Food-Motivated

While Eli still nips at me a bit, he is mostly just shoving his nose into me and licking me in a teeth-free manner.

has been enjoying turnout
bitey-face casualty

Is he finally cuddly? Eh, maybe most of the time. He gets a ton of treats and always takes them very politely. He’s generally good about me messing around with his mouth in general … I regularly stick my fingers in his mouth to feel if his check teeth are getting points and he doesn’t seem to care. Perhaps because I am shoving a cookie in his mouth next?

could be me with peanut butter snickers

I know some people discourage hand-feeding treats or using cookies or grain to incentivize the correct behavior from a horse. I am not one of those people. Obviously if Eli were rude about it or still biting me, I’d take a different approach. He’s food-motivated, though. He makes friends with people who feed him stuff. And he won’t try to bite your hand off.

He cannot possibly ever get enough of the German Horse Muffins (that name will crack me up every time … are they muffins made OF horses?). After getting one he just sort of zones out sucking his own tongue and licking his teeth and lips.

actually looking down at the bag of cookies he feels he deserves for wearing his fetlock & open front boots

Oh, and I STILL have not body clipped him. It’s much cooler outside today so I am not super motivated to spend 2-3 hours covering myself with horse hair …

Slow Week

Eli did not do a whole lot last week. He’s doing well in the different shoes but on Tuesday he seemed a bit reluctant to go forward. Not too bad, just not his normal more-go-than-whoa self. He had a booster shot on Monday, so maybe that was it? His vet was scheduled to come out again to work on his teeth on Wednesday, so I asked if we could just go ahead with the Osphos that same day. Having had his teeth done, I was not going to to ride Thursday & then it rained Friday so Eli had a few days to do not much at all.

Good roll from patentlybay on Vimeo.

But on Sunday I finally got back on him (after he rolled–ugh he was so gross). He felt fantastic! I only rode for 10 minutes because now there’s another snag: He is furry AF and it’s not exactly cold here. I didn’t want him to get too hot, especially since our reconditioning schedule has been a bit sporadic. He got a shampoo bath, which made him look even fuzzier.

Exhibit A, re: in need of a shampoo bath

It’s supposed to rain Tuesday, so I think I’ll body clip him after work that day. Humid days are actually the best days to body clip, at least for me. Not so much static and flying hair — when it’s damp outside, the hair just falls to the ground.

Maybe by this weekend we can get back to a more consistent reconditioning schedule? I mean … I could use some reconditioning, too.

Mesh Obsession on a Budget

Show shirts have come a long way in a few decades. Even day-to-day riding tops have stepped up, too. And one of the features of some of these shirts is mesh. Anyone wearing a “sunshirt” is wearing mesh, even if only the underside of the sleeves. And then high-end equestrian brands (looking at Cavalleria Toscana and Designs by Dalia especially) have taken mesh to whole new sheer heights. Their shirts are gorgeous and even some are almost awkwardly over-the-top, which is my favorite kind of shirt. But … I ain’t got $200 to spend on one shirt.

I found a $10-$15 option, though. I rode in the black one last night. The top is actually super lightweight and kind of a sporty material. I kind of wish I had a few of these earlier in the summer. And if the mesh snags on something it’s not like I just ruined a $200 shirt. As far as the sizing goes, the shirt is very stretchy. I’m like a 6-ish right now and I ordered a medium. And the mesh means a little extra vitamin D for me before the time change turns all rides into night rides.

Too Close

Yesterday got weird real fast as I was driving from one barn to the next. From over 20 miles away, I could see smoke on the horizon as I drove down one of the main roads I take to get to the barn where I board Eli. It was enough smoke that I thought it was much closer than it was. As I crossed the highway and took up another road heading east, I started to wonder how close the smoke was to the barn. I got closer to the barn and at this point I started genuinely to wonder if the barn was on fire. Fortunately the fire was on the other side of the county road where the barn’s road ends in a T intersection. But still … within walking distance.

I now know how fast my heart can race while standing still.

We haven’t really had much rain for a few months now. The wind was blowing south to north so I couldn’t even smell the smoke but it was very visible and very close — close enough that Star Flight was pulling water from a stock tank across the street to dump on the fire. If that’s not a reality-check …

ACTUAL ANGELS.

Luckily, emergency responders had the fire contained by 7pm. This could have been a nightmare scenario but it wasn’t, at least not for me or Eli or anyone connected to the barn. It was probably someone’s nightmare, though, and is sickening to think about.

Initially, I thought I wouldn’t be riding under the circumstances. But once the fire was contained, I thought I better carpe the f out of this diem and get on. Riding consistently and reliably clears my head of any real or imagined nonsense and I knew I’d regret it all night through insomnia if I didn’t ride.

No more big smoke. Yay.

So I rode, and Eli is definitely feeling good! He seems to think he’s 100%. His new shoes make a big difference for him.

If I ever meet the nice Star Flight people in person, I will probably give them an awkwardly long hug of gratitude. Same for all the people with their emergency vehicles, stationed along the county road, saving humans and animals and property and keeping an eye on hot spots overnight.

Those would be lights of emergency vehicles.

Also, PLEASE no one cook out around here until we get rain!

SaddleBox Subscription Review

I have always balked at subscription boxes of any kind — canine, equestrian, make-up, jewelry, clothing … you name it, there’s a subscription box for it that I don’t actually want, mainly because of reasons such as I have sensitive skin so don’t like trying new things on my skin, or because my dog has a sensitive stomach and can only have extremely low fat treats. So when given the opportunity to review SaddleBox, a subscription box for equestrians, I thought it was maybe a message from the universe to keep an open mind. And Eli will eat almost any treat ever … (just not the barn grain right now). The SaddleBox website actually has a lot of information on it, including what all goes into their subscription boxes and how the company has relationships with equine charities, so that every subscription benefits a rescue horse.

So when I got the box, first I was surprised by how heavy it was. And then I opened it … and here is an awkward unboxing video with no narration because I hate the sound of my voice recorded:

Unboxing from patentlybay on Vimeo.

Um. The video just keeps going … that was a ton of stuff in one box! Plus how perfect is that sticker at the end. I thought the picture and description of a rescue horse was a very nice touch that makes it seem more personal to me.

Honestly, I noticed something about this box that kind of differentiates it from subscription boxes filled with sample size make-up, dog treats from China made of mystery meat, or accessories that fall apart. This box had stuff that I actually use! From well-known brands! AND A BOOK.

I genuinely like the treat selection. They are peppermint flavored and have no sugar added, so they would be a good treat for many horses. I am always interested to try new grooming tools, too, so getting a shedding blade (hi, winter, do you plan to come to Texas at all, though?), a hoof pick, a grooming mitt, and a face brush all in one box makes me pretty happy. But it doesn’t stop there — vet wrap and saddle soap were also in the box. And the saddle soap is Fiebing’s, a brand I am very familiar with and have used for years. The grooming mitt from Epona was the one thing I wasn’t too sure about Eli would take it. But more on that later.

I brought the box to the barn to show to Eli. He immediately found the treats. And loves the treats! Not that there was really a question. He also LOVES the face brush. Even more than his super fancy Leistner face brush! Of course he does. I haven’t dove into the book yet, but it looks like it has a lot of good tips for making this wacky horsey lifestyle more manageable.

And y’all. This box is not that expensive, especially for the amount of stuff you get in it. Plus there is a discount code on the SaddleBox website right now, too. Even better? SaddleBox offers gift subscription plans for any budget. And since it’s basically October it’s time to start holiday shopping. If I got a SaddleBox subscription as a holiday present, I’d be pretty stoked. But think about it … think about kid you, just starting to ride, maybe talking your parents in to half-leasing a pony … how cool would it be to get boxes like this in the mail? With stuff you need! Stuff you can use at the barn on a regular basis. 12-year-old me would have loved this as much as now-year-old me does.

Back to the Epona grooming mitt. Once Eli got over his initial WHAT-BLUE-THING-IS-EATING-YOUR-HAND-MOTHER phase, I think he likes it?

He’s not a fan of scratchy things, so a soft rubber curry is about as abrasive as I can get with him.

The grooming mitt is a bit scratchy in texture, but also really flexible and more like scratchy sweater material, not like steel wool soap sponges or anything that bad. The elastic wrist also keep dust from getting up in the mitt, which is nice. I think this will come in pretty handy this winter when it’s too cold to bathe.

 

DeNiro Salento Field Boot Review

It’s no secret that I love DeNiro boots. I wasn’t even boot shopping, I swear, but I stumbled upon a vendor on eBay that had a number of new-in-box stock DeNiros for WAY under retail. I paid $300 for these, and they go for around $850. How do I pass that up? These are *mostly* my size …. taller than usual, and a wider calf than I normally take, but in the process of breaking them in I haven’t had one blister. The leather is supple without the near-sock-like feel of Parlantis. I have no concerns about whether I’ll wear holes in the calves of these boots after one season–that ain’t happening.

Yes, they do hit in the middle of my knee cap. Ask me if that bothers me: it doesn’t. They have actually dropped enough already that I can zip them up all the way and snap the closure tabs. Since the calf is a regular calf instead of a slim calf, I may be wearing these a lot this winter because there will be room to layer a bit under them.

There is also an elastic gusset the whole length of the boot so there is some wiggle room on calf sizing if you may be thinking of ordering. I have loved every pair of DeNiros that I have owned, and these are no exception! I will definitely be riding in these a lot, and maybe by next year showing in them a bit? We’ll see how Eli is doing, of course. He’s the one determining our show schedule or lack of one. He is doing well for now, at least, and that’s the most important thing to me.

Endless Summer

Fall is not here, regardless of the equinox. The highs all week are around 100. It has made reconditioning Eli interesting. I am trying to balance getting him in shape against the heat and humidity and guess what’s winning.

Once the equinox hits, the days start losing light, albeit slowly down here in Texas. This means some horses are already growing winter coats. Including Eli. He will most definitely need body clipping again this year. He was pretty normal about it last year, so I am less anxious about the process but not really looking forward to it.

We don’t trot for very long yet. It’s going to take a little more riding to get Eli’s head back up and in front of the vertical.

Shorter days also mean more sunset rides until the time changes, then riding under the lights. Eli gets a bit edgy under the lights but usually gets over it after a few night rides. I do hope this winter is a bit drier than last winter. Last winter was brutal with the rain, and Eli had many difficult days under saddle.

Still obsessed with this Asmar belt purse.

Now that I am back to riding more regularly and have worn the DeNiro Salentos quite a bit … review forthcoming. I like how much more substantial they feel than Parlantis. I need all the foot and ankle support I can get, and these make both feel very stable. I never did well with the squishy Parlanti soles and prefer hard-soled shoes and boots. These have that for sure.

September looks to finish out in the 100s. At least that means I get a little bit more time with Summer Eli who is a much nicer horse to ride than Winter Eli!

The Canter is a Cure for Every Evil

Who doesn’t love an eloquent prime minister?

looks pretty good on video!

So. Eli is cantering under saddle. And it’s been a dream. He seems to be sound on all four feet right now (although I am sure he will come up with something as I type this …). I can’t think of anything more enjoyable than being able to canter my horse again. The current expectation is that we will be able to jump by mid-November if he stays comfortable on his front feet. He will have very different shoes on after his next setting — I am hoping they help him. Shoeing changes always make me nervous but his heels need more support than what they are getting right now.

I have also squared away his new diet plan and he LOVES the alfalfa. He’ll go on the barn senior soon, too. He seems a bit more relaxed and contented with the alfalfa and I kind of wish I had gotten him on alfalfa years ago. Of course, he is also getting more turnout and light work so I can’t chalk up his attitude entirely to the alfalfa. But more forage and less grain? Okay by me.

Winter Wish List

It’s trying to rain today, which puts me in a mood for fall-like weather even though that’s not what we are getting it Texas right now! It’s more like tropical weather. But I can’t help but look at riding clothes that remind me of cooler temperatures. Maybe by November we won’t have any more 100-degree days?

Admittedly, I have been warming up to Horze Equestrian and a pair of high-waisted breeches caught my eye, in large part because they come in black.

Yeah, I would totally wear these Tara Breeches. Does it matter that they are full seat and I am HJ all the way? Nope. One of my favorite pairs of breeches that I have right now are full seat. Extra insurance if Eli spooks at something. Anyway, Horze also came out with a pair of PU riding tights and I’ll be honest, they confuse me.

The Hanna riding tights are looking extremely impractical to me, even for winter in Texas. Leather-look pants might be good for a night out, though … I do love the color! But as to wearing these in the saddle? To be determined.

Okay, back to a favorite of mine. I have the grey denim Calabasas breeches from Equine Couture and I am just going to say I want the navy denim, too.

These breeches are so comfortable and I can ride in them even in the heat without getting too hot. They are thin and stretchy and I wear them like once a week at this point. But they are not so thin that they wouldn’t be versatile enough for mild Texas winters. And they are on a bit of a sale, right now, too.

Another favorite of mine is the Asmar logo tee and the colors Asmar has come up with for this fall are gorgeous. I love the plum especially!

The material is incredibly soft and works really well in — again — the Texas heat, but there’s no reason not to wear this tee under a vest for chillier weather. Like, you know, 71F. That’s cold enough for an extra layer here. Can you tell I have only ever lived in Texas?

This next one is killing me. I already have an All Weather Rider jacket, and it is worth its weight in gold. So I can’t justify a second one because it’s not like we get a lot of rain here and it’s not like I am even willing to ride in the rain.

Of course it comes in plum now. Seriously, I wear mine a lot in the winter and not just to the barn. It is a great jacket!

Riding in the winter can be such a drag, and looking at clothes definitely cheers me up about it. Maybe if we actually get rain today I might actually play the “add to cart” game later this evening. And it will be those Calabasas breeches. Those I know I will wear!

 

Hunger Strike

Now that we have Eli cleared for reconditioning, all injected and sound and not ouchie on his front hooves, he has decided now would be a great time to go on one of his little hunger strikes. Initially, he stopped eating the barn grain the day after his appointment that involved a lot of poking a prodding, so I figured he was just being “sensitive.” Ha.

eats the sad summer grass

He eats cookies, “cookie” supplements, hay, grass … his teeth will be attended to in October and are otherwise fine. He has no fever, regular respiration and heart rate … He just doesn’t like the taste of the barn grain anymore. The SAME barn grain that he decided he would eat instead of Purina Senior. However, I offered him a handful of the barn senior feed — which he had turned his nose up at right before he started eating Purina Senior — and he gobbled it. Turkey.

most finicky horse I have had the pleasure of knowing but does like to lick rocks

Even more special, the barn senior feed is kind of hard to find in this area. I have to call around today and pick up enough bags to get Eli to the end of the month because the barn orders just enough of the feed every month to cover the horses that eat it. So Eli’s an extra horse and if he gets it, it won’t last through to the next order. After that I will just pay the upcharge and the barn will order enough for an additional horse, I guess? I hope so.

Other than that, Eli has been doing well and feels very good under saddle. We have now cantered without incident! I am not riding him for very long yet, just about 15 minutes total of w/t/c. I will add more time as the weeks go by and hopefully we’ll both get back into shape.

sweetest mare

I also got to ride my trainer’s mare a few more times. She is the least mare-ish mare I have encountered. Her canter is a dream. She’s easier on the ground than Eli, that’s for sure!