Christmas Wish List!

 

 

 

It’s that time of year again! What is on your Christmas wish-list? Or maybe you are trying to figure out what to give a fellow equine lover? Here are my thoughts- broken down by price range:

 

$25 and under: 

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Is this where I die?

Rio and I have 2 weeks until our first A show in Waco, Tx. I am SOEXCITED and mildly terrified at the same time. Our last show was in April, and we showed in the 2’6 and it was Meh. Like some ok moments (good for us at the time!) but so much has changed since then. A) he has a ton of time off between now and then from the spider bite incident and from the splint bone surgery, and B) we have basically totally changed the way he canters, although it’s still a work in progress.

 

 

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DIY: Tack Trunk Renovation

I have some super exciting news for all my readers! I want to introduce you to my first guest blogger, who will be a regular feature on HunkyHanoverian. Joanne is a DIY queen, who will be sharing a new horse-related DIY project with us once a month, including required materials and instructions for making your own. She has tons of great content lined up for you guys, so be sure to check in often to  learn how to do some awesome and inepensive DIY projects. Enjoy!!!

 

By: Joanne Scott

 

Hey y’all!  I’m so excited to be sharing my DIY trunk improvement project with you today.  I am a 30-something DQ-wannabe who grew up riding hunters.  I have a passion for improving or redoing things, from tack trunks to home improvement projects, and everything in between!

 

My hunter heart jumped for joy when a Warner’s tack trunk randomly popped up on my Facebook feed – great neutral colors – my exact monogram – and a price tag of only $85!  My ever-loving, DIY partner-in-crime husband humored me and drove three hours south to pick this bad boy up.  Sure, it was in rough shape, but all the bones were good and it was love at first sight.

 

 

Since I have this hoarding DIY mentality, I had all of my materials on hand:

 

  • Black and Decker “Mouse” hand-held sander with 80 grit sandpaper. Mine is similar to this
  • Blue painter’s tape (like this)
  • Stain (I used General Finishes gel stain in “Georgian Cherry
  • Minwax Wipe-On Polyurethane in “Clear Satin
  • Plastic gloves
  • Husband’s old white undershirt, cut into pieces
  • Acetone nail polish remover and cotton balls
  • Generic Magic Erasers and a bucket of water

 

 

 

The trunk’s issues included numerous Koppertox stains, chewed side trim pieces, a tray with some rock hard residue built in (fixed mysteriously by my dad aka Mr. Wizard!), and years of dust and grime.

 

 

I started by sanding the front trim pieces down to the bare wood.  The front bottom trim had knicks, gashes, some random paint and marker stains…  I also sanded off any area that had been chewed on to restore the trim piece to one smooth layer.

 

 

To use traditional liquid stain, found at any home improvement store, you need to start with bare wood that’s been opened up with pre-sealing condition.  I quickly changed courses after I saw how long just one trim piece took.  Gel stain is new magic in my DIY book – it doesn’t require bare wood and in most cases can go on a sealed piece of wood with just a light scuffing of sandpaper.  DONE!  I hit the remaining pieces of trim with my Mouse sander to rough up the surface and then wiped off all pieces with a wet rag.

 

I initially stained the interior of the trunk a lighter stain color but wasn’t thrilled with the results and had several friends chiming in that a darker color would enhance the trunk, as well as cover the Koppertox stains.  

 

 

Luckily, my latest project (a king-sized sleigh bed redo) had left some General Finishes gel stain in “Georgian Cherry” and there was plenty left for this trunk.  Please – try not to be intimidated by these glamourous photos of my workshop!  Anyone with a garage that fits zero cars can do this project!

 

I used painter’s tape to tape off any metal pieces that were close to the wood so I wouldn’t accidentally hit it with stain.  I’m 100% not into prep but this was a life saver.

 

 

 

Helpful Hints:

Before you start staining – make sure you have gloves on!  In retrospect, I would try to find some kitchen type gloves that come further up the arm, but I used blue surgical gloves purchased from Costco.

Stir the gel gently with a paint stick – you never want to shake stain like you do with paint because it bubbles!  Once stirred, dip your gloved hand with a rag into the container and get a glob onto the rag.  Use the rag to make long horizontal strokes, covering the piece with stain.  The longer, fewer strokes you make – the better your finish will be.  Immediately wipe off any excess with a separate clean rag.

Allow your stain to dry overnight.  It will look kind of splotchy – don’t panic!  Come back on day 2 with another round of staining in long, horizontal strokes.  You’ll notice the stain evening out with just enough grain showing through.  Remove painter’s tape after your last coat of stain has been applied.

On day 3, utilize the same gloved-hand, rag method to apply the wipe on polyurethane in the same long, even strokes you used for applying the gel.  I recommend a minimum of two coats of poly; this adds an extra layer of protection.  The can of poly will advise on the wait time between coats, but I just wait until the next day.

Finally, your trunk is ready for its new life!  But wait… you hit some areas with stain and are freaking out that your hard work is now RUINED.  Never fear – grab a cotton ball with some acetone and use it to remove any stain from the metal pieces.  This method also works if your glove rips mid-work and your hand is covered in stain.  Not that I would know…

To clean up the vinyl, I used a water-soaked generic Magic Eraser and lots and lots of elbow grease.  The dirt really was ground into this one, but scrubbing picked most of the discoloration up!  I wasn’t too worried either – it was going into a darkish corner of our barn, where new dirt would accumulate.

 

 

 

I hope this tutorial will help you next time you find a diamond-in-the-rough tack trunk!  With a little time and effort, you can have a trunk that will be the envy of your barn friends and at a price that can’t be beat!

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The Saddle Quest

Yup… I’m on a quest for new saddle. It’s a terrible, treacherous, and ridic expensive journey- but it must be done. It absolutely involves luck and a sense of humor to find one. Send me lots of good jingles… because not everyone makes it out alive!

 

my current saddle

 

Why do I need a new saddle? Well, need is subjective… but I do have several reasons. I currently have a 2010 17.5 Antares 3AA with a 4.5 in tree. I bought it when I was leasing a different horse, and although it fit that horse really well, it’s not the best fit for Rio. I had it checked out by the Antares rep, and he said it was, “an ok fit with a half pad”. IMO, it doesn’t really fit Rio. He is narrower, and a good deal more withery then the type of horse my saddle is meant to fit. I usually use an ecogold half pad, but in 100% honesty it is still less wither clearance then I would prefer. Don’t get me wrong, it is not sitting on his withers or anything like that, but less clearance then I would LIKE and IMO a saddle that fits shouldn’t NEED a half pad.

 

Although it is a longer, more forward flap, it just barelyyyyy fits my leg. I knew this when I bought it, but it worked for me at the time and was a huge step up from my prior saddle. I have been really happy with it, but now that I have Rio, and plan to have him for a long time, I really want something that is the perfect fit for both of us. My saddle is also getting a bit older at this point. It is still in really good condition (no tears and major scuffs or scrapes) with many years of life left, but knowing it won’t be my forever saddle, I’d prefer to trade it in/sell it while it still has a good bit of value.

So… now is the time for a new one! I’ve been so happy with this Antares that I originally was only looking for another Antares, preferably with a 4AB or 4AAB flap this time around, and something on the newer side so I can have it a long time. I’ve been casually looking for about 2 months now… and nada. I haven’t been able to get my hands on a single one that meets my specs- even with an appropriate budget.

I have realized it’s time to expand to other brands, and even consider going new. I would probably have tried a new Antares by now but… the rep seems extremely uncommunicative and not that interested in selling saddles. I’m sorry, but if I am considering buying a saddle that costs the same as an used car, I kind of feel like I should be wined and dined- is that wrong? Like, I want you to WANT to sell me a saddle- not ignore/not respond to my texts.

 

 

 

 

Since I have basically crossed a new Anatares off my list due to not wanting to deal with the rep, I have reached out to other brands. I’m excited to say that I will be demoing Voltaire saddles next Monday, and Butets next weekend! Fingers crossed that one of those will be “the one” and that I can scrape my pennies together to make something work.

 

 

 

 

So who else has thoughts on buying saddles? What brands do you like and dislike and why? I’m totally open to suggestions at this point!!

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Weekend Lesson Recap: Booty booty!

I had a lesson filled weekend- back to back jump lessons on Saturday and Sunday. Although I typically prefer to space them out some, I also acknowledge that at shows Rio will have to jump back to back days so it might be good to prepare him for that.

 

 

Unfortunately it rained earlier this week, and the cold(ish) overcast weather prevented the outdoors from drying, so we were in the small indoor all weekend, which means no elaborate jump courses to show off. We DID do plenty of hard exercises though, that will certainly only improve out course work when we get there.

On Saturday MM set up this awesome little bounce line on a large circle. It was TOUGH for Rio, who has always been a bit weak behind. The first 3 ish time through were like a total trainwreck, but then it finally clicked for both of us and we had a lot of really great reps! The bounces do an awesome job of driving home the need for Rio to sit back more in his canter work. A fewtimes we got to the beginning of the bounces really tight, which is usually wear Rio would break down to the trot versus sitting back that extra bit- but not this time! He actually would squeeze in the extra step and sit back on his booty more. I am SUCH a proud mom.

 

Rio11.11.17 from Kelly on Vimeo.

 

 

On Sunday we continued the booty work, but also gave Rio a little bit of an actual jump to look at. He continued to be a total rock star and aced the exercise! The left lead is much stronger, and he is able to consistently carry a quality canter that way. Therefore, we spent a good deal of time on the right lead, with more figuring out how much/when to half halt to maintain the more uphill canter. Thanks to some awesome coaching from MM, things have just really been clicking lately. Rio is SOSMART it’s kinda insane, and he really does get better every ride.

 

Lots of pats for this #StarBoy
his neck and butt actually have some muscles these days

 

I know the quality is shit but HOW FREAKING CUTE IS THIS. Just look at it. He’s a doll.

 

 

Can y’all believe he’s been back in work for only… um 5ish weeks? Me either. I kind of keep waiting for the other shoe to drop so to say. In the entire time I’ve owned him, we always get to this point where everything is going great… and then something happens to sideline us. I know I shouldn’t think so negatively, but I kind of can’t believe that things are going to well, and it all feels so fragile. Every time I get to the barn and see that he is still kickin’ I breath an internal sigh of relief LOL.  Anyway- onto the video from Sunday! It’s short and sweet (only 33 secs).

 

 

Rio11.12.17 from Kelly on Vimeo.

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Product Review: Grand Prix TechLite Revisited

If you’re a long time reader of my blog, you may remember my post from earlier this year about my new Grand Prix show coat. If you haven’t read it, you may want to glance over it real quick before reading this post.

 

You can kind of tell it’s green when outside in bright sunlight

 

In summary- I ordered a Grand Prix TechLite Classic Sport from Dover in January. It arrived in March, and from the get-go I wasn’t too sure about it. My post from when it arrivied is all about how indecisive I was was, and how I wasn’t sure if I really liked it.

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Indecisive Issues

I’m happy to report that it was a wonderful, riding-filled weekend. Rio seems to be handling the heavy work load like a champ. Sunday was day 6 in a row of working pretty hard, which is definitely the most I’ve asked from him thus far. Don’t feel too bad for him though- he still spends about 8 hrs outside every day eating to his heart’s content.

 

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Bounce Torture Time

Now that Rio and I are back in the swing of things, we can now focus on strengthening our weak areas. You guys have already heard ad nauseam about my quest to encourage Rio to raise his head and neck and use his butt more during our flatwork… well I bet you can see where this is going from the title of this post. In an effort to continue this theme, my jump lesson yesterday consisted of some pretty tough bounce work, followed by a 2 stride with a sizeable oxer on the out.

 

bounces be hard
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Kastel Denmark is Life

Anyone who has read my blog for awhile, and has an eye for Kastel, will have noticed that in 95% of my riding photos I am wearing a Kastel shirt. Besides a few pieces of Asmar and Kingsland, my entire riding wardrobe is comprised of Kastel Denmark attire. So.. why is that? Am I a Kastel brand-whore?

 

Yup. Everyone of these shirts is Kastel Denmark #ilovekastel

 

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Jump Lesson Update

First off…. HAPPY HALLOWEEN Y’ALL!!! Hopefully everyone is giving their sweet ponies lots of treats today!

 

 

 

Now, as promised is the lesson recap from Sunday’s jump lesson. We had another first since the surgery- jumping a full course!! Essentially it was was a a single on the diagnol, another single with a rollback to a single, an outside 5 stride line to a single oxer. It was SO FUN.

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