tack warehouse sale (or: I did a bad thing) & lesson recap

Last week I texted my barn manager “Hey, want to meet at Tack Warehouse on Friday at nine?”

“Maybe. Why?” she responded.

Because they are having a huge sale!!”

If you’re in Northern California, you really should check out this sale!

Tack warehouse is a local tack store that I loove.  It’s located in Woodland, just 15 minutes from my barn, and while they don’t carry absolutely everything, they do an amazing job of helping you get what you need.  Last year, they consulted my trainer to help them increase their selection of eventer-oriented products, and if they don’t have what you want they are more than happy to order it for you!  The owner and staff are all friendly and helpful, and they keep both English and Western tack, with staff who know the products to help you get what you want!  Tack Warehouse is also really supportive of local events, providing goodie-bags and prizes for local venues.  And I LOVE having a place I can just drop in and pick up what I need instead of having to order it online.

So of course, I walked in on Friday looking for a pair of tall boot laces (blew out mine on my right boot and have been riding around with it slowly flopping open) and some new polo wraps.  And I walked out with this.



Ooops. Critical mistake.  But it’s so pretty!

I have needed wanted a dressage/stadium helmet for a while. My skullcap I love, but it really isn’t the look I want in dressage. And I struggle, somehow, to get my hair into it. And it’s just not really the look I want in dressage.  And it always looks a little bit dirty, because of the pebbly exterior (even with a cover on).  And it’s really just not the look I want in dressage.

When Barn Manager and I got to Tack Warehouse I (stupidly) started stuffing my head into various helmets with my hair up, to see what I look like in them and which ones fit.  I like the One-K helmets a lot, and I seriously like those bling helmets, but I’m not good enough at dressage to pull them off yet, and they don’t quite sit on my head right.  Then I went to the COs, and did a huuuuuge double take at the price of the JR8 vs GR8.  The GR8 is a solid $350, and the JR8 was $170. Umm, what?


A quick exploration on my phone showed that they have the exact same safety standards (see here the GR8 and the JR8), and the look, feel, and fit of them were very similar when I put them on.  (I suspect the JR8 is just a juniors version, and because juniors’ heads grow faster than adults, they price them cheaper to get people hooked on the brand, so you’ll buy the nice one later. Much like the Point-Two childrens’ air vest. Well, suckers, I fit kids sizes as an adult so will never pay your full prices!!!)  I did my best to stuff my hair in them, and stared at myself in the mirror and was surprised when I actually really liked the look.  The only thing I worried about was that, with my hair inside, the helmet was slip-n-sliding all around my head because my hair is so slippery. #AsianRiderProblems

One of the staff helped me out by busting out this neat Real Women Ride hairnet, which I found shockingly comfortable and effective.  The hairnet has a headband-like strip of strong elastic at the base, and then comes up like a stocking tube which holds your hair up. No more fighting with my slippery hair just to get it INSIDE the stupid hairnet, with this baby you pull it down over your neck like a headband, then push it back up to trap all your hair inside.  If you do this poorly, you may look like a 1990’s home invader, but no matter!  My hair was trapped inside the hair net and there it stayed, AND it helped stabilize the helmet on my head and stop it from wiggling around.

So there you have it.  I went in for boot laces and walked out with a new helmet (at 20% off!), a hair net, and was pretty happy about it.

(Soon, I’ll figure out how to DIY class up that nylon harness too!)

1-15Jump lesson this week was very good.  We have a pretty technical course set up in the indoor right now, lots of rollbacks, and Murray was very honest through it.  Our step was a little off, as he was just a touch behind my leg, and I ask him to hold instead of pushing him forward.  We ended up getting deep spots to a lot of jumps, but they all worked out fine despite it.  Thank goodness for honest ponies and a solid base of support — a few months ago, I’d have been letting my lower leg slide back and probably have been pitched over a few of those fences.

We started with the navy fence, bending to a big blue/brown X in 5-6 strides (we consistently got 6).  Rollback around to the green-red one stride, then around to the navy again, which was straight.  A nice open turn to the brown skinny, which has an old Christmas tree under it, bending to the green/yellow oxer.  After the oxer, another rollback to the one stride the opposite direction (red to green), then three or four strides to the blue fence.

Murray backed off to the Christmas tree the first time he saw it, but listened to me when I said that we were really doing it, so that was good to feel.  He did get a little on the forehand/pully around the rollbacks, but if I lifted my inside hand to half-halt and re-acquire a quality canter I could get him listening again before the next fence.  I rode all the fences before the rollbacks really straight, as once Murray learns a course he’ll land and happily throw himself around a corner, which really isn’t what I want.

There’s just two weeks until our first show this year!! I’m super excited. And I’ll get to wear my new helmet!

Mockery Monday: helmets are like drugs


I try not to publicly ridicule anything, as I attempt to live by the internet motto “tweet as you would like to be tweeted”, but every once in a while something comes up on the horsey internet so ridiculous that I’m simply incapable of keeping my mouth shut. When this happens, I’m going to feature it in this segment, Mockery Monday.

Our first Mockery Monday is directed towards the backlash directed towards helmet-wearing and #MindYourMelon style campaigns. I know, I know, the helmet issue is a dead horse that we’ve beaten repeatedly, so I’m going to try to stay off the soap-box on this one and keep it to cuttingly accurate critique of these pathetic excuses for “evidence” as to why wearing a helmet is “pointless”. Normally, I let the helmet issue slide for anyone outside of my direct realm of contact – natural selection needs someone to act on, right? – but when people are actively campaigning against safety and the greater good, I just can’t (won’t?) keep my mouth shut.

[I stole these from Facebook pages. I’m not going to link to them, because I don’t want this to be a pointed hatred campaign, and also because I don’t want to dignify them with more clicks.  If this is a huge problem, I’ll obviously link back.]

mad equine fb

At its core, this statement is, in fact, true. The act of putting a shell of plastic and styrofoam upon your jello-filled dome does not make the 1000+ lb animal you are about to sit on for sport a safer creature by nature. That would rely on some kind of transitive-property-of-safety-creation that, if it actually existed, would likely be much better enacted by simply putting the safety-creating helmet on the horse’s head. Or butt. Or wherever. This straw man argument is essentially the same as telling drivers that wearing a seatbelt doesn’t make driving safer (if you believe that, you are welcome to a glass and asphalt facial any time). Putting a helmet on before you ride makes the act of riding safer, or, more to the point, it makes falling (or turning around to look back and see if your horse is doing a true haunches-out and banging your head on one of the support beams of the indoor arena) safer. Additionally: head wounds bleed a lot so you can avoid a lot of clean up, and protect probably the most important part of your body, with a tiny piece of equipment. If you’re the one who came up with this argument, it’s extra important that you protect whatever you’ve got left.

think like a horse 1This argument – if you can even call it one – hardly makes any sense anyway, so I might be adding a little creative interpretation to it right now.  I feel that if your argument makes zero sense I’m free to interpret it at will. But basically, what I believe it to say is something along the lines of “you take all these precautions to protect yourself and still something terrible can happen” which I think is actually the argument for wearing helmets. The caption on this facebook page says that “helmet pushers are like drug dealers” and that we want you to get addicted to the feeling of wearing a helmet because it covers up your fear. Uhhhh… sure, it may physically cover the emanations of fear evaporating from your scalp, if that happens to you (are you a human? I think probably not, then) but for most of us it’s to cover a soft, thinly-encased ball of ridiculously important sludge from the hard ground, or the hard, hard feet of our valiant steeds*.

think like a horseDitto this argument. Nobody actually thinks that they are protected and safe no matter what they do when wearing a helmet. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. In addition to suggesting that we helmet-wearers are drug pushers (the drug of life and safety), they also suggest that we push the agenda that “horses are unpredictable”. Guess what? All animals are unpredictable – in good ways and bad ways. It is pure vanity and arrogance to think that any humanoid can understand any other creature so well as to make them completely predictable – unless you have a mind control ray, of course – and is the mistake that leads people to getting their friends’ arms ripped off by their chimpanzee “children” (another behavior I am vehemently opposed to).

Now, this is not to say I’ve never gotten on a horse without a helmet, and that I never will in the future. I’m a vain bitch and I like a nice free-flowing-hair-barefoot-and-naked-galloping-on-the-beach picture as much as the next girl. However, outside of those particularly stringent conditions, you’re probably going to find me wearing a helmet whenever I’m on my horse, and fairly frequently when I’m around him, because that kid is unpredictable as fuck and I value my life, ability to make money, and cerebellum.

This concludes our first Mockery Monday. With any luck, I’ll never need to mock anything again, but given that it’s The Internet I find that hard to believe.

* Steeds not made safer by the donning of a helmet.