Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Lost Year

I can’t help but feel that 2012 is a lost year. It began with a bang –Moose and I were awarded the Horse Junkies United Ammie Education Grant (posts here and here) which afforded us the opportunity to start our year with a Peter Atkins clinic. 

I left the clinic so looking forward to the summer and fall –I really believed Moose and I were finally on the right track and hoped to be competing well at novice by the end of the year.

Then work got in the way –enter excuse 1.

Then surgery and recovery–excuse 2 & 3.

Then recovery & the hottest summer on record- excuse 3 & 4.

Now I find both myself and my pony fat and out of shape with winter looming. The snow will fly soon and with it the end of our 2012 riding time. It is now the beginning of October and I cannot seem to muster the motivation to use the fleeting month I have left to begin riding…it seems pointless. This attitude is not like me at all. 

I need a kick in the butt.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Easy Keeper?

After years of having thoroughbreds, I decided my next horse would be an “easy keeper”.  In fact when I first asked about Moose my first questions were not “What is his training?” or “Does he have a show record?”…they were more like “How much does he eat? Does he wear shoes?”

And, as promised he eats air and toddles around happily barefoot in a pasture.

So an easy keeper? Right?


First was saddle fit (let us not go there-I am still annoyed). Then there was his girth…

Tried and rejected:

1. Leather

2. Leather with fleece

3. Synthetic with fleece

4. Padded leather with elastic one end

5. Padded leather elastic both ends

6. Padded leather no elastic

7. All elastic al… la tixerant

8. Anatomic (leather)

9. Anatomic (synthetic)

10. Wintec

11. Bates girth with CAIR

12. String

13. Mohair

Finally, the Wintec Elastic girth with Cair. A girth deemed acceptable. He now has both dressage and jump versions :/

Then there was his bridle. Flash, crank, figured eight, drop nosebands with combinations of padding, poll pads or ear cut-aways. On and on…add in bit combinations…with keepers or without, d-ring, eggbut, full cheek. To end up (finally) with a Micklem and myler comfort snaffle.

We have also done the dance with saddles pads, wraps and shipping boots.

It seems the challenge this year will be his winter blanket and halter (Dear Mr. Micklem –please make a halter as my horse is wearing a dogcollar. Love Amy and Moose aka the easy keeper).

With the money spent on rejected equipment, I probably could have purchase and maintained a going-prelim-thoroughbred.

But, that horse wouldn’t be this horse…

So C'est la Vie.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Insanity in the Middle

"the insanity in the middle" (thanks to Eventing Nation) is the phrase that describes the thrill of what occurs between the red and white flags -eventers know what I am talking about.

It also describes like the last few months of my life...not much to report riding wise as I have had to take time off for my body to heal. But I have learned...that family might not be blood related. And that the friendships you make and keep will see you through. And I am lucky to have the family I do!

I am 2 rides back on Moose and am enjoying simply re-building our fitness. Both of us are fatter and lazier than we were at the beginning of the 2012 season. This was definitely not the plan!
Despite record high temperatures I can already feel winter coming...and can't help but feel the time running out to ride, learn and enjoy. Maybe I can salvage this season. Maybe not.

But enough about these thoughts...I know you all really want to see my baby goat as photos were promised in my last, long ago blog post.

With out further ado, I introduce Carlos!

My Helper

Lap Goat
After a bath


Monday, June 18, 2012

Preparing for the New Arrival

Wire mesh Fencing -$500
Goat Supplies- $100
Goat Purchase-$300

Having you very own Nubian= Priceless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After 8 years of begging, pleading, and outright manipulation I AM FINALLY GETTING A FREAKING GOAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Nubian goat!

So me (and more so the poor husband have been busy).

It was 93+ this weekend and we spent 12 hours fencing.
Goat Fence!
Today I went to get supplies....
OMG! I shopped for a goat!
He comes home a week from today (7 sleeps!).

Picture overload soon.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

And the rest of the story... Peter Atkins Clinic Follow Up (With Video!)

Moose and I had a great time in Kentucky training with Peter Atkins. The MooseMan was FABULOUS....I was...ME.

Starting with awesome trailer hitching skills...


 I ALWAYS lock up...

If you ever lock your keys in your truck in rural Lexington, simply call 253-OPEN.

Note to self -when you do not have 4WD do not park truck and trailer on grass during torrential rains...

 I always do keep a sense of humor -it's that or cry (constantly).

“If this is the worst thing that happens this weekend, I am doing great!” X4 or was it X5?

And yes, the my mental riding game is on par with my vehicular logistics skills.
(I cannot.

This clinic was sponsored by the HJU Ammie Educational Grant presented by ECOGOLD ( you can read my clinic recap for HJU here.)
Now for video!

If you are bored have too much free time need to be amused -oh, whatever- all the raw footage of my flat lesson is on (Raw file 1, 2,3 and 4). Bonus points if you actually make it through and can identify what clip includes Peter's quip, “this video should be on America’s Funniest Home Videos!”

The lesson begins with Peter explaining to keep it simple. Make it simple for the horse to do what you want (i.e. to give the “right” answer).

This applies as he teaches Moose and I the beginnings of lateral work –only ask for the movement when Moose can respond.

Applying the above lessons:

We then moved to working on pushing the nose forward at the trot (in the video above we also work on this at the walk).

Moose’s nemesis has always been the canter. Peter has us work on counter-canter to improve his balance.

Peter explaining counter-canter:

FINALLY getting it!

I don't have video of jumping but I did come away with my favorite picture ever.

Gratuitous Photo Posting. (I am sure you will see it again.)
In the end we had fun, we learned (about riding as well as trailer safety checks, door locks and the need for 4WD). It was also a mini-blogger convention and I enjoyed spending time with Amy and Steady (from 'Slow and Steady Wins the Race'), Karen (from 'CONTACT'). and Kelly (from 'Dressage Pony.'

Great weekend. Thanks to friends (old and new) and family that helped out. And of course super thanks to HJU/ ECOGOLD!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Saddle Fitting Saga- my tale of woe FINALLY ENDS

One of the most popular posts on this blog is “I need to vent. Now, either people are attracted to negativity and want to hear a good rant or horse people share a common issue- saddle fitting sucks.
Throughout the 2.5 years I have owned Moose we have battled the saddle demon- never really finding the illusive “one” (or “two” –I’m an eventer and need a dressage and jump).
We have tried:
Saddle fit horse. Not Moose.
  • Thornhill
  • Prestige
  • Baines
  • Devoucoux
  • Bates
  • Wintec
  • Stubben
to name a few.

Incessant googling led me to a new product line –Kent & Masters. I read their spiel. I watched their video. I liked how easily adjustable they seemed.

  • Wool flocked (with flocking slots!)
  • Adjustable gullet
  • Moveable billets
Perhaps with all of these features they could be made to fit a Moose?

I email Trumbull Mountain tack for a trial.

First up the Kent & Masters S Series Jump.
It fit well statically.

But moved around during the ride :(
…ahh but remember the adjustable billets?

I re-watched the fitting video and moved the billet configuration rearward. Success! It fits! It does not move! And I LOVE it! If you want a comparison, the balance feels just like the older Albion XC saddle.

Kent & Masters give us wings!

Next was the Fairfax Monoflap Dressage. Very pretty. I petted it.

Ooh it seems to fit Mooses.
 Humpf it does not fit Amys

Fat Ass

I tried to make it work. I really did. But it seems I need an 18.5 (which they do not make) to avoid fighting the blocks. So…NEXT!

We then try the Kent & Masters dressage model. I asked for the same gullet I had in the s-series jump saddle (medium-wide)…but it was too narrow (Moose definitely let me know). The very helpful Nancy from Trumbull immediately mailed the wide gullet. After having a Bates I was dreading putting that thing in…but it was actually easy! Wow! An adjustable gullet saddle you can adjust without cursing, crying and finally begging the gods for that last centimeter of space!

But it moved when I rode and I was not comfortable 100%...but with adjustable billets (I changed them to the ‘point’ configuration’ and velcro knee blocks (took them off) the saddle stayed in place and I was comfortable.

Don't be jealous. I have TWO saddles that fit! (neener-neener).

They also come at a good price point (~$1500).  And if you buy from Trumbull you get free shipping and $85 towards the first flocking adjustment (WINNING!). I have to plug them -Nancy was a huge help looking at 100,000,001 photos (does this fit? is it in the right place? isn't my pony cute!?) and answering just as many emails.

Off to ride!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

We're Back!

Moose and I are back in action (it is now officially after Annual Meeting).

While I had fun slaving away in California it is great to be back in the saddle literally and figuratively.

Despite the photographic evidence (Note: these are not real! Who would have guessed?!) I never saw the beach or Hollywood.

I DID go to the Peter Atkins Clinic at Champagne Run (sponsored by the HJU/ ECOGOLD Ammie Educational Grant).

Read the clinic recap on Horse Junkies United. Then go buy an ecogold pad and tell them Amy sent ya ;)

PS -submissions are open for the next grant. Go get it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Doing Work! (just not the horsey kind)

The last few weeks I have been working like a boss...just not with Moose. It's for my J O B (i.e. the real world). I have been made to understand that "others" do not understand what is meant by "after the Annual Meeting" as in "Can we have that lesson sometime after Annual Meeting" or "I would love to come over but can we get together after Annual Meeting" or "would love to go to that show/ clinic/event but I cannot schedule anything until after Annual Meeting".

So what is this Annual Meeting I speak of? It is the 103rd AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo. Basically it's not quite as bad as being the organizer of Rolex....but a few steps above being an AEC Horse Trials organizer. Speaking of Rolex...the Annual Meeting conflicts EVERY YEAR.

I must love my job need a paycheck.

So not much to report Moosey wise. Still looking forward to the Peter Atkin's Clinic at Champagne Run in May (this happens "after Annual Meeting"). So if you are desperate for horsey writings check out a blog post I wrote for Horse Junkies United:

"Do You Remember Your First Rolex? I Will Never Forget Mine…"
Do you remember your first Rolex?
The first time you saw your heroes in action?
The first time you truly felt the thrill of cross-country at its finest?
The first time you maxed out your credit cards at a trade fair?
I remember my first time. It was definitely “a first” in many ways.
  • My first time seeing an advanced horse trial
  • My first time seeing a three star (or any “star”)
  • My first experience with the long format
  • My first time attending (a USCTA recognized) horse trial
  • My first time as a groom
Did you catch that? Yes, my first Rolex was all of those things…. and I was going as a groom.

Read more here.

Catcha after Annual Meeting!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Horse | Understanding Equine Sleep Deprivation

The Horse | Understanding Equine Sleep Deprivation
Dellaire and Ruckebusch, estimates that in a day horses fulfill approximately:
  • Two hours of diffuse drowsiness (during which the horse stands with full weight on both front legs and one rear leg while the other rear leg is cocked, or "primed," to kick if necessary);
  • Three hours of slow wave sleep (at which point the horse is either lying down in lateral  or sternal recumbency [lying flat on his side or lying on his chest, respectively]); and
  • Less than one hour of paradoxical sleep (during which the horse is commonly positioned on the ground, but the body is upright with head tucked to a side--normally toward the stifle). This allows for better respiration than being on a side.
(Read more.)

I think Moose may have a sleep disorder. This basically says horses lay down to sleep fours hours a day. Huh? Moose gets more like 8-10. Maybe he needs it for his beauty sleep. He is really cute.

He even sleeps during class

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Moose Tracks....HARDCORE Logo Contest!

As Moose Tracks is tackling  Rolex Beginner Novice this year he clearly needs his own logo (for his fans dontcha know).

The husband suggested a rip-off  spin-off of the Frank Turner Hardcore logo as pinto ponies are most definitely hardcore.

Husband Suggestion 1: "The Classic"

Get it ? Moose Tracks HardCore?

Husband Suggestion 2: "Whips and Chains"

My creation: "Yams"

(Yams would be the now favorite food of the Moose fact it was all he would eat when sick last month)

Do they look like orange turds? hmmm

What say you?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Keep on Bloggin'

I started this blog as practice for work. I played with posting times, themes and keywords while developing a feel for the medium.

And today is the day. Our "work" blog has launched!

Without further adieu I give you the AOCS Blog....
(Warning: this blog has nothing to do with horses. Nope, not a thing. But if you like oil chemistry it just might be for you!)

I had originally planned to delete this blog once I launched my one for work. But I have enjoyed it and I have enjoyed you. So for now, I will keep on bloggin' (despite the fact my husband asks, "do you really have to let the entire world know how insane you actually are?".

Why yes. Yes I do.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It may be a 'random number generator'....but we won suckas!

News of the day = Moose and I won the HJU Ammie Educational Grant!

It went something like this....I was reading Horse Junkies United last night when I saw a familiar face- Moosey! I suddenly realized our submission for the Ammie Educational Grant had won!

Then this happened 

funny gifs

Followed by me handing my husband the phone to read the post....followed by more dancing and screeching as I wanted my phone back to call people anyone and share the news. He wasn't giving the phone back so I paraded out to the pasture to let Moose know....he was apparently unimpressed with my dancing - he spooked and ran away.

Buzz. Kill.

Anyway, remember this post? The post I was lamenting my lack of funds to participate in the Peter Atkins clinic in Kentucky? Well thanks to HJU and the grant sponsor ecogold we are now going!

I still can't quite believe my good fortune! Thank you  Horse Junkies United (a great blog)! Thank you ecogold (they make awesome saddle pads -and do real research)!

Please support these folks -they give back while also providing a great informational service and products.

Shameless Promotion of our "Sponsors"
(teehee...I love saying that)

Follow or "like" them for daily news and funny stories. You will also see contest announcements and there will be another Ammie Educational grant soon! Go win it!

And my favorite ecogold blog post :

Amazing Results from Ecogold Saddle Pads in Pressure Scans!


( I have seriously coveted an ecogold pad for Moosey since reading this. One ecogold. One day.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

A tale of Carrots & Apples, A Doublewide and Badminton Horse Trials.

Peter Atkins and Henry are heading to good ol' Badders. And if you have read this blog for any length of time ever you know Peter is my favorite coach. So let's get he & Super-Hen to England!

A unique fund-raising plan is in can support the trip by purchasing carrots and apples ($10), the Badminton Entry Fee ($537), or Henry's shipping ($10,000 -yes $ 1 0, 0 0 0). See the options at

"Henny gets a lot of carrots and apples, buying one or multiples of them will keep him happily munching and will be used for other day to day expenses that will occur. This is a great way to donate even if you can/want to only give $10, $20 or $30 "
No $h*t  Henny gets a lot of carrots. While at Peter's barn I saw the biggest bag of carrots I have seen in my (apparently sheltered) life. I mean seriously....just get a pick-up truck load.

NOT this

Still to Small
This is more like it....if it were larger
So yes -Henry does indeed need lots of carrots (donate here).

Clearly I need to move to England. I need hay for $140.

Which also brings us to transport....

aww-let's make sure Owie gets to go

You can help Owen go see his favorite horse run Badders (serious awwww factor here folks) or pony up and get Henry there.

So the cost of transporting the humans and horses makes me less jealous of the hay thing.

On to my personal favorite....

Lodging for Peter
"with your help Peter will be well rested for his week at Badminton and yes he will be living in a double wide."
Yes! A thousand time yes!!! I can't tell you exactly why this tickles my funny bone. As a trailer park liver for several years (I know you are NOT shocked by that little revelation) I am certainly no snob. But the thought of Peter in his doublewide....

 All kidding aside this an expensive endeavor (even not accounting for lost income while away). I would really love to see Peter, his family and his horse live this dream. They are good people.

Please visit and donate what you can (and if you can't I get that -please just keep the Atkins eventing family in your thoughts as they make this journey).

And if someone out there does sponsor Peter's lodging please make it contingent upon photographic evidence. Please.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Peter Atkins teaching in Kentucky soon!!!!

Ack! Have you heard?! Peter Atkins will be teaching in Kentucky soon (as in May!).

The big thing for me is that he is offering private dressage lessons on the Friday of the clinic. I had a few private lessons on school horses while in Florida and my improvement in riding and understanding concepts was actually exponential in scale. I would love to get a private dressage lesson on Moose (as well as jumping/ xc in the group clinic) to see if I can continue the exponential learning!

(As an aside I do feel I am riding Moose much better since my FL trip-yay!)

Now where is that damn money tree? 

....oh paid someone's vet bills (cough, Moosey!).

Here is the info:
Ride with Australian Eventing Team member Peter Atkins at Champagne Run!
May 11-13, 2012 | Lexington KY
Friday, May 11 – Private Dressage Lessons (Peter will be teaching a limited number of private dressage lessons the day before the clinic). Me Want! Want! Want!
Saturday, May 12 – Clinic Day 1 -Stadium: Grid work in groups of four for 1.5 hours.
Sunday, May 13 – Clinic Day 2 -Cross Country: Cross country schooling in groups of six for 2 hours. XC!!!!!! In KY! With Peter!
Peter + XC+ KY+ May!

Dressage: $115 per horse/rider combination
Clinic: $325 per horse/rider combination
Auditors: $25 for the weekend Maybe I can do this
Saturday evening we will host a meet and greet potluck with Peter! What? He doesn't eat....will there be a keg?
Limited overnight stabling is available upon request for $30/night.
Reserve your spot early by returning the clinic form with full payment! If someone wants to do this My name is Amy. My horse is Moose. I can supply the coggins part if you supply the payment part. Deal? OK!

Please return payment and forms early to guarantee participation, as space is limited. Negative coggins and health certificates are required with entry.

No refunds will be given unless your space can be filled from the wait list.

Checks may be made payable to Champagne Run. Your entry in the clinic will not be considered complete until payment in full has been received.

Please complete one entry form for each horse you plan to ride in the clinic.

Return forms to:
Champagne Run Farm
Attn: Peter Atkins Clinic
5991 Old Richmond Road
Lexington, KY 40515

I truly hope some of my fellow bloggers get to go (and you better blog about it!). I'll be out shaking that money tree....

Monday, March 5, 2012

Photo Essay -Moose Tracks

Moose is on vacation post mystery virus from H E Double Hockey Sticks.

Other thank thanking the interwebz for pulling for him and reporting he is back to his Moosey self I have nothing really to blog indulge me in looking at photos.

smiling poneh -first event camp

Moose says NO dressaging!

Benches are for jumping
hmm -Peter you may not want to sit there
Woman from Snowy River & her Pony
I DRINK the water hazard. Drink it ALL!
I LAY DOWN in the water hazard
oh Fine. I'll jump in the water hazard

At shows I learned to RUN not drink the water
That made the yam-provider happy. See.
I like to nap
The yam-provider may nap with me. But NO picture taking allowed!
I jump cute (yam-providers like this)
I am Moose Tracks!