Monday, April 15, 2019

Finally! Some time at the barn!

Finally - my ankle is improved enough that I can get out to the barn and get a few things done.  I still have some pain, but the whole ankle/foot feels more stable, so that is good news!

My big focus this weekend was to start really grooming my hairy beasts. They've been a bit neglected the past three-four weeks, so it was time to get some work done! Saturday Fred and Copper got a good first pass with the shedding blade.  No pictures, but trust me when I say a LOT of hair was set free.  And on Sunday, all three got major grooming and shedding.

Copper got his mane trimmed - he looks silly, but his mane was down to his shoulders and is very heavy.  So, first step is to hack off a few inches, then I'll thin and condition it a bit.  I leave his forelock because 1) it is hilarious, 2) I think it helps keep the bugs out of his eyes and 3) he looks like a kid with a bowl cut when I trim it.  lol  He gets a little snack of vitamins/minerals and teeny bit of hemp oil while the big guys have their grain.  It is always a struggle to keep his weight down when he is out with the big guys.

Spencer was up next.  He would rather not be groomed, if he had the choice.  He is such a grump  I took a few pounds (it seemed!) of hair off him, so it has to feel better.  Next grooming session will involve a mane trim and maybe a bridle path if I'm feeling fancy.  I've been trying a bunch of different shedding tools over the years and I can't say that I find a huge difference with any of them.
He is very interested in my hubby and the dog just outside of the barn...
Fred was up next and he has a thinner coat than Spencer.  I did one round on him with the regular shedding blade and then tried the StripHair on him - it worked well on his coat, pulling out dandruff (eww!) and more hair than the blade was getting.  I finished Fred off with a brush and checked a few spots he has - he was shark bait for the black mini (who is now gone! woohoo!) and it looks like most of the bites have hair growing in.  He still looks a bit moth-eaten though, poor guy!

I then turned them back out and they rolled in the mud.  lol  Of course they did. Fred and Copper then decided to play bitey-face, but saw me watching so stopped.

I'm lucky that Fred is so good with Copper, since he is 3x the size!

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Great Escape of 2019

I'm having a hard time finding things to post, since I'm still not doing much horse stuff!! I'm now able to limp out to the barn to feed hay, so I'm hoping this weekend to be able to actually do something more with the horses - like maybe groom them??? Baby steps, Laura, baby steps!

While I was away on my trip, 2/3 sets of sliding barn doors were frozen.  The back door was frozen closed, the middle set is inside, so no problem and the front was (and still is) frozen open! We had all kinds of snow, rain and freezing rain and my Mom just couldn't keep on top of it.  My first priority was to get the back door open so I could get the horses in if needed.
*Editor's note: this all happened before I sprained my ankle!

I was able to chop away the snow and ice to get the back doors open and closed.  I usually have to latch that set of doors, as Spencer is a bit of a Houdini.  I figured just closing the doors would be fine, as it was really hard to slide it open with all of the snow.  That was my first mistake!

Spencer is good as gold 98% of the time - he is older and wiser and doesn't tend to get into trouble.

Except he is really good at opening doors. 

So, one afternoon, as I drove in the laneway, I was met with this:
Oh hai!  You're home!  We are just standin' here.
 It took my brain a minute to process that they were out front, instead of in the paddock!!!  I had to laugh, because they were clearly not worried about being out, but enjoying their day!  They also didn't go on the road, thankfully, as that could've been very bad.  I think having access to a hay buffet kept them from wandering too far.
Hai! I'm eating my special tasty hay! Fred, probably.  Spencer's look implies that Fred made all the mess...
Once I got into the barn, I found Fred happily munching away on 2nd cut hay - which is totally fine as it is for him anyway.  They had pulled all of the blankets onto the floor to get at the hay and trampled all over them.  I did have a mini panic when I saw that Fred was tangled up in a pile of horse blankets.  He seems to have a decent brain for a 4yr old, as he stood calmly while I untangled him.  It was a bit lucky that none of them got hurt, as my barn aisle has a lot of stuff lying around lately.
 Needless to say, they had a fun day and nothing bad happened.  After I kicked them back out in the paddock, I made sure to clear away more snow and ice so I could fasten the latch!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

2019 Plans...-ish

**Disclaimer:  I wrote the 1st draft of this BEFORE I sprained my stupid needless to say I'm a bit behind in my plans, but c'est la vie. ****************
I had been waiting for my trip to be over and for things to warm up a little bit around here before I got too excited about horse plans. I usually get super excited about summer shows and events and want to do all the things, but have to rein myself in... 
My show plans for this year are totally up in the air, but that will sort itself out as we go, I'm sure.

I always struggle with goals and plans for the year, as things can change on the fly with life (sprained ankle?) and with horses.  I try not to get too caught up in setting detailed goals (even though I love a good list!), but it does help me to have a bit of a plan, so I know what I'm working towards.
My immediate plan My plan as soon as I can walk somewhat normally is to start working with Fred as we don’t do much of anything in the deep winter. He hasn’t done much since October and has the longest gangly teenager legs I’ve seen. 

Editor's note:  I had hoped to have a nice pic of Fred out working on the laneway here, but instead, a picture of my view of the horses the past two weeks!  *sigh*

Hubby feeding Fred, with Copper hoping he will get hay too and Gypsy the BC supervising.
I'm also on the board of directors for a small show club - cowboy obstacle racing of all things!  I'm not a huge fan of the sport, but my friend is on the board and I'm just along to help her out.  I will be stepping down after this year, so I'm sort of looking forward to having no firm commitments for volunteering after this year.   I have volunteered for a lot of stuff the past few years and am thoroughly burnt out on that front!

So, here are some tentative plans for the horses for this year: I also created an events page (like Emma!) to keep track of all the horse events I'd like to attend/spectate.
Fred (4)
  • slowly increase feed to get him fattened up for a potential show season (he is not an easy keeper like most QH)
  • start hand walking so he is ready to start more work if/when ground/grass shows itself again
  • work 4-5x per week - lunging, ponying etc
  • wear tack like a grown up (as a halter horse, he doesn't *need* to be started in tack, but I want to give him some skills so he has a future after showing)
  • learn to long line/ground drive
  • maybe attend some AQHA shows (depends on how he looks, growth spurts, etc)
  • Stretch goal - attend a trick training clinic - for something fun
  • Stretch goal - have him backed
  • Stretch goal - earn AQHA halter register of merit (ROM) - we only need a couple of points in the open and maybe 4 in the amateur
Spencer (18!)
  • stay healthy and sound
  • ride 2-3x week (this will likely back off when it gets super hot)
  • take a few lessons
  • maybe do a show or two
  • pony Fred
Copper (mini)
  • continue being cute!
  • keep weight down (I feel your pain, little buddy!)
  • try some light work - hand walking or something
  • plan and budget for barn improvements - eavestrough, repair some electrical stuff, maybe gravel (a girl can dream) and maybe some new fence posts
  • work on personal finances
  • work on fitness
  • volunteer for 1 club (down from 3!)
  • stretch goal: purchase a used ATV to harrow the riding ring!
  • stretch goal: attend QH Congress in Ohio in October
  • stretch goal: Disneyworld with my Mom and cousin in November
That seems like a lot of stuff when it is all listed!  The list is pretty fluid and I'm sure I'll add and remove stuff on a whim or out of necessity. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Spring prep and wish list

Since I'm sitting here with a bum ankle (it is slowly getting better) and lots of time on my hands, I've been doing some online wish list shopping and a bit of real shopping.

Real shopping includes supplements and feed-related practical stuff:

- salt blocks

- Hoffman's loose mineral supplement -  trying this out - it is a Cdn company

- Elite 3 hemp oil - for Fred mostly, but also for the dog - another Cdn company

- a one month sub to FeedXL - they have a huge database and it includes a lot of Cdn brands/products, so 3 cheers to Feed XL!  I'm going to run Fred's diet through here and see if I can pack some weight on him.

My wish list is growing by the hour, but my top 3 "wants" are:

- A C4 belt - they have a big butts one!!!  How could I pass that up?

- Another pair of Dreamers and Schemers socks - again with big butts.  Oh man - I just clicked on the accessories page and they have big butts on everything! Argh!

- and the big ticket items - a Bot sheet, quick wraps and a halter for Fred.  I'm so excited that BoT Canada finally has the coloured items.  The good news for my credit card is that all of the green items are out of stock!

You may have noticed that I'm mostly focusing on items I can get from Canadian retailers.  The belt and socks (even though it is a Cdn company!) won't likely be ordered until I can justify a trip down to pick up things in the US.  If there are things I really need, I either get them at Congress in October, or have it shipped to the US. I live about an hour or so from the border, so if needed, I can zip down and pick up a few things.  Sadly our dollar is really weak against the US dollar right now and US shipping prices and customs are killers.  Sometimes the shipping and customs ends up being more than the product you order.  Sad times for shopaholics like me; good for my credit card and budget! 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Temporarily sidelined

Usually on horse blogs, it is the horse that has sustained the injury.  This time, it's me!

Winter ice:1  Laura: 0

My horses are usually out 24/7, so I don't do a formal night check.  Whoever takes the dogs out for a last pee break usually does a quick eyeball to make sure the horses are ok.

Lately Fred has been pulling apart my electric fence. The fence is off, since all of the deep snow has shorted it.  He wrecked one section that separated the minis summer paddock and I had to just do some makeshift work to make it sort of safe.

Saturday night I was worried that he was tangled up in the fence - I went out at around 9:30 to check on him.  He was fine.  I was walking on a section of the laneway that I don't normally walk on and it was sheer ice.

One second I was fine, the next I heard a loud pop/crack and I was on my butt.  It took a few seconds to process things - I was sure I had broken my ankle!

I managed to hobble back to the house and get the hubby.  We went to our local ER and the Dr. thought it was just a sprain.  It is likely a grade 2 or 3 sprain, with partial or complete tearing of the ligament.
F**k, damn, sh*t, f**k, me probably.
I've been icing, compressing and elevating and I am just able to bear some weight on it as of today.  Yikes.  What crappy timing - I was just about to start working Fred and get my barn spring cleaned!  I guess it will all have to wait a week or two!

In the grand scheme of things, a sprained ankle is not that serious of an injury, so I'm grateful it isn't broken.  Although, Dr. Google tells me that serious sprains can take anywhere from 8-12 weeks to heal.  Fun.  My right ankle is always weak and I think this sprain will make it even worse.  Off to shop for ankle braces - maybe BoT makes one for people?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Back to the grind

Well I’m back to the land of cold and snow. Being away for 2 weeks is pretty amazing but it is nice to be home. My Mom did a great job taking care of all of the animals - she is the best!
Maui cows - just strolling down the road...
 It took me a couple of days to get over the jet lag and get my head thinking about horse stuff and chores again!  This weekend I got all three stalls stripped and rebedded. I also had to chip the ice away to get the back barn door open! We’ve had a lot of freeze/thaw cycles on top of a lot of snow so I’ve been having trouble keeping the doors clear. 
Maui horse - eating these delicious leaves instead of the many, many acres of mountainside pasture it was in!
The two big boys got fresh blankets and the nasty ones are packed up to get dropped off for cleaning next week.  I think Fred has grown over the winter - his butt was hanging out of the back of his size 80 blanket - the kid will need new clothes next fall for sure!  Note: I clearly need to start remembering pics for this blog! lol 
Cows, with an ocean view.
It is nice to get those little things done to kick off my barn spring cleaning. My barn isn’t very big but it does get cluttered over the winter. 

Do you do any spring cleaning? I love switching seasons and getting the barn and my tack etc.  ready for spring. 

Saturday, March 2, 2019

BBQH -Comin’ at ya live from Maui!

Yeah, so I started a new blog, wrote two posts and promptly took off on a big vacation!

My hubby and I have been planning this trip for a while -  we initially wanted to go on this same trip with some friends a few years ago.  But life stepped in and took us on a bit of a detour - my hubby had a very serious health issue - and it has taken until this year to get back on track, so to speak...

I feel very lucky to be able to get away. How in the heck do I leave for 2 weeks when I have 2 cats, 2 dogs and 3 horses at home? My awesome Mom, that’s how! My pets like my Mom more than me most days so they are in good hands. The horses took more convincing - she claims to be a bit afraid of the horses - but I convinced her she was ok to do hay and water! We had a few days together before we left (my Mom lives a few hours away) and by the time I left she was climbing through the fence and giving the horses kisses on their noses! Lol

It is a real treat to be away from the crappy, icy, snowy, freezing cold winter. I’ll leave you with a few pics and catch up more in a couple of weeks!

US snacks - this could be a whole blog post!!
Add caption

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...