Monday 18 December 2023

Seeking Sunshine

It's been dark and rainy and windy and all the non desirable weather things for long enough that I'm once again second guessing all the life choices that brought me back to coastal BC in winter...with horses.
grateful for a dry area to ride in though

It's kind of my annual tradition - it seems this is consistently the time of year I find tough enough that I start imagining life somewhere warm, without horses making mud everywhere. 

We are aiming to be some of those people who have a second residence in a warmer, drier, locale but that is still very much in the research and planning stage. Wanting to bring horses with us and potentially continue to work remotely makes it slightly more complicated than buying a condo on a beach somewhere in South America lol. 

Not enough words for the chaos Mr Alfalfahead brings into our lives. Also my gratitude for the truckloads of gravel G had the foresight to bring in for their paddocks 

Everyone here prefers standing out in the rain to being dry and warm in a shelter (except me). 

Anyway, enough with the whining about the weather. It's grim, but with the right rain gear and lighting I can at least get out and ride most days. Which I do very much appreciate. I also find that once the beginning of January rolls around and I'm fresh off a couple of weeks vacation from work, I'm all positive and motivated again and ready to start a new year off right. Spring is coming, after all. So funny how a mid winter date on the calendar has become associated with fresh starts and brand new opportunities, but hey, it works for me lol. Bring on 2024.

my attempt at a festive spirit

In the meantime, I've definitely been in need of a pick me up, so rather than putting money aside for that long term vacation condo gain, I did what any reasonable horse owner would do and doubled down on short term gains and went online shopping at the tack store. They had a great sale on those Haas brush sets, and despite my skepticism that I really needed a different brush set for a different color of horse, or the miracles the reviews promise, I went ahead and got the bay/dark bay/black set, thereby justifying the purchase by statistically incorporating 3/4 of our equines.

"but why?" I'm sure he wonders.  Giving the brushes (bottom right) some serious side eye

The brushes arrived, and I tested them on Sophie. She hates them, all of them. Dramatically. Squeals, bitey face. All of it. I don't know if it's the horse hair? She's highly offended even sniffing the box they came in and would like to stomp it and destroy the brushes one by one. But, she likes her routine and they are not advertised as palomino brushes ;) so back to her favorite cheap plastic brushes I go.

The other drama llama, Reggie, tolerates them. Which actually is nice, because he has been quite fussy and anxious about grooming. In all seriousness, I did cave and buy the 'fancy' brushes with him in mind - all of my others are cheap plastic curries and bristles that he finds to be too much. I wouldn't go so far to say he enjoys it, but standing quietly to be groomed and not feeling like he is being tortured is a big win for him.
the bitey face game is a firm favorite with these two. This past week it's graduated into biting hind legs and trying to pull each other down. I'm actually a little surprised how rough they play (and appreciative that they are so respectful of us)

If you're curious about the actual efficacy of said brushes, I'm definitely not the dream review. I think these brushes are designed for equines of the finer, more sensitive, sort (or identify as such - looking at you, Reggie), not shaggy ponies. They don't do much of anything on a winter coated Welsh Cob. I'll probably get more use out of them in summer or if I clip. But, for now, I'll keep one or two in my grooming tote for Reggie, because being able to get him halfway groomed is better than not at all. 

I'll leave you with a quick riding update. The weather has put hold to any Friday off property adventures the last two weeks, so we've been stuck at home. I'm a bit precious about my new saddle getting wet so if it's really chucking it down I longe. It's been about 50/50 lately. Sophie needs the exercise to stay sane but also I don't think it's fair to longe in circles day after day, and there's only so much groundwork we can do before we're both bored. So, I've had to be creative in trying to keep it interesting with ground poles and different exercises every day, and yes my saddle has seen a lot more rain than I would have liked it to.

Happy with her weight and muscle tone this winter. Long term readers will know she's a harder keeper prone to ulcers and worrying, so it's been a bit of a struggle to get it right

As far as actual rides, she's been good. There is still the odd moment of bolting off from imaginary ghosts, but I've been quite diligent about going into my ride with a plan and letting the exercise do the work for me. Given my current available space and the half constructed nature of my arena I am a little limited, but I've got more than enough space for 20m circles and figure eights and square turns and a million transitions and I am nowhere near out of ideas. I have hope that this winter of picking away at the basics will pay dividends and I'll have a much more rideable pony come spring. Fingers crossed, though, the weather cooperates a little more and I can get her out on a trail (in daylight, even!) or at least to the club grounds across town for a change of scenery.

dreaming of adventures outside the fence ;)

If you're wondering why this is the second winter of 'half constructed arena' basically the gravel sub base continues to settle. It sits on pretty heavy clay on a slight slope. We put in a ton of drainage, and it's 'OK', like I could just add the cap layer and the footing and go for it, but also this is going to be my long term riding space, so I want to level it one more time this spring and get it as close as possible.



  1. I feel you on the moving somewhere more southern and drier, it's a good day if Dee comes in without mud.

    I think the haas brushes are workable on wild winter welsh coats! They worked on L's double Canadian fluff well, but I didn't go with a color pack; I kinda pieced my favorites together after I went on a research rabbit hole. TBH I find a jelly scrubber thats not hard, a solid flick brush (that happens to be a haas brush) and the grundys finest are my go to in a pinch now. I have 3 other haas brushes in my box but I reach for those three brushes the most now. L was a bit sensitive but he liked all my brushes. Dee doesn't seem to care too much about what I use on her.

    1. These guys have incredibly thick coats...think geriatric cushings pony. They both looked a bit rough when they got here and apparently had a bit of a rough time after weaning, so I'm hoping the coat situation is just a 'this year' thing. I think they would be OK for my friend's Canadians, or even my Bridget welsh D. They'd be fine on Sophie even, if she'd tolerate them. Or nice as finishing brushes if I could get a curry in there first. Hopefully next year!

  2. I can very much relate to having Winter weather woes when it comes to horses. Especially in this age of internet connectivity, it is all too easy to see what seemingly everyone else gets to do with their horses during Winter in warmer and drier weather climates. It is a stark daily reminder of what some of us miss out on. But it is what it is, and I think we can still find satisfaction in trying to make the best of whatever situation we see in front of us just as you are doing with Sophie and the boys. Here's to eventual better weather and the coming of 2024.

    1. I think part of it is that this was supposed to be the year, so it just feels *so close* to be able to move to sunshine for the my 'just one more year of this' tolerance expired last year lol. But I am aware I am acting like a spoiled brat and am very lucky to be able to ride all winter, rain or no

  3. Honestly, all we’ve had this summer and fall is rain. And more rain. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have 50 mm of rain tank 50 cms of snow. But gah, could the sun shine just a little?

    1. There's standing water everywhere, including inside the barn (and despite us putting in a ton of drainage, but the city ditches and storm drains are overwhelmed so back up the property it comes). You are correct, even just a little sunshine would make my new wetlands much more bearable! Hope you see some soon!