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rocky roo

Rocky Roo

While this blog is centered around riding and all things horse-related, I do have other animals in my life: namely my dog, Rocky. He’s ridiculously adorable and has absolutely no idea that’s he’s a dog. Seriously. If you say “Where’s the dog?” he will completely ignore you. But if you ask “Where’s the baby?” he will come running. 

If you follow me on instagram, you will quickly notice that almost all of my photos are of my dog. He does lots of exciting things:

Rocky sleeping upside down
He sleeps upside down
Rocky on a walk
He goes for walks 
Rocky sleeping on the couch
He snuggles on the couch
Rocky in the Cabrio
He goes for car rides! 

As you can see, it’s an exciting life. Hope you enjoyed the pic spam!

IRH ATH SSV Helmet Review

Product Review: IRH ATH SSV Riding Helmet

Product Details

Retail Price: $218.45
What I Paid: $152.95 at SmartPak
Purchased: June 11, 2012

The Review

I believe that protecting your noggin is very, very important. Thus, I am pretty diligent about replacing my helmet after one hard fall or every five years; whichever comes first. My previous IRH hit the five year mark, so I went searching for a replacement. I was most interested in three brands: IRH, GPA and Charles Owen. While I loved the look of the GPA Titanium, at $500 the price was just too steep; and the Charles Owen helmets just looked atrocious on my big block head. So I went with old faithful, and purchased another IRH. Read More

Abstract dream horse painting

Dream Horse vs. Reality Horse

I am the Queen of Lists. I love to make them and cross things off — mostly for the fact that if I don’t write it down, I will forget it, almost immediately. But I also enjoy the satisfaction I get from crossing things off. It really helps me visualize my progress — whether it’s my Chore List, Laundry List or Work To Do List, so far they have served me well.

Lists also help me empty my brain. Okay, I know that sounds incredibly silly, but when I have to remember a lot of little things for a while, it’s like my brain gets filled up with all that, and then I can’t focus on everything else. So when I write it down, I no longer have to remember it and then I can focus on the big picture.

So, I’ve decided to use my incredible list-making super power to (hopefully) help ease my mind about Tracy’s Great Horse Debate of 2013. Okay, it’s not really that serious, but I am stressing about my horse situation, which is unlike me. Usually I am a good decision-maker and I don’t second-guess myself very often. So I thought I’d try a list-making exercise to help me focus.

#1 The Dream Horse

If I could draw-up my absolute fantasy horse, here is what he would be:

  • Age: 7-10 Years Old
  • Height: 15.3 hh – 16.2 hh
  • Breed: Quarter Horse or Appendix
  • Gender: Gelding
  • Color: Bay with lots of chrome and excellent coat
  • Temperament:
    • Quiet both in-hand and under saddle with no spook
    • Sweet personality (likes to be groomed) and photogenic
  • Manners:
    • Clips, loads, stands for vet and farrier
    • No vices (no cribbing, weaving, etc.)
  • Movement:
    • Hack winner with smooth gaits
    • Smooth, easy jump
    • Forgiving and can take a joke
    • Automatic lead change
  • Showing:
    • Lots of experience at 2’6″ – 3′
  • Structure:
    • 100% sound with no supplements
    • Good fit for me (not too big or too small) and I feel comfortable on him
  • I get “the feeling” about him

beautiful hunter

#2 The Reality Horse

  • Age: 7-10 12 Years Old
  • Height: 15.3 hh – 16.2 hh 15.2 hh – 16.3 hh
  • Breed: Quarter Horse or Appendix
  • Gender: Prefer Gelding
  • Temperament:
    • Quiet both in-hand and under saddle with no minimal spook
    • Sweet personality (likes to be groomed) and photogenic Nice personality — not excessively grumpy or mean
  • Manners:
    • Clips, loads, stands for vet and farrier
    • No vices (no cribbing, weaving, etc.)
  • Movement:
    • Hack winner with smooth gaits Decent movement, could place in the hack at local shows
    • Smooth, easy jump
    • Forgiving and can take a joke
    • Automatic Semi-automatic lead change
  • Showing:
    • Lots of experience at 2’6″ – 3′ 
  • Structure:
    • 100% sound with no supplements Sound
    • Good fit for me (not too big or too small) and I feel comfortable on him
  • I get “the feeling” about him
  • In Budget

What do you think of the list? Is my list of must-haves still too long?

new vocations logo

New Vocations Charity Show

I was lucky enough to have a four-day weekend thanks to the holiday, so of course I spent my extra time off at a horse show! New Vocations is a well-recognized and nationally renowned Thoroughbred (and Standardbred!) adoption program located right in my backyard. Every year they host a horse show at the local county fairgrounds that we frequent for another show series. I’ve personally never attended this show, but this year, our barn took 12 horses — it was quite a party!


Overall, the show was an adventure. It poured rain all week, so schooling on Friday was exceptionally sloppy. Vinnie started off pretty full of himself on the flat, but I decided to ignore it and try to jump some jumps. And what do you know: Vinnie was a gentleman! This show used different jumps and standards than the other show series we normally attend and even on the flat, Vinnie wasn’t too keen on some of the fun wing standards. Over fences, he sucked back to a few, but I got him over every single one without a refusal. Go me!


Saturday dawned dreary and muggy and the show ran very slowly. In my ring, the schedule had hunters/equitation in the morning with jumpers in the afternoon. Normally I only show hunters — I’ve never shown equitation over fences at a real hunter/jumper show — but this show split the divisions differently, so if I wanted to show at all on Saturday, Equitation was my only choice. So I put on my big girl pants, and signed up. I told myself it would just be for fun and experience, so no worries about placings or anything of the sort.

My warm-up was wasn’t great — I chipped in a lot, and went too slowly. But I was able to learn from that round and make changes for the first over fences trip and did great! Obviously its not perfect, but for me, it was pretty darn good. Here’s the video evidence:

We ended up placing 6th out of 16 for our effort! To say that I was over-the-moon excited would be an understatement. I am so proud of myself for going out and doing it and for doing it well. My riding is definitely improving at every show and I am thinking so much more while I’m on course.

I’m not going to talk much about my second trip. We had a refusal due to rider error, but it’s all things I know I need to work on — and I am making improvements in those areas. So even though I probably should be upset about it, I’m not. I’m going to make mistakes, but overall I am riding better than I did last year and even at the first show this year.

Here is where the show went all downhill. I showed in the 4th division of the day… and I showed at 4 pm. Jumpers (all of them) ended up getting rained out. They decided to run them Sunday morning, before the regular hunter schedule in my ring.


Sunday I woke up and didn’t feel great. I meandered to the show, and Jumpers took forever. I got to watch my friends, which was a ton of fun, but I felt a migraine coming on. That, combined with the muddy ring, and I opted to scratch my hunter division. I was disappointed I didn’t show, but I wouldn’t have given Vinnie a good ride, and I really wanted to end on a good note.

wedding dress

Say Yes to the Horse

One of my guilty pleasures are sordid reality TV shows. Real Housewives? Heck yes. Keeping Up With the Kardashians? Why not?! Toddlers & Tiaras? Of course. But my all-time, hands-down favorite is Say Yes to the Dress. I just love to watch these girls parade around in gorgeous gowns while their consultant schleps dresses back and forth to the fitting room and their entourage oohs, ahhs and/or throws out horrendous insults. I mean, what’s not to love?

The best episodes are always the girls who come and want to have “the feeling.” They think they know what they want and usually come armed with a binder full of pictures. So the consultant dutifully pulls several options and the bride-to-be tries them on. And then they feel nothing: no hate, but no love. The dress is just eh. In the end, the consultant plays both therapist and miracle-worker and pulls out a dress that bride would never have thought of and they love it! And the magical “Are you saying yes to this dress?” phrase is spoken and ta-da: happily ever after!

This is me. 

With a twist, of course. I am not shopping for a wedding dress, but for a horse. And I am desperately seeking that “feeling.” But, just as our bride-to-be, I am terrified that I might not get it. I’ve tried a few horses, including one that was even almost the one.

On paper, this horse was great for me and even riding him, I felt comfortable. But for the top of my price range, I wasn’t wowed. He wasn’t a looker (not ugly, but not pretty), he was a bit grumpy on the ground as well as under saddle and he may or may not have been a mild cribber. Add that to his sticky lead change, and I moved on… although in true fashion there have been moments of waffling.

I know I’m going to have to make compromises: my budget is not unlimited… or even sizeable. But what compromises are right for me? Should “that feeling” play such a big role in my decision?