Friday, August 2, 2013

Today I Lost My Skepticism... For An Hour

I guess to do this review, I have to explain how this all came about.
Basically, I have a shopping addiction. What girl doesn't, but more than that, I'm picky about what I put on my horse Rory.
For years I used SMB's (sports medicine boots) on my horses, but neoprene doesn't breath causing the legs to get hot and sweat thereby increasing the chance of injury. At the time I also had a neoprene western saddle pad, which I also ditched in favour of a felt bottomed pad. Looking back, I imagine my horse wearing that pad was like me running with a neoprene stomach sweat. If you haven't tried one of those, it makes your run exhausting, much quicker than you're used to.  So all in all, neoprene didn't seem fair to my horse.
As I rode her more, I became concerned of her hitting herself, or whatever she seemed to be doing to keep popping splints. Naturally she only popped splints while out in the field, but I didn't want to stress her legs more with an increased workload and improper support boots. (Sidenote: She's on a Smarpaks Smartflex supplement, so I'm already managing her joints from the inside)
In the past when I worked at Frankland's Farm, they used Eskadron Climatex underpads with polos which I really liked. Conveniently I found a combo of the underpads and their training bandage in one handy wrap. Unfortunately my mare has very narrow short legs and I think Eskadron caters to the warmblood types so getting these wraps to work was proving difficult.
From there I found an awesome deal on just underpads that I could pair with polos or saratoga wraps.
This is when things got tricky.
My mare started tripping and at one point it was so bad that she almost fell on her pretty face. She fell one way and caught herself just in time and I went the other way. Lucky for me, the fence was kind enough to catch me. I didn't exactly send it flowers in gratitude though. After that, every time she tripped I tensed up like it was a near death experience.
She wasn't lame and while she is very clumsy anyways, I couldn't figure it out. The next time I rode, she tripped four times in one circle around the ring. I hopped off immediately, checked her legs and pulled off her wraps and bell boots, in case she was catching on them. She was better after that.
She does currently have different shoes on than she's used to and it's possible that she needs to be checked  by the farrier to see if she's breaking over correctly (as my amazing boarding stable owner suggested). In the meantime, my only other option was to get more form-fitting boots instead of wraps, and I ditched the bell boots just in case.
Which meant another research/shopping excursion!
After a lot of reviews and reading, I found that Thinline seemed to make the only non-neoprene boots. On the plus side, their material is amazing! It's breathable, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, thin, supple, strong, shock absorbing, anti-slip, doesn't absorb water and is basically genius.

I ordered the Thinline Cobra Boots which are most similar to SMB's but they also have other models, like splint boots and sport boots.

Since I was ordering, I also got a white Thinline Half Pad to try out. Currently I was using a perforated gel pad, which seemed shock absorbing.
I bought them from Equestrian International. The Cobra Boots were $59.95 USD and the halfpad was $70.20 USD. It was difficult to find a place that sold both items, other than the Thinline site, which was more expensive.
Today I finally got to try my new buys! And I cannot say enough how amazing they are! The boots conformed to her legs, she only tripped once (which I'm blaming on her needing a reset), and when I took them off, her legs weren't hot or sweaty. They also effectively kept the sand out. I did buy white which I might later regret, but I couldn't help myself.
The halfpad was an even bigger surprise. Sadly, it was the golf ball video on Thinline's website that sold me and I was worried I'd been duped but apparently not! I recently switched back to riding english after years of riding western, so I'm not naive to the fact that building the right muscles and getting my seat back will take time. I assumed my gel pad was doing its job, but apparently not like a Thinline pad can! My lower back muscles felt relaxed and loose while riding, which means I must have been tensing them before. I can only assume Rory feels the difference in shock absorbing my graceless attempt at riding. Rory maintained a more cadenced trot and while I told her to let me know how the boots and pad were feeling, I think she forgot due to the invisible arena gremlin at the 'evil end' of the ring. Otherwise I know she would have told me how awesome they were.
I wish I could fully express how happy I am with Thinline but I'm still a bit speechless. By the by, on their website they have Thinline saddles, which I would have laughed at before, but not so much now. I don't seem to have $3395.00 lying around though.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Making a Hobo Care Package

Throughout the year I try to support different charities and causes or contribute in some way because I’m a stellar fucking person. Actually, as I told my sister, I mostly do it for the gold star to make myself feel good while I’m secretly plotting the zombie apocalypse.

Somehow I got onto care packages for the homeless. I believe I saw it on Pinterest. (Of course I did, where else would a person get an idea?)

Now first off, I think these might have been more appropriate in the winter, but summer works just as well.

I started out looking on the internet for ideas and found numerous lists for what to include in your package. That being said, keep in mind that a lot of these are stupid. I’m not kidding, some of the things included amaze me. A few of the listed suggestions were:
Mouth wash - what?! Buy the bum a bottle of booze why don’t you!
Hand sanitizer - Um, again… seriously?!
Shampoo and soap - You mean for their shower, that they own, in their house, oh wait.
A small knife - I was iffy on this one, it’s a good idea for self defense and I’m all about that but, if you supply the person with a possible murder weapon, are you an accomplice? I realize homeless people aren’t out shanking others, but you never know.
Pepper spray - And again… although I can’t even get pepper spray so screw you hobo, not until I’m allowed to have it.
A bible - HAHAHA, some homeless people know the bible better than a minister and others are likely to throw it back at you. How about a bathroom reader. That’s what I’d want.

I bought the majority of my supplies at Dollarama. I made 3 packages that totaled around $40-$45 each. Apparently it’s suggested that these packs be versatile and not super heavy. Mine ended up being a bit heavy, but that was due to the Sunny Dee and a few other items that I believe would be consumed first. Also, they’re homeless, not nomads traveling hundreds of kilometers a day. If that were the case I’d buy them a donkey.

Here is what I included:
Toothbrush with sanitary cap
Floss - I suppose you could kill someone with this, but hygiene first.
Nail clippers - I don’t think anyone can be killed with these… I think.
Camp towels - These come in a little tin container and are super compact until used.
Small first aid kit - The dollar store had them, who knew!
Spray-able peroxide
Band aids
Lip chap
Nail clippers
Combs - Gotta look swank!
Moist wipes - Shower-free bathing.
Plastic reusable water bottle - BPA free too!
Hand lotion
Socks - This is a big one, more so in the winter, but apparently socks are high on the hit list.
A hat - Toque for winter, and since it’s summer I got a canvas bucket-style hat.
Gum - For minty fresh breath.
Non-perishable snacks: chocolate bars, candies, granola bars, Mr. Noodles (because everyone loved eating those dry in high school), crackers and hummus, lollipops, Sunny Dee, pudding, jello, fruit cups. Needless to say they won’t be super healthy, but whatevs.
List of local shelters - I didn’t do this because I’m lazy. And it’s a small city, I’m sure they know. In a larger city I can see how this would make sense.
Other lists included gift cards which I think is a great idea… but I didn’t include any.

I wanted to include sunscreen but unfortunately it’s difficult to find cheaper sunscreen. It’s like the maple syrup of body products.

I bought special black bags for each package that can be clipped onto a shopping cart or carried as a bag. Convenient, it was like they were made for this!

When you’re finished the care packages, you can either walk down hobo alley and hand them out, or drop them off at your nearby shelter. I gave mine to the nearest shelter and they seemed grateful but they were out of gold stars. Boo! Kidding, it was just nice seeing the surprised looks on their faces.

Note: Make sure all food is nut free, just in case. I tried to do my best with that one. Unfortunately by the time I delivered them, they were covered in cat hair and pollen. Can’t win them all right?
Warning: Do not leave these care packages in the house around women or someone with a sweet tooth. Mine have been in the house for a week or two and I haven’t checked but I’m sure there are probably some chocolate bars missing. I mean really, who steals from the homeless?

*Spoiler Alert* Oops guess I’m supposed to put this at the beginning. Just thought I’d warn you, I’m not politically correct. There. You’ve been warned.

And sorry for the poor quality pics!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Paranormal Schmaranormal

After realizing I hadn't been to see a movie in a while - which was mostly due to the crappy movies out in the last few months - I decided after viewing the line-up of new movies to see Paranormal Activity 3.... by myself.

Okay that's cool, it was the day after opening night so the theatre packed. I wasn't exactly alone, but I was with a bunch of people who thought it was funny to try and scare the whole theatre. It was pretty funny. I sat next to a group of young guys who kept asking each other "Did you fart?" Seriously?? And the guy on my right side was an older gentleman who kept maniacally laughing at the wrong parts... weird.

But at least I wasn't alone.

The third installment of the Paranormal Activity movies added more humour than their last ones, humour that not only scared you but made you feel stupid for screaming.

Expecting it to be as scary as #1 and #2, none of us realized it was going to be much more horrifying, resulting in a screaming crowd. (I proudly never screamed). Now what's more scary than anything they added before? I wondered that too but they did things to terrify that I never would have imagined. As well as adding a very happy-go-lucky-but-super-freaky kid. Children are so creepy.

Upon arriving home I thought I was quite alright, until I headed upstairs in the dark and imagined myself bumping face-first into the chest of an invisible demon... Okay not so good now.

This one might take a while to get over but it was definitely worth seeing.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Importance of a Plan

Over the last couple of days I've been obsessively scouring information about "Bug-Out Bags" and 72 hour survival kits. When it comes to the end of the world, I'm realistic. It's going to happen. Or at least a detrimental earthquake that puts life on hold for a few days. What would you do if such an event occurred? Aside from the pants-wetting and boot-shaking, you would find yourself unprepared, with nothing to eat, your water possibly unsafe to drink and as looters run rampant you would discover yourself unprotected and a victim to the new world laws.

The best way in these probable events is to be prepared. The main things you need to think of, are: food and water, shelter and sleeping, clothes, tools, first aid, hygiene, money and security and last of all, protection.

While pre-made and custom kits can be found online, DIY lists can also be found in order for you assemble your own Bug-Out Bag.

With this, I suggest including laminated copies of directions to a "safehouse" or meet-up for you and your family, as well as plans in case of different apocalyptic events.

The other matter which has been pressing upon me is the fact that in the event of an emergency, your conscience will have to take a backseat. Or be left behind. People are known to do scrupulous things in a state of panic or without the law holding their hands. Therefore it's best to realize that people should be avoided and while you might want to help everyone, they could be playing possum to take advantage of your better nature.

If you feel that you can live with the possibility of having to leave people behind, hurt others to protect yourself and live in seclusion then you may be prepared for world-ending events!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Every person has a story. What people don't unda'stan is every car has a story too. Just so happen my story tangle with a car's story.
When my pa first bought the car - our first as a family - I was four. The day he brung home tha car he says it look like an ebony body builder on wheels. I don't know what tha mean then, but I know now and it sure make ma frown like the devil.
I was in a stage, thinkin objects was real. I thought that car was a hellhound from one o' my ma's scary bible stories. When I tol' pa he thought this was a hoot. We's call it Hellhound from then on. And it was. Tha thing could roar louda than a lion with a thistle in it's paw. I'd be playin with my chawk in the carway and pa come home, that car near gobble me up into its dark maw. It like a growlin beast at my back.
Pa said don't wurra, tha car never take a bite a me, I'm spoilt he say. Back then he coulda been right.
Weren't till lata I get unscared and start to see it for wha it was.
Tha ol' car hold our family togetha.
When ma used to walk home in the pourin' rain from the fac'try, she catch such a cold. Now pa can pick her up. Sometimes they even catch a milkshake togetha first.
On Fridays when I had no schoo next morn - oh Lord how I hated schoo then - we'd pile inta the Hellhound and go to the drive-in show. I'd squeeze between ma and pa on the shiny leatha bench seat. Sometimes I'd fall right asleep, and I'd always have the besta dreams. I'd dream I'm king of the hellhounds and we'd ride through the city, snatchin' up crim'nals.
As I grew, times they gota hard. People, they ain't lookin'to pay people they ain't have to. My pa got laid off, then my ma too; lot a people did. Soon we move to a small apar'ment. My mum want my pa to sell Hellhound, but he don't. He can't I guess. Tha the only thing linkin' him to what we had.
Afta I see mum start coughin' more. She always cough, but this sure is new and it's not just her. We learn her years at the fac'try make her sick, others too. Even Hellhound can't take her way from tha. My pa gets mad and then bitter like ma's rhubarbed pie. But one night he just knows. He tell me to get Hellhound runnin'. I'm neva allow to drive Hellhound, not yet. I want to feel excited but I don't. Pa, he cradles ma carefully and sits her in the middle a Hellhound, between us. Then tells me to drive. Tha car drives smootha than it ever did, like it was scared a bouncin' ma. It don't even jump for'ard goin' inta third like it likes to. We go to ma's favourite spot, lookin' over our city. Tha city ain't always nice to us, but ma sure love it. It's then I know what goin' happen. Her breathin' slows, like she goin' sleep real quiet. And then as she lean on my pa, she don't wake. We cry silent as if not to stir her.
Growin' up was hard then, for me and pa. Mum sure made it easy but we did our best. I decide to keep on with school, till I got accepted at university. It hurts to leave pa but the day before I go, pa hand me Hellhound's keys. Says it needs more good memories.
Drivin' away, pa looks smaller, just a wisp in that smoky mirra. I try my best; I work hard in school but make friends and memories too.
When I come home, I think I did good. Thinkin' pa be proud, I drive Hellhound home more nervous then I ought to be. In that small apartment, dustier than ma would ever let it, I find him in bed.
My strong pa is justa sick ol' man. I spend my days with him, but still couldn't figure out how he get so old, so soon.
One day he ask me to park Hellhound unda'neath his winda. So I shine it up real good and park it below. I pick up my poor pa and place him in the creaky rocka where it can see it. I prop open the winda so he can get a good view and feel the air on his face, like he drivin'. He can't sit there long, but I know it long enough. Next day he spend it in bed, but he smilin' just a bit.
Tha night, I know. Don't know how, I just do. I take that man in my arms, so small I wurra I crush him. His heart beats like a buttafly against my arms. I sit him gentle like on that cracked leather seat in the middle and get behind the wheel. He leans on my shoulda, sittin' where my ma sat them years ago. It makes my eyes burn thinkin' bout it. We drive slow and Hellhound with it's ol' shocks and worn brakes carries him like a newborn babe. It sure seem to know where to go, up to ma's favourite spot. Tha city below twinklin' like stars stuck on the earth. I wonda how them people below don't know what's going on. Why don't they know what's happenin' to us three: me, pa and Hellhound. It's quiet and I think he gone but he squeeze my hand with his frail one. With one last effort he pat ol' Hellhound on her dusty dash like she a retired huntin' dog. Pa, he curl up 'gainst me and his breathin' goes quiet. Then it's just me and Hellhound.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ode to a Cheffrey

Upon a recent foray into the neighbouring country, what was meant to be yet another life-changing adventure and possibly a week’s worth of stories, turned into a song of sorrow for my poor friend. During a valiant rescue mission to save a friend from the local “po po”, my good friend broke his foot and then (idiotically) walked on it for two days before being able to attend a hospital. Although I admit I hope they put a hot pink cast on, I just know he’d rock it to spite me.

Since his job requires him to be on his feet, it’s come to the conclusion that he might have to take a break in order to recover. This is not only a financial conundrum but my friend happens to lead an energetic and active lifestyle – while somehow being the most laid back person I know.
While working a 12 hour nightshift, I found I couldn’t get it off my mind, worrying about what he was going to do. So I compiled a list of possibilities:
- Join an interpretative-crutch dance group
- Paint waterfront scenery canvases
- Become a crippled buskar and put on entertaining sock puppet shows (crippled buskars make the best money)
- Begin writing a cooking course to teach, for future use
- Join World of Warcraft (oh wait…), or better yet, Dungeons and Dragons
- Hang out at the playground, just to rile up the local parents
- Consider writing a memoir – well maybe write it, instead of consider it
- Sketch caricatures for cash
- Sell the over abundance of “stuff” you have falling out the doors and windows of your apartment
- Become a sex-line operator… or a suicide operator but seriously which one would be more fun
- Gain lots of weight and become morbidly obese – it is considered a disability and you could have your own nurse!
- Win the lottery and get chauffeured around like Driving Miss Daisy
- Teach 4-H, you have enough experience
- Have more Arts and Crafts days with me!
I can’t wait for the day that my friend can look back and laugh, but knowing him that’ll probably be tomorrow. Not being able to imagine what it’s like, I figure I’ll just watch my step, leave my friends to the po po’s and try to cheer up my busted buddy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How to NOT Sell a Horse

I have a bit of an addiction -aside from sorbet ice cream- and that's watching horse sale videos. To be able to watch dozens of horse videos, one after the other when in the past you had to send away for one and only if you were a 'serious buyer'. If technology has done one thing, it's fuel the horse lovers obsession and enabled us more outlets to watch and learn.

While some videos make us envious and wish we had room for "just one more!" other videos leave us shaking our heads and wondering why someone would take the time to make a video if that was the end product.

Maybe that's a bit harsh but it's like those raggedy, thread-bare sweatpants that you love to wear around the house. You may love them, but you don't admit to owning them, let alone put them on the world wide web.

Here are a few if my latest horse sale video pet peeves:

Wearing shorts in a riding clip - Umm no. This is one of those "sweatpant" examples. You may love to ride in shorts, but never admit to it, let alone use it in your sale vid. No only is it unsafe, it's unprofessional. It says to your potential buyers "This is a backyard pony that I trained myself wearing shorts the entire time. We also wear camoflauge during duck hunting season."

Wearing flip flops/running shoes/barefeet or even better Crocs - Although this is a great way to show how well your horse moves off your leg, this is like wearing a hollowed watermelon as a helmet. My horse is very good about staying out of my space, but I couldn't blame her if she stepped on me while wearing flipflops. That would be her way of telling me I'm an idiot and I'd have to thank her for it. In a training video, it says I couldn't care less about this video so I didnt take the time to put proper shoes on.

Standing on your horse's back - This occurs mostly in horse pictures, not videos. I realize it's supposed to be impressive but my camera takes less than 5 seconds to take a photo. You may be trying to tell me that your horse is bombproof but all that I'm getting from that picture is you were able to stand on your horse 5 seconds before he blew up and threw you off. Congrats though, maybe you should take up bronc riding.

Not grooming the horse first - Really?? Should I even explain this? Let's start at the beginning : you take the time to charge your camera, you make sure it's a sunny day, you get your friend to help you take the video, you sit down and upload it to your computer, you even put some pretty music to your horse flouncing around the ring... and you didn't take the time to get the mud off him? I love ads that say " This is a stunning, fancy red roan" It is? Looks mud-coloured to me. Maybe if I turn my head to the side.... Nope, still brown.

Riding said horse in draw reins and/or other training implements - Your horse may go beautifully in draw reins... but how am I to know that everything won't fall apart the second they're taken off? Doing a sale video with them on says to the buyer "These are a crutch, I don't know how to ride without them and neither does the horse". Another example is "greenbroke 2yr old, easy to train and practically finished." then the poor 2yr old is shown riding in an 8inch shank bit with rockgrinder spurs... in those videos I feel the damage is done and although you could 'undo' it, it's painful to think that the horse would be so much further ahead if it had never been 'trained' that way.

Lunging a weanling or yearling around and around and around - Ouch, ouch, ouch. Jeez, that's great they lunge... but they could have learned that when their knees were properly closed. People forget there are lots of other ways to teach foals the basics without making their growing legs suffer. Not only that but when you see a foal in a sale video, you know it's a foal. You're not expecting to see a video of it winning Congress for HUS. All that is necessary is a vid that shows its movement, it's conformation, the foal interacting with people and maybe some clips of the dam. The best way to do most of that is to get the mare moving and have the foal follow, preferably in a larger field and not a 7 minute clip.