Friday Five: Devon Edition

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Only three more days of Dressage a Devon, then it’s off to Region 9 Championships (Texas contingent, let’s meet up)! There’s a lot going on this week, but this is what’s been on my radar:

ONE BYOB restaurants

I live in Oklahoma, a state with draconian liquor laws, so when we tried to order beer at a Thai place here in Devon, I was totally confused when the waitress told us the restaurant was BYOB! Bring-your-own-bottle restaurants are definitely not A Thing in places I’ve lived (Tennessee, Kansas, and Oklahoma), but after a run to The Beeryard to get the beverage of my choice, I’m kind of into it. Is this something your state has?

TWO PONY’TUDE

I met Alli, half of PONY’TUDE! She came down to the show Thursday morning, ostensibly for work.  She graciously allowed me to subject her to playing dress-up in all sorts of breeches and coats before regaling me with entertaining stories of her trail riding adventures. (She is a hardcore trail rider!)  Alli is incredibly nice, very funny, and somewhat taller than I expected (I mean, she does ride a pony)- if you have the chance to meet up with her, DO IT!

THREE Königs field boots

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This is definitely a sign that I’ve been hanging out on the dressage trailer too much: a pair of custom Königs field boots are starting to look more and more appealing. It’s not that I don’t like my Ariats- I do! (I especially like the price.) But when I see all the fun options for these boots and think about having a pair that fits perfectly and getting them for my sort of okay employee discount…

FOUR Rocking E Cowgirl t-shirts

Allie over at Rocking E Cowgirl has some majorly cute tees for sale! How could I not want one, especially when I’ll be sporting something from a fellow Okie?

FIVE Boyd Martin

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Late in the afternoon yesterday, Boyd Martin popped into work’s Devon booth to say hello to my boss. I promptly choked on the water I was drinking, staring at him agape for a moment until I got myself together enough to not asphyxiate. He was chatting with my boss about totally normal things- the dressage boots he bought a couple of years ago, his baby, the Rio Olympics. I managed to hold it together when my boss introduced me and only blurted “CAN I GET A PICTURE WITH YOU?” after I acted like a normal human being.

What are you up to this weekend?

Dispatches from Devon

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I’m halfway through my adventure in Pennsylvania! I arrived Sunday evening and hit the hay pretty early after a quick dinner with the rest of The Horse of Course crew. We spent Monday moving into our space at the show grounds at Devon. The whole thing is much more involved than shows usually are; our vendor space at Devon is indoors, in a building. We install the shelving, racks, and gridwall, then move in everything from the mobile unit- literally, every single thing. The volume of merchandise required for a show like Dressage at Devon is bananas; in addition to the entire inventory of the big dressage trailer, there’s also about 10 large moving boxes’ worth of apparel from the store and several boxes of tack shipped directly to the show grounds from the store’s vendors.

In between setting up, constantly rearranging, and helping people find the perfect breech (or boot, or shadbelly, or scarf), I’ve had time to walk around the rest of the vendor village and watch a few classes.

The booth has a great view of the warmup ring!
The booth has a great view of the warmup ring!

I watched the young horse in-hand classes on Tuesday, and it made me more disappointed than ever that Gina reabsorbed her embryo! There were some very nice young horses on the triangle…and some very naughty ones!

Naughty 2 year old stallion.
Naughty 2 year old stallion.

I also watched a couple of Materiale classes yesterday, which were really interesting. Materiale classes are under saddle group classes for young horses in which they are judged on movement, potential as a dressage horse, and overall general impression.

Lovely four year old mare!
Lovely four year old mare!

And you never know who you’ll see at Dressage at Devon! I spent 10 minutes watching the warmup for a Materiale class and trying to get a good picture of one of work’s customers. One of the riders in the group was a chic-looking woman with a lovely, quiet style of riding who seemed cool as a cucumber; when the class began, I realized I’d spent 10 minutes admiring Silva Martin!

I’m looking forward to the weekend, and to USDF Region 9 Championships in Houston next week!

Friday Five

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It’s Friday, y’all! That means Johnny and I will spend all evening and as much time as possible tomorrow moving things into our new house! Our old house is slated for renovation from the sewer-water incident to begin the first week of October, so we’re trying to move as much stuff as possible before I leave for Dressage At Devon at 7 AM on Sunday morning. (If you’re going to be at Devon and want to say hi, send me an email at [email protected])

Anyway, here’s what’s been on my radar this week:

ONE Tabby Cat

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If you’re using Google Chrome, you should install Tabby Cat. Every time you open a new tab, an adorable cat is generated. They have adorable names like “Sneaky Twinkie” and “Li’l Marshmallow”, and some of them come with adorable accessories like a fez, soccer ball, or glasses. My work day is 1000% improved by the addition of Tabby Cat.

TWO A beginner’s guide to hunting: all your questions answered from Horse & Hound

I have hunting on the brain! It’s just about a month away, and I’ve bribed some of the more adventurous barn children to take Gina out on conditioning hacks while I’m gone over the next couple of weeks. This short article from Horse & Hound has some good tips for anyone interested in going out this season.

THREE The Girl Who Doesn’t Exist from Radiolab

This episode of podcast Radiolab describes the strange tale of a girl born in Texas, but doesn’t actually exist in the eyes of the state. She was born at home, home schooled, and never visited a doctor. Since leaving her family’s home, she’s struggled to do things the rest of us take for granted- get a driver’s license, go to school, and get a job.

FOUR B Vertigo Lexington dressage pad

need the teal pad with purple piping. It will look hideous on both horses, but it’s so pretty!

FIVE Five Questions with Charlotte Dujardin at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show from Chronicle of the Horse

How I wish I could watch Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro perform their freestyle tomorrow night! I’ll have to settle for watching a video after the fact, but how awesome!

Thanks, Pony Club

I was hanging around in the barn last night after hacking Gina, watching small children have lessons on lazy ex-western pleasure horses and naughty ponies, joking with my friends, and feeling relieved that I was finally able to pick up the keys to the new house. The barn owner’s phone rang, and after a terse conversation, she turned to me and said, “Stephanie, C. is having some kind of horse emergency at her place and needs an extra set of hands- can you go?” Barn owner ended up coming with me because I didn’t know where our friend C. lived, exactly, and I grabbed my equine first aid kit on my way.

(c) Flickr Creative Commons
(c) Flickr Creative Commons

We were greeted by a frantic C. and a blood-covered pinto mare. It didn’t take long to find a deep laceration on the mare’s pastern, right above her heel. She had clearly been up and down several times, and the freely bleeding wound had painted her white areas a disturbing pinkish color. I grabbed some gauze squares from my first aid kit, picked up the leg, and tried to stanch the flow. Many gauze squares later, the blood flow slowed to a sluggish ooze and stayed that way until the vet arrived. The mare (who is a pasture pet) damaged some cartilage in her leg and will have surgery to repair the damage and a foot cast to keep the wound clean and closed.

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Last night, I was very grateful for the equine first aid knowledge I gained as a member of Pony Club. Pony Club taught me to keep an equine first aid kit handy. It taught me what to keep in it. It taught me what steps to take when confronted with an ugly, messy wound. I can still remember studying for a rating and repeating, “Step one: arrest the bleeding. Step two: clean the wound. Step three: dress the wound. Step four: bandage the wound if necessary,” to myself. I learned to check a horse’s vital signs, and what typical ranges for those signs are. I learned to stay calm and gather as much information for the vet as possible.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been glad for the education Pony Club provided. Many, many years ago when I first bought Moe, I decided to take him on a hack down our quiet road. We were about a mile from home when he spooked at a car backfiring. He bolted straight over a metal culvert pipe and sliced open his pastern. I knew I shouldn’t lead him home with the cut open and bleeding, so lacking any other materials to work with, I took off my t-shirt and used it as a crude bandage. I’m sure we were a bizarre sight; a teenager in a sports bra, boots, and breeches leading a limping horse down the road.

All roads lead to Rome; I know many excellent horsemen and women who have never heard of Pony Club, and gained skills and knowledge through other organizations like 4-H, or through a college education, or simply through hands-on experience. Nevertheless, I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn equine first aid skills (among other things) as a youngster through Pony Club!

Summer bucket list results

Back in June, I made an equestrian bucket list for the summer. Summer is officially over tomorrow, so let’s look at how I did!

Lots of trail riding this summer!
Lots of trail riding this summer!
  • Go horse camping: didn’t happen, although in retrospect, this was probably sort of a dumb idea in a place where temperatures stay in the triple digits through the summer. I’m adding this to my fall bucket list, though!
  • Swim on a horse: totally happened with both Gina and Candy! (Although Candy was way more into than Gina was!)
  • Enter a jumper show: checked this off my list! Will I ever go back? Ugh, I don’t know. It was really stressful, even if Moe was a trooper.
  • Spend a day at the races: didn’t happen. Remington Park in Oklahoma City has several stakes races on the calendar for October, so maybe I can catch some racing next month!
  • Trail ride at a new place: I went to two new places this summer! I went hacking with Harvard Fox Hounds at a member’s pecan farm, and I went to Lake Heyburn State Park.
  • Ride a new horse: I’ve gotten lots of riding in on Candy!
  • Go to an educational event: mixed bag on this one. I attended the Oklahoma Dressage Society’s summer meeting, which included lectures from a technical delegate about bits and a saddle fitter. I didn’t learn much I didn’t already know (except for learning about what bits you can and can’t use in western dressage, which isn’t very relevant to my interests). So, I attended an event, but I didn’t get much out of it.

FINAL RESULT: 5/7 

I’m working on a bucket list to keep me motivated for fall. I enjoy having something that’s more like a list of things to do and less like hard-and-fast goals!