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

Obsessed

 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.


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Adventures

 Because I don't actually have pictures, I am going to be the worst tease. I made a mumble mumble mumble dollar impulse purchase and that led to an impulse road trip. And because I was so exhausted from said road trip, I didn't actually take pictures. Which I am sure Leah will STILL be giving me crap about when we are old and grey. But there are going to be some very fun adventures in the future.





Tuesday, July 20, 2021

I'm In Love

One of my biggest frustrations has been my inability to take lessons. Last year it was only mildly frustrating because Karma was just getting started and most people weren't really doing outside lessons anyway. This year Karma is to the point where I am creating problems and I know my riding is slipping. I tried taking some lessons at a hunter barn, but the just weren't working for a variety of reasons.

I am recycling old images because I am terrible at remembering media

So, after much pondering and getting my ducks in a row. I FINALLY got a virtual lesson scheduled with Trainer J. I do appreciate the Pivo and the fact that the pandemic has increased the popularity of virtual lessons, because otherwise I would still be floundering.

I had never ridden with J, but I had met her in person and I had briefly seen her teaching style and I was pretty sure that my brain would click with her instruction. But you never truly know until you try it. We chatted for a few minutes so she could get a better feel for where I am at and where Karma is at and what we are hoping to achieve.


We started trotting a few circles and I have been feeling inconsistencies that I have been chalking up to green horse, balance issues, contact issues, and out of shape rider. Trainer J immediately identified that Karma was stepping short and stabbing behind. So I hopped off, pulled the saddle, checked along her spine for any soreness. Then we methodically started testing things for the cause. There was a tiny bit of soreness at the end of the panels (which are out of balance and my new ones arrive tomorrow).

J asked if I had a lunge, I was worried I would lose audio if I ran up to my car to grab it so I went with the short answer of no, but I can make one. And proceeded to use a combo of the lead rope and reins to make myself a lunge #keepingitclassyfortheGPtrainer. Thankfully Karma trotted lovely both directions which pretty much ruled out stifles and SI (thank god. I would cry if I had another young horse prone to SI issues).


When I put the saddle back on, she was a tiny bit short traveling to the left. Then J started looking at her butt and sure enough the left side isn't quite as developed as the right. The conclusion we both felt comfortable with is that Karma needs some body work, but in the mean time I can work on balancing her out and keep forcing her to push with that left hind.

By thinking haunches to the left and alternating diagonals we able to get her trotting much more consistently by the end. It felt so good to have a lesson again. And as an added bonus I got to hear someone else say how darling Karma is.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Karma's Very Bad Day

 Poor Karma had a very bad day awhile ago. I have been getting her out more for longer walks to help her start building a bit of fitness. She has been doing really well handing traffic, motorcycles, mailboxes, screaming children, screaming children on motorized vehicles. But we managed to find her one true fear.

We were probably about 30 minutes from home and there is a place that looks like a junk yard. It started with her stopping to stare. I asked her to move on and she got a bit balky. Sadly this attracted the attention of some very scary dairy calves. They are at the terribly curious age, so when we caught their eye, they raced up to the fence line.

I quickly discovered her fear of cows is very much still there despite being ok with the cows around the barn. I am honestly not entirely sure what all happened, but there was spinning, jumping, trying to fall down when we went off the road into the drainage ditch, and a small rear. Thankfully, I was still firmly in the saddle, but I did decide I really didn't want to be there.  I got her paused enough for me to hop off and she immediately tried to bolt for home. 

I pulled her up and she then tried the other direction. When that didn't work either she did her best saddlebred impression. I decided that there was not going to be any learning in the moment and our best option was to continue on down the road and wait for the brain to turn back on. Needless to say a couple of minutes later she was walking like nothing happened.

I wasn't feeling ballsy so I waited to get back on until after we turned around and walked back past the calves. Walking back she was much better event hough I made her pause and waited until they came wandering back up to the fence line. I am hopeful that a few more trips and some positive reinforcement will help her to learn that calves will not murder her.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

June Things

 I had these grand plans about blogs to write because I actually did things. But I haven't gotten around to actually doing it. And I can't even do the tease of just dumping photos because I uhhhh didn't take pictures.

First up, over the long weekend at the end of May I drove to Leah's and stole Cinna for a couple of trail rides. It was a fabulous time and I only horrified her husband a few times. Like when I calmly told him I only fell off five times. I didn't but he had been very worried about me riding Cinna and I couldn't resist the chance to tease in the moment.

Another weekend Jen was showing and I drove over and got to meet Connor. I had a very enjoyable afternoon hanging with them. I think I redeemed my lack of pictures by taking video for her.

I've been riding Karma on a more regular schedule the last couple of weeks. It is a toss up on who hates the heat and humidity more. Most of our rides are pretty short, but I have been trying to get her out for longer walks to help build up some baseline fitness. I miss my trails so much on those days.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Progress

 I mentioned before that I was struggling getting Karma to utilize her hind and stretch to the contact. I decided to try her in the bands to see if that would encourage her to figure out what I was looking for. Going to the right she picked it up really quickly. Going to the left it was a different story.

I was really wishing I knew of a body work person I could have out, because she tends to twist and do weird things and it is probably stems from a restriction somewhere. Without having that, I figured the next best thing would be to encourage even the slightest hint of a stretch.

Will do anything for a carrot

With the assistance of carrots, it only took a couple of sessions for her to figure out what I wanted her to do and once I got it on the ground she immediately took to it under the saddle. Of course that immediately showed me I need to maintain better core tone because she has a lot more push from behind now. I still haven't taken more video, but she feels so much better under saddle. I am hopeful the feeling will be reflected in the video once I get around to taking it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Road Wanderings

 The one day I was driving to the barn from a different direction than I normally come. I thought I knew where I was, but I wasn't on the road I thought I was on and missed the turn I should have taken. I realized I didn't know where I was and popped the address into the GPS. It ended up taking me down a dirt road which kicked me out not too far from the barn.

So obviously I decided to drag Karma on an adventure and road her down the dirt road. I walked her down the 55 mph paved section because I do have enough self preservation to make a few good decisions. She was pretty nervous to start and it wasn't helped by the fact she immediately had to cross a bridge, which was deeply suspicious.

Despite the sticky start and many many nervous poops by the time I wanted to turn around she had settled into a nice marching walk. On the way back she was relaxing more and gaining some confidence. She can be spooky, but as I build up her confidence I am seeing less and less of that behavior. It was a much needed outing for my sanity, because I miss my trails so much.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Plans (ish)

 Without having trail rides to go on, I have basically zero pictures to use and what is a blog without pictures. But now that I have a saddle again and the ring is no longer a skating rink maybe I will get decent video from the pivo and then I will have media again, until then I guess I will keep using the same three pictures.

One thing I realized once I got the saddle sorted is I am having trouble accessing Karma's hind legs. I can get them in the walk but as soon as I ask her to trot we lose all push behind. She is also very prone to bracing her left shoulder (probably because someone has their right seat bone digging in). So I have come up with a plan to address these problems.

Here is another of her favorite moves of weird twisting

One, I am going back to ground to work to let her figure out using her butt to push and come through vs retracting, inverting, and running around like a cart horse. Once she figures out that is what I want from her, I should be able to find it under saddle. I am using verbal cues plus food rewards and so far everything else has translated well from the ground to the saddle.

Cherry picked screenshot where Karma is cute and I am showing all my bad habits

Two, I am going to work at the walk and get the shoulders more maneuverable and start putting on baby lateral work so she gets used to letting me influence all body parts. She naturally moves well but adjusting to a rider is taking her a bit to figure out the moving parts. Which isn't helped because my riding is rather sloppy at the moment.

Three, I am getting back into lessons. Hopefully I will be able to get myself into some remote lessons or dressage lessons, but for right now I am going back to the hunter barn. She will at least yell at me for some of my bad habits.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Finally Fitted

 I finally have a saddle that fits both of us!!! It is quite boring. Plain black no bling or fun colors, tiny velcro blocks. But it fits! Next up is finding some jump flaps because I think it would be fun to mix things up and jump baby things and maybe try out hunting since there is a local club.


Awkward photo because I am terrible at photos and she was over me

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Questionable Baby Horse Things

 I continually horrify my mom when I tell her what Karma and I have done, and honestly with 99% of horses I would even dream doing these things. But I take little steps and have backup plans and bailout points if things don't go as planned.

1) Ride her for the first time without a ground person. This one was mostly due to a total lack of local friends. It's really hard to meet people when you move weeks before a global pandemic hits, and because I go into work regularly I try to reduce my risk elsewhere. I did have someone aware that I was getting on and asked her to keep an eye on us, but typically I would have had an actual ground person.

2) Test out bareback really early on. This was mostly due to laziness and the saddle fitting struggle (which still isn't done). Karma was totally fine, and if she hadn't of been I would have immediately bailed and ridden with a saddle.

The barn has a couple of dairy calves and they aren't quite as scary to Karma this year

3) Hack her out alone her first time out. This was again due to the total lack of local friends. I actually broke this into several days. To get to the field you have to walk past all the vehicles, trailers, equipment, and generally spooky things. Which the first day was noping out, so we spent a good 10-15 minutes just walking in circles progressively getting nearer to the scary things, without actually trying to go past them. The second time, she was still unsure, but wasn't flat out trying to say no, and then was perfectly fine once we got to the field.

4) Hack through the pig farm. I did hand walk her through it quite a bit. I am still bribing her with carrots, she still gets a bit nervous, and I still only try to go through it when it is the shortest distance to home to set her up for success. Honestly I don't blame her not liking it. It is smelly and noisy.

5) Hack out bareback. This was a recent development but really she has been out in the field enough that I wasn't expecting her to be any different than normal and she wasn't.

6) Carrying on after long breaks. I really really really appreciate this quality. I am so glad I don't have to think and consider how long it has been since I last rode her, because most of the time I don't have a clue.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Snow Rides

 I managed to sneak in a couple of snow rides before it decided to warm up, rain, and become and icy muddy mess. The first one Karma wasn't terribly pleased about because the snow was about 18" and I wouldn't let her trot everywhere. But it was very nice to get out and do something even if I did try to fall off at one point.

The other one was a nice little bareback hack. Once again someone has changed enough that I need a new headplate for the saddle. On the plus side I think I might have flaps that I can tolerate until I can swap them out for the ones on Stinker's saddle.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Managing Expectations

When I picked Karma out, I utilized Aimee's ruthlessly exclude (part 1 and part 2) and it has served me VERY well. I honestly can't even imagine what the last year would have looked like with a different horse. I have a three year old that I can give weeks off at a time, and we pick right back up where we left off. I don't have to worry about lunging or balancing my mental energy. Karma is just Karma.

The first 3/4 of February had snow basically everyday and I was over it

That being said I have to be very careful not to fall into the trap of expecting her to be perfect all the time. And honestly, I kind of hate it when people put the expectation of perfection on their horses. In my mind no horse is perfect, they all have their moments and off days and the expectation of perfection leads to dissatisfaction in the relationship.

She wasn't too thrilled with walking through 18+ inches

So while I am enjoying my fabulous baby horse, I also remind myself that I am incredibly lucky and I really shouldn't be put out if she wants to stop and stare at the giant pile of snow for a minute before she proceeds.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Feed XL Review

I am cleaning out my draft folder because its snowy and gross outside. Back in 2019, I impulsively bought a subscription when they were having a 50% off sale because I could analyze all three horses for $37.50. And honestly I wasn't terribly impressed for a few reasons.


Our hay supplier tests they hay and when you go to buy the hay you can see the analysis results. I was super excited, but I couldn't figure out a way to enter the information by hand. Everything I found required a specific file format, which I did have. Without the hay testing I wasn't too sure how accurate the information was.


All three of the horses have a higher than recommended crude protein intake and their recommendation is feed less forage. Which honestly I am not really worried about that, because I haven't seen any issue from that.

Where I run into a problem is with Cowboy. He is low in the digestible energy category in addition to being too high in the protein category and for the life of me I can't figure out how to bump up the digestible energy without out a) feed a ton of pelleted feed and b) making the program angry about him being way way way over the protein requirement.


My biggest complaint is one place it tells me to feed more hay and the other place it tells me to feed less, which doesn't actually help to balance the feeding program. I think the low digestible energy is the reason he is a bit thiner than I would like which I was happy to learn because I was struggling to figure out why the other two are looking a bit porky and Cowboy was looking a bit thin. (Turns out the actual problem was someone *Stinker* was hovering more hay than I realized. And Cowboy is holding weight better now that they are kept separate.)


Despite my dislike for lack of assistance balancing Cowboy's diet, I did think the subscription was an interesting experiment. I am just a bit bummed that it wasn't a bit more helpful on the balancing part and looks at the components individually instead of as a whole. I would have appreciated it more if it said look for X, Y, and Z in a feed in order to bring up the fat content without increasing the protein. And maybe if I was better educated in nutrition it wouldn't be an issue.