Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thankful Thursday

It's that time of year! In no particular order, here are some things I'm thankful for <3
This guy, and our ability to hang out on the river with friends. 
These sassy sausage dogs.
These rascally rescue mutts.
This guy again ;) 
These dramatic Spanish mares.
My family (all of them, even though this was the only photo I could find).
These retirees.
Friends (particularly awesome bloggers!) and the ability to travel.
The beautiful place I'm blessed to live 
The goofy goats (parents included).
Our lovely property and (lighted!) arena.
I could go on for ages about my blessings, but I'm off to spend the day stuffing my face with family. I hope you all are equally as blessed, and are having a good day!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Rabbit Trails and Tangents

Ughhhhh whhhhhhyyyyyyy am I perpetually too busy to write? Because I'm shit at time management, that's why, haha. Recognizing it is the first step, right? Literally could not tell you what I did last week other than ride on Monday and pick up my saddle on Thursday -- I guess that's a lie, I did ride (sans stirrups!) in the new saddle on Thursday. Because I'm a glutton for punishment. Getting on was a bit tricky, and I'm gonna have to get used to using a girth that long again (the alta escuela has short billets like a jump saddle), and Ruby will need to adjust to the crupper.... haha. But we had a total blast riding in it for the first time!
Riding (excuse the dirty mane, lol)
I put the stirrups back on when I was done.
For everyone asking how the stirrups attached, there is a little bar up at the top!
Saturday the weather was weirdly gross and rainy and the temps dropped 15 degrees between when I did chores at 5:30 am and 8 when I ran to the feed store. But that was okay, because I had committed to attending a Toys for Tots charity event put on by members of the local chapter of the SCA. A few weeks back on a lark, I posted on my FB page looking for a medieval style gown for a photoshoot -- as always, bloggers being the most kickass people on the planet, JenJ reached out to me to offer her assistance. While I ended up getting a dress elsewhere, we had a nice conversation about her involvement in the SCA, and she "introduced" me (via FB message) some SCA members who were more local to me (about 2 hours east) who are involved in the equestrian aspect of the SCA. One of them, Eowyth, was planning on attending the Toys for Tots event, so we arranged to meet up!
Dress details!
I didn't really know what to expect as I headed off to the event, and to be honest, I almost chickened out more than once. While I have absolutely NO problem driving all over the country to meet random internet strangers at horse events, this was a bit different -- the event would be full of people in costume, and completely immersed in something I still really didn't understand (the limited internet research I did left me more confused than when I started). And no horses. The horror! Eowyth kindly offered to bring me some clothing options so I could fit in a bit, and we met up late Saturday morning. I immediately felt like I'd known her my entire life, as we sorted through gowns and she helped get me outfitted in "proper" attire (minus shoes and a head covering -- I rocked my fauxbarrys and went bareheaded haha). She introduced me to SO MANY PEOPLE (I remember like 5), and patiently explained the basic tenants of SCA events and answered my (probably silly) questions. When her duties pulled her away to participate in court as a peer, her friends stepped in and continued to educate me, including teaching me how to sew on a linen head cap! (we're not gonna talk about how the end result looked like a drunken monkey had been playing with a needle and thread).
Photo by Jay Reynolds. Ceremony gifting all new attendees with ceramic mugs. Can you spot me? ;)

Sewing things!
I originally planned to hang out for a few hours and hit the barn on the way home for a quick ride -- but I ended up spending about eight hours there! It was a really unique, but fun experience. At several points, people sort of apologetically told me that I surely must find all this crazy -- to which I replied, horse people are fucking crazy, so I'm used to a lot of crazy in my life ;) mostly what I took away from the event was this was a group of passionate, dedicated, TALENTED people who were having SO MUCH FUN. Participating in this event, even in a small way, really got me intrigued. I don't necessarily know that I have the time or money to jump headfirst into another new (and expensive!) hobby, but I'm definitely interested in exploring it further. Particularly the horse events! It's not like I don't already have some Spanish tack.... haha. I may or may not have like 5 tabs on my phone open researching period Spanish attire and names..... Rabbit trails and tangents, yo -- that's my jam.
The ceramic mug I received, and a gorgeous coaster gift from Eowyth!
At any rate, it limited my horse time on Saturday, and then Sunday was dedicated to family Thanksgiving events. Last night I got my hair cut, so I skipped the barn, but today I packed riding clothes so I can hit the barn on the way home from work!
Look, off to do non-horse things!
The weather forecast for Thanksgiving weekend is promising, and while I have more family things on Thursday, I should have three glorious days to spend with the horses. Hopefully the sun will be shining! How about you? Have fun plans for the long weekend??

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Treat Yo'self Thursday

Merry Christmas to me? Shhhhhh don't tell DH! Picking up this beauty from the UPS store on my way home tonight!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Shockingly enough, after my whiny post about the weather last Friday, it warmed up to a tolerable temperature in the afternoon, so I actually worked both horses! No one was home but me, so I was limited to lunging Cinna, but we had a really good work session reinforcing all our verbal cues (sometimes she feels like “walk” is optional and just wants to zoom around). Once she got the zoomies over with, we had some really nice consistent steady trot, and some lovely trot-canter and canter-trot transitions.
Apparently I forgot to video Friday, but this video from the previous Saturday is pretty indicative of what the trot looks like with some consistency right now. 
Last week FB memories was reminding me about her first show last fall so it was fun to rewatch that video and compare to where she is now. At the time of that show we were barely in the double digit under saddle rides (the show was ride 13, haha) – now we’re… slightly higher than that? Her work has been totally irregular for her entire life, but she almost inevitably picks up just where we left off. After we got done working, she was still a little warm, so we hand walked down the driveway, and then down the road a bit. 
#mareglare forever and ever amen haha

I had grand plans to do a really lengthy no-stirrup ride on Ruby Friday afternoon, but my plans got slightly derailed when I got to the barn and discovered that someone had pulled a hit and run on a huge section of fence in front of the barn. Thankfully it wasn’t fence containing any horses, and the driver managed to (narrowly) miss hitting the trailers driving through a SECOND section of fence. But of course it made for a very exciting afternoon with the state Highway Patrol coming out. Miraculously enough, the person was caught, and BM’s fiancĂ©e already put the fence mostly back to rights, so the long term impact will be low. But it certainly rearranged my afternoon schedule a bit! I did manage to climb on Ruby shortly before sunset and we did ride, it just wasn’t quite as productive as I’d initially planned for. 
Gratuitous dachshund shot. 

Saturday the weather was beautiful (well, beautiful for November?) and I was determined to make the most of it. I got some outside things done at the house in the morning, then headed out to the barn early enough that I could ride before doing chores. Not only did we have a really excellent no-stirrup ride (I’m shocked at how much longer I can sit her trot even after only 4 rides, clearly I need to ride sans stirrups more often than just November?), but I also dragged out the bridge again and we worked on that again too. I’m not sure where the panicky/rushy/whatever issues with the bridge came from, but by the end of the ride Saturday she would step up and halt on the bridge without immediately flinging herself off the side, so that’s a win.

It was dark when I headed home, but I grabbed Cinna, flipped the lights on, and did another brief lunge (in just a lunge cavesson this time) and we worked more on verbal cues, including switching directions on the line, which I am not sure I had gotten around to teaching her. I had to stop mid-session and unclip her so I could climb the arena fence to break up a cat fight (is this really my life?) but when I came back she willingly went right back to work. We didn’t work long, and then at the end I let her play on the line a little. 
What Cinna thinks about working in the dark.
Hey look, blurry photo with my cell phone from the lighted arena!


She kept burying her nose in the sand and just standing there. She pawed once or twice, so I thought she might want to roll, so I unclipped her and let her wander off the line for a minute, but then she just came back over to me and rubbed her sandy face all over my jacket (thanks mare). 

Sunday my plan was to ride her and get some new photos, but it was kind of drizzly and grey most of the day, so I ended up binging Mindhunter on Netflix with DH and dachshunds all day, minus a brief grocery run to town. Ah well, it happens.

Last night I was scheduled tight on time with a GMO meeting in the evening (and a 1.5 hour round trip drive to/from the location), but I did manage to squeeze in a short ride on Cinna between work and leaving for the meeting. She tacked up in the quickly fading light, and then I flipped on the lights and headed to work. She was back to gnawing on the bit for about 60% of the ride, but it also wasn't the one I worked her in on Friday, so I guess I'll swap back to that one for riding. I have three or four bridles set up for her and normally just grab at random, but clearly I need to go back to what's working for her -- the HS baucher on my Otto bridle ;)
Slight departure from our normal matchy-matchy color, look, I'm expanding my color palette! ;)

It wasn't a groundbreaking session in any way (mostly just highlighted both of our lack of fitness and all our inconsistencies under saddle), but it's nice to be working towards some semblance of a riding routine during the darkness of late fall/winter in the Midwest! 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Freezing Fridays

Brrrrr. Idk about where ya'll are, but it's COLD here. Which frustrates me, because I'm off work today and was really hoping today would be full of BARN TIME! Instead, it's full of dachshund snuggling Netflix time. Which is fulfilling in it's own way, just not what I wanted. Although apparently later it's supposed to hit a whopping 40 degrees, so I should be able to venture out then?
Snuggles are their favorite.
I haven't been around much this week for a variety of reasons. DH's work schedule is a hot mess again, so he only had last Sunday off -- which meant we had to fit in a LOT of chores in a single day. A day that got dark at like 5 pm because FUCK DST UGH. Including vaccinating the goats and trimming their feet. Of course, about 2 hours before we planned to do that, Sam decided to try to cut his leg off. Because apparently he is obsessed with basically trying to kill himself any way he can? You know what's less fun than doctoring wiggling horses? Doctoring a wiggling goat. But I did manage to get the bleeding stopped, and the wound is actually healing shockingly well -- although all the trust I built back up with him after the deworming saga is gone again. He wants nothing to do with me cause every time I touch him, I make something hurt. Life on a farm is never dull!
You know what else is never dull? UNICORN TACK.
This week I've been picking up some extra chore shifts at the barn because the barn manager took several clients to a big stock horse show (where it sounds like they're bringing home their share of ribbons, YAY!). Of course, now that it's dark so early, I basically have time to get to the barn, bring horses in, and then drive home in the pitch dark. Wah. Last night I did manage to squeeze in a 20 minute bareback W/T/C ride on Ruby, and she was super good. Until we tried to walk across the trail bridge she's crossed 1232494351 times and then her brain leaked out her ears and EVERYTHING WAS SCARY. So we schooled the bridge in hand for a while and ate copious amounts of cookies until she could stand on it relaxed instead of leaping/spinning/rushing over it.
During our pleasant ride.
During our EVERYTHING IS ALARMING bridge work session.

Cinna is a fat fuzzy feral winter pony already -- I did work her last week Friday (only lunging because DH was working overtime, boo) and the goal is to fit in some more work this week. Now that it gets dark so early, the lights will be instrumental on any day that it's not freezing/stupid windy.
Working hard or hardly working?
Trying to train her mane to all stay on one side seems to be a losing battle, but I'm trying again... haha.
At any rate... nothing terribly new or exciting here, just settling in for a long winter of dark days and cold temps :( my least favorite. Brrrrr.

Friday, November 3, 2017

No-Stirrup November

It's a good thing I crammed in so much fun on Sunday, because by midday Monday I was siiiiiiick. As a dog. I came home from work and crawled under a blanket on the couch and proceeded to crave death. I didn't leave my couch again for 48+ hours. Ugh.
At least I had good company...
But yesterday I was determined to rejoin the land of the living, so I dragged myself to work, and then out to the barn to ride in the evening. My barn always goes all out for No-Stirrup November (with contests and prizes and usually a hard fought competition!) so I was shamed into riding with no stirrups haha. It was probably a bit ambitious, but we did manage a nice W/T/C ride. I might feel like dying later, but no pain, no gain.... right??
At least we had good company!
Luckily being sick half of the week means the weekend snuck up on me, so hopefully I'll have some decent weather to fit in some rides this weekend on Cinna!