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.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

The Woes Of Saddle Fitting

 Stinker was an absolute nightmare to fit, but with the help of my fabulous Florida saddle fitter we were able to get a combination that worked for him and me. I foolish thought that since Karma is a rather straightforward fit in comparison and we already knew what I liked it would be easy.

The first saddle that I was sent was absolutely delicious. It looked good on Karma, but the block was at the wrong angle for my leg. So saddle number two was sent out. And saddle number two is actually worse. It is a bit frustrating doing the fit distance wise, but even without the pandemic it would still be distance because I keep moving and I am definitely not near Florida.

Thankfully, on impulse I picked up a pivo and it has been super helpful. Even more helpful are my wonderful group of internet friends who are willing to tell me if it is the saddle or if I just suck at riding. I am a bit frustrated with my riding but that is a post for another day.


So we are still hunting for the just right combination for me. On the plus side I can ride her bareback. I am taking full advantage of the compliant baby horse stage because the oh so arrogant I don't want to stage shows up.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Ride Number Two

My big plan for ride number two was to remember to see what I thought about the blocks on the saddle (hint I will be getting a new flap because these blocks are too much and interfere with my thigh). Other than that I didn't have an agenda. I try to let the babies tell me what they are ready for.

I got on and she walked off much better than the first time which pleased me. We walked for a bit and when I remember to ride correctly aka get my right hip out of her back and turn my shoulders her steering improves greatly. So I decided to try a bit of trot.

Oh man the trot felt god awful. I was not helping (apparently not riding for 6 months doesn't magically improve your riding) and she was trotting for the first time with a rider. Thankfully video didn't look as bad as it felt. But we walked regrouped and then tried again. After trotting both ways I hopped off and told her what a wonderful girl she is. She now has a whopping 15 minutes under saddle and has trotted calmly while her pasture mates run around like idiots.

If you are horribly bored the full videos for ride 1 and ride 2 are available.