Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Questionable Baby Horse Things

 I continually horrify my mom when I tell her what Karma and I have done, and honestly with 99% of horses I would even dream doing these things. But I take little steps and have backup plans and bailout points if things don't go as planned.

1) Ride her for the first time without a ground person. This one was mostly due to a total lack of local friends. It's really hard to meet people when you move weeks before a global pandemic hits, and because I go into work regularly I try to reduce my risk elsewhere. I did have someone aware that I was getting on and asked her to keep an eye on us, but typically I would have had an actual ground person.

2) Test out bareback really early on. This was mostly due to laziness and the saddle fitting struggle (which still isn't done). Karma was totally fine, and if she hadn't of been I would have immediately bailed and ridden with a saddle.

The barn has a couple of dairy calves and they aren't quite as scary to Karma this year

3) Hack her out alone her first time out. This was again due to the total lack of local friends. I actually broke this into several days. To get to the field you have to walk past all the vehicles, trailers, equipment, and generally spooky things. Which the first day was noping out, so we spent a good 10-15 minutes just walking in circles progressively getting nearer to the scary things, without actually trying to go past them. The second time, she was still unsure, but wasn't flat out trying to say no, and then was perfectly fine once we got to the field.

4) Hack through the pig farm. I did hand walk her through it quite a bit. I am still bribing her with carrots, she still gets a bit nervous, and I still only try to go through it when it is the shortest distance to home to set her up for success. Honestly I don't blame her not liking it. It is smelly and noisy.

5) Hack out bareback. This was a recent development but really she has been out in the field enough that I wasn't expecting her to be any different than normal and she wasn't.

6) Carrying on after long breaks. I really really really appreciate this quality. I am so glad I don't have to think and consider how long it has been since I last rode her, because most of the time I don't have a clue.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Snow Rides

 I managed to sneak in a couple of snow rides before it decided to warm up, rain, and become and icy muddy mess. The first one Karma wasn't terribly pleased about because the snow was about 18" and I wouldn't let her trot everywhere. But it was very nice to get out and do something even if I did try to fall off at one point.

The other one was a nice little bareback hack. Once again someone has changed enough that I need a new headplate for the saddle. On the plus side I think I might have flaps that I can tolerate until I can swap them out for the ones on Stinker's saddle.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Managing Expectations

When I picked Karma out, I utilized Aimee's ruthlessly exclude (part 1 and part 2) and it has served me VERY well. I honestly can't even imagine what the last year would have looked like with a different horse. I have a three year old that I can give weeks off at a time, and we pick right back up where we left off. I don't have to worry about lunging or balancing my mental energy. Karma is just Karma.

The first 3/4 of February had snow basically everyday and I was over it

That being said I have to be very careful not to fall into the trap of expecting her to be perfect all the time. And honestly, I kind of hate it when people put the expectation of perfection on their horses. In my mind no horse is perfect, they all have their moments and off days and the expectation of perfection leads to dissatisfaction in the relationship.

She wasn't too thrilled with walking through 18+ inches

So while I am enjoying my fabulous baby horse, I also remind myself that I am incredibly lucky and I really shouldn't be put out if she wants to stop and stare at the giant pile of snow for a minute before she proceeds.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Feed XL Review

I am cleaning out my draft folder because its snowy and gross outside. Back in 2019, I impulsively bought a subscription when they were having a 50% off sale because I could analyze all three horses for $37.50. And honestly I wasn't terribly impressed for a few reasons.


Our hay supplier tests they hay and when you go to buy the hay you can see the analysis results. I was super excited, but I couldn't figure out a way to enter the information by hand. Everything I found required a specific file format, which I did have. Without the hay testing I wasn't too sure how accurate the information was.


All three of the horses have a higher than recommended crude protein intake and their recommendation is feed less forage. Which honestly I am not really worried about that, because I haven't seen any issue from that.

Where I run into a problem is with Cowboy. He is low in the digestible energy category in addition to being too high in the protein category and for the life of me I can't figure out how to bump up the digestible energy without out a) feed a ton of pelleted feed and b) making the program angry about him being way way way over the protein requirement.


My biggest complaint is one place it tells me to feed more hay and the other place it tells me to feed less, which doesn't actually help to balance the feeding program. I think the low digestible energy is the reason he is a bit thiner than I would like which I was happy to learn because I was struggling to figure out why the other two are looking a bit porky and Cowboy was looking a bit thin. (Turns out the actual problem was someone *Stinker* was hovering more hay than I realized. And Cowboy is holding weight better now that they are kept separate.)


Despite my dislike for lack of assistance balancing Cowboy's diet, I did think the subscription was an interesting experiment. I am just a bit bummed that it wasn't a bit more helpful on the balancing part and looks at the components individually instead of as a whole. I would have appreciated it more if it said look for X, Y, and Z in a feed in order to bring up the fat content without increasing the protein. And maybe if I was better educated in nutrition it wouldn't be an issue.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Winter Doldrums

 Winter is kicking my butt. The lack of sunshine sucks the motivation right out of me. Plus it warmed up just enough to turn things into an icy mess. But we got some fresh snow and I checked the ring and couldn’t find any slick spots so I finally got some video for my saddle fitter.

The saddle is 98% there (we’ve decided I’m stealing the flaps off my old saddle to put them on my new one and giving my mom some other flaps for that saddle since she’s smaller and easier to fit out of the used inventory). The other little thing is the left right balance doesn’t feel quite right but I don’t know if it’s me or the saddle so I really wanted to get video for the fitter to see if she had thoughts.


It was cold and windy but Karma was a very good girl. Including when I ditched my long jacket and it flapped in her face because the wind caught it when I was taking it off. Not only that but I also asked her to canter for the first time.


She has offered me a canter a couple times in the field, but I hadn’t ever asked for it. The ring is tiny so I let her make the decision about cantering through the corner, but she is feeling more balanced and stronger despite the minimal rides.


My riding frustrates me but I’m only occasionally riding a green horse, I essentially didn’t ride the first half of last year and losing access to the gym at work has resulted in my fitness suffering. Not to mention the total lack of lessons. I keep reminding myself she is only 3.5 and we have lots of time to get back to it. Hopefully by the end of this year we will be more settled and can get into a more consistent rhythm.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Looking Forward

Life has involved a lot of stress for me over the last few years and has been a large reason my blogging has been inconsistent at best. I have had so many poor poor pitiful me moments and quite frankly I hate reading posts like that so I just don't write. But I have the shining light of Karma and I do want to document her training, so this year I am going to do better.

I highly doubt I will be able to maintain multiple posts per week, especially since riding this winter just isn't happening. My barn is open 8-8, daylight is 8-5:15ish (no lights), my work has meetings with Europeans so morning meetings are always a thing. I could squeeze a quick thing in pre meetings, but I have a firm policy of not working young horses on a time crunch. I hate feeling rushed and think it leads to poor decisions and having to end in a less than ideal place.

So, Karma pretty much gets left alone during the week and I am being a fair weather rider on the weekends. I am totally fine with not much happening, it just makes for boring blogging. And I am failing as a tack ho because I haven't been buying tack. That isn't entirely true. I bought a bridle off a friend and promptly forget. Today, she said something about it and I am not disclosing how long it took me to remember what she was talking about. I couldn't even remembered if I paid for it.


In the interest of creating motivation for myself. I am actually setting goals. Terribly boring goals, because I don't have a way to haul and moving to a new state just before a global pandemic isn't exactly conducive to making friends. I need a social person to adopt me and tell other people to be friends with me (cough Leah cough).


Karma:

1) Keep walking on the hills
2) As the weather improve and crops go in, work on road safety so we can graduate to road riding and I don't go insane because I got spoiled out west
3) Baby leg yields and shoulder fore
4) Increasing neck length


Me:

1) Actually use vacation days this year (I have 5 floating holidays, 3 weeks of vacation time, plus 5 roll over days from this year)
2) Maintain a basic level of fitness
3) Move into a permanent position
4) Blog at least 2x a month

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Blog Hop: 2020 Summary

This year has been a series of time dragging and flying by all at the same time. Honestly I can't even remember what all has happened this year. But I have been enjoying everyone else's summaries, so I figured I would jump on the blog hop train from Alberta Equest.


What is the best thing that has happened to you in 2020?

Personal: I started a new job this year and despite only having 6 weeks "normal", it has been a very productive year.

Horse: Karma. Technically she was last year's purchase, but her steadiness this year has been more than I could have possibly hoped for when I bought her. I started her myself after not having ridden regularly in over 6 months. The ground work I had done paid off in combination with her very sensible attitude.


What is the worst thing that has happened to you in 2020?

Personal: In the grand scheme of things, I have had much worse years. Yes, there were some inconveniences and overall the stress did wear on me, but nothing too terrible for me personally. 

Horse: I had planned for a low key year due to moving, starting a new job, and having a baby horse. She is happy and healthy, which is really all I want at the end of the day.


What was the biggest purchase in 2020?

Personal: I was super boring this year. I had saving goals because someone decided to dip into saving while unemployed last year to buy a very cute pony. So my goal for this year was to get my savings back to the pre-unemployment level (which I just managed).

Horse: I haven't actually paid for it, but since I have been trying to buy it since June(?) I am counting the saddle for this year. I have another one on the way to me right now, so hopefully this one is the charm.


What was your biggest accomplishment in 2020?

Personal: Not utterly failing at my new job. This year allowed me to realize I am better at my job than my previous employers frequently implied.

Horse: Karma got started under saddle.


What do you feel like COVID robbed you of in 2020?

Personal: Time with my mom. I had planned to fly back to check on her pretty frequently and that didn't happen. She has had some health problems this year, so I have suffered from some guilt for taking a job far away and leaving her with the two horses to take care of.

Horse: I had intended to take regular lessons so I was riding prior to starting Karma, but the stay at home order prevented that and by the time it was lifted I didn't feel terribly motivated to go back. So I didn't. 


Were you subject to any COVID impulse buys in 2020?

Personal: Snacks? I can't think of anything that was very interesting.

Horse: Pivo. Zero regrets. I have video of Karma's early rides and that makes me very happy.