Saturday, October 29, 2016

Back At It

Okay, after losing the morning to the hot tub delivery, I am finally back at the ponies. I also took the time to rip and harrow my arena again. That last shot of moisture was exactly what I needed to finally get it worked right.

I switched up my focus. In the beginning I didn't have a plan to begin with. Just started working horses.

I do actually have to start focusing on getting Twister and LJ going, so this time I started with them. I have ridden LJ off and on over the summer, so he's a little bit more with the program than the others.

A little lunging and then I just got on and got him moving. LJ has really matured and changed. He's a lot more relaxed these days and I really enjoy the way he just gets out there and walks. For a little horse, he can really get the reins a swingin. Like everyone else though, he is tubby and out of shape, so right now, it's mostly what I call 'just riding'. I think it is really unfair to a horse to go from fat, pasture ornament status right into 'training'. I also think it leads to a lot of injuries. So I don't really 'train' until they start getting into better shape. I did have my barrels and poles set up, so I just trotted LJ through the patterns and he remembered them just fine.

Next up was Twister. I didn't even bother saddling him. He was so aggravated about being left tied up by himself while I worked LJ that he dug a hole 1/2 way to China and had a good sweat going on. I thought, all right goofball...Let's get some of that energy off of you. Twister lunges well. The horse has all the right foundation on him and no bad habits. He does have a tendency to waller around a bit though and when he wants to leave, he just gives you his face and lets his shoulder to the leading. Awhile back, I started working with him and was getting really frustrated because he was so dang heavy on his front-end. Well, come to find out...he had bruised his soles after I accidentally flooded the dry lot pen and then when it dried out, there were big clods from when the horses walked through it. The ground here can be a real bitch. When it's wet...there is no bottom to it. When it dries out, clods turn into rocks. Once I realized why poor Twister was being so difficult and got his feet fixed up (LJ was bruised too), he has come back around like a Champ.

Specifically what I am working on is getting Twist to elevate his shoulders and cross over correctly in the front. He wants to rock back on his hocks to start a turnaround, which causes him to pull his outside front foot behind the inside front foot instead of crossing over in the front of the inside front foot. Whether a horse pulls that leg behind to cross over or crosses over in front really affects the fluidity and speed of a turnaround and/or spin. For me, correcting a horse is easier when I am on the ground and can ask them to 'almost' take a step forward and then push the shoulder and/or ribcage over at the same time, so they really start crossing over and stretching through. Pretty quick that becomes second nature to them and they'll progress pretty quickly when you start asking them from their back.

The days are notably shorter now and only another week and it's back to really short days. :-(. I may not get every horse worked every day, but at least I'm back at it. If it's just 2 or 3 a day, then so be it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Kiss Of Death

Writing must be the kiss of death when it comes to staying on track with the horses, because no sooner did I start journalling and other crap started taking up my time. The days are decidedly shorter now and as much as I hate to admit it...I have limited energy.

The rental house got re-shingled and since MH is out of town working, I dealt with the contractor. He seemed like a really nice guy. He was totally surprised when I climbed up on the roof to survey the work he said needed to be done. LOL. I was contemplating hiring this guy to do some other work for us, but then he started telling me about how he was going to sue his new neighbors because their fence was 6 INCHES over on his new property. I F*king hate people like that, so I just wrote him out a check for the work he did and won't be contacting him ever again!! I don't think he got it when I told him, 'Thank God, I have great neighbors!'. I totally meant that to imply that I realized he was a douche and was thankful that no one like him lived in my neighborhood.

I bought a large amount of hay and that had to be hauled in and stacked. After feeding the oat hay that came off of my field last year, I decided I wanted to feed it again this year and bought 30 bales (all that my hay supplier had left). It's an extra-ordinarily inexpensive hay to feed, but many horse owners won't feed it because they think it's wasteful because of all of the straw that is left after the horses pick through it. I think it's great because then the horses always have a dry and cushioned place to lay in the winter months.

I scheduled The Big Bay's injections and for the first time decided to just have the vet do them right at my house instead of hauling him 5 miles down the road to the vet clinic. Of course...it rained the night before. I knew it was going to and meant to put Jet under the barn...but I forgot to do that and he was a muddy mess the next morning and it was still a bit drizzly, so I postponed it. My vet gets a good laugh whenever I schedule a home visit from him because inevitably it rains/storms and I end up postponing my appointment.

The rain also postponed the return of our (finally) repaired hot tub. Of course, I had already spent the time cleaning up and preparing the area it sits in in preparation for the delivery. It's been gone all summer. LOL. I know that I am ready for it to be back though. My back and shoulders have been killing me. I am not sleeping well because of it and the first thing in the morning when I get up, I have to sit on my back massager for 30 minutes to even get loosened up enough to get my day started. I don't know if the aches and pains are from starting to repeatedly saddle and unsaddle horses again or from pitching hay off of big bales. I'm kind of thinking the latter. I had been feeding small bales for the last couple months and haven't had shoulder pains. I get so pissed at my body when it reminds me that I am no longer in my 20's.

I'm now on my last run of water in the pasture and as each section is done, I am flushing and pulling the pipes. Two happiest days of the year is when the water comes in and then again when the water goes out!! Next year, I will overseed the pasture and fertilize and then let it come in for a 1st cutting of hay before grazing it. That should fill in the bare spots and get a nice, solid base of grass growing. As much as we are looking forward to finding another place in Arizona, it's hard to think about selling this place. Dumping money into something is just dumping money into something...dumping time and effort into something is entirely different and I have a lot of time and effort invested in this place. I kind of thought this place would be our 'forever' home, but once MH stopped working in this area and knows he most likely won't ever work in this area again, we realized that this was just where we landed...not necessarily where we want to stay forever. It really has nothing to do with not liking the area, so much as both MH and I just got itchy feet again.

It's not like anything is going to happen in the next few months though. I kind of have a 1 year plan that allows me to finish up some things that need to be done to make this place worth a premium price. It does change how I view the things that I do. I'm no longer doing things just because that's what I want, I look at the things that still need to be done as 'how will this improve the sale price?'. And of course, we have a LOT of decluttering to do before we can even contemplate a big move like what we are wanting to do. There is just no two ways around it...MH and I have A LOT of stuff... and I'm not even talking about the normal little stuff that people accumulate...I'm talking BIG stuff...like cars and horses and machinery type stuff. It's not going to be an easy feat even after we declutter. LOL. I mean, it's not like we are a 2 car, 2 horse family, no matter how you look at it. So, it's a bit like living in limbo. We know we want to do something else, but have to slim our way into being able to make it happen.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Daily Journal Day 4

Day 3 was errand day in town. Usually it doesn't take me a whole day, but since I haven't been in a couple of weeks, I had a long list. Bleh!

Day 4 was hauling hay day. No better feeling than stocking up for winter. Having to restrain myself somewhat, hay prices are a.w.e.s.o.m.e. this year and I am scooping up hella-good deals!! So good in fact that I am considering buying a few hundred small bales to take to Arizona instead of buying hay down there.

Back to the ponies tomorrow!!