2015-12-15: Hi! You're probably here because you did a Google search for 'plus sized horseback riders' or you saw my content quoted elsewhere. There are a couple of things I'd like you to know.

I am still here! But I am living away from my horses and not riding often. I could tell you a lie and say that I am, but I have always endeavored to give you the truth here. As a result, I'm not feeling terribly motivated to write blog posts and I feel out of touch with the community.

I'd love for you to stay a while and look back through the archives. Visit the links listed below. We still have an active forum community and I post on the Facebook page from time to time.

I have tentative plans to try to get more involved in the horse world in 2016, and I will absolutely share whatever that adventure becomes with you, so keep checking back!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday 2/20/2014

It's Throwback Thursday - a day where everybody likes to post pictures of yesteryear. I think it's cool to take a trip down memory lane so my TBT picture is of Rex. He would have been a couple of months old in this photo - taken in spring/early summer before his mom died (so this would have been 2006). He was such a cute babe, all boy!

He's a grown man these days, grown and with an opinion, as my trimmer, Z, can attest to based on her experience with him yesterday! As far as the trimming goes, I have been having him trimmed with the barefoot performance trim that Bronwyn has been trimmed with for a while. He took some time for his feet to start looking like much but with some changes to his feed and some time, he is finally starting to slough off some old sole and his feet are starting to look great. Bronwyn was kind of a pro in that area, since she had pretty awesome feet to begin with. If I remember correctly, it was only a couple of trims in when she started to have that same kind of growth/development that Rex is now having.

As a side news note, I also got to spend a bit of time with Lola, working on a couple of skills. Z trimmed her feet (I was quite proud of how she behaved!) and we tied her for the first time. I think being good about being tied is perhaps THE most important skill besides "personal space awareness" that a horse can have (incidentally, I believe that tying helps develop that as well), so I like to teach it young when I can. She was a bit sooky about the whole thing, but overall, did better than I originally anticipated. She shoved her head in her empty feed bucket and tossed it a bit and then stuck her nose in it and chewed air when she realized that she was tied and couldn't go anywhere, but no real freaking out. We kept the session short because I believe in multiple short positive training sessions (in pretty much any context) are better than long, roller coaster type ones, and then we will eventually build time. She will, at some point, probably closer to spring when she gets too big for the little box stall she's in, stand tied overnight like the rest of the gang, and out for the majority of the day. And as soon as some of this snow goes away, we're going to work on loading on the trailer!

Rex Summer 2013 for comparison

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Product Review: A Horse Box/The Equibox

Disclaimer: I actually recieved this product over the summer, when I had a lot going on. I should have reviewed it within a couple of weeks but I wanted to be able to take the products in the box to the farm and try them out so I could give mini-reviews on each product in the box. As things snowballed, I procrastinated, and here I am several months after the fact writing the review. My sincerest apologies to A Horse Box Canada (now The Equibox) and A Horse Box who initially reached out to me to request the review. My current plan is to do more in depth review of the products when things warm up a bit. For now, preview of the items in the box!

As a kid, I used to love those "surprise bags" you could buy at the corner store. A paper bag you couldn't see into that contained a variety of small trinkets and candies. I don't know if it was all about the surprise itself or the "deal" of getting all that stuff for $1, or the fact that I didn't have to spend energy and time picking out all those small things to buy on their own (those who know me know I am not a happy shopper!). As I grew up, I graduated to love things like Christmas hampers. And now, for the grown up equestrienne in me - A Horse Box/The Equibox! 

Essentially, you pay a monthly fee (in some cases, the per-month is reduced if you buy several months ahead of time), and for each month that you pay, you receive a "surprise bag" of equestrian products. Some of the items may be full sized, some may be sample sized, you could also receive coupons or special offers for products that aren't physically included in the box.

A Horse Box offers a couple of options - their monthly box which is $22 on a month-to-month basis or $17 if you buy it six months at a time. Their website allows you to subscribe with Paypal, which means it automatically renews until you tell it not to.

A Horse Box also offers what they call "A Tack Box" for $20, which is not a recurring subscription and according to the website, includes "everyday essentials for competing during show season".

The Equibox is $30 on a month-to-month basis, which reduces to $25 per month when you buy it six months at a time.


At the time that I was contacted to try out A Horse Box, my box was shipped from "A Horse Box Canada" which has since become The Equibox. At the time, the shipping was quick and tidy, well packaged and everything inside was well protected.

The best part is that shipping is always freeeeeeeee. (I can live with shopping online but hate paying for shipping.)

The Awesome Stuff Inside

- An issue of Equine Wellness & exclusive offer for a 1 year subscription for $24 (issue retail: $5.95)
- A full sized Horscotti treat (retail: 4 for $5)
- 80ml sample of Buckley's ZEV Cough Remedy For Horses (retail: unsure)
- 100ml sample of Equicell-R Liquid vit-min supplement (retail: unsure)
- 56g pouch of Quench Lyte electrolyte formula for horses (retail: $1.86)
- 1/4lb (guestimate?) sample bag of Hoffman's Horse Ration (retail: unsure)
- Full sized (236mL) bottle of EcoLicious De-Stress Intensive Restructuring & Detangling Treatment (retail: $23.95)
- 10% off coupon up to $20 value for orders of custom horse hair jewelery by Galla Designs

The Verdict

I love it! Sure, there are items I won't make much use of (horse ration since it's not available here, and the cough remedy primarily), but I think this is awesome - and as you can see by the retail prices, the whole box itself would have been worth it for the mane & tail treatment alone!

This is really a brilliant idea. Think of it this way: I have a Costco membership, and G and I shop there pretty much weekly (at least twice a month typically). The majority of the grocery items that we buy there were, at one point, at one of the sample booths. We tried it, we liked it, it generated further business. It just makes good sense. And this way, you don't have to sink, for example, $23.95 into a bottle of mane and tail conditioner that may possibly not work for you.

Added Bonus

I think a subscription to a box would be a smart, obvious and well appreciated gift from the non-horsey SO that I talked about last entry. This way, they don't have to risk being overwhelmed in the tack shop, buying you something that despite the best intentions is not something you can use, etc.

I should also note - this was the inaugural box from A Horse Box Canada - the box has probably evolved significantly since I received it in the summer, and I am hoping to buy a box once things warm up a bit, so I can report back!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Life With The Non-Horsey Significant Other (or... "Can Anybody Find Me Somebody To Love?")

Single horse girls who feel alone on Valentine's Day, let me talk at ya a minute here.

There once was a time that I was convinced that the only person I could spend my life with was someone who was raised exactly the same way that I was - on a farm, with a love for horses, and a methodology that was all ask and give, not demand and take.

You grow up hearing horror stories as a horse girl, right? The non-horsey SO (significant other) that rolls his eyes when you show up with a bit of hay in your hair or smelling of manure, complains because you've spent too long at the barn (or worse yet gets upset when you spend too long at the barn with a sick horse!), does not even bother to look at the horse as anything but a money pit. You know the stories I am talking about. The ones where, even though at the beginning, it seems like your SO is really into "whatever makes you happy" but when it comes straight down to it, there is always an underlying jealousy of the equestrian activities in your life, and a resentment that will bubble up at the worst times (like when you are already butting heads about something else and the horses become a weapon intended only to wound you). I grew up scared. I grew up convinced that I could only date someone who ALREADY KNEW about all of these things because they lived it.

There was a period of time where I was pretty convinced my life would play out like this:

  • Date a few men who eventually got sick of the horses getting all the attention.
  • Become a spinster with a collection of horses and herding dogs and an uncompromising attitude toward men.

G and I have been together a little over three years now. I'm not going to be completely outrageous and say that I have all the answers or that we have the perfect relationship, but I would not call him a "horse person". He's not really a city boy but he also isn't the same level of "country folk" that I consider myself and my family to be. Up until two years ago, he was almost 30 and had never been on a horse. He doesn't instinctively know which side to lead the horse from, and sometimes I have to explain the reasoning and safety motivations behind the things that I do/feed/buy... sometimes I have to explain those more than once.

But it's all okay - because G, even though he does not share my passion for horses, nor is he interested in owning his own, understands, in the best way that someone who doesn't know horses can, how important they are to me. There was a period of time in our relationship where I was living away from the farm, with him, in the city and the distance was making me antsy. I would feel guilty for not being at the farm when I was in the city, and then when I went to the farm, I would feel guilty for not being with G. I felt like I was being pulled in a million different directions and I just couldn't "normalize" - as a result, I felt terrible the majority of the time. This was just before we made the decision to move Bronwyn into the city.

The most important thing that ever happened was when G verbally acknowledged the difference in me, mentally, once she was closer and I could see her in a neutral place without feeling guilt in either direction. I really think that was the point where it crossed from "oh my girlfriend likes horses" to "my girlfriend has horses in her blood", and he stopped thinking it was so funny when I always told him I had horses instead of paying therapists.

When board increased, as it does, he did not bat an eyelash, even though our finances have been together for some time - at one point, we were paying over half of what we paid in rent for ourselves on board. While I eventually made the more common sense decision on my own to move her home so we could save more money to eventually have a home where she and Rex could be with us, he never initiated it, never complained, never sat down and "had a talk".

While they had many opportunities to "get to know one another" and Bronwyn soon recognized him as her treat dispenser and official groom/slave, G still does not have a passion for horses. What he does have is an understanding. Part of this is that I made an effort to make it very clear to anyone I invested myself in emotionally that I also had a significant long term investment in horses. They didn't have to share it, they didn't have to learn to love it, they just had to accept it and try to understand it. Though I ask him to come to the farm/barn and visit once in a while, I never demand it and more often than not, he is not sitting at home waiting for me to come home. We both have our individual interests and feel independent and confident enough to be able to go out and enjoy those things - sometimes with other people - and then come back together over the common interests that we have.

So no, I have discovered - I don't need a man who already knows and loves horses. Besides, I would hate to have to butt heads over training methods or beliefs. Sure, there won't be many times that I can sleep in and expect him to go feed the horses and clean stalls and do all of the work that I have committed myself to on the long term - but if I was to go the spinster route, I'd have had to do it myself anyways.

What I do have, at the end of the day, is someone who will give me a hand when I ask for one. He won't know the things to do before I ask him to do them, so our communication skills will continue to develop and grow stronger, because I won't expect him to know those things, either. I will have a partner who will hold my hand and support me when things don't go the way I hope they will - not because he understands the other implications of what that will mean, but he will understand that I am disappointed and it's not just 'a silly horse thing'. He will keep me realistic, but he will indulge my silly side once in a while. He will want to know what the vet said. He will come to the barn and take pictures when I ask him. He might even get on a horse if I beg. He will support me without sharing my passion.

Girls - if you are growing up the way that I did - thinking you will have to find a cowboy if you want to spend your life with someone or spend your life alone - think again, think outside the round pen, so to speak. :) Be clear, be concise, don't be unreasonable or uncompromising, but understand and recognize where you will draw the lines of compromise for yourself. Give it a shot, you might end up with something you didn't think was possible. :)