Monday 31 May 2021


As is my new normal, the remainder of last week and the weekend was jam packed full of things to do, far more things to do than one person could probably do in a month. One of the things I wanted to do was to get the real camera out, but sadly for you, my cell phone was easier to grab and carry around with me this week, so excuse the photo quality.

Anyway, I’m really good at prioritizing (yes, I’m kidding!)

My decision tree is as follows:

Is it fun? Fun things move up the list first. Non fun things get demoted.

Ponies = fun

Interesting? As above.

Realistically, how quickly does this HAVE to be done? Hello, mid list procrastination space. 

Do I want to? I’m stubborn. Even if it’s necessary (or fun) - if I don’t want to, I just won’t and off the list it goes.

Did someone tell me I can’t do it? The evil flip side to being super stubborn. Even if it’s not necessary or fun, telling me I’ll never be able to do it essentially guarantees I will make it my priority to prove you wrong so back on the list it goes.

Will I stay awake at night worrying about it? This is the very bottom tier of the to do list....the stuff I don’t want to do but eventually gets done anyways because I need to sleep. 

So what did I do this week? 

Built the rest of the barn doors. Because last week neighbour guy saw me with a cordless drill in hand and mansplained it all just in case I need help, then later made sure my husband knew I was using power tools while he wasn’t home. I think he means well, but dude, you overstepped. Girls can do math and use power tools too. So BAM, doors...done, because that point needed to be made. 

A stack of doors from repurposed lumber.

First coat of stain. This one is going to be the new tack room door. Feel free to judge the state of this carport. Tidying it is decidedly on the list of non fun/interesting things to do.

I got in lots of riding and pony time. Because fun, right? Or it was all the way up until Bridget got way overexcited to be jumping again and decked me when she took offence to my request to slow down and wait between jumps. I somehow took the bridle and one stirrup leather/stirrup with me. She’s got that stop/buck/spin move down pat. Thank goodness I’m never selling her because we had an audience and they were in awe - we're locally famous in all the wrong ways. The kids wanted it to happen again so they could get it on video, I was less enthusiastic about that idea lol. Despite that, I’d say her reintroduction to small fences was successful -she was super keen and happy and of course that makes me smile. 

Kind of do wish I had video though - she was over jumping this little grid like a crazy thing and having a party at the end almost every time.

Tiny course. There is probably a permanent crater from my impact somewhere over by the red building.

It’s forever funny that so far Sophie has zero dirty moves and is as honest as they come, yet I am always so much more careful/cautious with her. I guess it goes to show how the miles add up. Bridget is not always to be trusted and can be downright rotten, yet she’s my go to because I’ve done so much more with her and I’m not too fussed by her occasional lapses into full on pony ‘tude. I feel like I know her so well, Sophie still feels a bit unknown. I'm well aware I need to remedy that.

Sophie's been getting some field time. The vet said she could lose a little weight, which is a first, normally she eats whatever she wants and stays fairly lean. So, welcome to the adult pony life, Sophie, where you spend nights in a diet paddock.

Diet paddock. I was OK with Bridget's weight, but vet gave her a BCS of 7. No pasture at all for you right now, little pony :(

I’ve been wearing my new xc vest the remainder of the week because I’m too old for getting pancaked - it hurts! I love the vest though. It’s short enough I can use it comfortably even in my dressage saddle (because despite my amusement and forgiveness, B earned herself some flat work boot camp before we tackled little jumps again). 

Look at their field! I've sectioned off a tiny bit for Sophie, at this rate it's going to last for months.

Sophie just got out for some quiet trail hacks. I’m going to start lunging her over crossrails this week, just to see what she thinks. Doing little courses this weekend with B, I was reminded of how helpful I find little x’s or even poles on the ground to make me pay attention to how accurately I ride. It's also apparent I've let Bridget's canter slide a bit - we couldn't quite find the nice bouncy one we needed and adjustments were on a delay timer.  It’s time to get Sophie back in the arena either way - we’ve got clinics coming up and perhaps this whole going-to-an-event-with-Bridget-again thing wasn’t super well thought out? Can’t hurt to have a backup at the ready one day, at any rate. 

I picked up a trailer full of hay on a rainy day mid week - horse trailer coming in handy once again! Maybe next week I’ll unload it?

I did organize the trailer tack room, at least.

The remainder of my free time was spent at our little property. I’ve got the tack room and hay room walls sorted and just need to hang the new doors. The floor in that part was gravel with rubber matting, and that’s the next rainy day upgrade - I’m going to put in a wooden floor so the tack/tool area is fully sealed. Hopefully the before and after is worth it!

Fencing is one of those necessary things that I find boring, so I’ve made a deal with myself to dig two posts every time I’m there. Progress is proceeding at a snails pace, I may need to up it to 3 or 4 if I ever want to put horses there. A smart person would just pay someone with a tractor. Too bad I’m so cheap :)


Tuesday 25 May 2021

Holding Pattern

 I'll start with the most impactful news first - I was hoping to take B over to the vet today, but my day off work got lost in paperwork and was not approved in a timely fashion despite many reminders (telling me it's OK to go as of this morning didn't really cut it). We scheduled everything around today, so I can't get away again for at least another 10 days. I'm beyond disappointed and upset (and I need a new job - anyone got any connections hiring remote GIS/data analysts?). 10 days puts us past her cycle, so we'd be timing more like three weeks to a month from now, and honestly I'm just kind of done. I think I'm a very patient and determined person, but I've reached the point where I just want to try again next year when the universe is a bit kinder...there's some behind the scenes stuff going on with an inlaws' health needs where me going away to take a pony to the vet for a non emergency would probably make me an awful human. I mean, I'd do some pretty sketchy stuff for baby ponies, but well...adulting is hard. I'm so emotionally invested in this whole thing I'm feeling really down about it and kind of regretting blogging about it before she was in foal, to be honest.

Bridget is her normal self. I've had a couple of nice rides this past week. She was coughing a little earlier in the week, but I upped her antihistamines and subbed in more soaked hay cubes and we seem OK again - yesterday she coughed once at the beginning, then was fine and full of energy. I'm reintroducing some small gymnastic exercises and she's pretty happy about that. I'd love for my new xc vest to see some use this summer should we not have a pregnant pony.

I finally put them on the trailer and went for a drive. I was being a bit silly about wanting it to stay looking new so I kept procrastinating. They of course pooped everywhere and wiped green hay slime all over it, so RIP shiny new trailer, welcome used trailer. I'm itching to wash away the evidence. The first one of them to kick it or break anything is for sale though. (kidding...sort of  :)

Smearing green goo everywhere lol

Sophie was absolutely fantastic. Her trailering experience has been fairly limited so I was expecting to possibly need to give her a refresh and some encouragement. Nope, she popped right on, travelled just fine, happily stood tied while I rode B, left calmly when it was her turn, and even went in first for the drive home. Sophie, being all grown up and lending credence to G's theory that she's amazing and better than a Bridget foal anyway. (too soon, G, too soon)

I have us signed up for some lessons and clinics in June (we were on hold due to Covid restrictions the past couple of months) which I'm really looking forward to.

Future truck and trailer parking area. Also, new barn doors still pending.

In pony property updates, it was a slower week. I had a dump truck of road base delivered to make a parking spot for the trailer and my old truck next to the barn. Then I got the new driveway access put in, and puttered away planting grass seed, fencing, and the tack room wall and flooring. I'm glad I'm not under any strict time lines - there's a ton of work there waiting for me and while I enjoy it, it is a bit overwhelming to consider how many hours I have put in and how many I probably have left before the horses can move back in.

Look, a culvert and an access point! Driving on to the property without four wheeling through a ditch should have probably been Step 1.


Monday 17 May 2021

Tenacity, Barn Cleaning, and Safety Vests

 'Tenacity' title word inspo stolen from a lovely post comment by Cathryn last week...wisely foreshadowing the feel of the current week!

It's been very much a case of just putting one foot in front of the other this week. I've partly chalked it up to getting a Covid vaccine - I'm allergic to everything and we can now add that to the list. Zero regrets, but a very itchy and tired T. Work is also crazy - part of my job involves engineering and surveying work and we are in the middle of a huge development boom, plus we are very short staffed. In my free time, I've got my ponies self boarded, G is back at work so I'm doing a lot more of the day to day stuff around the house AND I remain obsessed with pony property improvements. It's just a lot right now for one person. 

Insert inspirational wolf here

Never mind that, though - in the theme of not quitting, after consulting with the vet, we think it's worth trying to get Bridget over there for breeding. So, look forward to that happening (hopefully) mid next week and cross your fingers for me!

Welcome to my nightmare. The space to the left with all the junk is going to be the hay room. Once I finish a wall and cement the floor the tack room will be directly in front (the existing stall door is being replaced with a normal locking exterior door)

I've made what feels like zero progress on the property this week, because guess who's getting a load of hay next weekend and has nowhere to put it?! Yep, me! The current demand for boarding is so high it sounds like we are losing our hay storage at the boarding barn (since it is actually a spare horse stall that could potentially be rented). It was good while it lasted, but with two horses that 10x10 area for hay and feed already felt limiting. So I have been in full on clean out mode on our 'home' property, on a mission to get my old feed room cleaned out. I've been cursing every tenant ever who thought it was a great idea to leave their old junk and furniture in the barn. Not to mention whoever smashed glass and threw paint everywhere (and stole parts of the siding?). I filled up a rubbermaid tote with broken glass, and I still find more every day. Plus rodents. Fingers crossed I've not actually given myself hantavirus ;) Fun, fun, fun. One small win is that there was some old cabinetry I can possibly repurpose in my tack room. Hopefully I'll finish the hay room up this week in time to stack hay in an organized manner. I'm motivated by only wanting to move and stack it once!

Happy Sophie out for a late evening walk to the farmer's market

I did set aside some pony time this week. I got out for a couple of really nice neighbourhood hacks on B in the early mornings. Sophie's summer field is full of grass so I got a suitable amount of that fenced for her, plus she got out a couple of times with me, once for a quick hack on the hill behind the barn, once just for a walk around the neighbourhood. I still feel like it's safest to have someone else around when I'm riding her, and it just didn't time out well this week. Silver linings - all the turnout has made her a much nicer, more relaxed pony and I am thinking I'm probably fine to take her out alone when I do.

One day she'll be like Bridget and quietly head out down the road after 2 weeks off.

Despite my slower pace, the parcel deliveries continue - the barn door slider hardware has all arrived, I've got some exterior solar/usb/battery lighting I'm interested to try, and some nice hooks and hardware for the tack room wall (once there IS a tack room wall, lol).

Continuing the randomness of this post, a quick review of the Champion Ti-22 vest:

I also got a new xc vest. I bought it as a consolation for not breeding Bridget - I was going to take Bridget xc schooling with my coach and maybe hit up a fall event. I guess Sophie's going to have to step in if Bridget is going to be otherwise occupied? We'll see if that actually happens! For now I can tell you I tried it out on a trail ride over the weekend and liked it...but I'm not quite at the comfort level of actually jumping solid obstacles on S in the big wide open ;). It's bulky feeling of course, but if you're a shorty like me (I'm 5'1") that doesn't fit child sizes it might be worth a try. It is the first one that's come anywhere near to fitting me! I bought a size medium/short one and it's perfect and very adjustable. In normal clothes I wear a M-L, in equestrian brands often a L-XL, to give you a bit of an idea. Fingers crossed I can try it 'for real' this summer.


Wednesday 12 May 2021

New Doors From Old Doors

 Over the past 2 years this space has changed from eventing and dressage in the big city to more low key rural horse keeping. Now I seem to be on a pony foal and property renovation tangent that shows no sign of slowing. Apologies if that's not your thing. 

As always the longer term plans are to get back out competing and being serious about this riding business, but I've found myself at a place where B does best keeping it easy (and owes me absolutely nothing) and S isn't (in my opinion) physically or mentally ready to really be 'serious' quite yet. Slow miles are the name of the game for both of them and honestly I'm right there with them. I'm finding myself hacking out on the same few loops from the barn a few times a week and avoiding planning anything 'official'.  That's not exciting programming for you, but certainly therapeutic for us.

Proof of life. I seriously need to measure her, I swear she's grown again.

Plus Covid. While things are headed in the right direction, the out of town trips to shows or lessons likely won't be resuming any time soon. Many of the events I had tentatively eyed up this summer have already been cancelled.

I continue to waffle over breeding. I was so committed this winter (I've paid for the stud fee and even bought a trailer!) but I'm leaning towards not trying this year, just given the current flight/travel logistics and the fact I have a 3 year contract. 

Currently just one flight a day between the vet's and breeder's cities, and it's going to take 21 hours at best. 

Of course I'm distracted by all the 'ready made' foals appearing on everyone's media. I may or may not have made enquiries re: foals (thanks again Jen for enabling ;). I won't even post the pictures of another possibility I was sent because I know you all can't be trusted to be voices of reason and not enable that purchase!

So, with everything kind of sort of in a holding pattern, what to do to fill the pony obsession void (that won't result in late night impulse foal purchases)?

I saw this door free on the side of the road a while back. Totally confirming my weirdness, of course I stopped and picked it up, who doesn't need a spare door or two? :D 


Repainted  to be my tack room door. Now it looks like I had a plan all along!

Barn and property improvements! LOL I can feel your excitement from here. Barn door designs are a hundred times more interesting than foal photos, am I right?  

Hay storage door to be made from scrap lumber.

Realizing I've inadvertently created something trendy. 

I really am absolutely loving it though. I felt like going back to the old barn might feel a bit like I'm settling (after so many years of dreaming and looking for the perfect place to buy and build on) but no...not really. I find the odd thing kicking around that makes me a little sad/sentimental about a horse I used to have or a part of life I had all planned out that never worked out as I had hoped, but overall it just kind of still feels like home. I'm excited to move the horses back in and have my own space to use as I see fit.

This week I'm replacing the junky old swinging exterior doors with slightly-less-junky doors on sliding tracks. I've also been raking up all the sticks and debris from clearing and planting grass seed.

Trendy hay storage scrap wood door is now uniformly blue and far less trendy. (And is also awaiting more sliding door hardware AND another piece of fascia)

But you know what's even more exciting than barn door designs? 

Planting grass seed! 

OK, I really am kidding this time. See you next week!


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 :)