Friday, June 30, 2017

Dramatic Baby Mare

I am not going to lie, I was super excited to ride Cinna because I love babies (I know I am super dumb sometimes).  Poor China had her mind blown a little bit, because she was being ridden in the dark and then had to have two riders.  As Leah mentioned, Cinna did not want to have anything to do with the one corner.  But Leah got to have most of the fun with that and Cinna had chilled a bit about it by the time it was my turn.

How can you not love that face?

When I first got on her, she made it quite clear she was offended by this whole swapping riders thing instead of being done.  She put a solid hump in her back and I was wondering if she was going to try bucking.  I was also laughing about her being offended so I wasn't too worried.  I decided to start off with most of the exercises I do with Stinker to get him to relax.  Cinna was a little confused because most of them ask for lateral movement, but she quickly picked up on what I wanted and started to relax.

Adorable dramatic baby

I am not going to lie, I felt 100 times more comfortable on Cinna than I did with Ruby.  Which is funny because Cinna is the baby and isn't as far along as Ruby.  But Cinna rode quite similar to Stinker (less flailing), but the both have busy minds and need frequent changes of directions to keep them focused on work and not looking for distractions.  I felt like my inability to ride was slightly redeemed.  And Leah is lucky Cinna is grey, because otherwise I might have smuggled her into my car and left my shit at Leah's place.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Dramatic Mares and Lovely Bloggers

Per usual work took over life and blogging didn't happen as planned.  Last week I spent the first night of my far too long road trip with Leah.  She was very kind to accept my "hey I could totally crash at your place" self invite and upgrade it from the couch to the spare room.  And to make things better, she even invited Kaity to come over while we played with Dramatic Spanish Mare #1.

Dramatic Spanish Mare #1 aka Ruby was such a trooper.  I no longer know how to press a go button and there was a lot of go whoa go whoa by total accident in the beginning.  I am so used to Stinker that I automatically ask for slower with my seat and my half halts were far too strong since Ruby was happy to oblige requests to slow down.

I was rather ashamed of my riding, but Leah still let me on the baby later so it must not have looked as horrendous as it felt.  Ruby is pretty darn awesome and has so much swing to her back.  I had a moment of ohhhh this is what they are talking about with swing in the horse's back.  I wish I could have ridden Ruby longer, but I didn't want to steal all the fun from Kaity.

I did have to laugh, Leah's hubby came along to the barn and decided he liked me because I brought logic into her musings about buying a helmet in Europe (I suggested that she try one on prior to buying from Europe).  Poor poor poor hubby has no idea how many purchases have been caused by me.  Neither Leah nor I felt the need to correct him (tack ho for life).

I had a fabulous time with Leah, Kaity, and Ruby.  I was bummed that I didn't get to meet Leo, but I was short on time and I know there is no such thing as a quick trip to a barn.  But I did enjoy getting to see Leah's place.  FYI it is way more adorable than she lets on, but it is allllll teal.  I should have taken pictures, but I was too busy squealing over adorable spanish mares.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Road Trip Day 1

Miles Traveled:  756
Hours Driven:  12.5
Ponies Ridden:  2

I managed to get out of dodge before the tropical storm really created a mess, but I believe that we have had around 10 inches of rain.  Loading my car in between down pours was tons of fun, but I managed to get everything crammed in and was off to invade Leah's place.

Sad wet pony when I left

The first hour of driving was mostly a heavy downpour and at a whopping 45 mph.  After that I only hit a few showers and it was smooth sailing.  The stretch from Memphis to Saint Louis drug on forever.  Probably because I was trying to beat rush hour traffic and I really really really wanted to see the dramatic Spanish mares.

I arrived safe and sound around 5 and we immediately went to the barn.  Cinna has the cutest face (of course I forgot to take a picture).  Teal presents were given, ponies were ridden, weiners were played with, and pictures were taken, but I don't have them yet so it will have to wait for another day.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Road Trip Time

Tomorrow, I leave on my grand adventure road trip.  According to google maps it is 39 hours and 2,587 miles.  And to make things better we are right in the path of the tropical storm.  Thanks gulf coast, love you too.

I am taking a slightly longer way so I can play with some dramatic spanish mares.  I mean so I can spend the night with and internet stranger and not get murdered (fun fact don't tell your mom that you are staying with an internet stranger and you won't get murdered because she is teeny).  What I really mean is I am going to be visiting Leah and her lovely mares.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Final Lessons Part 1

I was stalking the weather all week, because we have been getting a ton of rain.  And it isn't nice little showers it has been coming as giant downpours.  The weather was not looking good 80% chance of rain everyday and a high probability of thunderstorms when I was supposed to have lessons.  Luckily the predictions were incorrect and I mostly managed to avoid getting soaked.  Mostly I didn't want to get my tack drenched.

Super fun weather

Ever since the last vet visit and Stinker's extended vacation, he has felt really really rideable.  Hopefully, it is here to stay this time and we don't have a backslide and loss of ride-ability again.  I had given him Thursday so Friday evening he was ready to go.  But it didn't have a frantic feeling, it just felt like he felt really good and was ready to work.

My favorite dressage judge was quite impressed with him.  He was working the best she has seen him.  We even worked on the trot some and while he is still quite tense and gets locked up in the trot, he got better the longer he trotted.  He is still quite weak behind and can't maintain things for very long.  And when he is traveling to the right he dumps me to the left and does his best to bump me off the correct diagonal.  So for now while he is still gaining strength it is fine for me to post incorrectly and not load the right hind quite as much.

Thanks for painting your socks bud

I have zero media, and honestly the majority of it wouldn't be that pretty.  He is very much a work in progress, but he is giving me glimmer of the future.  We spent a little bit of time discussing my future plans for him and long term goals.  I told her my plan was to get the trot solidified in the next year, then the following year would be for canter.  Then once that was done, we would probably be ready for first level.  She is thinks that it is a very reasonable plan and then we discussed the best way to try and manage his longterm soundness.

Stinker has a horribly put together hind end and it was ok pre EMP, but when he lost all of the muscle it has been a struggle getting it put back.  Because he was so weak he started compensating in other manners which stresses his body.  Hopefully, I will be able to continue to manage it and get the muscle back, because that is key to him having a long and enjoyable life.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Starting To Say Goodbye

I have less than a week left here.  To say it is weird is an understatement.  I didn't have a horse prior to moving here and now I have to leave all the professionals I love and start over.  This weekend is my final set of lessons with my favorite dressage judge and I am gutted over it.

She has made such a huge difference for us and I am not sure how on earth I will find another trainer/coach that gets us quite so well.  She has always had total faith, even when we were hot hot hot messes.  The thought of finding a new person is terrifying enough.  Having to be so careful with Stinker's brain basically doubles that.  He can take some pressure, but too much and he loses his brain.  Finding the just right amount is an artwork in itself.

Going to miss this guy too

Then there is my barn.  The people are absolutely fantastic and I would be totally lost without S.  I am going to miss having the social aspect so much.  Hopefully, my awkward self can make a few friends horse friends once I get settled. I am going to try to make myself be social instead of avoiding people unless interaction is forced.

Finally, there are the professionals that I am probably not going to see before I leave, but they have been huge.  My main vet who is amazing and managed to get me (and Stinker) through the EPM.  The wonderful acupuncture vet who can laugh at the fact my horse was a giant asshole the first two times she met him.  And went to the extra effort of asking for specific treatment plans for him in her courses.  The farrier that lets me pay him in beer.  At the beginning of the month Stinker pulled a shoe.  We couldn't find the shoe and he ripped his foot enough that the nails weren't going to hold.  The farrier came out just for him, fitted a new shoe, epoxied his foot, and when I asked how much I owed him he said, "a beer surprise."

Hopefully I am able to get through this weekend without too many tears.  The horse people here have made it for me.  I know I wouldn't have made it though the first year with Stinker without the help and support of these amazing people.  I don't know how to express my gratitude to them, so I am writing it on a blog that they don't know exists.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What To Buy Wednesday: Tack Room Must Haves

Right now my tack room is a blank slate.  Well minus the little bit of junk I let my mom put in there because I didn't have the heart to tell her no.  Oh and the mini fridge because hiding in the barn and drinking is going to be a thing.  I know I need some storage solution and I am planning on stocking up on things when all the back to school sales happen.  But in the meantime I need a few other items.

1)  Saddle racks.  I am going to need at least four of them.  I also don't really want to mount things on the wall because I am not sure about drilling into the material that insulates the room.  So free standing is my preference, but I don't really want to do all individual because that would get cluttered quickly.  Do the multi saddle standing racks work?

2)  Blanket storage.  I have a shit ton of blankets.  Anyone want to buy 75" blankets, because I still have some I need to sell.  I need a way to hang a couple blankets to dry, and I figured I would just use tubs for the ones that weren't in use.

3)  Bridles.  Like the saddles I don't want to attach them to the wall, so I need to think of a way to hang them.  Thoughts on command hooks?

4)  Shelving Units.  What is your favorite width/style of shelving units?  I was thinking that I would need one the size of large tubs (blanket storage and what not) and then a smaller one for grooming and medical things.

5)  Any thing I am missing?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hot Tamale

Hot tamale, pocket rocket, ticking time bomb, and any other name for a horse that is hot as hell is what I had on Friday.  Apparently it was bad for my horse to get almost three weeks off.  It started off with him spooking at the saddle pad.  Then he was snorting and a general pain for the rest of tacking up.  He had a meltdown at the mounting block.  I finally got on and he promptly went into to OMG panic can't walk  mode.  He tried to bolt.  Felt like he wanted to buck.  And continued to have a meltdown for 20 minutes.

Not me

Finally, I got him to do some semblance of a walk.  He "walked" about five steps, stopped, and peed.  After that he was much improved.  Pretty sure my horse had a 20 minute meltdown because he had to pee.  The work wasn't great.  He was still rather tense, but I at least was able to regulate the tempo of the walk and we had an actual walk.

Sometimes you just have to chew on the fan

Saturday, I was so exhausted and stressed that I didn't even go out to the barn.  I wasn't in a mindset to deal with anything so I skipped it.  Sunday was better and I ended up lunging him at the end.  Much to my dismay his trot still looked a little wonky.  He wasn't lame or even truly off, it just wasn't as fluid as I know it can be.  He cantered really well both directions which made me happy.

I couldn't disagree with the location

This morning I drug my ass out of bed and out to the barn to ride.  He had a freakout over a vacuum when I was tacking him up, so I walked him awhile to settle him before I got on.  He was really good.  The tension decreased from the previous rides and he was more willing to stretch.  After some good walk work, I popped him on the lunge.

For the first time since he stuck his leg through his stall he looked 100% at the trot.  He wasn't perfect, he still is twisting and not releasing to the right.  But there wasn't any hitch in his stride.  Everything was fluid and even.  Then he proceeded to canter like a boss both directions with lovely transitions.  Fingers crossed that he stays like this and I can stop being neurotic for 30 seconds.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Barn Tour

As requested here is the barn tour.  The photos are my standard crap, but at least I had the excuse of a storm rolling in and making it difficult.  At least that is my story and I am sticking to it.

The barn is relatively new (I think it was redone in 2013 when the lady bought the property).  Right now it has three stalls, but a couple more could be put in if desired.  I don't have the desire, because really I don't need a barn full of horses.  (Remind me that I said that when I have a barn full of horses in a couple of years.)

The aisle has the super fancy rubber cobblestones, which are really cushy and amazing.  I could seriously sleep on them.

There are two areas for hay storage.  It is a little less than ideal to store hay in the barn, but it will work.  My awesome uncle sent me with some grass hay from last year.

The stalls are quite large and equipped with automatic heated waters.  They have dutch doors on the back.  The fronts have a door to open for feeding.  The actual stall door has the bar slider that tricky ponies can't open (huge plus because I don't want mine to learn how to unlock doors).  They have rubber floors and in general are amazing.

Each of the stalls opens up into a run and all of the runs connect down to the paddock.  You could potentially leave it so the horses can come and go as the please, paddock only, run only, stall only, or any combination in-between.  All without having to catch and lead.

There are two large paddocks.  One (pictured) has the shed in it and the other is all open.  The one downside is there is no grass.  I am considering trying to get grass into the open paddock, but I don't know if it is worth the effort.

This is the open shed in the paddock.  Not much to say about it other than the orientation of it is spot on from what I have seen of the weather so far.  I am honestly considering just using this and skipping the stalls unless there is going to be a blizzard.  I will see how that plays out.

Another heated automatic waterer on the side of the shed.  I am still going to supplement it with a large water trough, but it is nice to have.

The barn has a wash pad next to it, which is amazing.  I don't think I will need to turn it into cross ties, but I have the possibility.  And the way the pad was poured, there shouldn't be any worry about drainage or settling.

The tack room is a bit of a mess right now, so be prepared to be spammed with all sorts of "How do I organize this shit?" posts.  Either way I have a mini fridge in there (fully intend to stock with beer so I can hide down there and drink when my mom makes me crazy).  It has a sink with hot and cold water (tankless water heater).  There is a heater for when it gets cold.  She says she just sets it to low and hasn't had to worry about things freezing.

I absolutely love this barn and I haven't figured out anything I don't like about it yet.  Everything seems to be really well thought out and convenient to use.  I am sure some little things will pop up once I have horses in it, but I am so excited.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Surprise: Home Sweet Home

Last week took an unexpected turn of events.  Originally, I had planned on visiting my parents to help my mom prep for the move (planned for July) and then flying to close on the new place.  Unfortunately, my mom was struggling to manage my dad's care and we decided on Tuesday that we would go ahead and move my parents plus the basics over 1,000 miles.  But based on my time line we needed to be leaving Wyoming Saturday morning.

Wyoming Sunset

Luckily, I was flying Southwest so I could easily change my tickets and my bosses were ok with me extending my trip to help my parents settle in.  But my flight on Wednesday night was super late.  I didn't get into my hotel until 3 am (3 hours late), then I only slept about 2 hours that night.  My sister drove me up to my parents.  The packing madness didn't start until Friday, but we were frantically packing all day.  Then in the evening we loaded up the stock trailer with their stuff, and my awesome uncle loaded up the tractor, tools, and my mom's rock collection on to his flatbed.

The next morning we got up bright and early, finished loading the odds and ends and rolled out by 8 AM.  I was trying the diesel truck (standard) and trailer.  Neither of which I had really driven since 2009 and that was just a trip from New Mexico to Georgia, so really it was more like 2005 since I had driven either with any regularity.  My mom immediately started grumbling about me driving slow.  For the record we were still on their narrow dirt driveway and I was driving 20 mph.  It also might be the first time she has ever grumbled at any of her kids for driving too slow.

Baby tractor and hay!

Despite my nerves, the driving wasn't too bad (other than when I established that I can not back up a gooseneck anymore to save my life).  The first day we made it across Wyoming (pretty), Utah (salt, salt, and more salt), and part of Nevada.  We ended up having to drive an extra hour because all the hotels in the town we planned to stop at were full.

The next day seemed to drag on and on and on.  I was ready to be done with driving, plus it got to be windy and I was struggling with the trailer and the wind.  We were able to arrive in the late afternoon and get the trailer unloaded.  The next day my stuff arrived and it was unloaded along with the hay that my uncle sent on the flatbed.

One paddock

Everything is almost ready for Stinker to arrive.  I am still working out the details on getting him a buddy and also on when he will arrive out here.  I have to go back to Alabama for a couple more weeks, but then I will be out here.  I am so over this packing an unpacking and moving, but I still have to finish getting work moved and unpacked.  Then I have to go to my parents' old place and get everything ready for the movers.  But the moving is at least half way done.

Fancy ass barn

I am super excited about the new place.  I feel so relieved that I am able to manage his care and he can have as much turnout as he would like.  I am still pinching myself that we got so lucky to find this place.  The buying process was so stressful.  We had to write a contract before we saw it and there was another offer on it.  Luckily, the previous owner left us tons of directions of how to make everything function.  I have a remote to turn on sprinklers for the ring.  The ring has a mixture of sand and rubber footing.  It is crazy nice.

Full Sized Ring!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Sass Monster

I got lucky with the weather and was able to ride on Wednesday before I left town for a 10 days. Stinker felt pretty good at the walk. He was relaxed and working well. I was thinking that he was feeling much better after his time off. I decided to hop off and lunge him.

He was short behind both directions on both sides. I let him trot a bit to see if he would work out of it.  It sort of improved. But he was still very sucked back. I decided to try and canter him and see if that helped work out the kinks. He tried to buck and well he sucks at it. I laugh every time and luckily I caught it on camera.