Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Letter Art: Logo


After reading Pretty Much Everything by Draplin, I have been fiddling with the idea of a logo for the blog. Clearly, I am not about to put professional graphic designers out of business. Ah well, at least I don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses.


Draplin Design Co.: Pretty Much Everything
by Aaron James Draplin
(Abrams 2016)

Image, minus border, from the website.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

My Next Reading Assignment

This is not a review, nor a recommendation. I have not read the book yet. I bought it because of a Facebook post.


Brain Training for Riders: Unlock Your Riding Potential with StressLess Techniques for Conquering Fear, Improving Performance, and Finding Focused Calm
Andrea Monsarrat Waldo
(Trafalgar Square 2016)

Trainer: Horse is cutting in on the corner.
Me: He is spooking at the shadow, snow falling off the roof, phase of the moon.

This was always taken as a complaint or an excuse on my part. Not the case. It seems to me that the first step in solving a problem is knowing the cause. Is the horse diving left because I am inadvertently hauling on the left rein? Then I should stop doing so. If the horse is diving left to avoid gremlins on the right, my response needs to be different.

I like that the book acknowledges that behavior can start with the horse. Still up to me to fix the problem, granted, but I am not always causing it.

I will report back. Be warned, my To Be Read pile has reached such massive proportions that it has become a black hole into which books disappear, never to be seen again.

Also in the box was the blog book from Stellar Fashion & Fitness.

Fat Girl Power: How I Built Confidence through Body Positivity, Fashion and Fitness
Jennifer King
(CreateSpace 2016)

Full of personal stories and lessons I hope others will find useful and inspiring. Fat Girl Power: The Book

Doing my part to support local bloggers.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Foto Friday: Predawn



Milton waits in hope of an early breakfast.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Milton’s Practice Cart

Driving Thursday




Greg built practice shafts out of PVC pipes and a set of lawnmower wheels. It’s light, maneuverable, and doesn’t cost $100s of dollars if Milton declines be a driving horse with a violent hissy fit.

So far, Milton has accepted all of the introductory exercises. We have not rolled the shafts to either side of him, nor hitched. We need a third set of hands for the former, and expert supervision for the latter.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

New Equipment: Whip

Saddle Seat Wednesday






Snowbee dressage whip from Carousel Tack Shoppe.

Lost at show (I always bring two). Replaced. Amazed to see how worn the old one had gotten.

I’m not beating horses with them, I promise. The whip is used lightly on the horse’s shoulder to indicate the canter depart: tip (the head) & tap (the shoulder). Although, I am more likely to use outside rein-outside leg as canter aids. I tend toward leg before hand.

Speaking of outside rein and not being in hunterland, for years I was told never to use the jumping bat/dressage whip on the shoulder. Always behind the saddle. The idea was to motivate the horse forward. One of so many reasons I am not in Kansas anymore.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Feed Adventures, Part 2 of 2

What do you do when it’s the Monday before Thanksgiving and you are on your last bag of feed? You panic and call every feed store in central Alabama.

My bad. I let the supply get low. In my defense, we went through it faster than we had initially calculated and the store that promised to order more did not. They are dead to us.

As my calls went further and further afield, the feed stores had less and less variety. Until I arrived at one store that had no stock. They ordered as needed. Half of the places I called offered to order for us. Yes, fine. I have an order in at the local co-op. It arrives a week from Friday. That doesn’t help me NOW.

Stop. Regroup. I need to be heading toward population centers rather than away. Unfortunately, the towns likely to carry interesting feeds are at least a two-hour drive.

If I’m gonna spend all day driving to get feed (and grateful to have that option), why don’t we combine the car drive with a driving lesson? Plus, Franklin, TN, is the type of horsey area that would stock yuppy feed.

I was right. Of the two feed stores in town, one had 4 bags, the other had 11. Coach Kate kindly offered to buy it for us. In fact, I was halfway through my song and dance when she said, “You’re working up to ask me to go get some.” Yes, Ma’am.

Was she free over the weekend for a lesson? Well, no. She was busy Friday through Sunday. They didn’t have plans for Thanksgiving. Why didn’t we come up Thursday? That’ll work. We don’t generally make holiday plans and the horses had enough excess on board that they could handle tight rations for a few days.

So that’s what we did. We drove up to Franklin, had a lesson, ate lunch with friends, and came home with a backseat full of feed. (Thank you!) On our 20th wedding anniversary, we did a 40-mile bike around NYC. Playing with horses on Thanksgiving was positively normal. For us.

Props also to the nice man from Triple Crown. While I worked the local angle, Greg called the company directly. The sales rep was able to find two bags headed to one of the stores I had already called. We could pick up them on Saturday. Fine by us. Better feast than famine.

A beautiful sight.

A beautiful sight.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Feed Adventures, Part 1 of 2



We are messing with feed again. We are now feeding Triple Crown Naturals.

When I got back from Nationals [Show Tweets], I noticed that Milton had become NQR while I was away. He was super itchy, his skin felt every so slight inflamed, and one of his bumps had sprouted a bump. Something was wrong in his world.

Mathilda used to be picky about where we bought her food. She was on Purina Omolene 100. This is a huge company that sells feed all over the country. A bag is a bag is a bag, no? No.

In the summer, we could buy from either feed store. In the winter, we could buy it from T-store. If we bought it from C-store, Mathilda refused to eat it. No one at either store would confirm a difference, but she was adamant, so we humored her.

In her defense, a) the bag tags were different and b) my feed researcher tells me that Purina gives a nutrition guarantee but not an ingredient guarantee.

Now is right about the time of year that Mathilda would hold her food protest. Could that be it? At the driving clinic [Weekend], Greg overheard anecdotal discussion of soy allergies. Why not give that a try. We ordered a bag, due in 4 days. Meanwhile, we bought a new bag of Purina Omolene 100 from the Mathilda-approved location. Bingo.

Purina Omolene 100 from C-store
Purina Omolene 100 from T-store
Immediate, noticeable improvement in Milton.

Since it was on order, we went ahead with the switch to Triple Crown Naturals. Perhaps even the “approved” Purina Omolene 100 still had small amounts of whatever-the-hell. We could always go back. We switched Rodney over also. He’s been fine with whatever we feed him, once we got him off the hi-test [Square One]. However, if Milton will react badly to a feed, I don’t want it in the field where he can steal bites of it.

They have been on the new feed for two weeks now. No one is worse. Not itchy. Not crazy. We think we see positive trends in body and brain for both of them, but we are as prone to wishful thinking as anyone else. They are ridiculously shiny, but probably from the oils and additives that get chucked into expensive feeds. They are working well, but that could be from unrelated factors. Correlation is not causation.

Purina Omolene 100 from T-store
Triple Crown Naturals
Less clear. At least equal, possibly better, in both.

We are going to stay with the new feed for a while.

I am not happy about the non-GMO designation. There is way too much food alarmism in the world today. However, it’s the way we found to test the soy-free theory.

Nor am I advocating food allergies as a source of all problems. Purina is a great feed. We’ve used it for years. However, we appear to have been gifted with two of the world’s most sensitive equine stomachs.

One other nice thing about Purina is that everyone sells it. You can always find a bag. I was not looking forward to using a feed that would be hard to find.

On that bit of subtle foreshadowing, I leave you until tomorrow.

Feed Posts
Milton has been sensitive to feed before. The switch to Purina Omolene 100 had been working. Soy sensitivity was mentioned. There was an interlude of alfalfa cubes somewhere in here. I was never behind the experiment, so I don’t think I reported it.
Meanwhile Back at the Ranch: Feed
Feed Bag Comparison
Clean Cups!
& for your amusement
The Mysterious Secret To Opening Feed Bags

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott