Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Operation Trailer Restoration: Part 1

The work on the trailer has begun and so far, so good. It isn't taking very much time - so far it seems like it'll be finished in no time (ha ha ha, keep dreaming) but I know the hard stuff is yet to come. There is a list of modifications and upgrades we want to make, and it'll all take time. To end my mindless blabbering, behold:

The trailer in all it's glory - grey and ugly. I've already removed the mats at this point and pressure
washed it after these photos were taken. One thing that makes me laugh is all the doors straight haul
trailers have - this one has ELEVEN doors. How?!

A view of the inside - it doesn't look like much, I'll admit. The drivers side tail-light is busted
and needs fixing. Some of the pads need some fixing up, too. You can't really see it either but the driver's side
slot, where a horse would go, one of the previous owners horses must've leaned right into it and bent the door.
So we'll be straightening that out too. This photo was also before I pressure-washed it.

 The driver's side saddle compartment - both sides are similar. Unfortunately, the carpet held in
A LOT of moisture (which you will see later in the photos).
The saddle racks also slide forwards which is neat-o.

This shows some of the 'rotting' in the front part (where the horses hay would go).
This will have to be replaced. Also prior to power-washing.

 Another "before" photo. You can see some of the rot on the wood (see front pieces).
This made me uneeasy, so I wanted to replace it before putting
my horses in there.  This is pre-pressure washing again.

And now it looks like this (I apologize for the screenshots, I only took photos for my Snapchat and forgot to take photos for my blog, lol):

Carpet has been ripped up. You can see how much rust there is just from
the moisture from the carpet. Saddle racks have also been stripped of the
padding as well. Doors were left open to help it dry out a bit.

Floor has been removed completely - it actually scares me how horses are just standing on
tiny little crossbraces. It wasn't too bad of flooring - mostly the very tops of the boards were
starting to rot... so not safe.

Most of the pads were easily removed - the front two are actually
screwed in and need a special screwdriver thing.

And lastnight we took the trailer to the shop. Today after work I'll be prepping it to get sand-blasted. Need to remove the fenders, spare tire, lights, etc and tape up the windows and whatnot. After that, we will have to weld some things and then prime it. Electrical work will be after that (mice chewed thru the electrical) and then painting, new floors and reinstalling the pads!

I can't wait to see what it'll look like afterwards!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Chasing Cans

 Well, sort of.

So enthused.
I had to put in some time to practice because the next town is hosting a Halloween inspired Barrels and Poles Jackpot. A friend of mine is organizing the entire thing and I want to go out and support him, considering I know first-hand how hard it is to put on any kind of event.

So needless to say, Suzie and I had to practice. Well, more like /I/ had to practice. Suzie knows what's up - I'm just a floppy jockey on her back, as evidenced by this video. Apologies for not embedding it, but my Youtube account will not allow it to upload directly. I didn't bother fiddling around with it too much.

Admittedly, I started out walking and trotting around the "barrels" (don't laugh at the plastic chairs, lol) and really didn't know what to aim for. I know the objective of barrel racing is the fastest time and to leave all the barrels standing. Unfortunately, I didn't know how to achieve that. I took a few videos of us loping the pattern to a friend to get his take on it all.

We have some practice to do, but in all honesty, I'm not going to prep too much considering training a competitive barrel horse takes years and many of seasons. This is just for fun, and fun it shall be. Still, Suzie lit up like a fire-cracker on the home-stretch.


At least we have our costume picked out?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Finally, Freedom.

My most tentative "goal" for this year has finally come to fruition and been made possible by whatever positive star alignments and moon phases one could possibly need. Not in a million years did I think I would find something that could quite possibly "fit" and be at a decent price.

Ah, right. I should probably introduce just "what" I am talking about.

Everyone, meet Suzie and Spud's new fleet.

A 1994 Circle J La Grande 2 horse straight-haul bumper pull that I got for an enormous steal of a deal. Being "first" to contact the owner, I got "dibs" over the grasping hands of six other savvy horse-owners who realized what a fabulous deal it was.

Seriously guys, there were like 6 people fighting over it.

My fabulous boyfriend went out to take a look at it and due to some poor planning, I had to leave work half an hour early and drive out to transfer the trailer into my name.

It shows some wear and tear, which isn't unusual for an older trailer. Namely, there is some rusting out in certain sections - and the left brake light does not work. Nothing a little TLC won't fix up. The secondary issue is the brakes themselves - Boyfriend thinks the wiring is incorrect, as no matter what we tried, the brakes were very sensitive (like, screeching to a halt from just tapping the breaks sensitive).

It'll most likely get used once or twice this Autumn before being stored away for the Winter-time (we intend to fix the light and brakes prior to putting horses in it, obviously). Come Spring we will actually start on the serious repairs (sand-blasting, repainting, fixing the rusted out spots).

So here she is. And I am finally free - I can haul out whenever I want, wherever I want... I no longer have to worry about borrowing someone else's trailer and no longer will have the worry of the horse's damaging something.

It isn't what I dreamed of, and it will not be a forever trailer. It'll be a stepping stone into something else, but it'll work for now. I can't wait to see the places we'll go.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Flooding and Heart-Break

Overflowed River.
The past few days have been a wild torrent of rain and wind as the remnants of Hurricane Oho passes through the coast-line. Our town and outlying townships dodged the brunt of it, but we still have some extensive damage and a boil-water advisory from the overflow of water and sediment.

Sediment erosion destroyed this road.

Not our vehicle, but shows how deep the water is.
That being said, since the town does not have an indoor riding arena, the horses have been land-locked under their shelter with their rainsheets on for the past 5-6 days. I don't blame them, considering a short trip outside completely drenches whatever coat you're wearing.

Monsoon season is upon us and the forecast predicts more rain in our future - for the next 14 days at least.

I am sad to report that over the weekend, a good friend of mine (actually, the one who competed at the BVX with me) lost her beautiful mare tragically, and much too soon. It was both shocking and exceptionally sad - most of the equine community in our area are grieving for this young girl and her mare.

I typically don't divulge into private information, namely the cause of death, but in this case I think it is important to spread the word so the same tragedy will not unfold elsewhere.

Rest in Peace, sweet Cody-mare.

Cody, the mare, got into chicken feed which was locked away in the barn feed room. It is guessed that she ate upwards of 2 bags of grain, including "scratch" feed. And for those who do not know [I didn't!], chicken feed is toxic to horses.

It was also a sad reminder of how truly "lost" we are up here with no equine Veterinarian within easy driving distance. Although, given the cause of death, I am not so sure Veterinarian intervention would have saved her - although one can never be certain and I'm sure that additional supportive care could've given her better odds.

I haven't been writing the last couple of days because my heart has just been so heavy for everyone involved. Hug your horses, ladies.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Miniature Horses Are Really Just Tiny Magicians

Initially, this post was going to be all about how I finally got the chance to ride my mare and how she was well behaved and quiet (although forward and slightly strong). But instead, a certain midget horse decided to rob Suzie of the lime-light and turn what was supposed to be a relaxing evening into panic-induced hysteria.

I may be exaggerating a tiny bit, but not by much.

It all started when I arrived at the barn after work to find Spud outside of the pen, grazing on grass just in front of the barn. Uhm, ok?

Slightly confused as to how he could've gotten out, I marched him back into the pasture and pulled Suzie out to tack up and get ready to ride. I didn't have any plans to bring Spud along, so I forked some hay into the feeder, tacked up, mounted and wandered off for a hack with a friend.

The onset of the ride was pleasant.
The ride ended up being longer than I had anticipated, since we were both gabbing away and enjoying ourselves. Upon returning to the barn I had a sinking feeling in my gut when I didn't hear Spud neighing or waiting up by the fenceline as we came up the driveway.

Suzie didn't really notice and after I pulled her bridle and saddle, she went straight to eating her grain-foods. I, however, started to get concerned.

I scanned over the pastures, checked the fencing, and frantically started to look around the barn and around the front yard. You see, the paddock set-up for my horses a bit different in that there are three different "areas" and each can be sectioned off.

The above photo is from a previous post where Suzie was getting out and getting into another "paddock" which was not fenced (the blue). You can see where the "back pasture" (pink) is and how the "front pasture" (yellow) can also be sectioned off to make it smaller (see the red "X"? We have since put fencing there as well).

Anyway, amidst my frantic searching (because all the properties border roadways), I received a text from a horsey acquaintance who lives over on another street.

Immediately, I was thankful Spud was safely tucked in a corral and not roaming the roadways (it was starting to get dark) and I hopped up bareback on Suzie and made my way over to collect him.

Suzie was pretty annoyed that she didn't get to finish her mash, and even spooked a bit when Spud called out when he could hear us getting close.

I am thankful he didn't get hit by a vehicle on his travels, as the particular street he ventured onto has a blind corner that most drivers veer around like Nascar.

Screen shot of the pastures and Derek's house in red where Spud ended up.
I messed up the colors in the above photo, but it shows more clearly how the paddocks are broken up into "three". They can all be open at the same time or I can close off the "blue" or "yellow". The horses will always be in the "pink" paddock, though. Spud was getting out in the front portion of the "yellow" (see where the yellow runs off into the trees on the far right? Ya... there was a fence down over there). I've since fixed that.

Once we got back to the barn, I threw Spud into the pasture (pink) and hid Suzie in the driveway to see if I could coax him to come out again.

On a stake-out.
Boyfriend met me out there and he sat in the car watching Spud while I led Suzie away into the darkness and stood out on the road for nearly 40 minutes. Spud paced, whinnied, and pushed on the fence with his muzzle, but made no attempt to escape.

The only way (to me), that he could've gotten out was the front swing gate on the left hand side of the barn. It normally has two sets of chain that wrap around it - one at the "middle" and one lower down. I didn't do up the second chain the last day I scooped manure and it's been like that for the last 3 days or so.

Old photo.
The above photo shows the "chain" set up and how we had it initially. It now has two chains around it - one in the current spot it shows in the photos and another on the last "rungs". If you can imagine that? Sorry, I'm awful at explaining things! But anyways, I've done the two chains back up again since I think that might be where he's getting out. We also closed the horses off from the blue and yellow pasture for the time being to see if he can still get out and at least this narrows it down a bit more to the possible locations.

As I was leading Suzie up and down the driveway, trying to invoke a panicked response from Spud, the neighbor from directly across the street wandered over (who is also my Uncle). He mentioned to me that he put Spud back in his pen in the afternoon, as he was wandering onto his property.


So it's not like the little shit is buddy-sour since he voluntarily LEFT Suzie behind to go gallivant the neighborhood.

I thanked my Uncle for putting him back and told him we were trying to figure it all out. But after close to an hour in the darkness, we were unable to pin-point where he was escaping and had to leave the barn close to 9pm. I hadn't eaten any dinner yet and it was pitch black out. Suzie was happy to be back at the barn and eating her now very late dinner (sorry mare).

Fingers crossed he does not venture out and that the lack of "chainage" around the gate was where he had been getting loose. But knowing Spud, he'll be getting loose from somewhere else.


Never buy a mini.

The knock-kneed devil at your service.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Where Have My Goals Gone?

Suzie says, "Blllllaaaarrrrgggg on all the goals."
 This post reflects in the little bit of irony in which I have totally sailed off course of my intended goals for this year. In some ways, I feel as though it's failure on my part, and in other aspects I realize that my aspirations and thoughts have drastically changed within the last few months.

I realize that most bloggers are either Hunters, Eventers, or Dressage-Queens, but I don't really fit in that mold. I don't have a single discipline I gravitate towards and because of this, I am all over the place. One month my goals were all about Reining and the next I was all about Hunter-land.

We do all the things.
It brings me to the realization that while I had great plans (ie. breaking Spud or completing a Reining pattern bridleless), I didn't account for the fact we would have the opportunity to do so many other awesome things. So while a majority of things I wrote down just "didn't get done" or weren't even on my radar, I have to be proud of the things we did achieve.

I've been hemming and hawing over the fact I haven't been updating regular monthly goal posts since July, but I don't necessarily feel as though I need to make concrete plans anymore. With work being in construction and the fact that show season has been more or less over since the beginning of September, I haven't had the need to make any plans.

My biggest goals are to always keep my horses happy and healthy - it has always been a priority. But beyond that, what are some things I am proud of that we accomplished this year?

1. Spud was easy-peasy to teach to lunge, pony off of Suzie, and he understood the concept of being loose during a trail ride (ie. following).

2. I showed Suzie more than I had even dreamed and we even went to the "big" show that I was avoiding!

3. I was able to take real lessons this year with BOTH horses. And BOTH made improvements!

4. Suzie placed in the Hunter classes even though we hadn't jumped for two years.

5. Suzie and I nailed the fast/slow circles in competition for accuracy and speed!

6. Cantering Spud in harness!

7. Finally figuring out Suzie's weight loss issues and rectifying the problem.

8. Turning Spud into a show pony; bathing, clippers, etc. He is still a bit spooky with bathing but is fantastic with the clippers.

9. Competed in my first ever AQHA show and got points!

10. New tack - harness, saddle, etc.

And on an unrelated note, Suzie and I made the paper. Bow to us, we're famous:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Happy 11th Birthday, Ty

On December 16th, 2004 I met "my dog" for the very first time. He came through the door as a scraggly, pot-bellied puppy with an infinite obsession of chewing leashes (including a very expensive one, I might add!). He was my family's first dog and our first foray into puppy-ownership 101.

We certainly have had our challenges, but more than that we've had so many memories made.
He is an overly intelligent dog which made him a difficult "first" dog for a teenager, truthfully. But both of us prevailed and he is now my "go to" dog for just about anything. He accompanies me on nearly every horse-ride I go on and is never far behind.

Puppyhood, 2004.

Sleepy Ty <3

Waiting for a walk, 2010.

Being goofy, 2011.

Winter, 2011.

Dog-walk, 2010.


2010 with Cinder

Taking it back to 2008, I believe.

Circa 2007

Winter of 2008

Summer of 2008

Playing in the Fall leaves, 2008.

Camping at the lake, 2009.

And with that being said, he is more than just a dog to me; he is a representation of my growth, and my journey into adulthood. He stood proudly at my side as a gawky, shy teenager and has seen me go through many career choices, schooling and financial woes without so much as a negative look. He is my confidante and my "baby". I know that things have changed, especially over the last few years, but I will always love him like I did the day he walked through the door on December 16th.

My High School graduation, 2009.

Shopping at Greenhawk, 2009.

Meeting my sister's puppy, Cinder.

Lola and Ty.

His favorite window spot in my parent's old house.

By the river on a cold, wet day.

Fetching toys.

Being pretty damn regal in 2010.

Thanksgiving photoshoot in October, 2012.

Howling like a wolf, 2012.

His 9th Birthday party, 2013.

Running on the frozen river, 2014.

Cuddled up in a blanket, 2015.
Being goofy, 2015.


Cheesin' it, 2015.

I know there will never be another dog like him, and I wouldn't want there to be.

He is fiercely loyal, humble, and above all, my best friend.

Happy 11th Birthday, Ty 
And may there be many more.