Hide and Seek

While Freedom always wants to go out for a ride, Zelda can sometimes be a bit difficult to catch. Those are the days I rue the size of her pasture, especially after I’ve walked back and forth several times. Of course, giving up isn’t an option: she can never think that she’s gotten out of work just because she wanted to!

On this particular day, our game of tag had gone on for several round trips. I was thinking of turning on MapMyRun just so I knew how far I’d walked. But the funniest part was when she ran to the bottom of the field and then hid behind a tree. Based on her expression, I’m pretty sure that she thought I couldn’t see her there. Funny girl. She has no idea of her size!

Zelda hiding
Zelda thinks she’s hidden behind the tree. She was quite surprised that I “found” her so easilty.

After the Finish with Paul Tapner

It’s a thrill to cross the finish line at an event like Burghley, but rarely do we see what happens once the riders jump off. Follow Paul Tapner and Bonza King of Rouges behind the scenes after they finish their cross country round. It’s a real family affair. The pair finished 19th.

Future Champion?

On a very cold February day it was fun to watch this American Pharoah colt enjoy the spring weather with his dam.

Last week we had record highs — mid 60s and even low 70s. Today the high was 17 and with the wind chill it felt more like 2. What happened to spring?

Winter is coming

Tonight we are expecting temperatures to drop to about zero, with gusting winds that will make it feel even colder. I’m not really ready for winter. Yesterday it was 40 degrees and sunny!

This evening I bundled up the horses in their blankets, fed some extra hay and made sure they had plenty of water.

At least I don’t live in Mongolia.

The best of fall hunting

End of the hunt
Is there a better way to experience fall foliage than from the back of a horse?

Yesterday we enjoyed breathtaking fall foliage and an excellent day of hunting. There was a light drizzle when we started but it did nothing to diminish the color, it just added some atmosphere.

Freedom is still sidelined so Zelda stepped up and gave me a great day. While last week she was quite naughty, this time she was forward without any of the fireworks. She was a real joy to ride.

Before the hunt
I got to the hunt early enough to take Zelda for a short hack before we started. She does better with a couple of miles under her belt.
Looking out over the pond
I particularly love the trees which show multiple colors, even in the fog.
Beautiful foliage
The foliage was so beautiful that I almost forgot to make Zelda work.
The Disney effect
These colors were so vibrant they barely look real.
Hacking to the start
A great way to start the hunt!
At the check
At the check.

End of the hunt

DIY Brimmed Helmet — “HellHats”

hellhat2While not technically a visor for an equestrian helmet, here’s a very clever way to dress up your hard hat and get some shade at the same time. All you need is your helmet, a straw hat, tape (and decorations) and your imagination.

This is Karen, the inspiration for the HellHat. Her husband created it after she fractured her skull.

If you are on Facebook, you can find the directions along with a gallery of HellHats (for inspiration) at Karen’s HellHat Posse.

If you’re not on FB, I suggest visiting the HorseandMan blog, where there is a comprehensive blog post about HellHats including instructions, tips and lots of great photos.

Here’s how the HellHat came to be:


My husband Mark Plumlee made me my first HellHat after I fractured my skull, just 5 weeks before the CMSA World competition in October 2013. He made my first HellHat that November 2013. In 2014 I won my first World Championship as a Senior Lady 2 wearing my HellHats! It truly gave me the confidence to get back in the saddle. As a spectator once told me, “You know what that hat tells me? It tells me that somebody Loves You” and “that’s one Hell of a Hat!.

In the Pictorials below, there are 2 groups of pictures. The first is our original with smaller pie cuts, the second group of pictures at the bottom is with fewer but bigger pie cuts. Both sets of picture directions are basically the same.

Feel free to PM us at Mark Plumlee (and Karen) facebook page if you have questions. Design is only limited by your imagination! We do suggest you start with a quality hat. Our choice is a Palm or Pressed Palm 4 1/2” brim. Hat size doesn’t really matter, but the larger the hat size you start with the less brim you’ll loose when you make your “relief” cuts or “pie” cuts. Follow the directions in the pictures below. (Cut off crown, set helmet on brim and trace around helmet (not including the visor), make your cuts to your tracing line (you can always make them longer later if it is still too small), spray with water, while wet stretch it down over your helmet so your cowboy brim sits on the helmet’s visor, make cuts a little longer if necessary, tape on). We will make one for you if you don’t feel like you can make your own. Cost would be depending on whether you send us your helmet and cowboy hat or whether we buy the helmet and cowboy hat. And Duct Tape is your best friend! You can change the duct tape and flower every day to match your competition shirt! That is what I do! We are happy to share our idea and wish you safe and successful riding! Please post pictures of you and your HellHat. · Updated about 3 weeks ago · Taken at Mission Farrier School

Throwing some shade

Today was the first day that I encountered deer flies out on the trails. That’s a sign that I’ll be riding less frequently in the woods for the next month or so, sticking to the open fields which are relatively bug free, but hot. After my first ride on Freedom, I was already tired of the bugs, so headed to the ring with Zelda. We had a nice ride, but the sun was intense.

And it got me thinking about sun visors.

There are several companies that are marketing sun brims that fit onto your helmet. All of them have their devotees.

The Soless H-Visor. I like the high tech look and the transparency but worry about the visor getting scratched.

Soless makes a transparent visor made from a Polycarbonate film — a great idea because when you’re out riding, you don’t want to limit your peripheral vision. The Soless visors provides 92% UV protection and shades the front and sides of your face. It clips securely to your helmet. The Soless H-Visor retails for $79.99 but I’ve seen it online for a bit less.

This is awesome. I might buy this visor just so that Zelda and I can look like this rider.

DaBrim makes visors for a number of outdoor sports. Their visors come in three different styles: two offer full brims and one is just a visor. Reviews online indicate that the Endurance model is pretty large (someone said she felt like the flying nun while wearing one) but that the Petite model stays on and offers full protection without dwarfing you. The DaBrim visors retail for between $35 and $45 depending on the model. The company also makes a multi-sport visor that can also be used on your bike helmet.

EquiVisor makes a cotton visor with a four-inch brim that shades your face and ears. It comes in a variety of colors and can also be worn as a regular visor, without your helmet.Some people find the Equivisor to be too heavy to wear for long periods of time, so it might not be suitable for ride that lasts several hours. Another user commented that because it restricts airflow, it can be hot when it’s humid out. The EquiVisor retails for $33 to $45.

The EquiVisor comes in an array of colors and prints.

For the budget conscious, Cashel offers a helmet sun visor for less than $15. The reviews that I’ve seen say that the brim is quite floppy, which can be annoying. It’s also not as cute as some of the ones shown above.

Stay tuned for a DIY version tomorrow . . .

And please let me know if you have another recommendation for visors!