Blog Hop: Equestrian Book Collection

I have…a lot of horse books. Way too many to lay them all out neatly like you guys have. I actually took some down from the shelf to lay them out and then thought about how everything in my house is a disastrous mess and I’d have to spend 20 minutes putting them all back, so. I did not do that.

Here, have pictures of the shelves themselves. My collection is heavier on fiction than on nonfiction, and what nonfiction there is tends toward the memoir & history type than the how-to. I also have another ~20 or so on my Kindle.


Of note: the Cherry Hill books. I love them. Also that lovely old edition of Black Beauty.


The whole collection, plus the new light that I will install in the library when I have five minutes to spare. Mainly sharing for that top shelf, outer layer. Thoroughbred series, Marguerite Henry, a couple of assorted books, including The Blue Sword, Everyday Friends, and Banner Year, which are all pretty close to perfect hrose books.


Top shelf, back layer. Of note, the USPC books and Jessica Jahiel’s books, as well as my childhood copy of Black Beauty, a few Black Stallion books, and the three on the far right – 1950s horse books written for boys that I loved as a kid. I should write about them someday.

There are at least 5-10 I can think of that aren’t on these shelves, too. I need to do a thorough reorganizing of my books (I have probably ~30 in a stack by my bed alone) but the thought makes me want to go take a nap instead.

In short, I read a LOT.

blog roundup · Uncategorized

Weekly Blog Roundup


Book Review: Training Strategies for Dressage Riders from Poor Woman Showing
I like the idea of this book and the positive review it got.

Shaping Energy from Zen and the Art of Baby Horse Management
I had a trainer who was very into the idea of energy use (and chakras!) while riding and I kind of hated it then, but this blog post makes a lot of sense.

Speedhumps: a baby horse story from Dotstream
I love baby horses. This was a well-told story about a training problem & solution.

Eugene’s Eventful Acres – Cross Country from DIY Horse Ownership
I love Eugene, and any post with tons of photos of him jumping gets a +1 from me. It’s also an all-around good show recap.

Millbrook Madness from Breeches and Boat Shoes

Levels of Pressure from A Enter Spooking
A+ for thoughtful, useful dressage content

Use This Easy Test to See if Your Knees Are Inhibiting Your Horse’s Forward Movement from Trafalgar Square Books
I…am not sure this is an easy test, but it is an intriguing one.

The Beauty of Big, Huge, Awkward Mistakes from Eventing Nation
Andrea is the actual BEST, and this is a terrific article.

Countdown to Congress, and the Impending Departure from Diary of an Overanxious Horse Owner
Quarter Horse showing is a world I know absolutely nothing about, so I found this fascinating.


How would you interpret this?

I am among the least superstitious people on the planet. I don’t really do lucky things. I have things that I like, and things that I have imbued with meaning, but I don’t think the world will go wrong if I don’t have rituals, objects, or anything else that I feel blesses my endeavor. (My husband, on the other hand, has elaborate charts that he uses to keep track of what jerseys he was wearing when his sports teams win or lose so that he can make sure he gets it “right.”)

I’m not in the slightest bit religious, either. I don’t really care whether ghosts exist or not. I’m really kind of boringly pragmatic in a lot of ways. I like to work hard and figure things out and love the things that I love, and mysteries that can never be solved are kind of boring to me.

I tell you this mostly as context to the story I’m about to relate to you, so you can understand how weird it is.

Maybe a month ago, Tristan’s pasture mate was euthanized. He was in his 30s, and he had the variety of health problems you’d expect from an ageing horse. He was exquisitely well cared-for and much loved, but he was getting increasingly neurological. Getting up and down the hills of the farm was hard for him, and getting harder.

I can’t stress enough how hard everyone worked to keep him comfortable and how lovingly the final decision was made. The barn manager brought him out to handgraze with Tristan for a while so they could say goodbye. They’ve been turned out together reliably for a few years now, because they had similar needs for grass (type and/or lack of), because Tristan doesn’t play hard, and because they were just calm and happy together. So it was lovely that they got to say goodbye.

Tristan rarely gets attached to other horses. He has some horses that he likes, especially longtime pasture buddies, but he’s never been a horse to make instant best friends on a trailer, for example, and he’s always been perfectly happy to be turned out alone when that ends up being his situation. For a horse that spent his formative years running wild in a herd, he has an awful lot of loner-like tendencies. I’ve always thought that if I did bring him home with me someday, he’d be content and happy alone for quite a while.

That’s just more context for you.

On Monday, I took Tristan out for a long walk around the field. Nothing taxing at all; just a walk with some nice trots up hills. We’ve circled this field I don’t even know how many dozens of times.

At the end of our ride, we were coming up the last bit of hill, and he was on a loose rein, and he scooted forward, hard and fast. It wasn’t really a spook or a bolt. It was a short launch, a stride or two of energy and alertness. I didn’t even have time to pick up the reins, just sat it with my seat, and he came back to a walk by himself. I thought that it was the new trailers that were parked at the top of the hill, though those had been quite visible for our entire walk up the hill and were no surprise.

I walked him around the trailers a bit, and he was alert but not bratty. Then he stopped and let out a long, loud, neigh. Really long. Really loud. Then again. I was totally baffled – he’s also not a vocal horse. Mustangs rarely are. There were no other horses in sight, no other people, no other animals. Nothing at all.

I was confused but shrugged, and we turned for home. As we were leaving the hill, he called out again, long and loud. This time, there was a horse in the outdoor, so I guessed he’d been calling to her. It’s a mare that he’s never actually “met,” though they’ve been ridden in the ring together maybe two or three times. Still really weird for him to be calling for her, but I guessed that’s what happened.

As I dismounted, a thought occurred to me, and I walked into the barn and poked my head into the tack room for the barn manager.

“Hey S,” I said. “Where is Pari buried?”

I knew generally where the barn buried horses, but S. described to me a spot precisely where Tristan had had his first scoot.

I’m not sure what to think. S. was very close to Pari and thought that Tristan saw something. That’s comforting for her, and it really is a lovely thought. But it’s so far outside of how I usually interpret things that I’m just not sure. Most of my practical brain just thinks he smelled that other horse, or he just had a weird whim.

What do you think?


How do you price used tack?

I’m helping to organize a big used tack sale at the barn – we’re selling table spots for anyone who wants to come to help benefit the equestrian team at the local university that rides out of our barn. At the end of the day, we’ll collect any tack that people don’t want to take home and donate it to some local horse rescues.

I’m looking forward to it. Organizing this sort of event is right in my wheelhouse, both by professional training and personal inclination, and I have spent some quality time cleaning out my own old tack to see what I can unload. I’ve also been making some horsey craft items that I hope will go over well.

I now have an entire tupperware filled with various things I am fine with selling, from breeches to tack to sheets and more. It ranges from fair (good quality & well-loved in decent condition) to brand new & never used. (I finally gave up on the open front leather boots I bought many years ago and have never even taken out of the packaging, much less put on Tristan’s legs. sigh.)

Now I’m in a bit of a conundrum.

How do I price this? I have some gut sense of what I’d pay for it in a consignment shop, and a very vague sense of what I’ve seen similar items priced for online. But I’m pretty far from a savvy consumer of tack, and personally kind of a cheapskate. I’m still trying to pay down vet bills from Tristan and the dog’s fun July, so I need to come away from this with some money. I want to assess a fair price on things but I also need to sell it.

Have you ever done anything like this? How do you decide how to price items – pure whim? actual research on comparatives? some combination of both?

Any advice appreciated!

blog roundup

Weekly Blog Roundup

Short & sweet this week as I’ve been insanely busy.

A visit to horse country from Hand Gallop

What to expect: green bean jumping edition from Beyond the Shed Row

12 ways to make your barn safer from Eventing Connect

Book Review: Unrelenting by George Morris from Viva Carlos

Facing RealityMoving and adjusting to retirement from Guinness on Tap

Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relieve Girth review & giveaway from DIY Horse Ownership

2017 horse goals · dressage · show planning

Surprise Show Prep

Last week, I found out that a day off I had requested back in April would finally be ok for me to take – someone had volunteered to provide the coverage needed. I had honestly totally given up on the request and kept it on the list out of pure reflexive frustration.

Thankfully, I found out the day before closing for the barn schooling show! I emailed the show secretary immediately, and followed the next day with my entry for Training 1 and Training 2.

I haven’t said anything on the blog because I was convinced it would fall through (part of me is still convinced something will go wrong) but I have been scrambling since then to get show prep done.

That includes:
– Finding all the various parts of my show kit. My white breeches and white show pad were AWOL for three days, and I finally had a brainstorm in the middle of the night of where I’d stashed them and thankfully, there they were. The breeches needed to be washed but that was easy enough.

I know my dressage coat is several years out of style and I don’t care I LOVE IT.

– Actually trying to memorize my tests; haven’t finished this one yet.
– Practicing that newfangled long mane button braid that people are talking about. It came out pretty darn well and I’m going to go with it on Saturday!

– Taking a lesson to tune up parts of the tests. Given how much of a shit he’s been in the outdoor we’ve been drilling it HARD, working through gradually less huge bits, and this was my first time in the snaffle we’ll have to use for the show. Bizarrely enough, he was well-behaved, soft, and suuuuuuuper behind the leg. Can’t win ’em all. So now I’ve been focused on revving him back up in the snaffle which hopefully will not swing the pendulum the other way?

From the lesson: I need to round out my circles better, be more attentive about my marks. I need to ask for some left flexion down the center line and into my halts to keep him square & straight. I need to pay particular attention to my outside rein the canter circles coming off the rail because he’s awfully sticky. I need to post quickly and stay relatively light in the reins to encourage him to go forward. I need to use my diagonals to build forward and then carry it through corners. I need to get more precise about my aids for the canter depart.

My times are 10:20 and 11:20 because this is some kind of cushy and luxurious schooling show, I do not even know. Good grief.

So, we’ll see how this goes! Stay tuned for a recap next week.