Thursday, October 12, 2017

If It Fits...

I have been worried about the fit of my saddle for the last few weeks, but Stinker has been going so well I convinced myself that it was still fitting ok.  He has a history of being very dramatic about saddle fit, so I was depending on that as notification that things were not right.  Unfortunately, the saddle fitter that is kind of sort of local (ok not really but I think he does come to this area) is in the UK for the next few weeks.  Which means I just shipped my saddle off to Florida to my old saddle fitter.


The good news is she is changing out the panels and the head plate, because someone has been packing on the muscle and the weight.  The bad news is my saddle isn't going to be delivered for a week, then she needs to make the changes and ship it back.  I am most likely going to be without a saddle for three weeks.  Sob.

What happens to me if I try to ride bareback

I am really bummed I had to cancel my lesson this weekend.  I am also sad to miss out on riding in the fabulous fall weather we have been having.  But my plan is to do ground work with him to keep him in shape and using his back.  And then steal Cowboy on the days my mom isn't riding him and see if I can start getting him more supple for her.  Hopefully this will give Stinker a nice little break and he will come back even happier.

Exploring is on hold for the moment

I felt bad because his back was sore yesterday morning.  But by evening he was no longer reactive, so I think I caught things early enough it won't be a big deal.  Here is to being neurotic and obsessive I guess.  Plus it is way way way cheaper to be able to send my saddle off for an overhaul vs being saddle shopping, so I really shouldn't complain.  Heck I might even get around to organizing my tack room, getting ground poles, and all of my other projects I have planned.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dream Horse

Awhile back Olivia posted about the perfect horse, and I am finally getting around hopping on the dream horse wagon.  I have actually been giving this a lot of thought lately, because I know Stinker's body is limiting.  Back when I got him, I didn't have a long list of wants.  I believe my list was something along the lines of fun, has potential, and not grey.  Which he checked all of the boxes, but the future horse is going to have some higher standards.  It is no secret that I absolutely adore Stinker, but there are definitely things I don't enjoy about him.

Sass monster

So what would this dream horse look like?  I really don't have a color preference other than not grey.  Honestly, I would prefer less white on the legs too.  Basically anything that doesn't show a lot of dirt is fine by me.  Don't get me wrong, I love chrome on a horse when it is clean.  But keeping it clean makes me a little nuts, plus #effor.  As far as size goes as long as I don't look ridiculous on them I don't care too much.  I do lean towards smaller quick horses.

Only stay white for 30 seconds

Personality wise, Stinker has a lot going for him in the dream horse department.  He is very personable and fun to be around.  Plus he has a ton of heart.  The horse never quits.  He may get frazzled and need a moment to get the brain back, but he keeps trying.  The licking is a little weird, but I will keep the weird because he always manages to put a smile on my face.  So dream horse is a little weird with tons of heart and try.

Such a goober

Conformation wise, in the words of my old vet, I would like to see myself with "something that is put together a little better."  Poor Stinker shows his backyard roots when it comes to his conformation.  But dream horse will be put together more correctly and hopefully won't have neurological issues.  The bar was set pretty low in this area.

Everything slides back.  Way back.

What will dream horse do???  A little of everything.  Obviously, I really like dressage so I would love for dream horse to at least get me my bronze medal.  It would also be cool like Hampton and be able to go dabble in eventing (I have come to the conclusion that I don't have the balls for anything above BN).  And maybe if I get a really wild hair be able to do a 25 mile endurance ride.  Dream horse definitely will be good on the trails, because I like having the ability to get out and explore.

Exploring is a must

Hopefully, Stinker will have quite a few more years before his body starts saying no, but in the meantime I will keep dreaming on dream horse.  Who knows by the time I am actually looking I might have totally changed what my dreams are.  All I know for sure is it has to be cob sized so I don't have to start over with my tack collection.

Friday, October 6, 2017

It's Electric

I have a problem.  My beloved Teddy's Tack Truck Brushes cause a huge static problem.  Grooming is no fun when both you and your horse are going "DON'T SHOCK ME!"  So far I have tried dryer sheets, a spray bottle with water, and the combination.  It is still hit or miss on the shocking.  Which is really bad because Stinker gets fidgety and nervous because he is anticipating getting shocked.

Plz make it stop

Does anyone have magical tips?  I didn't have this problem in the south with the high humidity, but the lack of humidity here has everything electrified.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Expectations Vs Reality

I was quite delusional when I first got Stinker.  I was going to take things "slow" but I thought by fall (a little over 6 months from when I got him) we would be able to be doing training level dressage and hopefully by the following spring we would be jumping a little.  (Insert hysterical laughing)

Wee little baby Stinker

As with many many many things Stinker had his own opinions on how things were going to go.  Part of it is because of mistakes I made.  Unfortunately when D still had him, the first barn he was at did not appreciate his quirks and he had to be moved.  To tally up the moves he had, the previous owner moved barns right before I bought him, then he moved with D, then he moved with D again, and then he moved down to me.  So in under 6 months, he had three people and 5 places.  It is no wonder he promptly got EPM.

Early attempt at a trail ride

As he came back from EPM I was faced with the reality.  I had a horse that was not sound nor was there any guarantee that he would get sound.  Plus he didn't have any skills to make him worth anyone else putting the time in.  Who would want an unsound, hot, difficult to rehab, green broke (at best) horse.  It basically sounded like a bad Facebook ad that gets screenshot and passed around while people laugh hysterically at the poster.

Just what everyone wants every day

Since I am too stupid to know when I quit, I decided I was going to give things my best effort and see what happened.  After months of tears and I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK I AM DOING moments I slowly started to see progress.  He started to get a little straighter, his right hind didn't feel as wonky, he was getting small amounts of muscle back.

Slow and steady

We still had set backs and I was constantly terrified of every little hiccup.  At every little thing I would be sure he was having an EPM relapse.  Slowly I realized, I didn't care about the original plan. I just wanted to have a sound and happy horse I could enjoy.  Sure I drug him to a couple shows, but that was more about the trailering experience in preparation for the move.

Always preparing

My new reality is I know he has a hind end that is at high risk for injury.  My new expectations for him are to have fun together.  Right now dressage is great for him because it is helping his body and the stronger it is the less likely he is to have an injury.  Getting him out on the trails is great because it helps to muscle up that butt.  Sure he could have a slip on the rougher parts, but we take things slow and I will hand walk him when necessary.

Don't worry he is having fun too

I don't know what our future looks like, but I do know we will have fun getting there.  He has never looked better and I know exactly what I am getting every day.  I have a horse that tries for me and enjoys going to work.  He never fails to put a smile on my face, even if I am calling him an asshole for a new shenanigan.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Wild Horse and Cows Oh My

The other day was one hot mess.  It started off with wild horses being across the fence from Stinker and Cowboy.  I grabbed Stinker since he was squealing and trying to sniff noses and thought Cowboy would go back to eating, which he did.  I decided to get a quick ride in and tacked up.

I eat you

As it happened our neighbor was using their place to wean some cows.  There was lots of mooing going on but I didn't really think anything about it because they have had cows the entire time we have been here.  Poor Stinker had a complete and total meltdown over them.  And right as he was having his meltdown Cowboy discovered he was in love with one of the wild horses.

He shoved his head allll the way up in my face

Stinker was spinning and trying to bolt.  Cowboy was squealing and trying to climb the fence.  I finally got off Stinker and put him in time out and Cowboy got stuck in the barn.  Finally, after much standing and staring at the cows Stinker settled back down so I got back on to try and get some decent work done.  He still wasn't entirely sure about the whole cow thing, but he walked and trotted like a horse so I called it a day.

Always creeping

Cowboy proceeded to have an epic meltdown to finish off my morning.  Needless to say the electric wire is getting turned on as soon as I get the solar box in.  I don't know what Cowboy's feelings are about hot wires, but Stinker is absolutely terrified of them and it will keep him off the fence and away from the wild horses.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Only Sort of Lost

This weekend we went exploring new paths.  Unfortunately, we took a couple wrong turns and didn't end up where we expected to be.  Luckily we accidentally ended up coming back the way we meant to go in the first place.

Always happy to explore

My mom decided she wanted to see a canyon that was on the endurance ride, after my previous experience I was a little leery, but said we could give it a go.  I looked at the map and thought I knew where we needed to go.  My mom had been part way up the trail on foot earlier this summer, so I made the mistake of listening to her about where the trail went.

Headed home

We wandered for awhile, I got royally confused and decided we had weren't going to get where she wanted to go and we could just ride around.  I followed some dirt bike trails for awhile and my mom got worried we wouldn't be able to find our way back.  I assured her that since I had my GPS running and both horses have demonstrated a clear understanding of which way is home we would be fine.

We found the canyon

After some wandering through the hills I finally found a more road like path and decided to follow it back home and make a bit of a loop.  About half way home my mom started getting really really quiet (very odd for her) so I asked what was up.  After some prodding she finally confessed that the road we were on was the one she had assured me we were on earlier.  I just laughed at her, because I had a fun ride even if we didn't find her canyon.

Champion drinker

On Sunday, I went back and easily found where you dropped off into the canyon.  I didn't go down because I learned my lesson.  Instead I snapped a picture and texted it to my mom to taunt her.  I was really impressed with Stinker.  There were places we crossed a stream and he consistently drank both days.  It used to be I couldn't get him to stand still to take a breather and now he is starting to figure out how to take care of himself on the longer rides.  And he handled 10+ dirt bikes without blinking an eye.  Who is a trail horse now?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Redefining The Seasons

I saw this post from The Running, Riding, Writing Veterinarian and loved it, so I thought I would adapt it to fit me.  Of late, I have been dreading the coming of winter.  Typically I love fall, but as the days get shorter and cooler all I can think about is OMG I AM NEVER GOING TO RIDE MY HORSE THIS WINTER AND I MIGHT FREEZE TO DEATH BECAUSE I AM NOT USED TO ANYTHING BELOW FREEZING.  The freezing part has absolutely nothing to do with the fact I have unpacked none of my clothes and I am left with just my summer clothes.  I also might be a tad dramatic, but that probably isn't it either.

No drama llama here

At any rate Mel's post about redefining the seasons and tailoring your activities to fit the weather hit home with me.  Instead of sulking that I can't keep Stinker's socks sparkling white, I need to focus on the things I can do.

Fall (September and October)
-Enjoying the longer trail rides in the cooler weather on the weekend
-Master the 20 minute rides during the weekday
-Use the longer evening hours to catch up on blogs/work

Winter (November-Feburary/March/please end soon)
-Tack cleaning and grooming sessions when the weather is crap
-Weekends are for hauling to an indoor to get a decent school in
-Utilize the sandy trails when my ring isn't useable

Spring (March/April)
-Celebrate the longer days
-Start making goals for the year
-Start enjoying the hills again

Summer (May-August)
-Be happy I am not in the South anymore
-Enjoy the long days
-Keep the same schedule I did this summer

My main goal is to remind myself that not riding 5-6 days a week isn't the end of the world.  I have been so focused on getting Stinker strong that I am afraid to lighten the load.  Earlier this year with the move and all the life changes surrounding it I was unable to keep him in steady work.  And he was fine.  A light winter will be fine for us, and we will be back having fun exploring adventures before I know it.