A Last Minute Switch At CDCTA Dressage Show


Bear at the show.

I was excited to get Oh So out for his first dressage show back since his injury (I’m not counting our failed attempt at Morningside in July) at the Warrenton Horse Show grounds, ironically on the exact date of his diagnosis a year ago.

That is, until he was holding his right front foot off the ground in the stall that day! Why oh why did it have to be the right front, and on such an important day?

We had a very good lesson the night before and I was feeling prepared and confident, but his shoe was barely holding on that morning, so I had to get the farrier out on the day of the show. He went ahead and did all four feet since he was due and less than an hour after he left, my mom noticed Oh So was holding his right front off the ground and resting his toe. He would put weight on all four feet, but then he’d rest the right front again.

He seemed a little short walking back out of the stall but looked great on the lunge. I frantically called the farrier, who turned around and came back to test all the nails. He had no reaction anywhere on the foot, which made me worry even more. What if he’d done something to the tendon again?

By dinner time, he appeared to have stopped resting the foot, but I didn’t want to take the risk and decided to take Bear to the show at the last minute.

Oh So was sound yesterday under saddle and had a great jump school/cross-country school today, so I think maybe the shoe felt “tight” on his foot? Or, as my farrier said, he just didn’t want to go to a dressage show! I’m hoping it’s behind us now, but he’s never been sensitive after getting his feet done, so it was a bit alarming.

Oh So was looking good in his lesson this week.

Oh So was looking good in his lesson this week.

So, I memorized Training Test 1 and 2 really fast and put Bear on the trailer. He was good about taking everything in. The ring is near a busy road and there were tents set up for a future show, a grandstand and a park behind some hedges that he could hear noises from, but could’t see.

I decided to shorten his warm up to about 35 minutes and that seemed fine. He was a bit distracted, understandably, at first but settled into his work.

The first test he was a little distracted and I wasn’t completely accurate in my figures, but we got it done! I tried to push out his free walk, but he lifted his head and jigged. We haven’t practiced the stretchy circle diligently at home, so he has an idea about it, but I wasn’t expecting it in the ring.

His halts and trot-walk transitions are still a bit abrupt because when I start sitting, he thinks it means stop. We scored a 62% on that test with mostly 6’s and 6.5s and a few 7s and an 8. Our collective marks were 6s and 6.5s with a 7 on “harmony between horse and rider.”

The second test was a bit more accurate with a few more 8s and 7s. I was kicking a bit by then, so my rider score suffered, as did the impulsion score. The judge suggested spurs, which I will definitely use next time. He’s been a pretty forward at home recently but I do wear spurs most days. He’s been kicking out a bit at them in canter if my leg isn’t totally quiet, so I wanted to keep things quiet at the show, but now I know better!

We scored a 65.89% on that test. I’m not sure where we ended up in the class, but I was just happy we made it through! I’m a planner, so last minute changes are not my thing, but I’m proud of us both for getting it done.

I’m going to try to enter Oh So in the September show before his first event, which will be Seneca Valley!

Morningside CT recap


Bear schooling at home.

It’s been about two months since Bear was last out at a show due to his foot bruise, my travels and just getting him legged up again, but we made it to Morningside on Sunday for a combined test.

We decided to do baby novice one more time and he was pretty good. I don’t think he’s going to be one to need a lot of dressage warmup, which is nice, because it’s exhausting riding him compared to Oh So! He’s still learning to get off my leg but I decided against spurs since he’s been ultra sensitive to them at home lately, and I really could have used them by the time I trotted down centerline.

As a result, in our first canter transition, I freaked out a bit and chased him, so we got a 5 for that. His downwards transition was also rough as he swung his hindquarters in. Those are hard to do on the long side!

After the free walk, the test was steadier and we picked up a few 7s and 8s to finish with a 32.0. It was probably a little generous, but hey, it made me feel good!

He cantered easily around the baby novice course, but I was throwing my upper body left a little on landing so we didn’t get every lead. I’m not sure why I do it to the left on him but to the right on Oh So.

They had quite a few people sign up for baby novice and beginner novice jumping rounds, so after warming up on the track for our beginner novice round, which is awful because you can’t get into a rhythm, we had to sit around and wait for probably 40 minutes. He was fine with it, but I think I should have done a couple of jumps before we went in since I work best off the momentum of a few rhythmic jumps.

They put in the panels and fillers for the beginner novice division and in hindsight, I should have let him have a peek at some of them. He started off ok over the first fence, but then I asked for a long one to the second and he popped in an extra stride, while I stupidly jumped ahead for a pretty ugly effort.

We regained our composure quickly for the next two jumps, but I did the same stupid thing again to a vertical with a stone wall, and pretty much almost fell off! We regained our composure again and finished a lot better than we started!

So, moral of the story- I’m still figuring out my balance on him compared to Oh So. We’ve only recently started putting the jumps up to serious beginner novice height, and while Oh So made them seem tiny when I started him, Bear is smaller and I have less in front of me. His neck comes out of his shoulders at less of an upwards angle and I don’t have huge withers and a long neck to “catch me” should I jump ahead.

Oh So also finds long spots quite fun, so I’ve been able to get away with jumping ahead with my upper body. He’s rarely chipped in in the years I’ve had him.

So, Bear will teach me not to jump ahead I hope, because otherwise I’ll end up on the ground! He’s also been so saintly, quiet and almost bored jumping at home and in our lessons that I think I’ve trusted that too much. He was slightly surprised by the fillers at Morningside, so he added a stride instead of taking off long. Thankfully he doesn’t seem to mind as I right myself after the jump. A true amateurs horse, even at 4 years old!

For now we’ll just work on getting comfortable jumping at the height. I’ve done a ton of prelims but beginner novice feels big on him to me. He doesn’t seem to care, but I need to get brave now!

I included the second half of our BN round here since it was much better than the first!


An Italian Adventure

2014-06-23 18.33.06

I’m not sure why it always takes me weeks to get the motivation to write about my trips, but here goes. Better late than never!

I honestly didn’t know much about Italy when I decided to book a trip last year, but I knew I liked the food and Roman history, so why not?

I took a COSMOS bus trip again like I’ve done in the past, just because I like having everything taken care of and I don’t want to travel a foreign country totally alone. These kinds of trips definitely cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time, but I like that you get a good feel for a country with a little taste of certain sites so you can come back again and be at least somewhat familiar.

2014-06-23 07.50.39-1The bad thing is that if you really enjoy a city, there’s often not a ton of time to explore things like museums or historical sites, especially considering Italy had the longest lines and the most tourists I’ve ever seen!

The tour I chose was about 10 days, with really more like 8 days of actual sight-seeing. The flight over was fairly uneventful. I had a layover in Paris and got to the hotel in Rome about noon where they wouldn’t let me into my room until 3, so I had a quick bite and almost fell asleep in the lobby (I don’t sleep well on planes).

Had I known how to get downtown easily, I might have explored Rome, but COSMOS usually books hotels a bit outside the center of a city to keep costs down, so we were located several miles away.

Day 1

The first real day of the tour started on Monday.

As we drove through the suburbs outside the ancient city center, our guide pointed out some of the wealthier areas. “Really?” I thought. Buildings were covered in graffiti and everything just looked a little “dirty”. It was a stark contrast to other European cities I’ve been to.

We went straight to Vatican City and were able to beat the lines, another perk of being

The Vatican

The Vatican

with a tour group. Even so, there were thousands of people there–we were all shoulder to shoulder as we were shuffled into the gardens with the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica as an impressive backdrop.

After getting an explanation of the Sistine Chapel’s major features, we walked to St. Peter’s and entered the basilica. I’ve seen some impressive cathedrals in Spain, but this one was even more massive. It was tough to get a good photo because of all the people, but it was breathtaking.

We had a quick lunch and hopped on the bus to go to the Colosseum. Because of my interest in historical dramas (i.e. watching lots of Rome and Spartacus), I had a pretty good idea of what the Colosseum would look like. It was pretty cool to walk inside and be able to see underneath the floor where the animals and gladiators would have stayed. It would have been a dark, dank place, but with the floor gone, sunlight illuminated the narrow aisles and rooms.

There was a bizarre cooling effect when you stood in the aisles. The sun beat down on the circular paths around the Collosseum, but step into a short alley and a brisk breeze cooled you down quickly.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

We took a walk to Palatine Hill and looked down over more ruins. I wish we’d had more time to walk down and look at things more closely, but it was fun to see a wide-angle view of what a typical Roman town center looked like.

After a quick break at the hotel, we took a guided walk through some of Rome’s squares. We walked to the Pantheon past the Trevi Fountain (which was under construction with scaffolding). It was my first glimpse into real Roman life. It was bustling, hot and crowded, but invigorating.I really enjoyed sitting at the fountain in Piazza Navona and people watching for a bit, gelato in hand!

We finished the evening with a traditional Italian dinner, complete with a male and female opera singer to give us some atmosphere.

Day 2

On Day 2, we hopped on the Ring Road, sort of like the Capital Beltway, but with less traffic, and headed north to Orvieto, a beautiful hill town.

Driving towards it, it reminded me of some of the Spanish hill towns I’ve visited. Built upon rocky cliffs, it seems impossible that civilization thrives there, but once we hopped on a

Orvieto Cathedral

Orvieto Cathedral

nearly vertical tram and arrived at the top, we were treated to really spectacular views.

In college, I was fascinated by the Etruscan culture that I learned about in my art history class, so to see Orvieto, with it’s rich Etruscan history, was pretty neat. I wish I’d had time to visit their museum and see the artifacts, but I was too busy in the few hours we had there wandering the quaint streets and admiring the beautiful cathedral.

The colorful, striped facade really surprised me. I guess I was expecting plain, like English cathedrals, but this was more like ones I’ve seen in Spain.

After plenty of photos, I wandered through the streets just off the beaten, touristy path and had the most surreal experience, like you’d imagine in the movies. I passed a small courtyard and peaked in when I heard a lovely lady singing in Italian. It was a music school and from what I could hear, she was teaching a class. It really provided a nice backdrop to my walk through the town.

There were hints of horses.

There were hints of horses.

I stopped at a cute pizza place with a couple from Australia in our group and had a nice lunch. The pizza was so light, with not a ton of toppings and the crust was quite flaky. Yum!

I wandered around some medieval gardens before we headed back down the mountain. Orvieto has a really cool well that you can do down in, but there was just no time!

We headed to Siena next and went straight to the main town square, Piazza Del Campo. They have an insane horse race in the square twice a year, where people stand in the bottom of the bowl shaped plaza and horses and riders race around in circles. For that day though, there were just lazy tourists lounging around and locals sitting outside at bars, waiting for the Italy vs. Uruguay World Cup match.

We had a couple of hours to wander before dinner, so I hiked through the hilly streets to the cathedral, which featured another beautiful facade, and back to the restaurant for another huge, multi-course meal, which would become the norm for the rest of the trip!

After dinner, about 8pm, the streets of Siena were almost totally bare. Peaking in all the

Siena's main square

Siena’s main square

shops and bars, every local was glued to their TV or computer watching the game. Our guide commented that it was the quietest she’d ever seen the streets!

When Italy lost, there was a collective groan across the city that we could hear as we walked back to the bus.

Day 3

We trekked to another hill town on Day 3, the walled medieval city of San Gimignano in the Tuscan region. The drive to and from was just like the movies, lots of houses built into the hillsides or perched atop a hill overlooking grape vines. This was serious wine country!

San Gimignano was fairly touristy in its main square, so I got a gelato and headed up the hill to a nice view at the top. There were a handful of towers left over from medieval times that gave the town a unique look, but I was disappointed by the touristy nature of most of the shops.

I did have my first experience paying and going through a turnstile to use the public restrooms though!

We spent a few hours in the afternoon at a local winery with a guide who showed us how

The view from San Gimignano

The view from San Gimignano

they make and store wine. I’m not a big wine drinker, but it was fun to do a tasting at the end to have an authentic experience. When in Rome! (or Tuscany rather…)

That night, we went to a local farm that made their own wine, olive oil and other items. We sat as a group and had a fabulous meal with so many courses! I was happy to see some grilled meat and some really good french fries, but we also had traditional pasta dishes, way too many bottles of wine, and the ever-present tiramisu. We washed it down with a shot of grappa, which burned!

Day 4

We spent the a whole day in Florence, which was still not enough. We started the morning touring a leather shop and then had a walking tour with a local guide through the crowded streets. And I thought Rome was bad!

Duomo in Florence

Duomo in Florence

As we rounded the turn and saw the Duomo in front of us, I was taken aback. It’s so huge, I could barely fit it in my photo frame! It truly is a masterpiece and along with the Baptistry, which was undergoing renovations, touring wasn’t really possible since the lines were so long and I didn’t want to waste any time.

I also wanted to go to the Uffiza Art Gallery, but again, lines. I had lunch with a small group during a thunderstorm, the only time it rained while I was in Italy, then wandered the shops on my own for awhile.

I bought several leather items, making sure to find authentic places. There were so many handbags everywhere it was hard to tell which were real. I splurged on a small one for about 45 euros, which is so much more than I would ever spend at home, but now I have one that says “Made In Firenze”.

I also found an awesome local Italian makeup store called Kiko Cosmetics, which was like a U.S. high-end drugstore brand, but set up like a Sephora. I bought a bunch of items to try like eye shadows and lip glosses.

I left Florence having spent too much money, but I’m glad I took the time to explore!

Day 5

We continued our drive through Tuscany and on to Pisa on Day 5 for a quick stop. Talk about even more touristy! People just stop here for a photo op with the Leaning Tower, but

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa

it was definitely less crowded than other sites. The road leading up the main square was so packed with rip-off tourist merchandise, it was just excessive!

The other buildings on site were impressive and you could pay 16 euros to go up the Leaning Tower, but I wasn’t keen on that, so I wandered around inside the cathedral from free and people watched a bit.

We headed towards Venice next, and after taking a break at our hotel which was about 20 minutes outside the city, we hopped on a boat to get to the main island.

I’d read that Venice was touristy because of the fact that so many cruise ships dock there for day trips, and that much of the local population is leaving due to the inconvenience of living there (flooding, tourists, etc.), but I was still really charmed with the place.

Beautiful art at every turn.

Beautiful art at every turn.

We had dinner at a nice restaurant and spent a bit of time in St. Mark’s Square people watching. The cathedral had scaffolding all over the front, so no good photos there, but I enjoyed wandering around watching dueling bands play to patrons and onlookers and people just taking it all in.

Day 6

We spent all day in Venice and started the day with a tour of a Murano glass shop. They had some gorgeous pieces, but all but the smallest things were out of my price range!

We hopped on a gondola ride next. I’m not a huge small boat fan, so the rocking from side to side made me nervous, but once we got off the main drag and into the canals, the ride settled considerably. We had an authentic singer as well, who gave us some romantic ambiance as we went through the canals.

2014-06-27 18.36.40-1


After that, we had lots of free time, but again, I didn’t want to wait in lines to go in the Palace or up to Tower, so with no map in hand, I wandered the narrow streets, over bridges and canals. I made my way to the Rialto Bridge, which had shops up and down the steps and a great view of the Grand Canal. I found my way back just following signs to St. Marks–no map needed, which surprised me!

I stopped into several Venetian Glass shops searching for the perfect, affordable but authentic pieces and found a nice horse and lots of jewelry! It’s overwhelming how much there is and now I’m obsessed and will be searching out more authentic pieces online!

After lunch, we took a guided tour on a boat through the lagoon. There are hundreds of islands, many of them sinking, in Venice and we saw a few with some old structures on them that had been abandoned.

We passed Murano, where they make glass and got off at Burano, a tiny miniature Venice



with few tourists and very colorful houses. Burano’s speciality is lacemaking, so I picked up a couple of small pieces and wandered the dead-quiet backstreets to see a bit of authentic local living.

After checking out their leaning tower, I sat with the group and enjoyed the view before we headed back for dinner at the hotel.

It was a long, hot day, but I was able to find relief by just stepping into a shaded alley, where the breezes flowed! I wish I’d had more time, but I feel like I got the gist of Venice and I really enjoyed it. It was unlike any city I’ve ever been to.

Day 7

On our last day, we had a lot of driving to do on the way back to Rome, but we stopped in Assisi, a town in Umbria that’s home to the St. Francis Basilica.

We hiked up the steep streets to a beautiful wide, open piazza that sat in the shadow of



St. Francis. I saw what must have been a riding tour group walking their horses, who were slipping and sliding down the hill, and that was about the only horse sighting I had on my trip!

The basilica was massive and beautifully decorated inside, like most I saw, but no photos allowed!

After touring the basilica, I had a really amazing slice of crispy pizza on the sidewalk and some gelato and did a little souvenir shopping.

I wish I’d had time to see some of the Roman ruins, but we had a seriously long drive ahead of us.

That night, a small group of about 15 of us decided to walk from our suburban Rome hotel to the metro and head back into the city to check out a few more sights and get dinner. The metro was pretty easy to figure out and seemed clean and safe. We got off near the Spanish Steps, which were packed with people, and walked to the top so we could have a good view of the city. We wandered through a park, past several monuments and squares, and found a nice restaurant where we all agreed we had the best meal of the trip because we got to decide what we wanted (and no tiramisu!).

Assisi in the distance

Assisi in the distance

Overall, it was a pretty amazing trip and eye opening as usual. I’m really lucky I’m able to save some money and travel–it’s a really important thing to me to be able to experience new cultures, history and people and I pride myself on my adventurous spirit!

I wish I’d had the vacation time to take a longer trip and go to the South, especially Pompeii, but it didn’t work out this time. I feel like a Southern Italy trip is calling my name, but first I think I want to try some of the smaller countries next year like Sweden, Switzerland, etc.



Checking In

2014-07-25 08.51.25

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated, but I’ve been sort of non-stop since I got back from Italy. I’m still working on a blog post about that (procrastinate much?), but for now, let’s talk about the horses!

I finally got my new Black Country jump saddle two weeks ago and I’m loving it so far. Miraculously, it works on both horses. For Bear, it goes straight on over the saddle pad and Oh So just needs a shim pad, like he does for every saddle, no matter how good the fit, due to a hollow behind his withers.

I’ve had a couple of cross-country schoolings in it with Bear and he seems to like it. He was very good in our school with Lisa a week and a half ago at Gordonsdale. It had been a month since he’d been out due to his bruise and he picked right up on it.

I took him again on Sunday to Morningside and even though he was alone, he was very good. We popped over a few jumps, a ditch and went into the water and over a log into water without any peeks.

I felt like I had a better feel for him up and down the hills too, which the saddle is definitely helping with.

I’ve been really busy over the last 2 weeks because my parents were out of town and I had to take care of everything at home.

I decided to take Oh So to Morningside on the 19th and do two first level tests, but that was a pretty bad idea! He’d had a couple of bad rides before and I’m not sure why I thought it would be better at a show?

He warmed up ok on the polo field, but once I got up to the ring and had to disrupt our rhythm to wait for our turn, I lost him. Add the fact that we were the last ride of the day and there were no horses left and it was pretty awful. The judge appeared in a rush, so I just scratched my last test and schooled in the ring a bit, but he was pretty wound up, so I didn’t really have him where I wanted him by the end.

I have him entered in an evening schooling show in a couple of weeks, so I’m hoping that will be a bit better.

My plan for the weekend is to take Bear to a jump lesson and take Oh So for a moderate cross-country schooling and hill work.

Here’s a video of Bear warming up over some jumps at Morningside on Sunday and Oh So schooling at home yesterday.

Last week I took Tuesday off to go to Warped Tour in Columbia, Md., at Merriweather Post Pavillion. It was my 11th year going and I felt really old, but I always have a good time!

2014-07-22 12.48.47

On Saturday and Sunday I covered the World Equestrian Games Prep Trials at Great Meadow. I drive by Great Meadow twice a day everyday and it’s been ages since I competed at the CDCTA Horse Trials there, so it was fun to see eventing return.

Memories came flooding back of my time there with Sam and the places were we got eliminated! Everything looked a little smaller though for sure, like the stone wall/coffin area and the main water jump.

I remember going to watch the old CCI** there and the 2002 WEG Selection Trials with David O’Connor on Custom Made and Amy Tryon on Poggio.There’s a lot of history there and I guess if I’ll never be able to ride there again, I’m glad that future team riders will be.

It was fun to see all the team riders together in one place and the atmosphere was electric with thousands of fans.

Here’s my coverage – Dressage, Show Jumping, Cross-Country.

2014-07-27 08.27.00


Two Steps Forward

2014-07-06 15.28.48

Things are quietly turning around for Bear since my last post. Once he got his shoe back on, he seemed fairly sound. I had Nicky come over on Saturday for a lesson with Oh So and she lunged Bear and walked him around under saddle.

She thought he was still unsound on the lunge, perhaps a little stifle-y due to a growth spurt in combination with a little leftover soreness from the bruise, and suggested I have a different vet look at him with a fresh set of eyes.

I could barely tell on the lunge and when I rode him today, I just couldn’t feel anything. I had my dad video us to show to Lisa today when I took Oh So to his first jump lesson since his injury.

She thought he looked fine, but still advised I get a second opinion before we start up jumping again, so I’m going to try to make an appointment for this week.

As for Oh So, we had a nice flat lesson, focusing on keeping his neck out at the base and starting to think more about test riding.

Today I took him for our first jump lesson since his injury. Lisa hasn’t seen him in person since last August, and she thought he looked good in his weight, but noticed he’s lacking a bit of strength from behind when he tripped a couple of times upon landing.

We didn’t jump more than 2’6″ since I’m still in my dressage saddle, but Lisa actually thought my position looked pretty good!

We just focused on keeping a steady pace and cantered over some hunter-type lines. I found myself riding him a bit like he was Bear, slow and steady, and he actually waited in most of the lines. He almost got me “making a move” a few times, but I tried just to stay relaxed.

I’ve found that riding Bear, who is very “hunter-like” over fences, makes me wait with my upper body and let the fences come to me. It will be interesting once he gets going again to see if I can continue to let that positively influence my rides on Oh So.

The plan now is to keep working on Oh So’s fitness by working on some hills and continuing to raise the fences. My new jumping saddle should be here this weekend, so that will be good to get back into a proper fitting one!

I’m taking it one day at a time with Bear, but I’m hoping we’re over this bruise and that we can continue on to the fall season. I’m excited to hopefully have two horses to compete.


Bear is sound! I took him to another vet who specializes in racehorses today and after a 10 minute lameness exam he determined he looked great, so we’re ready to go full steam ahead again.

Now to start picking out competitions…

A Quick Update Plus My Summer Staples

I’ve had a crappy last few weeks with Bear. After his hock swelled up and we missed our last event, he became nearly three-legged lame the Monday after. The vet came out, took X-rays and found nothing except a very sore foot, so we kept the shoe off, wrapped and soaked it.

He appeared sound by Friday, so I had the farrier put the shoe back on Saturday, but he went lame again, so we took it off the following Monday. The vet came back out and blocked his foot and determined it to be just a bad bruise. Since I was leaving for Italy for 10 days, we decided to keep him on limited turnout and keep the shoe off, which brings us to today. He seems sound again on a straight line, but not so much to the right on the lunge., The farrier came out today and put his shoe back on in hopes that he’s just off from not having the shoe on. What next? Ugh.

My trainer said maybe it was good timing for him to have some time off, just being a young  horse and because of some back pain caused by my saddle (which turned out to be irreparably broken :( )

I agree, but I also don’t like losing time with him. My plan isn’t to keep him forever and I want to be competing! It’s been nearly a year since my last event and I’m getting antsy! His saddle situation is also up in the air since I don’t have one now for him and can’t try any until he’s sound.

Either way, she’s confident that he’ll be fine when he comes back and that he won’t forget anything. I just have to keep telling myself that! I’m still thinking it’s just a bad bruise and that he’s just not a very stoic horse!

Oh So is doing well. My dressage trainer, Nicky, rode him while I was gone and I had a nice flat session this morning. I’m thinking of entering a dressage schooling show in the next few weeks and I’m going to take him to see my jump trainer, Lisa, this weekend for a little gymnastic session in my dressage saddle (the new one is coming soon). He’s ready to start jumping higher, but I don’t want to in that saddle!

My Summer Staples

As I stepped out of the airport and onto the curb on Monday, I was reminded that while I was sweating everyday during my vacation to Italy, at least it wasn’t so oppressively humid!

So, I decided to put together a list of some of my summer essentials in the barn.

I’ll write up a separate post about my vacation, but for now, here’s my list.

shoppingEnduraCool Towel

I sweat, a lot, so this refreshing towel is just the trick after I ride. You just get it wet, squeeze it out and snap it to “activate the cooling properties” and it’s instantly cool. It doesn’t really stay cool for hours as the company claims, but it sure beats a normal towel!


a207919143e4491c0af262_mAbsorbine Botanicals Natural Liniment

I was excited to see a new liniment on the market this season, and considering it’s from Absorbine, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. While their Veterinary Liniment is a bit too strong for both me and my horses, I do like their products and the new Botanicals line is much more mild. Absorbine calls both the Massage Foam and Body Rinse “aromatherapy”, and they both certainly have a pleasant minty smell that’s not overpowering.

The Massage Foam comes in a drip-free pump bottle, while the Body Rinse comes in a convenient squeeze bottle with measurement lines on the side. One squeeze is enough concentrate for an after-workout bath, and one bottle makes 24 gallons.

I’ve used the Body Rinse on Oh So several times and under his wraps with no adverse effects, probably because it contains natural herbs and aloe vera. Bear loves the Massage Foam, which you apply directly onto the coat and massage into the skin.

KerritsIceFilSShirtSeaglassKerrits Ice Fil Mesh Shirt

I’ve always liked Kerrits’ show shirts to use under my riding jacket at shows, so I decided to try their new Ice Fil t-shirt. Kerrits claims the Ice Fil fabric will lower your body temperature up to five degrees and will leave behind a cooling sensation.

I found that the fabric is definitely lightweight and thin, but it’s held up to many rides in the summer heat. It definitely does breath more than my Under Armour shirts, but since I sweat so much, it also soaks through quicker, thus cooling me with my own sweat I guess?

Either way, it dries fast and comes in lots of pretty colors (including white for use under a show coat)!

10183029Under Armour UA Tech Shirt

As any athlete knows, breathable fabric is essential, so I’ve stocked up on several Under Armour shirts for the summer. Smartpak carries these with their logo on the sleeve, but I found several more color options on Amazon.com.


51SIuE1zt0L._SX300_Roma Ecole Double Diamond Saddle Pad

When it came time to go to Bear’s first show, I needed to find an affordable saddle pad, so I tried out Roma’s dressage pad. It’s softly quilted, long enough for my saddle and comes in a variety of color combinations (Oh So has black with red trim for schooling). It also dries fast, which is a plus in the summer!

Book Review: The Riding Horse Repair Manual


This review ran in the July 7 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse. I’m a great admirer of Doug Payne and his ability to ride so many horses. Perhaps this book will come in handy as Bear progresses through his training!

Trafalgar Square Books, Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053. 2014. 224 PAGES. HORSEANDRIDERBOOKS.COM. $29.95.

 While he’s best known as a top-level event rider, Doug Payne has ridden just about every kind of horse and ridden in several different disciplines—from upper level dressage to grand prix show jumping and from well-schooled packers to wild buckers and stubborn ponies.

So it’s no surprise that his debut book, The Riding Horse Repair Manual, covers solutions for nearly every kind of riding problem you could encounter.

Payne starts the book with an important reminder about bad behavior in horses—“Many times these behaviors have their root in poor riding and training. Nearly always, such problems can be fixed with correct riding and retraining so these horses can be ‘reclaimed,’ and enjoy their intended job.”

In the first few chapters, Payne covers how to start a green horse by suggesting groundwork exercises and explaining his methods for backing, longeing and how to get through the first few rides.

The remainder of the book is split into neat sections like “Contact Issues,” “Unruly Outbursts” and “Jumping Issues” to make it easy to reference a particular problem.

Payne explains the issue clearly, offers one or two reasons why it may be happening, then offers a couple of solutions with step-by-step instructions.

There are several tips scattered throughout each page, as well as photo sequences of disobediences in action (those must have been fun to capture!) and diagrams of jumping exercises.

The last section features several stories of horses Payne’s ridden, including his top mount, Crown Talisman, who overcame a fear of loud noises and tension to become a winning advanced horse.

Payne’s advice and solutions show an honest, thoughtful horseman who always looks for the good in any horse but doesn’t shy away from a serious “problem child.”

If you’ve ever come across an issue with a horse young or old, experienced or not, you’re sure to find an answer in The Riding Horse Repair Manual.