It’s on the internet, guys!

I have a bizarre love of shopping some of the random Chinese online stores – like Chinese Amazon, but not? Every once in a while I find real gems at super cheap prices which makes it all worth it. The other reason it’s all worth it are the hilarious things I come across.

I searched ‘horse’ this  afternoon in a fit of boredom and the results were glorious.

Oh look, it’s Lucy in retirement…

How about a new front entry piece for someone?

This is a dog apparently?

Kind of want to buy these just to torment my Jack Russell

This feels like the appropriate way to store post-barn wine bottles

The translation in this is just… a lot.

100% would buy these if they came in adult sizes

I have so many questions and I don’t think I want any of them answered

Actually need this to get me to work every day. Guys, it’s only like $1000!

???????????????????

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30 Special Kinds of Crazy

I think these have been so much to fun that I couldn’t hold back on joining in, despite being pretty sure I am not a very interesting (just weird) person.

  1. My degrees are in Business/Industrial/Org Psychology and Healthcare Administration (masters). I loved school so much and would go back and stay in school collecting degrees forever if I had the funds to do so. 100% serious.
  2. To go off the first one, I’m a complete health policy nerd. I love reading about it, learning about it, all of it, even though it also makes me want to cry/jump off a building/slam my head into a wall in this country.
  3. I’ve broken my left foot twice, both in dumb ways, neither involving horses. Different bones though.

    Living boot life at grad school graduation
  4. My brain thinks in Excel spreadsheets. I love Excel spreadsheets. I want everything to be in Excel spreadsheets, color coordinated and in a pivot chart.
  5. I was in an awful riding accident at age 9 when a horse ran me through a fence. It destroyed my confidence for years in many, many ways.
    This left a super cool scar though?

    Worst iPhone image of my scar today…
  6. My side hustle is making ugly PowerPoints beautiful.

    Competing at case competition where we had the most beautiful of all the presentations.
  7. I’ve lived in New Mexico, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Indiana. Places I’d love to live include Phoenix, Ft Worth, Raleigh, and Greenville (SC), among others.

    Tan and blonde in Asheville, NC
  8. Food-wise, I’ll try anything once. I consider myself a relatively adventurous eater. I order all my steaks blue/extra rare – basically as rare as possible. My friends all think this is horrifying. My family has gotten used to it. Mostly.

    Including fish I caught myself
  9. I have a few soapboxes I will go off on. A few of them are vaccinating your kids (WHY ARE WE EVEN HAVING THIS DISCUSSION) and irresponsible antibiotic use/antibiotic resistance. Thrilling stuff, right? Yes, I probably should have been a pharmacist.

    Instead I just go to medical professionals weddings
  10. I was the first girl born in 48 years on one side of the family and the first grandchild on the other.
  11. When I moved to Alabama at 18, I did not own an umbrella, a rain jacket or rain boots. New Mexico kid problems at their finest.

    I was also a baby. A CHILD. OMG.
  12. I have a serious love of designer shoes. When I wasn’t riding and was working in a corporate setting, I accumulated, um, a lot, of fancy heels. I can’t bring myself to get rid of them.

    This is not all inclusive…
  13. I also have a serious love of makeup and skincare and all the beauty products. See: blog name. I’m also perpetually running late in the morning and use nothing but mascara and SPF. But seriously, my collection would make you cry. Or run away, depending on who you are.

    Fixing my hair, typical
  14. I’m not afraid of planes or boats or sharks or snakes… but I am afraid of escalators. I will ride them, but they seriously give me cold sweats. The long, steep ones in subway stations are the actual worst. Barf.

    Will ride in helicopters though!
  15. I’ve been to 37 states and 9 countries and while I love to travel, I also really love sleeping in my own bed.

    Fishing with dad in Florida… my family’s preferred pasttime
  16. Staedtler Triplus Fineliners are the only pens I will use at work and everyone knows if you steal mine, I will hunt you down. I actually keep a separate stash of pens just for people to borrow. Told you I was a special kind of crazy.
  17. I am a very high maintenance sleeper. Pitch black, cold (like preferably 62-64 degrees), fan on, heavy blanket, silent. Also, never buy your child a queen size bed at age 8.

    I also have one younger hockey-playing brother
  18. I hate going to the movies because I can’t sit still and do one thing that long. I would much rather watch it at home where I can also be on my phone/computer/playing with the dog. Such a millennial.

    Issues? Never
  19. I’m fascinated with personality and what makes people ‘tick’ and how we’re different styles of learners and communicators and how perception impacts us. Like, way too into it probably.
  20. I love to ski, but can only afford one expensive sport, and I’ve found I’ve gotten much more cautious the older I get. (Except on horses?)
  21. I am a champion sleeper. Normal people are great on 8 hours, functional on 6. I am functional on 8, much prefer 10. Or 12. I keep waiting for the day I don’t need as much sleep as your average 2nd grader, but it hasn’t come yet. It’s 100% a real reason (not the only one, but one of them) that I didn’t go into medicine as a physician or nurse. Residency would actually kill me.
  22. I have a perpetual reoccurring dream I have a physics test I haven’t studied for the next day and no matter how many times I have it, it never ceases to give me anxiety. Physics is also the least favorite class I’ve ever taken. In general I have really vivid dreams and and on more than one occasion I have woken up wondering/thinking these things actually happened.
  23. I am a nervous anxious wreck about the most menial things possible thanks to being a little Type A perfectionist, but put me in a real emergency and I’m super calm and take charge. I loved being on incident response/planning when I worked in a hospital.

    Doing tornado recovery in Alabama, spring 2011
  24. There are a limited number of foods I hate, but they are entirely random: cucumbers, jalapenos, olives, cherries, pickles. I had a coconut aversion for a long time, but it’s grown on me. I don’t like pulpy fruit, but it’s the pulp, not the actual fruit, so I can handle them on occasion.
  25. My body is just downright terrible at regulating temperature. I am never the right temperature. My house is set at 64 degrees because I hate getting hot, but then I also wear sweatshirts and slippers everywhere. As I sit in my office right now, I have on a jacket, a blanket and a heater blowing on me.

    It was like 70 degrees
  26. My eyesight is terrible. Like approximately 20/800. It’s not ‘can’t read the eye chart’, but literally cannot see the eye chart exists. I’ve had glasses since I was 8 and contacts since I was 12.

    Needed some Lucy here
  27. My drink of choice is champagne. Beer is fine, wine is fine, cocktails are nice and good, but champagne is where my heart lies. My motto is quite literal when it says, “Champagne taste, tap water budget.”

    Fun fact: that lipstick color is called Palomino and that might be 90% of the reason I bought it.
  28. “Gross” things don’t gross me out – draining abscesses, lacerations, hematomas, injuries… If anything I find them fascinating and want to watch. If you post a photo of your horse’s gory injury (cough Emma), I will probably demand you take more photos.
  29. When I get really stressed out, my left eye twitches.

    Not stressed out in Greece
  30. I absolutely love working in medicine – human, veterinary – all of it. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Reading back through these, I feel like it can all be summed up as anxiety prone girly-girl who also loves gross medical things and sleeps a lot.

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Name that baby

Now that everyone got to meet Baby Pie, we’re looking to enlist some help – naming him! We’ve all thrown around some ideas on a group text, but haven’t come up with anything we love yet. We would love to crowdsource any and all ideas from y’all.

His sire is Spooks Gotta Gun, this hunk here.

 

Sadie, his dam’s, registered name is Real to Reel (Real Bonanza x Coorina Corina)

Sadie in her life as a show horse, circa 2011

The APHA naming rules are:

Names may not exceed 21 characters and spaces combined. No two horses registered by the association may have the same name or a name that sounds similar. You may not use punctuation marks, numbers, Roman numerals or profanity in the name.

Without touching politics (just, like… not here), anything ‘gun’ is a little touchy right now. Thoughts are something maybe old western-y, John Wayne, southwestern (being that he’s a New Mexico-bred)… Honestly, I’m a little stumped here.

For inspiration, here’s Pie lounging in the sunshine today with mom. Life’s pretty hard, guys.

 

Should a name suggested here end up being what he’s registered under (it’s obviously not my final decision), I’ll put together a little gift pack for the originator – I’m thinking an Ogilvy baby pad or a gift card?

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Baby Fever

Because I like to make my horse-family-life as confusing as possible, I have multiple horses I colloquially refer to as “mine” or “ours” who… don’t belong to me at all. But I’m also not just like, hijacking horses, promise.

My first horse, Coorina, was technically always owned (ugh, but not via APHA so let’s add more confusion!!!) by my mom’s cousin (who is essentially her sister/my aunt) and her husband. I had Coorina on a long term lease at two different points and she was mine in all every sense of the word, minus some complicated legal paperwork. When she retired from showing (aka when I got Lucy), she went back to my aunt and uncle to be bred.

Her first baby, Sadie, by Real Bonanza, was shown by them for a number of years and I had my fair share of spins on her as well. She was really the first horse I was present for watching grow up. So I still call her “ours”… even though ours here is a… rather broad definition.

Baby Sadie and incredibly awkward teenage Holly

This last year, they bred Sadie to Spook’s Gotta Gun, a freaking badass reiner who is an NRHA $1 million sire. And the sire of Spooks Gotta Whiz, a 2x WEG Gold Medalist. Freaking royalty here.

And last week, “our” newest  baby made his entrance into the world!

Meet baby Pie! He’s a colt born February 9th early in the morning.

Already loves to eat, so he’s definitely one of ours
Already has that QH Kardashian butt too

He totally has his grand-dam and dam’s face and it makes me so happy I could cry.

We lost Coorina in 2014, so seeing her still live on in her babies and her babies’ babies just makes me a whole blubbery emotional human. So instead I’m just going to coo over adorable baby Pie and obsess over the fact that he has Coorina’s little curly squirrel ears.

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A favor to ask…

I promise it is a very small one!

About 9 months ago, I swapped human medicine for veterinary medicine, moved to Indiana and haven’t looked back since. In my new role, I got to be a part of opening a brand new clinic here in Indy: 14,000 sq ft combined general practice and specialty/emergency practice in a gorgeous building with all the top of the line things. It’s awesome what I get to see our staff do for animals with the technology and skill they have (real life, someone did CPR on a turtle last week, casual).

It’s pretty!

Our building is actually now up for Hospital Design of the Year and one part of that is a People’s Choice Award.

Not these People’s Choice Awards

If you would take a few minutes out of your day to look through some really pretty photos of a really pretty veterinary hospital and vote, I would be immensely grateful. If said vote were to go to Noah’s Animal Hospitals in Indianapolis, IN, I would be like 100x immensely grateful.

This is the beginning and end of my illustrious modeling career. No, that is not my dog.

The link to more photos and information about our practice is here and you can cast your vote here until March 31st. And if you happen to be local to me, shoot me an e-mail or text or Instagram DM or telegram or whatever and I would love nothing more than to take you on a tour, meet some of our vets and introduce you to our practice in person!

Talking about our practice like

 

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My quarter ran out

There has been a distinct lack of riding material here as of late and it’s not due to me being lazy (well yes, I am, but that’s beside the point). The truth is that riding has been… hard.

I mean, riding is always hard. If it was easy, I’m pretty sure 99% of us would find a different sport because we like being perpetually broke and challenged and waving in danger’s face. But this hasn’t been, “Holly stop leaning” hard or omg my legs hurt can I have my stirrups back hard. This has been, my horse refuses to move hard.

Yup.

Nothing. Nowhere.

My horse.

He goes along happily for Trainer and her too-cute-for-words son (who is Doc’s FAVORITEPERSONONEARTH). And as soon as I get on? Your quarter ran out, lady.

I’ve left the barn in tears twice. He bolted through the open arena door and went back to his stall once. I checked his legs, I checked he was sound, I checked his bit, his face, his feet. “Well,” I thought, “so much for eventing this year. My horse hates me.”

Until I thought, “Huh. I never checked my saddle.”

Cause it was fine like three weeks ago?

Since, you know, it was custom fit for him less than two months ago. Lo and behold, it’s sitting lower to his withers than we’d like. Shot pics off to fitter, appointment scheduled, fingers crossed. Cue guilt of, “OMG I was making my horse do what when he was trying to tell me he was uncomfortable, I am the worst rider ever. I do not deserve to ride. I must never set foot in a barn again to atone my sins.” K. Dramatics slightly calmed down (but still guilty feeling), we had a lovely bareback ride Saturday (well he was lovely, I was… well, Big Eq winner, I am not), which has me hopeful this was our issue. We know he’s particular about saddle fit (hello, measures as a medium, prefers to go in a wide). Fitter comes tomorrow.

Please, please let this be the issue. Please, please, please let my horse not hate me forever.

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Fancy letters

Like any good Southerner, I love a monogram. The fancier the better, in fact. Particularly if they look like something from Leotine Linens because DROOL. Also like, #champagnetaste #tapwaterbudget to the extreme here. This drooling led me down a rabbit hole a few weeks ago, however, that ended both beautifully and affordably. Say what.

With the help of some artsy people and my trusty copy of Photoshop, before I know it, we had the logo now prominently featured at the top of this page.

Glad you asked, yes, I am wildly obsessed with it.

While traditional monograms would be three letters and a two letter would be first and last initial, I wanted something smaller than a three letter and I don’t love how U looks with a two letter monogram – so HM it became. The addition of the bit at the bottom to ‘equestrian’ it up and the perfect blue coloring completed it.

And then I just stared at it and giggled and sent it to all my friends to look at.

The next step was obviously to put it on ALL THE THINGS.

Which in this case, meant stickers.

Not the greatest photo… but STICKERS

So now I have all these stickers to stick on things. I’m like a 5 year old with a sticker book. Water bottles! Laptop! Corkboard!

Of course, the next step is to embroider it on all the things – I already have a bonnet in the works, I’m scouting out saddle pads, hell, maybe we’ll toss it on vest. The possibilities are endless.

And this is the story of how I gave myself a logo. For no reason at all except pretty letters and feeling fancy. Give me all your ideas of places I can now put it. A tattoo is not out of the question (JOKE, that’s a JOKE MOM I’m still afraid of tattoos because commitment issues). But like, a phone case with it? I need. (And that’s practically a tattoo because I’m a millennial and my phone is essentially another limb.) What else does it need to go on?!

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Normal is a relative term

I work for a veterinary organization so one of my big benefits is bouncing questions of “what is wrong with my animal” off the different techs and vets I see every day. I also get to bring said animal to work with me so he is well known around these parts. Which leads us to last week.

Well known for being a weirdo, but…

Since I got Fin the Dog, he’s been nearly perfectly housetrained. His other manners and skills may lack, but he’s been awesome about telling you he needs to go out from the day he learned where the door was. Last week, I kept noticing Fin the Dog was waking me up in the middle of the night multiple times – like 2, 3, 4 times. He sleeps with me (well, he sleeps in the middle of the queen bed and I am left to whatever remains) and while I’m a relatively deep sleeper, the motion of a 24lb dog LEAPING off the bed is enough to rouse me from whatever bizarre dream I’m in the midst of at that time. Naturally, seeing him standing at the door asking to go out had me up and taking him outside every time.

This is not posed. Dog thinks he is human.

After a few nights of this, I finally l̶o̶w̶ ̶l̶e̶v̶e̶l̶ ̶p̶a̶n̶i̶c̶k̶e̶d̶ chatted with one of the veterinarians at work and we decided to run some basic blood work, urinalysis, etc. to see what was going on. Because obviously I’m sitting here going, “My dog has a UTI. My dog has diabetes. My dog has cancer. My dog has a rare disease that is going to cost thousands of dollars to fix.”

I do not jump to worst case scenarios ever, why do you ask?

And… everything came back normal. Couple hundred dollars of testing to find out my dog is perfectly n̶o̶r̶m̶a̶l̶ healthy. Awesome. Fantastic.

But why can’t I get like, four hours of uninterrupted sleep here?

We were all puzzled, figuring it must be behavioral of some sort. Until last Thursday.

I was reading before bed and up later than normal since I was into my book, Fin asleep next to me in bed. He’s always been an active dreamer, chasing things and moving in his sleep, so that didn’t surprise me. What happened next though…

He barked in his sleep (quietly, enough that with the fan on and the nine pillows I sleep with, I wouldn’t have heard it if I was asleep) and woke himself up convinced there was a dog outside. LEPT off the bed, ran to the door and sat there asking to go out. To chase the dream dog that does not exist.

Which is the story of how I puzzled everyone at my office, spent money on perfectly normal testing and worried myself, all because my dumb dog barks in his sleep.

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Outlook optimistic

Despite all the temptations that exist right now, I’m on a spending freeze (cold snap?) due to some fun things this year is holding. They’re also the things currently pushing me to get off my couch and go jog or do something else to prevent from turning into a blob of human-ness in the off season.

Me, coming back from winter

Mainly, I got my deposit in for Event Camp which is as awesome as it sounds – four days with Sharon White, Tim Bourke and Leslie Law. It’s like all of my childhood dreams of horse camp, but way better. I’ve heard great things about riding with all three and I basically can’t wait for July now. (Except I can because whoa, out of shape and need to get that fixed.) It’s two lessons on days one and two, one lesson and one competition evaluation on day three and one lesson on day four of your choice (flat, XC or SJ). It’ll mean taking four days of my vacation time, but seriously would I rather be on horse vacation or off doing touristy things, uh no competition there.

Always would rather be doing this

We also have a Lucinda Green XC clinic scheduled for this spring, so essentially come hell or high water I will be there, although auditing or riding is TBD.

Otherwise, the schedule is still a little up in the air, but I’ve been rounding up some of the local options that have published dates. We have a lot to choose from this summer, so I’m excited to see where we end up. I’ll be playing with the budget and work dates to make it happen.

Bank account looking at me like…
  • March 24th – First Day of Spring CT at CAF
  • April 14th – Heartland CT at CAF
  • May 5th-6th – Penny Oaks HT at Hoosier Horse Park (we may not be ready to run XC, but we’ll see)
  • May 12th – May Flowers Derby and CT at CAF
  • June 2nd-3rd – IEA Horse Trials (also N/T 3 Day starting May 30th, so will definitely go down to volunteer!)
  • June 9th-10th – Lucinda Green XC Clinic
  • June 16th-17th – Day before HT Derby and Father’s Day HT at CAF
  • July 9th-12th – Event Camp!
  • August 11th – Summer CT and Derby at CAF
  • August 18th – Hoosier Hops Derby at HHP
  • September 8th – Fall Harvest CT and Derby at CAF
  • October 13th-14th – Fall Festival Derby and Horse Trials at CAF

So. many. options! IEA doesn’t even have their full calendar up either.

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Mental Walls (Literally)

Friday afternoon the sun shined and it was 60 degrees and it was GLORIOUS. Like, Vitamin D, yes please and ponies and seriously, I don’t think I realized how grumpy I’d been until suddenly I was seriously giddy happy. Sunshine, it’s a good thing. The arena footing was still a little more wet than I would have liked so we stuck to walk and trot work, but it’s not like we have any shortage of things to work on at those gaits.

I’m bad about my flatwork rides being the same old walk/trot/canter both directions so I spent some time on Friday morning reading up on ideas and other things to do and it paid off. I really focused on doing something every eight strides or so, trying not to go any length of the arena without doing something – transitions, shoulder-in, circles, leg yield, sitting trot, collecting/lengthening. It was awesome to feel the change. What started as a ride where Doc was behind my leg and pulled his nice ‘ears-pinned, kick at leg’ every time I asked for more turned into one of my favorite flat rides I’ve had on him.

By halfway through the ride, he was moving off my leg so nicely, working in a frame, really in the bridle in a way we struggle to get to. It wasn’t necessarily 100% consistent because #workinprogress, but it was a definite improvement over a lot of our rides this winter. The best part was the horse who refused to trot and only acquiesced with a sloth, legs dragging jog early on was light as could be off my aids and giving me awesome transitions. Definitely telling that I need to be doing more during my rides as opposed to just going around and around.

I saved you from having to listen to my baby voice, you’re welcome

Saturday morning was my usual lesson, although we were back in the indoor thanks to rain. Ugh. Still, I’ll take rain over snow and ice any day. Not quite as good of a warmup as yesterday, but neither of us likes riding indoors as much.

We worked on an exercise we also did last week with four poles/cavaletti.

To start, we rode through the bounce, picked a direction and went over both end poles in a sort of moon shape, and back out over the bounce. My biggest issues here are sitting up and keeping my collarbone up, surprise surprise. Once we got that done, we added a circle over the two end poles. I needed a lot more collection to get that done which is something that’s an ongoing work in progress too.

so far, so good

The last way we rode it was (is?) the most challenging for me: bounce, right pole, left pole, inside turn towards the wall, back over the right pole, left, out over the bounce. Theoretically, not awful. And most of it was fine, since we’d already ridden it two other ways. Until we added the inside turn.

An inside turn towards the rail in the outdoor? Fine. Don’t love it, but I can do it. Add an arena wall? Mental roadblock times 1000. Even though I know we’re capable of making the turn, I zero in on the wall, stare at it and convince myself we’re going to just, I don’t know, run into it? Crash and die? Looking past the wall and focusing on where we’re going helps, but there’s still that moment I see the wall as we start the turn and I lose my marbles.

DEFINITELY almost fall off your horse because you can’t SIT UP omg

I know it’s 100% mental because I managed to get it done today. It wasn’t pretty, but I sat up and wheeled that horse around like we were in a reining pattern and it felt good to end on a positive note.

That all being said, it definitely pointed out a mental weakness I need to work on. I’ve gotten over a lot of my fears and insecurities this last year, so it feels interesting to discover a new one, so to speak.

Also, SERIOUSLY STOP LEANING HOLLY this is why you eat dirt. Damn ground poles.

 

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