Monday 25 September 2023

A short pause due to weather

 We're currently experiencing our first big storm of the season. The weather channel has been hyping this 'bomb cyclone' for a few days now. So far it just seems like your standard West Coast autumn wind and rain storm, and much needed as we do still have active wildfires from the hot and dry summer we had. 

At any rate, it feels like fall has arrived. Maybe an appropriate time to sit down with a cup of coffee and unapologetically stay inside and slow down a little, maybe reflect a bit on things? Unless you like feeling like you're inside a car wash, then it might be ideal outdoors for you right now. 

I'm off work Fri-Sun so I like this forecast

The pony cottage is nearly complete. I just need to put the metal roof on and add a bit more trim. That was not happening in 80km/hr winds so you'll have to wait until next week to see the completed equine abode.

So close! I want to paint my neighbour's metal shed (in the background here) all one color so badly, lol. I've told myself for 10+ years now that it's a first world problem and I'm ridiculous for caring, but I think it's time to finally just admit I can't deal and build a solid fence.

I have enough urgent items on my 'imminent pony arrival' to do list to keep me busy for the next couple of weeks (and no, that fence is not on the urgent list, lol), but the end is in sight. I am very much looking forward to slowing down a little and feeling less like deadlines are constantly looming.

I have a bunch of fun horsey things upcoming. Some of the changes that felt like they were happening months and months from now are also arriving very soon.

This coming weekend marks my last weekend to get pony property improvements done. The following weekend I'm off to Vancouver with friends to see the Carl Hester masterclass (and also hit up the farm supply stores - corner feeders, water troughs and rubber mats being my must have accessories for Fall 2023).

The weekend after that the new boys arrive, so it's back to Vancouver to pick them up! How is it all happening so quickly? I'm feeling very excited for them. Baby horses are the most fun and I love the process. It's going to feel almost like a bit of a relief to finally have them at home, too.

I don't have any current pictures of them but there's never a bad time for foal pics, right?

So little and cute!

The following week, Jody Hartstone is coming to visit us from NZ and fingers crossed the stars will align and both Sophie and I will be sound and ready to participate in a clinic. We won't be 'ready' but we'll hopefully make up for that with enthusiasm. That week is also the week Bridget goes off to her new (lease) home. I'm actually very excited for that because I think she's going to thrive there and I love to see her being appreciated.

Unscientific study concludes proximity of pony to haynet = increased likelihood of obesity. Seriously, though, this past month has been a bit of a feeding struggle with one Bridget plus one Sophie pony who needs to have food in front of her, sharing spaces 24/7. 

Then, phew, it will be mid October somehow. While I still have some pretty major house renos on the to do list, I'm anticipating a slower schedule and a return to a more normal routine.

At some point I need to sit down and sketch out some tentative equine related goals. 2023 is not at all what I thought it would be and I almost feel like I'm sitting here now with a blank slate. On one hand, that's pretty exciting and empowering. On the other, maybe a little scary.

Spoiler alert- all riding related plans for the foreseeable will strongly feature the Yellow Horse.

 I know in my head where I want to be (the 'big' goals do seem to stay consistent) but the path to get there got pretty muddied and complicated this year. Writing it all out helps me as far as clarity and feeling organized. We all know it won't ever go to plan, but just having a plan considered and written down seems to help me make priorities and make better decisions in aid of my bigger goals.

I think a thank you is in order for sticking with me this year and supporting me via all the very kind comments. I managed to hurt myself fairly badly and in a very boring way to start the year, then I basically set fire to all my previous equine related plans. Sophie got treated for ulcers, then her saddle didn't fit and in the meantime I went completely off script, leased Bridget out and then bought not one, but two foals. I turned this into a barn and property improvement blog for most of the summer. There's been maybe one or two lesson or clinic recaps and maybe a couple of trail adventures worth recounting here, so it's been a weird few months for an equine blog for sure. 


Monday 18 September 2023

T's Construction Co

 I feel like this summer has been way more pony property improvement focused than any fantastic riding updates. It's so, so exciting that we're getting two new additions, but also because I am ending up with 6 month old colts, it means I've created a bit of work myself. They need their own spaces 24/7, safe from the the likes of Sophie.

There have been a few fun clinic and riding adventure opportunities it would have been nice to attend, so while I wouldn't say I have outright regrets about our little property taking over my life the past few months, I do feel a little like I'm missing out. Our little local club goes through a lot of highs and lows but there's definitely great people organizing a lot of fun plans at the moment.  Someone more organized and less prone to being overwhelmed than me could probably block out time in the calendar to get out to more things but when I try I end up feeling stressed about not getting the things I 'need' to do done and it takes away from the fun too much. No matter how I slice it, trailering over to the club grounds, riding, and trailering home and parking the trailer again seems to be a 3 hour outing. I'm just trying to be happy with making that happen once a week after work and popping on Sophie a couple of times a week in the backyard.

Sorry Sophie, work is calling

 Backyard ring status still equals gravel base so it's a mostly walking over poles type of thing. (Another thing for my blogging to do list - a home arena update. I do have some lighting solutions identified and installed and footing finally ETA on that at the moment though) In the meantime, Sophie has a new pair of scoot boots to try so I can feel less guilty about trotting and cantering in there. Lest you think I am anti shoeing, no, you do you and what suits your horse, we just have a farrier shortage locally and I am lucky to have ponies who are mostly good with trims and bare feet. So, boots make sense in my situation...especially when someone is already feeling silly about the cooler weather and some harder work would likely help keep the actual crazy at bay a little longer.

Tough feet only

The priority remains housing for both ponies and myself (oh, is the house ever still a work in progress! It's also due an update of it's own but we're hoping to finally move in Nov 1st. We likely won't have a kitchen right away, but we'll survive).

Barn kitty picture for tax. She's still here. I think she's living under my horse trailer so I need to start thinking of a way to make her a safe winter space in the barn where she feels welcome. There are other stray cats not to mention raccoons and bears so I need ideas that allow her but not them.

A new pony house update for this week: After partly framing the roof in G convinced me it should be taller so the space is more usable. I then decided it had to have a window and basically a whole day was spent rebuilding and remeasuring everything Roof. I am NOT a fan of heights and climbing up and down off that roof so this all felt a little much. But I think I'm going to like the end result. Fingers crossed the roof is actually on next weekend. For someone who claims to be on a deadline and has minimal spare time, I have sure spent a lot of hours fussing over this little building.

Because adding the details to match our 1920's house isn't time consuming at all. Welcome to the Pony Cottage ;) Anyway, roofline on Saturday, I think it was about 3' at centre

and as of last night, 5' at centre. I will actually be able to use that storage space now.

Inside. Not an open ceiling anymore, but the added joists and raised roof mean I can have a little loft space

Trying to set it up so if in futures I want to use it for a garden shed or studio it's situated in a useful place from the house. I can close in the other two walls and it's set up for floor joists. For now, it's gravel and rubber mats (and ponies!).

I should probably also write a post about the bears this's been ridiculous. I need to up my electric fence ante in a big way. They've broken quite a few fence boards and are generally being a bit of a nuisance. There's been a few aggressive ones in the area (someone very sadly died this summer) so I've been feeling a bit more on edge about them continuing to wander through, even though the ones that frequent our yard seem to be well mannered and just passing by. I pick all our fruit but much of the neighborhood is fruit and nut farms which obviously they love to invade this time of year! The horses aren't bothered by them at all but I did time the arrival of the little guys to coincide with the bears moving on to the backcountry...just in case!


Tuesday 12 September 2023

Getting Things Done

It's been two weeks and I'm going to be the broken record once again saying I have no idea where the time went. I know I've been stupid busy with building the Pony House and work and life but September really snuck up on me. We're at less than a month to baby pony arrival - how has it even been 5 months since they were born (and how have I still not settled on a name for one of them?)

But, autumn is my very favorite time of year, so it's also suddenly seemed like I'd better carve out more riding time, before I'm complaining about being unable to get out due to bad winter weather.

I have a lovely friend who has a new pony she's wanting to get back into endurance with, which means she's often heading out to the trails. I have a lovely palomino mare with a new saddle who I think would benefit from such exercise, so this seemed like two worlds that needed to collide.

If you've been reading for any length of time you're probably aware or have figured out I can get anxious over random things. Trailering my horses by myself is currently one of those things. I am completely capable of it, I just don't love it and if I have a choice I'll talk someone into coming along.

Riding Sophie on the trails also feels like it is becoming a thing. I was making all the excuses not to, which is not normal for me - all my previous horses have spent many more hours outside the arena than in and I grew up working at a barn guiding trail rides. She's not bad at all, it just felt increasingly difficult to set her up for some success because some crazy not-our-fault thing or another seemed to be happening every time. But, really, this is how it is now. It's busy out there, we need to share the trails and the only way is forward is to keep educating users and give Sophie many more positive miles to outweigh the bad.
Random phone pictures again this week. One of the casualties of the 'no time' thing is pictures with the nice camera. I'll get back to it soon because I do miss it.

Anyway, I've hit a wall where I'm so fricking tired of feeling tired and anxious and setting limits on what we can or will do any given day that the frustration is finally outweighing the anxiety and I just want to get back to getting it done. It's supposed to be fun, not stressful.

So, off I drove last week. On my own. After a disastrous attempt at loading her solo and a broken halter x1 (the herdbound thing is currently driving me nuts, but the second pony house is nearly done and B leaves on lease in the beginning of October anyway. Their dynamic is just weird and despite what they might say, I don't feel it's a net positive for either of them). 

Toxic besties look cute together when it's peaceful, tho ;)

I was seriously wondering what I was thinking, but like I said above I am just so tired of there being some kind of drama or obstacle, that I think at some point I just need to move forward whether it is an ideal situation or not. S is simply not the type to be consistent day to day so I do think the better option is to just keep moving, rather than be tempted to focus on outlier weird days or events. Don't get me wrong, I note them for a future check in (trailer loading solo has been revisited heavily this week), but often there is no point on dwelling in the moment...the bonus of having a pony who's quick thinking is that the many interesting choices that are made get completely discarded and forgotten when she moves on. The trick is the timing to reward the good choices and generally slow us both down a little so it's got time to 'stick' - then she's a star because she's 100% genuine and wants to do the right thing. 

Anyway, I got to our meeting place. Sophie was very excited. I got on anyway because, I don't know, this was some alternate universe where I was just doing the thing and trusting the work I've done with the pony. Worries about consequences and safety and 'what ifs' were going to have to wait. 

We pointed Sophie at the biggest hill in the area, and she climbed that, while Friend B and I were smugly thinking S was going to regret her life choices partway up. No, not so much. It seems I own the fittest pony in all the land. All that cantering around the field and general shenanigans seem to be an optimal path to fitness on their own, who needs a rider? lol. But about 30 minutes in she started to settle and despite being looky she didn't put a foot wrong. We actually had a super nice ride up around a little mountain and back, about a two hour trip. S was a superstar and the last hour or so was on the buckle with her happily trucking along leading the way. She never did really break a sweat or want a break, which is freaky and had my friend suggesting endurance riding as a viable path for my spicy pony.

Got back to the trailer with me being so, so pleased with Sophie. We've put a Wednesday ride with Friend B on our schedule every week moving forward.

In tiny horse property news, I'm started to get stressed out about pony house/paddock completion. As is my way, I got a little overzealous with the modifications and detail and now I'm kind of wondering how it's all going to get finished in the next 3 weeks - I do still work full time! I have some other commitments over our Canadian Thanksgiving weekend and then the colts arrive the weekend after. Maybe I need to take a week of vacation and just get it done? Realistically I think it will be fine, but I'm not the person who likes leaving things until the last minute - I'd much prefer it was ready now and then I could just relax about it :)

Is actually quite a bit further along than this, these pics are a week or so old. I just need to put the metal roof on and backfill gravel and mats for the floor. Oh, and a door. It needs a door. And a gate. ok it's not that close to done yet.

* I wrote this post a few days ago and forgot to post it. I'm reading my descriptors of Sophie and smiling because we got rain this morning for the first time in a few weeks (we've had an abnormally dry summer to be fair) and she absolutely couldn't cope with walking to the field in the rain, think tail and butt tucked under her and jumping and scooting when it dripped down. Husband G: "what kind of horse lives HERE and forgets about rain?!" lol, that would be my little goldfish horse. Every day is a new and unexpected adventure :)