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SmartPak Blankets Review

Product Review: SmartPak Blankets

SmartPak Deluxe High Neck BlanketProduct Details

SmartPak Ultimate Turnout Sheet & SmartPak Deluxe High Neck Heavyweight
Retail Price: $179.95
What I Paid: Full retail
Purchased: Sept. 16, 2013

The Review

When I bought Miles, I discovered he needed new blankets because none of mine fit. So I looked around, and settled on SmartPak’s Ultimate Sheet & Deluxe Heavyweight, mostly because they got great reviews and were budget friendly. They arrived and fit true to size; Miles measured a 78″ and that’s what I bought. I liked the quality of the material, and the front closure system is well-designed and offers a lot of fitting adjustment. Read More

Viva Carlos Blog Hop: Our Commericial Moment

In the hopes of accomplishing the first step toward sobriety, I will admit to being a a complete and total tack ho recently. From my first 2014 Goals Review post, you see the only category I’m really succeeding in is the “spend all the money to buy all the things.” Oops.

And the fact that my Rolex Bachelorette Party coming up (17 days and counting!) isn’t really helping to tone down the spending. I mean… half the point of the entire trip is to buy stuff!

Anyways, all that means this topic is particularly pertinent for me: time to get back to reality and buy stuff that I actually need.

“What are you buying next? Not your “Wish I could” list but your actual practical pony shopping list. And if its a high ticket item you are saving for what is it and when do you expect to order/get it?”


Well, let’s see. My list is pretty run of the mill, consisting mostly of restocking some items.

  • Replacement IRH Helmet
  • Fly Spray
  • Dewormer (if needed)
And… that’s about it. Miles is getting a fecal test done this week or next, so I should know soon if he needs any type of dewormer. Jesus, that’s a small list! Well… that was mundane. Let’s spice it up!
Ogilvy Jumper Half Pads
Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t cheat a little bit, so I also put together an “inbetween” list. These things are somewhere in the gray area… not absolute necessity, but not totally frivolous either… at least, that’s what I tell myself to help me sleep better at night.
  • Ogilvy Hunter Half Pad
  • EquiFuse Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Hoof  conditioner/polish (anyone have a favorite brand?)
  • Flexible water scraper

Two Saddles for Sale

This weekend is our big Annual Meeting at work, so I’ve been pretty crazy (as in running around like a chicken with my head cut off), so not only do I not have any bareback photos for you yet, I also don’t have any riding news… because I haven’t ridden.
I managed to sneak out and give Miles his first bath of 2014 on Tuesday (yippee!), which he did not enjoy… although he does smell much better. After he dried, he got the full spa treatment including painted toes, clipped muzzle and a trained mane. And then I stuffed him full of cookies in an effort to make up for my cruel and unusual torture. I’m sure he’s enjoying a few days off, although it’s been raining, so less turnout. Sad panda.
Anyways, in order to continue funding my habit, I’m selling some stuff! Most of it has been posted before, so check out my Sale Page for more info on those items. And feel free to send me an offer — I’m open to negotiating (a lot) to get this stuff out of my house. Anyways, I added two big items: saddles! Here’s the details:

Albion Kontrol

Used Albion Kontrol, wide (maybe xwide) tree (see gullet measurement below) with 17.5 seat.

Deep seat for increased stability and balance, as well as soft, squishy knee rolls. Large moveable front blocks and fixed rear blocks.

The saddle has cosmetic wear, but all stitching and leather is in good condition. Purchased used from an Albion dealer, current owner rode 3-4 times a week for approx. 3 years. Kept in heated tack room and always covered; cleaned and lightly oiled religiously.

Asking $2,000 OBO

Albion Kontrol Saddle for Sale

M. Toulouse Annice

Used M. Toulouse Annice with 17″ seat and wide tree. Saddle has both front and rear blocks.

This saddle is only two years old and in excellent condition. Comes with original saddle cover, but no leathers or irons.

Asking $800 + shipping

M Toulouse Annice for Sale

Questions, comments, concerns? Comment or send me an email: tbidwell614(at)gmail(dot)com.

Viva Carlos Blog Hop Junk in my Trunk

Viva Carlos Blog Hop: The Junk in My Trunk

I have a really small trunk, which means that really my junk is all over the place… although I do try to keep it restricted to one corner. I have to say, this has been the most productive blog hop topic L Williams has come up with so far because not only did it spur me to clean and organize my corner, I also got rid of empty bottles and brought some winter stuff home. Yippee!

Also, now that I’ve cataloged all my junk, I’ve realized that I may might a hoarder. Anyone else have a similar feeling? LOL

Anyways, here’s my junk:


  • Professional’s Choice Neoprene Girth
  • Lettia Coolmax Fleece Girth
  • Extra Nylon Halter
  • Wool Championship Cooler
  • Various saddle pads
  • Various half pads
  • Prestige Meredith Saddle
  • Lunge Line
  • Chambon
  • Pinnacle Bridle with D-Ring Snaffle
  • Vespucci Bridle with Happy Mouth D-Ring
  • Pinnacle Standing Martingale

My equipment


  • 101 Arena Exercises Book
  • No Bow Wraps and Standing Bandages (currently at home in the wash)
  • Peppermints
  • Gloves
  • Extra hair ties and hair nets
  • Spurs
  • Slow Twist D-Ring
  • Bag O’ Rags
  • Grooming Bag


  • Eskadron Bell Boots
  • Roma Open Front Boots
  • Roma Ankle Boots
  • 2 soft brushes, 1 hard brush
  • Face curry and Curry mit
  • Hoof pick
  • Hair brush
  • Scissors

My tack trunk


  • Clipper box with Oster Clippermasters and Andis Trimmers (plus accouterments)
  • Bucket of Stud Muffins
  • Bag of Carrots
  • Small bucket
  • Tall boots
  • Helmet
  • Plastic Cabinet O’ Stuff
  • Wooden Grooming Box


  • Pyhrana Fly Spray
  • Laser Sheen
  • MTG
  • Healthy HairCare
  • Betadine
  • ThrushBuster
  • Effax Cleaner
  • QuicSilver
  • Abraxas Shampoo
  • Vetrolin Shine Shampoo
  • Head & Shoulder Shampoo
  • Crops and Whips
  • Sweat scraper


  • Miscellaneous First Aid
  • Extra Bell Boots & Lead Rope
  • Ear Bonnets Galore
  • Tack Cleaning Supplies (Higher Standards Soap, Prestige Leather Balm and Effax Lederbalsm)

My plastic cabinet of stuff

Not pictured: all my blankets (which live in an empty stall and include 2 heavy weights, a medium and 2 sheets) as well as the stuff I took home (blanket liner, large cooler, 2 quarter sheets and a heated water bucket). Damn. I have a lot of stuff for just one horse. Which is sad, considering I only talked about the stuff I have at the barn… not the stuff that lives in my “second bedroom”, Sam’s Mom’s Basement or my parent’s house…

soccer goal

Quarterly Review of Goals – 2014 Q1

Wow, I can hardly believe that it’s April, and time for my first quarterly review of goals! My first impression is that I’m not doing very well, but I guess we’ll see. Here goes nothing:

Tracy’s Riding Goals

  • Increase flexibility (hamstrings, right ankle)
    Well… my right ankle has been more flexible lately, and I’ve focused on sinking my weight down into my heels when I ride. I’ve also been more cognizant of my weaker ride side, so I think that part of the goal is coming along. Hamstrings… I haven’t worked on. 
  • Increase Leg Strength
    Now that I’m riding more (because it’s warmer than 10 degrees) my leg strength is improving, but it’s definitely not where it needs to be, and it’s not stronger than last summer. I need to up the ante and dedicate part of every ride to this goal. 
  • Improve Flat Position, with a straight line from shoulders to hips to heels
    I have not worked on this, at all. Okay, well I’ve been trying to stretch up through my core a bit, but I really need to try harder. 
  • Improve Jumping Position, with more break over at the hips
    Um, epic fail so far this year. 
  • Consistently jump 2’6” in lessons
    I have started to jump bigger jumps in lessons, albeit slowly. So, still a work in progress.
  • Show 2’6”
    No shows, so nope. 

hunter derby gate obstacle

Miles’ Goals 

  • Improve lengthening and shortening within all 3 gaits
    We’ve started to incorporate this in the last few rides, and it’s starting to come along, especially at the trot. I need to begin working at the walk and canter as well. So at least progress is being made here. 
  • Improve balance, especially through tighter turns
    Minimal work has been done here. Must do more circles! 
  • Increase stamina/power to the left
    We have good days and bad days with this… but I think once the weather breaks, I’ll really be able to work more on conditioning. 
  • Gain more muscling in neck and topline
    This has been one area of improvement! Miles’ neck is looking so much stronger, it’s thicker and (gasp) actually has muscle! His topline is also coming right along, and while I’m hoping for continued improvement over the summer, it’s already 110% better than it was back in September. YAY FOR SUCCESS! 

Personal Goals 

  • Stick to a workout plan
    Well, I’ve been more active lately, but other than riding, I haven’t been working out much. Shame, shame, shame. 
  • Learn portion control
    I struggle at dinner time and on the weekends, but at least I have M-F breakfast and lunch under control. 
  • Increase core strength
  • Lose 25 pounds
    Double oops. 
  • Create a more inclusive budget
    Epic fail. Not only have I not changed my budget, I haven’t even done it on time each month. I need to get back into this routine ASAP. 

tennis shoes macro

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
I haven’t accomplished any of these, but that’s okay. That’s why they’re on the “bucket list” and not the “goals list.” With that said, most of these goals are horse show related, and my show season hasn’t started yet, so I haven’t even had an opportunity to check these boxes yet. 

Tack Wishlist 

  • Close contact saddle
    Bought a Prestige Meredith! 
  • Stirrup leathers from Gary Mundy
    I’m crossing this one off because I got leathers with my new saddle, so there’s really no need to buy another pair 
  • Shaped fleece pad that fits my new saddle
  • Liquid Leather Spanish top Tall Boots
  • Helmet with removable, machine wash liner
    I bough a new Samshield at the end of March, yippee! 
  • Tailored Sportsman Breeches
  • New hunt coat


I’m spending lots of money, which is evident by the fact that my Tack Wishlist is my most successful goal category. So um, yay me? But in all seriousness, I need to get back on track, and focus. This next quarter I really need to spend more time trying to improve myself and Miles during our flat rides and work harder outside of the ring to get in shape.