Farm life, Uncategorized

Farm Life Upgrade

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.

The view from my small riding mower at the rental 

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.

My new machine. So much bigger. So much more power!

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.

My new view. Upgrades all around 🙂

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.

Gem and Pete rarely get bothered by anything I do these days. In fact, more often they are being a pain in my butt by refusing to move out of my way. Nash on the other hand was very concerned and watched me the entire time. He will learn. I’m very glad we have Pete and Gem to show him that things like this just aren’t worth getting upset about. 

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.

My favorite hat blew off my head. It landed on top of the bush hog and promptly got eaten. I may have cried. 

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.

Death by bush hog. RIP.

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.

Uncategorized

My Three Biggest Fans

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).

Hmmm..perhaps the electric isn’t working correctly. Dusty went and bought a new charger after I showed him this.

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.

Wyatt

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.

Trainer

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.

A pretty spring day on the farm. I sure do love living here

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.

My Mom

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.

 Waggy, the happiest farm dog on the planet. 

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.

Uncategorized

FRC Schooling Rounds

Friday afternoon I had a breakthrough at work. My surgical certification is coming up and a big part of it is submission of 13 selected cases. Since I’ve done work at three hospitals and two practices in my time since graduation, it was a lot of work to gather all the required paperwork and radiographs. Friday afternoon I was finally done. A big stressor was lifted off my shoulders.

So I did the best thing I could think of at the moment….I texted Trainer.

My brain was more than a bit fried at that point and at first I thought she meant to school between the show rounds. I was like “wait…come jump in a busy schooling ring for 5 minutes. That’s odd”

Thankfully I had enough neurons left to actually notice and read the text in the large orange circle and quickly figured out they were running schooling rounds after the CT ended.

Looking the part always helps, right?

Saturday was gorgeous out. Sunny, mid 60s and with a breeze. We desperately needed a sunny day around here. What was even better was that the Hubs was off work so I could get some media. Winning at life right now.

I decided for this show to put my Type A aside and not show up 4 hours early, instead opting to pull in at 11:30 with plenty of time to register, tack up, change my shirt and warm up. The best part was that Trainer was going to be there to help which would be the first time I’ve been to a show with her. It worked out super well with the timing. I don’t think I’d like to cut it that close gain, maybe give myself an additional 30 minutes or so, but all in all it worked out great.

The course

We walked the course and it was interesting. Jumps 1 and 2 aren’t drawn right. Move 2 to the right so that it’s left standard is touching the right one of jump 1. It was a super tight turn. The take home from the course walk was to use the space to my advantage and hug the rail anywhere possible. Trainer pointed out two problem areas for other riders: horses were looking at 6 going from 1-2 and then being caught off guard by the sharp turn and then coming from 5-6 they were losing steam and a lot were breaking to trot through that turn. Going in I thought jumps 1-2-3 would be the hardest for us.

We then headed over to the warm up and Gem was amazing. Probably the most rideable I’ve ever had. Her trot was relaxed, slow and even and she took the cross rail and vertical without issue.

Trainer was pleased and so was I as we headed to the ring. I had signed up for four rounds and we discussed doing the 18″ cross rails to see how she was. If she was going well we could then try our hat in the 2-2’3″ division.

Hahahahahahahaha!!!

I go in and pick up a nice trot. Gem is listening. We head down past 1-2 on the left and 6 on the right as I make it to a good starting point for 1.

And Gem loses her ever loving mind.

Everything became a reason to spook. The flowers beside the fences. The hoof prints in the sand. The rail. The mud puddle. Her own damn shadow. Seriously. It was awful.

I lined her up for 1 and had no clue if she was going to go over or not. That became the name of the entire round. Would she or wouldn’t she? Thankfully she did say yes every time and I don’t think we would have gotten any refusals even if they were timing/scoring it, but it felt ugly.

Trainer said it didn’t look as bad as it felt but it sure did feel stupid. Here is the video if you care to watch us barely walk around 18″ cross rails while trying to not get eaten by the imaginary monsters. Dusty missed fences 1 and 2 on the video. This starts as I make my way to fence 3. Also, if you turn the sound up you can hear Wyatt cheering me on and me talking to Gem throughout. I believe at one point I tell her ” just go over the darn fence Gem” or something like that. I was more frustrated than anything.

 

The funny thing was that the turn to 1-2 wasn’t even bad. The turn from 4-5? Gross. By the time we hit 4 she had finally started to get the hint. After 4 was the only long straight stretch and it was towards home, so she took off. 5 was set at a funny angle off the rail. It was a right hand turn off 4 but then a left bend to 5 and the first go around I basically just stuffed her into 5. A year ago Gem would have noped her way out of that hot mess, but this time she went over.

Going back in the second time Trainer told me to ride both more defensively (stay more upright and in the back seat) but also more aggressively with keeping my leg on and insisting we jump. She told me not to let Gem convince me she had this and to take my leg off because that is when Gem says no.

I went back in with a plan. She had no reason to be so darn spooky and this time I wasn’t going to let her get away with it. More leg. More direction, more use of my own brain.

Dusty got the entire thing this time and it’s below

 

It felt so much better and I was so proud of Gemmie. She calmed down a lot and I’d say this time that half the jumps she took at an appropriate level of intensity versus over jumping everything like the first time. We botched 4-5 yet again as Gem decided she had this covered and wasn’t listening quite as well, so I decided to circle her and re approach rather than stuffing her at it.

Trainer was much happier with how this round went. Sure we were still snails out there but I did let her canter some and she continued to say yes. She wanted me back in again and to make that turn from 4-5 happen.

I was actually more nervous going in the third time than the first. Repetition usually makes Gem tense and speedy and I wasn’t looking forward to fighting her. Dusty switched over to pictures (no video) this round, so here are some shots.

My darn arms and their non bending elbows. But…my leg is actually under me! And Gem doesn’t look like a giraffe! I’ll take the wins when able. 

I was wrong tho. She went in and owned it. Every jump came up from a much better spot, she came back to me and slowed down when asked and we owned 4-5.

The best thing was that she gave reasonable efforts over the jumps and it felt a lot smoother. I could tell she was pretty happy with herself at the end too.

Coming over 1 towards home

When I left the ring the third time I knew it was our last round. Gem had been so good there was no need to ask it of her again.

Jump 5 and my new all time favorite picture of Gemmie and me

There was also no way I was doing the 2-2’3″ division with her. Trainer agreed.

Jump 8

The best part? I ran into Bette! I got to meet Chimi and watch her warm up and do two rounds at BN. They looked amazing out there!!

I’m excited for next weekend. Hopefully she learned something this outing and will come out braver for our rounds at our home training facility. I think Trainer will be there too which will be great.

2018 Volunteer Challenge

2018 Volunteer Challenge February Winner!!!!

This entire challenge was set up to give people an incentive to get out there and volunteer. Point chase so to speak. I’m not so sure if that is working or not, but it is early in the season and I am enjoying the process. Both Emma and Amanda got out there and did the thing this month and I am so happy to see bloggers giving back. While I’d love to give everyone a prize, I can’t afford to so the randomizer was employed to pick a winner from our two go geters this month.

The winner is……

Capture
Proof I use a randomizer!

Emma, please email me your address at agemofahorse at gmail dot com and I will get your prize sent out directly to you.

I’m trying hard to get to know each blogger and send something semi personal-ish. Within the budget of under $20 that is. For you Emma, I chose a candle from Grey Horse Candles in Show Day scent to get you pumped for when Sir Chuckles is back in action.

candle

I’ll get it ordered and shipped to you as soon as I get your address.

But wait, there’s more!!!

Amanda is kicking butt out there with a whopping 17 hours of volunteerism this year. Emma is in second with 6 and Nadia is in third with 3. March is a big month folks. Not only do a lot of areas start ramping up, but it is the end of the first quarter which means the first hour based winner will be chosen in place of the monthly award (I can’t do both until that money tree starts sprouting in my yard :). The quarterly award is based on the most hours given back that quarter and right now Amanda is winning by a landslide! This package is worth $50, so get out there in March and start donating those hours. There are still plenty of weekends left this month!!

Feel the excitement for volunteering? No. Well, you should!!