Friday, December 15, 2023

The Final Post

 Hello Kind Readers!

It has been an age since I last posted, therefore it should come as no surprise that this will be my last post on this blog.  It's been 10 years since Junior,the original star of the blog, passed away and it's been pretty clear for a long time that this was his blog, not mine. I am ready to admit it just isn't where I need to spend my energy these days.  I loved the years that I blogged regularly and found it really helpful to voice the things I was anxious about, keep a record of things, and connect with other horsefolk. 

I've met a lot of cool people through this blog, several of whom I consider life-long internet friends! Hopefully if any of you long-time readers are still accessing my blog, you've already found me on the other socials.  If not, feel free to email me and I'll connect you - there's an email link over on the right, way down at the bottom. If you're no longer interested in following me, that's cool, too.  I hope you found something here that made you smile.  

So a bit of a catch-up before I retire...

I still mourn Junior, but it's certainly not as heavy to carry.  This week it was a little closer to the surface with the 10th anniversary, but mostly good memories and gratitude for all he taught me.  I'm still saddest about the fact that we'd just found our future with ranch, and he would have been PERFECT for Western Dressage and Liberty, but we didn't get the chance to try. Everything happens for a reason.

Kevin is doing great.  He's 19 and has a job!  The barn we'd called home since 2014 closed in October and we somehow managed to find a pretty great situation!  I put out an ISO ad for a new barn and got a PM from a gal who actually knew Kevin when he was younger. She offered us a place in her lesson program so my board is covered and I still get to ride whenever I want to.  I wasn't sure what to expect since he was moving from 24/7 grass, round bale, run-in, and a buddy horse to a stall, but so far he's doing shockingly well.  (Which I probably shouldn't say aloud but there it is.)  He's lost a good deal of weight, which was VERY needed.  While I've never had him diagnosed with insulin resistance, he was looking scary fat last summer and was having to live in a grazing muzzle. He needed to get off the grass and get more exercise.  He's now over 150lbs lighter, fitter, and riding great! He gets out of the stall for either a lesson, turnout, or both each day, and while it's much shorter turnout time than before, he's not been stiff, cranky, or anxious.  It's a little hard to watch the novices fumble around with him, but the trainers are keep a sharp eye and we all started somewhere! Thankfully Kevin has been a saint and is a barn favorite.  Of course, if things take a turn we will re-evaluate, but for now we both seem happy!  Plus I'm hoping the indoor-living will be kinder to his mane.  It's always looked so icky and I'd love to see it stay healthier.  

I'm even making plans to re-start our show career later in January.  Just some ranch classes at an open show. We took all of 2023 off, and only showed once in 2022, so now I need to see if show clothes still fit because it's not in the budget to get a new wardrobe! 

My little Etsy side-hustle has undergone some changes and I'm aiming for a few more.  My BF started working from home last spring and since my work room is now also his office, I needed to streamline that space and decided to close the decal portion of my business. I plan to digitize my images and sell them as svg files so other crafters can use them.  I'm still selling my bit-warmer patterns, and I have a few other sewing patterns I would love to digitize but haven't yet found the time. 

In May my BF and I got a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy we named Eloise.  She's a ruby, so the same color as Kevin (this was not actually planned) and I've enjoyed color-coordinating them.  She just had her spay surgery this week so we are doing a lot of working-from-sofa. 

I found Huck!!!  I will often search is name on the internet and I recently found videos of him doing liberty with someone out east!  He looked good and quiet and It was a relief to see him thriving and making someone happy!

So I end this blog on a happy note.  I am grateful for what this blog brought me and taught me. Thank you for coming along for the ride.  Wishing you joy and happiness this holiday season and into the new year.



Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The "Year" of the Halter

 I intended to write a post about how 2020 was the "Year of the Halter" but the trend continued into 2021!

#1 - January '20  - Awarded a Leather Halter with award plate for Grand Champion Open Ranch Horse for the Buckeye Equestrian Events 2019 show series.  

#2 - August  - I finished a long-imagined project by designing, carving, painting, and buckstitching a leather halter noseband for Kevin.

#3 - August -  Awarded a leather halter with stamped noseband for winning season High Point Ranch Horse at the Union County Open Horse Show Series.

#4 - January '21 - Won a drawing through Stacy Westfall's blog and was gifted with a gorgeous leather halter from Weaver Leather!  Yes, Kevin LOVES to look at himself in the mirror!

#5 February '21 - Kevin and I signed on as Brand Ambassadors for our favorite hand-tied rope halter company: Knotty Girlz.  Every rope halter you've seen me use has been one of theirs.  I use them every day, all the time, and I even show with them.  If you are in the market for a great rope halter, check them out, and use discount code SILLYPONY10 for 10% off your entire order.  Halters, leads, reins, poppers, you name it, they've got it.  And it's always great to support small women-owned businesses!   

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that while I only own ONE horse, I currently own 11 halters.... 4 rope halters (all Knotty Girlz), 3 leather halters, and 4 nylon halters including the leather noseband above.  Granted, one of those nylon halters was Junior's, and though I'll never use it, but I'll keep it always and forever.  

If you're not already a follower, you can check us out on Instagram.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 Recap

 I've never been so wrong....

"So, what about 2020? Gosh that's a nice round number.  Hopefully that's a sign of things to come: balance, solidity, and clarity. 2020-Vision, you know?"  

Ugh.  That was me, in my first post of 2020. Oh, sweet summer child... If we'd only known what a dumpster fire of a year this would be!

As I sat down to write this post, the first things that came to mind were all the things we didn't get to do.  The many shows and events (Equine Affaire AND Congress!) that were cancelled, all the things that went wrong, and the general anxiety of living with the effects of a pandemic.  It was challenging to remember all the GOOD that happened in 2020 when compared to so much bad, but I do believe in the power of focusing on the positive. So that is what I want to do for this post, our re-cap of 2020.  We'll cover some of the bad things from 2020 in other posts.  Maybe. 

In February I bought my first horse trailer!  

After much looking and much fretting about whether or not I should even get a trailer, should I spend the money on new or buy used, slant or straight, etc., I settled on a '95 Sooner 2-Horse slant load with a generous tack room. It's a "starter trailer" but it's in really good shape and once I got over most of the terror and hauled myself to a few shows, I'm really glad I took the leap!

We did a Mounted Archery Clinic and Kevin was a superstar!

We did get to show a little this year and won two High Points! Two virtual shows, and 3 in-person shows over two weekends.

  • Virtual Buckeye Open Show (May): 
    • 2nd Ranch Pleasure, 3rd Ranch Riding, 2nd Ranch Horsemanship
  • Local Open Show (August): 
    • 1st Ranch Riding, 1st Ranch Pleasure Walk/trot, 1st Ranch Pleasure, High-Point Ranch Horse
  • Buckeye Western Dressage Show (Sept)
    • High Point Open Division-Basic Level, 1st Basic 4, 2nd Basic 1
  • Buckeye Ranch Show (Sept)
    • 2nd Halter, 2nd Jackpot Western Pleasure, 1st Adult Western Pleasure, Trail, RR, and HMS were not so good. 
  • Virtual Western Dressage World Show (WDAA) (Oct): 29th out of 71 in Amateur Basic 1, 34th out of 59 in Amateur Basic 4 - This really deserves it's own post, but here is a teaser for now:

We decided to go all-out for Halloween this year.  As a professional costume designer I dream up a LOT of costumes for horse/human, but rarely do I have the energy/time/budget to make them a reality.  This year, with most of my theatre shows cancelled or streamlined I felt a bit of pent-up creative energy and I decided just do it. 

I present to you An Autumn Fairy Tale.  Photos by the incomparable Kate Bowser.  

You can see the rest of the photo here.   I just wish the autumn leaves had been at their peak... might need to re-shoot next fall...

Post Topics Coming Soon:
Equilutions 2021 - Goal Setting
How to Blindly Leap into Western Dressage
A New Saddle Because Reasons
Halters and halters and more halters

Also, since I must admit I'm no longer a frequent blogger, you may feel free to follow my Insta, it's mostly pictures of Kevin anyway.  @sillypony

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Stuck in Quarantine? 12 Horsey Things You Can Do

In this time of global pandemic and the cancellation of Equine Affaire and many local and national horse shows, we're all feeling a bit out-of-sorts.


Unless your horse lives in a HUGE public boarding facility, I'm guessing it's safe for you to visit and ride your horse.  If not, my heart goes out to you.


I'd be going nuts right now If I couldn't have horse time.  I'm a college professor in Ohio and we've been in limbo for a WEEK already, and we begin teaching our courses online on Monday.  I've been reconfiguring my courses and prepping video lectures - it's like first week of school jitters at the pace of finals week!  I've been relishing my barn time, but my nervous energy needs more to do, so here are:

12 things you can do during the Quarantine 

Social Distance approved!-

  1. Clean your brushes.
    I recommend Best Brush Forward tablets.  I use 2 tabs in a 5 gallon bucket.  Soak, wipe, and rinse.  SO easy and it's all natural. Get that winter gunk out of your brushes so you can clean your horse better - it just makes sense.
  2. Clean your tack.
    Take the time to vacuum, clean, and condition your saddle.  Check all your leather for wear and replace as needed.  It's also a good time to swap your leathers from left to right (if you ride English) and check to make sure one hasn't stretched more than the other. I have an arsenal of leather products, but my top favorites for cleaning are Bick1, Leather New, and Fiebings's Saddle Soap.  For conditioning I love good ol' Neatsfoot Oil, Skidmore's Leather Cream, or Bick4 conditioner, depending on the tack.
  3. Wash your washables.
    Wash pads, wraps, blankets with Schneider's Blanket Wash.  Remove the winter crud and get ready to soak up the summer sweat.
  4. Support small businesses. during this economic stress. Treat yourself to something fun and affordable like a bitwarmer or a new decal for your car or trailer. (shameless self promotion)  or these cool feather earrings from A Feathered Filly. A small luxury can boost your mood without breaking the bank.
  5. Take a class.
    Did you know you can take 450 Free classes from Ivy League schools?  I'm currently taking an online class with Stacy Westfall, and considering taking this Free class: The Horse Course.
  6. Get virtual lessons! Join Luke Gingerich's Facebook training page and learn how to work at liberty with your horse.
  7. Sort through the 1,000's of horse photos on your phone
    You know you have them!  Select a few to order on a canvas, or create a photobook on Snapfish like I did for Junior. 
  8. Do something with all those Ribbons you've been collecting.
  9. Find NEW podcasts, blogs, or YouTube Channels to Follow! Embrace the YouTube Rabbit Hole!
  10. Enter a Virtual Horse Show!
    These are popping up EVERYWHERE right now! Check your favorite Facebook groups, or check out: Dressage Show Online
  11. Tidy your Tack Room, trailer, or storage area! 
    I'm intrigued by this set up. Do you really need that leaky bottle of Magic Healzitall that expired in 2015? Consider donating unused but usable things to a horse rescue or 4H club.
  12. Organize your horse's records.
    I keep a binder for each horse I've owned that includes their registration papers and copies of all vet, dental, and care records including Coggins papers and vaccine records. I also keep a binder of all the showbills, entry forms, and other papers needed for shows so it's all righit where I need it.  If you are ULTRA organized you can check out the Free and for-purchase items at The Printable Pony.
Also wash your damn hands.

What are YOU doing to get through this global pandemic?