_

_

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Mare-a-thon

I spent most of my evening on Wednesday night with Mystic.  It was awesome.  I cannot wait to ride this sassy mare! :)

My baby giraffe




She had a pine tree and a tumbleweed in her tail....




Dat tail in action

A few shots of her loose in the arena 






HI MOM


She is 15.3hh now!  (I'm 6 feet tall for comparison)  Does she look tall enough for me??


This is us in January of 2013!  <3  Two years together!


I'm at home today instead of at the Learn to Drive Clinic because there was/is a crazy snowstorm with almost zero visibility on the highway I need to drive on to get out to the clinic.  I'm really disappointed to miss it :(  But the clinic organizer was very understanding (there were some other people who had to cancel as well).  I will be on the list for the next one, whenever that is!

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Peace, Carrots & Moolah

I have really enjoyed reading Lauren and Carly's recent posts about horse-related money management....so here is mine!



I consider myself very lucky to have a lot of support from my husband (emotionally and financially) when it comes to the horses.  

I pay all the horse bills myself but he picks up the important bills at home to allow me to do that (ie the big stinky mortgage).  I currently work three jobs to help keep up with horsey bills (one full-time and two part-time).  I really only need to have one full-time job but whenever I try to downsize something expensive happens so now I'm kind of afraid. 

I think what works well about our current situation is that he feels free to spend money on his hobbies because he knows that I spend a fortune on mine.  And for our current child-free life that's just fine!  I have been trying to keep my purchases to necessity only and I have been slowly purging/selling things I don't use.  I also actually have an emergency savings account for the horses now that I went without for many years (very bad!).  I was the worst for many years about buying whatever I felt the horses needed but shorting myself on other important things (dental care, new shoes etc).

In the future the ideal version of my life is that we would live on an acreage and I would work part-time.  I am crossing my fingers for an acreage in 2016 :)

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Mountains Beyond Mountains

First off - I’m finally feeling better! Woo!



There are some big changes for my herd coming up soon and some small changes on the blog. 
Mystic and Apollo move “home” on February 4.  Of course it’s a bit bittersweet but honestly I think it will make my life easier.  The only thing I don’t really like it that they are all in one gigantic field together so I feel guilty when they all head over and I only catch one.  But if that’s my biggest problem I think I can handle it.  

My whole herd is booked for an appointment with the bodyworker (who I love) on February 8th and I’m really looking forward to that.  I also have my Learn to Drive Clinic happening on Saturday.

As for the small blogs changes... Starting next week I will be occasionally writing about my rabbits on Mondays.  Monday Bunday!  I likely won’t do it every week but I’m finding they aren’t getting a lot of attention lately and I want to re-focus on them and spend more time with them.  

I really enjoyed reading recent posts from Lauren and Carly about how they manage horse-related expenses with their significant others and I’m working on a post of my own.  I'm catching up on a few blogs today and I'm sure there will be additional financial-related posts for me to check out also.  In happy financial news I have noticed that acreage prices in my area have been slowly decreasing due to recent events in the oilfield.  It would be amazing if 2016 could involve an acreage move for my little family.  

I was so happy to see Ginger looking lovely in her halter from my blog contest, that put a big smile on my face!  Check her out here.  :)

Here's a few random herd pictures from the weekend:

Handsome Mr. A 



Molly exhausted after a barn visit
  


Cute Henry




 Henry and his donkey homies




Monday, 19 January 2015

Under the Weather

For the last week I’ve been fighting a cold/flu bug that is absolutely awful.  It got worse on the weekend and I ended up lying on the couch woefully looking at photos of my horses on my phone for almost 100% of the time.  




Now that I’m feeling a little bit better but I feel so behind on everything.  The house is a mess.  I haven’t seen the horses in days.  My new 2015 fitness plan evaporated.  Ugh.  Probably time to drink a huge cup of coffee and stop whining.

In less than two weeks Apollo & Mystic move back to their previous home.  I have mixed feelings about the whole thing.  It will be nice to have the herd together and much closer to home.  It’s also less expensive.  I just can’t really shake feeling like a quitter.  

I'm hoping to get caught up on my reading other blogs tonight and hope to have some updates on my herd soon :)

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

What the Flock?!

Yesterday I decided that since Apollo and I won't be eventing that it was time to try to sell my DK saddle again at a local tack consignment shop.  I was hoping since it was flocked with wool in November that I might have better luck selling it.  Previously it had air panels.  I decided to consign my dressage saddle as well.  It also doesn't fit Apollo.  It fits Mystic but I could use the money towards buying BOT products etc. to help Apollo get sound.  I already have a western saddle on order for Apollo that should arrive end of January or early February.  It's suitable for trail riding, nothing fancy.  

The DK saddle was a huge mistake that I made and I have had very poor customer service on it since my purchase 7 years ago.  For the vast majority of time I've owned it I've been trying to sell it.  Read more about my thoughts and feelings on my "custom" saddle here.

The owner of the consignment shop started going over my DK.  She commented on the nice condition and how it might be easier to sell now that it was wool-flocked.  Then halfway through a sentence she paused...

"Have you ridden in this since it was flocked with wool?"  

I said yes, why? 

"Feel right here."  

There was a HUGE gap in the wool flocking.  The owner at the consignment shop said they wouldn't be able to put it out until it was fixed.  Because it would likely cause pain to a horse.  I was so frustrated about this stupid saddle and had inklings that it didn't fit quite right, even post-flocking when the fit looked better.  I pretty much was seeing red as I loaded it back into my car.  I was dangerously close to throwing it on the ground and driving over it.  Obvious the wool flocking issue is an error at the hands of the saddle fitter and I don't hold DK responsible for that.  The frustration I've experience from owning this saddle is beyond words.


Scumbag saddle will likely be buried with me because no one will ever want it.




I  sent a few venting e-mails to my husband and then I got to thinking.....

The first time I had a proper ride in the newly flocked saddle Apollo tried to buck me off. 

And after that he was tense and short-striding when I rode but looked 90%-100% sound on the lunge.  OH MY GOD.  THE SADDLE.   He might be a lot more sound then he feels like but the saddle is hurting him.  As the owner of the consignment shop suggested that it might cause pain to a horse, and I think it definitely hurt my horse.  I noticed in my recent rides in the DK saddle that his ears went back a bit and his head went up at the trot (not typical for him).  Usually his ears are pricked forward and his headset stays fairly similar to his walk headset.

I went out and rode him last night in my bareback pad.  He felt about 80% sound.  Which is a vast improvement from my last rides.  I noticed his ears starting to prick forward more at the trot then they have been lately. 

So yeah...

I feel absolutely terrible for riding him in that saddle and causing him pain.  I don't know that it's the full answer to our soundness issues but the change I felt last night was huge.

I found a new saddle fitter to fix the issues with the DK's new wool flocking.  Although the original fitter I used came recommended by a good friend this new fitter is a Qualified Society of Master Saddler and a UK registered Saddle Fitter. 

And I am going to ask her if I can be her apprentice. :)  For serious.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Let it Be


 "How wild it was, to let it be."  Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild)


I have a confession to make, letting go of my eventing plans for the summer has actually made me happier. I admittedly spent the first few days post-decision in a grump.  However, this last week I have had more fun than I've had a while.

All the pressure I was putting on myself about show season (I have to ride "x" times a week and ARG my horse isn't sound) has been lifted.  I have been enjoying my time at the barn again.  Heck I'm even enjoying my time away from the barn more!

I found time to see the Wild movie with one of my closest friends.  I've been struggling to carve time out for that for quite a while!

Reading Wild in bed with my pup.

My herd is doing really well.  I will be happy to have them in one place again soon!  I've been making some new plans for the summer with them.

I'm taking a "Learn to Drive" clinic at the end of the month and am doing a "Stretch, Strength and Posture" clinic in April.  I've left the dressage show in August on my yearly events tab for the time being.  I'm hoping to convince my instructor from the dressage barn come out and teach Apollo and I when he's 100%.  So we might still get out to a show yet, I will play it by ear :)

Apollo's warmest winter blanket isn't fitting him very well so I decided to pick up a new one.  I will remove the hood when he's actually going to wear it.  It's too warm for right now!



He is so bundled...I think he felt like this:



Mystic was given some new pink boots from a friend.  She thought they were pretty weird.


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Colorboards and Shownames for the Youngsters

I got a little bit bored at work today!  So I made colorboards for the young horses.  I thought I would also share this general nerding out post their future shownames.

Henry

Show Name: Repertoire 
His registered name is French and is difficult to pronounce.  This is a bit catchy and easy to say.

Preferred Color SchemeBlue & Gold (or yellow)

Theme: Royalty.  
The blue/gold combo makes me think of royalty.  And I like patterns that are royalty-inspired also.







Mystic

Show Name: Fiamma
It means "little fiery one" in Italian.  Which is fitting for her!  I wanted something a bit more unique for her.

Preferred Color Scheme: Purple & Silver (or gray)

Theme: Princess. 
I will try to restrain myself but she is first mare I've ever had so she will be wearing purples and pinks and be blinged out.  Within reason....hopefully.




I did these here, if anyone else is bored and wants an easy way to make one. :)

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Letting Go of a Dream

I caught the eventing bug when my Pony Club did some schooling days at a local cross country course. 

To be honest it scared the crap out of me.  But something about it stuck.

Blue and I, back in the day:

My sweet TB gelding, Blue, began having soundness issues after I graduated high school and it was a lot for a teenager to manage (financially and emotionally!).  He was eventually diagnosed with navicular and although with a new farrier and some Recovery EQ he was eventually sound for the remaining 5 years of his life...I never jumped him again.

When I graduated college and began the search for a new horse.  I think I unintentionally looked for the opposite of Blue.  Blue was athletic and although grumpy on the ground, he was a kind and careful gentleman with a rider onboard.  Blue was a more fine-boned TB and had a huge shark fin wither.  Enter Apollo.  He looked so sturdy and strong.  He had a bit of a stubborn/wild streak after being left ungelded and unbroke at age 8.  I was certain that this giant horse was my soulmate from the moment I set eyes on him.  I couldn't wait to do all the things I hadn't been able to do with Blue for so long...especially eventing!

And then life happened.  I had to put Blue down and took time off riding because I was a devastated wreck.  I hurt my back quite badly in car accident.  I had some terrible riding instructors that scared me off.  I had no money.  And I some point I stopped believing that I could do it.

Now after three months of soundness issues I have decided that Apollo and I will not be eventing this year.  My heart tells me that he just isn't up to it.  I will still be investigating the root of his lameness issues but I will be taking showing off the table.  If he makes some kind of miraculous recovery I will happily re-evaluate.

I have decided to move Apollo and Mystic back to my old barn (where Henry lives).  There isn't a lesson horse consistently available for me to borrow for my Wednesday lesson slot so there isn't much point to stay at the eventing barn.  I also think it will be hard on me around show season to see everyone else heading out to shows.  I have been there before with Blue and I don't really want to be there again.

Today at work I:
- Booked a hauler for February 1st
- Cancelled the vacation time I had booked for shows
- Gave notice at my barn
- Pouted excessively 

So back to hermit riding status at my old barn.  I'm still proud of myself for giving it a try and for taking lessons again.  I haven't decided yet whether I will continue to take lessons at the dressage barn or not.



I'm trying to see some of the positives in this crappy changes of events. So here goes:

1) My husband and I are talking about doing a trip in early April to somewhere tropical (now that I have vacation time and more funds available)

2) I have two young horses that I am REALLY excited about starting in 2016.  Like caps locks excited.  They have a great "big brother" who will pony them around and teach them a lot about being a good citizen.

3) I'm going to focus my energy on paying off debt and saving money.  My husband and I hope to buy a house by early 2016.  I tell myself that it will be an acreage but it will likely be in the city.  But you never know... :)

4) I'm also going to start saving for a trailer.  Which I'm supposed to be doing now but I'm not.  

5) Five horses that I know in real life (and a few more online) have passed away in the last three months.  Although Apollo is not 100% I truly consider every day with him a gift.  

Friday, 2 January 2015

Struggle Bus & December Goal Recap/January Goals

I'm trying really hard to work on my goals for 2015.  But I'm in kind of a funk.

I have been struggling in a big way with fear and time management.
 

Ever since Apollo threw a few bucks into our ride early in December I let fear takeover my brain.  I was afraid that I was hurting him/ruining him when I rode him.  I was also afraid that I was hurting him by not working him.  So I pretty much set myself up to feel like a failure no matter what I did.  

I was also afraid that I was going to get hurt and no one would be around to find me.  I let these fears paralyze our progress in December.  I had kind of a meltdown on Tuesday (that involved ugly crying while lunging Apollo).  I made myself ride and he felt fine and was a perfect gentleman...I felt a bit stupid for riding so little in December. He felt sound but still a bit crooked, I feel confident I can ride in January.  I tried throughout December to arrange a bodyworker to check him out but the holidays have made that very challenging.  I have a tentative appointment next week.

The struggle of working 50/60+ hours a week plus managing the care of three horses, two dogs, two rabbits, two cats and a husband (haha!) caught up to me this month.  I dont feel like Im contributing in a fair way to keeping our household chores (laundry/cleaning/groceries etc).  Im honestly so tired from managing everything else that when I finally get home I have no energy at all.  When I'm home I'm either asleep in bed or am a barely conscious couch lump.  When I'm at the barn I feel myself rushing and not enjoying myself.

Its finally come down to the ugly/honest truth that I will likely have to sell one of my horses. The way Im dividing my time right now isnt fair to anyone, I feel like I'm half assing everything.  



When Im at the barn I feel guilty that Im not at home.  When Im at home I feel guilty that Im not at  the barn.  I stayed up until some ungodly on Tuesday making a life schedule for myself.  I think that my new plan will help me use my time more effectively and help me juggle all my responsibilities.  Im going to give it a serious try this month and if it doesnt work I will have to make a plan for downsizing my herd (which makes my eyes well up with tears).

So that's where I'm at right now...


Now for a quick recap of Decembers goals and my new January goals.

December Goals 
1) Slowly increase Recovery EQ to full dosage by December 15thCheck! Although I did miss some days over Christmas we are on track now.
2) Mystic needs to go to groundwork bootcamp. Sassy pony is sassy. Check!  A big part of this problem is actually me (I found myself rushing a lot, if I keep that in check she
s fine).
3) Henry dewormed with QuestPlus then followed by a probiotic.  Not yet, decided to worm him at the same time as the other two in January.
4) Hand-walk and/or ride Apollo every day to keep him moving in this chilly weather (pending success of injections). I
m just going to say not complete and leave it at that.

January Goals
1) Stick to new life schedule.
2) Figure out 2015 goals.
3) Lose two pounds.  (Most recent weigh-in was 146.4lbs...goal is 144.4lbs and under).
4) Get Apollo a shoulder relief girth (with sheep skin).  Continue savings for BOT products with hopes to purchase in early Feb.
 

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Year in Review

I had a wonderful 2014!  This blog hop (thanks to Bit By Bit!) is a great way for me to look back over the last year and remember where I've been.  2014 was also my first year blogging!


January 
In January I only had one post!  I discussed my plans for the summer.  Some of those plans worked out, some not so much. 

February
I challenged myself to ride every day.  I wasn't able to complete this but it was a good jumpstart on riding and blogging more frequently.

Mystic completed a practical horsemanship test (through interdressage).  She made me very proud and we won second place :)

Here's our test:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHCsKwdaiSc&feature=em-upload_owner

March
I finally got a full-time job!  Yay!  This was great news and a huge relief.  I got a horrible cold and didn't make a lot of horse progress this month (other than some new plans for nutrition).  Although Henry did get an adorable new horseshoe coat:


April
This was the month before my wedding...so things were a bit crazy!  I posted my wedding photo inspirations.  I found out that Henry is distantly related to my old horse, Blue here.  Mystic turned two on April 28!

May
I married the love of my life on May 16 - woohoo!  The month was an absolute whirlwind.  I also had a few glitches in my plan to attend a clinic with Apollo after I arrived back from my honeymoon.  Apollo turned 15 years old on May 1 and Henry turned 2 years old on May 28 (didn't blog about this because of wedding craziness).

June
I spent 7 days in St. Lucia on my honeymoon which was absolutely wonderful.  I went to a natural horsemanship clinic.  And I debated attending a local show.  I also started working on my fitness with a personal trainer.  I went to a horse auction with a friend towards the end of the month, which I would later regret.

July
I decided to do the show (but it was later cancelled).  The young horses wore the bareback pad a bit and were starting to look really grown up.  Mostly just enjoyed my horses and worked a lot this month.

August
In August I had a soapbox moment about horse slaughter.  I had my husband take some updated photos of me and the herd.  My dogs got out of our yard and it was very stressful.  Apollo also struggled with some NQR-ness and Henry had his first proper bath.


September
Mystic and Apollo moved to an eventing barn at the end of September, which was a pretty huge leap of faith.  I competed with my husband in the Silver State Classic.



October
In October I adjusted to life at a new barn and worked on twopointober.  My start time was  2minutes and 5 seconds (+40milliseconds) and I finished with 5 minutes and 1 second.  Apollo had soundness issues (again) and I coped with life not going according to plan

I also celebrated my 29th birthday!
NovemberApollo had a lameness exam and fetlock injections.  Apollo was clipped and we tried to work through post-injection life.  I participated in a Physiotherapy Riding Clinic at the dressage barn I work at.  I had my custom air saddle reflocked with wool....and complained about it. I did my first ever blog giveaway (congratulations again T!)

December
I started taking lessons (on a lesson horse) at the dressage barn I work at.  Apollo's soundness remained questionable and he spent the month on light duty (ending January 7th).  I also took a lesson at my current barn on a lesson horse also.  I reflected on horses other than my own.

I celebrated a wonderful Christmas and New Years with my family this month! :)


Now to share my 2015 plans.... :)