Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Adventure Time!

 I know I say this all the time, but I can't get over what a good little mare Karma is. After jumping through all the DMV hoops I was determined to go some where. Originally, I planned on going to a park that is about 30 minutes from where I live. But I discovered that they were having a campout for the group that maintains all the horse trails in the park. I think they were still letting day riders in, but that just seemed like too much for a beginning adventure and I really want to set her up for success.

Out of food and staring at other horses

So I decided to head to another one (it's only about 20 minutes from the barn but 45-50 minutes from where I live). This turned out to be a fabulous decision. I didn't realize that the horse trails are only horses. Hikers have their own trails and I think bicyclists do too, but I don't think the horse trails even cross with the bicycle trails. So it was a great way to get her out without having to worry about many of the things you run into on the trails.

I gave her a snack as soon as I unloaded her and she dove right in and didn't even really worry about the new surroundings until she ran out of food. There was a bit of pawing and calling for other horses when I was over looking at the maps and trying to figure out the whole self registration for the pass thing. But overall she was quite good and really good for a 4 year old with about 6 months of consistent work and no buddy.


I decided to try the "technical" loop first, which was supposed to be about 4 miles and would run me into the 6 mile loop. The technical loop was not what I would call technical, but I might have a skewed view of what is technical. Either way it was a nice variety and did require her to pay attention to where her feet went in places. There were some ups and downs which is one of the reasons I wanted to do that loop.

Once we hit the intersection of the two loops I decided that she was feeling good and since we were just walking, the longer distance wouldn't over tax her. I saw more riders on that section of the trail, but there was plenty of places to pass and she was very well behaved. I even stopped and chatted with a couple of ladies at one point. They didn't know where they were and didn't have a map. I knew I was getting close to camp and the trails had been well marked so I wasn't worried about getting lost so I gave them my map.

Not super technical

She started to get a bit pokey on the next to last mile to camp, but she has an excellent sense of direction and got perky when she realized we were headed back towards the camp. I was very surprised that at every trail option, she would pull towards the one that headed back to camp. Good news is I shouldn't be able to lose the trailer if I am on her. The bad news is if I ever come off her I bet I am walking all the way back to the trailer 😂


She was a bit sweaty when we got back to the trailer and much to my dismay she wouldn't touch the water or alfalfa I offered her. She happily took treats and was trying to eat the weeds so I wasn't worried about her. Mostly annoyed that I hand pumped a bucket of water and she wouldn't even touch it. Once we got back to the barn she promptly drank and then wandered off to eat, so clearly not out of sorts.

Overall, I was really impressed with her. She was a bit nervous in the beginning but settled in well. She was quite skeptical of freshly cut logs and wasn't too sure about the tiny water crossing, but there were no big dramatics. I was very happy that she didn't ever try to pull towards other horses when we passed them going the opposite direction. I guess I have done enough with her by herself that she is ok walking away from horses.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Adulting Is Hard

 After jumping through I don't even know how many hoops, I finally have the truck and trailer licensed and registered. The lady I bought the trailer from, discovered she didn't have an actual title on the trailer because she never registered it. So I had to wait for her to get the title, sign it over to me, and then get an appointment with the DMV. The first available was late October, but I was busy with moving and didn't have the stuff to register the truck yet so I rolled my eyes and said whatever I will just wait.

Then I discovered that the state parks weren't letting residents pay for day use and you had to have the yearly pass, which meant I needed to get the truck registered in this state in order to get my pass so I could go ride. I finally got all my ducks in a row and managed to score a same day appointment. The trailer was fine. The truck was not.

The PROBLEM child (it was registered in three other states just fine)

When the VIN is put into the system it comes up as and incomplete vehicle because it came off the factory line with just the chassis and the dealer added the flatbed. After much discussion, I had to verify it was a complete vehicle. I thought I was going to get it done, but then the previous title didn't have an empty weight on it, so I had to go get it weighed. Which of course meant I had to get another appointment. Thankfully the guy took pity on me and snuck me in and I didn't have to set alarms to remember to check as soon as the appointments were released.

We just want to go places and do things

Off I went to get it weighed, apparently the sucker weighs 7,740 lbs. Which was much heavier than I thought it would be, but so be it. Back to the DMV I go for my appointment. I got another lady and she was looking so confused about things that the guy that had previously helped me took me off her hands. Then we ran into the problem that it weighs so much that it requires a special license plate. Thank god I know the weight limits on the trailer and my DL, because he was concerned I would be over the limit and need a CDL.

I finally got it registered only to learn that because it has the special license plate, they can't do the park pass (you know the whole reason I was trying to get the thing registered instead of just leaving it in my mom's name with me "leasing" it). At this point I was about ready to cry because all I wanted to do was get into the parks so I could ride my pony.

Luckily, between when I first looked into this (August) and now, they had changed the COVID restrictions and it now said you could purchase the yearly passes at the park. Which was a whole other comedy of errors, but hopefully I will get a park pass in the mail at some point and not get fined. Oh and I couldn't actually put the plate on the trailer because it has the star screws and all of my star screw drivers are across the country. But come hell or high water (or maybe just some fines) I am not going to miss the fabulous fall weather or the colors.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

All The Changes

 At the end of the month I someone how managed to make it so I was moving myself and Karma all in the same week and because I am an idiot, I didn't take time off of work. I didn't even really try to get help because the only thing I couldn't move by myself was the base of my treadmill. Once that was the only thing left I begged someone to come help me load it on the flatbed. It was the easiest move ever (also the only one where I wasn't moving 8+ hours so that might factor into it).


While I adored my old barn Karma and I had out grown it a bit. The ring was perfectly fine for baby horse that was learning to steer and was only being ridden for 20 minutes or so, but it was really too small for cantering or doing much dressage work. And looking at another winter of no indoor was quite depressing. Not to mention it was a super quiet barn and I very rarely saw another person much less had the opportunity to get her used to being ridden with other horses.

More cows to torture her with

The new barn has a large outdoor and a small indoor. The horses stay out the majority of the time and Karma is in a small paddock with one other mare. Originally she was in with two other mares, but Karma decided she was the bossy bitch and got booted after about a week. She is settling in quite well. There are places to get shorter milage in outside the ring (that don't involve a pig farm). I actually see people and they are quite friendly and Karma is getting exposed to more things.

Before she got the boot

Overall, I think all the changes have suited us well, even if my place still looks like it has been ransacked. Apparently, actually putting things away has been very low on my list. I am unpacking the kitchen stuff as I need it, and I really like to use the same three things so most of it is still sitting on the floor. I am great at adulting.

I have wanted a screened in porch for so long and now I finally have one

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Obsessed

 It probably comes as no surprise that I am completely and totally obsessed with my trailer. The obsession with this brand started a few years ago, after I happened to stumble across their page trying to get a feel for "dream trailers."

I did not have purple on the dream trailer but I absolutely love it

As some of you recall, for the life of this blog (I don't know how it has happened but I have been blogging since April of 2015) I either haven't had a trailer or was using the 20+ year old stock trailer affectionately known as trusty rusty or rusty bucket. It was still solid but you could hear it coming from miles away (especially when Stinker was standing on two legs and banging on it with the other two) and it lacked some amenities (like tack storage, smooth ride for the horse, etc).

From our field trip to the vet for bodywork

So me being me spent a lot of time poking around on the internet to a) try to figure out how much I needed to budget and b) what options were available. Most trailer sites SUCK. They don't tell you what options are available, don't give you prices, and generally make it hard to find all the information I wanted. This is when I stumbled across Double D Trailers. They let you configure things, see prices for the additions, and lots of fun options (fair warning you will get sticker shock).

Oh look another terrible picture of both the trailer and Karma 😂

I quickly realized that new was not going to be in my budget for a very very very long time and also quickly realized that these do not get advertised for sale very often. But they have an excellent reputation and I saw an older model in the state park one day when I was riding (so sorry to the owner if you saw me repeatedly circling your trailer I am just a creeper not a thief) and it was in great condition despite the age.

"Where did you take me" - Karma probably

The other thing that really hooked me on the brand was the safe tack. There are two things I have never liked about slant loads. The first being trying to squeeze around the tack room and the second being hassle of bribing reluctant loaders past the narrow openings. With the Double D trailers all of the rear tack is attached to the door and swings outwards so there is a very nice big opening.

I love how open it becomes

So far I absolutely adore this trailer. There are a couple of little quirks because of how the previous owner designed it, but I can easily deal with them considering the price I paid for it. And the best part is Karma seems to like it too. Both trips she has had so far, she has come off the trailer sweaty so I was worried about nerves, but she promptly loads back up and doesn't rush to get off either.

Roomy rear tack

Eventually, I think I will get her to self load, but for now I am totally content with her walking quietly onto the trailer and backing off politely. It is much better than Stinker (who had to wear a bumper because he would back to the edge and then FLY and throw up his head) or Cowboy who would load and unload reliably 95% of the time (but that other 5% would be 30-45 minutes of him having a meltdown that I could never figure out a trigger for).

Adventure ready

Hopefully there will be a lot more adventures to come. I am still trying to get it registered, because the earliest appointment I could schedule with the DMV wasn't until the end of October. Once I get my life more lined out in September, I will start stalking the DMV website and try to score one of the same day appointments that get released. I am looking forward to fall trail rides and other fun adventures!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Oops I Did It Again

This story requires a bit of back story. Back in 2019 when I was funployed I stumbled across an adorable little mare. Of course I did the responsible thing and sent this message


Well despite the professed love, Megan did not act and I couldn't get the little mare out of my head. Of course I talked to Aimee about it and since she was between me and the horse this happened



Which of course was the road trip that led me to getting Karma.

Well a couple of weeks ago I was poking around on the internet trying to get a feel for trailer prices and I stumbled across this gem. I mean it is a purple trimmed trailer, so of course I did this.


Which led to


And then left me with the problem of I now owned a gooseneck trailer and a truck in Nevada.

At first I was going to ship the truck out, but I couldn't get the companies with decent ratings to call me back and the ones with shitty ratings wouldn't stop calling me (I used the house phone not my cell phone, but my mom was not happy with me #whoops #sorrynotsorry).

Which led to the next impulsive decision. A one way flight and a long weekend to cover over 2000 miles and 8 states in a very basic manual diesel.


It started off with an email saying my first flight had been delayed. And it wasn’t a oh a few minutes delayed. It was like we can’t be bothered so it’s now three hours later which of course meant that my two connecting flights weren’t happening. And the “rebook” options had me flying all over the freaking country and getting in at 10:30 pm. Which is not conducive to start drive at 6 am the next day especially with the time changes.

So in my annoyance with much searching I found a second ticket that I could take the first leg of my original flight, then skip covering all corners of the country and get in at 6:15 pm. Not as nice as my noon arrival I originally had but a lot better than 10:30.


Thankfully, the drive went much smoother. The first day I did 13 hours, the second day 14 hours, and then it was another 5 by the time I went picked up the trailer. It got dropped to get new tires (it still had the original 2012 tires on it and they had lots of tread but I wasn't going risk running on almost 10 year old tires. Now I have five brand new tires and a trailer!

And that is the story of how I try to get Megan to buy things and then I buy them. Also known as the story of how I spent a good chunk of the money I saved for a downpayment on a house on a trailer.


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Adventures

 Because I don't actually have pictures, I am going to be the worst tease. I made a mumble mumble mumble dollar impulse purchase and that led to an impulse road trip. And because I was so exhausted from said road trip, I didn't actually take pictures. Which I am sure Leah will STILL be giving me crap about when we are old and grey. But there are going to be some very fun adventures in the future.





Tuesday, July 20, 2021

I'm In Love

One of my biggest frustrations has been my inability to take lessons. Last year it was only mildly frustrating because Karma was just getting started and most people weren't really doing outside lessons anyway. This year Karma is to the point where I am creating problems and I know my riding is slipping. I tried taking some lessons at a hunter barn, but the just weren't working for a variety of reasons.

I am recycling old images because I am terrible at remembering media

So, after much pondering and getting my ducks in a row. I FINALLY got a virtual lesson scheduled with Trainer J. I do appreciate the Pivo and the fact that the pandemic has increased the popularity of virtual lessons, because otherwise I would still be floundering.

I had never ridden with J, but I had met her in person and I had briefly seen her teaching style and I was pretty sure that my brain would click with her instruction. But you never truly know until you try it. We chatted for a few minutes so she could get a better feel for where I am at and where Karma is at and what we are hoping to achieve.


We started trotting a few circles and I have been feeling inconsistencies that I have been chalking up to green horse, balance issues, contact issues, and out of shape rider. Trainer J immediately identified that Karma was stepping short and stabbing behind. So I hopped off, pulled the saddle, checked along her spine for any soreness. Then we methodically started testing things for the cause. There was a tiny bit of soreness at the end of the panels (which are out of balance and my new ones arrive tomorrow).

J asked if I had a lunge, I was worried I would lose audio if I ran up to my car to grab it so I went with the short answer of no, but I can make one. And proceeded to use a combo of the lead rope and reins to make myself a lunge #keepingitclassyfortheGPtrainer. Thankfully Karma trotted lovely both directions which pretty much ruled out stifles and SI (thank god. I would cry if I had another young horse prone to SI issues).


When I put the saddle back on, she was a tiny bit short traveling to the left. Then J started looking at her butt and sure enough the left side isn't quite as developed as the right. The conclusion we both felt comfortable with is that Karma needs some body work, but in the mean time I can work on balancing her out and keep forcing her to push with that left hind.

By thinking haunches to the left and alternating diagonals we able to get her trotting much more consistently by the end. It felt so good to have a lesson again. And as an added bonus I got to hear someone else say how darling Karma is.