June 29 – July 5

I got my new half chaps! They arrived yesterday, and I can’t wait to ride in them tomorrow morning. I’m tempted to ask around and see if anyone has a horse they want ridden today, just so I can use them. They are so soft and comfortable! I tried them on as soon as I got them, and they seem to fit just right.

My old half chaps are Ovations. They were the most budget-friendly option when I bought them two years ago for around $80, but they started showing signs of wear after a year, which was disappointing considering back then I didn’t ride everyday.

A friend recommended ProChaps. That’s what she and a few other riders out at the barn wear and love, and she’s had her current pair for close to five years, and they still look great. I’d much rather spend $168 (that’s what my ProChaps cost me with shipping and everything) every five years than $80 every two. Plus, the ProChaps are much nicer. They’re super comfy and fit better.

I don’t yet have a picture of me wearing them. When I do, I’ll post it.

Last Sunday (June 29th) I went to watch the Hunter Derby at Brownland. I’d never seen a hunter derby before and wanted to know what it was all about. While I can’t say it was as exciting as watching Grand Prix showjumping (which was yesterday, but I missed being able to go), I really enjoyed seeing the fancy show horses do more than just straight lines of related distances. In the second round, called the “handy” course, they had to make tighter turns and trot one of the fences.

While I was there I stopped in one of the mobile tack stores known for having a good selection of used saddles on consignment, since I would love to find a decent jumping saddle, but they didn’t have what I was looking for, much less anything in my price range.

They did have a small crate FULL of rabbits, though. Like, a really small crate. With a lot of rabbits. Too many for such a small space. And they were on cedar shavings, which made me cringe. I used to be in charge of taking care of the classroom pets when my kids were in preschool, so I know a little about rabbits. And guinea pigs, and hermit crabs, and chickens (they got eggs one year and kept some of the chicks that hatched). Plus, I love rabbits. It took all of my inner strength not to scoop up every bunny in that cage, but I resisted. Hopefully she finds loving homes for them all, where they have nice, spacious cages bedded with Carefresh or similar.

So that was my Sunday.

I got to ride Arty on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Nearly everybody went to Poplar Place for a cross-country school on Tuesday, so I had the perfect opportunity to set up my iPad and tripod and film me riding Arty. I think she’s doing really well. Obviously her owner gets better work out of her, but I only practice the basics, like transitions, moving away from the leg, and responding to my half halts.

If you ever suffer insomnia and need help falling asleep, feel free to watch the video. I edited it to cut out the times we’re out of frame and to zoom in when we’re far away. But it’s still boring.

I also rode Fairing at Southaven Stables on Tuesday, and here’s that video in case the one of me and Arty wasn’t enough to send you into slumber land.

Fairing is a very nice, well schooled horse, but he gets lazy off the leg and likes to drop behind the bit.

The equine massage therapist worked on him Monday, and I noticed that the horse didn’t want to stay straight during downward transitions–he kept swinging his haunches. But I can see from the video that I’m not always sitting straight on him. Also, I need to sit up more and keep my hands even! This is why I like to watch videos of me riding. I easily fall into, and therefore practice to perfection, my bad habits. I need to work without stirrups and hold a stick under my thumbs.

hacking out DanteI hacked out Dante twice last week, Tuesday and Thursday, and he was good as usual. That old guy is a lot of fun, but he has a respiratory condition that makes him cough a lot, and he gets really hot and sweaty, so I tend to take it easy on him in the heat. I wanted to jump him over some low crossrails for fun, but there was a gymnastics grid set up for lessons, and I wasn’t about to mess with that.

I rode Fairing again Friday, and he was still lazy but better about staying straight during the transitions. I also got to ride a cute little powerhouse called Welly. She belongs to a friend of mine who was pressed for time Friday. Welly is a lot of fun because she’s competed Preliminary level eventing and is well schooled on the flat. She’s only around 15 hands tall, but she has a huge, powerful stride. I quite like the compact models. I bet she’s super fun to jump!

I didn’t have any horses to ride yesterday, so I caught up on house stuff (like laundry, how exciting!) and didn’t get out to the barn until late afternoon. Even then all I did was groom Skipper and give him treats, with the help of my younger son who has a little more tolerance for the barn than his older brother.

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The weather was really awesome last week, at least during the day, and I regret now not taking time to snap more photos.

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