Friday 30 December 2022

Year End 10 +1 Questions

 I had a whole 2022 recap-by-month post typed out but meh, Anxiety At A's blog hop is so much better. Let's go with it :)

What is your favorite accomplishment in 2022?

From the standard pony blog metrics, I really didn't do much. No show results, no big training progress 'then vs now' updates to share, no typical quantitative goals checked off. In fact, I think this year even has the smallest amount of blog updates in the history of.

But, a lot of big things have happened. Behind the scenes, life simplifying things that are the base for checking off those pony goals and achievements I'd love to be posting more about. The property got a ton of work done, the ponies moved home, I got a good start on an arena build, we're renovating the house and moving in! So, I’m giving property improvements and renovations the win. 

Soon to be home

Was there an item purchased was the best thing you bought all year for yourself or your horse?

This is so boring, but I appreciate all the barn upgrades! Rubber stall mats ? Ohh, or water AT the barn. An arena base? We went big on all the pony keeping life simplifying stuff this year and I still have ‘pinch me’ moments after so many years of self board and making do with very limited amenities. I know that sounds a bit over the top since my place is not fancy at all, but it’s mine and there is a lot of peace of mind and security wrapped up in that.

Riding in my own space <3

Rubber mats! 

Favorite memory from the year?

Split between the adult pony camp on Vancouver Island and the fun days my husband and I have had working on the property and house together. He's recently retired from a job with shift work, and I feel like I only just moved 'home' from working out of area for years, so the novelty of being in the same place at the same time and doing things together with no deadlines has not worn off.

Worst moment?

When the vet called and said they mis-timed it and Bridget wouldn't be in foal. I had promised myself and my bank account that was the final try and I had so much hope. To have the 'last chance' be pretty much a wasted effort really made it feel harder. Also, getting a super stressed out Sophie back from what I hoped would be a happy trail riding vacation with the cowboy, made me feel like a pretty crappy human. Bridget not staying sound in heavier work was also a downer.

 Whew, this makes it seem like it was a bad year, but honestly sitting here now I feel really positive!

She’s so cute and fun you can’t blame me for wanting another

Do you have a favorite photo from this year?

So many. Not so much from a technical standpoint, my photography hobby suffered from a lack of time this year. But lots of happy memories documented!

Bridget’s first week at home

Sophie loving the snow

A test run pony camping last spring of whether there really would be enough room at home for a Sophie. A: there was!

B with her little stall and nameplate. Wanted this in my backyard ever since I was a kid! 

Sophie looking grown up and fancy at a rare clinic we attended. 

I just like the colors and softness of this one and might frame it.

Sophie’s first week at home

After a really good ride

B surveying her kingdom

Was there something (podcast, book, quote, post, blog, etc.) that impacted you this year?

Dr Jenny Susser's mindset masterclasses on Noelle Floyd made a life changing difference. I hit a real low anxiety and confidence wise maybe 2 years ago and feel like I'm still not quite back. To have someone sitting there explaining it all in simple terms, with science, as something completely normal and measurable was huge. 

Is there something you wanted to do this year that didn’t happen?

Bridget in foal would have been nice, but I really organized a good effort there so no regrets from an 'I could have tried harder' viewpoint. I do wish I had travelled down to my coach's for a week and a little show with Sophie this fall as I had planned, but I just didn't make the time.

Did you accomplish any of the goals set for the year?

I was going to lean towards saying I didn't achieve much, but when I look back at my 2022 goals post, I exceeded goals for myself and the property improvements. My original goals for Bridget being in foal didn't happen, as above, but what a treat it was to have her back in work, take her camping, and even have an impromptu cross country school later in the summer. Unexpected for sure, but making great memories. Sophie progress was less successful, but zero regrets as I really believe she needed the summer off to decompress and mature and overall we still made so many positive gains together.

Sophie did make progress though, I actually got a lot of riding in last winter and spring

Oh, and I found another for the 2022 “favorites” folder. We had snow last New Years and Sophie appreciated that. 

Do you have any major goals for 2023?

Continue on the positive trajectory I'm on now. Riding wise I’ll be prioritizing it again once the renos slow down and we’re moved, likely in Feb. I've got a ton of little goals I’d like to accomplish. To be honest I don’t think I’d find it productive or healthy to set big goals on timelines this year with everything else that’s happening. I think celebrating the small wins is a good place for me right now. 

Are there any major plans or purchases already in mind for 2023?

Aside from all the property plans (finish the ring, build a new run in for Sophie, complete house reno), I had been putting money aside just in case I wanted another try to get Bridget in foal. I'm leaning towards that not happening for a variety of reasons, but I've kind of decided the money is going to be used for a fun horse related thing...maybe something as simple as taking a time out somewhere different for a week or two of lesson bootcamp or camping, maybe something special for the barn. Maybe something as exciting as just purchasing an on the ground foal.


Thursday 22 December 2022

Snow Month

 The snow's back! I need to stop saying we hardly ever get snow, because the last couple of years December has been surprisingly snowy. We might even have a white Christmas for the first time since 2008. Anyway, you don't care about that, I'm thinking pictures of ponies paying in the snow might be more your thing?

As is the way, when I say 'ponies playing' I mostly mean Sophie. Watching 'Bridget foraging' is not as fun.

She tries though. She's so cute.

Keeps direct eye contact so Sophie can see her feelings about games


Monday 19 December 2022

House Updates

The ponies are doing just great, but once again we've had frozen ground followed by snow on the ground, so not much has been happening back in Ponyville. I've been working on the house with every spare minute and it's funny looking out the window throughout the day and seeing how seriously those two take their r&r. Shortly after breakfast they seem to collapse in a pile and sleep, then the remainder of the day seems to be one pony sleeping and one supervising the sleeping, interrupted only by lunch and snacks. They keep a pretty intense schedule :)

In the meantime, my hopes of moving to the property this month seem optimistic. 

Current state of the kitchen:

Ha ha just kidding, it looks like this:

Oh no wait, we're here now:

Terrible picture, was getting dark and the dust is crazy from sanding floors. But I thought we might all appreciate the only thing that survived was that red tile we all decided needs updating. The pictures don't make it look too horrible, but the sink was broken and leaking, so the counter rotted through and the cabinets and floor under were/are water damaged too. 

We have a new tub on order so there will be a functional bath on the main floor the first week of January. I put the old fridge from the kitchen in the basement as a 'beer fridge' and am thinking we'll be basement dwellers living out of that and a microwave for a month or two. Basement bath is all planned out but zero start on that...I seriously underestimated the amount of time needing to be spent just cleaning up to get back to a point where we can start painting and installing new things. The downside of renovations vs new build...renos require you to get rid of and tear out so much old first!


Tuesday 13 December 2022

Spinning My Wheels

 The challenging weather of last week stayed with us until yesterday. A better person with more hours in the day would have shrugged their shoulders and trailered down to the indoor arena, but it seems like the days are just slipping away into a haze of work, work travel, property improvement and house renovations. I've spent more time at the building supply store than I have riding this December. It's felt like in the last couple of weeks especially I have been busier than ever with multiple projects on the go, but very little quantitative progress to show. 

Some snow flowers for you

Never fear though, Sophie has been kept as busy as I can keep her - going for walks, longeing, or just getting turned out to run around in the snow all day. The last of the ice and snow finally melted on Friday, then we had a big storm come through and everything was well and truly saturated with rain so our world is currently a grey and muddy mess. 

Where did my ring go? ;)

Since I do still have intentions of riding regularly this winter, I had an appointment Sunday to get both ponies fitted for boots (Scoot Boots, if you're curious) which was highly amusing from a Sophie standpoint. She's so fussy that sometimes as a rider I get demoralized at how much I seem to bother her, then we have days like yesterday where I'm freshly reminded it's not all on me, pony has some very strong feelings. After much fussing and stamping and foot shaking and sneaky attempts to grab them with her teeth and rip them off...we got the front boots fitted. We did the back ones too, since thankfully she's civilized enough to not be dumb when there's someone handling her feet. Anyway, we did it, that's done...and boots on your hooves are apparently more offensive than boots on your legs (which for the record are also very much disliked and itchy).

The interesting thing was when I put her away, she spent that half hour after running around having a big tantrum and acting like she still had the offensive boots attached to her feet. So, obviously, I am ordering her some front boots for Christmas ;) Historically speaking there's a pretty good chance that she'll tolerate them. She has strong initial feelings about any new tack, blankets, boots, riders, but normally given a bit of time and some adjustments she's OK.

Oh look, another project delivered. The big rocks are for the ring edging, and a couple of garden landscaping projects.

Circling back to the property and house improvements, we got the vacant lot beside the house cleared and mowed (in a wind/rain storm in December, lol - the neighbours definitely are going to think we're nuts) and ready for ponies again, which feels good. We're working with such a small space (just over an acre) every little bit that's fenced and horse safe feels like a big win. The house remains in a state of disarray. I really need to rent a floor sander but they're booked solid, so I've been mostly removing and changing some of the built in cabinetry to suit our new office and living room plans (no worries it wasn't original anyway!), prepping and painting walls and generally attempting to get it halfway habitable for the new year. I'm spending most evenings there working and I'm still guilty of taking breaks just to enjoy the novelty of watching the horses out the windows.

Christmas lights were a really easy win to make the house cheery and look like someone cares.


Monday 5 December 2022

In Transition

My consistent riding schedule took a hit this past week.

Last Monday it snowed and the roads between my current house and everywhere else were closed due to the amount of accidents. Luckily my step dad lives right around the corner from the horses and was able to walk over and toss the girls some hay. It's funny how anxious I got about not being able to get there, it's just not the same if I don't tuck them in for the night myself! I knew logically they had plenty of hay and would be ok, but it sure felt nice when we were finally able to drive up there Wednesday afternoon and say hi in person!

I always think snow pictures are going to be so beautiful. I so easily forget the whiteness of the snow really brings out the level of filth Sophie carries around with her on the daily. I mean, her tail....ick :(

B is the ideal dirt concealing color, but extremely unlikely to pose or prance around majestically for the beautiful snow pictures I envision.

Spoiler alert: It snowed all week, the snow is still here, the roads are still icy, and so I haven't been able to ride. 

But, a really excellent thing happened this past week! We took back possession of the house on the property. While we've got a lot of work ahead of us before we can actually move's ours again. Huge sigh of relief that the problem tenants actually left on schedule, without further drama. 

It's actually been a little surreal, I took a break from renovations to say hi to the ponies the other day, then after I was done giving them an apple I caught myself wondering where my truck was and how I was going to get home...oh yeah I can walk 'home' across the yard now, no truck required.

Fingers crossed we'll have it habitable enough to start staying there full time by January. The damage is extensive so we're looking at a major renovation, but hey, who needs a finished kitchen or shower when there are ponies in the backyard ;)



Thursday 1 December 2022

It's Time! Design Ideas?

 We're getting ready to move into our little house on the property with the horses. Very exciting!

Sadly, we've had a bit of a nightmare with tenants and there will need to be a bit of work done. I know there are whole lot of you out there with great design sense and I'm hoping you can point me in the direction of some inspiration. If you're just here for the horses, sorry, I've gone way off course in this post. Stay and have a little tour of my house circa 2010-ish? ;)

I don't have the heart at the moment to post what the place currently looks like. I'm so sad and honestly I'm in a place mentally where all I can see is what's 'wrong' and can only get as far in my thought process as how to make it look like it did, when in fact it's been almost 20 years and I'd like some updated choices. It's a 1920's cottage type house that I completely gutted and redid in 2005-ish. 

Here are a few pictures from a few years ago to give you a basic idea what I'm working with and what the original paint choices and style looked like (furnishings and decor are a previous tenants). I'm mostly sure the floors can be refinished and won't be replaced, but most everything else is up for replacement - appliances, kitchen cabinetry, even some interior doors will need replacing. Basement is getting completely gutted, with master bed and bath plus a TV room being added there. Loft isn't full height (maybe 6' at center) so it's more for storage and I'm not too concerned about the damage done up there.  Exterior paint colors are the only thing I know I have sorted - the non shingled part is going to be stained bluey-green to match the barn ;)

Front door into living room

also living room. Would green be a good color choice?

Dining room. We never eat at a table, so future office if we put the french doors back on this opening? Definitely not liking the grey anymore, would like something beachy or warmer feeling.

Kitchen. Red tile is dated? Or do we keep it? If we can save the wood countertops we will. Layout likely remains the same, it's functional for a smaller kitchen.

Actually my favorite room because there's another window on the wall to the left that looks out over the horses :) It's on the small side, maybe a 12'x12' and has no closet space, so will be a spare/guest bedroom with a queen size bed. 

OK, I'm actually a fan of the tub looking over the horses, this bathroom might have to just be redone the same. (Means the basement bathroom will have a tiled shower because clawfoot tub showers are awkward at best lol)

The front porch stays as is, just needs a stain choice for the underside of the roof and some major cutting back of shrubberies that have taken it over since this picture.
So, favorite resources for home design and inspiration? I'm kind of wanting to walk the line between respecting the house's age but also making it look fresh.