Yep, I'm Crazy

Say hello to Connor's new ride!

Husband says it looks like half a horse trailer.

There are going to be a lot of people out there that think I'm crazy for this, and I don't blame you one bit.  My new trailer is a 2017 Shadow Stablemate 1H slant with dressing room.  You did read that right: that's a one horse.

I've been looking at this trailer for over a year now, so this is definitely not a snap decision.  My justifications:

- I refuse to haul two horses with a half ton pickup.
- I don't want to own more than one horse at once, ever, unless one is totally retired.
- I couldn't use the KB's second stall for storage because it wasn't a stud divider.
- Connor is tiny.
- I want to simplify my life, and the amount of maintenance the things in my life require.
- Resale value is overrated (says the owner of the 1H slant and the 16" Dressage saddle)

Warmblood height, because what trailer isn't 7'6 these days?

Once I settled on a 1H, I started shopping.  There are more options than you'd think.  Some were too expensive (Double D and Equispirit), some were so narrow they made me nervous about stability (4 Star) and some didn't have enough of a dressing room (Brenderup Baron One).

The divider locks all the way to the left in case you want to use it to transport...a four wheeler?  IDK.

The Shadow ticked all the boxes. It has a proper dressing room.  It's built on the chassis of a two horse trailer, so stability is fantastic (and I got to test that out on the 2 hour drive home in 30mph crosswinds and driving rain - it never moved).  The horse's weight is positioned right over the axles, and I actually think it's slightly wider than my KB was.

Technically it's an 18" short wall.  Hahaha.
Most importantly, it's 1,400lbs less than my KB was, at 2,100 lbs empty.  I never really felt undertrucked with the KB behind me, but stopping definitely required some brainpower, planning and finesse.  I was immediately much more comfortable with the Shadow behind me - braking with it felt like I was just braking the truck.  1,400 fewer pounds also means less wear and tear on my 12 year old truck and slightly better gas mileage, too.

Grate dropped.

I had planned to buy one brand new from the dealership because they're extremely cheap as far as new trailers go, but then the local Shadow dealer raffled one off at a backyard Western show in my area earlier this summer.  I figured the raffle trailer would turn up for sale sooner or later because I think I'm the only person on the planet that wants a one horse trailer.

Brrrrrrand new.

The raffle trailer did show up for sale, and I was the only person who called about it (told ya!).  I ended up getting it for $2,000 less than I was going to pay the dealer.  Brand new with every option I wanted, and a seven year warranty plus a two year tire warranty.

Factory insulated roof!  I was going to DIY this, very glad I don't have to!

The dressing room has slightly less square footage than my old one, so I need to maximize available space by mounting everything I can on the walls, which sounds like a party to my organization-obsessed self.  But that's a subject for another post!

Boot for scale.  I can stand comfortably underneath that saddle rack, I have no idea why it was mounted so high.  Good thing I don't ride Western.

So there you go.  It's not the trailer for everyone, and I don't blame you if you think I'm crazy, but I'm in love with it.  I can't wait to use it the next two weekends!

Anyone else ever considered or known someone with a one horse trailer?


Comparing Lunging and Riding with Equisense

I got the Equisense a couple of weeks ago, but given that I couldn't use it at the show and then Connor got a week almost completely off, I've only just now started to get to use it.

The real value of the thing will come when I have enough rides to compare and view trends and anomalies over time.  But so far, what I've found most interesting is the difference between when I'm lunging and when I'm riding.  I've been capturing both as separate "sessions" so I can see them clearly.

This was my first ride back after Connor's week off.


I love how it thinks he jumped something.  I mean, all four feet did leave the ground, but it was a sassy half-assed buck.


Ooooh boy.  I knew I favored the right side but I had no idea it was this bad until I got this data.



Besides the fact that we are not ambiturners, (ha.  ha...), I'm interested in how much more elevated his front end is without me on his back, and how all of his stride frequency numbers are higher without me on his back.  Obviously higher stride frequency is not always a good thing, what we really want is more suspension and fewer strides, but uh, we're not there yet.  Right now, the reduced stride numbers correlate to what NK referred to as "something about the way you sit on him shuts his engine down."

It's going to be really interesting to see what else this thing shows me!


Product Review: Ariat Ladies' Gridwork 1/2 Zip Top

I've gotten a couple of new winter riding shirts lately, and I wanted to review them before it got cold so you could add them to your wishlist!  This is review 1 of 2.

A while back, I started riding in real breeches because I was finally ready to adult ride in pants with belt loops, and also because I could not say no to these colors:

Stock photo from Dover because I'm lazy.
I really should review these too...

But when your only breeches are blue and purple, you start to realize there are very few shirts out there that go with them.  Oops.  So I started hunting for a 2-3 season shirt that I could wear with both pairs, casual enough for every day but classy enough for clinics.

I immediately liked the Ariat Ladies' Gridwork 1/2 zip top at Dover, even though the stock lay-flat photo tells you literally nothing about how the thing will fit.

Stock photo from Dover

But it's $89, which is about four times as much as I've ever paid for a riding shirt, haha.  So I spent hours scouring the Internet for something I liked as much that was cheaper.  And I finally had to admit this was The One.  So I bought it, and I am SO glad I did.

This photo shows the color the truest of all the photos in this post.  The rest of the photos were taken in our kitchen with orange LED Edison bulbs.

The price may be expensive, but the cost-per-wear is going to be super low: I am going to LIVE in this shirt at least six months out of the year.  It's super warm without being stifling, as comfortable as pajamas, and I also wore it to an outdoor non-horsey party, and my husband said, "Wow, that shirt looks amazing, is that new?"  not knowing it was a riding shirt.

Comfortable riding clothes that my husband finds attractive?  Yes please!

As far as fit goes, it's flattering without being super tight.  I'm wearing an XS, and as usual, it's not really made for a petite XS with the shoulders being sliiiiiightly too wide and the sleeves sliiiiiightly too long, but it's doable.

But you know what helps with too long sleeves?

Thumbholes.  This shirt has them.

This shirt's secret weapon, though, is the "gridwork" part of the name.  It's called that because it has the same fluffy grid-like heat trapping system as my beloved Underarmour 4.0:

Took a picture of the underside because I couldn't be bothered to take it off to write this review....which should tell you how much I love this shirt.

It's not nearly as warm as my Underarmour 4.0, but it's way warmer than a shirt like this would be without the "grid".  It's not windproof, so you'll want a vest or undershirt to go with it when it gets colder.  Dover expects you to wear the below vest with it, as shown in the photo below, which I've seen in real life and was not crazy about:

Stock photo from Dover website

It works tucked or untucked, although with the world's shortest torso, I do find I have a little more material tucked into my breeches than I'd like.  Short people problems.

Shown untucked with yoga pants

Bottom line: I've got some minor short-person fit annoyances with this shirt, but that won't keep it from being tied for favorite cold-weather shirt in my closet.  I anticipate it being comfortable to wear by itself between 40-60F, and at colder temperatures with additional layering.

What: Ariat Ladies' Gridwork 1/2 Zip Top
Price: Currently $89.95, Dover Saddlery exclusive (sigh)
Sizes: XS through XL
Colors: Caponata Heather, Oatmeal Heath (Oatmeal Heather shown in this review)

Disclaimer: I bought this shirt with my own hard earned cash and was not compensated or influenced by Ariat  or Dover for this review.


Winter 2017 Clip #1

I've been trying to hold off on clipping for so long.  Normally I clip after October 15th, and while I'm still the first to go every year in my barn, at least that usually gets us to where he can wear a sheet 24/7 and not need a million blanket changes.

Not this year.

That's the forecast for October 13, 14 and 15.  Wow.

Last Saturday I woke up to sunny skies, a high in the 80's and a stiff breeze - aka, weather that would dry my Yak super fast after the bath I'd give him before I clipped.  And I looked at the forecast - more 80's for the foreseeable future (CRAZY).  And my decision was made.

Drying after his bath
With two sets of blades freshly sharpened by my local clipper guy, it took me less than 45 minutes to give him his first (and not last) buzz of the year.

He's a lot darker under there this year as a result of being on night turnout all summer.  And my favorite part of clipping him: the dapples.

Now I'll feel a lot better about riding him in this heat.


Trailer Sold

You know, it's weird.  I've been tossing around the idea of selling this trailer for a year.  Had it listed for a solid four or five months.  And then during my last haul with it last Saturday, I got weirdly emotional about it.

My "trailer twin" (the wife of the guy that works on my trailer) parked next to me for laughs at IDS championships last weekend.

Maybe because it belonged to JenJ.  Maybe because it was so nice of her to sell it to me for a great price at a time when I needed one and did not have a lot of spare change lying around.

Maybe because it was my first trailer, and there's nothing quite like the freedom of hitting the open road with your horse behind you anytime you want.

Maybe because I put so much into fixing it up, both sweat equity and actual equity.

Maybe it's because that trailer gave me the freedom to pull the trigger on changing barns, to feel independent of my trainer, and to start taking NK lessons.  All that's really been life changing, and none of it would have happened without this trailer.

Selling it was the right decision for me, but it was the end of an era.  As I signed over the title on Saturday and watched the new owners (a pair of local eventers who are adult amateurs, mothers and career women, go them!) drive it away, I was a little sad. 

Brrrr I get cold just thinking about what it was like pressure washing the lichens off the roof in March.

It was an amazing first trailer, and it was the trailer I always dreamed of owning.  Two horse straight load with escape doors and a dressing room.  White.  Doesn't get much better than that.  Towed like a dream.

But it was pushing the edge of what I was comfortable towing with my half ton, especially in terms of tongue weight and over hills, even though I never had issues with it.  It was starting to need more maintenance as it aged..  And it was too big for Connor, with the chest bar hitting him squarely in the neck.

(He also developed this really endearing habit of popping the warmblood height butt bar out EVERY. SINGLE. TRIP.  Grrrr.)

Call it what it is: a neck bar.

I could have made it work and fixed pretty much every issue I had with it with time and money, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to downsize.  Reduce the wear and tear on my 12 year old truck and have less to maintain both now and in the future.  My crazy job is not going to slow down anytime soon, and I'm all about simplifying to accommodate that right now.

New trailer owner's daughter didn't say much, but stood there giggling and beaming for 10 straight minutes feeding Connor cookies and letting him lick her arm continuously.  SO CUTE.  Face blacked out to protect the innocent.

Now it's time to get the next one!


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