Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chanel and the Horse

Thumbing through Marie Claire in my two minutes of down time this week, I encountered a lovely two page Chanel spread with a horse. Ah...wandering through a cobble-stoned old town with a tiny Chanel handbag on a lovely....maybe its a Lippizaner?

My Perfect Day

That guy is hot!

This guy is hotter!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Revelations in Ground Training

As you may recall from recent posts, I moved to a new state and thus a new barn. I also am leasing a new horse. This guy's name is Nikodemus. Niki D  has begun to irritate me over the past few weeks. He has consistently had no respect for my personal space on the ground; he has been biting me and chewing up my tack; and he wouldn't pay any attention to me when it was time to mount by grazing so that it would take me like 20 minutes to get on him. I was starting to get anxious about this when I wasn't with him. How to control him began to wake me up at night. So silly.

So, I did some research.

The biting issue was my biggest issue. There were two things I read which I decided to try out, though I had little faith: stop hand feeding the horse, and don't get close enough to the horse to let him bite you.

I also renewed by subscription to Giddy Up Flix. I ran into this video called "Defining your Space" by Gawani Pony Boy. This seemed EXACTLY what I needed to do and wanted to do. Below is the trailer.

Side note, which you may elect to skip over follows!

The whole "natural horsemanship" thing seemed like it made some kind of sense, though I personally feel that anything defined as "natural" is a subjective, culturally infused concept. Based on a medical anthropology graduate education, "natural" is a shifting concept very much related to the time frame and concept in which it is used. In my mind, "natural hosemanship" works because it has an underlying theory. That's it. There is nothing "natural" about it. It is really just a consistent, theoretical approach and framework and works because of its consistency. But really, I digress.

Every time I watch one of these "natural horsemanship" videos, they always seem so....un-me. The practitioners are usually Western riders and generally male. They use round pens to which I do not have access. The horses are usually not warm bloods. You don't see dressage riders parading this stuff. Everyone at my last hunter barn totally made fun of the concept.

So, after watching "Defining your Space," I thought to myself, "I don't know if this is for me." Mr. Carrots really thought I should try it out though. Gawani Pony Boy's first exercise is controlling the horses feet in a round pen. He did a few moves like throwing a rope in front of the horse and making noises at the horse. The goal is to get the horse going around you in a large circle, controlling his direction and distance from you.  Didn't know if I could swing this. The second exercise was leading the horse, expecting him to stop three feet behind you, and then stepping back when you turned around at him.

Amazingly, this all worked. I put a minimum amount of effort into this for a massive pay back. I sort of modified each of the exercises into something that seemed do-able for me as a small, timid-when-it-comes-to-horses lady.

I took Nik-the-Mouth into what I had available: a square turnout. I took him off the lead and let him go naked. He cantered off, immediately into a circle around me. I was able to get him to go in the other direction by just twirling the lead when he stopped. This was FAR easier than I thought it would be.

Then, I did the exercise where I would lead him. It seriously took the horse about 3 walks then stops to totally get what I wanted. He was so smart.

Lastly, I did this "still as a statue" exercise that I saw Julie Goodnight do once.

And the results? For about twenty minutes of ground work, I now have a horse that leads beautifully, doesn't try to graze when walking back from turn out, does not bite and pays attention when it is time to mount. I am so thrilled and I couldn't have asked for more. Really, I just could not have asked for more. My whole point is that this ground training thing is perhaps easier than it may at first seem. And you don't have to do exactly what the person you watch does. You can modify and make it something that works for you, your personality, and the tools that you have available.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dappled Grey's March Giveaway!

I am a huge fan of the professional, classy and elegant blog Dappled Grey. I was SO excited to see DG's March Giveaway for the beautiful and quirky artist Dark Horse Studio. Dark Horse does fantastic jewelry and greeting cards that are old-timey and quite clever.
Below are a few of my favorite pieces! Dark Horse has a "coming soon" on cuff links! Can't wait for those....Mr. Carrots has some new man-jewelry in his future!

The Capriole pendant.
Screen shot from Dark Horse Studio website.
Anatomy Horsehead ring. I'm always a sucker for an anatomy piece.
Screen shot from Dark Horse Studio website.
I think this is my favorite piece of Dark Horse Studio. As you may well know, I am a fox hunting enthusiast. This greeting card transforms into a puppet!!!!
Screen shot from Dark Horse Studio website.

Screen shot from Dark Horse Studio website.
Aren't you glad that I didn't keep this giveaway to myself? Because I am less likely to win now that y'all are going to enter too.

What are your favorite pieces from Dark Horse Studio?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Frilly, girly summer show shirts!

If you read my 2013 wishlist, you may have gotten the impression that I am somewhat girly in my taste. In particular, I blogged about the Equiline Lissome Dressage Show Shirt. The shirt is over $200, putting it out of a lot of our price ranges. I saw the shirt on a rider in Thermal, and it was totally dusty and dirty. While flipping through the pages of Dover's Spring catalogue, and noted some pieces that have the feel of the Equiline Lissome. These options are lighter on the pocketbook and not so heartbreaking to get all grubby and dirty during the summer.
Equiline Lissome Dressage Show Shirt

And here we have some alternatives! This is the Goode Rider Regal.

Here we have the central ruffling, like the Lissome. The Goode Rider version goes for ~$80. Not so bad! Up close and personal, for a better sense of that ruffle:
Screen shot from Dover Saddlery

Next up we have the Joules Frilsden. It's got a ruffly collar. And it comes in both pink and baby blue! Not bad at ~$53.
Screen shot from Dover Saddlery

Let me know if you've seen any eyelet knockoffs of the Lissome! We've got the ruffles covered, now we just need an eyelet!

The Big D Bridle Bag and Saddle Carrier

Another video! Very happy with my SmartPak Big D Bridle Bag and Saddle Carrier. Thought I would do a review of them for you. I always find myself wanting more photos than are offered on most products in the online tack shops. So, just in case anyone is in the market for a new bridle bag or saddle carrier, I think these are two great considerations.
SmartPak Big D Review from Fourteen Carrots on Vimeo.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fourteen Carrots visits HITS Thermal: Part 2 - The Haul

HITS Thermal Haul from Fourteen Carrots on Vimeo.

During my recent visit to HITS Thermal, I had a jaw dropping moment when I saw the number of vendors present. Even Mr. Carrots was enthusiastic about how much horsey shopping was available. I would describe the layout as the Four Corners of the Financial Apocalypse. Below are the four shopping districts at HITS.

I spent the majority of my time and money at LA Saddlery's mobile headquarters.

These breeches were a crowd favorite.

On the right is Le Fash's new spring style!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hello horsey world, meet the Harlem Shake

I have definitely over the past few weeks enjoyed myself some Harlem Shake time. I LOVE to laugh and these videos totally make me giggle. I had been discussing with some friends in LA the concept of the Harlem Shake with horses. My idea was to have one horse in a ring and then at the break down have a bunch of horses doing a variety of things: jumping an oxer, piaffe-ing, loungeing, some-task-done-in-the-Western-disciplines. Alas, this seemed quite dangerous. Anyway, Horse Junkies United has scratched my itch and heralded the announcement of the equine Harlem Shake.

When I searched You Tube to find the video, I actually came up with several different videos! The above one is my favorite because it is one of the few equestrian styled ones in which people actually stay on the horses. These horses are STOIC. I mean, they don't even bat a pretty eyelash. In particular, I was really impressed with the far right horse who just rolls with the dancing rasta banana astride.  Really impressive.

I also found this incredible shake, which I felt was note worthy for its inclusion of multiple equestrian disciplines. The piaffe is fantastic in the intro!

The next two videos, I am including because the girls who can jump are the best ones at dancing while in the saddle. I am so stoked that so many different riding ladies enthusiastically embraced this fun viral cultural quirk.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fourteen Carrots Visits HITS Thermal - Part 1: Grand Prix

It was a somewhat-hot-for-February-but-gorgeous day in Southern California yesterday. On 3/3/2013, Mr. Carrots and I found ourselves 150 miles east of Los Angeles on our journey to our new home in Austin, Texas. How tickled were we to find ourselves in Thermal during the HITS (Horseshows in the Sun) winter run? We were like kids in a candy shop, like miniature horses in a football field of hay. This was like finding ourselves at horsey-Disneyland or the Burning Man for horse enthusiasts.

We stumbled around for about an hour initially, gawking at the phenomenal number of massive rings running in one place at one time. I dropped some serious cash in the Diagon Alley of horse world - more on that in Part 2. Then, we settled down for the Grand Prix!

Mr. Carrots and I situated ourselves near jumps 1, 2 and 3. Most of the photos I am going to share our from jump 1.
Axl Rose and Paris Sellon

Axl Rose and Paris Sellon

Eleanora and Jenn Serek

Jump 3 was the stickiest jump for everyone that day.  I think because there was not that many strides between 2 and 3 and the distance to turn left to set yourself up straight for the middle of the skinny jump was precise. This was certainly the most common jump to fault on.

Jump 3
Jump 3

Mr. Carrots and I are total groupies for Flexible and Rich Fellers. We love their easy yet focused riding style. They are so comfortable together they are....almost sloppy. While we were walking behind the warm up ring heading over to the Grand Prix course, I had a total fan-girl moment taking photos of them warming up.
Flexible and Fellers Paparazzi shot

We were thrilled to see the pair together for the Grand Prix. And they did win. Below is the footage that I took of their qualifying round for the jump off.

Going back to the whole Burning Man for horsey people analogy, we even found a sign for a camp at HITS. Really? Who in PR thought that "Horze" was a good spelling?

Lastly, I discovered the lamest jump of all time. I can just hear an Olympic horse's inner commentary (if they had inner commentary) going over this one: "I am a chiseled, multi-million dollar specimen of Equus ferus caballus and could jump a Hummer and you want me to go over this?"

Sorry Farnham, I think you could do better than this.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - The Shopping Haul

Sunday, January 13, 2013

An exclusive expose with Weird Horse

 Fourteen Carrots is immensely excited and eternally grateful to present you with this exclusive interview with pop culture icon Weird Horse.

Let me put it simply: I adore Weird Horse. He is the bee's knees, the cat's meow. He is the sloth's third toe!
Weird Horse, photo from his Twitter profile
If you are not acquainted with this social medial sensation and guru (as he may call it, a "gu-ewe"), let me spell it out: you must be. Weird Horse has an unprecedented grasp of pop culture (for a horse) and his succinct prose is both efficient and powerful. Mr. Fourteen Carrots first found Weird Horse on his Twitter feed. Knowing of our common interests in carrots, he introduced me to this lovely Brittish enthusiast of parsley and worms.
Weird Horse is a busy, busy gelding across the pond, designing fashion fit for the Wellington runways; attending Farm strategy meetings; and still finding time to enjoy the swans and goats of his home. Though Weird Horse is most often intelligently creating satire and comedy, he also has a deeper insightful side as well. Along with Baffled Farmer, they are redefining the social landscape of the modern farm.

Fourteen Carrots was blessed with the opportunity to be able to sit down in the virtual barn with Weird Horse. This is surely the most important piece in the history of Fourteen Carrots' journalism. So fix yourself a proper cuppa' and enjoy this special insight into Weird Horse's mind. We think this may be the most amount of words he has ever neighed at one time.

Fourteen Carrots: You speak eloquently about the farmer, goats, badgers, cows and slugs. Tell us, is there a special rider in your life?
 Weird Horse: In a word, no. As a former employee of the West Hampstead Police mounted branch, I have done my time. Since then I've never really practiced the canter and I rarely amble anyway. Farmer often takes me down to the shops when his tractor is in for repair, but it's nothing too major. Sometimes I let worms climb onto my back so I can give them a tour of the field; it gives them a new insight into how life as a horse would be. It often makes them jealous but it's nice to give something back to the little ones.
Fourteen Carrots: Tell us more about the otters. 
Weird Horse: It's a difficult one. Otters are great and I'd be the first to come out and say that, but there are a lot of them. During the colder months on the farm they can become a real nuisance because they rarely settle down. All day long they insist on scurrying up and down the fields, bumping into our legs and nibbling at our hooves.  That's why a lot of them are kicked into bushes. It can be quite literally, an otter nightmare.
Fourteen Carrots: Here at Fourteen Carrots, we are huge fox-hunting enthusiasts. Do you participate in this Brittish tradition? 
Weird Horse: I took park in one, against my own will in 2004. I was very young and it was intense. A little too intense for me. I don't really get on with dogs you see. Foxes either. I'm very emotionally closed at times and my social life has been affected by this.

Fourteen Carrots: Have you ever been in the Tardis? 
Weird Horse: We used to watch a show about a time-traveling sheep called Doctor Ewe. That's the only time I've come across a Tardis. There's a phone box just outside our farm on the country path but I dare not go inside. Just in case really. Also, I can't fit or make calls because of the hooves.
Property of Weird Horse
Fourteen Carrots: If you had fourteen carrots, an onion and sprig of parsley, what would you do with them? 
Weird Horse: I'm a real sucker for carrots. I adore parsnips and I love a good onion. If I had fourteen carrots, I'd probably eat thirteen and keep the final one for sniffing. If you have a good imagination, a sniff can be as powerful as a bite. The sprig of parsley sounds incredible. I sometimes sprinkle parsley on goats because they sneeze. I'd probably just do that. I'd probably donate the onion to a malnourished swan.
Fourteen Carrots: What is your favorite mane and tail styling product? 
Weird Horse: No preference really. I use mud or snail-trail for my mane. I like to brush it to the right and gallop at speed into the wind. The tail is left to farmer as I don't see it. Out of sight, out of mind they say and it's just as well, because boy can that tail get messy after a busy Saturday afternoon.

I don't know about you, but I am totally trying out Weird Horse's snail-trail styling tip!
Many, many thanks to Weird Horse for donating his time to Fourteen Carrots and its readers. As well, this couldn't have been made possible without Baffled Farmer. Please do check out their 2013 calendar, which I have at Casa de Carrots reminding me of important dates like Dr. Dre's birthday and organizing activities and appointments for my own personal weird horses.

Image property of Weird Horse

Weird horse can be followed on Twitter here and on found at his website here.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

EOOTD - The Punisher

I am confused about whether this "hairdo" counts as an outfit or not. But this just demanded to be blagged about so here it is under Equine Outfit of the Day.

 Most of the horses at my dressage barn keep hairy legs and a saddle pad spot. This particular fellow, Amigo, has some extra awesome flare to go along with his winter shave.

As if Amigo isn't bad ass enough already being a dressage Arabian and all. Ta Da!

Amigo sporting Marvel Comic character "The Punisher"

Please do forgive the terribleness of the photos. I had a hell of a time photographing Amigo's ass end.

Even if you don't know who is on Amigo's rear, this would be pretty cool in and of itself. But, even better, the image is the Marvel Comic character "The Punisher."

My interpretation of this symbolism is that Amigo is going to punish the other horses this spring by getting really high scores on his dressage tests. No, I do not yet know what would count as a high dressage score.

I personally feel that Amigo's Punisher is somewhat reminiscent of an Ood.
An Ood
Yes, Amigo does have a front end as well.
Can you believe he is an Arab? I guess maybe the ears give him away.
What cool shave patterns/designs have you seen this winter?

If you haven't entered the Holiday Giveaway, click here!

2013 Blog Resolution: Better Photos for a Better Blog

Something has always irritated me with my blogs: the absolute wretched photographs I take. So for 2013, I made a resolution: better photos for a better blog. I was very lucky to be introduced to the blog of Ken Rockwell. This has provided me with simple, usable, and understandable basics with which to begin my acquisition of "photography skills."

Today after I rode Oliver (aka Mr. Withers, Olivander, Twistey), I decided to shoot some photos of my friends at the dressage barn. By friends, I of course mean horses. My sole approach for today's photo-shoot was to integrate Ken Rockwell's F.A.R.T technique for photography: Feel, Ask, Refine, Take.

These photographs, in my mind, are already tremendously improved. Just having an intent with the photography - similar to riding - brought them a long way. Here are a few of my favorites.

Oliver, with purple cooler


Amigo, you may recall him from his EOOTD