Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Off Topic: Too Many Feelings

It's been a little quiet on my part studying/winging finals, finishing my required shadowing hours for my new (terrifying) job, and dealing with quite possibly the worst anxiety of my life. Not exactly panic attacks, but more just an overwhelming, constant feeling of dread and crying. Saturday I cried because I remembered one day my parents will die; Sunday I cried because I remembered I only have one year with Lexie, a mare I have really fallen in love with, and this new job may consume my life to the point that I'll probably ride 1-4 times a week if I'm lucky.

Basically, my heart is broken over being unable to ride as much as I would like, and I'm terrified of my transition into clinics. I'm no longer a child in school, but I'm also not quite an adult able to mold my schedule to be a bit more reasonable (read: not stuck on campus 12-48 hours a week), or at least get financially compensated for a lot of my time (24 hours of job orientation, I'm talking to you). I'm mostly just frustrated by my lack of control and the chaos I'm about to be plunged into.

Normally, when these feelings of depression and extreme anxiety hit, I go to the barn, cry in a mane or gallop away; I won't be able to do that anymore. I probably will rarely ride in the sun once clinics start. The rational, high-functioning being inside of me knows this isn't the end, just a bump in the road, and I'll find time to ride and maybe even compete like I have time and time again throughout my education. The anxiety-ridden, overwhelmed, terrified entity that consumes me is screaming my riding career is over; it's hard to fight strong feelings even when you know they're irrational, and it's so frustrating.

Horseback riding hasn't just been a hobby for me- it's healed me from the inside out, and continues to soothe and heal my mind and my heart. I'll find time for it like I have time and time again, I just may need to sacrifice my DIY-attitude, ask for help, and sacrifice sleep to make it happen. This isn't the end of my riding journey, just a hairpin curve in the road.

- K & C & L

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Review: Hay Where's That Blue Stuff and It's a Fungus Amungus Shampoo

I am not going to lie- I am in the middle of a battle. Lexie is notorious for getting rain rot, and, because I'm an idiot, Candy has it too. I've tried MTG, Fungicide, Eqyss Microtek, and a barn concoction of Lysol and bleach; all of which have failed me. This has been going on since November. I'm dying.

When I went home for Christmas, I stopped by my favorite tack store to spend money I don't have, and noticed *FREE* samples of Hay Where's That Blue Stuff and the It's a Fungus Amungus shampoo.

Back in December when the true fight began.
I snatched up one of each and couldn't wait to try them. Well, let me tell you- this is a product of MIRACLES. One application of the Blue Stuff, and existing scabs fell off quickly; this was a 3 week process of every other day application so it wasn't an instant fix, but once it fell off, it didn't come back. Since Candy was not as bad as Lexie, I just stuck with the Blue Stuff. Lexie also received weekly baths of Fungus Amungus; I left it on to soak for 15 minutes, rinsed, and followed up with Blue Stuff.

Not only are both of them 90% rain rot free, Lexie's hair is growing back in where there used to be bald spots and open sores (it was that bad). Lexie seems happier- less itchy, less painful. Candy still looks like an overweight ASPCA case with his yak coat, ultrasound bald spot, abdominocentesis bald spot, and a few bald post-rain rot free spots, but he's happy and healthy (AND DRINKING WATER) so I'll take it.

The full size bottle of Hay, Where's That Blue Stuff retails for $26.95, which is pricey, but if rain rot isn't clearing up, this is an excellent option. It's a Fungus Amungus shampoo has a bit of a less cringe-worthy price tag at $19.95.

Overall, I give the products a 9/10. The price of the Blue Stuff makes me cringe a bit, which is why I can't give a full 10 out of 10, but this product is an absolute miracle worker!

Sorry for all the reviews lately- I'm trying to figure out a way to have riding posts with pictures of me on a horse- it's a work in progress.

- K & C & L

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lesson Recap: When In Doubt, Do the Add

Lexie has a motor, and a solid stride for being a thick, curvalicious 16.1 Warmblood cross. My trainer H has really wanted to continue to help build my confidence over fences, and help Lexie continue to rock back onto her hind end for a more controlled - but still powerful- ride.

We set up a basic grid- trot in to a cross rail, 1-2 stride cross-rail to a 2-3 stride vertical. H wanted me to try to ride between fences as adds, but Lexie, per usual, had other plans. We consistently nailed the 2 stride between cross rails with both a trot and canter approach, but struggled getting the 3. We always seemed to end up with a wonky long(ish) spot. My issue continues to be that I see the spot, and goose Lexie to the fence where we get a long spot, and she explodes on the other side. The explosions are becoming more and more manageable. It used to take 1/4-1/2 of the ring to get her back, and now we're down to 3-4 quick, strung out strides, before she comes back nicely.

Seeing our struggles to the 3 stride, H took out the middle cross-rail and just let me ride the 4-5 stride cross-rail to vertical line. It rode beautifully. Easily the best ride I've had on Lexie since the Doug Payne clinic. A beautiful 5 stride line to a lovely ride on the other side. H raised the fence up to a solid 3' vertical, which, while nerve-wracking the first time, felt beautiful the second ride over it. It's so nice to see that the pieces are there, we just need to put them together. I can feel myself getting stronger every ride, and now it's more sore legs and abs than sore shoulder, meaning I'm riding leg to hand rather than all hands (which I have no doubt Lexie appreciates).

After a few successful jumps over the 5 stride line, I asked H if we could add in the cross-rail and drop the vertical to 2'6". I had the feeling of collection, and wanted to see if I could maintain it. We never really nailed the 3 stride distance because Lexie was on autopilot "It's a 2 stride, see you on the other side, lady!", but had a lovely right turn to a vertical our last time through.

A lot of my issues are strength, and anxiety related. I'm getting stronger, and able to more forcefully half-halt while backing up that half halt with my leg, but I'm still an anxious, "Get to the other side and get it over with" rider. I'm popping Lexie over small fences on some hack days just to get my confidence over fences back.

I'm taking our partnership one ride at a time, but I'm so happy to see improvement and increased confidence with every lesson!

The "B**tch betta have my peppermint" faces.
"I hear you're cheating on me with my girlfriend. How dare you!"

- K & C & L

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Lesson Recap: Livin' On a Prayer

Lexie has been pretty sassy over fences lately. A lot of mare "I want to do it THIS way" vs. my adult amateur "Can we not? Please?".

My parents came down for White Coat and I arranged a lesson with H so my parents could see Lexie in action. I hoped Lexie would be on her best behavior so my mom wouldn't immediately yank me off of her. Lexie was sassy, but thankfully, my mom is immune to sassy antics thanks to a decade of watching me "ride" Candy.

H put us through a simple grid- a 1 stride to a 2 stride, and made me ride the adds, focusing on even pressure with both legs and riding inside leg to outside hand to keep Lexie in check. In my flatting sessions, I've noticed we really just motorcycle around, so I've been really focusing on even pressure and asking her to stay straight and bend, rather than pop her shoulder.

Well, we tried. There was an effort. It went better last Friday, but here are some photos of me in my ammy glory, doing a couple Hail Mary's, and trying to ride.

Sass exhibit A

Sass exhibit B

My favorite picture of the day!
A little more conditioning and she'll be gorgeous.

Overall- she's a good girl. I think she's not incredibly pleased about the elevator bit, so we're trying a rubber D at some point to see if she's a "less is more" kind of gal. She's a puzzle, but every ride gets better- I can't ask for much more!

- K & C & L

Friday, February 5, 2016

Valentine's Day Wishlist/Gift Guide

For all the non-horsey significant others panicking and perusing the Internet for that perfect horse-related gift for that special someone in one week on Valentine's Day or for that equestrian trying to treat themselves... Have no fear. Here are some ideas at a variety of price ranges to jump start your gift giving process.

Puddle Jumper (<$25)
Monograms for everything- their car, their clothes, their tack. Trust me. They'll love it.

Hunt Club Earrings in a fun and festive color are always classy!

Who doesn't need more socks? I love the Noble Outfitter Peddies.

Baby Greens ($25-$50)

Noble Outfitters Ashley Shirt in a fun pink print- because why not? I love these under vests in cooler weather and on their own in warmer weather. (And they're on sale!)
Try a fun schooling tee from the ever popular Hunt Club. (Can you tell I love everything they make?)
Nameplate bracelets are always appreciated, and such a classic gift!

Schooling Hunter ($50-$100)
What equestrian doesn't need more belts? Luckily, this Rebecca Ray belt comes in a variety of shades.
Roeckl Chester gloves are an absolute equestrian must-have. If you're dying for the berry pink- SmartPak carries them; go ahead and buy them, but know you're breaking George Morris' heart.

A cute and affordable show shirt by Romfh in a variety of colors. What more could a girl need?

High Children/Adult ($100-$200)
I am loving these fully customizable spur belts by Equestri LifeStyle.
It's not pink, but how fun is the pattern on this Essex Talent Yarn show shirt? 

Trophy Hunters are appropriate gifts 24/7, so of course, they made the list.

Grand Prix (>$200)

I know this is an Animo show jacket, but I couldn't find where to buy it. Here it is in its Valentine glory.
Why not a full custom accented Devoucoux saddle with coordinating Lorenzini stirrups?
Top it all off with a leather accented GPA First Lady.
Of course, neutral tones are always acceptable, but I thought all the excessive pink would be fun for the holidays!

Happy gift-giving!

- K & C & L

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Grad Student Time, Equestrian Budget: Favorite Meals

I felt like going a little rogue, and steering away from my standard reviews and lesson recaps, and talking about something else I love: food.

It's hard to balance a budget while on a tight schedule; half of my meals need to occur in under 20 minutes before I'm out the door and on to the next event in my schedule.

I've really gotten into the idea of freezing meals, so I have things I can thaw the night before, re-heat, and eat when I come home. I'm also on a tight budget so cheap, but healthy is always a priority for all of my meals. I tend to eat a lot of meat free meals to help minimize costs, and like to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies into multiple meals, so I don't have to throw out too much.

Here are some quick/easy recipes that have become a part of my rotation. They're easy on your budget, freeze well, and best of all, (fairly) healthy!

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins- these are one of my new favorites! Flour is replaced with rolled oats to up the fiber. It is a touch on the sweet side, but I love one for breakfast. I sprinkle with mini-chocolate chips before baking to defeat my "gas station PopTarts" cravings. Add a piece of fruit and you are good to go! (Tip: you can still make these if you don't have a blender/food processor, but purchase "fast cook oats" instead of rolled outs).

Omelettes- I eat these for lunch and dinner usually because I'm always running out the door in the morning. I usually toss in a little spinach, cheese, and/or avocado.

Baked Eggs in an Avocado- I'll be honest. I have yet to successfully replicate this recipe aesthetically, but it sure tastes good! I like to sprinkle a little cheddar on top. Again, I'm usually running out the door, so this is a weekend breakfast, or weekday lunch/dinner.

Nailed it.
I swear it tasted better than it looked. Pro tip: scoop out some of the avocado before adding the egg.

Slow Cooker Quinoa Enchilada Bake- this is definitely a make ahead recipe, but one batch is about 6 servings. I freeze half of it in single portions for later in the month. I like to add diced green peppers to mine; I'm all about packing vegetables into everything. I'll add chopped avocado to the top when I eat it.

Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki- I personally rarely eat meat, but my boyfriend loves chicken. This is one of his absolute faves. Cook a big batch ahead of time, freeze in portions, and reheat to serve with rice.

Slow Cooker Chili- this is another make ahead recipe, but again, you can portion it out and freeze to eat later. I usually replace the jalapenos with chopped green bell pepper, so it doesn't have as big a kick.


  • Buy frozen vegetables and meat in bulk- they have similar nutritional values and don't spoil like the fresh varieties do!
  • Canned vegetables are your friends; I hate eating them plain, but love to eat them in dishes. At $2 a can or less, these are your friend!
  • Use slightly overripe fruit to make muffins or baked treats. When my bananas get too ripe, I make banana bread or muffins. Wrinkly apples are baked. It minimizes waste, and stretches your budget!
(I am aware of my affinity for Tex Mex, eggs, and avocado- I like it and it's easy.) Happy cooking!

-K & C & L

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mini-Post: I'm Alive

I promise I am still alive (just being a terrible blogger). I need to summon up the courage to ask my instructor to film/take pictures of my lessons so I have more material other than reviews and lil blurbs.

This weekend- I got my white coat! It signifies my transition from the classroom into the clinics, and is one of the last steps in my journey as a vet student.

More professional photos are on their way. Here's my only selfie.

- K & C & L