Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Time Flies

Three years ago yesterday, D picked up the little Stinker and brought him home.  Part of me doesn't want to believe that much time has gone by.  If you count halt as a gait we are averaging a gait per year as far as training goes.  But really it is just a weird mixture of "has that much time gone by?" and "OMG what was life like without him??"

Little baby Stinker

It has been a roller coaster with him.  Between the EPM causing physical issues and his sensitive nature sometimes it felt like I wasn't going to get anywhere with him.  The first year I had him, I started wondering about soundness issues maybe two months in.  Then it was another almost four months before I could really start working with him.  And holy crap were we a hot mess.  I mean we aren't fabulous now by any means, but damn it was bad.

Not even the worst of them

At the beginning of year two I finally gave up on used saddles and got my saddle.  Hands down the best decision I made.  He finally started walking, the bolting decreased, and a line of communication was also opened.  I spent months and months just walking and asking him to stretch.  It was boring, but slowly he was putting muscle back on and the vet visits got further apart.  At the very end we muddled our way through our first schooling show.  It was not impressive, but he gave me the best work he was capable of and I got all the feels.

Not ready for intro A horse doing intro A

Year three was basically a hot hot mess.  I knew I was moving, either with the bosses (what happened) or finding a new job (not near where I was).  I was so worried that he was going to have a relapse with the EPM when I moved him.  I ended up giving him the high roller treatment for the move (seriously cost as much to move him as it did to move myself), but I don't regret it in the least.  The peace of mind and his comfort was well worth the price.


The changes he has gone through since he got here has blown my mind.  I can't express how much I love having all the trails and hills.  Plus being able to have him on turnout full time has really helped his brain.  He has packed on weight and muscle and doesn't even look like the same horse.


Every year has been a steady improvement and hopefully our fourth year together will be the best one yet.  He wasn't what I was expecting and yet he has been just what I needed.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Goal Wrap Up

I blew off the fourth quarter goals.  Mostly because I can't keep track of time and I totally forgot about them, then I got lazy and didn't feel like writing something up for the very end.  Also, this year turned out to be a hot mess for me personally so I was relieved just to survive and to have Stinker doing so well.  Overall, I hit most of my year goals for him.


2017 Year Goals

Stinker
  • Solid WTC (Kind of sort of.  We aren't solid in the canter, but we are cantering some)
  • Travel new places (Well I think half way across the country ought to count.  He did better than I could have hoped for)
  • Schooling shows (This was more to help prep for moving, and now he gets hauled to lessons 2-3 times a month)
  • Happy and healthy (So far so good!)
Human
  • Improve my position (I am making some progress, but there is still lots of room for improvement.)
  • Get my stress shopping under control (Depended on the month.  I am just going to go with not thinking about this month.)
  • Improve my fitness (I alternated between stress shopping and stress eating and sometimes both.  Neither of which help the fitness)

I am still impressed that anything was accomplished.  Moving consumed a large portion of my spring/summer, then adjusting to all the life changes was challenging.  Hopefully things well settle down into a holding pattern this winter and next year will be a little less challenging.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Moonlighting

Yesterday morning, I was slow and it was cold so I ended up not riding, but when I got home I realized I have another lesson on Saturday and probably should really ride my horse.  I don't have any lights, but the moon was really bright.  So I decided to see what happened if I rode him in the mostly dark.

Preferred evening position

Poor Stinker was very puzzled what the heck was happening.  He just wanted his nighttime hay and not to be tacked up.  I turned the barn lights off before I put the bridle on so he had time for his eyes to adjust back to the dark.  I think that was a poor choice because he got really nervous.  He was quite antsy at the mounting block.


Once I walked him out to the ring he went to work but was still quite tense.  My plan was to just walk him and get him settled and stretching.  It didn't take very long to get that accomplished, which was lucky for me, because my toes were freezing already.  So he got a face full of cookies and some extra alfalfa mix.  I was quite impressed with how well he worked in the mostly dark.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Weekend Whiplash

Saturday the weather was amazing and we went for a longer trail ride.  I haven't been taking Stinker out on the hills because his saddle has been slipping on the flat and I knew the hills would be worse.  But I decided if I got off him and walk most of them and did frequent adjutants he would be fine.  Plus I didn't think I could stand another ride on the flat parts since up in the hills are my favorite places to explore.


So off we went.  We climbed up to a new hilltop that I hadn't been on before and the view was amazing.  Stinker doesn't really understand the whole weaving around brush yet and he gets nervous and goes to plowing through it and not paying attention to his feet.  So I got off and walked him a good portion of the way home.  It was also partially because he has been a turd going home and wants to jig.  Handwalking is an excellent way to deal with this because I can force him to walk extra slow and there is no fighting or frustrations.  By the time I got back on him, he was more than ready to walk normally.


Overnight a storm blew in and I woke up to the sound of ice pelting the windows.  It kind of sort of snowed, but mostly it was windy and cold.  I thought I might have to blanket Stinker, but he was fluffy and sassy and gave no appearance of being cold.  Although he didn't appreciate it when I tried to use him to warm up my cold hands.  That resulted in much swishing of the tail and pinning of ears.  Sorry not sorry buddy.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Making The Most Of It

I seem to be very short on time of late, but I am getting to be a pro at 20-30 minute rides during the week.  I think it has actually been really helpful for Stinker.  Nothing gets drilled over and over again.  He has to go right to work and then we are done.  Considering how well he is going, I think it is much better than longer rides because I don't have time to get fixated on one thing.


I am still doing some trail riding, but I have cut way back since his saddle fit still isn't 100%.  Hopefully that will be resolved next week.  It was supposed to happen last month, but the fitter had an accident and broke some ribs and was unable to travel.  I can't wait since it feels unfair when things aren't just right.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Abort Mission

I am quite socially awkward and am terrible at making friends.  Basically, the only way I make friends is if a super social person adopts me.  So far this move I haven't found someone to adopt me.  It is doubly hard, because I am not boarding so I really don't meet people.  I decided to try and push myself outside of my little happy antisocial bubble and go to a GMO meeting.

Socks and I have the same feelings on socializing

It was not what I was expecting.  All the people were really nice and welcoming, but it was very different from the chapter I had previously been in.  The old chapter really wanted people besides the board members to attend and they brought in speakers and what not to get more people to attend.  This one was the board members plus a couple of people that were joining the board.  Whoops.

He is always happy to ham it up

They did try to con me into being the social chair.  I did my usual awkward turtle self and just sat there while they all turned and looked expectantly at me.  I think that was a pretty strong cue that they didn't actually want me as the social chair.  My idea of a good time is hiding and not talking to people.  Maybe hanging out in the corner with a random cute dog.  I also decided I don't drink enough to hang with the dressage ladies.  Hopefully, now that I have met some of the people I can get a little more involved and find another oddball like me.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Storm Prep

I am slowly figuring out what does and doesn't work for stormy weather.  So far there hasn't been snow, so I am using these rain storms as test runs for when it does snow.  The first time around I discovered that the horses can't be fed hay in their usual buckets and the stall I use for Stinker doesn't do well with high wind plus moisture.


I decided to try hay nets to see if that would reduce the amount of wasted hay.  Cowboy strongly objects to this.  The first hay net I hung didn't even last 2 hours.  I repaired it and decided to try again.  This time around it stayed hanging, but he ripped four massive holes in it in under four hours.  I am aware these hay nets aren't top of the line quality, but at the same time Stinker used one all of last winter without putting any holes in it.

My next problem was the amount of rain that blew into Stinker's stall.  We get high winds frequently and when you combine it with heavy rain, it isn't a pretty sight.  I decided the easiest thing to do would be to switch the empty stall and make it Stinker's stall so I would have more time to figure out the best way to prevent the rain from blowing in.

So much wet

This led me to discovering the automatic waterer in the empty stall doesn't seem to be working quite right.  I had previously had it turned off because it wasn't being used and it prevent the bowl from getting gross.  When I turned it back on it over flowed and made a big mess.  I am going to have to find the instruction booklet and hope I can figure out what the problem is.

I also got the ring drug and redistributed the footing.  The wind had blown it to one end of the ring, so I had to do quite a bit of shuffling to get it even again.  Then I got to watch the wind blow and move everything around.

I wanted to ride in it so badly

Hopefully I can get these little kinks figured out before winter hits and I am cussing up a storm.  Does anyone have a favorite tough hay net that isn't super expensive in case Cowboy destroys it?