Trail rides and Paper Chases

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Instead of shopping (or eating too much) Thanksgiving this year was spent enjoying our new found freedom thanks to having a horse that actually loads on a trailer. It’s amazing all the fun things we can do!

Technically I had to work Monday through Wednesday but that didn’t stop me from taking some time off for more fun things like riding lessons and trail rides. Tuesday was still super windy around here so I had my lesson indoors and it just sort of..sucked. It tuned out it was only Ranger’s second time in the indoor (since the first time I’d ridden him in there), and while there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the lesson, I just kept sucking and he took full advantage. Basically we were doing an inside line and ducking out of the second jump. First time my fault, second time over and perfect. Third time, fine, 4th time, haha look at me caught you completely off guard! Then it was just a fight and I lost my confidence. We ended up just trotting a few times and Ranger got the “oh shit” look but the whole thing… especially considering we’re supposedly showing next weekend… yeah. Spatially I’m bad with indoors anyway. We’ll see how this week goes… I originally agreed to a barn schooling show but now it appears it’s a schooling show elsewhere an hour away…

So Wednesday I took a half day to take a trail ride with my friend Sandra who was visiting for Thanksgiving. So Batty and I headed to Marsh Creek for the afternoon. After 3 days of wind, it was finally a nice day. Sunny and warm(ish). We got to borrow Batts’s buddy Ben and had a great time and managed not to get lost while taking a trail I’ve only been on once before! Success! Anyway, the footing was great and we managed a decent amount of trotting and cantering too. Good prep for Friday’s paperchase!

Of course by Wednesday night I had some debilitating head cold (that I’m still dealing with now) so Friday morning I was still flip flopping on attending said paperchase but I ended up going. It was hosted by Fair Hill Stables and when I arrived around 9:30, my normally sane horse was a nervous nelly. Horses were screaming and he was just feeding off their energy. I eventually got tacked up and managed to get on and then asked for directions to registration. A nice pair asked if I had a team (the organizer was going to add me to one of the groups renting her horses), and invited he to join them. So Batty and I made our way down to the stable amid chaos and barking dogs, somehow registered while spinning, calmed down when a group of horses left, got reworked up, and then calmed down again once our team headed out. Once we were out on the trail, he was his normal happy self. Go figure?

5 minutes into the ride we suffered equipment failure when the wire in his one hoof boot snapped and Batts freaked out. Well, he was pissed that he went from cushy boot to harsh gravel… thankfully the girl I was with jumped off her pony (yay for vaulters) grabbed his half boot), jumped back on, and  the other lady stuck it in her saddle bag. We were approaching grass so I just walked to that point and luckily Batts was ok without a boot. But I wasn’t exactly happy. But grass brought us to out first canter stretch which left me with a very happy horse so his hoof boot was quickly forgotten.


The first half to two thirds of the ride went really well. Batty’s not great with bridges but he was happy to follow over them and through tunnels. He doesn’t actually care where he is in line so while we mostly stayed in the back he did get his chance to lead at times. He was also the brave horse through water (usually the leader) so all my fights at Marsh Creek have finally paid off! The trail was really well marked as well which was great. That said, it was crazy long. We did a massive amount of trotting and cantering in the beginning but ended up walking the lasted 1/3 as one of the horses we were with came up lame (stone bruise). We were out probably 3+ hours. They said it was 10 miles but it had to have been longer… it felt longer. By the end the horses were just over it. We did have one bridge where Batts just wouldn’t cross. Leader didn’t help. I ended up getting off and forcing him across. He eventually walked over a few times willingly and I got back on and we moved on, but something a boy that one stupid bridge…

Overall it was a fabulous event, just wish it was a tiny bit shorter. The footing was great, the trail was super well marked, but it was just crazy long. Nonetheless everyone had a lot of fun. Met a good pair who loved Batty too and we plan to do more chases together in the spring. Professional pictures

Must. Eat. All. The. Hay.

After my long ride Friday, the last thing I expected to hear was “trail ride” on Saturday but sure enough… so after lessons and armed with a killer cold, I took a nice couple out. Nothing like riding when you are so frickin’ sore. Saturday was back to being colder and miserabler. And windy. Not bad wind, but enough. But I did get to ride the Heidi-Mare, the only mare I actually enjoy riding right now. Of course, thanks to the wind and downed branches, we were looking and spooking at things left and right so it wasn’t exactly a relaxing or enjoyable ride, but at least she’s cute?

Happy 6 Year Anniversary to the Batthorse

(alternative title: how I bought a horse via text over breakfast)

So Facebook told me yesterday was the Batthorse’s 6 Year Anniversary. Unlike Subi, I don’t have the date etched in my memory.


Batty was sort of a spur of the moment purchase that I tried to buy multiple times before–and failed. But his actual purchase was unplanned and came as a complete surprise and without any actual planning or thought.

So the story of Mr. Batman. Yes, I’ll call him Batman even though 99.9% of the time I refuse (seriously, how can you name a bright red horse Batman?!?!). He came to the lesson barn I rode at, worked at, taught at, as a young “5” year old when his previous owner realized he was way too much for her and donated him. Turn out, he was green broke and she was learning how to ride. By learning how to ride, I mean LEARNING HOW TO RIDE. In that she was walking and learning how to steer and post and with someone leading her could bounce around a couple of steps. His first day at the barn, I had a lesson on him and while he was a wiggly mess but had a gorgeous trot and canter. I think he was known then as “new chestnut.” We tried to jump and he was a complete green bean and I probably ended up in tears. We got through some lines but it was a disaster. My instructor told me I’d ride him again, but I doubted he’d actually stay at the barn too long. But, despite his green been quality, he was quiet. The next morning, he tore off 3/4 of his hind hoof. He spend the next 6-8 months on stall rest re-growing back his right hind hoof.

After he came back from stall rest, he was leased out to one of the barn teens who wanted a summer project and learned all about crossrails and verticals and still though ground poles were torture devices. He also expressed thoughts that solid jumps were going to eat him.

The lease ended after the summer and he was back in the lesson program. I had Subi at this point. I was teaching by that point (I think) and at some point, my friend Sandra started riding him. The time line is pretty blurry here. There may be a year or 2 missing. I have no idea. Anyway, the lease was the best thing for him. He was forgotten about and money was invested into him and as a result, no one remembered how green he was so he stayed. Thankfully, he was dead quiet too so that was good. Anyway, Batman was great for w/t/c and  less good for everything else. If he walked up to Xs and looked at them first, he was pretty consistent jumping them. Poles were OK if his ride could ride and steer and add leg and be prepared for him to jump the damn things. Basically, don’t set up a line of trot poles because that wasn’t happening. Over time, he got pretty good.

Thankfully, people didn’t like using him and when Sandra graduated college and was back for good, she started riding him regularly and he started improving drastically. It’s amazing how good Batty got with only 1 rider jumping him. With support to the base of jumps, he actually improved… Wow. As a team, we got to the point of consistency over stuff. Xs, verticals, milk crates, flowers, brush boxes, oxers, coops, and even the astro turf roll top (strangely, he had the least problems over that thing). I mean, he never jumped it first time and we always fought and had to build, but we got there (key point for later).

But, this damn horse was still dead quiet. In a lesson with another instructor, he carted a dead beginner adult around who was learning to trot. The bugs were bad and when swishing his tail, he caught it on a standard and dragged a jump standard about 6-7 feet. When feeling something was caught, he stopped, turned his head to see what was up, and waited for assistance. Now, that was enough to unseat his rider, but most other horses would have taken off. Not Batty.


The summer before I moved Subi, I was holding Batty for the dentist (or getting him from the dentist) and we were chatting about him. He asked me how old he was. I think I said 10 thinking we had him for 5 years at that point and he was 5 when he got him. That when he told me we were completely wrong with his age and by his estimates he was much younger. We did some math and he had to have been a green broke 2 year old when he had shown up at our barn all those years ago (what is wrong with people?!)…. At some point, Sandra approached the barn owner and asked his she’d sell him. She was quoted some outrageous price. 10K I think? For a stopper with some soundness issues. Yeah, ok. Needless to say she said no. My timeline is all mixed up, but I know that I also approached her when I moved Subi, but before I bought Hayley to see if she’s sell me Batty. After all, BO was always complaining that no one used him. I never received an answer. Strangely enough, I continued working for her for another year…

A year later, I taught my last lesson and Sandra came out hop on Batty for what she thought was the last time. I left a message saying as much, thanking BO for everything and leaving things on a good note. Then next morning, while eating breakfast with my mom, I received a text from BO saying she was getting rid of Batman. I read the text to my mom and the next thing I knew, my mom had me text back, “Is he for sale? And for how much?” and that was how I came to buy Batty over breakfast via text message and why it is my mother’s fault. She takes full credit. Still. To this day. All of this followed with a text to Sandra that read, “So I think I just sort of bought Batty…”

Since then, Batty’s lived at more places then Subi or Hayley. He moved first to a friends for a few months then joined Subi and Hayley and the self care place I was boarding before  moving down to Southern Chester County to my apartment before moving back to my friends place when I got pissed at my landlord for being a lunatic and taking away shelter during the summer while I went on vacation. They stayed at my friends while I waited to settle on my house and then waited to put in fencing (wedding gift from friend) and build shed before finally coming home.

Since coming home, things haven’t been without challenges. We’ve had the whole trailer loading stuff come up…


Then the whole colic and New Bolton stay.

Plus losing Hayley.

We tried becoming a hunter horse again and failed, but his true calling is just being him. He’s a crossrail expert and a hill gallop-upper extraordinaire. He likes to explore just so long as he doesn’t need to take the same path back home. But mostly, he’s just the quietest, best little appendix without a spook and trustworthy mount I could ask for. He may only have been officially part of the family for 6 years, but he’s part of my heart so much longer.


Just a gaggle of pictures

Not much to post but why not some photos?

We pretty much went from warm weather to freezing on Saturday with a lovely wind storm and some strange frozen precipitation that left the boys none too happy. It also left me none to happy either. Lovely weather shifts leave my head celebrating with migraines. I tried out a new medicine yesterday that worked (yay for samples from the neurologist’s office) only to find out that my insurance will make me fight for it with a coverage review and “step therapy.” Shoot me now. This morning’s migraine I tried to fight with a different pill. That one requires that same fight, but left my stomach upset and head still hurting so no fight necessary there.

On to photos because pictures are better than migraines! This boy and I are going to try and take a trail ride on Wednesday and hopefully hit Fair Hill on Friday for a paperchase with strangers since no one I know can attend. Thankfully the organizers said they’d match me with some riders from their barn so we can still attend.

Then there is my little idiot who I finally body clipped. Thanks to the 60 and 70 degree weather we’ve been having during the day, he’s been sweating with his yak coat. The 30s at night have been cold, but he’s had enough blubber that I haven’t been overly concerned with him. That said, Saturday night I was NOT expecting such a dramatic shift in weather. He was one GRUMPY pony in the sleet when I finally threw his sheet on him. I gave in Sunday and exchanged his sheet for his medium weight. Now, most clipped horses I’d go right to a medium and not a sheet, but even clipped he’s super fuzzy. But, Jiminy does not like being cold and was extra grumpy in the wind on Sunday. Tomorrow will be warmer so I’ll swap back out to his sheet (it’s actually a really heavy sheet–way heavier than any of my horse sheets). I wouldn’t mind him losing a drop of weight before winter… Anyway, I did have a bit of a clipper fiasco that involved an unanticipated purchase of new heavy duty body clippers for his yak coat. When I get around to it, I’ll do a clipper review post… Maybe.

And finally, my favorite boy. Other than the super warm days, he’s been blanketed a lot lately. He just likes to be warm and grows very little coat. He was thrilled to have a new round bale yesterday. Of course, thanks to the new round bale or possibly the wind this morning, he only ate half of his breakfast. This horse kills me with his lack of eating sometimes… Normal horses cause panic when they don’t eat. Subi? Not so much. He sometimes just chooses not to eat and it drives me crazy.


Pretty much just perfect in every way (other than the million ways in which he drives me insane)

Catching up or not

I haven’t felt much like blogging lately. Not entirely sure why. I haven’t had all that much to talk about but I haven’t had nothing. Who knows. The whole fate of the world has me done combined with work and migraines I guess? I don’t know…

Still not much up for blogging but I did have a nice lesson tonight. And I managed to get videos so that’s something! The videos were at the end of the lesson and sort of an afterthought but they’re something, right? In the first video we were supposed to  get a 7 in the last line… oh well. The second video was a redo of that last line. Ranger was pretty ready to be done by that point. But he’s completely perfect…


Happy Friday 

We don’t share peppermints around here. Subi is cumpuffled anyone could think we share peppermints…

Apples can be shared (in fact, they’re often poison and should be shared). Carrots are reluctantly shared. Peppermints? We DON’T SHARE PEPPERMINTS!

Happy Friday!