Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Farms

I got a surprise phone call today - apparently G went to the bank today and got approved for the money for the 'dream' farm at a super low interest rate. I'm freaking out a little ( a lot!). This is one of those things I really want to happen, but for some reason I kept thinking it was a 'someday' sort of thing, not a 'this could happen right now' situation.

I can't even believe I'm saying this, but for now we'll sit tight and wait. I need to wrap my head around this. I think this could be everything I ever wanted, but this is a huge life changer and I don't want to jump in without being sure this is G's dream too. He'd be giving up a lot for this to happen.

August vacation time is getting closer and soon we'll have a week for pony visits and wine tours, and plenty of time to discuss the long term real estate/career plan.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Google Glass

http://www.google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/




Who's interested in these? I'm thinking they'd be pretty great for riding since you could have video and mapping/GPS functionality in a set of fairly low profile glasses.

Of course, I'd probably end up meandering along the trail listening to music and checking my email, which sort of defeats the goal of getting away from it all. The arms of the Google glasses are 'bone conducting' which means you can hear music without headphones. Ginger loves music, perhaps needs her own set of glasses :)

I've been to a couple of tech conferences lately where Google Glass is being heavily promoted. I love the idea and the advertising is great, but since they aren't yet readily available I have yet to meet anyone beyond a company rep who has actually used them on a regular basis. And of course he said they were great. Still, they might end up on my Christmas wish list.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

This or That

Since life here is creeping past at snail speed and my life currently consists of editing code and making maps of municipal utilities (I can hear you now, "But wait, T, I REALLY want to know how my home sewer line connects to the main line! In a 3D image!" lol), interesting blog topics are few and far between.  How many "I really miss my horse" and "I can't wait to get home" blog posts can I write without boring even myself? You'll be glad to know I've reached my limit :)

So, I've copied Lauren's "Equestrian This or That" from her She Moved to Texas blog. Thanks, Lauren, for the great idea :)

Equestrian This or That

Appaloosas or Pintos: Pintos
Palomino or Buckskin: Buckskin
Bay or Chestnut: Bay
Star or Stripe: Stripe
Mare or Gelding: Mare
Quarter Horses or Arabians: Both! I had an Arab/QH and he was fabulous.
Fjord or Haflinger: Haflinger
Clydesdale or Percheron: Percheron, for Lainey
Thoroughbred or Warmblood: Thoroughbred
Saddlebreds or Tennessee Walkers: Saddlebreds
Connemara or Welsh Pony: Connemara, but if Welsh Cobs are included, then obvously WELSH.
Cross Country or Fox Hunting: Fox Hunting
Equitation Under Saddle or Hunter Under Saddle: HUS
Hunters or Jumpers: Jumpers
Dressage or Cross Country: Cross Country
Local or Rated Shows: Local
One Day or Weekend Shows: Weekend
County or Antares: County
Flash or Figure 8: Neither, just a plain noseband
Polo Wraps or Boots: Boots
Standing Wraps or Shipping Boots: Standing Wraps
Square Pads or Baby Pads: Square Pads
Standing or Running Martingale: Running
Ariat or Tailored Sportsman: Ariat
Traditional or Technical Fabric Jackets: Traditional
Field Boots or Dress Boots: Field Boots
Black Jacket or Navy Jacket: Navy
Spurs or no Spurs: No Spurs
Crop or no Crop: No Crop
Charles Owen or GPA: CO

Extras:
Full Board or Self Board: Self
Paddock or Stall: Paddock
Trail or Ring: Trail
Bumper Pull or Gooseneck: Bumper Pull
Blanket or 'Naked": Blanket
Pony or Horse: Pony!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Flights Are Booked!

I'm taking a week off mid August to visit BC and, among others, I will see the lovely Gingersnap. I am so so lucky to have such an understanding guy in G. We were on the phone the other night discussing vacation plans, and he asked what riding gear he should bring for me. I was like "????" Since it's about a day's drive from Vancouver to go see Ginger it's a bit of a commitment and I had assumed we wouldn't have time. I had hoped to make a trip on my own later on in the fall. Apparently G didn't get the memo and assumed my priority this trip would be to see Ginger. I won't argue with that!

 True story, after that conversation, I was so excited I couldn't sleep. The countdown is officially on!

I miss this face.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Loving This!

It's currently free to view online copies of the Chronicle of The Horse magazine:

http://read.uberflip.com/i/143338


I really enjoyed the article by Meg Kepferle on page 36. I'm from a family of larger people, and up until my mid 20's, was always considered 'the skinny one' and told I had just hit some genetic jackpot, while they just weren't so lucky. As my weight increased by about the same amount as the authors in my late 20's, I started to realize what I'd been told probably wasn't true. I was always the picky eater and the active one in the family. Then, due to a change to a desk job and me just not paying attention and continuing to eat like I was a teenager, I magically gained weight. Something about the story I'd been told wasn't adding up :).

It's only been the last couple of years where I've really sat down and evaluated exactly what I'm eating - up until a few years ago I'd always assumed if the food I ate looked healthy or the package said it was fat free I was doing pretty good. How I wish I could go back and give the younger me some reading material! As the article says, we pay so much attention to our horses diets and fitness, why not concentrate a little more on our own?


Friday, 12 July 2013

By The Numbers

I've been slowly cleaning up my computer over the past couple of weeks. You can tell a lot about someone by what they store on their computers. I'm no exception :)

 For fun, here's a breakdown of the pictures I was hoarding :

1. Ginger: 3.22 GB (819 picture/video files)

2. Lainey: 911 MB (161 picture/video files)

3. Misc (mostly travel with G): 751 MB (272 files)

4. Horse related (tack I like, grooming ideas, etc): 110 MB (86 files)

5. House and barn plans and ideas: 65 MB
      5a. Houses: 168 files
      5b. Barns: 92 files

Poor Ginger. She's obviously the victim of paparazzi type stalking :)

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Another reason to be happy

That Ginger moved for the summer. I got a call yesterday afternoon that there was a forest fire about a half a mile from the barn on the coast! Luckily it turns out it was just a small one and they hope to have it officially out by this morning, but still, I bet it was pretty stressful for the nearby farm owners.

Here's a video. The second big plane with the water is flying over my main riding trail up from the barn. Thank goodness we weren't riding there yesterday! We know she's good with airplanes, but this would have been a little much...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k7Fv0UuBQg

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

How to Pass The Time


I love my job, but wow, I sure seem to have a lot of time on my hands without G around or any barn life. I think in a way this little break has been good for me – I was super stressed out over Ginger’s boarding situation and her off and on soreness. I know Ginger is thriving too, she’s looking pretty good in the pictures I’ve been sent. I’m happy that I’ve made the right decision for the time being, but December really can't come fast enough!

 Here are some ways I’ve found fill the horsey void without actually having a horse in the same province as you:

-A horsey internet video subscription. Right now I have Horse Hero. I can watch a training video or two every night and feel like I at least learned something – not as good as real world lessons, but hey, it’s something.

-Explode your facebook page with horsey feeds. All my favorite riders, all the local clubs and associations, all the major event venues, etc, etc. I have to plow through about 10 horsey posts for every one post I see from an actual real world friend.

-More gym time! I tell myself I’m becoming more fit to be a better rider. Forget looking good or breaking personal bests, the chance of becoming a better rider is what gets me to the gym.

-Walk to work. No having to rush off at the end of the day to get to the barn – now I have time to walk the half hour to work. This also helps with the above goal J

-Online shopping. Sad, but true, and so, so much fun. That money I’m saving is going back into new riding gear to replace all the beat up stuff I should have replaced long ago. I’m totally on board with Lauren’s ‘no duct tape’ goal and am including both Ginger and myself and all our assorted gear.

-Spending an hour every day looking at real estate listings. Planning my dream farm. Counting all the money I haven’t spent buying tack and hoping the dream will be a reality this year.

-Looking over the horsey classifieds. Ginger will need a friend, of course.

-Randomly nagging the barn owner for Ginger updates. She’s amazing and looks after Ginger so well and sends me updates every couple of weeks and pictures every month. Still, I have to compulsively check in far too often. Ditto for Lainey, which is even more shameful since she’s not even mine anymore!

-Checking out everyone’s blogs and living vicariously through you all.

My work computer. Yes, I am obsessed.
 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Gypsy, Part 2

Part 1 is here.


In what seemed like no time at all, Gypsy and I were following along on most of the daily trail rides that left the barn. The summer weekends were very busy, sometimes so much so that I had to have a second horse to ride. The weekdays were quieter, with only one or two short rides leaving in the morning. In exchange, I fed and watered all the horses in the morning and cleaned stalls. The older girls answered the phone and set up bookings, while us younger girls would tack up the appropriate horses - all except our own. The barn owner was old school - once we could ride bareback without falling off, we could have a saddle. In our free time, we'd ride to the lake and swim, or on winter weekends, we'd play hide and seek/tag which involved everyone riding in an agreed upon area of the forest and evading 'capture' from the person who was it. Being at the bottom of the herd hierarchy, Gypsy took a great interest in eveading 'capture' from her more dominant herdmates. Although slow, she became pretty well versed in the rules of the game and we were usually the winners.

I was completely at ease and happy for the first time in my life. Gypsy was the perfect friend for an introverted young girl. I gained more and more confidence. If I paid attention to what she was telling me, there were no surprises, and nothing I couldn't make sense of. My actions, good or bad, were rewarded as such. That, in itself, was something altogether unexpected and wonderful.

Then, in what seemed like an instant, the barn owner decided to discontinue trail rides and become a boarding barn instead. The horses would be sold, and us girls would be out of a job. Most of the girls went on to other hobbies, until there was only myself and my friend from the softball team left. The horses were sold off one by one, usually far away where we knew we'd never see them again. The barn owner approached us - if we could afford to pay for our ponies hay, they could stay and we could continue to ride them. I was determined to make that happen. Gypsy was my best friend and I couldn't imagine life without her. The barn was my freedom and the horses felt like such level and honest friends - something I desperately needed as my father sank ever deeper into mental illness and my mother struggled to cope with a life I suspect she wanted to escape.

Thankfully, my parents were able to come up with the hay money and I could continue to ride at the barn.

The new, quieter lifestyle suited Gypsy. Without the trail rides, her workload was greatly reduced and for the most part we wandered quietly around the trails alone or with my best friend. I spent hours grooming her and preparing her for pretend shows. We spent a happy summer riding to the corner store and swimming in the lake. Life was good.

But as we all eventually learn, all good things must come to an end. Gypsy's feet were becoming more and more troublesome to her and I was able to ride her less and less. I was given a horse to ride in her place, and he was all the things a young girl could dream of - beautiful and spirited, even the dazzling grey color. It wasn't the same. I didn't feel like he listened to me or understood me like Gypsy. I spent time each day on my walk home from the barn giving Gypsy a treat or two, and even bringing her in for a short ride in the ring during the times she felt better. It was important to me that she felt like she was special and needed. In a relatively short time though, her pasture buddy had to be put down due to heaves. After that, she spent most of her days sleeping in the spring sunshine, and just generally seemed closed off and depressed. She'd show brief moments of interest when I would visit, but she obviously wasn't doing well.

At some point the following week, the farm owner had Gypsy euthanized. I went back to feeling like the world was a very unjust place. Looking back now, I can see what a great gift I was given. I've tried to repay it, which I'll tell you about in another post.

*I so wish i could provide you with pictures, but one of the things Gypsy was scared of due to her rough past were cameras, I think becase the motion of raising one and using it looked a bit like you might throw it at her.