Monday, February 28, 2011

Boo flipping hoo.

 I was determined that I would be at the show in April but since we will most likely won't even have a saddle by then we will be pushing to make it in May.  My patience is going to really be put to the test.  I have a horse I have a wonderful horse that likes to learn, enjoys dressage, jumping and is good at it but because of a saddle I pretty much have to just stand there and look at him in the pasture.  boo flipping hoo...I know I sound pitiful but really my patience is not well devloped so this is the real me.  But I guess that is the best you could ask for from readin my blog.  The real me.  I am disappointed, frustrated, annoyed and all I want is a saddle that fits my horse so him and I can enjoy working together. 

It was one thing for the weather to stop us.  I mean there is no way I can control that and even then I did everything I could to get out and any opportunity.  But for a saddle to keep me from my goals is just so frustrating to me.  I mean how is it that hard to find a saddle that doesn't hurt my horse?  I just want to keep track on our goals and our goal was to show in April.  So at this point I won't even have a saddle by then.  Don't get me wrong I am completely stoked about getting fitted properly and I don't mind riding western but I cannot to an eventing derby in a western saddle.

I think the biggest issue is that I NEED A GOAL.  Without goals I become discouraged and hopeless.  A goal is what keeps my mind working.  Otherwise I just start to get caught up in not having a goal.  An awful weakness but again this is who I am.  It makes me a very focused and driven person.  But without a goal it can quickly turn me into a downtrodden mopey person.  Well that is until I find another goal! 

Eureka I think I have it.  I am going to work in our western saddle toward the goal of showing in April.  Who knows maybe by then something may come up even if temporary but could work for this short time span.  Because really the most important thing is not about the show because that is the end result of the work but the important part is the work.  Because the bottom line is Steady needs muscule!  And I can build muscule in any kind of saddle or without a saddle.  So if my goal is just to get him and I fit then well that is a fantastic goal that will lead us to meet any other goals when this saddle problem is settled.

Ok so this post is kind of all over the place.  I started out in the middle of a pity party and throughout the process of the post worked myself through the ended on a good note.

Horse show, saddle search and tack stores...oh my!

Saturday was "MY" day.  Ain't nothing gonna get me down!  I have been all work and no play lately and I think the saying goes 'all work and no play makes Mama a grumpy grumpy lady', or something like to that effect.  So I planned my day Saturday and I was going to enjoy every moment.  I first headed over to Come Again Farm.  I originally planned to volunteer but with so few entries and working the night before that kinda fell by the way side considering I didn't even make it until 11 am.  So I just popped in to say hi to a few chums and meet up with my good pal to go to some tack stores.

Oh man it felt good to stand around talking to Eric and Lee Ann while watching horses warm up.  It was an exciting time with all the horses being pretty jumpy and there were a few "Mr. Toad wild rides" as Lee Ann called them.  Now we could all stand there with our noses in the air and make our judgements but not the CAF crowd.  And that is one reason I fell in love with eventing the people are so great and from what I hear this is pretty much across the board for eventers.  So instead of just gazing at the horse dancing around at the mounting block you lend a hand like Eric did and this is just the way it goes and I love it.  And second we all live in Indiana and the kind of winter we have had there was almost no way to have consistent riding time and all the horses we feeling good!  Though they had no problem making fun of me and the way I was dressed but I cannot say I blame them I was not dressed appropriately for the barn in February but since I was spending a majority of the day at tack stores then going to friends for dinner I kind of dressed for that but it made me look like a dooface at the barn.  Standing there listening to Lee Ann that woman is amazing in more ways than one but when it comes to being an instructer/trainer she has eyes that see things that most people just don't see.  Then her ability to convey that what she sees to the rider to get the correct response whether is be for the rider or the horse is a phenomenon.  WOW all I could think is I need to get here for lessons because that is exactly what Steady and I want and need...really she is amazing!

I had my eye out for a particular pair some of you may read Karen and Hampton from CONTACT.  I started reading her blog a long time ago and recently realized we would be crossing paths this summer at CAF.  I was excited to see them in real life.  So in watching people warm up for a while I think I picked them out but for fear of seeming stalker like I didn't introduce myself.  Sorry Karen.  It is weird sometimes I am extremely out going and others I have a hard time jumping out of my shell.  I just didn't know do you just go up to someone and say "hi, I read your blog and I have been searching and eyeing everyone here to find you and introduce myself".  It just felt weird to me.  But I did see them do one of their test and they are just a lovely pair.  She is obviously a fantastic, quiet rider and Hampton is handsome and has his head on straight espcially for his age.  I believe it was their first show together.

Then S and I jumped in my truck and headed to Buckaroo tack shop.  We were not suppossed to be buying anything and go figure I walk in the door and at the first rack I find a coat for me and decide to buy it.  Though I did need a coat badly and then when  I showed back up at the barn I could kind of redeem myself.  We looked around, sat in some saddles, looked at people boots, horse boots, blankets, pads, girths and cloths.  They were having good sales and they told us that they were going out of business :(.  So if you need a blanket for next year of some cute horse themed clothes or boots or lots of other stuff they are discounting everything.  It is primarily a western store so though fun it is not one of those tack stores that you cannot pull me from.  I bought my coat and left.  Ran back to CAF and grabbed some food.  Oh if you are ever there for a show the family they have do their concessions is amazing.  Their food is too die for.

Then we scooted off to Grand Champion Tack and Saddle to sneak in 20 min before closing.  And this is the kind of store I could spend $1000's in a bat of an eye.  But my primary goal was to try on helmets.  I have not yet ordered one because I wanted to try on some to get an idea of my size.  Lo and behold they had IRH!  I was so happy.  I thought for sure they would only carry CO and GPA all of which were not on my list.  Sadly the IRH's did not fit well.  They are made for round heads and well I guess mine is not.  Of course the CO fit lovely but I was not sold.  The JR8 was in my price range but I was not happy with the harness on it.  But she showed me one they had just got in.  It was and IRH elite I belive but I cannot find the exact same one online anywhere.  But it does look very similar to this but it was suede and this one appears not to be.  It did seem to fit more oval type heads and it seemed to be a perfect blend of traditional show helmet and sporty eventing helmet.  So though it was bit higher in price it would eliminate the need for a second vented, sporty helmet.  But they did not have my size in stock so I couldnt get an exact idea of the fit.  They should be coming in soon so they are going to give me a call when they do.  If that doesn't work I may be going with a CO skull pro.

Then lastly the saddle issues.  That was another problem I wanted to get some more answers for that day.  So asking around at CAF Lee Ann said she was having a saddle fitter come in for a clinic in April!!!!  The saddle fitter is not brand specific which is exactly what  I wanted.  So I am making plans to be there with Steady on April 30/May1.  And we have decided to go western until then if the weather cooperates enough to even ride.  But I have decided I am just not comfortable riding him in that saddle anymore because I know it is hurting him.  Phew I didn't mean for the post to be this long but it was a great day!!!  Thank you sooooo soooo much for all of your help in the saddle and shopping dilemas.  I am still on the hunt and still would love all the tips and advice you want to send my way.  Then come April we will be as perpared as one can be.

Then the day ended at a friends for dinner and that was just lovely.  It was "MY" day and it was a great one.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

This may just bore you, but please come help dress me.

Sorry if this is super boring but it is what is on my mind and well that is why I blog is to but my thoughts and experience on paper.  It's not really paper but you get the idea.  These things are on my shopping list.  I have this "fantastic" new job and now it is time to start spending some of that hard earned money on the things I want/need.  So here is the list.

First on my list is going in the mail today.  My Indiana Eventing Association membership along with my Hoosier Horse Park cross country schooling armband!

Second I can thank Team Flying Solo for this one.  A good show helmet. 

mmm...I love this vest.  It not only is the exact color of my truck but it represents, to me, become a real life eventer.  It also means I have to cross country school any chance I get to make it worth my while!

I would like some input on my saddle choice.  My trainer has a black adjustable tree Fletcher Henri De Rivel coming in March in 17 1/2 which will probably fit me.  She can also get good pricing on any passoa's.  That price is where I am leaving my budget.  If I cannot find a nice saddle for $1200 that will fit both me and my horse I may as well just give up eventing now cause that is just silly.  I decided I am more comfortable going new than used.  My thinking may be off on this but all I keep thinking is leather and padding are both things that stretch and form to horse and rider.  So if I go and buy a used saddle I am just buying a saddle that is perfectly formed for someone but not me or my horse.  So I would rather buy a lower end new saddle than a high end used.  That way it can conform to ME and MY horse!  Also I am going with a jumping saddle because I can do dressage in a jumping saddle but I cannot jump in a dressage.  And I cannot afford both right now.  My goal will be to get a dressage saddle next year.  Since the highest we will go this year is BN anyways.  I am leaning toward the Fletcher because I love the idea of the black jumping saddle and just think I will only need one show bridle!  Well and I am kinda drawn toward black in everything in my life.  Maybe there is a goth side to me I don't know about.  So what do you think is the best buy for my budget as far as a good jumping saddle?

Then that will mean I need a new bridle, reins and bit but I will be doing more research on that when the saddle decision is final.  But bridle suggestions are welcome.  I don't know much about them I have pretty much mostly ever ridden in a regular old english bridle with braided reins and a broken snaffle bit.  Beyond that I am pretty clueless.  If any of you want to share your bridle wisdom or have a post about bridles and the like I would love for you to jump start my education on them.

I am on the look out for a saddle pad the same color as my XC vest.  And also jump boots for Steady in that color.  Then we will be bonafide eventers.

I also need a white pad for dressage but that that is pretty basic and not going to be hard to get my hands on.

Also need help on breeches.  I HATE high waisted breeches!  I am much better built for low rise pants.  So I do hate the idea of buying online when it comes to breeches or any clothing really because I want to try it on.  I am headed to a tack store this weekend to window shop maybe I will find one I like and can then find a good deal on them on the web.  But what do you think about black breeches?  Like I said before I am pulled to black but should I go with black for showing?  I could do a dark taupe too.  Either one.  I will also be on the hunt for a good white breech.  I like full seat but not a must for me but I would like to find budget friendly but it looks like I will be spending a good $90 for each pair.  I may also be on the look out for a good inexpensive schooling breech.

Then there are shirts.  I want a cute sporty looking eventing polo.  I like the moisture-wicking ones but do you have a favorite shirt you like to show in for cross country.  I also need a good show shirt and collar for dressage.  Then I will be set for my first show of the season in April!

That is all we need and this will be exactly what we look like out there.....
hahahahahha!!!  Ok maybe not just like that but we will look cute going over our 2'6"!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

See being lazy does have it's benefits.

We haven't been intentionally lazy but we have not been able to do any work with this amazing(insert eye rolling here) weather we have been having.  Remember that crazy wind?  Wel that kept up for two days.  The good news is that wind really help dry up the post 3 inch ice layer turned soggy, muddy mess.  It is still wet and muddy but not near as bad.  The horses were sinking up past their pasterns in mud.  Now it it doesn't even cover thier hooves!  Though it is raining as I type but I am ignoring that because yesterday was too lovely to care about any yucky weather.

We celebrated my daughters 6th birthday yesterday.  We went to a small kids science museum with our good friends then out to lunch.  The sun was shining all day and every time I looked out a window from the museum I couldn't help but pout a little I wasn't riding.  But with good planning and my friend offering to keep the kids for a few hours and my husband wanting to take a nap all the stars aligned and it was 4:30, the sun was still shining and about 45 degrees(which feel lovely btw).  No jacket necessary!  I have to admit after our ride the other day I was crossing my fingers that it really was just the wind that made Steady so naughty but in the back of my mind I couldn't help but worry that this was not a one time thing.

Well we got out to my "arena" and found the least muddy area to ride.  Started with lots of walking.  He was not thrilled and semi distracted.  He has kind of lost his interest in working.  He has spent so much time "just being a horse" the last couple months that I think he is becoming accustomed to it.  Then we started to trot.  His head was high he was huffing from being out of shape and he was obviously NOT into all of it.  Speeding up when we were trotting in the direction of the barn/pasture/horses then becoming resitent as we would turn down the long side away from the pasture.  Generally being a goober and making it clear he didn't want to be there.  So we just worked some more.  I was getting very little response from him.  His head was high his trot was all strung out and all over the place and he was very forward.  One thing I rarely have to concern myself with is him not having energy or being forward and for that I ma very grateful.  These are all things we have dealt with in the past but in the past I have really struggled to find a solution without getting frustrated.

This brings me to the title of this post.  So this break we have been forced to take almost feels like it set a reset button inside of me.  I think it has to do with starting out not knowing anything and creating a few bad habits.  Then I started lessons and some things started to click but I still struggled with those bad habit popping up.  Yesterday as we were going around and not getting what I was wanting those "voices" that I spoke of in my last post started speaking up.  One said "get your hands out of your lap", one said "put your feet back", one said "sit on your seat bones' and one said "sit up straight and lean back" and BAMM!!!  Steady rounded under me relaxed at the poll and started feeling for contact.  The rest of the ride was like night and day.  We didn't go long but we got in some great work.  By the end he was starting to sweat and he even had a foamy mouth something I have NEVER seen on him before.  It was amazing!  I felt like we were really doing dressage!  Not just riding around in circle trying to look like we were. 

I think the time away really did help ME!  I don't know about Steady but obviously he is not the real problem in this relationship between me+Steady+dressage.  Like I said before it is like someone hit the reset button on my brain and all that goofy stuff I struggled with kinda went away and all the training that I put all that time and money into came to the surface!  And this whole time we have had all this time off all I kept worrying about is that Steady was going to forget everything and in reality is was me that was the issue, once again.  I came inside and woke up Ryan from his nap and said "you know if I got to do that more often I would be a much happier woman!"  Though not riding has been beyond my control it doesn't help the side effects of not riding, they are still the same.  We should come up with a name for equiseneglectioso syndrome: Symptoms; extreme moodiness, sudden onset of depression like symptoms, yelling at people for no appearant reason, staring out the window with a dazed look in the eyes and over all grumpy demeanor.  Cure; horse+sunshine and repeat as needed.

A friend said the other day ""All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me all day."   That is more true than non-horse people realize.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Going with your gut.

I am talking about those tough choices we have to make on an almost daily basis when it comes to these big beasts that are so closely tied to our heart strings.  I generally think going with your gut is probably the right choice but sometimes our gut steers us wrong and that make us doubt those gut feelings that we get.  So then our internal arguement begins.  We have all been taught by probably more than 1 or 2 or even 3 trainers in our lifetimes and I always say ask a 100 horse people get 100 opinions.  So we were inevitably taught a 1000 things a 1000 different ways with 2000 different solutions.  And even if we have not been professionally trained by multiple people we have still gotten plenty of solicited and unsolicited opinions.

So the war begins...go with your gut or go with what so and so said one time?  What about what so and so said, maybe that would help?  Hmmmmm and if I did that then what should I do after that??   I mean so and so seems pretty smart and they said to do this.  Now I know one time someone told me to do _______.  Ugh it is a never ending battle that we all deal with.  Or at least I hope I am not the only crazy one that fights with themselves.  Uh Oh my true colors are starting to show.  Now you may be thinking..."is this lady bi-polar" but that has not yet been proven(nor disproven I might add).  But this is what goes on in that little head of mine on a very regular basis.

Yesterday was on of those occasions on whether to go with my gut feeling or go withone of the many things  I have been taught over the years.  See it has been cold here.  Not just brrrr cold but like ouch cold.  We are talking temps like -10 degrees cold and that is not factoring in the windchill.  And don't get me started again about the ice.  Well this week we got this pleasantly refreshing burst of warmer temps.  It took the first 5 days of decent temps just to melt the ice but the warmest day of all was yesterday and it was also the first day the ice was gone which made it finally safe to get on a horse.  Now I don't want to complain because the high temp was 67 degrees!!  But the WIND oh my!  It was terrible.  I didn't realize just how bad it was until I got out to the side yard on Steady's back.  The wind would gust up to 40 mph.  Steady would be walking along and a big gust of wind come and he would stagger to keep his balance.  But I was determined we could deal with the wind.  So I persisted.  Then the mud!!  Oh the mud!  It was awful.  There were the occasional good steps but mostly hoof sucking mud.  But I was determined and we were gong to just deal with the mud.  But then everyone started going banana's.  I think it was 95% the wind that had them in a frenzy but the other two in the pasture were running the fence line and whinnying.  Steady didn't pay much attention at first but after a few minutes of it that is all he could pay attention to.  Well that and every branch that was blowing and the neighbors horses and the wind blowing.  Well pretty much everything except me.  He was prancing and hoping and speeding up and slowing down, flipping his head and all sorts of shinanigans.  My gut said "get off of this horse as quickly as possible".  Then my heart said, "awwwww but I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaally want to ride".  Then my mind says, "you may want to hurry or you are going to die!".  Then my first trainer I had said, Don't you let that horse be the boss.  Then came, if you let him get away with this stuff now you will only pay for it next time.  Then, "Are you really thinking about rewarding him for acting like a fool?".  Then I started to convince myself that continuing was what was best so we did a few more laps and then he tried to bolt like he was coming out of the starting gate.  I think Snappy the little stinker he is challanged him to a race.  So I pulled him into a spin.  Just trying to hold him back felt like he was at any moment going to rear and that is not what I wanted to happen.  All the while the wind is still blowing 30 mph.  And don't forget the mud that adds another fun aspect to the whole situation.  I then at that point decided to come up with a plan of action.  A compromise of sorts.  I was getting off of this horse no matter what so my gut won this one, BUT I was not going to let him think it was his idea at least.  So after our little spinning episode we walked our but right over to the fence line which made him very happy until he realized we were not going there to take on Snappy the mini in his race challange we were going over there to walk nicely and then turn right back around and head back to the arena.  We went around about 2 more times and stopped in a moment that he was moving ahead willingly.  Oh it never felt so good to get my feet on solid ground!  Our ride lasted all of about 10 minutes but they were 10 terrifying minutes.  I feel that I appeased all my training demons but also kept myself intact.  In the moment though it is all whirling so quickly through my head and it is hard to seperate it all.  These types of situations happen almost daily with horses and it is no wonder all horse people are crazy!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Have you ever ridden Steady bareback?

A friend asked me today on facebook and my response I thought you guys might enjoy.

ouch! yes, I try not to but sometimes I will. Mostly just walking though. But one time at a horse show I entered myself unknowingly in a ride-a-buck class. My friend told me it would be fun. She said that we had to put a dollar under our leg and whoever kept it there the longest got all the money. She failed to mention it was BAREBACK! So they called out walk, trot and canter and the goal was to keep the dollar between you and the horse. My personal goal was to keep my butt from hitting the ground!! Though I never actually got him to pick up a canter he flew around the ring in his fastest trot instead which is way worse than if he would just canter. We actually did pretty well and I was impressed. I think we were third to last left in the arena. I guess when your goal is just to not fall off and you basiscally made it to third place then you are doing good.  My motto should be set your sights low and you won't be disappointed. That would be a terrible title of a self help book but has worked well for me and Steady.

But riding Steady bareback is the worst version of a wedgie one can imagine. It is a spine wedgie repeatedly administered with incredible force. To say the least it is not fun and you are sore for days. Though I can only imagine the way that Steady would describe the experience. Probably something like. "Hey Moonlight you know that lady that gives us food? Well seriously has she ever considered weight watchers! I mean why would someone insist on climbing on my back with absolutely no padding the force me to run around in circles while they repeatedly slam their fat ass directly onto my spine??! These people are idiots!"

Friday, February 11, 2011

Riding for the love of riding.

I made that statement at the end of my last post and it sent my mind into a place in time in my life when things were much different and horses were the only thing that mattered to me.  When a halter and a lead rope were the only horse accessories I had or even cared to have.  Go back even farther than that and when ever my Dad brought our horse out of his pasture I would stand there and beg for a ride even after I had already had one or two or three.  A time when conformation and proper training didn't really matter to me.  Or even better I didn't even know the difference.  But then I got edumacated and found out that all that wasn't good enough.  That is really kind of sad.  I hope that I never forget where my love for horses started because then I can always remind myself that if I have my horses then the rest of that "stuff" doesnt really matter.

So way back parents had horses before I was born.  We lived on 18 acres in the country in southwest MI.  We had very little money but none of that ever really comes to light until later in life when you look back.  Because as a little girl I didn't care about anything except for playing outside in the woods with my best friends, Winjan (our arabian gelding, who was voice trained to walk, trot and canter but had a wild streak to say the least) Silver Bullet (my goat and trusty side kick) and Amos(our geman shepherd mix).  With those three in my life nothing else really mattered to me.

I wish I had a picture handy of Winjan but next time I go to my parents house I will be sure to come home with some pictures of our times together.  I did everything with those animals.  On a beautiful summer day I would wake up and pack a lunch in a little canvas gym bag.  I would run out and put that gym bag on my goats(Bullet) back and the arm loops around his legs (hey I was young and resourcful).   I would jump on my horse and take off for the woods.  See Silver Bullet followed me EVERYWHERE I went.  Whether I was walking or riding it didn't matter if I went, he followed.  So I guess you could say I used him for my little pack  There were miles of trails and fields and country roads that we frequented.  But our most frequented and my absolute favorite trail was about a 2 mile trail back to a small little lake.  I could catch the trail at the edge of our field and it was usually kept pretty clear.  I think just by neighbors that walked it frequently.

I can go through the trail step by step in my head.  Every smell, every tree.  Each hill and all the animals that would scamper by, inevitably spooking my goofy horse.  I can remember the extremely narrow parts of the trail that for a walker were suited just fine but for my (probalby ALWAYS overweight) horse and me would sometimes end with some scrapes and briuses.  I have a scar to this day from cantering that exact trail and my horse ramming my leg into one of those said trees.  It was a beautiful winding trail.  Mostly wooded and going up and down hills. There was one area where it turned into all pine trees.  You could smell them before you even approached them. Then once through the pine trees it opened up into a sunny grassy area for just about 50 feet with a few young sumac trees in the midst.  Each year made for new obsticles depending on which dead trees had not made it through another harsh MI winter.  That gave us ample opportunity to try out our jumping abilities.  Abilities that consisted of running and grabbing a hunk of mane a flying.  I distinctly remember deer legs hanging from trees on the trail.  I am not sure what that was all about but I am assuming the hunters had a reason behind it.  For me there was not a need to have the trail marked even in the early spring months when people hadn't yet been out to clear the path I could find my way.  I knew that trail like the back of my hand.  When you finally made it to the lake it opened up to a wider trail on a hill looking down to the lake.  Now this lake was not clean enough to swim in.  Though that would have been nice but it was pretty to walk around and to walk down to the edge to see the frogs jumping and playing.  If you turned left coming out of the trail it would take you down to an open area with a small pier going out into the lake.  If you turned right it went up a hill and at the top of the hill with the lake to your left it opened up into a small field completely surrounded by woods with the sun shining through to break up the shaded, shadowed life of the forest.  It was something out of a book.   I believe it was a hay field and often grown up with clover to my knees.  This made Winjan a happy little horse!  I would find my perfect sunny spot in the middle of that field with my horse grazing near by and sit with Bullet to eat my lunch.  I always packed enough water to share with Bullet.  On one side of the field there were always bee hives buzzing with bees though the bees never seemed to care that we were invading there field.  After a nap in the afternoon sun depending on how we were feeling we would either head over to the much larger hay fields on the other side of the lake and take a gallop or head back down the trail.  Never in a hurry but taking in everything around us to eventually make our way back to reality...Until tomorrow!!  This was what made me fall in love with horses, riding and country life in general.  There are many people who wonder why I would choose to live where I do and how I do because of the expense and work even my husband doesn't "get it" but if you had those types of experiences on a daily basis as a child you too would feel that no other life would or could even be satisfactory.  If I can provide even a fraction of that experience for my children then I have done them a tremendous favor!

Man just the trip down memory lane has made my heart yearn to go back.  Maybe not back just to that trail but to those simple, care free days just one more time...

Not much to write about.

This photo has nothing to do with this post.  It is just so much nicer to see picture than just words in a post.  This was last fall after a long drought filled summer.  So everything is dead but this is our pasture with 3 of my 4 lovelies.  Blaze is hard to get in the picture since he spends most of his time with the goats.  Our property goes back to that treeline you see in the distance.  So though I may not have every ammenity in life when it comes to my horses I am pretty damn lucky to have this out my back door!!!!
So I haven't had a whole lot to write about.  The horses are getting out during the day now,Yay!  It has been so wrechedly cold outside that my interaction with the horses has been.  Feeding, turning out, cleaning stalls, bringing in, feeding, give them a kiss goodnight and run back inside before an appendage falls off due to frost bite.  Good news on the horizon it seems, with temps rising into the 40's this week.  Though it may turn terrible footing into bad footing.  We shall see.  I know there will not be any cantering in our near future but maybe some nice trail rides.  I need to ask some neighbors around this area to see if they will let me ride on their property.  I don't how people are about that these days though, so we will see.

I think I will take some time with Moonlight to check all is still working with him as far and go, stop and turn buttons but as long as everything checks out I may take my daughter out on a trail ride.  Even the though of it makes me nervous.  The last trail ride I went on with her was when that little girl had that terrible spill.  It is not scarey for me to get back up after that but I for some reason feel I am subjecting my daughter to unnessecary danger.  So maybe a trail ride will not be coming this week but maybe a nice leisurely ride in our "arena".

Speaking of our "arena" I put it into quotation marks because it is not completely fenced in.  I have plans though as soon as the ground thaws to finish fencing it off.  I don't see the money coming in for the footing as of now but I will feel much more comfortable having it fenced in.  Right now it has 3 of the 4 sides fenced in so I only have a section about 200 feet long to fence off.   My plan is to make a 40x20 meter arena.  I have the space for that and I figure I can practice dressage tests just fine in the size.   I mean we have the space for any size arena I would want with 15 acres but the space that I want to put it is probably about a 200 foot square.  It is right next to the house, close to the barn and easily accessible.  I have been riding there for a year and the drainage seems to be pretty good.  There are a few low spots but not so much that they flood.  It is right next to the back yard so I can watch the kids play from the arena.  My dream arena would be first graded, then proper footing laid(a mixture of rubber and sand) then fenced in with the same beautiful board fence that our pature has.  Buuut in reality my arena will be a fenced off area using corner posts, t-posts and a mesh fencing with an entrance gate.  That will be a grassy area that the footing will be hit or miss depending on the weather.   I am just happy and content to have my horse in my back yard to play with any time I please and just riding for my love of riding.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Yesterday the temps reached 37 for a good part of the afternoon so after about 5 hours the ice was FINALLY breakable by the horses weight.  It was about 10 pm when I finally felt comfortable enough for them to be let out.  I would not have done it if I were not confident that the ice was breakable BUT I was still very very nervous that they were going to do something stupid because of all that pent up energy.  It was exactly 7 days since they were last let out. 

I was not even sure that I was going to make it the 15 feet from their stall to the pasture alive.  Everything even the shadows because horse killing monsters and  they were all over the place.  I finally got them all out and they of course went crazy.  Kicking, rearing, bucking and all sort of shenanigans.  They were mostly trying to kill each other.  I was watching them and thinking that horses are no different than humans in the fact that they take out there frustrations on those they are closest too.

There was no way I was going to fall asleep knowing all that was going on out there so I pulled my truck up facing the pasture.  Turned on the headlights and babysat them until about 1 am.   At that point they finally returned to life as usual.  Hanging out by the round bale, munching.  They now have been out from 10 pm to now (3:30) and I will leave them out until this evening when they will go in for the night.  The temps are dropping very low again so I like to bring them in when it is that cold at night.  I am crossing my fingers that the temps dropping doesn't turn the pasture back to solid ice.  Oh I hope it doesn't.  Low 17 tonight and 6 tomorrow night...I personally think Puxatony Phil was lying.  The 10 forcast is looking promising for next week though!!!  Low to mid 30's all week and sunny!!!  Not only will the horse be out but I may even get a chance to ride!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 6 and counting...

Ok this video was taken on day 5 I tried to post it on day 6 and had all sorts of problems with the video so it is officially day 7.

I have never had a horse on stall rest let alone a barn full of them.  I makes me nervous wondering how long this is going to last.  Monday evening the horses were put into their stalls because of the ice storm that was headed our way.  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday these storms made their way through so no one put outside for those days.  Then the result of all these storms was the ground literally being turned into a huge ice skating rink.  EVERYTHING is solid ice!  There are places where the ice is 6 inches deep!  All I can see is the vet bills and injured horses when I look into the pasture.  I would say there would be a good chace someone would end up with a broken leg.  It just is not safe.

So here we are day 6 and they are still in thier stalls.  Moonlight and Snappy seem little phased by the whole thing but Steady on the other hand.  That guy is going bonkers.  All of his old track habits that have slowly dicipated since I have owned him are rearing their ugly heads.  I really wonder how long he can take it.  My horses are used to 10 hours turn out a day minimum.  And that is only winter months.  They are out 24/7 8-9 months out of the year.

I took this video yesterday on day 5 but I thought you could see what I mean about Steady kinda going bonkers being pent up.  I love this guy though.  I feel like he is trying to use his body language in any way he can to communicate that it is time to go outside.  He is such a brilliant guy.  I hate turning around and walking out but I have no other choice at this point.  Trust me if there was ANYTHING I could do it would have been done.

I was asked by some friends on fb if I could just hand walk them.  That is not an option.  It would be just as sensible to take your horse to Rockafeller Square and send him out in the ice skating rink.  Now who would be that stupid??  Even if you were leading them I don't think it would have any chance of changing the out come.  So here we are day six and going bonkers.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

9 years ago...

9 years ago on Feburary 2nd 2002 Puxatony phil emerged and saw his shadow.  Also there was an ice storm in NW IN/SW MI which left the snowy ground and trees covered with a shiney coat of beautiful ice.  As if God was just putting his finishing touches to make it the perfect winter wonderland.  It was also the day I walk down the aisle arm in arm with my Daddy and married the man of my dreams.  I was inspired by Kristen at Sweet Horses Breath with her last post about those whose passion and love for the equines in their lives felt it neccessary to make them a part of that unforgettable day when you make your vows.  I, at the time, recently out of college had no horses in my life but that did not stop me from making sure that I could have every thing I love be a part of this day that would change the rest of my life.

Some have limos meet them as they leave the church as onlookers wave goodbye.  Others have facy sports cars none of which were appealing to me.  So our form of transport was a  horse drawn carraige slowly troting down the street as we wave to onlookers.  A white horse pulling a white carraige amidst the back drop of shiney ice covered snow and the little white chapel where the days events had taken place.  It all made for the picture perfect day!  A day that will always be so dear to my heart as the perfect day to marry the man I love.  I am going to share some of that day with you.


It was a day out of a story book.

PS  Sorry abou the quality in the photos.  I had the best photographers on the planet (My Dad is a professional and so is my b-i-l plus 2 other photographers plus a videographer were there that day)  That is what happens when your parents are professional photoraphers they go a bit  But these were the days before digital was full blown...wait does that mean I am old??  So the photos are scanned in so I lost the wonderful quality.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hunkered down in east central Indiana.

We got about 1/2 of ice last night which caused no damage.

 Other than the fact that I had to keep the horses in their stalls for 24 hours straight and it will probably be at least 48 until they get to see the light of day again.  It is just not pretty.  My pasture...

yeah solid sheet of ice.

Alot of it looks like snow but take a step and it is like an ice skating rink.

The worst is yet to come.  1/2 to 1 inch of ice is starting now.  That means no power for us which means no water and of course no heat.  The water is my biggest concern though.  I have the trough completely full which I can use for filling buckets.  I also have 5-5 gallon buckets full for back up.   This happened 6 years ago and we did not have power for 4 days.  It is hard to think how we will manage if that happens again but it will be much easier now that I do not have a little new born and a 1 year old.  The kids can now keep warm better since they are older.  And we will be driving to the gas station down the road if we run out of water for the horses.  So glad we have my truck to help out with those types of tasks. 

Doesn't she look ferocious with her ice teeth?

One thing the ice does do is make for some pretty cool scenery. 

I love these individual blades of grass covered in ice

Our very droopy pine tree.  You can normally walk under the bottom branches that are now touching the ground.

But lots of ice and very strong winds makes for some dangerous conditions.  So the horses are tucked into their stalls though antsy for dinner and wondering why I am just standing there when they hungry.

Blaze has a demon eye going on but I swear he is the sweetest animal to ever walk the face of the earth.  A pregnant Bubbles(awww tiny goat babies) in the back and little Louise and her fluffy self.

Kisses is my chore buddy.

 and we are snug in the house.  After going out and doing chores and snapping pictures there is nothing better than coming in to this....

and this.
Really though ice is scary.  When you are laying in bed and every couple seconds you hear limbs snapping hitting the ground and your house you just don't know what you will wake up to.  I guess we will see what this will bring.

Thinking out loud.

I am taking MuddyK's advice and thinking out loud so I can see on paper what I want and so you can get me thinking in directions I may not see.

What is my idea of the type of barn I would like to have.  Ideally I would like a 10 stall barn with a small indoor arena.  But that is not neccessarily what I mean by what type of barn.  My ideas of the type of barn or environment I would have if I took on boarders.  I would like a nice, clean, safe place for horses and a family type environtment for the owners.  They will know that I will be the primary care taker of their horses and will treat them as if they were my own.  I would mostly like to board beginners adults/kids to amatuers adults.  Discipline not really an important thing.  Though I would like to have a 3-4 acre cross country course for myself and/or any eventers that may board.  I will also have a 60x120 meter outdoor arena.  We will have 3 2-3 acre pastures.

I have gotten a price for shavings by the truck load before but do not remember what the price was.  There is a local amish saw mill that you can buy shavings from.  As for insurance we have a farm insurance right now that covers animal liabilty.  As in if someone were to get hurt by an animal we would be covered.  Though I do not know if more would need to be added.

I would offer beginner lessons and would be willing to take riders out to shows during show season as requested or wanted.  I will definitely start to look into the kind of need there is around here for good boarding facilities.  I mean I know there is definitely a lack of them but my only concern is the economy of this area for people to afford horses and good boarding.  Though I know that it is not a rich area there are plenty around that do have money.  Namely we have a huge hospital that is the largest employer.  But how does one go about finding boarders??  I plan to have horse camps this summer and I am hoping that gets my name out there and I can get more lesson kids from it. 

I do know a lady that has a barn and runs it very much how I would want mine to run.  Their boarders are a part of their family and love that.  I am thinking of talking to her about starting up but I am concerned she may see me as trying to get info and then take that info to become competition.  I don't know her real well and don't know if it would be rude.  What do you think?

PS the part time job is going fine.  I am learning everything fast and of course they love to have me around because I am friendly, a quick learner and a hard worker but I have to say it is a neccessary evil for me and really am not enjoying it AT ALL.  I work with people that I would never hang out with and have very little in common.  I mean most people that work there that is their primary income and they are very low income households.  Not that that is a bad thing and I hope this doesn't come off the way it is sounding but it is not what I mean to do.  I am not a judgemental person at all and this is not coming across as such.  But the people that work there lead very differnt lives than I do and handle themselves very differently.  As far as lifestyle, mannerisms and even language.  OK I don't think I am doing a very good job at making my point here but I guess the point is I kinda stick out like a sore thumb.  But having the job has made a huge difference in my husbands attitude and to me that is worth it and the entire reason I am doing it.  I think he just needed to see that I am willing to do what needs to be done to relieve the pressure on him.

How realistic is this???

This is an out of the blue suggestion from my husband and I kind of ignored it when he first mentioned it but he keeps bringing it up and so I feel like I should at least look into it.  So here is where you my friends come in.  Let me know your unbridled opinions about it.  Ryan has mentioned more than once about building a barn suitable to board up to 5 horses.  So we would need probably a 10 stall barn.  That would be a bit big but who knows what the future holds as far as my horses are concerned and I may get more down the road when all my girls are riding.  We have been talking about if we could board 4-5 horses that it should cover the cost of the barn and finance my horses.  Is that realistic thinking?  I know people do it but I don't know what kind of profit can be turned on each horse. 

This is obviously in the brainstorming phase and just trying to get an idea how much I should look into it.  I know we could get a very reasonable price having the Amish build it but I am trying to look into the financing available for something like this.  I have a loan officer looking into the possiblity of a small business loan and or other financing available for this type of thing.  Wow I can't even imagine this turning into a reality but the idea of it is pretty cool.  It may stay just that, a cool idea.  Who knows.

So lay it out for me and let me know your thoughts.  Am I crazy?  Ok I know I am crazy but I am talking specifically about this one matter.  I am hugely afraid of the risk involved.  It is tough when you are young but I hate the idea of having to wait until we are old to start building something like this.  OK OK not neccessarily "old" but when the children are grown and then starting a business?  I mean that is when the house will be paid off and there will be equity and extra cash available.  But is that what would be best?  To get through life with minimal amount of risk?  I don't know and thus I am looking to you for wisdom and advice.

A dream of mine is to have a family business.  Something the Ryan, me and the girls can do as a family to bring in money yet keep us together as much as possible.  We have considered many different avenues that could be done and are still trying to find the thing that works best for us.  What could be better, working with my family and working with horses???

So what do you think about"
Country Paradise Stables

Lemme have it girls!