Monday 28 August 2023

Cruisin Along

What's new since last time? A little bit! 

We've had hot, dry weather for what seems like an eternity, so on one hand it's been summer forever. But also, how is it the end of August already? My summer to do list seems like it's only got bigger and yet I feel like I work every spare minute of the day. I basically have been a hermit and not participated in any of the fun adventures I said I would. It's just been this overriding feeling of never having enough time. Don't get me wrong, I am happy and love being busy and accomplishing things, but I'm looking forward to turning more of the focus back to riding.

Hot and smoky. There are a lot of wildfires burning.


Saddle trialing has resulted in a new saddle for Sophie. I should be more excited, but I feel so conflicted with all the different opinions I've had in the last few years that I've got serious cynicism going on. But, by all accounts, this is the one. I'm definitely relieved to have something.  Still, for 5k of my hard earned dollars, I kind of hoped for angels singing and a feeling of inner peace and certainty ;)

Is an Amerigo Pasubio, worth a try if you're like me and have a round, short backed type. I lucked out and found a new 2020 for used price and the lovely fitter adjusted it to template before sending it out. As you can see, it's not perfect, so I have an anatomical girth on order in hopes that will help the whole pony struggle of the girth getting sucked into the armpit thing.

I FINALLY went for my last MRI last weekend to (hopefully) confirm everything is stable and to get the all clear to be back riding on the regular. There was mass confusion, because guess what? There is another Teresa with a somewhat similar last name (and nothing else in common besides living in the same province) and our medical records are all mixed up...for the last 15 years. This is why my referrals keep getting lost and everything is taking extra long to be dealt with. Let's hope it's smooth sailing here on out and we can draw a line under this entire strange experience. And also, let's hope the other Teresa appreciated having my medical insurance all this time.

The ponies themselves are doing well. Sophie's cut/burn from the fence incident at the saddle fitting day is mostly healed. She's her normal ridiculous self but has also been kept a lid on it while I tried saddles this past week, which was much appreciated. It felt like a bit of an ask for sure. "Hey I know you've had almost two months off due to ulcers and a lack of saddles, but now I want to pop on for a short ride every day for the next week to try new saddles!" But she was fine and happy to feel useful, I think. Also, I think the hot weather helps, she's proportionately less ridiculous as the day wears on, lol

Too hot to even run around, straight to grazing they go.

B is also feeling very cheeky but that manifests in just being pushy. I'm being very strict with her because she needs to remember her child appropriate manners. That being said she's one of those ponies who is generally quite forgiving and careful with kids. She's also very careful and introverted around anyone she doesn't know super well, so I don't need to worry too much about her suddenly going rogue in her new home - if I know her, she'll default her best behaviour.

The pushiest nose

The new boys got weaned last week, which was apparently a non event. I'm still a little wondering what I was thinking taking two of them, but it also makes me happy they can stay friends and grow up together. I'm equally excited for both of them and like them both for different reasons, so that is really fun.

Looks like the weaning is going pretty rough, lol. Ours are the one sleeping closest to the camera (Trademark) and the one in the back eating (Bakari, of course)

The current priority project on our little property remains getting their bachelor pad complete. It sounds like they may arrive a couple of weeks sooner than I originally thought, so I have 4 more weekends to get it done!

This week's progress. There's a lot left to do, but also I am proud of getting this much done (thanks to husband, let's be real my back is currently not up to lifting walls and beams in place. I measure and build and he lifts and holds all the heavy things and questions my logic continuously. A match made in heaven)


Thursday 17 August 2023

What's Up This Week

No riding (see last week's post) but plenty happening around here!

a visual of what this week felt like

The new pony shed that was supposed to be built this summer...wasn't. It's not a big enough job for the regular contractors to prioritize, so the time frame was getting disturbingly pushed out to where I wasn't sure it would actually be ready in time for winter. It's also a bit too big/I'm too fussy for the neighbourhood handyman type. So I awarded myself the contract. That totally defeats the I-have-too-much-on-my-plate-and-I-need-to-chill-the-f-out-and-let-things-go thing I've got going on, but I put in an hour or two here and there and progress is being made. It feels good. I have a really cute plan for it. The new ponies will not be homeless on my watch!

Expand those plans! Look how big he's getting!(sorry for the low quality screen grab)

I didn't say anything here, but a few weeks ago I found a hunting arrow in my riding ring area. We're on a super small acreage in the city limits, no hunting or firearms are allowed so I was seriously creeped out and worried for a while there. Like logically I knew this wasn't going to be some true crime mystery and we're on good terms with the neighbors but also late at night my brain needed to know 'what if there is someone out there hunting cute ponies? Or me?' and I wasn't hanging out there alone or letting the ponies back there unsupervised. It's been resolved positively. Someone did indeed shoot it into our property (it actually went through the neighbour's greenhouse as well! So dangerous!) but it was not targeted at us and it will not happen again. 

The trees along the front yard are getting topped today and Sophie finds the whole process fascinating. I'm not sure I can convey how much wood we're going to be trying to give away, the trees are massive poplars that need to be tamed every few years (and this is just day 1 of 3)

I do have some saddles coming in a few days to try. The ladies I've contacted have been super helpful with suggestions for nice used saddles in a specified budget and I'm feeling heard as far as what I think Sophie and I are needing. Such a basic thing, especially in a service oriented business, but just having someone who it feels like is listening and invested in helping us makes a world of difference. So, fingers crossed we find something. I think I'm just going to consign the saddles I'm selling, I'm not up for dealing with it at the moment. Then, forever more, I will only ride or buy horses that fit saddles I own. And we'll all live happily ever after.

iz this round now too, there is no escaping barrel shaped ponies over here.

I'm still finding the idea of letting Bridget go off to live elsewhere very hard. I'm grateful I've still got a couple more months to get used to the idea. I know this is going to be wonderful for her and for her new little girl and makes sense from any angle you look at it. Except the one where I just like having her in my backyard. And also facebook memories, it would be nice if they could pause those for a little bit <3 I keep reminding myself this isn't forever and that whole vision I had of retiring her at home while she lives out an extremely long life will still be a thing. She'll just get to be special for more people beforehand.

Weaning myself by putting her at the neighbours. Looks like they've taken over, and they've got mail :)

I really think there is a ton of positivity on the horizon and I'm doing well moving forward out of what has so far been a bit of a crummy year. For now I'm feeling a little stuck in the whole 'change is hard' phase and feeling uncertainty in how my plans really will unfold. I am looking forward to B having all the love and me having some up and coming welsh cobs to do all the baby pony stuff with. I've got some further medical appointments and am crossing my fingers I'll keep improving and be able to keep expanding what I can physically do. Also, I'm pleased with how our little property is coming together. It's getting close to completion and while I'm sure I'll always have little projects on the go, I'll also be able to just enjoy the benefits of all the hard work we've been doing these last two years.


Thursday 10 August 2023

That Felt Tough

This post brought to you by a pony outing that made me half wish I didn't like horses so much. A beach cottage somewhere would have been so much more relaxing (and likely the same investment at this point in my life).

There was a saddle fitting day at our local meeting spot and I took B and Sophie. B needed to be fitted for her new people's tack. S needed her saddle checked as well, as she's grown significantly in the last year. I've actually been borrowing B's saddle for her and feeling like it was close. My feelings were validated when it was confirmed she's actually slightly wider than B these days but a comparable fit. How?!
large and in charge

S's fitting actually just caused me stress all around. We're still resurfacing her winter paddock and building her new shelter, so she's back living with Bridget 24/7 temporarily, and back to being completely obsessed with her. She did her very best to be a good girl, but she struggled a little and I was uncharacteristically feeling like I didn't have patience for it.

Reunited roomies are so cute together. Just don't take B away!

B was of course the angel she always is, and 'her kid' even got to have a tiny saddle fitted and have a little ride. It's about the cutest thing ever, but B could have been a little less perfect and I would have been OK with it.  Kid proudly showing me the knot she tied B's leadrope around her neck..."because then I don't have to stay here, I can do other things while B waits" (she's 5, and it's Bridget, so this is solid logic) while Sophie threw a tantrum and was generally feral in the background. "Why she be like that? Why not be like Bridget? Why you even have that one?" 5 year old needed to know.  Nothing like a kid's honest observations lol.

Not always perfect tho. B's trail of destruction the other day...rookie mistake putting her anywhere near an apple tree

S didn't escape the day unscathed, having got a foot stuck on a fence, after waving it around as she is prone to do when stressed. Ugh, I do not like being that person with that horse (who already has way too many scars from bad life choices). But also probably I can never sell her since I post real life with Sophie here (and I kind of like her).

The day would have been salvaged if the saddle fitting had been successful for Sophie. But no, none of my saddles, or what felt like the million others we tried, were voted close enough to bother with. B's were by far the closest but a bit too long on her back, so that's a deal breaker. The advice was that I likely need a new $$$$ custom (of the brand the fitter reps, naturally). To put it gently, my experience and luck with fitters has not been consistently great. So, unlikely I would go custom.

Nothing against this latest brand or fitter actually, just my level of faith is not high that custom and more money is going to be a sure answer. Also this sounds horrible but  I am not sure I even want something that's super specific for her and I as a pair at this point. Just something workable for us both with some resale value in case life throws some changes our way, please.

it's getting dark out again in the evenings. the solar lights are a new addition and I like them

I don't if I have words for why I felt so completely deflated in the days after. Maybe the ulcer situation, maybe the lack of riding I've been able to do due to that, and my own issues? Feeling like I'm trying my very hardest to do right by Sophie but just spinning my wheels. The upcoming changes with Bridget? I don't know, I just know the whole 'none of the saddles you thought', even the one the previous fitter gave the thumbs up to, was kind of a final straw on the day and I needed a time out. 

Anyway. Deep breath. 

I've reached out to a couple of reps for brands I know have worked for us both in the past and have newer models that advertise the features we're looking for (suited to a short back, wider than average through channel/withers, more u shaped tree). Both have agreed to try to help me out remotely, both have demo options that could work. So, we've got options, we move forward, maybe we salvage some riding time this fall. 
Enjoying the neighbours field again this morning. We had two days of rain! Much needed after 2+ months without. 

We're T minus 2 months to the big day when the babies arrive, plus both Sophie and B are looking fantastic and happy. There's plenty of good happening, so it's not all me moaning and complaining.


Monday 7 August 2023

A More Everyday Update

 Let's put the equine changes and big decisions on hold for a minute, OK? My routine loving self needs a time out for a week or two before we dive back into those waters. For now, let's have a standard Bridget and Sophie At Home In The Summertime Update.

First off, the girls are extremely lucky because we have new neighbours that bought horse property and...actually aren't horsey. They need the fields mowed Sophie and Bridget were awarded the contract :) I'm not sure if this is something that could evolve into a longer term arrangement, but for now the girls are in heaven, I am saving hay and grazing at home, and it's pretty convenient to just walk them a minute down the road there and back, morning and night.

New field feelings. The equine circus comes free with mowing.

Sophie has been doing well. She's somehow expanded outward. She's actually slightly overweight, which I don't think anyone believed could be possible. Her topline and chest and hind end suddenly are normal horse sized though too, which is crazy after years of her just looking like a perpetual gangly baby. 7 is the magic age, I guess!

S had a bath and a farrier visit with minimal dramatics. We were all proud :)

In ulcer news, it's the end of month two of treatment. I am opting not to have her rescoped. It felt way too stressful and invasive for her, and it feels like we *just* did it, despite that being 4 weeks ago She's looking and feeling good, so I will take that as my sign. We're going to put her on a quarter dose of gastroguard for another 2-3 weeks. The sucralfate bottle ran out last night. Now that I know for sure ulcers are a thing for her, I think if in doubt, I'll just treat. I'm sure you can imagine how much fun it is trying to put a tube of anything in Sophie's mouth these days, she's a smart cookie and not super food motivated so she's not fooled by carrots or apple sauce. She sees a tube, she wants to know what's in it before it gets near her mouth. I'm saved by the fact that she's 100% genuine, so even though she HATES it, there's no worries of it escalating beyond her jaw being locked up tight. I need to video how she eats her treats now, the suspicion level is high with me :)

like this...I'm not sure her mouth actually opens yet the treat disappears into a million tiny bites

Riding Sophie has not been happening since I got back, because with her new physique her saddle really isn't right anymore. I've been gradually noticing it all summer, and when we got back I think I saw it with fresh eyes and yeah, it needs help. With her very recently being quite cold backed and girthy (thanks ulcers) I'm not even going to think about messing around with anything not perfect. Positive associations from here on out, please!

lLoking forward, unfortunately most of the ulcer supplements that come researched and recommended aren't available to be shipped here, so I had the vet recommend one.  I've since had some friends give it favorable reviews. So we'll proceed with that. (Mad Barn Visceral, for any of my Canadian friends)

The fitter is here this weekend so fingers crossed out of my mountain of used saddles we can find 'the one' and get back to some summer riding.

B is also rounder than she needs to be. G sent me this, with the caption 'total eclipse of the horse':

Would be OK if they were the same size or B was really close to the camera, but B is like a hand shorter and somehow twice as wide ;)

She's not going off property until late October, so I've got a couple of months at least to get her back to a moderate fitness level.

With the horses at the neighbours many days, it seemed an opportune time to get to work on their overnight paddocks. New footing came yesterday (no mud this winter please!) Fencing and shelter improvements to the second paddock can begin this weekend and I'm pretty excited to see the end result.
B's summer campsite is becoming a permanent paddock with wet coast appropriate footing and a proper shelter (likely Sophie's winter home and the boys will share the barn and attached paddock)

I'm still puttering outside til sunset and loving every minute of it


Wednesday 2 August 2023

Changes pending part 2

 I seriously don't know what's got in to me. Years of same old, same old, then suddenly all the different things are happening. It's not even like I was unhappy with the status quo...more it just feels like life wants to nudge me in a slightly different direction and I'm at a place where I'm open to just seeing where it leads.

The big ticket important item in my life, to me, is my husband G. That's a constant. I paid my dues dating a couple of winners before him so I'm extra appreciative of finding my person and he's pretty much stuck with me now, lol. But, the years have flown by and somehow he's retired? That means there are a lot more open doors as far as where we live, where and how much I work, how much free time we have together. In the course of this blog it's literally gone from 'I saw him 6 months ago' to being around each other 24/7. It's fun. I still like him :) 

The relevance to this post is that I think his new lifestyle of just seeing what the day brings, having no schedule, then impulsively going on fun adventures is kind of rubbing off on me. I still like my job, I still like staying super busy and having goals and structure in any given day, but I'm also feeling a lot more open to changing plans and accepting opportunities that fall outside my comfort zone.

In this case that influence manifested itself when it turned out box stall shipping is flat rate, ie the same cost for one weanling as for two. 

I sat on that knowledge for three and a half months. (Really, pause here, and appreciate my self control.)

Then, surprise! This week I said yes to two.

Here he was brand new. He's about a week younger than Mr Trademark

Lest you think I've gone 110% crazy, let me try to rationalize this (to maybe 50% crazy.)

 - It's a long haul from Ontario to BC and it would be good for Tradey (using this name until I finally commit to a barn name for the poor guy) to have a buddy

- It would be good in general for him to have a buddy. I'm not sure Sophie's going to be much of a fan of babies. I think B could be a good babysitter, but she is also not going to want to play. 

- With B most likely being away on a lease all or part of the time, I like the idea of leaving the babies to entertain themselves while I take Sophie away for rides or one gets left behind alone and has to be sad about it.

- We met him and he's just got the best calm, brave, and curious temperament. Momma is essentially a Bridget, so I can see he came by this honestly. I think he could be a helpful friend for Tradey, who's more suspicious and standoff-ish.

- He loves G. Like was obsessed with him. The feeling was mutual. When we drove away G surprised me by asking if we should get him too. Or should we even ask for him instead of Tradey? (Don't judge, he fell hard, lol)

He's so chunky and I love it

I don't think his breeder, Jen, would mind me saying he's not as sporty as Mr Trademark. He's much more of a sturdy traditional all around type. The two of them are quite different. But I think that's a good thing, and both are absolutely perfect in their own right. We all love super fancy, but you know I also have a soft spot for a quality cob that can turn their hooves to anything :)

If that's not a proper welshie face I don't know what is

He has a check mark on his forehead, in case you had any doubts on which one to choose.

He's named Bakari, and G therefore wants to call him Buck/Bucky. Let's not overthink it, and roll with that :)

the shedding foal coats are unfortunate this time of year. He is black, but if he's like his momma he'll sun fade in the summer to more of a dark bay look

Some familiar blogger ponies in there

 I'm excited. On one hand it feels like this is too much all at once and has all spiraled more than slightly out of control, but on the other, this is going to be so much fun.