Equestrian Blog Hop: What Started It All

Equestrian Blog Hop: What Started It All

When Heather of Bridle and Bone (psst: all my links open in a new tab – so click away!) posted about this blog hop, I instantly knew that I wanted to be a part of it. Not only is it a great way to network and meet other bloggers, I knew it would be a great chance to get OTTBs and Oxers’s name out there. I can’t wait to read and comment on the other blogs and read other blogger’s opinions of mine.

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I am probably one of the newest blogs participating in this blog hop.

I started posting on OTTBs and Oxers on March 18th of this year with 18 Motivational Quotes. That was just over 6 months ago!

Before that, I had an even smaller Blogger site called U:Equestrian. I decided to switch to OTTBs and Oxers for a couple of reasons:

  1. The name came to me out of the blue and how could I not use it??
  2. I’m more comfortable with WordPress, as I’ve been using it for years to create websites for other people.
  3. Part of U:Equestrian was based around University. As I’m already a sophomore in college, I wanted my blog to be able to grow with me after I graduate.

Sept Blog Hop

Why did I decide to start blogging in the first place?

I think it all stems from my love of writing. Since I was a little girl in grade school, I’ve always had my nose tucked in a book. I could only read so much before the need to write my own stories won me over.

In sixth grade, I started writing my very first book, a shapeshifter romance centered on an adventure. I finished it in eighth grade, and for those two years, I constantly had my flower print composition notebook and a pen in my hands.

In high school, I started writing a spin-off of that same novel – this time more a historical romance. It was also during this time that I learned how to write technically. I was blessed to be able to take Honors and AP classes that taught me proper writing techniques. Now, I’m working on my third novella, a fictional story based on the Manchester bombing.

It made sense to me to combine my love of writing with my love of my horse. A blog was the logical answer – plus, I knew it could be fun!

Blogging allows me to keep a journal of how far Beau and I have come – which is important to me as an amateur with a difficult horse. It also lets me get my opinions to other equestrians on products (Review: Annie’s Equestrienne Breeches) and current events (The Rolex Red Carpet!). I can even reflect on the important events in my life and how they affect my life as an equestrian, even if they are not equestrian in nature (Coming Home).

A big part of my blog experience is my presence on Twitter’s equestrian hub, fondly dubbed “The Island.” Through it, I received the inspiration for my last post and huge project, Rider Drug Use: Is It a Problem?. I also find it is a great platform to connect with your audience. I’ve even found a great support group for my non-blog writing in The Island Writers (Shout-out to you, girls!). My Twitter is @OTTBsandOxers.

What have I learned?

So far, I’ve learned that the equestrian blogging community is comprised of many incredible people who love to support each other. I have never felt alone in my quest to discover what blogging holds for my future. There is always someone to go to with questions or somewhere to look for inspiration.

Something I still struggle with is how to make my blog stand out in a sea of fantastic equestrian bloggers. I have an awesome, amazing horse, and I love chronicling our adventures, but so do plenty of other people. I am currently trying to start an IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) team at my school, which I planned to write about, but I am running into speed bump after speed bump. I’m a competitive person, but I don’t have a trailer, so we don’t show many times a year.

So, what do I have that’s unique?

  1. This silly, adorable, tries-his-heart-out horse.

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  2. A university perspective: I’m a sophomore dealing with horses, a job, school, and volunteering all at the same time.

  3. A competitive mindset – even if I’m not competing all the time, I still have goals for my rides that are fun to read.

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  4. Dedication to this blog – I’m currently posting between one and two times a week.

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Be sure to check out my other posts if you enjoyed this one – thanks for reading!

Click the button below to see the other blog hop posts:

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Bridle Care

Bridle Care

First off, I had a very nice quick ride on Beau today – my first ride with a broken finger! Honestly, it wasn’t as awkward as I thought it’d be – my hands kinda adjusted on their own.

As I was tacking him up, I noticed that his bridle was disgusting, so I decided to clean it thoroughly after my ride.

Steps to clean an (overly gross) bridle:

 

  1. Start with said gross bridle. Take some pics so readers know it is, in fact, dirty.
      
  2. Take it apart.
  3. Clean with a bucket of water, sponge, and Lexol’s 3-in-1 Cleaner, Conditioner, and Protectant. Yes, I like the 3-in-1. Dunk the browband in the bucket after unsuccessfully trying to sponge it clean.
  4. Soak bit in bucket of hot water to loosen all the crud. Scrub with rag. Admire shiny metal.
  5. Some assembly required. Mark the holes everything is supposed to be on (in your head) so it actually fits when you put in on next. Put all the flyaway bits in the keepers. Figure 8 in honor of my previous hunter jumpers trainers!

I Did This to Myself

I Did This to Myself

Sunday, Beau and I had a great ride.

I was especially excited about this ride because my dad was able to come watch and direct me. Every time he does this, it’s like a mini lesson, whether he means to or not! I’m happy to have his insight.

I started warming him up walk/trot. Next, we moved to leg yields, where we discovered that they were about three times as good going away from home as they were going towards home.

We worked on our canter. I was wimpy and let him break on me one too many times. Of course, this made me frustrated. I took Beau for a lap at a hand gallop to tell him, “Yes, it’s okay to go forward,” and to let me relax. Dad was a little baffled because we were working on our collected canter when I decided to open him up, but we were much better as a team afterwards. We then worked at bending and counterbending at the trot.

We finished up on our counterbending work and it was time to jump! We started with a simple trot X jump both ways. Next, we trotted in, cantered out a small 2′ line. Then, we bumped up to a nice, short canter and popped over it again, both ways. We also cantered the X and the line together, adding on a white gate leaned to be about 2′ high.

Then, the dreaded centerline vertical. I jumped it straight down the center, at a nice collected canter. Beau chipped in, and I left a little early. We went to do it again, and I tried to angle my line, but I ended up doing it exactly the same. We chipped again, and this time a caught my pinky finger on his neck.

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Two days later

I finished the jump and brought him to a halt before yelling for my dad to come over, quickly. I had felt my finger move, and I needed him to pop it back in place. He popped it, and I got so nauseous. I ended up having to get off and lay down in the arena for about 20 minutes before my head stopped spinning.

Beau got put away (I helped, eventually), and Dad and I headed home.

Now, two days later, my finger is buddy wrapped, but still black and blue. We will most likely get an x-ray on Wednesday unless it gets better in the next day.

I did it to myself. *sigh*

3 Easy DIY Ribbon Displays

3 Easy DIY Ribbon Displays

My ribbons are one of my favorite parts of my room!

Circle Belt Holder Display:

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This display is so simple and cute. Simply take a circle belt holder like this one and put your ribbons through the loops, pushing the tails of the ribbons behind the rosettes. Mine are organized by color. Then, just hang the hanger.

Hook and String Display:

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The easiest and most common display. Simply take two Command hooks and stick them to your wall. Hang the string from hook to hook. Each rosette can then be hung on the string. I’ve hung mine in color order, one string for me, one for my dad.

Lantern Display:

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This is the most time-consuming display, but it’s still easy. I took the time to fold each ribbon’s tail into the hanger on the back, but you could easily cut the tails off if you wanted. Next, just arrange the rosettes so that they are visible through the glass. I had a lantern with a loop on the top, so, I also strung some single ribbons through it. Lastly, I added the giant ribbon to the outside because it simply wouldn’t fit anywhere else, but I think it added a nice touch.

How do you display your ribbons?

 

 

Reorganizing My Tack

Reorganizing My Tack

A few days ago, I found some gems that inspired a redo of my entire tack’s organization. These storage bins were perfect for my stuff, so I grabbed them right away to upcycle.

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They were nasty when I got them, so to clean them I used:

  1. A dustpan and small broom (to sweep off big clumps of dust)
  2. Sanitizing Wipes (to clean and sanitize everything)
  3. A cloth (to dry and clean any stubborn pieces of dust)
  4. Bathroom cleaner (to clean stubborn stains on the top of one bin)
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Before
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After

So, for reorganizing:

First, I took the big and bulky bins out of the kneehole in my wall where my horse stuff stays. After looking through my things, I decided where to put everything in the new bins.

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Small green bin:

  • Top drawer: leather pieces for the bridle and extra reins
  • Middle drawer: cross ties, gloves, misc.
  • Bottom drawer: other leather pieces (martingales and girths)

Large green bin:

  • Top drawer: what I reach for the most (duct tape, medical armbands, stirrups)
  • Middle drawer: hay net, extra groom tote, extra treats
  • Bottom drawer: what I rarely use (boot bag, saddle and bridle racks, half chaps)

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On top of that, I have my saddle pads in a ziploc storage bag because they don’t fit in any bins.

To the left, I have a bin with winter blankets and an extra blanket on top of that bin. Next to that is my extra saddle rack for shows.

The Final Product in my room:

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I love how this turned out! It’s so much easier to just open a drawer rather than pulling out all the bins to search for whatever you need. The clear drawers are perfect for easy finding, especially since my dad has a hard time finding things in here.

The medium sized black bin went to the barn to hold my wraps and bandages, and I’m planning to move my first kit in there as well!

How is your extra horse tack stored? 

18 Motivational Quotes That Will Keep Any Equestrian Determined

18 Motivational Quotes That Will Keep Any Equestrian Determined

 

Inspired by Jumper Nation’s post 10 Mantras From Non-Equestrians To Transform Your Next Round, my list includes all of their quotes, as well as some of my own personal favorites. *None of these quotes are my own.

  1. Next play. Next play.
    This is a great reminder to forget about your past struggles and look to the future to really show what you can do,
  2. I got this.
    Never forget that you can do whatever you put your mind to do.
  3. The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.
    If you are determined, you can stretch beyond what you think is possible to attain the impossible.
  4. I know what I have to do.
    As soon as you think this phrase, you relax and immediately calm down and focus.
  5. Green as grass and ready to kick some ass.
    One of my personal favorites, this is great for people like me who ride greenies, this quote is a great reminder that you are ready to compete with the big boys/girls.
  6. If you can believe it, you can achieve it.
    Another reminder that anything is possible!
  7. Be water.
    This is a great reminder to go with the flow and not to worry about the bumps and knots in the river’s path.
  8. Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.
    Don’t be afraid to lose, but keep the drive and determination required to win.
  9. Decide. Commit. Succeed.
    Choose your goal, stick to it, and do whatever it takes to succeed in your eyes.
  10. Work until your idols become your rivals.
    Another of my favorites, this is a reminder that if you work enough, you can reach the level of your idols!
  11. Why not me? Why not us?
    There is nothing in the world that can limit you. One of my favorite inspirations is U.S. Para-Olympian Annie Peavy.
  12. Strive for progress, not perfection.
    Recently I read an article that called out the old mantra “Perfect practice makes perfect.” It stated that you should reward your horse and yourself with any small victory, instead of overreaching for perfection.
  13. When you think about quitting, remember why you started.
    This is fantastic for when you’re not happy with your discipline. Remember that first ride, that first cross country jump, that first flying change. And then Smile!
  14. The goal is not to ensure everything is right. The goal is to expose everything that is wrong.
    For the perfectionist, this is important to remember, especially in lessons. Lessons are for trying new things, screwing up, and growing in talent.
  15. Breathe. Believe. Battle.
    I love this one for competitions. Calm yourself, believe in yourself, and battle for the blue ribbon you know you deserve!
  16. Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try.
    Whether it’s entering a new show class or exploring a new trail at home, you never know what you can achieve until you try.
  17. Don’t be afraid to be great.
    Never, never be scared to show your talent, even if it’s different from what you expected.
  18. Create the best conditions then let go of the outcome.
    Do the best you can to prepare, but be okay with losing. Sometimes you just need to learn from your mistakes.