Monday, June 12, 2017

Spread Thin

This last week has been so busy and I have some fun stuff to share!

Trask is now officially my lease horse and we moved to a new barn! I'm so, so excited to be at this place, it's AMAZING. When Alanna moved Emi home, I stole her place at NDF. I've boarded at the last barn (we'll call it SS) for over three years and it was time to move on. While I'm excited to have Trask at NDF I cannot wait to move Jetta here. She's gonna love it!

It is so beautiful here

I'm still spread pretty thin though. Jetta is still at the old barn until I'm done with finals (exactly one week until I'm 1/2 of a vet!) then I am moving her home to my parent's barn to foal. She'll have a nice big 12x30' stall with an attached run and a big paddock to hang out in. Once baby is born we can turn them out in the big 3 acre pasture where there's lots of room and hills for baby to roam.

I'm still riding Vante a bit just cause I enjoy it, not that I really have the time for it with finals approaching, but oh well.

Things I'm not gonna miss about the old barn:
  • Struggling to get the hay in the loft, especially since the hay elevator is permanently broken
  • Having to buy hay because I don't want my horse to eat straw
  • Parking my trailer in a swamp underneath an awful tree where birds nest and poop on my truck and the beetles breed and infest my truck and trailer. And I have to use 4-wheel drive to park and pull my trailer out of the swamp
Swamp after a couple days of "drying out". Mud up to my ankles... Vs. my new parking spot!

  • A wash rack with no warm water
  • The slickly lined poop mountain (aka manure pile)
  • A stall that I pay to get cleaned daily that often looks like it hasn't been cleaned in 3 days

  • Not being told my horse is out of her supplement
  • An open tack room where all of my tack is covered in a thick layer of dust and my things regularly walk away
  • An arena where it is deemed a miracle when the ground gets worked
  • Passive-agressive text messages from the barn owner
  • When my horse gets turned out in 80+ degree weather with a blanket on and no shade
  • Not being allowed at the barn before 9am or after 9pm
  • Not being able to see a dang thing when it's dark out because the barn lights are so dim... you know it's bad when the farrier has to use a headlamp and you basically never really get to see your horse in the light for months at a time during winter 
  • Tiny grass-less "turnout" paddocks
  • Not a single pitchfork is missing less than 2 tines

Things I'm going to miss about the old barn:
  • Outdoor arena (though new barn has a big pasture we can ride in and set jumps in once hay is cut!!)
  • Round pen
  • Absolutely nothing else 
I can't decide what I'm most excited about at the new barn... the fact that I can ride before class some days or get to the barn late when I have a busy day? How absolutely beautiful and well-kept everything is? The fact that I get to park my trailer on actual gravel? That I can access trails right off the property?

Trask learning to pose
We get individual tack lockers at NDF so I'm still figuring out how to organize mine. I pulled out an old saddle blanket rack I have for saddle pads, but I'm not sure if I'm gonna keep it. It only has one saddle rack, but I have a free-standing saddle rack that will hopefully fit. I got some awesome aqua-colored plastic bins at Target that I'm going to use to store boots/polos and other random things. Plus I have my plastic drawer thing and a bin of sheets that I think will fit. I still have a ton of stuff to move from the old barn, but the new barn has a storage room where I can stash my bin of winter blankets and other odds-and-ends.

Current configuration of my tack locker... still need to cram a bunch of stuff in!

I cannot convey how perfect this new barn is and how excited I am to be there! I was reaching my breaking point at the old barn so this was amazing timing.

Happy boy

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Baby Boys

I've got two young boys in my life these past couple weeks and I'm having so much fun!  I love riding babies.

Matchy matchy game is strong

Cute speckly ears
I rode Vante the first time in a week yesterday and he was great. Last week I introduced the vienna reins to him. I really think they'll help him learn to stretch down since he still has a really hard time grasping that concept. His neck is coming along but he still has upside-down muscling going on, so it'll help with that, and I think it'll help him grasp that he can maintain contact for more than a handful of strides before becoming a giraffe again! We're not going to use it too often, but already that one time made a lot of difference!

After I lunged him in it last week and hopped on, he was so much softer and accepting of contact. We just had a short ride since he really was so good. I was putting him away and his owner came out and told me how she rode him the day before after not riding him in over a week. She said he was really good and that whatever I'm doing with him has made him be a perfect gentleman under saddle for her! I was so happy he was good for her and that she noticed a difference.

Today I put out some ground poles and after a quick lunge I got on. He was again, really good. He's obviously used to ground poles so he trotted politely over them, except for when he stepped on each and every one. Dork. We worked a lot on the canter because it wants to be four beats and he needs to build up the muscle to hold it together. His trot-canter transitions are much better and I only had to get after him once today, the rest of the times he transitioned softly just with my leg and maybe a light tap of the whip. He did break a lot to the right, but he just needs time to get fit. The left is a lot more difficult for him, he has a really hard time maintaining an inside bend, not falling in, and not being a giraffe. Multi-tasking is tough guys! But he's getting it. He's already so much more maneuverable. I can ask him to move his shoulders and his around much more easily.

Sweaty boy
He got a bath and this is 5 seconds before he rolled... right before his owner showed up

The highlight of our ride as when he maintained a nice forward working trot (he wants to do a little western trot a lot of the time) and maintained contact without chewing on the bit excessively and he was coming over his back and using the correct muscles in his neck. He's really good at faking contact using the muscles on the underside of his neck. It felt amazing and he held it for all the ways down one long side and one short side of the arena before I asked him to walk and gave him the reins. He learns so quickly! I've been riding him only occasionally and he's starting to really get the concepts I'm trying to teach him. Even on the lunge line he doesn't go around like a big gray giraffe as often any more.

He tries to eat EVERYTHING - he's got my whip here

So more about the new man in my life:

Trask is an almost 4 year old registered Swedish Warmblood gelding. I believe he's half Trakehner and half Thoroughbred. He's small, probably 15.2hh at the moment. He's actually the first horse that I've ever castrated (don't tell him that, he doesn't remember me luckily!). He's owned by my friend/roommate/vet KP. The plan is to lease him until Jetta's baby is weaned. He's had almost a year of dressage training supposedly but is still really lacking in some areas. We're going to try and fill those holes in, start him over fences and turn him into a well rounded individual with lots of trail riding and such!

I'm really excited. I've ridden him a grand total of 3 times and he's a total sweetheart. He's gonna be so much fun! I really do love riding babies. If this whole vet thing doesn't work out, I'll just go start horses for people...

He really didn't want to get out of bed on Monday

"Make me"
I rode him on Sunday and Monday and he's going to be a lot of fun. I love how he's built, super compact and I think he's going to be a fun jumper. We did our first little crossrail the other day and after walking over awkwardly a couple times, he trotted right over it and cantered away like it was nothing. Now if he could just not whinny every 5 seconds when horses are getting turned out...

We jumped!

He moves to the new barn (more on that exciting news soon!) on Sunday. I'm so excited to have a horse that's a little more "mine" for the summer.

 And lest everyone forget who the real star of this show is...  Jetta is now officially past her 9 month mark! She got a nice bath the other day (which she did not appreciate, as per usual). Her belly has gotten so big!

Shiny girl, who also rolled in 5 seconds
 Also, don't forget to enter our baby contest I wrote about in my last post!