Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Meet Arya

Well... I've been busy, though this blog certainly doesn't reflect it (or my absence perhaps speaks volumes)... but I did a thing, guys.

I bought an OTTB sight unseen from New Vocations.

She arrived in a whirlwind on a transport from Kentucky at about 1 AM last night, and has wowed me from the word go. She traveled halfway across the country in one day, came off the trailer wide eyed and bewildered, and after no more than 4 minutes of waffling, got on my trailer to come home with me in the pitch black night.

I couldn't believe it, either. She's FOUR. And super chill, and kind, and sensible.

Today, she continues to be kind and sensible and earnest. She comes when you cluck to her in the pasture, and despite being horribly shunned by the horse conglomeration formerly known as Foxie and Bailey (Bailey will charge and chase her whenever she can, asshole) she's hanging out in my pasture eating grass like she isn't alone in a new place.

More details to come; she has a planned vacation of a week to settle in (while I recover from some super badly placed and intensely painful sun burn) so we won't do much but hang out... but I'm already in love. And so far, changing her name hasn't been too weird; her race name just doesn't suit her, in my mind so it got changed in the stable, and I've already got a show name in mind... and yes it's vaguely related to Bailey's. Now if only they would get along!

Here are her glamour shots from NV:





Monday, June 5, 2017

Carriage House Combined HT Recap

We made it to Carriage House! It's been a stressful week, trying to prep an out of shape horse for a show, and several times I nearly threw my hands in the air and gave up. My wonderful friend J kept pushing me, and despite some rocky rides, I packed and cleaned my tack and tried to not worry about leaving Foxie home alone for a few hours.

On the home front, things continue to be a struggle; here's a list of shit that has gone down:


  • Hubby was in a car accident on Friday (no injuries, just one dented bumper)
  • Our phones continue to not work reliably at home (we went to get new ones... and hubby's is already not working)
  • Bailey came in from the pasture with a huge hole/sore in her butt (yay making me look like a responsible mom)
  • We have to have the vet out to our property to be approved to adopt a TB mare I'm nuts about... so there goes more money.
  • Foxie's been getting eaten alive by bugs
  • The dog keeps banging up the corner of his eye while running around outside but can't be contained because he goes crazy
  • We broke the PTO shaft on our mower.
  • We bent another blade on the OTHER mower
  • Grass is basically taking over our general "yard" area

But either way, we made it to Carriage House on Sunday. I got Bailey braided and loaded in fantastic time, but forgot my coat and armband. Fail. Hubby brought the coats down, and I got on extra early to warm up because I was expecting my horse to be a psycho. She, always the one to surprise, was absolutely perfect. If anything, she was lazy. 

She laid down a good test for a 32.10 and some weird judge comments. I wasn't too fond of riding on wet grass for my test, and wasn't being too accurate in my corners and turns because I didn't want to slip, and the turn from outside the ring to C was about 4 feet wide. I overshot my center line to fix it, but the judge definitely noticed, and went out of her way to say that I wandered down the center line. I'm not going to pay too much attention to the comments - Bailey put down a great test, and left us in 4th - and she definitely wasn't at her best, so that was amazing.

(video to come)

I ended up with a stall (not sure how that happened) so Bailey got to demonstrate her chill new attitude sleeping, eating and drinking like a pro in her temp stall while J and I found me an armband, socialized and I tried to not get sunburned after forgetting my sunscreen. I got on early for jumping again; I was nervous as the day before in our last jump school at home, I was swearing at the top of my lungs trying to safety-seat myself into not falling off my horse when she randomly decided to start jumping 2'9 like it was about 4'6 and while I kind of enjoy her jumping the crap out of things, this was... different. It felt very unsafe. I popped her over some starter warm up fences and she was 120% her usual self again despite the previous day's weirdness... loping around like a hunter, clearing everything happily and even doing a little jamming despite the heat (it suddenly decided to be summer and was in the mid 80's and humid). 

The course was riding kind of rough, especially between 4 (the green with Pine Trees fence) and 5 and I was nervous. I put on my coat (because I don't care if coats were waived, I came to wear my green coat, and I am going to do it!). I popped a few more fences and went in:

1 garnered a look and a tap, two went well: 


Three she jumped me out of the tack over, but jammed until I got her pointed at spooky 4: 


She tried to run past 5 a bit, but popped awkwardly over it when asked, and left it up!  6 was also super ugly due to getting a horrible line, but she went. And trotted the down bank like it wasn't a thing. I thought 8 was a bit spooky, but Bailey said "Yes Ma'am" and jumped like a good bean:


We lost some focus into 9 a & b (kids on the rail, AH!) but BB took me home: 



And she flew around for a double clear. Some fences were rocky - and maybe I was a bit tap-happy with my whip, but she jumped the shit out of a BN course (with random down bank) and took us from 4th to 2nd! We got a ribbon and a very nice body brush out of the day - not a bad bit of luck, when the rest of the weekend was a disaster. Plus, my new coat looks badass. 

Good girl, BB! She and Foxie were thrilled to be reuinited and while some more misfortune hit me when I went to go park the trailer... at this point I can't stress or be upset about things. My trailer is a bit damaged (I might have clipped a fender on another trailer trying to avoid backing my damn trailer) but everyone is fine, the other trailer is fine, and despite tons of unfortunate things happening, we're all healthy and it can only get better from here, right? 

Right. (positive thoughts would be appreciated, however). 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Surfacing

This week has been one for the books, and I don't know if I have the ability to tell all of it's stories well... but let's try.

Friday: We started the trenching project. And stopped fairly quickly because the rental trencher was NOT helpful and out of frustration, started to look for a pro to help us with the digging.

Saturday: Hubby built me jumps and worked on matting stalls. I almost got scammed into buying a feral donkey, but the feral donkey was so feral it escaped and after some reflection on the drive home with an empty trailer (read: sobbing while driving) an adult donkey isn't what I want, because someone else trained it and it might be an asshole. The new neighbors, however, talked me off the ledge of wanting nothing to do with donkey kind and got me in contact with their breeder.

One of these donkeys is actually Satan.

Scratch that, the Donkey's OWNER is actually Satan. 


Sunday: We went wheeling with the new neighbors and only almost died once. It was fun!.



Monday: Andrew spent the whole day sick and sacked out on the couch. I did similar, but I did ride my horse, too. She wasn't awful. I also put a deposit down on a soon-to-be-born donkey! The owner of the feral donkey decided to quit being a normal person and started threatening me and demanding money because I didn't  take her donkey, so she got blocked.

Tuesday: I nearly passed out in my boss' office and spent the day trying not to die. I ended it (feeling much better, but still plenty gross) by eating expensive steak at a work dinner and got home very late, and promptly went to bed under multiple blankets and a double folded down comforter.

Wednesday: I rode Bailey again, over fences! She remembered how to jump!




Thursday: Bailey got ridden again; she kind of remembers how to dressage but... honestly she almost rode better when I was wearing river boots and no spurs. I'm confused, but... ok.

Today's plans include more riding (because, show on Sunday) where we practice our test a bit and maybe lope over a few fences. I'll do a longer flat ride tomorrow, and then will be up bright and early to show on Sunday. There's plenty to be done before then!




Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mud and Projects

Since moving to the farm, I've ridden twice; it's been raining. Our property, while still making both my husband and I very happy, is... wetter than we were expecting. After reading about Stephanie's process when she bought her place, we pulled up the soil maps on our place before we bought it - it seemed manageable:


T—Hayden fine sandy loam, 2 to 7 percent slopes

Properties and qualities
  • Slope: 2 to 7 percent
  • Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
  • Natural drainage class: Moderately well drained
  • Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat):Moderately low to moderately high (0.14 to 0.57 in/hr)
  • Depth to water table: About 36 inches
  • Frequency of flooding: None
  • Frequency of ponding: None
  • Calcium carbonate, maximum in profile: 10 percent
  • Available water storage in profile: Moderate (about 8.9 inches)

Ys—Ames fine sandy loam

roperties and qualities
  • Slope: 0 to 2 percent
  • Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
  • Natural drainage class: Somewhat poorly drained
  • Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat):Moderately low to high (0.14 to 1.98 in/hr)
  • Depth to water table: About 17 inches
  • Frequency of flooding: None
  • Frequency of ponding: None
  • Calcium carbonate, maximum in profile: 10 percent
  • Available water storage in profile: Moderate (about 8.7 inches)
What does all of this mean? Well... I took it to mean that we'd be a bit wet, but it would be manageable. The reality is... less so. The ground, especially where the previous owners generally kept their horses, is saturated with horse poo/organic matter that helps it turn into a bog. The two ponds (I call them "The Arena Pond" and "The House Pond" seem to want to be connected; as it's rained and rained, I've watched a very depressing river flow across my two sacrifice paddocks and have spent every morning since the girls came home and it rained staring back at them from the barn side of the "river" trying to goad them into crossing it without my help. Crossing it has caused giant, boot-sucking divots to form, which fill with more water, and turn into startling drops as your foot is sucked down into a sometimes knee-high hole. Not only is it dangerous, it's exhausting to deal with so much mud. 

A lot if it can be attributed to the previous owners, who appear to have removed no horse poop, and also built a barn in possibly the stupidest area of the property and threw off the natural flow of water across the land. The image doesn't show it well, but on other satelite images, you can see the area of wet- it spans from the wetland closest to the bottom left of the above photo, to the arena pond, across where the barn is to the house pond. It wants to flow, and it does; the arena pond seems to be generally overflowing, so rain sends it draining down the slightest of hills vaguely towards the house pond. Boggy paddocks packed with organic matter, combined with those humps of unpacked, grassy ground that form under the fences when you have horses in sacrifice areas means that water doesn't flow well - it sits on top of the heavy, packed clay and makes the aforementioned boot-and-hoof-eating area. 

So, after a whirlwind barn project a few weekends ago, we embark, this memorial weekend, on a water control adventure. We've rented a trencher, purchased drain pipe (with sock!), gravel and sand... and this weekend, we're digging trenches and laying french drain. It's going to be exhausting. Goodbye, money, it's been nice knowing you. In passing. As you left my account. We also purchased stall mats, because one project in the works isn't enough. We've slowly been moving dirt and trying to level the stalls (though Bailey's is going to be a game time level, as she's been stall walking and ruining any attempts thus far) and hopefully can start moving mats soon. I'd love to bring the donkey home, put everyone in stalls for the night, and let the girls dry out.

Farm ownership - and doing it right, the first time - is expensive, ya'all! But After a week and a half of mud and probably scarring two pairs of river boots in ways they may never recover from... it's time for a fix. Preferably before my horses get infested with thrush. 

... Did I mention we're also planning to redo/move ~90% of the fence? Because we're going to do that, too. 

Send coffee and patience, please!







Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday Photo Dump

Here are some pictures and videos from around the farm in the last week. Our internet is a little slow, so I'm sorry it took so long to get them updated!

BB in her new stall

BB apparently thinks this angle is her best one for pictures.

Rollin Rollin Rollin

More rollin

My husband built me some really nice looking stalls! 

Farm life and constant running/bird chasing/pond dunking is EXHAUSTING

My lawn mowers getting to work

The girls have a shelter as well as a barn overhang (now that the dead cat has been moved...)

Tractor! I haven't named him yet. 

Foxie agrees with Atlas; farm life is EXHAUSTING.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We moved!

And no one died.

Actually... scratch that, but I'll get into that story in a minute. I tried to write this out long format and it's just not something I can handle right now, so let's try something more organized:

Tuesday:
Soon to be owner of our townhome walked through and seem surprised that we were still living there. I worked a half day, and loaded a moving truck the other half. We hired some badass movers who loaded SO much stuff in two hours, and nothing shifted or got damaged during the drive.

Wednesday:
I drove a 26' moving truck across the Twin Cities during rush hour and no one died. The previous owners of our home failed to show up and walk me through the house and explain anything - instead they left a key by my coffee cup on the porch (I was in the house unpacking at the time) and managed to slink their own moving truck out of the driveway. While walking around the property, my friend J and I found one of the barn cats dead in the shelter (a few weeks dead, judging by the decomp) and also a whole lot of mud. We unloaded and returned the moving truck and trailer and our badass movers again helped us get a shit ton of stuff into the house and vaguely on the right floors in record time.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday:
We unpacked, shopped and cleaned. The cat was laid to rest in the garbage can.The house was left in pretty amazingly disgusting condition, including with tons of shit left in the stalls, dirt and Asian Beetle carcasses all over the house and just generally... dirty.  We bought a riding lawn mower and hubby promptly (15 minutes into use) drove it over a super deep tire divot we didn't know was there and bent a blade (which we fixed some hours later). I had to work from home part of Friday because I was leaving on a business trip, and the days between slipped away in hard work and dead-to-the-world, dreamless sleep. The dog met the barn cat and it didn't go well (he got his ass kicked) and we had some friends over on Sunday for a grill out in the nice weather. I packed for my business trip by selecting the clothes I could find that were not in boxes.

Monday - Thursday:
I got up at 4 am and went to the airport to fly to Orlando for a conference, where I was also busy from dawn to dusk, but at least my hotel room was clean and I didn't have to worry about ticks (our new house has so many ticks. Or the dog just has talent at finding them. IDK.). Hubby drove to Ames, IA to pick up our tractor half way, and had grad school Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The dog spent a lot of time in the kennel, and the horses were pretty much left at the boarding barn's mercy without being checked. I got home from the airport on Thursday at about midnight.

Friday:
5 am wake up call, and more working from home. I took delivery of the stall front kits around noon. After work, we purchased lumber for the project and I tracked down some hay to buy, because I didn't get around to it the previous weekend as I had planned.

Saturday:
Barn demo and new stall construction began bright and early. Hubby had his dad and my dad there to help. I drove to Wisconsin, bought and stacked hay on the trailer, and drove home without a speedometer or gas level because the truck decided to blow the dash fuse at the BEST POSSIBLE TIME. Stalls got 90% done, and I went to Menards about 70,000 times in the process.

Sunday:
Stalls got finished. I managed to pack up all of my remaining shit at the barn, cut a check and get the girls loaded in a surprisingly short time, but was still running late when I got home around 11 and basically threw them out in their new paddock and ran to the grocery store. Hubby's mom, aunt, sister and brother came over for Mother's Day lunch and got treated to my horses running around like idiots because NEW PLACE. I got the hay into the barn and stacked despite having a death cold that started on Friday and got worse each day.

Monday & Tuesday:
The girls are home. I've been working from home because I think it's inappropriate to come into the office when I'm legit dripping snot and hacking up chunks of lung tissue and also because I'm terrified that the mares are going to do something stupid. They've been slowly settling in, and I'm slowly working out a routine that works for us. Foxie wasn't eating well, until genius me put her in a stall this morning. It's been raining off and on, but so far, besides being a bit bewildered at being outside all the time, the girls seem to be settling in well. Bailey is in #feralredhorse mode and is being very protective of her sister. They're so buddy sour right now it's painful, but it's slowly subsiding, I think, so maybe they will stop being so dumb soon. The barn cat reappeared last night and is being super annoying meowing for food - we didn't think he'd come back after the run in with the dog, but hubby has dubbed him "Carlito" so apparently he gets to stay, after all.

The future:
We need to do a lot of work, yet:

- Reinforce the new stall divider walls
- Level and mat stalls.
- Organize and find a permanent home for everything, including all the new equipment
- Finish scraping out the sacrifice paddock and shelter in in the least grassy paddock
- Probably brush hog and mow the other pastures
- Mow the lawn. Again.
- Find a solution for our heavy clay soil and rain problem: probably french drains, gravel/sand/pea gravel and lots of careful manure management.
- Figure out our phone and internet problem (we've already used all of our "fast" satellite internet bandwidth... and we have like two weeks left of the period.) so I can work from home and we can get cell service.

I'll get ya'all some pictures, I promise! Right now it's raining and I'm surprised to see that my horses actually have the good sense to use their shelter when it's raining hard. They're shockingly smart sometimes, those girls :D 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Coming Down to the Wire

Greetings from the land of half packed boxes!

The move is coming up quickly now; we close and move on Wednesday! Clearly, I am super motivated... to ride my horse. Pack? Not so much.



I'm trying to not loose my mind, despite taking on way too much and being sick at the same time this week. The mares started transitioning to their new/old feed, Purina Senior Active and I'm excited to have their feeding back under my control once they come home. I don't know if they will stay on Senior Active; I like it on paper, but it seems so moist and often has odd chunks of ... by product? Dust? God knows what? in it. They're easy enough to spot and sort out (they aren't small, and are usually a very different brown than the feed) but still kind of odd. I haven't noticed them in the Ultium I've been feeding Foxie, and Ultium is just so solid that it always tempts me. I've also sourced cheaper-than-smartpak prices for MSM pellets and started both horses on Chaste Berry powder.

After Foxie's weird issues last spring (was it stress? or something else?) I popped her on Smart Pituitary Senior for a month, and boom... horse shed out and began to gain weight. This spring she's been shedding, but her coat is still quite long and, because of the way it sticks out, looks dull. She also isn't blooming like I know she could be - this may be the barn grain still causing problems, but after finding a source of Chasteberry quite cheap on Amazon, I said, hey, what the heck. And then I read about it helping hormonal mares, and tossed Bailey on it as well. She's been such a hag this spring that I might as well try; I don't know from whence her crazy comes, but if I can magic it away with herbs, I am going to try.

Foxie's weird longer than normal coat is weird.

Bailey has been quite up lately; it got cold again (to the point of snow) and we've been doing dressage due to the rain, mud and her stupid long feet. The girls saw the farrier on Wednesday, and, of course, my life got busy and now I am scrambling to get time in around moving to take advantage of the XC course a few more times before we leave Boarding Land (probably) forever.

On the #horsescomehome front, we've dropped a not-small amount of money on 14' stall fronts, and have a weekend planned to re-do the barn. With closing coming so soon, we're buying a utility trailer this weekend for tractor transportation (and hay) and once we close, there will be lots of fun purchases to blog about! I'm struggling to get a hold of my fancy jump cups (I am weird and want the fancy pin-less Dapple Equine cups), but I will not give up hope!

I'm hoping to crowd source more opinions from ya'all...

What is your favorite equine first aid or health related book?

Happy weekend,
Ashley