Christmas 2017 and Looking to 2018

Merry Christmas, all! I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday, and didn’t have too bad of an eggnog-hangover this morning. (No hangover, but that 5AM workout was brutal this morning. For all 5 of us that showed up. In a group class that normally has about 25.)

I never ended up with a photo of her wearing the santa hat that wasn’t completely pissy and grumpy. “Christmas cheer” ≠ “make the pony look like an idiot”.


Bergie’s. Best coffee place ever.

Christmas weekend was quite relaxing and enjoyable. Dad and I did a last-minute Sam’s Club dash (for food, and a side order of last-minute gift inspiration) on Saturday…a stop at Bergie’s Coffee…then I spent a couple hours at the barn giving the pony a diligent Christmas pedicure. The santa hat never made an appearance, and she was so much more cooperative and cheerful than the past two weekends, both of which featured santa hat embarassment.

Lesson learned: No more embarrassing Christmas photos with the pony.


Christmas Eve dinner was spent with extended family, and Christmas Day was for me, my parents, and the pups. I spent most of the day with my nose in a book, putting a serious dent in our pantry tea selection.

One of my requests for this year was the last couple of required book materials for the Masterson Method equine massage courses. I started dabbling in this earlier this year, and attended one of the short seminars at Horse Expo, so one of the 2018 plans will be a more aggressive pursuit of the certification courses. (It’s not one of those “sit in a class for a couple days and come out with a certification” type of programs. They offer weekend seminars for those who just want to learn the basics to work on their own horse, but for program certification, it requires several separate courses, home study, and field work.)

As far as the rest of 2018, I really have no concrete plans and am just kind of playing things by ear…mainly taking catch rides as they come.

Hope the last few days of everyone’s 2018 are good…catch you all in 2018!

2017 Endurance Rider Gift Guide


Do I look like one of Santa’s $%^& reindeer to you?!?

Endurance riders. We’re an interesting breed to shop for. We don’t follow trends or fashions the way the show ring does; once we find something that is functional and works well, we tend to stick with it. That said, we still manage to accumulate a lot of gear along the way…some of it necessary, some of it a fun indulgence.

That being said, gift cards are always a safe bet. Places like Riding Warehouse and The Distance Depot specialize in tack and gear for distance riders, so there’s a good chance that whatever esoteric items we have on our own personal wish lists can be found at one of those places. Gift cards are an especially good option if you don’t know details like size and color.

My favorite sources for tack are Taylored Tack and Hought Tack; both offer gift certificates. (Tack or a gift cert from either of these places is an insta-swoon in my book.)

A lot of my 2015 gift guide still would be applicable…and here’s my miscellaneous round-up for 2017 ideas.


Tubtrugs buckets. Super-versatile, and come in a huge array of sizes and colors. They’ve got everything from vet check-sized feed pans to huge tubs suitable for water or as a muck bucket. I’ve got one of the medium-sized ones that gets used for everything from tack washing to a laundry basket. They’re easy to find on Amazon. I’m partial to this funky “Jelly Bean” pattern in particular but they’ve got just about every color imaginable to match whatever the horse’s barn colors are.


On that same note, this Tubtrugs Cesto strainer bin would be great for things like washing tack or washing and storing hoof boots.


Renegade Hoof Boots, naturally. ;) (Psstt…follow our Facebook page and Instagram account for our first-ever Black Friday sale!)


German Horse Muffins look like an intriguing offering for spoiled ponies. I’m just about out of horse cookies, so these might end up being a special treat under the Christmas tree this year. (Yes, I buy my animals presents. Doesn’t everybody? ;))


Tucked Away Ranch “Mai Packs” are the successor to SnugPax of old, with the same materials, designs, and quality. They have numerous styles designed for a variety of saddle types, and a wide array of colors.


I really like my Kerrits gear. Especially when the tights have pockets. #PocketObsessed And I’ve worn IceFil shirts at every ride/event I’ve done this year.

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As soon as the weather starts getting cooler, I immediately start grabbing for these quarter-zip shirts. This particular one is Kerrits but I’ve got a variety of them that I like. Good example of “doesn’t have to be horse-specific to work for a horse person” such as this Under Armour one.

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Hydration packs. Popular with bikers, hikers, and trail runners, hydration packs are starting to see a little more use with horseback riders. And they’ve come a long way from the basic Camelbak of old. The one pictured above is the Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta, and is my pack of choice for running and riding. With as much catch riding as I’ve been doing, I don’t always know what the saddle set-up will be like, so this allows me to carry all my water and stuff directly on my person, and not have to worry about if the saddle set-up will allow me to bring enough water, etc. As a bonus, I drink way better when I don’t have to rummage for a water bottle.

Starging_Gate_4_edited-1_1024x1024So I’m a bit weird. I love grooming stuff. Especially high-quality brushes. Call it a throwback to my show ring days, but I can’t not do a thorough grooming job before I ride. Plus, I love pony pampering/spa days.


Leg wraps. Everything from the basic Toklat neoprene splint and ankle boots above to the fancy Majyk Equipe type. There’s a certain sentimentality value for me, because my very first Christmas with Mimi, my trainer got me a pair of purple Toklat splint boots, and I still have them. (Those Majyk Equipes in purple, though… *drool*)

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SOCKS!!! Maybe socks for Christmas suck when you’re a kid, but as an adult, I love riding and running socks. Balega and Feetures are my favorites for running and riding; Smartwool for general wear.


Ride entries. While it’s one of the less expensive equine sports out there, endurance rides aren’t free. A little card saying “I will cover the entry for such-and-such ride” would likely be very well received.

Finally, horses and horse care always need time invested in them. If you’re looking to do something for someone, but maybe a little strapped for cash? A gift certificate offering to do something like mucking, feeding, or an overnight of house/barn-sitting. Offer to Crew for them at a ride.

And, of course, there’s the ever-popular “Dear Santa, I want a pony” wish that we never grow out of. In addition to the more grown-up-centric wish list items of trucks, trailers, horse properties, etc. So, uh, Santa..hint, hint. Hit me up for my laundry list of requirements if you’re so inclined. ;)



Happy Thanksgiving, all! May the turkey be moist, the gravy non-lumpy, the pie plentiful, and the alcohol readily available. Said with affection, good humor, and tongue firmly in cheek. ;)

My pies are done and packed up, ready to head over to the family gathering later this afternoon.


pumpkin and apple…both homemade from scratch, including crust. I have a soft spot for pie baking.

This morning, the pups and I headed out bright and early for the unofficial Aravaipa Thanksgiving Trail Turkey Trot. We did the 5(ish)k…which turned into 4.3 miles, with some extra bonus miles in there when I sorta missed a turn, headed down a parallel track, decided I didn’t actually know for sure if that parallel track ended up where we needed to be (it did), turned around, and backtracked to the trail split where I had gone the wrong way. Yay, bonus miles! 4.3 miles in 1 hour exactly.


The girls loved getting out on trail again, and although they can be a bit exasperating to run with in trying to get a good rhythm, they are an awful lot of fun, and their enthusiasm is contagious.

This is the second time I’ve done a Thanksgiving morning run (skipped last year, but went with Artemis in 2014, which was the first year for the unofficial race mentioned above), so I guess that now makes it a tradition…can’t say it’s a bad one.

Nothing like catching the most perfect sunrise to start off the morning, and the time out on trail for reflection and thankfulness. Life may not be perfect, but then, it’s not meant to be. It’s fun, it’s messy, it’s a rollercoaster of goods and bads, ups and downs. And it generates an awful lot of stories.