The Move Up

Until I get to walk the course Friday afternoon, my feelings about our move up to Novice are running quite the gambit. Even though I know we have been jumping at that height for some time, occasionally it still happens that I get off Jack and stand next to the fence and go:

Riding both a behemoth of a horse, and never setting the fences myself (since I don’t really jump outside of lessons these days) will do that to you I guess. My trainer believes in me though, and feels like this is totally doable. Hell- we even jumped the ditch (yes, that ditch) in our lesson the other day with minimal drama. That was a major win in and of itself, no matter how this weekend goes.

It was November of 2013 that I last went Novice, and I remember how much fun I was having, right up until I got that TE for missing a fence.

…and there it goes.

So redemption would be pretty awesome. Which is why my only goals for this show are:

  • Jump all the jumps
  • Jump them in the right order
  • Don’t fall off (pleasssse)

Besides that, I just need to remember to breathe.

PS is anyone else stupid excited about the new JP movie? I am.

Red on the Right

Welcome to the new face of House on a Hill- now Red on the Right! I hope you guys are excited as me about this change, which is really less of a change in content and more just bringing the branding of the blog in line with what’s actually written here.

This blog will still be mostly about horses, with a dash of good red wine and a tongue-in-cheek approach to life as much as possible. Hence the new tagline 🙂

The color palette has shifted as well as the graphics, mostly in order to stay tied to my other entity of BGD. My photography has been often discussed on the blog, and I plan to continue since it is an increasing part of my life, not to mention it funds the horse habit itself!

In terms of other exciting things, I’m looking forward to our first Novice next weekend. Our cross country lesson last night was a blast, and Jack was more rideable than he has been over fences in quite some time. His confidence feels like it’s growing, and you will notice there’s a distinct lack of growling from me to encourage him forward. We’ve got another showjumping lesson next Thursday, and then next Friday we head back to the Carolina Horse Park for the show!

So that’s the quick update for now! I would love to hear your thoughts on the new name and look! Otherwise- everyone have a great weekend!

Changes for House on a Hill

I have been blogging now for 5 years. Holy bejeezus guys, for FIVE YEARS I have somehow found things to prattle about to a community of people that I have [mostly] never met in real life. It’s been awesome, and I am still in awe of how amazing the blogging community has been and the incredible horsepeople I have met as a result of this little space on the web.

So don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.

Instead, I’ve simply outgrown my free little wordpress site. I guess 5 years of content, pictures, and epic animated gifs will eventually fill up 3GB of space.

Quite possibly my favorite

But then this also deserves re-sharing

It’s not always an epic fail though!

Goldenboy has a lot of gif game left in him

Ahem, anyways. Part of the deal of upgrading to an actual plan is that it includes a spiffy new domain. And since really, this blog hasn’t been about a house in a really long time, maybe it’s a good chance to rebrand.

So watch this space, as things are about to get mixed up around here!

Britt 2.0

There’s been some small updates in my own life, as you may know if you follow along on my instagram account. The most life-changing being my Lasik surgery that I had done 2 weeks ago, taking me from a -7 prescription (roughly 20/400) to no prescription at all and 20/20. My eyes still feel a little strained, and they tell me they’ll be fully healed in 3 months, but it’s exciting to be able to wake up and see first thing in the morning!

Rockin that hair net look like..

I’ve also started playing around with some new funky hair color thanks to the recommendation of a horsey friend (thanks C!) called Overtone. Since Jack has basically been eating (literally) all my money these days, I haven’t found time or cash to go get my hair done at an actual salon. So to change things up I’ve started playing around with their Rose Gold for Brown Hair line. And I’m eyeballing the Extreme Deep Purple set for a potential purple ombre look as well. Because nothing says “I’m a designer” like funky hair, right?! Pictures and process to come in a future post!

And lastly, I’m finally dragging my butt to the gym again. This isn’t a balls-to-the-wall grunting, mostly dying type routine, but a solid 30 minutes on the treadmill (mostly brisk walk while I build up the stamina in my jacked up hip) followed by a dedicated ab and arm program. Since we’re planning on moving up to Novice soon, I want to feel like I can support my horse where needed and not just be a passenger- and for that, I need to be in better shape.

Speaking of the horse, last night we had our first jump lesson post-hock injections. I also met my awesome-sauce farrier at the jump facility’s barn and Jack is now rocking pads up front due to some wonky steps he’s taken recently on particularly hard footing. The result was a golden boy that was anything but Mellow Yellow. Instead he was absolutely raring to go, and pushing off with more power behind than I’ve ever felt (see gif below). I’m going to be going cautiously regarding the ground conditions we work under, but was thrilled that Jack was feeling fit for work last night.

So that’s where we are at the moment! New, fully functional lazered eyeballs, funky hair, and a horse that is hopefully heading in the right direction. Things are looking bright! 😉

Rea the One-Eyed Wonder Mare

My best friend is a pretty remarkable person in a lot of ways- an entrepreneur who started her own mobile vet practice, and a phenomenal rider to boot.

And we enjoy special relations

So when I got this text about her already one-eyed mare, it was immediately followed by a phone call and a whole lot of f bombs.

To make a long story short, Rea ended up losing her other eye. Knowing horses as we mostly do here, you can imagine that this was a tough decision. You could also imagine that there was some discussion around whether or not Rea should or could continue on at all with no eyes.

So I was thrilled that The Plaid Horse picked up their story, and I won’t spoil it- instead I’ll tell you to go check it out!



Let’s Discuss: Jinxed?

I have to admit, I am totally kicking myself after talking about plans and then having to get the vet out days later. Did I jinx myself? Is that really a thing? Who knows, but I’m regretting it.

Picture because he’s cute with that blond hair a-flying

It makes me think about how superstitious some folks can be at shows.

At our last show, I had friends who were both equally excited to report to me that I was in the lead after dressage, and others that thought I shouldn’t know. Of course there’s something to do with handling mental pressure in this case, besides pure luck, but still- it’s a common debate and not just in my camp!

What is the likelihood that if I hadn’t know that I was in the lead, that I then would have gone double clear in showjumping instead of getting that cheap rail? Or was that cheap rail ‘destined’ to be mine all along? In my mind, I feel like I would have had the same level of stress going into showjumping as I would have in any case, but maybe that little bit of hope for a potential blue ribbon messed it all up for me?

The one that got away.

And then I have a friend who insists that if things are going well mid-show, that she will be absolutely MIA on social media until it’s all over. Because, you know, jinxing. Whereas if things have gone to pot, then who the hell cares and share-away!

Where do you stand? Do you like to know where you are in the standings mid-event? Do you wait until it’s all over to share any news? How do you mentally move from one phase to another?

Product Review: Roeckl Lona Gloves

As a photographer, you could say a certain attention to detail is a built-in feature. Textures, colors, composition are all kings of our world, and well, so is an appreciation for quality.

So when I was asked to participate in a product review for Roeckl, a company known for quality and elegant design, of course I said yes!
While I have been wearing Roeckl gloves for years, I knew little about the company’s background and where it started. As it turns out, the 179 yr old Munich-based brand also makes gloves for other sports- including biking and various winter sports. Each line of gloves are specifically tailored to the intended sport, and reflecting on this, it shows- the equestrian gloves show ever evidence of thoughtful design. Seams are placed so that there is minimal interference when holding reins and a “second skin” approach was applied to the overall design- perfect for communicating with the most sensitive of equine mouths.
The pair of gloves I received were the Lona model in navy. As soon as they arrived, I could feel the quality of the construction and gleefully handed them to my husband so he could feel how soft (!) they were. Truly, as soft as they are, there’s no breaking in period with Roeckl gloves- put them on for the first time and they feel as though you’ve had them for years. To me, this is key- I admit I am a total princess about what goes on my child-sized hands, since I prefer to not notice my gloves at all. And that’s what Roeckl acheives with the Lona gloves. A totally synergetic experience straight out of the box.

Beautifully modeled here by my friend A

Having ruined many a pair of gloves in the past by clumsy misfortune, I was thrilled to discover another feature of the Roeckl gloves by sheer accident. That would be their quick-dry material, which I found to be a completely true claim after accidentally dunking mine in Jack’s water bucket one evening. But 20 minutes later and you would never know- I threw them back on and was pleasantly surprised to have avoided that horrible squidgy-mop feeling that comes with wet gloves or socks. I can only imagine as the mercury rises this summer that will be a great feature to have in a pair of gloves as we’re drowning in North Carolina’s summer humidity.
Besides being totally over the moon with the fit (it’s so cliche, but they really do fit like a glove!) and quality of the construction, I also adore the color and overall aesthetic of the Lona gloves. The branding is subtle enough not to be distracting (since who wants to draw attention to their hands in the dressage ring? Um, no one, that’s who) with the simple Roeckl hand mark and a small tag. And the contrasting white is just enough to add some visual pop without going overboard. The navy is a beautiful saturated blue that reads as both classic and forward-thinking, and could easily blend into all three phase’s ensembles at an event.
All in all, Roeckl really hits the ball out of the park with their equestrian gloves, and the Lona glove is no exception. Quick to dry, elegant to wear, and thin enough to feel like a second skin- these gloves are a definite win, from the schooling ring to the A show.
Disclaimer: I received this product in return for providing my honest and unbiased review. I received no other compensation. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

A Quick Jack Update

So the vet came by yesterday to evaluate Jack’s slight lameness (slash just NQRness) and after poking, prodding, and whacking his feet with hoof testers (those being based on my observational terms, not the scientific ones), we narrowed the problem down to his hocks, particularly the right one based on flexion tests.

Instead of lollygagging and just waiting to see if things improved on their own, I chose to go ahead and get his hocks injected. When I purchased Jack, I knew that hock maintenance was likely to be part of the equation, and since it’s been 7+ months since his last injections… It could make sense that he needs a little extra help in that area.

So the golden boy will get today off, followed by a light hack tomorrow and Thursday, then gradually back to full work over the remainder of the week.

Fingers crossed it was just a little joint juice that he needed!


Not Enough Caveat

I thought I was covering myself from being jinxed by that whole ‘pencil, not pen’ spiel. Welp. Apparently not.

Our favorite yellow pony came out feeling off on his RF ahead of his farrier appointment, which admittedly he was way overdue for (due to life circumstances- my fault not his).

Sure enough he tested slightly positive with the hoof testers.

Post trim, there’s a perceived (albeit slight) head bob with the RF. Boo.


Farrier and I both think (hope) it’s a brewing abscess. Stay tuned.

But for real- I did say penciled plans! Horses.