Monday 31 July 2023

Changes pending

 I've been a little quiet but I'm still over here, working hard and enjoying pony time. 

I have a few 'big' (positive) changes pending that I don't feel are quite confirmed enough to post about in detail, but also I feel a little weird writing a post and pretending everything is the same as the last time we chatted. 

At this point I can say Bridget is going out on a lease to a wonderful horsey friend, for her little girl. This wasn't something I'd been actively advertising or looking for, more one of those situations that just seem right for everyone involved.

Even though it feels like the right decision, after ten years of daily Bridget nose boops, it's going to be really weird. She will just be a 15 minute drive away though, and of course she'll come back home once her job is done. 

I'm not sure if it's translated to my writing here, but my gut feeling all this time was that Sophie would eventually go to a new home. I'm OK with having the two girls plus the new little guy, but two riding horses is about all I have time for, so my longer term thoughts were Sophie would likely be sold once Mr Trademark is riding age (because obviously B would never go anywhere). 

But, here we are, with B going somewhere :) As much as I'll miss seeing B every day, I'm looking forward to seeing what having just one pony to ride looks like. It's going to be good for me in a ripping off the band aid sort of way. It's been WAY too easy for me to just grab B and stick with my security blanket, but that is not the path to the progress and learning I want. It's also not a path to making wise decisions about riding goals, because it's also been too easy to not fully invest in Sophie. Horrible to say, but I try to be honest. I've had a hard time with feeling like I'm 'replacing' Bridget and even though it's unfair to ask her for more, and so far past time to move on if I want to get back to competing and advancing...I just haven't. And that would be fine if I was happy puttering around, but I'm not. I need goals. 

Anyway. That's one change. Stay tuned, I think more are coming.


Saturday 22 July 2023

Hello Over There!

Back from our little trip already despite it feeling like we were gone for half a lifetime! We were victims of Pearson airport, resulting in us actually being away from home for a week rather than the 5 days we’d planned. The trip hangover is hitting extra hard.

Your obligatory Toronto tourist photo

I hadn’t actually been to the GTA before, or even to the province of Ontario, despite a good part of my family being from there. So that was fun. We fit in a truly mind boggling amount of adventures and sights in the 4 full days we had - I think we put 600km on the rental car in one day and my legs are still aching from all the walking we did. But, the part you’re of course interested in is our visit to see Mr Trademark!

He went to a show the day before - look how cute he was!

I think at this point I need to give a giant shoutout to my husband (G) for making it happen. He is a big tall guy and the SUV I rented was neither big nor tall. When I saw the navigation system display what more resembled bowls of spaghetti noodles than a route out of the city I may or may not have had a little meltdown. So the poor guy ended up cramming himself in the worlds tiniest SUV to drive me on a 3 plus hour road trip to see some ponies. I have no idea why I get so uptight about maybe taking a wrong exit or whatever in a new to me place. It’s not like I couldn’t find my way back! But it is what it is and basically he was voluntary chauffeur and therefore the hero for the day.

The better drivers will laugh at me, but my immediate thought on even just seeing the route to get out of airport was “nope!”

It wasn’t all a big sacrifice for him though, because it’s not like he totally dislikes horses. And who could resist foals? The mares and foals were all out in a big field together and we were almost immediately swarmed by many inquisitive and gorgeous babies. Like a puppy party, but ponies. G thought it was the best thing ever, because of course it was. I lost track of who was who and how many there actually were. 

All the pictures we attempted are variations of this

The hilarious thing was that the only one who wasn’t completely desperate to be our friend was the one we actually bought. He just wasn’t too sure about us and after a quick investigation he wandered off for a nap in the sunshine. He had a bit of a horse show hangover, after all. So, not the immediate connection you’d have hoped for, but life is not the movies. Jen, the breeder and farm owner, was saying his sire is similar…perfectly nice and polite but a bit reserved. She’s noticing the difference between his foals and the ones from her other stallion, who tend towards over the top in your face friendly and goofy :) Momma is a chestnut mare and she’s feeling a little overprotective of him, so I think that’s also contributing to him being a little stand-offish - the poor guy has a lot of rules to follow and not talking to strangers seems to be one!

Was tired

Looks wise he is very sporty and elegant. Maybe not the typiest you’ve ever seen by breed standards, but that’s not what I wanted - I love my little Bridget tank but wanted something a little more modern and athletic. So, while my inner little girl admittedly wanted us to be BFFs immediately, from an objective standpoint I’m feeling good about my pick.

That being said, I did drive home with a couple of his little friends my wish list, because my goodness does Jen have a nice group of mares and some stunning foals still available. There is another one there I would have been equally happy with. And our little guy needs a friend to play with, right? 

The barn name contemplation continues. First impression I don’t think our two top picks of Reggie or Logo (both reader suggestions - you guys are the best!) suit him - he needs something serious or maybe even a bit dignified. So, back to the drawing board there. I have a name in mind that sounds serious but G and I actually think is hilarious in an inside joke kind of way. But I need to give it a minute and make sure it’s *actually* suitable and not a result of 4am zero sleep airport conversation hilarity before I make it official. 


Friday 7 July 2023

Around the yard

Just a few photos documenting some of the little projects I’ve been working on in my spare time because I know you’ve previously been interested in some of the property and barn things I’ve been doing. The bigger ticket items like the new shelter continue to be a work in progress, but that’s OK, it’s been super hot out and I haven’t felt like tackling anything that feels like it’s going to take a multiple day commitment. I also haven’t felt much like working inside the house when the days are so long and beautiful so let’s pretend I had planned to finish it and move in this fall :)

A new bench, mostly built from the firewood pile. We don’t have a wood stove or anything and it felt wasteful to burn the cherry and hazel cuttings we had from spring, but also I don’t like clutter or keeping piles of things around. And…I wanted a bench. So here we are.

Placed in its new ringside location

New planters made from leftover fence boards. Tricking you into thinking this is a high end establishment from far away

Barn kitty! So far everyone we ask knows her, but seems to think she belongs to someone else.

But she lives here and follows us around all day so I’m just leaving it be for now. She’s gained weight and is growing, plus she’s got a tattoo showing she was rounded up as feral and spayed already so I think it’s safe to not worry too much and enjoy her company. 

The garden centre had a giant clearance sale so I bought “big” trees for the back gate and I like how it looks. I also might have gone completely crazy and basically have enough shrubs and trees to keep me busy planting for a few days. No pictures but I’ve now got hedges started down both long sides of the property, across the back, and around the garden area. I also have several nice shrubs and ornamental trees added here and there around the remainder….and I still have about 20 more in pots 🙈😂

I also rehung and restained the back gates because winter was not kind to them. If I was going to build them again I might do it differently.

Garden area continues to be a work in progress, but the view is fun

Hi ponies! The hazelnut trees are going wild this summer, I need to add proper pruning to my skill set next winter

Did I mention there are flower gardens everywhere too? I’m officially old, with the garden and cat obsession. It takes me longer to water everything now than it does to do the horse chores, I’ve totally lost the plot.

Ponies are doing great though, both are having a little vacation. B because it’s been hot and smoky and she struggles a little and there is no reason to push through. Sophie’s had a little break because I’m still feeling pretty guilty about the ulcer thing. Opinions are mixed, but I thought a little time out couldn’t hurt, where riding her quite literally might have.

Alfalfa mush face. She’s been saying she feels pretty good, so maybe she’d like to get back at it. I think the most noticeable difference over the past few weeks is that she loves being groomed now. She had been a bit fussy about where and what brush, but now she can’t get enough and is borderline obnoxious about begging for scratches. She’s still her own opinionated self in general though and while she’s happy to tell you all about what she likes, she is still also not shy about telling you when things are not to her liking ;)

It’s T minus one week until we’re off to see Mr Trademark! So excited! If I had stuck with the show plans right now I’d be in high stress mode because nothing is aligning itself ideally for that, from pony health to current ferry schedules. So nice to just kick back and look forward to a fun adventure that still includes ponies.

Then when I return I’ve still got a huge list of house and property improvements to pick away at. I’m just about ready for a before and after of the exterior of the house, so that will be fun, and the sand for the arena is coming soon. VERY excited for that.

I’m also looking forward to some trips to audit some clinics with a fun group of horsey ladies. Carl Hester tickets were acquired a while ago, but we’ve got Jody Hartstone from NZ next up. Locally, I’m going to learn about high lining and packing, because why not ? 

This year went totally pear shaped and maybe ten percent resembles where I thought I was going,  but there are so many fun things coming out of it all.

Tuesday 4 July 2023

All over the map

 I’m sometimes superstitious about writing about future plans or things that haven’t happened yet so I save the details for a recap after the fact. For many things though, a lot of the fun starts with the planning and anticipation of the upcoming fun thing. This feels like one of those things.

I had a week booked off work mid July for a clinic and destination show in Vancouver. I had so much time off riding this winter and such a big setback that I’ve made it to exactly zero of the schooling and semi local events I’d planned as a lead up. I’m left feeling nowhere near ready to show. Still, I was keeping it in the calendar as a goal. My thinking was that I just go have fun and ride at whatever level I can. Being there and riding is the win, forget all the rest.

I started booking things and reserving things and generally making it real. Costs were being calculated and budgeted, entries filled, packing lists were being started. 

And then. THEN. I’m not even sure how this all started, but basically one night while I was looking at entries and reserving ferries,  I was also messaging friends and we were discussing having an online show day and submitting our tests together. “Ha, $40 at the local arena, instead of hours of ferries and travelling and almost $2000 budgeted to do the same tests in person. It’s so ridiculous! That's what a vacation would cost!” I made the mistake of exclaiming to my husband.

 Husband happened to be watching a Blue Jays game on tv, and yet still happened to hear the $2000 part (his hearing is strong for discussions involving money, normally less so for topics including horses). He opined that we could probably fly to Toronto and pay for hotels and baseball game tickets on the same budget, something he’d find infinitely more enjoyable than camping at a horse show in Vancouver and battling a day of ever changing ferry bookings and travel each way. I filed that dream baseball trip factoid away as just another thing horse shows are more expensive than and crossed my fingers for the stars to align and there be no issues with the ferries or reservations. Most importantly, I remembered to appreciate how wonderful he is for supporting me at a horse show when there are probably thousands of other things he’d rather do on any given day. 

But later that night, I started thinking. Because an epic baseball trip would be a super thing for my husband. Was he joking or would he really want to go? There would be a day off between games, though. What to do, hmm, let’s see if there’s something fun. WAIT. How far is baby Trademark from Toronto? *checks geography, sees it’s an easy side trip, proceeds to not sleep all night because things just got super exciting*

I already have time booked off work for the show, I already had plans made to be away from home. The show is an annual event and will be there next year. Baby pony will only be a foal once. 

Husband G deserves a fun getaway. So do I.

Decision made. The flights and hotels are booked. I’m going to go meet my new pony.