Horses at home

My little princess, Ava, doesn’t enjoy summer. She is happiest squirreled into her stall with a hay net and fan.

I threw Ava outside after her dinner so she’d go be a horse for a few hours. 

She kept an ear cocked,  listening for me to come out and “save”  her. Obviously her human had made some kind of mistake and would rectify it immediately. 

I forgot my phone on the back deck.  I had to crawl across the deck on my hands and knee’s to retrieve the phone, because if Ava see’s me she runs to her paddock gate,  refuses to leave it,  and will whinny until I let her in.

Ava heard me open the back door.  She ran to her paddock gate, whinnied,  then stood there seeming confused when she couldn’t see me.

I crawled back inside…

At 9pm I snuck out to the pasture without being seen. I hollered out ‘Ava!! You can come back in now!”

Ava whips her head up, and lets out a continual bellowing whinny as she galloped up to the paddock gate. 

Today, the little monster (Ava still) decided she needed more hay, and began her systematic kicking of the stall wall to voice her displeasure.

Bam

Bam

Bam

Bam

“It’s second lunchies,  bitch” BAM!! 

.. 

I snuck out to the barn hoping to catch her in the act, but right before I get to the barn Joy lets out a big “Hey, what’cha doing?!” whinny.

D’oh. Caught.

I hid behind the wall of the barn hoping they’d both think they were mistaken and go back to what they were doing.

 They both pressed their heads hard against the bars, trying to eye ball me as I snuck looks around the corner.  

Ava’s new trick is to shove whatever itches in my face.  Shoulder itches?  Shove it into the human.  Belly?  Yup,  human can access it better from the ground.  

The cat’s have become complacent around Ava lately.  They should know better, but they are arrogant cats.  Yesterday I let Ava out and one of the cats decided to make friends with Ava.  It should’ve been one of those cutsey moments..  Instead,  Ava’s ears go back and demon monster horse lunges with teeth and hooves flying toward the cat.  The hoof missed by skant inches. Cat goes fleeing for her life.  Ava promptly turns toward me with a “Hehehe..  Did you see that cat run!”  look.  Like she expected me to get a good laugh out of it.  

Ok,  I admit,  once I knew the cat was fine,  it was kind of funny. 

Pics!! 

The old lady

Advertisements

Arena Building with No Money

Well,  the expanded arena is moving slowly.  Since we can’t afford to rent proper equipment to do this,  nor hire someone,  we’re stuck rota-tiling the entire thing and then dragging it ad nauseum until relatively smooth-ish.

Definitely going to be a “Premier Arena” when finished. ūüėā 

For the small area I ride on now,  we were able to break up the weeds by rota-tiling and (after massive amounts of dragging)  make the area less uneven.  Still rolly,  but no ankle twisters,  or leg breakers. It worked okay. 

We’re optimistic this will work on a large scale.

yeah, right

 

The rota-tiling was going fairly well,  but the old machine is popping seals and protesting!

Burning engine 

Luckily hubby is a small engine repair God and can make just about anything work with barely any money.  

Engine repair

He got it working again! 

The alternative is a hoe and a rack,  and I’ll be 80 before the arena is done.  *sigh*

So,  this image is “the dream” :

And this is the reality:

Looks like a God damned alien landing pad. 

Communication

I would regale you with my exciting riding adventures, ¬†but there are none. ¬†I’ve been rather depressed, ¬†hot, ¬†and stressed out. Ponies have not been ridden in nearly two weeks. ¬†I’m starting to hate summers here as much as I hate winters…

Anyway… ¬†I decided this week that I better put more bells and whistles on Joy if I’m going to ensure she gets a great home if I sell her. ¬†So yesterday I decided I would teach her… ¬†*drum roll**..

Spanish Walk.

I’ve never done this before.

Don’t worry, ¬†I watched all of the youtube videos. ¬†ūüėā

Thirty minutes of trying to teach it, ¬†and all I can get is that she’ll pick the leg up that I’ve touched, ¬†but only to about fetlock height. Doesn’t matter what I do, ¬†where I tap, ¬†or what I varied, ¬†that’s all she would offer.

I got so desperate that I tried showing her what I want.

Yeah, ¬†didn’t work. Nothing worked. ¬†Total failure of communication. ¬†Back to the drawing board.

Since that obviously wasn’t working, ¬†I decided I’d try to teach Joy to bow.

I’ve never succeeded at this before. ¬†Tried and horribly failed with Ava. BUT, ¬†I watched all the video’s yesterday, ¬†so I’m, ¬†like, ¬†an expert, ¬†you know.

ijer7

Anyway,  first session..  grain in hand,  lead rope in other.. . I pick up her hoof and ask her to back.

Nothing.

Ask again.  Nothing.

Work on backing without the hoof lifted.  That works fine.

Pick up hoof and ask her to back.

Nothing.

We do this over and over and over,  until she just barely will shift her weight back a little. My back was killing me,  my legs hurt from being crouched over,  sun was beating down and I was sweating profusely..

I couldn’t coordinate lead rope, ¬†hoof, ¬†and grain so i take her halter off…

Joy takes a step away,  drops like a stone and starts rolling vigorously.  Then she hops up and drops to the other side.  She stops long enough in her rolling to eat a small offering of grain I held up,  and then pops back to her feet.

I pick up her hoof, ¬†ask her to back…

Nothing…

ūüėā

We worked on that for nearly 30 minutes.  She did start shifting her weight back, finally,  but then i accidentally dropped her leg mid back-up and she decided I was no longer trustworthy, so she left.

Today, i tried again…

Picked her leg up,  asked her to shift her weight back.

She shifted back!   She only brought her knee about halfway down,  but it was progress! Yay!

I had the lead and halter on again, ¬†and decided to take it off. ¬†If Joy actually DID bow, ¬†I didn’t want her to step on the lead (which I couldn’t seem to keep out of the way).

As soon as i take off the halter Р straight down and rolling.

She pops back up and shakes vigorously for a second,  then lets me pick her leg up and ask her to back again.

We never got the knee to the ground. A decent effort on her part, ¬†but she’s not there yet.

Then Joy decided she was done and left.

Maybe tomorrow…

….

Pics

Clean barn!

Foggy morning.

Everyone gets a cape when a new bag of shavings is opened!

 

Can’t start the Digger

We’re changing how the pasture is set up. My two lard balls, er,¬†air-ferns need a bigger “dry” lot¬†than what I currently have.

Hubby has been slaving away at it, and yesterday I decided I was going to do a couple of sections all on my own!

I drug everything out, got everything set up, and then spent 15 minutes futilely attempting to start the auger. I finally gave up and texted my sleeping hubby…

I woke the poor hubby up. Then I made him slave away in the hot sun for several hours.

Did I mention we’ve had a horrible heat wave this week too!

Poor Hubby….

The new configuration will be something akin to below. The “New Arena” area will be close to a regulation sized dressage arena (notice my current “arena” is about the size of a 20m circle).

NewLayout

View of property.

The red line at the top is the property line.

Current config is:

OldLayout

 

 

 

 

 

 

20170517_193217

Fencing going up

 

Since we’re re-using existing fencing, we should only need to spend about $50 to¬†complete this.

Soon Ava and Joy will have room room to roam and Jessie can have her own separate area.

And I will have my ARENA!!!

 

 

Feral cats

When we bought this house, ¬†it came with 20+ cats. ¬†Most of them to some degree of feral. We’ve been trying to get all of them fixed as we have money, ¬†but it’s been… challenging… ¬†to say the least.

The seond to last feral cat had kittens last fall,  so we corralled the whole lot in to the basement to prevent them from freezing to death.

We took them to the vet today.

Our house looks like the scene of a massacre.

Cats are fine,  and on their way to the vets.

Humans are NOT ok.

Did i mention I’m not a fan of cats?

On top of this, ¬†Joy was acting weird this morning. ¬†It was stupid cold last night, ¬†and I thought she’d be okay since she had access to the stall and plenty of hay and water. ¬†Nope. ¬†I come out and she’s shivering terribly. ¬†Ava was fine without a blanket. ¬†Jessie I blanketed because she gets cold easily. Joy’s usually the ¬†hardiest of the bunch.

I’ve got three blankets on her. ¬†Gave her a little banimine, about half a dose, ¬†and waited. ¬†She seemed much better after 10 mins, ¬†and back to normal after 40.

I hate these 30 degree jumps in temps.  Wrecks havoc on everyone.

It’s only 8:30am. I hope this day gets better.

UPDATE:

$100 later, the three feral cats have been fixed, vaccinated, treated for fleas and released back to the wild. Ears clipped by vet to easily identify them as fixed. One is living in the barn, but the other two have not been seen again. I fear they may be dead.

 

The Loot

I snuck off to the local 4H tack sale Monday night to try to find shipping boots for a pony.

This specific annual tack sale is the mother of all tack sales. It’s 40,000 square feet of space that is utterly jam packed with horse related items being sold. There’s stuff piled on top of other stuff and every inch is filled.

When you first enter, it feels like Christmas just came. You want to dive in and never resurface. But… after walking around for a while it starts to feel a bit… overwhelming. Eventually your eyes can’t even focus anymore, and you randomly start bumping into people and merchandise. The throngs of people moving and milling about make it difficult to even walk down the aisles. It’s too hot and that winter sweater you’re wearing is making you sweat like a Michigander in a Florida summer. You see people you know, but all you can do is shout a hurried “hello” as the crowd pushes you down the aisle.

It’s crazy. Awesome, but crazy.

I had two items I really wanted. Shipping boots and a head guard for Joy. I want to pad her up for our first hauling journey this year. I walked the ENTIRE 40,000 sq feet before finding either of the items. Oodles and oodles of bridles, stirrups, saddles, halters, etc. There were cart harnesses, carts, itty-bitty saddles for little kids, clothes galore, jewelry, horse snacks, bits, spurs, more bits, and even girl scout cookies. I found one pair of shipping boots, and two choices in head guards. Slim pickings for the items I was there to purchase.

Shipping boots = $10.00
Head guard = $5.00

All of my shaving forks were missing tines, so I bought a new head.

Shavings fork head thingy = $8.00

I was winding my way back out of the throngs of people and tables when I stumbled on a polo wrap holder! I have wanted one of these for two years now. I thought it was display only at first. I was about to walk on when I realized someone was saying my name.

wp-image-1200980632jpg.jpg

I look up and there’s a friend behind the table. This was her polo wrap rack! She sold it to me for $10. I was joking about how the polo’s needed to go with the rack, so she sold me those too for $10.

Polo wrap rack = $10.00
Polo wraps = $10.00

Total cost for all my loot = $43.00 + $1.00 to enter the tack sale.

Not too shabby and it satisfied my tack shopping cravings (for a while at least). ¬†I did succumb to the impulse purchase of the polo wrap holder, but I¬†really¬† wanted one of these. Currently all my wraps are strewn across the floor of the tack room in haphazard piles. This’ll be nice to keep things more organized!

 

Now that I have shipping boots and a head guard for Joy, we can begin the hauling adventures!

I may just buy a roll of bubble wrap, wrap that sucker up into a giant ball and roll her on to the trailer for shipping. Hahaha

The Ides of March

March always seems to bring false hopes and then crushes them! 

It’s spring.  It’s winter.  It’s spring.  It’s winter…  Ugh. 

It has been jumping 20 degree’s within 2 hours some days.  Then the winds came. Reports of 45 to 60 mph winds.  Tree’s are down all over.  Our power went out. Internet went out.

I got a bonus from work!!  Yay!  Money for hay,  and I promised the hubby he could spend a bit on himself this time.  He was happy! 

Then one of our barn kitties died.  My favorite one.  The snuggly one.  *sob*

Then Ava colicked.  You know how horses who are colicky will look at their flanks,  or kick at them.  Not Ava.  She curled her upper lip constantly.  When I put her grain in her bin,  she layed down.  Didn’t roll.  Never once looked at her sides.  She layed down and curled her lip up.  It was the weirdest thing. 

Lip curl

Of course we still had no power and it was 9:30 at night with 50mph winds.  Of course. 

I called the vet immediately.  Slight impaction.  Vet worked on her for about 2 hours (mainly because Ava is not a good patient). 

And poof… there went the bonus money.

Hubby no longer so happy.

I had money.  Now I have no money. 

*sigh*

The icing…  The vet had left,  it’s nearly midnight,  and I’m sitting in the barn watching Ava and the other horses when I hear loud cracking noises and a solid thump.  The kind of thump that shakes the ground.  Everyone jumps.

Tree fell. No biggie.  But I check fence lines anyway,  and yup,  big tree right across the fence.  Grrr…

Had to lock everyone in for the night.  Which I guess was good.  It kept Ava company.  But I had to drag the hose out and fill water buckets in the middle of the night in freezing temps. 

3 hours sleep and hubby and I are back up and clearing fallen trees in the morning light. 

I’m sore. 

And I look like the walking dead. 

It’s only the 10th of March.  I shudder to see what the rest of March looks like. 

Stay safe everyone! 

Senior Mares

Jessie lost a tooth. At the age of 32(ish) she’s now experienced her first tooth loss.  Dentist said the rest look good,  nothing else loose,  and that it’s a top molar so less risk of impaction.

I was going to wait on the dentist until spring was here (snow blocks the path to the barn),  but Jessie seemed to be chewing oddly.  Mainly,  she seemed to be chewing on the right side of her mouth,  and for a few days she seemed less enthused about the hay than normal.  After that she seemed normal. I got chastised a bit by the dentist for not having him out immediately to pull the tooth,  but I’m not sure I could identify the issue again even now.

I never found the tooth.

After everyone had their teeth done,  Jessie wasn’t eating her hay.   She kept pushing it around,  taking a few pieces in her mouth and spitting them out.  We also had a 20 degree drop in temps between 12 pm and 2 pm,  so i was a bit worried.  I bundled her up,  watered her grain down to mush,  checked on her often,  and hoped for the best.

Next day she was eating hay with gusto.

Hopefully she doesn’t lose any more teeth for a good long while.  She’s kind of a picky eater.  I guess I better get serious about researching diet options for senior horses.

 

VIP at a Grand Prix show

Visited my parents last week and my father surprised us with VIP tickets at the¬†Fox Lea Farm “Under the Stars” $25,000 Grand Prix jumping show. Talk about fun!!

They let us walk the course (the jumps were huge). I’ve never been this close to jumps at this level. I can’t even imagine riding a horse over this. This jump is taller than both of my horses.

me

Our table was right of the middle in this covered area, and we had a great view of the entire course (picture taken from backside).

viptent

We got complimentary drinks and food for being VIP. Pictured below is just a very, very small sample of the goodies we were given. We also had fresh shrimp, a plethora of yummy appetizers to choose from, cookies and chocolate treats. You could also choose different types of beer or wine.

Needless to say, we were stuffed and drunk by the time the show ended.

loot

The riding was fantastic! I have nothing but blurry photos this time, but the horses were gorgeous and the riders were great.

jump

They gave us a score card so we could follow along with times and scoring.

We had dragged a couple of non-horsey friends with us and they had a blast too.

This was such an awesome experience. With five of us at the VIP table (which holds 6) the price was quite reasonable¬†for what they gave us (free access to more food than you can possibly eat, more alcohol than you can drink, some of the best deserts I’ve had in a long time, and a great view of the action).

It was  a blast!!

This venue also hosts some high end dressage shows, but my visits never seem to coincide with those. Maybe next year I can get over to see the upper level dressage riders perform. ūüôā

Indian Summer

We had a brief glimpse of what spring may look like.  It was fantastic. I was running around in a t-shirt! I was marvelous! The sun even came out for the day.

The following day was the dreariest day in history.  Fog all day, and the worst chill. Blah!

dreariest day ever

All day with that fog.

We’ve had three days of sunshine in 2017.

Three!!

Screaming