Pattern Saddle Cover Giveaway Winner + Life Update!

Congratulations to Sarah of Three Chestnuts– she’s the winner of the Bel Joeor Metier pattern saddle cover giveaway! Sarah, I’ll be in touch. Thanks to everyone who entered.

I’m headed to Harvard Fox Hound’s Hunting 101 clinic this weekend. For the last couple of years, I’ve given a talk on hunting apparel at this event. The format is different this year, though, so I think I’m only expected to dress in ratcatcher attire and bring some hacking jackets from work! The weather should be lovely- it finally cooled off here, so the weekend highs are going to be in the 60s. I don’t have much schoolwork, so I’m going to ride on Sunday- I’m really looking forward to it!

My horses are fat and happy heading into winter. Moe and Gina are shaggy, Candy is chubby, and the baby is going through a growth spurt. I refuse to spend lots of money on a blanket he’ll outgrow immediately, so he’s got a cheap sheet on the way through work. Pink is probably not his best color, but it’s on sale and the appropriate size.

Johnny and I have discussed some farm improvement projects we want to tackle this fall/winter. The biggest of these is fencing. The front pasture fence appears to be held up by weeds in certain spots. In addition to replacing the fence, we want to expand it into our yard as much as well can. (Less mowing! More grazing!) I want to build another small paddock for winter use, but the whole thing hinges on where the septic system’s sprinklers can be moved. We also want to build a fence between our place and my friend next door’s; my driveway has a gate, but it’s useless for loose horses because they can mosey to the neighbor’s and run into the street. Finally, we want to expand the paddock immediately behind our barn. If you have fencing recommendations, let me know!

Other projects on the list are mud management panel installation, new barn lighting, and spraying & fertilizing the front pasture. My front pasture held up very well this year after I rested it in the winter. All three (plus Madigan after he arrived) horses were turned out 24/7 from April to October without supplemental hay or grain. They’re now stuffed in the sacrifice paddock behind the barn and feeling kind of grumpy about it.

What are y’all up to this weekend? Whatever it is, I hope it’s great!

Ride For The Cure

For the last five years, Harvard Fox Hounds has hosted a Ride for the Cure fundraiser in September. One of our members put the ride together after participating in the Komen Race for the Cure at work, and it’s been a wildly popular event for HFH ever since. This year’s event felt especially important and meaningful since one of Harvard’s members was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year.

Back in August, a local news station came out to film footage for a story about our event. (You can watch the story here– Moe and I have an extremely brief cameo around the three minute mark.) The actual ride was in September, and I took a break from homework and hauled Moe out.

We went with the walk/trot/sometimes canter group. Moe was very excited to be out and about! He’s a good trail horse, but I usually opt to take Gina because she’s less fussy in a big group. Moe usually wants to be in the front at all times, and his brakes can be, uh, unreliable. It was disgustingly hot and humid, which took some of the wind out of his sails. Five minutes into the ride, he was sweating and walking at a reasonable speed.

Our group stayed out for about an hour and a half and spent most of the ride checking trails we’ll use hunting this winter. Some of them had downed trees and most were wild with lush vegetation thanks to all the rain we’ve had this summer. Moe was a real trooper and carefully stepped over branches and happily pushed through vines and weeds. Lots of the jumps were clear enough to go over, though!

Moe behaved reasonably well about jumping and galloping in a group. A hundred years ago when we were both younger, I took him hunting. It was a disaster- he was way too excitable and nearly passed the field master several times. Since then, he’s gone on walk-only trail rides or gone out with one or two friends who were okay with moving quickly. But on this ride, he was good about stopping and standing when the group did so, and he wasn’t hellbent on leading the pack.

Moe really seemed to enjoy himself on this ride! He jumped every log, barrel, ditch, and coop I presented to him without any hesitation. He even tackled one of the trickiest coops on the property without a blip. The coop is at the end of a narrow trail hemmed in by big trees. Its landing is on a downhill slope, and there’s about half a stride before you jump a ditch and land on the gravel road. Moe seemed surprised when he found himself on a road, but trotted on without any trouble. He also had a funny moment where he jumped a big log and caught up with another horse on the other side. He cantered alongside the other horse for a couple of strides, then shot off at a dead run up a hill and left that horse in the dust.

It’s been a while since I took Moe on a ride like that, and it’s been a long time since I did much jumping with him at all! He’s sound and happy, but he’s 24. He had EPM a couple of years ago. And there’s a little scar on one of his eyes from an ulcer. He seems to see fine and feel fine, but it’s not something I really wanted to test the limits of. However, he had zero trouble with this ride and greeted me the next morning as perky as ever.

So Moe’s going to take up his fourth career as a foxhunter this winter! It’ll be good to take some of the load off Gina- she does well and seems to enjoy hunting as much as she enjoys anything, but I know she’ll be happier if she’s not the one going out every week. I still want to take Candy out a couple of times this season, but having Moe as another first field horse will be nice. And having two reliable horses means I can bring a friend! (Seriously, come visit! I have a spare bedroom!)

Product Review: Bel Joeor Metier Saddle Cover

Several months ago, I won a saddle cover from Amanda at Bel Joeor. I was really excited to win it! My dressage saddle’s cover is a sad, limp thing that I fished out of a box at work when I went shopping for my saddle. It mostly kept the dust off, but the cover slid off if you looked at it wrong because the elastic was so stretched out.

I chose a pretty blue and gray chevron cover from Amanda’s shop, Bel Joeor Metier. She shipped it promptly, and I gleefully replaced my old cover as soon it arrived. The quality of this saddle cover is outstanding. It’s made from thick, soft fleece that feels luxurious. The fleece is sturdy and seems unlikely to tear or rip. The elastic also feels very durable, like it won’t stretch out quickly.

While the cover is designed to fit saddles up to 17.5″, it fits over both of my saddles. My dressage saddle is an 18″ King’s Sandringham that has a moderately deep seat and small thigh blocks, and my jumping saddle is an 18″ Ainsley Cross Country Pro National with an extremely forward flap. I tested the cover on an 18″ Trilogy Amadeo I had in the barn from work, and it was just a little too small to fit over that saddle’s large thigh blocks. Fortunately, Amanda makes custom covers!

These covers are an excellent addition to anyone’s tack room. They’re attractive and extremely well made. If you need a new saddle cover or are thinking ahead to holiday gift-giving, you cannot go wrong with a saddle cover from Bel Joeor Metier! (Or anything from there, really.)

Amanda has graciously offered to give away a patterned saddle cover to a lucky winner! Pop over to her Etsy shop and comment which patterned cover you want to win. You have until Wednesday, October 9, 2019 to enter; a winner will be randomly chosen from all entries on October 11, 2019.