It rained all day Sunday. In fact it started Saturday around dinner and never let up. It was also in the low 50s. Gross. Facebook reminded me that it was 85 and sunny two years ago when I was conditioning for the 100. This weather sucks.
We left the horses in overnight Sunday to Monday so they wouldn’t have to be out in the cold wet. It was a low of the upper 30s. Nobody needs to be outside in that. Except the Trio do not like being inside, so when Dust went to feed in the morning Gem voiced her displeasure at being inside in the nice dry stall. She yelled at him, gobbled down her food (guess her belly feels better) and when he went to take her out she tried to barge out the stall door with her ears forward and an eager look on her face.
That is until she hit the end of the barn aisle and got hit with a gust of rainy wind. She slammed on the brakes, pinned her ears back and turned around.
Dusty laughed and slackened the lead rope to see what she would do and she went right back into her stall with her head in the corner hiding from going out in that crap. Mare has opinions.
Dusty put their blankets on them and kicked them outside. Gem was happier with that, but still dragged her feet going outside. Spoiled mare. The weather looks to remain in the same pattern for the 10 day forecast: rain Monday, sunny and upper 50s Tues-Fri, rain and cold all weekend. Is it summer yet??
There are two weekends left before the end of the first quarter which gives you all plenty of opportunity to scour the internet for shows to lend your hand at. Debating entering a show or not? Why not volunteer instead! A friend or significant other is showing and you aren’t? Go with them and donate your time while they compete. A local barn is hosting a schooling show that doesn’t fit into your competition schedule? Donate a few hours to help out. They will love you for it as will all those who wouldn’t be able to compete if the show couldn’t be put on.
Remember the first quarter prize is a package of horse related items I feel like buying (with an attempt to get something the winner will actually maybe like) worth up to $50 and is based on the number of hours volunteered for that quarter.
With two weekends to go there is still a lot of opportunity to donate your time and upset the leaderboard.
Next time you do show pay attention to the number of volunteers from registration to bit checkers to ring stewards to timers to jump judges to scribes to the random helpers running everywhere and realize that the show simply could not be put on without these people giving up their own free time and chances to compete to be there. Please do your part to give back and lend a hand.
Entries close at 12 midnight 3-31/4-1 and I’ll announce the winner the next Monday so get out there and give back!
‘Gem peed six times between the time I got her out of the pasture to load for the FRC show and the time we got back home. Probably nothing anyone would comment on except for the fact that I’ve maybe seen her pee while being handled or ridden that many times total in nine years. She’ll almost always pee in the pasture as I walk up to catch her because she hates to under saddle or when being handled, but then during our actal time together she rarely ever does.
I filed it in my brain as mildly interesting and kept an extra close eye on her figuring it was a spring heat or the like.
Of course once you start paying close attention everything seems like a red flag. She seemed a bit girthy when tacking up. She was a bit reactive to being curried over her back and sides. Was she shedding or was her coat a bit dull? All tiny things that are easily overlooked but can add up.
Then she began leaving grain behind in her bowl. After a day or two of that she began to eat super slowly. She is always the first one brought in to eat and I noticed that she was barely touching it by the time the last horse was caught and brought in. In fact the other two were finished and Gem was maybe half way through hers. Odd.
Between all the blasted rain and my newly torn up arena, I didn’t ride all week. The farrier was out Friday afternoon and all seemed ok except for her lack of interest in her grain and an overall sleepy demeanor. Both uncharacteristic for her.
All things lined up in my brain added up to potential ulcers. I had changed her grain about six weeks prior and it could just as easily be the grain not doing as well for her and her not liking it or she could be in major spring heat and having ovary pain. Lord knows my uterus hates me on a monthly basis.
But I’d rather be safe than sorry and so I scratched from the h/j show I was slated to do last weekend and had Dusty order Gastroguard for me. Thankfully he is a vet and can get it through work because holy crap that stuff is expensive. How much do you guys pay for it? It was $400 for a month’s supply at his cost!! Jeepers.
Of course as soon as it got ordered Gem started looking more like herself. By Sunday she was back to gobbling her food down at Mach speed and running amuck in the pasture. So maybe it was just her heat cycle. Or the shitastic weather swinging from 80 and sunny to 45 and rainy. Yet again. Or maybe she was more tired and sore after those three jumping rounds than I gave her credit for. Jumping is hard. Jumping while spooking at everything is even harder.
I don’t know but since that liquid gold isn’t harmful mareface will be getting syringed daily for the next four weeks just in case. I’m giving her the next week off as well while she gets the first week of treatment and then we will get back to lessons and riding again with an aim at entering the FRC CT May 5th with added jump rounds at the end. I love that format and since it is only an hour away it’s a pretty solid place to show. Add to it that I adore their baby cross country fences on the other side of the road and maybe just maybe someday I’ll enter a HT there.
So that is the deal at the moment in Gem land. NQR but returning to normal again.
Having a farm name has always been a dream of mine. Something about naming the place makes it feel more permanent, more special. Like even when we eventually leave for whatever reason, perhaps it would still live on and people would remember us. Or the new owner could do what I did…rename it. But I won’t think about that.
Coming up with a name was a lot harder than I thought. Reading through various websites with tips and tricks, it quickly became obvious that there were a few main ways to go about it.
Use your name. Borkosky Farm. Ick.
Copy your favorite farm name from a book or movie. I’m not into copying things outright.
Go humorous. Get Off My Lawn Farm nearly became a reality. It was really close and had Dusty been on board the discussion would have ended there.
Use the defining feature of the place. Hmmmm….
Make it a memorial. A Gem of a Farm. Except I find that creepy.
Number 4 seemed like the best bet, but what really is the defining feature of our place? We don’t have mountain views or ocean front property. There isn’t a pretty brook or stoney ridge. No meadow of spring flowers. There is a massive magnolia tree, but we plan on cutting that down before it falls on the house.
I knew I wanted a pretty name. I love this planet and everything it offers us and I wanted the farm to have a pretty and nature based name that was also representative of the property.
I wracked my brain. Name it after the pond? Sparkling Pond Farm. Eh. Not so great. Hidden Waterfall Ranch. Maybe, but again neither of those things defined the place.
Then I landed on it.
What we have here is a whole lot of grass. Big sweeping pastures. And then even more grass.
Concise. Calls up a beautiful image in your mind. Pays respect to the property itself.
When we bought the farm we knew we would need to purchase two big pieces of equipment and put another on a wish list: a new mower, an arena drag, and a manure spreader (on the wish list). Once the arena started turning green we needed to make a decision to either help it go all grass or bring it back to its intended sandy state.
While I don’t mind grass arenas when done right, this one wasn’t built for that and I was growing increasingly concerned with the footing getting compacted down with each progressive flooding rain and drying out. Her prior hoof prints were starting to be like cement and it was only a matter of time until the footing became unsafe to ride in. Gem is sound and happy but she is also going to be 20 this year and I want to protect her legs and feet as much as possible. I was dying to get in there and fluff up that footing.
But first we needed the equipment. Dusty did all the research. I just signed the 1 year loan papers. He chose an ABI TR3 E series arena drag due to its ability to not only drag and groom the arena, but allow us to do the renovation part as well.
It showed up Monday afternoon and as soon as I got home I hopped on the tractor and headed to the arena. Probably not the smartest move since rain was forecasted all day Tuesday and the arena would be out of action for a while, but it needed done and I was too excited to wait.
The drag has five different parts all used for different reasons. It came with an awesome little book that went over the set up, the parts and how to use it for all sorts of reasons. Thankfully it had a whole section on removing vegetation, just what I needed to do!
All parts needed raised so that only the very front bar was in play and it recommended setting it to a depth of 1″ to remove the grass at the roots but avoid any penetration into the base layer. We followed the protocol and I held my breath as I engaged it hoping I wasn’t about to ruin everything.
The first pass through had me grinning like a fool. I have no idea why this sort of stuff makes me so darn happy. The bar was doing exactly what it was supposed to: remove the grass at root level.
It took a bit of playing around to figure out how to best maneuver the drag and deal with the build up of grass and dirt as it collected on the bar. At first I tried stopping, raising it up, and then backing up but this just left huge piles. I finally perfected when to raise it up and for how long to let it slowly drop the clumps over a larger swath which was easier to then go back over again.
It took 4 hours to do the entire arena to my level of satisfaction. Overall I am very pleased with the outcome. The more mature and solid grass in the corners didn’t all come up, but I wasn’t really expecting it to. The directions specifically said to kill it with Round Up first which I obviously didn’t do. We have a disc we can hook up to the tractor for those areas and I’ll go over them again.
Next up will be going over it with the grooming rake to collect the clumps of grass and get rid of them. I’m not looking forward to that at all. It will take a ton of wheelbarrow loads to get rid of it all.
After we pick up all that loose grass and deal with the corners, it will be on to step 2: grading
Dusty traded an ACL repair on a Boykin for a riding mower when we first moved to the rental. A much better deal than the time he traded a cat neuter for a chocolate milkshake. I used the rider to mow the 3 acre pasture and it did a good, but slow job. The pasture was a near perfect rectangle and still took 6 hours to do. It also ended up in the shop twice because really the little machine wasn’t made to handle that much grass. I was really worried when we purchased 30 acres of mostly grass. No way could the rider handle it and even if it could it would take me a month to get it done just in time to start all over again.
During farm shopping we had noticed that a lot of the sellers were willing to sell their tractor as well although most wanted way more than the machine was worth. Fortunately for us, the farm we ended up buying also offered up a tractor, but this time we managed to bargain for a great deal. It also came with a ton of accessories with a bush hog being the only one I knew what to do with.
A few Saturdays back I got Dusty to show me how to use it and got busy mowing the large pasture. The new spring growth was being choked out by old, dead bermuda grass that the sellers never mowed and I was worried it wouldn’t grow in very well if not cut back. Plus there were a lot of tall grasses and weeds that needed cut back as well. The weather was gorgeous and Dusty and Wyatt were busy fishing at the pond, so there wasn’t a better time for it.
The 20 acre pasture took roughly 5 hours to do, all the while Dusty and Wyatt were fishing which is a miracle to get my 5 year old to do anything for that long, and looked near orgasmic by the time I was finished. I love a nicely mowed pasture, folks. The horses really appreciated it as well once they stopped being pissed that I interrupted their afternoon nap time. After I was done I saw them start to graze in parts they had previously ignored now that the green grass was accessible.
I didn’t get the other side of the property done as it rained all the next day making it not possible and ever since then it has rained buckets. Now that it has stopped the ground needs a bit of time to firm back up. I’m hoping that happens before I need to redo this side all over again.
It was so nice having a real machine made for the job at hand though. Our little rider broke down for good which means we need to get one of those now as well and we are looking a the zero turn models. We have a lot of grass areas outside the pastures that needs mowed.
Depending on bow fun the new mower is, I may or may not let Dusty use it 🙂 I really love mowing. There is just something about the monotony, the peaceful solitude and the instant gratification of seeing row upon row or gorgeously cut grass that gets to me. I think I’m becoming old.
While walk/trotting 18″ cross rails isn’t likely to become an Olympic sport any time soon, I do need to cut myself some slack. Sure we look a bit foolish out there when Gem spooks at every thing and I’m too scared to go above a hard crawl, but we are doing it and Gem said yes 27 times (plus the jumps in warm up).
Walking away from the show would have been a lot different mentally for me if it hadn’t been for three significant people in my life. Honestly, without them I would have felt idiotic and like it was a failed outing. Instead, I feel proud that Gem did what she did and that we went out there and completed those three rounds in style. An unusual style for sure. But in style nonetheless.
He is my biggest fan and my best cheerleader. He sat in the stands and yelled encouragement the entire time. He has no idea what it is supposed to look like so every time we went over I heard “wow, great jump mommy” If you listen to the videos with the sound on you can hear a bit of him.
He reminds me that we all need to be bigger cheerleaders. That it doesn’t matter how many poles we knock down or how ridiculous we look. It’s about being there and having fun.
When I left the ring after our first round, I felt like a joke. It was that bad. Had she not been there I would have been tempted to scratch the other rounds and gone home feeling defeated.
But there she was telling me how proud she was of us and how good we did. She gets me out of my own head, pushes me to do better and forces me to use my head.
She knows where we came from and how hard Gem can be. She holds me accountable for my rider mistakes and errors and keeps me plugging, but also doesn’t let me lose sight of our accomplishments. I wouldn’t be able to do this without her.
She has only been to one show of mine but she remains one of my biggest supporters. She called me Sunday morning and sorta kinda yelled at me for not inviting her to the show. I had to explain that it wasn’t really a show per se, it wasn’t timed and no ribbons were given. She still wasn’t happy.
But then she caught me off guard.
She told me the picture of me all dressed up was gorgeous and in her eyes I looked like an Olympian.
It hit home hard.
No matter who does better than you. No matter how bad a round goes. No matter how far away my goals seem to be. My mom will always think I’m a champion. Moms are the best part of humanity.