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Betty’s Customs

I am not crafty. I love to read DIY blogs about all the fabulous things people make, like ribbon belts or Christmas ornaments, but it’s just not a talent I have. I’m always a teeny, tiny bit jealous looking at the beautiful things that some people can make.

But I do know someone who is very, very crafty. She has loads of experience making all manner of equine-related items. We joke about opening an Etsy store all the time, and I might be a little bit biased, but I’m pretty sure she could quit her day job and make a ton of money. So who is this amazing artist? My mother.

Betty’s Customs (my mother’s future Etsy store) has been hard at work perfecting the art of equine inspired crafts for many, many years. Growing up, I showed 4-H in all manner of classes, including western and she made almost all of my western outfits. Slinkies, vests, Showmanship Jackets — you name it, she made it. Custom for me!

She shined in the costume class at County Fair,  where she made numerous fabulous costumes for horse and rider including BatHorse and BatGirl, Pirate and Parrot, and Pink Panther and Inspector Clouseau.

Alterations? No problem! When I bought the widest horse known to man, she altered blankets to fit him. When I bought new show shirts with sleeves that hung down to my ankles, she fixed them.

Today, she’s specializing in horse clothes of all manner. Alterations or custom items for the hard-to-fit horse is her specialty.

Need some examples? Her latest endeavors included many of Miles’ Christmas gifts, including recycling an old slinky into a shoulder guard, the fabulous custom quarter sheet and five matching ear bonnets for all of Miles’ barn friends (pictured left). They’re not quite De La Coeur, but damn they’re a helluva lot cheaper!

I’m currently trying to convince her that we need an embroidery machine so we can put my initials and Miles’ name on every single saddle pad I own. And maybe some of my show shirt collars.

Her next project is all things wedding though, including lace applique shoes, gift card box and escort card holders. I told her that she’s at least picking areas of expertise where people are used to a huge markup! I mean, face it, if it’s for a wedding or a horse, it costs at least 20% more.

So if you could have one thing custom-made for your horse, what would it be? 

Christmas Loot

For me, the holidays is about more than just receiving a bunch of gifts from everyone I know. It’s really an excuse to get time off work and spend it visiting family and eating lots of good food. My favorite part of the holidays though is watching everyone open the gifts I bought them, and seeing their reaction.

My favorite this year was my Mom. The three of us kids sent her on an adventure, following ribbon draped throughout the entire house, to find her final Christmas present. It was pretty funny! You can watch the entire video here, if you really want. (Spoiler: her present was a 2500 piece Lord of the Rings Lego set)

I’m also starting to really enjoy seeing the presents my “children” (Rocky and Miles) receive. And let me tell you, my family made sure Miles’ first Christmas with us was one to remember! I think out of everyone he got the most presents:
  • Oster ClipMasters
  • Custom Quarter Sheet
  • Custom Shoulder Guard
  • Ear Bonnet in barn colors
  • Nameplates x5 and Halter Tag
  • 2 lbs of Peppermints
Custom shoulder guard because he was getting rubs from his blanket… and he has a baby neck so store-bought doesn’t fit. Of course!

 

Custom ear bonnet in Brookside colors: Yellow, Navy and Hunter Green!

 

Custom, reversible Quarter Sheet!
What did your pony get for Christmas this year? 

Thank You Equine Snob & Fancy Pony

After spending the holidays with my side of the family, I returned to a wonderful and fabulous gift via the Equestrian Gift Exchange from Equine Snob (and Fancy Pony!). I probably would have received it a little sooner, but somehow our leasing office lost my phone number… and Sam’s phone number… yeah.

I digress, back to the excitement! So I arrived home to this wonderfully wrapped package, and since I’d read about others receiving theirs, I remembered to whip out my phone for some amazingly high-quality hopefully decent cell phone pics.

As soon as I ripped through the paper (yes, I’m a ripper!) I saw that it was a box from SmartPak and I ripped faster. In my excitement I did not get photos of the carnage… but it probably would have been rated NC-17 anyways.

Inside everything was individually wrapped! Plus there was candy, so Sam was quite pleased. I’m pretty sure the exact sentiment was “Oh, you must write about me all the time since they know my favorite candy!” Yeah, right. Uh huh.

So pretty! And earned me bonus points with the fiance. 

Being the responsible adult I am, I opened the card first. It was very sweet — and I appreciated the note so, so much. I’m so glad everyone is enjoying this little gift exchange so much and it means a lot to know that I am making connections all over the country. So thank you, Equine Snob!!

Next I quickly opened the first blue package and was SO freaking excited to receive a bottle of Higher Standards Saddle Soap (in Ben’s Rosemary Mint)! Everyone in the blogosphere has been raving about this stuff for months now and I’ve been dying to try it. I opened it and the smell was so wonderful I almost left it open next to bed all night… almost.

I also got two AWESOME pairs of Zocks (well, not that brand, but riding socks). I absolutely love the patterns: pink plaid and blue English bits! I have an obsession with fun colored riding socks… it’s kind of intense. I can’t wait to try them out soon!!

So thank you, thank you, thank you, Equine Snob and Fancy Pony for the wonderful gifts!

Christmas Loot!

On a side note, I want to thank each and every one of you who participated in the gift exchange this year! I wasn’t sure how well it would be received, but it’s been so much fun to organize the whole thing and read about all the fun things people got.

Miles Walking

2014 Goals

I’m finishing up my Year in Review Mini Series by looking toward the future. Last year I got to the party late, but I really enjoyed creating goals for myself and working towards them all year. I learned a lot about myself and about how to set myself up for success through the process of quarterly reviews.

With that said, I picked my 2014 goals very precisely. Many of them go hand in hand, so I think they set me up to be successful, once I begin to accomplish them. I’ve also expanded into some additional categories, so we’ll see how that goes. So, without further ado, here are my 2014 Goals:

Tracy’s Riding Goals

  • Increase flexibility (hamstrings, right ankle)
  • Increase Leg Strength
  • Improve Flat Position, with a straight line from shoulders to hips to heels
  • Improve Jumping Position, with more break over at the hips
  • Consistently jump 2’6” in lessons
  • Show 2’6”

As you can see, each goal really lends itself to helping me accomplish the next. I also kept my goals less about showing, as I know with the wedding, my show season will be spotty at best, and more about personal improvement.

Miles Sept 2013

Miles’ Goals

  • Improve lengthening and shortening within all 3 gaits
  • Improve balance, especially through tighter turns
  • Increase stamina/power to the left
  • Gain more muscling in neck and topline

I don’t really have that many goals for Miles — he’s a pretty finished horse. But I would like to improve a few things (at least marginally). Most of these goals will be accomplished through general conditioning, so it’s nothing Earth shattering… I guess I’m better at making goals for myself than my horse, haha.

Personal Goals

  • Stick to a workout plan
  • Learn portion control
  • Increase core strength
  • Lose 25 pounds
  • Create a more inclusive budget
Again, I organized my personal goals so that accomplishing one lends itself to accomplishing another. Maybe a more lock-step program will help me cross a few more things off the list. Most of these are fitness related; hopefully less distractions will force me to focus on the issue and make positive changes in my life.
More on the last goal in another post, but the jist is my budget is an ever-evolving creature, and I’m slightly obsessed with knowing where every penny is.
bucket list

Bucket List

  • Win a blue ribbon with Miles
  • Win a division champion with Miles
  • Show in a 2’6″ Equitation Over Fences class
  • Show in a Hunter Derby/Special Class
  • Go to an A-Rated show
  • Go to an overnight (for me) show
  • Ride on the beach
  • Trail ride with Sam
A new category for 2014! Part of the reason I like yearly goals, with quarterly reviews, is that it creates a deadline and a sense of urgency. But for some things, that urgency is a bad thing. Next year I hope to move up a division, and I don’t expect to be particularly competitive. Hell, I don’t even want to show until I’m ready to move up and that could mean showing in May or not until October. So basically, while I do have dreams (and eventual goals) of placing well and winning lots of satin, I don’t want to say that it’s a goal for next year.
Thus the bucket list! This way I have my showing dreams written down, as well as a few miscellaneous horse-related dreams.

Tack Wishlist

  • Close contact saddle
  • Stirrup leathers from Gary Mundy
  • Shaped fleece pad that fits my new saddle
  • Liquid Leather Spanish top Tall Boots
  • Helmet with removable, machine wash liner
  • Tailored Sportsman Breeches
  • New hunt coat
My final new category for this year! I must admit, that the point of this category is two-fold: (1) to help me budget my tacks “wants” throughout the year and (2) as motivation to accomplish my goals. Some items on the list (like the saddle and leathers) are more immediate needs, yet I still want to include them in my budget. Putting them down will help me incorporate them into my financial planning.
Other items, like new tall boots and TS breeches are wants — I don’t need them. But if I accomplish some of my goals… such as losing weight, I will probably need them since the old ones might not fit. Plus then I can reward myself with pretty things.
So, there you have it! What are your goals for 2014? 
Miles Trot Under Saddle Sept 2013

Year in Review: Q4 Goals

In case you missed it….

Year in Review: Month by Month
Year in Review: Statistics


The next step in my Year in Review mini series is my final review of goals. I created 2013 goals when I first (re)started Fly On Over in April, so I missed out on doing a Q1 Review, but you can read my Q2 Review, as well as my Q3 Review.

Riding and Showing Goals

  • Attend 5 – 6 shows June-October
    I attended a total of 8 shows this year, exceeding my goal! I’m really proud of myself for sticking it out, even though I wasn’t winning ribbons and Vinnie was rather difficult at times. I attended three schooling shows, two Delaware Showtime, Two Equivents and one New Vocations charity show.
  • Attend a show in October
    This is probably the goal I am most excited about accomplishing! After changing jobs, I wanted to be able to finish out the show season, something I hadn’t been able to do before. In the end, not only was I able to show in October, I was able to show Miles for the very first time.
  • Improve at each show
    I officially crossed this goal off the list in my Q3 Review because I didn’t want any pressure at my first show with Miles. But I should have known better — I rode my very best rounds of the year at October Equivents, and my placings proved that I was a serious contender. So I’m concluding this goal with a big fat HELL YEAH!
  • Win a chair 
    This definitely didn’t happen, especially since I didn’t win a blue ribbon all year. But you know what they say: if your dreams are easy, they aren’t big enough. So I’m definitely going to keep some version of this goal intact for 2014.
  • Show Diamond
    Unfortunately, this goal also didn’t happen and it probably won’t ever get accomplished. I love Diamond, she’s a phenomenal horse, but she’s just too much for me. Too much jump, too much energy.
  • Lesson Diamond at 2’6″
    Well, I’m going to cross this goal half off. I have started jumping 2’6″ in lessons, but obviously not on Diamond. And I’m totally fine with that. Plus, the point was that I wanted to move up and jump bigger jumps, and I’m totally starting to do that.
  • Improve my foundation, with equal weight in my legs at all times
    Okay, so the “at all times” might not be quite there, but my foundation is greatly improved. I am holding my position over fences much better, and my right leg is more secure. I still have improvements to be made in this area, so while I’m crossing it off as accomplished, look for similar goal in 2014.
  • Consistently keep my core tight
    My core is much stronger, and my recovery after fences is proof of this. The spirit of this goal was improvement, so I’m crossing it off as well. Of course, it’s still not quite as good as I would like it, so again, more fitness goals will be resurging next year!

Miles Trot Under Saddle Sept 2013

Personal Goals

  • Stay on budget
    It’s not quite the end of the year yet, so final budget numbers are still a bit murky. I did, however, stay 110% on track with lessons, showing and horse purchase in terms of budget. Buying things for said new horse might have been a bit over what I anticipated, but I’ve yet to buy something I didn’t need, so I guess that’s something. Overall, a success and I’m looking forward to incorporating some new budget ideas for next year.
  • Lose 10 lbs
    Big fat fail. So very disappointed in myself over this, but I never committed to losing weight and I never made it a priority. Bad, bad Tracy!
  • Visit Atlanta
    Also didn’t happen. This trip might be one of those things that I just have to do, because I don’t think it’s ever going to feel like the right time. Things to mull over, I suppose.
  • Work on my communication via email
    I’ve seen improvement in the way I express myself through email; I’m more concise and professional. Partly because I send emails to professional people who aren’t crazy. But whatever, it still counts as personal improvement in my book!
  • Find a diet that works for me
    Well… I didn’t really find a diet, but I have found foods that I enjoy that are healthier, such as Greek yogurt and popcorn. I just need to work on my portion control, and eating more vegetables. So… semi-success?
  • Create and stick to a workout planFail. Epic fail. I worked out for a while but then I got lazy. I have some ideas of things that might work well, (like at-home DVDs and walking) but I didn’t stick to anything long enough to create a new habit.
  • Finish Visa’s corner
    Finally another personal goal I achieved! Visa’s corner is finished, it looks awesome and I love it. It might be hidden by Christmas presents right now, but it’s so nice to have a wonderful space at home for him. He deserves it.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Fly On Over’s Year in Review mini series, where we begin to look to the future!