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25 Questions

Trying to get back into the swing of things here with this blog hop from Viva Carlos.

1. What is the first thing you do when you get to the barn?

Honestly? Check my email.

When I actually step into the barn, I make a sort of “tsk” noise with my tongue and my top teeth that is Tristan’s specific calling noise. I wish I knew how I started doing it, or when, or why, but I do, and it’s a very specific noise that no one else ever makes and I never make in any other context. He usually hears it and shoves his head out into the aisle, or if he’s in turnout he’ll pick his head up and watch me walk down the road.

2. Is their a breed that you would never own?

I don’t love the hairy flashy ones, Friesians or Gypsy Vanners, but never say never I guess.

3. Describe your last ride?

Short and sweet. I intended only on longeing, but he looked so loose and good on the longe that I thought “I wish I could sit on that.” So I brought him back to the aisle and tacked him up and rode for about 15 minutes. In particular, I worked on transitions a bit, trying to keep that soft-but-uphill feeling through both up and down transitions.

4. Have any irrational riding fears?

One very specific one: that I will fall off and Tristan will run away and we’ll never find him. It seems like every summer up here there’s an alert to look out for a horse who ran away in a state park or forest or something and they never found him again.

5. Describe your favorite lesson horse?

One of my very first lesson horses – his name was Thistle, he was a small bay horse of indeterminate light breed who was just cheerful and straightforward and kind.

Photo Jun 05, 9 12 20 AMthrowback to dressage showing in the pouring rain

6. Would you ever lease out your horse?

If the absolute right situation presented itself. In-barn only, and part-lease only.

7. Mares: Yay or neigh?

Pretty hard neigh. Again, never say never, but even the really fancy ones at my barn now are just grumpy and difficult in a way that absolutely does not appeal to me. Every so often I’ll really like one but I can think of three in 20+ years of riding horses.

8. How many time per week do you get to see your horse?

It really varies; sometimes 2-3, sometimes all 7 days. He’s only 10 minutes away so I have no excuse. I can stop by on my way to work for a quick kiss on the nose without any difficulty.

9. Favorite thing to do on an “easy day” with your pony?

Hack out bareback in the big field. That said, he’s gotten tricky in the big field lately, so that might be courting some problems, but when he’s cooperating it’s a lovely feeling.

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10. Conformational flaw that bothers you the most?

This is really superficial but: pig eyes. There are quite a few otherwise lovely horses that have that constant beady slight white eye look that really turns me off. I know, I’m an asshole, and it might not even technically be a conformation flaw, but it definitely bugs me. There are many far more serious ones for sure – overly sloped pasterns is one of my biggest red flags in terms of an actually problematic flaw.

11. Thing about your riding that you’re most self conscious about?

Probably my hands. I’ve been working on them a lot so thinking about them a lot.

12. Will you be participating in no stirrup November?

Sure, I usually do a little bit of it. No stirrup work (usually bareback) is not at all uncommon for me, and it’s so much warmer in the winter I’ve sometimes gone 2-3 months without riding in my saddle.

13. What is your grooming routine?

On a really quick ride day, like throw a bridle on him and head out, I’ll just pick out his feet and go. Dirt does not really bother me.

Medium: curry, stiff brush, body brush, and pick feet.

Long: curry, stiff brush, body brush, pick feet, treat feet with thrush or preventive stuff, touch up bridle path, detangle mane and tail a bit, and after the ride do a rinse with apple cider vinegar and scrub leggs.

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14. Describe a day in the life of your horse?

Breakfast, turnout, lunch, nap, short ride, afternoon hay, afternoon grain, night check hay.

15. Favorite season for riding?

I actually love late spring into early summer, when it’s exciting to get back outside and not wear eight million layers but the bugs aren’t out quite yet. So pretty much right now.
16. If you could only have 1 ring: indoor or outdoor?

Indoor with big garage door windows that open up.

17. What impresses you most about the opposite discipline (english vs. western)?

I guess I’ll pick working cow horses as an opposite discipline – I’m impressed at how hard they use the horses and how fit they are, which is not to say they’re overused but that they’re incredibly fit and practically muscled up.

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18. You have unlimited funds to buy one entire tack set for your horse, what is he/she wearing?

I…genuinely have no idea. I kept looking at this question on other blogs and thinking I’d have to come up with an answer and I don’t have one! I am so the opposite of a tack ho. I have a secondhand, well-used setup that works for us and no interest in upgrading it. (Can I invest the money in a truck and trailer instead?)

19. How many blankets do you have? When do you blanket?

Hoo boy. I’ve got:

1 fly sheet
1 stable sheet
1 honeycomb cooler
1 fleece cooler
1 wool cooler
1 quarter sheet
1 mud/rain sheet
1 lightweight blanket layer
2 medium turnout blankets
1 heavyweight turnout blanket

…WHEN DID I BECOME THIS PERSON?!

20. What is your horse’s favorite treat? Favorite place to be scratched?

Peppermints! Specifically right now he loves the mint lifesavers. In the summer I often buy the Canadian mints because they don’t melt.

For whatever reason, Tris is not an itchy horse. Once in a blue moon his neck will get itchy and that’s it.

21. Something about your barn that drives you crazy?

I am on record as adoring my barn, but no place is perfect, right? So I don’t think anything about it “drives me crazy” but I do wish Tris got more turnout. He’s happy & healthy with what he gets but I’d love for him to get 12+ hours.

22. Roached manes, pulled manes, or long flowing manes?

On Tris I leave it long. I love the look of a roached mane and I think pulled manes are so much the norm that I can appreciate them but the thought of maintaining them makes me exhausted.

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23. Can you handle a buck or a rear better?

Rear, weirdly enough. Tris has a rear in him, almost exclusively on the ground, but he’ll get light in the front end under saddle sometimes.

24. I would never buy a horse who ___________________?

Cribs. This one I’ll say never for. Never, ever, ever.

25. Favorite facial marking?

Blaze! Nice wide one.

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Slowly, slowly

I feel like every inch of normalcy I get back is by fighting until I am exhausted. And lots of days I’m too tired to do even that.

I’m hoping June will be more on track. I’m signed up for lessons and shifts at the barn again, anyway. I baked for the first time in months last week. I’m trying hard to suck less at work. My spending and eating everything in sight are slowing down.

I’ve been slowly reclaiming my barn time, too. I’ve now ridden three times, and gone out and groomed and hand-grazed quite a lot more. It’s hard. On one level, I really want to, and our rides have been absolutely superb. He’s such a fun horse to ride when he has energy and willingness. When he stays put together he’s now doing some lovely first level work, and it’s finally feeling realistic that we could put together a whole first level test.

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But I often get to the end of a workday feeling mentally bruised and just overall exhausted. So I convince myself I can’t go to the barn. Then I get home and the anxiety hits and starts to climb and I end up revving myself up all night anyway – spending hours cleaning, or working on Etsy stuff, or just puttering and trying to keep my brain from capsizing. Often unsuccessfully.

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Which is a lot of words to say that today would have been my dad’s sixty-sixth birthday, he would have retired from work next week, and this fucking sucks.

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Giveaway results + website beta

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First, thanks for your patience – the saddle cover winners have now all been notified! Thanks to everyone who participated.

When the winners post their giveaways, I’ll share them here as well, so keep your eyes out – you still have the chance to win a saddle cover from Bel Joeor Metier.

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Now, a request for everyone.

I’ve been slowly chipping away at setting up a separate website for my custom work, whether the handy bags, saddle covers, or other things I’m introducing in the future.

I’ve just put it live – can you take a look and let me know what you think?

Any and all feedback welcomed, as I’m trying to make everything as easy and straightforward as possible to find, understand, and order. So I’m particularly interested in your experience browsing the site as if you wanted to order a specific product.

I’d really, truly, welcome your thoughts: www.beljoeormetier.com

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Riding with an Apple Watch

I have indulged in far more than my fair share of retail therapy recently, but apparently I have a little ways to go yet, because I want an Apple Watch.

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I have a couple of good reasons and whole pile of bad reasons to want one, but it mostly boils down to I kinda want one.

But I live in Vermont. I don’t really know that many people personally who have one.

So I turn to you all, because my biggest area of concern is how it will hold up around horses, and whether it will actually be useful around horses.

For example, I would love to be able to time trot set intervals using just the watch instead of fumbling with my phone.

Will it also count my steps the way my phone does?

Will I have to take it off when I hose Tristan down?

Are there any good GPS apps for it or are they just truncated crappy versions of regular iPhone apps?

If you have an Apple Watch and use it around horses, tell me everything.

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Memorial Day Sale + Giveaway

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Getting back in the swing of things here with a couple of Bel Joeor Metier announcements.

I’m planning a huge sale coming up this weekend. Beginning Friday and through Monday, there are a couple of things going on at Bel Joeor Metier, for all your Memorial Day weekend shopping needs:

  • free domestic shipping on all orders over $50
  • 20% off all saddle covers
  • 10% off all handy bags

I’m also doing a HUGE giveaway.

How huge? Well: it’s a giveaway squared.

If you win the giveaway for one of the three items below, you get not only an item for yourself – you get an item to give away on your blog as well!

There are three possible things to win below: a patterned saddle cover, a monogrammed or personalized saddle cover, and a custom logo saddle cover.

Even better: there are two giveaways each for the patterned and the embroidered saddle covers. Add it all up and it’s a giveaway of TEN saddle covers!

They’ll run for one week, until midnight on Memorial Day, May 27.

Enter early, enter often!

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April Goals Update

Let’s see how this goes.

Original Goals Post
January Post
February Post
March Post

Tristan

  • Get to First Level – nope. have not ridden in a while.
  • Take 12 lessons – now at 5/12
  • Volunteer at 6 events – scheduled to jump judge in 2 weeks
  • Get & share 1 video per month of rides – I got one in March; one of the last things I did with my dad was ride in a lesson that he watched.

Other

  • Finish house interior work – sun room will be finished this weekend
  • Finish funding emergency fund – 83% done
  • Pay off vision correction surgery – 74% done
  • Try 24 new recipes – now 15/24; I actually made a lot of new recipes in March but I have no idea what they were
  • Write 20k on Morgan book – well, no writing, but I have booked a talk about it, so I am going to force my ideas into more coherent form this weekend

Business

  • Get to 500 sales on Etsy – 281/500
  • Separate website and social media for business – I’ve started building out the separate business website
  • Take accounting class
  • Develop 3 new patterns – nope.
  • Have a total of 7-10 items for sale – nope.