Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Found My Mojo!

With my move and work schedule change last fall, my life changed dramatically. I've been really enjoying having so much time at home and am feeling a lot less stressed and pulled in every direction. Looking forward, I'm so excited to adapt my work schedule further, freeing up even more time to spend there.

Bridget is happy and my boarding barn there is perfect for Sophie too. Board is dirt cheap, they've got room to run, its super low key, and I love having the time to be more hands on in their day to day care.

Bridget even looks less like a potato these days!

Really, what's not to like?

This is such a first world problem, but I'm really tired of riding alone in the ring, and so bored of the trails. I mean, the trails there are beautiful, but more then once a week and I'm kind of "meh". I really, really like learning and pushing myself and I miss having lessons and goals and being surrounded by likeminded people. B, however, is thriving being my trail pony so I'm all alone in those feelings, lol. I've been feeling really unmotivated and kind of lost, to be honest.

B's trail ears are always happy

I had to stop by EC's barn the other night for an unrelated matter, and as soon as I pulled in the driveway, I was like "THIS. THIS place. THIS is what I'm missing. THIS is where I'm supposed to be right now." So funny how the answer sometimes hides right in plain sight. Logically, I've been doing the right thing by focusing my time and money on the horses at home and on progressing with Bridget. However, what makes perfect sense on paper isn't always what makes you happy in real life.

While I was at EC's, I took Audrey out for a hack, because I <3 Princess Audrey, although I wouldn't put it past EC to have added that offer as a way to gently point me back in her direction, riding wise. Because, of course I came back from my ride and was like " I love Audrey, and I miss it here so much!" and then EC,  the busiest woman running the busiest barn I know, just happened to have spare time in the calendar for me to ride Audrey on a regular basis after my work days here :) Coincidence? Maybe? Or part of a master plan? ;)

Old photo of the princess, sorry.

I feel like I should do a recap of who Audrey is. She's EC's young prospect who's quirky and fun and oh so talented. They moved up to Fourth level this spring and are winning, and I'm super proud of them both. Anyway, I always feel lucky to ride Audrey, she teaches me so much!


We sort of touched on what I'm feeling regarding Ms Bridget and the future with her, and it was nice to have a little validation of my thoughts. I mean, I'm an adult and don't need permission, but it's still always nice to bounce ideas off people who get it.


So, moving forward, we are reinstating my Monday night lessons. I'll be riding Audrey and will pursue my riding goals on her, hopefully until such time as Sophie is ready. I can also hack her or another of the barn horses the Tuesday or Wednesday nights I stay here for work, if I feel like it. Bridget is going to remain where she is and I'm going to trail ride her as much as I can stand on weekends, and will use her to help teach Sophie. I'll part lease her should I find the right kid. I'll pick away at training things with her only if I want to. Sophie's going to get lots and lots of groundwork and hiking or ponying miles for now.




It actually feels very freeing to let all those unfinished goals with Bridget go, so maybe that's a further sign this is the right call for all of us, at least right now?

I'm excited about riding Audrey again, and hopeful this is going to be an excellent compromise between still pursuing and progressing in my riding goals, yet still having the time I need at home and keeping Bridget happy. Because, despite my lack of desire to keep pushing Bridget along competition wise, I'm in no way forgetting she's the horse that gave me my confidence back and took me on so many adventures I never thought I'd be able to achieve. She's one in a million and means the world to me. Pony has earned herself the best home I can give her, for life.

Further adventures in the works...






Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Saddles and Sassy Ponies

First off, can I pick the blogosphere's brain about saddles? What are your opinions on adjustable gullet saddles? I'm wanting to jump B again, but am needing a saddle for that. I'm hoping for something on the more reasonably priced side since I'm not foreseeing a future of being serious about much of anything with Bridget. I'm also still feeling a little burned by the saddle fitting and customizing experience that cost $$$$ without resulting in a saddle I could use on the new and improved Bridget pony's slimmer frame. I'll delve back into nicer tack once Sophie has finished growing and is at a good age for her own gear. And if I find a reliable saddle fitter. Until then, I can see how adjustable gullets might be something worth looking into (for both ponies). B is at a size now where she can fit into the standard wide/xw Pessoa and Bates gullets, and I'm not ruling out her changing shape again as she builds her topline back. So, the whole adjustable thing is pretty tempting. Please share your experiences, good and bad, fellow bloggers! :)

On the Banana Pony side of the field, someone is feeling VERY VERY good about herself.  I was sadly mistaken when I thought I'd just buy a baby pony, kick them out in the field and check in again later. This pony demands your attention, and is very naughty when she doesn't have a job.

Shhh...don't wake the dragon!

Sunday's farrier visit went as such:
(Sidenote: we found a most excellent farrier who travels to our area monthly, and she was (politely) horrified at the state of Sophie's feet. I didn't want to get into farrier drama, so didn't mention previous farrier visited twice in the last month and I had to fight with him to trim anything off. I let her think Sophie was just way overdue. She fixed them up in no time, though, and said she's got excellent feet. Pheww.)

Anyway, on with the pony farrier drama:

Sophie: Oh hey, you, what's happening? Are we going to go have fun?
Me: Come on, you're visiting the farrier...again.
Sophie: Actually, I don't have time for that right now
Me: Yes you do.
Sophie: Seriously. I am way too important and busy and I don't know this lady from anywhere. She is not worth my time.
Me: Suck it up. Look at your feet. You need a farrier. You have manners, please use them.
Sophie: My manners do not extend to this new farrier person. I cannot stand still for this amount of time. I told you I am too busy for this right now.
Me/Farrier: Ughh, stand still already.
Sophie *Kicks at farrier*
Me/Farrier:You're going to die now, Sophie.
Sophie: Ahhhhh, NO ONE LOVES ME I KNEW THIS WAS A BAD IDEA. I TOLD YOU I COULD NOT DO THIS TODAY.
Me (to farrier): I am so sorry, she knows better than this. I feel terrible.
Farrier: She's quite dramatic, isn't she?
Farrier: Your little bay mare sure is a nice horse :)

She looks so innocent

So, yeah. I have work to do with my little palomino monster pony. I was pretty horrified she kicked at the farrier entirely because she was having a temper tantrum. I could forgive bad choices made in fear, but this was entirely an "I don't like you and I don't wanna" thing. On the plus side, the farrier didn't fire us, and Sophie learned again that kicking people is a VERY VERY BAD thing. I learned that at this point in time, it's maybe not fair to just drag her out of her field and expect her to be calm and on her best behavior. So, there's that. The joys of owning baby ponies!


I may put Bridget in her field this coming weekend, so Bridget can have a friendly chat about personal space and manners too. It won't hurt Sophie, although Bridget's going to be very grumpy :)

Bridget is a very tough customer. This is me taking a picture of her while holding Sophie. B is not impressed.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Better Balance

In the balanced hooves saga, we've found someone willing to travel here next week to trim the ponies. I still fully intend to learn to trim both ponies myself, but Sophie's feet have a few different things going on right now and some professional guidance will be very welcome!

B has great feet, at least

In the balanced saddle journey, both of Bridget's now too wide saddles sold to new homes. Yay! I've got a dressage saddle for her now that is still a bit wide, but I'm hopeful that when she builds up her topline a bit again that it will be better. Right now, though, it tips ever so slightly forward and I'm not loving it. I've got a riser pad on order, but meh, I'm less than enthused about this saddle. So, I went and bought an older Frank Baines dressage saddle to try. Fingers crossed. Still no jumping saddle, and of course now that means I'm super frustrated about it and  I want to jump all the things!

In the meant time I bought this:

Guess you could say we're getting serious about this trail riding pony thing.


And have been doing our flat work in it. It's actually working super well for us both! B is very forward and happy, and I'm realizing just how much our previous saddles were NOT fitting me. So nice to just sit and let my leg hang where it needs to - no fighting anything.

Of course, my balance needs some help. I'm noticing I'm particularly ineffective in canter to trot transitions, sort of collapsing and falling into it (and letting Bridget do the same) and in general I haven't been using my core as much as I should. Hunching your shoulders and rounding your lower back doesn't feel 'right' without a saddle, so I'm hopeful I'll be better about looking up and keeping my shoulders aligned with my hips. Funny how it's fairly easy to have a wonky position in a saddle and then you ride bareback and it's immediately obvious that there's a better, easier, way to position yourself!
B has no issues with pony yoga balance

While I am very much missing lessons and showing, I'm also enjoying this relaxed schedule and the lack of pressure I feel. I'm having fun riding bareback, so what's the rush to buy a saddle? Dressage tests practiced at home have no tack or attire rules. Maybe I'll get braver and start jumping sans saddle too, who knows :)

Showing her loss of topline due to my lack of a focused conditioning schedule, but LOOK, DAPPLES!

In other horse/life balance news, I've been asked if I would sell Ginger. I'm thinking it's time, and am open to it, provided the fit is a good one. Further discussions pending, but I'm hopeful there will be some positive change in both of our futures.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Further Trailventures

I had yesterday off work due to the Victoria Day holiday, which was wonderful! A bit of a taste of what my 4 day work weeks will be like (if we ever actually hire a new person, my schedule change is now bumped forward to July. First world problems, though.)

So, with a whole extra day to spend at home, I spent time doing all my favorite things. I read part of some good books (The Essential Hoof Book, and Training Horses The Ingrid Klimke Way - would recommend both, but the hoof one is particularly good) I improved our garden a bit, went hiking, and cooked too much good food. Best of all, G and I took Sophie for an epic hike on the trails.

Queen Sophie surveying her kingdom

Sophie was, of course, way overexcited at first about coming for a hike with us. She's so sociable, enthusiastic, and so curious. I feel a little guilty we only get her off property a couple of times a week. I need to improve on that, because she's in her element when she's busy and active.

The excitement lasted about 15 minutes, then she was super chill. She doesn't get excited on an out of control flying a kite pony level, but she certainly starts out needing some manners about personal space and reminders to look where she's walking! Homework for me, a little more groundwork with her would not be a bad thing...


About 45 min in, we hit the baby pony wall...where she pretty much was done and I think would have enjoyed a nap, lol. We let her graze in the shade for a while until she started showing interest in proceeding on our way. She's so expressive - I get a real kick out of it. There is never any doubt what she's thinking and she's not shy about expressing herself. She lets you know right away if she's thirsty, tired, hungry, whatever. To a certain extent, with the tiredness I push her past it a little, because she doesn't get to arrange the day and will one day be a riding pony (also she's 2, not a teeny baby!) but I do listen and let her have a break once can I set it up to be 'my' idea. I want her to continue to view our outings as fun!


The walk back down the hill was beautiful and well worth the climb up...the views are nice and the breeze was most welcome. Sophie walked in and out of several ditches and creeks along the way, and met up with a couple of off roading vehicles and an ATV. We went over a couple of 'friendly' bridges, in that they are the same gravel as the trail, but you can see/hear the water flowing under them. I have a feeling she'll be a little concerned when we progress to wood or metal decked ones, but so far she's showing herself to be very sensible and just all around lovely to deal with.

A fun part of our outing was that I simply took her lead rope off when we got back through the farm gate, thinking she'd like to graze in the driveway while I mucked out and said hi to Bridget in the fields further down. So cute, though, she noticed we were gone immediately and came trotting up and followed me around as I did my chores. Apparently we are more fun and interesting than the long grass by the driveway, and also the other horses :)

Bridget missed us

Monday, 21 May 2018

Three Hour, Three Lake Tour

Even though I am home most days of the week, I'm still finding it hard to find the time to connect wth my local friends. Luckily, the stars aligned and both myself and two great friends were free this past Saturday!

Both were willing to trailer down near my barn for a trail ride, which was perfect. I board in an area where there are unlimited trail networks - we could literally head out for weeks and travel incredible distances without ever crossing our tracks. The isolation here admittedly gets to me sometimes, but on the other hand, it is pretty cool to have so much outdoor space, and the ocean and mountains at our doorstep.

So many options, my barn is located pretty much dead centre of this trail map.

So off we went, with no real plan beyond catching up on all things horses and enjoying the beautiful trails. We all commented that it was a little reminiscent of when we were kids...just hopping on our ponies with no real plan, and seeing what adventures the day would bring.
Happy Bridget ears. I was so happy that she was totally fine barefoot on all the different terrain

A 30 min slog up some pretty steep old forestry roads got us to the top of the hill behind my barn.
Sadly, not much of a view today. The clouds are blocking our views across to Vancouver Island.

From there, we turned off into the forest onto some mountain biking trails

This one is about 15min up a hill and back down. It's narrow and twisty and fun to canter.

Those trails connected us to the main parking and trailhead for a local rec site at Haslam Lake, and a provincial protected area at Duck Lake. After much pondering, we opted to continue along towards Duck Lake, simply following the main Forest Service Rd.
Deciding where to go

Another 30 minutes or so took us past the lake and along the river flowing out of it, where we saw a trail marker heading in the direction we thought we needed to go. While all of us have ridden in the area for years, it's admittedly been a long time since we ventured to this area, so we were a little worried about whether the trails would be horse safe. Back in the day, they were...adventurous...on horseback ;)

This seemingly friendly trail used to have a puddle so big blocking it that my friend's horse ended up swimming!

We were all pleasantly surprised - there have been a lot of volunteers hard at work! The area has really been discovered in the last few years by the mountain biking community. There are a couple of big races with riders coming from all over the world, so the trail network has really grown and improved. Add in the local groups and clubs, and it's really incredible what's been done. I was super impressed with some of the infrastructure...there are brand new horse safe bridges!

I didn't think to take pictures, so here's one of the local ATV club building one of the bridges.

That lovely trail took us back to our favorite trail, an old logging railway grade that goes for miles through the foresr. We enjoyed the shade and lovely old trees for a good part of that trail, before turning off and taking the trail back down the hill to West Lake - the one about a 30 min hack from my barn, and the lake featured in pretty much all my "we rode to the lake" posts :)



From there, a short hack back the the ring. We had a fantastic day, the company was super, and the horses were all happy and really well behaved. Bridget was go, go, go all day and never tired. She's way fitter than I thought!

My friends and I were all saying it's been far too long since we just hopped on our horses without an agenda or time constraints. This ride made me fall in love with our area all over again, and super excited to plan some more trail adventures (though we may have to bring lunch next time, lol)

Thursday, 17 May 2018

DIY Farrier (Thank You!)

Just a quick shout out to everyone for your amazing comments on my previous post. I don't think I realized just how many of you do your own trimming.

It's not a very common thing here at all, despite there being no reliable farrier service available for a couple of years now. We were lucky for many years to have an excellent, reasonably priced farrier living locally, so most of us happily paid him and didn't think too much about it! (He got his license right when I leased my first horse at 11 years old, so there was no way I was 'firing' him after 25 years of trimming my horses!) He used to bug me to just get on with it and trim them myself and just call him if I had a problem...but I was like "You're awesome and I cannot live without you! Plus you only cost $40 to visit" so...yeah, missed learning opportunities there :)

Then I moved south, to the land of all the top class horsey professionals one could wish for. Three years later, by the time I moved back home, Best Farrier had retired to somewhere warmer and drier. So, so sad.

Long story short, I'm very grateful for your willingness to share your experience and resources...I feel far less alone now, and very encouraged.

I just submitted my order for tools (including a quality pair of nippers, thanks for the pro tips!), and I'm actually really excited to do this!

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

You're Fired

Following the hilarity that was our pony ponying adventure, I took Bridget for a much less exciting trail ride to the lake, and she was happy again.

Also on Sunday, we had a less fun adventure in the form of a visit from our farrier, in which I had to suck it up and advocate for my horses so much that I was uncomfortable. I'm well aware he is the professional and I am not, but there really were some things I was concerned about, and so I asked my questions respectfully and with an open mind, while being firm I needed better than a vague answer. The immediate issue was eventually resolved, but I was left with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, as he made it pretty obvious he wasn't happy with me for asking questions and was very defensive and rude about it to myself and the ponies.

So, I'm going to look into trimming my two myself (with the online guidance and advice of our previous long term farriers who both have moved out of area. Truly, we have no one right now). Both showed me how and let me practice multiple times, so I *think* this is something I can do, but I will of course be educating myself further - I've done a couple of weekend courses previously, and will definitely be looking at options for further education.

As for the farrier who was having a bad day/week/month, in a strange coincidence, later that evening facebook exploded with a bunch of people who were very unhappy with him (in a local area horse group, of course, not actually anywhere the guy could see and respond). While I was a little relieved it wasn't just me who was unhappy,  I really don't agree with trash talking and posting pictures of his work online without actually trying to resolve the issue with him in person. Whether I personally would hire the guy or not, it's his livelihood and when I discussed my issues to his face, he DID attempt to resolve them. Maybe I didn't enjoy having to have that conversation in person, but ughhh, I'm pretty sure facebook isn't the way to go.

Anyone else had a similar experience? How did you handle it? Do you tend to ask questions and discuss concerns with your horse professionals, or do you just let them get on with their jobs and not call them back if you're unhappy with their work?

And...enquiring minds need to know...how many of you trim your own horse's feet? Any good resources you'd recommend for learning?

Monday, 14 May 2018

Ponying the Pony

As mentioned, baby Sophie got out for her first adventure being ponied off Bridget, and it was...fun.
A better, fairer version on myself would have patiently set up her outing for sure success. Since this is me, it went like this:

At home:
Me: I really do need to get both ponies out more regularly again. I seem to run out of time tho. I should teach Sophie to pony off Bridget and take them out together.
G: Wait until I have a day off. I'll help you.
Me: Thank you, but I think I need to do it now. It's suddenly critical to me that I make this happen, starting today.
G: I'm concerned you might die.
Me: YOLO!


At the barn:
Bridget: Ewww, why are you tying that yellow pony next to me?
Sophie: OMG! We're going sonewhere! I love it! I love you! I love Bridget! What are we doing? Where are we going? SO EXCITED!
Bridget: Ewww. She's so emotional.


Leading them both down the road:
Bridget: Ughhh...It's too hot! I'm starving! I'm fading here. Look at me, I can barely walk this direction. Lets go home and forget this stupid idea,
Sophie: OMG! Let's go! Wait, what's over there? Can I go see? This is so fun, guys! I love you both so much!
Bridget: Sigh. One foot in front of the other. I will survive this death march.

Dramatic reenactment 


At the ring:
Sophie: NOOO, don't leave me over here alone in this round pen!
Bridget: Ughh. She's so annoying. Almost as annoying as my rider. Can she not feel how weak and tired I am? I can't possibly work under these conditions.
Sophie: No friends, I have no friends anymore. They don't love me, I'm going to die alone.

At this point, we took a time out while I got Bridget tuned up, and waited for Sophie to stop screaming. Once both ponies brains reinstalled, we revisited the whole ponying Sophie from Bridget idea, trying it out in the safe confines of the ring.

But first:
Me: Sophie, you need to stand on this side of Bridget while I get on.
Sophie: Then I come around to visit you?
Me: No Sophie, you need to stand.
Sophie: But I like you. I'll just follow you around Bridget. I can help you get on. Don't leave me alone over here.
Bridget: I'm outta here. You two are stupid.


15 min later:
Me: Thank you for standing, both of you.
Bridget: This is stupid. I'm pretty sure that yellow thing is touching me. Uhhh, GET IT OFF!
Me: That's my leg, Bridget.
Sophie: OMG guys, this is so fun! Like, the best! We're all hanging out together! Let's snuggle super close!
Me/Bridget: Sophie! Personal space is a thing!

15min more:
Me: Well, this is going alright. No time like the present to try it outside the ring.
Sophie: YAY! Adventures! I want to go first! I love adventures!
Bridget: I think not, you're just a dumb baby. I am the best at trail rides...In fact, I am the best at EVERYTHING. 
Me: Slow down, both of you. This isn't a race.
Bridget: Race you home.
Me: Honestly Bridget, remember you were dying 30min ago?
Bridget: That was a false alarm. I'm not dead yet!
Me: FINE. You are not dragging me home. We are diverting up the big hill until you both burn off some energy.
Bridget: I can canter in place. Cool, right? I OWN this mountain.
Bridget, to Sophie:


Me: And yet, you cannot collect even a little in a dressage test? And didn't you convince me to give you a rest halfway up this hill last time when we just walked it?
Sophie: Guys, I'm kind of tired.
Bridget: She's weakening! Time to crush her!
Me: I am so sorry, Sophie. Bridget, I'm going to crush YOU if you don't chill out.
Bridget: FINE. 
Sophie: Please don't argue. I love you guys.

So, that's the story of our first solo outing ponying Sophie. It turned into a 60min hack after our warm up in the ring, and Sophie was a very good girl. We tackled some fairly difficult terrain, and Sophie happily figured it all out. Bridget, though, oh my. She's normally not competitive in any way. You'll recall I tried taking her out for fitness rides with the eventers at EC's and B was all "Catch up with you later, I'm going to wait over here and have a snack" It was painful trying to get her to even remotely keep up. With Sophie though, the dynamic is very different and B wants to "win" the "race" at all costs. It wasn't super bad, but a pretty noticeable difference energy wise from her normal lack of motivation!

There's a very steep 'trail' that is a direct shortcut back to the barn. I had thought we would walk/slide down, like we do every.single.ride. Bridget thought a Snowy River reinactment was in order to impress Sophie and keep things adventurous, so launched herself off the top while Sophie sensibly stopped to check the footing. Fun times. My shoulder is still thanking you, Bridget :)
 Sophie is naturally more forward and curious, so while she's not interested in "racing", her natural pace is a bit quicker/bigger than B's, and although she's very polite about pacing herself and staying at my shoulder, I think B senses she'd prefer to move out more and doesn't like it. We've all gone hiking or running with that person who finds it way easier than you, and you want to make them work for it a little. Or maybe that's just me :)


 All in all, though, a successful outing, everyone had fun, and hopefully it was the first of many more relaxed and peaceful ones (cough*Bridget*cough ;) 

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Baby Pony Adventures

Oh boy, someone is feeling quite settled in and confident in herself these days.

Not naming any names but here's a mug shot of the problem child :)
Since I do have plans of her growing up to be a responsible member of horsey society, Ms Sophie Banana had a pretty busy few days after she forgot her manners on Thursday night and pretty much tried to drag me the entire way to the arena grounds. Obviously, going places is so fun and exciting she forgot to pack her brain :)

I don't get the feeling she's intentionally testing my boundaries just for something to do, more she's just got so much energy and enthusiasm she's not sure what to do with it all and focusing is HARD. She reminds me so much of my coach's mare (and my barn favorite) Audrey. They're two peas in a pod as far as the whole "I want-to-be-a-good-girl-but-SQUIRREL!" thing they've got going on. My coach sees great humor in this, since I've said forever I want my own mini Audrey, but we both know I meant her athleticism and talent, not so much her extra special temperament :)

So friendly, tho. She comes running when I call her or she sees me. 

Friday, I taught Sophie to pony off Bridget and took them on a big adventure. She's a smart cookie, so really no issues teaching her and a fantastic way to burn off some energy. The challenge was all about keeping a lid on Bridget's opinions of the whole thing (another blog post on that later - it was quite humorous!)
Bridget was so mad...this is the best picture I could get afterwards. Totally holding a grudge,  lol

Saturday, Bridget got a reward in the form of a spa day and trail ride to the lake without her annoying "sister", which she seemed to appreciate. Sophie got a good grooming and a groundwork recap. She's a funny thing, because again, she's not deliberately disrespectful..she just LOVES hanging out and is so easily distracted it plays out a little like this:

Me: Sophie, walk on.
Sophie: I'm walking! I'm walking right beside you! This is so fun! Hey, hello, are you having fun? * turns and presses nose into my shoulder*
Me: Sophie...nose to yourself, personal space is a thing, we discussed this!
Sophie: Oh sorry! I'm a really good girl! I'm listening! Listening to everything! What's that over there? We should go see!!!
Me: Sophie, pay attention! 
Sophie: Sorry! I love you! I love you so much! I love that we're hanging out together right now! We're still besties, right?! Can I smell your hair?
Me: Sophie...nose to yourself...please!

Sunday was hoof trimming day, which again, she thought was far too fun and distracting. She's such a baby, equal parts fascinated with her own hoof getting rasped on the hoof stand and the farrier's hat. I measured her too, and the results were surprising! She looks a bit taller than Bridget, but is actually an inch shorter due to Bridget having withers and Sophie having none. Bridget measured 14hh, Sophie 13.3.

Still so teeny.

I took her for a walk to eat some grass and she was actually really well behaved...I guess she was finally tired enough the reminders of the past few days sunk in.

Long story short, a tired baby pony is a good baby pony. Sadly, I bought a very busy and athletic baby pony, so the tired part is going to take a lot of work!

Friday, 11 May 2018

One Week

With taking a few days for a mini vacation, then returning to work for a few more, I went a week away from home. If you've been reading this blog for a long time, you'll know that prior to my current work schedule  I've been away anywhere from weeks to months at a time due to work commitments and assorted adventures, so being away from home isn't a new thing for me.

I'm not sure entirely what's changed, but gradually it's been getting harder and harder to be away for big lengths of time. I mean, I'm happy enough and having fun, but there's definitely a feeling of being homesick that I haven't ever had before.


I'm sure it's not the physical place I'm missing...I don't mind my hometown, but if I could choose to live anywhere, I doubt that it would even make a top ten list. So, yeah, I more I think G and I have built a pretty happy existence the last few years and it's all about who I'm missing, rather than what.

I got home late Wednesday night, and caught up with G (and our cat, who is sure he is the most important 'person' to me).
Packing himself so I won't "forget" him next time

Yesterday I had to sit through the torture of a day of working from home before I could visit the horses. I don't mind my job, but on a gorgeous sunny day after a week away from the horses? My inner 10 year old is alive and well and desperately wanted to play hooky :)

The barn is only 10 min from our house, so I arrived at 5:10.

Bridget: "Hey Dinner Lady, I'm over here!" I know she's mine and I should get over it, but I'm still like "Eek, she's so cute! Give her more treats!"

First thing I noticed? Sophie, whose weight I was getting worried about last week? Looks not too bad this week. Baby horse feeding struggles are real.

Not so bad
But so bum high right now! I don't care if she goes over pony height, but I should measure her just to see how tall she is right now. She was 14hh at the PPE in the beginning of March. Also, it's a bit weird, but in the last six weeks, her feet have grown to look more like normal horse feet, not tiny baby feet.

Second thing? Both ponies are still way too fuzzy for our summertime temperatures. Both have been shedding mountains of hair for 6 weeks now and aren't done yet. I have no idea why or how they got so furry, but a set of clippers is on my wish list for fall.

Look at the darker color coming through on Sophie's shoulder now...the end of shedding may finally be near :)

Third thing? Pretty sure I own the world's most 'helpful' baby pony, lol.

Helping to clean her bathtub (her water trough)

Last week, helping muck out. I just love her. She's really bonded to me already too, which is neat - it took Bridget and I over a year to warm up to each other and there are still days where I think she's not overly impressed that I'm around :)

This weekend, we've got nothing too big planned. B and I were supposed to go to a dressage show, but my lack of motivation, and our recent lack of a fitting saddle means I'm in no way prepared or inclined to make that happen. It's so weird, I know I said I wanted to focus on dressage, but mostly I am missing eventing right now and kind of sad that I found a dressage saddle first! Maybe the internet will come through for me in the jump saddle department. Both of Bridget's now-too-big saddles are out on trial at the moment. Wish us luck...it would be nice to have the funds from those to get a nice jump saddle for her.

For now, B and I will just be over here doing more trail riding, and lots and lots of groundwork and outings for baby Sophie. I'm counting down the days now, hopefully by the end of May I will only work 4 day weeks and only 3 days away - lots more time for riding adventures!






Monday, 7 May 2018

Refreshed


I had such a nice weekend! We had a bit of a staycation, spending two nights in Whistler (about 2 hours from my work if we count the ferry ride), and the weather was fantastic and unseasonably warm.

 At first it felt a little weird to leave work with just an overnight bag and to drive right past EC's on the way to the ferry. Like, aren't we forgetting something? Like a pony, a horse trailer and a truckload of horse related tack, apparel and supplies? I guess it's been ages since we went on the Vancouver ferry without a horsey event to attend!

"What about me?"

Obviously, Whistler is normally associated with skiing and other outdoor adventures. I've had trying the Olympic bobsled track on my bucket list since...2010 :) Apparently, equestrians might be suited such sports? It being the shoulder season, a lot of the things that appeal to me (the downhill mountain biking being my other big wish) were closed, which we knew when we booked our hotel. G and I had a plan of lounging by the hotel pool and only leaving when we got hungry, a plan I'm happy to say we strictly followed. The hotel served drinks and appies poolside, so it definitely felt a little like we were on a tropical vacation. Maybe that's a bit of a waste of the stunning local area waiting to be explored, but we both enjoyed not having any schedule or really anything much to do for a couple of days.

Maybe next time

Home away from home, lol. Photo from hiltonwhistler.com
I missed the horses and riding, and watching the Badminton live stream really had me missing  eventing (at lower levels...I think I'm done with following a lot of the upper level stuff - everyone has their own feelings about it, I'm sure, but I feel like the horses' welfare is not adequately prioritized by the powers that be and sadly, even some of the riders.)

Gorgeous afternoon at the track

On Sunday, we drove into Vancouver and went to watch some horse racing. I was on fire, picking 1st or 2nd in 5 of the 7 races. Sadly, that doesn't mean I'm any richer, because I'm a cheapskate and only make $2 bets to show. My big wins were only earning me anywhere between 75 cents and 5 dollars, lol. Still, it's always super fun to check out the horses and watch them run - they really seem to love their jobs and they always look so fantastically cared for it makes me want to up my grooming game. Gorgeous horses for sure, I wanted to take a couple of them home to be my eventing/dressage pony (But lets be honest, I'd also seriously love to gallop one of them around the track just once in my life).

Pro level grooming skills required for this mane

It's back to real life this morning. I'm back at work, and pretty sad that I didn't take the day off to go home and visit my ponies. Now I'll have to wait until Thursday night to say hi to them...and that will have been a week since I saw them last! Never fear, though, G being the bestest horsey husband is going to go say hi to them today and muck out paddocks, and there is a fantastic barn owner cares for them like her own, too. I'm sure I miss the ponies more than they miss me :)


Friday, 4 May 2018

Friday Thoughts and Baby Pony Questions


I had a moment of inspiration last night when Bridget was playing the whole behind the leg/don't wanna game. I dragged out some poles to play with and she lit right up. Like a night and day difference energy/enthusiasm wise. We haven't jumped since Christmas, due partly to my lack of interest/being bored with teeny Bridget appropriate courses forever, and also due to not currently owning a jump saddle that fits adequately. I'm not overly brave over fences myself and I find excuses to not jump other horses so my own meager skills are getting pretty stagnant. I trust my own horses only, apparently :) So, canter poles in a dressage saddle are the best I can do at the moment with my tack and abilities. Sorry Bridget, maybe next time I can set up some cross rails - those should still be doable in a dressage saddle.

"You have treats?" pose. Side note: the coloring on her legs drives me nuts for photos...the backs and part of the sides of them are nearly white hair and it makes her legs look wonky in pretty much every picture ever. I swear they are normal, straight cob legs IRL (Ha, maybe you never noticed and now you can't look away, it looks so messed up, lol :)

My experiment was interesting, because I'm pretty sure she's telling me she's just bored and not a fan of dressage, rather than having any physical ailments that are troubling her. Last night she worked harder than she has in a couple of months, and was happy to do it.

It looks like I need to reinvest in a jump saddle! Not such a bad thing for me either - although dressage is my favorite thing, I miss eventing already and have hopes of one day taking Sophie out XC. I'd best be improving myself if that's a real goal - B and I had some tough times learning together, and Sophie is far more athletic/sensitive so I'm thinking I should try to be at my best if I want to do right by her.
On our way to the ring last night. Hacking back and forth adds time to my evenings, but it's another thing I think Bridget enjoys. I do need to do something about that mane at some point, lol

Sophie has just turned two and is growing like a weed. I've only ever had quarter horses at this age before, and honestly, by two, they've been about the height they're going to get, and even partway filled out too. I know they're still babies and it's not my thing to start them young, but I can see why some people would look at those little quarter horses and be like "Yep, that looks like something we could ride."

No riding any year soon for this one. For now, she is just in training to clean her own paddock :) She's the friendliest baby, so interested in everything I do.

Sophie...not so much. She looks like a just turned yearling. She's still all legs and narrow body, teensy baby feet, and quite bum high. She's super gangly and awkward looking right now. Most of the people she's met think she's a 2017 baby. That's fine, she'll catch up, I'm sure. There's no rush to start her under saddle or anything like that. Her dam is a  swedish warmblood who's pretty built, and her sire is a stout little Welsh B, so I'm sure she'll fill out.

This should be such a cute picture, but that pointy bum and tucked up belly from this angle makes me reluctant to post it.

Anyway, on to the questions...feeding this growing baby! She currently gets all the timothy and 2nd cut orchardgrass she can eat, plus a big flake of alfalfa twice a day. For grain, she's just been getting the young/working horse ration balancer sold for our local area, at the amount recommended on the tag. I still feel like she's a bit too thin and ribby at the moment. She's been here a month and a bit now so that's on me. I'm not panicking, because spring grass is here and she's out on that 24/7, plus I know babies go through awkward stages...but still, it's on my radar that she's not looking as well as I'd hope. It goes without saying she had a recent vet check and is up to date on deworming and vaccinations, and her teeth look good.

Eat, pony, eat! Pic from same day and she looks fine, it's all about the angle of the photo right now.

So, two questions, what is everyone else feeding their youngsters, and can I expect her to keep growing later than I'm used to? She's grown a noticable amount (guessing about an inch - she's taller than B now!) just in the last month.

Don't worry, as always I have a vet for advice, but I know bloggers are a wealth of information too!