Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The latest happenings at BBQH HQ!

*editor's note:  I started this post 2 weeks ago! 
Here are a few updates from the past couple of weeks:

We got 100 bales of 1st cut tucked in the barn (yeah!) and I even used my truck for the first time to get a round bale!  I love having a truck, even though it is a small one.
Lil' Red being a farm truck!
My friend/boarder and I started fixing the electric fence too.  Fred has broken the electric rope in 3 places so far this spring, so it was time!  We fixed the spots he trashed and then we replaced all the wiring from the barn to the start of the circuit and even dug up one of three grounding rods to replace the wiring.

Since Fred wrecked the fence, he gave himself some rope burn on both pasterns.  *sigh*  I've been doctoring it, but the left hind gets a little puffy on me if I don't stay on top of putting ointment on it.  And to make matters worse, I noticed Fred was limping a bit this past week - not super lame, but definitely NQR. I was hoping it was just the rope burn bugging him or at worst an abscess. Sure enough Monday morning the farrier was out and was able to open up an abscess on his the sole of his RH.  Fred seems to like being kept in his stall and all the attention and food he has been getting, but his leg was swelling too much being kept in, so I tossed him outside last night to see if that would help get the fluid moving.  It looks much better this morning, thankfully.
Bingo - abscess on the RH and rope burn.  And a puffy R leg. Oh Fred...
 Trying to get pictures with a giant cuddly 4yo gelding is tough. 
Oh hai!  Do you has fud?  Fred, probably.
Fred has been in the barn for his legs lately, but as well to keep Bailey company. Bailey somehow cut his lip open and needed some stitches.  It was one of those injuries that we can't quite figure out. My hunch is that he was rubbing his face on his leg and cut it on the nails of his shoe. He has been pulling shoes like crazy and one had nails sticking out.  Horses, I tell ya - always keeping us on our toes!
partially healed cut - he's blown 4/5 stitches, but hopefully it is healing
Spencer is totally judging those horses that get hurt all the time - he would *never* do something so silly as to get hurt at his advanced age.  Lol  He has a big scar on his face from an injury when he was young, so I guess he learned his lesson?  I was trying to get a picture of his scar to show you guys, but I had a hard time with the light and with photo bombers!!
Not 1, but 2 photobombers!
I have my fingers crossed that Fred is back to being sound now that the abscess has done its thing.  Having a hospital ward going for these guys is a lot of work!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Hosting guests and a jumper show

Oops - I've sorta let the blog go the past couple of weeks! I got some hay and have started tackling my big electrical project, but more on that later.  I've had my guests from Sweden here this week, so the blog has been quiet...  We had a good week catching up and doing some touristy stuff.

It is so cool to have someone that you just remain good friends with, even with distance and time.  My friend is originally from Holland and lived in Canada during my last year of high school.   She has two teenage kids and they were laughing at our high school memories.  They were also shocked at how long ago that was - 27 years!  *gulp*  My friend came to my wedding 20 years ago and has been back to visit a few times in between.  I have been very negligent in visiting her, but I think our next trip will be to Sweden - 2021 maybe?

Her daughter rides and is a jumper, so we of course hit up a local horse show! Our biggest local equestrian park just happened to be starting day 1 of a two week CSI 3* international show, so we went over and toured around for a couple of hours. It was kinda hot and gross, so we didn't make it too long.  It is even cooler in Sweden than here, so they aren't used to the heat.
This was only 1.10m as one of the earlier classes
We sat and watched a few jumper rounds - man that looks fun - I can totally see why you jumper people do that!  :-)  We sat next to a line that looked easy at first, but as we watched rider after rider botch the vertical that was after the oxer shown above, my young friend explained the striding and tactics that should be used for that line!
Cute Canadian double. A double double?  haha.  Sorry - Tim Horton's joke.
 This facility is quite nice and they did a pretty good job to my untrained eyes with nice course design and cool looking jumps.  We wandered around and found the grass main ring where the big money classes would be held. It is too bad the temps are going to get even warmer this weekend as I was toying with going back after my guests leave.
Jompies?
 The only thing a bit disappointing were the vendors.  There were maybe 3-4 small trailers that had standard show stuff - shirts, jackets and strap goods. Makes sense for them though as that is likely what riders would need in a pinch.  Maybe more vendors show up for the weekends when the bigger crowds roll through?

We then watched a few hunter rounds and called it a day.  The pool and some adult beverages (for the adults, of course!) were calling.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

2019 Mid-way check in

Wow - this year is blowing by!  It seemed to drag on this winter, then we went to Hawaii (woot!) and then I hurt my ankle and well...you guys know the rest.

I've been pretty lax about horse plans and goals since my injury.  I'm still waiting to see a sports med doc in mid July so I'll hopefully know more about what I can expect pain/healing wise moving forward.

via GIPHY

I feel sort of lucky that I didn't have a lot of time, money and effort put into horse plans that the injury would've forced me to cancel.   I'm not a big goal-setter type person, but I do need a bit of a roadmap to follow, or else I find myself navel gazing when winter rolls around, wondering what I did with my life.

via GIPHY

So, let's just move on past the first half of the year and focus on the time left in 2019 to still pull this year out of the fire and have a few things accomplished:

Horses
Fred: 

  • as my ankle allows, work 3-4 times/week - lunging, ground work, poles, maybe working towards being backed
  • continue to get weight on him and develop some topline
  • find basic feed program that works without all kinds of supplements
  • ponder plans for 2020 for showing, etc.
  • take baseline height/weight for kicks

Spencer: this is a tough one.  What to do with an 18yo gelding that I can't ride due to my injury?  He is 100% sound and willing and able to ride. Do I try and sell him, find someone to lease him?  I'm hoping this will just work itself out and I won't have to worry about it too much.  I need a teenager to move in next door that wants to ride!  lol

Copper: kept his weight down and keep him healthy

Barn/property

Try and maintain fences, lawns and gardens as best as possible with gimpy ankle.  I'm taking some pressure off myself on this one.  I'm just going to do the best I can as I feel able.

Clean up barn and organize horse stuff.  Actually, I think I'm going to start a horse product shopping ban!  What???  I'm going to use what I have and only buy something if needed - like medical items or fly spray!  *Gulp*  We'll see how long this lasts!

Q3

  • do not purchase any new horse products - like mane conditioner, halters, brushes, combs, or even tack (unless urgently needed - like flyspray or medical items)
  • try and use up current supply of "stuff"
  • sort winter/summer stuff in bins so I can actually find things when needed
  • clean and sell tack I'm not using 
Q4 
  • be able to find winter blankets that I put away in the summer
  • ditto for the heating element for the water trough!
  • store summer stuff in an organized manner so I can find it next spring

Personal

Sort out finances: I'm not going into detail here, but in 2016 my hubby was very, very sick and now he is ok.  Our finances took a big hit and we are now finally close to getting things sorted out a bit.

Q3-Q4

  • bank appt (this is low hanging fruit - it will give me something to check off!)
  • Start saving for a vet fund - 6 animals (3 horses, 2 cats, 1 dog) even when healthy, rack up significant vet bills for maintenance, shots, etc.  I'd like to have a bit of money set aside for next year so the bill isn't as much of a shock.
    • set aside $50/pay to start

Heh heh - just replace twinkies with Popeye's!
Health - I need to get this back on track.  My weight and fitness have been up and down a lot lately, but 2016 and now this injury really caused things to tank.  I need to make this a priority.

Q3 - Q4

  • dr's appt's (3 in July! yuck) to get back on track
  • find some sort of exercise that is easy on the ankle - I'm thinking cycling?  Normally my barn chores and riding help with fitness, but since that is very limited, well, we need a plan B
  • work on ideas to help anxiety (kinda vague, I know!)
  • plan meals and try to limit eating out (Popeye's, I lurve you sooo much)

Work - yeah, I'm adding this here.  I need to work on my French language skills for work.  My level used to be really good, but it has also tanked the past few years.   Pure laziness on my part.  Not sure what these goals will look like, but for starters:

Q3-Q4

  • listen to the radio in French
  • read work-related news articles in French (fun topics like organized crime, terrorism, etc.  lol)

I think that is quite a list for now! I'm feeling a bit refreshed looking forward to the rest of the year.  I decided not to show Fred at any AQHA shows this year, so I didn't have the added pressure of trying to fit him up with my ankle not getting the rest it needs to heal.  Now that I've made that decision, I feel like I have some room to actually accomplish a few things this year.

How are your goals/plans going for this year?  Have you ever considered a shopping ban of some sort?   Learned/maintained second language skills?

Sunday, June 30, 2019

1 Cowboy obstacle race down, 3 to go

We got through our day yesterday without too many hiccups! The weather worked in our favour too - it was hot and sunny right up until the last rider at 4:30, then the heavens open up and it poured for about 30 mins.
A fairly basic course - the bridge is fun and there was even a little jump!  Most people just walked over it.
We had about 50 runs over 5 divisions, so not a bad day. This club is a schooling level show and since it is the first one, our judge set an easier course.  For each division over novice, she added difficulty by adding decorations such as balloons or feathers to the obstacles and added water to the water box (in the line on the right, past the jump).  It made it easier on our volunteers, since they didn't have to move and add obstacles throughout the day.
Half of outdoor ring looking at the indoor.  Can I move in?
We were at the farm of one of our board members.  It is a big deal to have 20 or so trailers and 30-40 people traipsing around your (pristine) property.  This place is a horse-lovers dream - 10 stall barn, big pastures, individual pens, a small event field (they are ropers, so don't use it), a huuuuggge outdoor sand ring (at least 250 x 600, maybe bigger) and an indoor arena - I was contemplating moving in!
There are some old jumps out in the grass field 
The riders seemed to have fun and most of them did quite well with their horses and the obstacles.  These shows are interesting as a horse that does all kinds of stuff at home, will often look twice at balloons, feathers and other interesting things.  Oddly enough, the big flapping start/finish flags didn't bother a single horse!  The course is timed and riders get extra points for their time - faster time = more points, slower time = fewer points - and the obstacles are scored on a scale of 1-10.    The judge sets a pattern for the course and at our shows, the obstacles are numbered to help people.

We had a fun selection of breeds too - there was a fjord (want!), 2 Canadian horses (so handsome!), a morgan, many paints and QHs, a TB, an arab and a super cute pony.
The fjord looked at the feathers, but walked right over.


I got a short video of the Canadian - he is a stud - and quite handsome! Riders had to pull the ball in a haynet out of the barrel and drag it around the bridge.  If you knocked over the barrel you lost points and if you had a hard time getting the rope organized, it would slow down your run.  And we even nailed the trendy music...my friend's kids were asking us to play Old Town Road on repeat.  Our more mature riders weren't so sure of that song.  lol


I hit another storm on my drive home and I had to stop and get some pictures because the sky was pretty dark and dramatic.  And, it is beautiful here this time of year with all of the green and the big sky.   Although this climate change business has been bringing this region more tornado warnings and actual tornadoes. Scary stuff. A bad tornado hit very close to home (about 3 miles) away last September, so everyone is a little jumpy when the weather folks start broadcasting tornado warnings...
Dark and dramatic, with a dash of tornado warnings...


It is nice and cool and rainy this morning, so I thought I would knock out a blog post before I forget! I'm also counting cash and finalizing paperwork before heading out to the barn to do some work there.
Cash and more cash.  Crazy colours and all.  Sadly not mine...;-)
Would you guys try and obstacle race if there was one in your area?  Our club lets riders use whatever tack they wish, so no need for a western saddle or a cowboy hat!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Volunteer time - cowboy obstacle show

I think I've mentioned it before, but I've done a fair bit of volunteering for horse show-related stuff over the past 10 years.  It started out being fun, but slowly become a complete drain on my time and energy.  I resigned from all my positions but one last year. I'm on the board of directors for a small club that does cowboy obstacle races.  I stayed on to help as a favour to a friend, but this will be my last year of helping out to this level.
Part of a course from last year. That is the barn owner's dog drinking out of the water box!
I'm the treasurer and I do all of the finances, paperwork and prizes - forms, entries, order-of-go for the classes, scoring, sponsor letters, etc.  It is fun to a point, but it takes so much time and we have 4 shows this year.   Our first show is coming up this weekend, so I've been spending a fair bit of time in the evenings doing paperwork.
Charlie is my manager - she isn't very helpful...but she is super cute!
Shopping for prizes and exhibitor gifts is the fun part for sure.  This year my friend picked up a few things she found.  Some years we have bought a bunch of different stuff at Congress.  This year I  found a great local vendor of horse treats and placed a big order before the show.  I have to stop by the local tack shop for a few things on Friday and and make a run to the bank.  This year, aside from a few fun prizes, we are giving out cash for 1st-5th place in all divisions. We find that everyone likes cash - it doesn't collect dust like a trophy.  :-)
These are the gift bags the treat people made for us!  The cookies are edible by humans as well - they are soft molasses cookies that aren't too sweet.

We have a long weekend coming up, so this will keep me busy until Saturday, then I'll have Sunday AND Monday to relax and get some stuff done around the house.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Well, that didn't go as planned...

Fred and I did make it to the show yesterday.
Fred and Bailey ready to go!


We managed to do our halter class, getting a 2nd out of 4. Halter does a grand and reserve champ as well, where the first and second place horses from all halter classes go in together. We did not do well there but that’s ok, I had a bigger problem.
Fred was having trouble standing still. We ended up a bit out of line...lol
Working on setting up his feet.
He was slightly distracted by the goings-on outside the ring, but it was ok.  He put his ears up and looked cute.






Not only was my ankle sore (really sick of talking about that!) but this last week I developed a cyst in my right knee joint (same side as the ankle) and it made it very painful to walk ( it is called a baker's cyst and there isn't much you can do about it - since it is internal to the joint - until it bursts and goes away!). I had to scratch my showmanship and in hand trail as I couldn’t jog my horse in the deep sand, let alone walk him much. 
Slightly discouraged, but still trying to smile.







Fred didn’t seem to mind. He was tucked into a nice stall with 2nd cut hay, lots of friends nearby and the best horse treats. :-)
The best treats! Locally made and apparently very tasty!
I, on the other hand, was more than a bit bummed out about the whole day.  I did have fun visiting with friends and enjoying the nice weather.  Fred was a champ and loaded no problem.  My friend's difficult to load horse is now walking right on the trailer.  I'm pretty pleased with that.  Somehow we seem to have got it through his thick skull that the trailer isn't so bad.  I hope that trend continues, so my friend can get out and show more. 

This year has been frustrating to say the least. I don't want to be negative, but I do want to keep this blog somewhat realistic with my struggles.  It seems my health is causing more problems than the horse, which I think is a first.  lol  I knew going in to this season that Fred wouldn't be very competitive as I haven't had the ability to work him and prep him as I normally would.  The outcome of this show is that I need to focus on me and getting myself feeling better physically and mentally.  Not any easy task, but definitely important.  I think that will be my 2019 Q3 and Q4 goals!

And I also realllly need to go through my show kit and sort out where all my stuff is. A few things were missing from my toolbox that would have come in handy.  We have a long weekend coming up this weekend (yeah Canada Day!) so my plan is to go through all of my stuff and get organized.
Roxie my feline supervisor is on the job!
So, all in all, the show was a bust. However, it did highlight some things to work on.  And I had some fun...sort of...in between bouts of pouting and grumbling.  lol

Anyone have any tips on mental preparedness and such for shows and goals and life?


Foal Friday

 I'm going back in time for a bit to get caught up.   These pics take me back to the day Rip and his dam came home from the fancy matern...