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?


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Equilutions Volume 12

For more history on Equilutions, here's your yearly recap:
2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2017 - 2018 - 2019

The bottom line is I was a slacker-blogger this year.  I posted a whopping 6 times in 2019... I am sorry.

The thing is, it's not that stuff wasn't happening, it's just that.... well.... I'm just not as Overanxious about everything as I was when I got my first horse, and I have a pretty strong support system now. When I DO freak out (and I do) I have more options than just shouting it into the digital void.   I have a group of experienced horsey friends and professionals I can call/text when I need to, and let's not forget I now have a pretty chill and broke horse who miraculously has remained uninjured for nearly 5 years (aside from a foot thing summer of '18). 

Also, I don't mean to suggest you are The Digital Void.  You ALL have been tremendously helpful and supportive over the years!

So what DID happen in 2019? 

My goal for the 2019 was:
I just want to get to the point where I feel like writing a big expensive check for a horse and taking on the responsibility of expensive board and unexpected vet expenses seems WORTH IT. 

Did I achieve the goal?   I did.  In July I decided to take ownership of Kevin. He wasn't "expensive", and he wasn't the fancy reiner I thought I wanted, but he was the right choice. For the third time in my life I am a horse owner, and I do not regret it.  Horses are expensive.  They cost time and money and emotional labor.  They have the potential to break your heart and owning a horse is living with the fear that at any moment.... okay so yeah, I'm STILL overanxious.  LOL. 

So what else happened? Kevin and I competed in 5 ranch horse shows in Open Conformation, Showmanship, Pleasure, Horsemanship, Trail, and Ranch Riding. We showed in wet freezing wind in April, sweltering heat in July, and some pretty decent weather in between.   

Overall we did really well, winning the year-end high point Buckle for the Open division.... again. :)  I have noticed that Kevin is not doing as well in Pleasure and Conformation as he used to. I'm thinking it's a combination of his age and an increase in competition.  I'm planning to get a vet assessment in the spring to see if something could help him move more smoothly like he used to.  He's fine, not lame, just not a fluid as he used to be.  

I've been horse trailer shopping for months now, and I promise to tell you all about that eventually. Seriously it's almost worse than buying a horse!

We entered a Halloween costume and obstacle contest and we were 1st in costumes and 2nd in the obstacle challenge. 


My awesome friend and barn owner bought us a photo shoot with Kate Bowser Photography so for Christmas so I got these:

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? 

My only real goal is to continue enjoying my horse.
And maybe try to rejuvenate my blog, but I'm not sure how much time I'll really have to do that, so I don't want to make promises I can't keep, to you or to myself. 

SHOWING in 2020:

There will be shows! Our show circuit is changing for 2020 and I'm disappointed in the changes. First of all, our favorite venue is closing and the shows are now further away - over an hour instead of 30 minutes - which means I can add hotels to my show budgets.  Joy.

Instead of 4 Ranch shows and 3 pleasure shows with ranch classes counting for points, its only 2 ranch shows and several pleasure shows with ranch classes.  BOO!  The pleasure shows stick the ranch classes at the very end - like an afterthought and with such big showbills, the ranch classes could start at 2pm or 9pm, there's no way to know. The judges tend to be more pleasurey judges and since the classes are filled with pleasure horses in work tack it's hard to place.  I'm not knocking pleasure people, it's just that they have a style and an aesthetic that is different from ranch and a judge that prefers that aesthetic will look for it and reward it.  Judging is subjective and I accept that, but it reminds me of riding really good arabs amongst a sea of quarter horses in the 90's and never placing - oh boy do I have some stories about prejudiced judges....  Plus they're only offering conformation, reining, showmanship, pleasure, and ranch riding.  No trail.  No horsemanship.  No fun.  

The only other ranch circuits are over 2 hours away and without a living quarters....  BOO.

The two ranch shows are both on Sundays following a Western Dressage show, and I'm planning to compete in those two shows, too.  So it may end up being a 4-shows-but-only-two-weekends show season.  

I also hope to do more trail riding.  We'll see how Kevin feels about that....

Happy New Year!