Well, crap.

I was planning to post all week.

First about my fantastic ride on Saturday where I cantered into my first fence (not including the second jump in a line) since sometime in December.

Then I planned to write about my failed attempt to ride on Sunday because of my jackass neighbor, his ATVs, horse spooking antics, and Subi going lame.

I hoped to write about my lesson on Wednesday which ended up not happening due to rain (so much rain) and a massive migraine. This would have been my first lesson since December.

Then I planned to write about my rescheduled lesson on Thursday. The lesson, by the way, was great.

Instead? I’m writing about my trailer. My trailer, my lovely OLD beater of a trailer which was purchased for Batt but also with Hayley in mind has been a lifesaver. Subi will load in it as well. But Batt? That was HIS trailer. He self loaded with confidence in that thing. Nay Nay? He dislikes it, but loads without issue. He likes the step up, but it’s a bit rickety for him. Still, he is willing to eat the world’s best alfalfa in the trailer so it’s not all bad…

At least until my drive to my lesson. Then things got bad.

Keep in mind my trailer is old. It’s a 1989. But it was refurbished in 2013? It was serviced/checked out when I got new tires the end is 2019 and I planned to get it looked at this year (last year… Covid). It’s basically the most basic steel box. But it works as I regularly drive 3.5 miles ROUND TRIP and that might be being generous. 1 mile to my lesson, 2 home if I take the long way… yeah.

So, driving to my lesson yesterday morning and in the side mirror I saw the rear trailer tire wobbling… a lot. Shit. It looked like it was going to come off. I had 2 choices, well 3. Stop in the middle of the road, continue to my trainer’s driveway, or go home. I could see the driveway so I continued on to my lesson as that seemed to be the best option. I parked, checked the bolts (tight) called my husband who also checked the bolts, and tacked Nay up and rode.

Ultimately, the group of us uneducated auto people determined it was the axle. At some point I lost the hub cap. And the wheel wasn’t straight. I called a few garages and found one close who would take it. The US Rider to arrange a flatbed.

Fail. They couldn’t get a flatbed. They did find someone to tow it slowly. Fine. If something went wrong, it was on them. Except the wrong hitch was given to the tow people (I specifically said I wasn’t looking at the ball size and I didn’t know). They told the company 2 5/8…

I went out to wait and then waited over an hour. Then we couldn’t get it hitched… then we tried to use my hitch but rusted on my truck. Ultimately, I had to drive it the 4 miles to the garage with the tow guy as my escort with his 4 ways making sure no one died or that the wheel didn’t fly off. We averaged 10-15mph but the wheel stayed on (his boss basically said we had to keep going if we lost the wheel but I didn’t know it)… we made it to the world’s tiniest parking lost where thankfully the shop owner parked for me. He said he hoped it would be about a week…

All of this of course is assuming that the repair costs aren’t so extreme that they are more than the trailer… I’m casually searching for a trailer. Used. Newer. I say 2000 is newer but my mom is encouraging 2010 or newer. Anything is new compared to 1989! Nay got a ride home from the haul in that rode after us. He was very unsure of the ramp, but he’d be ok with time. Still, I think he’d prefer a step up at this point. Straight or slant, no preference. So if anyone knows anything in the midatlantic that is affordable, let me know!

Riding recap.

Nay Nay-face looking out his stall door
Always Mr. Goofy Face

And just like that it’s been 2 weeks since my last post.

Where to start?

2 weekends ago things were… awful. My trainer was back from FL and while not ready for lessons, I was determined that I would ride my horse. Saturday was not pretty at all. It was windy and ugly but damnit. I was going to ride.

I pulled into the barn and I realize right away I should have just turned around and kept driving. I was immediately greeted at the end of the driveway by a horse. Not normal. So I stopped, put on my 4 ways and caught the gelding while everyone around me ran around like fools. He was quickly handed off and I pulled around to park. But if that wasn’t a sign? In the barn, I groomed and tacked up. Nay was fine until some ponies came in, spooked, and bodied slammed the wall. Nay was done. In the indoor a lesson was going on and Nay decided that rearing was OK. It was not. I tried some ground work but never got through to him. I accepted some chemical assistance and was at least able to get on where I spent my ride trotting him down (there were 5 horses in the ring by that point) until we came to an agreement that we don’t jump sideways at every noise, sound, or movement. Moral of the story? Loose horse? DRIVE AWAY.

Goofy Nay Nay photo
“Is this my best angle?”

Sunday the barn was emptier. Western trainer was finishing up a lesson and rides. Nay was quieter so I got right on and one of the riders stayed in with me so I could work on getting Nay used to riding with other horses. Except, he had too much energy. After trying to work through it where Nay tried SO HARD to be good but where all he really wanted to do was buck me off (he didn’t but you could tell he wanted to), I finally hopped off and lunged him. Nay NEVER plays on the line. The first thing he did was explode. So out of character but he was holding it back and trying to be good. So, after one good buck, I let him canter and then did some canter trot canter transitions each way and by the end of our lunge session? Nay’s head was about 18 inches lower. His eyes were relaxed and he just looked… happy. After that? we had a nice, relaxed ride. That said, as we were leaving? Another freaking loose horse. Turns out part of the fence was down… But, horses were crazy which made leaving a stressful experience.

Nay Nay riding photo
He’s such a good boy.

With all of that in mind, I set out this past weekend to ride a little later in the day. Due to work, I was unable to get out and ride during the week (work has been hectic). By the time I made it out, lessons were over and the barn was quieter. I’m OK sharing the ring, but I wanted to make sure that we had access to either the indoor OR outdoor to lunge. Because, my new plan is to lunge before we ride. So Saturday we had a nice lunge in the indoor before we rode.

Sorry for the orientation… I left my husband in charge. Yes, I missed the first 2 distances…

It was nice enough to ride outside, but I haven’t been riding and didn’t feel like introducing a new ring on a cooler day. My plan was to ride outside Sunday but that didn’t end up happening. I went out Saturday with a touch of anxiety, but Nay was a doll. We did what we felt comfortable doing and he was a gem. I haven’t been asking for the canter because it takes a lot out of me physically, but as he landed IN the canter after a couple of jumps, I decided I’d just let him canter. It worked out well and was a lot less work on my part.

The right lead will always be the right lead… what happens when I don’t remember to set it up. Ignore my head.

Sunday, more of the same. Except, warmer temps and high, high, high winds. Every jump in the outdoor blew over and everything was banging around. I was exhausted from the ride the day before, but despite all of that, Nay didn’t care one bit. We had a pleasant ride INSIDE thanks to the weather though did a little less than the day before (my confidence wasn’t quite as high thanks to shaky legs from the day before).

Eventually I’ll canter in, but for now…

What I’ve found is that lunging right now is key. It puts BOTH of us in the mindset for work. Nay gets to warm up without me (he’s sometimes a little cold backed) and I get to see what his energy level is (physical and/or mental). Depending on how hard we work on the ground, we adjust how hard we work under saddle. As I’m not riding him very hard right now, the ground work is probably a good thing. He’s also improved A LOT on the lunge line as we work on transitions. Walk is now in his vocabulary (though downward transitions from trot to walk are still a work in progress). Good boy doesn’t mean woah anymore either.

Hugging Nay Nay
I adore this horse. Even when I don’t.

Slowly getting back at it

Happy March everyone! Who knew 3 months after getting sick I’d still be in recovery mode? The good news is the full body weakness is gone. The bad news is, my immune system sucks and my asthma isn’t exactly under control… and endurance is non existent.

Forever a problem child

The weather has also sucked. Nothing like the south, but the Mid Atlantic/southeastern Pennsylvania has had one snow storm after another. Nothing crazy, but enough. Actually, some of them have been sleet storms for my portion of the county because totals have varied upwards of 12-15” for some storms in the same county (45 miles apart) due to the snow/sleet line. But, either way it’s sucked. Even worse because we still haven’t fixed the snowblower and my driveway is evil (I can only afford plowing every so often). And yesterday? Rain. So much rain and flooding. I’m surrounded by creeks. Between the melt and the rain…

I hate my driveway.

But enough about weather. The horses.

Nay hasn’t been eating as well as he should. He’s not loving this batch of orchard grass (2 bales left if he’ll just eat them) plus Subi deciding he can’t eat breakfast inside… I’m not sure if his weight is awful or if he’s lacking muscle… anyway, horses. I just don’t like how picky he is. I’m treating him for ulcers again, but it’s not helping so I’m pretty sure that’s not it. Subi, on the other hand, is night and day since starting ulcer treatment.

He is cute though

But, due to weather, I hadn’t ridden since the beginning of February. Wednesday we reached a balmy 52 and finished shoveling out the trailer (I don’t haul in snow and that Monday it snowed) and off Nay and I went to the barn to ride. We lunged and I hopped on.

The ride was nothing exciting. We trotted a bunch and did poles (a favorite) and worked on a puddle from the leaky roof. We were joined by another haul in and found out about monthly caveletti clinics in town so we might try those as well as Friday night dressage schooling shows. I have no interest in dressage, but it’s a low key way to get him hauling elsewhere in town. It maybe adds 5 minutes to our current trip. So something to think about for this year.

Thoughts about work

We rode again Thursday, this time 100% solo. More poles. There were several set up thanks to the resident western trainer so we just played with what was there and changed our pattern constantly, circling, bending, changing direction, etc. we added in some 2ft fences here and there as well and Nay had a grand old time. I don’t know what it is, but this kind of ride really suits him. I did canter a couple of circles and found myself heaving a touch but I survived? Lol

Friday was COVID shot 1 and Saturday I was just exhausted so I waited till Sunday to ride again. In the pouring rain. Not ideal. I’m a fair weather hauler, but we did it. There was barn activity and Nay was a touch up and cold backed so I tossed him on the line. The other trainer ended up dismantling the ring ( so he could drag ) as we ride (left us piles of poles) but of all things Nay cares about), moving jumps/standards/boxes is not one of them. Didn’t even give them a second glance. Go figure. We had a nice walk/trot ride and called it a day.

Always a good boy. But if he’d just eat breakfast…

Trainer is back Tuesday from Florida. Honestly? I’m enjoying playing right now and might wait a few weeks before I start lessons. I mean, I don’t really have the strength to canter yet… so why bother? We could use help at the trot, but I just want to enjoy my rides and not make them work while I’m trying to come back.