Monday, 24 January 2022

Steady

 With all that wild weather, the horses ended up with 6 weeks completely off and a really relaxed November too. Sophie ended on a good note at our early Dec clinic. Bridget just does whatever Bridget does so keeping her in work is more about fitness rather than training. While I started out frustrated with the weather and winter dark, I’ve come around to the fact that we all benefited from a time out. 


This one’s reverted to a more cautious welcome now that riding is added back in to reasons why I might be visiting. Food related visits are her preferred reason to see my truck coming up the driveway, of course.

My latest weight tape on Sophie shows another gradual increase. I’m well aware that they’re notoriously inaccurate, but I’m finding a weekly measure useful as far as keeping tabs on the general trend under all that fur.

To me,  she’s looking better, and measures about 50 lbs heavier than mid November. Around Christmas time I crossed my fingers and scaled back the massive amount of hay I was feeding, but so far she’s still getting rounder. Let’s hope it’s the Vit E working it’s magic! 


Actual condition is hard to see under that extreme winter coat - check out that belly hair! She’s pretty close to a good place again.

Quick aside re: hay. I don’t know if it’s the weather to blame or transport issues but there is a huge shortage this winter. I’m lucky I have a supply nailed down,  but it was ordered last summer with normal pony hay consumption in mind. Feeding two to three times what I had budgeted was making me pretty stressed. The truck came in last week and I refilled my barn, what a relief! 

Anyway, we’re back at it again. B’s been out for a couple of walking trail rides (after a couple of days of longeing out the crazy). 

Sophie’s getting and even more gradual start back with some walk/trot longeing and some walking in hand on the trails and up and down hills. She keeps herself busy moving all day, but as always topline isn’t magically there in the paddock. She’s a bit too wild to just hop on and expect a nice walk and stretch under saddle at the moment. 



I’m sure I’ve mentioned before but she’s never matured as solid as I would have hoped - she’s pretty petite. With me and tack it’s right about that magic 20% number. I’m not as worried about that on a mature horse, but I’m inclined to be very careful with one that’s younger and been out of work. I think next week we’ll add in some canter on the longe and short walk rides and go from there. We don’t have outings planned until March so we’ve got all of February to get in shape and brush off the cobwebs :)





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Monday, 10 January 2022

Would You Rather?

After 3 weeks, we've got enough rain in the forecast to melt all the snow (and give us more flooding, but yay?). We very rarely get snow, let alone snow for more than a day or two, so we're not really set up to ride. We're not equipped to handle more than a few days of freezing temps at all really - I've packed an awful lot of water to the barn these past few weeks. Fingers crossed we'll be back on track soon. The horses have had a month off at this point (so much for my annual Christmas break where I make all kinds of training progress!) but again I am grateful to be boarding at my friend's - she's in the same situation and also has a younger horse. We've got a plan together to get back on track just as soon as the last of the ice is gone. That plan might involve longeing very spicy babies for a week or two before braving the saddle ;)

Staying warm in the truck yesterday while the horses ate lunch

So, a big thank you Anxiety At A for the Blog Hop and content inspiration - sharing pictures of the ponies in the snow got old after the first couple of days.

 Spooky or Steady:

Steady. Confident, forward, and steady is where it's at for me. I really dislike spooky.


Had to look long and hard through the archives for a pic of one of mine spooking. Hi Ginger <3

Matchy-Matchy or Mismatched

In between? I'm not a 'look at me' type of person and while I like the look of matchy-matchy on other horses and riders, I'd feel a little self conscious...plus I simply don't have funds to have multiple coordinated outfits for my horses and I. I do like to look somewhat put together so I'm boring and my riding related stuff is normally black, navy, or grey so everything sort of goes together.


A standard ensemble

Tall boots or Half chaps

Tall boots - I only wear them for riding so they last me forever. I just got a winter pair I am in love with, but my old everyday Mountain Horse standbys are still going strong.


New winter boots, I really like! Link here

Indoor or outdoor

Before this epic winter I would have smugly said that where I live I can ride outdoors all year round and I don't need an indoor....ha  ha ha. Still, if I could only have one or the other I think I'd still choose an outdoor with lights.

Bay or chestnut

I'm partial to bay - it's my favorite color. That being said, a nice chestnut is my second favorite!

The original dynamic duo. I have a type.

Hard shell boots or sport medicine boots?

Not a fan of boots in general, but I'd go with hard shell if I really needed something on my horse's legs.

Free Board for a Year or 20k for a shopping spree?

Tough call. Free board would work out about the same value so I might go with that just to not have to pay the bill monthly.

Long or short mane or roached mane?

Short is my preference, followed by roached, then long. Long manes usually look messy to me, and the ones that aren't look too fussy. I'd go roached if I had a horse it suited, short seems to be a safe bet for most horses.

Lazy or hot horse?

I'll give a bit of a non answer here in that someone once told me it's easy to make a lazy horse sharp but difficult to make a hot horse quieter. I've found that to be pretty true so as long as we're talking extremes as in really hot vs really lazy I'll go with the lazy and train in the responsiveness for when I want it, enjoy the portable couch when I don't ;)

Lazy Bridget can be spicy if needed.

Private barn or a boarding barn?

A good full or co-op boarding barn can't be beat. So nice to have other eyes on my horses and to be able to have a day off if I want. That being said I self board here so it's better to just have them at home and save the board money.

Create your dream barn or own your dream horse?

I'm no fun and will go with the barn as it would be the safer investment and likely provide more years of enjoyment. I've learned that my idea of my 'dream horse' changes as I go and with time and effort your average on paper horse or pony can become pretty dreamy.

Roman nose or dished face?

Love a roman nose, but I own two slightly dished face ponies thanks to their welsh ancestry.



Ride an Olympic-level horse or take a lesson with an Olympian?

Been lucky enough to do both at different times, I'd choose the lesson as there's no way I was riding the horses anywhere near their ability. While it was useful to get a better 'feel' of what I needed to be working on, I think a lesson with a talented coach is the better bet for progress.

Own a miniature horse or a donkey?


Barn mini out adventuring with us

Both? If I didn't have neighbours so close I'd go for the donkey for sure. My horses have been stabled with both and I think if they had a choice they'd choose the pony. Somewhere I have cute pics of Bridget ponying the barn mini on adventures, but they're on an SD card somewhere so you'll just have to trust me on that :) The donkeys seem less amenable to adventures, but IMO they're cuter and funnier.

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Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Looking Forward

As is my trend of late, this isn’t a ‘quantitative goals with timelines’ post. 

Of course I do have a rough idea of where we’d like to go in 2022. 

But, if I’ve learned anything over the last few years it’s that even these ‘non goals’ can change in an instant! 2021 brought us fire, flood, and Covid...and then there are the little day to day things actually in my control that I drop the ball on or misjudge. The situation is fluid, to put it mildly :)

However I’m also quite adaptable and resourceful so I'd like to think most of what I outline here will see progress, one way or another. Maybe for 2022,  if I say ‘go to a show’ that might mean a virtual entry from home rather than x show series on y dates. Or maybe we hop on a ferry and get there, who knows?

This could be a year of huge change with my husband's work closing. Relocating and/or taking a time out to travel is a strong option, or perhaps we'll just decide to stay where we are and stay quiet this year. I'm actually fine with either.

River above the dam and pen stocks the other night. Been a long while since there was steam coming out the big stack for the power boiler in the distance, but change is good :)

 
I'm surprisingly content with horsey progress and activities in 2021 and hope to just build on that through 2022.

Bridget:

- Breeding plan is back. There are a couple of new options for stallions that are very tempting. They all live at the same farm so the rest of the logistics remain the same. We'll see. Fingers crossed flights and transportation stay uninterrupted at a level of service that works for us this spring. 

Found this over the shoulder glamour shot in the archives. 


Sophie: 

- Continue to get her health sorted and optimized.
- Continue her education. Introduce little jumps, work on that canter. 
- Training level dressage show (Vancouver Island trip?) 

She currently measures a bit heavier then she was here, but still looks a bit underweight...she must have grown this fall too.


Activities:

Trying for one local clinic a month year round, plus one away trip per month starting again in April.

- Continue monthly dressage clinics with Sophie
- Mountain Trail clinic in May in the city. This was originally intended for Bridget, but might clash with her going away to be bred. A friend is coordinating some xc schooling in the same trip (why it might be fun to have Sophie confidently popping over tiny things by then)
- Get to EC’s place for a dressage boot camp at least a couple of times
- Girls weekend clinic on the island again - planning for 2 this year, one in early spring and one in August.
- Sophie to a “real” show.

Tiny Property:

- Water and power installed to barn early spring.
- Horses to move in late spring. 
- Ring complete by fall.
- Research wi-fi boost/extender options for future remote lesson possibilities. (and working from the barn, who am I kidding)

The snow made me really regret storing my hay here and keeping the horses elsewhere this winter. I'm going to be so ready to move them home and not move so much hay and feed around.


Self:

- Volunteer hours, support local equestrian club activities
- Encourage healthy, positive  mindset
- Continue to refine work/life balance
- Explore other career and location options
- More trailer driving (backing up) confidence
- Try to set up Pivo at least a couple of times a month and review. I have these tools at my disposal but am poor at utilizing them.


This seems like a huge list...maybe stay tuned for monthly lists where I break things down in to manageable pieces.

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Saturday, 1 January 2022

New Years Party

Happy 2022! Yesterday, the girls had a sunny, snowy play date that seemed the perfect opportunity for playing with my new camera. So, let’s start the year off simply - with a ton of happy pony pictures:















 


When you realize you’re not THAT much faster than the potato on your heels












Have a great weekend, everyone.

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