Thursday, September 12, 2019

Doing Things

I have been doing things, but I haven't had much motivation for blogging.


I did another LD with yet another horse. It did't go as planned but we ended up with a completion.


Cowboy has been doing dressage and he is getting better.


We have also been doing trail riding trying to build up his butt, especially though the stifles.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Updates All Around

Stinker has been doing fabulous with my mom. He is actually a way more reliable horse than Cowboy. Cowboy can be spooky and pretty dumb sometimes (one time he had a fit about water spun around and proceeded to back into the water he was scared of in the first place). But Stinker just wants to go forward and is much easier to deal with.


Cowboy has slowly adjusted to being my dressage horse. When we first got him he had an absolute fit about bits, so I put him in a hackamore and that is what my mom always rode him in. I would occasionally ride him in a snaffle but for the most part he went bites. I was expecting to have to deal with him having fits about the bit, but really he has been quite good. He was reluctant to learn how to bend, but he is getting there. Most days we have a reliable leg yield. His right lead canter is a bit hit and miss but that is a combination of my unevenness and his preference to lean on my right leg. We even had a lesson and he was a very good boy.


I am still playing with the endurance mare, Cola. She got a bit out of shape over the winter and I was pretty worthless at the beginning of the summer, but we are finally getting back into shape. We were supposed to have our first LD this weekend, but in true horse form as soon as I mailed the entry she came up lame. We think she is on the mend, so hopefully that continues.


We did get to explore new trails. I hadn't been up to this lake before and it was stunning. The downside was it is super popular with mountain bikes and Cola was convinced they would murder her, but we had to be in the lead because we had another horse that was utterly terrified of them that needed to be sandwiched in the middle. Overall it was a fun day and the mountain bikers were super nice (especially when the one horse just about jumped off the road because the guy didn't actually stop).


I have been tormenting my mom's dog, Socks. He was looking super cute sitting and the sunset was really pretty, but when I moved to take the picture he took off for the barn (he is totally obsessed with the horses). So I told him to sit so I could take the picture, but of course he started worrying and looks terrified. I swear we don't beat him, it is just how he is.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Life

When I moved two years ago, I also moved my parents in with me. My dad had severe dementia and Parkinson’s. He was to the point where he required 24/7 supervision. My mom was unable to get help where they previously lived so she was trying to do everything and it was no longer working.


All of a sudden going from being totally on my own and boarding a horse to helping care for my dad, having horses at home, plus my own work (which is not a typical job and I usually average 50-55 hours per week and sometimes 65+) made life a lot busier but we kept plugging along.


Back in January (when blogging essentially stopped) my dad fell and broke his hip. So we were staying at the hospital and then the rehab place with him since he needed a person with him at all times. He recovered from the broken hip and things were going along but both diseases continued to progress (as is their nature).



I went to LRK3DE and had a fabulous time but it was marred by the fact that my mom made the decision to enroll him in hospice care. Things continued to decline and he passed away May 20th. Since then it has been a whirlwind preparing for the memorial service, which was last weekend.


I can’t even put into words what it is like to watch someone go through something like this, so despite my desire to keep the blog about horses (because let’s face it that is why we click on the blogs) I am putting all of this out there for anyone who is going through this. It’s hard and it’s ugly but you can get through it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Tough Choices

Back in January Stinker got his SI injected. The plan was to give him a six week break from riding and use the equiband to keep him in shape and working correctly. Unfortunately, shortly after my dad fell and broke his hip so I ended up trying to juggle helping with him, keeping my mother from having a total meltdown, and that little thing called a job. Stinker got put on the back burner. Then our weather turned to crap and I got slammed at work. When I was finally able to come up for air it had been four months since he had been in work.


Ever since the EPM he has had a hitch in his right hind. With careful hill work I was able to eliminate it. But with all the time off it came back. I’ve been struggling with what to do with him. He has terrible conformation which will probably result in early retirement but he is also a horse that loves to have a job. I’ve started him back with the equiband but I really needed to get him out on the hills. But since he is so chunky and out of shape and I’m trying to strengthen his back/butt I didn’t really think it was fair for me to start riding him right off the bat.


I got the bright idea of stealing Cowboy from my mom and have her ride Stinker. I wasn’t really sure how that would go because typically when he gets a new rider he gets really nervous and riding through that until he settles is super annoying. But she got on when he hadn’t been ridden since January and he was foot perfect for her. I am not sure I will be able to get him back from her but in the meantime he is climbing hills with her and I’m driving him with the equiband. I’ll see how he comes back and then make a decision about his future. In the meantime Cowboy is doing dressage with me.


I didn’t really think it mattered to Stinker if he had a job but he turned into a complete crank when I was doing nothing with him. Since I’ve had him back in work he has turned back into the affectionate playful horse I know. So long term he is going to have to have something to do even though f it is a slow wander around the park.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Barn Layout

I have always loved seeing how people have their places set up, so I thought I would share my set up. Our place is just under 5 acres (I believe it is 4.92 to be exact) and it was originally designed to have an HOA, but the market crashed and no HOA was set up. I suppose at some point in the future it could potentially be put into place, but that is highly unlikely plus it was always designed to be an equestrian area.

It makes me giggle that google maps labeled the barn as home

Our plot is a funky shape (the bare area in the picture), but the layout is perfect. In the top left corner is my dressage ring, it is the length of a full court and slightly wider. The barn is set up with three stalls that each have their own runs off of them. In the picture I have all of the gates open and latched against the fence. There are gates so the runs can open directly into the paddocks. In the right hand paddock there is a run in shed that is split into two stalls and on the north side there is a heated automatic waterer. I also keep a 100 gallon tank of water for them, since the horses prefer that to the automatic waterer.

The barn

One of the runs off of the stalls

The three sided run in shed

Automatic waterer on the north of the run in shed

Paddock with the shed

Ideally, I would like to put a second shed in the left hand paddock prior to getting another horse, but apparently that costs money or something. The paddock with the shed has sand around the shed and then transitions into the normal dirt around here. The left hand paddock is all dirt. As you can tell, we do not have grass. In order to have grass here you have to have irrigation, and that kind of land is very high dollar. So we feed hay year round and the horses have been doing extremely well on it. Stinker gets to have grass when I go to the fancy barn for lessons. If I am paying $15 to trailer in, he is going to eat that $15 in grass.

 

The barn is a metal barn with doors on the north and south ends and the stalls on the east side. The drainage is pretty good, but soon I am going to have to fill in a couple of low spots in the runs from where the wind has blown the sand away. The stalls are 12'x16" and have mats plus heated automatic waterers. The aisle is extra wide and you can easily drive into it. They actually pull the hay trucks in to unload the hay, which makes it super handy for them. Everything is light and airy for the hot months, but also can be closed up against the wind in the winter. On the lower left hand corner of the barn there is a wash pad with the same rubber pavers that are in the main aisle.

One of the stalls

Wash rack area
Across from the stalls there is the insulated tack room that has a heater, sink, and tankless water heater. And then the other two stall spots on the left hand side of the barn are used for hay storage. There is enough hay storage to feed three horses for a year based on what I have been feeding the two horses. I don't mind having the hay in the barn, because the horses are rarely in the barn plus we have a really good hay source.

Dark empty tack room
The layout is really functional and I have zero issues with it. The only two things I wish for are the second run in shed and that the wash rack had hot water to it. Neither of them are critical at this point and can be added relatively easily at a later date. One of my favorite things is if you go out our driveway and follow along the very right edge of the picture (equestrian easement) you can go directly out into the state park. From there you can cross the main road in two separate places to access the BLM. From the BLM I honestly don't know how many miles of trails you can access, but I know you can make at least a 50 mile loop. Plus the views are hard to beat.

In the state park

From the back yard

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Blogger Secret Santa: Pi Head! Edition

I love the blogger secret santa that Tracy does each year. I always have so much fun picking things out for people, but it is also fun to see what people do with my terrible instructions. This year Jen absolutely nailed it. Of course I was so excited that I didn't take pictures of things.


Stinker got a thinking cap aka Pi Head! I am a massive nerd and pi is actually my favorite number (which I don't think Jen actually knew) so this makes me giggle. Probably more than it should. She also included some amazing socks (no pictures of them because they are on my feet and dirty) and candy (that has been eaten already).

Monday, December 17, 2018

Still Not Wednesday

I was so proud of myself. I was going to do a wordless Wednesday. It takes minimal effort and zero ability to type complete sentences. Then I realized it was going to be published on Tuesday not Wednesday. I think the fact that I don't even know what day it is ought to explain the lack of blogging. I have been slammed with work and then when I am not crazy busy there I am trying to catch up on everything that has been neglected at home.

Stinker looks feral and possibly acts like he has never been groomed in his life, but we keep plugging along in lessons. We actually ran through a training level test in the last one and it wasn't terrible. There is plenty to clean up, but considering walking used to be a challenge and cantering was a bolt or not happening I will take it.