Saturday 29 February 2020

Good Po-neighs

I've been pretty intermittent in my posting lately, but it's certainly a case of no news being good news. Spring is in the air, the ponies are starting to shed, and there's been enough daylight to fit some pretty full days in outdoors.

My husband G has had some vacation time, so we've been doing a ton of hiking and I've been fitting in a Sophie ride most days I'm home. Sophie rides are about as exciting as watching paint dry, hence my lack of things to blog...there is the odd spook and scoot but generally we can be found walking around the round pen, getting our whoa and go solid, plus working on bending and similar concepts new and exciting for baby ponies but less so for blog readers. We're getting close to a point where I'll feel confident riding alone - I'm starting to have a few reliable tools at my disposal rather than just feeling like a passenger, which is always a good thing!

And ponies! Every day :)

Today was a leap day, and Sophie took it extra seriously. She was a bit "stuck" today. She sometimes gets a bit of a hump in her back if I push beyond where she's comfortable. I've been guilty of working around that (ok avoiding it) so today it was bad and I needed to step up and be accountable before I cause a bigger problem. So, I pushed, she bucked, and it was tiny. Phew! So with that out of the way I pushed harder, more tiny bucking and crowhopping happened and then the glue broke and we had some nice trot. I immediately hopped off and gave her tons of scratches, because that 'fight' was all my own creation due to being too tentative and accepting too little the few rides before. I think with her being so naturally spicy I was so focused on keeping things relaxed and happy I inadvertently lost the forward.

Knowing Sophie, tomorrow she'll bring ALL the forward to the table, because she wants to be a good girl like that. I'll wear my sticky breeches just in case!

Trots just fine without a human = must be human error.

I so wish I was a brave kid again, but I think we're fine doing what we're doing. Some days we're a little outside Sophie's comfort zone, some days it's mine that needs to be pushed. We seem to muddle through in the end with no one any worse for wear.

Hi Bridget!

Bridget is also doing just great. She accompanies us every time she asks to (I spoil her so badly, lol, and let her hang out in her pasture if she doesn't come up to the barn when she sees me) It works well, because honestly I don't always have time to ride or exercise the both of them on the same day, so Bridget gets out a couple times a week and groomed on the rest, and seems happy enough with that. As always, I love riding her best, but if I want Sophie to be like her, I need to focus my miles and time on Sophie right now.
Showing off.

We're expecting a vet visit mid month to discuss all things baby ponies. I'm very excited, but also trying not to get too ahead of myself - it's something I'm taking very seriously and we have a lot of questions for the vet.

This is getting way too long, so I'll post later on why I'm considering breeding vs buying or rescuing. TLDR; been there done that with the rescues, and there are no Welsh Cob breeders near me. It's not all happy stories, but I'm open to sharing my experiences with the highs and lows of upgrading and rescuing if you're all interested (15 years worth prior to this blog and current pony/Welsh Cob obsession;)

Monday 17 February 2020


I had such a great long weekend. It just got better and better as it went. I'm going to be pretty sad to hop back on the ferry for work - I have to go straight to Vancouver this week for work which isn't my favorite thing. I love the city itself, but the logistics of getting myself around and to meetings on time are a little outside my comfort zone. I like the "slow coast" lifestyle we lead here a little better ;)

Speaking of my comfort with things moving a little more slowly, this week Sophie has been absolutely full of energy and pushing all the boundaries.

So fancy.
Then, when I get on, she's a perfect angel toodling around. Maybe a little too much so as trot is still very sticky - rushing and stopping, but I'm promising myself not to worry too much. Every day she's more forward and free in the walk and I'm hopeful a nice relaxed trot will come. I'm feeling less and less like I'm sitting on a keg of dynamite and more and more she feels checked in and thinking rather than wanting to be distracted by every little thing. It's tiny baby steps all the way so everyone (including me) is having a positive and fun experience.

Look, we can turn! :)
I don't feel like I've quite figured her out yet. She is often holding a lot of tension and I'm not sure why. We do a lot of bending and stretching (what she knows how to do so far, anyway) in walk and I feel like that's helping. We are moving at a snail's pace, but given I honestly feel a bit big on her and she's quite immature for her age, I don't think it's hurting anything to stick to very short walk/trot rides. She may be the type that settles in and is happier once she knows enough and is strong enough to be given proper work to keep the excess thinking at bay? I hope so :)

She is SO hairy though, omg

In very exciting news, I do think I'm going to make an effort to have Bridget bred this year. There are two potential baby daddies, both reg'd Welsh D. (I'd like to try welsh/warmblood but I'm totally inexperienced and also have no clue what B will pass on, so it seems safer to cross like to like). I'm having a vet visit next month to discuss logistics and realities surrounding that. I feel anxious and 'not ready' but B is 11 this year and if this is happening, the time is now. It sounds terrible considering I am lucky to have Bridget and Sophie, but my dream pony really is just a slightly more athletic version of Bridget. I have zero regrets purchasing Sophie and she's fantastic in her own right, but I guess I do love my sturdy Welsh Cobs. I've got a local horsey acquaintance who is breeding as well, so if it works out we'd be able to share some costs (and questions and worry;) I'll obviously keep you updated on what I learn and how this all plays out. Right now it's far from guaranteed there'll be a foal on the horizon, but I'm going to seriously consider the option and am open to sharing whatever decisions and results come from chatting with the vet and breeders.

Bridget and I had some nice neighbourhood trail rides this week, although my near miss of the winter surprisingly came from her teleporting across the road on Saturday...thank goodness for silicone full seats, lol


Monday 10 February 2020

A Productive Weekend (At Last!)

Thank you so much for the ideas and commiseration on my recent post. This extraordinarily dark and wet winter has been really affecting me mentally. Even though logically I recognize what's happening and know that I'll feel better if I just get out there and do the thing, emotionally it's difficult some days to push through and get things accomplished.

Because once I just do the thing, I'm so much happier.

Lucky for me, getting out there was a little bit easier this week because the weather gods gave us a break and the never-ending storms finally moved onwards and left drier weather and even a little sunshine behind.

As I mentioned in my last post, I wasn't the only one super happy to have a break from the rain. The horses were all absolutely wild and feeling pretty high on life.

And so, when I tacked up Bridget for our first ride in 6 weeks, I felt like I was ready for anything. What I was least ready for was what happened - she just marched happily along on a loose rein - a standard, everyday Bridget trail ride. No spooking, no rushing, no antics. Right back to business as if we'd never taken a break. As always, worth her weight in gold and I'm not sure how I ever got so lucky.

The puddles are still numerous and large at the moment
B is looking good, though

Sophie, on the other hand, required just a little more prep ;) Rotten Banana has been back in full force. To watch her you can literally see her pondering bad decisions and lacking the impulse control to curb them. Usually Bridget or I catch her at the pondering stage and a warning nips it in the bud, but she's creative for sure and is often in trouble with either "Aunty" Bridget or I. I need to get video - Bridget just stomps a front foot or sighs in her general direction and S is on her best behaviour for at least the next 30 seconds ;) At this point though, poor B has to be persuaded to go through the gate into Sophie's paddock even just for a short playdate. She's so fed up with her! Just between you and me, there are days when I'm totally on side with Bridget and we leave Sophie alone for a bit and just hang out on our own like adults. Word of advice: if you're considering working with a youngster, having a reliable well trained horse on site is something you'll never, ever regret. Bridget, thank you for keeping me confident and sane  :)

I did pop on for two short rides on Sophie this week, and she was a good girl. A very good girl if we consider how very few times I've ridden her and especially how inconsistent I've been since Christmas!

We trotted a few steps in the ring for the first time, which was a big win. The mare sass was strong regarding that! I'm aware of her attitude for sure, but not super worried...she has a lot of opinions but so far seems to let go of them pretty quickly. She also really likes to hear how wonderful she is when she makes a good choice so that makes my job a lot easier. Stereotypical mare, I guess - She'd prefer that we all bow down and adore her :D I think if you brought a fight to her she'd be pretty interested in winning it, but if you ignore the drama she kind of forgets it was a thing.

Maybe I'm right in my approach, maybe I'm wrong and could push harder, but I guess better to take small, easy wins than risk rushing it or making her sour or getting myself into a situation I can't handle. She's a lot more sensitive and quirky than anything else I've started, so it's an excellent learning opportunity for me. She's more work than I would have willingly signed up for or believe I have the tools to do justice to, but that's horses I guess, the journey is never predictable and there is always so much for us to learn.  The important thing is that I do think she's going to be fantastic and well worth any extra effort.

This saddle pad made her look tiny :D

I look forward to our spring clinic to get a good progress check in and to pick S's brain about all this. A big part of having the confidence to do this is knowing I have so much excellent help available! I'm still not ruling out sending S to a pro for a bit, but for now I still feel like we're right where we need to be.


Saturday 8 February 2020

Springing Along

We had sunshine and dry weather for the first time in 37 days (not that any of us here in Mudville were desperately counting or anything, lol!)

It felt like spring was in the air and horses were feeling very, very good. (Let's be real, us vitamin D deprived humans were feeling pretty giddy too!)

I did end up riding the shaggy, half feral baby pony (and Bridget got out too!). It feels really nice to be back at it. I have some more things planned for tomorrow so I'll update everything properly on Monday. 

For now, here's some pictures of Sophie having a good time burning off a little of her pent up energy (she is surprisingly fit!)


Sunday 2 February 2020

Keepin' It Real

I really, really had all the best of intentions of getting stuff done this week. And I did! I got so much done! Just nothing truly horsey blog worthy :(

Despite my high levels of motivation to ride, the weather got up to it's (now usual) trickery and was pretty awful Thursday & Friday. The weather forecast was using terms like "atmospheric river", which proved an accurate description. Both horse's paddocks were a mess with water and fallen tree branches. Bridget's shelter had standing water in the front half, but we got off lucky compared to all the flooding and storm damage just a little further south. I spent a big chunk of time at the barn doing interesting things like digging ditches and shoveling muck from one place to another. So fun :) I'd happily pay full board right now if only anyone was crazy enough to offer it!
Look! A tiny bit of sunlight on Saturday!

Saturday morning we had a break between storm systems and I got Sophie down to the club grounds for an outing. I was sure she was going to be a total nut after having almost a month off, so I just brought longeing gear. Of course she was quiet and lazy and I probably could have just tacked her up and hopped on. Who could have predicted that!? She's such a funny little thing.

And so muddy.

I didn't feel quite so bad when I bumped into some friends that I'd consider dedicated riders and both said it was their first outing in a month or two, because of the terrible weather and short daylight hours. I'm not alone! Whew.

Sunday was meant to be a riding day for both ponies, but the rain turned to sideways snow and sleet and hacking down the road or to the arena simply isn't safe in those conditions. A shame, because Bridget was being a complete jerk(!) due to pent up energy and I think really would have enjoyed an outing.

Someone had an even larger than normal sense of her own importance. No one tell her that her attempts at being sassy and tough are actually more amusing than intimidating.

Honestly, I'm struggling a bit mentally right now. I want to be out there riding and having fun but the weather and my current boarding set up really doesn't make it easy, (or even possible) lately. I'm putting in multiple hours a day at the barn doing chores, only to get caught up just in time to head back out of town to work on Monday. I get frustrated with that (all that work and money for "nothing") and then am upset with myself because I know in the grand scheme of things I'm lucky and my problems are very small ones. I'm catching myself being quite negative about my riding goals and being an equestrian in general for the first time in many, many years - a sure sign I need to get back in the saddle and start having fun again!

This too shall pass, right? I'm crossing fingers hard we get some friendlier weather soon (please, no more torrential rain, even just for a few days!) I just need to be patient. In the meantime, I think the take home lessons from this winter are:

- I'm irrationally grumpy and negative if I can't ride, and;
- I need to implement some changes before next winter. I dream of packing us all up for a month's vacation somewhere sunny and warm. But a trailer and/or a change in boarding arrangements are probably more practical :)

This black eyed Susan is attempting to bloom in my backyard right now. Craziness, or maybe a sign that spring might come?