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2019 Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange

For the fourth year in a row, I participated in the Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange, which Tracy so kindly hosts (and has for seven years)!  I love choosing gifts for a fellow blogger, trying to find just the right thing to match their likes and interests.  And it is definitely fun to come home from work to a surprise package of horsey things for me!


This year, I received my gift quite early!  Thank you so much Eventing Saddlebred Style for the two surprises this past week!  She must have been checking out my Pinterest board I indicated I have, as these are both from my "want" category haha.

Plus, this is a new-to-me blog, so as soon as I finish this entry, I plan to tag along as a follower.  I like adding to my reading list, even though I have been terrible at commenting lately.


The cute little fox mug just makes me laugh.  I definitely cannot bring it to the middle school where I teach hahahaha, but I have already used it here at home a few times!

And the teal lead rope is aw…

Horsekeeping in the Arctic...

...err, I mean Maine.

The last few days here have been pretty brutal, with nighttime temps dipping down to -20 and daytime highs around 5 above.  It said -12 this morning at 6:45 when I woke up and now it is up to 3 degrees at 2PM.  This is not my favorite time of year, and despite having been born here, I am not a fan of winter.  Granted, it doesn't help that I have a blood vessel disorder (that has no cure).  We always get super cold weather for a brief stretch of time, but that doesn't mean I ever get used to it!

I think there are several factors that come into play when keeping horses happy in such frigid temps.  I am by no means a professional and what works for me and my horses will not work for everyone.  But as I close in on thirty years of owning horses, there are definitely a few things I have learned along the way.  As always, your mileage may vary and check with your veterinarian when in doubt.

FEED HAY.  LOTS OF HAY.
Seriously, I don't think there is a more import…

Christmas Tradition

For the first time that I can remember, we had a white Christmas Day!  Generally there is always snow on the ground here in Maine already, and maybe we get a few flurries that day, but I don't ever remember a true snowstorm on Christmas!

We had a really great Christmas, even if it was quiet.  No one wanted to travel in the storm, of course, so we ended up seeing family on Christmas Eve day and night.  It was odd to cook a meal for just the four of us, but honestly, it was rather nice to just relax.
It has become a tradition to ride my horses bareback on Christmas Day, though watching it snow like crazy all day made me think maybe I would just skip out this year haha.  It was cold and blowing and didn't really seem like the warmest best plan.  I started this when I got my first horse, Sparky in 1993, and except for the year I was gifted my first dressage saddle, I have ridden my horses bareback on Christmas!
Then around 1PM, it seemed to stop, so I figured I would at least toss th…

2017 Blogger Gift Exchange

First, I have to thank Tracey at Printable Pony for hosting this super fun equestrian blogger gift exchange!  I discovered this excitement only last year, though she has been arranging it for five years now!  I had Emily last year, from Wilbur, Ellie, and Emily, a new-to-me blog once I was given her as my blogger giftee!  It was so fun to stalk get to know her through her blog and then choose, wrap, and mail her gifts!  

This year I had to really be on the ball with my gifting, because I offered to ship my gift to Canada.  So I am waiting to hear if the package arrived!  I am so excited as there is nothing better than sending off a bunch of fun horsey gifts!

Because I sent my own gift a while ago, I kinda forgot about this for a while in the bustle of December.  It was only the last two days when other bloggers started writing about their own gifts arriving that I remembered!  And tonight (after the LOOOOONEST week teaching at school), the UPS man brought MY gift!  Yay!  What a fun kick…

NEJA Christmas Spectacular Jumper Show

After having such a blast at Ellie's first show, a little jumper show with the New England Jumper Association back in October, I set my sights on their last two schooling shows, one in November and the other in December.  Sadly, due to rain, the November show was cancelled (which bummed me out because it was a new venue for Ellie), but we were able to dodge the recent snow storms to attend their December show! 

Again we we back at Ellie's birthplace barn, Kennebec Morgan Farm.  This time I opted to get her a stall, because I had a feeling the footing in the parking area might be slippery (it was) and I wanted her to relax and not dance around at the trailer.  It was a great call on my part, and she just chilled out and ate her hay.  I was able to leave her in the stall and walk the course, pick up my ribbons afterwards, etc. without worrying about her being tied to the trailer.  

We left the house at 7am and it was a measly four degrees!  Blahhh!  I have never shown in December,…

2017 Goals Review

Man, 2017 was certainly the year of the unexpected in all ways.  Looking back, I realized I never posted anything specific about my goals, but I know what they were!

Attend the 2017 Area I Schooling Horse Trials ChampionshipsGet Snappy's canter to the point where we can move up to Training level dressage testsKeep the mares happy and healthyMy goals were pretty simple.  I knew Snappy wasn't quite ready to canter in public, so I decided to not show (for a second year in a row) at Intro level dressage shows.  Instead, I kept my showing goals limited to just horse trials in order to qualify for the Area I Championships.  
Of course, we did end up having a wonderfully fun five events (complete with five first place finishes) and did make it to the Championships.  I was slightly underwhelmed by the VERY low expectations at Championships, and we ended up in sixth place.  I admit, we never had been first after dressage in our qualifying events, but the reason we won so many times was b…

Baby Ellie!

I have unearthed Baby Ellie pics from the barn manager's Facebook haha!  I had time to kill one day last week.  Don't ask LOL.  Isn't she the cutest?!



Honoring and Grieving the Past

When my dear mare, Sparky, passed away in 2014, it took me a while but I finally created a shadow box for her with her barn halter (she is buried in her show halter), some of my favorite ribbons, and a few pics.  The box was moved from our rental house, to our new house, and has just been sitting in my office, propped up against the wall.


I bought another shadow box for Snappy not long after she passed, but it also took me some time to put it together.  I don't know, maybe I just wasn't ready to take down her halter from the hook in the tack room or pull down my favorite ribbons.  I just wasn't ready and I didn't want it to just sit on the floor either.

Over the weekend, I finally put it together.  The shadow box itself is different than the one I got for Sparky, so it is harder to arrange things, and I am not as happy with how her halter looks.  Oh well.

As I was making it on our large kitchen bar area, I said to my husband that I had no idea where to put them.  There re…

Bitting Miss Ellie

It seems that there are as many opinions out there about bits as there are horse people.  ;-)  Not to mention the large (and pricey!) options that have surfaced over the past several years!  I have always favored a French link mouthpiece for my horses and generally have stuck with a loose ring or eggbutt ring.  That is to say, I have started with a loose ring and found that my horses have preferred the stability of the eggbutt instead.  Snappy was even fussy in the eggbutt and I tried a French link boucher which finally seemed to be stable enough to keep her mouth happy.  Any excess bit movement appeared to give her tension.
So, my personal preference is to start with something I think tends to work best (such as the French link eggbutt) and follow the horse's lead.  With Ellie, she was in a loose ring with a flash in the pics I received before I bought her.  I don't use flash nosebands (just a personal preference as I don't see a need for them) and she was SUPER fussy in a…