Thursday, 6 May 2021

Vet Time, Foal Updates?

Both girls had their annual vet checkups yesterday. Vaccines and teeth for both, and for Bridget, a repro exam.

Sophie was (of course) uber dramatic about needles and stranger danger, but her teeth were not bad at all and her appointment went very quickly.

Bridget got a bigger dose of sleepy meds and I felt a little like a dummy when the vet asked me what her cycle is like and I was basically "???? Bridget's very very low key."  I've maybe noticed her in heat twice in the years I've owned her. The usual triggers like going to shows or stabling with new geldings don't really apply and the couple of times I've noticed was basically just her being a tiny bit friendlier to her neighbour. (Normally she doesn't like anyone.) I'm glad I professed ignorance because she's actually in heat right now. She got her exam and checks out fine for breeding, which is great news.

Sleeping the day away

The catch? I'm feeling pessimistic about trying to make it happen this year. We're in Covid restrictions again and non essential travel to the Island (where I need to take her to the vet) is not currently permitted. Also, there's only one flight a day coming in (at midnight, of course, from Calgary rather than Vancouver) so shipping times from most any place outside the immediate area are 24 hr plus right now. 'Taking my horse to the vet' is fine as a reason to travel across provincial health boundaries (the vet will write me a letter confirming appt), but meh, it sure seems a lot privileged to claim special treatment for taking my horse to make a baby horse :) Plus, will we even be able to ship semen in a reasonable time frame?

Sadly, Bridget was still voted 'too fat' at her appointment and needs to stay on her diet. She has feelings about diet jail and would love the opportunity to eat for two.

This field is tempting her, just over her back fence line. I'll have to let her hand graze a little after work - it's just too cruel not to.

I'll probably wait and see if the restrictions are lifted later in the month. I'll chat with the vet and the breeder. I think there are a few options - 

- Go ahead and try in 3 weeks (I worry about the shipping times and ferry travel)

- Wait 6 weeks (limits the amount we can try or risk foal arriving later than ideal, plus travel/flight limitations may still be a thing anyway).

- Wait until next year. (I have a 3 year contract, at least)

- Change up the game plan completely and go with a different stallion more local to us this year. (Not likely, I will wait for the one I chose - I might want but I don't need multiple Bridget foals ;)

- My husband's choice: Just buy a freakin' Welsh D foal and be done with it :). I'm not sure this is super realistic - there's a reason I decided to breed  B. I obsess over the Castleberry Cobs page, but the transport, duties, etc to import one from the US is just too much (ask me how I know - lol Sophie's price doubled by the time I got her home. I could have flown and imported from Europe for not too much more). I haven't seen much in the way of Canadian bred ones lately, and B was the last of her breeder's program. 

Sorry if this is kind of a downer post - I think what it all boils down to is that I need to wait and see how things shake out but I'm feeling impatient and wanting to get things going NOW. I'm going to go take out those feelings on further barn and property improvements this weekend  :)

I painted and drove to the barn to hang those signs the same day they arrived - I couldn't wait. I'm like a little kid as far as excitement levels over this project.


Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Weekly Check In

 If you follow me on Instagram, you'll probably already have seen some of the following photos. While I do really enjoy the ease of posting things there, I also like keeping more of a diary. I started posting here just for myself, way back in the day, and somehow found a great community I'd love to see thriving again. In that spirit, I am going to try to keep up with a more detailed post here every week or two.

Boarding. Ugh. While I love many aspects of it and have happily been boarding for 10+ years, it's just not working for me anymore. There aren't any other options here (that I am aware of - I'd love to not have to drive to the barn feed 2 or 3 times a day!). I feel all sorts of weird about it - where I am is home to some great people, but I just can't keep justifying paying for self board and sharing very limited space and amenities when we have a place of our own that can be utilized. Especially when I'm not happy, for whatever reasons.

These metal signs just came in the mail. I'm excited to hang them by the barn doors. Also, if she's going to have her own sign on the barn I guess that means Sophie needs to stay :)

I don't know if it's all legitimate complaints or that I'm just getting really grumpy. Emotions aside - moving them makes sense because my drive time will be the same, I'm already doing all my own feeding, chores, and maintenance, and of course I'll be saving board fees. An extra bonus is that my place is a much more efficient set up and it's just me there, so I should save a lot of time both with daily chores and fitting in rides.

Replacing these window panes and repainting was a massive time sink. It's about 5' square and is the top part of a pair that would have originally been about 10' high. Obviously I don't have any 20' tall buildings suitable for them, yet after over 100 years they're still solid - the house on site is of the same era so it all fits in. Someone had a chicken coop set up, but that hole is going to be covered by some cabinets along the wall, under window height.

I'm most excited for the improvements to come, though - a ring on site, trailer parking, and hot water are going to be epic! Plus of course I'm itching for more garden space :) 

Sticking a tiny garden and path in here. The window looks out from the tack room, with the dry paddock on the other side of the path.

The compromises are of course still there - it's all rustic and quirky at best, and the stall part of the building is oddly sized (about 12' x18' with a 6'x18' covered space on the front) so it's going to be a shared run in shelter set up rather than separate stalls. I do have another 12x12 stall I can utilize if it turns out they can't/won't share but fingers crossed they'll be OK - I'm kind of hoping to use the second stall for hay and shavings. 

Looking a bit tidier than last week, with the doors rebuilt and a fresh coat of stain.

Plus, this kind of stuff doesn't come cheaply. Despite the property and barn already being ours and paid for, I'm estimating we're going to be about $15k in to this project at the end of the day, with me doing everything but driving the trucks and excavators :) To be fair, more than half of that is going to be materials for the ring. I know that's peanuts when it comes to horses and real estate - but it's still a fair bit of board dollars.

 I think the biggest puzzle is that I won't have power. We set up the service at the house for outbuildings, but we never ran the cable out.  I'm reluctant to do it now and potentially share hydro bills with tenants. I've been researching electric power boxes/generators and I think we'll be fine. For the amount of lights I use and electric fence it should last a couple of weeks between charges, more if I hook up a solar panel to it. In an emergency I can always run an extension cord from the house.

Bridget's request - power doesn't matter, just plant more pasture!

On a more horsey related note - Bridget has her first vet appointment tomorrow. Cross your fingers for me that she's fit and ready to make a foal!

Look what I found in the barn! An assortment of foal and yearling sized halters...just in case I need them again :)


Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Bits Of Progress

 I didn't ride at all this past week. 

But, never fear, I did spend almost every spare minute at the barn!

These two were just enjoying some time in the field at 'their' barn this week

I was actually at 'my' barn, where the horses don't live (yet), but hey, it counts, right?

Their attached paddock to be. Currently a little less picturesque than where they are now ;). The blue house is ours (currently rented to a nice lady), yellow is the neighbour.

I'm sore and tired after a week of digging and raking and building things, and I only have what feels like a shockingly small amount of progress to show for it. It really is worth it to pay for a machine to do the work for you! Unfortunately it is a small place and there is only so much he can do with a big machine - it's on me to clean up the smaller nooks and crannies on the property.

Not exactly after...but getting there? Rehanging the doors and a new paint job will help immensely, I think. Plus I'm strategically planting some gardens and climbing roses to hide the ugliest parts ;)

Get some wood stain and flowers in here STAT! The photo angle makes this look like the longest wall in the world, but it's only 10' long and 7' high ...there is reasonable hope the new shrubberies can hide it :)

I feel like I've temporarily made a bigger mess by dismantling fences and making mulch and construction debris piles. The visuals are also not helped by the fact that it's been pouring rain and the whole place has basically turned into a giant sticky clay/mud pit. So, really ,it's just as well I'm taking a time out from the big machines while we clean up the smaller stuff and prep for them to come back. Just like progress with the horses, I guess it's going to get worse before it gets better!

Oh my. I optimistically bought grass seed, but don't even want to think about how much gravel and drainage is going to be required back there before I plant anything.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town...grassy fields and a sunnier day. Boarding does have some benefits, lol

Aside from cleaning up the area immediately around the barn, I saved a bunch of  hazelnut and berry bushes from the property (they grow there like crazy) and then potted them to save for later re-planting along laneway. I hit the garden centre as well and bought a few shrubs (lilac/california lilac/elderberry/nootka roses) to fill any gaps. Wood prices are through the roof (if you can even find cedar for fencing) so I'm going to do a nice black mesh fence with an informal hedge set inside. If you haven't guessed, I enjoy gardening so I'm actually having quite a lot of fun planning all of that.

I've also started dismantling old fences. A lot of it is rotten, some of it has to come out simply because we need space to get big dump trucks in and turned around and water lines put in. I'm cursing my previous self for cementing the original fence posts in :)

Do you think she knows how spoiled she is?

All in all, there is so much work to do that I'm not even optimistic they'll be moving in this coming fall. But, I'm in my element and I love doing this kind of stuff, so you'll be seeing lots of little progress updates for the foreseeable future. I'm slowly embracing the idea of reusing the building, and have some fun things planned for it.  Hopefully, once I'm less obsessed/excited about it I'll get back to using some time in the evenings to ride instead.


Monday, 19 April 2021

Pony Property Clean Up - Part 1

 Part 1, because *spoiler alert* it's still a disaster.

First up, here's my quick sketch of the layout of the 'pony' part of the place. Useful/not useful because it currently looks nothing like this :) :

Same as it ever was, just adding the new ring (it used to be above the barn) and a covered grooming area on the south side of the building. Not shown is that there is another vacant lot accessed from a gate under the tree in the upper left - an extra area for the horses to go in the summer.

Last Wednesday:

Is that the barn roof back there? We walked up the fence line a little, but the whole back of the property was this overgrown. Crazy to imagine I used to keep my horses  there and even mowed the lawn back here! The rainforest is relentless with the amount of greenery that grows in so quickly.

Day 1:

The neighbor across the street is a machine operator by trade, and the one next to that runs a trucking and excavating company. My excuses for not tackling this sooner are pretty weak.

Oh look, my old pony palace. Last use of it predates the blog by a couple of years so your first intro to it is in this very sorry state.

Looking back towards the lane.

Day 2:

Starting to look a little more like a pony field. I tried to leave some trees so the renters in the house (back right) didn't have to look at ponies. ( I know, I know, who wouldn't want to look at them? Apparently it's a thing. Since a lot of the trees were old and needed to go we're building a privacy fence and hedge behind the back yard of the house instead. Or should I annoy them with ponies until they leave and we move back in? Hmmm)

Part of what's left of my old riding ring. This section is going to get cleaned up and gravel added for a winter paddock.

Day 3:

Mostly just dump trucks taking out all the cleared brush. 7 huge loads of it! The 'new' riding ring area by the back lane is looking pretty level and cleared, but of course there is a ginormous stump right where the gate needs to go.

We've obviously got a ton of work to do to put in an adequate base and drainage...I'm thinking that will happen after the perimeter fencing and the barn. Because the barn...oh my. It wasn't fancy before and I kind of want to light a match to it now before it falls down on it's own accord :)

Stalls on the left, hay and tool storage straight ahead, old ring/paddock area to the right. I was young and broke, so was resourceful in using extra building materials from the house, driftwood logs and free paint samples to put this together. It's not aged well, nor did it enjoy living under blackberry bushes and fallen trees for 10 years.

The corner posts are still square, but they are needing to be jacked up and repaired. There are multiple pieces of siding missing, windows broken, and doors off the hinges. The inside is even more trashed and it looks like someone was living/squatting/hoarding garbage in there after they kept chickens in it (I'll spare you the pictures - it's gross)! I'm on the fence about bulldozing it and building something new, but with the current shortage and cost of building materials those in the know are encouraging me to patch it together for a few more years use. If we proceed with that, this is the area where I'm going to have a basic covered outdoor groom/wash space.

So, that's what I was working on this weekend. I'm thinking it is going to take a lot more weekends before the place is worth another progress report :)


Tuesday, 13 April 2021

go, go, go

 I feel like things have gone from pretty quiet and predictable, to 11/10 busy this spring.

My work is absolutely crazy right now, and I've got a lot going on outside of work at the moment too. 

The horsey blog relevant things are that lots of riding is happening and I'm in the process of organizing either some clinics or lessons (depending on whether there is enough local interest or whether I will just travel to her). I am reluctant to attempt to organize clinics again, and am most likely going to arrange to just meet somewhere for a lesson, but we'll see. 

In the meantime, we went trail riding all by ourselves and she was very excited, but excellent.

Our Covid situation here isn't currently great and travel outside your community isn't advised. I'm fully on board with riding lessons and shows not being essential so you won't see me out there until we're able to do it safely. Many shows and outings scheduled for this spring/summer have already been cancelled. This of course puts a bit of a damper on my lesson scheduling, but I'll cross my fingers I can get something organized as soon as it's safe to hop back on that ferry.

With shows and out of area clinics off the table this summer, my focus has shifted to buckling down and getting things done at home. 

We've made multiple offers on properties these last couple of years, but the market is red hot and nothing really works out. The last one had 15 competing bids for a 400k listing and finally went for 150k over asking, all in about 24 hours. So, we're going to start work on the World's Tiniest Horse Property this week. I think I've mentioned it before and shown you some plans, but then I got sidetracked :) Anyway, I have a little 1.2 acre property that is zoned for horses. I bought it many, many years ago before I met G. We have been renting the house on it out for the past 15 years or so and the remainder of it sits unused.

 I'll give you a recap post this week and get some before pictures of the disaster that is the 'horsey' part of place. (To give you an idea, I've hired an excavator to clean it up - it's just been slightly overgrown/neglected and there may or may not be a tree fallen on the barn. I've been travelling and living elsewhere a very long time lol).

This is the space I'm working with - I think it ends up being about 3/4 acre, so it's TINY. I wanted to leave a nice yard for the house, and have my access off the back laneway in case we keep the house rented long term. You can see some of the old paddock fencing and the barn.

Plans include upgrading the rustic 'barn' a little, clearing paddocks and planting grass seed, new fencing, and, if I'm lucky, the contractor will be able to fit a riding ring in the back beside the lane! While it's not going to be what I had envisioned having, I am grateful to 'previous me' for getting into the market when I did and I'm super excited about having my own space again. The hope is to move the horses there next fall. 

Bridget's going to be a backyard pony :)


Wednesday, 7 April 2021

A nice week

 We’ve been having fun since my last update, with more to come - I’m on vacation!

 So far, the weather has been very kind and we’ve had sunshine and warm spring days. It’s still too cold at night to really go wild planting the garden, which just means more barn time! 

Sophie’s still being worked a few times a week and thriving. I admit to second guessing myself this winter and comparing her to the other 4 coming 5 year olds already doing all the things, but I’m so glad I waited. She’s finally looking more like an adult horse ready for a job and she’s come back stronger and ready to go. She’s retained all the basics she learned last summer/fall and just looks good.

Here’s where I let you down by only having trailer and Bridget media. I’ve been trying to focus on the moment with Sophie and if I’m being honest, I low key dislike people taking pictures of me. So, I’ve left the riding media distraction off the agenda this week. But, Bridget is adorable, right? 😁

I’ve been keeping it low key on her - I am mindful I am not really brave enough to push the boundaries. Despite all my best intentions I find myself sending her little signals that maybe I don’t mean it: “Go forward, but my tense body says maybe not TOO forward, thanks!” Especially in canter, but I’ve caught myself doing it in trot too. Sophie’s generous enough to adjust accordingly, but I’m aware such riding might eventually lead to inadvertently shutting her down. That’s where R comes in! I’m very lucky to have someone willing to hop on and canter all around our giant club arena, letting Sophie find her balance with a rider with zero stress. ( I am far too prone to worrying about all the things going on in or around the arena and making excuses for why it’s not an ideal time to canter the baby horse) 

Resident deer was more interested in inspecting the new trailer than my horses ;)

Started organizing the tack room, realized I own a lot of blue items lol

There was a clinic this past weekend that I had on my calendar to attend, sadly I just couldn’t justify spending another $500 on horse things right this instant. But, there is always a silver lining - it was at our “home” arena and there was plenty of space to share. So, we took Sophie and accomplished many of the things I had wanted from the clinic - riding in a busy arena with other horses coming and going, and a show like atmosphere outside. 

Took no time at all to fill that up...and this is just “spare” stuff. I may have a problem.

In short, Sophie’s coming along really well, I am taking a bit of time to get my confidence on her, but it’s coming. We’re good.

I’ve been riding Bridget quite a bit to get back riding fit after my very slow winter. B is doing just fine. She’s having a little spring allergy flare up but still enjoys being a part of things. I’m forever grateful I’ve got my “old faithful” to fall back on when I struggle a bit with a young horse.

Trailer driving has been happening. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned I actually haven’t towed a trailer in years...and “back in the day” it was a boat with a pretty easy shot to the boat launch. So...this horse trailer thing where I can’t see over it is different and new. I’ve been practicing without the horses. I’m confident driving around, but backing up around corners is not a thing I am that great at yet. My husband is easily able to back it into tight spaces, which I appreciate, but I don’t want to be “that girl” getting the guy to park the trailer for me. So, I will keep practicing!


Monday, 29 March 2021

Trailer Must Haves?

I think I've been talking about getting my own trailer for the 10 year extent of this blog. I finally went and picked one up this past weekend. 

It's never to late to achieve those goals, lol.

I ended up buying new because I live at least one ferry ride from anything and that pretty much automatically makes any trip an overnight one. It made me anxious buying used 'unknown' where I didn't know the maintenance, miles, or history. I know it's not a car and a trailer only has so many things to maintain, but still...given my middle-of-nowhere location I really need reliable and as few surprises as possible.

With the current used market super hot and prices approaching new, it became a no brainer to just set a budget, go to the dealership, and see what I could get. Luckily, they had the three trailer brands I was interested there to look at, and it worked out the one I ended up choosing was in stock and ready to go. The one I had originally reserved to pick up ended up not being the one I chose, so I'm glad I was able to get there in person and look, even though it meant a 16 hour travel day!

A few compromises were made, but this checks all the boxes for things I need - small and relatively light for our F150 to tow. Aluminum body that won't rust and windows that close and lock, since it's parked in our driveway in the Wet Coast rain.

So, that's accomplished. As a person who tends to like having only a very basic level of 'things', it still seems a little odd to have it sitting in the driveway. But, if ever there was a year when I'd deem a trailer essential (with Bridget's upcoming trips to the Island), this is it.

Anyway, as a newbie trailer owner who is planning multiple overnight trips...I'm hoping the more experience crew can make recommendations on what I need to stock the trailer with. 

It came with interior/exterior lighting, a water tank, spare tire, all that. The doors and windows lock, so I'm cool with storing trailer dedicated essentials in there full time. The tack room is not huge but I am a minimalist. It came with hooks, blanket bars, saddle racks, and organizers installed.

Off the top of my head, I'm needing a roadside kit for tire changes, I'm thinking a first aid kit, and the obvious practical things like trailer ties and hay bags. You wouldn't think trailer ties would be a rabbit hole I could get lost in, but with one horse who doesn't solidly tie, and one who has allergies and really needs to be free to travel with a lower head, I'm indecisive.

So, readers - any recommendations for must-have items you can't live without? On the flip side, is there a commonly recommended item that you didn't find useful?


Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Good Things are Happening

 It's been a little while since I've felt like saying much. Winter kind of took it's toll on me this year in all things motivation and feeling ok about myself. I was having the odd day where I felt alright, but for the most part I was letting anxiety and negative feelings get the best of me and then feeling ashamed of my seeming inability to get on with things or acknowledge the many positives in my life and things I have to be grateful for.

I'm still digging myself out my hole of negativity, but, as always, I keep on working hard to progress too. So, even with some setbacks, there have been lots of good things happening that deserve updates here, despite my inability to pick up a camera to document them :)

- Sophie's been back in work for a couple of weeks now. I've enlisted R to help out again and she's had one great ride, one average one, and one more challenging one where I knew I'd made the right choice getting help. I'm riding too, but I think my confidence took a knock (along with my head - ha ha is it too soon for concussion jokes?) this winter so I'm mostly just hacking on her days off between R's schooling sessions. I'm getting myself back to being more comfortable up there and more riding fit, trying to be patient with myself and just do whatever feels within my comfort zone on the day. It does get easier every day.

She got a grown up pony bridle too. Also, she's shedding, so that awful clip will hopefully be a distant memory soon.

- I got a new phone...and the Pivo now works with it! It took some excellent video of a friend's recent lesson. I tried it last night in more challenging conditions and it still managed to track Bridget and I in rain and fading daylight. Exciting! One step closer to virtual lessons and showing.

- Sophie has definitely grown and filled out this winter. I need to measure her, but the difference under saddle is noticeable to the point it's almost as if she's been in work all winter. She's stronger behind and much more balanced and looks wise is getting to be more my type all the time. She's still very immature and a lot to deal with mentally, but the work is helping her settle.

- Clinics and horsey events everywhere. Our little town is close enough to Vancouver that it's been booming ever since the pandemic started. Lots of people moving here from there to work remotely...and a few of those people came with horses! It feels like the local calendar is busier with clinicians and planned rides than it's ever been, and that's pretty exciting. I've met a couple of other people recently that ride and want to do dressage, possibly a bit of jumping, which makes 3 of us! lol. In all seriousness, we've been chatting about sharing expenses to attend out of town lessons and shows, which would be amazing. 

- Bridget is still feeling good. She has a slight cough due to me stupidly trying to sub in a little bit of different hay (I have so much...more than Sophie can eat by the end of summer) but she feels alright under saddle and is still my go to riding pony, happily trucking all over the trails one day and humoring my desire to pop over tiny jumps the next.

- I finally pick up my new trailer Friday! I'm really looking forward to having the freedom to trailer out of town, mostly so I can get back to lessons with EC. Also, it's kind of an integral piece of the puzzle to get Bridget over the island to be bred this spring :)


Friday, 5 March 2021

The New Bridget

 Amanda's post HERE got me thinking, because I also own a horse that doesn't much resemble the one I bought all those years ago. It's a fun topic, looking back on where you started from and what you've got now. Maybe your horse has all kinds of experience now, maybe there are way more tools in the toolbox and that's changed how they are to ride and be around. Maybe it's more of a mental thing, where you've both matured into a partnership. I wonder how many of us could honestly say their horse is exactly the same from the day you bought them?

I was looking back on the blog archives and it's so funny - I actually wrote a post about Bridget in April 2014, sharing for the breeder. I was working out of province and not really in the market for anything, plus I was riding at a hunter/jumper barn and had some aspirations of going that direction if I ever was to buy another horse.

I forgot she had a grey mane and tail when she was young...wonder if her foal will?

I actually ended up purchasing her in the fall of that was 6 and a half years ago.

For the first year or so, I had her at home with me and we tackled tons of trails and did a bit of schooling in the arena. She was super on the roads and trails, but my initial impressions were that she was very, very stubborn and super lazy and opinionated about anything she found difficult (which was everything involving any sort of schooling or rein contact). Zero interest in being part of anything that didn't meet her own agenda. Her go to was to just shut down and plant her feet (I'd joke that the batteries wore out). So although she checked my boxes as a safe confidence builder, I didn't love her or think I was the right person long term for her. I was still shopping for the right horse, then Bridget was going to be sold as a safe kids trail pony.

This clinician still asks about B...she looked easy with me, but then decided 'nope' for him and made him work for his $ lol

Then, I moved yet again, for my current job. My office just happens to be 10 minutes from a very good eventing/dressage coach. So, obviously I was not going to let that opportunity slide and just brought the potato pony I had that was sort of for sale to a barn full of eventers.

The next few years I learned a ton, as did B. The more she learned how to use her body, the more forward and confident she became. While she never really could be trusted to not opt out and let me down on the day (we used to joke I needed to bring 150% motivation and commitment to make up for Bridget), her work ethic improved a lot and she became surprisingly athletic and capable as a little eventer/jumper and later, as my low level dressage pony.

She's so cute. I do believe she hesitated a few strides out and I was still shouting at her to go, lol

She's talented enough dressage wise that I was encouraged to keep on keeping on by even some bigger name trainers (besides, by that point we had a partnership and I was super attached and not selling her) but after a couple of successful show seasons she gradually got more and more unreliable and 'stuck' again and was definitely telling me she didn't love her job. I started shopping for a pony to be my future dressage/eventing ride, and that's how baby Sophie came into the picture.

Why yes, I do still have all the tests with nice comments :)

A couple of years ago, I was offered the chance to work from home part time, then Covid happened and I've been full time from home for a year. B moved home with me 2 years ago and I have to say the change in her since then has been absolutely shocking. The first time my coach came to give us a lesson she was surprised - "I don't know how you did it but you've finally got her forward enough". I didn't do anything, to be honest, B was finally just offering it freely and I was happily just riding. Maybe I didn't need another pony for those competition goals after all?  Encouraged by the breakthroughs, I signed her up for a show in the city that spring. She worked wonderfully all the way up to it, then on the day...nope. Nada. The B of 2014 was back and it was awful. I don't know how much more loudly she could tell me she was not interested in being the next dressage star.

Since then, we just visit the arena once or twice a week and hit the trails most days. And again, the difference in her attitude continues to be shocking. She's bold, outgoing, super spicy, opinionated, engaging, and often way too much in your space. She whinnies and comes running when she sees me or my truck.  A far cry from the reserved and uninterested pony I bought who basically had zero personality beyond a pretty strong "best leave me alone if you've got any work planned" vibe. If I look back, she was never easy, and there were always glimpses of a bigger personality in there, but I'm honestly still puzzled as to why she was so reserved for so long. Our current boarding and riding schedule is exactly the same as what we started out with all those years ago, but I've got an entirely new pony. Part of me feels a little like I let her down a little before thinking she was naturally just super quiet and introverted, the other part of me just wants to appreciate that she's gradually come out of her shell over time and is such a fun, happy thing now.

Living the life :)


Monday, 1 March 2021

Nothing To See Here - February Recap, March Happenings

 Well, I feel like I totally dropped the ball on doing pretty much anything interesting in February. I had plans to go to the city to pick up my new trailer and then get lots of riding in at the indoor on week nights. In my mind I was totally going to own February.

B striking a power pose

 Then our truck decided it needed some fairly costly repairs before it could safely go on a road trip, the mechanic was booked way out, and it snowed. Rather than adapting my riding plans, I went into "when I have my trailer I will..." mode, where I basically made excuses to do the bare minimum because it's all just going to be so much easier with the trailer so I might as well wait. Never mind that I have been getting rides in 'the hard way' and hacking down the road in the rain and dark for 2+ years now. Some twisted logic there for sure :D

Of course I am somewhat exaggerating my lack of riding time - I did get Bridget out for some nice outings a few times a week last month and Sophie tagged along too quite often. In general, they've both been feeling WAY too good. I've been feeling way too rusty and out of shape - honestly though it's less physical and more that my mental game is pretty weak right now. So, B and I have been on an easy schedule of long walking hacks up and down hills, some basic flatwork in the arena once a week, and that's about it. It's good for her, and honestly exactly what I needed this month to try to get my head straight and my body happy to be in the saddle again.

Look how shiny!

With Sophie, I finally accepted the limits of my patience and ended up giving up getting her exercised on my own every day. I started putting her on a few hours turnout in a different field most afternoons. It's still too wet to use the lower fields and the barn owner was hoping to save the grass for spring, but I was starting to dread having to lead half wild Sophie down the busy road to the arena each day. She's a good girl and tries her best, but she's still young and is naturally very high energy and playful. She really just needed more room to get in a good gallop (or ten) on her own each day. She's done a number on the footing in her own paddock so it's a bit too mucky/slick most days for her to really play as hard as she'd like. Thank goodness the barn owner agreed to let me sacrifice my summer fields a bit for her antics. It really seems to be helping Sophie and I get along better with each other ;).

Likes an audience

Both girls are starting to shed and both had pony makeovers in preparation for spring. B is of course just going off to (hopefully) be bred. Despite having nothing else on her agenda, I like keeping her looking tidy and as much like a little sport cob as I can.

New halter so everyone knows she's special

Sophie. As mentioned, the bigger field with gallop friendly footing is helping S and it's finally starting to be light enough after work to get a quick ride in. Despite having some nice Bridget therapy on the trails, I'm still at a really low point as far as my mental game relates to riding. The mean girl voice in my head has been winning. I know for me the best way to get past that is to just get out there. I need to just be too busy doing all the things to think about all the ways I might be doing them inadequately, yet with Covid I find it difficult - it seems a lot of my motivation to get out there every day comes from setting show or event related goals.

Girls having fun in the sun

Honestly I really need to see if I can book some boot camp time with my coach once I get the trailer home (not an excuse, she lives a few hours away so I really do need a trailer to get Sophie there ;). Until then, R has agreed to help out again so I'm hopeful this month as the days get longer, I can get S back to the consistency we had before Christmas.