Wednesday, August 31, 2022

What's Up Wednesday


Phew. Made it through hell weekend of braiding! Just barely... Guys, I had 11 both Friday night AND Saturday night. ELEVEN! Manes and tails. That's a lot of hours on the ladder in the middle of the night. Thank goodness for Netflix, HBO, and my trusty Ipad. Funny story though. Most of my horses live at the farm hosting the show, so I was the only braider for the majority of the horses there. Since I was alone, I wasn't using ear buds as they get uncomfortable for that many hours and the batteries don't last that long either. Anyway, there was one horse in one of the barns that belonged to a differed trainer and they had their own braider. So I was braiding away and had finished watching whatever I had been watching when the other braider came in. I was planning to start watching season 2 of Euphoria when I heard her music playing. She was listening to show tunes... I decided to hold off on starting Euphoria. I'm pretty sure show tunes couldn't handle that! Haha! 

Friday's Manes

Friday's Tails

Saturday's everything

For the most part these manes and tails were all pretty easy. None of them had thick monster manes and these tails pretty much only get done once or twice a year so they are in great shape. I managed to get 10 done in about 12 hours which is pretty fast. Both days I had a small break before number 11. One was a ship in, so I had to wait a few minutes for him and the other was at a barn near my house so I had to drive to him. He has the speediest mane because it's pretty thin, and he's very well behaved. His tail though. The tail is tough on him. He had rubbed the top out earlier this year and now it's starting to grow some. Took some creativity to get it done, but turned out as good as I think anyone could do.

I'm also really happy to report that I stayed on my ladder this year and sustained zero new knee injuries! Yay me! Lol!

I had to enlist some help at home while I was away braiding overnight. I had a wonderful college student who lives in my town do night checks for me. (Fun fact: She is attending my Alma Mater Skidmore but is home for the summer) My weekday barn helper was able to cover Sunday for me, so I just had Saturday that I needed a little help. I figured I should be home around 10 am, so my neighbor was able to feed breakfast for me. Once I was home, I went and fed the dogs and then turned out the horses and cleaned stalls. It wasn't the best job, and I'll be honest, I didn't scrub any buckets! But it got done, and the horses were happy. And then finally at around noon I got to sleep! It was glorious. I got about five hours in before waking up to feed horses dinner and do it all over again! 

The week was kind of easy for the horses. I rode Tuesday through Friday, but they had the weekend off. I just didn't have it in me to ride them after all that time on the ladder. They weren't sad about it. 

Trainer was away camping for most of the week so I didn't have a lesson. But I had set up a combination and played around with it some on my own. 

I kept everything low for Al because he had indicated the week before that he was ready for a little rest. He was really cute through the combo. It's a trot in one to one, set on the shorter side. That horse, as silly as he can be, know EXACTLY where he is at the fences. He paced that combo out right from the first time through with no help from me required at all. Such a good boy! Unfortunately, later in the week that crack of his started to bother him again. So he's been having light flat rides since. My farrier is out of town shoeing, but he's going to adjust Al's shoes as soon as he's back. 

Quarter cracks are SO frustrating, but hopefully we can get a handle on it soon. Al's such a trooper. 

Things are great with Eros! I had my last lesson with trainer today as she's off to Florida at the end of the week for the season. Since Al is on light work, Eros got to have his first lesson with her! It was a breath of fresh air as she agrees with me about how much canter he needs. I was constantly told I needed more by other trainers in the past, but she was like no, you have plenty, his step his HUGE! I was like I KNOW! So that was great. We warmed up over a little single fence and then just focused on the combination and what to do on the other side. What we deduced is that if I can just sit chilly he'll be chilly too. Easier said than done of course. But something to work on! She hasn't really seen him go much before now, and she loved him almost as much as I do, so that's always nice to hear. (I say almost because I have an unhealthy obsession with him that I don't expect anyone else to share.)

I'm excited to jump him again later in the week and see if I can do things the way he wants on my own. 

After Shiny's little incident last week, she's been in WORK. And she's been great. Truly. I actually trotted her through the combo yesterday for the first time. It was... well. It was challenging for her. She got it done, but kinda deer like. I think it's a bit long for her trotting in even though it's set short for the horses. Next time I send her through there I'll shorten it up for her. But I was very proud of her try! And even better after we finished with that, I gave her a walk break, and then had her pop over a few single fences just to make sure she wasn't stressed about jumping in general. And she came back and popped those jumps totally calmly and cooly. So proud of her! And then today, I let her have a little free lunge before her kiddo came to ride. Guys, she was pretty wild! Wild for Shiny anyway. She didn't get too zoomy (thank goodness, I hate when they run) but she got some good bucks out. I think she was feeling much better after that. Of course, then she was tired and the kid could barely get her trotting. Oops. All she really wanted to do today was around the world though. So Shiny was happy to oblige for that. Glad they had a good last ride of the season together!

I think that's it! How was your week/weekend? Do anything fun? Horses good?

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Truthful Tuesday


So... I'm not an overly spiritual person. I don't really believe in spirits and ghosts and whatever. But also I can't prove they aren't a thing so I keep my mind open. Just in case. Don't want to anger any spirts out there or anything (I mean, my house IS 263 years old, I'm SURE if it's possible, it must be haunted). But guys, I have to admit. I feel like some of my past horses sent Al to me. 

I've already mentioned how he's incredibly similar to Rio. They have a similar look:

And they do some of the same silly things. For example, Rio could be pretty spooky, but only if you let him. If you gave him things to do and think about, he didn't have a chance to notice things to be afraid of. Al is quite similar. I swear that horse has incredible eyesight. He sees every little flying bug, the one leaf that changed color along the fence line, etc. But if you can keep his attention on you, none of that stuff bothers him. If you let his mind wander, he might levitate himself away from one of those things he peeped. Much the same as Rio. They both were/are a little spinny... but they spin with their head up and back on their haunches, so they took/take you with them. (Very considerate, really. Ducky used to throw me to whatever he was afraid of.) So yeah, Rio definitely had something to do with Al landing here, that's a given. 

But you know who else he's like? There's a little bit of Jamp in there. Every now and then, and it's only happened while we're jumping, Al will just kind of take off for a few steps. 

Sometimes I get left behind and grab his face... sorry dude, but like, maybe don't do that? I'm sure you all remember that Jampy loved to scoot like that. He almost always did it his first time jumping in a new ring. And regularly did it at home spooking at the end of the ring.

They also have a similar look. I feel like Al is kind of what a Rio-Jamp baby would have looked like if that was a thing that could happen. 

When I first met Al, I really saw a lot of similarity between him and both Jamp and Rio. But my first heart horse recently made himself seen through Al too. 

I left Al on the crossties with his saddle and martingale on while I went into the tack room to get his bridle. I came back to find my martingale in his mouth. He chewed that thing so badly he wound up opening the loop. (This photo was the first time it happened. It's happened again since, and I had to rivet the loop closed. Clearly, I don't learn my lesson the first time.) Anyway, he's no longer allowed to wear his martingale unless it attached to his noseband. My horse Bud, whom I had long before this blog came to be, was the WORST chewer. Every year for indoors I would have to get him a new bridle because by the end of the year, the throatlatch had teeth marks and the reins were getting questionable... He actually had his own crop we let him chew on while we waited to jog just to keep the reins out of his mouth. I don't have any photos of his chewed up tack, so you'll have to take my word on it. But here he is just so you know who I'm referring to:

Just Humour Me, aka "Bud" circa mid nineties

Clearly, Al and Bud don't look anything alike, but I'm telling you, there's a little bit of Bud in there too. I'm not trying to project my old horses onto Al, I wasn't looking for any of it, it just all showed itself to me. I don't see any of them in Eros or Shiny or Pammon. But it's all there in Al. So weird. 

Maybe "the universe" didn't send him to me. Maybe my old horses don't really have anything to do with him. But it's kind of comforting to feel like my old friends are back with me in a little way. But even if they aren't, Al is a special guy, and I'm so glad he's here!

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Thursday's Threads


Outfit Day! As mentioned yesterday, things are a lil nutty around here. So I opted to dress all of us in what was fresh out of the laundry. Because clearly, I have not put laundry away recently. Eros will be our model today and here's what we both had on:

Yep, that's right. We wore green again. I'm not even sorry.

Here's Eros on his own:
He was totally into modeling this week. Cutest!

Bridle: Pinnacle
Browband: Boy O'Boy Bridleworks
How handsome is this dude?! I love this bridle on him. For the price, I'm really happy with them. And I'll never not love the Boy O'Boy ribbon browbands. They're so well made!

Saddle: Butet
Saddle Pad: The Hangry Mare
Half Pad: Mattes
I adore these pads from The Hangry Mare. I know, I say it every time we use them. But I really mean it! This half pad is the shimmable version I recently got for Eros from Mattes. I'm never disappointed with anything from them. This is no exception. 

Boots: Eskadron
Nothing new here! These boots are fab from Eskadron. Eros is a little bit of a funny fit. He has wide legs but they aren't tall. So this cob size is maybe a little snug around, but the full size would be too tall for him. They're getting the job done just fine though! 

That's what Eros wore, and here's what I had on:

I tried to mix things up a little to keep outfit day interesting despite a non ridiculous outfit.

Helmet: One K CCS Mips
Soooo... it seems that One K has some really fun new top panels that have been released in Europe. I haven't picked any up yet because bills, but I'm starting my wish list. ALSO, they have regular yellow gold rails and front vents too! I'm excited! Here we have the metallic green with the rose gold rails.

Top: Horze
Equus Now had a big clearance sale recently and I picked up a new martingale for Al since he ate his. I found this top in the sale too so I threw it in the cart. It's really nice! Tech fabric, and I love the zipper pull!

Belt: Ponylocks
This is Jampy's belt. I really love these, they're beautifully made. 

Breeches: Ariat
These are super old! I like the color a lot since they match pretty much everything, but are a little darker than show breech color to hide dirt a little better.

Boots: Mountain Horse Sovereign Luxe

I really like these boots. They broke in quickly and are really comfy to wear. They're not the cheapest boot out there, but I found these on sale awhile back. 

And that's it for today! Any favorites?

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

What's Up Wednesday


Honestly guys, I'm feeling a wee bit stressed at the moment. Nothing that won't pass, things have just been busy around here, and I have way more horses to braid than I anticipated this weekend. 12 manes AND tails BOTH Friday night and Saturday night. And as it turns out, I do not have a helper in the barn for Saturday. More on that later though. Let's look back at the week shall we?

This may be redundant, I forget what time I posted last week... But I had a good lesson with Al last Wednesday. We had some struggles in one bending line. Okay, it was me. I had some struggles in that line, Al just did what I asked which was wrong. Not his fault! Lol! He just kept trying for me though! Good boy! I buried the poor dude way more times than was fair to solid 3'6" fences, and he just kept on getting to the other side. 

Just doing his best to climb over this oxer... nothing to see here.

Finally, when he and I were both getting tired, I had trainer drop the fences a hole on the line we were struggling with. We did it perfectly (finally!) and called it a day there. The fence height wasn't the issue, I just didn't want to keep making him work that hard if I was going to continue making errors. Thankfully we had it worked out over the smaller jumps. 

We had our second lesson Friday, and I was feeling a little like I should have pushed it to Saturday while I was tacking up. Al just seemed tired to me. He didn't want to come out of his stall and normally he's waiting at the door for his turn. He warmed up fine though so we started jumping some little jumps. He was super distracted and kind of looky at everything around the ring. Not the jumps at all, just like the trees blowing in the breeze, the air, the fence posts... Serious case of the distractions! We tried to move on with the lesson, but it became apparent it was going to be an easy small jump kind of day. What I really like about this trainer was that she could see what I was feeling and that Al just wasn't there for it that day. He wasn't doing anything terrible, but he CLEARLY didn't want to be there. So we didn't push him. We made him finish on a good note jumping a handful of 3' fences and called it a day. I love having someone help me who thinks like I do about horses. Horses are entitled to have an off day, and there's no need to nag then through it if they're clearing giving you the best they can on that day. 

He's perfectly fine, in case anyone is worried these were signs of him not feeling well. He's been his usual self since. Although... he's started using his feet in very annoying ways in the barn! He's started pawing at the door if he thinks I'm taking too long to feed. And if he's hanging in the wash stall letting his legs dry a bit after a shower, he'll paw then too. I HATE PAWING! Why has he started this? How do I stop it? Please send help.

Trainer is away this week, and I'm a bit distracted with the upcoming hell weekend, so I opted to just play over some teeny jumps with Al today. He was a good boy!

Even wore his ears over this one!

Eros wound up not really jumping last week. I was taking it slow since the shoeing debacle. So the plan was to pop over the raised cavalletti Wednesday and then jump Friday. So we did just that on Wednesday. But Friday... In typical equine fashion of the best laid plans, he had pulled a shoe. A hind one thankfully. He didn't get it back on until Saturday so Friday's jump school wasn't a thing for him. Instead he had a lovely day off! Lucky kid. We did pop over a few little jumps today though! 

He was a little bit of a torpedo, but like... a mostly ridable one, so I'll call it a decent day. I have a little trot in combination set up and he made me giggle. It's set on the shorter side 18' to trot in one stride and 21' for the second one. Al was great through it, be he's quite good at figuring out striding. Eros though... I told him, E, this is short, don't rush through it. But what did he do? TORPEDO!!!! He cracks me up. You have to laugh because the jumps were small, and he knows enough to pick his feet up when the time is right. But man... So ridiculous he is. The second time through he decided I was right and was softer. He still slightly torpedoed at the second one, but not too much. He is who he is, ya know? Next week when things are less insane we'll work through it some more. I kept it very small today and just popped through the two times with each horse, but next week we'll actually train through it and adjust the fences. And add the back rail of the oxer. Will be fun!

Pammon had one little jump school last week. He was a little excited, but overall a good boy. We didn't get any good screen shots, but well... there's this one:

I swear he was having fun... his face just isn't saying that. Poor Pammon. I had my last ride on him Friday but I didn't know it was my last ride, so I'm not sure we made the most of it. It was fine, but a little short. He was really good though which was nice because earlier in the week he was being a little spooky and fresh. So I'm glad we finished on a good note, even if we didn't know it was the last one. And I mean, he's not sold yet, so it might not actually be the last ride. Always a chance he'll come back. He went off to the sale barn Sunday morning. I gave him a really good grooming and told him how much I loved him and to be a good boy. 
And I was a little surprised by how sad I felt. I could never flip horses. I get too attached. Even to the ones I'm not fully enjoying. I always feel sad when they leave. But I am hopeful he will find himself his own kid. Hopefully a true barn rat that just wants to hang out and love on him and go on adventures with him. Or an ammy that wants those things. Either way. I fully trust the trainer handling the process, she won't let him fall into the wrong hands and she's as upfront as I am about all he's been through. So fingers crossed his perfect human comes along soon. 

And then there's Shiny... Oh Shiny. 

Flirting with Al, peep his lil nose

She's been having it a little easy lately. She's been working with trainer's daughter when I have my lessons with Al. Trainer's daughter hasn't ridden too much, so it's mostly just trotting around in between when I'm jumping. She was trying to canter Friday but Shiny had no idea what she wanted so wasn't super cooperative. Eventually she did a few steps and everyone was happy. Since they're away this week starting today, they asked if she could ride Tuesday, which seemed like it should be fine. Lesson learned though, Shine needs a training ride on Tuesdays! She actually gave a little spook which is pretty rare for her. And then when kid finally got her to actually canter, she got quick (I know, Shiny, weird right?!) and gave a little... kick out? I'm hesitant to call it a buck because it wasn't much of one, but she managed to pop her kid off. BAD PONY. I felt HORRIBLE. Shiny proceeded to gallop away from the scene of the crime. Managed to get her leg caught in the reins, panicked, and flipped herself over. Fortunately, despite ALL THE DRAMA, everyone was just fine. Kiddo got back on and trotted around some more so I could make sure Shiny hadn't hurt herself. And even more thankfully she does want to come back and try again. I thought for sure that would be the end of her riding career. But thankfully she's hungry for more. They go back to Florida next Friday I think, so they don't have too much time left together for this season. But Shiny's not going anywhere so maybe next year they can do more.

I rode Shiny Thursday and jumped her around, and she was the best she's been in a long while. I've been struggling to get the pony stride in our line, but Thursday she just walked right down it. I even had to whoa a little. Very exciting! And I even put one of the jumps back up to 2'3". It was like nothing for her. Seems having a kid a few days a week has given her some confidence. Or something. I dunno. But I'll take it. 

She's not jumping great in these photos, but honestly, she was just cantering right over everything. Like suddenly she has all this scope, and these fences were not challenging at all. I don't think I'll ever truly figure this pony out. I didn't jump her today as I figured she's probably a little sore after her antics yesterday. She flatted well though, so I think she's fine. She was still a little sassy and spooky. Might be time for her semi annual free lunge. Every so often Shiny likes to have a little gallop around the ring. Her paddock is a little oddly shaped and she can't really get a good run going in there. I'll toss her in the ring and see if she wants that before the kiddo rides again. For those gasping at the thought of a free lunge... I don't chase my horses in the ring. I turn them loose and give a few clucks at them. If they want to play they do. If they do not, I don't make them. It's nothing crazy. There's no chasing. It's no more dangerous than being a horse in a field. Which, honestly, horses are dangerous just existing aren't they?

So I think that catches us up on the horses. Let's talk about the insanity that was my weekend. And by weekend, it kind of started Thursday. Sort of. Thursday was fine. One of my braiding cusotmers was having photos done with her horse that day, so I went over and braided him up for her. It's just down the road, so was easy enough to do. Then I rode everyone before heading back out to braid one other horse a couple of towns over. I was home at a reasonable hour and got to bed on time after hanging with the pups for awhile too. 

Friday was only mildly crazy. I wound up only having two horses to ride that day since Eros lost a shoe a trainer's kiddo rode Shiny. So I had time to have a nap before braiding five horses in two locations. I got home at 4:30 am which was about what I expected. And I had zero concerns because I had hired a girl to do chores for me both that weekend and this one coming. 

Five manes, three tails

So I fell asleep just before 5 with an alarm set for 9:30. I woke up at 9 before my alarm and looked outside to see... no horses out there. The girl didn't show up! 

My poor horses had no food and weren't turned out. OMG. So I ran out there in my jammies and got them fed. Then came back in to tend to the pups and get myself dressed. I sent a text to the girl to make sure she wasn't dead on the side of the road somewhere. She wasn't, so I let her know I wouldn't be needing her the rest of the days. I really didn't need her for Sunday as it turned out, but I really DO need her this coming weekend. But I can't count on her showing up. (She claimed to have mixed up the dates. But we met in person the weekend before and I definitely said I'll see you next weekend, so I dunno...) I can't be stressing on my ladder wondering if my horses got fed. It may seem like one strike and she was out, but she was also slow to respond to me earlier in working things out. Not just slow, but I sent a text that went unanswered for days. So sent another that she did respond to, but like 24 hours later. Which had all given me pause, but I figured it would be fine. It was not fine. 

Anyway, I spent Saturday morning and early afternoon doing chores and letting the horses have their time outside. I got on Eros finally around 3:30 and he was a complete butthole. Spooky and annoying. I was so exhausted and had very little patience for any of it, but we worked through it. I got off, hosed him down, and realized there was zero chance of me doing that three more times. So the other three had an extra day off. By some miracle, none of my barns had horses showing Sunday so I didn't have to braid anything that night. THANK GOODNESS! So I got a good nights sleep and was happy to do chores the next day. OH, but I almost forgot....

So Saturday, after finishing chores I got a text that hay was coming Sunday, which Yay! Because we're getting low. But then I got another text from the trainer at the sale barn that they could pick up Pammon Sunday morning too. Which I apparently wasn't emotionally prepared for. He hadn't been ridden the day before and I wouldn't have time to ride him in the morning since I had to do chores and they all needed turnout. She said it was fine if he came a little sassy so I didn't need to worry about that. Okay phew. So we scheduled his pick up for 11 and hay guy was coming at 10:30. That would work because he would be down unloading into the hay shed when the trailer for Pammon arrived. But boy... it felt like grand central station here that morning! Also, hay went up and was nearly $3000 for the load. Good thing I have 24 horses to braid this weekend to help cover some of that... 

Mmmm, look at it!

So that was mildly chaotic. But all worked out well. Pammon arrived safe and sound and hopefully isn't screaming his head off too much over there. I miss him already, but will admit, it's been nice just having three horses to take care of. It will be a big help this coming weekend too. 

Which leads to this weekend. I have just one to braid Thursday night. But Friday, when I thought I'd have maybe 7 or 8, I have 12. TWELVE! Manes and tails. That's... a lot. I realized with that many, I'll have to start at 7 PM and there's zero chance of me being home to feed at 7 AM Saturday. Thankfully my neighbor (not THAT one, the fun one across the other road) is able to feed for me. So the plan is to braid all night, come home, tend to the pups who surely will have used my floor as a bathroom because they do anyway. (That's a tale of whoa for another day.) Do the chores and then sleep for the rest of the day. I think, if I can braid some of the little ponies really quickly, I could get five or six hours of sleep before having to do it all over again. Literally. I have 12 for Saturday night too. Thankfully, I got my weekday helper to work Sunday, so once I'm done that day I can go right to sleep. I'm quite confident my horses will have the whole weekend off and probably Monday too because I'm gonna need a day off too. 

I get really frustrated with getting older and having autoimmune issues because weekends like this will leave me feeling off for a good week after. It's really annoying and hard to ride well when I'm all foggy and weak feeling. But, I'll get past it, and we'll be back to regularly scheduled horsing in no time I'm sure. 

So if anyone's looking for me this weekend, I'll be on a ladder! Send help.