Friday, June 23, 2017

IRL Friends

On the plus side, EventingSaddlebredStyle is definitely not an axe murderer! ;) she arrived safe and sound around the time I was feeding horses last night, so she came out to meet the boys and Cinna. While they ate, we got her settled in, and waited for the rest of the party to arrive -- Kaity was able to tweak her work schedule so she could hang out for a few hours, and DH surprised me by wanting to come out to the barn with us, so we had quite a crew!
Picture shamelessly stolen from Kaity -- although I have no idea what I'm looking at?
We went out to ride Ruby first, while we still had daylight. While DH went out to grab Ruby from turnout, I got everybody squared away with waivers so they could ride. Ruby was mercifully clean, so I whisked a brush over her and we tacked up. She hasn't been ridden in... uhhh.... a while? (bad mom here). I climbed on first and put her through her paces to make sure she wasn't going to be a complete and utter lunatic, then gave everybody else a turn!
I'll let them write up their own posts about their impressions, but I was proud of Ruby for being game for three riders while being woefully out of shape. It was muggy and gross so she worked up a sweat, so after a quick hose down and graze, we headed back to the house. I made some spaghetti that was hopefully edible, and then we enjoyed some delicious turtle pie (impulse purchase when I was buying stuff for dinner, because who can resist caramel and pecan and chocolate? Yum!).
We also did some quick photo review, haha.
Tragically Kaity had to leave for work, and at this point we were losing the light. Luckily, this gave me the perfect excuse to test out the new lights -- by actually working under them! I haven't gotten a light installed over my cross ties yet (adding that to my to-do list), but we had enough daylight left that I could see enough for a quick grooming and tacking. Cinna hasn't been ridden in a while, and hadn't worked at all this week, so I tossed her out on the lunge to get used to the lights. She came out a little sassy (not unusual), but settled in quickly and was soon working all over the arena. She didn't seem super concerned about the lights, so I climbed on. She did have a minor meltdown over one corner, because the ladder was resting outside the fence, and clearly it was an alien spacecraft sent to abduct her -- she did eventually calm down (although I had DH move the ladder), and she worked pretty well. We had some giraffing and tension, but we also had some moments of relaxation where she let me direct her energy. She was a little sassy on her right lead canter depart, and she thought about being naughty a few times, but overall she was pretty cooperative.
No pics of me riding, but look how nicely Teresa had her going!
So I let Teresa have a turn! Again, I won't spoil her fun and I'll let her write her own post about what she thought of my dramatic baby horse, but I will say it was really fun watching her ride Cinna -- I'm the only one who has ever been on her, so I never get to actually watch her go under saddle. Cinna is way more similar to Stinker than Ruby is, so I imagine Teresa felt right at home. There were some llama moments (Cinna seemed utterly confused to see me standing in the middle of the arena while someone else sat on her), but there were also some moments of nice, soft relaxed work. We kept the ride pretty short, but I'm glad I finally got a chance to test out the lights and share my dramatic Spanish mares with blogger friends!
After we came back inside and cooled off, we enjoyed more dessert (she brought me Heath bar cookies that are basically like CRACK), and gabbed about horses for a while. I wish we could have stayed up all night talking, but she had another long day of driving ahead of her today, so we eventually crashed. It was an early morning for all of us, but I got chores done before a brief rainstorm blew in. After caffeinating and a few more dachshund snuggles (Cici was particularly obsessed with her!), Teresa got safely on the road for the next leg of her journey. So now that I've sorted through photos and written this (semi-coherent?) update, I better get to work!
Always mugging for cookies haha.
 One of the best thing about this weird blogging journey I've embarked on is 'meeting' all these people virtually, and then getting to hang out with them in real life. Strange internet friends are the best friends, especially when they become IRL friends! :)
Also Teresa is the most amazing houseguest ever because she brought me this awesome teal mason jar style drinking cup, and then a teal sippy cup for those nights I've had one too many rum and cokes ;) hahaha

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Strange Internet Friends

As some of you may have already seen, EventingSaddlebredStyle is making a pit stop on her very long drive west to hang out with me for an evening. I attempted to finagle a full day, but she's a busy lady with a tight schedule, so we will be cramming as much fun into that limited time as I can manage!
Cinna is suspicious about what my idea of fun entails.
Knowing that she was coming and would definitely want to ride Ruby and possibly Cinna (depending on how much of a death wish she has? kidding!), I had good intentions of having them both reasonably back in work so they could show themselves in the best light. But ya'll know about how my best intentions work -- I haven't touched either of the horses this week (well, I lunged Ruby Monday?), so I'm sure they'll be maniacs. She'll probably take one look at my fire-breathing dragons and run screaming.... haha. Thankfully she has a hot horse herself, so I have no doubt that my dramatic Spanish mares will be amusing to her.
I could make excuses for why my horses have been so neglected, but really it's been hot AF and I've been prioritizing other things. Like, having my house look suitable for guests (or as suitable for guests as it can get when you have 2 humans and 6 dogs living in less than a thousand square feet, haha). And fulfilling my responsibilities as president of my GMO. Also writing an article aimed at publication in a west coast dressage magazine. And about a billion other tiny things. I finally broke down and made a paper list, and it's been alarmingly satisfying to check things off!
Not on the list -- buy teal cup. Did it anyway, obvs.
Thankfully today is supposed to be a little cooler than it's been most of the week, so I'll be taking off work a few hours early and hopefully we will do lots of playing with ponies! Then I will have something to write about and hopefully pictures for you ;) that is, assuming she's not an axe-murdering weirdo -- because that's always a risk you take when you agree to meet up with strange internet friends! haha

Monday, June 19, 2017

Let There Be Light

Whew, what a weekend! I have managed to sneak in works with both ponies in the last few days, but nothing terribly groundbreaking and I don't have a ton of media, so I'll probably just skip over that -- sorry not sorry, I have 8 minutes before I need to leave for work so I need to make this quick! Haha.
Ruby is working on not being feral, since I want to start riding again haha.

Saturday we spent most of the day visiting family -- we also picked up a new (to us, but also only used like 3 times) stove that we were SUPER excited about. Brought it home and tried to install it only to realize we didn't have the right plug. No big deal, we needed to make a run to the hardware store anyway, because we were hoping to finish the arena lights on Sunday. We we hooked the truck to the flatbed and headed into town. After hitting two hardware stores and picking up the miscellaneous hardware and two additional light poles we needed, we stopped to have dinner (because you know, non-functional stove). Leaving dinner I noticed the truck needed some gas, so I headed to the gas station down the street. Pulling out of the restaurant parking lot, I noticed the brakes of the truck seemed really soft. Like almost going to the floor when I touched them soft. I'm pretty familiar with this feeling, because this is at least the THIRD time I've had brake trouble with this truck (which is why it's the hay truck, not the horse trailer truck).
Not what you want to see under your truck.
We pulled into the gas station so DH could crawl under the truck and look -- but unfortunately he didn't need to look hard. The front brake line was spewing brake fluid. Even without anyone touching the brakes, there was a steady drip-drip-drip. After some swearing and some phone calls and trying to figure out what we were going to do, DH cobbled together a plan. He dug around in the back of the truck and found a rusted hose clamp, a half destroyed bell boot, and a dime -- he then somehow managed to MacGuyver a solution that at least stopped the brake line from dripping. It wouldn't hold up to much pressure, but it should manage to keep enough fluid in the lines for us to get home. Luckily in his digging he also found a bottle of brake fluid from the LAST time he had to replace the brakes, so he topped it off and we made the white-knuckled journey home. Luckily the route we take is very lightly traveled, and we only saw one other vehicle (they got tired of following me at 25 mph with my flashers on, and they passed us on a double yellow line -- oops). Thankfully we had the flatbed hooked up so we could use the trailer brakes to help us stop. It was a terrifying 25 minutes, but we managed to nurse the truck the 8 miles home and park it until DH's mechanic friend can check it out.
The barn cats were "helping"
Of course that terrifying story makes my Sunday sound fairly tame by comparison -- we spent about 8 hours working on finishing the arena lights. DH decided that 4 weren't enough, so last week I had 2 more lights delivered. We attached the new lights to poles, dug the holes, set all 4 posts (the 2 new and 2 old) in concrete, trenched where the conduit would run in front of the arena, and then ran 250 feet of electric. Unfortunately, buying the 2 additional lights ate up all the extra wire we had budgeted, and we ran out after wiring in 3 out of the 4 posts. DH threw an extension cord on the last one so we could see how the final product would look, and we'll get the last post hardwired in sometime this week I hope.
But we are more or less finished with the light project, and we stayed marginally on budget, haha. We were doing fine at 4, but 6 pushed us a little over! Plus now I realized I need to get a light for my grooming area -- being able to ride at night is all well and good, but I also should be able to see my horse to tack up! Haha.
From the road.... haha.
How about you? Did you spend Father's Day weekend with family? Did you work on any fun projects?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

C4 Belts

I had really good intentions to get up early and whipping through chores here so I could dash out to the barn and ride Ruby, but when I woke up everything was soggy and it was raining. Soooooo.... I didn't do that. No complaints from me, we needed the rain. And it gave me time to work on this half-finished draft that's been hanging out for a few weeks, so win-win!
Although this post will contain less horse and goat photos than usual.
I'm an impulse shopper -- that's not a secret. It's definitely worse when I'm stressed. Also not really a secret, haha. After Rolex, my friends and I have started referring to my binges as "life choices". Last month, life choices were made when C4 Belts had a BOGO sale.

In my defense, I've been wanting a C4 belt for a while now. I almost gave in to temptation earlier this year when they had a BOGO sale, but it was right before Rolex so I figured I should save my money. I also thought they might have some fun sales at Rolex, and I'd get a chance to actually see them up close. I was pretty disappointed by their "sale" at Rolex, but I did spend some time in the booth checking them out in terms of feel and the patterns, so I mentally added them to my list of things to buy at a future date.  
And then last month C4 had another BOGO sale, to make up for their website crashing during the previous one. So I started playing with their belt configuration tool and mixing and matching and seeing what I could come up with. Of course the first belt in my cart was the teal one (was there even a question?). And then I spotted a dachshund one. Duh. I kept scrolling through patterns and a few more caught my eye, so I figured why not? Had to meet the free shipping threshold, obviously!
This has me written all over it.
I found myself more than a little frustrated with the C4 mobile site -- it was not at all easy to navigate and it was a total pain to try to figure out what was in my cart when I kept trying different combinations. At several points, I almost just said fuck it and didn't buy any belts, that's how frustrating it was.
Uhhh, can't see which items I'm trying to delete?
Oh good now I can see them, but I can't delete them. Awesome.
After dithering for a while on patterns and buckles and choices and emptying and refilling my cart probably no less than 10 times, I finally decided to buy them. So I went through all the steps and submitted my payment. And then.....
Did I buy belts? Did I not buy belts? I guess we'll never know!
I was more than a little worried when the charge went through on PayPal but I didn't get any kind of email confirmation (plus, you know, the crash page), so I dropped an email to C4 customer service just to verify that they received my order. I didn't expect to hear back right away, because I figured if I had the problem, everyone was probably also having the problem. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a reply within half an hour confirming my order -- customer service FTW!
Braided like Otto and my Stubben grab strap? Yes please.
So then all that was left was to wait for my belts to arrive. I spent that time grumbling at a friend who lives WAYYYY farther from the C4 shipping site than I do, and yet somehow received her belts 2 days ahead of me. Because that TOTALLY MAKES SENSE USPS. But I digress.
So the belts eventually arrived in their fun little boxes with their stickers -- exciting! Except then I had to cut them, and I'm alarmingly type A so I obsessed over that for a while. Finally I bit the bullet and cut the dachshund belt first, and the rest of the belts followed. I am super bad at ROOTD type photos and I never remember to have DH snap a pic of me wearing them, but I really love them! I have even been wearing them to work (usually just on casual Fridays haha). I was initially going to make this a "tack review" type post, since I haven't done one of those for a while, but I feel like I need more photos of them in action -- plus I want to abuse them a bit and see how they hold up.
Please ignore my messy house and table in need of refinishing haha.
I know lots of bloggers out there have C4 belts -- what's your favorite pattern? How have you found their longevity? Do you like the custom aspects of the C4s (changeable buckles, one size cut to fit, etc), or do you prefer "normal" belts? Weigh in!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Wet Cotton

Every year I think I'm ready for the heat and humidity of a Missouri summer.... and I never am. The first few 80+ degree days are miserable, but I acclimate. And I think hey, not so bad! And then we get strings of the 90+ degree days, and I go back to why do I live in the Midwest again? I don't do well with extremes of temperature -- although extreme cold is just as bad (I'm looking at you, polar vortex from a few years ago), extreme heat is the one we deal with more regularly. Add in the humidity so high it feels like you're breathing through wet cotton.... ugh. I spend a lot of time hiding inside with cold beverages.
Preferably cold beverages in my new favorite pineapple sipper.
I will say that my summer hours are helping this year -- although it's not always easy to make the drive out to the barn to work Ruby in the mornings unless DH is doing chores, I am definitely working Cinna more regularly. Of course, with no one home, all the work is lunging, so super boring media. But she's definitely coming along. She also sprouted a case of scratches on one leg overnight, so cleaning and treating that has been added to the routine. Luckily it was pretty small when I first spotted it, and it's already responding to treatment -- free Rolex samples FTW!
Testing out a new bit with her drop noseband bridle (because we're still playing musical training set ups to find her favorite).
Insert treats here plz&thanx
Majestical unicorn, obvs
j/k awkward baby with legs everywhere

I did manage to squeeze in a birthday ride on Ruby last week, and she's the same old superstar she always is. I picked one of our varied terrain fields and we did a lot of trotwork, focusing on changing my diagonals (and her bend) every 10 to 15 strides. I also tried to mix in 10 strides of sitting trot focusing on straightness every few switches. It took her a minute to figure out what I wanted, but once we were both on the same page, it felt really good. Did it look good? No idea, but that's more "dressage-ing" than I've done in a month, so I'll take it. On that front, I have an instructor I want to contact about resuming lessons, but the onslaught of a string of 90 degree days kind of deflated my excitement... 
I was actually trying to take a picture of her shiny spotty turnout buddy for his mom, but Ruby photobombed looking cute so enjoy haha.

But basically I just wanted to drop by and say we're still trucking along. DH is less than 3 weeks out from graduating and then hopefully we'll be able to settle in to more of our new "normal", whatever that may look like. I'm also excited because we may get to host a fellow blogger overnight in a few weeks as she drives through -- more details about that in the future! ;)
Also I got these fun reins in the mail yesterday and am STUPID EXCITED to put them on Ruby's bridle.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Blog Hop: June 10 Questions

Even when I'm not short on content (which is kind of all the time, lol), I really love the 10 question blog hops. They're usually such a nice mix of random questions that I think you can learn all kinds of fun things about people that you might not know from just normal blog reading. Thankfully, Rocking E Cowgirl has a fun one for June to kick off summer!
1. What is your earliest, clearest horse memory?
As a kid, my mom and I rode some horses owned by a guy near my school, including my childhood obsession, a big grey QH named Bo. The summer I was 10, we had a massive amount of cicadas (two different broods hatched in the same year, which hadn't happened since the 1700s), and they were literally everywhere. Bo was not always super tolerant of being ridden by a kid, and that day he walked me into a pine tree, lodged me in some low-hanging branches, and ambled off. I’m not super squeamish in general, but something about cicadas just pushes my buttons – while I was trying to disentangle myself from the branches they were crawling all over me and I was screaming in terror. A bunch of them crawled up under my helmet and got in my hair. Not really a great early memory, eh? Although I am giggling here writing this, so clearly I wasn't too traumatized.

2. Describe the perfect summer day.
Sleeping in (not that the dogs let me do that, ever). A trail ride through cool, shady woods (with creeks to splash in!) with good friends. A delicious dinner with adult beverages, followed by a soak in the hot tub. Maybe renting a projector and watching a movie on the side of my barn from the bed of my pickup.

3. Are you reading anything right now? Tell me about it!
I just started the Handmaid’s Tale, but I’m not really far enough in to tell you much about it. Before that I was rereading the Gentlemen Bastards series (book one is the Lies of Locke Lamora) – highly recommend that. 

4. Do you follow a celebrity (horsey or non) that you’re embarrassed to say fascinates you? Tell me. NOW.
So I’ve never been this way about actors in literally any TV show ever (and trust me, I’ve watched more than my fair share of TV!) but I follow the stars of the show Supernatural on Twitter and Instagram. I guess that’s kind of embarrassing? I also am not embarrassed by this, but I follow Lauren Sprieser on FB and had a fangirl moment yesterday when I bought some reins from her and we were messaging back and forth and she wished me happy birthday… haha.
How could any tack ho resist horseshoe buckle reins?

5. What is your single biggest horsey dream or goal.
This changes so much. A year or two ago it would have been to ride one of my self-trained horses (preferably Cinna, since I also bred her) at 3rd level or higher (IDK, I guess maybe to GP if I’m really dreaming big, haha). Get my medals? Be able to wear a shad? But now I’m not really sure. I’m kind of burned out right now and have no aspirations higher than my horses being decent, solid citizens that I can go out and dink around at fun shows and have nice trail rides on… Need to find my ambition, wherever I managed to mislay it.

6. If you were at Starbucks right now, what would you order?
I don’t frequent Starbucks too much, but I can do just about any kind of flavored coffee.
Although ironically enough, I bought those frappes yesterday haha.

7. What’s your biggest equine pet peeve?
Oh God there are so many. The “out of/by” when it comes to breeding really pushes my buttons.

8. With everything going on politically and in the media, tell me, do you follow it religiously? Tune it out? Or something in between?
Kind of in between, but leaning towards tuning it out right now. I pay way more attention and do my homework around election time so I can be an informed voter, but especially right now when I can’t even manage the things in my life I do have control over, I am kind of ignoring all the things I don’t have control over. If I didn’t, I would end up somewhere in a corner rocking back and forth gibbering.
Sanity reset button

9. If you had to show your horse to a song, what would you choose?
Oooh, this is a fun question! I almost put in my goals riding to a musical freestyle. When I had Topaz, I always wanted to coordinate a freestyle around the Megan Trainor song “All About That Bass” – don’t judge me.

10. What are you most looking forward to this summer?
DH finishes his last college class in 3 weeks – it can’t come soon enough. Aside from that, just getting Cinna out more on trail rides and at fun shows.

Lots more of this, please and thank you.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

It's My Party...

...and I'll cry if I want to. OK just kidding there's no crying, but it is my birthday today, so I'd like to party.
And by party I mean wear a dachshund C4 belt.
Unfortunately I'm a boring adulty adult so what I'm really doing is getting ready for work. While simultaneously still trying to fight off a nasty virus that DH brought home last week. Thanks honey. I'm also obsessively worrying about one of my teeny dogs, who has been NQR all week -- we started cage rest but she went on a hunger strike and then mentally checked out, and I can't stand seeing her sit in her cage and shake uncontrollably. So I'm trying to keep her quiet without using the cage, and also keeping her from being squished by the big dogs, who just want to play with her like normal.
Teeny dogs stress me out sometimes.
As always, my horses are getting the short end of the attention stick. I had good intentions to spend time working and riding Ruby earlier this week, but completely and utterly failed. Yesterday I was too tired to do anything strenuous with Cinna, so I washed her tail. True confessions: she's 5, and has never actually had a real bath. She's been hosed off, but never sudsed up. She was remarkably well behaved considering the water was ice cold and it was early in the morning, so not terribly warm yet. Despite not really ever working on ground tying, she stood like a champ while I tried to scrape years of grime out of her tail. It needs a lot more work, but I was pleasantly surprised by how white and flowy it was when I worked her this morning.
Ground tying like a champ. Until I went to go turn the hose off, then she peaced out and went back to her stall... haha.
Her "skunk tail" from rabicano is almost greyed completely out, boooooo.
Still slightly urine colored, but much nicer than before!
I think just spending time with her on the ground yesterday without an agenda (well, I mean, minus the clean tail), really helped translate into a good work session this morning. Currently I feel like I'm always rushing, trying to squeeze in all the things I feel like I should be doing, and so my horses rarely just get my undivided attention without there being an agenda. The last few times I've cross tied Cinna, she's been kind of obnoxious. This morning, she hung out quietly, ignoring her boyfriends screaming at her from the barn, and dropped her head for the bridle.
I mean, she still stood like a goober, but she was calm, so win.
We only lunged (still not comfortable climbing on her alone at home without someone to call 911 or find my lifeless body if something goes wrong, haha), but she was great. There were some scary new things against the arena fence (light poles, wires, a ladder), but after some initial snorting (because at heart, she still is a dramatic Spanish mare), she settled into work and was really good.
The gash by her eye is almost all healed up too, thankfully!
"Hey everyone -- come see how good I look!"
Now it's off to work -- DH has some homework tonight, so I'm hoping I can sneak out to the barn and ride Ruby too.