Browsed by
Tag: equipment

New Junk & the Resurrection of the Donatello

New Junk & the Resurrection of the Donatello


And then the Bony Pony was having their spring sale, so I picked up another pair of cheap Ovation breeches ($35) and a pair of Kerrits ($55) I’ve wanted for close to forever.

At the check out I asked which rain sheets they had in stock. The lowest price she had in a 78″ was a $75 Saxon. I was going to pass, but then she told me it came in Grey/Rose (AKA PINK), so…

If you’ve been following me on Instagram you may have also noticed the return of my much beloved Tredstep Donatello field boots. I coughed up $55 and had a local shoe repair place put new zippers in them. Those half chaps have done me a great service, but I’m glad to have my tall boots back!

On top of all of that, I just ordered a new pair of irons. I’ve been having some discomfort in my feet while I ride and I’m hoping the wide foot bed of the Kavalkade Alu irons (an $80 knockoff of the Jin irons that people love) will help. Those are on backorder, though, so I won’t have them for another week.

Add all of that up and you’ve got a whopping $300 I’ve spent in the past couple of weeksthat’s nothing to sneeze at. But selling Ezhno and moving to a cheaper barn means that all the money I just spent (on products that will hopefully last a long time) stings a lot less. I still cringe when I make a purchase, but I don’t feel as bad as I used to when I look at the receipt later.

Let’s not talk about the $1,350 in repairs that my truck got this morning.

Getting Geared Up

Getting Geared Up

We’ve made some tack changes that I wanted to make sure I put down on here! I started to think about my tack right before my last lesson, when I had a series of not so great rides where Raglan was being a fussy baby about contact. I got a little advice from TrainerA, and then the experimentation began!

“mom, dis too many straps on face”

First thing I did was switch up the bit that we were using. I had been putzing around in a simple single jointed loose ring snaffle, but when he started acting up I messaged SellerH to find out what he went in before I bought him. She suggested I get a double jointed bit, so off to the Bony Pony I went! I tried two French link bits, a loose ring and an eggbutt. At first I didn’t love the fixed sides of the eggbutt (I felt like it made the reaction time of the bit much slower, like I was talking to him with a layer of cotton around my hands), but in the end I decided it was a better fit for us. I felt like the eggbutt was more forgiving of my not-always-awesome hands, and that he was more willing to stay with it than the loose ring.

The loose ring (left) is designed so that the bit isn’t stuck in one place and the rings can rotate, whereas the eggbutt (right) has a fixed cheek, so the ring can’t be rotated or moved around.

TrainerA also recommended I add a flash to Raglan’s noseband to prevent him from opening his mouth to avoid the contact while he’s being educated on the virtues of the horse-rider-handshake. This is something I had to do for Ezhno when he was first learning about contact, too. I don’t happen to own a flash, but I do have a figure 8, so I went ahead and added that to the mix after I was done playing with different bits.

Normal cavesson (left) versus the figure 8 (right). The figure 8 is designed to hold the mouth closed and prevent the horse from crossing his jaw without interfering with his airway.

The last addition to the mix is more for me than him: a running martingale. There have been a couple of moments during some of his I-don’t-want-to-go-forward tantrums where he’s gotten a little too close to my face. As a rider, I feel eight times more confident when I’ve got a martingale in my corner and I know the horse I’m riding can’t crack me in the nose. Plus it’s nice to have a little extra leverage for those moments where his head gets super high and he gets super strong. It’s made me feel a lot more comfortable!

You can see the rings of the running martingale starting to pull the reins down in this screencap. He was in the process of thinking about chucking his head into my face.

I’m still fussing with the fit of the martingale, but I’m happy with the changes for the time being! There will come a time when I can switch back to a regular noseband and no martingale, but for now our gear has me feeling very confident with the level of control I have over my unorthodoxly giant steed.

The Death of the Donatello

The Death of the Donatello

You guys, you should really take care of your things. Especially if you buy nice things and you want them to last you more than one season. You should clean and oil them regularly, store them in non-freezing places, and maybe don’t make them walk through mud puddles unless you absolutely have to.

Man, they were so shiny when I first got them! 😍

The Donatello were never the perfect boot. They were a little loose around the knee and the foot (I had to put inserts in to fill up some the space) and one of their cute little logo emblems fell off after a few months of daily use, but once they were beaten up a little bit they were super comfortable and I never had any moments where I felt like they were hindering my riding. I was super bummed when I noticed that my zipper had started to separate during one of my rides. I managed to yank the zipper back onto the track and for a few days I thought I’d dodged a major budget bullet, but then the zipper jumped ship entirely.

I’ve had the Donatello for just under a year and half. The Internet says that zippers on tall boots usually last two to four years if taken care of properly (PSA: apparently there’s some sort of zipper lube that I should have been using? who knew!), so I can’t say that I’m super surprised that they’ve given up. A lot of my Instagram followers said that I should get them repaired, but just as many said that I might as well buy a new pair or a set of paddock boots and half chaps.

Luckily for me (and my over-taxed bank account), a local friend saved me from a hard choice. One of TrainerA’s students (she’s a member of the University of Washington Equestrian Team and just recently started leasing Boston!) had a spare pair of TuffRider paddock boots and Ariat half chaps.

So fortunate they fit! I got her a gift card to a local tack shop to say thank you 🙂

The paddock boots have only been used a few times, so they’re still pretty stiff. With how much riding I do they’re bound to loosen up in no time, though. (Or at least I hope that’s how it goes, my lower leg is super wobbly in them right now 😅). Honestly, I’m just so thankful to have something to ride in at all!

In the mean time, my broken pair of Donatello field boots have taken up residence in the hatch of my car. SellerH gave me the name of a shop up north that will replace the zippers in them at a more than reasonable price, I just have to find the time to make the journey up there!

Enjoying the blog?

You can stay up to date on our adventures by having new posts delivered straight to your inbox!