Memories and Good Luck

Sometimes your husband nails Valentine’s Day with a gift that gives you all the feels.

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“Horse shows come and go, trophies collect dust, ribbons get tossed to the side, but the memories are never forgotten, and the friendships are never replaced.”

 

Noble Outfitters: Review and Giveaway!

When Noble Outfitters first contacted me about reviewing their products I was over 9 months pregnant and wasn’t doing a lot of riding at the moment.  That said, Noble was fabulous and sent two products to try out anyway, offering to let me review them when I was back in the saddle.

I received the Balance Riding Tights in navy and the Ringside Pack.

First up is the Balance Riding Tights.  

The past four weeks I’ve been small enough to fit into them, and fit enough to go for some rides.  And let me tell you…I LOVE THEM.  Reasons I love them?

  1. They fit me really well.  I like the mid-rise, that is great for tucking shirts into, without making me feel like I’m 100 years old.  The soft sock bottom hits my leg well.  My inseam is about 36inches long, so for more petite riders, this may cause some issues.  For me though, it is great.
  2. They feel like really wonderful sweatpants.  They are quite stretchy, and feel good to wear in and out of the saddle.  After riding I actually lounged around in my house in them because of how comfortable they felt.

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    So comfortable.

  3. The color is really pretty.  I love the navy blue and grey combo I have, and appreciate that it is true to what it looks like online.  That said, I’m not sure I’d call it navy, which I typically think of as a much darker shade.  I was able to wear them a few different days before feeling like they were dirty enough to wash.
  4. Extras.  These tights have a belt loop, and look nice with a belt.  I’m also loving the side pocket that is  on the left thigh.  My iPhone 6 fits perfectly in it, and it’s so nice to not have to scramble, or do the stand-in-the-saddle-and-rummage move when I need to get something out of my pockets.  Hell, my other tights didn’t even have pockets.  Another perk because equestrians need all the pockets.
  5. Price point.  At $89.95 I love them.  I’m not someone to spend lightly, so the fact that these are roughly the same price as Smartpak Pipers, I feel like they are a really quality option.
  6. Husband proof?  I love my husband, and he was helping with laundry a few days ago.  He washed those poor tights in with our t-shirts, and then dried them on high heat.  Results?  Nada.  They look exactly like they did before, plus the fit is the same too.  I probably won’t subject them to too many more drying episodes, but it’s nice to know they stand up well to abuse.

Now for the Ringside Backpack.

I had this around when I was preggers, and immediately stuffed it full of my various gloves, some riding clothes, drinks, snacks, and my helmet…and still felt like I could’ve put a ton more things in it.  There is so much room and plenty of organization put into this bag.

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Ready to roll out to the barn!

Now that I’m back in lessons, I go straight from work to the barn and the backpack is a wonderful time-saver.  I pack everything in the a.m. and all my riding stuff is easy to grab and throw on my back.  Plus there is several different compartments, so I have a separate ‘clean’ zipper space where I can put my dress clothes after I change from work.  While it’s more pricy than many backpacks you could pick up at Target or something, the $99.95 I honestly understand. This item is a portable tack trunk, and I think the value it brings is worth it.  I’m loving it and can’t wait to have it at shows.

Final word:

I would definitely recommend both of these items!  Pay close attention to the size chart for the tights.  Usually I am a size 30, and fit easily into the size large that the chart dictated I was.  I have a feeling I could squeeze into the mediums, but prefer not to quite yet after baby.

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Tights in action.

Noble Outfitters offered up one of their fabulous Ringside backpacks for a giveaway too!  Enter by simply commenting below, and sharing the contest on your blog or Facebook.  Please don’t forget to let me know you shared, I don’t want to miss anyone!  I’ll close the giveaway on March 1st at midnight.

Aloof No More

Over the past 5 months of O living at the ranch I’ve tried my hardest to be an unbiased, focused on the end goal type of owner.  She needed a mental break, physically I wasn’t 100%.  This made sense.  This was the right thing.  If anything I feel like I’ve been very aloof with the while thing.

Today my in-laws surprised me by asking if O could come back today versus next weekend.  Of course I agreed, set up the details and hopped off the phone.  And promptly made it 5 minutes before I started texting everyone that my horse was coming back!  I was literally shaking, bouncing around the house with excitement.  As soon as I got those confirmation messages that her spot was waiting for her, and that it was really happening…it felt exactly like Christmas.  And then of course, I started crying.  Because as much as I want to be aloof, as much as I want to be unbiased, more than anything I really, really just want my horse back.  I need her, I missed her.  

  
I hope this is our shot, and that everything goes smoothly over the next 6 months.  Because I just adore her.  I cannot wait to have her here!  

SmartPak Favorite Products Blog Hop

Kudos to Breeches and Boat Shoes for converting this into a written Blog Hop, it’s a subject I can actually get into right now,  Plus I can’t wait to spoil the pony when she gets back!

What is your favorite equestrian-specific product that you use when you’re at the barn?
  • I was really using and loving Sore No More earlier this spring before O left for the ranch.  I love that she chomps/chews when I put it on her.  Plus it smells great!
What is your favorite non equestrian-specific product to use when you’re at the barn?
  • Dawn antibacterial soap for funky stuff on white legs.
  • Desitin- I legitimately put it on my baby registry and thought “Oh!  I could use this on O or the baby!”  I love it because she lives outside and that stuff keeps on keeping on.  It’s a bugger to get off if you need to (ie horse show or something), but it really helps dry fungus up.
  • Do peppermints count?
What is your horse’s favorite equestrian-specific product to wear or use?
  • Her Rambo/Rhino blanket set up!  I’m guessing of course, but she’s one that will stand completely still and wait for me to buckle her in, whereever, whenever I need to.  Oh and she’s totally pitiful when cold/wet and unblanketed.
Pitiful soggy horse.

Pitiful soggy, dirty horse.

What was the best equestrian-related gift you were ever given, and why does it mean so much to you?

  • My devoucoux saddle.  My mom bought it for me without telling my Dad.  When he found out it became my Birthday/Christmas/Valentines Day-never-ask-for-another-gift-item.  Totally worth it.

If you had the ability to create any product or anything to make your time at the barn better, – no matter how ridiculous or against-the-laws-of-physics it might be – what would that be?

  • I would love a magical zipline or horse catcher, that would find my dark bay mare in the dark winter evenings, and bring her in to me in our toasty warm stable. For whatever reason, I think she knows that the back corner of the dark field is the best place to hang out during the cold season.  It ends up taking me 10-15 minutes to find her half the time, then we have to walk back too.
  • On a similar note, maybe I need to get some lights on her blankets that I can ‘flash’ in the dark.  Like when you can’t find your car in a parking lot?  That would help too.

O @ the Ranch: 10 Weeks In

This weekend was awesome, full of friends, family, sporting events, and finally, a whole morning to hang out with my favorite bay mare.

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While she is pretty sunbleached, everything else about her screams healthy, happy pony.  Especially since they’ve broken down the herd a bit and she now only goes out with her favorite little grey pony and her slightly smaller bay mare buddy.  Same one I rode in the family’s big trail ride.

Anyway, I have to admit that having her pay attention to me, and come over for cuddles pretty much made my week.  I mean, look how cute she was!  Excuse the grey pony photobomb–they are besties.

This mare makes me so happy!

This mare makes me so happy!

We had to get our selfie on.

We had to get our selfie on.

While the family says she’s been a great visitor, I am so, so excited to get her back.  I know that it’s going to be a lot juggling, and probably plenty of stress with an infant, and a mare coming back into work.  But I guess for the time being I’m going with the ‘jump into the deep end’ part of things.  November is going to be a wild month!

Kisses goodbye.

Kisses goodbye.

Her version of kisses goodbye.

Her version of kisses goodbye.

Horse meets bump!

Horse meets bump!

Conclusions at Almost 2 Months

More reports from the ranch that O pony continues to be an easy going, quiet riding horse for whomever needs her.  They teased me a bit saying that after two days straight of working and moving cattle my ‘super fit’ jumping horse was a hot, sweaty, sore mess for a few days.  But besides her having to adjust to a different type of workload, they continue to have zero issues with her doing anything they ask.

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She’s pretty much been a “yes mam” ride for them.

Which brings me to a few conclusions as we approach the 2 month mark of her being out there.

1. There is nothing wrong with her brain.

2. This was a good decision.

Off she goes!

3. It’s looking like the program we had her in all winter may have been what made her meltdown.  (Process of elimination/Duh moment)

3a FYI: The program included getting ridden 5-6 days a week, jumped two or so times.

4. She’s doing really well out in big spaces, with or without other horses.  We need to accommodate this new positive aspect when she comes back with more time out of doors, even if it means skipping a ‘training ride’ or two.

5. Maybe she’s not happy doing ring work as much as hunter/jumper calls for.  This is the bad news, as obviously I am a hunter/jumper rider.  Perhaps we can find a middle zone with #4 and make both of us happy when she gets back.  Cross training here we come.

6. That really lovely, quiet mare is still there.

7. I miss my horse.

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Over Half Baked

It’s official.  I’m struggling a bit to ride.

I always assumed it would be balance, or pain that would slow me down.  In reality it’s that I cannot catch my breath.  As DaBaby moves up in my torso, it pretty much squishes my lungs into uselessness.  This past week was the first time that I really noticed it and since there’s not a lot I can do to help, I’m going to have to learn to live with that for now.  It is sad, that even while looking only ‘a little bit pregnant’ according to my riding friends, I definitely feel the change in body more each week.

My big aim is to make it to 28 weeks, or 7 months, before having to exit the lesson program.  Maybe even a few weeks after if I can find something to just let me toodle around on it.  We shall see, that’s only a few weeks from now.

In light of my first 6 months of being a human oven I thought I would share just a few funny and interesting things I’ve noticed about being pregnant and still riding.

1. About 20 weeks I realized that I am officially top heavy, and bending over to pick out feet I often wobble/have to take a step forwards.  Awkward weight distribution for the win there.

2. My riding tights do not fit comfortably under the belly.  So they must go over.  I feel like this:

So attractive

3. Side zip breeches are not a great solution while pregnant as I couldn’t figure out away to use the hairband trick or anything else in my arsenal to extend them.  They were an early loss to the belly.

4. Funny but true: cantering sometimes makes me feel like I have to go pee really freaking bad.  Do I really?  Nope.  Ask me how many times I got off before I figured out it’s just something about that motion.

5. Baby does not move at all while I’m riding.  One of the few times it’s not bouncing around!  I’ve decided it’s because they love it and clearly want me to keep riding.

6. I’m real awkward getting off the horse.  Getting on = easy peasy.  Getting off the horse is a whole other issue.  I have to do this half twist sliding thing with my body.  My fellow riders find it pretty fun to watch.  I’m sure that is only going to continue to get worse!

Right around 3 months pregnant here.

Right around 3 months pregnant here.

7. I’ve said it before, I’m sure I’ll say it again.  Lesson horses are worth their weight in gold….times 10.  Honestly I could not have continued to ride if it weren’t for the tried and true schoolies who have carted me safely around these past few months.  They are a godsend.

8. Not totally horse related, just  funny: even just sticking out a little from the norm, I feel like I bump into everything.  Horses, my saddle while I’m tightening the girth, my closet door etc.  I was never graceful to begin with, but wow, it’s weird.

I’ve been so incredibly lucky with the first half of this pregnancy, and I have been enjoying every minute possible in the saddle.  My Mother-in-law rode up until right before she had the hubs.  And my friend lasted into her 7th month in the middle of the summer.  So far the only issue I’ve had is working too hard, and making my core (what’s left of it) hurt.  I just avoid lots of cantering/sitting trot work, and so far so good.  Plus, I’m already excited to start making plans about getting back into the saddle after baby!