Fa la la la FAIL.

56736539212__e7ecbbef-6278-4d78-b416-33256567756eIt was all going so well I knew it couldn’t last. Seriously. I don’t have that great luck.

We had major rain right after my foundation was installed. I mean, major crazy rain. Inches upon inches. Nothing washed away. And then lots of wind. But that was Thursday/Friday and wind was Saturday. All was OK-ish until it decided to rain. Last freaking night.

No where did it say rain last night. But somehow it did rain last night and rain it did. Because I have no luck.

This morning they arrived with the barn and bad news.

So I leave you with a holiday poem.

The weather outside’s delightful, but the ground’s muddy and frightful. But we need to install a barn, so… Let it freeze, let it freeze, let it freeze!

Unfortunately, in addition to the mud, the freaking screenings retained such an insane amount of water. And in order not to get the equipment stuck, we called it a day. They parked half a barn on my driveway, took the other half back with them, and told me since chances are we’ll never dry out in the next year, to call them when it freezes and we’ll try again.


I’m going to hibernate like Lasagna.

I’m super close and they’re hoping that they can deliver and install first thing in the morning. Of course, we’re having a warm streak. WTF?! 10 days and it doesn’t looking like it’s regularly going to go below freezing? Well, it will, but not by much? And then it’s raining this Friday. Then we’re having “weather” at the end of those 10 days when we’re FINALLY getting below freezing.

Anyway, now I have half a barn on my driveway and no access to my trailer. Merry Freaking Christmas.


Half a barn, blocking a trailer, on a driveway. 

Ranger Recap: no rest for the weary.


Yesterday I dragged myself out to the barn for a lesson on Ranger. By dragged, I should probably say, swam. I swam out to the barn for a lesson on Ranger.

Thank you weather gods! I KNEW I was missing something in my life. RAIN! After all, it had been 3 ENTIRE days since our last round of monsoons so we certainly need more monsoons. By the time I made it from my car to the barn, I was wet, my hair was wet, and my saddle was wet. It’s not THAT far of a walk either…


Not innocent… Mooching for treats.

We started off with what I thought was going to be a quick and easy warm up. A little bit of trotting, a couple of circles, etc. All WAS going well until I heard the dreaded words, “drop your irons.” OMG. I seriously avoid no stirrups. I do not participate in No Stirrups anything. And, in the 2+ years of riding with my trainer, I don’t think she’s actually asked me to drop my stirrups. Thankfully we started at a sitting trot (which is easier) but then I was to continue around posting. Damn. Of course, then I was told I was trotting too slowly. BUT BUT BUT. See, the slower I trot, the easier it is without stirrups. Counter argument from trainer: the faster you trot, the quicker you can have your stirrups back. In my defense, I kept my argument in my head. I compromised and trotting a tiny bit faster, but I didn’t want to lose my position. Unfortunately, we did the same the opposite direction, minus the sit trot. Evil. Positive? My position is evidently good. [I am NOT sharing that past trainers have told me I have a better position without stirrups…besides, this is no longer the case. I ride Batty without stirrups, but I haven’t been riding him and he’s a couch.]

Next we changed up our canter work a bit. Basically, normal canter around the ring with a large circle thrown in but each direction with ended with a hand gallop up the final long side ending in a half. This was actually A LOT of fun. Ranger was quite easy to get going (and pretty easy to halt), but more than that, the quick gallop really helped us out over fences later.

ring 12-20-18


This nose!

We warmed up on a circle over the second jump in our outside line (basically, we were jumping the in of the outside line off the right lead backwards). Our first and third circle were fine but I forgot to ride the second and had a crappy stop, but oh well?

Next we did the outside line in a forward 7. Thanks to the hand gallop, we were successful in one.

After our warm up fences, BFF Mikey left the ring and POWER Ranger (pun maybe intended?) came out to play. We started off with our inside single which we ran out of 2 or 3 times until I finally managed to steer with both hands AND my right leg to and then continued around to the inside line in 6. Whereas last week we had trouble with the in of the line, this week, we did not. I did have to hold a bit for the 6 (it should be a going 6, but honestly, if I added a tiny bit more leg, Ranger would be doing the 5 with the big horses… LOL). We continued back around to repeat the combo twice more before heading from the inside single to the outside single (towards the in gate) around to the outside line in the 7 then BACK to the inside line to the outside single away from in gate (we almost crashed into a dog) so we cantered around and did that again and then again did the weird random jump that’s sort of at the middle top of the ring (light blue in the graphic) around to the inside line ON. LAST. TIME. where we perfected our 6. We ended there.



Tucked in for the night!

OMG. I’m pretty sure we jumped about 20+ jumps straight. I lost track. But we just got better and better and better. Made a mistake here and there, but we found a rhythm and went with it. Ranger was in front of my leg and forward and adjustable. And best of all? He was having a blast!

I can tell my endurance is getting better, but the best thing about jumping like this? I don’t have TIME to get stuck in my head. It’s too rapid fire. Just wait for next instruction and keep going. So strange, but sort of crazy fun.

And Ranger? He’s the best.

The most incredible pile of dirt.

So stuff is happening here! I wasn’t going to post real updates until things actually happened, but I guess, if all else fails, I do have an AMAZING pile of dirt. And amazing and expensive pile of dirt. I can fence it in and have a tiny, but nice surface? Back up plans!


Old concrete pad…

Bright and early yesterday morning, 2 site prep guys came and began a day long project.

First the removed an old concrete pad from the site. My husband and I thought about taking it out ourselves, but Michele didn’t trust me with a jackhammer… I really don’t know why? In the end, they offered an inexpensive price AND offered to move the concrete on site. Score!


Old, sad shed.

See, this part of the project WAS intended to be easy. Except, then our existing shed was attached to concrete so they had to disassemble vs haul off ($$ vs $) then there was the concrete pad. Next the site prep guy visited to discover that not only was our area NOT level, but 33″ OFF level (when I mentioned this to the shed removal guys when dropping off a check, the entire office gasped). So, additional plans were made for 72 CUBIC FEET of dirt to be hauled in.

Then there was weather. By weather I mean rain. Rain in the form of massive downpours all weekend. But Monday dawned clear. My husband and father-in-law removed a tree behind the site, and despite all my fears, yesterday morning, everything started as planned.

I was completely determined not to be a pain and bother the guys (all 2 of them) so most of my photos are of the stalker variety. From doorways or windows…

First step was removing the pad. Next they laid of the location and asked if I was happy with the placement. The set it between my pool fence and round pen and parallel to the house. Perfect. Then came the dirt. SO. MUCH. DIRT.

#Stalker photos

For hours the pushed and built with dirt. The dirt was compacted and all that so we shouldn’t be dealing with runoff. They’re pros and that’s what they told me…


Stupid piers! And so much dirt!

Then the piers. 10, 3ft deep pier. The bane of my existence. If I could do this all again, I wouldn’t because of these stupid piers. Piers are expensive! But, their auger was amazing. Too bad I was too far away to take a picture or video…. And I’m pretty sure they were on the last one by the time I realized they were drilling or I’d have walked outside and figured out how to be creepy and photograph.


Then screenings! So much screenings. I believe I have at least 6″ of screenings. Plus a pile of extras because when they offered me the leftovers, who was I to turn them down?

Finally, the concrete truck showed up to pour the piers (one company we consulted was using 60 bags of concrete, whereas in this case, I think the truck was more efficient). Then more smoothing and final leveling and BAM. Done for the day.

I do need to reseed my lawn. But, whatever. It’s going to rain too, so I’m curious how much dirt will wash away. Still, December in the Mid Atlantic region isn’t exactly the best time of year for grass growing…

No discussion of next steps until they happen, but for right now, this big pile of dirt is enough.



2018 Blogger Secret Santa!

The Printable Pony’s Blogger Gift Exchange is one of my favorite parts of the year! And this year’s exchange (my second participating) was no exception!


I came home to a SmartPak box and questions from my husband about what I ordered and complete confusion. I really DIDN’T order anything! And then I wondered if I had ordered something forever ago and their horrible backlog of shipping resulted in it just now showing up. But nope, it was just a used box! Ha! Goes to show how distracted I was.


Thank you Molly from One Bud Wiser!

My boys will be inhaling the peppermints because, peppermints. Peppermints are a favorite around here.

And Jiminy will test out your favorite brush! He likes to be pampered. I’m sure he’ll give it rave reviews!

As for the tack cleaning mitt, I guess I actually need to clean my tack? Lol! But it looks great!

Favorite things of 2018

In an attempt not to focus on all the craziness going on (I will either have an update or I won’t have an update on the barn in a week or 2, but let’s just say, if this barn thing ACTUALLY HAPPENS, I will be writing multiple blog posts about this entire ordeal).

  • Northwinds Detatch-A-Neck Blankets: My absolute FAVORITE blanket for Subi. He’s always fit decently in Riders blankets, but I LOVE the Northwind line. I bought the heavyweight back at the very end of 2017 (the 29th or 30th) during a crazy cold snap and even wearing multiple blankets, Subi was cold. The heavy with neck plus a medium and finally I had a warm horse. I did have a tiny issue with a stitching on one surcingle (not enough to compromise the blanket or stop using it), but they replaced it this winter. Lifetime guarantee. I got in on sale for $129? I just bought a medium detach-a-neck too, because, why not? Subi has demeaned necks a necessity.
Good in all weather!
  • Adjusta-Fit® V-FREE® Midweight Nylon Blanket Liner from Schneiders: So, Subi gets COLD and this added a lot of warmth without the bulk (yes, he had an insane amount of blankets on, but whatever, it was better than shivering. He’s a special snowflake). Super durable and easy to clean too.
  • UViator Protective Mask with Nose and Ears: So, Subi would NOT wear the nose, but I LOVE THIS MASK. Plus it stayed on and didn’t rub his eyes. Win, win! I didn’t buy it, but won it in Kensington’s instagram giveaway along with a new kensington flysheet.
I couldn’t find another picture so ignore the hives…
  • Rambo Plus Flymask: Batty would NOT keep his fly masks on this year and I was considering duct tape. The $900 Facebook Pony recommended this mask and it really worked for Batt! LOVE IT! He looked like a fool wearing it, but really? Who cares…
Yes, he is a fool
  • Trauma Void Helmet: LOVE this helmet. It fits pretty darn well, but best of all? I’m not getting pressure headaches/migraines from it. I hadn’t realized just how badly my OneK fit until I tried this helmet. This helmet doesn’t fit everyone, but thankfully fits me.
no better place to throw random Jiminy pictures… 
  • Equioxx: do I need to say more? Subi is feeling SO MUCH BETTER. Maybe a little too good? I’d try and get on him but we both would die and honestly he has some hind end weakness that I don’t trust. But, he’s feeling so good thanks to drugs.

Ranger Recap: SO MUCH ENERGY

So I never recapped last week’s lesson and I’ll be honest, I can’t remember a lot… Oops. I meant to? And then life got in the way. If this BARN thing ever happens, I will write a series of blog post detailing EVERY. SINGLE. CRAZY. ISSUE. THAT. POSSIBLE. COULD. HAPPEN. DURING. THE. PROCESS. But, I’m not doing that until stuff happens because the last thing I need is more of a jinx. AHHH! (thank you michele for talking me off a ledge on a daily basis since thanksgiving)


More muffins!

So Ranger was once again WINTER Ranger though it was comparatively warm. I learned last week that he’s not getting ridden much. I’m not sure WHAT that means. I know I’m riding him and I know his favorite little 8 year old kid is riding him. I don’t know who else. But, I’m wondering if I’ll get to pick up some extra rides throughout the winter? You never know…

Anyway, he’s regularly lazy and pokey and SO HARD TO BEND while flatting at the trot. We’ve been integrating a little more changes of direction into our warm up routine which does help, plus I’m getting a bit more aggressive–if I’m digging my heel into his stomach and he’s still not moving off my inside leg, he does get a small kick. Usually that helps. Oh Ranger. Things would be easier if you would listen… Thankfully we do bend better at the canter and fight less (with or without warm up).

We’ve been testing my lungs lately (not great for my asthma, but good for my endurance?) and right out of our canter, started over fences, integrating our outside single off the right lead a couple times. Then, changing directions, we hit that the other direction continuing around to the outside line, attempting (and failing) to do the line in a 7 (we were a little pokey and did an 8). On re-approach, I actually added leg coming in and the 7 was there. For some reason, inside I have a harder time judging speed and stride length. I can find my distances, that’s not the issue, but I can’t judge the length of stride?


I’ll do anything for this face!

After finally allowing me to catch my breath, we started around over the inside single/Swedish oxer to inside line (going 6 which turned out to be a HOLDING 6)… So we started out with ducking to the right of the single where Ranger laughed at me but on redirect I somehow remembered how to ride (I might have been taking it too wide?) and then screwed up the next line. See, I landed in too quiet of a canter and was told I would never make the 6 with my canter. So I added leg. And then I turned (I think too early because I had to make the same mistake as last week…) and Ranger decided to grab the bit and try and bolt. So, once we were actually heading over the our jumps, I was basically doing everything in my power to add for the 6 while Ranger was trying to convince me to let him take a flyer and do a 5.  We added back in the outside line in the 7 and continued back to the inside line a few times. Then after the inside line which was never lovely, but successful-ish? we landed from our semi-6 and continued to the outside single (away from the in gate (so, slower) and then around to the inside single/Swedish oxer (other direction – sort of towards the in gate) trying not to let Ranger take off… We finished attempting to pretty up the last 2 fences and did so as well as possible (our last swedish oxer was actually nice).


Cat wars continue at my house. Biscuit kicked off out the top shelf and downgraded by Lasagna to “steerage” 

It was a different lesson. It was probably the first time in a long time that I did all my over fences work in a concentrated time. Usually its a few fences and then break. This time it was just keep jumping. OMG. I felt OK, but my lungs did start arguing a bit, but nothing like a few weeks ago. My endurance is definitely getting better. But, I can tell Ranger is not working that much as he’s certainly opinionated. Lol. It’s fun though! Much better than summer Ranger where I can get a little too passive. I like having to be on my toes.

Ranger enjoyed Subi’s pumpkin molasses muffins in celebration/payment of hard work.

4 years: my favorite memory

4 years ago I said goodbye to my Hayley Horse.


Favorite face

I told myself that, this year, I wouldn’t be sad.

So instead, I’m just going to share my favorite thing about her.


Best friends. Always. 

Hayley was always food motivated. She was similar to Batty in that she ate first and thought later, but she was very vocal in her thoughts, similar to Jiminy.


Waiting for breakfast, probably. 

She was NEVER afraid to tell you when you were late with breakfast or dinner or just moving too slowly for her comfort level. After all, with breakfast (or dinner or tea), it was a matter of LIFE or DEATH and we all should hurry up and FEED HER.


Eating a million miles a minute. 

So, after we moved her home, she quickly discovered that we had the house’s corner bedroom. In the morning, she would wait until the light went on and start screaming for breakfast. In the spring and fall months, if the windows were open, she’d start sooner, and the screaming would start the MOMENT the alarm would go off. So, you’d have an alarm, and you’d have a secondary alarm of HAYLEY yelling in the background. And, if you were to look out the window? Hayley would be staring straight at you, wondering why the hell you weren’t downstairs prepping her breakfast.


Best chestnut mare EVER

That was Hayley. Food driven and highly impatient.


The Three Chestnuts. Never to be replaced in my heart. How much Hayley and Batty looked alike even thought they didn’t. 

Jiminy has tried to take on the vocal horse, but he has BIG shoes to fill.

I’ll always miss her, but I’m happy she free of pain and health issues.


Her favorite thing. 

Ranger Recap: better late than never?

Considering I’m scheduled to ride tonight, I might as well get around to recapping last week’s lesson… A week later, I’m going to simply try and highlight the basics. I was trying to follow the philosophy of jump the first thing I see. It seems to work for me and my eye…


Riding with leg AND hand: We started off with a skinny (wth is with all of these skinny fences lately?) in the center of the ring) parallel to the long sides of the arena. So, first a longer approach from the left lead (it was closer to one wall of the indoor than the other) than from the right lead. On the left lead it was easy as I’m just more comfortable on the left lead some days. To the right, steering to the base wasn’t the issue, but it took several attempts before I was able to canter out with the same canter as I approached with. Partially, I was terrified that we’d duck out, but mostly I was lazy in my approach and didn’t actually ride to the base and OVER the fence. Once I added leg and rode, it was fine. But, for some reason, I just faced a bit of insecurity and was riding with more hand than leg. Skinnies do that. But, I had Ranger off his front end so I really just needed leg… I eventually learned.

Do things right the first time/I love winter Ranger: Winter Ranger is in front of my leg and I LOVE IT! He’s forward and responsive. We started the next exercise which was the Swedish oxer (next to our skinny) on the right lead and then were to do the inside line in a 7. Oxer was fine, the inside line we did in a VERY long 6. I mostly just landed from the in and let him go. It was fine, but I probably could have helped for a nice 6. We redid that and the 6 was lovely. No point on collecting for a pony 7.

Plan ahead: Next we did this 3 jump course/bending line. Basically, outside single followed by the inside single boxes bending line to the double Xs. It’s hard to explain without media, but there was a small window to turn before you’d miss your chance to get to the jump. When you jumped the single, you’re pretty much facing the outside rail of the ring so you need to plan to turn in the space between the outside single and the Swedish oxer/skinny jump… But, for whatever reason, I could steer and Ranger jumped the snot out of all 3 fences.

Listen and STEER CORRECTLY: We finished up, or tried to, but doing the same 3 fences in the opposite direction. So, outside single heading away from the in gate, double Xs bending to the boxes. I jumped the single perfectly 3 times, but kept screwing up my approach to the double Xs. The first time Ranger noped out when I cut the corner. Then, misunderstanding what my trainer was telling me (turned too soon–>I interpreted as turn sooner), I made worse, and then even worse, until she changed her wording to stay out longer… By the 4 attempt, we stopped doing the outside single because trainer decided I didn’t need to keep jumping that one and couldn’t do it better (seriously). Once I stayed out, I actually saw the straight line (::head –>desk::) and the jump was easy and then Ranger overachieved, REALLY jumping the snot out of the last fence. I swear it took days for my back to feel normal.


Regardless, Ranger is a saint. And, winter Ranger is SO MUCH FUN (yay for being in front of my leg!!!). Even if he hates to bend. But, I didn’t feel like focusing on out bending issues this post.