_

_

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Reinstalling the Wheels


I had my first rides back on Apollo and Henry last Saturday in a lesson with ST. 

ST is very kind to let me split my hour between the two horses.  Which is great because they are both out of shape and Henry is recovering from pneumonia - so 30 minutes each is plenty.  The vet said Henry was ok to go back to work but to start slow and increase the cardiovascular work very gradually. 


 Good ponies <3


I started with Apollo and finished with Henry.  Apollo gets very antsy when he’s tied in the barn alone so it’s just easier (and I don’t have to hear the racket of him losing his shit) if I ride him first and then tie him in the arena when I ride Henry.  






Apollo has had a lot of time off!  I didn’t think I had ridden him since I got home from RK’s but ST reminded me that I’d sent her a pic of us riding so I guess I did at some point, I think when he first came home.  He was big into his hard-to-catch routine when he first got home that was followed by some tenderness so I would say he’s been off since the beginning of June (I know for sure I didn’t ride him after I broke my nose on June 10).  So about two and a half months off for him.  I’m sad to report that the saddle I was going to borrow/pay off from Coach D did not fit him (it was really crooked on him, not sure if it was him or the saddle but it was no bueno). 

He was a lot better than I expected in our lesson.  He was hot, sure, but he’s usually a lot ruder after that much time off.  His walk work was fabulous.  His trot was really nice in one direction and in the other (unbalanced) direction it wanted to be a canter really badly.  But no crowhopping or real shenanigans.  Our lesson was a reminder to me to half-halt and not pull.  When he’s hot I want to pull so badly but it just gets him more ramped up and gives him something to brace against. 


Beautiful sunset at the barn the other night






I rode Henry a few times bareback in July.  I was out of town twice and he developed a cough that later became pneumonia so I would estimate he had about a month off.  I ordered a saddle for him to try out but it sadly was too narrow. 

Too narrow in the shoulder but oh so pretty



I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous after being bucked off three times to not have stirrups.  I think the saddle fit was a big contributor to the bucking but I’m still uneasy (which is understandable).  He’s been fine about being ridden bareback, even after a month off.  ST said he looked a little bug-eyed at first but he didn’t do anything silly. 

This lesson was a friendly reminder that I can’t sit his trot to save my life.  I warmly welcome any and all tips to help me out with this.  I know I will improve as I practice more but holy crap my internal organs have been re-arranged yet again. 


Who knew the highlight of my show season would be trotting a baby horse over poles


In both lessons I really wanted to tip forward.  ST gave me a good tip to think about lifting my chin when things get a bit hairy (somehow that makes me sit up properly).  I also want to hike my legs up when I transition to Henry, so I’ll have to remind myself to have “longer legs” when I ride him second.  I haven’t ridden them back-to-back in a really long time… and Henry feels so small to me after I ride Apollo.  Apollo is like riding a smooth picnic table.  Henry is like riding a bouncy 2x4.

This combo lesson was really the catalyst for me deciding to quit my part-time job.  I was so happy to have had a positive experience on my first rides back but when I started thinking about when I’d be able to ride next… it would be a while.  And that just doesn’t work for me.  I want to keep building on our positive momentum.  I also get more nervous the more time off I have, so that does me no favors. 


I am really excited to see where we'll all be in a month!

Monday, 28 August 2017

A Life


I made an exciting decision today, I've put in my two weeks notice at my part-time job! 

Currently I work 8-4 Monday-Friday at my full-time job and was doing my part-time job as a gym receptionist about 20 hours a week.  I’ve been doing about 60+ hours a week for about 5 years (with a few breaks) and I am so beyond exhausted/burned out at this point.


Official soundtrack of quitting your part-time job


I’m really happy about it, although it is bittersweet.  The financial benefits of that extra income will be greatly missed (so long venti cinnamon dolce lattes).  It also means that an acreage this year does not look hopeful, as my extra income did make a substantial difference to what we were able to afford mortgage-wise.  But since the condo hasn’t sold it doesn’t really matter. 

But for the good – I will have SO much more horse time!  And I won’t feel so rushed all the time anymore.  A lot of times I would pop out to feed and brush Henry and Apollo between jobs (in the two hour gap between 8-4 and 6-10) and lately multiple construction zones on my usual route have made that incredibly annoying.  It’s also really hard for me to have a social life as when I do have free time I’m cramming so much into it. 





I am so excited to get more sleep (I am ++crabby) and to be a better horse owner.   This is going to be a bit of a transition for me as I’m used to being incredibly busy all the time.  One of my friends asked me jokingly today “What are you going to do with yourself now?”  and I answered “I don’t know, maybe try to have a life!”


Zzzzzz


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Acreage Hunters: Part Two + An Offer


I didn’t let a car accident, broken nose, horse pneumonia, and trips all over the country stop me from continuing to look at acreages!  Although I have to be honest, in our budget it continues to be sort of depressing/gross. 


The condo is still for sale and we will probably be taking it off the market for the winter if it doesn’t sell by October.  (Continued finger crossing on my behalf appreciated)



There are quite a few to recap!  Just a quick remind of my legends as referenced in the previous post:


Pricetag legend: 

$ - super affordable, like me working part-time affordable

$$ - In budget

$$$ - Would be a stretch, price would have to come down

 

Location legend:

& - super close, 30 mins and under to downtown

&& - drivable distance to downtown (30mins – 45mins range)

&&& - close to our maximum driving distance, which is 60 mins max from downtown

 

Acreage Number Five

Price tag: $$$

Location: &&&

Land size: 20 acres

Notes:  I found this property the moment it popped up online.  We booked an appointment with our realtor to see it right away (the price seemed very fair for the area, so we expected kind of a fixer-upper).   We found out that the sale was due to a divorce and the husband would likely be on the property.  And he was very angry that it was for sale.  He would only allow one showing a day. 

The angry husband was not present so that was a relief.  The house was a 70s build and looked nice on the outside.  The inside was disgusting.  It smelled like cat poop and had clearly not been vacuumed or dusted since it was built.  GROSS.  But good bones, so I tried to see past how icky it was in there. 

When we were in the living room we started hearing an echo on our voices.  I flipped up a blanket on the couch and we were being video RECORDED.  Like video/sound recorded with a tiny hidden camera in the bookshelf.  I was so mad.  That’s super creepy.  I was like, let’s leave now… but my husband convinced me to see the land.

Bird and homeowner are supervising you closely



The land was spectacular.  There was about 20 treed/fenced acres with a beautiful barn.

Ok… I guess I can handle that.  We strongly considered making an offer but hummed and hawed a bit as we knew it would be difficult for banks to finance over 10 acres.  In the end the second couple and third couple who saw it got into a bidding war over it.  
This property is now sold.



 

Acreage Number Six

Price tag: $$$

Location: &&&

Land Size: 10 acres

Notes: This house was so boring I can barely think about it without falling asleep.  It was 10 acres but was a long skinny piece of land, so the house was super close to three neighbors (like as close as houses in town).  The trees were incredibly dense and would have to be cleared for horses.  It just wasn’t for me.  Also I felt it was like 100,000 over-priced. So yeah no.

This house is still currently for sale.

My feelings on this property expressed by Spartacus


 



Acreage Number Seven “aka The Fun House”

Price tag: $$

Location: &&&+

Land Size: 6.5 acres

I was so freakin pumped to look at this place.  My husband’s main complaint about the little log house I liked was that it was too small, he didn’t mind doing work on a house but we needed more than 1000 sqft.  So I found this giant place (that was a little out of our preferred driving distance) but looked perfect in every other way.

When we pulled up there was a gigantic shop and I was sure he would be keen on it too.

Husband for scale



The inside of the house was not so good unfortunately.  It had an utterly bizarre floor plan and the floors were incredibly uneven (it was therefore dubbed “the fun house”).  I really wanedt to like it but the wonky floors and horrible floor plan were deal breakers. 

Is this the carpet from The Shining?



This house is still currently for sale. 





 

Acreage Number Eight

Price tag: $$$

Location: &&&

Land size: 4.8 acres

Notes:  We just tacked this one on after our showing of the “fun house” because it was like 1 km away.  I didn’t think the landsize would work and there were no photos inside (HELLO RED FLAG).

 

But surprise… the inside of the house was awesome!  Double attached garage and huge shop too.  We just couldn’t decide if we could make the landsize work for us because of the way the property was set up.  It was not fenced or set up at all for horses. 


#decent


This house was added to our maybe pile and we thought about having another look when we had more time (my husband was heading out to a camping trip so we couldn’t spend very long there).

 



Acreage Number Nine “aka My Heart House”

Price tag: $$

Location: &&

Land size: 10 acres

Notes:  I was OVER THE MOON when I saw this listing.  It was set up perfectly for horses and the house was adorable.  It had a huge quonset divided in half, one side was shop and the other side had two box stalls. I dragged my husband to see at 9am on a Saturday. 

 

I was home. 

<3



I had been really good about being more of a “bad cop” type on the other acreages we’d looked at (they mostly sucked so it wasn’t that hard).  When the realtor asked if we liked this place I honestly said this:

“I love it so much I want to live here forever, and then die here, and then be buried here.”

So yeah.  I guess you can tell that I liked it.

My husband thought it was OK haha.  He thought the house was a bit small (true) and the drive sucked.  He was more a fan of Acreage Number 8 (which was almost entirely on pavement and was more stylish and updated inside).

 


 


 

We decided to bring my parents out to give us their opinions on Acreage 8 & 9.

I figured they would side with my husband and be keener on Acreage 8, but they didn’t like it as much.  There was an addition the owner had done and they noticed some uneven spots, the owner was present for both viewings (which is legit awkward) and claimed to have nothing in the way of permits for the addition which is no bueno.

My parents thought Acreage 9, my heart house, was quite far away but did like the horse set up. 




They gave us some good notes and things to think about.

My husband and I talked about it and decided to make an offer on Acreage 9.  It would be conditional on the sale of our condo (which we didn’t think they would like).  Our offer was not accepted due to the condo sale condition.  But they encouraged us to come back again when it sold.  I checked every day when I got to work that the listing was still up.

And last week it was gone.  My heart house sold for 1000 dollars more than our offer.  What you are hearing right now is sound of my heart shattering.  It was dumb to get so attached to a house but I did.

 

 



We don’t have a whole lot of other options within our pricepoint/location/landsize restrictions.  So we will just have to wait.  There are three judicial sale/foreclosures that are for sale at the moment that we may explore further.  

If someone would buy the condo soon that would be swell.

 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Begin Again


After making the decision to send Apollo for some trail miles and then deeply regretting it…. We are starting again.


Do you ever just have those incredibly clear and simple thoughts pop into your mind?  My mind is usually jumping around all over the place.  I had one of these during one of my meetings with RK during Apollo’s “training”.  It was this:


“You just need to get your own wheels and take this horse on adventures.”





I noted it.  But I allowed myself to get distracted and pulled in by talk about how “dangerous” my horse was.


Apollo took a fair bit of time to settle in back home when he returned from training.  It took me quite a few weeks to be able to consistently catch him.  I could have sped that up a bit but it was right around the time I broke my nose and I just wasn’t in the best place mentally for playing the “hard to catch” game with him. 





Once I finally was able to get a leather halter on him - I was able to get his hooves trimmed (which were long overdue) resulting in some tenderness.  Now he is of sound mind and body and we can get to work together.


I haven’t ridden him yet since he’s been home from training.  I know he’ll be fine but I really wanted to be in a good place.  I find Apollo is a lot more sensitive to my emotions than Henry or Mystic.  After two fun (but stressful for me to be away from home as I’m a hermit) trips across Canada and one bout of pneumonia with Henry…  I’m ready J

Rolypoly... but we can work on that <3



Coach D has a western saddle that I can borrow/pay off slowly (thanks pneumonia vet bill) that I’m picking up tonight.  So we’ll have a few rides at home this week and then I have planned a short trail adventure for Sunday.  One of the silver linings of being a car accident is that my wonderful father-in-law has loaned me his truck so I actually have wheels to pull the borrowed trailer (since the transmission exploded on ours two months ago).  So I have a saddle, wheels, and a date with my friend C on Sunday for a trail ride at the mid-point of our barns. 




I’m going to plan a few more weekend trips for Apollo before it gets too cold!  I will take some lessons with ST to keep us on track.


So that’s the plan! 


I’ve actually found Apollo is better when I take him off property (wtf).  He’s exploring and really in his element, and totally rock solid quiet.  Like here for example.

One of my favorite days with him <3




When I trail ride at home he is constantly prancing/jigging, particularly on the way back home.  I am totally open to tips to help with this, as it’s not very fun for me to trail ride him at home.  So that might be off the menu for him until I get a better strategy.  We usually go out alone and he’s manageable (although it’s not exactly a barrel of monkeys), he’s much worse at home when another horse joins us.  I could pony Henry, who would undoubtedly be the most annoying pest ever, to see what he thinks of that.  Would love to hear some thoughts!  Will definitely ask Coach D and ST too. 


So far I have tried the following things:

  1. Riding him in the arena and tiring him out before trail riding at home (doesn’t work, trails at home are too exciting)
  2. Circling
  3. Stopping and making him stand
  4. Half halts
  5. Swearing
  6. Wringing my hands
     

I would totally welcome any suggestions on this! 



Monday, 21 August 2017

Lungs

If you follow me on instagram you know that Henry was diagnosed with pneumonia just over a week ago.


Holy shit.




He had a bit of a cough from the smoke about two and half weeks ago and it was improving daily.


Then on Tuesday (August 8th) he took a downward turn.  A girl at my barn texted me that he had a runny nose and seemed a bit lethargic.  I checked him after my shift at around 11pm.  His  temperature was normal but he way snotty and it was greenish.  The barn owners had just thrown in hay (the horses have been on straight grass for a while), I thought maybe it was a little dusty and inhaling it had caused some runny nose/greenish snot.  He had no temperature and seemed his normal self (although maybe a little more sedate than usual). 



On Wednesday (August 9th) he was similar but the snot was yellow… I made a vet appointment for Thursday (August 10th). 



I honestly felt super ridiculous about calling the vet, as he didn’t have a temperature.  But he just wasn’t right.  Turns out it was a good call - poor guy had pneumonia.  And he actually did have a slight temperature when the vets came out. The vet thought we were catching it quite early, which is a good thing.  I was given banamine for if his fever rose again and some "liquid gold" antibiotics to be given IM twice a day (which was super fun for a needle-phobic human like myself).



"Your Horse Has Pneumonia" Starter Kit (3/4 meds were for me)




I had a discussion with the vet on the following Saturday (August 12) with some good news.  He hadn't had a fever again since his appointment and seemed to be more lively.  I didn’t discuss him going back to work or what his recovery time would be like.  Honestly I just wanted him better and then would figure out the rest. 






The timing was not great (is it ever though?) as I was going away AGAIN to be a bridesmaid in a different province from August 17-20.  The vet and I agreed that if he continued to not have a temperature after his antibiotics were finished (on August 15) and seemed happy/healthy then I would be ok to go away.  I continued to take his temperature religiously.  


My flight was at 6am on the 17th and I got special permission to come to the barn at like midnight for one final temperature check before I left.  One of my barn mates agreed to look after him for me and monitor him closely (I OWE THAT WOMAN SO MUCH WINE).   


Good times




The vets theory was that the smoke irritated his lungs and that allowed bacteria to get in (also maybe a comprised immune system due to a bug/cold could have contributed).  I guess that makes sense.  It still seems a little strange to me that a young healthy horse could get pneumonia in summer (I pictured a senior citizen horse getting pneumonia in the -40 winters) … but now I know.  Apollo wasn’t affected by the smoke at all (and he has pink skin, is kind of old and is a delicate flower), which makes it even odder.   





What was amazing to me is how fast he progressed from having an occasional cough to having legit pneumonia.  It was terrifying to me as I know how serious pneumonia is.  Hug your horses guys. 



Through out the whole treatment process (read: amateur IM stabbing) he always whinnied at me and walked over.  Even on my last quick visit when all the horses ran away (even Apollo - traitor!) because of *stranger danger* in their pasture at midnight he came bounding over to me. 




<3




  

I hope to talk to the vet again this week to get "back to work" instructions for him.  I found out he destroyed the seat of the toro yesterday when it was parked in the pasture for 5 minutes (which is very Henry-like) so I think he's ready to do something again.


WTF YOU MONSTER



I'm still working on some updates and plans for Henry and his herd mates to share :)  Coming shortly!




Sunday, 6 August 2017

Afloat

I have lots of get caught up on here.  

Mostly I have just been trying to stay afloat through home buying/selling, car buying (to replace mine after the accident), saddle shopping (for three horses yay), family trips and bridesmaids duties.  The last two things are pretty fun, the other ones are not so much. 



Q-tip head has adventures







I’ll provide a little update for each equine and I’m hoping to regularly post weekly updates on each.


Henry

ST and have determined that Henry’s saddle was likely the root of the bucking.  He has filled out considerably and the saddle seemed to pinch in the wither area.  A saddle fitter confirmed this. 


Hunk of a horse




I wanted to have a big pout about it but decided to try to be brave and carry on doing something with him… bareback… again.  He's been a very good boy.  




I am on the hunt for something temporary (have a few leads) and am planning to book the Devoucoux rep out to help us.  Sadly the wonderful Equipe fitter I used previously passed away last month.  She was such a huge help to me and was very kind to Henry and I both.



 Dressing up like a Golden Girl  
(he was drenched from a rain storm and had a massage booked)




Henry is unfortunately under the weather with a  bad cough (due to fires in a neighbouring province creating a lot of smoke).  He had a week off while I was away for a family vacation and it developed during that time.  I’m treating him with Zev and it seems to be helping.  Since we ride indoors (bareback people like to stay where the ground is soft on their green baby warmbloods) I decided to just give him more time off, the arena isn’t super dusty but I’d rather err on the side of caution.  

We’ve been doing some light ground work just to keep him focused and doing something.



Apollo

After his disastrous month with the trainer's he decided to be very hard to catch.  He’s still a little sketchy but much better than when he first came home.  It took me longer than usual to get him trimmed (because I couldn’t catch him at all for two farrier appts) so he was a bit sore after I finally got him trimmed.




He is sound now and we are putting the wheels back on.  I haven’t ridden him since he’s been back but we’ve been doing groundwork and just hanging out together.  I feel a lot of guilt and regret about sending him for training with RK but I’m trying to stay positive and focus on what I’d like to do with Apollo in the future.



He also has no saddle (I sold it to pay for the training because I am an imbecile).  I have no qualms about riding him bareback in the interim as I hunt. 

I’m hoping to do some nice photos with him soon to celebrate 10 years together (which happened in June).

Maybe even nice than this one





Mystic

Mystic is my BAMF.  I can’t brag on my mare enough.  She was my first ride after I broke my nose and hasn’t put a foot wrong for me all summer.  




A deer jumped out right in front of her on my very first ride back and she turned her eye to me as if to say “We cool?”  And I’m like “We cool.”.  She shrugged and carried on. 



I did feel on our last ride that she was feeling just a bit uneven behind so I’ve booked a chiro to work on her.  She is also due for a trim next weekend so that may help too.



She also does not have a saddle.  (Yes that’s right, I have three horses and no saddles because I am ridiculous).  I ride her all over the place and it doesn’t phase me.  This is by no means my long term plan but for now we are managing.


A note on bareback hobo life:

I am working really hard to get my herd fitted with something that works well for each of them but due to lack of budget it may take a while.  I am doing my best to remedy this but with some unexpected expenses occurring recently I don’t know when we’ll get it sorted.  I feel frustrated and bummed out about this but I also don’t want to overextend myself financially either.  It has been pointed out to me that if I had less horses I could probably afford nicer tack (accurate) but that’s not on the table at this point.  Just trying to keep swimming and slowly chip away at this.

If my condo would sell and I could buy an acreage that would be very helpful in this area :P  Fingers crossed!



I’m excited to do some blog reading to catch up with everyone! :)