Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Cinnamonster Superstar

Another bonus to my life leveling out a bit is I can put Cinna back to work! I don't know what it is about her more than most other horses I've had/ridden, but she is SO IN TUNE to my emotions. Which means, if I am in any kind of spun-up emotional state, I cannot have a productive ride. Or really handle her in any other way aside from turn out/bringing her in -- see, the many unproductive trailer loading sessions we had when she was a baby. Ruby (and before her, Topaz), I could pretty reliably get on even if I was having a bad day and they could usually help me turn things around, but with Cinna, that's a nonstarter. She feeds off my emotions and amplifies them back to me. She keeps me honest, that's for sure, because I can't fake it with her. So any time there is any emotional turmoil going on in my life, I drop the riding with her. 

She doesn't mind being out of work. 

And she always picks right back up where we left off! (just less fitness). I dug this Hidez mask out to possibly send to a blogger friend for funsies and then naturally I had to make the horses wear it once or twice before I did anything, haha. 

The weather Monday was lovely, and my arena was freshly dragged and begging for some hoofprints -- so I saddled up! I kept my expectations low, since between the weather and Cici I don't think I've sat on her in.. 2? 3? months. Plus everyone else was turned out on grass in the back and naturally since this is the first time they've been separated in a while, Jack was SCREAMING his head off and running laps of the pasture. She was a little bit amped up in the cross-ties, so I tossed her on the lunge first just to make sure there wouldn't be any shenanigans. 
No shenanigans, just this lovely trot. 

And some stretching!
(and they say Iberian horses can't stretch. Pfffft)

Between her lack of fitness and starting on the lunge, we didn't ride long, only about 20 minutes walking and a little trot. She started off a little tense and bracey, but settled in quickly and gave me some really lovely work. I was a little sad I didn't think to charge/set up the Pivo, it'd be nice to know if it looked as nice as it felt! (probably not, but that's the story of my life lol)

Naturally she had to drag me over to stare at herself in the mirror for a bit. I thought she'd get over that eventually, but 5 months in to having mirrors, nope, still wants to go ogle herself every time!

Towards the end of our ride, DH had pulled out the ZTR and was mowing in the back. A few years ago, that would probably have caused a meltdown -- but now she just took a quick peep at it, then continued to walk around on the buckle while I answered emails (perpetually multi-tasking, sigh). 

It was in the mid-80s, so she worked up a bit of a sweat! 

She even sweated through the mask a bit, lol. 

I need to start getting her off the property a little more this summer, particularly on trail rides -- that's something I talked about with my friend on our ride Sunday. She's really never "bad" per se, she just requires a lot more attention and management than Ruby, and sometimes I just want to loop the reins over the saddle horn and be able to mindlessly stroll.... and that's definitely not something Cinna is ready for yet. Frankly, she may never be like that, she and Ruby are polar opposites in personality. But, it's still my responsibility to make her into as solid of a citizen as I can, which means more life experience off the farm :) I was hoping to really focus on that in 2020 after we were done building the house, and you see how well that worked out for me.... lol. So let's try a do over in 2021?

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Trail Ride Tuesday - Girls Day!

Now that things are finally looking up with Cici (fingers crossed!), I am finally able to get my life back into some semblance of normal. Although if you've been following along for any length of time, you know that even my "normal" isn't particularly.... normal.. haha. But I digress. 

She had another great weekend and we started another therapy - an Assisi Loop (PEMF therapy), which I bought after remembering Dom using one for Herbie, and also remembering Saiph talking about one. They were both kind enough to answer my questions about it, and my acu vet gave it a thumbs up as well. I got to watch/be a guinea pig in a PEMF demo for my GMO a few years ago, and it helped a sore thumb I had at the time, so even if it's just expensive placebo, it's nice to have on hand. I logged 9 treatments over the first weekend I had it so it's definitely getting used, lol. 

Saturday was a little ick in terms of weather, but when I checked the forecast, Sunday looked PERFECT. I asked DH if he wanted to haul out with me, but he had a car project that was going to take most of the day, and I was in no mood to waste the weather... so I texted a friend! Remember my favorite barn rat, who occasionally makes an appearance here? I texted her mom to see if they both wanted to go out with me :) I told her mom that Trigger was available, and it was no problem for me to stop at the barn to pick up her daughter's horse. Her daughter decided that her mom really deserved a girl's day and bowed out, so it ended up being just the two of us! It made it easy -- I just packed the trailer, tossed the horses on, met my friend at a convenient parking lot on the way to the trail, and off we went!

While we were tacking up, she told me she couldn't even remember the last time she rode. It made me feel like a bad friend for not offering sooner :( but previously she had run her own business and was frequently busy on the weekends - now that she works with DH, she has weekends off, so hopefully I can take her out again soon!

Ruby was like "come on you're tacking too slowly LETS GO" haha. I put her back in the sidepull and western saddle for this excursion, and, as always, she was perfect. 

Happy ears!

Awww her smile <3 makes my heart happy. I tossed Trigger's boots on again, but I think that's just me being overprotective, he was fine. Barely even broke a sweat on our 6 miles!

My friend was horrified that both my mom and DH regularly decline riding Ruby on the trails when all three of us go out -- "but she's like perfect". I know, it confuses me too!

The trail was a bit busier than the last few times I've been - tons of bikes! They were polite for the most part, and the horses didn't care much. 

Is it even a trail ride with me if I don't take an awkward smiling selfie trying to get the other person in the background? lol

I don't think they're super visible in this shot, but this house (which I love BTW) had a TON of guineas out in their yard, and the first time we passed them they swarmed the fence and started SCREAMING at us.... haha. Ruby stopped and was like "WTAF". Both horses stared for a second, and we continued on our way!

Oh my goodness I cannot get over his little happy ears, he had such a good time. 

Almost back to the trailhead we ran into another group of riders -- they had a kid with them who was definitely not even a little in control of her own horse, so that was borderline concerning, but I guess not my circus not my monkeys. They stopped to let us pass, which was nice, except they didn't try to go single file or get off the trail at all, so they ended up blocking most of the trail, which made it sort of a pain to go around them. Especially when the lady on the end closest to us kept trying to let her horse touch noses with Ruby. Thanks but no, I don't know you! Oh well. People are cray. 

It was a super nice time -- we just ambled along (minus a few minutes of Trigger offering his cute WP jog when we turned around, he always gets excited to go home lol) and chit chatted about everything under the sun. She told me her daughter had been asking a lot of questions about Indian Camp Creek after our last trail ride, so I promised to take them there once Trigger's hoof is fully grown out! On that note, he had another trim last week and the farrier was happy with how it's looking, and hopefully in a few more trims it will be entirely grown out! 

I left my house around 10:30 and was back home with the horses put away and trailer unloaded by 2:30 - couldn't have asked for a better Sunday jaunt!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

WW: Hope

Monday morning, I had a super dark and depressing post drafted, because I'd spent a week plus struggling to keep Cici comfortable on meds and cage rest and I really didn't think it was going to end well. I was emotional, sleep deprived, and my head was in a really dark place. Monday afternoon, she had her second acupuncture/laser session, and her new rehab vet worked with me to review/change some of her medications.... and now Wednesday morning, I'm on day two of having my dog back <3 <3 <3 she's not out of the woods yet, her back and neck still have healing to do, but I feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is no longer a train, it's daylight, and we're gonna get through this. 

Her first acupuncture session. She is normally VERY anxious around strangers but she has been SO GOOD for her new team. 

She spent Sunday snoozing in her bed alternating between the couch and the guest bedroom.

The vet sent this to me with the caption "working sad dog eyes" at her appointment Monday evening awwwww

Yesterday she was content to alternate napping most of the day in her small pen and then vigorously licking peanut butter out of the kong. 

Chilling with her emotional support animal Indigo. 

The anxious pinched look around her eyes and mouth is gone, and she's actually relaxed, not just so painful she doesn't want to move. 

Voluntarily hanging out in her bed this morning without me having to lock her in. 

How does this relate to horses? It doesn't really -- except I was connected to the acupuncture vet via a mutual horse friend, and the vet made some time on her very busy schedule for me because she knew I was a fellow horse person <3 never underestimate the power of social media and leveraging your connections! 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Friday Funnies

It's that time of year when the horses are absolute GOOBERS as they start getting out on the grass. Enjoy some silly videos of their shenanigans this week! It's been raining for the last two days but today is supposed to be nice again, so hopefully they'll be back at it this weekend 😆

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Product Review: Thinline Flexible Filly Grazing Muzzle

*Disclaimer: This review is for a product I purchased with my own money after doing my own research. There are links in this post to products I have purchased, but none are affiliate links. I get absolutely nothing in exchange for my unbiased review of this product. I just really like this muzzle and a lot of people have asked me about it, and since I'm going on year three using it on two horses, I figured it was time*

Last summer I had every intention of reviewing the Thinline Flexible Filly muzzle, since I liked it so much after Cinna's first year in one (2019) that I bought Ruby one for 2020. Alas, like so many other great posts I start crafting in my brain, it never made it to the page. Story of my life, amiright?
I know the ship is free now but I'm still laughing at the memes okay. 

Anyway. As the owner of a long string of easy keeper air fern Iberian horses, muzzles are life. Particularly as I try to balance the dietary needs of my Spanish blimps as opposed to my perpetually-ribby-no-matter-how-much-$$$$$-feed-I-pour-into-him geriatric OTTB (although actually he is looking shockingly great right now after the whole EOTRH thing last summer and then as much hiiiiiigh quality 3rd cutting alf I could get him to eat all winter). I don't have great pasture, which is actually fine, since they would legit founder and die on rich grass, but even with careful management, they can get hella fat in the summer without muzzles. I briefly tried one of the typical black webbed muzzles, and IMMEDIATELY got rubs. A friend recommended the Greenguard, but holy $$$. Enter the Flexible Filly. 
Stock photo from the Thinline website

Directly copied from their website:

More like wearing a glove than a muzzle!

Flexible Filly slow feed grazing muzzles are a must for many horses but discomfort is not.

Try a natural grazing muzzle.  Our research determined horses dislike muzzles because they cannot behave naturally in them.  With the historical cage-like or bucket-like muzzles, horses are unable to engage in social activities like wither scratching or other playful interactions resulting in social and emotional health in horse herds.

This Flexible Filly slow feed grazing horse muzzle is unlike the typical cage-like apparatus of the past. We designed this to be softer, lighter, and less behaviorally restrictive. Constructed of a durable and pliable material that radically improves the horses’ feel. It is effective while also being soft on equine teeth and lips. The Flexible Filly Muzzle is well-ventilated and safe, rated to break just before your turnout halter.  Additionally, the grazing hole size is adjustable, allowing you to offer the perfect grazing options.

-So light they won’t even know they are wearing it.

-UV Protection for sensitive noses.

-Adjustable Grazing Hole Size.

-Each muzzle comes with 12 zip ties.

-Use with any halter or add our specially designed halter for an easy and perfect fit.

-Durability Guarantee (6-month full replacement warranty).

When I first decided to try it, I figured it was a nice price point compromise between the cheap bulky black nylon ones (which I already knew didn't work for my horses) and the expensive Greenguard (which would quite possibly work but Jesus the price point). I liked the fact that it looked airy and flexible, because the rigidity of some of the other ones concerned me in terms of causing wear on their teeth. In 2019, I was able to find the Flexible Filly at Adams for a few bucks cheaper than any other retailer at the time -- spoiler alert, the price seems to be back in line with other retailers now. I did look up some old receipts and I paid $57 and now it's $62-68 pretty across the board, so YMMV there. After becoming a convert, now I just watch the Thinline sales. Last November I was able to snag FOUR muzzles for about under $140, so I am hopefully set for a few years! :)

Cinna wearing it in 2019

A few weeks later, still going well

Ruby being introduced to it in 2020 and being decidedly NOT IMPRESSED


I also had to buy a breakaway halter for it -- Thinline makes one specifically for it, but I'm a cheapskate so I went with sourcing my own. I really hate the ones with the full leather strap for a crownpiece, so I picked up a Centaur one with a little breakaway tab. Don't even get me started on those because now I am FOUR FOR FOUR on ordering them based on a stock photo with a normal chin snap and then the MFers show up WITH A SCISSOR SNAP which is literally the dumbest possible snap for a TURNOUT HALTER because when the horse rolls, they can easily unsnap it and then take the halter off. ASK ME HOW I KNOW. I got two new halters this year and thankfully was able to work the scissor snap off and cannibalize some snaps off old nylon halters that don't get used anyway (since I'm now team THT buckle nose biothane halters for daily use) so hopefully I don't have any further issues with them. 

I cannot express how much I love these muzzles though! They definitely slow down consumption, but without making their face hot and sweaty (another problem I had with the black webbed ones). Ruby definitely came into fall in much better shape weight-wise last year wearing one, and same with Cinna. Aside from one small rub on her nose last year from a zip tie on Ruby's, I haven't had any other issues with rubbing (and I bought a new style of halter this year to try setting it up differently). They've both popped a zip tie here or there rubbing their face, but it was easy to just grab a new one and replace it. My biggest issue was actually them ditching the entire halter (THANKS SCISSOR SNAPS) but putting the fly mask on over the top seemed to nip that in the bud, and this year the halters have normal snaps so fingers crossed! I noticed both girls managed to enlarge the hole a little over time, but not to a point where I was concerned about their consumption. When they get dirty, you can just dunk the whole thing in a bucket and they dry really quickly! Cinna did finally rip her entire muzzle in half at the end of last summer, but the grass was pretty dead by then so I wasn't too fussed -- if I can get two years out of each one, it's definitely worth the investment! Even if I can only get a single year out of it, as long as I can keep restocking in Thinline's 40% off sale :) I have shared a few sales on this style on my personal FB page, and continue to recommend them to anyone who asks me about muzzles. I love them!

Fitting her new one this year. 

"Thanks, I hate it"

I got Ruby one of those halters with the fleece sections to hopefully prevent any rubs. 

(I mostly just wanted a photo of it all clean and new before she covered it with dirt and grass lol)

Round two of "Thanks, I hate it" from the bay mare lol. I cut the old zip ties and moved last year's muzzle to a new halter, since it still has some life in it. And that also gives me a spare breakaway halter, if I need it (I also need to find my leather straps, I know I have a pile). 

Price: 5/5 stars (They're pricier than the generic black webbed ones, but so worth it!)
Quality/Durability: 5/5 stars (considering how lightweight and flexible they are, getting a full two summers out of the first one was great)
Color Options: N/A (although wouldn't it be fun if they came in crazy colors that were easy to find in the field? haha)

Again, I was in no way compensated for this review. I received no free products. I bought these with my own money, and will continue to do so. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

WW: Spring Things (Plant Edition)

Oh good, we're back to inserting photos out of order again. Godammit blogger, we were on a roll! Anyway, enjoy some photos of the landscaping projects we worked on over the weekend!

Horses are starting their annual time out on the grass, beginning with an hour and working their way up to full overnight turnout. 

The gate for the backyard finally came in so we got that installed. 

If the fence wasn't blocking them I feel like this could be their noodle album cover, lol. 

DH got to take his fancy new mower for a spin! He is literally obsessed. It's hysterical. I'm equally as excited because now I don't have to mow grass, so win-win. 

He built me a little brick raised bed in front of the barn. I planted stargazer and calla lily bulbs, and I am going to get a trellis for some climbing flowering vines I grew from seeds this year (cardinal vine and hyacinth bean vine). 

Got all three of my hanging baskets up on the porch (inchplants on the outside one, calibrachoa in the center) and then my plant stand has bleeding heart, snapdragons, pansies, and more calibrachoa). 

The brick beds along the walkway have hostas and day lilies in them. 

My orchids are blooming like crazy too!

Four of them are in full bloom, and one that I bought in bloom last summer has a new spike with buds developing!

This cherry tree is the only one of.... 6? 7? trees that we planted last year that survived..... soo.... that sucks. Also, DH is VERY INVESTED in keeping it alive and hung deer off on it like a christmas tree, haha. 

but its blooming!

Salvia in the pot by the garage, because the hummingbirds LOVED it last year. 

And I dug another tub out of one of our sheds for these columbines. 

DH and the neighbor collaborated to rip out the barbed wire fence on the property line and replace it with 13 arborvitae. Fingers crossed they grow big and strong for a nice privacy barrier :) 

I didn't take an updated photo, but we ended up having to cover the edges of that mulch with old pavers from the driveway to the trailer so the MFing chickens would stop throwing the mulch everywhere. I hate chickens. 

One of my inchplants from inside. It was V V HAPPY indoors, I hope it is equally happy outside, because it was taking up too much space lol. 

Another one from inside -- not quite as prolific as the other one but hopefully it catches up. 

This planter got more calibrachoa and lobelia again, since that did so well last year. But I learned my lesson and planted far less of them, since they spread and spill haha. 

Added some hyacinth to my tulips down in the flag flower bed. They smell so good!

We had a bee friend too, haha. 

It's so funny to me because the first 10 years we were here I didn't really care about planting anything, and now it consumes a not-insignificant part of my spring! But that's okay, the difference is really night and day and I LOVE how our place is looking <3