My 5 Favorite Things: the Dog Grooming Edition

Giving my large hairy and only-loves-water-if-it’s-a-natural-body-of-water-or-a-swimming-pool-but-no-bath-tub dogs is the bane of my existence. Between the de-shedding, being covered in water, and their “I hate you” expressions, I just don’t do it as often as I should. In fact, lately I’ve just given up and have been sending them to the groomer. But, when I do venture into this, I have found a few helpful products:

  1. Vetrolin Bath Ultra-Hydrating Conditioning Shampoo0022218This is my favorite shampoo. I use it for the horses and I use it for the dogs. Does a great job cleaning and leaves them smelling great. It also doesn’t agitate Guinness’ skin and he is so so sensitive.
  2. EZ Wash Wand
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    This one is something that makes my life easier rather than something the dog really likes but bath time is so much easier with the EZWash Wand! The one shown is the dog size (which I didn’t know they made until doing this post) but I have the larger horse size. Lets me get all over the body with minor wrangling of dog and I barely get wet while using it (unlike a normal hose).I also found while writing this that they have a shampoo container that can be added. I ordered that to give it a try.
  3. HandsOn Gloves
    6y5a5369These are both of my dogs favorite grooming accessory ever. I get them out of the bag and they go crazy! They like the massage that they get. I like that they pull out all the extra hair. But really, what I love about these is how easy they make bath time. I pour the shampoo right on my hand and then attack the wet dog. They help me get right down to the skin  so that I truly get a clean dog. And the dogs don’t mind baths quite as much when they’re getting a massage.
  4. SleekEz
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    I originally bought this for Gus. He’s always sweaty and grows a way thicker coat than he should in the summer (to the point that I actually shaved him in the summer) so I thought maybe this would help. It didn’t. So I brought it home to try on the dogs. We have used so many different shedding brushes with Guinness and he hates them all. But this one, he didn’t! He not only tolerated it, he actually seemed to like it. The SleekEz pulled out the undercoat but didn’t seem to pull on his skin. It also left his coat looking shiny and healthy. The brush didn’t do as well with Harley but she also doesn’t have that big undercoat like Guinness does.
  5. Synthetic Chamois
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    They technically make these for drying off your car but I was given the tip to use them for the dogs at a Dock Diving competition. It was instant love. They soak up the water, you wring them out, and they’re easy to store and carry around without having to deal with wet towels. I currently am using The Absorber Synthetic Drying Chamois but I expect any high rated brand would do the trick.

The Dogs, the Bible, and Me

Yesterday ended up being a bit of a disappointment since my regular lesson had to be rescheduled to Saturday thanks to a tornado watch and thunderstorms rolling in just as my lesson was supposed to start. What rotten luck. Especially now that I’ve sent in Gus and I’s very first recognized horse show entry and need every day we can get!

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But at least there was no major damage and no tornado touch down here (as far as I’m aware). The dogs didn’t think the whole experience was that fun though and I finally gave up and let them all cuddle on the bed with me. Harley never used to be frightened of storms but ever since Ziva arrived, the heightened anxiety of both the shepherds has convinced Harley the world is ending.

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There was some upside to the day however. For one thing, the bible came and holy smokes is the new iteration pretty.

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I have never done a lot of ordering through Dover (see ridiculous shipping prices) and have always felt like they waste a lot of paper on catalogs but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy looking through them every now and again! And when I pulled this baby out of the mailbox my mouth sort of dropped open. That is one impressive looking catalog.

But the best thing to happen yesterday is that my new belt from Boy-o-Boy Birdleworks came! It is just as pretty as I pictured and can’t wait to wear it at FENCE H.T.

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Thoughts on Show Photographers

Despite the fact that I have the best horse show husband who snaps literally hundreds of photos of me at every single show just so I can find ten I like (true story) I really want to support the good show photographers. They’re a dying breed and the good ones are worth every penny, even at the beginning levels.

Because here’s the thing, Eric is a good photographer but he’s an amateur. The actual show photographers have better equipment, better training, and they are allowed to go anywhere which means they often just have better access to a good shot. And you better believe I will pay for that.

The most recent schooling show at Poplar had a show photographer which doesn’t always happen at schooling shows. I was excited to see what she had gotten! Dressage was just your basics and I already had fabulous shots from Eric so I skipped them and unfortunately in stadium, Gus still looks a bit like a flying unicorn so no go there either. However, there was a great picture from XC! Not only did she have a great angle, Gus was actually jumping cute. I immediately bought a small digital copy for personal use for $25.

I thought that was reasonable and made sure I read over her use fee just so I knew what I could or couldn’t do with the photo but I honestly didn’t look too closely at the size of the photo. I don’t understand those things anyway, Eric just gives me photos and I put them on my blog/Facebook/Instagram and they look fabulous or not depending on how hard Gus and I are derping in a particular shot.

Plus, I’ve bought personal use photos from photographers before. In fact, here’s the one I bought of Dandy’s first run around Rebecca Farms.

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It’s a wonderful photo. More artsy than I usually purchase but truthfully Dandy wasn’t really respecting the other novice fences that were photographed and this one was fun. I was pretty sure this photo had cost me the same amount until I actually looked it up for this post and found that it actually only cost me $15. Now to be fair, Shannon Brinkman is a very well known photographer around the big events and she probably gets a lot of orders and is able to price her stuff accordingly but gosh, this is a real deal! And the quality for personal media use is wonderful. I will definitely be willing to support Shannon in the future. I’m half tempted to go buy more photos of Dandy’s Rebecca Farms excursions.

The $25 small digital copy I purchased of Gus? Well, I should have listened when she said small. I’m not expecting to be able to blow it up and print 8x10s with it, I didn’t even want to do that. I just wanted to post that photo here and say “Look how amazing my boy is!” But I was shocked. I can’t even put it on Instagram with how blurry it is. Well I could but I don’t want to put low quality photos on my account.

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And this is my problem with show photography. I understand you have to pay the bills. I understand that equipment is expensive and that you are shooting all day under a hot sun with no guarantee that you’re going to make any money at all. But when this is what I get for a $25 digital personal use photo? Well, it leaves a very sour taste in my mouth.

With prices like this, it’s no wonder that show photographers are a dying breed. Even people like me who are willing to support the good ones eventually get tired of feeling like we’re being cheated. As much as I want these special moment to be captured and as much as I love having the memories, I have no incentive to purchase. Actually, because of Eric I have less incentive than most people so why are show photographers making it even less enticing for people like me to purchase? I’m the kind of person you want to get on to your website because I’m a blog writing adult amateur who loves showing off. I will purchase all the photos if they’re good! Especially now that I have a good job and the money to do so.

I honestly don’t know what the answer is to the problems with show photography. And I’m not surprised that I see an official photographer at my shows less and less these days. As an adult amateur, even one with a good job and money to spend on show photos, I still need to be careful where I spend my money so I guess I just keep supporting the good photographers and stay away from those I’m not happy with. Money talks. But I do wish there was a way for us all to be satisfied with the experience.

Book Review: Ambition

Ambition by Natalie Keller Reinert

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Synopsis

“Jules Thornton didn’t come to Ocala to make friends. She came to make a name for herself. Young, determined, and tough as nails, she’s been swapping stable-work for saddle-time since she was a little kid – and it hasn’t always been a fun ride. Forever the struggling rider in a sport for the wealthy, all Jules has on her side is talent and ambition. She’s certain all she needs to succeed are good horses, but will the eventing world agree?

On her own at last, Jules is positive she’s poised to become eventing’s newest star, but soon finds she’s making more enemies than friends in the close-knit equestrian community. Little mistakes cost big — her students are losing faith in her; her owners are starting to pull their horses. And then there’s the small matter of Peter Morrison, the handsome, on-the-rise event rider who keeps showing up when she least expects him.

Jules is convinced that all she needs is good horses — not friends, not romance, not anyone’s nose in her business. But it’s just the beginning of the long, hot, Ocala summer, and as Jules tumbles through the highs and lows of a life with horses, she might find she’ll need help after all to weather the coming storm.”

– from Amazon.com

Review

In a lot of ways, this book is the eventing version of The Dressage Chronicles. The author has first hand experience with the upper levels if eventing and that shines through the pages. It’s very nice to not be thrown out of the story due to a minor detail that just doesn’t ring true. 

That all being said, it took me a bit to get into the story as the main character, Jules, is definitely prickly. Her ambition is all consuming and sometime makes it look like Jules cares more about winning than the horses. 

This is not the case though and, while Jules doesn’t get any softer, her heart eventually wins the readers over. More than that, she’s scrappy and bold and I know I wish I was like that occasionally! 

Also like The Dressage Chronicles the story brings the readers into a world that a lot of people don’t see and that few authors like to discuss which is just how hard the professional Equestrian life is when you aren’t born with money. While Jules mostly lands on her feet, things are not easy between natural disasters,  typical horse shenanigans, and difficult clients. 

Then there’s the attractive Pete, a fellow trainer and competitor who is doing his best to win Jules’ heart…

Final Thoughts

While it took me a few chapters to get into the story, by the end I was eagerly turning the pages wanting to know what happened next. In fact, I’ve already downloaded and started reading the second book, Pride. It’s really nice reading an book about eventing written by someone who actually events and has worked with upper level riders. Currently, the book is free on Kindle Unlimited or you can buy it on Kindle for $1.99 and for that, it is so worth it.

Rebranding

I have been doing a lot of thinking recently about what I wanted to get out of this blog. It has changed a bunch from my very first post to now and I’ve gained a wonderful sense of community that I wasn’t expecting back then. What I realized was that I want this blog to really be a reflection of my journey. I want to be able to share the highs and lows of working with OTTBs. I want to be able to commiserate with others struggling with their green horse problems. I want to be able to brag about our shows and share all the pretty pictures with you.

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But mostly, I want this blog to be true. I like talking and I have a lot of opinions. Sometimes I’m not the most eloquent speaker (or writer in this case) but that doesn’t mean I don’t have something to say.

Some of you might say that I’ve already been doing all of that, and I suppose you’re pretty much correct. I do tend to put whatever I want to say up here and I’m not afraid to share a bad photo or two (or two hundred… Gus is not the prettiest of jumpers all the time and we all know I make the worst riding faces!). But I also want this blog to be more than just my day to day training regimen. I want you to read this blog and really feel that you know me.

To that end, I’ve decided to rebrand this blog. Dandyism is a thing of the past and you are now reading the very first entry of Gray Horse Problems, complete with our own domain name (www.grayhorseproblems.com so update any links please!).

I am still in the process of getting everything just right so you’ll continue to see small changes throughout the next few months but I hope you won’t feel like I’ve really changed. I hope you’ll feel like I turned the page and started a whole new chapter, and I really hope you’ll follow along on the ride!

So come visit and like our new Facebook page Gray Horse Problems and follow along on Instagram at @Grayhorseproblemsblog.

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And thank you for to everyone who has experienced even a little bit of a journey so far. I can only hope that even more good things are coming our way.

xoxo
Lauren