Tuesday, January 25, 2022

January Updates

I honestly don't know what to say about January. I've made some tough decisions that I'll talk about when things are finalized. I have some exciting news, but again waiting until things are finalized. I know I am being that pain the ass hinter. And I have a super fun adventure coming up.

So yeah, January has been a bunch of half things and nothing finished enough for an actual post about it. Luckily Karma is still adorable, so I will throw some pictures of her in and salvage the post. Mostly, January has been cold and snowy.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Slow and Steady

 Sometimes I forget how far Karma has come. When I see her all the time the little bits of progress get swept under the rug until I go back and look at her.

June 1, 2020 wee little almost 3 years old

July 3, 2021 just over 4 years old

November 6, 2021

Even in the month and half since I grabbed that picture in November she has changed. Part of that is I do think she had a bit of a growth spurt in October/November and things are balancing back out now. And the other part is getting her to use herself more correctly with the ground work. Here's to seeing more progress in the coming years.

Thursday, December 16, 2021


 I discovered the other day that I did in fact set goals for the year. I vaguely recalled making a goal of posting twice a month (something I’ve barely squeaked in) so I decided to go back and look.

I set myself very reasonable goals and did a pretty good job of meeting them despite the lack of actual effort.

For Karma I had the following goals

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

She really improved her muscling from 3 year old Karma to 4 year old Karma and a lot of that had to do with all the walking we did. I’m pretty confident in her road riding skills. I feel safe walking her along busy roads. I still don’t have enough trust to ride her on them but on slower less busy roads she is good to go.

Her leg yield is pretty solid both on the ground and in the saddle. She is reluctant to move her shoulders at my whim but we are working on that. Finally, I think the neck is always going to be a work in progress. She is pretty noodle neck and uses it against me but it’s something we are working with on the ground and progress is happening.

For me, I didn’t do quite as well but I did hit 3 out of the four.

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

I am only rolling over 12 hours of vacation, which considering my history of not taking vacation I’m doing quite well. This year I get another week and have lots of plans so I should be able to do I again.

The fitness is not great. Work opened the gym again but masks are required and my asthmatic lungs can’t do exercise in a mask. I’ve been using my treadmill some but I need to add in more, especially since I’m not riding.

I did move into a permanent position and it didn’t require another move which was a concern for me. I don’t particularly love where I am especially in the winter but I also really didn’t want to deal with moving yet again. Seriously as an adult I’ve never had to renew a drivers license because I keep changing states.

All my favorites and the best spontaneous purchases

Thankfully I did remember my blog 2x a month goal because I barely scraped it in a couple of months. Hopefully with fun adventures planned plus regular work I can increase my postings next year.

A couple of things happened this year that weren’t even on the radar. Like raiding my house down payment fund to buy the most delicious trailer ever. A weekend trip across the country to get the truck so I could pull said trailer. I also really like having a job that I enjoy in a company that appreciates their employees.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Winter Has Arrived

 I have some things sitting in the draft folder, but they all require more coherent thoughts than I can muster tonight. Things are pretty steady with Karma, I think we are both getting a bit bored with the indoor already. Although that might just be me projecting.

I am not sure if I mentioned that I moved out of the apartment I had been in and now have the most fabulous windows. The one plus of all the snow has been how pretty it is out the windows.

Unfortunately, the snow usually starts as rain or turns into rain. So there has been lots of wet pathetic pony or disgustingly muddy pony. But I am happy that she is living out and has a round bale to stuff herself with.

 Hopefully I will be able to muster the energy to write some better content next month. Although it might just be more snow. We got 10 inches in November and the winter is supposed to be a wet one.

Friday, November 19, 2021

The Good The Bad And The Ugly

I finally got to see my new trainer in person. And the weekend covered all the emotions. To start off with, I was really nervous. It is a 4.5-5 hours haul and I wanted her to have some time to relax before our first lesson. For whatever reason the virtual lessons have less pressure for me than an in person lesson. My last in person lesson was about two years ago. So between the travel, rednecking it out of the trailer, and in person lessons I was too anxious to be excited.

Fall has turned into winter, but I am in denial and still looking at fall pictures

Karma traveled like a champ. She ate hay in the trailer, promptly drank water, and settled into her stall with zero issues. She hasn't been stalled for more than overnight pretty much ever and has lived out except for bad weather her entire life. But she handled being stalled quite well, although that might have had a lot to do with having a very big weekend and being tired.

The first thing trainer said to me was "OMG SHE IS EVEN CUTER IN PERSON" and then promptly drug out the bit bag so we could play with some bits. After a couple of tests, we found one that Karma liked. Trainer is relatively tall and when she walked over to Karma, she said "oh wow Karma is taller than I expected." Followed by "oh wow you are TALL" when I hopped off. It is kind of funny meeting someone in person when you have been working with them regularly, but you don't have any frame of reference for sizes.

It was cold and windy but the lake is still beautiful

The first lesson was quite good. With the bit sorted we were able to get down to working on the contact issues. I love to throw away contact and Karma loves to sit just behind the contact. It is a bad combination. I was informed that I am probably the only student in the history of students that I need to think pull. I grew up riding hot horses in curbs and I always want to default back to super light touches. Most of the ride was spent focusing on me not throwing the contact away and letting her sort through her feelings about that.

The next day lesson two forced some issues. When I don't let Karma hide behind the contact, she flips and braces with her underneck and tries to run through things. Without someone telling me to keep pushing I back off too easily. So there were some ugly moments while I convinced her that she could do it. The great thing about Karma is after you show her what you want, she lets you keep accessing it. Sometimes you have to work through some stubborn pony mare moments to get to that place.

You can see how she is getting more reach in the front than with the hind

The third day things went down hill. She felt tired. Trainer asked to get on and I let her. The good was trainer said Karma has had a really good start and in terms of ridability she feels like a 5 year old. The bad was she felt really weak behind. After getting off and doing some tests trainer was concerned about EPM.

Which of course sent me on a huge spiral. Thankfully the diagnostics came back completely negative for both EPM and Lyme. After much dithering and pestering people for their opinions (thankfully I have an excellent group to bounce ideas off of), I decided to go with a conservative approach.

She is heavy on the forehand and just not getting the reach and push with the hind

I didn't go down the diagnostic rabbit hole trainer would have preferred. I get it, but I don't have the funds to chase down something that may or may not be there and I have ruled out the diagnoses that rapid treatment is important. I also decided against carrying on as I have been.

The plan is to back off of saddle time and use groundwork to help build up her topline. This will also let her mature more. She's not quite 4.5 yet, she has a longer back, and I add a significant amount of weight. There aren't any negatives to not riding and there are potential benefits, so despite my disappointment to my grand plans I am taking the conservative approach and backing off a bit.

Hopefully we will be able to shift her balance and get her back to moving more correctly

I have felt her struggling with her right hind and she has been expressing some anxiety about riding. So while it is cautious and might not be necessary I do feel like it is the right move for ensuring she doesn't lose faith in her rider. I also got further insight from the a new lady I tried for body work.

The scan showed very little (a tiny bit of reaction on her left front hoof point), but when she went to work on the hind it was a different story. The right hind was much much tighter than the left. Karma was a bit protective of it, but she also gave some really big releases and by the end of the session the right hind was much looser.

Hopefully by keeping on top of it and releasing the big restrictions she will start using it more and we can get the strength built up. That way when spring rolls around Karma will be feeling good and we can hit the ground running. But at least now I am feeling confident in my decision instead of slightly crazy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021


We have a ways to go with the canter, it isn't as good as I have seen her give, but she's young and has time to develop strength and balance.
She is still curling, but I am able to get a bit of contact. I think that with strength and balance I will be able to generate the power that will bring her nose out.


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

October Update

Things have been pretty quiet of late. I am plugging away with virtual lessons and trying to work through the contact issues. I've been taking Karma out on more trail rides. I actually took a vacation to spend some time with my mom and work through her honey do list.

Super helpful Stinker

I haven't said much about the contact problems because young horse, but I am coming to the conclusion that Karma is always going to be a bit tricky in the contact for me. It is a combination of her plus my own habits. Little mare isn't dumb and takes full advantage of my weaknesses. Hopefully with time and consistency we will work through it, I just can't slack off and let my old habits creep back in and let her convince me that should be status quo.

So very helpful boys (I was changing out the valve for the auto waterer)

For the most part the long rides have gone smoothly. I might have gotten off trail on the one (only to discover after the fact that there is a gps map of the trail, which would have been nice to know prior). Everyone survived. Karma was not pleased with me and basically said screw the stupid human and started plowing her way back towards the trailer. On the plus side if we do get lost she will get us back to the trailer. On the downside if I ever come off I am probably walking back. Gotta love a smart mare.

I got to restack hay to make room for the new hay

It was good to see my mom and the boys. I didn't end up riding, but I did learn how to change the heater and control valve in the nelson automatic waterers. I also had the fun job of restacking the hay so we could buy the hay for the rest of the year. I got my mom to buy some early before prices really jumped, so only have the hay was stupid expensive. It has never been cheap, but this year was rather vomit inducing. Hopefully next year will be better.

I did get out and go for a short walk the one day

I had previously been on a fixed term position with the intent to move back after my two years were up, but I ended up being offered and taking a permanent position here. So it looks like I will spend a bit more time in the midwest. I miss being out west, but the job options for my overeducated self are basically the bay area or other major cities which don't hold a lot of appeal to me.

Fall has been very slow coming

Moving barns and getting the truck/trailer has made me enjoy my off time a lot more. The barn I was at had an amazing barn owner and fantastic care, but I was there for 1.5 years and I didn't know any of the other boarders and it felt very lonely. Karma seems very happy at the new place. I see people (I don't talk a whole lot, because awkward turtle, but I see people) and it's only about 20 minutes to great trails.