Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Inventory

I had a not so great jump lesson last night. I rode terribly, and Midge wasn't feeling herself either. Noting terrible came from our collective fail to do the things, since we were just working on related distances and adjusting strides with tiny fences,  but it was certainly a struggle. Midge could canter...or trot. or quit. No adjustability, no motivation. I stayed on, and that's about all I contributed to the cause:) EC had to give us a pep talk of all the ways jumping helps our dressage, so I guess my frustration with myself was obvious.

So, since I don't feel like dwelling on it, we're going steal an idea from LWilliams. While we don't have nearly the tack inventory she does, I thought it might be fun to recap our current gear, since it's changed a bit lately. It's basic and budget conscious, but it works for us.

Saddles:

-County Competitor dressage
-County Pro-Fit CC (fingers crossed it stays!)
-TexTan western
-Stubben Juventus jump (was Ginger's, then Bridget's...tree is twisted now so it sits until I can bear to toss it.)
Ginger tack modeling.
Western!

Bridles:

-Stubben Leitrim bridle (Ginger)
-Bobby's dressage bridle (Bridget)
-Mondega hunter bridle (Bridget and Ginger)
-Cheap bridles x2. Greenhawk Connemara brand. Used for rainy, gross days, trail riding, swimming, XC clinics where I think loose horse might be a possibility ;) Oh, and with my western saddle, because I have no pride.
Bits:
-A loose ring french link for each pony.
-An eggbutt snaffle for each pony.
Reins:
-So many. I have tiny hands, and like rubber lined reins. There was some trial and error involved here!


Girths:

-Schockemohle dressage girth
-Cheap fleece lined regular girth
-cheap brown neoprene regular girth
-HDR leather girth.
Of these, both ponies love the cheap fleece one. I do need a better girth. I tried the County logic one and the total saddle fit one and didn't notice a difference worth paying for.

Saddle pads:

I've eliminated the hoard, and gone for the most part with 'boring'. Boring, matching stuff is actually good in a large barn, I always know which pad is mine!
-Black with grey trim jump pads x 3, matching dressage pad x 1.
-White pads jumping x1, dressage x 1
-Teal with navy dressage pad x 1. Cause I love it.
-Pro Fit shimmable pad. For all those uneven shoulders.

Black and grey pads for the win

Boots:

So shameful, 1 pair of black Woof Wear XC boots. And that's it.

Misc:

3 point breastplates x2. For all those trail riding adventures. Ginger's is a cheap HDR, Bridget's a cheap stripy elastic Greenhawk model.

This is why we don't have pretty pictures. Thanks for trying, Midge.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Planning Ahead

I've had a lot of my plate lately. At times, there has definitely been that desperate feeling that it's all too much circling around in my brain. I need to change my life up a bit.

This coming weekend, G and I are going to look at some small acreages in my hometown. Nothing we're sure of, except the price and the land seems right, and that long term I'd like a larger place to keep the horses. I'm happy where they are boarded currently, and happy enough to keep working here to fund all the lessons and shows and horsey things, but obviously this isn't forever. At the end of the day, I'll be moving back home full time and it would be wonderful to have a nice spot for the horses built into that. Wish us luck...or don't...we've been casually looking for over 5 years so we might be very fussy :)

In other news, I bought a saddle. It's a County Pro-Fit (I'm told it was on a Stabilizer tree, but with a slightly deeper seat). It's about 15 years old, in excellent shape, and an XW tree. I'm crossing everything it fits us like it's expected to. I feel good about this one because our saddle fitter is a County rep and had suggested it, also because our dressage saddle is an XW tree County as well and it works perfectly.
Not mine, but it looks identical to the one being sent.

In related news, my show budget is shot. So no Topline event for us. Campbell Valley will be our 'big' outing and that's not until August. I feel like I started the season well, with the MREC 2 Phase quickly followed by the HTBC eventing clinic, but then the following 2 events I had planned on attending were cancelled due to the weather, and now Topline is out. So, August it is!

In news related to that, I discussed my priorities with my coach and have opted to focus more on dressage for at least the immediate future. I simply don't have enough hours in the day to keep B eventing fit, nor do I have the time and finances to do all the events and XC schooling in addition to the dressage stuff I want to do,

We're going to continue with bi-weekly jump lessons, and our Friday night barn jump schools, but I'm thinking we'll just plan to attend one or two low level events this year and next, and likely continue with the two phase events a couple of times over the winter. That will free up time and money for me to have weekly dressage lessons, and attend monthly dressage clinics.

So, next up on the calendar: A dressage show mid June. 

I realized also I never did give an update on the whole Ginger breeding thing. Ginger is doing wonderfully - she even got a 4th place ribbon at the Chase Creek event! Obviously though, my coach had some big unexpected changes in her life this spring, so I suspect the last thing she's wishing for right now is more horses. There's still a chance I'll go ahead and breed her on my own next spring, but I have a sale offer and a long term lease offer both on the table as well. I'm starting to wish for another baby to bring along (crazy, I know, but training the baby 'firsts' are my favorite part of having horses.)The direction I'm currently leaning is actually to breed Bridget to Cardi next spring. They're a more similar type to each other and I think would make a super fun sport pony. Also, Bridget is turning 8 shortly, so if I'm going to breed her at some point in her life sooner would be better than later. And so, our update comes full circle...because if we owned a larger piece of land for baby to grow up on, the decision would be easier.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Week 9


This week featured gorgeous weather, lots of great rides, and a very sweaty pony. I've made some decisions and have a few small changes on the horizon too, which added to my general sense of well being this week. I'll ponder that in a follow up post.

Saturday: Dressage school 20min followed by 45min trail ride.


Sunday: Jump school. 15 min warmup, followed by 2'6" courses x3
Monday: Dressage school. Pretty easy day, since G was there and mostly we just wanted to visit with him.

"OH HI G, take my picture!!!" - Bridget. She loves him and likes to keep an eye on him.

Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Dressage lesson.
Thursday: Jump school, using same fences as I set on the weekend. Best working student was there to help, which was awesome. She's 15 going on 40, and already really good at training and coaching.

Game faces

Friday: I'm heading home this weekend, so B gets a trainer (dressage) ride.
Saturday: B gets to go for a hack with best working student.
Bonus pic of our grumpy cat. He does not appreciate being woken up for pics, but he does enjoy indulging in weekend Netflix marathons with me so he's actually pretty awesome.
Looking ahead:
I've signed up for the dressage show in three weeks. And so far, that's it besides lessons and clinics. We've still got some other options on the horizon - I'll recap the revised plan this weekend :)

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A Fun Lesson

I know I keep saying I'm going to take all the jumping lessons, but my resolve is weakening with every fantastic dressage lesson we have. It's not that the jump lessons aren't good, it's just we both find dressage a bit easier, I think.

Last night, we started with trot/halt/trot transitions. Pretty simple concept, Midge just needs to come back and go forward when asked, also stay straight and keep her hind end under her. This particular exercise is krytonite for her, and a great way to check in and see what sort of evasion is the go to for the day. Last night. B was NOT impressed about not being able to suck back, wiggle,  plow through my aids, or just generally not being allowed to llama. So basically, she just couldn't horse at all. Yay :) On the plus side, after 2 years of these shenanigans in various forms, I feel like I have a ton of tools in the toolbox and can be patient and ride the horse I want until B decides that she can be that horse and meet me half way.

As promised, more subpar pics that have nothing to do with today's content

Sure enough, in about 15min or so, the good Midge appeared. Once the transitions became light and reliable, we added in some more work on our walk pirouettes. Right now, we just do half turns usually, essentially turning until just before I feel like I'll lose the bend, then we walk out and repeat.  This worked well with the trot/halt/trot exercise because it got her thinking straighter through her shoulders and also using that pesky inside hind to step up under a bit more. So fun - I know it's been years in the making, but seriously, it's still a novelty to me that Midge can and will move all those body parts where we ask, when we ask.

Building on that, we moved up to canter/walk/canter transitions. Since B isn't legit strong or experienced enough to do these correctly if we ask straight up, what we do is spiral the canter in until it's as tiny as I can make it, then pop down into a collected walk. So, essentially using the exercise to keep her balanced enough to make the nice walk transition possible.  Then, spiral back out and canter, using as few collected walk steps as possible...the walk is there to rebalance her and give us the good transition/good canter we need.
One of the few pics where I'm not headless, at least

I'm excited, because we actually pulled this off a few times in each direction and it felt easy! We finished with some 20m canter circles playing with shoulder and haunches in. This, of course, was harder for us both, but still, the pony is starting to feel pretty maneuverable in canter. We've made huge progress in building a canter on my little trotting cart pony, and there are whole minutes now of a big, bouncy, dressage worthy canter. While I have to say if I could go back in time I'd probably save myself a ton of work and start with a horse that can canter, I'm lucky in that B actually had a decent canter hiding in there...she just needed to learn to use it and I needed to learn how to teach her.

So.much.fun.
Another flying potato pony picture. I look like perhaps I didn't quite have faith the potato would leave the ground ;)

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Long Weekend Recap

In which we spend the entire weekend loving life at the barn, and discover my phone camera is actually incapable of taking a decent picture.
It's a picture of us! Sort of...


I was having a slight pity party for myself last week, as pretty much everyone else in the barn was headed to Mustang Powder/Chase Creek for their back to back horse trials. Essentially, 2 events run back to back over 4 days. The idea might sound a little weird for those of you with a regular event calendar, but given the distances we travel to show, the chance to compete twice in one trip actually makes a lot of sense here. I was having a bit of a pity party because:

1. The event only offers divisions at Entry (I think that equates to somewhere around US Novice level) and above. I'm pretty much the only person in the barn not yet competing at that level. Go, me.

2. Barn rates are going up, making me reconsider whether I could afford to attend such events anyway. My spending priority in attempting to be a better rider remains lessons > than competitions. But competitions are such a fun thing to go to with my barn :(
Fuzzy pics > no pics. We jumped Saturday and it was fun :)

Anyway, I showed up to feed the horses Friday morning and it took me all of 5 minutes to realize I was more than happy to be home with the horses. There's nothing better than a nice quiet morning at the barn, particularly when the sun is shining! Our barn is so busy and competitive that it's easy to get a bit caught up in it all. This weekend of being there early to feed and having the place pretty much to myself was a great reminder of where I find the most joy in this whole crazy horse thing. I'm happiest when I'm more involved in their day to day care, when I have a nice quiet arena to ride in, and very little in the way of a schedule to follow. Don't get me wrong, I love the lessons and chance to compete too, but not on the same level as the rest of it. I'm very driven to always be better as a rider and horseperson, so the lessons and competitions are more the means to that end rather than my reason for owning a horse :)
We dressaged a little on Sunday, also fun.

This weekend, I was on a mission to get tons of media. And...I did. However, the vast majority of it stinks. I set up my phone and tablet cameras in hopes of getting video, and back up video. Video #1 deleted itself before I could even watch it. Video #2 was not at the best angle, and was fuzzy and grainy despite my setting it to max resolution, and 'sport' mode. No problem, though, because G stopped by to say hi on Sunday, so I put him to work taking actual pics. But, I forgot that he's the worst at taking pictures. I love him, and love that he tried, but yeah, fuzzy zoomed in pics of our (large) bottoms are not being posted here. Also, it seems even a beautiful sunny day is not enough to make either camera take overly clear images. I've been cursing the lighting all winter, seems the issue is actually the iPhone and Galaxy tablet cameras are not up to the task of taking pictures of moving objects. I know what I'm asking for for my birthday! Until then, I've got 100 or so not so good pictures from this weekend. And, fair warning,  I plan to use them here until a new camera finds its way to me.
Bridget is ashamed for me

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Week 8

Sorry, Midge. Your booty is still a little too large.

Saturday: Best barn rat took her for a hack

Sunday: B's day off

Monday: Best jump lesson

Tuesday: Vaulting

Wednesday: Flatwork plus a fitness hack. The hills are getting easier for her!

I legit tried to get media...but forgot to up the resolution enough for how far away I need to put the camera. Sorry, fuzzy pics for you
Thursday: Another day off. No excuses, I felt lazy and knew we'd be busy all weekend 

Friday: Flatwork with cross poles...working on our lesson homework and finding our consistent pace through related distances. 

Looking forward: It's a long weekend! Had a great ride this morning, planning a long trail ride tomorrow and a jump school Monday. Our rotten wet spring just forced the cancellation of our event on the first weekend of June. They're doing a combined test with a derby course instead. I'm still tempted, but really there's only so much money to go around and the travel costs are at least $250 every time we go. Hard to justify when they hold combined tests all winter and the novelty isn't really there. There's a local show mid June, but I'm still holding a grudge, apparently I am more PO'd than I originally thought. Im turning into an old grump :) There's a dressage % day that might tempt me, but really, besides lessons, our calendar is looking pretty empty for the next month or so.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Saddle Saga Update

We still haven't found a jump saddle, so I thought I'd put together a list of everything we've tried that worked or didn't and why. I'd like to think we've been exceptionally unlucky (3 of the 4 used saddles I've had shipped to me have had twisted trees, 2 of them to the point they probably shouldn't be used...how common is that really?) On the flip side, we've been super lucky in that all my long distance dealings have been good and my money has been refunded promptly, The vast majority of these saddles were lent by friends in an effort to try as many saddles as we could, I'm very lucky to have such a great barn family! Anyway, here's a list, in no particular order. Enjoy :)

17" Jeffries Elite W
Me: would have liked a 17.5" in this one, but would have made do. The overall well used condition of it killed the sale.
Bridget: slightly too narrow. but adjustable by saddler.
Other: website says you can purchase new in an XW. Repeated inquiries to the manufacturer and dealer have gone unanswered. This makes me nervous - if they're not motivated to make a sale, then how motivated will they be to provide customer service if anything goes wrong?

17.5" County Sensation MW
Me: Love. So much love. We're using this one while we search for 'our' saddle.
Bridget: Too narrow, but shape is good and the shoulders are gusseted, so she's happy enough.
Other: Cannot find this used in a  W/XW anywhere on earth. Can't afford the 6k for a new custom one.

18" HDR Rivella rotate to fit
Me: This rode really small. Like, too small for me.
Bridget: Thought it was fine.
Other. The way the tree adjusts makes me nervous, quality seemed a bit off...this one was almost new and the tree was twisted.

17" Antares Spooner W
Me: Love the open seat and nice sticky leather. Also, the flaps are an appropriate size for my short legs. Want.
Bridget: Way too narrow.

17" Stubben Roxane XW

Me: Had hopes because I loved my Juventus S, But nope, nothing about this worked for me.
Bridget: This tree is bananas! So curvy for my flat backed pony, although the width worked.

17.5" County Innovation W

Me: Don't love as much as the Sensation, but I'd settle.
Bridget: the panels are slightly the wrong shape, too angled. The Sensation fits her shape better, so we'll say the Innovation is a no go.
Other: This is a barn mate's saddle, so not for sale anyways.

Thorowgood/Kent & Masters:
Didn't even bother trying, check out how much wider B is than their XXW gullet:
the top pencil line is her. they would need to make a gullet 2 sizes larger than the XXW

18" County Stabilizer W

Me: too big for me, and the forward flap is too forward. Would like in a smaller size.
B: Slightly narrow, but OK. The length of it is the bigger problem for her.
Other: This could work in a smaller seat size. This is the other saddle we regularly borrow and ebay search while we look for our own.

Bates jump saddle/Wintec jump saddle:

Don't know the details on these, they were forgotten in the tack room by someone long ago, I just know the wide gullet wasn't wide enough and we put them on B and she was NOT a fan of the CAIR panels,
tabletop, now with dapples.

HDR 17.5 "Advantage W

Me: Ick. The flaps were SO long and weird.
B: Bucked me off 2 times. We borrowed this last minute for a XC clinic, after my saddle was deemed unusable. I knew this one didn't fit the best, so I deserved it.

17" Pessoa A/O W
Me: Meh. Would like a more forward flap and/or a 17.5" seat
B: Too narrow.
Other: these come in an adjustable tree, but I have a feeling even the XW plate won't be wide enough.

On my radar:

Am getting someone to measure the Pessoa XW XCH plate to see if it's even worth trying. Done. She's so much wider it's ridiculous.
Am trying to get someone to look at Bridget's tracings vs an XW Stubben Portos...the tree looks flatter and I know their XW is wide enough.
Prestige supposedly sells wide enough, as does Harry Dabbs. Now, to just get my tracings to the right person, or at least find one in a suitable size that is available locally for a quick trial.
Black County. Should work, but no local/Canadian dealers I can find.

On my "buy it if I find it in my budget" list:

-Newer county anything in an XW tree, Preferably a Stablizer or Sensation. Consider a W tree if fitter agrees she can adjust it.
-Jeffries anything in an XW tree. Again, possibly a W if fitter is happy with condition and adjusting it.
-HDR RTF saddles, we know they fit B, so if I could find one dirt cheap that's usable I'd use it while we search for the perfect saddle and take my chances on it dying :)
That was exhausting.



Thursday, 18 May 2017

TBT: Green Pony

Once upon a time, I had a new pony named Bridget. And, once upon a time, I was much better about documenting my rides. I've been slowly transferring all the old pictures off my phone, and came across a few from a couple of years ago that part of me would like to delete. It was B's first winter under saddle, and B was not happy with having to work for a living. I was instructorless and making progress in the " I think that was a mistake I shall never repeat again" kind of way. I'm lucky she didn't buck or rear often a la the traditional idea of a green, naughty pony, but oh my goodness, the stuck, lazy, lack of work ethic thing just about defeated me more than once.  Where these moments used to form 50% or more of our rides, now they're a fairly rare event. And my sanity thanks the universe for that.

So, without further adieu, here are some photos documenting a small part of the adult ammy with a green pony mare struggle:

Turning, what's that? 
Look at me teaching her how to bulge through her shoulder. Go team ;)


Magnetic gate sucking us in

That shoulder again, and no clue what I think I'm doing about it.



Forward = so unfair!

What a lovely canter transition, but I was probably thrilled because at least it happened.


Increasing the difficulty by making it super crooked too. So much wow.

Can't even, competitive llama racing

Forward is hard, up is better



Can't even today.

I don't even know what this is. Angry trantering giraffe?

Game faces, doesn't B look happy to be cantering? ;)

"I hates you, cute cowboy. The answer remains NO! I did not sign up to work here"

Pro llama rider. This would have been a decent moment for us in the first month or so.

No idea what the context of this was, but sums up so many of our rides then.

Would I do it again?

Of course. I learned a ton, and B is a pretty solid lower level dressage and jumping pony now. But never again with the 'project pony for eventual resale' thing. The project has turned into years and work and will never leave :) Here's a couple of pics from the same era to illustrate part of the reason she stayed:
So cute..."I hate this cowboy, can we please go home now?" 

Potential to be cute under saddle too

Most important quality of all for a blog pony: ability to pose for photos.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Measurable Progress

I normally make a point of not measuring the jumps. Big = scary, small = easy, actual measurements of "big" and "small" probably vary widely on a daily basis. That's really all we need to know.

Bridget the pony and Cedar the poodle 'helping' set jumps last weekend,.

Curiosity got the better of me this morning and so I went out and measured the jumps from our lesson that I thought looked do-able, but big. The result? Belly button height! Most surprisingly, one of the fences I wasn't overly concerned about was actually taller that the one I was worried about. Weird.


I'm short, so belly button height actually equals exactly 1m, or 3'3". So, that not only means Bridget has more hops than I give her credit for, it also means that when I've been saying I've been jumping 2'6" courses as the current upper end of my comfort zone, I actually meant 3'. When I said we haven't been progressing, well, I lied. No wonder the course at the show a few weeks ago seemed so small and friendly LOL

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Love/Hate Thing

The past few months, I've been so close to forgetting the jump lessons altogether and just focusing on dressage. We can hop around 2'3" -2'6"ish on our own just fine, no stress, no worries, life is good...now please tell me more about half pass and extended trot, I'm gonna be a dressage queen now, please and thank you!

Sounds reasonable, right? Ha, not so much. My actual reasons for not wanting to persevere with jumping lessons:

1. It's hard. Like, so hard. As an adult learning how, it's frustrating when my body just doesn't do what I ask. Dressage is just so much easier, and progress and results seem more easily obtained. I can feel what's right and what's wrong...whereas jumping just always feels a bit weird and not nearly so intuitive.

2. I'm (wisely) not as confident jumping as anything else. I know it's my weakest link, and I easily fall into thinking I just can't go higher, and/or I'll never improve, so why bother.

3. Pony. This is the lamest excuse of all, because Bridget is game. But, seriously, anything over 2'6" or so on a pony just feels and looks BIG.

4. We're in a good spot right now. As mentioned, we can jump small courses happily and confidently. Why  potentially push further and mess that up?


I'm such a head case.

Last night went like this:

EC: "Tack up in my jump saddle"
Me: "Oh shite"

Me: "The weather sucks. I'm cold. I'm still sick. I hope we're not jumping THAT course. Bridget is probably tired." Side note: B filled in on an emergency basis for one of the lesson ponies last night, and very carefully carted around a tiny child prior to my lesson. It was about the cutest thing I've ever seen, but B looked...less than motivated to move quickly, lol, and certainly would not have found their activities tiring in any way:)

Me: "Holy crap, B actually has a TON of energy tonight. What a good girl to behave for the small child. " Cue B trying to bolt and buck me off. Oh B, you are indeed a prize.

Me: "Oh my, those barrels that always worry me are the smallest thing on course. By a substantial amount. By, like at least half. I'm gonna die."

Me: First round: "OK, we survived"

Me: Second round: "Actually, I can do this"

Me: Third (even bigger) round: "Actually, this is fun"

Me: Fourth round: "Rawrr, Bridget get up to that jump! Come on, let's go! We own this thing!! Add strides are for small ponies, you've got this in 2!!"

I'm so ridiculous.

And...all the pics I wanted to use are on my tablet that I left at home last weekend. So you get memes and a crappy phone pic.

Take homes from this lesson:

- I can do this.
- It's fun.
- I need to make myself do this more often.

EC comments:

- B looked like she was having fun the entire time, and didn't quit once.

- I need to do more jump schools on my own. Even if it's tiny. Keep doing it until it doesn't take until halfway through the ride for me to be confident.

- Set up heaps of related distances and bounces until I am better about keeping a consistent pace through them. Poles on the ground if I really don't want to jump. No excuses.

-I should trust my instincts. I'm seeing the strides and where I want to be and I need to not second guess or underestimate myself or let Bridget tell me I'm wrong.

- With Bridget, if in doubt, pushing forward to the jump is always the answer.

 Of course, being the expert EC is in keeping me motivated to do all the things, I sense a super difficult dressage lesson coming my way in which I can do nothing but wrong ("See, look how fun jumping is! Don't you want to jump more?" Lol)



Sunday, 14 May 2017

Summer 10


Rhiannon of The Horse Is Not Black started a summer blog hop of 10 questions! Thank you!
1. What are your summer goals?
To survive it? My schedule is nuts. Competition wise, I'd like to have at least a couple of successful events under our belt, and some decent dressage scores at First. Mostly though,  I'd like to feel like we had time to relax and enjoy the long days and nicer weather of summer!
Went to a friend's place on the beach exactly once last year. Going to try to improve on that!
2. Do you have any tips or tricks for fly control?
I wish. Ginger gets sweet itch, so I'd love to find fail safe insect control. Since that's not happened, she's given vet prescribed meds, wears a sheet, is doused in oil based fly sprays, and wears a thick layer of zinc ointment on her belly to create a barrier to the insects.
3. How often do you bathe your horse?
They get hosed off after rides where they're sweaty but I'd say only get a proper bath a couple of times a summer.
4. Do you have any upcoming travel plans? Equine or otherwise?
We travel within the province for horse shows through October. For personal trips we'll likely go to a baseball game in Seattle this summer, and are planning an Okanagan trip in August. Then, either Mexico or Caribbean in November.
Super fancy horse show accommodations;) 
5. What is your favorite way to beat the heat?
Swimming! I'm irrationally scared of Jaws, so the ocean is a no go. Luckily, we also have lots of nice lakes.
This beach is about 5 min from my work, and often in my mind as I sit in my office under a blanket due to the crazy air con
6. Do you do anything to prevent your horse from sunbleaching?
No, they're both bay, but Bridget is a wild bay and Ginger looks more of a silver bay (she's not, but has the silver faded mane and tail - she's actually registered as chestnut despite having black legs). So, yeah, with natural color of both being kinda faded already, I don't worry about it.
7. How hot is too hot for you to ride?
It doesn't get too hot here, usually. The one time was when I got heatstroke at an event last year, it was 30 degrees Celsius or more for 4 days in a row and very little shade.
8. How important is sun protection for you riding or just in general?
I'm starting to notice sun damage from my younger days, so it's important to me. I'm pretty pale looking all the time now ;)
9. Have you ever gone swimming with your horse?
Yes, we lived for that as kids...there is a lake near our favorite trails that I still visit when I'm home. Bridget has only been in about belly deep, but I'm pretty sure she'd go swimming!
The lake. Just kidding, just another west coast puddle.
Actual lake
10. And because shopping is always on my mind, what’s on your summer wish list ?
I need a lightweight show coat and a helmet, but I haven't got to the point where I've even picked out any specific ones.  Other than that, not much. I went a little crazy with the fall sales last year and have lots of sun shirts and breeches :)