Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Rain Check

Clearly my idea to dig out some photos and do tack reviews last week was a bust, which is really a shame, since the weather wasn't much good for anything else!
Like why though? This is disgusting.
I mostly focused on keeping the horses comfortable all week, and catching up on some of the inside chores I've been ignoring. Facebook's "On This Day" reminded me that it was this time last year that Jack stopped sweating. Thankfully, our solution from last summer, AniMed SweatAgain, still seems to be working this year. He's lost a bit of weight with the heat and has been noticeably off a few times, but still seems reasonably happy and content for the moment.
Not thrilled with how he looks right now, so we're in the process of changing over to a better quality senior feed :-/
Ruby has been playing an annoying game of "lose my fly mask in turnout", so she currently has 4 fly masks at the barn to hopefully make the BO's life a little easier. Almost every time I go out I make a trek through the turnout checking for lost items. The old barn had pretty small turnouts, so finding lost items was a lot easier -- not that I'm complaining about the nice big grass turnouts now, but it does complicate finding lost articles of clothing... haha.
Fly mask? I don't wear one of those.
At any rate, Ruby is looking fantastic. I did make it out earlier this week to lunge her, and she was a cuddlebug. Although she was sporting some nasty mud dreadlocks, ugh. I really wanted to bathe her this week and try out the EquiFuse Rehydrinse that I bought a while back (DIY Horse Ownership did a really good review of it, which got me interested). But alas, our forecast calls for significant rain tomorrow, so it seemed silly to get her all cleaned up just to let her get coated in mud again. So I'll take a rain check (hardy har har) on that.
Those dapples though <3
Cinna hasn't done anything but play pony model for a while. I got a box full of goodies from Aimee, and naturally I couldn't wait to try a few of them on! I haven't had a chance to work her much at the house because the arena needs to be dragged -- we had a freak rainstorm dump about 4 inches on us over the weekend (not complaining, because we needed the rain), but I haven't been able to drag the arena because the brushhog is hooked up to the tractor.
Sparkle pony!
We are using the brushhog a lot more this year than in years past because 3 horses can't keep up with all the grass (which is  good problem to have I guess!). DH got the front paddocks mowed last week, so last night I took my turn and knocked out about half of the back pasture. Hopefully I can finish it up tonight -- although as I said, significant rainstorm coming tomorrow so won't be any point in dragging the arena until that's over, lol. Ah well. The work on a farm is never done!
Role reversal! Normally I'm bringing him a drink while he is on the tractor... haha.
We have a few other miscellaneous little projects going on -- we bought some decorative lights for the front of the tack shed and another LED for my grooming area that I'm hoping to get installed this week. I also finally broke down and ordered aftermarket trailer screens for my horse trailer -- it's older, so the screened windows for airflow are annoyingly tiny, and it doesn't have bars, so I can't drop the big windows unless I install screens. I contacted the maker and they sell screens with install kits, but they are about $60 each. DH found some on Amazon for about $15 each. This let me lobby for a compromise of spending $30 each on the screens I really wanted.
Picture this. But in teal and black plaid, since I have tried and failed about 15 times to get a photo of the color pattern to load.

The diesel is also back in the shop. What started as replacing a few small parts in the front end got slightly more complicated (and also, expensive). But that's fine, I'd rather know that it's ready to hit the road again when I get it back, because I have an exciting weekend trip planned in August! More about that later, gotta save some blog content, since clearly I don't have anything else interesting going on in my life, haha.
Also spent some time on the river this weekend!
The dogs did a lot of sleeping

How about you? How is your summer shaping up in terms of weather? Are you a fair weather rider (like me), or a dedicated rider? (nevermind, I know the answer to that for most of you, I'm just a wimp haha).

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Road Riding and Riverboating

Last Friday ended up being my most productive “horse” day in weeks! I tossed riding clothes in my car so on my way home I could just go straight to the barn (although now that it’s only a mile away, it’s not like its time prohibitive to go home first haha). I changed and tacked up quickly, and Ruby and I got to enjoy a lengthy ride with Jacki and Mort! Although it really highlighted for me how much I miss the trails at the old place – we rode down the road a bit (avoiding the house that has dogs that chase me on my bike all the time), around the mowed sections, and along all the fencelines we could find. The weather was cooperative enough that we weren’t totally melting, and the horses seemed to enjoy it as well. 


Saturday the heat crept back in, so I was mostly a lazy bum after doing chores at home in the morning (Dr. Who marathon FTW -- Saturday while DH is at work is the only time I get to watch "my" TV shows). In the afternoon I had chores down at the barn, so I decided to bike down. This was a really poor life choice that I regretted before I was halfway there. I did finally make it to the barn and I texted DH to see if he could grab me some water on his way home and drop it off – God bless him, not only did he bring me water, but he also pitched in and helped out with the chores so I didn’t die of heatstroke. 
Chilling with the dachshunds during the day!

Sunday morning I was feeding at the barn, so I decided to bike up again since it was early in the morning (aka, not quite as hot). I made it about halfway there before the chain on my bike completely stopped cooperating and started coming off every 5 seconds. I’d get off, wrestle it back into place, and then make it another 5 seconds before it would pop off again. I was far enough from the house that I didn’t feel like turning around to get the truck, so I just hoofed it the last half mile. At least I had this beautiful sunrise to look at as I grumpily walked down the gravel road, wheeling the bike? 

This was basically the precursor to a rather annoying morning in which the horses refused to come to the gate to be caught (involving me trekking all over the LOVELY large pastures at the new farm, haha), Ruby losing her fly mask, and just general annoyances. I also had to text DH to come pick up the bike so I could get home, because the thought of walking it home once the day got hot made me want to die. About the time he showed up to take me home, I was climbing on Ruby bareback to walk around her turnout and look for the fly mask (the flies have been so bad this summer that putting a horse out without a mask basically immediately leads to icky swollen eyes). I was hoping I would have a better vantage point from high on Ruby’s back (which was a good idea in theory I guess), but I still couldn’t find the damn mask. As I fruitlessly circled the field, Ruby started to get more and more worked up about the bugs (she really doesn’t like bugs. At. All.). I finally had to concede defeat, and as I walked back to the barn I saw DH driving away (wtf honey). He did manage to fix the bike so I could ride it home. 
I stopped in the barn for a snuggle with Cinna to make me feel better.


By the time I got home all I wanted was a cold shower and to never, ever move again. At least one of those things happened? After I recovered a little bit, he wanted to take the boat down to the river. Since I didn’t have any other plans with the horses (too effing hot and humid), we loaded up the truck and took off. He was excited to take me up to a sandbar that he found exploring with his friend last weekend. I tried not to be a buzzkill, but I was super bored. I had my kindle so I read on the sandbar for a bit, but it got too hot, so I went and sat with him in the water. Which was fun for like…. 10 minutes, and then I really just wanted to go home. He has been such a good sport about horse events for so long that I’ll keep trying to have fun out on the river with him, but I will also very much encourage him and his friends to go out fishing so there is no room in the boat for me… haha.


Unfortunately yesterday was too consumed with a dentist’s appointment and a GMO meeting to get in any horse time, but I’m okay with that, because the weather is still shit. And unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get much better any time soon.... Blech. Maybe I'll dig up some photos and do tack reviews? Too hot for much else! haha. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

In the Stillness

The heat finally broke a little yesterday -- we had a pop up shower shortly before I left work (in fact when I walked out to my car it was raining while the sun was shining brightly. WTF Missouri?), but no rain at the house. I was still kind of recovering from a less-than-stellar week at work, so I opted to buckle down and get the majority of the chores done in the evening to free up my morning to work Cinna. In the middle of the night, I woke up to the sound of rain tapping on the tin roof. I briefly cursed myself for not working Cinna in the evening, but figured if it was only a light shower, the arena would probably still be okay.
I ended up waking up well before my alarm, so I figured I might as well get the day started. When I walked outside, all three horses were sacked out in the field napping. I crawled through the fence and went to join them for a bit. Jack and Cinna both let me sit on them for snuggles.
Life's hard when you're a baby horse!
After getting all the other animals taken care of and the boys brought in for breakfast, I headed out to the arena with Cinna. She was a champ -- I kind of thought there might be histrionics about having to walk away from breakfast to come work, but she was unconcerned. She hasn't been worked much lately, so I let her get some ya-yas out on the lunge before I asked her to buckle down and focus.
She really brought her A game this morning. I was a lot more lax about consistency when I taught Cinna to lunge initially (as opposed to Ruby or Topaz) and sometimes she cuts her circles and dodges in -- today I insisted she stay all the way out on the end of the line, and once she worked through that concept and figured out what I wanted, she rocked it. I think some of it is a confidence thing -- both Topaz and Ruby were much more confident in themselves and didn't need much reassurance, but Cinna needs a lot more "hand-holding" so to speak. Any time she's nervous about something, her default is to look to me for safety, and on the lunge line, sometimes that meant coming closer to me.
I'm uh, not great at keeping her in the center of the frame haha.
I didn't ask for much canter, because she's not fit, but we did quite a bit of trotting. I also focused on using the whole arena, walking up and down the center so she was constantly making circles in different areas. We also did a little bit of work on me running next to her while she trots -- quite often, she interprets that as a signal to take off cantering at top speed, but today she was more attentive and less panicked, and we made a few runs up and down the long sides.
Her walk though. I love it.
Even though it was cooler this morning, it was still quite humid and she worked up a bit of a sweat. I decided to make poor life choices and climb on her bareback to finish walking her out (poor life choices because there was no one home but me and if something happened, no one would find me for hours and hours). When I first climbed on, her head shot up like a giraffe and she started chomping on the bit. After a minute though, she settled back in and we just casually wandered around the arena. I've been ruminating on Megan's post about eliminating static, and I decided to really focus on my body and stopping myself from giving Cinna any unwanted aids. At one point I was focusing so hard on not doing anything that I unintentionally tensed up and stopped breathing, and Cinna immediately halted and was like "WTF are you doing up there?" I laughed, remembered to breathe, and she set off again.
Itchy face haha.
It was a really interesting exercise for me mentally, although clearly I'm not even a tenth of the rider Megan is. But it made me realize how many aids I give inadvertently because I lack the necessary body control to ride quietly. Always something to work on, right?
This view never gets old.
At any rate, it was a very productive morning, and after she cooled out, Cinna got to enjoy some clover before I put her up for the day. I tossed some tack in my car and am hoping to ride Ruby after work, so fingers crossed the weather and my schedule is more cooperative! This morning was just the quietness I needed to relax after a hectic week.
"Nom nom nom"

Thursday, July 13, 2017


This will be a disappointingly short entry, because I've done a lot of nothing this week. Monday I did get up early, bike down to the barn, and let Ruby play on the lunge a little bit. I wanted to try out a new teal/black lunge line (shut up I know I have a problem, okay?), and I was hoping to start lightly working on her fitness with the goal of resuming lessons at some time in the not too distant future. We worked both in the indoor, and also out in the grass, and she was excellent.
Not so sure about this "work" thing.
Yeah definitely still not sure.
Okay FINE. I'll work.
Outside work is more fun anyway!

And that's all I've accomplished this week. The end. It's been stupid hot, which always kind of kills my motivation. And then I've had to spent more time than I care to think about playing referee to a bunch of adults who really should know better (both at work and in my personal life).

On the plus side, it's supposed to cool off a little today and over the next few days, so maybe I can get some horses worked. Or maybe I'll just sit with the teeny dogs and Netflix and all you'll get are pictures of alcoholic beverages. Jury's still out.
When you only have $10 but need a drink REAL bad.
But in the meantime, enjoy this morning greeting from Samurai, my little baby goat (shut up I also know DH won this round because this little sucker is cute AF and he thinks I'm his mom and I'm in love hahaha). Gotta have your sound on!