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SaddleBox Review

Yes, like many many other much more prominent/interesting/influential bloggers, I also received a SaddleBox to try and review for you all to read about. I got it…probably before Thanksgiving, honestly. Sorry, SaddleBox! You were so nice to send it and I suck.

Anyway. I opened it a few days ago and I’ll admit: was pleasantly surprised.

Overall, I’d say the mix was about 1/3 stuff I really liked, 1/3 stuff I’m neutral on but can always use, and 1/3 stuff that was nice, but…not quite for me.

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First, treats. Can you really go wrong with treats? I don’t think so. Especially peppermints, which are hands-down Tristan’s favorite. These fell firmly into the loved category.

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Also in the loved category: that hoofpick. YOU GUYS. I have a thing about hoofpicks and I have like three in my tack box at all times because different ones work differently and I never know which I’ll need based on my mood and/or Tristan’s feet on any given day. This hoofpick is a perfect – and actually really nice! – version of the “very narrow and pointy pick” variety which is perfect for sort of angling under and up in the heel when his frog is a little bit shed-y and I really want to scrape out any grossness and…I’ve probably talked way too much about my thoughts on hoofpicks. Anyway: it’s legitimately AWESOME.

Rounding out the “sure, can’t have enough” category is the vetwrap and the shedding blade. I swear I could curry Tristan in a shedding blade every day and he’d still lean into it. This one is nicely bite-y and will come in handy when he starts blowing out that long coat.

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Straddling the love and like category is this bathing scrunchie. I really like it in theory but I’ll have to test it in concept. I could still go either way on it.

In the “sure…I guess?” category was the scarf below the scrunchie.

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It’s a super pretty scarf, reasonably nice fabric (though extremely lightweight), with a pretty design. I just..don’t accessorize. Really ever. At all. I can’t even remember to change my earrings so I leave the same studs in 24/7. A more stylish person who worked harder at being presentable would probably love this scarf. I know there are lots of you out there! I just can’t partake in that level of energy for what I’m wearing.

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Last but not least, this lovely little brush. It’s a nice soft face brush and I like it so much…I already own one exactly like it, only with black bristles because let’s be real white bristles? whyyyyyy? So…love but don’t really need another?

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It was a lot of fun to get horse stuff in the mail rather than multivitamins or a new dryer vent, I’ll tell you that much. So I think there are lots of people who might like this, and the overall success of subscription boxes in this day and age certainly points to that! But I am not really that person. I think after the third or fourth one I’d start to think too much about all the STUFF and want to purge and/or donate it and it would make me more anxious than happy. But, you know, your brain may vary.

So: thank you, SaddleBox, for sharing your cool stuff with me! If you know someone in your life who loves testing out new horse stuff, loves getting mail, or is somewhat new to horses and is just waiting to learn about the joys of different hoof picks: this would honestly be a terrific gift.

And let’s face it, most people suck at giving things to horse people, so – hey, people out there who love horse people: GET THEM THIS INSTEAD OF OTHER RANDOM NORMAL STUFF THEY’LL HAVE TO PRETEND TO LOVE. I would have been super, super touched if my in-laws had gotten me this. They get me great gifts! But they have never gotten me anything horsey at all because they just have no idea where to even start. This would be a great start.

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2020 Goals

Okay, here we go!

Tristan

  1. Ride a First Level test at one of the two barn schooling shows
  2. Take notes (however brief) on every ride
  3. Clean tack at least 1x a month
  4. Volunteer at 3 events
  5. Take 25 lessons
  6. *Reach goal: Go to Crossfit 100 times (or roughly 2x a week) for additional fitness

 

Business

  1. Keep up with monthly expense/revenue tracking
  2. Maintain 100 listings in the Etsy store
  3. Mustang gear goes live
  4. Sponsor 5 riders
  5. Table at a horse show
  6. *Reach goal: Get to 1000 sales on Etsy

 

General

  1. Try 25 new recipes
  2. Try making: croissants, eclairs, cinnamon rolls
  3. Declutter in February
  4. Finish 5 craft projects
  5. Finish upstairs bathroom, front guest bedroom, and nook room
  6. *Reach goal: submit Morgan article for publication
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Final 2019 Goals Recap

Very last one! Did I hit my goals?

 

Tristan

  • Get to First Level – You know what, I’m calling this close enough. Fuck it. Done.
  • Take 12 lessons – done
  • Volunteer at 6 events – I did one. Oh well.
  • Get & share 1 video per month of rides – Nothing in December, so this was about a 50/50.

Other

  • Finish house interior work – Nope.
  • Finish funding emergency fund – DONE!
  • Pay off vision correction surgery – DONE!
  • Try 24 new recipes – DONE!
  • Write 20k on Morgan book – Finished the year at about 12k with plans for more in the new year, not half bad.

Business

  • Get to 500 sales on Etsy – 558 sales for the year, YIKES.
  • Separate website and social media for business
  • Take accounting class
  • Develop 3 new patterns
  • Have a total of 7-10 items for sale
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A Decade in Pictures

Jumping on the bandwagon with an attempt at a blog post! I’ll do my 2019 wrapup tomorrow and then talk about new year goals later in the week.

 

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2010

That year had us actively training as eventers and boarding south of Boston. We did small schooling shows here and there – some dressage, some jumping. Nothing huge. This photo was taken at a XC schooling day at Scarlet Hill Farm, and it’s still one of my favorites. I was living and going to grad school right outside of Boston, and my commute was a minimum of 70 minutes to get to the barn.

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2011

Still at that farm, still doing small schooling stuff, consumed by grad school this year, mostly. We made baby steps of improvement but nothing mind-blowing. Honestly, most of 2009-2012 is a blur; I was working until 4:30, driving to the barn, riding, getting home around 9pm, starting grad school work, and just sleeping whenever I possibly could.

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2012

Whew, this year was full of extreme highs and lows. We came out swinging at an event season after I graduated with my master’s, and we made a pretty credible run at Beginner Novice. Then, he went lame and started abscessing in August, and he didn’t stop for the rest of the year. In November, I moved to Vermont, and he joined me a month later, still lame.

2013

I’m choosing two pictures from this year, and you can’t stop me. In March, Tristan went in for surgery for a badly infected fractured coffin bone; that’s on the left. After struggling to figure out what was wrong for seven months, it was terrifying, but a relief, to address it so directly. By August of that year, we were doing our first hacks in the hay field at our barn in Vermont, recovered and regaining fitness.

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2014

One of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken, period. 2014 had lots and lots of cool hacking out, some light lessoning and schooling, and TONS of volunteering, often crewing for H. and her wonderful Tucker at endurance and CT rides, including Vermont Moonlight and the one where he got loose in the middle of the night and we drove all the back roads of New Hampshire looking for him. That fall, Tristan was diagnosed with Cushings and started on pergolide.

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2015

Lots and lots of hacking. Some lessoning. That winter, Tristan started wearing blankets for the first time as a response to his Cushings. He turned 20 years old, and he had a tail tumor and got chemo for it, I swear. He started getting hives in the summer and started wearing a fly sheet for the first time. I bought a house that spring and got married that fall and he was kind of the back burner for a while, serving mostly as my stress relief.

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2016

We struggled with some random lameness stuff (true of most years) and just general not going all that well. We did a few tests at the barn school show that fall. That’s my dad on the right, taking video of our test, which was pretty unremarkable.

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2017

I rode Tristan for the first and last time ever in polo wraps and my hand to God they are still sitting unrolled in my basement after I pulled them out of the washing machine and said “fuck it.” If that doesn’t sum me up as a rider, I don’t know what does. ANYWAY. I traveled a bunch, did a lot of hacking and some lessoning, and started my Etsy shop late in that year.

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2018

That year was all about work: the Etsy shop continued growing, I had a massive work project that took over my life for months, and Tristan had a series of dumb little injuries and/or issues that meant we basically went one week on, two weeks off all year.  I took several weeks off in the summer when I got laser eye surgery. I finished the Black Stallion recap series, which I’m still kind of smugly proud of. In September, Tristan colicked badly enough to require a 1:00 am trip to the vet clinic – the actual worst-case nightmare scenario. He came off the trailer better, but – that was as close as I’ve ever gotten to losing him. He came back from that well and we actually ended the year on a high note with regular lessons.

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2019

This past year was a absolute garbage fire the likes of which I hope I never experience ever again. Despite that, my horse life actually went pretty darn well. I worked at the barn a lot, did a ton of lessons, and Tristan is going better than he ever has – even knocking at the door of First Level. The Etsy shop took off and hit all my goals and even with some vet escapades, meant I could pad my savings a little bit. I didn’t blog a lot, but I’m pretty okay with that.

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2020 Goals: Blog Changes

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Expectant Arya is expectant.

Yes, I’m there already. I’ve been thinking about these for a while now and I’ll write out more about my thinking process, but here’s a big one right away.

Going forward, this blog will become a little bit less horse-exclusive.

Tristan and various equestrian endeavors still consume most of my waking hours, and that will never change! So anything I write will reflect that.

But I’ve missed having an outlet to ruminate over various other things in my life – namely, my dog, my research, ideas about history, and probably occasionally some baking. I already write about working on the house here, so that won’t be too much of a change.

If that turns you off or bores you, that’s fine! But in my deep thinking about the places I spend my time and energy, I found that I was missing regular writing and reflection, and this blog would only continue to serve my life if I matched it more closely with what I need.

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December Update

One month left…how is it going?

Tristan

  • Get to First Level – November was pretty much a total loss. Tris was lame for a good chunk of it and then Thanksgiving happened. And I’ve been just slammed with orders.
  • Take 12 lessons – done
  • Volunteer at 6 events – officially canceled, sigh.
  • Get & share 1 video per month of rides – My November video is of my lame horse, does that count?

Other

  • Finish house interior work – Not going to happen. Damn.
  • Finish funding emergency fund – DONE!
  • Pay off vision correction surgery – DONE!
  • Try 24 new recipes – DONE!
  • Write 20k on Morgan book – I won’t hit this goal but I have made really good progress.

Business

  • Get to 500 sales on Etsy – 534 sales! Holy SHIT that holiday rush, though. I am still digging my way out.
  • Separate website and social media for business
  • Take accounting class
  • Develop 3 new patterns
  • Have a total of 7-10 items for sale
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Everyone’s favorite internet game

Is my horse lame and if so, how bad, and if bad, where exactly is the problem?

Let me spoil it for you a bit: yes, my horse is lame. He came out on Sunday last (11/10) with a hitch in his right hind. It was most evident in the walk, but did not seem to be causing him a great deal of pain or other problems. Mostly it looked like a mechanical hitch: he just wasn’t using his leg as thoroughly or as through as he might.

On the longe, he was sassy and pissy and freely offered a canter when I asked him to move out. In the trot, he just shortened and quickened his hind legs rather than take an obviously off step. (I mean…feature or bug?)

We gave him two days of bute and then I went out again the following Saturday to longe him again and here’s what I got.

(Ummmm, the thumbnails are upside down for some reason but I promise, the video is right side up.)

So…still a touch off. You can see it most evidently in the walk tracking right.

My feeling: he’s tweaked something up high, like stifle or SI. Possibly he did it rolling or in turnout. It is getting better, and I am so stupid busy right now he can certainly afford some time to laze about and heal.

The plan is to check him again on Friday morning and at that time make a decision whether to add him to the lameness vet’s list for Monday.

In the meantime…it’s snowing and cold and I have enough Etsy orders to keep me working far into the night, every night, which is great because yay people like me, they really like me! and also it means I can set aside some money for the vet visit if it happens. But also: tired.