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).

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View of property.

The red line at the top is the property line.

Current config is:

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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!!!

 

 

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Post-Ice Apocalypse 

I let the beast (Ava) out of her paddock for the first time in at least a week.  She was quite,  uh,  buck-y about it.  I don’t think she took a regular step for 5 minutes.  Just bucked her way up and down the pasture.

She’s beautiful when she’s expressing herself, but sure makes me glad she’s not like that under saddle. Whew!

I hadn’t let her out because the footing was trecherous. Finally melted.

I broke Joy’s stall door.  As a strong,  independent woman,  I delegated fixing it to hubby.  Heh.

The nut that holds the door up on Joy’s stall fell off.  I couldn’t find it.

I spent half an hour trying to find that darn nut. I was freaking out about not finding it.

…..

Hubby found it sitting on top of the stall door.

As usual, the solution was above my head.

Barn Improvements

My Hubby has been a superstar the past couple of months. He’s rewired the entire barn, added outlets next to each stall, hooked up lights in each stall, and rewired the tack room with its own light and outlet.

No more motion activated light in the tack room which convienently goes out 15 seconds after I walk in. Yay!

We now have outlets to plug in the heated water buckets, and anything else I may need.

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Light!

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Plus, he replaced the motion activated light on the back deck of the house with a regular light, and fixed the light over the barn door.

We also had gravel brought in yesterday to try to tame this bog pit of a paddock. Hubby took the fencing down to allow the dump trucks to access the paddock. image

You probably can’t tell from this picture, but the whole far side consists of a couple feet of the thickest, slimiest, nastiest muck I’ve ever seen. When it rains, the water just sits there turning it into a gooey mess. When it freezes, the muck turns into treacherous crevices and lumps. It’s rather ironic, really. The entire property is sand. Sand as deep as you can dig. Yet the paddock has the blackest, thickest muck I’ve ever seen outside of swamp land.

The entrances to each stalls has at least a 2 foot drop from the stall to the paddock ground.

We had 43 tons of gravel dropped off. At $5.60 a ton. Then we had to pay to have it delivered, which cost more than the gravel itself.  Poor Hubby. They were supposed to deliver it at 8:30am, but they didn’t show up until 11 with the first load. Hubby had to call them to find out what was going on. They said they couldn’t find their driver! I’m pretty sure that’s not something you should tell a customer.

Anyway, it was finally all delivered, no one got stuck, and the yard survived.

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This is Zeus approved gravel!

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Hubby spent the afternoon trying to spread the gravel out, but all we’ve got is a lawn mower with a little lawn mower sized blade on it, and some shovels and a rake.
This might take a while.

But… I’m really excited about this. I’ll be able to use the paddock as a paddock again! Yay!

Re-enforcing the stalls

Because of Ava’s quirks, we are sustaining quite a lot of stall damage. Lately, when Ava leaned against the wall (and I mean lean, as in full weight) I was hearing some ominous groaning and cracking going on. Plus, she’d cracked the top board nearly in half. I knew that stall wall wasn’t going to hold out much longer if we didn’t do something to shore it up.

My amazing hubby installed a 4″ x 6″ post to the center stall divider (lag bolted into the rafters and floor) in hopes of preventing Ava from smashing, kicking, or brute force pushing, the stall wall down. He did this in 90 degree heat, with humidity off the charts.

I, of course, helped!

First, I cleaned the area where the brushes are stored. Then, I scrubbed out all the water buckets and the water tank, I brought hubby a couple of screws, disinfected all of the brushes, and cleaned some more stuff.  I tried knocking down cobwebs, but mainly succeed in dropping spiders in my hair.

I think at that point Hubby was getting a bit miffed at my lack of true participation, so he asked me to help him hold a stall mat while he cut it to fit. I put my entire weight against that mat to keep it still, but amazingly my fat ass wasn’t heavy enough to hold it…

He put the toe of his boot on the mat…. it held still.  The toe!

I feel like letting everyone know that the “24/7 turnout miracle cure for all bad behaviors” is a farce. Ava has total freedom and 24/7 access to pasture, she has free choice hay, she has buddies, and a big pasture to stretch her legs in.  She stands in the stall 23 hours a day and kicks (even if no one is near her) or leans on the walls.

I bought your lies, you hippies. Never again!
😉

Moved to new barn yesterday

I moved Ava to her new barn yesterday. She’ll be on stall rest for the next 30 days.

Luckily, she has a nice big stall with lots of air flow and she can see outside from both the front and back of her stall.

I forgot my phone in the car, so didn’t get any pics. I’ll take some today.

I feel bad that she’s stuck in a stall. And yesterday as I was leaving the new barn, I felt like I was abandoning my child to strangers. I hope it works out. On the plus side, they are more than willing to help with Ava’s care. If she needs hand walking, and I can’t get there to do it, they said they can do it.

We’ll see how it goes. I’m still thrilled that they have heated bathrooms in the barn. Ha!

Finding a new barn…

Well, I think I’ve found a barn to move Ava to. It is too expensive, but we’re going to try to make it work through the winter. I’m thinking that if I can move her in the summer to a cheaper facility than it will offset the increase over the winter.

Hubby seems optimistic that we can afford this. I’m a pessimist…. so we’re going to go broke, lose our house, and have to sell the horse. Haha :/

The new barn seems nice. I’m super excited about the trails. 200 acres of land, plus it butts up against a preserve, and another farm with even more trails. I’ve really missed trail riding this year. Plus it has a heated lounge and heated bathrooms which will be very appreciated this winter.

It was pretty deserted when we got there though. I found that a bit depressing. And it’s basically a jumper barn. Jumps are set up year round. They seemed to have it set up well so that there were large patches for flat work. There were also clear diagonal lines available and the BO said she tries to keep it set up so dressage riders can get their work done without too many hassles.

I don’t know…. we’ll see. But if this place won’t work then it’s getting pretty late in the year to get a spot in a barn with an indoor. Most of those barns are full, or close to it, by now (the decent ones are).

Heaping pile of crap

My barn told all the boarders this evening that they are no longer going to be operating a public boarding facility. This is effective as of December 1st. The six current boarders were given the option to stay, but board will increase from $400/month to $500/month.

I’d been looking for a new barn anyway. I’ll leave it at that instead of going into all the boring points on why this place isn’t worth the $400 I’m paying now.

 

Tomorrow I’m going to go look at a barn about 20 miles from my house. The board is significantly higher than what I pay now. I think its $525, but it has a lot of amenities. Personally I’m sold on the miles of trails they have available. Huge indoor, good farrier and vets brought in often, quality feed, a heated observation room, and heated bathroom right in the barn (no more intruding on the barn owners by entering their house).

There’s another barn a smidge closer to my house that is cheaper, $350, but the indoor is really small, no trails, a smallish outdoor, and a huge long drive way that made us wonder how well the snow removal in the winter was. I went and looked at it last year, and I don’t remember what exactly turned me off from the place, but at the time I wasn’t all that enthused about boarding there (other than the small arena and the lack of trails). I may have to rethink that option quickly though.

Ava’s still gimpy on the left hind. As soon as I start trying to work a bit of collection she’s ruined for two days. I’ve been trying to schedule x-rays (and possible treatments) for Ava, but I’m hesitant to set anything up when our bank balance is hovering at $40. We can’t even pay for the gas to get to the vet’s office at this point in time. It’s been a bad couple of months money wise…

And to top it all off, I am one lesson away from finally learning flying changes. I cannot express to you enough how badly I have wanted this day to come. Except, I can’t afford that last lesson, my horse isn’t sound, the trainer leaves next month until April, I have to find a new barn for Ava, I’m worried about my dad because he has no Charlie, and the little dog we adopted is peeing on the carpet when he thinks no one is looking (the little rascal!).

So that is my life in a nut shell. I hope you and yours are faring better.

Where did all the people come from?!

All winter it was just me and one other girl (and her mother) at the barn. The barn was quiet, solitary… a haven after a long day at work.

Not so much anymore… What was once a sleepy little boarding facility, is now a noisy, clausterphobic cluster of squirming bodies. Suddenly everyone has come out of the woodwork to ride and play with their horse.

I love the die hards. There’s a new girl that seems very serious about her riding. She’s friendly, but stays on task and moves with a purpose. She’s always quick with a smile, and those rare moments she’s just standing there she can anticipate where you’re going and clear a path.

The casual riders frustrate me. I try not to feel that way, but I only have a short period of time to spend with my horse each day and having someone get hurt feelings because I’m not willing to stand in one spot and talk for 2 hours is frustrating to me. And I get frustrated that they seem to have a billion excuses about why their precious horse can’t behave. To top it off, they have no sense of the flow of things. They stand directly in the path of your horse, seemingly unaware you’re heading straight at them. There’s always a zone about 20 feet around them where you will get stuck in their choas.

We’ve got one lady at the barn whom I utterly adore. She talks, a lot, but she’s completely self-sufficient in her conversations. I can be as introverted as I want, yet get the entertainment of her stories. And it never phases her if I suddenly walk off to go get something. Everyone at the barn loves her. She’s so sunny and positive, but with a splash of dark humor that catches you off guard when it shows up (in a good way).

In addition, the barn owners are attempting to transform themselves into a full service “Lesson Barn”. This means every couple of weeks a new “lesson” horse arrives, which they plucked out of a field for free, or extremely low cost. Most of these horses have some behavioral or physical issue that make them unsuitable as lesson horses. The owners persevere. Their optimism is baffling, yet almost contagious.

With the new lesson program comes non-horse people. Those are the worst. They block the whole aisle, their children run unsupervised, their cars take up the only spot to turn a trailer around at. They think horses are motorcycles that happen to eat carrots, and blindly stumble up to my horse as she pins her ears and snakes her head at them. I am on guard constantly to both protect my horse and the ignorant people.

I miss the quiet of winter. Where the few die hards come out to ride and share battle stories, then retreat to warmer places. I had to remind myself the other day that as soon as the weather gets a little harsh these people will run home. Then us die hards will have our barn to ourselves again.

OMG, Not Another Water Bucket!!

I really got my butt handed to me this weekend. I helped with barn chores over the weekend for the 20 some horses at my stable. I’m beat, and very sore.

I was fine until the watering part.

I don’t mean to pick on my stable… nope, that’s a lie. I DO mean to pick, but it’s their facility and they can do what they want…. as long as they don’t ask me to water horses again.

Anyway, the water buckets…

Who hauls 40 water buckets down long aisles in the winter?!? 20 horses, 2 water buckets each. I have a bad back, but can normally function passably well in day to day life. I took one look at their current system and about ran screaming from the barn. The least they could do is use a cart to move the full buckets from one end to the other. They don’t even do that. I commandeered a wheel barrow to help make it a bit less stressful on my body, but it still didn’t remove the fact that I had to lift 40 buckets up to chest height to attach them to stall walls.

My shoulders are screaming at me right now.

It was 16 degree’s this morning. Every water bucket was at least half full and frozen.

I got water on my glove and then my glove froze to the stall latch when I tried to open it.

My gloves froze to the handles of the water bucket when I lifted them. I couldn’t open the stupid clips that hold the water buckets with my gloves on, but my hands froze to them if I took my gloves off.

I can’t stand up straight now. My back feels like someone is twisting a knife in it.

I can think of a dozen ways that whole process could be made less horrifying. Several involve using rubber tubing… I would call it a Hose. I could sell this product and make millions!!

I hate winter…

Barn Move – Update

Well, the barn move went swimmingly!

The previous time loading Ava took 4 people over an hour to forcefully shove her into the trailer.  Today’s loading event took all of 4 minutes and a grain bucket. Woo Hoo!  The verdict is out on whether that is a repeatable event, or a one-off.

Does anyone else talk to their horse like the horse understands? I know I’m weird, but I had to explain to Ava days in advance that she was moving and where she was going. Not that she understands.. but it makes me feel like I’m keeping her in the loop. hahaha.

Anyway, hubby and I loaded Ava up without an issues. The haul over was uneventful. I unloaded her and let her check out her new pasture. Ava immediately dug into the lush pasture grass.

All in all, a very nice and uneventful trip. Tomorrow Ava will go in a pasture with a little less grass until she gets more used to having so much. We put her in the really lush one today because she was only out there for a short while before feed time.

I’m tired now.  I’m going to bed.