The Spotlight: Fama 4 All Custom Boots

Tall boot shopping has always been really tough for me because:

  1. I’m super short. As one of my friends put it, I have “short cannons” LOL
  2. I have wide calves 

So, finding boots off the rack that are short and wide enough is really difficult. When I have found boots that might work, I wasn’t thrilled with the quality or look of them. The leather wouldn’t be very nice, or the fit would be wonky where the proportions of my leg/boot wouldn’t fall in the right place. I’ve always loved the fancy custom boots I’ve seen by DeNiro, Tucci, or Cavallo, but they were out of my price range for all the fancy add ones I wanted. So,  I gave up boot shopping for awhile and just did half chaps and paddocks or my old old polo boots.

I think I’ve always known I would have to go custom if I wanted really nice fitting boots, but never took that final step. That is, until I found a custom boot company called Fama 4 All based out of Portugal.


You could pick whatever style of boot you wanted, and all the extra trimmings that other boot companies charge extra for, like leather and trim options, are included in the price. They had so many leather choices in different textures and colors that my head went wild with all the potential options. They were doing a grand opening sale when I found them so I was able to get two pairs of boot for about $625 shipped! That was my budget for just 1 pair so I was ecstatic about getting one pair for schooling and another for shows.


Just a small sample of the colors they have!

Rebecca, the owner of Fama 4 All, was very responsive through email and happily answered my piles of questions about measurements, styles, and colors. I sent her a ton of photos and sketches of what I wanted my boots to look like and she told me what I wanted would be no problem. They have several different boot styles like, Field, Dress, Polo, and Dressage front zip so I had a few choices.  I finally decided on a pair of Havana dress boots with a Havana crocodile leather top, fancy straight toe stitch, square toe,  marine blue stitching throughout, and my initials on the back heel protector. I also ordered a pair of matching spur straps and spur protectors too!


My Havana Lovelies

For my second pair, I decided on another dress boot but in black with a thin black patent leather top with a strip of marine blue trim, marine blue stitching throughout, fancy wingtip toe, square toe, and “Peony” on the back heel protector with patent leather spur straps and black spur protectors:


My black beauties!


Name on the heel, because someone might want to steal them because they’re so pretty


Measuring for the boots was pretty straight forward! They provide you a chart on what to measure and the measurements they require are detailed. For example, they asked for the width of my calf, but then also a measurement from the floor to the calf width measurement.This makes sure that they get the shape of your leg correct which was very key for my short legs.  They also ask for measurements of the width and length of your foot so if you have oddly shaped feet or one foot is bigger than the other it won’t be a problem. I also have wide feet with a bunion on the baby toe so they were able to take that into account.

After placing my order with Rebecca, the process took about 6-7 weeks for my boots to be completed and another week after that for them to arrive at my door! Rebecca kept me updated on how my boots were going and promptly shipped them out with a tracking number


I made Andy take a photo right when they arrived because I was still at work



Clean up sooo nice! Love them!



Black boots in action! 

I was so so scared when I un-boxed them because I was so worried that they wouldn’t fit for some reason, but I  put them on and they fit great! They were a bit tight at first which was worrisome but I realized they would stretch and break in after some time. Rebecca actually said that they should be almost too tight to put on so when they break in they will fit well with minimal sagging. Both pairs of boots were really easy to break in and I didn’t have a SINGLE blister from wearing them, just a little bit of discomfort at the very top before they dropped to the right height.



Very well worn boots right before I finished polishing them

So, how is the quality? The leather isn’t thin and buttery soft, so these boots are meant to last and take a good bit of abuse. I know my two pairs are going to last me a long time.  The leather is sturdy while being supple and the workmanship is lovely. The stitching is tight and even with the extra details like my marine blue trim is done perfectly. I’ve had my brown boots now for about 7 months now and I’ve probably kinda cleaned them 1x and have worn them probably 5-6 days a week. I’ve ridden in them during our current rainy/muddy season and in the heat of last summer with no cracking or zipper failures. The only thing is some color fade/rubbing on the inside of the calf which is normal for most boots and a little color loss around the edge of the foot. I think once I hit my boots with some shoe cream those slightly lighter spots will disappear.


Haven’t cleaned these in probably 6 months. I’m a bad boot mom

Overall, I freaking LOVE my boots from Fama 4 All. Great craftsmanship, lovely details, super customer service, and affordable too!! If you’re at all thinking about getting custom boots I highly highly recommend Fama 4 All. All their styles aren’t shown on their website so reach out to Rebecca for info on any specific style or design you are thinking of. They also have an Instagram so check out their boots at @fama4all or on Facebook under Fama Lusitanos Shop. Tell her Peony sent you her way! 😉

Fama 4 All is currently having a sale on their custom boots for only 320 Euros!! So get them now before they go back up in price!



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A Lesson with Jeremy: Take 2

Jeremy was back to clinic again and after having a good lesson on Muze the last time, I decided to plunk down my money for another go. I was tempted to do 2 lessons, but it was just wayyy too expensive and I didn’t want my checkbook to run away screaming for the hills.


I was the 4th lesson of the day so I got up extra early to polish my boots and to get to the barn earlier so I could clean tack while watching some of the other riders go.

Soon enough it was my turn and we started warming up while the rider before me was just finishing. To warm up, I usually do a few leg yields and a few laps of an easy trot to loosen him up. With his sorta bum pastern, its really important for him to warm up slow and not ask for a ton in the beginning, but I have to make sure to not let him get too low and lean on me.


Love my Fama4All boots…clean up so nice!

Jeremy watched us as we did our little warm up routine and he commented that he liked the energy we had and how I wasn’t being super demanding or super easy on Muze, but still making him work. After getting the trot loose, I asked Jeremy about the lateral work I had been working on in my lessons with Trainer M. During my lessons with Trainer M, I’ve started to chip away at the Leg Yield, Shoulder-In, and Haunches-In to get the feeling of how each movement rides and the aids needed. While I’m still getting the feel of them, I wasn’t sure if I was using too much inside rein, or not getting the bend right, and if whatever I was feeling was the right feeling.

We started with some leg yields from the centerline back to the rail and while I was attempting them, he told me that LYs are a straightness/sideways exercise and we are basically asking the horse to be able to move his diagonal pairs together. He went on to say that a lot of people ride the LY like a shoulder in with the horse bent opposite the direction of movement, but in reality the horse should be quite straight and moving parallel to the wall. Right away, Jeremy noticed that I had too much bend and was letting go of my outside rein, so he told me to have Muze’s neck being straight on his shoulders with just a little bit of bend at the poll. That immediately helped me firm up my loosey-goosey outside rein and Muze traveled much straighter instead of bulging out with his shoulder. I wasn’t getting enough cross over behind so Jeremy told me to bring my leg back more at the hip instead of the knee (without contorting my body and tilting forward) to emphasis I wanted Muze to step over with that hind leg. The next subsequent LYs were much better and I was better able to feel what a good LY should feel like. I’m really glad we worked on the LY because now I have a better idea of what the feel is like for when I work on them with Spot!

We moved on to the Shoulder-In and in converse to the LY, a lot of people ride the SI with the mindset of riding a LY. He said that the SI is more of a bending and engagement exercise that teaches the horse to swing underneath himself more, which is different from the straightness/sideways goal of the LY.

I loved the way Jeremy described the steps of the SI and he helped me realize that it wasn’t as complicated as I made it out to be. I told him that I over analyze and think about “how many pounds of pressure do I need in that outside rein?” “Do I need like 3 pounds of pressure in my right seat bone?” which he totally laughed about.  He said, ” of course you over analyze…you’re a dressage rider” LOL.

After a good laugh, he told me that I needed to not over think and make it more complicated than it is because horses don’t do that and they can’t comprehend that sort of complexity like we can. So, if the horse can’t over think it, why should the rider? That definitely turned the light bulb on in my head.  The thing I really like about my lessons with Jeremy is how he is able to break things down and his ability to help me realize that the movements I’m working on aren’t rocket science. In the clip of my lesson below, he talks about how the more complex movements are just the simple addition of different operations.

With the SI, he told me that I needed to think about the bend right before and during the corner, then slowly peel Muze off rail like I would a banana, keep my inside leg strong to keep the bend, move my outside leg back a bit at the hip to keep his hind end from swinging out, and a keep a little bit of flexion in the poll and jaw. Muze was being a little piggy and resistant so I had to use a bit of my spur to keep the bend and to keep him his haunches straight. Muze also likes to speed off down the long side so being able to regulate the rhythm and make sure my half halt still worked was key. I’ve got more work to do on that for sure! Jeremy said that once I feel more comfortable I should start getting a bit greedy and challenge the degree of the bend and ask for a bit more steepness.

Lastly, we revisited the Canter-Walk/Walk-Canter transitions. I told Jeremy that in my lessons with M I’m still not quite sure if I’m getting the correct walk with enough energy for a good transition. I don’t really have the feeling yet of what differentiates a “good walk” and a “mehh walk” and the quality of my up transitions are hit or miss. More miss of course, ha!

While we played with those transitions, Jeremy basically said that if my transition feels good with the canter being prompt and having energy, then I probably had the walk right. If it didn’t feel good and was stumble-y and not crisp then my walk wasn’t right. At first I thought this was a bit oversimplified, but thinking about it more, it actually does make sense.  One of my transitions was a bit meh so he asked me:

J: “What did you think happened at that moment there?”

P: “He kinda shuffled into the canter, I wasn’t super crisp with my aids, and I leaned forward”

J: “Well yes, but he took a trot step before the transition. So come back to the walk and ask for a bit more march to his step. For you, I want you to lean back a bit more so you don’t tip forward”

The key take away I got is that I need to figure out what our baseline is so I have the same gauge for each time I do that transition. The transitions got better and I got a better feel of what I needed to look for in the walk. Andy, the one armed husband extraordinaire, got a ton of video for you so can watch this section of my lesson if you want!

We ended our lesson talking about how I can start asking Muze for a bit more energy and jump in his canter. He is limited by his bum leg, and doesn’t have a ton more to offer, but he still does a little bit and I can be a bit more insistent with him. We ran out of time for some sit trot work (THANK GOD I was so tired) but he said we would be sure to hit that next time I saw him.

What I was really surprised about is when Jeremy told me that I ride Muze well and he likes the way I ride him. He said that I obviously have a good feel and connection with him as he’s kind of a beast. He told me that I must be riding him strong enough because if you ride Muze too strong and are overbearing he usually just becomes dull and tunes you out, but if you don’t ride him strong enough he won’t do the work. I don’t think Jeremy is the type that gives compliments when they aren’t deserved soo…I’m just gonna take it.

Maybe I’m a better rider than I give myself credit for? Maybe its time I start believing in myself and my abilities a bit more! These rides with Muze and lessons with Jeremy have been so helpful and have help me grow as a rider. I’m looking forward to riding with Jeremy next time…even if he makes me sit the trot.

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Turning Point

I have struggled with dressage with Spot for oh, probably the last 1.5 years of our partnership. We really started to work on dressage when I started taking lessons with Trainer M regularly and our main goal was to be able to have Spot work correctly and be more relaxed.  Coming from a polo background, relaxation is not a thing for Ms. Potato; neither is working into contact (unless its dragging you to the polo ball) or working over her back (does bucking bc she’s pissed at you for missing the ball count?).


Dressage is soooo hard. Took a solid 40 minutes of negotiating to get her here. 

Over the last year though, Spot has gotten much better about contact now that she realizes I’m not going to yank on her mouth. She has had moments where she does work over her back and relaxes into the work, but those moments have been fleeting.

Then she got injured and everything came grinding to a halt for a bit. Then while going back to work she was having some stifle issues and needed to get stronger. We have done about 2.5 weeks of trot poles, walking up and down little hills, and straight line trotting up to this point. Spot felt more rhythmic and relaxed over trot poles, and she over all looked beefier.

giphy (1)

Much better over trot poles…need to keep her rounder over them though. 

Then this past week, things I think things clicked and came together for us. Spot was good in the contact from the get go, my hands were steady and with her, and then suddenly we had a lovely, forward trot. No fussing with the head, no giraffe neck, my hands weren’t shoving downward, and I wasn’t dropping the contact. AMAZE.

When I would ask her to be a bit more forward, instead of throwing her head up in protest, she proceeded to surge forward and come more into my hand. She moved out big, but wasn’t rushing and for the stayed soft in her jaw, when she did lock up a bit I was able to supple her and she went back to being soft. WHAT SORCERY IS THIS?!

I was pretty amazed and so ecstatic. I went out the next day kinda expecting our previous awesome ride to have been a fluke, but lo and behold we had another great ride.

giphy (2)


Have Spot and I started to figure this Dressage thing out?! Maybe?!

I’ve been so pleased with her attitude and willingness so hopefully this was a big turning point for us!

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Rehabbing the Sport Horse and Sport Husband

As you all know, I have been rehabbing Spot from a hind suspensory strain. We diganosed the injury via ultrasound, had 1 month of hand walking 25 minutes a day, and then was cleared to start tack walking and slowly come back up to work.

However, when we started cantering a few weeks ago, Spot pulled up with what seemed to me at the time to be a career ending stifle injury. Her right hind was locked up and was super hitchy/lame. Cue water works and a complete meltdown.



We immediately stopped riding and just hand walked for a week since the vet was due to come out the next week to inject Spot’s coffin. I did a 3 day bute test to see if that helped her lameness any, but it had no effect so that narrowed it down to more of a bio-mechanical issue than inflammation or tendon/pain related. Cue intense Horsie-WebMD google searching. My search turned up something called Intermittent Upward Patella Fixation, or in other terms a “Sticky Stifle”. Sticky/Weak stifles can be pretty common in growing young horses, but also with horses coming out of rehab and that lack fitness and muscle in the hind end. The two most common ways to deal with IUPF are:

  1. More work.
    • Lots of trot poles, long trot sets, and trotting/walking up and down hills to build hind end muscle. Minimal circling,minimal cantering, but leg yielding and SI/HI are ok too
  2. Blistering
    • This is where an irritant like iodine is injected into the stifle ligaments to “irritate” the ligament to create scar tissue to tighten up those ligaments.

After my vet examined Spot and flexed her out, she was very confident that more work with trot poles and walking up any incline would sort Spot out. There was no sign of any ligament tear or anything more serious, and she does not recommend blistering as it is painful, doesn’t work all the time, and just isn’t a fan of it in general.


So, for the next month or so Spot and I will be in trot pole boot camp and depending on how she feels I’ll start adding a little bit of canter after about 2 weeks. Hopefully this sets us right so we can get back to full work!

Anyone have any fun trot pole exercises for the Flying Potato and I?

Now, what’s this business about Rehabbing the Sport Husband?


Andy, horse and sport husband extraordinaire broke himself last Saturday on a mountain bike. Like really broke himself

He was out biking in the foothills with a buddy when he crashed on a steep, tight, technical section of the trail where ironically, a ton of other people have also crashed, and most people end up walking it. He fell down about 4 feet into a creek ravine and snapped his right radius. Medics hiked in to splint him and then he had to hike out 15 minutes to get to the ambulance for the ride to the ER.


When I got the call I was just about to get on Spot and I admit, I thought briefly about just getting a quick ride in before heading to the hospital. I thought better of it so I super quickly un-tacked and headed to the hospital. They attempted a reset that was somewhat successful, splinted him, gave us a boat load of painkillers, and I took him home.  We had a follow up with an orthopedic surgeon who told us a plate and pins was necessary for it to heal correctly so we scheduled surgery for a few days later. The surgery went very smoothly and the Dr was confident that it would heal great! Yay!

I had several thoughts go through my head this last week pre and post surgery that I think most of you will find hilarious:

  1. “OMG his leg  arm  is broken. His performance career is over, I’m going to have to put him out to pasture”
  2. “I need to find supplements for him…Cosequin? Maybe we can do Osphos or Tildren to help that bone heal”
  3. “I’m totally going to use Spot’s ice wraps on him during rehab”
  4. “Going to need to buy more Sore No More”
  5. “He’s not eating very much…omg he better not colic”

True to my horse hoarding nature, I attempted twice: once while he was a bit loopy on painkillers and the second when he was coming out of anesthesia, to convince Andy that we needed another horse. I think the word “horse” might be a trigger word for him because both times he wasn’t buying it. Even when he was coming out of anesthesia and I mentioned it, he looked up at me blearily and said “I’m not THAT unaware” ~sigh~ I tried, guys! I tried!

It’ll be about 6 weeks until he’s healed and 3 months till his arm is back to full strength so in the mean time:

Any recommendations for Netflix shows for Andy to watch while he’s on stall rest? 

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A Clinic with Jeremy

Lucky for me, and not lucky for my checkbook, several very good dressage clinicians come to CM’s barn. Tanya Vik comes almost every 3 weeks, Axel Steiner comes probably 1-2x a year, and Jeremy Steinberg comes about every other month. CM has been taking lessons with Jeremy for probably close to 15 years and she thinks of him as another son.

Just a bit of back story to set this post up right:

Several years ago, CM brought Muze to a clinic with Jeremy and he promptly fell in love with Muze. Jeremy loved him so much that CW let him take Muze home to train and show for several years. Sadly, Muze developed ringbone in his right hind later on and he came home to “retire”. Luckily, the pastern fusion surgery that was just supposed to make him pasture sound worked WAYY better than they expected and he was able to come back to being sound enough to be ridden.


Back in his prime

I’ve audited several of Jeremy’s clinics, and have really liked his training methodology and teaching style, but didn’t think that Spot and I were at a place yet for a lesson with him. When I started to ride Muze, Trainer and CM immediately started to hustle me to take a lesson on him with Jeremy. I was pretty hesitant and not really down at first, as:

  1. JEREMY FREAKING TRAINED THIS HORSE FOR YEARS. He knows all of Muze’s idiosyncrasies, ticks, bad habits, tricks, and abilities. While I know that’s a really good thing since I’m learning on him, it scares the bejeezus out of me because then he would know when it was just me riding like a pile of poo.

2. I had only been riding Muze for like 2.5 months and just felt like I hadn’t had enough time to get comfortable with riding him. Oh, and you know…not being able to get the canter sometimes, no biggie.

3. That lesson is freaking expensive. Like, would I get a lot out of it? Would a lesson with him even be beneficial to me at my level of riding?

Anyways, after several weeks of hemming, hawing, and debating about it I gave in and signed up for a lesson during his next visit. I realized that nothing was ever going to be perfect, and if it was perfect what was the point of taking a lesson? If I want to become a better rider and learn more then going sooner would benefit me more than going later when I thought I had everything down.

The clinic came up quick and before I knew it the clinic weekend was here. Megan had come up the night before to hang out and have dinner with Nicole and I so we got a little blogger meet up.  Yay for horsie friends!

We got to the clinic pretty early so we could watch a few other people first. My friend was riding her new horse and in that lesson was where “Screw Up With Confidence” was brought up. I have taken that saying to heart and right then and there I decided that I was just going to go out there and ride my little heart out.


Lovely photos from Megan!!!

When I got into the ring I really did feel like throwing up in my mouth a little. I was nervous but once Jeremy cracked a few jokes about himself and Muze I definitely relaxed and started to smile. I think Jeremy could tell I was a bit on edge so I’m thankful he tried to lighten things up.

We started with some simple exercises like shallow serpentines, 20m circles, and some shoulder fore to get Muze and I loosened up and so he could watch my riding for a bit before diving in. With Muze, his big thing is to get too low which of course then plops him on the forehand and makes him super heavy in the hand.  It’s a bit tricky with Muze as I have to constantly keep him supple and not let him get too low and bracey while maintaining the quality of the gaits, not letting him throw his right shoulder out, oh and not lean on my inside leg while making sure my position is strong. Whew!! Like juggling and spinning plates, you let one thing go and everything else goes to shit. Jeremy talked about making sure to keep him higher up in the balance and to not be lulled into a false sense of him being soft and so round.You’ll hear him mention that in beginning this video:

Muze is even more tricky in the canter! Due to his pastern fusion on the right hind, he can get rushy and 4-beaty in the canter going right so I have to sit really far on the left to keep him balanced and straight while keeping his right shoulder up. Going left isn’t as tricky, but still takes work to get him going correctly.  Getting the jump in the canter and really concentrating on the quality and balance of the canter was really emphasized.


After Jeremy got a good feel for my riding, we worked on the Canter-Walk and Walk- Canter and my position in those transitions. My timing in the canter transitions isn’t quite sharp enough yet, so he gave me some tips on how to think about and emphasize the aids. For the inside leg, he wanted me to think about a string tied to Muze’s inside hind and my leg so when I asked for the up transition to think about kicking that leg forward to bring Muze’s leg up and under him. Also, I needed to keep him more active in the hind during the walk so he would be more attentive when I asked for the transition. Position wise, Jeremy wanted me to scoot my foot back and keep just my toes on the stirrup to help allow my heel come down and knee to relax. Also, this would help my toes point more forward and allow for my body to sit back more and be strong in the saddle. He thought my position was good otherwise and if he was going to nit-pick that I could sit a bit straighter with shoulders back and down, with the chest up. Then again, he said that probably everyone could sit a bit straighter, ha!  We ended up having several transitions that were really good! In fact, he said that our Canter-Walks were better than the average rider! WUT?! Better than average? I’ll take it! That comment is caught on video too!

At the very end of our lesson, Jeremy said the two most dreaded words: Sit Trot

I’ve been dreading the sit trot and haven’t really worked on it at all, but he wanted me to feel the motion and start practice working on it. Muze is such a darling and totally just let me bounce around on him for the last 10 minutes. The pointers Jeremy gave me on the sit trot:

  • Embrace the Bounce! You’re gonna bounce, but once you relax into it and try not to sit still the more still you will look. The more you relax, the more you’ll start to feel how the motion of the trot pushes your seat forward.
  • Don’t clamp your thighs down. Keep your thighs loose move along with the motion
  • Practice sitting the trot starting from the walk. When going from the walk to trot, your body is more relaxed so the first few steps of sitting the trot are always the best. When you feel like everything is falling apart, transition back down to walk and start again. Then when you’re sitting the trot you can think about how your body relaxes in the walk and just thinking it can help get the balance back.
  • Keep your lower body loose, but upper body strong. Let your ankles relax and move with the motion. I noticed as I did more sit trot, my ankles relaxed a bit and I felt more at ease with the motion

If you care to watch, here’s a long 10 minute video of me on the sit trot struggle bus:

I came out of that lesson with a huge smile on my face. It was probably one of the best lessons I’ve ever had and I learned a ton while having fun. I am so glad I decided to take a lesson with him on Muze, he had a ton of insights on how to ride him properly while working with my riding abilities. In my rides and lessons since my lesson I’ve been working a ton more on sit trot and working on my leg position while making sure Muze is balanced and working correctly.  I really enjoyed Jeremy’s teaching and I look forward to taking another lesson with him again the next time he is back. I would highly recommend anyone to go at least audit his clinics.

Huge thanks to Megan for taking awesome photos and Andy for getting video for me!

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Catching Up

So, what’s been going on with Peony and Spot?

Well, not much.

Spot was diagnosed with a right hind suspensory strain probably in late October, and while it wasn’t a tear, the ligament was definitely enlarged with some micro-tearing. I decided that I would pretty much rehab her like it was a tear so I’ve been taking my sweet ass time.

The first month was just hand walking for 25 minutes, and after that we started tack walking for 25 minutes, increasing 5 minutes a week until we were doing 45 minutes. We started trotting sometime in December, starting with 2 minutes, and increasing 2 minutes every 4 days until we were at 25 minutes of trot total. It was a little dicey in the beginning with our hand walking…we upgraded to a rope halter and I started to hand walk wearing a helmet and gloves. The Flying Potato at times decided she wanted to be a horse kite and gave me her best Black Stallion impression. We finally we started cantering about 2 weeks ago! Once we get up to 25 minutes of trot and about 20 minutes of canter we will be fully rehabbed!

While Spot’s rehab has been going on, I happened to pick up a new ride.

Introducing Muze!


His hair game is strong

I was fortunate enough to meet Muze’s owner CM through my trainer and she was looking for someone to ride Muze a few days a week as his bouncy-ness and round-ness makes her two artificial knees hurt. I guess fake knees don’t oscillate the way real knees do.

Muze is a 16.1, 18 year old, Swedish Warmblood. He’s been trained and shown PSG/I1 but with an old pastern injury he just can’t do the pirouettes. Not like pirouettes are anywhere in my near future, LOL. So, he’s been packing me around and teaching me how to dance and be a good dance partner.  He’s pretty much the best schoolmaster ever and has AMAZING hair. He’s kind and so cute, but he absolutely does not give things up easily and really makes me work for it.


Insert cookies, plz

My riding education has grown tremendously and I’m so glad I have the opportunity to ride him.

So there you have it. A quick update on what I and Spot have been up to along with an introduction to Muze!


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I’m headed off to London for a bit of a vacation and family reunion of sorts this week. The last of the cousins on my dad’s side is getting married so we’ll be jetting over to celebrate with 2 whole days of wedding.  Oh, and of course, revel in the awesomeness which is a Chinese wedding banquet which has about 12 courses.

Theoden King of Rohan Edoras 149

This is but a taste of all the noms I will eat


Awww Yissss


Can guarantee something to this affect will occur

But, we’ll also do some sightseeing since I haven’t been to London in 10 years and Andy has never been.  So we’ll go to the Tower of London to see all the sparklies, Hampton Court to see where King Henry the VIII had all his shenanigans, and lots of other fun things.

I’ve already found a few tack stores I want to visit while I’m there, so I’m sure I’ll be posting pics of my tack-hoing on Instagram (if you don’t follow me you should 😉 )in full force.  Meanwhile, at home, Spot will have a nice 10 day vacation while Andy and I traipse the London town. Thank goodness for WIFI so during our down time I’ll have time to keep up on everyone’s posts

I’ll be back to posting in the beginning of July, and it’s going to be a good month as I’ve got 2!! 2 AWESOME contest/review giveaways! So stay tuned! 🙂


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Trading Places: Horse Wife Edition



A few weeks ago, I found myself in uncharted territory as a 1st time Horse Show Wife.

My husband Andy and his lease horse went to their first HJ show EVAR and I found myself in the role of groom, photographer/videographer, and holder of things. But first, some background on Andy and his pony….

As some of you might have caught in Horse Expo/Megan and L visit post,  Andy is leasing a horse named Upgreydd.

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2 D’s for a Double Dose of Pimpin


Upgreydd, which is pronounced just like “Upgrade” is a grey 2006 TB (barn name Fallon) that’s missing the “OT” in OTTB because he wouldn’t leave the starting gate. Fallon is a bit of a stubborn horse but is honest, pretty unflappable, and likes to jump. He and Andy are a really good match both in temperament and size so I’m glad it has worked out!

Andy picked up riding a bit after we started dating and with a long history of almost pro level mountain biking under his belt, riding came pretty natural to him so he kept taking lessons and started to lease. He became pretty intrigued with Eventing so he started riding with Nicole’s trainer, who then introduced us to Fallon.


Anyways, back to my story of being Horse Show Wife…

We’re lucky to have several very close shows that the local HJ association puts on, so Andy was excited when Trainer said she would be taking several horses and had room for Fallon. That night before the show,  we cleaned and conditioned his tack (I’m slightly neurotic about clean tack) and boots and then I picked out his outfit for the show because I gotta make sure my man looks fly AF.

Andy planned on doing the X-rails, 2 ft, and maybe the 2’3 class if the first 2  went well and since those were scheduled to start at 8:30 we were at the show grounds pretty early. While Andy was dealing with registration, I went ahead and started to groom and tacked up Fallon so he would be ready to roll. Before we made our way to the warm up ring I made sure I had snacks, water, sunblock, treats for Fallon, fly spray, and the camera on hand so I would be prepared for anything! Now I realize why those groom backpacks are so useful! I might have to get one for us to use for shows.



This was pretty much me

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I took a ton of pictures while Andy and his fellow barnmates warmed up so I could practice taking good action shots for the actual round. Here are some of my attempts above.

The 1st class up with the X-rail class which had about 7-8 people including Andy, who went in the middle of the pack, so we were able to watch a few people go first. Quite a few of the horses were being spooky with the fillers and flowers so it made for quite an exciting x-rail class. I don’t know if Andy was nervous, but damn I was a bit anxious when he went in for his ride, but he was cool as a cucumber and had a nice clean round! So clean and so close to the optimum time that he took 1st place!! I started laughing hysterically as I was so proud and impressed! #proudhorseshowwife

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But somehow,  between the x-rail and 2ft class I managed to lose Andy’s ribbon and horse cookie prize #fail. I had put it in the bed of a golf cart and when I went back to get it the golf cart was gone. I managed to track down the golf cart and retrieved the prize , but the ribbon must have blown out. Andy was peeved and laughed  at me when I told him what happened, but I managed to get a replacement ribbon for him. Thanks Show Managers!

His 2ft class was bigger with about 12 people and also included a jump off course if you jumped the round clean. He had a clean round and a clean jump off, and was leading the pack until a firecracker of a pony came in and smoked him and took about 6 seconds off his time. In the end though,. Andy and Fallon ended up taking 2nd overall!

Since the first 2 classes went so well, he decided to do the 2’3 class at the last minute so there was a bit of downtime  since he was towards the end of a pretty big class.  I gave Andy some gatorade, shoved him a granola bar, and had him hang out in the shade while I walked Fallon around to get some water. We were glad to see Fallon suck down water because it was a pretty warm day and he was glad to get a break at the trailer with his hay net. After a quick break, Andy was back out again and I remember that I should get some video! Here’s his 2’3 class and jump off for your viewing pleasure!

A solid clean round ended up as a 6th place for Andy and Fallon out of a decently sized class. He was super pleased with how his first show went and now has caught the “show bug” as he was already thinking about the next show! Ha!

I’m really super proud of how he did as was so glad I got to be there to help and see him and Fallon go around. Being the help/horse show spouse this time around also made me appreciate that much more how Andy helps me at my shows and clinics, and I’m glad I was able to return the favor. Great job, Andy and Fallon! You both dolled out a double dose of pimpin!

Do any of your significant others show? Or compete in events where you’ve been their helper and vice versa? Would love to hear your stories too! 🙂


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A Very Pony Weekend: Western States Horse Expo and Pony Sleepover

Every year in June, the Western States Horse Expo comes to town, and I think I’ve gone almost every year to do some shopping, but this time  it was 50x better because I got to go with L and Megan!  I had known that Megan was coming up to look for a saddle for Rico and her mom, but when L said she could come up too it quickly turned into another pony sleepover.


I had told them that Andy needed to ride his lease horse on Friday, so when they arrived we headed out to watch Andy ride and have L meet the infamous Flying Potato. Spot and her roommates got treats from all of us and Spot got a bonus cuddle session from L and Megan.

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After a quick visit, we headed to Andy’s barn where Nicole’s Murray is boarded also! Sadly, Nicole was in Australia or she would have definitely been a part in our weekend shenanigans, but we did say hello to the Murray Monster. He was highly suspicious at first but with a bit of bribing he decided to cooperate for a photo op or two.

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Bribery works


Such a cute Murray

We finished the night with some thai food, froyo, and stayed up wayyy too late talking, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! L and Megan are two pretty cool people and I’m so glad I’ve become friends with them.

The next day after pancakes, eggs and ham, coffee, and more coffee, we made our way to the expo for a day of shopping and all things horse. The Western States Expo is much more western discipline focused, but there were lots of vendors that catered to english and western people. I drooled over all the fancy trailers for sale, with this trailer being my favorite with its unique tack area:


Where do I sign?

I ended up buying a US Rider membership ($20 off for signing up at the Expo), ice wraps, supplements, No Thrush, and a muscle soreness rub. Oh, we also all went nuts and entered every single giveaway/raffle we could find, because who doesn’t like free Platinum Performance, free grain for a year, or a $300 SmartPak gift certificate? We checked out Megan’s mom’s new saddle which was crazy light and hilariously we found show photos of L and Carlos at the CSHA booth.

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The soon to be Rico Saddle! 


We were having an awesome day so far, but it wasn’t over just yet! We ended up going to a local B show to watch a little and check out the normally well stocked tack vendors there. The show is a Beach Party theme so everyone has their stalls decorated with beach/tropic themes, people are showing in Hawaiian shirts, horses have leis on, and the arenas are given tropical names. We checked out all the goods, though I restrained myself from buying anything since I spent a good bit at the expo, and just watched some of the jumpers go before we head back to my house.

Our chosen food group of the day was Tacos, so before L and Megan left we had another round of tacos at a really good local taqueria down the street to close our the weekend. The tacos we had at the Expo were pretty sad, so we obviously needed better ones.

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I had such a fun, horse filled weekend with L and Megan but damn I was exhausted! It was a whirlwind of a weekend. There’s a big NorCal blogger meet up happening in a few weeks but I’ll actually be in England for vacation, sad but not sad? Either way, I can foresee more epic visits in the future, but this time Nicole will be able to join in on the fun too!


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Dance Lesson with A Enter Spooking

A few weeks ago I got the chance to take a lesson with Megan from A Enter Spooking! I’ve read her blog for a while now and since I’ve gotten to meet her in real life, I jumped at the chance to clinic with her.

Nicole and I both got to lesson with Megan, and it was super fun being able to watch each other and get lots of video and photos. Yay for Blog Buddy Lesson Adventures! Anyways, on to my lesson!


If only Spot knew what was in store for her that day…

Megan watched me warm up and I told her that we started to work on more lateral work (LY/SI) but we had issues with being on the bit consistently and Spot getting tense and braced. With that being said, we started off on everybody’s favorite 20m circle with the main focus for me was to get Spot’s neck and head down as low as possible. With the way Spot is built,  it’s real easy for her to be on the vertical but not actually be on the bit and using her bod, and since she holds  tension in her underneck, having her as low as possible would help her let go of that tension and free up her back.

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Girl’s got a big beefy neck

At first, Spot wasn’t too sure she wanted to play, but she settled in and was nice and forward. However, when I thought she was on the bit, Megan told me that she was barely on the bit and I needed to work getting her lower as she was still holding out on me. To get there, I needed to connect the outside rein more and really think about driving Spot’s inside hind leg up and into my outside rein while imagining her rib cage being on the bend of the circle. This was a common theme with others as well…that damn pesky outside rein!

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Not quite there yet…

Getting Spot lower required me to really maintain my rein connection but to also keep my inside rein soft and soften the inside corner of Spot’s mouth/jaw so she wouldn’t be inclined to brace. Megan also had to remind me I needed to not stop riding when I got her where I wanted and to not freeze because once I froze Spot would pop back up and get tense again. Spot wasn’t strong enough to keep herself there and it was uncomfortable for her so I couldn’t trust her yet to maintain that position. But damn…when I was able to get Spot working correctly her trot felt HUGE, floaty, and almost too fast. But in reality, it was because she was taking bigger steps, opening up her back, and really swinging through the trot. Also, its funny how during my ride I felt Spot neck and head disappeared and was too low, but watching the video shows how it really wasn’t that low, ha!


I was really glad that Megan kept talking to me throughout my lesson, and it helped me connect what I was feeling to what exactly I was doing with my body. Sometimes I can get a little too much into my head and if I’m doing something precisely right, but with Megan inserting herself into my stream of consciousness I was able to focus on what she was saying and to try to execute it. I’m so glad I got tons of video so I can go back and watch and listen to all the good info I missed!

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Once I was able to get Spot a bit more consistently in a lower position, we started to work on figure 8s. I had to work at being less abrupt when changing the direction as I had a tendency to just fling myself over and not help keep Spot balanced through the turn. To keep the figure 8 smooth, Megan had me slightly counter flex Spot in the 1/4 of the circle before switching to the new direction to help prepare her to step into our new outside rein. It took a few times but we had one or two nice figure 8s where I was able to keep her nice and low throughout the whole rein change, but with the times where it wasn’t as smooth, I was able to get back our roundness more quickly. Because I had Nicole and Andy with me I got some sweet video and you can hear Megan coaching in both videos.

And did you hear Megan’s comment about how the Flying Potato is “so uphill” and “so connected through her body” ?! I almost couldn’t believe it when she commented that Spot has the conformation for dressage with her short back, uphill build, and big booty. It was pretty amazing for me to see video of how Spot’s gaits improved when I had her really working through her body, a pretty big night and day difference! Maybe I can get my fancy potato to dance!

I was so glad I had an opportunity to lesson with Megan! I learned a ton,  got some great results, and have a idea of where the path forward is now for Spot and I. Not to mention, I had an awesome time being able to hang out and lesson with Nicole! I’m super excited to work on getting Spot more through and off her under neck in the coming months so we can become more consistent and more comfortable working.

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