Thankful Thoughts

OK so slacking a little bit here on my goal to blog every week at least…this past was a little busy with some unexpected surprises so I am back on the blogging train. Unfortunately, one of the horses in our barn had Emergency Colic surgery a week ago, but is luckily coming home today. They ended up having to take 4 feet out of his intestine due to strangulation from a lipoma. A very stressful situation for everyone in our tight knit barn family, but we are just so happy he is on his way to recovery! Colic man, it hits fast and out of no where. I have had my minor experiences with gas colic and the occasional tubing but never on this level. He was out grazing when I had left the barn earlier that day and 4.5 hours later on the table for major surgery.

A bit of an optical illusion, but Montego looks like a pony next to his friend MAC

It was a reminder to just how precious every moment I get with my horses is. Both have been really great the past couple of weeks. Montego has been in steady work again prepping for the show season. The vet was out for both horses for annual Spring Vaccinations and coggins. Montego has some slight hesitation in his LH stifle and both hocks so I think I will schedule to have them injected again end of May. The hock injections really made a difference for him at the canter last year so hoping that we will have that success again this year. Luna was great for all her vaccinations. I had the vet look at her right hip that seems to be the only lingering problem from her fence injury. Nothing she was overly concerned about, but suggested as I increase her strength training with gridwork and hills to strengthen her stifles I throw her a bit of bute here and there to keep her comfortable.

BABY LUNA PICTURES

Luna had also recently gotten hind shoes as a recommendation by my farrier to hopefully help stop the removal of her LF shoe every 2.5 weeks. He’s hoping its just the way she’s learning to use her body and that when her front legs learn to get out of the way of her hind she will stop ripping that damn shoe off. WELL….it didn’t exactly work like that. Exactly 2.5 weeks from when our farrier was out she was running around like a nut in her field and poof LF shoe off. I did actually have new Cavallo boots to put on her after the shoe pull to see if I could minimize the amount of wrapping I have to do between when my farrier can come back out to put it on. They were so new and sparkly, but now completely covered in mud…SIGH. I ordered size 4 and size 5 because her two front feet are actually different sizes. The farrier is luckily coming out today to put the shoe back on, so I will ask him if he has any other suggestions to keep me from seeing him every two or three weeks. I am going to try the professionals choice no turn bell boots, she lives in rubber ones now 24/7 but maybe a harder material will help. If any one has any ideas I am desperate. My poor farrier probably hates me by now LOL.

Before the boot was completely covered in mud

Before Luna decided to pull her shoe, we were having some really nice rides. My jumping trainer returned from her winter in Wellington and did a training ride on Luna for me. It was the first time she has met her, but she really liked her brain and movement for me. The biggest take aways from that riding with spurs is a must. She respects them so much more than a whip and it just helps to gently remind her forward is better and she needs to move laterally to supple herself and balance. She is such a big horse getting her front end to match her hind end is a bit of a challenge right now, but with a lot of transitions and lateral movements I think we are going places in our training. I did end up switching her bit again and am actually riding her in the same one as Montego, the Stubben EZ control. Its just a normal loose ring 3 piece, but when the horses get heavy on the bit it locks into a Mullen. I think she is overall the least mouthy in this bit and paired with a flash she does not have a rogue tongue sticking out in all directions.

New Saddle ❤

Best news of all…I finally found a saddle for Luna too! I ended up going with an Amerigo DJ Monoflap (post to come soon on the new saddles). After riding Dressage, I just could not go back to the short billets and since my goal is not hunters mono flap is perfect for us. My goal is to have the saddle fitter out to flock both saddles to the horses, but I am very excited to be over with the saddle shopping for now.

Another picture of my favorite sparkle boot, before the mud

Dressage lessons this weekend, so I am sure to have updates and new riding video. Goal is to stay on the blogging train!

Pollen and Shedding Blades

Spring is in full force and I am not complaining. My seasonal allergies are back and the amount of hair that I come home with on me every day from the barn are the best signs that the weather is finally warmer and here to stay. Spring has also brought on some new problems especially for Montego. He is currently separated from the herd because he decided out of nowhere to develop his stallion tendencies and has started mounting Luna and the other mare Tes in the field. Before I got Montego, he was only in solo turnout in small paddocks and sometimes had a gelding buddy, so while I knew his experience with mares was limited he has been with mares at our current farm for over a year and has had none of this behavior. I think a lot of it is that he is bored and Luna is a newer younger mare. Luna is a kicker too so all it would take would her to stand up to him one time and he’d cut it out, but of course the time I want her to kick she won’t!!! He’s been separated for about 2 weeks now, but as the horses are starting to go back out on the grass pastures he has been re-integrated and fingers crossed has not been getting into any trouble. I think he honestly is bored and luckily is such a piggy he’d rather stuff his face with grass than interact with the mares.

Peep the pony on solitary confinement…

Don’t worry, Luna has been getting herself in just enough trouble too. My farrier mentioned last cycle that if she kept throwing her LF shoe we should think about putting hind shoes on her to see if she moves a little better and gets that front left shoe out of the way. We were on such a good track and then one week before my farrier was supposed to come out….no LF shoe. At this point my farrier probably wants to kill me but luckily is a saint and is coming out earlier to do both of their shoes and put hinds on Luna. I am hoping this helps with her just chucking off this LF shoe whenever she feels like it. I am looking into Cavallo boots as a backup to wrapping it because my wrapping duties are not even up to par with Luna’s antics in the field.

How Luna?!

Wrapping job is subpar

The saddle hunt is still on, but I am one step closer to the finish line. I found a really nice 2009 Custom Wolfgang Solo online that looked wide enough for Montego. I took it on trial and it does not even look close to its age!! Full buffalo leather and has the most comfortable seat and short blocks in a saddle that I have ever ridden in. My legs finally feel like they’re in the right place for dressage. The saddle is now officially mine so I am happy I have something to start really training in again for Montego and my show season this year. Once I find a jumping saddle I like for Luna, I will probably have my saddle fitter come out again to make sure the flocking and fit is perfect for the two problem children.

HELLO GORGEOUS

Other than that both have been really great for riding. We are taking full advantage of this beautiful weather to get out and hack the hills for some conditioning work. My goal for Montego is to get to a schooling show or two in May and maybe a recognized in June. I like to try to beat the heat for show season. I think we both do a little bit better in cooler weather. I would love to get Luna off property to a couple of clinics or even a schooling show early summer. She has come a long way in a short time and I am excited to start jumping her soon.

1 Year of Coco Cheval

It’s been officially a year of some what of “consistent” blogging in my life and the first official post of Coco Cheval. One of my main goals this year is to blog at least once a week. I love having a place to be able to go back and look at the progress I am making with my horses. It is the little things like being able to look back a year ago and read my past blogs introducing Montego having no clue or idea that I would be so lucky to add Luna to my herd that same year.

high school me and Belle

I found the world of horse blogs when I was a freshman in high school. Back then, I had my horse Belle and planned on starting a blog to document my journey and training with her before RRP was even a thing. I even ended up using the blog as a starting point for my college application essay. Since then, that blog had been retired and removed once I sold Belle, but I still read up on many of my favorite blogs through the years. Many of the bloggers I’ve followed back then have disappeared or switched over to Instagram, but I have found a really great community of riders and horse owners that I have loved following their journey over so many years.

college me and Montego

My closest friends know usually when I am not paying attention to them in conversation I am likely over in horse blogger land reading about all of you and your horses. I am not huge writer, I like reading a little more, but something with blogging especially about horses really sparks my interest. I have met a few local bloggers coincidentally over the years, and everyone I have met has been so friendly and helpful giving the best advice from their experiences. I truly do this as a fun hobby, a bit like journaling to see my inner thoughts. I am excited to be more frequent in my blogging this year and as always love to continue the fellow bloggers that have come back to blogging!

10 years… later new horses, a more grown me

Review: Horse and Herd Lick Treats

Luna is one of those horses that is an absolute menace in her stall. She truly is a pig pen mare that poops and pees wherever she wants and then sleeps in it no issue. She also is very inquisitive and I often find her hay net unattached and in the middle of her stall the next day. When she got stuck on the fence and spent a little more time in her stall than normal I wanted to buy a couple of things to keep her entertained. The jolly ball I bought was a complete bust, she could have cared less about the thing. But she has always been a big fan of her salt lick so I decided a lick it might be worth it. She absolutely loves the grain lick treats, but the actual sugar brand she eats through way too fast and it gives her some sloppy poops for a couple of days.

Enter Horse and Herd Lick Treats. Originally I saw these on Instagram and was impressed by the limited ingredient lick treat for a decent price. I ended up buying the three pack to try out for my two horses.

Horse & Herd was started in 2019 by native Swede and lifelong equine enthusiast Kajsa Wallin. H&H is currently a one-woman-show run out of a small manufacturing building on a ranch in Southwest Montana. The Lick Treats are crafted in batches of eight and the handmade production process ensures the highest quality in durability, taste and appearance.

Naturally made, small business, and woman owned…sign me up! These treats were packed in the most adorable packaging and came with a bonus hand fed treats (smaller versions of their treat balls). Immediately took these balls out to the barn and tied them up in the stalls and watched my horses go nuts for them. I needed to figure out how to hang them from the ceiling because my two just like to push them up against the wall and eat them.

Peep a very jealous Chace in the back

Each ball lasted about 3 weeks with my horses being inside every night. Luna really enjoyed the Flax Lick Treat which is smoother and gets a bit stickier than the grain treat Montego got. Montego got the pink salt treat because he refuses to lick a salt block or eat salt in his food, but hidden in this fun treat ball he was all for it.

The third ball I ordered actually ended up going to a friends horse (Montego’s stall neighbor- Chace) because as you can see in the pictures he was very offended that he too did not have a treat ball to enjoy at night! Chace I think might have loved them the most. For the first 10 mins it was hung in his stall he was OBSESSED. His eyes bugged out and he didn’t pay attention to anything else. His owner actually had to take it out of his stall over night because she was worried he would just eat only that!

CANT GET ENOUGH- Chace

I like that these treats have limited ingredients than a typical Lik-it or Uncle Jimmy’s Ball. The grain is a bit softer and does not leave my horses mouthes super sticky afterward. Only downside I see is that they will be a haven for the flies in Spring/Summer. So a great Fall/Winter treat for those bored stalled horses, but I think would just get too gross in the heat of summer.

so good must lick with eyes closed- Montego

Very excited to have found this company! Will definitely be placing my order again soon as they both finished their balls this week.

Spring has sprung

This weekend brought the first day of spring and finally some really nice weather. The saddle hunt is still on going. SO many options, but I have not been able to commit to pressing submit for committing to any on trial. In the meantime, my Frank Baines is luckily doing the job for both horses during their rides. If I was just searching for one saddle I am sure I would have it by now, but three all while staying in a semi decent budget has proven more difficult.

both enjoying no sheets!

The weather in PA has finally steadied out to be much warmer and sunnier than most of our winter. Longer days at the barn mean actually grooming the caked mud layer off of my horses and tidying up their appearance. I had let both grow out quite a mane for the winter. Luna needed to grow hers out because her mane likes to flip flop sides if not long enough, but Montego was starting to really look like a ranch horse. Thinned and cut both their manes and debated bathing both but decided to wait until a bit warmer weather and mud to roll in afterwards.

before
after

I have been getting some awesome rides on them both. Montego has seemed to really enjoy his time off and is now eager to get back to work and Luna has been really fun getting started, figuring out her baby brain and seeing her true colors. My farrier came out Monday to finally remove the snow pads. He absolutely adores Luna because she truly is the best behaved baby for other people. However, Montego always loves to give him a hard time snorting and being completely incorporative with him every time he comes. It’s like he becomes my 5 yo. The weekend before Luna had pulled her LF shoe again while doing a downward transition in the ring. I think she now has pulled this same shoe ever 3 weeks since I’ve owned her even while wearing bell boots 24/7. Farrier recommended we give her one more cycle to see if strength training and working more helps her way of going, if not we will try hind shoes to see if that helps her move a little more correctly.

caught both fully zonked out in the field together

My dressage trainer is coming up from VA Easter Weekend, so while unfortunately I will not be able to lesson with him, Friend S offered to ride him for me since her horse will be doing another clinic that same weekend. Friend S has much more dressage experience than me and has been training with our trainer for a long time, and she rides Montego really well. I am excited he will get some “training” rides put on him while I am gone. I think it’ll really help for our show debut this year.

Saddle Fitting Sorrows

Well to my luck saddle fitting did not got as one might have hoped especially for the outcome of my favorite saddle ever to ride in. When I bought Montego in July 2019, one of the first things I did was get a saddle fitter out to find him a jumping saddle. I had big plans for him to love jumping and I wanted to treat myself to my first really nice piece of tack. Insert 2019 Michel Robert Prestige 18″ 34cm Jump Saddle. It has the most comfortable seat, softest leather, and beautiful forward flap that I have have ever ridden in. Naturally this dream saddle came with a higher price tag, but I chalked it off to a graduation gift and it was mine. Fast forward, Montego doesn’t really love jumping so saddle is only used for trail riding. BOO, but naturally this saddle will still fit. WRONG. Saddle starts really slipping to one side when I am riding. So much so that friends have videos of me looking like I should slide right off at any moment.

its like sitting on a cloud

Insert second horse, Luna. Now all my hopes are dreams at that she’ll be my jumping horse and hoping that this dream saddle I still own will fit her. ALSO VERY WRONG. Saddle fitter pretty much confirmed that my favorite saddle ever will not ever fit any of my horses…YAY! So unfortunately that saddle is listed for sale and I am only crying a little bit on the inside.

My other saddle is an older Frank Baines I bought off Facebook on a whim for like $500. Naturally this is the saddle the fitter loved the best on Luna. I had been using it on Montego has his main dressage saddle as it fits me relatively well and I thought fit him too. Turns out even at a wide its a little too narrow for him which is causing slipping side to side.

Modeling her first ride in dressage tack

So now the fun saddle hunt begins. I am ultimately looking for three saddles. The two that are taking priority are a dressage saddle for Montego and a Jumping Saddle for Luna. The third if I can find it at a steal of a price would be a jumping saddle for Montego because I do like having that to hack out and do conditioning sets in. The saddle fitter I am working with was awesome in recommending brands for both horses, but that also have a more forward flap to fit me too! Thank you Sarah for the recommendation, she is awesome!

Recommendations for each horse:

Montego: Saddle fitter notes “very broad”…yes my little piggy has a big barrel to take up my long legs 🙂 Needs a W-XW depending on brand. I like dressage saddles with FWD flaps and shorter blocks, so some brands she recommend me to try out were- Custom Wolfgang or Icon, Passier Optimum, Schleese, County Fusion, Stubben Aramis, Trilogy all needed in an 18 in. For jumping, he fit in Friend W’s 31cm Stubben Portos pretty well so anything along those same lines with a FWD flap.

my very broad role-poly horse

Luna: She needs saddles with curvy bars and wool panels. Suggested a tree width of M-MW however with her growing and still filling out ultimately looking for something MW-W since the W Frank Baines is the saddle I am currently now riding her in. Brands to try- Albion, Hastily, Schleese, Stubben 29-30cm, Adam Ellis, and Frank Baines. Since the Frank Baines dressage saddle at least fits her relatively well now, that good ol FB find will stay around.

We really need to work on her modeling face

If anyone has had any experiences riding in the saddles above and LOVES or HATES a certain brand please let me know. OR if anyone is looking to buy the most comfortable and most favorite saddle on the planet reach out. I will be sad to see it go, but the horses have spoken. Hopefully it won’t be too long that I am saddle-less for, we have shows and goals to get to!

Spring..is that you?

After Punxsutawney Phil decided to F’ us all over in the mid-atlantic states for probably one of the worst Februarys I have seen here in awhile, this weeks weather is finally starting to make up for it. Pretty much all the snow and ice are melted up everywhere with small remaining piles left. Luckily no additional rain has kept the pastures relatively dry and mud free, because that is the next season we are all inevitably going to experience.

Between the bad weather and Luna’s fence accident, both of my horses ended up getting pretty much getting the entire month of February off. Last week was the first week I could put a couple more rides on Montego before our trailer out dressage lesson over the weekend. Our trainer comes up from VA once a month for a weekend of lessons in our area. While Montego was out of shape, we worked on some really good suppling exercises and have a good plan going into the spring to prepare for our show season.

Luna also got ramped back up this week, well slightly. I love the personality of this mare, but damn has she brought on her own set of problems. She has a thing for throwing her LF shoe about every 3 weeks after the farrier comes out. Its happened 3 times since I’ve owned her. She usually gets it off clean with no damage to the foot, but I am sure my farrier does not love seeing her that frequently. Last week when she pulled it, I am pretty sure she got some bruising from it being off with the frozen ground and has been a bit ouch this whole week. I’ve been doing about 15-20 mins of lunging before she starts favoring it, so taking it slow but really excited to get her working again.

Outfit of the day

Yesterday I was able to hop on her after 10 min on the lunge to get her zoomies out, and she was perfect! We worked on some walk trot transitions focusing on her ability to seek for contact in the bridle and come over her back in her upward and downward transitions. I think I had a smile on my face the entire time, she is just such a lovely baby to work with and such a quick learner. I am still keeping her sessions pretty short to keep her brain engaged and build up her strength without hurting the LF. At night I have been stuffing it with Magic Cushion in hopes that by next week she’ll be 100% good to go soundness wise.

The saddle fitter is coming out this weekend for both of them. I currently have two saddles: a Frank Baines Dressage Saddle and a Michel Robert Prestige Jumping saddle both originally bought for Montego, but I have been using the jumping saddle on Luna in the meantime. I have been having some serious issues with both my saddles shifting right when riding Montego ultimately making my left stirrup significantly shorter than my right. Whether its saddle fit or the way I am riding its not good either way so I am hoping to narrow down the source of this issue to start a plan to fix it. The saddle fitter coming out is independent so I am hoping she can recommend some saddles that will fit Luna best. Despite being a TB, Luna resembles more a Dutch Warmblood and is definitely a wide with a taller wither. I am hoping my jumping saddle does fit her because I LOVE riding in it, but open to suggestions. When I did Luna’s PPE the vet mentioned that her back x-rays were closer than typical, not indicating Kissing Spine but something she commonly sees in bigger horses. Her recommendation was to find a saddle that she can really come up over her back to stretch the spine while in work, so I want to make sure my saddle for her accommodates that.

Sunny Sillies 🙂

The warm weather is ending for a quick bit this weekend, but the 10 day forecast looks promising towards consistent warmer weather soon. Spring is my favorite season so I am glad we are almost out of the depths for winter, and very excited for extra daylight in the evenings this weekend. 

Shop ‘Til You Drop

With my less than planned vet visit two weeks ago for Luna and Montego’s birthday on the 7th I fell into a bit of a shopping rabbit hole. Buying new horse things always solves all your problems right?! And as many of fellow NE area bloggers know the weather has been less than conducive to riding. With only an outdoor ring, I haven’t ridden in a ring since early Feb YIKES!! Luckily it appears things are finally melting and we will be trailering out this weekend to a lesson so while Montego will be very out of shape, I am excited to get back to riding again.

These two can’t seem to stay out of trouble

My lack of riding time has led me to some compulsive shopping over the past couple of weeks. Overseas shopping seems to have peaked my interest more frequently. Amanda at 900 FB Pony completely destroyed me with introducing Epplejeck. I am on a hunt to find anything and everything burgundy/dark red for Luna and QHP has a great line in that color right now. She lucked out with a new fuzzy shipping halter, fleece schooling boots, a quarter sheet for lunging, and two new coolers.

Don’t worry Montego also got some pretty great things in my shopping haul. One of our local tack stores was carrying the Eskadron Heritage Deep Plum Brushing Boots and Saddle pad in stock which hello Purple and Glitter sign me up, but the price seemed a little high for me. So I took to the internet and found two new pairs for the price of one in the US at Equissentials Dressage in the UK. Got those and the matching saddle pad and wow they are even more pretty in person! Montego will be sporting this at his lesson this weekend so I will make sure to grab pictures.

For myself, I am now obsessed with the Kerrits Therminator and 3 Season Full Seat Breeches. They are fleece lined and so comfortable and flattering to wear. I added a pair of each to my wardrobe and should be set on Winter Breeches as Spring seems to finally be arriving here. I also finally got around to replacing my One K Defender Helmet that had a strap break. I sent it back to the manufacturer and my new one arrived just in time for show season. I am also still waiting on my One K Defender Bling helmet that I won in a raffle back in November. I am very very excited for this helmet. Just enough sparkle to add to my collection HA.

Anyone else impulse buying to pass the time this winter?

“I’m Going to the Barn”

Saw this post on Facebook and just thought it rang so true! I say these words often!

Credit: Jenna Sadecki 

“I’m going to the barn.” 

Anyone who has horses speaks these five little words quite often. However, many who do not have horses do not truly understand the value of this statement. “I’m going to the barn” means so many things. 

✨It means I had a long day at work, but my horses are deserving of my time and attention, even if it’s just a few moments.

✨It means I’m tired, but my goals and aspirations do not sleep. 

✨It means my horses need to be fed, buckets need to be scrubbed, and stalls need to be cleaned. 

✨It means my soul needs some peace.  

✨It means I need to be surrounded by people who love these animals as much as I do. 

✨It means the weather is terrible and I need to change blankets so my horses stay clean and dry. 

✨It means my horses need me and I will drop everything to be by their sides when they need me the most.

✨It means the weather is beautiful and it’s time for a trail ride or a gallop around the field. 

✨It means I always have a safe place to go, a place where I can truly be myself. 

✨It means my dreams have come true. 

To have not one, but two incredible horses that greet me every time I visit and give me their all every time I swing a leg over makes me the luckiest girl in the world. 

I don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going today, but one thing is for sure…

I’m going to the barn.