Monday, 21 November 2011

More teaching little kids - and my parents.

about 2 weeks ago Felix was a lesson pony for one of the lesson kids - he was super good, but we've discovered he doesn't really like having people bang about at his mouth, so I'm on the hunt for a plain hackamore or sidepull for use with the kids. In spite of this, he was super good. Here is him with his lesson kid:

We also made my parents get on him for pony rides the next day.  My mom had a really bad experience with horses about 40 years ago, and  decided it was time to fix it.  Dad is just always game for just about anything, and it was a good opertunity to show off our safe little beast:

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Ebay grumble....

This is another non-Felix related post.

I recently sold a saddle on Ebay for a friend, who expects, and rightly so to be PAID for said saddle.  Listing has been over for 5 days.  Friday I get a message from the buyer "I'll pay you so the saddle can ship Wednesday" which to me, means TUESDAY NIGHT as I must call UPS by 10AM for pickup.  The auction does say pay within 3 days.  Not rocket science, and it's under $500, this should be easy!

This is how I am feeling about Ebay and internet selling in general right now:

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Lesson report, Etc.

Lesson went well yesterday. All in all, my coach likes Felix, and thinks he's a good type for me because he's not super forward, nor super sensitive in the mouth.

A lot of our homework is in regards to me and my poition - I need to do a lot of two-point and stop crossing my inside hand over his neck when steering, which has been a problem for me for years.

As for Felix - he's going to be doing a lot more leg-yelding work in both walk and trot, and trying for more and better bend on circles.

Today Connie and I rode this morning, and she did a bit of jumping. Here is a short video.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

How to make UGLY tack pretty

A while back I picked up a really cheap bridle at a tack sale. I loved everything about it, except for one important part - the color was a complete nightmare!  Being as it was only $20, I bought it anyway.  We've all been tempted to do this from time to time I am sure. As I learned today, there IS hope.

Every rider has always heard that certain oils will darken leather, some conitioners only darken while the product is wet (like Leather Therapy), and others are a little more permanent - like neetsfoot oil.  Every rider on a budget should be aware of just what neetsfoot oil can do for an ugly, light colored bridle.

What you'll need:
Ugly Tack
Jug of Neetsfoot Oil
Ziplock bags (I used several sandwich sized baggies, but a single 1 Qt/L size bag would do better really.)

Here is the original reins that came with the bridle.  I did not treat them because I have rubber reins that I prefer to use, plus it's fun to see the comparison:

Step one: Take bridle apart. This will allow it to fit into the bag better.
Step two: Get all bridle parts into the bag, packed as nicely as possible.
Step three: Pour enough neetsfoot oil into the bag for the tack to "soak" in. You'll need at least 1 cup. This can be poured off and re-used later, neetsfoot oil is not the cheapest thing ever.
Step four: Seal bag. Try to squeeze out as much air as possible, and make sure the bag is well sealed. Shake bag untill all the leather is drenched.
Step five: Leave bag for 30 min - 2 hours, then remove leather, wipe extra oil and then set bridle parts out to dry. Pour extra oil back into the bottle for later use.

Here is the end product on the bridle, set next to my nice HDR browband for comparison, as well as the reins in the original color (Bottom - Original Color, Middle - After Oil, Top - HDR):

 Some cautionary notes:  I don't recomend this for a high priced, or specialty dyed leather (like white, pink, etc.).  High priced is a given, and specialty dyes often cover more like a paint then a true leather dye.
NEVER soak overnight.  Neetsfoot oil has a potential to rot your stitching if you do this.  It is safe to use so long as you don't soak for too long (according to my research the thing that rots stitching is a combination of Neetsfoot and Mineral oils, but better safe then sorry).
If you're Vegan/Vegitarian and only make exceptions for leather tack, be aware that neetsfoot oil is a byproduct of processing cattle. Seeing as you're already using leather tack this may not be an issue - however it is something that you should be aware of.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Real lesson tomorrow

Felix has been going quite well this last week, he had another ride with little Sarah on the weekend, plus I've been out almost every day. 

The super exciting news for me is I talked to my eventing coach that I've taken lessons on and off from for the last 10 years, and we're going to have our first real lesson tomorrow!  I'll be sure to post an update afterwards.