You all know how much I value my trainer, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables. First and foremost, her teaching is sound, and horses and riders improve under her tutelage. Almost as important is her ability to promote and maintain a positive attitude within her team of students. Team Symphony is pretty drama free; not something you always see amongst a group of dressage riders.
Just over a year ago she relocated from Simi Valley to Tehachapi which is just under an hour from Bakersfield - woot! woot! Moving to Kern County meant a new group of adult amateurs and juniors joined Team Symphony.
I already have Symphony Dressage Stables emblazoned on everything from shirts and a jacket to saddle pads to vehicle stickers and even on a license plate frame. I knew Chemaine's new clients might want to sport her team logo as well, so I offered to put together a shirt order from my favorite screen printer and embroider shop, New Generation Graphics.
And so began Operation Team Jersey. I am just gonna say ... wow, was that ever hard! Even though I sent everyone links to the shirts with pricing, getting everyone organized was like herding cats. Some wanted all of us to order the same color. Most wanted to choose their own color. Some wanted long sleeves, some short. We also have a man in the group which meant I had to find a shirt for him. I finally built a spreadsheet to keep everyone's preferences organized. Friday, the last two shirts arrived.
Because I know the fit well, I have at least five of them, we ordered the Horze Trista shirt. I like this particular shirt for a variety of reasons. It's flattering for a lot of different body types. It comes in many colors and two sleeve lengths. Equally important is that the price is low enough that paying extra for the printing didn't make the shirt unreasonably expensive.
We're putting Chemaine's logo on back of the women's shirts, but the men's style shirt will have the logo emblazoned on the left chest. We chose a metallic silver ink which should look good even on the gray shirts.
I took everything to the printer yesterday afternoon. I know everyone is eager to get their shirts, even me. I bought three!
With all this talk about flying changes and half pass, my "Let's Show!" motor got revving. Forget that just a few months ago I was exhausted and grateful to be done showing for the year. What's wrong with me?
Last week, I got a couple of long anticipated packages delivered which inspired me to dig out my show coats from the trailer. Once I had those home, I pulled out all of my whites and laid everything out on my bed. I gave what needed it a good laundering, which was most of it, and then set to work reevaluating fit and style.
But first .. this is what came in the mail.
You might remember that post where I listed the things I would like for Christmas. Sure enough, my mother-in-law felt compelled to send a little cash my way for Christmas. I don't think the money even made it into my wallet before I had my order placed.
Once it arrived and I tried it on, my level of satisfaction shot way past my original expectations. This thing is just WOW! I liked it so much that I turned around and ordered it in maroon. With two new show shirts waiting in the wings, I re-examined my three show coats and breeches.
I may have mentioned this before, but I just got through losing almost 35 pounds. It took me six months, but I feel so much better. Being thinner is a bit of a double-edged sword however. I lost two to three sizes, which is great, but it also means that most of my clothes no longer fit. That includes my breeches. Two pair of my white breeches fit, but I use that term loosely (haha - see what I did there? Loosely!). I have already ordered a white pair for showing, and two for schooling.
On the other hand, things that I had long grown out of, now fit! Things like my black and gray show coats. It has almost been like getting to go shopping for free!
All last season I shopped for a gray coat, but I couldn't find anything that I liked as well as the one I already had (which didn't fit). While it doesn't have any technical features like vented fabric or breathable material, it's still attractive, and best of all, it fits!
I tried it on with the maroon shirt and knew I had a winning combo. With my black helmet - although I may order another black Ovation Glitz, I think it will be a good option for two-day shows, particularly once coats are waived.
My favorite combo is of course my Romfh coat with my navy Ovation Glitz helmet and the new navy Romfh show shirt. What's not to like? The jacket is loaded with technical features: it's stretchy, vented, lightweight, and as an added bonus, it sparkles.
Before I even washed any of my clothes though, I gave my boots a good cleaning. I had found them discarded on the floor of my trailer caked in dirt from this past August. I am a little embarrassed about that. Good news though, after losing a bit of weight, they zipped right up!
So, let's get to showing. I am ready! ... well ready might be over-stating things as my trainer would probably say. How about just looking good?
... and if you're like me, maybe even your hair. Any guesses as to what this ugly thing is? No, it's not a beanie.
I am pretty gentle on my helmets. They're stored "inside" and out of direct sunlight. I wipe them off periodically with a damp cloth, I don't drop them, and I replace them after several years. Obviously the ugliness up above is helmet-related.
I finally figured out why the skin on my forehead was getting rough and why the hair around my face was suddenly getting shorter and wispier. Even though I periodically remove my helmet liner and wash it, I realized that it had arrived at gross. Just gross, nothing else.
I live in the land of nine month summers. My helmet gets sweat in more often and for a much longer duration than for what it was designed. The liner of my helmet had finally reached a point where I could no longer stomach putting it over my hair. It was crunchy, rough, and frankly, it smelled a bit off.
While perusing the Riding Warehouse for something completely unrelated, I finally decided to toss a helmet liner in my cart. At just over $9 - I had a discount code, I reasoned that I could afford it. I am actually kicking myself for not getting a second one so that I could wash and dry one while using the other.
So, you're welcome. That's my PSA for the year. Replace your helmet as needed, but for the love of all that's holy (I am looking at you, Sweaney), replace the liner with a bit more frequency. Your forehead and hair will thank you.
Well hello there. I guess this means I'm back. It was a long week, but the migraines have (mostly) subsided - I hope. Even though I took a blogging break and a few days off from riding, the one thing I really couldn't do was miss work. That pays the (equine) bills after all, so I struggled through the week.
I did manage to at least bring the barn to my classroom though as any pony time makes everything better. In the afternoons, my kiddos worked all week on some science stations where they explored activities that had to deal with conserving Earth's resources. In one of the stations, the kids had to build a model of coal formation. The model required dead leaves (easily found right outside my classroom door), rocks, and "sediment."
My students were actually quite impressed to work with ranch dirt. When it came time to pour it into the model, everyone insisted on getting a turn to pour. Kids are so funny.
I run a very relaxed classroom where kids sit at tables instead of desks and where movement around the room is encouraged. Fifth graders simply can't sit for too long of a period before they erupt - sometimes literally.
I do a lot of small-group instruction in a space that is not large enough for 31 kids. That means my students meet with me in an area that we've carved out of the front of my classroom. There's not room for a table, and since my "small" groups sometimes number 15, we usually just sit on the floor - myself included.
At 47 years of age, sitting on the floor for 30 minutes at a time is no longer easy. If you're my age, you get it. If you're not yet approaching 50, you'll understand in about 20 years. My knees and hips just couldn't take it any longer. I love the intimacy of sitting so close to my kiddos though. When we're all at the same level, the instruction is much more personal, and kids contribute more to the discussion.
I had a year's worth of Platinum Performance buckets stacked in the feed room. It didn't feel right to toss them as they are good, sturdy buckets, so I brought them to school. I used a few of them for storing PE equipment, but I had a bunch left over. After one particularly painful morning, I glanced at the stack of unused buckets and came up with a plan.
With the help of one of my students, we covered the Platinum label with a bit of contact paper that was buried in a back cupboard. Some of you might remember my post about hoarding all of the things. You never know when something might come in handy! With the label (mostly) covered - my helper was only 10, and I am not particularly crafty, the buckets make pretty cute little stools.
They have been a roaring success. The students love them, my knees love them, and they take up virtually no room once stacked and stored in the corner. And the best part is that if one gets broken, I can replace it easily as I get a new bucket every month. Thank you, Platinum Performance!
I have one last barn to work story. Since I sit on the floor every day, my work wardrobe runs on the casual side. On top of that, I teach PE daily, and frankly, kids are just messy. Last week I wore white shorts and ended up dropping a loaded rubber stamp right on my pant leg. They now read correct and return in bright blue. The kids thought it was funny. I had to agree.
A month or so ago, I bought that burgundy wrap (above) for a dress that was getting too big (long story) and realized it went great with my sleeveless blouse. With the mornings being cooler, I thought it would look great with a pair of leggings that I don't have. I glanced up at my Horze Full Seat Tights and thought why not?
Not gonna lie, I got a ton of compliments on the outfit. No one could tell they were riding pants. And the best part? They were the most comfortable pants I have ever worn to work, especially while sitting on a bucket.
If you can't be at the barn, bring the barn to work.
If you ride dressage, you already know who wins. If you do a different kind of riding, you probably like one for some things and the other for other things. I am not one to disagree with your own preferences, but I learned this weekend that for this girl, it's full seats or nothing.
At the start of summer, which lasts a full six months in my neck of the woods, I bought three pairs of the Horze Juliet HyPer Flex Full Seat Tights. It was a smart move on my part as this summer ended up being nearly as brutal as last summer (and it's not over). There were 67 triple-digit days in 2017 and 54 triple-digit days this summer. Our normal is closer to 33.
I rode in nothing but those three pairs of tights all summer long. The only time I put something else on was for shows, and I sweat my butt off. As a side note, these tights wore amazingly well and look just the same as they did when I bought them.
Over the weekend, we finally had a small break in the weather (highs in the low 80s). I decided to drag out an old pair of Piper breeches with a euro seat and knee patches. They're cute, and I have a belt that matches perfectly.
As cute as they are/were, they now live in my discard pile. As soon as I sat in my saddle, I realized how slick it really is. With nothing but Polyester and Spandex between my butt and the saddle, I was all over the place. And while my sitting trot has improved tremendously, I still need all the help I can get.
No more Euro seats for this girl. It's full seats every time, all the time. Can I get an amen?
There are so many glove choices out there, but since I started riding in Roeckls more than six years ago, I haven't ridden in anything else. I know they're a wee bit pricey, but they are worth every penny. Just as an aside, Riding Warehouse is having a 20% off everything sale through today, so if you want a pair of Roeckls RIGHT NOW, you can get them for $39.96.
Besides the cute color combinations - I've had the navy with white (twice) and the black with brown, I love how they actually feel like skin. My skin. Once they're on, I completely forget that I'm wearing them. I can wear these all year long, too, even in our brutal summer heat. They're breathable, and they stay flexible even after washing. Oh, yeah, I throw these in the washing machine (air dry though), and they come out like brand new.
I've owned 6 pairs of Roeckls over the years; I even have a white pair for showing. My every day pair is navy with white piping, but I've been lusting after a pair of black with red piping. Guess what showed up in my mailbox the other day?
Since I am such a fan of these gloves, a Roeckl rep contacted me recently and asked if I would do a giveaway. Are you kidding? Of course! I love these gloves and am happy to share the love!
I rarely do giveaways, I think I've done two?, but this company makes a product that I truly love, so I am happy to spread the word. Since I don't do complicated, the rules for this giveaway are pretty simple.
1) The giveaway will run between now and Friday, September 7th.
2) Head over to Facebook and "Like" their page - Roeckl Equestrian.
3) Comment below and share whether or not you've owned a pair of Roeckl gloves (it won't affect your eligibility if you already love them). If you have, what did you like about them? If you haven't, why not?
4) Leave your email in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. No one else can see your email address.
5) Since I like simple, over the weekend, I'll write everyone's name down on a slip of paper and have my husband pull two names out of a hat (or whatever I find laying around).
I had hoped to tell you about our Sunday ride today. Spoiler alert - it was a good one, but I went back to work on Monday, and I just haven't had time to dig through the media and get it all down on paper. I'll finish the show recap on Monday.
The problem with having horses and showing is that you have to pay for horses and showing. In order to do that, you have to go to work. I'll admit that I have a pretty great job for someone who likes to ride every day and show all summer. I get off at 2:50 which leaves me plenty of daylight in the winter months for riding, and I get all summer off. It's pretty good gig.
The downside is that the work is never actually done, especially this time of year. In order to leave at 2:50, I get there before 6:30 in the morning. And while I can leave at 2:50, I haven't been able to do that this week. There has simply been too much to do.
So, I've got nothing super exciting for you today unless you dig socks as much as I do. A few weeks ago, Dover sent me an email about some sale or other. I am not a huge Dover fan, but every once in a while they get me.
A number of years ago, I got a credit card connected with Dover so that I get $4.95 shipping and gift certificates with so many dollars spent. I had a $10 gift certificate laying around that I felt obligated to use, so when I saw the sale, it seemed a good time to redeem it.
Dover had Over the Calf Peddies on sale for $2.99 each. I about died. They typically run right around 10 bucks a pair. I got three pairs for $9.00 instead of $30.00. I through in a tube of dewormer, also $2.99, and then paid $4.95 in shipping. The charge to my credit card was $16 and change.
So there you have it. Cheap socks. Everything a girl could want. Have a great weekend!
Four years ago, I bought the Ovation Glitz helmet. Back then, I was worried that the bling would just be too much. I need not have worried. I loved this helmet from the second I saw it.
I have the Romfh Bling Show Coat in navy (which I LOVE) and have been hankering for a navy helmet to wear with it. As luck would have it, Riding Warehouse started carrying the Ovation Glitz helmets in both black and navy. I had to order one.
A few weeks ago, a friend shared a Riding Warehouse coupon code for 20% off (RWJA - good through 9/1/18). That's a big savings for something that you already want. The list price of the helmet was $99.95, but with the discount and free shipping, the price dropped to around $80. For a helmet this pretty, that's a steal!
As I was looking at my cart however, I decided to maximize the 20% discount and toss in something else that I've wanted to try - a gray pad for my "dingy" grey Arab. Moderately priced gray pads are not easy to find. I opted for the Horze Bristol Dressage Pad. At just under $20, it's no big deal if I don't love it for Speedy.
Ultimately, I want to replace my current gray show coat (ahem ... shrinkage?) with another one. The Montar Ava Show Coat has been calling my name for a while, but I've resisted. At $138.95, it strikes me as a bargain. In styling, it is nearly identical to the Romfh, but it's missing a feature that I am not sure I can live without - the hidden front zipper.
It's not that the jacket is that expensive, but I did just buy the helmet and pad. On top of that, I am cramming in four shows in the next month:
In late April, I reviewed the Horze Juliet Full Seat Tights. I've been wearing them exclusively for the past two months and thought they deserved another review.
I have all three colors, but the gray is my favorite. Not that color has anything to do with performance. I bought these strictly for hot weather riding and wasn't at all concerned about making a fashion statement. Which is a good thing because these tights have no bells and whistles. They're pretty utilitarian and not likely to garner any "Hey! Those are cute breeches!" types of comments.
What I like most about them is how cool they are to wear. I almost don't even sweat in them. There's no shame in admitting that I have sweaty butt issues when I wear most of my other full seat breeches. Not with these bad boys. I still follow my beat the heat protocol - Body Glide is my best friend during the summer, but I have not had a single heat rash this summer.
I was initially worried about the silicone seat, but it provides just enough texture to keep me from sliding around without glueing my butt in place. I mentioned before that the fabric is like what you'd get in a pair of yoga pants, and that is still true. What I didn't expect was that the fabric is holding up really well. I am wearing each pair twice a week before washing them, and they look the same as the day I bought them.
These tights are so comfortable that I don't strip out of them as I am walking in the door. My other full seat breeches - all of which I love when it's not 110, keep me wet and sticky until I shoehorn myself out of them. I am finding that I when I get home, I don't even feel the need to pull these off. Many evenings my husband comes home and asks why I still have my riding clothes on.
There are only two things that I don't like about the breeches, and they're both things I can live with. 1) They don't have a pocket. I already bemoaned this feature and have just learned to deal. 2) The fabric is so soft that hay sticks to them. I have a hay bag hanging where I tack up my horses, and I am constantly bumping into it. Hay sticks to these breeches like magnets. Again, it's not a deal breaker, but I do find myself constantly brushing off hay stems and other dirt.
Besides being cool and comfortable, they're also super affordable. If you buy two at a time and combine that with a 20% discount coupon, they're more than reasonably priced. The Horze website shows them in a gray/blue color, so maybe Riding Warehouse will add that color to the lineup for next summer.
Because really, I need 7 pairs - one for each day of the week!
There are days when I think that I should wear a helmet the second I arrive at the barn - even when I am not riding. Saturday was one of those days.
After I had ridden both horses and they were both tucked away, I puttered around, finishing my chores. As I was rinsing feed buckets, the last thing I do before I leave for the day, I remembered that I wanted to daub a little Equiderma Skin Lotion on a one of Izzy's pasterns.
He was slurping up his beet pulp as I walked up to him. I shook the bottle a few times to mix it up and then leaned down to feel his pastern. The next thing I knew, the world went black. When I next opened my eyes, I was lying in the dirt rubbing my head.
It took me a minute to figure out what had happened. I think I startled Izzy when I touched him, and he must have spooked hard enough to knock me into the pipe fencing, bashing my head into the pole. I laid in the dirt for quite a few minutes boohooing as I checked my scalp for blood. My neck hurt and so did my head. Poor Izzy stared at me lying in the dirt with a very worried look on his face.
After making sure that nothing was broken, I sent a text to my husband explaining why I wouldn't be picking up lunch on my way home. When I walked in the front door, he had an ice pack and some ibuprofen waiting for me. After icing, I took a two hour nap and even went to bed early.
I spent the rest of the weekend gently probing my skull, checking on the tenderness. It hurts enough this morning that even my sun hat caused me some discomfort. I am on my way to the barn this morning. Before I saddle up, I am going to check to see if I can even wear my helmet. No helmet means no riding.
See what I mean about needing a helmet while not riding? Like they say, it's not if we'll get hurt but when ... Sheesh.