How to survive the arctic tundra…

The Mid-Atlantic has turned into the arctic this past week and this coming week isn’t that much bettering (though it looks a little better even if next Friday/Saturday look pretty awful.


Needless to say, my focus has been keeping my ponies warm and surviving a trip to Connecticut that included a night without heat. On Tuesday before I left, I noticed Subi was having issues walking on the frozen ground and was sulking by his husband assured me that each morning he’s been at the round bale eating hay (my guys live out 24/7) so I tried not to worry and basically just dragged him forcefully from his tree to the paddock where we keep the round bale. Once there, he stuffed his face with hay. At dinner around 9pm, we moved him back to his tree and he happily inhaled a bucket of warm soaked alfalfa-timothy cubes, beet pulp, soaked sentinel senior, and omalene 200. We figured as usual, he’d walk back to the bale.

Freezing cold CT. Frozen lake anyone?

The next morning, he was still at his tree, upset and cold from having eaten no hay all night. In a panic, I found an old pair of Batts’s hoof boots and threw them on. While they weren’t the best fit, they fit and instantly I could see some relief in my old pony. He ate breakfast and a bucket of chopped hay and then I directed my husband to lead him into the paddock with a halter to the round bale. With each step, he grew more confident and sure footed and I breathed a sigh of relief and left the house only 15 minutes late to head to my mom’s to head to CT. For the next 2.5 days, after each meal, my husband led Subi back to the hay to ensure he ate properly. (To ensure Batty was drinking, he got extra water in his soup. Jiminy? He wanted to eat in the shed. No one catered to that request).

But I’m cute! Why doesn’t anyone love me?

Grumpy child. The Grumpy Chestnut. 

While I was away, I researched boots and chatted with my part time boss and friend. She has her senior in Easyboot Clouds. It was late by the time I got home Friday so on Saturday I measured him (there are things I trust my husband to do. This is NOT one of them), went back and forth on size, and finally placed an order through Amazon when I saw 1 day free prime shipping with Sunday delivery. Guaranteed 12/31 delivery.

So imagine my frustration when I get shipping notification for 1 of 2 boots. Yep. 1 boot shipped the other did not. New arrival date of Tuesday because this is so helpful. Meanwhile, the the right Cavallo is starting to rub Subi’s heal… but the Clouds fit so yay for that?

The Arctic tundra was also leaving my delicate flower cold as well despite 3 blankets (2 mediums and a sheet). Dover put their Northwinds on sale (@50% off) so we picked up a heavyweight detach-a-neck. Of course, while I wanted a detach-a-neck, I didn’t realize that’s what I bought and thought I just got the last 78″ heavyweight they had and the last medium neck cover. So now I have to go back and return the neck cover. But, he seems warm (FINALLY) with the heavy and a medium and a neck so that’s good.


The Arctic tundra was also leaving my delicate flower cold as well despite 3 blankets (2 mediums and a sheet). Dover put their Northwinds on sale (@50% off) so we picked up a heavyweight detach-a-neck. Of course, while I wanted a detach-a-neck, I didn’t realize that’s what I bought and thought I just got the last 78″ heavyweight they had and the last medium neck cover. So now I have to go back and return the neck cover. But, he seems warm (FINALLY) with the heavy and a medium and a neck so that’s good.

So happy and warm! Even though it was snowing… Evil snow. 


I braved the elements today to reblanket Batts and Jiminy. Batty was almost sweaty yesterday with his sheet and medium but with the 15 degree drop to our high he was shivering today so he’s got on 2 mediums as does Jiminy. Jiminy would prefer just to move inside the house though he’s making due with sharing the shed with Batts. Subi’s working on the round bale we stuck out this morning.

As for me, I still haven’t warmed up from late morning round bale/blanketing. And in 45 minutes, it’s time to go feed dinner.


He just got so much older this year… Between not tolerating the ground, the cold, and his arthritis bothering him… 😦 But he seems so content here (his eyes in particular). And he’s crazy fat under his blanket. But still, I hate seeing him like this!


May the arctic move on… now! And Happy New Year!

Ranger Recap: it’s cold outside! And equestrian blogger gift exchange

I headed out for a lesson today at noon (I love riding during the day because it’s light and warm–we had daylight, but no warmth…) and holy crap was it cold. I swear my car said it was 31 when I left the house but it was 25 when I got to the barn (1.5 miles away) and with the damn wind… My trainer needed to look up the temps and it felt like 16 degrees. So it was fun. But, looking ahead to the rest of the week, today was the warm day and probably the only riding day of the week so it was today or not at all (I’ll be in CT the rest of the week anyway. Yay. Said with no enthusiasm).

Anyway, unlike last lesson, Ranger was a little less pissed off. Another benefit of riding during the day? It’s not turnout time for Ranger and therefore there’s no temper tantrum when Forrest and Elliot go out without him. Seriously, those 3 are idiots. Today, he was much happier. And since he decided last winter that he needs to be out longer than day turnout allows (day turnout is 4 hours due to field space, he and his band of idiots go out at night so they can be out all night long and Ranger won’t run away with small children).

Last lesson on the flat I was having issues with my corners so I was determined to work on that. Our corners were fine but Rangy was a bit stiff and spent the entire first 2/3s of the lesson falling in the left. My left leg is sore from working so hard.


Quarter line single, grey jump, straw bales, and in of the 6 stride outside line just to break of lots of text

We warmed up with the long ride to our cross rail and continued around to the long ride to the grey single. The mounting block was almost in the path of the grey single so I needed to be exact with my turn to that jump. But, since I chose today to steer, it was all fine.


You can sort of get an idea of the ring… 

From here, we worked on our single down the quarter line around to the outside line. I think we repeated this not because the jumps were bad (they weren’t), but because my turn wasn’t as nice as it could have been? Again, Ranger = LEANING LIKE CRAZY. But, the in jump was nice and I moved him up and all was good for the line in an easy 7.

Next we cantered over the straw bales and continued around to our other outside line in the 6, goal being to stay out after the straw bales and then steer with 2 hands to the in of the line. I felt that we were a little slow for the 6 and I didn’t actually ride the line (and didn’t notice that I wasn’t riding it until stride 5), but thankfully when I closed my leg he listened and just took the longer spot for the 6 and didn’t chip it.


Out of 7 stride outside line. Not an oxer today…

We ended by repeating those same 3 jumps and then adding the evil, Evil, EVIL (for some completely irrational reason I HATE THIS JUMP) picket fence that I swear I’m going to impale myself on after the outside line and then continued around to our other outside line in the 7. The first straw bale jump was are best fence of the night. The outside line was decent as well as the I moved him up a bit, though the out still felt a little long. The picket fence from hell we got over (Ranger has no issue with it, I just am convinced it’s going to kill me), and the other outside was nice AND our corner had no leaning! Yay!



There really are spikes sticking out of that jump. They’re just invisible to everyone but me…  Ranger says take me back to the barn and FEED ME!

I’m pretty sure we ended there. I was finally warm and walked around for a few minutes to make sure I really did have feeling in my feet before heading back in the barn to stuff Rangy with treats. Because, why wouldn’t I?


Grumpy Ranger.

When I got home, I have a lovely box waiting for me from my blogger secret santa! Thank you Emily! I have a great new blog to follow as well. And thank you Tracy for hosting! It’s my first year participating and it was a lot of fun!

Emily really out did herself! So many fun things! Awesome purple unicorn rainbow socks, a pin, an amazing calendar (including lunar stuff) that is going on my work desk that has never been this clean), treats and other goodies! Thank you so much!


Hope everyone had a great holiday! Stay warm this week if you’re somewhere cold!

Ranger Recap: But I don’t want to work!

Long overdue Ranger recap, but I had a crappy lesson last month (?) that fried my brain (first lesson in the  indoor of the winter) then skipped a week, had a fabulous lesson 3 week ago (outside! that I never actually got around to blogging about because I’m lazy and well, work took over my life and I decided to blog about something else and then I sort of forgot), went on vacation, then  I was sick last week and cancelled, and that brings me to last night and I FINALLY  rode!


Poorly behaved treat monger

And needless to say, Ranger was NOT happy to see me. It’s not that Ranger doesn’t like me. I think he does.  And I may still be his favorite. But, Right. At.  The. Moment.  I put him in cross ties, Forrest and Elliot walked past him to go outside and his entire world turned upside down. From that moment on, he was miserable and made sure I knew it. He wanted me to know that he NEEDED TO BE OUTSIDE WITH HIS FRIENDS. There was no consoling him. I stuffed treats in his mouth (temporarily helped), but the pawing, oh the pawing. The attitude, oh the attitude. He was informed by my trainer’s husband that we all need to work for a living and then we lamented that adulting sucks…

Meanwhile, I managed to get the Ranger Beast tacked up. I was so thrilled that I EASILY found a 46″ girth only to find that someone put on weight and it came no one close to fitting. WTH Ranger? It’s only been 3 weeks… It’s not like you haven’t been ridden… So I had to seek out a 48″. (On a side note,  I can’t talk,  I often have to squeeze Batty into his 52″ double elastic girth).


Me? Paw? Never!

Once in the indoor (he tried to drag me to his field rather rudely), the attitude continued. We worked on manners until he would stand  at the mounting  block. He took offense to being in the ring and to the the lunge whip my trainer had for the little kid on Raisin… We started power trotting around the ring until I noticed my stirrups were crazy long, well, 1 hole too long.  WTH? I haven’t ridden since last lesson so  how did they drop a hole? After that adjustment which Ranger so rudely didn’t want to stand still for, we went back to power trotting. We attempted a halt and back. Halt was fine, back DID NOT EXIST. We continued power trotting with the understanding that he could trot as fast as his desired down his long sides to get out some energy… Eventually we walked. We also tried to add leg to avoid bowing in at on the sides.  “Tried” because I don’t think I had any real leg…

Eventually we cantered and he was… a perfect gentleman? No power canter, no pulling towards the gate, nothing. Just maintained a perfect forward, but steady pace. Considering his performance at the trot, we were not expecting that. He was lovely. Got to love him. Maybe he got over being in the ring and not in his field?

We started  over fences with a small single fence off of a tight turn around to a long ride (around the first jump of the outside line) down to our straw bales. Having not jumped in weeks, I told Ranger to take care of me. I was told the first turn was hard, so as I cantered past trainer (the end of the ring has a fence/viewed area where trainer coaches from) I needed to look at fence and turn with both hands but not to worry about being perfect. Last lesson in the indoor Ranger was ducking  out of everything (after we did the super hard stuff — that he was perfect for, singles, lines, nope. There we struggled so my confidence was shot and we had some similar problems last year. Plus indoors just feel small) and I don’t love riding inside. I probably shouldn’t have worried. The turn was easy (I guess if someone says a turn is hard its not, the easy ones are hard) and  then Ranger had pace coming out of it that once we got our simple change (he was more interested in doing front changes and ignoring me), we could maintain our pace thanks to his motor. Spot wasn’t perfect for the straw bale jump, but it was nice enough.


Not to scale. Light blue = grey jump. Dark blue = straw bales, Green = outside line

Next course we took the grey single the opposite direction (coming towards the fence) and then continued to the outside line in a 7 and then around to the straw bale jump. First time through I landed from the grey single and sort of cut my corner causing me to leave out 2 strides and slow down to the outside line. I was also nervous because I’m me and we struggled with ducking out last time inside and the  the line was actually big.  But, it was fine and I marched him up for a nice 7 because I’m too good at correcting  lines (my second jump is generally nicer because of this…). Straw bale just was the nicest of the night as I really moved him up.


This horse!

Needless to say, we redid that to focus on the damn corner after the grey jump so I could fix the in of the line. By forcing him out, I got my extra strides, but I did have  to be cautious about not letting him drift too far and turn too late (almost happened, but didn’t). The in was nice and I didn’t actually have  to do anything for the out of the line. The 7 was just there. Amazing how much less work lines are when you ride in nicely… The straw bales were fine, but less nice than the perfect jump  the time before.


But I’ve missed him terribly!

We ended there as I was dead (I mean, no riding for weeks) and Ranger was basically done. But he got lots of (unappreciated) hugs and I stuffed him full of treats. I turned him out my light of my cell phone and I was pleased that he returned to the fence to see me (and make sure I wasn’t feeding Elliot his treats)