Sunday, November 30, 2014

He's Home!

Shortly after arriving on the first lag of his journey.
 The little gaffer is finally home! Initially, he was going to be brought up by the Trainer and meet us halfway, since it would be over a 16hr drive to get him if we went the entire way. Unfortunately, circumstances changed and I had to find a ride for him to the half way point. After some very tense moments and some major anxiety, it turned out that one of the horses I was hauling was continuing on the next day to where Spud was. After some brief talking, the hauler agreed to bring Spud to us since he would have an empty trailer anyways.

It was pretty snowy on the back-roads down to the barn he was
staying at. Thankfully the highway was better.
Spud arrived in the evening on Friday after a 7hr haul - he was chilly, considering it was -35. BRRR!! I let him walk around the indoor for a bit and he rolled and followed me around.We set him up in a stall with some feed and water and he was cool as a cucumber. Saturday morning we loaded him and another mare up and hit the road. He travelled quiet and calmly, which was good.

After we had dropped off the other mare we were hauling, Spud had the run of the entire trailer, which was good. He is a very good hauler, just stands quietly and doesn't make a fuss. 

After the 6.5hr drive, he met Suzie for the first time. There was no squealing, no kicking or anything else (well, Suzie DID pin her ears at him when he tried to eat next to her). I'm pretty sure it was love at first sight, which was totally adorable to see. He settled right in and chomped down some hay (after Suzie attempted to bite him). It has been pretty uneventful thus far, but later today I am going to be hitching him up to the cart. I debated waiting a bit longer, but he is pretty quiet and mellow, as well as I go back to work tomorrow so any play time we have will be very, very limited with the lack of daylight!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

On the Road!

Please forgive any grammatical errors in this post, as we are quite literally on the road!

We are headed out a bit earlier to go pick up Spud, simply because the truck has a service appointment with the dealership on Friday morning and we will obviously have to be there for it. Spud will arrive Friday evening and on Saturday, we will head home.

It has been a bit... stressful with some last minute changes, but the important thing is that Spud is coming home and we will make it there in one piece! Thankfully we do not have to haul the 16hr journey, but rather are meeting a hauler halfway (ironically, we are hauling her new horse out with us right now!)

Be a good girl, Suzie!!

We are hauling two horses along the way to drop off and on the way back will be hauling Spud and another horse. I figure that if we are taking a three-horse trailer I might as well try and help some other people out while making some gas money.

Additionally, I have a harness that I've bought second hand which is super exciting! 

Please, wish us luck and safe travels, as I don't doubt it will be icey/snowy along the way. Fingers crossed the other horses are just as well behaved as Spud is when trailering.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Two Years [almost!] in Photos

I am missing a few months, but most of it is there. Interesting to look back and see what she started out as and how she has developed over the last year and a half (almost two years!).
March 2013

April 2013
April, again 2013

 May 2013
June 2013

June, again 2013

August 2013
October 2013

 October 2013
November 2013

December 2013
February 2014

April 2014

May 2014

 June 2014
 July 2014

 August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
Also, SIX more days until Spud comes home.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Why Love isn't Enough

I will be the first to admit that when I brought Suzie home, I was ill-prepared for the partnership. I blindly assumed that our story would mirror the tales of Flicka, Black Beauty, Heartland, and other heart-warming equestrian tales. The kind where the heroine escapes pain and misery and only love steadies the friendship between woman and beast.

I could not have been further from the truth.

In reality, I didn't know Suzie, and Suzie didn't know me.

We were strangers.

Anyone who starts fresh with a new horse knows how much of a struggle the first year can truly be. It is very much like marriage; learning to compromise, learning when to bend, and learning which boundaries can [and cannot] be pushed.

The thing is; you are not a pilot and a horse is not a piece of machinery. Like marriage, this partnership is not a 100/0 ratio and there isn't a "one size fits all" management program.

Every little thing we do with our equine partner is subtly (and sometimes not so subtley!) tailored to their (and our) needs. We cannot take without giving and in true fashion to the sport of equestrianism, the horse is our dedicated partner, much like we are their dedicated owner.

Love isn't the emotion that will make your relationship successful. It will not mold you and your horse into a team and it certainly will not cure all evils and vices. It will not help you conquer obstacles, and it will not assist in detrimental arguments - because yes, there will be arguments.

To create a bond and to have a steady partnership, it takes much more than a few days of "getting to know eachother". It takes years to develop a relationship, one that is understood on such a subtle level that no one else can even read the thought processes you two are sharing. It is breathtaking, captivating, and beautiful when it all comes together and everything starts to line up and make sense.

To acheive it is pain-stakingly long journey. The ability to "hang tough" and to ride with the waves is what will bring you and your horse into brighter days. Understanding and patience are the emotions which make up the bulk of our training regime. One cannot be substitued for another, and in turn, these two emotions develop into affection.

Understand the horse - listen to what she/he is telling you and tailor to fit their needs.
Be patient - a careful owner will recognize that success does not happen overnight.
And love unconditionally - but realize it does not equate success or define the relationship.

To say that a relationship was built solely on love is nothing more than a Fairy Tale.

Love is built upon a multitude of emotions; including humility, perseverance, willingness, and compassion. All of which we will learn together.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 10 Questions

Cookie face.

1. Have you ever owned a horse? Yes - two now. I got Suzie back in March 2013 and I just bought Spud in September 2014.

2. What is your favorite aspect of your discipline? I don't think I have a "set" discipline. I dabble into a bit of everything, but to group the two together - I love the carefree and more laid back atmosphere and feel of Western riding, but I just love the connection and clean-cut style that comes with English riding.


3. What pet peeves do you have concerning your discipline? For both disciplines I cannot stand excessive equipment, especially additional face gear. I'd much rather see a nicely turned out pair with just a saddle and bridle than one that is dressed up to the nines in a gag bit-hackamore-draw rein-running martingale combo. 

4. Do you do barn chores? Yes, I self-board at a private facility that I maintain and take care of. Basically, I get to use all the stalls, barn, pastures, etc.

Photo: Prime Stables
5. What is your least favorite barn chore? Filling up the water trough with buckets [ie. Winter time]. I literally get myself soaking wet every. single. time.

6. What do you consider the worst vice in a horse? I cannot stand horses who rear or bolt. Just nope.

This one is pretty comfy!

7. What saddle brand is your favorite? I haven't found one that I am completely and utterly in love with yet, to be honest!

8. Do you ride with a quarter sheet in the winter? No, usually in the winter I don't get much done riding-wise simply because we don't have access to an indoor.

 9. Does your horse wear boots? What kind? Sometimes. I often put on bell boots and hind-boots. I am looking into getting a pair of Dressage boots or SMBs.

10. Full seat or knee patch breeches? FULL SEAT.

Also... TEN MORE DAYS!!! *insert crazy mini pony dance*

In my stupor I forgot to thank the ever amazing L at Viva Carlos for these awesome monthly questions.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Retail Therapy and Wish Lists

Only 12 more days until Spud comes home! I sincerely hope this week just flies by [work has just turned into a clown-car-show]. So, to keep my spirits up and my hopes set high, I gave myself some horsey retail therapy.

Let's review (although I think that the items on my "wish list" are far more awesome!):

Wintec's Easy-Measure Gullet Gauge and XW Gullet!

A pearl studded blue collar for Ms. Roxanne. (Christmas is coming, ya'll!)

Easy-grip Rubber Curry

"Hoot" Expressions Blanket w/ 240g fill.

Other items include: Western saddle cover, Flash, Dewormer, etc.
Sitting in my Wish List is:

Performance Choice Vented Sports Boots (IN WHITE!)

Dog Collar for Ty
Brown crochet gloves

Compositi Stirrups AND new leathers.

Boy, it'd be nice to be rich! What is in your "Wish List" or what have you recently bought?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Countdown is On!

Only 2 weeks,
(or 14 days,)
(or 336 hours,)
(or 20160 minutes,)
(or 1209600 seconds)

 until Spud is loaded up into the trailer to come home!

But who's counting? 

In other news... well, there is no news. Suzie is doing good, I just bought her a water heater for her tub and she's been surviving the Winter wind and cold. No riding for me, work has been too crazy and by the time I get off, it's already pitch black.

Spud continues to do well - he is less impatient and is just a little trotting machine with the cart. He is doing well with the blind bridle - much better than we thought he would be. He doesn't like being sweaty and fusses a lot under harness when he gets itchy/hot. He gets dewormed today.

Hopefully I'll have more exciting updates next week (or at least some blog hops to participate in)!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

You Own an Old Horse?

Today I had yet another person ask me the seemingly never-ending question of, “Why’d you get an old horse?” I must admit the hair on the back of my neck raised and I felt a twinge of annoyance at the question. I have answered this question nearly a hundred times since I’ve owned my mare and no matter how I choose to answer it, the asker never seems satisfied. It’s almost like there is a level of pity in their voice – that poor me is stuck with a decrepit animal and I probably wasted whatever amount of money I invested in her since she is damaged goods. I can feel it in their voice; the way they raise their brows and seriously cannot fathom why I’d bring a 20 year old home.

Yes, poor me is stuck with an old, arthritis ridden horse. Poor me is stuck with years of maintenance issues and vet bills that accumulated over the years of negligence. Poor me is stuck with a horse who requires methodical planning/rides and medication to be serviceably sound in hard work.

But the fact remains that I am not stuck

Never have been. 

I chose to buy Suzie. I chose to bring her home and take care of her. I chose to pamper her and give her the life she always deserved to live. 

I don't understand this judgement that comes with buying an old horse. It wasn't like I brought Suzie home and went, "Oh WOW, she is older than I thought!" I knew exactly what I was getting into and I wanted every moment, and every memory of it. Old horses still have a lot of life lessons to teach us, a lot of life to give, and so much love. They deserve to be pampered, treated like royalty, and fussed over. They have worked hard throughout their entire lives and deserve the owner that is willing to go the extra mile for them. To ensure that every night they are "tucked in" with some hay and a warm blanket. They can be damaged goods - broken down after a life of hard work - and they deserve to be looked after with the most meticulous care.  

The old horses are the wisest of them all, and they  have so much to teach us. After all, they certainly have the utmost patience in the world that far surpasses any young stock. They have a glint in their eyes that brightens at the simplest things - a handful of rich grass, a quick grooming during a rainstorm, a well-placed pat after a class. They have mystery deep within their soul; past hurts and traumas are never forgotten, but are instead, forgiven. The way their brows crinkle at the edges and their hairs begin to gray, they certainly have not lost their beauty - only enhanced it.

So it comes down to why. Why did I bring her into my life?

Why does anyone bring a horse into their lives?

To make them whole. 


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday: Birthday Recap

I finally can participate on WW ON the actual day. Go me.

Frozen = life.

It was my birthday yesterday, and my two girlfriends raided our house while Jamie and I were at work and converted our home into a "Frozen" themed party. Needless to say, I was in HEAVEN. I love the movie and am not ashamed to admit it.

Naturally, I adorned a crown (I wear one for every birthday, don't judge me), but did share it with Roxy.

Naturally, I adorned a crown (I wear one for every birthday, don't judge me), but did share it with Roxy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

By the Light of my Head-Lamp

I went out to feed Suzanne on Monday evening and found myself itching to just do something with her. The barn lights can only do so much, and without an outdoor/indoor arena (or even lights to ride!) I've been left without riding for quite some time now.

Suzie has been left to more or less wander the pastures and after I had finished cleaning up her little feed area and opened up one of the other mini pastures, I opted to take her out and brush her, grain her, and decided why not walk her.

Her visi-vest is a wee bit small.

Except I didn't walk her.

I rode.

Complete with two visi vests (one on me, one on her), a head-lamp, bareback in a halter, and the two dogs who were wearing their blinky lights. Badassery at it's finest right here.

Little light orbs are the dogs.

We only did a quick 10min ride around the streets. She was pretty good. A bit fresh and barn-sour, but was good enough for a bareback ride.

In a certain instance, we were walking along and someone's white dog came creeping up along their fence and caused Mare-Face to go into a snorty, huffy fit. After she scooted her butt past the fence and realized that the dog was a) not following us, and b) a dog, she settled.

It was nice to ride again, albeit short.