13 June 2012

Rest In Peace, Cruizer. April 11, 2005 - June 13, 2012

I have been home from school since the beginning of May. Throughout the last month I've been home, Cruizer has given me absolutely spectacular rides. I can't even remember the last time he gave me trouble about anything. He was getting very solid with patterns, was pretty much auto-pilot on the rail, and was just fantastic everyday. My sister was riding him a lot and he was perfect for her every time. Last weekend we (my sister and I) took him to his first show of the year (and last) and he came home with three firsts, a second, a third, and three fourths as well as a reserve high point with my younger sister. He behaved himself incredibly well and looked beautiful.

This morning I arrived at the farm at five to feed horses and turn out. I fed everyone then went to Cruizer's pen to bring him in to eat breakfast (he is in during the day and out at night every summer to prevent sun-bleaching). He didn't come to the gate when I called him which is odd for him so I brought his pasture mate in and put a different horse outside on my way back. When I arrived back at the gate to Cruizer's pen he whinnied at me but didn't move so I walked out to him and noticed a lot of blood on the ground and more blood squirting out of his leg. I called the barn owner and my mom immediately as well as the vet. We got his leg wrapped out in the field then walked him up to the barn slowly. He was a perfect gentleman the entire time, even for wrapping without sedation. Once the vet got him cleaned up we noticed a lot of small lacerations and one large laceration on the back of his left hind pastern. I tried to stay positive and hope for the best. The on call vet felt around in the wound and felt that their was tendon damage so he was hauled to an equine clinic right away. The vet there (who happens to be the same one who did my first horse's colic surgery) felt that prognosis seemed fairly good (without looking at anything closely) simply because he was in good shape, alert, not too upset, and was lame but not losing control of the limb. However, when the vets laid him down and looked in the wound they discovered that the injury was severe and he had completely severed his deep digital flexor tendon. She explained that she was confident nothing could be done for him - he would never have any acceptable quality of life and at most had a 10% chance at maybe someday being sound to walk around a pasture but it would require 16+ months of rehab and even then we would probably lose him. At her recommendation we made the decision to euthanize him. I wasn't able to say goodbye while he was conscious; when they anesthetized him we thought he would be staying there for a week before coming home but no one thought that the outcome would be so severe. I stayed with him through the end and have his forelock and tail with me. I want to get bracelets or something made out of it for my sister and I.

Life can be so unfair sometimes. I know people who literally haven't touched their horse in months or even years and the only time they see them is every 6 months when they hand deliver their board check instead of mailing it. I saw Cruizer every day while I was home and love him dearly; everyone who knew him loves him. He was such an outgoing, affectionate horse who just loved people and wanted to make them happy. Even though he must have been in excruciating pain today he never offered to kick or tried to pull away. He had his ears pricked forward the whole time and was nuzzling everyone around. He was a complete gentleman for everything. It just kills me that it always seems to be the super nice horses that are absolutely cherished by their owners that get taken. The horses who never get any attention beyond being fed and turned out live on for decades unharmed. I did everything in my power to make sure Cruizer was safe, happy, and healthy. I was always so careful with him and still this tragedy happened. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Cruizer was truly a once in a lifetime horse who can never be replaced. I love and miss him so much already.

20 January 2012


First personal update: I have switched from Pre-Vet to English Equestrian major, specifically hunter jumper. The pre-vet just didn't feel quite right to me. I was constantly driving over to the english farm to watch them ride. I am planning on getting my associates and then possibly going to massage or saddle fitting school. I am not riding yet, instead I will start riding in the fall, and do two riding classes a day. Right now I'm doing my core equine classes (reproduction, farm management, judging and horse selection). I still have to take nutrition and equine science. My gen ed credits are done except for computer science. According to my adviser, I should be graduating in three or four semesters. I'm excited.

I had a month for winter break, although Cruizer did not get ridden much. I free lunged, lunged, or just played with him pretty much every day though. When I first got home I tacked him up to ride, then put him on the lunge and at a trot he was dead lame, would not put any weight on his left front leg. He was fine at the walk. The farrier happened to be there so he put the hoof testers on every foot, no reaction whatsoever. We noticed that Cruizer did have a slight bump on the back of his left knee that he didn't like palpated. We stalled him and gave him some bute, prepared to call the vet in the morning. In typical Cruizer fashion, I arrived at the barn early the next morning to find him completely sound again. Less than twelve hours before he was hobbling around like his leg was broken. We never figured out what it was, although the bump did go down and was not painful after that first night. My guess is he whacked his leg on something right before I brought him in the night before and over reacted (like he generally does). He was completely sound the rest of the time I was home, probably sounder than I've seen him in awhile. He has been getting massaged over his stifles/hips fairly regularly (by my sister, not a professional).

Most of the times I got Cruizer out to ride he was simply too hyper or spooky to actually safely ride. Most people frown on me just lunging him and putting him away when he's like that rather than ride through it BUT due to a complete spinal fusion (base of neck all the way down to the bottom of my lower back) I am very fragile and cannot risk it. Cruizer also happens to be extremely athletic and enjoys straight up and down rodeo bucking when hyper/scared. So we just lunge and work out some energy that way.

The rides I did get to have on him were really really good. My sister hasn't had time to ride him more than maybe ten times since I left for school, so I was surprised at how good he was. His steering isn't great, nor are his breaks, but those are things we normally have to tune up constantly so that was fine. He was also a bit naughty in that he seemed really excited to be doing something, and so his canter was really animated and kind of hoppy and up & down rather than forward. He even squealed at one canter transition. At least I know he enjoys working though. I generally don't ride much in the winter (maybe 10 times from December to February) so I was impressed by how sensible he was (well, on the days he was sensible anyway). He was light years better than he usually is for winter rides.

As far as his feet, they look great. I am really starting to see some changes in them, particularly no more chips/bruising/cracks. He has been getting Smartpak's SmartHoof supplement for about 6 months now, so it makes sense that his feet are getting better. He is no longer sensitive over hard/rocky/frozen ground. He is still barefoot, and will remain so unless something changes and he can't handle it anymore.

I'm really excited to get home in May and start getting back to serious work and start showing!

12 October 2011

Cruizer Lameness

This past weekend I visited home. I saw Cruizer every day, and was able to ride him twice. Well, sorta ride.

Those of you who have been reading for awhile have probably noticed that Cruizer experiences quite a lot of periods of lameness that are for the most part unexplained and seem to get better on their own with minimal intervention. On some occasions they have been determined to be caused by abscesses or bruises. At times they have been on the front end, sometimes in the back, and sometimes in the hind end... and sometimes seemingly everywhere. I have not been able to afford x rays or anything of that sort. He passed a vet check before we purchased him. There were a few areas of minimal concern on the pre purchase including off angles in his left front hoof, signs of future hock arthritis, and sensitivity over his "hunter bump," none of these were of great concern. I bought him on his fourth birthday, lightly started. He was never pushed or worked hard and was given lots of time off whenever he seemed to hit a growth spurt. The pre purchase also included x rays of (if my memory serves me right) all four legs from the knee/hock down, including hooves. Immediately after he got home we started him on MSM to keep his joints healthy, as well as biotin for his hooves. He has remained on MSM throughout the entire two and a half years I've had him, and is now on a higher dose (10,000 mg daily).

During his periods of lameness he has been evaluated by both farriers and veterinarians. He has had flexion tests multiple times, never showing anything of major concern. However, I've never been able to do anything more as far as lameness evaluation. I am trying to save money now to get it checked out but being a full time student its going to be quite some time before I have any amount of money saved to take him for further evaluation.

I forgot to be realistic and was hoping that he would magically be better when I visited home. Out in the pasture, he is striding out fully on all legs and is not limping, but he's not quite right. I decided to hop on bareback and take him for a spin in the outdoor, which at the time was rock hard. He was okay at the walk, although pretty cautious about where he was putting his feet. He wasn't really limping at the trot, but was definitely uncomfortable and reluctant to move. Our ride two days later was worse. He was very reluctant to move out at the walk. I only jogged for about five strides that day just to see how he felt, and he felt worse. I honestly don't think this is related to him being barefoot, but I am open to any suggestions. His feet honestly look pretty darn good.

One thing that has been pretty consistent for most of the time I've had him is that he doesn't stride out as far on his right hind as he does on the left. However, he has never had a limp relating to that leg. Even when he is sound and comfortable and passing flexion tests with no response whatsoever, that right hind doesn't really come forward as far as the other unless I really ask him to extent, which he does with no hesitation or signs of discomfort. I am puzzled.

He was briefly checked out by a massage therapist before I left who noted that he was tight in the right hip and stifle area and said his pelvis felt like it was out of line. I haven't been able to have him actually massaged or adjusted, but when I massage his hip/stifle with liniment he does get better.

I realize this is pretty disorganized and random but I'm really just at a loss as to what this could be or what to do. I can't afford to have it checked out further right now, which I know is not to his advantage but there really isn't anything I can do at the moment. For now, he is getting massaged by my  sister pretty regularly, getting his feet keratexed and oiled, and is being kept comfortable to the best of our abilities. He is not limping and his mood has not deteriorated at all. He still runs around like crazy with his buddies and is happy to do all of his normal horsey activities.

Some background info and what not:
2005 Appendix Quarter horse gelding. Stands between 17-17.1 hands currently.
Bought in 2009 standing barely 16.2 hands. Passed vet check with clean x rays and flexion tests.
Started lightly as a three year old, ridden for no more than 20 mins at a time, about three days a week until age four.
Upon purchase, began working lightly about 4-5 days a week, basic walk trot canter.
Experienced first lameness period about 5 months after purchase. Vet recommended Bute regimen and light work only.... conclusion was growing pains. He soon stood 16.3 hands. and grew two more blanket sizes and outgrew saddle tree.
Went barefoot in fall of 2010. His hoof wall had collapsed so much that he couldn't hold a shoe and was consistently uncomfortable. Has not had shoes on since, and has been happy to work and sound over all surfaces.
Work load gradually increased. He is now finished in hunter under saddle and showmanship. Always given days off and time to rest, particularly after hard work.
Diet: 10,000 mg MSM daily, Smartpak's SmartHoof supplement, coat supplement, combination of 12% sweet feed and Concept E pelleted feed by CPI, also free choice grass/alfalfa mix hay 24/7.

Here are some videos of him at a particularly bad point a few months ago, although this is not quite what he is showing now.

any suggestions anyone has I would really appreciate!

27 September 2011

College Life

My courses have kept me very busy here. I performed my first surgery about two weeks ago (castrating pigs). The whole process was surprisingly easy and bloodless. I also received my first veterinary injury last week. We were trimming some ewes' feet and the ram in the pen was acting aggressively (my partner's job was to watch what the other sheep were doing while myself and another girl were trimming a ewe) which was observed but not relayed to those trimming. I looked up because I heard some movement in front of me and the ram kicked me before I could move, resulting in my hoof trimming blade stabbing my other hand. It was decided that I didn't need stitches but would need a tetanus shot. Another student also contracted a zoonotic disease from not following safety/sanitation procedures. 

Overall I love it here but I'm not sure how badly I want to be in school still at 30. My backup plan if I opt not to pursue vet school is to become a vet tech specializing in surgery.

I am missing my Cruizer horse incredibly and fortunately am going home in 10 days to see him (and family and friends). I cannot wait for him to move down here in January. I have already started looking at barns and found a few that are very promising.

I don't remember if I wrote about it or not, but before I left Cruizer served as "therapy horse for a day" for the special education program at one of the high schools I attended. This was Cruizer's first experience of this kind, but even as a five year old I figured it was something he would be good at. I was right. Given Cruizer's size and extremely outgoing personality, he was a favorite among the kids. He stood for 45 minutes straight completely still (besides nuzzling the hair of the girl brushing him) to be brushed by one of the girls. He also took treats like a gentleman from all of them.. which was probably his favorite part of the day. We also gave a riding demonstration and allowed the kids to handwalk and graze the horses.
Here are some pictures from that day:

The last one is my personal favorite. This girl did not leave Cruizer's side the entire time. She was also the one that brushed him and handwalked him. She laughed hysterically every time his lips touched her hand. Cruizer did not even flinch.

22 August 2011

Hi everyone, I apologize for the lack of updates, but if you're friends with me on facebook then you know that I recently moved away to college. I am attending The University of Findlay, majoring in Pre-Veterinary Medicine. So far, I love it. I started classes today and all of my professors seem nice and happy to help (a huge change from the college I attended back home). I have my first animal class tomorrow, Practical Animal Handling: Food Animals. I'm really excited about that, although we don't get to play with the cows and pigs and sheep and goats and llamas until later this week.

Before I left, I had one last horse show. My goal for that was to simply have clean rides and for me to not mess up our showmanship! Cruizer performed way above and beyond my expectations. We started off the day with a 2nd out of about 14 in Hunter In Hand.. a class we only enter for the experience of standing still for the judge. Cruizer tends to wiggle around during showmanship inspection which is cause for disqualification, but since I've started doing a halter class first we haven't had that problem. We then performed a dang near flawless showmanship pattern (only mistake was the last two steps of the back being a little crooked) but we did not place. I didn't care though because we had a really great pattern. No one knows why I didn't place..I have my suspcions that it was because in a class of 27 I was the only one dressed hunt seat. I did not have time to change between classes and the class did say western or english attire. But oh well.

I then lunged Cruizer for about 10 minutes out in the field (also lunged in the morning for about 35mins) and headed into open ring. We only got to walk around once, trot twice, and canter half a rail before they called for the ring to be closed. He was perfect but I was a little worried that it wasn't enough. Going into my hunter under saddle class I was trying to stay positive. He has blown a lead in this class at every show this year OR gotten very chargey. Well, we had to trot in and he was being fairly perfect. I remained cautiously optimistic for the canter, and really over-prepared him for the lead. He took the correct lead and cantered around nice and easy with no fussing about the other horses or deep sand. At this point I was so happy I didn't care what happened. We reversed and he was perfect all throughout the second direction too. By the time we lined up I was nonstop petting him and decided I didn't care if we placed or not because he just gave me the ride of a lifetime. We ended up placing third out of about thirty, and one of my close friends won the class. She works very hard with her horse and definitely deserved it. We hugged at the exit gate. I was crying by this point and she was too. We both had flawless, state grand champion worthy rides so I was thrilled. We still had equitation which is Cruizer's toughest class, although he performs much better at horse shows than at home for this class. We did rail work first (another class of about 30) and then she called people from the rail to do the pattern. Our rail work was good. I rode on a tighter contact and he didn't fight it at all, just went along like he's been doing it all his life. We were called into the middle to do the pattern and our pattern was pretty good. Our trot should have been bigger but I really can't complain. It is a very difficult class for Cruizer to handle mentally because he gets stressed about the constant changes and anticipates a change at the cone so I really have to ride ahead to keep him doing what I want. We ended up placing second out of about thirty so I was beyond thrilled with that. The only bobble in our pattern was right at the beginning when we were supposed to go from a stop to a sitting trot. Normally Cruizer is strong at this BUT it turns out that for the three days prior we were practicing stop to canter transitions a lot. Cruizer decided that he should pick up a left lead canter. He did it perfectly (lol) although it wasn't what was asked for. I brought him back down within one stride so it was okay and I had to just laugh. He tries so hard to please.

After the show when we were back at the barn unpacking I got a text from my sister that Cruizer and I were Reserve Champion Open High Point. Being that we only did four of the eight classes that counted for highpoint, I was thrilled. We tied with another girl who did do all eight classes. This is Cruizer's second highpoint win technically, but the first we've gotten a ribbon for. The ribbon is huge and fancy.

Cruizer is not with me at school. He will hopefully come with me when I return after winter break. In the meantime, my younger sister and best friend are going to ride him and give him attention so he still feels special. I miss him so much already. He always rides like an angel for my sister and she's gotten used to him a little bit so I'm not worried. My best friend has been riding her whole life and we ride very similarly, so she does fine with him as well. They both love him dearly. Before I left he was trimmed and came up lame. He wasn't limping consistently, but was definitely off. We determined he had a stone bruise and after soaking him a couple times he was much better. He's going to get another week or so off before they ride him. He was also seen by an Equine Massage Therapist before I left who noted that his right hip is very tense and locked up. This is the same hip that I've seen issues with for a long time now. She showed me how to massage him so he has also been gettng massaged daily by my sister with liniment.

I cannot wait to see him again. I will try to keep this blog better updated although its going to change focus for awhile because I'm not riding currently.

20 July 2011

Long Time No Post

I figure its time to do a short post, since things are calming down for me.

In major news.. I was accepted into the Pre-Veterinary Medicine program at The University of Findlay. It has been a dream of mine to attend UF since I was thirteen. I cannot express how excited and grateful I am to be starting there in August.

In Cruizer news.. we battled with a mystery lameness (ranging from dead hobbling lame to slightly off that most people couldn't detect) for a couple weeks. Then one day he was magically sound again. Hmm. He's been good as gold ever since. I've shown him three times since my last update. At the first show he won showmanship, was second in hunter under saddle, second in open hunter under saddle, and fourth in hunt seat equitation. He is VERY green in the eq, so I was thrilled with that. He got a bit naughty in HUS, but all in all for his first show in a year I was happy. He placed fourth in eq at the other two shows as well. He does patterns so much better at shows than he does at home. We've been working on equitation patterns at home a lot and almost every time it results in him throwing a temper tantrum/bucking fit because he gets frazzled by the demands of difficult patterns. He's getting better though. At the other two shows he blew my HUS classes by pretending he didn't know his leads. Grr. But, I have to remember he's still pretty green as far as showing goes. He has also now broken off the trailer at EVERY show but one. We need to brainstorm new ways to tie him because he's learned that he can break the lead rope and is having a grand ole' time running around, while giving me a heart attack.

Other Cruizer news.. he went on his first off-property "trail" ride. I was saved by him being barefoot, as he spooked hard at something and bolted sideways on the road (asphalt). Had he been shod, I am sure he would have fallen. I stayed on and we went past the scary objects (a huge rock and a mailbox) with no problem once he got a chance to look at them. The "trail" ride was actually through the field in front of the barn and cutting across the neighbor's yard to ride through the neighboring subdivision. Cruizer seemed to enjoy himself.. particularly when we stopped at a friend's house and he got to eat grass in her front yard. He is overall getting much more confident and "broke." One of my friends also came out and rode him last week (she's a novice and this was her second time riding in like 6 months) and he just loped around for her like a beginner's lesson horse. I was very proud. I rode him first and we worked on the lead changes exercises we learned in the clinic a couple months ago, and he gave me two flying changes at a reasonable pace and without bucking to do the change. Good boy.

In personal news, I broke up with my boyfriend of two and a half years in May. It's been pretty difficult, especially since I'm already under so much stress with school approaching. Its also a blessing how busy I am though.. doesn't leave me a whole lot of time to think.

Its been between 90 and 100 degrees for the past week and is supposed to remain super hot for this week, so I won't be riding at all. Cruizer and I are both very sensitive to the heat. I'm going to go out later and hose him off and sunscreen him though.

18 May 2011

I'm sorry I stopped updating. I'm going through somewhat of a crisis right now. I don't really want to talk about it on here. Cruizer is doing well. We got some pretty spectacular compliments from an outside trainer who I did a group lesson with. She asked me to step it up though and push him for more impulsion and bigger movement. We've been working on that. He gets tired fast but he's doing well and feels great. I also played around with our flying lead changes exercises yesterday and he started to figure out what we were doing (smart boy) and he gave me another flying change. His rail work was excellent. I rode him in a new saddle (western training saddle my coach picked up) and it fits him (and me) like a glove.

This weekend we have a show, but I don't know if I'm going or not yet because of this virus going around. I don't think it's worth the risk. We're discussing it with the vets.

We go camping next week, which I'm really excited for. I need a break from everyday life. It will be nice to have some relaxing time with Cruizer.

07 May 2011

I did a video barn tour today that I'll post tomorrow night.

In the meantime, quick update. Today Cruizer got his legs clipped (with the AWESOME clippers that I won at state last year for volunteering) and man these clippers kick ass. They're Andis, can't remember which specific one right now though.

Afterwards Cruizer chillaxed in his stall while I worked a horse for the farrier. I was planning on riding but was too lazy to tack up so Cruizer and I just rode around bareback. I love how much he is maturing. He had been sitting in his stall for about an hour and a half, and I just took him out to the arena and hopped on..well climbed on. He's huge! We jogged around maybe 3 times and then started cantering. We cantered about twice around then did a simple lead change and cantered two more times around, then repeated for a total of 4 simple changes. After that we just wandered around on a draped rein. Cruizer was very happy and relaxed and was perfectly content with just loping around at minimal speed. I love him. As a treat he got a huge carrot and hand-grazed for fifteen minutes.

06 May 2011

Day Nine: Any injuries you’ve gotten from riding

I'm doing Day 9 today because I know I won't have time to write about it later :)

Day Nine: Any injuries you’ve gotten from riding

I have been riding for over a decade, but I've been very fortunate to never be seriously injured. This fact is surprising to me because the majority of my experience is riding green horses that no one else wanted to deal with. I've fallen off a handful of times. I wasn't hurt beyond a scrape and some bruises for most of them.

My first fall off of Cruizer was very painful and in all honesty made me kind of nervous to ride him again. I am generally fearless but I didn't see it coming at all on him. He was the first horse to ever successfully buck me off. Cruizer could have a career as a bucking horse if he wanted it. He would be hard to beat.

The scariest fall I've ever had was when I went off of an Arab mare named Brasi. I was riding her while my first horse recovered from colic surgery. She was gorgeous and I loved her dearly. She was giving me the best ride I ever had on her when she suddenly fell during a trot circle, she twisted her neck to the right and landed with her head and neck under her body. It happened so fast I didn't even realize I'd come off. I heard my trainer yelling at me to get up, and I did. Turns out the mare was about to roll over my way. Rather than get out of the way when I saw what was happening, I tried to lift her neck so she could get her head out. That was by far the scariest thing I've ever seen a horse do (in person). As soon as she was up we took off the saddle and bridle. She just walked around the arena dragging her nose on the ground. We decided to put her out in her pasture (where she spent all of her time when I wasn't riding her) and just watch her, she was in shock. She laid down for awhile, which she never did, but then got up and started grazing. I had no idea that it was such a serious accident. During the night she got really bad and had to be euthanized. The final verdict is that she had a stroke during our ride, and fractured her neck when she fell. I miss her so much. Since then, I have had the opportunity to ride her filly a few times. She's lovely and reminds me so much of her mother. I was also able to see her birth from start to finish.

My last fall was off of Cruizer. It resulted in a trip to the ER and CAT scans of my head, neck, and upper back. I lost sensation along my back and am just now starting to get it back. My upper back is constantly tingling. The doctors told me that "the feeling will probably come back eventually." Great, thanks for the help.

The first fall off of Cruizer also involved my head hitting the rail. Luckily I was wearing a helmet that saved me. The helmet was dented and replaced. I've replaced my helmet after every fall regardless of if there is any obvious damage to it. I also hit my head pretty hard on the ground the last time I fell off Cruizer, and that helmet was demolished. 

Day 8 - All the tack and riding clothes you have (brand/color/other details)

I'm only going to do the main things, because I have a lot of stuff.

Saddle- 17.5 inch Medium tree 2010 County Stabilizer. This saddle was custom made for Cruizer and I, so "extras" include: Forward Flap, extra 1/2 inch deeper gullet, no knee block but knee pads, skid row panels, and custom flocking to accommodate for Cruizer's slightly more developed right side. The saddle is the deep chocolate brown color.

Bridle- Crosby hunt bridle with "raised" leather on browband and cavesson. Havana with white stitching. Also attached havanna with white stitching extra long 72" english laced reins. Cruizer's neck is way too long and I cannot ride in the 54 or 60 inch reins on him, my hands have to go halfway up his neck for those to work :)

Jacket- My hunt coat is a dark grey/brown pinstripe by RJ classics. Prestige collection. I also have a charcoal/burgundy pin striped jacket by Ovation that is now my "backup" coat for when it rains. I have multiple hunt shirts.. including grey with pink ribbon and rhinestone collar, mint green pinstripe, light blue, white, bright blue, and yellow with rhinestoned collar.

Breeches- breeches include Ariat, Devon-Aire, On Course, Kerrits, Riding Sport

Boots- Ariat Heritage Field Boots, zipper on back for shows. Ariat heritage paddock boots with Dublin half chaps for at home.

Girth- I am currently borrowing an english girth made by Weaver that is printed 52 inches but measures closer to 56. I also have an Ovation Dri Lex fleece lined girth that is too small for Cruizer (at a 54!) and another weaver leather padded girth that is also too small (52).

Saddle pads- I have a burgundy saddle pad with fleece padding along the back. I don't remember what brand it is, but I got a heck of a deal on it. I also have a Lami Cell memory foam padded lavendar saddle pad.

Helmets- suede hunt cap by Troxel (it does have a harness though and is ASTM certified..A MUST!), and I school in a "lavender mist" IRH equilite helmet. Most comfortable helmet EVER & it actually keeps you cool. I have a habit of fainting quite often in the summer especially while riding and this helmet helps keep me cool.

I also have a one of a kind showmanship shirt (western) that is purple based with black grey and white and TONS of rhinestones. I love it. It was made by Show Fancy.

I do miss my old saddle, but it was far too narrow for Cruizer, and I love my County SO much more. I used have an OLD Crosby prix des nations, 16.5 Narrow tree. No knee pads or blocks. It was a pain to ride in because I had to actually work for my leg position, but the saddle was gorgeous even though it was clearly very old. It was in excellent condition and the seat was AMAZING.