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Get Your Hours In!

Ack…tomorrow is the last day of the month. My brain is going in so many directions right now that I am losing track of the time.

If anyone has volunteer hours they haven’t submitted yet, the deadline is Saturday night at 11:59 pm.

I’ll announce the winner on Monday!

Please double check me here because my brain is fried and I don’t even know my name at this point.

I have:

$900 Facebook Pony with 17 hours, none reported to date in March

Fraidy Cat Eventing  – 6 hours, none reported to date in March

Riding to B – 3 hours in March

3 Day Adventures with Horses – 3 hours, none reported to date in March.

Have I missed any?

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Why Yes Life, Please Pile On The Stress

“So be prepared for a welsh cob Arab foal in about 10 months”

Words I never wanted to hear, ever, in my life yet found myself listening to this morning as the hubby and I crossed paths getting around for work.

He laughed.

I panicked.

Apparently he put Gem out last after breakfast this morning and Nash was hanging out by the gate which isn’t unusual for him. He waits for Pete too, liking the herd to all be together. As soon as Gem was let loose, she immediately shoved her hussy little bay butt in Nash’s face, peed and knelt down so the shrimpy little guy could…well…enjoy himself on her behalf. Not that she was suffering, mind you.

I immediately went into panic mode. Did I buy a stallion? I have the vet exam I paid for which clearly states GELDING. I even contacted the seller and made sure I wasn’t going insane. I re read the original ad I still have on my phone. GELDING. Of course, I have no proof he was ever gelded beyond the exam and he could be a crypt orchid some asshole breeder passed down the line claiming to be a gelding, but that seems maybe unlikely. I don’t know. He was certainly enjoying himself and I highly doubt it was the first instance of debauchery those two have partaken in. And in front of Pete no less! The poor old gelding has been pastured with Gem for 9 years and she never so much as batted an eye lash in his direction. Add little stud muffin Nash to the mix and voila! She becomes a whore overnight. Guess she isn’t in to big, strong blondes.

Dusty assured me that most crypt orchids throw blanks. Ok, fine. The chances I’m going to end up with a tiny version of Gem next year are looking pretty slim, thank the Universe. Not that I don’t love Gem, but I really don’t need a miniature version of her for the next 30 years. It still leaves me with a big problem. I can’t have my mare having sex all day long while I am at work. She returned to her normal self after the Gastroguard was started, but it just can’t be that healthy for her to be so….active.

This means I need to separate them. Which likely means I need to sell Nash. Sure, I have the extra pastures to put him in, but I really don’t like having a solitary horse and with his personality I think it was quickly become an instance of him pacing the pasture fence all day long and I will not purchase a friend for Nash. No thanks.

This brings up two other issues.

  1. How would I even tell Wyatt that his pony is being sold? I mean, what explanation would I give him? Sorry, but your pony is a male gigolo?
  2. How would I write that ad? Kid friendly welsh cob pony. No bad habits. Well, except he is horny as hell so watch out!

Ugh.

I don’t need this right now.

Hubby is going to pull blood tonight and send off to the lab for a blood test to check to see if he is a crypt orchid. Apparently you can do that. I may just do that as part of my pre purchase of any male horse for the rest of eternity.

 

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Quarter 2 Goals: Survive

The first quarter went really well. I could feel the improvement in Gem’s over all willingness to participate in this new discipline and start to relax into the work. The biggest change was in her attitude of saying yes instead of no. This got me all fired up for the second quarter and I sat down to write out the list of goals I had.

Which was about the time reality and a big dose of panic hit and I realized this quarter was going to be a wash. If I’m lucky.

Wyatt continues to love fishing. He has two poles and last week caught two blue gills at the same time. He was stoked. 

Currently I am qualified in foot and ankle surgery. This May I will be sitting for my certification exam and spent the better part of February banging my head against the wall trying to collect the requested documents for the case submission part of the exam. Now it’s time panic about the computer portion of the test.

Failure is not an option for this test. If I fail I lose my hospital privileges. If that happens I’m screwed.

Spring flowers make my heart happy

Studying in school was easy. It was my job and I had nothing else to worry about. I graduated with a 4.0 from medical school due to my ability to focus on studying and studying alone. Having a very understanding husband who never fussed about my 14 hour study binges was a big plus.

Studying in residency was also easy. We had weekly meetings to cover various topics and scenarios. I ate, slept and breathed surgery often times scrubbing in for my first case at 6:30 am and my last case at 7:30 pm that same day. I was surrounded by it. Passing the qualification exam was made possible by this.

Waggy and her stick. 

Studying now feels impossible. I have a full time job that isn’t all surgery all the time and is instead once a week. I also need to run the business. Then I come home and be a mom. Cook dinner. Feed the horses. If I’m lucky I get to sit down and study at 8:30 pm after Wyatt is in bed and I’m already exhausted from my full day. Keeping my eyes open and my brain focused until 10 pm gets harder and harder as the week days go by.

It’s not going so well. I’m scared shitless I’m going to fail.

We ended up getting a new riding mower versus the zero turn. It was 1/3rd the price and had great reviews plus we had a great coupon at TSC to use to bring it down even more. 

All that to say Gem is getting a vacation until May 9th rolls around and my life can resume. It’s bad timing. We will lose a lot of what we gained. But not losing my business is more important and so it must be.

No riding. Must study.

No arena renovation. Must study.

No lessons. Must study.

No life.

Must. Study.

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Quarter 1 Goal Check In

How did the first quarter end up flying by? This year was my first time breaking goals down quarterly instead of longer ranging yearly goals and I think it worked out a lot better.  Looking back on how we did:

Gem:

1) Get back to a 2-3 times a week riding schedule for consistency. I have the arena at home now and lights. Really there are no valid excuses left. Success!  Well, except currently since my arena is out of action being renovated, but I was riding at least twice a week every week leading up to that and will get back to it once the arena is all set to go.

This fair weather rider even rode in the rain!

2) Twice monthly lessons. The last two months have been rather dry due to the move and the holidays. The beginning of the year slows down at work quite a bit too which should help. Success! I either took a lesson or had Trainer come to a show and help me through warm up and my rounds which counts as instruction.

3) Switch feeds. Triple Crown has been disappointing since the sale to Purina. I’ve talked to a new rep from another feed that seems promising and with only one bag of TC remaining in my feed room (holy crap I have a feed room!!) it’s time to make the switch.  Success! I switched the Dynamic Duo to Tribute. Gem is on the Kalm N EZ and Pete gets the ration balancer.  Nash is on Purina Mini/Pony feed and is looking great as well.

Gemmie looking beautiful as always. After a week on Gastroguard she is back to nickering to come in for feed, scarfing her food down and being a pain. I love it. 

4) Figure out a good mix of flat rides versus jumps at home. Now that I have a few standards I can jump at home for the first time ever. I’m very nervous about this since I haven’t the foggiest idea about how to set up an exercise. I need to find my 101 Jumping Exercises book and get cracking. Success! I dug out my 101 Jumping  Exercise book and have worked slowly through the exercises. I err more on the side of flat rides versus jump ones and generally do 2 flats for every 1 jump school.

5) Make it to two h/j shows and don’t wimp out of the 2′ division for absolutely no reason. Time for the big girl panties to come out. Fail. I made it to one show with plans for a second, but them Gem came up NQR and got the rest of the month of March off.

I will never tire of this photo

6) Make it back out on the cross country course for schooling again.  Kinda. I did go and I did jump over the ditch, so sorta schooled. A more experienced rider got on and got Gem over some starter level jumps which counts too.

7) By the end of the quarter have Gem accepting my leg at the trot and begin work on better bend using inside leg Success! We are getting better and better in regards to both and my lower leg position has gotten stronger because of it.

Farm:

1) Get the left side of the property situated. There are two fence lines I want to condense to turn three pastures into one. There is a fourth pasture there too but this one needs some fence work to make safe and a plan on how to connect it through a small patch of woods.  Success! We removed all the fence lines we didn’t want and created one large pasture for them. It has been great too as it is J shaped and they walk the entire thing. I’ve watched them slowly get in better and better shape because of all the roaming they do. They also show their pleasure at the open space by gallivanting around on the regular and it is such a joy to watch them galloping and playing.

Sharing the salt block

2) Look at the right side and start some tentative plans. This half is trickier as there is a section of woods with a deep creek separating two pastures and then an open area that was used as a burn pile separating another. I’d love to plan a cross country field over on this side. Tentative planning will help future ideas. Success! We have plans.  The right side has three pastures and a big open space. The plan is to connect the two front ones and expand into the open space to create one medium sized pasture leaving the back most pasture as a smaller one by itself. That way we have three pastures to rotate between all of varying sizes.

3) Hang real cross ties in the aisle and wash rack Partial. I have cross ties in the aisle, but the wash rack is currently out of commission as the water line broke.

4) Make some early plans for the tack room organization. Fail. This one is trickier than I thought. Dusty wants to tear down the entire barn and build a new one and if we do that then there isn’t any reason to put money into this one. That is about 5 years off in the future though and in the meantime I need at least a door on the tack room to keep dust out. Still need to work on this one.

5) Figure out stall bedding. Having never dealt with stalls before I’m a bit clueless as to what works best. Since they are only in stall for a few hours total a day the stalls don’t get that messy. I’ve been stripping them once a week and it’s been fine. The pine shavings I grabbed at TSC are ok but there has to be a better way to buy in bulk. Success! I’m loving the pellets and so are the horses.

Me:

1) Ride 2-3 times a week with a mix of solo rides at home and lessons Success! See above in the Gem category

2) Continue to work on my lower leg position. I’d love to have it in muscle memory by end of the quarter. 50/50. I am working on it and it is getting a lot better, but it isn’t quite there yet.

 

3) Learn to relax when jumping.Trust Gem a bit more and go with the flow better. Fail.

4) Gain a better balance with the release over jumps. Right now I either throw my reins all the way up by her ears losing all contact or I don’t release much at all and get her in the mouth. Success!! The neck strap has really, really helped me with this.

Einstein called it quits on me during an arena renovation day last weekend. It is the first time in the 3 years we have had him that he has curled up outside and just said “I’m done”.  

By End of Year

1) Complete a HT at any height, most likely amoeba (18″)

2) Begin work over 2’3″ stadium fences

3) Have a decent canter in dressage with ability to show the BN dressage tests

4) Have all pastures reconfigured

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The Nashville Conundrum

Admission time. Every time I see someone write about how bad they feel that their horse is just sitting in the pasture wasting all that talent so they must sell them to a working home, I sorta kinda really want to reach through my computer and throat punch them.

I mean. Sure horses enjoy human interaction and a lot of them apparently like having a job, but you’d be hard pressed to convince me that any horse chilling in a grassy pasture eating and taking naps is secretly hating their life and wishing someone would saddle them up and make them work.

It took me for forever to find a 10″ western saddle for Wyatt. They were either all purple, pink and glittery or had not real trees. Thankfully I scored this one brand new for only $100!

And while I still feel that way…I’m sorta starting to look at Nash and get this nagging sense that maybe he should be doing more than looking cute in my pasture and annoying the living daylight out of the Dynamic Duo.

No worries about rehoming though. I’m stuck with that little adorable devil for what…like the next 20 years? Wyatt will be grown and potentially married before that thing dies.

But…

He really is a fancy little mover and when he stops trying to bite your knee caps off under saddle he is a fun ride. Trainer says that he would sweep the ribbons in both dressage and eventing with a little more training and the perfect little person to take him there.

And there in lies my conundrum.

The tiny little english saddle was cute. This thing is freaking adorable. The funniest part is that Gem’s endurance pad and mohair cinch fit him perfectly. 

I bought Nash for Wyatt to learn to not be scared around and on horses. For that Nash is absolutely perfect. Wyatt leads him in and out of the pasture and has taught him (all on his own which makes this mom’s heart swell) to not try to eat grass while being led. The other day I watched Nash get a little quicker than Wyatt while being led and saw Wyatt make a circle with him to slow him down and re group. I never told him to do that. I couldn’t have been more proud.

Wyatt grooms him and picks his feet. While Nash reared the other day for the farrier (he is a little shithead to be honest), Wyatt can grab, pull, pick, push and basically do anything and the pony just stands there and takes it. He knows why he still has a home for sure.

The stirrups at the highest hole were still a little long, but Wyatt felt much more secure in the western seat and having the horn to hold. 

Wyatt can get on him and toodle around and Nash will stop on a dime for him. Sure, he only walks and gets down about 10 minutes later, but he is 5 and is enjoying that amount of time. I’m in no way pushing him to do anything he doesn’t want to do. He will learn and grow at his own pace with it.

But…

A part of me looks at Nash and wants him to do more. I would love to see him out there winning ribbons because lord knows Gem and I certainly aren’t and he is only 9, the life experiences of training and showing would be good for him. Maybe it would knock him down a peg or two. I spoke with Trainer about it and her best barn rat was recommended as a trainer/rider. She only lives 10 minutes from me and I’ve thought about offering her a summer job working Nash a few times a week with a mix of ground work and under saddle work.

Wyatt eventually got brave enough to let go of the horn and take up the reins. Until Wyatt learns to not constantly pull, I’m keeping Nash in his halter and attaching my endurance reins to that. Nash was much happier without his mouth getting ripped off and had no head throwing. 

But…

I don’t know. Nash doesn’t need to do any of those things. He does exactly what he was added to the family to do and I don’t have a young girl to show him any way. It would likely end up with him being better trained and then just sitting in the pasture entertaining Wyatt again. It would make better sense to wait and see what Wyatt’s interest really becomes and then send him off for training at that time.

Lots to learn, but the fact he enjoyed this ride and asked for more was a really, really big step.

But…

He really is a fancy little guy and it would be so cool to watch him out there kicking butt.

See, the inside of my head really isn’t a fun place to be.

So for now he sits in the pasture, annoys Pete and Gem into playing with him, tolerates Wyatt acting the fool and scarfs down his special pony feed I buy for his spoiled little butt.

I’m not spoiled. You’re spoiled. 

I’ll make a decision eventually what to do with him and the next time I see someone lament about the waste of their horse’s potential in the field I’ll still want to throat punch them, but will maybe understand it a little better.

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“Um…No Thanks” – Gem Definitely

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??

2018 Volunteer Challenge

Two Weekends Left in Q1

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.

As of right now the leaderboard is as follows:

$900 Facebook Pony: 17 hours

‘Fraidy Cat Eventing: 11 hours

3 Day Adventures with Horses: 3 hours

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!