Because horses.

Life has seriously gotten in the way of…life. Blogging? The fun parts of life? Anyway, I’m running on fumes right now and full into the worst season for migraines. There is a reason why I hate everyone’s favorite riding season. Being in constant pain really makes it a miserable season… but this blog isn’t (currently) about migraines.

Waiting to go outside…

Horses are stupid. This winter Subi was dealing with a lot of crap (eyes/vision, change in routine, etc.) and ultimately developed what I assume were ulcers. He responded to a course of treatment with Nexium and life got better and the word had more daylight, and ultimately my horse not only started eating but also stopped rearing while I led him in at night.

Over the last month, Subi started acting like a fool when I’d bring him in. I blamed the light (well lack there of) and started turning in earlier and earlier. Sometimes it helped until it…didn’t. I went from leading 2 (usually the big guys) to having Subi alone as he was all I could handle. Sometimes he was ok with Jiminy, other times Jiminy needed rescuing by my husband with a hernia…

then Subi stopped eating. It was breakfast at first. He’d always eat dinner. Then less dinner. Then he stopped completely. Well, not completely, but he’d leave 2/3 of each meal or more. Then it occur to me…

Ulcers.

Grumpy and miserable

I started the nexium but I wasn’t getting fast enough results and ordered omeprazole paste from Abler to switch to. Yes, I could do Ulcergard, but I want to help my horse without going bankrupt. It arrived fast (4 days with STANDARD shipping) and by that point the nexium had started to kick in… I also added in Purina Outlast after realizing he’d eat that thanks to my awesome feed store giving me 3 sample size bags to get started. Within a week, he was eating full meals again. Well, modified full meals–we are just NOW up to our old full meals…

And, because I’m a sucker, I also bought Subi 6 bales of nice alfalfa and he gets 2 flakes each night. Only as of a few night ago did I stat putting them in a hay bag because alfalfa mixed with bedding is gross. So now we’re alfalfa people…

And finally, I’ve taken on a new form of training. Avoidance. Instead of dealing with Subi’s behavior leading him in at night, I just feed him carrots. Is this good training? No. Does it work? Yes. He’s focused on he and not the dark shadows and last night was the first night we spooked in weeks. His reaction to calm himself? Look for me and the carrot while I just stood with Batt. Considering last night it was pitch black and I led them from the gate we haven’t used since spring (they couldn’t get to the paddock since in smart mom moment I blocked their access) and Batt immediately bumped his butt against a tree branch, it was successful?

Business with Batt: Weekend Adventures, Part II – Going Solo

 

Because when it’s 70 degrees, summer, and other than a haul out the day before, you haven’t been anywhere in 14 months, why NOT haul out for a trail ride at Fair Hill?

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Any why not go solo?

What could go wrong?

Sunday I decided to take advantage of another day off and take Batty out to Fair Hill for our first solo trail ride…ever.

Honestly, I’ve never been big on the idea of solo trail rides, but if I don’t have people to ride with, why am I letting that stop me? So, solo trail ride it is…

 

And, it was a complete non-event.  I rode 1 handed, holding the buckle almost the entire time. I let Batt choose our route part of the time…

We made no friends despite the plethora of trailers, stuck with our own plan, and didn’t even get too lost. And honestly? It was a really nice way to spend the late morning/early afternoon.

 

his groaning is a little special…

We wandered through trails and saw the sights, tackled bridges (!!!!) including the bridge that tried to kill both him and Remus last June, wandered through the covered bridge, and “galloped” through fields until we eventually “found” our way back to the trailer (with a tiny bit of help from google maps). The only thing that would have made the day better? Hoof boots. Batt needs a trim and his renegades don’t currently fit so he was a bit sore on gravel but whatever.

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They could have a guard rail here… there was one on the other side… 

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Enjoying life

The covered bridge series… [this bridge used to be scary, but it’s been a non issue lately. people like to fish next to it and “jump out” which is spooky… plus people are always taking pictures]

 

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This bridge caused so many headaches in the past. Including last time with Michele. Once when I was out, I had to hop off and beat him over. Not really, but hopping off and use of a crop was involved. And this time? We just walked over. I went the long way to avoid it and then decided to see if he’d walk over once I was at a point that it didn’t matter. Go figure…

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We ran into a few horses along the way, no one could believe it was his first solo ride.

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Open field! Happy horse! 

He was a VERY good boy.

Onto our next great adventure! (stay tuned for less fun updates about a horse who isn’t eating and may have ulcers again…)

 

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So sleepy!

 

Business with Batt: weekend adventures, part I

After my lesson that didn’t happen Thursday, I was determined to ride my horse this weekend, even if it killed me (or him). I was up for the challenge. That said, he’s had a grand total of 2 rides this year and hasn’t been off the property since (early) July of last year. What could go wrong? But my trailer has new tires, the truck has new tires, and I needed to use them, right?

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Wash stall lessons…

LOL.

So bright and early Saturday morning, I hitched the trailer up (second time since last July–first time was getting those new tires) and loaded Batt up. He seemed… confused. He hopped right in and hopped right out. We reloaded and in the trailer he stayed. Lol. We made the 5 minute journey over to Ranger’s barn for a ride in the ring where we first were re-introduced to scary stuff like wash stalls and cross ties.

Other than the wash stall? Everything else was a complete non issue. Batt marched in the ring, we set up a cross rail (there was a perfect jump without boxes or fill so I set it up JUST IN CASE–because what else do you do with your out of shape horse?) and I hopped on.

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The FABULOUS (lol) cross rail

 

And we rode. We maneuvered puddles (those took some work). Walked. Trotted. And looked at that stupid cross rail. On re-approach at the walk, he launched himself over it, because that’s what stupid chestnut geldings do. And he was so proud of himself about his 18″ cross rail… We trotted over it about 6 more times before managing to canter about 1.2 times around each direction and called it a day with ring work. Being out of shape is hard, man!

 

 

 

Then, because he’s awesome, he let me unlatch the gate and we went for a walk around the property before revisting the wash stall and heading home.

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Nothing fancy, nothing exciting, but honestly? A complete non event for someone’s first trip off the property in almost 14 months and 3rd ride in a year.

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more wash stall practice… 

Stay tuned tomorrow for Sunday’s more exciting adventures.

Ranger Recap: things are coming together

Balance, bending, turns, canter from the hind end? It’s all starting to come together. Without trying to recap my entire lesson last night, all I can say is that I wish I had media. It was seriously a good lesson.

We started at the canter over “the pile of trash” in the middle of the ring. Basically it was a bunch of poles and a gate that was propped up at a 90* angle against the out of the outside line so that you could jump it as long as you prepared properly from the left lead. We did this on a canter circle and while I thought my trainer was insane (my thoughts most of this lesson), the jump wasn’t hard at all as bending, turning, listening to my leg, were all in Ranger’s plans last night. The only issue we started off with was finding the right amount of power at the base. I just needed to add leg/squeeze at the base as the canter I had coming in was fine (yellow line indicated on poor version of course below).

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A really bad attempt to recreate the course… 

Next, we warmed up a figure eight over the straw bale jump (orange line) to the plain vertical (burgundy line) on the right lead. Of course, by this point, most of the fences were hiked up to 2’9″ which got in my head for a few minutes. I struggled with this even though this was the exercise I practiced almost exclusively last week. I saw my distances yet the first time, failed to commit and added. Then I committed, got the distance, then committed the same sin. It wasn’t so much that I lost my pace, but rather that I lost my line? And let Ranger drift in a touch which caused the chip. Once I fixed that, the line was fine.

Then, the insanity began.

Because my trainer is crazy, we started with the trash gate (yellow) roll back to the our green oxer (green line) around to the straw bales (orange line) this time jumped the opposite direction) bending line to the vertical (burgundy).

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PERFECTION.

Holy crap. With the trash jump, we needed to turn before the in of the outside line which actually wasn’t a problem and the green was lovely. And the bending line was perfect. Ranger, on the other hand, has been SO BALANCED and on his hind end, that he through in a full change along the way. Seriously, this horse just keeps getting better and better.

We repeated this course one more time, adding in the blue outside line before calling it a night.

But, I can’t even describe how amazing this horse feels these days. I did mention riding someone else 1x a month because it’s probably good for me, but, I don’t want to stop with Ranger because I’m having so much fun right now…

Hayley Horse Designs

img_0476I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been doing some belt making — it’s been taking over my life lately.

Anyway, I’ve sort of gotten my act together and at least gotten the shell of a business facebook page up with some merchandise available for sale. I should have more once I finish with a my last large order.

Anyway, if you are interested, take a look and follow Hayley Horse Designs as I’ll be posting additional items there (and maybe I might be able to convince some people to eventually model the belts so I can have better pictures).

If you’re on facebook, like/follow the page, if not, just take a look if you’re interested. If you’re looking for a belt, let me know and I can certainly accommodate more colors than are currently available.

 

Catch up…?

I’ve been feeling a little burnt out lately. In a fit of emotion (anger? rage? annoyance?), I decided I was going to delete the blog because, let’s be honest, besides my 3 commentators, I can vent to myself in another fashion. Michele told me I couldn’t and to take a hiatus. I’m still not convinced that keeping this blog is worthwhile as I have little to say, but… be warned it may one day disappear.

Anyway brief life in review?

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The most handsomest there ever was

My husband, being an idiot, gave himself a hernia pulling part of the culvert out/tree limb off the culvert (culvert=waiting game). He now can’t lift anything until he was surgery. Consult with surgeon? The 29th. Assuming surgery is scheduled soon after, we’re looking 4-6 weeks AFTER that… So, mid to late October. So all labor/lifting is falling to me… Like stacking hay… Just laugh. Really.

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barn kitten I almost stole…

Last week was a staycation. How I needed it. It was also Pony Finals. 2 things combined meant I got to ride Ranger. A lot. He was sick of me. But I needed barn time more than I can explain. I have no media. But had lots of fun. Was planning on taking husband out, but that never happened. Oh well.

 

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my favorite

Subi’s hind leg/ankle arthritis has been getting worse lately and he’s been super creaky and stocked up in the mornings. Sometimes it goes down during the day, sometimes not but the creakiness is always there. He is now the proud owner of Back on Track quick wraps and so far they seem to be helping. While I don’t want him to become dependent on them, I also don’t care if they provide some relief.

As of an hour ago, my trailer has new tires (thank you mom). So, Batty’s vacation is OVER and we’re going to get working. Work may be ring work or trail work, but it will work of the light variety. Vacation is OVER. FYI, driving a trailer through Newark, DE during roadwork is NOT FUN. Especially when the road is full of cones, flaggers, and is one way thanks to paving… I tried to take it somewhere else, but they asked that I remove the tires before I brought it in and I couldn’t quite wrap my head around HOW I was going to haul a trailer in without tires that I hung up…

Anyway, that’s the current happenings here. There’s also a lot of belt making going on, but I’ll save that for another potential post when I have my facebook page/website up and running…

 

 

 

Customer Service.

This is a whiny post because I’m super spoiled as a result of certain companies’ business models and as a result, I have unrealistic expectations. But, when products arrive damaged, I don’t want to have to jump through hoops for exchanges or refunds AND I want my money back, ALL OF IT. Especially if you want to keep me as a customer. 

I think I’m spoiled by so many places with such wonderful customer service that when I have a less than ideal exchange? It leaves me going, “huh?”

You see, I HATE paying for shipping. I understand it’s a necessary evil, but I hate paying for it anyway… Still, what I needed I couldn’t seem to find at my usual go to places: Chewy, Amazon, Riding Warehouse, or even SmartPak or Dover (or BigDees where I ordered the supplement from). So, I ordered it from Jeffers.

NOT Batt’s response to medication dosing… 

You see, I ordered a liquid supplement from Big Dees for Batt (Respi Free) and it’s best fed oral via syringe. So, instead of using my typical large syringe, I decided to order a feeding syringe as recommended to ensure I actually go it down his throat (and not on me like this morning — most went down his throat… Or the morning some went in my mouth because he tossed his head up faster than I anticipated).

After arriving via slow boat from Alabama (not Jeffers fault, I could have paid for upgraded shipping, thankfully I did not), I sat perplexed wondering why the metal part didn’t exactly fit even after the portion for the needle was removed (basically, the threads didn’t line up–they were for a different size). I called, expecting it to be resolved immediately. I deal with Chewy all the time and lately, some lemons from Amazon have been handled the same way.

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NOT innocent. Was less than happy that he needed ventipulmin AGAIN and Respi Free this morning… 

The verdict? I could mail it back and one the received it, they’s send me a new one. This process could take up to 2 weeks (or longer considering the long boat from Alabama). Or I could keep the defective product. Eventually, I was offered a refund. I took the refund and was told there was no need to send it back because since it was defective, they couldn’t resell it. Great. Expect a refund. Several days later? Still no refund. I finally receive an email asking if I removed the metal cap for the needle. YES. This is why I called in the first place! The threads don’t line up with AND without that cap. Refund issued.

All in? I’m out $6 for shipping for a defective product that arrived broken. And had to buy a new one from another company (smaller, but it works).

I understand that they didn’t want to eat the shipping costs and someone had to pay, but… I’ve been spoiled by GOOD, wait, EXCELLENT customer service that this just rubs me the wrong way. I love paying money for broken products!

Thanks Jeffers… I’m not sure I’ll be shopping with you again.

On a related/unrelated note, anyone used a drench bit/halter?

Ranger Recap: redemption

I never quite figured out how to write about my last lesson and then instead, I wrote about all this other drama.

Long story short, I never quite clicked with Ranger 2 weeks ago. It had been a few weeks and everything felt off and I just was really hard on myself the entire lesson. I rode with a mother-daughter duo and they were great and commented (separately) after the lesson that they’d never seen Ranger so put together or go so well, but I just never on that lesson. Towards the end we sort of got it together, but I couldn’t really keep him packaged, moving from behind, AND not get my hands overly involved… I never felt like I got that bouncy canter either… So, I was either too slow or too fast. And then I never recapped.

I had the opportunity to ride over that weekend and used my water bottle and phone for some media so I’ll try put that in throughout this post even though it has nothing to do with this week’s lesson…

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So much pizza from a meet up with Emma and another friend the other week!

We were reunited with Mikey for this week’s lesson. I always enjoy riding with Mikey as we tend jump a little more AND get much needed breaks. In addition, I’m not complaining, we ARE challenged more.

We started off with a lot of time on the flat. Just trotting around, using the ring, remember (me) not to look too far ahead. I sort of have this problem where I twist my head/upper body trying to look too far ahead sometimes? So, I focused on trying to focus just between Ranger’s ears. Then we did a whole hell of a lot of sitting trot to get me straight. It appears when I DON’T fight it? I’m fine. When I do? hahaha… To the right, sitting trot wasn’t an issue, the left? Took me a while to get there even after a really nice sit trot the other way. One day I’ll learn. Cantering right was decent and I managed to package him up pretty quickly. Found pace, then worked on bending, impulsion, and all of that to make sure impulsion is coming from behind. Of course, every time I add bend, hand, etc., Ranger takes it as a cue to slow, but we’re getting there and I’m able to add pace more quickly/directly. The left was a little better, but more of the same.

We started off with a figure 8 of sorts, inside single gate around to the bending/broken line in a forward 7 (we did this continuously ~4x). The gate was fine the first 3 times, though around the corner, approaching it, Ranger had the habit of trying to “drop and drag” which forced me around the corner to do some adjustments. As for the bending line, I was turning a bit late for the in which made the line harder as  Ranger doesn’t exactly bend well — he’s about as flexible as a 2×4… On the 4th time through, Ranger suddenly required NO adjustment around the corner and I stopped riding (he also had been getting a little… strong? approaching the single and I had been checking to ensure that he didn’t drag me to the fence). As a result? Well, we took a superman flyer over the inside single… Who knew? Lol. After a halt and back, we restarted, I rode, and we rode to a respectable distance WITHOUT dragging me, and proceeded to once again, screw up the bending line (it was fine, but I turned late again and made more work for myself).

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After a quick break, we moved on to the following course of bending lines: straw bales to out of the outside line (7) around to the plain vertical to the in of the outside line jumped backwards (forward 7).

And this is how I nearly impaled myself on a fake tree and Ranger saved my butt.

You see, Ranger had springs. Serious springs. We jumped the first fence and instead of steering to the second fence, I decided to adjust my stirrup. Then I was approaching the fence I thought, shit, I think I need to go around. Let’s go to the right. No! To the left. No, that’s the standard! Then, Ranger, bless his heart, just said, “why don’t we just go over, you idiot?!”

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“mapping” my ride… Go make sense of this… 

So, despite me not steering, just carted my butt over a 2’9″ vertical… See, Ranger has a LOT of tricks (stopping is NOT one of them thankfully). The main one? Going around fences when you don’t steer. And here he saved my ass. Why? I have no clue. But, last night? That horse just took care of me… All the cookies in the world.

So, we started over, I kept my leg on, and we did the course with out ANY issue. Lol. No fear of impalement on second attempt. 3rd attempt? That 7 became a 6 and SPRINGS started doing the horse show strides..  he was feeling good. We had to hold for the 7 for our second line. We had power.

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We end with the following course: straw bales jumped the opposite direction (away from the out of the outside line) around to the outside line, around to our original bending/broken line (the out had gone up to some big oxer… to which I was asked if I was comfortable jumping it or if I wanted to stick with my other line… I decided to try), to the straw bale to the out of the outside line to end. Before I started, my trainer’s daughter asked if Ranger could jump that high. The answer was yes, but it made me laugh. Obviously he doesn’t jump high with anyone other than me and rarely jumps the large oxers. It’s funny though. 2’9″ now looks normal and while the oxer looked larger, cantering up to it, it didn’t look that impressive.

img_1143So, the course started off well enough, the straw bale jump was easy, though our change after was slow which made the approach to the line feel less smooth than I’d like, but it was fine. The line was good, but I did have to hold as Ranger was jumping the crap out of everything and covering ground like I’ve never felt. Then FINALLY remembered to look and turn a little earlier to that stupid line and we nailed that turn and line (though I had to remind him we weren’t leaving out a stride on a going line) to the oxer — which Ranger flew over because he was in SUPERHORSE mode  and continued to the final bending line — again moving up for the 6 because why hold?

Seriously, this horse. He’s amazing! I made the decision not to try anything again because I couldn’t ask for more. Was I perfect? No. But he had springs and gave 1000% and why try and beat that? All the cookies in the word.

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“a creature from outer space living in the dog bed, begging from a bell rub” — the lasagna

Hey blogland! I Need Help!

Hey blogland.

I was going to post about Ranger today. Instead, I have to see if, in the collective blogland, someone knows someone or something about erosion or the EPA or environment and could help me.

See, just about 8 year ago, I bought my house. And, turns out, there was a really large pipe in the back yard. Like 30 feet long. And there is no permit. The EPA found out (thanks to a neighbor) because the township didn’t care about it.

We found someone to remove it. Then he fell off the face of the earth. Then January we found someone else, but we needed to find a neighbor’s property for access. This is hard when we’ve never met the neighbor’s (back up to us at the edge of our 4 acres) and you have to drive to get to their driveway so it’s about 2-3 miles to their house by car. I mailed a note, but never heard anything. The one guys wife died so that might have been it? The other property the owner doesn’t live on the premises and there are tenants. Plus there is a minor issue of a STONE WALL. But, evidently this is my problem. Do you all know how expensive it would be to remove a 100 year old stone wall?

But now we’ve waited too long. And they’re mad. Because I should never have listened to their advice. Or ended up in the hospital nor should my husband (it was a bad spring and summer with 2 day long ER stays and 3 weeks of still being sick for me). But, I angered the PTB because I can’t be slow but they can wait 4-5 weeks to respond to me or not respond at all…

Anyway, if we can find access (we’re going to try and locate the neighbor and/or send a certified letter), the excavator can remove it. But, now the EPA wants:

Erosion and Sediment Control Plan.

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Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (or E&S Plan) is a site-specific plan consisting of both drawings and narrative that identifies methods which will be used to minimize accelerated soil erosion and sedimentation (deposition of soil) before, during and after earth disturbance activities.  It is a means to minimize the amount of soil (dirt) that could get washed into the stream during the excavation work that will be done during the removal of the pipe and boulder obstructions in the stream.

An E&S Plan could include methods such as a sandbag stream diversion, silt fence, filtersock, etc.  Whomever will be doing the work to remove the obstruction will be responsible for following the Plan.

Does anyone know who or how I get that done? Anyone have experience? Can anyone help me in anyway so I can stop have a nervous breakdown?

The Batthorse is BACK!

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Red ears!

After not having ridden in 3 weeks, the drought ended Friday. And then the storms came. 4 rides in 3 days? Who am I?

My weekly lessons on Ranger started back up Friday night (thanks to horrific weather and flooding on Thursday) but I’ll save that recap for it’s own post. Still unpacking a lot from that lesson.

Saturday, however, introduced a different ride.

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I’m a little confused. Why is a piece of copper in my mouth? Retired here! — Batt

After nearly a year off, Batt returned to work. My trailer still needs brakes and I’m still trying to figure out if he needs medication pre-ride but I’d rather experiment at home vs out on the trail or when hauling out. And to be honest? I’m still not sure. He coughed some, but not at the walk and really not at the canter. Mostly at the trot and mostly when he was winded or annoyed. Verdict still out.

Coughing above but then downhill 2 seconds later…

I’m assuming he’s resigned to his fate? Or trotting downhill as to the right…

However, cantering was a bit more exciting… a quick “attempt” to “buck” me off was the only fireworks in 2 days (videos are from Sunday’s ride, but he did the same thing on Saturday). Fat quarter horses can’t buck.

Much better. We need to work on straight but…

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So out of shape! We did next to nothing Saturday… 

Right now, I think he needs endurance more than anything. He’s still on steroids and I’m planning to try Respi Free and possible Air Power. But, he’s 100000% fat and out of shape… The heavy breathing I believe is more endurance than heaves.

We mostly walked with some trot laps and a few canter sets to make him happy. And took a cool down walk through the neighboring development to make him happy — he stared longingly at all the driveways he couldn’t explore and shuffled his feet. And in the end was soaked in sweat. Getting back in to shape is hard!

It’s even harder when your MEAN MOM makes you work 2 days in a row…