Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holy bejeezus it's cold...

Ok, winter is officially here. My friend Kim had snow at her house this morning, we've been having sleet out here for a couple days now, and it's belligerently cold every time you walk outside. What a slap in the face after temperatures in the mid 60s to low 70s last week! Every pony that can wear a blanket who has a blanket that fits is wearing it right now. It's almost noon and the temperature is not above 40 degrees. This cold weather stuff is for the birds...

Compounding the frustration over the cold is the fact that I've ordered at least 3 blankets now for both the mini donkey and the baby, and none of the damn things have fit properly. Order blankets number 4 and 5 now...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ok come on, seriously???

A little ticked off. I put out an ad to get my pastures bushhogged, a guy calls a week and a half ago to give a quote, and I tell him I'm still collecting quotes. He calls today to tell me he wants to do it this weekend and wants to do it Sunday, and I tell him I hadn't made a decision yet because there were still 2 guys who were coming at the beginning of the week to see it. Then this asshole tries to bully me into giving him the gig saying crap like "Well I gave you a quote and thought we had a done deal, I already was making plans to come Sunday after the ground dried out" even after I repeated myself and said I still had appointments. I really am rather surprised that he thought trying to bully me by saying "we had a done deal" and "I made plans" when I never agreed to anything would possibly result in me caving and actually just giving him the job... on what planet does that actually work? You don't bully a potential employer and still get hired. Maybe it's because I'm not a redneck, but even rednecks I've dealt with before are more mannerly and decent about doing business with them.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I'm about to go raid the fridge to see if I can scrounge up 10 carrots for all the barn babies before we head to Huntsville for the day. Wow I'm doing a lot of driving! I think I will actually let MARK drive up today and drive home tonight. A total of 9 hours on the road yesterday due to dinner and gas stops was way too much for the Ivanator and me!

Day 4 Complete

Day 4 complete.

Yesterday was hard! My body was so sore and tired already by the end of the short course, and that made it harder to hold my new position. Developing new muscle memory while old muscle memory continues to get in the way is tough! We did, however, conquer our issues with holding correct position, got plenty of well balanced and correct sitting trot and also some canter. We didn't quit when it was tough, managed to get three gorgeous, perfect strides, and we managed to go right back on the bit without a fight after he started getting a little fussy about the bridle on a loose rein. Haha, my trainer told me I got three blue ribbons for those three particular accomplishments. I LOVED it up there, and we can't wait to go back (though we're going to take the time to work very hard on our homework between now and our next trip). OH! And I brought home a new saddle! My Passier Grand Gilbert apparently doesn't have a large enough sweet spot and pushes me out of proper position because my thighs are too long, so I just brought home a gorgeous ALBION that fits both me and my boy :) So, day 4 ended on a very good note, then we packed up and hit the road for home. Stopped for sushi with my best friend in Atlanta, then came home to snuggle up with my awesome hubster :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 3 Complete

Day 3 down.

My body feels a little beat up from how hard we've been working! The Turdinator decided to show up yesterday looking for a fight, but little did he realize, Sophie brought her boxing gloves. I think part of it was that he isn't used to being worked in specifically this way (and with me in correct position, actually asking him to really work for once), but the rest of it was that he was just being incredibly rude and trying to bully us into getting his way. Suffice it to say, he didn't get it. What he did get/become, however, was very good and correct, did not lean on me, and started giving me very nice canter departs on the bit and did not go splat when we came back down to the trot (though I did go splat in the saddle a couple times due to too much tension, HE did not and was such a gentleman about letting me reorganize without getting upset about it). Last lesson today, then we're going home!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 3, end of the day

It's not even 8 pm eastern yet, and I'm so exhausted I just want to go to sleep... Too exhausted to write about it.

Day 2 Complete

Day 2 down. I have new muscles I didn't know about. I'm also being able to hold proper position longer, and my horse is improving his canter departs and can do shoulder-in rather well. Just making small adjustments is making huge changes in how effective my aids are and what kind of response I get out of the Go!-boy. It's almost like learning to ride all over again, except we're making advances in leaps and bounds but only really realizing after all the sudden we're at a new level and popping our eyes out at what we've just done (and breathing really hard from the process of getting there). Tasida, I'll say it again -- Horsey Hogwarts is very apt.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 2 Beginnings

Definitely going to the supermarket later to find fruit and non-zappables to keep in my cooler for breakfast. Haha, I want to gift Sophie with a toaster for her tack room to keep next to the fridge. I'm craving bagels and cream cheese.

Day 1 Complete

Day 1 down.

Tasida was right. This IS Horsey Hogwarts. And officially, my inner thigh hurts. First lesson involved a lot of position correction. Mr. Go!-boy is a lot less inclined to lean on me now, and can't pull through me so easily, and I can now sit properly with my pelvic floor pointed down at the saddle and under me instead of tilting. Downside is that my saddle might be too small for me given this correct position, and now that I sit with my legs much longer, I had to let out a LOT of stirrup holes, ha! Looking forward to day 2 after I finish a little work.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


We're here! We're here! Just arrived at Blue Moon Farms for our short course with Sophie Pririe Clifton! Looking forward to good things for the Ivanator and me :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Got the itch

I'm itching to get back in the saddle. The last two days straight of rain have made for soggy and slow going. Didn't get to ride today, didn't get to ride yesterday, got rained out during the last half of our ride on Monday. It makes me want to get a giant rain coat for my horse that goes over me, my saddle, and then him from his head to his tail. Luckily, tomorrow is supposed to be dry, so I'm going to have a lesson off-farm and hope that the Go!-boy is good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Personal, personal, personal

So I haven't really posted something personal about any of my kids for a minute. Guess I'll take a moment to bring everything up to date.

Classy Lady had her foal, the one that she conceived without permission. Luckily, it's cute and doesn't look at all like its ugly mutt daddy, and is a black filly with a short sock on her left foreleg and a star/strip and broken snip on her adorable little face. I am somewhat of a fan :) We named her Bohemian Rhapsody and Queen as a barn name.

Ivan is back under saddle and progressing now that I'm not suffering from broken ribs anymore and since my quad tear in my right knee is healed enough that I can be more active. I do still have some discomfort from my rolled (left) ankle, but aside from that, we're good. We did a very long trail ride last Saturday at KC Ranch up in Double Springs, AL, close to the Bankhead National Forest. I woke up at an ungodly hour of 4:45 am, finally rolled out of bed at 5:05 am, hit the road by 6 am, arrived at my friend Jennifer's to collect her and her horse, Kiba, at 7:10 am, then arrived at 9:10 am and was in the saddle by 9:30 am. Rode till almost 1 pm, took a 1 hour break for lunch, then got back in the saddle and rode until 4:30 pm. All in all, he was very good, though he rushes when other horses leave him behind, and he tries to rush down rocky hills instead of picking more carefully through the rocks. I really had to reel him in a couple of times, but he was MUCH better when we weren't trying to keep up with the gaited horse pack. My lower back was slightly sore after so much time posting in the saddle during the first part of our ride, but aside from that we were pretty good.

We're supposed to use up the last of our lesson package with Deb this week, then I'm hauling him to NC to do a short course clinic with Sophie Pririe Clifton, who trained under the well renowned Paul Belasik, and who is the trainer that my friend Tasida goes to regularly. Hopefully things will go well, and we might do another short clinic (locally) after getting home with a trainer from GA. I'm hoping that this short course we're going to is going to be beneficial for breaking down some communication obstacles that Ivan and I have been having. The idea is that we'll have a better sense of direction and come up with some really good homework to work on for awhile, then come back for another short course clinic when we need new tasks. It's going to be intense, with a lesson when we get there, two lessons a day for the next two days, then a lesson before we leave. The Ivanator and I are really going to find out how much we REALLY know and a lot about what we DON'T, plus we're going to probably become acutely aware of how not in shape we are... Well, HE'S not too bad off, maybe a little roly poly around the tummy at the moment but not really fat, but on the other hand, I'M definitely not as fit as he is.

So hopefully, all new things will be good in the world of Ivan and myself, and we'll go from there. I'm hoping to be able to get new video footage of us at Sophie's along with some decent photos finally. I need to go ahead and start getting all my stuff clean and ready to go so I'm not scrambling on the night before. Speaking of the night before, my other half's birthday is being celebrated the night before (since it's actually on the day that I'm leaving for NC), so I've got to be prepared for that, too. I feel a little bad that I'm leaving on his birthday, but that IS why we're celebrating the night before. I just can't push it back by a day or I won't be getting my money's worth to be going so far, plus I can't stay a day extra because that will mean I'm there on Thanksgiving day. Anywho, I'll try to keep my blog up to date on our progress.

Haha, good morning kitty...

Bahahahahahaha, this is so true: "There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Small Heart Attack

Just had a small heart attack. Some random stranger ENTERED MY PASTURE WITH MY PROTECTIVE MARE and let their four children chase my foal to try to pet it!!! What kind of moron does this??? I was alerted to the intruders by two of my dogs barking (bless you Salem and Isis), so I charged out and had to be unfriendly and insist that they leave. What an enormous liability! And it looked like they were about to try to walk through my second gate into the main pasture, and holy hell that could have been a catastrophe! Two of our miscreants (Ivan and Jack) become kickers around the other horses at the gate if they think someone is there to feed them. For the love of Christ, KEEP YOUR CHILDREN OUT OF RANDOM PASTURES THAT CONTAIN HORSES YOU DO NOT KNOW!!!!!

Repost: Blanketing 101

This lady wrote a great little piece on blanketing. Go here to read the whole blanketing 101: http://barnmanagerblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/stable-sheets-and-heavy-weights-and.html

The shortened version of how you should blanket is as follows, but please do visit her blog and read the whole explanation of all the terminology and why you should blanket when and with what, plus when you should layer.

55 and up: no blankets
54 to 45 and/or rain: turnout sheet
44 to 35: turnout sheet during the day, stable blanket at night
34 to 15: medium weight
15 and under: medium weight over stable blanket

Now with my kids, they get a turnout sheet 24/7 when it drops below 55. We have sufficient shelter out there, they get plenty of forage to cook in their bellies to keep warm, and when it drops in temperature, I start layering either underneath or over the top. I have fleece liners, turnout sheets, and medium/heavy weight turnout blankets (because I don't keep my kids in a stall at night anymore unless the temps are ridiculous and/or rainy). 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Horse | A Sticky Situation: Getting Tar Off Your Horse

I thought this was an excellent article with methods for "de-sticking" your horse. The sticky in this article was tar, but I think this would also be quite effective for things like tree sap and other common sticky things that your horse can encounter around the farm (ours get into tree sap by rubbing on the trees that the beavers have chewed on). 
A Sticky Situation: Getting Tar Off Your Horse
by: Dennis D. French, DVM, Dipl. ABVP
August 01 2010, Article # 16762
Q:I painted some boards with tar rather than black paint. Of course my bay and white Pinto mare got some in her mane and on the white part of her neck. She has very sensitive skin. How can I safely remove the tar from her hair coat and skin? What should I worry about in terms of the aftermath and how should I treat it?
Marie Murphy, Aiken, S.C.

A:In doing research on this topic I found a number of suggestions ranging from organic to downright scary treatments for the horse in question. With any horse, the protection of the underlying skin would be the biggest concern I would have.
The old remedies were to use turpentine, gasoline, mineral spirits, or kerosene and a rag, and then hose the area with soap and water. While I believe this to be effective, I would have to question the effect on the underlying skin. Especially for a horse with known sensitization, I suspect any of these treatments would produce a skin reaction of epic proportion.
The more ingenious solutions for tar removal involved the use of kitchen pantry supplies. Among the most unique were olive oil, peanut butter, or plain butter applied with either a cloth or toothbrush; mayonnaise applied directly on the area; or Wesson oil with no stipulation as to whether the canola, corn, vegetable, or best blend were used. All of these remedies were reportedly easy on the skin and provided excellent removal.
Others suggested a trip to the shop was in order. A number of sites recommended a composite of Windex, dishwashing liquid, and all-purpose cleaner equally mixed together; spraying WD-40 on the tar and letting it stand for 10 seconds is reported to work in two minutes or less. A product called Goo Gone allegedly works "amazingly" well.
The medical treatments advocated the use of Avon Skin So Soft, with reports that its use was followed by excellent removal of tar, greases, and oils out of hair. Apply it after working it into your hands and follow by washing with regular soap. Another medical product called 50/50 cream (half white soft paraffin and half liquid paraffin used for eczema patients) supposedly works great. Directions for use were to cover the affected areas with the cream and leave in place for two hours. The tar should then rub off. Some areas required longer, more liberal application, but all reports described this as an easy, painless, and effective method.
I have been fortunate to not have this predicament with the horses I own, so I have not had to use any of the above remedies. However, the use of Skin So Soft seems to be a safe place to start.