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Chloe's Chatter

PEMF or Bust

Chloe & Andrea

I was happily munching away on my hay, when I saw Kathryn walking towards the barn. She was rolling along what appeared to be a suitcase. My first thought was: girls trip to Vegas! I immediately began mentally planning my outfits when buzzkill Andrea fastened my halter and led me to the wash stall. “This isn’t the way to the airport,” I thought, looking helplessly back at Kathryn. 

Turns out Kathryn was not rolling a suitcase full of LBDs and Jimmy Choos. Instead, she had what she referred to as her PEMF machine. Kathryn and her business partner, Laura, turned the machine on and prepped for what I imagined was some new torture method Andrea was going to put me through. As if her riding me in purple polo wraps isn’t enough for me to endure...

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Attached to the PEMF machine was a loop, which Kathryn gently placed on my left side. She slowly took the loop attachment over my hip area and I could feel my muscles vibrating in response. She continued to move the loop over my hip, then a few minutes later back towards my rump, and then after a while to my saddle area. She next took the loop across my shoulder and then to my neck and finally my poll. My muscles continued to vibrate and relax. I could feel my bottom lip hanging lower, lower and lower. Maybe this was just as good as Vegas after all! 

Kathryn and Laura jointly own Piedmont Pulse PEMF (Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field). The PEMF machine converts electrical current from an outlet into a series of electromagnetic pulses. These pulses quickly travel from the machine to the loop attachment and create a large magnetic field. This magnetic field can measure up to 18 inches from the loop, meaning that the loop does not have to be directly on the area needing treatment. Pretty convenient when you are working on a 1200lb animal (not me, but I hear some horses weigh that much!). 

As the loop is placed on the body, the magnetic field painlessly stimulates the body’s cells by (in simple terms) boosting the electrical charge found within every living cell. This boost rebalances the charge of the cell membranes so that the cells properly separate from other cells. When red cells are separate from each other (not clumped together), their membrane channels open. This openness results in improved blood circulation and an increase in the amount of oxygen delivered to the cells. An increase in blood/oxygen circulation better enables the cells to receive the nutrients they need and more effectively dump the waste they produce. This helps to rebalance and restore optimum cell function and means that the tissues, organs and hence entire body can function better. It is easy to see that even the healthiest and sound working horses can benefit from regular PEMF treatment.   

The magnetic field not only helps to promote healthy cell growth, however, but it can also aid in the healing of sick cells. Additional results of better circulation are: a reduction in swelling and inflammation, an increased range of motion, muscle relaxation, decrease in pain and stress reduction.  In some cases, treatment can be used to repair damaged or fractured bones. These benefits are pretty awesome when you live your life carting a human around on your back and jumping obstacles, while they just sit there bouncing around and messing up your distances! 

 

Kathryn continued to roll the loop over my entire body, commenting as the loop seemed to bounce off my right hip and back area. Apparently it was going bonkers compared to my left side. Laura explained that there must be more tension or inflammation in that area which was causing the machine to respond in such a way. Andrea confirmed that my right hip and back have always been an issue for me and earlier that month the chiropractor had commented on its increased tenderness and misalignment. Kathryn and Laura are careful to make known that they are not vets and PEMF is not to be used as a diagnostic tool. However, it is beneficial to make note of areas the machine shows as more sensitive so that as trainers, riders and/or horse owners we can keep an eye on these potential problem areas.

As you can see from the pictures and brief video, I thoroughly enjoyed my PEMF treatment. Do I think it was a good substitute for Vegas? Hmm, that is a tough call as I do love some Britney Spears! I can tell you that Andrea must think so because I already have my second PEMF treatment marked on the calendar. And I am not complaining about it. For once.

Wednesday Inspiration With Lily Rhodes

Chloe & Andrea

Pony Glam had a chance to chat with 15 year old, Lily Rhodes. Lily hails from Oklahoma and has been riding for as long as she can remember. Currently she rides her Haflinger, Prince Pippen aka Prince, who she competes with in Dressage. Lily affectionately calls Prince, "the love of her life". I first noticed Lily and Prince on Instagram where Lily has been very outspoken of her love for all things sparkly, especially my main product Hoof Hi-Lites! I happened to click on her username and I was personally very inspired by her page, her large following and her overwhelming positivity in light of a situation that I (someone twice her age) would not have handled with such grace. I thought Chloe's friends would benefit from Lily's light as much as I did, so I asked her if she would be part of Chloe's Chatter!

PG: Hi Lily! Thank you so much for chatting with Pony Glam today. Let's just get the pink unicorn out of the room… You are an avid, young equestrian that has one arm due to a freak, non-horse related accident roughly a year ago. Many people would have shut down after such a loss, but instead you were literally back in the saddle as soon as you could be. Even more, you have always been so positive. Can you tell us what that was like? 

LR: Not easy, I'll tell you that! For a while, I was quite scared. After being through something like that, your body almost shuts down. I'm not quite sure how to explain it. All I knew is that I couldn't get hurt again. Those nervous feelings all changed when I was able to see Pippen again. I went up to him, and he just sniffed what remained of my right arm. Then he stepped back, and gave me the most heartbreaking look. It was like he knew. He felt my pain. When I was able to get back on, he treated me like a child. He was so careful with me. If it wasn't for my wonderful pony, I don't know if I would have been able to get back on a horse. I just have to stay positive, I can't help it. I came so close to bleeding to death, but I didn't. That is something to be positive about.

PG: I see pictures of you riding, even jumping, and looking fantastic. I imagine it took a lot of practice and strong will to be able to come back like that. Even learning how to put on the saddle with one arm must have been very tough. Have you ever had moments where you just thought "it is too hard" or that you wanted to give up? How did you work through these?

LR: In all honesty, I have had moments, even days like that. I remember one ride, breaking down and crying into Pippen's neck. I just wasn't strong enough to control him. Pippin is very heavy on the bit, and I just couldn't handle it anymore. What kept me going was simply the fact I was alive. The fact that the vehicle had landed where it did, instead of killing me instantly. The fact that I had a wonderfully supportive family that did everything in their power to make me feel better. The fact that I own a horse, that I know loves me. That is what keeps me going when times get tough.

PG: Your Instagram page is filled with equestrian admirers that look to you for inspiration. Many comment that you gave them the courage and the encouragement to keep riding. What would you like your followers to know? What is your advice for riders and non-riders alike?

LR: Yes, I receive tons of encouragement daily, and it is honestly incredible. I just want my followers to know that I am so incredibly thankful for every single one of them. All of the sweet comments and DM's I receive make me so happy. My advice to riders and non-riders alike, would be to never give up. No matter how dark things seem now, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Things will always get better, it may just take time. 

PG: You have recently posted some images of a prosthetic arm and hand. Can you tell us about that?

LR: Oh yes, I am so excited to be receiving it! Just being able to try it on was such a cool experience. It has a fully functional hand and wrist. I move individual fingers, rotate my wrist, and change my grip all by moving the muscles in my nub. It is quite interesting!

PG: Besides the obvious, how has your accident changed your outlook on life?

LR: My accident taught me to appreciate things we take for granted. Never did I imagine I would loose my dominant arm and hand. Now I appreciate what my body can do much more. 

PG: What is next for you and Prince Pippen? Do you have any big goals for 2016?

LR: I have very big goals for 2016. The first being not to lose anymore limbs! We are actually currently looking for a new horse to begin my para dressage journey with. We are keeping Pippen, it can just be very difficult to ride him because of how heavy he is. I plan on doing many dressage shows this season, including a very big show on the one year anniversary of my accident. I am really looking forward to this year.

Thank you, Lily, for answering my questions. You are an inspiration to us all! We will cheer you on in 2016 and I am proud that Pony Glam Hoof Hi-Lites will be along for the ride! xoxo

Quitters vs. Go-Getters: How Not to Give Up on Your Horse

Chloe & Andrea

Quitters vs. Go-Getters:

How Not to Give Up on Your Horse

By Pony Glam Guest Blogger Madison Brown. See BIO below.

Imagine, if you will, being passed around from family to family. Each one tells you that they're so excited to have you! You guys are going to do awesome things and go on awesome vacations and be an awesome happy family. Until one day you do something not quite right, and everything changes. They're not excited to have you anymore, and you're not going to go on those awesome vacations, and you're not an awesome happy family. They hand you off to the next one, and then the cycle repeats.

After an experience like that, you would probably get pretty bitter. You wouldn't be excited about any of these new families. They're just going to push you along like the last five or six, and so there's really no point in trying to get along. You act out and you don't trust anyone. You've become jaded by your past experiences.

Plot twist: you're a horse.

This is the story of hundreds of thousands of horses around the world, condensed into two simple paragraphs. They start out excited, bright-eyed and full of promise and potential. Then they do something that horses do, like spook or stop or buck, and everything changes. They get sold, and sold, and sold again. Some end up at auctions, some end up at sale barns, some end up south of the border in inhumane conditions. But it all started with a happy young horse and a rider who was so excited to have them, so how did this happen?

There is an epidemic of riders who give up on their horses too quickly. The truth of the matter is that horses are living, breathing animals with minds entirely of their own. They are not robots, and they are not always going to be the exact same every time you get on. Sometimes, they're going to be really tough. Sometimes you end up on the back of a horse that's different than what you were told or what you were expecting. When that happens, you've got to keep your cool and handle it like a horseman. Don't take it personally, don't take it out on the horse, and don't lose your grip on your goals.

There are horses that have gone on to become incredible athletes, that came from very surprising backgrounds. Everyone has heard of "the eighty dollar champion", Snowman. There are some like him, who go on to be famous. There are some who become smaller-time champions in their own right, too. Chloe, the queen of Pony Glam, was at an auction at one point in her life. My jumper, Arli, was passed around from person to person and at one point was even at a rescue. My other horse, Sailor, came to me with the alter ego "fire-breathing dragon" assigned to her by her previous owner. All of these horses have become greats in their own ways, with the help of riders and trainers and handlers who took a deep breath and put in the time. So here are some tips on what to do if you find yourself in a situation with a horse that is not quite what you were expecting.

Give It Time

When Arli came to me, he was depressed, skin and bones, and had made two other people cry before ending up in my trailer. He had his quirks, for sure. He was strong under saddle, he had no left lead, no lead changes, and no "wait" option on the way to the jumps. From what I was told, he was once a very mean horse who bit and kicked and didn't like people. That's almost impossible for me to imagine as he's always been a big puppy dog with me, but here is one very important fact: horses know your intentions. Arli knew that my intentions for him were genuine, and that I wanted nothing more than to take care of him. He trusted me from day one.

Maddy and Arli killing it in the 1.15M Jumpers.

Maddy and Arli killing it in the 1.15M Jumpers.

Don't get me wrong, it took some time. This summer was trial and error of feeding, training, jumping, showing, you name it. It hasn't been easy. But I chose to give it time. I gave him a chance and I did my part by giving him a reason to trust me and a reason to be good. He has turned into a horse of a lifetime because of it.

You have to give it time. You can't expect every horse to step off the trailer and be the winner of every class with the same trip every single time. Sure, there are horses like that out there. But they're rare, and you've got to understand that not every horse is that way. Which leads me to my next point...

Know That No Horse is Perfect

Like I said before, horses have a mind of their own. Just like us, they have bad days and they have bad moods, they have good days and great moods and everything in between. As a horseman, you have to be able to roll with the punches and understand that you're not getting on the same horse everyday. Learn to ride the horse you're on right now, not the one who won his last class or bucked you off last week.

Ask. For. Help.

This is hands down the single most important thing. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Professionals are there for a reason: we're here to help you! There is no shame in asking for someone's assistance to fix something that you're not quite sure how to fix yourself. It's okay to not know, and it's okay to ask for help. The only way to ensure that you never learn anything is to think that you already know it all. You may think there is glamour in doing it all yourself, but there's a lot more glamour in a properly trained horse and rider combination working well in unison.

Know When Enough is Enough

Sometimes it really is true that you and your horse are not meant to be. And that's okay! Know your limits and know your horse's limits. Sometimes you get a horse for a certain purpose, and that horse is not capable of what you need it to do. Sometimes you get a horse and you guys just do not mesh well under any circumstances. If you've done your due diligence, you've asked for help and you've given it time and you've gotten a second, third, fourth opinion, and it's just not going to work, that's okay. But when that happens...

Do Right By The Horse

Ensure that your horse goes on to a home that is going to be right for him. Even if he wasn't perfect for you, he might be perfect for someone else. Get help finding him the best home possible with someone who will be able to unlock his brilliance and get along with him. Do not just ship him off to an auction/shady sales barn/Craigslist creeper. Above all else, always do right by the horse.

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And so there it is, some ideas on how to handle a tough horse-and-rider situation. Give it time, accept the imperfect nature of animals, ask for help, know your limits, and do right by your horse. If you follow all of those steps, every time with every horse, you will end up right where you need to be.

Madison “Maddy” Brown is a 21-year-old professional rider and trainer. She grew up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and is currently a third year Journalism major at the University of South Carolina. As a junior, she showed in the hunters and equitation from the local circuits to the “A” rated shows, trained under a hunter pony breeder, and catch-rode for some of the top pony hunter trainers in the country. As an amateur, she rode on the Gamecocks NCAA Varsity Equestrian Team and competed in the adult jumpers and adult medals before going professional. She now trains horses and students out of Eastover, South Carolina under her own Maritime Equestrian and competes in the jumpers with a very spoiled Trakehner gelding named Arli.

Maddy pictured on Sailor, a fire-breathing dragon no more! :)

Maddy pictured on Sailor, a fire-breathing dragon no more! :)

On Being a Re-Rider: Three Tips from Someone Who’s Been There by Guest Blogger Lexi Hartmann

Chloe & Andrea

There’s a certain element of cognitive dissonance that comes with being a re-rider.

Guest Blogger, Lexi Hartmann. See below for Lexi's bio!

Guest Blogger, Lexi Hartmann. See below for Lexi's bio!

As I discovered during my first legitimate riding lesson in twelve years, so much time out of the saddle has a tendency to cause the body to forget all the things the brain still knows. Like how to keep your eyes up, and your heels down. My heels do go down, right? I thought to myself as I squatted awkwardly in what was a poor excuse for two-point position. I mean, I used to be able to practically touch my toes to my shins! Now that was a cool party trick. The body also forgets those basic, yet at times counterintuitive self preservation techniques. You know, like sitting up rather than curling into the fetal position when the ancient off-the-track Thoroughbred you’re riding suddenly has a flashback to his racing days.

“Don’t scream!” My new trainer had to call to me from across the ring. Was I really screaming? “Sit up, and say whoa!” he said. That did it. With that most basic instruction - sit up and say whoa - a phrase I had so often called to my own pony camp students years ago, I realized just what being a re-rider truly meant. I was a rank beginner - again.

A week before this disaster of a lesson, I had written a very passionate e-mail to my would-be trainer explaining that although I had been out of the tack for some time, I was committed, worth spending time on, and above all, that I had big goals. This email was full of sentences like I take riding seriously. I hope to get back into the show ring as soon as possible, and I’m a little out of shape, but I’m sure it will be just like riding a bike followed by a veritable resume of my previous riding accomplishments. I can only imagine what was going through his head as he saw me huffing and puffing; barely making it around the arena at a slow trot, and then too panicked to willingly ask the horse to canter.

A lot has changed since that first lesson in the summer of 2012, after I decided once and for all that I was going to get back into riding. I did, in fact, get back into the show ring, but the road there was nothing like I imagined. For anyone setting out on the journey that is a glorious come back as a re-rider, here are a few tips from someone who has been there.

1.   Pick the Right Trainer
The right trainer to guide me was by far the most important piece of my own re-rider puzzle. I truly believe that had I not started working with my current trainer, I would have burned out all over again. There is something special about a trainer who really pays attention, learns his or her students, and understands their boundaries and just how much pushing they can take. I’m fortunate enough to work with a trainer who is a downright prodigy when it comes to scaredy cat adult amateurs like myself. On any given day, he knows just how much past my previous lesson’s comfort zone he can get me without losing my confidence. I know now that this talent for reading people is an absolutely vital trait in any trainers that I might work with in the future.

2.   Be Kind to Yourself
Getting back to riding, especially after a long absence, is not, in fact, like riding a bike.  First of all, it hurts. Especially that very first fall. When we’re younger, we tend to bounce when we hit the ground. Not so as a thirty-something. And don’t fool yourself - you will fall. It is simply a part of the sport we’ve chosen. Be nice to yourself, and try not to compare your riding today to what you were capable of years ago. Your body will take some time to catch up to what your brain still remembers. It’s all about muscle memory. Keep trying, and eventually holding that two point around the ring, or finishing a full jump lesson without stirrups won’t seem like an impossible task. (Just kidding - the no stirrups lesson always feels impossible. That’s the point. Trainers use them to keep us humble and to remind us where we came from.)

3.   Set Small, Short-Term Goals
After that first lesson, I had to give myself a reality check. Yes, I still wanted to get back into the show ring, but it was clear I had a lot of work to do before then. My goals went something like this. Trot once around the whole ring without feeling like you want to die. Canter without crying. Don’t circle five times before that eighteen inch cross rail because you’re too scared to jump. Eventually my goals began to surprise me, especially when I realized they were actually achievable. Get the lead change to the counter canter and actually hold it through the turn. Don’t micromanage on the way to the 3’6” triple bar or you’ll chip. Win medal finals. If my only goal had continued to be to get back to the show ring as soon as possible, I would have missed out on all of those small wins along the way that, in the end, meant so much to me.

Everyone’s journey is different, and for some, getting back to riding may be easier, or much, much more difficult. For myself, I had years of fear to overcome, which may very well have been the biggest hurdle to contend with. But perhaps the greatest gift this experience has given me is simply the knowledge that it can be done. I’m strong enough to overcome challenges and ride again - in a more fulfilling way and even better than I ever did before.

Since my journey back into the world of riding, I’ve become a re-rider a second time over after taking a year off to have my first daughter. Now, my re-rider’s path is quite different, with different obstacles to overcome. But knowing what I know now, I have the tools - and the patience - to get through it. What’s one year compared to twelve, after all?

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Lexi is a wannabe Eq Princess beating the Phoenix, AZ heat by early morning, and a Digital Marketing Manager, wife, and new mommy the rest of the time. When she’s not training with Ryan Miller for the Adult Equitation Ring, working at a local marketing firm, or chasing her one year old around, she can be found blogging over at Big Bay Social on topics like digital marketing, SEO, and social media for Equipreneurs (with a little about her riding adventures thrown in for good measure).


How to Avoid Eating Too Much Turkey This Thanksgiving

Chloe & Andrea

THE BLOG BELOW WAS PRINTED IN THE FABULOUS THE CAROLINAS EQUESTRIAN NEWSLETTER! CHLOE IS A MONTHLY GUEST BLOGGER! TO READ THE ENTIRE NEWSLETTER PLEASE CLICK HERE!! SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS!

Turkey time is around the corner friends! The one time a year that no one judges you for piling your feed bucket high with carbs! Or for helping yourself to an extra flake (or five) of alfalfa! Unfortunately, Thanksgiving also means that your Person will probably come ride you many days in a row because they have what humans call a “long weekend”. Yes, a phrase that causes panic in even the dullest Warmblood. Don’t they realize that we will be in a carb coma napping in our stalls?! Here are a few tips to help you avoid overeating this Thanksgiving and help your Person keep their spurs in their tack trunk!

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  • Hide Your “Fat” Girth. You know the one. The elastic girth that is two sizes too big for you, but you keep around for days just like Thanksgiving. You can put it on and even after 5 buckets of mash later, you still have room to comfortably tighten it. Dear friends, this girth is lying to you! Toss it! Or give it to your frienemy for Christmas.
  • Do Not Fast.  Fasting the day of Thanksgiving only leads to starvation, which leads to you going bonkers at dinner and overeating. Instead, treat it like any other day and munch on grass or hay. Maybe steal a few treats from an open trunk. Plus, fasting can lead to crankiness and you don’t want to be the one that sends Aunt Spirit into tears this year.
  • Do the Turkey Trot. As previously mentioned, your Person will most likely have a long weekend and be able to ride you way too much. This may even involve an early Thanksgiving Day ride. Normally I dislike these holiday intrusions but doing a bit of exercise before a big meal can be beneficial. Not only will you feel less guilty about pigging out because of all those calories you will burn, but working out can actually delay hunger pains if done at a high enough intensity. If you have been storing up any bucks or crow-hops now may be a good time to let one rip! Extra tip: Try not to do this in front of the trainer.
  • Do Not Eat Like a Horse. You know how your stall neighbor eats so fast that half of the grain falls out of his mouth as he moves from bucket to hay to bucket to water to stall door. Don’t be this horse. Not only is it repulsive, but it can lead to over indulgence. Eat slowly, taste your food and wait a few minutes before you go back for seconds. By waiting, you may not even want another bucket-full after all. 
  • Start With Your Veggies. You don’t have to tell me twice! Carrots are my absolute favorite! By starting with healthier, low calorie foods, by the time you get to the apple pie you may not have any room for it.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

The Barn Rat: An Endangered Species

Chloe & Andrea

By Pony Glam Guest Blogger Madison Brown. BIO below.

Flashback about 18 years to a beautiful farm in Illinois, a big black Thoroughbred mare named Ebony, and a toddler playpen. That’s what comes to mind when people ask me how I first got involved with horses. My mom would bring me along when she went to ride, and place me in the playpen while she and Ebony went ‘round and ‘round in the arena. Of course, I was far too young to know what was going on, but I had an instinctual love for horses that was evident when I would take Eb’s big soft muzzle between my tiny hands and plant a kiss right there between her nostrils.

A few years, two moves, and the sale of Ebony passed between then and my first real horseback ride. My mom took me for a guided trail ride for my birthday and I was hooked. We leased horses, we bought horses, I took lessons and got into horse showing, and the rest is ancient history.

As I got a little older, probably about eight or nine, I earned the title of “barn rat”. This prestigious term of endearment and moderate annoyance is reserved for children who find themselves much more at home at the stables than they do in their own bedrooms. A barn rat can usually be found in some area of the barn (hint: check the hay loft), with hair that may or may not smell like ShowSheen and pockets full of peppermint wrappers. When a barn rat is finally wrangled into the car and home for dinner, they usually have to be asked more than a handful of times to wash their hands and will probably come to the table with dirt rings around their nostrils.

In the height of my barn rat days, my trainer picked me up from school at 3pm and I was there until around 8pm when my mom came to get me (she would call at 6 when she got off work but I would always tell her I wasn’t ready yet). I carried half chaps in my backpack and did my homework in the tack room. During the summer months, I spent all day at the barn from sun up to sun down, doing everything from riding to swimming to endless barn chores. There were a handful of times that my friends and I spent the night at the barn, too. We would feed the horses and clean the stalls, then ride bareback in the indoor arena until we were so tired we struggled to keep our eyes open, at which point we would put all the horses away, grab some fleece dress sheets, and go sleep in the horse trailer dressing room.  Looking back on it, my friends and I were the horse craziest kids I’ve ever known.

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The truth about barn rats is that they love every single second of being in the barn, whether they’re riding or not. Horses are a burning passion that can’t be put out, and it doesn’t matter to a true barn rat whether the time spent with them is in the saddle or the crossties or the middle of a field.

It seems these days that finding kids like that is like finding a needle in a haystack. There are more kids interested in the lifestyles of the rich and famous, that dream of showing up at the mounting block right before their class in $300 breeches and $1200 boots, than there are willing to spend countless hours mucking stalls for the chance to show a lesson pony. Nobody wants to put in the time anymore. The barn rat is now an endangered species. (I am lucky enough to have a couple horse crazy kids in my lesson program, so they are not yet extinct, thank goodness!)

I think a key player in this disappearance of the horse crazy kid is the emergence of instantaneous social media, namely instagram. Children are now able to follow anyone from anywhere, without necessarily knowing anything about them beyond what that person posts on their page. Kids are now following top “A” circuit riders who have a horse for every division and a groom for every horse. All they’re seeing on social media is this hyper-glamorized version of what they think horseback riding is supposed to look like: six-figure warmbloods, stall drapes painted in blue satin ribbons, champion coolers from WEF, and a venti chai latte from Starbucks in a Roeckl-gloved hand. But let me slap y’all with some knowledge: nobody posts the tough stuff on instagram. Everyone wants to be the winner, everyone wants to be glam, nobody wants to show off the empty tubes of PerfectPrep in the trash can or the dollar amount on the check they just wrote to the show office. You’re not seeing that they rode 16 horses yesterday, or that they’re missing out on Senior Prom to show a sale horse to a buyer, or that their daily alarm is set for 5am. You’re only seeing the good things that people want you to see!

There seems to be a stigma of “you’re not good enough” that is breeding. If you’re not at WEF, you’re not good enough. If you don’t have grooms, you’re not good enough. If you muck stalls or ride lesson ponies or don’t have a custom saddle from France, you’re not good enough. But I am here to tell you all that the exact opposite is true. Every trainer’s favorite kid is the one who works their tail off day in and day out, the one who does it all and expects nothing in return, the one who loves every single waking moment spent in the presence of these majestic animals we center our lives around. As trainers, we don’t want hunter princesses. We want barn rats.

There’s so much more to horses than just riding and showing, my friends. I can’t stress that enough. Horseback riding is a team sport, between you and your pony. What makes it even harder is that you guys don’t even speak the same language! Think about your foreign language classes in school. You probably spend forever trying to get Spanish down pat. Imagine riding your pony is the same way; the more time you spend practicing speaking their language, the better you’ll be.

And let me tell you, the best way to practice speaking your pony’s language is to be around them as much as you can. You don’t always have to be riding. You don’t always have to be showing. You don’t always have to be taking a lesson. The better your partnership with your pony on the ground, in the stall, in the field, the better your partnership will be in the saddle. You want your pony to love you and trust you, right?! That relationship has to be built from the ground up, quite literally.

I think a lot of kids struggle to know what to do to build their relationship with their ponies, and a lot of kids might be on a time crunch with their parents working or just generally being busy. For some kids, their only time at the barn is for their lessons. I really want to see the return of the barn rat, and so I am here to help. I considered some of the things I did when I was younger, and then I took to a very popular source of young riders, Junior Rider News, to see what horse kids from all over the world had to say. Here is a list of ideas of things you can do with your ponies, your friends, and your barn:

  • If you have a hard time getting to the barn as often as you’d like because your parents are not able to take you all the time, try riding with a friend! Work out a carpool system, which is good for your parents and good for having friends to ride with!

  • If your trainer will allow it, consider spending a whole day at the barn! This was my favorite thing to do as a young barn rat (and still is). You can help with barn chores, play with the horses, and maybe get a couple rides in.

  • Cleaning tack. I know it sounds like the worst but it’s actually really relaxing and you can feel very accomplished afterwards!

  • Help your trainer set a new jump course! This one is always fun.

  • Organize your tack trunk, trailer, tack room, the whole barn. You never know what you’ll find!

  • Three words: Pony. Spa. Day. This one got the most mentions on JRN and is my personal favorite. Start with some really deep grooming, then go for a deep bath, maybe even do some cute braids. Top it all off with the crown jewel: PONY GLAM.

  • Work on ground work with your horse or pony, building relationships and respect is important!

  • Help feed the horses. It’s great to learn about nutrition and what your horse or pony eats and why.

  • Just hang out with your horse in his stall or paddock. Bring a book and enjoy each other’s company.

  • Go for a walk with your horse, or just take them out for a graze.

  • Organize a barn sleepover!

  • Attend a horse show you aren’t riding at as a groom or helper for your barnmates or friends.

Anyone who works with horses will tell you, there’s always something to be done. There’s so much more to horseback riding than riding. In the words of the great George Morris, “If riding were only blue ribbons and bright lights, I would have quit a long time ago.” Winning all the time and the glitz and glamour of the show ring are only half of the story, and you get what you give. So do your barn chores, get to know your horses and your barnmates, get dirty and have a blast. Bring back the barn rat!

 

Madison “Maddy” Brown is a 20-year-old professional rider and trainer. She grew up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and is currently a third year Journalism major at the University of South Carolina. As a junior, she showed in the hunters and equitation from the local circuits to the “A” rated shows, trained under a hunter pony breeder, and catch-rode for some of the top pony hunter trainers in the country. As an amateur, she rode on the Gamecocks NCAA Varsity Equestrian Team and competed in the adult jumpers and adult medals before going professional. She now trains horses and students out of Eastover, South Carolina under her own Maritime Equestrian and competes in the jumpers with a very spoiled Trakehner gelding named Arli.

Maddy Brown with her jumper, Arli. 


The Most Spooky Pony Wins!

Chloe & Andrea

The blog below was printed in the fabulous The Carolinas Equestrian newsletter! Chloe is a monthly guest blogger! To read the entire newsletter please click HERE!! Support small business!

The Most Spooky Pony Wins! 

It is THAT time of year again at the show-grounds. Prepare yourselves for the much-anticipated Halloween costume class! It is the one time a year that the green ponies have an excuse to forego fashionable good taste and dress up in rather interesting ensembles. Here are a few costumes that I guarantee you will see in the arena and of course a bit of my commentary to go with:

The Witch Pony. Every barn has a Witch Pony ... year round! This pony will parade around the ring in a black cape until a gust of chilly October air blows the cape Superman-style, “spooking” the Witch Pony and sending the child splat. Afterwards, take a look at the green (painted) face of the Witch Pony and you will notice its mouth curl in a slight smirk. Personally, I am not a fan of this costume. The only time I want my face green is after I have stuffed it with freshly-mowed grass. Or rolled in $100 bills, again. 

The Unicorn Pony. This poor pony is just...delusional. Everyone has a friend like the Unicorn Pony. The Unicorn Pony is the one who thinks it can jump out of the round pen or kick a neighboring horse through the stall. If you can’t name the Unicorn Pony in your group of friends, then umm, I am sorry but you are the...

The Pirate Pony. I like the Pirate Pony because it is sarcastic. (Shocker, I know.) The Pirate Pony is playing a joke on you. How you ask? Well, what do pirates do all day? They steal treasure and money. And what happened to your paycheck last month? I rest my case.

Bunny Pony. Do not be fooled. This is just a ploy to get more carrots. This is probably the smartest pony in the costume class. Even I might be willing to wear white ears and a fluffy tail if it meant I got to walk around eating carrots for an entire 15 minutes while a 5lb child sat on me. Well played, Bunny Pon Pon, well played.

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Vampire Pony.  This costume bites! No, seriously. Look out! This little sucker (see what I did there?) will snap at your neck if you get too close.  You know that pony at your barn that HAS to be put in solo turnout? That one is the Vampire Pony. It’s best to just not make eye contact with the Vampire Pony. Ever.

So good luck to all those dressing up this Halloween costume class. We professionals will be watching from the sidelines...and stealing your candy while you are stuck trying to form a straight line in front of the judge! 


How To Bathe Your Human

Chloe & Andrea

This Article is from Chloe's monthly blog for The Carolinas Equestrian Magazine. Click HERE to learn more about this fabulous local publication. 

It is recommended to bathe your human the day before the horse show, clinic or other big event because you want your human to represent you in the best possible light.  Typically this goal cannot be accomplished with a mere spa day, but every little bit helps. The amount of our hair they accumulate on themselves is unsightly. Have they ever heard of a curry comb or a vacuum? 

When Andrea appears with her bucket of bath products and begins to unravel the green water snake curled up in the corner of the wash stall, it is my cue to initiate my services.  I’d like to mention that this is a free service that I offer out of the kindness of my heart, something Andrea continuously fails to appreciate. Anyway, your first goal when bathing your human should be to redirect the water snake.  Your human should always be on the receiving end of the spray. As soon as you feel the spray hit your legs, immediately dance to the other side of the wash stall, away from the spray. In all my years, I have yet to understand why they point the spray at us.  For maximum results, you can even dance directly towards them, into the spray, and catch them off guard. Continue to repeat your dance moves until your human is soaked.

Next, your human should be preparing to sponge you with soapy water. You want to wait until the bucket is near full, with the suds overflowing, and then casually knock the bucket over. I like to act like I hear an alarming noise behind me and quickly turn to investigate, swinging my back leg against the bucket and sending the soapy water all over the place.  If you can manage to get your hoof inside the bucket, you get bonus points!  Another key moment to take advantage of is when your human is scrubbing your tail. When my tail is all lathered, I like to whip that sucker around like a swarm of horse flies has descended on the wash stall. Suds go flying and your human is clean!

Make sure to rinse your human well, as they are weak creatures, and are prone to skin sensitivities. I generally repeat the dance method above, but when I am feeling lazy I like to step on the water snake like a ninja. I do this covertly every time and still each time Andrea looks at the end of the water snake in surprise, then all over the ground searching for the answer. “Why isn’t it working?”  When she finally realizes what I have done, I like to play dumb. She pushes me, I lean back into her, lovingly. She tries to lift my hoof, I lift the wrong one. My personal favorite is to remove my hoof, letting a good 3 seconds of spray hit the ground, before stepping again on the water snake with another hoof. Once I managed to get 3 hooves on the water snake, but like I said, I am a ninja and these sort of things should not be tried at home. 

Lastly, the trick to drying your human is to run around your field and roll in multiple spots. This will cause them to chase you, flapping their arms like a lunatic and they will dry in no time. Hopefully you will end up with a cleaner human than when you started, but it does take practice. Please note that dapples are not guaranteed. Good luck, friends.

xoxo, Chloe.

The Original Horse Box

Chloe & Andrea

Chloe knocking everyone over to get to her AHB

Recently I nabbed Andrea's AmEx from her back pocket and signed up for A Horse Box - the FIRST subscription service for all things horse! It was so easy and quick that even a mere pony could do it! Not to mention that with plans that start as low as $17 (+ shipping), it is super affordable! For those of you who have been on stall rest for the last TWO years, A Horse Box ("AHB") is a  subscription service where you recieve between 4 and 6 equestrian products to sample each month

One of the great things about AHB is that it is the FIRST of its kind, and therefore, all the bumps that come with starting a new concept have been smoothed out and their process is seamless. You are guaranteed to get quality products that have been carefully chosen, vetted and tested by the staff at AHB. With the many various horse products out there, this is a great way to learn about new brands, try different products and to test what may or may not work for you before you buy a full-sized item. The sample sizes fit easily in your show trunk or grooming tote, which makes them perfect to take on your excursions to the shows, clinics or mares' weekend getaways.  After your initial sign-up, the boxes ship every month on the 15th automatically. No lag time and no worrying about whether your box will ever ship.  What fun would that be? Also, if you have any questions, the staff at AHB is very fast to answer you. Expect a reply the same day!

About two weeks after ordering online, I got my first box in the mail! It was like Christmas! Not knowing what goodies awaited me was half the fun! I could barely contain myself as my minions opened the box. Let's take a look at what I got in my boxes:

FEBRUARY BOX!

FEBRUARY BOX!

My first box (February) breakdown:   Vetericyn Wound & Skin Care spray. This actually was amazing timing for me, as I had a slight irritation from wet grass on my anklet - my only white marking, which tends to be sensitive at times. A few days of this spray and the red area was gone. I was back to being the #1 Hoof Hi-Lites model! Omega Alpha Chill Ultra Paste - oral syringe. Andrea's irritation about me borrowing her credit card evaporated when she saw this goodie. Chill Ultra helps to calm "excitable" horses. The B1 and Magnesium in this paste help to relax those tense muscles, helping horses to chill out and stay focused.  Who is she going to use this on??? I have no clue, but she did quickly pack it in her show trunk. Cavalor Fiber Force - Digestive Control. This high-fiber, low-starch feed is designed for horses with gastrointestinal issues. The sample size makes it ideal for an overnight trip where a new environment and change in routine may lead to some tummy issues. It also works well if you steal a carton of Chick-fil-a nuggets (don't judge).  Cavalor Sweeties - horse treat tidbits. Noms for your horse. I ate all of mine in one breath but there were about 20 in there. 

MARCH BOX!

MARCH BOX!

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My second (March) box breakdown:  Bigeloil Quilted Poultice Hoof Pads. These hoof pads are so easy that even Andrea can apply them. All you need is a little water for activation and some duct tape to keep the pad in place.  The pads have multiple little pockets containing an Epsom salt and Kaolin clay poultice mixture so that the poultice stays on the hoof. This means easy wrapping, zero waste and no residue cleanup! Cavalor Star Shine - Mane & tail spray. This spray promises a reduction by 50% of needed hair care and an end to excessive tail tearing, a must-have product for those of us that like to shake our tail feathers. Minion Morgan will be happy to see this one - she is in charge of my tail. Stay tuned for a full report from her on this!! Hay, Where's That Blue Stuff? Got fungus, rain rot or scratches? Well, then you are gross!!! Give me your address and I will send you this blue stuff - you need it more than I do! Actually, I take that back. It can also be used on insect bites and I have an ongoing battle with some fire ants, so I better keep this one!  Mane Street Bakery Gourmet Treats- Peppermint Biscotti.  Does your owner "sample" your treats too? I can't really blame Andrea for this one though - look how nomtastic these look!! Chunks of peppermint rolled into these oat biscuits almost make me want to be good in Andrea's lessons. Almost. Alpha-Omega Gastra-FX Ultra. Perfect for a tummy that is irritated (maybe after large consumptions of nuggets?). Sample size is perfect to bring to the show or share with your friends. 

Clearly, as you can see, there are definitely great items in these boxes. And for only $17 (+ shipping)!! Andrea spends that much per week at Starbucks so there is absolutely no reason she cannot sign me up for an ongoing subscription! If you still need convincing, think of it like this: The market retail price for the Chill Ultra paste (in my February box) and the Gastra-FX paste (in my March box)  is $20 EACH! Therefore, ONE tube of paste retails for more than you paid for the ENTIRE box! WINNING!!!

The only bad thing about AHB so far is that once your friends know you are an AHB customer (and they will because you won't be able to contain yourself), they start "dropping by" your stall every month on the 16th. Bella says it is to just "catch up on Dance Moms," but I know her. She can smell a new treat from a mile away. Her girth size proves it.

So, if you want to join in on the subscription box fun, or if you are looking for an awesome gift for your horse friend and want to be considered the BEST FRIEND EVER (seriously, how fun would it be to get AHB out of the blue?), register at www.ahorsebox.com! What are you waiting for? Giddy-up!

Note from Andrea: Social media is amazing because it gives small businesses a voice. It also makes it easier for others to copy our ideas - ideas that we have put a lot of time, money and heart into. Please continue to support your small business, especially those of us that were the first of our kind. It is easy to support A Horse Box because it truly is a fantastic company that has really hit its stride since originating the equestrian subscription service two years ago.  Alex, the owner of AHB, is also a class act. Not only is she clearly a sharp businesswoman, but I can personally tell you that she is one of those people you meet in life that you think to yourself: "Is she really this nice?" Well, after corresponding with her for about a year, I can tell you "yes, yes she is". This rare admission from me should NOT discredit Chloe's blog above. I may be biased, sure, but you can see the breakdowns above - clearly Chloe got the better end of the deal! What's new? That horse is SO spoiled!

 

Tara Kiwi this Spring!

Chloe & Andrea

Tired of Andrea's normal barn attire, I thought she desperately needed a fresh look this Spring. She can at least look decent while she graces my back, since her riding abilities leave a bit to be desired...! I called up my new pal, Tara, owner of TARA KIWI, and asked her to please help me, uhhh I mean Andrea, out. If you do not know about Tara Kiwi, it is only the hottest equestrian-inspired tee-shirt company around!  Located in Los Angeles, Tara Kiwi designs are modern and effortless, yet still sophisticated, with a touch of that "California-girl" style. I wish they came in horse sizes!

I selected the "Helmet & Boot Wreath Tee" in navy. The classic hunt cap and tall boot design is a nod to the traditional hunter style, but the relaxed fit of the shirt keeps it cool and contemporary. Andrea has paired it with breeches at the barn and skinny jeans when she isn't at the barn. She has gotten way too many compliments on this shirt - don't people realize that I am the brains behind this purchase?

Want your own Tara Kiwi Tee or other Tara Kiwi goodie? Visit www.tarakiwi.com and enter the coupon code "PGfan15" for 15% of your order! Tell her Chloe sent you! 

xo Chloe

Tara Kiwi "Helmet & Boot Wreath Tee" in the AM!

Tara Kiwi "Helmet & Boot Wreath Tee" in the AM!

Tara Kiwi "Helmet & Boot Wreath Tee" in the PM, minus a few Chloe hairs and carrot residue!

Tara Kiwi "Helmet & Boot Wreath Tee" in the PM, minus a few Chloe hairs and carrot residue!

A Second Chance

Chloe & Andrea

It is Valentine's Day weekend and I, Chloe, am feeling more empathetic than usual. Perhaps it is the 2 lbs of chocolates I consumed earlier today? Helpful tip: Close your tack trunks! Recently I have been thinking about second chances. A local friend just purchased a horse from Cranbury Sale Stable, previously known as Camelot Auction Feedlot, a sales barn that hosts weekly auctions for everything related to livestock. Reportedly many of the horses at the auction are bid on and purchased by the owner of the sales barn, where they are then held in the feed lot allegedly waiting to be shipped out to slaughter-houses once the feed lot is full, unless a buyer intervenes. Many of you probably belong to the Facebook group, "CHW Network" (previously Camelot Horse Weekly), a group that has gone viral the last few years thanks to the power of social media and animal lovers alike. Through the efforts of wonderful volunteers, the group blasts pictures and videos of horses that are at Cranbury Sale Stable, typically already in the dreaded feed lot. Thanks to CHW Network, and other online rescue groups and volunteer efforts, buyers with their credit cards have called in from all over the country and saved these horses, giving them another shot at life. Let's face it, the pictures that are posted of these abandoned horses are sad. The volunteers arrive at the auction beforehand in order to take pictures of the horses, sometimes tied up, side-by-side. Some horses come with descriptions provided by their sellers - but often they do not. The volunteers at CHW Network sit in the crowd during the auction and take their own notes (to the best of their ability) about the horses, and sometimes videos, as the horses are ridden in a small pen, often by large men, unfamiliar with the horse's discipline or ability, and in tack that by no means is perfect. Now ask yourself how YOUR horse would represent itself in this environment. You guys think I crow-hop like a champ now! Oh, you laugh, but I have seen many of you in the longeing areas at the showgrounds or have seen "Perfect Prep" in your tack trunks...so I imagine it would not go very well for your horse either.

I will let you in on a secret. Despite my beautiful physique, I can take a rather nag-like picture. The volunteers are amazing, but they don't have time to make all these horses look like they are going in the pony model at WEF. I wondered what I would look like, brought in from my turnout, with a number quickly slapped on my butt, and a picture snapped. Would that picture really represent ME? How can a well-meaning stranger that spends a few minutes with me really capture my worth? Will they know that I like to lip curl and make people laugh? Do they know that I am a loyal friend? Or that my father is Artful Move, a leading sire in the AQHA world? Will the picture have a link to my blog? Will I be given a second chance...?

#11, Bay TB Gelding, 12 yrs old. 16 hands.

#11, Bay TB Gelding, 12 yrs old. 16 hands.

Meet Chance…a horse from Cranbury Sales Stable that was given another chance this past January. Somehow Danielle and Sydney saw something in him from this picture… and Danielle quickly called in, recited his tag number from the picture and paid roughly $500 for him over the phone (Note: When including shipping and other fees, his total cost was $1600). The very next day he was on his way from NJ to NC. 

On the CHW Network page, Chance, or #11 as was his tag number, was described by his seller as simply: "#11, Bay TB Gelding, 12 years old. 16 hands. Was used in lesson program. Broke packer type."  He has been at Sydney's family farm for nearly a month now and she is quick to add "SWEETHEART" to that descriptive list. He gets along great with all his pasture mates and when Sydney or Danielle walk into his field, he comes right up to them and wants to be in their pocket. Sydney states "he is an absolute dream to have around". Danielle has ridden him - he was calm as a cucumber, but not very sure what her cues and aids meant. Danielle and Sydney did some research and they discovered that his description was not very accurate. His registered name is Wishing For Gold and he is a 16 year old Appendix. They could not find any show or lesson history, but he is tattooed and was raced until November 2002, only totaling around $4,000 in his racing career.  Perhaps this low earnings number contributed to where he ended up? Sydney and Danielle plan to take things slow with Chance. They know that even though he is very loving, they have no idea what he has been through in his 16 years. They are sure of one thing though - they are going to provide him with a forever home.

                                  I know you have treats!!

                                  I know you have treats!!

It would not be fair if I did not mention that there are plenty of people, including horse rescue groups, that are not supportive of Cranbury Sale Stable or the work of CHW Network. They make some interesting points, such as that the owner of the auction barn is essentially making a lot of money off "bleeding hearts". They point out that the barn owner is buying these horses from other auction houses for mere dollars, bidding against himself and driving the price up tenfold. They suggest that people are getting duped into buying these unsellable horses and therefore, sound and able horses at rescue centers (those that don't have their picture blasted across the nation) are not finding homes. They also point out that the feed lot horses do not really go to slaughter-houses. Before the change in ownership, these groups allege that not a single horse was ever sold directly to slaughter and that the last horse sold to a meat dealer was in 2007. Instead, the horses simply go back to another auction house.

But, even if the owner is betting on making money playing on heartstrings, does it really matter if it means a horse was ultimately adopted? Chance looks a whole lot happier in his current pictures than he does in his #11 shot and to me that makes him the clear winner in this situation. 

Chance, enjoying the beautiful scenery at the McAllister Farm in North Carolina.

Chance, enjoying the beautiful scenery at the McAllister Farm in North Carolina.

I will concede that there surely are buyers that make a rash decision to purchase a horse in the feed lot because they want to "save" it. These buyers may not end up with a sweetheart like Chance.  They may end up with a lame horse, or a very green horse, or a horse that has been so neglected that it cannot be handled easily, or at all. The buyers may not be experienced horsewomen like Danielle and Syndney. They may not even be able to really afford, or know what it takes to care, for a horse. Unfortunately, many of the horses in these sort of situations eventually do find their way back to these auction houses, or worse, and that is a shame, but do we punish the horses for this? 

Not many people know this, but I was sold at a very large horse auction in Lexington, VA many years ago. I have changed hands many, many times. It is hard not being able to pick your owner. Personally, I applaud the work of volunteer groups like CHW Network. I think their intentions are good and they can help find some lucky horses, like Chance, a new life. 

Now here is the part of my blog rant where I lose some friends. Perhaps the way to really make a difference and to stop horses from even ending up in these auction barns is to encourage horse lovers to not breed or buy a horse unless they can really take care of it. And this goes for any horse…not just a rescue. Buyers should understand what a commitment we are. Horses require a lot of money. Board, feed and supplies are very expensive, but that isn't where it ends. We also like to spring unforeseen vet bills on our owners, whether it is from needing stitches after playing too hard in the field (always on a holiday) or eating plastic candy bar wrappers (see helpful hint above).  Many of us require expensive supplements, routine chiropractic work and dental work to be happy. Even a monthly farrier bill can set you back a few hundred each month. We also require a lot of time and patience. Most of us require exercise and training…our entire life. You can't expect to take 2 lessons and then buy a horse. Riding is like any other sport, everyone needs to practice and everyone can benefit from regular lessons. And here is another helpful hint that really is going to get me in trouble: it isn't always our fault when we do something "bad" in the arena. Even if you are purchasing a horse to just keep at home as a pet and do not intend to ride it, you still need to know A LOT about horses. I die a little inside each time I hear a green horse owner say that they "want to find land so they can keep horses at home". In summary, let's try to encourage a focus on horsemanship at a young age. It isn't  about how high we can jump or how fast we can go or how pretty we look or how many ribbons we can hang on our walls. We are a LIFETIME commitment and each of us deserves to never have a handwritten number taped to our rumps.

xo Chloe, #1

 

Guest Blogger and PG Minion, Ellie: My First Hunter Derby!

Chloe & Andrea

One of my minions, Ellie, recently competed in her first 2 foot hunter derby, affectionately called the Tadpole Derby.  I don't know what everyone was so excited about since I can prance over 2 foot jumps in my sleep.  I guess she was pretty cute in her first shadbelly and even, Chase, looked kind of cute…if ponies are your thing.  Rumor has it that Ellie had a great experience and learned what to improve on for the next time. In fact, the next day she nailed her equitation course.  Maybe she will ride me in the next derby and we can show everyone my interpretation of a true hunter pace!  Read below to hear, Ellie's,  account of her first hunter derby experience!

Hi! It's PG Minion, Ellie, here and I want to tell you about my first hunter derby I did last weekend with my pony, Chase. It was the Tadpole Derby at the Harmon Classics Horse Show in Tyron, NC.

We competed in an Equitation Challenge at our last show in Camden, SC and it didn't go so great. I was really nervous before it was our turn and all that I focused on was getting Chase over the first jump. After he went over the first jump, I didn't push him to go over the second jump and he refused it, … twice. We were disqualified. I was upset and very disappointed. It was the first time we ever tried something like that. I wanted to do the Tadpole Derby to prove to myself that we could do it and get over every jump.

It was really fun because I got to compete with my friend, Emily Grace, and we both did great.  I also got to wear my shadbelly for the first time.  I loved it when the crowd cheered for us after we finished the course. It was a tricky course with 10 jumps and we made it over every one of them with no refusals. We still have some things to work on,  like me not jumping ahead of Chase, and we still need to work on the lead changes, but it's all coming together and we're a great team. I can't wait until the next one!

:) Ellie

Follow us at ELLIE AND CHASE on Facebook!

Curtesy circle….here we go! Don't we look cute in our shadbelly!

Curtesy circle….here we go! Don't we look cute in our shadbelly!

Can you handle the cuteness??

Can you handle the cuteness??

Chase has a fear of red flowers. Looks like this fear has been conquered! 

Chase has a fear of red flowers. Looks like this fear has been conquered! 

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Big sigh of relief and big smile! Can't wait to do it again!

Big sigh of relief and big smile! Can't wait to do it again!

Le Fash City Breech

Chloe & Andrea

Andrea was like a child waiting for Christmas Day ever since she placed her City Breech Pre-order back in the Fall. It was so annoying listening to her obsess over their pending arrival.  In fact, when she found out she was pregnant, her first comment to her barn friends was, "What if my Le Fash breeches now don't fit when they come?".  And she wonders why I swat her in the face with my tail every chance I get?

The breeches came and she just couldn't wait to get to the barn to show everyone. I must admit that these pants are superior to the other things she wears to the barn. Does anyone else have a rider who thinks that the barn is the place to wear your stained, torn, too-small clothes? Le Fash once again shows us that the barn does not have to be a haven for last season's attire. You can still be fashionable and functional…and be at the barn! God knows I pull that feat off on a daily basis.

Andrea ordered the Gotham City Breech (with Gold Pocket Rivets). The Gotham is a black breech with saddle brown-colored soft knee patches. My favorite detail is the faux gold snap at the ankle which is placed perfectly over the adjustable velcro snap. This elegant, subtle detail is one of many that helps transform the breech from one that can be worn straight from the arena to the mall, with a simple change of shoe. Andrea confirmed that the snap in no way interferes and/or rubs with your chaps or boots. The pocket rivets on the front and back of the pants match the aforementioned gold ankle snap (these are optional), as well as the gold buttons sometimes found on the Le Fash show shirts. 

The fit was modern with an European-stitch seat and moderate low-rise fit.  There are multiple pockets on the breech, but to my surprise the pants remained slim looking, without any extra bulk, despite my preggo rider. Andrea commented many times while riding that she felt like they gave her a closer feel to the saddle (and me). She also said it didn't feel like wearing a typical breech, that it was more similar to wearing a lightweight pant, such as her J. Crew Pixie work pants. Since I have never worked a day in my life, I cannot relate to this sentiment. I can only attest to the fact that I felt prettier when she was riding me in these breeches, which really is all that matters. 

The City Breech also comes in Hunter Tan and White, which probably would have been more practical for the show ring, but who can resist a nice black pant, especially one as stylish and slimming as the Gotham City Breech. 

Click here for the entire City Breech collection. 

 

Gotham City Breech with Gold Pocket Rivet detailing 

Gotham City Breech with Gold Pocket Rivet detailing 

Whispering with Chloe about who doesn't have the Le Fash City Breech! 

Whispering with Chloe about who doesn't have the Le Fash City Breech! 

Goofing around!

Goofing around!

Faux gold ankle snap pairs nicely with GIMME GOLD Hoof Hi-Lites by PONY GLAM! 

Faux gold ankle snap pairs nicely with GIMME GOLD Hoof Hi-Lites by PONY GLAM! 

Chloe gets published in The Waxhaw Equestrian magazine!

Chloe & Andrea

I cannot stop laughing! Chloe can now add "journalist" to her resume! PLEASE click on the link below and read her debut article (page 42) in the Summer Edition of the The Waxhaw Equestrian Magazine! STAYING COOL WHILE LOOKING HAUTE!! Thank you so much Sally Kay and The Waxhaw Equestrian for asking Chloe to contribute to this awesome, new magazine!! Now her head is too big for her visor!

Click HERE to read Staying Cool While Looking Haute, go to page 42!

 

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I AM EXPECTING…a baby brother, of the two-legged sort!

Chloe & Andrea

Woohoo! I am going to have a baby brother of the human variety this August! I am actually not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, it probably means less riding time for me, which I look forward to, but it also may mean I get less carrots, which I do not look forward to. So far the last 6 months have been great. Andrea eats a lot of snacks at the barn, which means I have been getting more potato chips than ever before. Andrea can now share my girth, which means  she cleans it more often.  I also haven't had to work hard at all in my lessons or rides, which is pretty much the best thing ever. Have any of you met AC before??? So far I haven't discovered much of a down side to this whole "Big Sister" thing. I figure one can never have too many minions anyway!

I wasn't sure what to get Andrea for her baby shower with her credit card, but I think I will compile a list of "What Not To Do" guidelines for her and save any purchases for myself.  

1.  Do not post any ultrasound photos on Facebook. Please, no one wants to see the inside of your uterus. Ever. 

2. Do not blame random crying or forgetfulness on being pregnant. You have alway been emotional, irrational and scatter brained. 

3. Do not post a picture of the baby immediately (and I mean immediately) after it is born. These are never cute.  And yes, they do all look the same.

4. Do not post a video of baby's first steps. You don't see footage of my first steps online and I was standing within seconds of being born. I galloped within 24 hrs. Take THAT baby. 

5. Do not post about how your baby is in a certain percentile for height/weight, or is sitting up/crawling/talking faster than any other baby in the history of the world. No one cares. 

I think I pretty much summed it up in those 5 simple guidelines! Feel free to add your own - Andrea needs all the help she can get! Ah, now to sit back and enjoy my show-less summer. Things are looking good for me! Wait, why is AC walking towards me with chaps and a helmet? And the pelham? Noooooo…..!

And the pregnancy announcement outtakes….

NOM NOM NOM

NOM NOM NOM

Why is this dumb sign covering my good side?

Why is this dumb sign covering my good side?

Special thanks to Rebecca Gentes who braved the hurricane force winds and missed 1/2 of her daughter's lesson to take these pictures! She is the best!! Also, thanks to minion, Addison Graziano, who was the best prop director and Chloe ear-getter-upper this side of Mississippi! xo

Tucker Tweed Equestrian

Chloe & Andrea

Okay, so I confess, the rumors are true. I tried to eat my Tucker Tweed bag. Twice. Alright, maybe it was three times. I could not help it!! Let me explain. I knew it was leather, and I mean the quality kind of leather.  Imagine the rich smells that infiltrate your nostrils when you are slipping on your brand new show bridle. You know… the show bridle that your person second-mortgaged her stall for. Now combine that sensory overload with the sight of creamy, smooth, buttery chocolate. I admit I was confused. 

Tucker Tweed Equestrian ("TTE") was created by Jill Tweedy of Mooresville, NC, for the simple yet ingenius reason that no other line of fine leather handbags told the world "horses are my passion".   For a sport and industry that arguably uses and appreciates leather products more than any other, this was an ironic truth. TTE wanted to take it one step further and develop product lines that had the option of being discipline specific, something that would be personal and relatable to the avid equestrian competitor, but also appreciated by the casual horse enthusiast or fashionista. Each handbag or leather accessory contains a large embossed option that represents the disciplines of Hunter/Jumpers, Dressage or Fox Hunting. The TTE logo is also an option in each of the product styles. 

Tucker, Jill's horse and partial inspiration for the TTE brand name (for the slow-poke pony readers, Tucker + Jill Tweedy = Tucker Tweed), recently invited me over to his warehouse to have a private viewing of the different lines. I am pretty sure it was an excuse to get me on a date, but you can't blame a guy for trying, right? The warehouse was full of all of the various styles and colors of the handbags and accessories. I almost went on a full-blown rampage trying to eat all the "chocolate", but was able to contain myself because my assistant, Andrea, was carrying a camera. No one needs pictures of themselves stuffing their face showing up in US Weekly Magazine, if you know what I mean. 

Tucker first showed me the Camden Crossbody in the Fox Hunting motif as pictured below. The Camden Crossbody style is not only on trend, but it is entirely functional for those of us on the go. I love having my handbag on display at my hip, where it also provides easy access to my AmEx and gives me the ability to use all 4 of my hooves for other things, like bucking or herding Paris.  The shoulder strap is adjustable, so you can tuck it away and carry the bag under your arm, or use the bag as a clutch during "Fillies' night out". I particularly love the two-toned black and chestnut colored leather, but there are 6 other color options to choose from (as well as the different embossing options). Tucker paired this handbag with a TTE logo wallet. Fun Crossbody facts: hardware includes an Egg Butt Snaffle bit in silver and magnetic flap for easy closure!

Camden Crossbody (Fox Hunting), paired with TTE logo wallet.

Camden Crossbody (Fox Hunting), paired with TTE logo wallet.

Next we looked at the Tweed Manor Tote in the Ivory/Black color option. You can see the Dressage embossing below. I have never quite understood why those horses work so hard getting from point A to point B…watching them makes me want to just lay down in the sand! The bag has wide straps which makes it comfortable for your shoulder when you are having a long day of shopping. The shape and size of the bag also fits everyone, no matter your size, and the shoulder strap is adjustable for your height. The bag interior is spacious, with a hidden, zippered compartment, as well as separate areas for your cellphone and other personal gadgets. The Tweed Manor Tote also has a magnetic closure and has silver feet so that you can put it down at the shows and not have to worry about ruining the leather. This bag comes in 8 color options. In the picture below it is paired with a fabulous red TTE logo wallet. 

Tweed Manor Tote (Ivory/Black); paired with TTE logo wallet.

Tweed Manor Tote (Ivory/Black); paired with TTE logo wallet.

My hooves-down favorite bag was the Lexington in Chestnut/Black with the Hunter Jumper logo, as pictured below. Not only did the bag mimic my beautiful bay coloring of chestnut and black, but I am pretty sure Tucker used one of my Jumper pictures when he designed the logo.  The bag is the perfect size for everyday use - roomy enough for all your essentials (see my personal Instagram picture below!) - with a full-length zipper, yet easily organizable so that you don't waste time pawing around looking for your Chapstick. I appreciated all the buckles and leather keepers on the various straps, not only making the bag width adjustable, but also giving a nod to many leather products in your stable.  Tucker paired the bag with a simple all black TTE logo wallet. Together, the leather duo screamed luxury, in that subtle famous equestrian way.

The Lexington (Chestnut/Black), paired with TTE logo wallet.

The Lexington (Chestnut/Black), paired with TTE logo wallet.

One thing I do want to stress to my readers is something that cannot translate in pictures: the bags are made with quality pebble-grained leather. You can feel it and you can smell it. The inside is just as well done, with creamy satin covering the entire interior and leather trimmed zipper pockets. Jill and Tucker really have tried to think of everything and they make huge efforts to listen to their customers, both individuals and tack stores.  The bags are well made - you don't have to worry about the leather looking worn, loose threads or the zippers breaking. In fact, I actually chewed the teeth of the zipper track a few times in making the picture below and had no problems afterwards zipping! 

So the catch for most is definitely going to be the price tag. All 3 of these mentioned TTE bags will run you in the $200-$250 range once taxes/shipping are said and done. That can put a dent in the shoe budget for sure, I am not going to argue with you on that! However, the bags will last you forever and are so classic that they will never go out of style (unlike those silk, drawstring pants that are currently in your Spring closet). As I pointed out to Andrea earlier, she paid an entire month of board for one of her designer bags, which I shall not name for fear of losing my modeling contract with them, and this particular brand doesn't even use leather! She paid for CANVAS?!  Sigh.  

If you have a smaller budget don't forget about the TTE accessories, like the wallets pictured above, and the beautiful IPAD covers. These make great gifts and will not break the bank! To see more pictures of all the different bags and lines, including the accessories mentioned, and to see what tack stores carry TTE near you, please visit this website: TUCKER TWEED.

A special thank you to Jill Tweedy, who opened up her house and warehouse to me (and Chloe). Not only was it it so fun playing with these pretty bags, but it was also really inspiring on both a personal and business level. We are excited to see what is next for Tucker Tweed Equestrian and will faithfully represent with our original Lexington! 

Chloe packs her vintage Lexington with all her show essentials: Pony Glam Hoof Hi-Lites, Charleigh's Cookies, Custom mane brush from Gray & Co. Designs, her show number, and of course her winnings!

Chloe packs her vintage Lexington with all her show essentials: Pony Glam Hoof Hi-Lites, Charleigh's Cookies, Custom mane brush from Gray & Co. Designs, her show number, and of course her winnings!

6 Reasons You Should Own a Child Rider

Chloe & Andrea

Everyone should own a child rider at least once in their lifetime. Sure, your mouth may become quite dull and calloused, you will be forced against your will to enter a costume class and you may spend countless hours in zebra-colored polos (bonus: wrapped incorrectly), but one thing I can assure you is that they will always have your back.

1. Treats. They always give you treats. They give you treats before they even get you out of the stall. They give you treats even if they fall off. They give you treats even when the mean boss-mare trainer says not to. And they don't just give you boring apples, they will give you anything that is remotely edible, including half of their packed barn lunches on the weekends.  Who said horses don't like goldfish?

2.  Easy work load.  If left to their own devices, these child riders would opt for bareback gossip fests in the arena with their other pony friends every time. Practicing their sitting trots or doing "no-stirrup November" is thankfully lost on the child rider.  The best part is that when the trainer asks, "did you practice your transitions today?", the little child rider nods her head "yes" when in reality the only thing practiced was seeing who could stand up on their pony's bare back the longest at the trot.

3. They give undivided attention.  Child riders are known for giving you their undivided and sincere attention. When they are grooming your itchy spots, they aren't thinking about homework or talking on the cellphone. When you are bored in your stall because you have already inhaled your hay, they aren't gossiping about Susie's new ex-GP horse, they are singing songs in your stall and feeding you goldfish (see #1 above).

4. They are always up for anything.  Child riders will do anything their trainer tells them to do in a lesson. They are not scared of anything and are always up for new challenges. Finally! No more boring and predictable courses. How many times can you practice the same bending line anyway? YAWN.   Jump the Roll Top one stride, to the Log Jump Skinny...with no hands and your eyes closed..."DONE and can we raise the height" says the child rider!

5. Light as a feather.  I have yet to meet an adult rider that has a self-proclaimed "good eye", even though they always appear to have two working ones. Every horse has experienced the feeling of their rider getting left behind at the jump (imagine an elephant doing a cannon ball on your back) or their rider eating mane at the chip fence (yea, sure I can jump with your entire body weight on my ears). And yes, a child rider may not have the best judgment on where to leave the ground, but at least they rarely interfere with your ability to judge the distance for yourself.  And if they do get left behind or end up around your ears, at least you barely know they are there!

6.   Showtimes are early.  8:00am showtimes! Need I say more? No one wants to stand around all day waiting for their class, especially if it may mean multiple bathes, longes, schooling rides, tacking and untacking, etc! With a child rider, you wake up, eat your grain, trot around the show ring a few times, take a few pictures with your ribbons on your reins and then you are back in your stall in time to watch an entire season of Vampire Diaries on Netflix. Winning!

 

 

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IRH ELITE EQ

Chloe & Andrea

You all will be happy to know that I finally did something about Andrea's astronaut helmet head. Can you believe how many selfies she has ruined of ME because she looks like she is about to "lift-off" to the moon? International Riding Helmets (IRH) took one for the team when they sent me their Elite EQ model. I casually had it laying in her tack trunk when she arrived for our lesson last night. And by casually I mean I had it sitting on top of her trunk with the sign, "NASA stopped going to the moon and so should you."  I also was careful to sign Pickels name to it. 

Andrea did not stay mad for long because she loves new, shiny things, so she quickly began to check out the IRH Elite EQ. It doesn't take a genius to notice all the vent ports in the helmet. The vents run the entire length of the front of the helmet (from front to the top). There are also large vents on both sides, which her current helmet (Charles Owen) does not have, and two more vents in the very back. This promotes optimal air flow and will help keep your heads cool, even when you are getting bucked around.  The inside of the helmet is lined with a padded lining that is designed to wick away all the moisture from your head. This special lining, coupled with the many air vents, is perfect for Andrea because she shoves about 10 lbs of hair into her helmet and you should see her hair when she takes her helmet off. Let's just say that Pantene isn't going to be calling anytime soon.

Front view of the IRH Elite EQ and the many vents designed to give you supreme air flow. The visor is also longer and wider than the last helmet.

Front view of the IRH Elite EQ and the many vents designed to give you supreme air flow. The visor is also longer and wider than the last helmet.

The outside of the Elite EQ is made of Amara suede and can be wiped down with a clean, damp cloth. Like Andrea's current helmet, it is considered a low profile, which means the helmets have a more modern look to them (aka- non-mushroom head look). When I compared the two side by side, however, the IRH Elite EQ was a bit smaller in overall shape which made it look sleeker than the Charles Owen. It also had a slightly longer visor, which I knew Andrea would appreciate since she is obsessed about preventing wrinkles.  I guess she doesn't know about the expression "that ship has sailed."  Both helmets were similar in the weight department and do not feel heavy on the head.

Pictured left is the Charles Owen; Pictured right is the IRH. Notice that the IRH noticeably sits lower on the head and is overall smaller.

Pictured left is the Charles Owen; Pictured right is the IRH. Notice that the IRH noticeably sits lower on the head and is overall smaller.

One big bonus about the IRH Elite EQ is that the inside lining AND the fleece chin strap are both washable. The chin strap piece detaches and the inside lining can be washed gently with mild soap and water. Let me guess...you are thinking about the last time you washed the inside of your helmet, right? Now, realize that you washed your girth more recently. Let that sink in for a moment! Humans are so gross!!!!

Andrea took me for a spin with the new IRH. I heard her frequently comment that the helmet was quite comfortable and her head felt well cushioned and protected. I spent the rest of that ride wondering if that last comment was in fact a challenge... Never once did she complain about any pressure points or the helmet feeling too tight. The weather in NC has been a bit cool as of late, so it was difficult to compare the ventilation between the two helmets.

In summary, Andrea loves the new helmet. She likes the comfort, modern shape, ventilation and washability of the helmet. She will be putting her other helmet in storage. The selfies may resume. You all are very welcome.

Andrea is really excited about her new helmet. I am pondering whether I should test how well it protects her head. 

Andrea is really excited about her new helmet. I am pondering whether I should test how well it protects her head. 

Sizing: Easy to measure and even has a video with instructions on the IRH website (Fitting Guide). The helmet fit perfectly, but it also comes with extra foam inserts which are PERFECT for those days that you want to let your hair down (AKA ride with your hair in a low ponytail instead of tucked in the helmet). 

Price: The IRH is very affordable compared to some of the other big name helmets out there, and IRH offers many other helmets to chose from besides the Elite EQ. Of course, it is ASTM/SEI approved as well.

Con: The only thing Andrea was whining about was the chin strap. The material seemed to be of a lesser quality than the rest of the helmet.

Learn more about the IRH Elite EQ: CLICK HERE.

Buy at Smartpak, Dover, or search on the IRH site for retailers near you!

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The selfles may resume…yay...

The selfles may resume…yay...

This is how a helmet should look people! I am a perfect long, oval model if I do say so myself! Anyone want to donate a hairnet for my forelock? And who let nag Pickels photobomb this?

This is how a helmet should look people! I am a perfect long, oval model if I do say so myself! Anyone want to donate a hairnet for my forelock? And who let nag Pickels photobomb this?

Pony Tails

Chloe & Andrea

Chase pony was over at FCF recently for a lesson and his owner/rider and PG Minion, Ellie, was running around with some new arm candy.  Heather, the creator of Hwagz Horsetail Treasures, was so impressed with this little duo that she gave Ellie a custom bracelet made from Chase's tail (Ellie's mom was in on it), complete with a Pony Glam charm!  Heather also made her the cutest hair clip with Chase's name on it. Talk about PG minion swag!!

Chase's black and white tail look great intertwined with Ellie's favorite color, blue! 

Chase's black and white tail look great intertwined with Ellie's favorite color, blue! 

Love the PG Minion charm touch...looks good with our Show Pony bracelet!

Love the PG Minion charm touch...looks good with our Show Pony bracelet!

 Ellie said, "When I opened the package and saw my bracelet, I thought it was so beautiful. Chase has a black and white tail so I really like that the braid has both colors in it. Heather also added some of my favorite things to it! It has a blue piece braided in and a really cool Pony Glam Minion charm that I LOVE!!! I am so happy that I have a piece of Chase that I can keep forever. Thank you Hwagz Horsetail Treasures!"

I swat Andrea with my tail (eyeball shots get bonus points!) enough times per day that she probably would run from a bracelet made from my tail, but I must admit these bracelets made by Hwagz Horsetail Treasures make thoughtful gifts for the horse lover in your life.  Like Ellie said, it is something you can keep forever. Be sure to ask Heather about adding a charm to your piece - I suggest the crown below for my fellow divas out there :)!

Get more info about  Hwagz Horsetail Treasures by clicking the link! Please go "like" their page - they are a new company and need 200 likes to be searchable! xo Chloe

Chase hair pin! 

Chase hair pin! 

Check out the diva crown charm!

Check out the diva crown charm!

PG Minion Swag from HWAGZ Horsetail Treasures!!!  

PG Minion Swag from HWAGZ Horsetail Treasures!!!  

How To Longe Your Human

Chloe & Andrea

Longeing your human can have many benefits. It helps them release extra energy before they get in the saddle and can be very useful when you want to get their human bucks out. It also is a great option for when your human has been confined in her or his stall longer than usual and needs extra exercise. The end result is an easier (and sometimes shorter) ride for you.

When you are not at your show or special event, it may not always be obvious when your human needs to be longed so I find it is a good technique to always eavesdrop on your human's conversation in the grooming stalls.  It is easier than it sounds because generally humans are quite oblivious. Just stand there and act extremely disinterested and you should be fine. Especially listen for key words such as "project deadlines", "overtime", "I hate my boss", or "my mother-in-law is coming to visit".  If any of these phrases are said it is in your best interest to immediately be overcome with imaginary ants in your pants.  They will eventually grab the longe line and your work will already be 50% done. Disclaimer: If you see your human's trainer grab a helmet and chaps, immediately cease and desist. If your human IS the trainer you can stop reading this article as there is nothing I can do for you. You must have missed some key blog posts along the way.

Congratulations, you have made it to the longeing area. One of my favorite first tactics is to act like this is my first time being longed...every time. No matter which side of my halter Andrea snaps that longe line, I always either start to walk the wrong direction or towards her, into the slack of the line.   This really helps to immediately get under her skin, which I find tires her more quickly. Once she has me trotting, I like to look off into la-la land and sometimes blast a few "oh heys" to strangers. This is also when you want to start leaning away from the center, which will cause your human to take steps towards you and eventually your longe circle will be in a completely different spot from where it began. The canter is where you can really tire them out. If you do not "fast trot" at least 1.5 circle laps when they are clearly asking for you to canter, you are doing something wrong. Be sure to randomly break back to the trot once you are cantering. Do this often. Remember, your goal is to get your human to work harder than you are. You want her or him to be trotting their own circle, waving their hands or longe whip in the air and making that dumb "clucking" noise they like to make at us. Seriously, where does that come from??? You don't see me clucking to nag Pickels when I want her to get moving out of my way.

When Andrea thinks I am behaving and getting tired, she will bring me into the center to switch my direction. After she snaps the line to the other side of my halter, I repeat step one above and walk towards her or in the wrong direction. It is so fun!! When she asks me to canter this direction, I like to do so immediately, without her even needing to cluck or use the longe whip.  I can almost read her thoughts, " Chloe is going to be really quiet today. Maybe I need a spur?"  That's the exact moment that I like to unleash a can of spooks and bucks and farts (in this exact order) at the scary tree monster that I conveniently notice for the first time. I like to then freak her out by going in a very fast and unbalanced canter, continuing to shy at the tree-monster every time I go by. At this point, she is quite exasperated...but most importantly, she is mentally and physically tired. Oh don't worry about her, it's nothing a few "clucks" can't cure, right?

 

Demonstrating the "oh hey" and lean outward into la-la land.

Demonstrating the "oh hey" and lean outward into la-la land.

Andrea is already out of breath and its the first direction. #winning!

Andrea is already out of breath and its the first direction. #winning!