2018 goals · Uncategorized

2018 Goals Update: November

Last monthly update of the year; I’ll next update in early January with my final overview.

Original Goals Post

January Goals Post
February Goals Post
March Goals Post
April Goals Post (didn’t happen)
May Goals Post
June Goals Post
July Goals Post
August Goals Post
September Goals Post
October Goals Post

Horse Goals

1. Take 6 lessons through the year. – 6/6 done, and check!
2. Ride 3 new-to-me horses. – check!
3. Research 3 different retirement situations. – check!
4. Write retirement budget for Tristan. – check!
5. Reach goals for horse-specific income stream. (Primarily through Etsy shop.) –  November was my best month ever; Black Friday was absolutely nuts. It gave me a good taste of what a month that entirely supports my horse habit would look like.
Stretch: 6. Read and review 12 books about riding on the blog. – 12/12 and done thanks to the Black Stallion books!

Financial Goals

1. Fully fund Tristan’s savings account (to $1,500) –
2. 50% fund my overall emergency fund savings account (to $7,500) – Thanks to a variety of things including obsessive economizing, this is back on track!
3. Track every purchase made in 2018. – Most of November went well. The wheels came off around Thanksgiving.
4. Create 30 day wait list for any purchase over $25 (excluding groceries & emergencies). – November’s went really well, on to December.
5. Pay off 50% of energy improvement debt. – projected to hit 57% at the end of the year and I’m ok with this; it’s an extremely low-interest loan with a small monthly payment
6. Stretch: 75% fund my overall emergency fund savings account (to $11,250) – nope.

House Goals

1. Finish dining room (finish wallpaper, skimcoat lower half, plaster upper half, paint). –check!
2. Finish garage in basement (finish strappingput up drywall, plaster drywall, paint floor, clean out). – sigh.
3. Finish living room (strip wallpaperplaster, repaint). – yeah all my plans to finish this fell apart in the face of spending the last 10 days of November hacking up my lungs
4. Develop plan & budget for preserving mud room mural.
5. Build second raised bed, start seedlings indoors, can/process results of garden. – check!
6. Stretch: Finish breakfast nook room (strip wallpaper, plaster, figure out heating, repaint)


Back in the saddle again


Last week, I spent the bulk of my time flat on my back in bed, watching Veronica Mars. The good news here is that I had 500 hours of sick time at work on the books and that Veronica Mars is awesome. (I know, I’m 15 years late to the party.)

The bad news is that the only time I got out of bed was to fill orders for Bel Joeor Metier, but even that’s good news because Christmas is paid for! And, if the next week shakes out ok, I’ll have dug myself entirely out of the hole from Tristan’s hospital visit this fall. Okay, so that’s mostly good news.

The really bad news is that I didn’t get to the barn until Friday, and even then only to try out his new boots.

So this week it’s back to the grindstone. I still can’t take a really deep breath (stupid lungs), but I’m back in the saddle this week for at least short rides.

On the agenda:

  • forward, always, quick moving feet
  • lateral work, in particular working on shoulder in
  • snappy canter departs
black stallion series · Uncategorized

The Final Countdown: Black Stallion Madness

Well, it’s time. After 20 books and three years, we’re here.

What is the absolute craziest moment in the entire Black Stallion series?

I admit, my personal favorite (the Black Stallion fights a bull moose TO THE DEATH) lost out in the last round, so I’m going to have to think long and hard about my own vote here.

I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Vote early, vote often!

black stallion series · Uncategorized

Black Stallion Madness Semifinals

Here’s where the decisions really get hard. If you missed my first post, kin which I laid out my own listing & power ranking of the craziest things to happen in the Black Stallion series, go check it out.

The results of that first round of voting are in, and now we are down to just four. So: vote! Which two craziest moments deserve to move on to the final?



House Post: Plastering the Living Room

Overall, the living room has been going much more slowly than I wanted it to. It’s still going, for sure, but I had hopes of finishing it quickly and doing one last room in 2018. That might not happen.

Anyway: living room. The first layer of plaster is now done. The slowest part is not the walls – those are probably 75% done after the first layer, and the remaining bits are nothing special – it’s the corners.

Every single corner has to be rebuilt from top to bottom. That’s a lot of plaster, and a lot of sanding. It’s nothing compared to the skimcoating from the dining room, but it’s still a pain in the ass.

Still: if I can stay on top of things this week, it’s realistic to think that next weekend I can prime. Then I’ll test paint colors and then the hardest part of the entire project is next: convincing my husband that we need to rip up the carpet.



The Black Stallion Madness

Well, after 19 recaps and three years, I’ve officially finished my journey through all of the Black Stallion books.

I have one remaining question: what was the craziest thing that happened in the books?

Let’s all decide together, shall we?

I used my own judgment to choose and then seed eight moments from the series, and set them up for a vote, March Madness style.

In order of least to most insane, they are:

  1. The Black’s second son, Bonfire, is a harness racing champion, and Alec steps in to train and drive him just in time for the Big Race. (The Black Stallion’s Blood Bay Colt, The Black Stallion’s Sulky Colt)
  2. Henry’s training method for breaking Satan’s spirit is to hit him with a whip repeatedly, then lasso him to the ground. (Son of the Black Stallion)
  3. Tahari lures Alec and the Black to a remote mountain hideaway somewhere in Europe with a complicated plan to kill the Black as revenge for killing her father, except it all goes wrong and she ends up killing the Black’s sire instead. (The Black Stallion Mystery)
  4. The Black causes a plan crash because he colics too hard, wanders the wilderness, and fights a bull moose to the death. (The Black Stallion Revolts)
  5. Alec and the Black get lost in the Florida Everglades and hallucinate and/or actually experience a vengeful local god. (The Black Stallion and the Ghost)
  6. Flame and the Black team up to fight a vampire bat to the death. (The Black Stallion and Flame)
  7. Aliens land on Azul Island and bring Steve and Flame to Cuba to race. (The Island Stallion Races)
  8. Alec and the Black fulfill a Native American prophecy about the end of the world, and then the world actually ends. Maybe. (The Black Stallion Legend)

So, here we go: four votes to advance the craziest moments to the semifinals. I’ll do the semis on Monday, and then next Friday will be the final showdown for the absolute nuttiest moment in the series.

Are there any totally nutty moments that you remember but I forgot? Disagree with my power ranking in any way?


gear · Uncategorized

Help me shop: brushing boots

First question: do they still call them brushing boots?


Since his summer and fall of doing dumb shit, I’ve been putting boots on Tristan for every ride. It takes an extra 5 minutes but with the way he manages to flail around I figure it pays off.

Problem: my boots are crappy. They’re the $10 a pair neoprene brushing boots from Dover. Now, I am not a neoprene hater – but these are a) kind of crappy and b) they don’t fit his legs particularly well.


I’d like to get him new boots for Christmas, so: help!

I don’t need anything like tendon boots or open front. I don’t need fancy or trendy. He’s not jumping anymore, so it’s not for poles or anything like that.

Basically, I need boots to provide an extra layer of protection for when he forgets what to do with his legs. He stumbles a LOT. Especially his hind legs. Especially now, while he’s trying to add strength in his hind end.

He has pony-length legs (right now his cheap Dover boots are small in front, medium in back) but horse-thickness. So short boots are often not wide enough. I have to pull the Dover boots a little bit more snug than I’d really like, for example. He’s just got a ton of bone in his leg. That would be a big consideration for whatever I buy.


I’d also really like them to cover as much of his fetlock as possible, since he has definitely whacked himself there in the past.

I’m not overly picky about material (like I said, I don’t mind neoprene) but it should be something that’s easily washable and that holds up. It won’t be going through water, etc., as if we were going XC, but I’ll certainly ride outside from time to time.

So: suggestions? Bonus points for keeping me under $150 for two pairs.


He says thank you!