Monday, July 31, 2017

Lesson Time

My original plan was to try and get some lessons on school horses to test trainers out before Stinker was moved, but my two top choices didn't have any openings on school horses.  Then Stinker was moved much more quickly.  So I contacted my top choice about setting up a lesson with Stinker and for various reasons (me being out of town, them being out of town, a show) we were unable to schedule it until this weekend.

Being nervous on the trailer

At the beginning of last week I started panicking about things.  I was nervous about everything.  Hauling out for a lesson, getting everything organized, new trainer, new place, what if they hated Stinker.  It all seemed daunting.  Saturday morning I cleaned all my tack and boots and gave Stinker a bath so he looked less feral.  I even managed to get everything I needed packed.

Oh right I can act like a horse

Stinker was pretty nervous when I started to pull out of the drive, but by the time I got to the lesson barn he settled and he stood quietly on the trailer while I filled out the release forms.  When I unloaded him he was pretty up, but once I started grooming him he settled down.  My lesson was in the indoor which has mirrors so I opted to walk him around the ring before I got on.  He snorted some and was pretty nervous but was well mannered.

Fancy barn

The lesson wasn't anything mind blowing.  We worked on the exact same things I had been working on with my favorite dressage judge and S.  The phrasing was a little different, but it worked well for us.  I thought it was a fairly easy lesson, but my hips are informing me otherwise.  He got a little tense and nervous a few times, but would quickly come back to me.  I was also able to slow his walk much more quickly than I have in the past.  By the end of the lesson he felt really good and we were able to get him to stretch in the trot both directions without him speeding up.

Home sweet home

Overall, I think this trainer will be a really good fit for us.  Stinker isn't everyone's cup of tea, but she seemed to really like him.  It also didn't hurt that she called him cute and smart.  But I was really pleased and hopefully I will be able to get on a regular schedule with her.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Quarter 3 Goals (Only a Month Late)

I thought about doing this at the beginning of the month, but everything was in flux.  I had been moving ever since April, but things are finally starting to settle and it seemed like a good time to review and actually take a look at things.  Thankfully I tried to set myself up for success since I knew life was going to be crazy.

2017 Year Goals

  • Solid WTC (This actually seems like a possibility)
  • Travel new places (Well I think half way across the country out to count.  He did better than I could have hoped for)
  • Schooling shows (This was more to help prep for moving, so I don't care if I hit up any more this year)
  • Happy and healthy (So far so good!)
  • Improve my position (Well I thought it was doing better until I started riding Cowboy.  It needs some serious work.)
  • Get my stress shopping under control (I did really well until I actually got moved and proceeded to buy basically everything Aimee would sell me #noregrets)
  • Improve my fitness (I am doing better.  Getting out of the humidity has helped me a lot but I still need to do more)

All the pretties

Quarter 2 Goals

  • Maintain as much as possible despite having a nutty human (He has really settled now that he is 8 and I am pretty proud of how he is doing.)
  • Keep him happy and healthy (So far so good.  I am keeping my fingers crossed and crazy in check.)
  • Sanity (It is slowly returning)
Honestly this quarter went way better than I could have imagined.  Between moving my life, plus work, plus all the other life changes, worrying about a relapse with EPM, I don't think it could have gone better.  Stinker has settled right in and picked right back up and since I am not as stressed the rides have been much more straight forward.

Quarter 3 Goals

  • Find a trainer
  • Keep building the strength
  • Utilize the hills 2x a week
  • Learn how to walk down said hills
  • Keep working on fitness
  • Adjust to new routine of commute and horses at home
  • Keep working Cowboy
I am really excited to see how this year ends up.  Stinker has a brain that is in his head 90% of the time (he wouldn't be Stinker if it was 100% of the time).  He is letting me ride him without OMG I JUST CAN'T moments every time I change something.  He is still his sensitive self, but is more willing to roll with the punches.  Hopefully with real hills to ride on I can pack muscle on his butt and back to give him the strength he needs to be able to really carry himself.  We have moments of wow this horse might be able to do it, but it is a stride here and a stride there with no consistency (yet).

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hop Along

Things have been pretty quiet with Stinker.  When I got back from Wyoming (two weeks ago I think) Stinker was walking fine until I picked his one hind hoof.  Then he was all OMG CAN'T PUT ANY WEIGHT ON IT.  I promptly got really paranoid and luckily had numbers for a couple different farriers.  I started with my top choice and didn't really expect him to be able to get out soon, but he said he could be out on Monday morning.

Super helpful for cleaning/filling the tub

Poor Aimee had to deal with my obsessing over how pathetic my horse looked hobbling around on three legs all weekend.  He would only put the tip of his left hind down on the ground.  Which of course led me to panicking about what else in his already questionable hind he was beating up.  I compensated by over bedding his stall because it was something I could do to make him feel more comfortable.

Chief Poop Supervisor

The farrier was fabulous and we talked about Stinker's feet and what he thought was going on with the sore foot.  Stinker stood like a champ and the farrier even mentioned how great he was (which is awesome because he wasn't my old farrier's favorite).  After the old shoe was pulled (it was pretty much only being held on by the clips and a couple nails) and he was reshod, he was so much happier and actually walked off like a normal horse.  Occasionally there was still a gimp.

Not super thrilled about the noisy stock trailer

I kept him in his stall+run for a few more days, because I figured he was going to run around like a jackass and didn't want him to make that foot hurt more.  Once, he was almost 100% I turned him out and finally put him with Cowboy.  Stinker immediately started running around like an idiot (FREEDOM!!!!), while Cowboy tried to keep up (OMG FRIEND!!!).

Needless to say, the boys have been very happy together.  And Cowboy has only gotten a couple scrapes.  Stinker is a brat and likes to push Cowboy around but they seem to be doing really well together.  I have even been able to feed them without separating because Stinker eats so slowly and Cowboy is done before Stinker.

I finally got back to riding Stinker this week and it has been going really well.  He picked right up where we left off.  I have been struggling with my riding some.  Why is it so hard to sit on my right seat bone?  Or remember to keep my legs under me and not shove my butt out the back?  Bottom line is I need lessons.  But at least one of us is remembering what we are supposed to do.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Stinker Being A Stinker

Stinker is basically a giant dog when it comes to his personality.  If there is something he can get into he does.  If there is something he can chew on he does.  I basically have a giant puppy (thankfully I don't have to house train him).  As I mentioned last week, SB got some fabulous pictures of Stinker.  I think it will explain a lot about why my attempts to photograph him fail miserably.

Things started off pretty innocently

Then turned into "Hey will he drink that?"

I is a llama

Oh hey that isn't too bad

Hat buttons are the best toy

I steal hat

More cider is necessary if I am going to wear this

Hey girl let's go shopping

Friday, July 21, 2017

Ponyless Adventures Part 2

There was a fair amount of time spent grooming and playing dress up with the ponies even if we couldn't ride them.  Cowboy got his first bath and we tackled his mane and tail.  He turned out very spiffy.  It was also discovered that even though Brownie didn't fit Stinker (sob) it looked smashing on Cowboy.

All pictures by SB (because mine are crap)

We took my mom saddle shopping because her saddle that she has used since she was 17ish didn't fit Cowboy.  I should have bought her a quarter horse instead of an OTTB.  We have one possibility on trial, so hopefully it will work out for her.  SB was a very good sport about my family's shenanigans (at least I think she was hopefully she will come back again).

More dress up happened and more damage to my wallet.  I might have spent my tack room organizing budget on pretties from SB #noregrets.  SB, wanted to organize the tack room until I informed her that we could buy stuff for it or she could leave pretties and take all my money.  The girl isn't dumb so that was the last I heard about the tack room.

Then we went and played tourist.  First we went to Virginia City and had a very disappointing trip to a cidery.  We both thought that they made their own cider so we stopped in after we had eaten lunch, but sadly they didn't.

I steal the Teeny

After that SB wanted to go on a ghost tour, but I said we would either waste our money or she would have been carrying Teeny and me so we passed.  Mostly because I distracted her with ice-cream.  I got the ice cream while she waited with Teeny and he stole ice cream from some ladies.  Teeny was a massive hit with people, but I don't think the people were such a massive hit with Teeny unless they gave him ice cream.  After that, we were hot and SB decided she wanted to see snow.

I haven't actually done much exploring, so I didn't know if we could get to where the snow was on the mountains but I was game for trying.  So off we went in search of snow in July.  We did find some at the top of the mountain and I decided it would be fun to go down the other side and see Tahoe since I have never been.  We tried stopping at several spots to get a good picture but they weren't quite cutting it.  Finally we got to one that was wide open and really really pretty, but people were being dumb and hanging off the edge and climbing on shit.  So we snapped a couple quick pictures and left before someone died.

Our original plan was to stop along the lake so we could dip our toes in.  At first there was a fairly impressive drop off to the lake, then there were a shit ton of people and then I was over people and didn't really want to go (luckily SB said she agreed with me) so we went and found a Sonic instead.  After that we went home to play with ponies again, and she got some hysterical pictures of Stinker being his usual goobery self.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Ponyless Adventures Part 1

Last week I had the fun 16 hour trip out to Wyoming, supervising movers for a day and then 16 hours back.  During that time SB was all "OMG ZOE ISN'T COMING UNTIL NEXT WEEK WHAT DO I DO WITH MYSELF????"  I suggested that she come down for the weekend and we could hang out and play with Stinker and Cowboy.

Who wouldn't want to meet these two? (PC: Aimee)

Friday, we were both driving and I was a little ahead of her and I was listening to the radio and heard that there was a fire really really really freaking close to where I live (as in where I had been trail riding).  I frantically started calling my mom but between crap cell service and her not actually being home left me to hyperventilate while I am driving.  Finally (in reality it was like five minutes but it felt forever) I got ahold of her.  They weren't home but she said they would be home in 10 minutes.

I was stressing out because the radio kept talking about evacuations and road closures and I was formulating a plan for my mom to get the horses and my dad out of there (a chore and half).  Finally, she got home and called me and said it wasn't that close (we have different definitions of that close) but I tried to calm down.  It turned out that the main way I take to get home was closed, but the fire wasn't where the radio previously stated.  And the evacuations that they were talking about were for another fire up north.

Sass in the house

I really didn't calm down until I got home, and then sent SB very specific directions on how to reroute around the closures.  SB was being a good citizen and didn't see the message until too late.  Then she tried to call but technology hates me and that didn't happen.  Finally, we got in touch and I got her directed correctly.

Finally, she arrived with Teeny in tow (insert squealing here because he is freaking adorable and fun).  We tossed her things down, walked Teeny, drooled over the pretties she brought (because #teamfundZoe), and went out to see the ponies.  Stinker was fine until I picked out his one foot and then he was OMG I'M DYING AND CAN'T PUT WEIGHT ON THAT FOOT.  I make fun of him for being a drama queen, but the reality is when he says ow something hurts it probably really really hurts.  I have seen him very banged up still trotting around because standing is for lame horses.

Teeny in the sunset

Needless to say that put a damper on my grand plans of taking them out on the trails.  But really SB and I were both exhausted and wanted a relaxing weekend with minimal responsibilities.  Plus hard cider because it is delicious.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Redheaded Step Child

Lest you think that Stinker has been forgotten, rest assured that I have not turned him into the redheaded stepchild since Cowboy's arrival.  Stinker has settled in nicely and was working well after a little time off because of the travel.  Nothing was ground breaking but it was very steady consistent work reflective of where he is at.

So pathetic (PC: SB)

Then I went back to Wyoming, and when I came back he was three legged lame.  Like totally pathetic limited mobility OMG my horse is broken lame.  His hind shoe is loose and it looked like maybe he had a nail that was poking him.  I contacted a farrier (who is coming this morning) and I am hoping that it is from the loose shoe/an abscess.  Either way he totally spoiled my grand weekend plans, but it was still a fun weekend despite his failure to cooperate.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Cattle Sorting

This past weekend we were looking at hay to buy and the place mentioned that the next day they were having a cow sorting competition the next day.  It has been a struggle to find anything that my dad has enjoyed since the move.  He is upset that he had to leave Wyoming and doesn't understand that his options were a nursing home or moving here where we could get more help with his health.  So my mom decided to drag him to the cow sorting.

I steal

It turned out to be lots of fun.  Basically there are two riders that enter two pens separated by an opening about the width of a gate.  One one side there are 10 cows bunched and as soon as the riders cross through the gate a number is called out and they have to pick that cow out and sort it into the other pen.  You then continue in chronological order until time runs out or all the cows have been sorted.  If a cow comes back or the wrong number goes through you don't get a time.

So adorable

There was this one little chestnut horse that I absolutely adored.  She (I think) had some serious moves and even saved some rides when a cow was sneaking up behind and the rider didn't see.  It made me almost miss having a cow horse.  They are fun rides and you learn to keep your butt in the tack and feel your horse.  Hopefully we will get to go back, because I had a blast and the people were super friendly (despite me showing up in breeches).

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


I have been really impressed with Cowboy so far.  I have been using him to explore the trails and just get a feel for what is spooky to him and how he reacts to life situations before I turn my mom loose with him.  Since he has had so little riding we are sticking to about an hour of walking since that seems to get him a good workout without over tiring him.  Getting back into shape is hard yo (I need to do it too).

We found some real hills

So far Cowboy has only objected to humans and human related things.  Mostly he just plants his feet and snorts.  Sometimes there is a little side stepping, but nothing major.  There is a metal cutout of a wolf (my mom claims it is a coyote) in the front yard and he snorts at that.  He isn't a fan of bicycles or sprinkles (large irrigation ones).  Traffic makes him a little nervous.  When he sees people hiking he stares at them really hard and sometimes forgets to watch where he is putting his feet.  But overall I haven't found any true issue with him, which makes me very happy.  He is such a sweet guy.

He wiggled at the end but it turned out fairly well

Monday, July 10, 2017

Cowboy Up

Meet Cowboy

Last week I finally found a buddy for Stinker.  I wanted an older horse that my mom could ride, but not so old she would be bored to death.  A lot of the horses I was interested in were sold.  We went and tried one together and neither of us really liked him.  He sounded good on paper (dressage training and had done quite a bit), but it just wasn't a good fit.

Luckily I happened to see Cowboy on Facebook and I snapped him up despite a less than stellar test ride.  He never did anything naughty, but he was tossing his head a lot and very inconsistent in rating his gaits.  But he walked, trotted, and cantered and felt good.  I never got a feeling like he was about to explode, he just seemed unhappy with something that day.  My mom wasn't able to come see him, so he was a surprise when I brought him home.

There has been minimal squealing/mare face *Stinker*

Cowboy is a 16 year old OTTB.  He was used on a dude string at one point but was very underweight when he was sold off.  He bounced a little bit and had some light riding but for the last two years he hadn't been used.  When it was decided that he was going to be sold he had about 4-5 rides on him before I tried him.

The first day I rode him at home, I was wondering what I had bought.  But with some tack changes he happily went to work.  Right now I am riding him in a hackamore (I impulsed borrowed/bought/stole from Aimee) with my dressage saddle.  Hopefully, we will be able to get another saddle that will fit him better than any of the ones we have.

Ever since getting the tack correct he has been a blast to ride.  Right now I am mostly walking him on the trails to get him back into the swing of work and to learn more about him.  My mom might have trouble getting me to turn him over to her, because he is such a fun ride.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Final Lessons Parts 2 and 3

I was originally saving these because I didn't think I would have my horse for another couple of weeks, and was hoarding blog fodder.  Right before I left, my favorite dressage judge came for the weekend.  The weather was total crap, because it has been raining nonstop for quite awhile now.  But I had a good lesson on Friday, and then on Saturday I had S ride Stinker.

Blurry screenshot for the win

I wanted to give her some confidence since she is always worried that she will mess him up (total lies but I can understand the paranoia).  I thought a lesson would be a good way to give her a boost before I disappeared and and she was the only one dealing with him until he shipped.  They did really well together.  The arena had puddles everywhere and he tends to get short and choppy in sloppy footing.  I don't blame him, slipping around is no fun.

I am making all things purple (not pictured is the purple saddle rack)

On Sunday, I got another lesson.  I was so impressed with him.  He stayed rideable the entire weekend and we got to add in a couple new exercises.  My favorite one was turning down centerline, leg yielding into a turn on the forehand.  This was really helpful in getting him to step up and under with his hind.  I already am missing my lessons, but I am working on trying some new trainers.  I am sure that will be an adventure and a half.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Last week I was ecstatic to find out that Stinker was going to be shipping out late Thursday night.  I wasn't expecting him to ship so quickly and I hadn't prepped the barn for him yet.  So I was left scrambling trying to get everything done.  I also wasn't sure how long it was going to take for him to get here, since I didn't speak to the shippers after the paperwork was all filled out.

Saturday morning I finally received an email telling me that they would be dropping him off and to please call.  When I called to confirm, they said he was traveling really well and was a great little guy.  I was very relieved to hear that, because when I first got him he would paw a lot and immediately start sweating regardless of the temperature.

Good to be free

Once the trucked rolled in and they started setting up the ramp I could see him.  He was very curious (shocking I know), but waited patiently and walked off the ramp like he had been doing it his whole life.  He was delighted with his stall/run/paddocks (I have everything open for him) and grabbed a couple bites of hay, rolled, and drank some water.

All by myself

The barn came with the automatic waterers and I wasn't sure if he had ever seen one.  He immediately started drinking out of it and as soon as it turned on he spooked.  He did the same thing the second time too.  Hopefully, he will figure it out because it is heated and that will be really nice for the winter.

Why yes I did sit in his stall and drink chai while he ate breakfast

The last piece of the getting Stinker settled is a buddy horse.  Hopefully in the next week or so I can find something that will work well for us and then I think he will be quite happy with life.  Overall, I was very happy with my decision to use Brook Ledge.  It was pricy, but he traveled really well and they were very prompt and professional.  Hopefully I won't need to use them again (really really really don't want to move again), but if I do have the need I would happily use them again.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Road Trip: Days 2 and 3

Day 2 Stats
Miles Drive:  793
Hours In the Car:  12.5

Day 3 Stats
Miles Drive:  1029
Hours In The Car:  15.5

I was originally going to take four days, since I had over 1,000 miles for the last day.  But I am cheap and didn't want to pay for a hotel that close to home, so I drove the entire way.  Thankfully, I managed to catch up with an old friend and she made the last two hours fly by.  I was also really glad I missed the massive heat wave that hit the southwest at the same time.

Once I arrived Saturday evening about all I did was sleep.  Sunday I tried to relax and catch up because I needed to be at work on Monday morning at 6:30 am to help unload the trucks for work.  I was so tired by Monday afternoon.  The movers for work kept offering me a job.  I kept saying nope nope nope I am done with moving things, but I still have to go back and help the movers for the rest of my parents stuff.  Then I am refusing to move for a good long while.