Thursday, October 24, 2019

Treat Yo'self - mega edition: continued!

So this is part two and hopefully the final instalment of me spending all of the money I've been trying to save!  LOL
Me lately!
A few months ago, a friend approached me to see if I was interested in a partnership to breed her mare. I was thrilled that she asked me, as having/raising a foal has been on my bucket list before I even knew what a bucket list was!  
Also me.
We make a good team since a) we both have the same first name (lol) and b) she has the mare and doesn't like to show, but I do want to show.  So we agreed we would each go away and do some research on studs we were interested in.  In the end it came down to a halter stud who is actually a paint!  We were originally looking for something double registered (AQHA, APHA) so we'd have more breed show options, but we were able to get a special rate on this stallion that was on our short list.  We signed the contract and sent it in this week, so it looks like I'll be half owner of a foal in 2021, if all goes as planned.
Baby daddy!
And the other big, unplanned purchase this week is a new-to-me used truck!  I already had a truck, but it turns out it had a huuuuggge mechanical problem caused by modifications the dealer made, which were not disclosed to me.  Long story short, the dealer bought the truck back and I had about 5 days to find a new vehicle.

I thought about not getting a truck (cheaper on gas!) and then found a truck and sorta fell in love.  Yep. With a truck.

It is a 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 and has heated seats (which is awesome when you live where I do!) and lots of other features.  It has a towing package with trailer brakes all installed and everything. I have two trailers I can borrow whenever I want, so a big goal for 2020 will be learning to drive with a trailer! *Gulp*  I've driven my friend's rig once or twice on short hauls, but I want to get my skillz up next year so I'm comfortable on local hauls.
I know all of  this spending seems quite a bit out of character for me - I've been pretty careful about not spending - but at least most of it was planned and within budget.   I was already making truck payments, so this new one is around the same amount, so it isn't a shock to our budget. The stress of doing all this vehicle stuff in a week?  That is a different story...  Stress aside,  I'm very grateful that I am in a position to do all of these things right now, as you never know what life will throw at you!

What about you guys - any big purchases planned?  Are you saving up for anything? As for me, I'm back to saving...well, right after my trip to DisneyWorld with my Mom in a couple of weeks...  I'm also going to go check the couch cushions for change and hope to find a $20 in a pocket of  a winter jacket!  Edited to add:  I found $15 in change in my old truck when I cleaned it out. Counting that as a win!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Treat yo'self - mega edition

I've been trying to keep my horse "stuff" shopping to a minimum lately.   I was able to get away with it over the past year as I wasn't riding or showing much and all the horses had what they needed.

Until Fred grew. And grew. And continues to grow. And stuff gets old and needs to be replaced. And then before you know it, I'm on a full out shopping spree. I even ordered a couple of things from the UK - or at least tried to - one site with a lot of cool stuff didn't ship to North America! (the nerve!)

Started filling this out before I realized they don't ship to NA - they actually have Lord and Lady to choose from! LOL
Fred really needed new blankets this winter - his butt was hanging out of his size 81s from last winter. And he didn't have a rain sheet, so he now has a nice new wardrobe of green and matching blankets! I bought an old green/blue plaid stable sheet from a friend for $20, so I saved some cash there.
winter pjs
I also couldn't find what I was looking for here - green blankets for a reasonable price - so I broadened my search to the US.  Shipping to Canada is super expensive for some reason (it's not like I'm that far away) so my friend and I planned a trip over to NY state to pick up our items at a UPS store that holds items for desperate Canadian shoppers.  (yes, this exists!)  I also ordered myself a new pair of winter gloves, a winter coat and a new stretchy hose from Schneiders.  I'm only about 1hr from the border, so this is a fun option, as we make sure to hit up the TSC and a grocery store for my vanilla coke fix.
so cute.  And there is a heavyweight t/o in green too!
Copper didn't go neglected, don't worry. I got him a nice new rain sheet to hopefully keep his thick coat dry so he doesn't get rain rot again.  The thick coat he gets is a good and a bad thing, it seems.
I'll probably  cave and get him the matching purple winter t/o 'cause I'm a sucker!
I also got a few sweet things from going through all of the used tack at the therapeutic riding centre.  Maybe volunteering to help them re-sell old tack wasn't so smart, since I've been buying most of it!!!  I found Fred a 5.5" bit to tide him over until his 6" ones arrive from the UK.  He wasn't doing great with the copper rollers - too much for him to play with - so I'll try the full cheek snaffle.
Ahem - need to clean this tack at some point...
I also snagged a BoT dressage pad, a rambo newmarket fleece, old woof wear tendon boots, eskadron wraps, two wool coolers (I like to have spare coolers in case a horse is sweaty/colicky/cold) and a few other odds and ends.
Not green and a tad small, but for $20, good to have around.
So, after my little mega shopping spree, the boys should be good to get through the winter.  And while I bought a few things I needed, I still have a long-term wish list that seems to keep growing...but I'll try to hold off until the new year to shop!
BoT pads, coolers and not shown: all kinds of other stuff.  Omg my barn needs to be cleaned out big time!
Oh and since I started this post, I have ordered more from the UK (omg this is a dangerous trend) and I got a new cat!!!  Meet Archie - he is 4-8 months old and is from my friend who volunteers for a rescue and had a bunch of kittens.  Yes, I already have 2 cats, but I could not pass this guy up.  He is very sweet and affectionate and fitting in well around here.    Be prepared for lots of cat pictures moving forward, as we are heading into winter, so reading books with cats on my lap is my main goal  ;-)

Edited to add:  And I have two more big purchases to announce later this week.  OMG  Money floweth like water around here!  LOL
The tongue out kills

Archie and his ear floofs

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Q4 Plans

I feel like I'm doing pretty well with plans and goals for the latter half of this year.  I'm aiming for consistency right now and hoping to actually have some achievable items on the books for 2020.  

There is always room for improvement and as well all know, life can throw a wrench in the works, but I'm feeling a bit more motivated and focused than I did in the first half of the year.  
heh heh so true...

Horses Q4


  • As the weather allows, work 2-3 times/week - lunging, ground work, poles, riding (!)
  • Maintain weight going into winter and develop some topline


  • Try to keep his weight down and keep him healthy

Barn/property Q4

  • Sort winter/summer horse stuff in bins so I can actually find things when needed
  • Stretch goal - sort gear by horse as well!
  • Clean and sell tack I'm not using
  • Set up new shelves in barn
  • Clean windows, tack room, etc for winter
  • Get trough heater going, since winter is definitely coming...

Personal Q4

  • No Zero Days plan – test for Q4 and implement fully in 2020.  Thanks to L Williams again for sharing this – it has really helped me!
    • draft 2020 goals
  • Continue saving to vet fund - set aside $50/pay to start
  • Consistent exercise of some sort
  • Continue working on ideas to help anxiety (kinda vague, I know!)
  • Plan meals and try to limit eating out
  • Savings for shows and some house repairs in 2020
  • Meet 2019 goal of 40 books read (low hanging fruit)
  • Volunteer somewhere - but not for a horse show/club - done and ongoing! This is sort of cheating, since I started volunteering for the therapeutic riding centre where Spencer now lives before I finished this post.

Work Q4

  • Read work-related news articles in French (fun topics like organized crime, terrorism, etc.  lol)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

10 for October via VivaCarlos

Thanks to LWilliams at VivaCarlos for more questions!

1. What discipline do you ride? What would you ride if you could pick any other one?
I ride western performance – trail, western pleasure, horsemanship etc.  If I could pick another one? I would love to get back to riding English and learning to jump and/or maybe do dressage again.  Of course, I would need a riding horse for that!  Or maybe I should take lessons over the winter? 
Riding at a fair a few years ago...
2. How many horses have you ridden in your entire riding career?
I can think of about 25 that I rode more than 1x.  I’m sure there are a few more – horses I rode when searching for Spencer, lesson horses, my friends pony when I was a kid, etc.

3. Most bizarre activity you’ve done with your/a horse?
As a kid, we used to race each other through the rows of a cornfield when the corn was tall. It was hilarious and dumb at the same time. The horses would spook at the sound of the corn stalks and the corn cobs would hit you in the shins, causing your legs to go numb. 

4. Do you consider riding to be your outlet? If yes, why?
I guess…I haven’t been riding much in the past year or two though.  I think just being around horses is an outlet for me.  And as a kid, I loved the freedom to be out riding around the countryside.  I actually had a great childhood, up until my Dad died when I was 15.  After that, riding was definitely therapy.

5. Have you ever read horse-related magazines? If yes, which one(s)?
I’m a reformed magazine addict.  The ads and repeated articles got to me. I’ve read and subscribed to: Horse and Rider, Your Horse (UK) Horse and Rider UK (at least the ads were for different stuff!) Equus, The Canadian Horse Journal, Practical Horseman, Dressage Today, AQHA journal (omg the ads), APHA journal and probably purchased many more.

6. Most memorable advice given to you?
Breathe!  And, “more trot”.  Both from my friend/retired coach.   Every time I ride or even watch a horse show with people riding in English tack (hunt seat in the breed world), I hear my coach’s squeaky voice saying “more trot people, more trot!”.   And it just means more leg to get the horse moving out more – which is a common problem with western horses doing the hunt seat classes.
I'm not sure what we are discussing, but it probably was me asking if I needed more trot.

More trot?  Likely.
7. Did you ever collect Breyer horse models or similar?
Do Royal Doulton horses (porcelain) count?  I have a few of those from when I was a kid.  It is a funny thing to buy for a kid really since they weren’t to be played with. They just sat (and continue to sit) on a shelf.

8. Favorite “celebrity” horse?
Not sure on this one. I’m going to go with Teddy the Shetland.  He is a big deal on Instagram.    

9. If you could spend a day learning from any horse person (past or present), who would you choose?
I would like to travel back in time and spend the day with my friend’s husband when he was managing stallions and breeding a lot of mares. He knows so much about mares/foaling/breeding that I could learn.  He is still around for questions, he just doesn’t have horses anymore!

10. If you could ride in any international arena in the world, where would you choose?
Well, since I’m in Canada, the US is technically international, right? I’d love to ride/show at the QH Congress in Ohio someday!  I'd also like to ride at Spruce Meadows, which is not international, but still a big deal to me.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Fred is backed!

I've been working with Fred a fair bit over the past 3 or so weeks.   I've been tacking him up and hand-walking him and I had bridled him a couple of times but I quickly reached the limit of my experience with starting a young horse - pretty much zero!  LOL. I've never actually worked with a young horse before!   I've always assumed that my nervous temperament (lol) wasn't a good match for a young horse. 
Con: sun sets earlier and earlier. Pro: beauty sunsets
Fred has the quietest temperament so far out of a lot of the horses I've worked with over the years. I actually keep forgetting he is only 4 and hasn't actually "done" much.  He does have moments where he gets a little wound up if he isn't sure what he is expected to do, but he settles right back down if you give him a break or have him do something different.

Since Fred is a halter horse, I don't have any expectations for him as a riding horse. I'd like him to be green broke at minimum, in case I sell him in the future.  With his temperament and size, he'd be a great husband horse or something. 
Early lesson - working on giving to the bit
I was looking around on Facebook wishing I had someone that could come out and do a few lessons with me on how to back Fred and install some of the basics.  I will send him off to a trainer at some point, but not likely until 2021.  I have no timeline and no agenda (which is sooo relaxing!) and lo' and behold, I found someone that would come to my house. She is a very kind lady that a few acquaintances have worked with, so I had a hunch she would be a good fit. 

We've had three sessions so far and she backed Fred last week!  He has been super good and not at all phased by having someone on his back.  He has way more whoa than go though, so that is kind of interesting.  He is not super quick at getting the concept of rein pressure (likely because he is chewing the ever-loving crap out of the bit!) and is a bit sticky with his front feet, but that will all come with time.  He has been good about moving his hind end though and can do a turn on the fore already. 

Rider up!  Sorry about the crappy pic - it was super cloudy! 
So far, we've been using my English saddle, which seems to fit him reasonably well for what we are asking of him.  The saddle fit is a bit of a surprise, since the kid is huge!  I've had to buy 3 new girths since March and I'm now up to a size 56"!  Same goes for bits.  I started him with a 5" bit and quickly realized that was too small. I could only get a 5.5" at my local tack shop which is just barely ok. I actually had to order a couple of 6" bits online.  I'm having fun ordering new stuff though, as I've had myself on a pretty strict spending ban.
Copper having a snack beside my shopping haul
And you astute readers are probably wondering why I'm using an English saddle when I typically would ride western.  Good question!  It is because he is so big that it would be a bit hard to throw my western saddle allllll the way up there (I'm only 5' tall and he is at least 16.2hh!)  All of my tack and, well, everything is for my 15hh horses of the past.  I'm totally not used to all of this monster-sized stuff!  More on my shopping binge next post!

Farewell Rip and Spunky (alternate title: What a f**ng awful week)

 I've had another spell of radio silence here.  This time for good reason. On Wednesday, October 20th, I lost Rip to colic.  He had just...