Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Product review: Thermax Headliner

 Winter riding brings the need for warmth. For me my ears are one part that needs to stay warm or I am miserable. So years ago we found this headliner in the motorcycle section of our Marine Corps Exchange.


The liner is super thin, so it barely takes any room in your helmet. It is stretchy and can also be a balaclava or just a neck warmer.

It is sleek enough to wear at a show or clinic.

Just as many things the price has gone up over the years. It is still worth the $18 price tag. 

We just gifted one to our Magna Wave practioner and she was thrilled. She has a long walk to get to her lesson and was looking at something to keep her head warm.

I will warn that it holds heat really well, so it can get very warm using it in an indoor. It is durable, mine is still in great condition. 

Item:Seirus Thermax Headliner

Price: $18-$25 depends on retailer

Monday, December 6, 2021

Foal Pool Prize

 As you all know Lauren from She Moved To Texas, won Roscoe's 2021 foal pool. She generously donated her gift card amount to a charity. So I really wanted her cross stitch to be special. 

Fortunately she has really great photos to choose from of Simon and her dogs. I ended up formatting something completely different than I had ever done. It has a level of depth and nuance I hoped would come through. I gave it to my sister to be transferred to the pattern and crossed my fingers. 

Amazingly it worked out to fit all my parameters. It did need every stitch completed to make it come together, but in the end we were happy. My sister found the perfect frame quickly, a process we normally go back and forth on multiple times.

We shipped it to Lauren and surprisingly it even arrived early. She was brought to tears, but in a good way. These prizes do not come quickly, though I do try to make them worth the wait.

Lauren, Simon and her dogs

I am not sure Roscoe will have a foal due next year. It was a rough year for mare owner's. Maybe we will do a pregnancy pool instead 🤔 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Permission to Fail

 We said goodbye to Karrigan at our last lesson as she moves with her military spouse. She definitely pushed Roscoe and I to be better and I felt she was invested in our progress. Unlike previous trainer exits, this time there is not an assistant trainer to take over. I was mildly panicked at the thought of no lessons the winter before I attempt rated shows. Enter Lauren who worked it out that I can ride with her until an assistant is hired.

Now was nervous for a whole other reason. Which turned out to be for nothing. Lauren is a completely down to earth, tell it like it is person. I found myself calming and feeling like I could do this dressage stuff. And that transferred to Roscoe. He did not get upset or tense. 

I included all the working portions of the lesson. Lauren is clearly heard, so you can get an idea of how she teaches. 

The lesson was centered on the basic principle of him being "on the bit" at all times. He still fakes it or uses his under neck at times and I have not been tough enough. So after warm up she put us on a circle to begin spiraling. Left is our hard way and it was obvious. He would pop up when I gave the inside rein. But we kept asking him to lift his back, cross his legs and move forward. Slowly,  Roscoe moved differently.  

When we stepped up to canter, Lauren specifically stated if he dropped down to trot it was okay. He is allowed to fail. Success is built on failure. Even if he fails the exercise, he still worked the muscles in the process. Permission to fail made for some of the best canter work we have ever done. And when he did trot, he was balanced instead of splatting. Rescuing him in the canter could result in him sacrificing quality. Roscoe definitely thought it was hard and he did not like the new transition parameters. He did try though. 

My pony felt fancy! We were by no means where we need to be, but the stronger base was definitely being built. And my ride at home the next day was almost as good. So fingers crossed we can keep it and strengthen him over the winter. I can tell other movements will be easier once we firmly establish him working over his back.

Even after only one lesson, I am already thinking I will need to plan to pay the extra to take an occasional lesson with Lauren in between regular lessons with the assistant. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Trailer Issue Snowball

 The downside to having a breeding stallion, lessons, shows and a full time job is the trailer is tough to schedule a checkup. We did not notice anything until the well into breeding season and the show season. So we did fixes and watched until we could get it in. Fast forward to the beginning of November. Mom and I were driving back to the barn after a saddle fitting. The roads are hilly, winding and a little narrow, but we have gone this way for four years with no issues. This time we felt a huge bump, or something that only affected the trailer. Immediately we thought it was a tire. A look around showed four tires on both the trailer and truck. Roscoe was good and we could not see anything. We moved on.

A week or so later we went to what turned out to be my final lesson with Karrigan. Along the way we found the trailer had no lights. I called our trailer place and told them the problem. Mom brought it in the next day and we hoped it was just a fuse. Which is partially was. The truck blew a fuse, but fixing that did not fix the trailer. So they told us they could not do any work on it until the first week in December. That was not good as I have a lesson scheduled for the first. But with no lights we could not go anywhere, so the trailer stayed in case they could get to it sooner.

Thankfully they got to it this week and fixed the lights. Now they needed the truck to adjust our balance system, which we said had not been acting right. When my parents dropped the truck off, they found out why our lights died.


It turns out after three hours of searching for the problem, the bracket to our balance system cut the wires for the lights and the brakes. We have noticed over this year that the brackets had been slipping and it was on the list to tell the trailer people when it went in. We just tightened the bolts. It seems that all the issues we have felt with the balance system probably stem from the wires it was gradually cutting. And the big bump we felt was when the brakes locked after the wires were cut completely. The trailer literally jumped.


This lovely trailer issue snowballed into a big bill. You can bet we will be bringing it back right away if we see any slippage of the brackets. They will added a strip of metal if needed to hold it in place. It figures that the wires are the least protected on the tongue. What are the chances? Virginia requires an annual inspection so our trailer goes in at least once a year, but this all happened after. Hopefully now our trailer issues will be limited to little things like interior lights and the dang moonroof.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Stuck with Lauren

 Sadly this winter my trainer is going to Florida so I will be on my own. She was going to come back a couple of weekends but now that's not happening. Lauren Sprieser emailed and said we were stuck with her. Like that is a bad thing.

So the winter before my biggest show season will end with camp with Lauren. Although I have ridden at Sprieser for four years, I have not ridden with her. Her lesson prices are nearly double that of my trainer making it too pricey. 

I am looking forward to getting her help. Sometimes a different person can say something in another way that causes a light bulb moment. She has seen Roscoe a fair amount over the last six months and may already have ideas.

My pocket book hopes we don't fall in love with her training. 

Sunday, October 31, 2021

A New Addition to the Heavenly Herd

 I have gone radio silent not because there is nothing to say, but because we have been on an emotional roller coaster with DaVinci. He got two months of EPM treatments, continously treated with PEMF, acupuncture, and Equioxx. We saw improvements and then we saw him go downhill. We made the decision to inform his previous owners of the fact he would leave soon early September. 

It was extremely hard to make a choice while he was interacting, eating and showing some improvements. We had to go day by day. I was actually able to pick up and trim a little bit of his feet. He was not running into walls as much. We took off his protective eye mask since eye injuries were the least of his worries. That helped his mobility improve. 

My parents had to go to a wedding in October and my dad stressed about something happening while they were away. The vet came just before they left to see Dottie, who could not put her head down, and said DaVinci looked good. Then the day after they returned, Peggy told us DaVinci was lame. Sure enough his left front was problematic. We attempted to treat, but the pain and neurologic issues made it difficult. After a PEMF treatment we managed to get a boot with a soaker diaper on. He did walk better though the pain was evident.

Wednesday mom told me he was separating himself. That night we made the decision. His feet were a battle we could not address. We had to do an emergency as the vet was not available until the next week. The next morning we did the painful process of walking him out to the field using Dottie and his breakfast. 

Ever suspicious he flipped out,literally, when I put the halter on. We did manage to get him in place again. The vet gave him and Dottie a sedative. DaVinci opinionated as always decided to back up to a different spot. Kudos to the vet for staying with him. Fortunately after that drama the process was smoother than expected for a neurologic horse. 

Dottie was very upset as last one in her group. The boys went to the fence line to see. The herd dynamic is amazing. We ended up calling a different burial service than previous times and he was super. My dad and the boys were by DaVinci during the whole process. 

Fifteen years ago DaVinci came back to VA after four years in CA where he had a dressage career. We promised to keep him till the end and now he joins the rest of our heavenly herd. 

Thank you everyone who helped make his last half year better.

His previous owner found his show halter and used it on her current horse at an event in his memory. 

And yes he has a Painted Pony. That post will come later 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Ember News

 So Ember keeps getting bigger and with each spurt he has to figure out how to use his legs. As I mentioned before I was seriously feeling a lack of skills to move him forward. I could not afford my trainer to work with him, but found help closer to home. My PEMF therapist rides with a hunter trainer in the neighborhood. She was available to assess Ember.

The first time, I rode him to show his movement. Dang pony actually cantered for the longest amount ever. She got on and put him through the gaits. Ember was so spooky with her. He did not believe she would protect him from the scary stuff ring side. Even with that he was really good. Her thoughts, he is very green and needs to mature. 

The next two times she came while my Mom was there and did training rides. He had some progress and some steps back. She got to see a bit of his muleish behavior. Lunging showed it had to do with being ridden. So we may have to prepare him for work.

She believes he is still growing and to focus on bare basics for a while. The best part is that she made my Mom realize that she can ride him. Mom tries to make him a priority since Roscoe has to be mine.

Ember will eventually grow and be comfortable with what the trainer calls his enormous movement. When that happens, he will be very cool. 

Sadly the trainer's husband had a really bad accident so she has not been able to ride him recently. I will say she and Mom have him moving much straighter than before. A huge accomplishment. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Second Level Debut

I was beginning to think our Second level debut was cursed. Last month it was canceled due to weather that never actually happened. Then this month is all rain and super-hot, humid weather. Roscoe and I do not do well in humidity. The weather meant we had one ride in the week before the show and that was a lesson where we could not get a good transition. I was seriously questioning my choice to go Second, but I am also a stubborn person who does not like to chicken out. My trainer was not thrilled with my need to prioritize movements, but I do want I need to get through first time tests.

The weather forecast was questionable with all the tropical storms developing and moving. The organizer held strong and the show went on. I took a huge chance and washed Roscoe on Friday even knowing there was a chance for rain in the night. 

In the morning he had only gotten splash spots on his hind socks. I had used WOW and hoped it would come out okay. Thankfully the early bath was a good choice since I found a flat tire on the trailer when I went to load. Somehow between when I moved it Friday night and Saturday, it was a pancake. 

So Mom and I hustled to get it changed which required us to dig out the gravel below to fit the spare. Whew, I was dripping after. While we did that the boys ran around getting excited because the trailer moved a foot. And my previously clean pony rolled in wet mud.

Mom saved the day by taking care of him while I wrestled into show clothes. Putting on a tight body shaper cami is no joke after changing a tire.  Together we got loaded and on our way just in time.

The show was moving on time and it was time for the tricky part: warm up. The arena is in full sun and can be super-hot. I am still trying to find the right amount of warm up time to have enough horse left over for the test. I did figure out shoulder in is really hard for me without a fence. Our transitions were still tense, so I did what I could. Of course he was ready to go two tests before we actually went.

Outside the arena, he really showed a new maturity and found an awesome trot. Our first halt was a dud as he dived. I did remember not to salute with my whip. Not forgetting that again. I am thrilled to say our first medium was super. This will only improve as I learn to sit all that power and he can be free. 

Sadly our shoulder in was not as good as warm up, but we showed a tiny bit. The rein back was hesitant because he decided to throw his head up just prior to going into the ring, so I took time to set it up. 

All our canter transitions were rough. Definite long term homework there. It was not the worst, so improvement. And my big fear the counter canter went well. The last medium was less impressive, but not horrible.

The judge did not talk to anyone, but did make comments of the paper. Her main comment was that he is a very supple and forward horse who needs more engagement in the transitions. Totally agreed. I am always my worst critic, so I nearly fell over when I picked up my score sheet to find we earned a 67% and later found we had placed second.

I am absolutely thrilled by Roscoe and that he brings it every show. Another 2nd level rider commented that “we are a great pair and she enjoyed watching us.” Now to get ready for the Welsh show and see if he can gallop.

 Thanks for the encouragement! Dad gave me this pin one Christmas and it goes with me every day. 

PS we are also prepping to do one more First level test so we can qualify for year end awards. Turns out we are currently first. Not too shabby for only two 1-3 test scores.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Confidence Crisis

 Well our July show got canceled and so our 2nd level debut will wait until August. Which turns out to be a good thing. I was feeling more pressure than I normally do and having a confidence crisis. And my pony who reads me well was getting worried too.  Battles galore and drama have filled our rides. 


The downward spiral started when my medicine was in a delayed delivery status due to paperwork not getting where it needed to be in June. Added to the thought of missing doses was the fact that my second Covid shot was two days before the show. Spoiler alert: I did have side effects, but still managed to bathe my pony.  And the continued worry about whether or not DaVinci would improve had its own effects



If you have ever had a chronic disease you know the stress of not wanting to decline, especially due to a paperwork issue. That stress rolled into my riding and it just felt like I was failing all over the place. 2nd has been a goal for four years and now that we are there it is freaking scary. How do I move forward?


I am trying to focus on the details, transitions and building his strength. Plus we are working on his neck, trying to get him to flex either way and get out of the rut only moving one way.

Roscoe and I still disagree about counter canter, but hopefully we can pull it off in August.

The shoulder in, we are using a 10m circle to help aid in getting our form.


So much is better, and that is what I need to focus on. The video in my last post came after all my crisis and is helping dig me out. Having a respected rider say “Holy S*@t, he looks awesome” goes a long way. My trainer who was riding at the time also decided that Roscoe is emotional and he worries when he does not do things right, so we have to be soft but firm. 


For Roscoe, the August show will be his last dressage show for the year. I know 2nd is a stretch so I will debut and retire to focus on training. Goal achieved within our current scope. Our first go is a real ring was not a train wreck so I have hope.


Then both my boys will go to the Welsh show in September. I feel it will be a good mental break for all of us. Everyone send me some longer legs so I can keep up with Ember! Finally we actually have Cobs in our area now. When we stopped showing there four years ago, mine were the only ones. One of those cobs is Roscoe’s son Aderyn Du Flyboy and some others are his grand foals, making it a family affair. The long day will end with a ride in Ridden Cob for Roscoe. Sadly we will still have our mismatched tack then so it will be just for fun.


Ember will get a post about the change in his life soon. But let’s just say the confidence crisis extended to him too. Canter is not a confirmed thing with him and that has made me feel like the worst green baby rider ever. Mom asked me whether or not we should keep him. No way is he going anywhere, so I found help.


Someone is getting big

My medicine finally arrived, though I  have to miss another dose to be completely back on track. At least I can pick a less hectic time to miss when I am not totally over faced by life in general. 

Meanwhile Roscoe and I can have a career in mobile poop picking :)


Friday, July 2, 2021

Foal Friday: Fancy Filly

 Well the breeder finally got some great shots of Ragtime and Gypsy as they took a turn around the round pen the other day. She has got the longest legs and she is showing them off. I can't even say how excited I am with this cross. Roscoe has been extremely lucky to be utilized by three great US Cob breeders now, Castleberry, Aderyn Du and now MHS. He has delivered every time with superior foals. 

Ragtime reminds me of Ember in movement and I can't wait to see her develop.

All pictures from MHS Welsh Cobs.

Girl has moves

Totally a Roscoe Look

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Product Review: Prolite Dressage Relief Pad

 After riding in the wrong saddle for so long, Roscoe developed hard nodules on either side of his spine. When we got the new saddle, he still showed some back soreness from the pressure on those nodules. I began putting the sheepskin lined pad on him and that helped, but I decided to bite the bullet and get a pressure pad. Going into Second level with all the sitting trot, I want him comfortable.

Advanced Saddle fit had the Prolite Dressage Relief Pad and it seemed to fit the bill.

I was lucky enough to find it at The Cheshire Horse during a sale and got it for $99.

Roscoe's back was much happier and did not show soreness after work. And bonus, his nodules are nearly gone. The pad has relieved my mind as I develop my sitting trot skills. So not ready to sit his lengthening.

The best surprise was that I put the pad on Ember. He is still in the Isabel and I know he has the same issues that Roscoe did, plus some due to being an awkward growing cob. He is quick to balk under saddle. With this pad, for three rides, he has not balked once. That is a serious benefit and makes this pad totally worth the price. Ember is like a different horse.

The pad stays  in place and stays up in the gullet. It only comes in black, but seems pretty nondescript on the horse. I highly recommend.

Prolite also has a fixed riser, multi riser and pocket version available.