Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Boot Saga Concludes - La Mundials are in!

My custom boot saga has been documented throughout this blog, most notably here and here.  I ordered a pair of custom Dehner boots back in 2014 prior to moving away from Omaha.  It was my "Happy moving back to the east coast!" present to myself.  They showed up, and didn't fit right.  Features were missing.  After a lot of back/forth with myself over them, partially breaking them in and deciding they weren't what I wanted...I decided this spring that I wanted to move in a different direction.

And by move, I mean do a full 180 and leap off a cliff.

I was at World Cup in Omaha and passed by the La Mundial Boots booth several times.  After chatting with the rep a couple of times, I found myself in the chair getting my measurements taken.   This was a complete impulse thing and looking back on it, totally crazy.  Because when I got home and looked at the reviews of La Mundial, I probably never would have done it.  Seriously...Google them.

So, as I waited for the custom boots to come in, I was wondering if I should seriously regret this decision.  After all, if a reputable boot company couldn't get my stuff right, I guess I didn't have much faith in a company that seems to range from "OMG SO BEAUTIFUL!!1!" to literally probably the worst.  I pretty much sat here scolding myself for ever doing anything custom.  And when the boots didn't show up when they originally estimated, I got extra suspicious. 

I dug through my receipts and realized HOLY SHIT I CANNOT FIND MY BOOT RECEIPTS.  Yeah.  That happened.  Couldn't find it on email either.  Fuck fuck fuck.  So I called the La Mundial customer service phone number, and am happy to report that not only did a human being pick up, but she said they'd ship in a couple of days.  Okay.  I relaxed some.  Then much to my surprise, they showed up several days ahead of that new arrival date.  Let the puckering begin...

They. Are. Beautiful.  Legit beautiful.  And, most importantly, they fit perfectly!

The 180-degree turn off a cliff I was describing above was my departure from a traditional boot, and a full on embrace of today's more tailored, fashion-style boots.  These were my "fun" boots.  I wanted something to go along with our navy blue/grey/white color scheme we have going.  Without going full-on insane, I opted for navy blue trim with grey piping.  When I opened the box, I was so glad to see that the colors are both visible and lovely, but are conservative enough to not scream for attention.  It's a more subtle approach and I like that!

There's always that inner screaming and panic that first time you try on custom boots, but I was so relieved when they zipped right up with no issues.  They are the appropriate amount of tight (I'll stretch them slightly as I break them in), the height is perfect, and all the details are just right.  The quality looks to be top notch, and thus far just walking around the house, they are quite comfortable.

So...I guess time will tell how well these hold up.  Most of the negative reviews I found were regarding the ordering process/waiting/orders not being right....and we're already past all that with boots that more or less arrived on time, responsive customer service, and an impeccable product.  These are show boots that will probably only come out when my jacket goes on, so I am hoping they should last a while.  I also bought the extra (outer) panel on the inside the boot which can be easily replaced if the inside of the boot leg wears from saddle time. 

I give La Mundial a huge thumbs up for their product (thus far).  As for Dehner...the company and I came to a good agreement, the details of which I will keep private.  I no longer have the boots.  I was not pleased with the product, but I was happy with the service that I received.  I would still recommend Dehner to those looking for a very traditional, old school type boot.    But like with any custom boot company...buyer beware.  This is just a unique situation where one highly regarded company didn't work out, and one company with a checkered rep came through.  I'm feeling like I've dodged a bullet, but happy to have done so, because I'm finally happy with my boots.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Joe Fargis Part Deux

First off, let's talk about the fact that Soon now jumps liverpools with minimal discussion prior to agreeing to flinging his body from one side of it to the other via the top of the fence.


Had a lesson with Awesome Local Trainer on Monday morning, and after only stopping at it once (liverpool was fully opened, no babying it that day), Soon took the hint and jumped it the rest of the morning no issue.  It was a good day.  It was hot and miserable, and I was borderline useless all morning, but he was good.  We had some cross canter issues during the warm up that frustrated me and I needed to handle better. 

The next day, I had the vet out to look at Soon's back/SI joint because of the cross cantering, and also to check his eyes (because let's be real, Homeboy missed BIG TIME the previous week by removing my shoulder with his incisors). 

Bubba will need injections in the lower hock joint as both hocks were pretty sore, which is likely causing the back to be sore and all of it is likely contributing to the cross cantering.  We'll start with some Depo in the lower joints, leaving the acid and potential upper joint injections for later if needed.  Both the vet and I like to start simple and use the minimal treatment necessary - and I hate screwing around with injections.

I'm also going to do a four-round course of Pentosan as well as starting him on a Cosequin powder.  Injections will be next week; I'm hoping to line up a chiropractor and massage therapist to get him done on his down time.  That way, when he starts back after a short break, he will hopefully be feeling better all over.  BTW, his eyes seemed fine, at least with the non-scientific farm call version of the eye exam.

In the meantime, we had another lesson with Joe Fargis scheduled for today.  Soonie got a gram of Bute this morning just in case, and we hauled out with the barn team to Upperville.  Soon was fantastic - after a short hack around the farm, we rode in the indoor again due to the rain, he was super relaxed and settled well into the work immediately. 

Joe was extremely complimentary the whole lesson.  He said multiple times how well we had come along since the first lesson, that we had really done our homework.  He was impressed with Soon and how he looked, he was happy that my hands were soft and declared that problem "solved" (haha!).  Now my homework is to keep my foot to the inside of the stirrup and turn my toe out more, which Joe believes provides a more stable, consistent foundation/footing for the rider's balance.  I have to say - I don't disagree with him.  When a stirrup would slip to the outside of my foot mid-course, I could feel a huge change, and noticed that having the foot on the outside of the stirrup reduces the contact and feels less secure.  But having ridden like that since I was a little kid (and something I will have to change again for George Morris, as he wants feet to the outside of the stirrup), this will take some adjusting too. 

There wasn't a lot new or groundbreaking in this lesson (which is a good thing, I suppose, I like to think that means we're on a good track).  Joe did crank the two square oxers up to about 3'6"-1.15m ish.  Which isn't by any means huge, but not having jumped more substantial fences lately, it at least made me sit up and notice.  I tried not to ride it any differently - maintain a soft hand, giving with the hand on the approach and closing the leg and allowing Soon to find the base himself.  He jumped well and handled the rollback turns off the big oxers like a champ.  He did have a rail or two, so Joe had us repeat just one oxer off the long approach a few times to solidify his jump. 

I don't know - this horse over the top of a reasonably sized fence (one that at least requires some decent riding to) feels amazing.  I can't wait to keep exploring his potential and seeing where it takes us.  Makes me want to be a better rider.  A better horseman.  A better student.  This horse could absolutely do the low Jr/AO jumpers...maybe or maybe not competitive, depending on how well this hunter princess learn to ride jumpers!  But he can do it.  I used to joke about it.  No more joking.  If we never jump again that's fine - he's done enough already.  But for now I'm happy to ride this ride, keep pushing and training with the best, keep learning, keep doing the homework...and see where it takes us.  These are exciting times.

I needed this day.  In a big way.  Especially today.  This horse just keeps giving and I am thankful for each opportunity I have with him.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Stephen Bradley Photos

Got some beautiful photos from our last lesson with Stephen Bradley, aka the Great Liverpool Debate.

Still not tired yet

893 jumps over the liverpool later...very tired.

Now everyone is tired.