Thursday 28 January 2021

My Holiday Shopping

 I was pretty good about not going crazy on spending over Christmas this year. However, I did succumb to a targeted ad that came across my Instagram feed. And I'm glad that I did!

The ad was for a small company called Vencedora Eq. They are local-ish in that they are in my province, but too far away for me to be able to shop in person. Their selection is quite limited; this isn't an everything-you-need-for-your-horse kind of shop.

The ad was along the lines of "up to 75% off". I'll always check out those deals but I usually don't find anything of interest.

To my surprise I found a few things that I liked - and I really liked the prices. 

I ended up ordering a couple base layer shirts at $15 each, a quilted jacket for $42, a belt for $13 and a saddle pad for $29. That got me free shipping.

I'm not really keen on ordering clothing online due to fit issues. But I figured at those prices I could make it work.

The quick reviews:

The base layer shirts - "Eva" - simple, polyester V neck shirts. The sleeves are on the longer side (I have to roll up the ends), the fit in the body is a close-fit, the fabric clingy. The colours are great - I got the ink blue and the raspberry. Happy with them at $15 each.

Photo from

The jacket - "Nadia" in navy - well, the description says that it runs small. It does. Sized for someone slim with no boobs - not me. I can do it up, and it looks fantastic, but I wouldn't be able to ride in it without undoing the zipper most of the way. 

Photo from

But it's a super cute jacket. It's got a 2-way zipper, tailored fit, and a shiny look to the quilting. I really like it, and so far I'm keeping it (but I really need to lose a few pounds before I can wear it out of the house). I might try to sell it at some point and since I only paid $42 for it I think I could get that back.

The belt - a braided elastic belt in red and navy. I like the belt and have worn it quite a bit. However, I wish I had ordered a smaller size. I did my due diligence in measuring and it ended up being longer than ideal. Still wearable though. It was $13.

The highlight of the order was the saddle pad.

They only come in a jumper style and in three colours - red, burgundy and navy. I ordered it in burgundy.

It's a really nice pad. So nice, that there are now at least five of them in my barn - everyone wanted to know where I got it. 

It's got a satin finish on the outside layer and silver braiding along the edge. Like, a shiny silver braid. It looks far more expensive than the $29 that it cost me.

Silver braid next to the cording and a nice little button detail.

I liked it so much that I piggy-backed on someone else's order and also grabbed the navy one. It helps that it's a good shape for my rather oddly shaped saddle. 

The website is definitely worth a look. The sale prices are still in effect - not sure if they are closing or clearing out to make room for more inventory as the ad's state. There's not a lot of options but what they do have is priced really well. 

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Brothers Are Annoying

 It's been a beautiful winter so far out here in the the prairies. Daytime highs have been holding just above freezing most days and nights haven't cooled off too much. And barely any snow so far.

Yeah, that's all ended.

Mother Nature finally remembered that's it's January in Alberta. Our temperatures plummeted this past weekend. Just before the dump of cold we had a snow squall that brought in super high winds and a rain/snow mix (which all hit just as I was planning to ride - the ride didn't happen). So now the ground at the barn is covered in a sheet of ice.

Ponies aren't moving around enough and thus are sassy.

Phantom keeps threatening to bolt off at a canter. Cisco's hind end feels a little bouncy for the first few minutes of the ride and he spooks at anything that moves more than a millimeter or makes a sound louder than a floating balloon. He quickly works out of his excess energy, Phantom works into it.

They've got the next week off though. I can't dress warm enough and feel my feet in the stirrups in this weather.

I managed to get the arena free on Sunday for them to go for a little play together. 

It started off as it usually does - Cisco stays right next to Phantom and pushes his luck annoying her. 

She puts up with it for a while and then tells him enough. He only sorta listens.

 Some hijinks ensue.

Then Cisco made a mistake. He blocked Phantom from going where she wanted to go - namely, down to the scary end. He cut her off just as she was starting to speed up along the rail. 

This did not go over well with Phantom.

She immediately spun her butt towards him and let him know with her back feet that that was rude. And she was not in a forgiving mood. Little brother really pissed off his big sister. He kept trying to approach her and she just turned her butt and backed towards him. The big FU.

Unfortunately, I didn't catch most of this on video. I caught the tail end of it - you can see the definite difference in their body language from earlier. 

I decided that was probably a good place to end it. Also because Phantom looked a bit lame. 

Not sure why, she had been looking pretty good (for a creaky old mare) earlier. Maybe she jammed her leg down when she had to stop hard. Oh well, she's got at least a week to let it rest.

I want to try to let them loose again at some point during the week. I don't know if I'll do it together or separately this time though!

Monday 25 January 2021

My Horse is Sometimes an Asshole

 After the terrrible, spooky start to trying to ride a couple of Friday's ago I decided that it was time to go back to some groundwork with Cisco. I haven't done much of it lately and I do think that it has helped in the past, so it was time to grab the rope halter.

Don't get sucked in by this innocent face.

I was hoping to get a free arena so that I could work with Cisco when he is in his high alert mode. And I did - for maybe three minutes. Within 15 minutes there were about six horses in the arena. Oh well.

We started with our TRT Method groundwork in the scary end of the arena. This groundwork focuses on getting the horse to relax. It took a few minutes, but Cisco was doing pretty good with it. He always wants to try to scoot out of the end, so I had to keep catching him at that moment to stop his feet with his butt towards the scary end.

We also did a bit of work with an umbrella, which isn't something that Cisco typically gets excited about. I was looking for reasons to reward him with a click and treat. I couldn't mess around as much as I would have liked as there were a couple of riders having a lesson on green horses and I didn't want to fry their horses, but we were getting stuff done. Cisco was being pretty good and didn't seem too worried about the end of the ring. 

We were standing at rest with his butt towards A (at the scary end), a few feet off the track, me facing him and a bit to his right. I was trying to decide what I was going to do next with him.

And then I suddenly got run over by a Mack truck.

Well, that's what it felt like.

My asshole of a horse heard something behind him while he was "at rest" - don't know what because I didn't hear it (might have been because one of the horses being ridden went behind him on the track for the 50th time that night?) - and did the same thing he does under saddle, which is the GTFO bolt. Unfortunately, I was in the way of his GTFO, and he slammed his shoulder into my chest and knocked me backward onto the ground.

I'm pretty sure there was an audible "splat" sound. I most definitely did not bounce back up.

I also didn't let go of him, but because I didn't bounce back up within three seconds I couldn't have that come to Jesus moment with him about my personal space. It happened so fast that I have no clue as to if he actually attempted to go around me or just blindly bolted, which is what I suspect.

I told you I needed this on a t-shirt!

Once I caught my breath, picked up my toque, dug the treats out of the footing that had fallen out of my pockets and brushed the dirt off my butt we went back to the groundwork. This time, I was a lot more firm about him needing to stop his feet coming out of the scary end.

He was pretty well foot perfect. And he even gave a huge yawn release, which is something he doesn't typically do.

We did a few more minutes before I decided to end the day - mostly because my back was starting to tighten up. The rest of the evening was spent with a heating pad and thinking up sales ads (not really, but it's a good thing he's cute).

Phantom is smart and would never knock over her mother treat dispensing machine. 

Sunday 24 January 2021

It's Super Spooky-Wooky!

 I haven't been posting about my rides much of late. The rides have been happening, they just haven't been all that exciting. Well, unless you count all of the scoot spooks that Cisco has been doing - after a couple of months of not going in the arena during his time off we seem to be back to the beginning as to how worried he is in the scary end of the arena. 

If there are other horses in there with us, he's not too bad - he'll go down there without much hesitation and just be highly suspicious of everything outside the riding surface. As soon as he's by himself because the ring empties out he starts looking for the boogeyman everywhere, sucks back on the way down to the scary end, and will take every opportunity he can to scoot out of the corners and back to safety.

But at least his mane has almost grown back in. 

It's so getting old.

I never know what horse I'm getting. 

I need this on a t-shirt.

A couple of Thursday's ago he started a bit up for our ride, despite that there was a bunch of horses in the arena with him. He had a couple of good scoots during our walk warmup when a horse that was being lunged in the scary end torqued off behind him. 

But our ride ended up going really well. He tried really hard to do what I was asking of him, which was to lengthen his neck instead of shortening and tightening it. This worked really well at giving me a lot more control over his shoulders and seemed to take away some of his ability to just fling his shoulders everywhere (Andalusians are very good at that).

I ended up being really happy with the ride. 

I swear his neck felt longer than this. But this is on his tougher side where he wants to quit when he slightly loses his balance, and on this ride he didn't feel himself and was throwing his shoulder to the left (instead of the right like he usually does) so I ended the ride after this canter. Also - I need to sit back at this moment of the canter stride and stop trying to baby the canter!

The next night I made myself go out to ride. It was a bit chilly and dark so I wasn't really motivated but I wasn't going to be able to ride for a couple of days afterwards. I was also really hoping to be able to build on the previous night's ride and work on relaxation and that long neck again.

When I arrived at the barn there was no one around. Like, no one. I don't even think that there was anyone in any of the 3 residences on the property. 

I took my time getting Cisco ready for the ride and eventually headed over to the arena. The lights weren't on when we went over and as it was evening, it was dark in there. 

Apparently, Cisco doesn't like the dark.

He was barely inside the door before he stopped and stared into the dark at the scary end. I managed to get him to walk to the light switches with only one gtfo moment and I turned on the lights, totally expecting to see a blow-up Freddy Kruger floating around at the opposite end of the ring. 

Nope. Nothing had changed. Everything was just as it was the night before. 

I took him down to the scary end and tried to do a bunch of groundwork to slow down that running hamster in his brain. ADHD horse would relax for a millisecond before turning into a giraffe again and try to gtfo.

I wasn't sure I was even going to be able to get on, down in the good end of the ring because his brain was so frazzled. There was no one around and it was Friday evening and the chance of someone showing up wasn't high so I was questioning my life choices. 

Suddenly, the door at the far end opened up, and three teenagers that board next door arrived with their horses. I have never been happy to ride with these kids until this night (they seem to always be together and ride as a herd, kinda annoying). They saved my ride.

The hamster in Cisco's brain immediately jumped off its wheel and I was able to get on and have a really good ride. We built on the previous ride of working on getting a longer neck and had some really good attempts at the canter, including his harder left lead. Usually, on this rein he quits when he loses his balance just a little bit but he was able to stretch down and keep going. I was super happy.

We were walking out after the ride when Cisco's brain was blown once again.


The teenagers decided to race each other. Now, they were just doing what all horse girls do and having fun with their ponies, so I do not fault them at all. They lined their horses up at the scary end, counted down, and took off at a relatively controlled canter. Nothing crazy.

In Cisco's mind, horses running out of the scary corner validated his thoughts that there was something there to be scared of. And then he just couldn't.

I stayed on him for a couple of the "races" and then hopped off in the hopes I would have more control from the ground. He got slightly better but maintained his suspicions. 

So that ruined what ended up being a perfectly good night. 

I'm pretty sure I went through this last winter with him, and the winter before. It will pass, but omg it is so annoying. (starts Googling sound-deafening ear covers again)

Sunday 10 January 2021

New Place to Shop?

 Over Christmas, I was hoping to find a new winter coat to replace my current barn winter coat that is about 10 years old and starting to fall apart. There were lots of sales, but I have a list of things that I want in a coat and I wasn't able to find anything I was willing to pay for. 

In my search, I came across a website called I figured it was the website for the national sporting organization, and that since jumping is a sport in decathlon it made sense that it sold equestrian stuff.

However, I was wrong. Riding is not a sport in decathlon - it's in modern Pentathlon. Also, Decathlon is a sporting goods store.

Decathlon is a French company that is the largest retailer of sporting goods in the world, selling in 57 different countries. In Canada they have physical stores in Ontario and Quebec, in the US there are only a couple of stores in California. They sell stuff for something like 62 different sports, all under their own branding. No name brands. Thus, their prices are really good. 

They sell all kinds of horse things sold under their house brand Fouganza. Most of the horse care/tack items seem to be introductory level quality, so I don't know that I would buy much of it. But some of their clothing seems to be very reasonably priced and worth looking at. 

This leather halter looks cute and it's only $55!

I bit the bullet and ordered a pair of winter riding breeches. I've been looking for some to add to my rotation other than the Kerrit's full seats that I regularly wear, but I haven't found anything I've been willing to pay for. 

Decathlon had a few options at really good prices starting at $30 CDN. I ended up ordering this pair that has a silicone full seat and costs only $60. They even have a cell phone pocket, though I'm not optimistic that it will fit my cased Galaxy 10+.

I was going to order a different pair, that have a weatherproof finish to them that gives them a leather look but they didn't have my size. Having all sizes in-stock seems like it might be an issue as many of the items I looked at were only available in very small or very large sizes.

If the winter breeches work out, I might try these breeches for summer.

I did a search before ordering to see if I could find reviews and they were generally all positive saying that the quality is much better than the price reflects. 

There are a lot of things I wouldn't order from there - the sizing charts are horrible with little information of use and the descriptions on many items leave much to be desired. Returns are free if you return to a store but if you have to ship it back you would have to pay for shipping. 

I don't know that I would buy a $35 helmet, but I could see the appeal to parents of kids who are just starting and don't know if it will stick. It's not ASTM approved - it has an EN rating  (European) so it appears to still be legal to use in Canadian competitions.

For basic clothing staples however, it is worth a look.

I'll post a review when I receive the breeches. Fingers crossed that they are decent!

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Wordless Wednesday - BFF's

 Phantom and Cisco have been living in the same paddock together for the last year or so. They've lived together on many other occasions, so they know each other well. And most importantly, Cisco knows that Phantom is the boss.

Also in their current paddock are two other horses - a Fjord (probably a cross) named Pete (Petey, Peter) and a paint mare named Lucy.

Pete has been enamored of Phantom ever since their first meeting. It took her a while to warm up to him, but now they are always close to each other. 

Pete and Cisco have been roommates the longest of everyone in the paddock, so they also know each other well. Lucy is the newest to the group as of last spring, and she is definitely at the bottom of the herd. She tends to keep to herself because Pete will likely be mean to her, especially if Phantom is around. 

My two have always been excited to see me and try to be the first horse to be brought in. Lately, Pete has also been excited to see me. I don't often give treats in the paddock so I couldn't figure out why. It turns out that the lady who started riding Lucy this fall has been a bit generous with the treats when she goes out. So now everyone is a bit treat happy.

Thus, when I put my horses out, I end up with three beggars at the gate.


Saturday 2 January 2021

New Year Who Dis?

 Welcome to 2021!

Cisco modeled his tiny Christmas hat.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year's. Mine was quiet and relaxing. My province is in a partial lockdown - there is no social gathering allowed, inside or outside. Because I live alone I was allowed to visit one household over the holidays so I went to my parent's house, but I didn't have to visit with anyone else. It was lovely. Totally stress-free. 

Phantom also modeled, but she was being the high-maintenance type of model.

I went out to the barn on Christmas afternoon and gave the ponies their Christmas treats - Oatmeal Creme Pies. It was their first time tasting them - ooh, they liked them.

Cisco - "yeah, that'll do".

Phantom was all "what is this magic in my mouth and where is the next one?".

I was hoping to go for a Christmas day ride but I got out to the barn a bit later than planned because I had to sit in front of the computer for 1pm. Celeris was selling 25 discount codes for their custom boots and I wanted one. 

Despite some screw-ups in placing my order (put it in my cart, went to the payment page, saw the line to enter a discount code, thought "do I need to put in a discount code to get the discount code?", went back to read the directions again, nope, didn't need a discount code, managed to put a second deposit into my cart so had to delete one before submitting my payment) I got one of the 25% off codes. Apparently, they sold out in something like 47 seconds so I was happy that I got the 25% and not the bigger discount or free boots that went to the first three people to get their payments in. Now I've committed to fancy boots!

The ponies have been getting some saddle time over the last couple of weeks. Cisco's first ride after the break was a gong show - he spooked (big spooks) every time a pigeon farted in the arena. Those pigeons must have been eating beans because there were a lot of spooks. He totally redeemed himself on the next ride though so he gets to stay.

Phantom felt great on her first ride - in both the amount of energy she had and in how she moved. I hadn't given her any Previcox as I wanted to see what she felt like without it. The second ride didn't feel quite as good but not too bad once her trot warmed up. We're not doing much - lots of walking and short trots at the moment. We'll work our way back up slowly with her history of tying up at this time of year. 

The weather is supposed to be decent over the next couple of weeks - by which I mean cold, not freezing cold. I'm going to try my best to get out lots to get some rides in before the inevitable deep freeze sets in. It's winter in Alberta, it has to happen!