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Author: Stephani Hren

Quarterly Goals: Winter 2017

Quarterly Goals: Winter 2017

════ AUTUMN WRAP UP ════

Get Raglan sound again  This was touch and go, but it did get done. Shoes with pads = sound pony!
Take Raglan to his first show The November Eagle Mountain Schooling Show was a success 😀
Bring Raglan to the SEC for a lesson Didn’t end up happening, but hopefully sometime soon.
Establish Raglan’s canter Cantered Rags for the first time on October 27th! It was 100% awesome.

Take Ezhno for a trail ride It’s hard to make fun plans when you rely on others for transport. 😢
Work on slowing Ezhno’s canter  Ezhno’s canter has made major improvements in the past few months.
Improve Ezhno’s lateral movements I didn’t work on this as much as I should’ve, but they did improve!

Put a brake box in the truck Mostly in! I should probably screw the mounting bracket into the dash. 😅
Learn how to drive a trailer TrainerA’s schedule is hectic and we didn’t get around to coordinating this.
Buy my own jumping saddle  Finally bit the bullet and bought a lovely 2009 Devoucoux Biarritz!


════ GOALS FOR RAGLAN ════

Develop his ability to consistently pick up the right lead under saddle

Introduce lateral work (baby leg yield, turn on haunch/forehand, etc.)

Incorporate more poles (trot poles, canter poles, half-raised cavaletti, etc.)

Find more opportunities to trailer him out to new places

Start over cross rail courses towards the end of winter


════ GOALS FOR ME ════

No big purchases, pay off some of my credit card debt

Grow the blog (use Instagram, write posts for other sites, etc.)

Dedicate myself to starting and then finishing a novel

Ezhno’s New Adventure

Ezhno’s New Adventure

Sunday morning I had a unique visitor come out to look at Ezhno! She’d seen his ad on Facebook and sent me a message asking if Ez might be a good fit as a trail horse for her significant other (husband? boyfriend? long-term partner? they have a six month old baby and are a very cute couple!).

Normally I try not to share too many photos of other people on here, but this was too good to resist.

Do you recognize this beautiful gelding?

Yesterday Ezhno officially went home with SellerH, the wonderful young woman that sold me Raglan!

SellerH is a part-time vet tech/part-time horse trainer that buys, breaks, and then resells local project horses. She’s a multi-talented rider, but her heart belongs to the hunter ring. Her favorite project horses are recently off-the-track Thoroughbreds. She scoops them up, puts the first 60+ days of retraining on them, and then passes them onto hopeful amateurs like me for a small profit. She’s one of those scrappy young riders that will get on anything that’s given to her and leave it a better horse when she’s finished.

SellerH is also a year younger than me and I’m uber jealous of how straight up awesome she is. 😁

Forever grateful to her for the great start she gave my giant horse 😘

Since I bought Raglan, I’ve seen SellerH a couple of times. She saw some of the photography I did over the summer (man I miss outdoor shows, is it spring yet?) and has had me out a few times to take sales photos for her. She gets high quality pictures and I get to practice with my camera, it’s a win-win situation!

I was super excited to have her out to see Ezhno! She loved how soft and easy to ride Ez was (plus she seemed excited to work on his sticky canter transitions 😂). I really admire her as a rider, so I felt honored to have her say such nice things about a horse that I’ve poured a lot of time and energy into.

SellerH’s SO, on the other hand, is definitely a beginner. He hasn’t been riding for long, but he’s a physically fit guy with a confident personality. Ezhno definitely tried to take advantage of his lack of horse knowledge (he pinned his leg against the arena wall, tried to get them both stuck in a corner, and just generally weaved around in drunken lines), but SellerH coached him through Ezhno’s nonsense and he was nonplussed by my hard-headed horse’s shenanigans. He won’t be riding without SellerH on hand to help him and I think after they spend some time figuring each other out they’ll make a good pair.

When the trailer pulled in yesterday morning Ezhno immediately came outside to see what was going on. We signed some paperwork, put his tub of blankets in the truck, and loaded up my show saddle (which will be with him for the duration of the lease). Once everything was packed and ready to go, I put a halter on Ezhno and led him right up to the trailer. His ears perked up, then he checked out the shavings with his nose, considered the big step up into the trailer, and hopped right in like a good pony. ❤

Now Ezhno is just down the road from my barn, sharing pasture space with SellerH’s broodmares (what a ladies man!). SellerH said he settled in well and that he seems happy, which is all that I can ask for.

So much space to explore! And other horses to socialize with! This’ll be so good for him. ❤❤❤

Don’t worry, this isn’t the last you’ll hear of EzhnoI’ll post occasional updates on how he’s doing!

I’m a Black Friday Failure :(

I’m a Black Friday Failure :(

When I was a kid, I knew nothing about tack. The shabby cardboard box barn I took lessons at didn’t have the money for high quality saddles, so students had a choice between a beat up old Wintec and a no name leather monstrosity with a seat like a cinder block. When I came back to riding I’d never heard of names like CWD, Beval, Antares, etc., so it’s no surprise that I ended up with something familiar (and synthetic).

Me buying my first English saddle at the local 4-H tack sale, circa March 2016 (right after I started riding again)

Six months later, when I bought Ezhno, I made the mistake of letting my local tack store salesperson convince me to buy a $170 Ovation brand bridle. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine bridleit’s got the fancy stitching and the leather is pretty soft—but the sizing has always been wonky and I’ve worn holes in the reins. I love it as a schooling bridle, but if I was looking now I’d probably pass it by for that price.

My poor fancy stitched reins 😢

It’s only recently that I’ve started to learn more about different brands of tack. Research + wisdom from my trainers + reading other blogs = a much more informed equestrian consumer.

Informed equestrian consumers end up with beautiful things, obviously 😍

Post Devoucoux Stephani is very broke, but you can’t not buy things on Black Friday There’s not a lot of things I need, but there’s a lot I want—a new pair of reins, a shoulder relief girth, a breastplate/martingale combo, a pair of powerful body clippers, and a saddle pad in every color of the rainbow, for starters.

But as I perused my local tack store in search of a big ticket item to cash in on a 40% off coupon, nothing really caught my interest. The reins were made by brands I’ve never heard of, the breastplate had a made-in-India sticker on its tags, and none of the body clippers they had in stock looked like they were going to last for more than one season. I considered each item, then found a reason to give all of them a pass.

As I stood there, folding the cheek piece of a teal accented dressage bridle back and forth to check the suppleness of the leather while watching a middle-aged couple look at a selection of synthetic girths out of the corner of my eye and trying not to cringe, I came to a realization:

I’m one of those people now. I’ve got a fancy French saddle, a rough understanding of the pound to dollar conversion rate, and a sudden predisposition towards words like “Sedgwick” and “buffalo” and “calfskin”. I’ve surpassed “picky” and gone straight to “tack snob”. I’ll never be able to wander into the tack store and pick things out on a whim again. I’m duty bound to dig up reviews for almost every product I encounter.

At least there are some things I don’t have to spend thirty minutes researching on my phone in the corner of the store before I buy them. A lead rope is a lead rope is a lead rope.

In the end, I walked out of the store with a pair of side reins (look out Raglan, TrainerA and I are coming for you 😈) and a lead rope (to replace the one that Rags chewed through).

I’M SORRY I’M SO BORING