Blowout sale on various apparel

Thanks for all your well wishes for Moe! Rest assured, he appreciated them. I’m definitely looking forward to moving both horses this weekend to a barn where I feel confident about their care.

Onto a more fun topic: sales! Well, a sale. My first task at my new job is to update all of the clearance apparel on the tack store’s website. There’s a ton of it, most of it last year’s winter lines from various brands. The price on most of these items is at or just above wholesale cost. The catch? A lot of it is uncommon sizes and extremely limited quantities.

I’m only about halfway through this massive project, but thought I’d give y’all a heads up about some of the sweet deals that are available. (Disclaimer: I don’t get a commission if you buy things online. But maybe I’ll get a raise one day?)

Anky sleeveless top, $10. Super soft and lightweight polyester polo tank. It’s very flattering and stylish- it’s hard to see in the picture, but it’s a wrap-style top. There’s one left, size medium in a cream color. (That’s my coworker Jasmine modeling.)
Gersemi stretch cotton tee, $10. This is an extremely soft and luxurious t-shirt. Gersemi is a Swedish high-fashion equine line that makes all kinds of clothing. There are two of these tees in size small in the amethyst color pictured. 
Truitt Jane Polo, $10. These polos are very, very cute in person. They’re a nice pique fabric with an embroidered zebra on the left breast. I like that they only have two buttons on the placket- I hate polos with tons of buttons. They’re available in lime green, neon orange, mauve, and black. They’re most available in small and extra small, but there are a few mediums there too.
Irideon Chinchillaaah Half Zip Fleece, $29.97. This thing is seriously soft, y’all. It’s so cozy and warm- it’d be perfect for brisk fall days or worn as a layer under a heavier jacket in the winter. There are a few sizes in each color (sugarplum and saddle)- you’ll have to check the website to see if what you want is available.
Irideon tall boot tee, $16.17. I love these long sleeve t-shirts! They have a modest v-neck and are a nice, slightly stretchy cotton. The graphic on the front is a small circular Irideon logo on the left breast and you can see the graphic on the back- a tall boot composed of horse related words like “half chaps” “jump” and “ride”. 
Anyway, over the next week for so, more inventory will pop up on the website as I get through it. There are some heavy insulated winter breeches and more long sleeve shirts on super sale (50% off MSRP). 
If any more crazy cheap stuff comes up, y’all will be the first to know! 

Desk jockey

Good news, y’all! Yours truly is no longer unemployed! Or rather, yours truly is no longer under-employed teaching the occasional riding lesson and training the occasional horse.

Starting Monday, I’ll be the web manager for my local tack store The Horse of Course! When I was in to browse saddle pads a few weeks ago, I noticed they were hiring. I applied, and thanks to a well-placed call from a friend with a contact there, I was granted an interview.

I’m really excited, but also a little nervous. It’s a full time position, but has flexible hours. The barn is now a solid 45-60 minute drive away; I think as long as I get up bright and early, I’ll be able to ride before work. After all, someone has to keep Freddie in line and feed Moe cookies.

Speaking of Freddie, I got a hack in on her this afternoon. She was excellent in the arena, all softness and bends and little baby lateral movements. I headed outside for a walk around the hay meadow with our friends Holly and Sundance for company; Freddie was a real gem for about five minutes. Then she went from calm and happy to omgomgomg bolt now wut! in approximately 30 seconds. 
I don’t have a clue as to what set her off. Perhaps Sundance was too far behind her? Maybe the grass was extra tickly today? At any rate, Fred spent some time on a tiny circle and sidepassed for the better part of the walk back to the barn. We went back to work in the indoor arena for about 10 minutes, where she was cool as a cucumber. I’ll just file today under “learning curve” and leave it at that.

Horsey Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and it always has been. It’s the day after my birthday; as a youngster, that meant cake and presents one day and candy galore the next. (Somehow, I never had a birthday/Halloween double-party.) I’ve always enjoyed dressing up and having fun with the spooky holiday.

This year, I didn’t dress up (my zombie costume that saw me through college is a little too bloody for a therapeutic riding center), but I arrived at work early to get a jump on decorating the horses!
Fancy as a Dalmatian.

Sledge as a cowboy.

Honey as a giraffe.

Wolfman as one of Santa’s reindeer. (With his decorator, Sarah!)

Kloe as a skeleton.

King as a (grumpy) cowboy.
Speck as a patriotic pony.

The paint on the Honey and Kloe is kids’ finger paint; Fancy has face paint on. The two pintos at work were Indian war ponies and had red and yellow finger paint on their coats. The white finger paint and face paint washed off without much difficulty; poor Jake and Cherokee are still sporting red circles around their eyes and yellow hand prints on their rumps! 

Did anyone else decorate their horse for Halloween? Any suggestions on costumes for next year?

Horse Camp

This isn’t a blog challenge post, but I thought I’d share a little of what I’ve been doing this week in hopes it might bring a few laughs to your day! The therapeutic riding center where I work hosts an able-bodied day camp for a week during the summer. Somehow, they’ve decided to put me (mostly) in charge of it, which is both amazing and terrifying.

Here are some highlights of the week so far:

  • The fattest, slowest therapy horse in the barn transformed into a super forward hunter type once he had a bit in his mouth. Seriously, y’all, I can’t persuade this horse to trot to save his life when he has a special needs rider on his back, but stick an able-bodied kid on him and turn him loose and it’s like he’s aiming for the Maclay! (Hilarious, because he’s a fat pinto horse; not hilarious because he terrifies the children.)
  • One of the boys in my group is ten years old and knows all the words to “Don’t Stop Believin'”. He also asked me if I was “letting [my] hair go” and if Johnny was looking forward to the cake tasting part of wedding planning. ???
  • While swimming, the kids latched onto me in the pool, demanding I tow them around like a train. It doesn’t matter how often I nearly drown; they are intent to continuing the train.
  • You can teach kids how to bridle a horse a hundred times; this is totally irrelevant unless they can actually reach the horse’s head.
  • No matter how many times you tell a child “Brutus doesn’t need any more hay; he’ll get some with his dinner,” Brutus will get at least six times more hay than usual. 

I am having so much fun with summer camp, despite some of the weirdness and mishaps! Have y’all ever done a summer camp? Love it? Hate it?

Respect

For most of my life, I’ve ridden english. When I was very young and just beginning to take lessons and learn to ride, I rode my Shetland pony Daisy in a tiny western saddle. My pony came with that saddle, and I think my parents thought it would be easier for a 4 year old child to stay on with a deeper-seated saddle and that horn. There’s photographic evidence somewhere of 12 year old Stephanie dressed and ready to go in the local Bridle & Saddle Club’s western pleasure class, bandanna and all. But for the majority of my life, I have ridden english. I ride in an english saddle on trail rides, when I’m schooling a therapy horse at work, and when I’m tootling around the arena for fun. I’ve even attempted a barrel race at a fun show on Moe in my jumping saddle.

Although I’ve never been a western rider, I’ve never felt that western riders were somehow beneath me. Sure, I’ve thought that riding in western pleasure classes would be boring. Or that trying to gallop in a western saddle seems counter-intuitive. But I’ve never thought that people who choose to ride western are bad or less capable than their english counterparts. There are good and bad riders in every equestrian sport, right?

Unfortunately, two new employees at work don’t seem to share the same views. Both are rodeo competitors- one a barrel racer and one a roper. Both have the attitude that english riders are somehow less capable because we don’t chase livestock around and wear silly jackets. I’ve been on the receiving end of comments like “Dressage? That horse dancing stuff? That’s about the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen” and “The only good horse is one that works cattle” and derogatory remarks regarding the ability of english riders.

While Oklahoma is certainly cowboy country and horses are still an integral part of ranch life and culture, I am totally bewildered by the lack of respect for equestrians in different disciplines. I never tell these two, “Yeah, your horse must be so good at working cattle because he LOOKS just like a cow” or “If you didn’t have that horn on your saddle you wouldn’t stay on” even though I’m tempted to. I bite my tongue to keep the peace at my workplace, but it makes my blood boil to be treated with such contempt.

Have y’all ever encountered rude riders?