Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Life in the Day...

Here is a little snapshot of what I go through on a weekday and during the weekend as a lower level competitive rider and veterinary student.

6:45-7:45 - Usually hit snooze 3 times. Finally get up & get ready for school . My school has business casual attire dress code, so usually it's twill pants (occasionally breeches, but who's keeping count here...) and a semi-nice top. Pack lunch & breakfast. Make coffee.

7:50- Get to school. Check email, Facebook, Blogger, and Instagram.

8:00 am- 11:50 am- Class, class, class.

12:00 pm- Lunch ft. a microwave organic burrito, fruit, and yogurt. Stare hungrily at Reese's cups.

12:50- 4:50 pm- Class, class/lab, and/or afternoon necropsy. Usually I get out of class anywhere between 1:50 to 4:50 pm. Sometimes as late as 6 if necropsies run long. For simplicity's sake, I'll say 3:50.

4:00 pm to 6:00 pm- At the barn. Ride and groom Sawyer; groom and possibly hack Candy time permitting.

6:20 pm to 7:00 pm- Make dinner and relax for a bit.

7:00 pm to 12:00 am- Let the pigs out and study, study, study. Clean/tidy on my study breaks.
At some point in the night, Wilbur pretends to be a parrot.
12:00 am to 12:30 am- Clean the pigs' cage, give them pellets, and veggies. Shower.

12:30 am- hit the hay, set multiple alarms to get up and do it all over again.

6:30-6:50- Get up and get dressed for work. Make breakfast and coffee.

7:00 am to 10 am- Work in the ICU/IMC of the vet school I attend. Usually just helping out techs.

11:00 am to 2:00 (or 3, 4, 5) pm- Shove protein bar in my mouth en route to the barn. Spend time with the boys, hill work with Sawyer, trail ride with Candy.

3:00 pm to (usually) 5:00 pm- Much needed nap.

5:00 pm to whenever (1 am?)- If it is Saturday: Clean the pig cage. Shower and become "attractive/presentable/rinse off the fine layer of dirt and hair I've accumulated". Dinner out with the dude. Watch Netflix and catch up with each other's lives. Study a bit. Sleep and repeat.

If it is Sunday: Grocery shop, then come home and make dinner. Watch Vine compilations while dinner cooks/eating dinner because I refuse to multi-task. Start a load of laundry. Free the pigs. Start studying. Switch out laundry, and clean on 10 minute study breaks. Get distracted. Start studying again. Deep clean the pig cage (preferably at 12 am because who needs sleep?).  Procrastinate bed time as long as possible in hopes Monday never arrives. Get tired. Give up. Go to sleep.

So as you can probably tell, I spend 99% of my life running around like a chicken with its head cut off, but it all gets done in the end. Looking at my schedule on paper, I guess I understand why I'm a major space cadet.

Now that show season has begun, I am just that much more busy.

-K & C & S

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Show 2- Complete.

This weekend, Sawyer and I had our second show. This past week, I had 2 exams, 2 quizzes (I think?), the flu, and still managed to squeeze in a body clip and the grand total of 2 rides on Sawyer before this show.
This champ slept through the entire body clip.

The second ride was my lesson/schooling day before the show, and let me tell you, it was a HOT MESS. I'm a bit of a wreck in the schooling ring anyway, and Sawyer, who is usually steady-Eddy, picked up on my nerves so we were discombobulated. Adding to that were kids on ponies, ignoring me calling jump lines (I'm on a 17hh grey horse... HOW CAN YOU MISS ME?) and not following solid schooling etiquette. But that's fine, kids are excited, I get it.

 However, their TRAINER also stood in the middle of a line, ignoring me calling it multiple times, so my instructor and I just called it quits before I turned that schooling ring into Grand Theft Hunters and started running over kids and trainers alike.

Day 1: I was told to come out around 8:30-9 am and get a frantic text from trainer saying I need to get to the barn ASAP around 8:00 am. Get out, throw all the tack onto my horse in a frenzy, school, and.. proceed to sit for 2 hours. Overall, I was really happy with our courses. Sawyer was not happy about the puddle in the middle of the ring, so we did not place in any over fences classes. We got 5th out of 8 in our flat class (placing beneath a girl who's horse refused to canter and almost kicked Sawyer in the process of throwing a tantrum??). I was a little bitter about the placings; the girl rode naughty horse very well, but I'm still not sure why the judge thought kicking and bucking is better than maintaining all 3 gaits. So boo to you, judge, but excellent handling of a pissy horse, unknown girl!

I'm not gonna bore you with videos, but here are some beautiful pictures of Sawyer taken by my barnmate, E.

Obviously need to work on getting that lower leg tighter.

Day 2: They swapped judges from the "big ring" and the "small ring" (yay! Redemption!). Our over fences went alright in my opinion. A couple weird spots here and there, but overall, pretty consistent. We got a 3rd out of 7 or 8 in one over fences class (progress!). Our flat class was a disaster in my opinion; lots of head tossing in the corner because Sawyer didn't want to walk, wanted to anticipate, and canter all the things, but we somehow managed to snag a 4th out of 7.

Here's the flat class if you're into that.
The over fences class. So proud of him!

Overall, super pleased with Sawyer this weekend. I find myself getting frustrated with placings, but I have to keep telling myself this is my second show in years, and I'm riding an entirely different horse in a different discipline. It's great though to see Sawyer's progress from no ribbons, to 1 ribbon, to 2 ribbons. One of my goals is to get a division Reserve or Champion ribbon by the end of the summer, so we will see!

- K & C & S

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Five Star Tack Review: Ascot Figure 8 Bridle

Last year, as "To me, from me" birthday present, I purchased my first mid-range bridle. Before I had slowly worked my way up the ranks, starting with an HDR Advantage bridle (x2), and my most recent bridle, the SmartPak Harwich with the Harwich figure 8 noseband. I was fortunate (or unfortunate?) to see the Five Star Tack booth a couple years back at Rolex, and goodness, I was in love. So when Candy broke my Harwich bridle, I decided to buy a new bridle for my birthday and keep the Harwich bridle as a backup.

I picked up the Five Star Tack Ascot Figure Eight from Four Star Tack (yeah- you confused yet?), which is their figure eight with fancy stitching. I personally have moved away from clincher browbands, and prefer a streamlined appearance with a little bit of flair.
He's such a handsome man (and that bridle is not half bad).

Love the stitching on the nose pad. Absolutely adore it.

First Impressions: When I first got my bridle, I was impressed with how sturdy the leather felt. It reminds me of how durable Nunn Finer Bridles feel. I personally believe the leather is nicer than Nunn Finer, but carries the same heft. The brown leather is a deep chocolate. Stitching was very even and neat.

One Year Later: Still a deep chocolate; this is not a bridle that has darkened, despite conditioning it regularly. The bridle looks brand new. Granted, I am meticulous about cleaning my tack, but I also own a very sweaty, hairy horse who is rough on tack. It might have a scratch or two from when Candy sneaks a face scratch when I'm not looking. Overall, the bridle has held up very well to use 4-5 days a week for the last year.


  • Well made and sturdy. 
  • Classic appearance. 
  • Cleans up very well. 
  • Padded monocrown. 
  • Leather padded disk. 
  • Distinctive look with the cross nose disk.


  • Only comes in one shade of brown. 
  • May be a bit overwhelming for dantier faces, as the bridle is thick. 
  • Does not soften readily; it took quite a few oilings
  • No matching cavesson noseband (for my adventures in hunter land)
  • Matching reins are separate
Overall, I do NOT regret the money I cashed up for this bridle. It's beautiful, and I absolutely adore it. In fact, this year, if I hadn't just retired my boy, my "To me, from me" present for my birthday was going to (and might still) be either a Five Star Tack elastic breastplate or a bridged breastplate. Instead, I ended up snagging a Five Star Tack Wembly bridle (now discontinued, I believe) and Five Star Tack standing martingale for Sawyer. I'm a Five Star Tack junkie for sure!

The boys in their Five Star Tack gear.

Monday, March 9, 2015

One Show Down....

First show with Sawyer under my belt! I can't say it was a success ribbons-wise (we didn't pin in any of our 4 classes), but it was definitely a wonderful first show for both of us.

Friday night I went out and just schooled Sawyer in the very tiny schooling ring, and he felt AWFUL. I was about to scratch. We were both just discombobulated and not listening to each other. I was super snug on the reins, so he was trying to evade. I would ask him to go forward, but because he didn't have enough space (it was literally 6 trot steps by 4 trot steps for Sawyer) to get warmed up, we just pogo-ed up and down. I think I hacked for 20 minutes and called it quits. Then spent a good 2 hours scrubbing him, trying to turn a yellow horse white.

"Chilling in my field was totally fine. Really."
That fitted pad slipped and slid everywhere, even with a "no slip" pad! Drove me nuts. I kind of want to breakdown and get a leather breastplate for Sawyer.

Saturday, I got to the barn about 1.5 hours before my classes. Luckily, this show is at the same facility I board at, so I just had to get Sawyer out of his stall, tack him up, and tack him into the ring to warm up. Because I had literally jumped the same courses (basically...) in my lesson last Tuesday, I could avoid schooling jumps. Schooling jumps in a schooling ring is my worst nightmare; switches my show nerves into a major meltdown. I flatted him for about 20 minutes, and he felt great, so we left it at that.

The hack was ... interesting. Sawyer was a champ at the trot, but we struggled picking up the canter to the right (my problem not supporting him fully). The number one thing Sawyer doesn't do (among other things) is halt. So when I heard the announcer say "All halt.", immediately in my brain, I thought "This is it. We're out of the ribbons." (never mind ALL the flashy horses- we never stood a chance). Turns out a rider had fallen off and her pony was running loose. I was so focused on our poorly executed halt, I didn't notice until the pony whizzed right past Sawyer's butt. After that small hiccup, we continued the flat class where we totally blew our right lead.

Casually trying to find a place where the judge will totally ignore us at the canter.

The O/F classes went pretty well; they had their moments, but I was very happy with them overall. Towards the middle of our last O/F, I just kind of quit riding, causing Sawyer to counter canter a jump, circle in front of another, pull a rail, and just in general mess up distances. He got tired and I gave up.

Overall, I realized we REALLY need to start drilling those canter leads; we'll never stand a chance if he doesn't have his changes, which will come when he starts getting his leads consistently. The biggest learning curve of leasing Sawyer, though, has been turning him. He handles more like an 18 wheeler, whereas Candy handled like a sports car. I need to make sure he has ample time to turn, and really make use of my corners.

I'm very happy with my first show with Sawyer. I'm disappointed we didn't ribbon, and frustrated at myself for not riding as well as I could have, but I think Sawyer and I are still figuring each other out.
No ribbons, but I'm still a proud step-momma!
I also celebrated my 1 year anniversary with my wonderful boyfriend (and designated horsey photographer). He's also been pimpin' out my blog. P is seriously the absolute best and I love him to death. Here's to many more years!
Isn't he handsome? He makes me smile.

I'm looking forward to our next show this upcoming weekend. My goal is to get him bodyclipped Friday so I don't have to scrub stains, and bodyclip Candy next week because of the spring temperatures.

In the meantime, 2 tests and 2 quizzes stand between me and my second shot at some ribbons!

- K & C & S

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Guess What...

It's starting to be that time of year again! Since I'm staying in Auburn for the summer, I decided Sawyer and I are going to be pretty active on the circuit down here, and Saturday is our first dip in the Alabama pond.

I must say- I'm already impressed (and intimidated)- it's a C rated show and I've already seen 3 GPA Speed Airs, and 4 pairs of Parlantis. The fancy gear isn't what intimidates me but usually where there's fancy gear, there's fancy ponies and horses. Should be interesting throwing Baby "I only know where 3 of my feet are at a given time" Sawyer into the fray.

I'm hoping Sawyer brings his A game. He was fabulous today in our lesson today, which is the first time we've jumped in 2 weeks (because yes, we did have ~some~ bad weather here).

Let's hope Sawyer brings his A game Saturday!

-K & C & S