Here. We. Go. Another Storm. Another Natural Disaster. Past Experiences, Tips, and Tricks.

The Greater Houston Area is about to get hit with a Tropical depression/storm Hurricane, whatever.  This ain’t my first rodeo.  Since graduating from college, I have been through hurricane Ike, a major barn flood, area floods, and helped with a wildfire.

Major Natural Disaster #1:  Many moons ago, shortly after I bought Emma hurricane Ike hit Houston.  I had only been in Houston just over 2 years.  I loaded the dogs, cat, Emma, and even my pet fish up and “evacuated” I even had my boyfriend who became Mr. Equestrian Engineer a year later.  We went about 20 miles, got sick of the traffic, I took Emma to my trainer’s house a bit further out than the boarding stable I was at, and went back to the rent house.  We “Hunkered Down”.  The storm hit my house around 2am, I vaguely remember waking up hearing it, rolling over and going back to sleep.  The wind was nuts, the rain was more nuts and by about 10am, it was calm and quiet.  And MUGGY.  Luckily the wind and rain had cooled things off but it was wet everywhere and the humidity was insane.

Emma was fine at the trainers, no worse for wear.  We were without power for a few days, since the stove was electric, we tried heating Lil’ Smokies over a tea light candle.  No it was not good, it was quite terrible.  At that point we reloaded everyone in the car and went to my parents 2.5 hrs. away.  They had food, power, and best of all Air Conditioning.  A/C might not seem like a big deal if you don’t live in the south but when its 85-90 degrees at night and 98% humidity, it’s uncomfortable.  Yes, I took my pet fish to my parents along with the dog and cat.  We were lucky, we had power back within a couple of days, some people around us were without power for 2 weeks, including the houses across the street.  Power grids are really odd that way.  Overall, not too much damage was sustained, some water leaked on the floor of the rent house and apparently there was a leak in the tub because we filled it twice and it emptied within an hour.  “Sounds like you were in a super awesome rent house.”  Yeah it was a shit hole, but it was cheap.  My office was on partial power for 2 weeks, I actually wore a dress to work because it was so warm, normally I am freezing because places here insist that the A/C should be set on 71-73 degrees.  The boarding barn had a section of roof peel up but was fully repaired within days, Emma came back after about a week.

For those wondering about offshore oilfield work in a hurricane, well there is none.  They close down the platforms and rigs and bring everyone to land.  All of the boats that I worked on at the time would move somewhere out of the path of the hurricane “run from the storm” as we call it.

Major natural disaster #2:  Luckily I was not directly affected by this one but since I had a trailer, I was on call to help.  Wildfires broke out north of where I lived, very near my trainer’s house, the same house that Emma stuck out the Hurricane.  Within 8 hours she managed, with help, to evacuate about 30 horses, 19 dogs, a few cats and whatever else they could grab.  Luckily our local Eventing Venue Pine Hill opened their gates and stalls for my trainer and another misplaced friend.  They both had RVs they could live in for weeks while the fires raged on.  When I went to help evacuate I had to take numerous back roads and turn around a few times due to closed roads.  The ash carried as much as 20 miles and the clouds of smoke were incredible.

Major Natural Disaster #3:  It was my 3oth birthday, and the boarding barn flooded, the barn my horses were in was waist deep, some of the other barns on the property were chest deep.  I had Emma and Truman at this point.  This was seriously stressful.

A few things I learned

  • When we started to tow the trailer out of the water, it floated, literally lifted up off the ground and started floating away.  I had to jump off the tractor and hook the chains to the tractor to keep it from floating off.  So yes, a 4,000lb. trailer can float, and yes, it had water in it.
  • Hunks of metal will get carried away in moving water, I dropped the top half of my trailer lock and it was gone.
  • As it turns out, a plastic trash can full to the top with pellets will float, and you can float it out of the flood.
  • If your horse will let you, put your saddles on your horses and they can carry the saddles out of the flood for you.
  • Rubber boots will rub your legs raw when you are walking in water
  • Snakes can swim but not all of them like to and they will curl up on the latch to your shavings room
  • Fire ants create floating islands of death as they band together.
  • It is possible to find a dead fish in your tack room
  • It takes a lot of bleach to get the swamp smell out of your trailer
  • After being in a flood, you need to get your trailer bearings repacked and greased
  • Some horses think playing in water is fun, some do not.
  • If you have a horse like Emma, with a strong flight instinct, put a stud chain on before taking them out of the stall.  Your horse can still move faster than you in water and you look like a dork trying to run in water. I was actually smart and put the chain on her before getting her out.
  • A tractor bucket will hold a lot of saddles and tack so you can empty your tack locker out, you just may have to wait until people are done with it.
  • Rats can get as big as cats, we saw a dead one at the track that was huge.
  • If you live in a known flood area, have a place on call to evacuate to
  • Call friends with trailers so they can help you get horses out, keep a phone cable in your car for when your phone battery dies.  If you have time and a trailer, donate both to help out, you never know when you may need help.
  • Keep buckets in your trailer, always, my little 2 horse trailer was able to provide 4 regular buckets and 1-2 small buckets.
  • Keep fungus solution on hand
  • Don’t store a bunch of stuff in your tack locker, keep it neat and tidy.  I had a plastic trunk with my blankets, I had a lot of laundry to do.  Same goes with your trailer.
  • Put all tack on racks and hooks.  I was lucky all of my saddles were on racks and tack on hooks, another person’s saddle was on the floor, it got completely soaked.
  • Rubber mats in stalls makes clean out after a flood a whole lot easier.
  • Having a preparedness plan in place is the best/easiest way to handle these situations, but if you don’t, Rule #1:  Don’t Panic!  Rule #2:  Don’t Panic!  Rule #3: Take a deep breath, reset your brain, then begin to think logically Rule #4:  If you are failing at Rule #3, call someone who can think logically.

Of course this happened in the evening and by the time the horses got to the race track it was about 8pm, so no place was open to get shavings or hay.  We also didn’t have enough buckets for everyone, we were able to scrounge and ensure everyone had water for the night.  Luckily by the next morning, hay, shavings and supplies were delivered.  There is nothing worse than having to leave a horse with no hay, and no shavings after coming in from a flood, but at least they were dry.

It took a few days for the water to fully recede, then the clean-up had to begin.  It took me 4 hours to clean my 2 horse trailer, the hardest part was the carpet in the tack room, I would put bleach and water down and then vacuum it out with a shop vac.  I cleaned all of my tack to prevent mold, I took most of it the night of the flood.  I had some shipping boots that were left behind and a few sheets/blankets and saddle pads, I threw the boots away as they were old and weren’t used, the rest I had to wash.  There were like 10 loads of laundry that had to be washed twice to get all the gross out.

A final “fun” side effect from this was that Emma ended up covered in fungus, all kinds and types.  I invested heavily in Zephyr’s Garden fungus spray, it took a month or so to get that cleared up.

“It won’t flood again, that was just one odd event.”  One thing I have learned in my years of living in Houston, if it floods once, it will flood again.  My guys did not go back to that stable, we moved to a different barn for a year and then moved out to our house.

Major Natural Disaster #4: You guessed it, more flooding.  This was just last year so 4 years after the last flood event.  We got 16″ of rain overnight.  Houston is flat flat flat, the only elevation we have is highway overpasses.  So there isn’t a whole lot of place for 16″ of rain to go, so Houston had major flooding.  Our house was high and dry, the barn was dry, the pastures were a bit sloppy and boggy in the low areas.  I had trouble getting my trailer out of the barnyard and we had to use the tractor to get it out.  That barn that flooded on my birthday, flooded again.

Major Natural Disaster #5: Surprise, more flooding.  One month after the last flooding, we got another 16″ of rain overnight.  The roads to get to my house were impassable for about 12 hours, I missed out on work, the north gets snow days, we get flood days.  A high school not too far from us had water in it, my office had water in the first floor, houses that had flooded a month earlier were flooded again, people died.  The pastures, barnyard, and backyard had standing water everywhere.  The horses were fine.  I got smart and put the trailer in the barn driveway where it’s hard so I could get it in and out.  That barn from disaster #3 flooded again and now is closed down.

So will this storm be Major Natural Disaster #6?  Probably not, it is usually a bunch of hype.  If it is a Disaster, then so be it, I will be prepared, as always.  I have my first aid kit at the ready, we have 3 water troughs that hold 100 gallons each in the pastures and a few up at the house that hold 50 gallons, we have hay in the hay barn and a round bale.  I have enough feed to get me through the next 2 weeks and I will make sure I can get the trailer out.  I have Zephyr’s garden thrush spray and fungus spray at the ready for any issues that may arise.

Do you live “prepared” or are you the last minute type?

Tragedy While Traveling, Accident At The Barn, A Conundrum At The Show! Are You Prepared With A First Aid Kit?

You never know when an accident will happen, most of us have some supplies at the barn, wraps, scissors, tape, someone is bound to have a roll of vetwrap.  What about when you are on the road, or at a show?  I can’t tell you how many people are surprised when I pull a first-aid kit out of my trailer.  Sure, you can buy a first aid kit from Smartpak, Dover, or anywhere else that sells them, but they can be expensive!  If you do want to purchase a prefab kit Equimedic has great kits, very well done.  Trust me when I say you can make your own for a cheaper price.  I am here to help.  Most of this stuff can be bought at a grocery store, pharmacy, or similar.  Links were included to give an idea of what is needed.**

So lets say you want a small kit for your trailer or tack locker at the barn, here is what I suggest:

To expand the kit even more add:

Equimedic sells refills for their kits, some of the items are reasonably priced, so if you are having trouble finding small sizes of things, that may be a good place to look.

A few other ideas to add if you want a large kit for the barn:

  • Poultice pads
  • Hoofpicks
  • bandage pins
  • spider bandages
  • knee/hock bandages
  • Ice boots
  • hoof soaking boots
  • A wrap for a tail bandage
  • Multiple sized gauze pads
  • Multiple sized adhesive tape
  • Hoofpick
  • hemostats
  • A First-Aid guide
  • Benadryl (for humans)
  • Bug Spray
  • Rasp
  • hoof nippers
  • shoe pullers

If you are adept at giving medications, keeping these at home is good but they are also useful on trips, include:

  • Bute
  • Banamine (flunixin megalumine)
  • Acepromazine
  • Needles
  • Syringes

Party idea!  If you buy in bulk most of this stuff gets cheaper, get some barn buddies together and have a “First Aid Kit Party” and put the kits together with some wine/beer/cocktails, then you can split the costs.

Some of the pictures above are from my personal barn kit, my trailer kit is in an “irregular” Equimedic bag (the elastic loops on the inside for storing bottles was twisted on one end, so completely usable and I got it for like $25).

US Rider offers a discount on numerous types of first aid kits from different companies, if you already have them.

*I am not a medical professional, I am not a horse trainer, I am not a veterinarian, I am a prepared individual that would like to share what is in my first aid kit.

**I do not work for a first aid kit company, I do however get a bit to support the site if you purchase something through Amazon.

Splint Boots, Cross Country Boots, Open Front Boots, Sports Boots, ALL THE BOOTS! Which Should I Buy?

There are soooo many types of horse boots out there, how do you choose?  “I just pick the ones that come in fun colors!”  Well that’s one way of doing it but much like purchasing a horse for its color, it can go well or very very badly.  I figured I would break down the different types for everyone and give you an idea of where they are most effective.  Before we start, one thing I would like to warn everyone, especially if you are new to boots, some disciplines allow you to show in boots, some don’t.  No boots or wraps are allowed at dressage shows, the same applies for some hunter classes, know the rules before you enter the ring.

Splint Boots – Brushing Boots – Different names but similar idea.  The main purpose of these boots is to protect the inside of the cannon bone from bangs, minor cuts, and as the name says splints.  It’s kind of like wearing knee pads when you were roller skating or roller blading back in the 1990s and early 2000s.  “Only you would bring up roller blading like it was cool.”  Whatever, you know you did it too.  “Yeah I did”.  These do not provide support, just padding.  These are a very universal boot, great for all sports including western sports and are used at many barns as a turn out boot.  They come in many different forms usually with some type of neoprene or sheepskin and extra padding on the part that covers the inside of the leg, made of either plastic, thick neoprene, foam, or sometimes even carbon fiber.  Suggested Uses: Jumpers, Hunters, Equitation, Dressage, Eventing, Cross Country, Western sports, turn-out, Essentially a good boot for any application.

Open Front Boots – You see these a lot in the jumper ring, the point of the open front is that the horse “feels” any rails they hit.  The rest of the boot protects much like a splint boot.  Some of them come with an “impact” guard on the back of the boot to provide extra protection to the tendons.  These guards can be anything from a metal plate (not very common), a gel “pocket”, a thick piece of rubber, hard plastic, or even carbon fiber.  Similar to a splint boot, they do not provide much support.  Some of these boots provide more support to the fetlock joint, it’s all in how the straps are done.  A point for thought, I have heard that sometimes the straps on these can actually pinch the nerve on the front of the leg preventing the horse from “feeling” a pole.  I am not sure how true this is but I would think it would be more likely with leather straps than elastic, but maybe both?  Suggested Uses: Jumpers, Hunters, Equitation, jump schooling with fences that fall down.

Ankle Boots – The hind leg counterpart to open front boots, some look like short open front boots, some look like short splint boots.  They operate similar to what the look like, the ones that have the open front allow the horse to feel a rail while protecting the inside of the fetlock joint, the ones that look like short splint boots protect the fetlock joint.  Suggested Uses: Jumpers, Hunters, Equitation, jump schooling with fences that fall down.

Cross Country Boots – To put it super simply, they took an open front boot and closed it in.  Depending on the boot type you may get a little support from these but mostly you are getting “bang” protection on all 4 sides of the leg.  These days many of these boots are vented or perforated to allow airflow to help cool the tendons as there are studies out now about “cooking” your horse’s tendons.  Not that it will work as well as no boot but anything is better than nothing, and nothing is usually not a great idea.  Suggested Uses: Cross Country, Jumping with a very sensitive horse

Sports Medicine Boots – These are extremely popular with the western riders.  They wrap the entire leg in neoprene similar to the splint boots but without the extra splint protection.  They provide the most support out of all the boots mentioned above.  This can be a good thing or a bad thing, some say it supports too much, some say hogwash.  I think it depends on the horse and the person.  You can also get these with attached bell boots for full leg protection.  I do know that these tend to get sand and dirt up under them in deep footing which annoyed my mare.  Suggested Uses: All Equestrian Sports

Flatwork wraps/boots – Dressage Boots – These were invented to mimic polos, they provide slight “bang” protection and depending on the configuration may provide some support.  Suggested Uses: Dressage, flat work, hacking

Polos – The much debated polo wrap.  First of all, they come in every color and pattern imaginable.  Back when I started riding, this was THE thing to use, especially in the hunter/jumper world.  “Buy 2 different colors and wrap diagonal legs it looks soooo coool!”  Some say the polo is worthless, some say they are great.  Again, I think it depends on the situation.  One thing that is true, they are terrible when they get wet, and if not wrapped correctly, they can do more harm than good.  In order for them to provide any support you have to wrap under the fetlock joint in a supportive fashion and create that nice upside down V, otherwise it’s just thin “bang” and “scuff” protection.  This support cannot be compared to an ACE bandage as they do not have elastic in them that provides support while aiding in restoring the joint to its original position like an ace bandage does.  Admittedly, I am not a fan of polos, I think they are a lot of work for little protection.  Suggested Uses: Dressage, flat work, hacking jump schooling with fences that fall down.  Avoid use in wet conditions.

Saratoga wraps – Your equine “ace bandage”.  They have stretch, they have silicone to prevent slipping, and they have colors!  So if you are looking for support in a light weight wrap, this is the way to go, make sure you get the good under the fetlock wrap like you would for a polo.  They don’t absorb water like polos either.  They are also considerably more expensive than polos but there is a bit more technology involved.  If you sprain your own ankle, you can borrow these to use in place of your ace wrap.  They also sell foam padding that you can put underneath for more protection.  Suggested Uses: Dressage, flat work, hacking jump schooling with fences that fall down, provide support to injury.

Bell Boots- let’s not forget this treasure.  The main purpose of these is to protect the coronet band and the heels.  There are horses that live their entire lives in these, some have old injuries, some are overreachers, some are just plain klutzes.  Many eventers use them because overreaching can happen in water and deep footing, western riders use them to keep a misplaced hoof from hitting another at high speeds with fast turns.  Everyone knows the old adage, “No hoof, no horse.”  Bell boots are a cheap way to protect those valuable feet.  There are so many different types, neoprene, ballistic nylon, vinyl, rubber, and even petal bell boots.  Petal bell boots  were all the rage when I started eventing, you would just listen for that flap-flap-flap sound as a horse galloped by, they were quite expensive, I couldn’t find any new for sale though.  The old tried and true rubber pull on boots seem to be the best if your horse “lives” in them, they are very hard to pull on, but conversely very hard to pull off and are the cheapest.  Ones with velcro, a well-placed hoof and the velcro gets ripped off with the boot, but the velcro is a life saver if you have a horse with an injury that needs protecting.  The neoprene ones hold water, so if you are planning on eventing or turning out in a wet pasture, those are not recommended.  And yes, the water is where you will find the most torn off boots on cross country courses.  One of the more recent “technologies” is the no turn bell boot, it has a little padded spot on the back of the bell boot that helps keep the velcro in front which can help prevent a tear off.  I have these for shipping long distances, they haven’t turned on me yet but I haven’t put them through water, but they do get heavy when wet.  Suggested Uses:  Any and all horse sports as well as Turn out.

Shipping Boots – Although this is not a boot you ride in, it is still a horse boot.  These protect the horse’s legs in shipping, they cover the heels all the way up to the knee/hock, and the good ones cover the knee/hock as well.  Those of you who are extremely old school or got stuck in years of Pony Club will know that a shipping wrap if done correctly covers the balls of the heels all the way up to the knee/hock.  I haven’t seen an actual shipping bandage since my years in Pony Club.  Shipping boots do not provide the support that a shipping wrap does, they only provide “bang” protection.  I will warn you, try these on your horse before you get to loading time, some horses freak out in them, the last thing you want is to attempt to put a pissed-off or scared horse into a trailer.  Also, consider the weather when shipping, these tend to hold in heat and get hot, mesh linings help but not much.  Suggested Uses: Shipping and Hauling

So what do the Engineering ponies use?  Well, Lily has Woof Brushing boots, and Emma uses cheap Roma open front boots.  Now that Lily is climbing the eventing levels, she may get a pair of XC boots but through novice I think she will be ok in her brushing boots.  Emma has come down from the 3’6″-3’9″ competition levels and settled nicely at the 3′-3’6″ heights and will stay there so no need for any major protection.  I will tell you, she does not like the hind boots that are like short splint boots, I had to get her the short open front hind boots because the others interfered too much.  To be completely honest, my guys only wear boots competitions and XC schooling and get bell boots for trailer travel over 4 hours.  When practicing at home and for lessons, they go bare legged.  It’s all about knowing your horse though, I have gone through every type of boot listed above and tried them all at one point or another, especially on Emma, to find what worked best.

There are other boots out there that are a lot more situation or sport specific including Boil Boots, Run-down Boots, Skid Boots, hock boots, ice boots, soaking boots, etc.  I may cover those in a future update but for now I have covered the main stream and english geared horse boots.

This is a picture of boots that I keep around as a reminder.  These were from my old mare Cheyenne the day she didn’t see a ditch while we were schooling XC, I looked down just in time to see her front legs go down into the ditch, I flipped off on the other side of the ditch and that good old girl sat on her rump so she wouldn’t run me over.  We did eventually get over that ditch but only after she jumped down into it and turned out the side a few times, it was at most a 3′ wide ditch and at least 2′ deep.  Because of this, I tend to opt for thicker neoprene in my boots, and yes, those are my fingers sticking through the tear, and those are deep rips on the other boot as well.

Note: I don’t work for a company that sells horse boots.  If you order from one of the Amazon links, I may get a little kickback to help support the site.

Babies, Riding, and Horse Shows? A Bit of Advice From A New Mom. It Can Be Done.

So I haven’t been a mom long, just over a year, and before I lose you to the, “oh god, not another ‘kids are work, quit now’ thoughts” hear me out.  This is more for the future moms out there.  No I am not talking about the 16 year olds, I am talking about the 25-35 crowd, the ones that want a family in the next few years but still want to ride or horse show.  First of all this is 100% possible.  You can do it!  And you can ride while you are pregnant.*  I thought I would share my journey on this since I just lived it, so here goes.

2 years ago, I was living the horse showing dream, I had 2 horses, Emma the jumper and Lily the up and coming eventer.  Those of you who regularly read my blog know that despite being in her teens Emma is a nut job, of epic proportions at times.  You will also know that Lily despite being now only 8 was a kick ride 2 months off the track, a TB with a QH brain.  Anyhow, I was competing 20-30 weekends a year, local shows, rated shows, dressage shows, H/J Show, eventing, fox hunting, you name it, I was involved.  I was even attempting to breed Pearl, my retired warmblood mare, that didn’t work out, a blessing in disguise, I do not need another horse right now.  To be completely honest, I loved it, and enjoyed every minute of it.

So how does a family fit into this?  Well, we kinda wanted a kid and by that I mean, my husband wanted one and I figured at some point I would probably want one too and since I was in my early 30s with the dreaded 35 approaching quickly, it was time to do the kid thing.  We sort of tried for a year, not super seriously though, and nothing happened.  Truthfully, I was ok with this, I wanted to adopt, I was not excited about the whole being pregnant thing, to the point of looking into surrogates, turns out those cost like $100k, which will buy a lot of horse shows.  So just as I was getting to the “lets skip this and adopt” phase when I got pregnant.  Yay, happy times right?  Not so much.

I got pregnancy depression.  “You mean postpartum depression.”  Nope, I mean I was depressed while I was pregnant and fine after Mini EE was born, literally within minutes.  None of this was helped when I went in for my first Doctor appointment and they told me I had to stop riding immediately.  MAJOR MELTDOWN!  Right there in the Doctor’s office.  Those that know me personally know that I do not “meltdown” like ever or even really cry.  Sooo, I did get professional help, and medication, I would like to say it fixed things, but it did not, it just made it survivable.  Think PMS every day to some degree for 9 months.  Feel free to contact me if you are having a hard time too, I am happy to help if I can.  Moving on from that, I rode until a week before mini engineer was born, and no, I didn’t tell my Doctor.  I jumped until about half way through, maybe a little later and did a dressage show 3 months before Mini EE was born.  To be honest, by the last month I was just walking, my stomach moved all funny at the trot.

So is this path for everyone?  No, definitely not.  I had a few things going for me that made this possible.  First of all, early on in my pregnancy Emma got hurt and couldn’t be ridden for over a month.  I knew the first ride or 2 after would be insane, so I stopped riding her, she got a nice 7 month vacation, and truthfully I think she needed it, luckily she got hurt about a week after we went cross-country schooling and jumped all the enormous Prelim boxes, one of which she tried to jump from a standstill, backwards…I was just trying to walk up to it for this picture, that is her standing to the side with the fluffy noseband.  So yes, I was pregnant at the time.  Also, I had Lily, the OTTB that I had been riding for about 18 months, she is very chill, and when she does get sassy she has little rocking horse bucks, 5 minutes on a lounge line and she is back to full on kick ride.  I also made my husband keep Truman, although he is a big boy, he is a saint, I never rode him while I was pregnant but he was there in case Lily turned out to be too much.  Lily was quite happy to just walk around the arena quietly.

The trick to riding when you are pregnant is to not fall off.  If you fall off on a regular basis, then I don’t recommend you ride.  I am the type that only falls off once a year and only when I am doing something stupid, like trying to ride Emma bareback in a halter while attempting to pony the barely halter broke donkey.  Don’t worry, I had this moment of genius prior to getting pregnant.  I did fall off once while I was pregnant, again doing something stupid.  We were schooling cross country, my last one, I “added” a training level fence between the 2 novice jumps I was supposed to be doing, Lily wasn’t ready, ever the trooper she jumped and I flipped off on the landing and landed on my feet.  Then thanks to being pregnant, my equilibrium crapped out on me and I fell over like a drunk person.  My trainer freaked, I was mad at myself, and it was a bad ending to something that could have been so fun.  That is Lily trying to eat the prelim box in the picture above, less likely to climb over the box.  Yes I was fine, no I didn’t go get checked, remember that depression thing, well it put me in a mindset that if I lost it then that’s how it was supposed to be, hormones can be really terrible.

That white glaring round thing in the picture above is my belly, this was taken my last ride, a week before Mini EE was born.

So I survived pregnancy, and a last minute c-section, I have a very pretty little baby that I adore, and 2 mares that need work.  So 4 weeks (sure I was told 6 weeks but who listens?) after Mini EE was born, I started to ride again.  It helps having the horses in the back yard, then daddy could just come outside if something went wrong.  I started with Lily, gave her a little lounge, then got on, I had no other plans than walking and if it went well, I would attempt to trot.  Well after walking, trotting and cantering her, I pulled Emma out and got on her and did some walking and trotting.  Here is another article about post baby riding .

My last dressage show, 3 months and 1 day before Mini EE was born.  I was pregnant in all the pictures included above.

By the time Mini EE was 2 months old I was headed to my first horse show.  I took Emma, I did a one day schooling show, I entered in a 2’3″ hunter division, yes my 3’+ jumper mare was in a tiny hunter division, and she went around like a 3’+ jumper mare, much to the show staff’s entertainment.  For me it was just to get back in the game, low stress and get away from being a mom for a few hours.  It was great, no I didn’t place, and I didn’t care.  I don’t show nearly as much as I did, I have put Emma on semi-retirement not that she is 16, she just does a random A show or schooling show, on the order of about 2 a season, she is quite happy doing this and even was champion in the TB jumpers at an A show this past spring.

I focus more on Lily now, she is doing well eventing, we just moved back up to novice, we had done 1 schooling novice before I had to stop jumping and since I didn’t have enough time to keep her in shape, she has stayed at beginner novice.  I can’t complain too much, it’s nice to go to a show and not have to worry if you will make it around or not.  The lack of complications in my life are very welcome.  What about leaving the baby?  Well I did 2 nights away when I went to a show a few hours from home when Mini EE was about 9 months old.  I missed my baby but the break was nice.

On top of all of that, our recent trip to Colorado was literally a “Showcation”.  Lily got hauled 18 hours to do 2 weeks of H/J Schooling shows in Estes Park Colorado.  Mini EE decided sleeping in Colorado was optional, the nights were rough, luckily grandma and grandpa came so mom and dad could get some sleep.  Lily was very good, I think she needs some more slow show miles but she placed in 6/8 rounds among some tough competition in large classes.  The best part is, when I showed up at the horse show every day, if we did any “prep” it was 5 minutes on the lounge to let her stretch out after being in the stall all day and night.  On a side note, Lily loves attention, including Mini EE fingers on her nose, there is nothing better than when Mini EE gets excited seeing Lily and being able to pet her.

So my suggestion, if you are thinking about having kids sometime soon, pass up on that fancy-hot-wild horse you want to purchase and look for something that will take care of you before, during, and after you have the baby.  For me, that was Lily.

Pregnancy accomplishments:

  • Qualified for dressage schooling show championships
  • Won a BN schooling event, was in first from my dressage test on and finished on my dressage score
  • Did my first novice Eventing Derby and schooling event
  • Got 6th in Novice for year end at the local level
  • Got 5th in Beginner Novice for year end at local level with 2 shows after Mini EE

No telling if Mini EE will be an Engineer, but yesterday she jumped on her stuffed pony and started bouncing up and down, then fussed while sitting on Buddy the donkey, until he started walking, then apparently it was fun.  On a fashion note, if you need super cute horsey baby clothes check out Mini Britches.  Waaaay adorbs

A few qualifications:

  • My horses live in my back yard, I care for all 4 of them including my mini donkey and was out feeding all but a week after I had the baby.  I had to have help lifting feed bags and hay bales at the end but the rest I did.
  • I work 40 hours a week still and only took 6 weeks off
  • Mini EE has just started sleeping through the night in the last month or so
  • My husband is VERY supportive and very good with our little girl, this is a big one!
  • I don’t have a nanny, Mini EE goes to daycare just like the rest of the Dual Income kids.

*You should only do what you feel comfortable doing and if you have any complications, for sure listen to your doctor.  I am not a doctor and this is just my personal story, so do what is right for your situation.

As a thank you for getting all the way to the end, Smartpak is having their summer clearance, time to stock up on fly masks, fly sheets, sun stopper shirts and whatever else for next year.  They are also doing deals of the day.  Tomorrow’s is $150 off of something…