Friday, June 27, 2014

Finally Settled

Being at my friends house was great but I really needed an arena to get back to work. I spent much of June calling stables and stopping in. I had originally hoped to move to the stable across the street. The more I thought about it the more I realized I wouldn't be happy. The indoor is teensy with questionable footing. The outdoor is lovely but only in the summer. 

I ended up at a place I always thought looked amazing. I didn't go there initially because of the price and I thought it was father. After driving to BFE for ten months anything seemed closer. And once I went there I realized it was much much closer. Stalls in the small less expensive barns rarely come up but they just happened to have an open space so I jumped on it. I figured I would be on a waiting list for months. 

The main barn has about 40 stalls and is very fancy. Everyone seems friendly and I talked to several people who have been there for many years. Much better than my old barn where a boarder didn't stay more than a few months. Dickie is in one of two four stall barns. I get the benefits of a high end barn then go back to my quiet barn. We could never afford fancy barn but I think I would like the little barns better anyway. The stalls are 12x 14 and he looks like a pony in there. They are bedded at least six inches deep with fluffy shaving. My horse is a huge pig and the stall didn't even look dirty in the morning between the size and amount of bedding. He loves deep bedding and has fun rolling around. 

The gelding pasture is giant. You can see it towards the upper right (has trees along the left and back corner). He was hilarious when I turned him lose. He ran and ran. He wasn't panicked he just ran for the fun of it. There's about ten geldings and they all get along. When I went to get him today he already had buddies. He must be pretty happy because I had to walk half way across the field before he decided to come. 

There is a 100 x 200' indoor, a 200'x 300' all weather outdoor, and a round pen. There's also 80 acres of trails, cross country jumps, a water obstacle, and access to even more trails off the property. 

And best of all they provide feed. Most of the barns in this area don't include grain and often don't offer alfalfa hay. EVERYTHING is included. No more stuffing hay in my car! No more wrastling 50lb bags of grain with my bad back. The only thing I need to provide is his supplement. 

I still can't believe we found this place!!! We just moved weds and he's already settling in. I rode him today and I didn't want to stop. There is so much to explore. I can't wait to get through a weekend of work so I can get back in the saddle. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

And this happened too.....

My mom has an older F-250 Diesel with only 133k (diesels go 500+ for reals). I have lusted after it for years. It's been sitting unused, other than running it to keep is healthy, for years. She sold the horse trailer years ago and has an SUV for the boats and cargo trailers. I can't believe it BUT MY MOM AND STEP DAD GAVE IT TO ME!!!

The transmission only has three gears so it will tow the shit out of things but it's not meant cruise in the freeway at 65. The plus side is that the c6 transmission is very dependable so if I take good care of it I am set. For the longer freeway drives I will be getting rides with friends who have newer trucks. But for hauling to lessons, trail rides, and local shows this truck will be perfect. 

I've been learning all about cavitation, pyrometers, and glow plugs. Can't wait to have an adventure!!! 

What we are doing these days

We are doing lots of pony massage sessions but not much else. 

Dickie managed to get TWO shoes off and every day the farrier can come out I'm working. He can't make it til next week. Luckily he's not like bre and doesn't mind. 


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

So this happened......

I wasn't planning on it but I ended up getting a trailer! 

It's not some new fancy slant load but the price was great, it's sturdy, in great condition, and has lots of room for the beast. It has a spring loaded ramp, walk through escape doors on both sides, and is padded inside. The inside is in mint condition. It's 7'4" in the low spots on the sides and 7'6" where his head will be. I know they come taller but not in my price range. 

It has a few surface rust spots but this is Oregon so most steel trailers have some. The trailer lived in a hot dry climate until two years ago. There isn't a tack room which is a bummer but I looked into 20+ trailers in my budget and nothing was over 7ft. Dickie's comfort is more important than my convience. 

I can't pick it up until the weekend because I work and the truck is in the shop. I want it right now!!!!!  

Btw acquisition of truck will be another post. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lazy Horse and Rider

I don't have much to show equine wise for the last few weeks. My hip was pretty hot and bothered after all the walking show weekend. Then I had to work for a living and catch up on family stuff. Dickie has been spending his days eating grass and looking pretty. I feel bad that we have lost ground fitness wise but I think he will come back pretty quickly. 

He's at my friends pasture but I know I will need more than a field to get us back on track. I've been looking at places. Boarding is so hard. Either the location is perfect but it's too expensive. Or the arena is too small. Or not enough turnout. Or nowhere outside to ride. Over the last year of trying to settle into the right place I have figured out what is a must have for me and what is a want. My last barn had pretty much everything if only the owner wasn't terrible. 

Here is a list of my boarding must haves (what are yours?)

1) At least one arena bigger than a small dressage court. Dickie is a big guy and getting bigger. Having a forward horse is really important to me. It's hard for a horse to feel confident moving forward if they are constantly worrying about the next corner. Not to mention the wear and tear on joints.

2) Outdoor arena. I forgot how crazy I go being stuck inside until I was at a barn with no outdoor. Sometimes I ride in the pouring rain just because I can't stand the walls anymore. Plus, most well maintainined barns also have a lesson program of some sort. The outdoor means I always have a place to escape the crowds. 

3) Trails or a path around the property. Even a big field would meet this requirement. This is also related to my winter claustrophobia. I have to get out of the arena. I don't have a trailer so I can't just pack up for a trail ride. Hill work is also essential to building a strong balanced horse. 

4) Turnout. I want my horse OUT. He gets stir crazy when he's in and it's just not good for horses to be stuck inside. It makes them more prone to colic and ulcers. Turnout on hilly pasture is important for horses with lose stifles. 

My other needs are the basics that go without saying (low drama, clean water, safe). Everything else is gravy but I can live without. I don't care if the barn looks run down as long as it is safe. I don't need a fancy tackroom. Washrack is nice but I can use a hose outside if I need to. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Views Around the Farm (heavy on photos, light on words)

Stadium set for prelim Sat am

View looking back from the finish of intro/BN/N

An upper level jump with a cute turtle on top. 

The last intro fence. 

Another view of the course. 

They have two water complexes and the frogs were singing away. 

It was cloudy Sun Am when prelim went. 

Prelim rider coming through the water complex. 

Same rider sailing over the corner on on her way out of the water. 

The dressage rings were swampy like the warmup but stil had their fair share of holes. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Show Goals

My lovely assistant and I sitting on an upper level jump.

Dickie is just four and has been a late boomer mentally. My goals for him this season have nothing to do with ribbons or even finishing a single course. I had planned on being much more prepared for this weekend but life got in the way. We had entered a little combined training show but it was canceled. And the barn owner went crazy so we have been without an arena for the last few weeks. He has been off the property and went to a show in hand as a 2yo but never anything this big, and never anything undersaddle. There is plenty of time for worrying about how well we perform at a show. I plan on having this horse for 20+. At four he just needs to learn how to be a solid equine citizen. 

Given those facts here is what I wanted Dickie to accomplish (completing all three phases wasn't even on the list):

1)  Deal with the long trailer ride without seeming overly stressed and load/unload easily. 

Over the course of the weekend between getting to Bre's, getting to the show, then back to Bre's then back to his home he rode in three different trailers. He paused once or twice getting in but that was it. Where the people goes he will go. He even hung out in the trailer a few times when the humans had to eat. 

Wrapped up for the ride, telling his friend all about it. 

2) Handle being in a strange stall for two days without losing him mind. 

He whinnied and paced a bit when he first got there but calmed himself down in no time. Every time we checked on him he was munching away like an old show pony. 

He liked to peek around the trailer to see what we were doing. 

3) Learn how to tie at a trailer all day. 

This time around we had a stall but that won't always be the case. Whether we are going on a trail ride, or handing at a show he needs to tolerate being at a trailer. I don't have a trailer myself so we haven't been able to practice this one much. He fell in love with my friend's OTTB and thought trailer time was the best thing ever. 

Dickie didn't understand why the stall didn't have top hatches so he could taste passersby.

4) Tolerate being left by his buddies whether in his stall or tied at the trailer. 

On day one my friends decided to school xc after the show. He was mentally frazzled under saddle so I opted to stay back. I also had different goals than my friends. I don't want him to think he needs to be with his buddies. If they go he needs to handle staying behind. He won't always have a stall and his friends won't always be on the same schedule as him. He was worked up and called for them but nothing dangerous. One of the things I like about this horse is that even when he can come back from the ledge when he is amped up. I've known horses that once the freak out switch is flipped they are done. Without human intervention of some kind they will hurt themselves. Dickie can throw a tantrum with the best of them but he can also get over his bad self. Day two he didn't compete (see knee cap issue below) and he hung out alone in his stall all day happily. 

*I do need to admit this wasn't a TOTAL success. When he was done pacing for his buddies I went to take his boots off and he didnt' want to stand still. I made the mistake of daring to tell the prince to stand still and he threw a tantrum of bucking in place. In the process two steel shod hooves hit me square on the knee cap. RUDE

View of a prelim combo at sunset. 

5) Get through the dressage tests with patterns that where somewhat recognizable.

He gave the judges box a serious hairy eye ball but he went by. He even cantered pretty close to the right spot both ways!!! Our final center line was a quarter line but it was straight and we stopped pretty dang close to square. I wasn't a great score but it was exactly what I hoped for.  I also want to add that we have NEVER ridden the test all the way through before that day. We took a month off cantering then I had school parts of the tests. My plan for the last two weeks was to ride tests but we were arena less and the field was too uneven for full tests. 

Notice saddle covers to prevent eating of saddles.
6) Be obedient in the crowded warm up.

The warm up was BAD. It was set up on a swamp. Literally they mowed a marshy area and used it for warmup. It packed with out of control ponies, kids trying to ride center line while we were circling, several large hot bucking green horses, with a busy lane running next to it. He looked at everything but went to work. Forward has been an issue for him but I didn't dare ask in that swamp. At least one horse lost a shoe in the swamp. 

Doesn't get much prettier than this does it. 

7) See lot's of scary things and refrain from losing his baby mind. 

Sooooooo many scary things happened. In the morning he handled everything with just a bug eyes and the occasional snort. By the end of the day he was prancy and edge but never offered to scoot off, bolt, buck, or rear. There were mini-motocycles zipping down the narrow lane often with three people aboard, bikes, flapping tents, barking dogs, screaming kids, four wheelers. All of these forms of transportation were funneled through the grounds via a one lane dirt road right along with the horses. He wasn't the horse who acted like it was no big deal he gave everything a hard look but he was obedient and at times just plain curious about the weird stuff. 

Tari getting ready for her ride home. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Setting Up Camp

The plan for Friday was for Jennie's truck to be magically fixed early. Then we could get to the show early and set up stalls and camp. Our third member had to work and would grab Dickie when she got off. Ponies were dirty, the motorhome needed to be picked up, and all of my things were still in wounded truck. At some point Jennie needed a ride to her truck and all of the various vehicles happened to be located in suburbias on opposite sides of the city. Truck took forever to get fixed but it was fixed. Traffic was a bitch but we fought it. And just as our third Musketeer was picking Dickie up we hit the road ourselves. 

Tari princess getting ready for her first 3 phase event. 

Dickie's worried a little when he arrived but dinner made it all OK.

Nom Nom Nom

Our circle of wagons in the wild west.
With the help of our trust grill the humans finally earned dinner too. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Photo's of our Wonder Trio (wordier description of events to follow)

I would like to add that the photographer for all the jumping photos was our 13yo groom who had never held a fancy camera in her life. 

Down the centerline for our first dressage test ever!!

He has his thinking face on. 
It wasn't pretty but he cantered!! And he cantered all the way around. 

And we halt. Closer to E than X,  rules are so boring. 

Just crossed the finish line.....We were HC so we just trotted around the course. He thought all the big prelim jumps were going to eat him but I think he had fun. 

The little wonder arab won 4th place at her first event!! She's only school xc once two years ago and found out she could attend a little over a week ago. Go ARAB power!!

Tari schooling the BN trakehner after the show. 

Tari's final jump.
The third member of our gang going over her final jump on day two. She won her division that day!! 

Over the River and Through the Woods

Just getting to Inavale ended up being the most challenging part of our weekend. I had originally planned on riding with the friend I board with but she had a family emergency come up and wasn't going to be in town. My other friend could pick me up but she was working Friday until late and we are waaaaay off the beaten path from her. I decided to ask my mom to borrow her older truck. She has an F-250 diesel that I used to haul our horses with. It isn't used much so I wouldn't want to go on a long haul until I get a tune up. However, it was a fairly quick jaunt from Dickie's to Bre's which would put him right off I5 on the way to Inavale. My other friend was coming for one day and bringing her small horse in her non-Dickie sized trailer. We both had Thurs/Friday off and planning on getting horses moved and polished and all the things packed. 

Leaving my mom's driveway for the epic Inavale Adevneture of 2014

In he morning I headed off to borrow my mom's truck and she went to double check her trailer connections. Lo and behold her brand new brake box was flashing crazy lights that didn't match anything in the trouble shooting manual. We decided to get Dickie moved then drop her truck w the trailer off at her mechanic. We still would have plenty of time to pack and wash ponies. We were running ahead and it seemed like it would be a horse show without a major crisis. We tempted the fates by such a thought even entering our minds. 

On our way down Dickie's steep drive the truck brakes decided to go on strike. So there we were with a pissed off pony in a hot trailer and no way to get him from point A to B. My initial thought "PANIC PANIC!!!!" If it is someone else's crisis I am good. If it is my crisis that will require me needing bailed out I am not so calm. My next thought "Don't panic, I know people with trucks" which was quickly followed by "GODAMN IT!!! My phone is dead. The numbers are in my phone." Thank god for FB becuase we managed to message someone who was on his way in minutes. 

In the midst of trying to figure out who to contact, Dickie had started throwing a shit fit in the trailer because he thinks standing still is torture and Erin's trailer has shrunk in the last year. My friend started hand walking him and when we went to put him back for the haul home he didn't want to stay in. He wanted to turn around and come out with me and his quick release halter was a bit too quick. So with darkness setting my dark horse went trotting down a dark asphalt road. Fortunately Dickie isn't easy to get rid of and he trotted right back and put his head in the halter.

Dickie chilling in Bre's arena (the next day because it was dark when we made arrived)

Once we got home we had to dump him off and run because it was past 10pm. We still had to get back to the stranded truck, move it to Dickie's barn (safe and all uphill so no need for brakes), then get a car from my dads (my car was waaaaaaay out at my moms), then get friend's rig to her mechanic and at some point sleep. We did get all the things done and all the cars where they needed to be. And everyone was sleeping by 2am. 

Luckily transferring all the trunks from broken truck to non broken truck wasn't too hard.