Weenie Wednesday: Cold Snap

Texas has finally begun to thaw out today — my condolences and deepest sympathies to anyone north of here right now. I don’t know how y’all do it! But we did just have some unusually cold temperatures here, including 17F at my house this morning. But the sun came out and the winds died and we are warming up to near 50F! YAY!

However, while we were cold, instead of a bunch of bonus walks for Conrad during my days off, we got a lot of indoor time. Which means lots of curling up under blankets.

I also ate a lot of carbs.

And booped Conrad on the nose a lot.

I have also started working with Conrad on trimming his nails myself. It is going along well so far. He is treat-motivated and I am only trimming a very little bit at a time. Visits to the groomer stress him out a bit and he doesn’t seem to mind me working on one paw at a time if freeze dried turkey liver is involved. I also have a nail grinder tool, but Conrad really hates that (part of why the groomer’s stressed him) so we will have a ways to go before we get to use that. It would be a better choice for black nails, though, for sure!

Good Morning, 2018

The Instagram #bestnine posts fill my feed right now, and I of course went to get my own:

But looking at those results left me kinda meh. I appreciate all the social media love, don’t get me wrong! But no Conrad? No jumping pictures? I thought I could create my own collage that represented what 2017 meant to me:

That’s better! Eli and I only made it to two shows, but we switched to the hunters and got ribbons our second time out. Eli’s right front is on the path to a better angle, and Conrad is snuggling with me now as I write this from my phone. I am not one to reflect too much on the past, but 2017 treated me plenty well enough. I go into 2018 looking forward to all the year may have in store for me. 

And for today, I am waiting for the roads to thaw so I can go stuff Eli full of apples and cookies and let him spend time in the sun, which is finally back!

New Fave Socks: TuffRider Bamboo Argyle Socks Review

You can file this under reviews I was not expecting to write. I got three pairs of the TuffRider Bamboo Argyle socks for Christmas. I decided to wear a pair right away. I kind of want 3 more pairs now. (THANKS, MOM!!)

I am familiar with the TuffRider brand only in passing, and have had no experience with any of the brand’s products before this. But if their stuff is anything like these socks, I think I might have to try some more of it.

First, they are argyle. I love argyle. But I recognize this alone would not sway some consumers. Second, they are bamboo. Bamboo is one of those fibers you don’t generally consider for clothing, but more and more brands are offering options in bamboo and they are genius for it. If nothing else, it’s a fast-growing, plentiful resource for fibers and the results are incredible–some of the softest, most comfortable clothes I have are bamboo, and these socks are no different. I also have an Asmar tee and a few LeFash shirts constructed at least in part of bamboo and they truly are lightweight, breathable, and easy to care for.

Back to the socks. The two other features that I love about the socks are that they are tall enough for me, and that the foot of the sock is lightly padded. These socks go up to the back of my knee without stretching, but they are thin enough to wear easily under tall boots, as I already have. But the even better thing is the padded foot. It is SO comfortable. My toes don’t get pinched or squished together, there is not a noticeable seam to rub my feet the wrong way, and just walking around my house in these made them my new favorite sock. The light padding also easily fits into the foot-bed of my tall boots without anything feeling too tight.

I am not sure how many different argyle combinations there are, but I think I might want all of them. I am also going to have to give my sock drawer a good culling, to make room for all these socks I now want.

The dark brown/dark green/tan argyle makes me happiest. One last thing–the elastic at the top is snug enough to hold the socks in place, but not too snug that I end up with icky red tight elastic marks on my legs. Hate that.

I have no idea where my mom found these, but my guess might be Dover. I linked to Adams Horse because I actually could not find these socks on the Dover website. And I can’t find these color combinations anywhere, but other pretty combos are available online. Go and getcha some! I am sure some of you already have a few pairs and I am late to the sock party.

Kensington All Around Cotton Day Sheet Review

Eli has been wearing the Kensington Cotton Day Sheet for a few winters at this point, and I have been extremely happy with this sheet. Eli actually has 2 of them. I hadn’t thought to review it before, but I have gotten a few questions and numerous compliments on it, so I think a review would be helpful.

As hard as Texas is trying to be Antarctica right now, Texas winters are typically very mild and I have long preferred a cotton sheet for a light layer for any of my horses during the more mild winter evenings we are used to here. Initially, Eli wore some hand-me-downs that did not fit well and liked to destroy blankets and sheets, so I wanted something durable and affordable. I shopped online for a while, and found the Kensington sheet at a good price — I have seen them on State Line Tack and Amazon for as low as ~$65 in off seasons (in Eli’s size, anyway). With literally nothing to go on other than online reviews, I bought Eli this sheet.

The first sheet made it through winter and just needed a few minor repairs and a cleaning. It made it through a second winter, too, but I didn’t get it out for cleaning in time, so Eli got a new one. It is holding up just as well as the first so far, and I like the Citrus Slate plaid color of his new one (his other one is in Black plaid, vaguely reminiscent of the classic Burberry pattern).

The sheet has some great features, particularly the hardware. The shoulder gussets are great for Eli, and I wish his current blanket had them. I was extremely skeptical of it at first, but the belly surcingle clips have held up and not caused any problems. They are slightly easier to secure than the traditional belly surcingle closures.

The sheet also has rear elastic leg straps which are very soft and don’t seem to irritate Eli too much. The chest buckles look reinforced and have tough nylon keepers, although there is no Velcro at the chest closure.

As you can see, shavings do stick to the sheet somewhat, although not as much as, say, they would to a Baker sheet and they shake right off. You can also see how the size is clearly marked, which could be handy if multiple horses in the barn have the same sheet. The sheet also has some very soft synthetic fleece at the wither to keep from rubbing. In fact, I have not noticed that this sheet produced any rubs on Eli’s coat.

For the price, I don’t think there is a better sheet on the market. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy Eli a third, especially if they start making solid colors, like navy or black.

Weenie Wednesday: Christmas

Conrad enjoys Christmas. He gets to spend more time with more people he loves, and he gets to open presents. I think he has as much fun rooting through gift bags of tissue paper as he does with any of his other toys. So of course, he gets lots of presents! Some for him to open, and some for his mommy to open because some presents are for wearing, not killing.

Conrad spent the most time with a stuffingless lion his Grammy gave him for Christmas. I think he spent a solid 2-3 hours chewing on it, dismembering it, and generally ripping it in to shreds.

There was nothing left to even put in his toy basket.

dead lion from patentlybay on Vimeo.

He also got some new clothes and treats.

spot the weenie

It has been cold here, so he has worn the heavier sweaters on our walks, but he also got this adorable green plaid flannel shirt that looks sooooooo cute on him. so I have to get a picture of that one on him when it warms back up a little. Which apparently will not happen until next year.

GO BLUE (I am told this is what you say)

One of the gifts I got belongs in this post, because it is a dachshund-themed pillow that now resides in the chair that Conrad and I share when we yell at the news on TV.

Conrad is exhausted after all the excitement! Even on our walks — which I tried to convince him not to go this morning because it’s 36F — he moves a little pokey and I had to carry him home because he started shivering even with his cozy wool sweater on! I think he is ready for me to go back to work so he can sleep all day again.

I am hoping to close out the year with a couple of reviews tomorrow and Friday — Eli’s Kensington plaid cotton day sheet (I keep getting asked about it) and my new favorite socks, TuffRider bamboo argyle socks (I got some for Christmas and where have these been all my life???) I haven’t been able to ride hardly at all because of mud and cold. I am hoping next year brings warm sun and dry weather!

Weenie Wednesday: Fog

Earlier this week, we had some fog. It rolled in Sunday night and by Monday night it was actually the thickest fog I have ever driven in. On rural county roads. With no shoulders. Or striping. Visibility was about 10 yards unless there was an oncoming car then it was like just swerve away from the headlights and hope I don’t hit a tree. At least the trees are small.

Conrad did not find the dreary, drippy, cold wet days enjoyable.

He stays bundled up in multiple blankets on the furniture. It is sunny today, but more icky weather is on the way. To keep the festive spirit in tact, I thought grabbing a little film of my street in the fog might be kind of neat — it’s a short street and every house has lights up. The fog wasn’t as bad in my neighborhood as it was near the barn, so the lights just look all twinkly and the refraction isn’t too bad.

lights from patentlybay on Vimeo.

Distractions

It’s no secret — neither Eli nor I handle distractions very well. We have focus and discipline issues. But we are working on them. We got to work on them A LOT last Friday and Saturday.

Friday, I had tentatively planned to school Eli over fences with my trainer in the afternoon because it looked like that could fit in my schedule. However, something came up and my trainer had to leave early. No problem, I’ll just hack around in the sun for once during the week! My trainer said I could work on whatever I wanted to over fences and we would school on Saturday for sure.

Someone please bring back the sun

Hrrrm … this leaves me facing that whole discipline issue. My trainer basically told me to work on jumps to be ready for our lesson the next day. While I do jump sometimes on my own, I hadn’t had much consistent riding on Eli for the week because of the weather and my work schedule. When last we jumped, we worked on trotting into a line and halting, then trotting out, etc., but that wasn’t something I wanted to do on my own without a pair of eyes on me. I settled on trotting a few fences, trotting in and cantering out of a bending line twice, trotting into and cantering out of a straight line once, and cantering two fences on a large half circle once. Eli rode well, very obligingly, and felt as though he was jumping well, too, although the fences were quite low. There was a bit of a biting north wind, but I mitigated that with a bonnet on Eli so the wind wouldn’t distract him as much.

I felt pretty good about what we had just worked on and thought we would be able to accomplish a lot in our lesson the next day.

And we actually did accomplish a lot the next day — just not so much over fences. Not that we didn’t jump — we did, but mostly in the same vein as the day before — trotting in, cantering out, halting in the corners … while I had hoped we’d be able to build on the day before and jump some courses, Eli wasn’t mentally in that place, and I’d be hard-pressed to get there myself under the circumstances.

Saturdays are very busy at the barn, which is to be expected at an h/j barn with lots of amateur and junior riders. But this Saturday seemed busier than most, both in and out side of the arena. I think there were 3 or 4 lessons going on across two arenas and they weren’t all private lessons. One horse threw a spook in front of Eli, so Eli took that as his cue to jump a tad out of his skin. Also within view of the arena were a few piles of cleared brush that were burning off and I think that had a few of the horses a bit nervous. And it was drizzling, which Eli hates. And there were dogs, and multiple trainers giving instructions as their students rode. All of this was frying my brain. Eli jumped out of his skin a second time, and I decided to try another approach, rather than just trying to ride through all the white noise and traffic. Plus I thought it would be pretty rude to any of the students riding at that time for me to stay in the arena with my nervous horse.

raindrops. not roany. just dusty.

But this is exactly the kind of environment Eli needs to practice in. I walked him back down to the barn, walked him through the barn aisles a few times, got back on and took him up to the fields. His brain had slowed back down and he wasn’t totally relaxed (mainly because of the drizzle at this point — he seriously hates it) but he was rideable, and we could work on getting warmed up for our lesson without getting in the way of others. Luckily the grass in the fields wasn’t slick yet even in the drizzle.

My trainer and I agreed that all these distractions set up a bit of a test for Eli, and it was good for him to be exposed to so many things and still have to work. We jumped a few jumps and Eli, though tense, was not doing anything out of place — halts in the corners were messy, but he landed on the correct leads and jumped from good distances otherwise. And of course I had to really resist any urge I had to move up to distances and just let him jump from a quieter canter and out of a shorter step.

I am very proud of Eli for handling the situation the way he did. He is still not what I would call simple or ammie-friendly, but he is getting there. When we got to the business of jumping, he stayed very focused even when surrounded by a lot of commotion outside the arena.

Unfortunately, rain is in the forecast all week, so we probably won’t get a chance to jump again until after Christmas. I’ll have pony time every day anyway, even if it is just to work with Eli on the ground in the barn aisles. They are saying we could get snow again on Christmas, which is insanity in this area!!