Monday, September 28, 2020

Still here: yeah and boo edition

Guys: I'm still here.  I think. This new blogger interface is not helping with posts. Why is it so weird? Am I too old to "get" the new interface?  Ugh.

Anyhoooo

It's been awhile and some stuff has gone on, the leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping.  I'm just going to do a quick summary now to get this first post out of the way and I'll do some more updates later.

Ok, here we go, sort of in order:

I got to spend 5 days with my family at the end of August: Yeah!

My Mom and I did a bunch of fun crafts: Yeah!

I took no pictures: boo

I did find an old pic of me and my old gelding Farley. I was 14 in this pic: Yeah!

I think we were at some sort of show? I see a little green ribbon on the bridle! lol

We took Ivy to a trainer for 2 weeks and he made some progress: Yeah!

She got hurt, needed an emergency vet call and 2 weeks stall rest: boo

A few stitches - mostly healed - no tendon damage; we think.

She is fine now and the trainer will come to my place to work with her this fall: Yeah!

My boarder has left: mostly Yeah!, a little boo

Fred is great: Yeah!

Copper has been sore, finally had the vet out - it is his stifle.  booo

My friend sold her house for a profit and was able to buy her childhood farm: Yeah!!

Her two horses are coming here for the winter as she can't move in until May: Yeah and boo to long closing dates

Our preggers mare will be here for 1 month before she goes to her maternity barn: Yeah!  

My hubby worked his butt off and got a sweet new job: Yeah!

The leaves are turning, the temps are dropping and I've become a Starbucks pumpkin cream cold foam cold brew (or whatever it is called) addict:  Yeah?

Cold brew pumpkin cold foam. Delicious. I order it half-sweet so it isn't pure sugar.

I have done poorly in getting more media for this blog:  boo

Covid cases are on the rise here.  I wonder if we will have another shut down?  Mega boo

And that pretty much catches you up on life here.  Hope everyone is hanging in there and doing ok!

Monday, August 24, 2020

My name is Fred, they call me Fred

I've been meaning to write updates for all of the horses, cause this is a horse blog after all... I figured there should be some horse content occasionally.

Before I get into recapping Fred's impromptu training session, I'd like to add that I've made a late Q3 addition to my goals list: get more f*@*ing pictures for the blog.  LOL  But seriously, I could use some current media.  

 Last Sunday the Cowboy was here for Ivy.  He worked with her for about and hour or so and decided she was good and needed a break.  I had told him about Fred, so we decided with the 45 mins left of my time, we'd assess Fred and see what he thought about breaking him out for me.


A pic from last fall with the other trainer

We threw the saddle and bridle on Fred and he was worked on the lunge for a bit.  If you remember, I had someone sit on him a few times last fall, but we never had her off the lead line.  The cowboy quickly ran Fred through some basics to test where he was at: leaning on him, mounting/dismounting stirrups flapping, etc.   I really need to get a video of this for you guys, but this trainer can jump on from the ground - with a western saddle, no less - with just a couple of bounces and Fred is close to 17hh!
Actual footage from that day: Trainer bouncing and chubby me looking perplexed!

Anyway, once he saw that Fred was good with a rider pretty much climbing all over him, he got on and tested out the controls.  This is where Fred got confused - he was fine to back under saddle and even turn on the forehand.   Moving forward was very hard for him, for some reason.  Often if that is a problem, the rider uses an open rein and encourages the horse to take a step to the side to start, then they get some forward momentum.  This sort of worked with Fred, but he didn't really catch on to what was being asked. 

Now, this was his first session under saddle since the fall, so I wasn't expecting any miracles.   Fred was super good in that he never offered to kick or buck or rear when he got a bit confused by the trainer asking him to do stuff.  He has a very quiet temperament and is just maybe a bit less smart than others (lol poor Fred) and a bit stubborn. 

Cute, but confused? 

Without pics to show you, there isn't much more to add.  The trainer kept trying different techniques to get a few steps forward and it would work one time, then not the next. We gave Fred short breaks every few minutes to ensure he wasn't completely overwhelmed, but I think maybe he had had enough.  He is 5, so I was hoping he could work in larger chunks of time, but maybe not.  Anyway, I'm officially considering this ride 1 on Fred and I'm hoping to do more with him over the coming months as the temps have started to cool down.  

I don't have any experience starting a young horse, but since I know Fred is so quiet, I feel it should be safe for me to do some work with him in between pro sessions.  I don't have the budget to send him and Ivy this year (Ivy goes tomorrow for her bootcamp) so I'll have to do a bit of work on my own.  

Right now my plan is to show him a bit next year (if we ever have shows here again???) and get him started under saddle w/t at least, so I can find him a new home or keep him and trail ride him or something.  I have the foal coming (fingers crossed) in Feb, so I'll be busy with that little creature as well.  It seems weird to even attempt to talk about plans for next winter/spring, since we have no idea where the pandemic will take us at this point!  

Monday, August 17, 2020

A chestnut mare - what was I thinking?

Internet update: I've had internet since last Thursday evening. That is 4 days straight. Amazing!

*********

I've been meaning to post an update on Ivy for a while, but there wasn't much exciting news to report.  The first couple of weeks were a bit stressful, as the little herd shuffled the dynamics and they all had to adapt to the newcomer.  Fred quickly fell in love and the two of them are often quite close.

I was second-guessing myself on her a bit the first month - her heats were atrocious - messy and dramatic with lots of pinned ears and squealing.  Her heat was like that at her previous owners, as we went to see her the first time in the middle of her heat cycle.  

side eye level - expert

I had an acquaintance out to try her under saddle  during that first month to see what we were dealing with.    That didn't go well, as she hadn't yet had her teeth done and was clearly uncomfortable with a bit.  She was also reallllly attached to the herd and didn't want to be too far from the boys.  We decided not to push the mare and have a bad experience under saddle. We determined she was only green broke at best and left it at that. It then got blazing hot for weeks and I was not motivated to do much!  And sorry no photos - I do have a couple of the rider on board, but was too lazy to photoshop out her face!  LOL  (bad blogger!)  

In addition to the other small problems, she was also very difficult to catch in the field.  I could let her into her stall from the paddock no problem, but if you went out with a halter, she was like, "nope BYEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!"

Actual photo of me during the first month with Ivy...lol

After her teeth were done, I noticed her settling in a bit more.  On the advice of my friend, I started her on a herbal supplement for her heat, which I was very skeptical of at first.   By the time her next heat rolled around, it was waaaaayy less messy and she was much sweeter and approachable. I was all of a sudden able to catch her and had less problems handling her overall.  This made me heave a sigh of relief, as I really don't want to deal with a nasty, ill-behaved creature out in the field.  

I'm not sure how much of that is due to the supplement and how much is due to her settling in and relaxing a bit. We'll never know...lol  I'm keeping her on the supplement until the fall when she should stop coming into heat as the days get shorter. 

Heading out to the pasture...

This past week, my friend (who co-owns the mare) found a local trainer, who I'll refer to as the Cowboy from now on.  She knows people who have worked with this guy and had good things to say.  I had him out here on Sunday to assess Ivy AND Fred (yes, Fred had a rider on board again!).  He did a lot of work with her and though she would come along quickly with a few more rides.  She is basically green broke, but willing to try.    My friend and I decided to send her to his place for two weeks, instead of having him come here 1x a week or something. It just seemed to make more sense that he could accomplish more if he worked with her more often.  

And guess what? I was out with the horses and the trainer for almost 3 hours and did not take one. single. picture.  Gosh, this blogging thing would be easier with some media!  lol    I'll do a separate post with an update on Fred...spoiler alert: he is kind and calm, but stubborn AF!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The "I'm still here, sorta" update

In the interest of trying to write more, I was thinking of doing a weekly update.  However, when you rarely leave your home, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot to write about!  This update covers the past two or three weeks…if not longer.


My Mom is working on cleaning up old photos and sent me this gem:

Me at the Kentucky Horse Park sometime in the 80s. Note the love of green even back then! lol
 
My first update is that our internet has been crappy for the past month. It sort of stopped working properly about a month ago. Calls to the company just resulted in “turn it off and back on again” type of advice.  Fun.  

We have a whopping 2 options for internet service here (15 minutes outside a major city!)  and the first one is now toast, so the 2nd company is coming on Thursday today to set us up.  

Cross your fingers that it works, because we are running out of old dvds and puzzles.  LOL  Totally a #firstworldproblem, I know, but important when I’m trying to work from home!

My second update is that my boarder is leaving in mid-September. This is not a bad thing, I’m kind of looking to have my place back to myself for a bit.   Her horse has been here for 6 or so years though, so I will miss seeing him out back.  What I won’t miss tho, is the extra mouth to feed! 

Which brings me to important update #3: due to the drought earlier this year, hay is in majorly short supply around here.  The price is at least $6 a bale if you can find any and closer to $7 if you go through a supplier and have it delivered.  The price will likely continue to climb over the fall/winter.  I have 120 bales in the barn, but it won’t last me very long, as I’m starting to feed a bit of hay now as the grass was toast due to the drought as well. 


We have had some rain, so it came back a bit, but not enough to support the 3 big horses.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading about how to supplement forage, so there are some good options to stretch out hay.  We also have a lead on these great hay cubes that you can feed dry and are a total hay replacement (long stem forage) so my friend and I are going to do a big order of that in September.


I hope to get my butt outside with a camera in the next few days so I can do some pony updates!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Viva Carlos blog hop: Home office edition

Big thanks to LWilliams for the blog content inspiration!  

I've been having a hard time sitting down to write anything here.  In fact, I'm contemplating not blogging any more.  At minimum, I want to change my url and blog title, but haven't come up with an alternative yet.  Until I decide and/or get some inspiration, I'll try and keep hacking away here.

****************

This whole WFH thing is pretty new to me - my work didn't really support it in the past. This year, however, has proven that most of us can and will work quite well from home, so that has been nice.  Cutting out my 45 min each way commute has been one of the few things I'm grateful for during this pandemic.

When we first moved here in 2012, I had my desk upstairs in the spare room (found a pic from 2013 on my old blog) but ended up moving it downstairs due to crappy internet.    Note the clutter and the all important orange cat in a box.  :-)  The bookshelf is also downstairs now with my horse show trophies and a few token books.
Kinda messy, but lots of space to spread out. I could always close the door to hide the mess!

I kind of like having my desk on the main floor now and have taken over part of the living room.  I've contemplated moving back upstairs since we have marginally better internet, but being down where I can get to the kitchen easier has its perks now that I'm working from home all the time!  LOL
This is the same desk and filing cabinet from the first pic - I've had both for ages and decided to paint both items blue a few years ago to update things a bit.  The only catch is that the paint was supposed to be navy, but it came out more blueberry than navy!  I keep meaning to repaint both, but haven't got around to it yet.   My chair is ancient and the arms fall off from time to time...lol My work chair is the only thing I miss from the office - I have a nice Hermann Miller aeron chair - and I kind of wish I could have brought it home back in March!

Also pictured is my ancient Mac desktop - it is from 2011 or maybe 2010 and is still holding on. I'm nursing it along as long as possible.  My work laptop has been dumped on the floor for some reason.  
Archie keeping my chair warm...

I usually have a collection of cats around my desk during the day - they come and go on their own schedule, of course.  Sophie also likes to sleep on my chair legs (no idea why!) so I have to be careful moving my chair. 

I got up for lunch or something and came back to this...lol
I thought I'd show you a close up of my "decor" in this area.  The wall is blank - I keep flip flopping on what to put on this big wall.  My desk tends to have a rotating display of little trinkets and stuff that amuses me.  Currently, I have my "I was normal three cats ago" sign that I did at a paint night last year. I've left it there since it is fairly accurate.  ;-)  

Also included is a little trinket from my time in the Yukon. Every time I think of how annoying my job is, I look at that little dude and realize I don't work in a mine, so life isn't so bad.
Knick-knacks and DIY crafts

The latest additions are the two little baby Yoda (or the Child(TM)) watercolour prints I did. I bought a big digital pack of Star Wars and Disney images on Etsy, printed a few and then watercoloured the little dude.  For some reason watercolour "painting" (I'm not an artist, more of a crafter) is quite relaxing and fun, so I do a few little pieces from time to time.

I cleaned out the drawers of my desk so I can put work away every night and keep my desk a bit tidier.  I don't quite have enough room for work stuff and my craft supplies, so I need to work on that a bit at some point.  

We have no indication yet of when we will be allowed to go back to the office, so I expect I'll be using this setup for a few more months at least!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Vet and chiro visits

I normally try to do my routine horse maintenance - vaccinations, coggins (if needed) and dentals in late March, so I'm ready for the upcoming year of shows, riding or whatever might be going on.

This year, covid changed that a bit, which worked out ok in the end.  I had the vet out in April for Copper and Fred's vaccines and check up, but she wasn't doing dental work at that time.

Waiting for the vet
When Ivy came here last month, she needed some TLC. She hadn't had her feet done professionally in a while and hadn't seen the vet for anything maintenance related in quite some time.  No vaccines/dental work is pretty common in broodmares, as there is a small window during a pregnancy where it is thought to be safe to sedate.  Some people won't sedate a broodmare at all, but my vet said it is possible at certain times mid-pregnancy to do it safely.  All that being said, Ivy was long overdue for a dental check and her vaccines. 
Teefs done? Check.
All three horses were booked in for dentals last week, so it is great to have that done and all set until next year.  In the end, splitting up the bill helped my finances a bit as well.  Fred and Ivy were good patients and both had some dental issues that needed to be addressed. 
The mare still manages side-eye while sedated.  lol
Copper also needs routine dental and I feel like I've been pretty lucky with the vets that I deal with - all are more than willing to sit on the floor and do Copper's teeth.   With Ivy's arrival, Copper got booted from his stall.  I tied him up in the aisle and he waited patiently for his turn with the vet.
Waiting. And waiting
Minis have such small mouths and often have major dental issues.  Copper's teeth aren't bad overall, but he has two teeth way in the back that are rotated inwards and can get sharp.  I ended up hanging in the barn answering some work emails as the horses came out of sedation.  Copper was super cute (as usual) and wanted to rest his head in my lap while the meds wore off. 
I feel woozy and need snuggles. Copper, probably.
Fred got to see the chiro as well last week. We all love this chiro - she is super friendly and super knowledgeable.  I haven't been working Fred much lately, as it has been disgustingly hot and well, with no shows, he can just hang out and be a horse...  I had been noticing though, that he was stepping a bit short on his front left, so after the farrier confirmed his hoof was fine, I thought I'd try the chiro before the vet was due to come out. 
Hitting some good spots?
She didn't feel there were any soft tissue injuries, but since he has been growing non-stop, his muscles, especially in the shoulders were extremely tight.  She gave me a few rehab/massage exercises and I do those a few time a week to help relieve the muscle tension.  Luckily Fred loves any and all attention, so he is good for his stretches and massage.  :-)
Happy Fred
She didn't think Fred needed to be seen regularly, as long as I was able to keep up the exercises and see some improvement (I have!).  She also thinks he will maybe start filling out width wise instead of up now, so that would be nice!  I'm still hoping to show him one more year (come on 2021!) so more bulk would be great and the upward growth can stop!  I haven't sticked him lately, but he was close to 16.3hh last time! 

Friday, July 3, 2020

Q2 Wrap-up

Things have certainly being challenging thus far in 2020!  I went back to re-read my Q1 goals post and I had a chuckle at my optimism that things would pick up for shows and things around here.

Note: I’m having internet and blogger issues so I can’t seem to add any more photos. Sigh. #firstworldproblems

Needless to say, I've bit the bullet and totally scrapped most of my horse goals for this year and made some modifications.  I have done ok on the barn/pasture stuff, but need to really focus on the house in Q3 before things totally get away from me.

I think Charlie Mackesy summed up how I feel with this post on Instagram:

I'm also sad that attending QH Congress in Columbus is 95% out - who knows what the travel restrictions will be like by then (the border is closed until late July at least), the US dollar exchange rate is horrendous and I honestly don't know if I want to be around large amounts of people for a few more months. 

My plan B for a big horse show/shopping event was the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto in November, but it was canceled on June 25th, so that plan is toast as well.  I guess I should really just focus on saving money so next year can be a good one (fingers crossed!).

Horses:
  • earn Fred's ROM (AQHA register of merit - each time a horse hits 10 points in a discipline/level, you get a certificate) in halter - we need 1.5 points in open and I think 3.5 points in amateur  - shelved until 2021 due to covid-19
  • show at a different venue/different club (I've shown at the same 2 places for 98% of past shows) shelved until 2021 due to covid-19
  • ride again - might still pull this off
  • attend a clinic of some sort shelved until 2021 due to covid-19
  • find a mare for my friend to ride and maybe breed (added Q1) - COMPLETED! W00t!
Fred
  • work as weather permits 
  • continue under saddle work - leaving this on in case I'm inspired to try him under saddle again
  • work on showmanship and in hand trail - maybe show at a schooling show? shelved until 2021 due to covid-19
  • find a bridle that fits his big head - COMPLETED for now with the world's ugliest bridle, found in a heap of old tack at the volunteer place
  • get him more used to the bit and/or try a hackamore
Copper
  • stay healthy! - Q1 - check! Q2 - check!
Lucy (my friend's mare)
  • get her confirmed in foal - Check! 45 day u/s done on 04/01 and all good!  Q2 - all good!
Personal
  • read 45 books - Q1 was great, Q2 not so much.  There is still time to save this goal!
  • back up and organize photos (my computer is dying, so this is urgent!) COMPLETED!
  • volunteer somewhere horse-y  - COMPLETED-ish early this year.  The therapeutic riding centre is still closed to outsiders due to covid-19 so nothing further for this year.
  • save $$ for foal hopefully coming in 2021- this is going well, thanks to covid-19
  • exercise program of some sort - ahhahaha!
  • stick to a budget - doing ok here in Q2, thanks to covid-19
  • read/listen to some horse training material - podcasts, youtube, books etc - Q1 - I read lots, Q2, not so much
  • continue to declutter and sell unused tack - ongoing - more work to be done here!
  • attend QH Congress (as a spectator) in October (I've missed the past 2 years!) - sadly, I think this will have to be scratched.  
  • use up products that are already in the house/barn (added Q2) - Ongoing - I'm on a mission here to use up as much stuff and not buy anything new unless urgent - like fly spray or something.
House/property
  • complete some minor house renos/d├ęcor updates - nothing in Q2
  • stay on top of yard/flowerbeds/fenceline - fencline yes, flowerbeds, uh hells no.  LOL
  • keep barn tidy
    • clean and organize my hay storage area - DONE Q2
    • fix and bury fence ground wires - DONE! Q1
    • check pasture fence and come up with a plan to have fence fixed by mid-May DONE Q2
    • source some 2nd cut hay - DONE Q2
    • clean and organize tack - ongoing, with more motivation now that there is a riding horse here!
    • repaint jump poles 
    • organize electric fence supplies/spare parts - added and DONE Q2
    • clean and put away winter blankets DONE Q2
    • put away the trough heater and extension cord DONE Q2
    • clean the tack room DONE Q2
    • daydream about tack room renos/updates DONE - LOL
    • clean cobwebs/windows/shelves DONE Q2
  • look into and start a plan/budget for some barn renos - eavestrough, upgrade lighting/wiring and maybe refinish the tack room - Q2 - made a spreadsheet with materials list, pricing

Still here: yeah and boo edition

Guys: I'm still here.  I think. This new blogger interface is not helping with posts. Why is it so weird? Am I too old to "get"...