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.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Adventure Time!

 I know I say this all the time, but I can't get over what a good little mare Karma is. After jumping through all the DMV hoops I was determined to go some where. Originally, I planned on going to a park that is about 30 minutes from where I live. But I discovered that they were having a campout for the group that maintains all the horse trails in the park. I think they were still letting day riders in, but that just seemed like too much for a beginning adventure and I really want to set her up for success.

Out of food and staring at other horses

So I decided to head to another one (it's only about 20 minutes from the barn but 45-50 minutes from where I live). This turned out to be a fabulous decision. I didn't realize that the horse trails are only horses. Hikers have their own trails and I think bicyclists do too, but I don't think the horse trails even cross with the bicycle trails. So it was a great way to get her out without having to worry about many of the things you run into on the trails.

I gave her a snack as soon as I unloaded her and she dove right in and didn't even really worry about the new surroundings until she ran out of food. There was a bit of pawing and calling for other horses when I was over looking at the maps and trying to figure out the whole self registration for the pass thing. But overall she was quite good and really good for a 4 year old with about 6 months of consistent work and no buddy.

I decided to try the "technical" loop first, which was supposed to be about 4 miles and would run me into the 6 mile loop. The technical loop was not what I would call technical, but I might have a skewed view of what is technical. Either way it was a nice variety and did require her to pay attention to where her feet went in places. There were some ups and downs which is one of the reasons I wanted to do that loop.

Once we hit the intersection of the two loops I decided that she was feeling good and since we were just walking, the longer distance wouldn't over tax her. I saw more riders on that section of the trail, but there was plenty of places to pass and she was very well behaved. I even stopped and chatted with a couple of ladies at one point. They didn't know where they were and didn't have a map. I knew I was getting close to camp and the trails had been well marked so I wasn't worried about getting lost so I gave them my map.

Not super technical

She started to get a bit pokey on the next to last mile to camp, but she has an excellent sense of direction and got perky when she realized we were headed back towards the camp. I was very surprised that at every trail option, she would pull towards the one that headed back to camp. Good news is I shouldn't be able to lose the trailer if I am on her. The bad news is if I ever come off her I bet I am walking all the way back to the trailer 😂

She was a bit sweaty when we got back to the trailer and much to my dismay she wouldn't touch the water or alfalfa I offered her. She happily took treats and was trying to eat the weeds so I wasn't worried about her. Mostly annoyed that I hand pumped a bucket of water and she wouldn't even touch it. Once we got back to the barn she promptly drank and then wandered off to eat, so clearly not out of sorts.

Overall, I was really impressed with her. She was a bit nervous in the beginning but settled in well. She was quite skeptical of freshly cut logs and wasn't too sure about the tiny water crossing, but there were no big dramatics. I was very happy that she didn't ever try to pull towards other horses when we passed them going the opposite direction. I guess I have done enough with her by herself that she is ok walking away from horses.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Adulting Is Hard

 After jumping through I don't even know how many hoops, I finally have the truck and trailer licensed and registered. The lady I bought the trailer from, discovered she didn't have an actual title on the trailer because she never registered it. So I had to wait for her to get the title, sign it over to me, and then get an appointment with the DMV. The first available was late October, but I was busy with moving and didn't have the stuff to register the truck yet so I rolled my eyes and said whatever I will just wait.

Then I discovered that the state parks weren't letting residents pay for day use and you had to have the yearly pass, which meant I needed to get the truck registered in this state in order to get my pass so I could go ride. I finally got all my ducks in a row and managed to score a same day appointment. The trailer was fine. The truck was not.

The PROBLEM child (it was registered in three other states just fine)

When the VIN is put into the system it comes up as and incomplete vehicle because it came off the factory line with just the chassis and the dealer added the flatbed. After much discussion, I had to verify it was a complete vehicle. I thought I was going to get it done, but then the previous title didn't have an empty weight on it, so I had to go get it weighed. Which of course meant I had to get another appointment. Thankfully the guy took pity on me and snuck me in and I didn't have to set alarms to remember to check as soon as the appointments were released.

We just want to go places and do things

Off I went to get it weighed, apparently the sucker weighs 7,740 lbs. Which was much heavier than I thought it would be, but so be it. Back to the DMV I go for my appointment. I got another lady and she was looking so confused about things that the guy that had previously helped me took me off her hands. Then we ran into the problem that it weighs so much that it requires a special license plate. Thank god I know the weight limits on the trailer and my DL, because he was concerned I would be over the limit and need a CDL.

I finally got it registered only to learn that because it has the special license plate, they can't do the park pass (you know the whole reason I was trying to get the thing registered instead of just leaving it in my mom's name with me "leasing" it). At this point I was about ready to cry because all I wanted to do was get into the parks so I could ride my pony.

Luckily, between when I first looked into this (August) and now, they had changed the COVID restrictions and it now said you could purchase the yearly passes at the park. Which was a whole other comedy of errors, but hopefully I will get a park pass in the mail at some point and not get fined. Oh and I couldn't actually put the plate on the trailer because it has the star screws and all of my star screw drivers are across the country. But come hell or high water (or maybe just some fines) I am not going to miss the fabulous fall weather or the colors.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

All The Changes

 At the end of the month I someone how managed to make it so I was moving myself and Karma all in the same week and because I am an idiot, I didn't take time off of work. I didn't even really try to get help because the only thing I couldn't move by myself was the base of my treadmill. Once that was the only thing left I begged someone to come help me load it on the flatbed. It was the easiest move ever (also the only one where I wasn't moving 8+ hours so that might factor into it).

While I adored my old barn Karma and I had out grown it a bit. The ring was perfectly fine for baby horse that was learning to steer and was only being ridden for 20 minutes or so, but it was really too small for cantering or doing much dressage work. And looking at another winter of no indoor was quite depressing. Not to mention it was a super quiet barn and I very rarely saw another person much less had the opportunity to get her used to being ridden with other horses.

More cows to torture her with

The new barn has a large outdoor and a small indoor. The horses stay out the majority of the time and Karma is in a small paddock with one other mare. Originally she was in with two other mares, but Karma decided she was the bossy bitch and got booted after about a week. She is settling in quite well. There are places to get shorter milage in outside the ring (that don't involve a pig farm). I actually see people and they are quite friendly and Karma is getting exposed to more things.

Before she got the boot

Overall, I think all the changes have suited us well, even if my place still looks like it has been ransacked. Apparently, actually putting things away has been very low on my list. I am unpacking the kitchen stuff as I need it, and I really like to use the same three things so most of it is still sitting on the floor. I am great at adulting.

I have wanted a screened in porch for so long and now I finally have one

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


 It probably comes as no surprise that I am completely and totally obsessed with my trailer. The obsession with this brand started a few years ago, after I happened to stumble across their page trying to get a feel for "dream trailers."

I did not have purple on the dream trailer but I absolutely love it

As some of you recall, for the life of this blog (I don't know how it has happened but I have been blogging since April of 2015) I either haven't had a trailer or was using the 20+ year old stock trailer affectionately known as trusty rusty or rusty bucket. It was still solid but you could hear it coming from miles away (especially when Stinker was standing on two legs and banging on it with the other two) and it lacked some amenities (like tack storage, smooth ride for the horse, etc).

From our field trip to the vet for bodywork

So me being me spent a lot of time poking around on the internet to a) try to figure out how much I needed to budget and b) what options were available. Most trailer sites SUCK. They don't tell you what options are available, don't give you prices, and generally make it hard to find all the information I wanted. This is when I stumbled across Double D Trailers. They let you configure things, see prices for the additions, and lots of fun options (fair warning you will get sticker shock).

Oh look another terrible picture of both the trailer and Karma 😂

I quickly realized that new was not going to be in my budget for a very very very long time and also quickly realized that these do not get advertised for sale very often. But they have an excellent reputation and I saw an older model in the state park one day when I was riding (so sorry to the owner if you saw me repeatedly circling your trailer I am just a creeper not a thief) and it was in great condition despite the age.

"Where did you take me" - Karma probably

The other thing that really hooked me on the brand was the safe tack. There are two things I have never liked about slant loads. The first being trying to squeeze around the tack room and the second being hassle of bribing reluctant loaders past the narrow openings. With the Double D trailers all of the rear tack is attached to the door and swings outwards so there is a very nice big opening.

I love how open it becomes

So far I absolutely adore this trailer. There are a couple of little quirks because of how the previous owner designed it, but I can easily deal with them considering the price I paid for it. And the best part is Karma seems to like it too. Both trips she has had so far, she has come off the trailer sweaty so I was worried about nerves, but she promptly loads back up and doesn't rush to get off either.

Roomy rear tack

Eventually, I think I will get her to self load, but for now I am totally content with her walking quietly onto the trailer and backing off politely. It is much better than Stinker (who had to wear a bumper because he would back to the edge and then FLY and throw up his head) or Cowboy who would load and unload reliably 95% of the time (but that other 5% would be 30-45 minutes of him having a meltdown that I could never figure out a trigger for).

Adventure ready

Hopefully there will be a lot more adventures to come. I am still trying to get it registered, because the earliest appointment I could schedule with the DMV wasn't until the end of October. Once I get my life more lined out in September, I will start stalking the DMV website and try to score one of the same day appointments that get released. I am looking forward to fall trail rides and other fun adventures!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Oops I Did It Again

This story requires a bit of back story. Back in 2019 when I was funployed I stumbled across an adorable little mare. Of course I did the responsible thing and sent this message

Well despite the professed love, Megan did not act and I couldn't get the little mare out of my head. Of course I talked to Aimee about it and since she was between me and the horse this happened

Which of course was the road trip that led me to getting Karma.

Well a couple of weeks ago I was poking around on the internet trying to get a feel for trailer prices and I stumbled across this gem. I mean it is a purple trimmed trailer, so of course I did this.

Which led to

And then left me with the problem of I now owned a gooseneck trailer and a truck in Nevada.

At first I was going to ship the truck out, but I couldn't get the companies with decent ratings to call me back and the ones with shitty ratings wouldn't stop calling me (I used the house phone not my cell phone, but my mom was not happy with me #whoops #sorrynotsorry).

Which led to the next impulsive decision. A one way flight and a long weekend to cover over 2000 miles and 8 states in a very basic manual diesel.

It started off with an email saying my first flight had been delayed. And it wasn’t a oh a few minutes delayed. It was like we can’t be bothered so it’s now three hours later which of course meant that my two connecting flights weren’t happening. And the “rebook” options had me flying all over the freaking country and getting in at 10:30 pm. Which is not conducive to start drive at 6 am the next day especially with the time changes.

So in my annoyance with much searching I found a second ticket that I could take the first leg of my original flight, then skip covering all corners of the country and get in at 6:15 pm. Not as nice as my noon arrival I originally had but a lot better than 10:30.

Thankfully, the drive went much smoother. The first day I did 13 hours, the second day 14 hours, and then it was another 5 by the time I went picked up the trailer. It got dropped to get new tires (it still had the original 2012 tires on it and they had lots of tread but I wasn't going risk running on almost 10 year old tires. Now I have five brand new tires and a trailer!

And that is the story of how I try to get Megan to buy things and then I buy them. Also known as the story of how I spent a good chunk of the money I saved for a downpayment on a house on a trailer.