A Day in the New Life, preview edition

So all the hints about what’s going on are over. Starting in May, I’ll be starting officially my new job at Three Brothers Stable. I’ll be teaching lessons, putting training rides on client horses, and helping the barn run more smoothly. I’ll be taking a more active role in managing some of our working students and helping with the website and online presence. And of course summer camps are coming up. But wait! That’s not all. I’m also starting up a freelance editing business, specializing in academic work. I’ve already completed a few projects for clients and I’m getting daily inquiries about new projects. Whew. With all that, yesterday was a pretty crazy day and seems like the new normal-ish. I’m thrilled!


Majestic! Like the start of my day yesterday

6:00a Wake up and start getting the coffee pot going.

7:45a Leave for the barn after checking email and drinking coffee with Rob.

8:00a Start cleaning out the rest of my things from the other tack room.

8:15a Email exchanges with an editing client and the acceptance of my quote.

8:30a Chat with Maggie about the riding plan for the morning, grab Joe. Joe is a student’s horse that we are hoping to use in lessons, but he has lived in a pasture doing little for a few years. He needs a tune up.

8:45a Get distracted by another horse pulling back when tied and repeatedly breaking lead ropes. Work with Maggie and the horse to stop that nonsense.

10:00a Warm Joe up in the round pen and then ride in the jump field. Walking, trotting, working over poles. His steering is rusty, but he’s not doing anything naughty.

10:45a Put Joe up and grab Knots for some jumping

11:00a Ride Knots in the jump field and work over an oxer. We started by practicing trotting jumps, then moved up to work on cantering into the oxer. We used a place pole to help him measure the pace. When I sat up and rode, he was great. When I let him run at the jump, we sucked. Shocker. While riding, chat with Maggie about a client who would like her horse to be ridden at Pine Hill in the Green-as-Grass division in July. (I love the horse.)

12:00p Ride the ponies out to the XC field and evaluate footing and try to imagine how to move things to minimize the impact of rain.

12:45p Lunch time! Freebirds today

2:00p Unhook trailer from truck. Video Fred babysitting the puppies (Check instagram @atindalla). Move stadium jumps out to field. Beautiful craftsmanship, and heavy. Also associated poles and jump cups. Manage to twist/sprain ankle jumping out of truck. Five minute break to wrap it up in an ace bandage I happened to have in my car.

4:45p Break time for me before I teach my 6pm lesson. Email a new client who is requesting a quote. Try to elevate foot. Chat with barn teenagers.

6:00p Teach a riding lesson out in the XC field. Two students planning to go green-as-grass next week, one who isn’t showing (but riding at we-have-just-begun), and one who is showing WHJB. Talk about tricky, four riders, three different levels.

7:30p Head home, shower, ice ankle, have dinner.

10:30p Bedtime, whew!

On the flip side, today I am working in the office all day and finishing work on a couple of editing projects. Today is Rob’s birthday and I’m going into lab for cake and ice cream. I’m not expecting to break 5000 steps :p


Byron in the office, keeping me company


The best I’ve seen from you guys

I’m sure it was said more eloquently. My brain mostly remembers emotions, less so the words. But that was the response to our dressage lesson this morning. With the monsooning, I haven’t really gotten to ride much lately, and I wasn’t really expecting Knots to be a rockstar.

Especially when I gave him some bonus breakfast (he doesn’t get grain because he is F-A-T) and he cantered off to the dressage field and ran away from me! He didn’t really want to get on the trailer either. Although, lets face it, his resistance was trying to walk over to the grass. He has always loaded right onto any trailer I pointed him towards.

We actually showed up on time, and managed to be on, in the arena, before Sarah walked out. That folks, is a miracle in itself.

The focus of today’s lesson was outside rein connection, for Knots and Bear. With Knots, it seems I’ve been softening too much when he actually takes a good contact. Practically dropping him in dramatic dressage terms. So today we worked first on square turns at the walk. Turning with the outside aids. Then we took that thought to the trot and kept trying to turn on the outside aids at every touch point of the 20m circle.

It was really interesting. And Knots was a little heavy in my hand. But that’s because right now he still needs my help to balance. The lightness will come as he gets stronger. Sarah was really pleased with our work. She did utter words to the effect of this is the best I’ve ever seen him, and we all reflected to where we were a year ago.

In other news, trailer situation pending, we’re going to Pine Hill July 4th weekend and running beginner novice. Maybe… just maybe, we might score less than a 48.

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It’s raining again

I’m planning world domination, or rambling on about things that are moderately exciting.

Also know as, what things do I need to do to take a horse to a competition? July is the next date on the calendar, and I’m brainstorming who and what.

Knots and I could run beginner novice. Jellybean could go green as grass. Or I could get us rolling to goldilocks. A could take Jellybean green as grass, although that depends on a couple of things going well. Knots and I need some more jumping experience before we start adding cross country combinations at novice. We both also need to be in better shape.

When it stops raining, I made this handy little chart that I’m going to start using:

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There should be more riding time in my [very near] future >:)

Big Changes Coming

While the monsoon is happening, I thought I would tease you about some big changes coming to the life of Amanda and Robert.

Seriously though, about the rain, Rob’s parents have gotten 16+ inches of rain. IN ONE DAY. Houston is under water. Luckily, we aren’t completely flooded here, but there are two more days of rain in the forecast. I’ll be at the barn tomorrow, and likely put some sad rain pictures on instagram (@atindalla).

So I defended my thesis in March, and I’m finishing up my teaching assignment. I’ll be completely finished working for the Biochem department May 31st. So what’s next? And what does this mean for the horses?

Teaser photos:

Gracie turns 11 years old

Dear readers,

I have a confession.  I am a horrible horse dad.  My horse, Gracie, who puts up with all kinds of shenanigans when it comes to life, had her 11th birthday on Sunday!  Guess who forgot.  I even went and spent quality time (riding) with her. I just never said happy birthday.

So, in order to make up for this horrific oversight I made her a birthday cake.

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1/3 scoop grain, about 1/3 cup molasses and, of course carrots.

Yay, for quick thinking and ingenuity.  Well, it was now time to go get the birthday girl from her pasture.

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As, you can see she has not forgiven me for making her work on her actual birthday. However, things are quickly forgotten when there is food involved.


So, as you can see, she took to her birthday cake like a fat kid. She gobbled it all up in about 15 minutes…  then she started making snorting noises and tugging at the lead rope.

It turns out that even the fat kid can have too much of a good thing.  As we walked out to the pasture she decided to balance out her diabetic coma with a salad… she had to munch all the foliage on the way.

Here she is looking as majestic as I have ever seen her. We were watching some other horses jump in the cross country field.

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Nothing says Happy Birthday better than watching OTHER horses work.

Anyways,  Happy Birthday to Good Graces!  You survived another year of being MY horse. Cheers! to many more.

DIY stock tie

The kids were getting ready to go to a show, and I realized the barn didn’t have enough stock ties to go around. Some of the kids didn’t have one, and it was getting to crunch time. I had this pattern sitting around in my sewing box (Suitability #3140)… and so I pulled it out and made a couple of stock ties. The 1 1/4 yard recommended for one tie made me two. This took me about two hours, and I put myself in advanced beginner sewing-ability.

I don’t think you need the pattern for this, it would be easy to lay out a current stock tie and trace it out, adding a bit extra for seam allowances. And sometimes pattern instructions aren’t as helpful as we would all like.

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Cut out the pattern, I choose size medium (15in neck)

I think fabric choice is important here. I picked out a plain white stretch poplin. It was fairly heavyweight in my hands. I really wanted the stock ties to stand on their own, especially with kids wearing them, so I also bought a can of heavy starch ;).

Once the (four) pieces were cut out, I sewed each pair together. I left the skinny openings clear of any stitching and sewed diagonally across the points of the stock tie.

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Hydration is important, clean workspace, not so much

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This is about a 5/8 seam allowance, I think? I just kept it consistent

After sewing, I snipped the seam allowances as close as possible, especially at the points.


After cleaning up the seam allowances, it was time to turn the tie inside out and start ironing. Turning it inside out was somewhat time consuming, but not too hard.

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Once the tie was turned correctly, it was time to start ironing. By the way, at this point it might be useful to note that you should have two separate pieces. One longer piece, and one shorter piece. They shouldn’t be connected yet. Off to the ironing board! And the starch.

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This is the long piece

Once the tie was sufficiently starched and ironed, it was time to finish up. The last couple of steps were to finish the short seam in the middle (a tiny hem), and then attach the ties together with a simple zigzag stitch on the top and bottom of the short piece. Its important to leave this hole so you can actually tie the tie around your neck (or child’s neck in this case).


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You can see the connection on the right side of the tie. It almost looks like a button hole.

Final thoughts: Not hard at all! Basically cut the fabric, sew together, reduce seam bulk, iron, and go. There are of course instructions included with the actual pattern, so if you like more detail, that could be helpful. I don’t think they are essential. I don’t see myself making a ton of fancy ties, but I can definitely help out the school house a donate a couple of simple ones. And who knows, maybe I’ll make myself a fancy one.

Project cost: ~15 for two stock ties

If I didn’t describe something well, feel free to leave a comment and I can hopefully sort out confusion I have caused 🙂

Jellybean might almost, maybe, growing up

The barn was a crazy place today. Early this morning, the pony club descended and had their monthly meeting. I kind of floated around making sure people weren’t having trouble with the facility, and I watched a few kids ride. Then we drugged Jellybean and headed home for an afternoon nap.

Later in the evening we headed back out, and I decided to ride Jellybean. Rob was going to ride Gracie, but we got there as Kayla was finishing up a ride. Gracie was somewhat better behaved, kind of.

Jellybean got warmed up, and then we worked at trotting over some baby cross rails. Then why not do a baby course?


She was a little overexuberant over the first couple of jumps, but she quickly realized they weren’t worth much effort. And look! I’m sitting up haha. This is the first course we have ever done, so bam. Milestone.

We finished up with another milestone, Jellybean was calm enough for a tiny little girl to have her first pony sit. Who would have thought? Jellybean…kids horse.


Just kidding. We aren’t quite there yet.