cancelled going to see due to bad weather. She still has him and another, older horse who is more schooled and who definitely has my attention. They are each nice, big, bay geldings - definitely what I'm looking for!

Here's another product review by me. Epona Oatmeal After Exercise Rinse I love this stuff. Since I first posted the review on the company has changed the name from Epona Oatmeal Body Wash to Epona's Aromas Oatmeal After Exercise Rinse. It's still the same product. In fact, I had just bought two big bottles of it since it was the only thing I could use to clean under Monty's tail around the tumors in the winter. It doesn't need to be rinsed out of the coat so in the cold weather it's great for one-step cleaning. I'll keep it for the next horse...

Purchase: I bought this at a local tack shop. Cost was around $10.00 for a 16 Oz bottle. (now it's more like $15-$20 but the bottle is larger)

Likes: Has a light, oatmeal cookie smell and does not dry the horses' skin or coat. It is a "no rinse" formula, so this works best as a quick wash down after a ride on a fairly clean horse. It will remove sweat and saddle marks and leave the horse smelling yummy!

Dislikes: It is not a strong cleaner, if your horse is really dirty, I suggest using some other product. I have a gray horse and I try eveything! Manure stain removal is my specialty! LOL!

Quality: This is a good quality product, as are all Epona's items. Made from natural ingredients for gentle yet effective care.

Summary: I have used and love Epona's Vanilla hand cream so when I saw this I wanted to try it. This Oatmeal Body Wash has become a staple item in my tack trunk. I recommend all the Epona products!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rubber Bit Guards

Not much to write about. Catching up at work, getting back in the flow of the family and searching for the next horse. Nothing else. I decided to copy some of my reviews from and put them up here for some mildly informative reading. If you've never checked out horsetackreview, I suggest it is worth stopping by. It helped me when I made the decision to buy the Wintec 2000 saddle as none of the tack shops around here sell the synthetics unless it's the dressage model.

Review of Rubber Bit Guards - I thought this one would be helpful since I gave the trick to how to get these dang things onto the bit rings without breaking them - or a fingernail!

Purchase: These can be bought from most tack shops, catalogs and online retailers for just under a dollar to about $3.00 for a pair. The cheaper you can find them, the better.

Likes: These are wonderful to protect the corners of the horses' lips from being pinched by a loose ring bit or from having the bit pull through the horses' mouth to the other side.

Dislikes: Putting these onto a bit can be tricky at best and downright frustrating at the worst. A saddler taught me that to put these on a bit, you take two flat leather reins and loop them through the center hole. Then, with a loop in each hand, slowly pull the reins in opposite directions to stretch the center opening. Push the stretched hole down over the bit ring as you prop the bit between your knees or have a friend hold the ring for you. However, if the quality is poor and the rubber is not flexible enough, the hole will rip with almost no effort. That's why I suggest you go for the cheaper ones. I've used both high priced and cheap and found no difference.

Quality: If the quality of the rubber is good and they are flexible enough, these will go on most bits will little effort and not get damaged in the process. They come in lots of colors now, but I have most experience with the white and black ones. I have not found any difference from one color rubber to another.

Summary: Again, these are great for protecting your horses' lips and be sure to look for the lower prices.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Review of Crocs Malindi Casual Shoe Womens

Originally submitted at Dick's Sporting Goods

The Crocs™ Malindi women's casual shoe is a stylish and fun flat that lets your feet breathe when the weather turns warm and you want to have fun in the sun. It's crafted using the Crocs™ ubiquitous Croslite™ material that molds to the shape of your foot for a custom fit.

The PERFECT travel shoe

By Brigitte from NY on 1/28/2009


5out of 5

Sizing: Feels half size too small

Width: Feels true to width

Pros: Does not hold foot odor, Versatile, Durable, Comfortable, Breathes Well

Best Uses: Work, Casual Wear, Travel

Describe Yourself: Comfort Driven

I actually bought these in BLACK but this retailer is sold out of black so I'm posting my review of these here with the brown ones.

I recently had to travel to work at a trade show over 4 days. These shows mean I'm standing for long hours over the course of a few days on hard concrete floors. Last year I brought 3 different shoes to the show and none of them helped me find comfort under those conditions. I was in constant pain in both my feet and my back through that entire show. After my success wearing the Crocs mary jane style shoes at my last trade show, I bought these because they were a bit more dressy for the next trade show I had to attend.

I wore the Malindi style Crocs as my only shoes for this recent business trip. What a GREAT decision!! I wore them every day during the trip (even to a company party and danced in them after a long day on my feet) and again had no back or foot pain! These shoes are worth every penny and though many people make fun of Crocs because they are considered "odd" looking, I will take freedom of foot and back pain over any negative comment. Also, they are super easy to deal with going through airport security and comfy as slippers during the flight.

The black is a great color as I'm sure the brown is, too. This style is a little more business formal than most other Crocs styles and wears well both dressed up or jeans casual.


Home Again

I'm back from my business trip to Houston. Now to pick up the pieces around here.

On a good note, our new costume and accessory lines were very well received and the costumes I submitted to the fashion show were some of the stars of the show! I thought our Humpty Dumpty "egg-on-the-wall" costume was the most entertaining out of all our competitor's offerings!!

And now I am back to my quandry about finding a new horse. Thanks to all who have expressed concern for me. Part of my distress with all this is I need to find a horse quickly in order to keep my stall at the barn where I board. I can pay another month's board to keep the stall, and hopefully find an occupant in that time.

Around here on Long Island, we have a dwindling number of boarding barns left. Development has been steadily swallowing up farm after farm and now this economy will probably eat up most of what's left. There isn't another place like this close by my home and with my kids and job, this location is just perfect to fit a horse into my busy life mix.

Losing this stall and taking a stall in someones back yard or another boarding barn in the same area is not an option for me. I need the freedom of the flexible hours, familiar boarders, the security of this stable's level of quality horse care and the location.

The owner has a waiting list of people to get in. I have to pay full board to keep the stall, even if there is no horse in it to feed or clean after because that's what he would get for the stall anyway and he has people wanting in. I can't take the chance of losing my stall, and then there being no openings months later if it took that long to find a horse.

So I'm stressed, bad. I don't want to get just any horse, then be stuck with problems I didn't know about because I rushed it. This horse has to fit my riding needs and pass a vet check for the riding career I want for it. But I AM rushed, and I hate it. The frigid weather is not helping me.

Someone had asked why I wouldn't consider Belle. She's a nice horse, and I appreciate her owner's generosity in letting me ride her but knowing horses as I do, I don't think she's what will work for me in the long run. And I know better than to grab the first horse that comes along.

My friend E.W. bumped into my dressage trainer Miss D at the local tack shop that Miss D's mother owns and told her what happened with Monty. According to E.W., Miss D was very upset and said she wanted to help me find a nice horse. I'm going to call her this weekend.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not in a good place

I am not doing well. Too much pressure. I have to travel this weekend to Houston for another trade show. I'm not fond of traveling any more. My mind is all over the place. I had a bad melt down last night over Monty's death after I received the bill for his euthanasia. Hell, tomorrow is one week since he's been gone and I'm so under the gun with other things I don't know which end is up.

I had forgotten all the work that goes into buying a horse. It's not as fun as it sounds. Especially when your funds are severely limited. The weather here is so cold and the ground so frozen that I couldn't ride anything I went to look at unless it was at an indoor anyway. And I have no time to look because work is getting in my way. And to top it all off, I'm getting sick again and found out I have strep throat.

Any more bad luck? What next? At this point it wouldn't surprise me.

I think I'm going to disappear for awhile.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Review of Crocs Mary Jane Casual Shoe Womens

Originally submitted at Dick's Sporting Goods

Styled for women, this Crocs™ Mary Jane casual shoe provides comfort and support to round out your footwear collection. It's made with Croslite™ material, which conforms to your foot for a custom fit, and has circulation nubs to stimulate blood flow.

Saved my Feet!

By Brigitte from NY on 1/19/2009


5out of 5

Sizing: Feels true to size

Width: Feels true to width

Pros: Stable, Comfortable, Cute, Breathable, Cushioning, Durable


Best Uses: Going Out, Beach, Barbecues, Work, Shopping, Travel

Describe Yourself: Stylish, Conservative, Classic, Casual

I bought these because my kids are big fans of Crocs and I really wanted to try them for myself. The regular Cayman clog style makes my feet look huge but this Mary Jane style is perfect! I have worn them barefoot in the summer and with funky socks in the winter. My most recent use of them is what prompted me to write a review. I had to travel to work at a trade show over 4 days. These shows mean I'm standing for long hours over the course of a few days on hard concrete floors. Last year I brought 3 different shoes to the show and none of them helped me find comfort under those conditions. I was in constant pain in both my feet and my back through that entire show.

This year I decided to pack only one pair of shoes and take a chance that the Crocs would help me. What a GREAT decision!! I wore the Crocs every day during the trip and had no back or foot pain! These shoes are worth every penny and though many people make fun of Crocs because they are considered "odd" looking, I will take freedom of foot and back pain over any negative comment.

This color is a great neutral, it goes with everything and is demure enough to sneak by in most situations. I'm thinking of getting them in black just to be a little more business formal for future trade shows!


Lemonade Stand Award

One of my favorite bloggers, On The Bit has sent me the Lemonade Stand Award, bestowed upon those bloggers who have taken life's lemons and made lemonade from them (or tried to, anyway). Or at least put out positive energy in their blogging that we can all benefit from.

Well, I've recently been handed one of the bigger lemons in my life. So bear with me as the lemonade that results from it might be more sour than sweet at times.

The Lemonade Stand Award is to be passed on to 10 other bloggers who fit the description and shared with everyone here. I'll try my best to find 10 who haven't already received this, and if you already have, then feel free to disregard it or pass it along again.

My top 10 - (will be updated later today)

Lucchese to Louis Vuitton
The Twisted Path
Diary of a Mad Horsewoman
Me and the Blue Skies

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Call Me Catch Rider

Yesterday I went back to the stable where I kept Monty. I chose the time of day most of my friends would be there. It was great. They were my best support group (thanks guys! and thanks to all who gave me great support here on the blog as well!). Even seeing Monty's empty stall didn't affect me in a bad way. Sure it was a little melancholy but nothing overwhelming.

My goal was to take my friend D. up on her offer to ride her big Thoroughbred mare, Belle. She told me that I could ride the mare anytime and I was doing her a favor as the mare wasn't getting much work. Belle has been a sale horse for awhile now. The first time I saw her under saddle, I thought she looked like she would make a great field hunter. She's a big girl, about 17 hands and a color I like to call a "basic" bay - which means all brown, no white markings and black mane, tail and points.

I lugged my tack from my locker down to the barn at the other end of the property and saddled Belle in the stall. I was pleasently surprised that all of my tack fit her with no adjustments, even the bridle! She's a real quiet, friendly mare. I didn't know what to expect but everyone who has ridden her in the past said she's a sweet girl. The part I found amusing was as I tightened the girth, she made a cranky face and turned her head to me. I laughed and called her a rookie, I knew that move. My old mare, Alta had that move down (and in addition, would have tried to take a chunk out of my arm faster than a shark). I gently pushed her head back and told her don't try it. She tried once more as I tightened the girth another hole, I pushed her cheek away and she gave it up after that.

It was frigid cold yesterday. All I managed to do was walk Belle around in the plowed driveway as none of the other areas for riding were any better. I liked that she wasn't overly sensitive to the leg and seat as some Thoroughbreds are. We just did some bending and stretching at the walk. It was a weird feeling to be on a different horse but she was a good first "catch ride". After about 20 minutes my thighs were so frozen they were stinging. I had to quit.

I packed up my gear after tucking Belle in. As I was leaving, I had a bittersweet moment where out of habit I started for my jar of horse cookies to give Monty a few more before I left and I stopped myself. That was my routine, after packing my tack back in my locker I always topped him off with a few cookies to say goodbye. I would have walked a few horse cookies down to Belle but I don't yet know what D.'s policy is on treats with her.

"sigh" I need a horse.

Today I was supposed to go see a horse about 15-20 miles away in my county here in NY. But it was snowing this morning and I cancelled due to the roads not having been cleared well yet. Instead, the whole family piled into the SUV and went close by to the town park to go sledding! The snow was perfect, the hill was awesome and my kids had a blast with their plastic snow saucers. I think the wipe-outs made them laugh more than the zooming down the big hill! Good times.

Tonight I should have video of a Thoroughbred gelding I found on I came across his ad last night and can't explain it but I got very excited over him. I spoke with the wife of the farm owner where he is at and liked the vibe I got from her. My husband spoke with her husband today and they are looking through their video of him to send me the best of what they have. He's stabled about 4 hours away from me. If the video keeps me interested, I want to see this horse when I return from my next business trip, which is this coming weekend in Houston, TX. I hope he's what I'm looking for.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What I Want

It's frigid cold here. Not much to do but surf online and play with the kids. My head is spinning as I look at sale horse after horse on the internet.

I want to put out an ad that goes something like this;

"Are you looking for the perfect home for your horse? I could be the owner you've been hoping for. With over 35 years of horse riding/owning/care/handling experience, I can give references from vets, barn owners, friends and trainers. If you have the perfect horse for me, he will have found his forever home. If your horse is a gelding (although a level-headed mare will be considered), over 16.2 hands tall, almost any color but gray, broke to ride, 3 good gaits and a willing jumper, sound, sane, well handled and not older than 10 years - let's talk. I have a set amount of money I can spend and while I know I can easily find a horse with all the qualities I have listed at a high price (and well worth it I'm sure) I am looking for the one who's seller is more interested in him going to a forever home than trying to turn a big profit."

It's like it's easier for me to put my qualifications out there than search through endless ads, hoping the information hasn't been "embellished" and the horse I'm taking the time to see because he's listed as 16.2 hands isn't actually 15.3. Believe me, I'm a tall, big-boned gal. I really need that big horse, and not just to fluff my ego!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Back in the Saddle

The focus of this blog was about Monty - "a good horse" and chronicled our recent adventures and the fun a good horse can give you. It was also a way, as his melanoma condition worsened, to keep the memories of our time together alive. I think, moving forward, it also applies to my search for another good horse.

So, starting this weekend, I'm going to be writing about the horses I try, and what it's like to ride many different horses again. I have ridden Monty exclusively for the last 7 years. Before him, I was a "catch rider". My old mare was retired with her lameness injury and I wanted so bad to keep riding and showing so I would ride whatever was offered to me. I was a wise rider, I wouldn't get up on just anything. I chose what was safe but never turned down a challenge. I rode greenies, showed sale horses, and competed with a lovely, highly trained mare for a lady who's kids no longer competed but she still liked to go to the shows and schmooze.

That was before Monty came along. Back then I was also much fitter, thinner, and didn't have a family to think about. I'll be honest, I am working to suppress some fears about getting on strange horses to try and find "the one". But I have to do this, and now. The longer I wait, I think the worse it will be for me.

I have never been in this situation before. Every horse that came after the one before overlapped it's time in my possession. My first horse was a QH/Morgan given to me by my parents (who had no idea what they were getting into) on my 10th birthday. Two years later my dad got a western broke TB/QH for himself to trail ride with me. He stopped riding when his business picked up and I then rode his horse and found out he was a really good hunter/jumper. Then my mare, Alta came along and I bought her by trading those two horses with the dealer who was handling her sale.

I owned her for over 20 years. Monty came along in the last 2 years of her life, when she was no longer rideable. As I said, I was riding other people's horses at that time, but at the end of the day, when I had to give them back, or had to do what their owners told me they wanted done with them, I always had MY horse to come to and groom and fuss with as I saw fit.

Monty was brought in as a sale horse for another customer at the barn where my mare was. I'll never forget the Master calling me at work and telling me to leave now and come ride this new horse. I wasn't even looking for another horse. I had a horse. He told me the horse was too green for the client but would be a perfect project for me.

So, being a sucker for a good ride, I went right after work and tried him. He was so calm, steady and willing. After my super hot TB it was a breath of fresh air. I didn't know how I was going to juggle 2 boards and pay for him but I did it. The Master and the barn owner were good enough to let me take up teaching the beginners to earn enough money to cover the second board. And sometimes, though I hate to admit, my animal loving parents helped me out.

Then, when I lost my mare to colic, it was just Monty and me. And my life changed. I met the man who became my husband, changed to a better job, got married and started a family. Horse shows became less important but the horse never lost his place in my life. Many times my husband talked me out of selling him when the rest of my life kept demanding the time I would have used to go to the barn.

And here I am, horseless for the first time in almost 35 years. My kind friends have already begun offering rides. This weekend, E.W. has asked me to help her with the new horse she is fostering with option to adopt from a local rescue and another of my friends has offered me the chance to ride her thoroughbred mare sale horse.

I have been living on the internet looking and looking at horses. I found one locally I'm going to see on Sunday. I need to start somewhere and NY local is as good as any with this nasty cold weather.

So, we shall see. Let the journey begin.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Horseless Horseman

This is the first time in almost 35 years that I have no horse of my own in my life.
I wrote this today for Monty.

A Horseless Horseman

In my hand only a pen
yet my fingers feel the
tension of the reins.

I sit in my chair
motionless, yet
I feel the rhythm of hooved feet.

Though our communication was
always in silence,
the silence now is deafening.

My partner has gone to
a place I cannot yet follow
and I am lost.

I will find another
but I will have to
master his language
mold his skill
and meet his expectations.

When all I want in the world
is the comfort of one more ride
with my old friend.

- Brigitte

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Goodbye - To My Good Horse

Solitaire (Monty) 1995 - 2009

It is with such sadness that I share my bad news. I had to have Monty euthanized this morning.

While I was away on my business trip, I got a call from the vet at my barn telling me that my horse couldn't pass manure. As I have posted in the past, Monty suffered from melanomas, some of which have become very aggressive and in recent years there have been complications from them.

In this latest instance there was infection and he was in a lot of pain. My husband had gone there and he also told me it was pretty bad. My vet made him comfortable with mushy food and pain meds for the two days I still had to be in Las Vegas until I could see him again when I came home.

I went to see him at 9:00pm last night and I knew I had no other choice. The tumors had become so large both inside and out that there was nothing more to do to help him.

My sweet boy crossed the rainbow bridge this morning. I will miss him so much. I know he will be happy to meet Dandy and to have his good friend with him while he waits for me on the other side.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Leaving for Las Vegas

Photo credit © finna dat, taken in Oslo, Norway.

This photo is my preferred method of flying.

In two days I leave for Las Vegas. It's a business trip, so it isn't for fun. I used to like to fly to other places but I've become more nervous about it, especially having a family left at home to think about. I hate playing out the "what-ifs" in my mind when I have to take a plane.

Every year I work this trade show in Vegas co-ordinating and being stylist and model dresser for our costume fashion show. It's a LOT of work for 2 full days of preparation and then it's over in around an hour. There isn't much time or energy left to partake of some of the fun stuff in Las Vegas. I don't gamble, except to play the occasional slot machine. Actually, my co-worker and I have a little thing we get a kick out of. She's a smoker and the only place she can have a cigarette is in the casino. So we try to see if she can finish a cigarette or if I can lose $5.00 in a slot machine faster!

I don't go out drinking, so while others from our business gamble or go to the bars, I usually wind up alone after dinner. My co-worker friend is older and by the end of the day is usually only up to taking her pain meds and settling into her room. I've had a few instances while walking around and shopping where I'm like, "gee, here I am in Las Vegas, where there's all kinds of cool stuff to do and I'm alone." I know, I could maybe try to get in to see a show but I really don't like doing things alone in a place I'm not really familiar with.

The Coca-Cola and M&M stores are always lots of fun and good for a few souvenirs. However this year we will not be on the strip. Our show is being held at a place called the Red Rock Casino/Resort/Spa. Not sure I'm thrilled about that. One of the salesmen told me it's an activity resort, with hiking, bicycle riding, kayaking and horseback riding. He said, "you should go horseback riding while we're there". I looked at him and said, "um, exactly when do I fit THAT in?" Great, take me to a place where I could do all sorts of fun things but I have to work during the day when those activities are available.

I looked at their website. They have a sunrise ranch ride and a dinner ranch ride. It sounds like it could be fun, but I'd be doing it alone. And my husband is bummed because he's been wishing to go to this exact resort because he's read rave reviews in his road bicycling magazines of their cycling accommodations. If the kids weren't an issue, he could come with me and while I'm working my @$$ off he'd be pedaling his all over the cycling track.

I will not have much if any internet access for the next several days. I'll be sure to post when I return if it was better than I'm anticipating on here. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's a lovely resort and a great experience - IF you are going there for a vacation!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

To Have a Horse in Your Life

This was just sent to me by one of my friends where I board Monty;


To have a horse in your life is a gift. In the matter of a few short years, a horse can teach a young child courage, if they choose to grab mane and hang on for dear life. Even the smallest of ponies is mightier than the tallest of children. To conquer the fear of falling off, having one's toes crushed, or being publicly humiliated at a horse show is an admirable feat for any youngster. For that, we can be grateful.

Horses teach us responsibility. Unlike a bicycle or a computer, a horse needs regular care and most of it requires that you get dirty and smelly and up off the couch. Choosing to leave your cozy kitchen to break the crust of ice off the water buckets is to choose responsibility. When our horses dip their noses and drink heartily; we know we've made the right choice.

Learning to care for a horse is both an art and a science. Some are easy keepers, requiring little more than regular turn-out, a flake of hay, and a trough of clean water. Others will test you - you'll struggle to keep them from being too fat or too thin. You'll have their feet shod regularly only to find shoes gone missing. Some are so accident-prone you'll swear they're intentionally finding new ways to injure themselves.

If you weren't raised with horses, you can't know that they have unique personalities. You'd expect this from dogs, but horses? Indeed, there are clever horses, grumpy horses, and even horses with a sense of humor. Those prone to humor will test you by finding new ways to escape from the barn when you least expect it.

Horses can be timid or brave, lazy or athletic, obstinate or willing. You will hit it off with some horses and others will elude you altogether. There are as many "types" of horses as there are people- which makes the whole partnership thing all the more interesting.

If you've never ridden a horse, you probably assume it's a simple thing you can learn in a weekend. You can, in fact, learn the basics on a Sunday, but to truly ride well takes a lifetime. Working with a living being is far more complex than turning a key in the ignition and putting the car or tractor in "drive."

In addition to listening to your instructor, your horse will have a few things to say to you as well. On a good day, he'll be happy to go along with the program and tolerate your mistakes; on a bad day, you'll swear he's trying to kill you. Perhaps he's naughty or perhaps he's fed up with how slowly you're learning his language. Regardless, the horse will have an opinion. He may choose to challenge you (which can ultimately make you a better rider) or he may carefully carry you over fences - if it suits him. It all depends on the partnership - and partnership is what it's all about.

If you face your fears, swallow your pride, and are willing to work at it, you'll learn lessons in courage, commitment, and compassion in addition to basic survival skills. You'll discover just how hard you're willing to work toward a goal, how little you know, and how much you have to learn.

And, while some people think the horse "does all the work", you'll be challenged physically as well as mentally. Your horse may humble you completely. Or, you may find that sitting on his back is the closest you'll get to heaven.

You can choose to intimidate your horse, but do you really want to? The results may come more quickly, but will your work ever be as graceful as that gained through trust? The best partners choose to listen, as well as to tell. When it works, we experience a sweet sense of accomplishment brought about by smarts, hard work, and mutual understanding between horse and rider. These are the days when you know with absolute certainty that your horse is enjoying his work.

If we make it to adulthood with horses still in our lives, most of us have to squeeze riding into our over saturated schedules; balancing our need for things equine with those of our households and employers. There is never enough time to ride, or to ride as well as we'd like. Hours in the barn are stolen pleasures.

If it is in your blood to love horses, you share your life with them. Our horses know our secrets; we braid our tears into their manes and whisper our hopes into their ears. A barn is a sanctuary in an unsettled world, a sheltered place where life's true priorities are clear: a warm place to sleep, someone who loves us, and the luxury of regular meals. Some of us need these reminders.

When you step back, it's not just about horses - it's about love, life, and learning. On any given day, a friend is celebrating the birth of a foal, a blue ribbon, or recovery from an illness. That same day, there is also loss: a broken limb, a case of colic, a decision to sustain a life or end it gently. As horse people, we share the accelerated life cycle of horses: the hurried rush of life, love, loss, and death that caring for these animals brings us. When our partners pass, it is more than a moment of sorrow.

We mark our loss with words of gratitude for the ways our lives have been blessed. Our memories are of joy, awe, and wonder. Absolute union. We honor our horses for their brave hearts, courage, and willingness to give.

To those outside our circle, it must seem strange. To see us in our muddy boots, who would guess such poetry lives in our hearts? We celebrate our companions with praise worthy of heroes. Indeed, horses have the hearts of warriors and often carry us into and out of fields of battle.

Listen to stories of that once-in-a-lifetime horse; of journeys made and challenges met. The best of horses rise to the challenges we set before them, asking little in return.

Those who know them understand how fully a horse can hold a human heart. Together, we share the pain of sudden loss and the lingering taste of long-term illness. We shoulder the burden of deciding when or whether to end the life of a true companion.

In the end, we're not certain if God entrusts us to our horses--or our horses to us. Does it matter? We're grateful God loaned us the horse in the first place.

- Author Unknown

Fashion Funnies

I love catalogs. Of course I love to get my Dover Saddlery, Bit of Britain, Beval and Valley Vet catalogs to name just a few. But I love clothing catalogs. Blame it on my Halloween costume designing work but if I get a catalog in the mail with some fresh, funky threads with unique or even racy design and color elements, I'm just tickled.

And the funny part is, for the most part I'm really a pretty conservative, Ralph Lauren kind of girl.

But sometimes the designers are too clever for their own good. Take this little number from the latest Boston Proper catalog:
Notice anything about this top that makes it goofy? How about the choice and arrangement of the colors - Candy Corn, anyone?

Your Horse Can Heat Your Home?

Now here's an interesting article. In my latest email from the Equine Compare Newsletter, there was an article about using horse manure to heat your home. I thought, hmm, interesting idea since many horse owners lament what to do with the poo. Seems it is not smelly upon burning, provides good compost from the ashes after it burns and is environmentally sound. I'm all for things to 'keep it green' so to speak and the only negative I could see was it does seem to be a time consuming process. Of course there IS that 'down and dirty' aspect of it where you have to mold the poo into bricks to be used for burning, but that's what shovels and gloves are for.

Here's a link to build your own poo mold with more information from someone who experimented with this fuel source.
And another link to buy a poo mold for the time constricted and those who couldn't build anything but character.

Anybody ever actually do this? I'd be willing to try it, how about you?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Too Much Tack

Like the children's book series, "I Spy", you can look in my tack locker at the barn where I board and see how many hidden things you can find:

2 rolls of masking tape
A pair of white rubber bit guards
A baker plaid girth cover
My portable saddle rack

So, when I said I have way too much tack in my last "10 things about me" post, you can see I wasn't kidding! And this is only the stuff I can fit in my assigned locker at the barn! All boarders in my barn get a locker. The barn owner does not like tack trunks in the aisle, he feels they are a safety hazard, so this is what you have to work with. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. After 35+ years of owning/riding/showing/training horses I have my show trunk at home, a wall full of bits and bridles in the basement and 3 more trunks in the attic with blankets, coolers, wraps and God knows what else.

Some of my favorite horse stuff is my 5/A Baker saddle pad, my O'Halloran Co. black watch plaid saddle pad, Monty's Beval show bridle, the hand made beaded browband on my schooling bridle and that silly blue bit Monty just got from Santa. Ebay has only made it worse, I love hunting for bargains and I have found some sweet goodies on Ebay. I've sold stuff there too, but it never evens out. I always collect more than I sell.

And I know I'm not the only one. You know it too. So c'mon, lets share the details. How much stuff have you accumulated?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

10 (more) Things About Me

So OnTheBit at a Horse and a Half has tagged me with a new "10 things about me" meme. LOL, as if the last 6 weren't the best ones! But she's cool and I'm game so here's 10 (more) things about me:

1) My favorite beverage is Diet Coke.

2) My favorite color is RED!

3) I own way too much tack.

4) I love Elvis movies.

5) Okay, embarrassed to admit it but I play HorseLand (bonus points if you know who I am on that game)

6) Number of horses I've owned - 4

7) My best horse show memory is the time my old mare reared up at the ingate before entering an Adult Amateur Hunter class, cleared the crowd that was standing there, then walked in and produced the winning jumping round.

8) My worst horse show memory is riding at a show in January, on a frigid day when the wind chill was -20 degrees farenheit. The horse I was riding used a pelham with double reins and every time I needed to "shorten up" on the course I couldn't feel one rein, let alone two! Also, long underwear and show clothes are just a bad mix.

9) Spa pedicures are most awesome.

10) I think people who stand on their horses' back in the name of "Natural Horsemanship" look amazingly ridiculous. Like that is a skill that will come in handy in real life. Imagine - "Oh honey, I need to change a light bulb in the barn, would you walk Dobbin over here so I can stand on his back to reach it?" If horses were intended to be a ladder, they'd have steps built into their legs (and we wouldn't need mounting blocks).

And that's 10 more things about me! Now, let me think who I will pass this to...

The Blue Bit!

LoL! I had a feeling Monty's blue bit would raise a few questions! In my shopping quest for riding gear for my boyz, I found a few web-based retailers that had cool stuff I hadn't seen before.

When I found Korsteel makes colored Flexi Mouth bits on and they are PEPPERMINT (Monty's favorite treat) flavored, I bought one immediately for him for Christmas! The bits come in 4 colors, ivory, light blue, pink and lavender. I have found through trial and error that Monty prefers the Happy Mouth type bits in the frigid weather. I would agree with him, I wouldn't want an icy piece of steel in my mouth, either.

Here's the link if you want to do a little Horse Froogle shopping!
Korsteel Flexi Flavored Dee Bit

Friday, January 2, 2009

Work on the Lunge Line

I tried to actually ride yesterday but it consisted of walking only for 15 minutes before the biting cold finished me off. Today was another really C-O-L-D day. A bit of snow swirled down earlier today, adding to the stuff from days before. The arena behind the barn was dragged to improve the footing somewhat and at least prevent snowballs from forming in the hooves, so today I decided to work Monty on the lunge line for a few minutes.

I like to lunge with either full tack or a surcingle as often as possible. Sure, there are times when we do the "20 meter turn-out" version with the just the halter and lunge line. But I prefer he respect lungeing as another form of work and not to run and buck and try to pull me off my feet as I have seen many other people's horses do.

And as one of my resolutions to be a somewhat better blogger and add more pictures to my postings, I remembered to take the camera with me so here's a pictorial of our 20 minute walk/trot lunge session.

Monty, in all his fuzzy white yakness. He was looking at me fumbling with the camera as if to say, "oookay, what is this fool doing? It's cold, it's almost supper time and I'm out here to work, not pose for pictures".

Here's a full-body shot. Our lungeing attire for today, bridle, side reins and surcingle.

At the walk. (By the way, my pictures are all facing in this direction because Monty was particularly dirt-stained on his other side.) Monty is very good with work on the lunge. Note the relaxed, working walk frame and loose contact of the side reins.

Here's one trot shot. His head is a little above a working trot frame here but considering the footing was not consistant, he might have been compensating for what he felt underhoof.

After 10 minutes of walk/trot in this direction we switched directions and did 10 more minutes of the same. By now the horses on the afternoon turn-out shift were being brought in to the barn and supper time was near. I finished lungeing, called Monty to turn and walk in to me and unclipped the side reins. I walked him a circle or two free of the side reins then brought him in and removed the tack. In this picture, he's checking out the stable hands bringing in the dinner cart with all the feed rations.

Ahh, untacked, tucked under his warm sheet and enjoying a well-earned meal!