January 29, 2016

Review: Frilly Fillies Custom Fly Bonnets

Frilly Fillies kindly sent Ypke a wonderful Christmas present - one of their custom fly bonnets.
Nancy, the lady behind the lovely bonnets, was an absolute joy to work with.  As we were about to end our phone call, she told me to look through her website and email her the colors that I would like.  Little did she know that I would spend over 45 minutes trying to wrap my mind around what I wanted.  In my defense, there are 25 base colors, 35 trim colors, and 35 piping colors - on top of that you can also choose from 3 styles (V, curved, and straight), checkered trim, embroidery, 4 different four-way stretch ear fabrics (knit jersey, velvet, Ice Fill, and small hole mesh), and 9 embellishment options (rhinestones, rivets, beads, and pearls). The possibilities are endless!
Custom Fly Bonnet
I opted to keep it classy and simple with a touch of sparkle.  I requested a black base, feza silver trim, and NS titanium piping and left the rest up to Nancy - she did not disappoint.  The bonnet arrived promptly, especially considering the busy holiday season, and my high expectations were exceeded.  I know the classic phrase, "never judge a book by its cover," but after seeing the cute yet professional packaging I knew that the bonnet it contained would be a winner. I was not wrong!

Custom Fly BonnetCustom Fly Bonnet
One of my biggest pet peeves is ordering something brand new and having it arrive with loose strings and imperfections.  I carefully examined the fly bonnet, searching for something to complain about, and I failed at finding any. I am sure that if I were to fold this bonnet in half it would be perfectly symmetrical - the quality of it cannot be beat. I actually visited a tack shop with a variety of fly bonnet brands to compare the Frilly Fillies one.  It beat out the other popular brands by FAR - the stitch was tighter, the yarn had much more substance, the material was softer, and the overall craftsmanship/look was superior.

Stitch: The stitch that Frilly Fillies used is tight and even - this is great since it doesn't get caught on everything or stretch out as easily. 

Yarn: The yarn used is fairly soft to the touch and has substance to it - definitely not thin and flimsy. Clearly of quality with high durability.

Cool mesh ear fabric: I LOVE THIS FEATURE! This is truly the most brilliant part of the bonnet.  I don't clip Ypke's ears because we have a major gnat problem around here, and since they avoid her fluffy ears like the plague I have no intention of trimming the hair.  As a result, her ears avidly sweat. They won't anymore!

Custom Fly Bonnet
Fit: Every bonnet is custom made to your horse's measurements - Frilly Fillies does not keep a stockpile of ready made bonnets. This is extremely convenient if you have a Fjord with a wide head and short ears.

Options: As I stated earlier, there are many different possibilities and color combinations.  You are guaranteed to find just what you are looking for! I already have my future bonnet colors picked out: hunter green base, feza gold trim, and FX #1003 piping.

Price: Prices for these bonnets start at $85, which from looking around I feel is average.  However, the materials used are definitely way above average - you cannot go wrong.

Customer service: Nancy was great to work with! While talking on the phone with her, she was super friendly, and she talked to me as if she had known me for years. It was obvious that she is very passionate about what she does. Her email responses were always quick, and the bonnet was shipped to me in a very timely manner.

Custom Fly Bonnet
Summary: With no loose threads, a tight stich, quality materials, custom fit, and great customer service, you really can't go wrong, especially since they are handmade in the USA. I will definitely purchase another color combination (or five...) someday in the future.

Bottom line: A customized look with a custom fit allows for Frilly Fillies to have a very elegant appearance.

Final rating: 11/10 and a spot on the blog's sidebar!

Stay up to date or place an order via the methods below:
Website: www.frillyfillies.com
Facebook: www.fb.com/frillyfillies
Instagram: @frilly_fillies

*Disclaimer: While I did receive the bonnet free of charge, that did not guarantee a positive review.  Though I cannot guarantee your experience will be the same, I can guarantee that this review is 100% my honest opinion and experiences - favorable reviews cannot be purchased here. Frilly Fillie's space on my sidebar was also not requested or paid for - I just love their products.*


January 9, 2016

Giveaway Winner and Saturday Stills

Congrats to Warner Horses - you are the winner of the giveaway!
I was in the Scottsdale, Arizona area last week and loved the warm weather.  I came back home to Washington and was greeted by snow, freezing rain, and fog. My favorite...
Ypke, Jethro, and I are all dreaming of summer:

But in reality:
Freezing weather.
And snow.
And some more snow.

January 1, 2016

Giveaway: Mrs. Conn's and Nicker Bait

The giveaway is over! Congrats to Warner Horses!
Thank you for making 2015 a great year for The Moody Mare! It is time to kick off 2016 with a giveaway! Due to the generosity of Mrs. Conn's Bath Sponges and Nicker Bait Horse Treats, one lucky winner can treat their horse to a spa day.  Please note that this giveaway is only available for those in the continental USA.   
All you have to do to enter is "like" the Facebook post that is embedded below before 9:00PM PST on 1/8/16.  If that doesn't work for you, just click this link instead.

Let’s kick off 2016 with a GIVEAWAY! One lucky person in the continental USA will win natural, nourishing shampoo-filled...
Posted by The Moody Mare on Friday, January 1, 2016
Here's the scoop on Mrs. Conn's:
-They offer cute, compostable sponges pre-loaded with shampoo.
-These natural, nourishing sponges do not contain nasty ingredients.
-There are five fun scents - Lemon Meringue, Oatmeal, Herbal Tea, Fruit Smoothie, and Desert Quencher. Each sponge specializes in something specific. Rain rot, mud fever, or ringworm? Use Desert Quencher. Dull coat and stains? Consider Lemon Meringue.
-Anne Conn, mastermind of the business, only utilizes American made, cruelty free goods and strives to make environmentally friendly products.
Here's the scoop on Nicker Bait:
-They specialize in soft, fresh horse treats.
-There are 3 main lines: standard Nicker Bait Cookies, Pill Camo (to make medicine more appealing to your horse), and Fit & Fancy (premium ingredients highlighted by coconut flour and oil).
-There are loads of delicious, unique flavors such as Peppermint Passion, Banana Chip, Candied Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin Spice.
-The (few) ingredients aren't scary and you don't have to turn to Google.  For example, their Peppermint Passion cookies only list oats, barley, molasses, flax, and peppermint candy. 

December 20, 2015

Trick Training Your Equine: Frisbee

Ever since a video of Jethro playing Frisbee went viral, the most frequently asked question I receive is, "HOW ON EARTH DID YOU TEACH HIM THAT?!?!" Today, I am finally answering the question of how to teach this party trick.

Yup, I taught Jethro how to play frisbee! I think he may be part dog...Follow Jethro by liking The Moody Mare!
Posted by The Moody Mare on Friday, October 24, 2014

Step 1: Clicker training and targeting

Before you roll your eyes and tell me that clicker training will 100% ruin your animal, hear me out and check out these two good reads: Clicker Training Myths and The Click That Teaches.

Clicker training is simply a reinforcement method - something that concisely tells your animal, "YES, that is what I want!" if used correctly.  You can use it with any discipline - whether you are an eventer, barrel racer, or simply putz around - and with any training method such as natural horsemanship. It is simply a reinforcement tool that you don't even have to use 24/7.
  1. Buy a clicker and cut up some carrots/apples/treats.
  2. Choose a target.  This can be anything. A cone, a water bottle, a pool noodle on the end of a whip, or my favorite, a Whips-a-Daisy.
  3. Go out to the barn.
  4. Stick your animal on the hitching post or in their stall (with a stall guard)
  5. Stand back. This is essential in the beginning.
  6. Hold out the target.
  7. Wait for them to touch it with their nose.
  8. Upon touching it, click and give them a treat.
  9. Repeat
NOTE: In the beginning, you may notice mouthy behavior.  It is important to note that this is just a phase and a 100% normal thing.  The animal is new to this method, and thus does not know how to properly take a treat yet.  If your horse attempts to mug you, push their head away and step back.  Completely ignore them and pretend as if they do not exist.  Eventually, they will lose interest and look away. When they do this, give them a click and a treat.  These animals are not stupid, if you consistently do this they will likely put two and two together and realize that they DO NOT GET TREATS FOR BEING RUDE. Ypke, my Fjord, was completely horrible in the beginning, though we worked through it.

trick training your equine
Jethro targeting with his Whips-a-Daisy

Step 2: Introducing Frisbee

Once your equine gets the hang of how to properly take a treat and knows how to target, you are ready for step 2.
  1. Purchase a Frisbee. I personally recommend getting one with a whole in the center since it makes it easier for the equine to grab.
  2. Introduce the Frisbee as a new target.  Hold it out, have them touch it with their nose, and give them a click and a treat.
  3. Repeat step 2 until they understand the Frisbee is a target.
trick training frisbee

Step 3: Holding the Frisbee
  1. Touch the corner of their mouth, almost as if you are asking for them to accept the bit.
  2. Once their mouth opens, place in the Frisbee.  Immediately give them a click and a treat before they spit it out.
  3. Repeat step 5 until they realize that they are supposed to hold the Frisbee, not just touch it.  This is the most difficult step because with targeting, they are discouraged from biting their target, so they will be confused about why you are allowing this.
trick training frisbee

Step 4: Picking up the Frisbee
  1. Drop the Frisbee at your feet.
  2. Wait for them to pick it up.
  3. Once they pick it up, immediately click and give them a treat.
NOTE: They will likely just try to touch the Frisbee with their nose and become confused that you are not acknowledging their efforts.  Simply wait it out, no matter how long it takes.

Step 5: Retrieving the Frisbee
  1. Throw the Frisbee.
From this point, one of two things will happen:

Option 1: They stare at you like you are an idiot. If this happens, walk with them to the Frisbee and point at it.  At this point in their training, they have enough knowledge to pick it up. See option 2 for how to progress.

Option 2: They will immediately run after it, pick it up, but just stand there and not bring it back. The first few times they do, physically walk to them and give them the click/treat.  Eventually, you will want to stand your ground and wait for them to come to you. It may take a while, but they will come.

NOTE: It is imperative that you start out by throwing it short distances and gradually increasing the distance as the equine becomes more experienced.  Absolutely do not throw it 500 feet the first time you want them to fetch it.  This is highly discouraging.

And there you have it!

Disclaimer because of people: This post is based off of my own personal experiences, and I am not a professional trainer. While my experiences have been positive and these steps worked for me, I cannot guarantee the same for you. Don't sue me if you or your animal suffer negative consequences. Train at your own risk. Thanks.

December 12, 2015

Small Business Saturday: Frilly Fillies

What is your horse getting for Christmas? 
"All Frilly Fillies Bonnets are handmade in the U.S.A. These luxurious and durable bonnets are made of specialty yarn in a variety of vibrant and stylish colors and designs. Each bonnet is custom designed for you and made to order, creating a look that will ensure that your show horse catches the judge’s eye and is the envy of your barn."

Frilly Fillies, a small business owned and operated by Nancy Dein, specializes in making quality custom fly bonnets right here in the United States (California to be exact).  It all started back in 2012 when her daughter wanted a bright red bonnet for eventing.  After searching around, she couldn't find quite what she was looking for.

Custom fly bonnet

Nancy, considering herself to be somewhat crafty, picked up her crocheting hook and set to work at making a bonnet that was just the shade of red they were hoping for. However, she soon realized that coming up with the perfect pattern for a fly bonnet was no simple task.  After much trial and error, she finally had the formula of how to make a stellar bonnet.

Custom fly bonnet

As people around their barn, Dragonfire Farm, began noticing the bonnets, Nancy received great feedback.  The bonnets even caught the eye of Canadian Olympian Hawley Bennett, who was leading a clinic at Dragonfire at the time.  Soon enough, she had a small business on her hands!  Upon her son and nephew building her a website, orders started to pour in.  In fact, she outfitted the U.S. eventing team with bonnets for last summer's Pan Am Games, and she is supplying the U.S. eventing and dressage teams with bonnets for the Olympics.

Custom fly bonnet

A crucial part of her business model is customer service.  Since she doesn't keep bonnets "in stock," all orders are custom made.  Due to this, occasionally customers accidently measure incorrectly [side note: aka totally me], and thus the bonnet doesn't fit.  If you order from Frilly Fillies and your bonnet doesn't fit, Nancy guarantees she will fix it free of charge, no big deal.

Custom fly bonnet

While Nancy primarily does the bonnets by herself, when there are copious amounts of orders to be filled she enlists the help of a friend to work on the base pieces.  Despite some assistance, Nancy prides herself in working on, inspecting, and packaging each individual bonnet.  She always cuts the ear fabric herself and enjoys working on the decorative trim, piping, and rhinestones.

Custom fly bonnet

Along with her special pattern, each bonnet has unique, quality materials.  She only uses the softest bamboo jersey and all ear materials are four way stretch with multiple varieties: jersey, velvet, Ice Fill Cool Mesh (yep, that's the stuff Kerrits uses!), and small hole mesh.

Shhhh, don't tell Ypke, but she is getting one for Christmas.  Can't wait to see how swanky and stylish ponykins looks sporting her new fly bonnet! 

Be sure to like Frilly Fillies on Facebook, so you can stay up to date with their latest designs!