You crazy lunatics! Why are you spooking?!?!?!?!?!

Preparing for turn in and turn out lately has been… interesting. Subi is either really good or really… not good and on edge. I’m sure part of it is that he needs a job and being in a stall for half the night isn’t helping. So, he’s either on his best behavior or he rears. I’m prepared for both.

This morning he was pretty good walking down to the field. Until we got close and then… explosion. What made this different was there was a chain reaction. Usually Subi explode and I can get his attention and Batt ignores us. Except this time Batt exploded too. My husband was a little shocked by the calm, fat appendix thing at the end of his lead rope exploding in the air with all four feet off the ground (this is impressive). I focused on Subi while Erik got Batty in the field. Except, once in the field, Batt started rolling and bucking and acting stupid while Subi tried to be good while almost exploding again. I could feel the power keg in my hand and we had one mini explosion as we walked to the gate and while he wasn’t listening, he was trying. Once his halter was off (stupid rope halter…), the fireworks started…

FYI Jiminy had NO IDEA what was going on (he only reacted when the big guys got too close to him and to join the fun)…

Watch with sound…

I’m hoping everyone will be alive and INSIDE THE FIELD when I get home. They were picking at Subi’s leftover mash when I left for work so I assume that was enough of a distraction… Jiminy was VERY disappointed that the boys calmed down enough to help pick at food as he thought the bucket was 100% his…

Horses are stupid.

It feels like I’ve been saying this a lot, but evidently I haven’t used this as a blog title yet.

But seriously, HORSES ARE STUPID. At least my horses are stupid.

Subi seems to follow a 2-3 day on (good behavior) followed by an explosion.

I had been leading him in with a halter and a chain. Except, he started resenting the chain, overreacting to the chain, and I decided to try something different so we’ve moved on to the rope halter. Prior to the rope halter, it got to the point that I couldn’t even correct any behavior as he’d correct himself… With the rope halter, things have been better. Well, I haven’t had to do anything since throwing it on Friday, but… Most of our time is spent with Subi licking and chewing. Saturday night I even led him to the barn alone. No Batt in sight! (Batt decided he wanted to go out the frozen gate shut gate and I didn’t feel like waiting…)

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Not innocent

Until last night. Last night he was on edge. But, we halted, we backed, we licked, we chewed, we backed, we halted, we kept ourselves in check. I was very proud. Especially considering the ground was slushy and gross.

This morning, slush had frozen over and I pulled blankets. So, 28 degrees out, he was cold. And it was icy. (tough, it was going up to 54-55). And instead of behaving, Subi decided rearing was the right response. I can’t remember my initial reaction. I might have just yanked on his halter a few times and then backed him down the snowy hill. Then we walked onto the icy driveway to take the less slippy path.

Passing the “front” of the house, he tried to be stupid again and I lost it and yelled “ARE YOU CRAZY? DO YOU WANT US BOTH TO DIE? WOULD THAT JUST BE EASIER?” And scared the shit out of both him and Batty. And after that, every time he so much breathed out of place, I might have yelled, “WOAH!” and Subi halted. And then a little harshly yelled, “Back!” and he backed. And then “Walk on!” and only, then did I soften my voice… We made it to the field pretty quickly even with halt and back breaks, but by the time we got there, lots of licking and chewing were going on, and a stupid chestnut’s head was on the ground.

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So. Much. Trouble. 

When he first reared, he nearly reared on top of me and well, not acceptable. The halting and backing HAD been working alone, but sometimes you need to escalate? I’m not sure I’m a fan of yelling (lol), but sometimes I forget JUST HOW MUCH this horse reacts to voice and dislikes being yelled at.

Once the round pen dries up some (haha) we’re going to start working in there. I’m not sure he’ll be sound enough for lunging, but no reason I can’t start desensitizing and other ground work. I need a book of fun ground exercises that aren’t stressful for joints. But if it kills me, we’re going to learn to love tarps. That’s my Subi goal. We’re bomb proofing.

Meanwhile, my other stupid horse is a sloppy eater. Send help. HOW DO I FIX THIS???

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Who does this? How do I fix this? I can’t feed him on the ground as he’d spill his feed all over and eat his bedding… He’d do better without the cubes/pulp but chronic colic and I’m scared to stop what’s working… Picture taken during arctic blast so slop was FROZEN TO THE WALL. 

And my stupid mini likes to poop under the tack room door. We moved mats around, but he’s driving me insane.

WW: a nice change from rain?

Nothing real to update… Subi is working on ground manners. He’s been nicely behaved since Sunday as we halt and back every day walking to and from his stall to the field. It’s cold, it snowed a little, but it’s nothing here compared to the midwest. Everyone is fine. Batt and Jiminy don’t understand why I turned them out this morning. Tonight and tomorrow will be super cold. Eventually I’ll get results from my chest x-ray (too little, too late as I’m finally feeling a lot better).

 

Only interesting thing…

Home vs work. A grand total of 22 minutes apart. Granted, it was only ~3″ but still… NOTHING at work.

Snowless patch on left is under a large tree where there is almost NEVER snow…

Catching up

Not too much to write about. I’ve basically been sick since my last post (bronchitis or possibly pneumonia though we didn’t do x-rays so don’t actually know) so not much has happened. Still recovering… Haven’t ridden in weeks due to being sick and with a high of 17 this week, chances are I won’t be riding again… Haven’t cancelled 3 lessons in a row in a super long time. I miss Ranger.

My nursing crew (sleeping on the job)

The boys are starting to get into a routine. Some days Subi is a gentleman to lead, other days he’s a rearing mess (more at the end)… But, he seems to be OK in the stall. He more or less eats his dinner (we’ve been feeding breakfast outside) and picks through hay. Sometimes he drinks, sometimes he doesn’t.

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Tiny holes don’t stop Batt!

Batty is a stall pig, but seems to love his stall. He was inhaling too much hay so he was downgraded from the 2″ hay net to a 1″ hay net. That hasn’t stopped him… But, thankfully he still has a little hay left in the morning.  He has free choice hay outside and stands and eats all day. He really doesn’t need to eat 15+lbs of hay in his stall. Not sorry about limiting his hay AT ALL. He’s a pig. He’s also a messy pig. I switched him Saturday from shavings to pellets and HOPEFULLY that will help. Thankfully the pellets aren’t dusty either so… With his heaves, I worry about stalling in general, but he seems ok. I do want to start steaming his hay, just need to build him a steamer…

Jiminy is fine, but likes to poop RIGHT under the storage room door. Maybe next weekend I’ll add another mat there so that I stop messing with the screenings. Thanks Jiminy, very inconvenient.

I also can’t wait until I have electric. Doing stalls by headlamp isn’t the easiest, but oh well. It works?

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Fun key chains from Painted Flanks (though a little bigger than I thought)

Yesterday, the farrier was out and the boys had there feet done in their stalls. Subi was VERY good considering the change of routine. My farrier was very happy not to be trimming on a hill or in the mud. Batt had several abscesses in his front left — not surprising–but overall, everyone was pretty good.

Turning back out after trimming was another story… Subi was a jerk, and proceeded to take his rearing to another level. I did a little ground work walking to the field as I could feel him on edge (he acts up more when the ground is mushy–he doesn’t like the unstable ground), but outside of the gate he proceed to explode, rearing about 6 times and freaking Batty out. I did get after him and maybe overreacted, but… He exploded once he was free (after halter was off and I was safely out of the field — he’s good about that). When we brought in a few ours later in the dark, the ground was harder and he was a bit better. I halted and backed him every once in a while. He rushed the hill where the footing is a bit…slippery, but otherwise was decent. I did extra halts and backs anyways. This morning he was…strange. Extra slow and cautious. I felt like I had to drag him to the field. I’m thinking he’s feeling yesterday? Regardless, we’re doing halts and backs every.single.day. while walking to and from the barn until he can contain himself.

The barn is OPEN.

Finally. The moment I have been waiting for. There are ponies in my barn!

It took a lot of hard work (much of which while I’ve been fighting a cold from hell), but the barn is up and running! Well, mostly, we still need the electric to be hooked up, but that may need to wait until spring.

Friday, after panicking all day about HOW to build Jiminy a stall (my initial plan didn’t pan out) and bothering Michele, we purchased gates at Tractor Supply for a whopping $22.49. Yes, you read that correctly. Thanks to a 10% off coupon and 2 gift cards, I spend $22 on gates. We moved out mats in to the stalls and run in when we got home (I’ll probably add another into the run in, but I was in the midst of an asthma attack that nearly took me to the ER) and called it a night.

Saturday, we got up bright an early, purchased straw in case the anticipated 1-2″ of rain left us with crazy pooling prior to the flash freeze, put up gates (10ft and 14ft), put of bucket hooks, hay net hooks, and salt licks. Then stalls were bedded down. Only thing left was…

The horses!

The transition into the stalls was NOT easy. I’m not going to lie.

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The handsomest, but most stressed, horse

Subi reared 4 or 5 times walking to the barn and was a nervous wreck inside. Jiminy was OK, but feeding off of Subi. Batt? Well, he found his dinner and his hay and life was pretty damn good. I checked on them multiple times. The big boys had the outside top Dutch door open until the rain started coming down pretty hard. Subi got a little wet and was less than thrilled that I closed him in. Batt didn’t actually care. They still had the top half open to see Jiminy under the overhang. img_9353

By the next morning, they’d all survived. Subi managed to eat some hay (5-6lbs), but never touched his dinner. Typical. He did have a nap as when I first appeared there was a bang and commotion before he appeared looking disheveled. I’ll take it. Batt emptied his hay net and was annoyed at my lack of hay net filling abilities… Jiminy ate half of his 2 flakes which was all he really needed. Batt, I learned, is a complete PIG in his stall. Subi pooped in his water bucket…

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I turned out and they were SLIGHTLY better behaved, especially after Subi and I had a quick discussion. Subi also only ran around for about 7 steps before stopping so? Progress. He failed to eat breakfast in his stall but ate it in the field.

Last night? Prior to coming in, they were all huddled, cold, in the run in. Subi marched to the barn like a gentleman. He knew where we were going and he knew it was warm. He didn’t eat his dinner between 5 and 8, but ate it sometime overnight. He also ate most of his hay and seemed 100% more relaxed. In a few days? He’ll have the routine down. Batt? Batt likes stall life but feels he needs more hay. Not my fault he’s a pig and 15 lbs of hay isn’t enough for fatty. He also parks himself by the round bale the second he’s back outside…

Last night it was cold. I know that. Single digits and wind chills well below 0. At 9am, it warmed up to 9 with windchills at -12. I’m SO HAPPY the barn is up and running. I do need ideas to block more wind for Jiminy as the gates do let wind in. Or, at least the front gate. The side gate is pretty well blocked with a tree and fence close by.  Any ideas?

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90% There!

I’m sure everyone is getting tired of barn pictures, but right now that’s all I have in my life about which to update.

Yesterday, despite the frozen temperatures, my site prep people (person) showed up to work on the foundation and add screenings.

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Perfection.

During the installation of the barn, the equipment sort of, kind of got stuck and left grooves/divots in the original foundation. Thankfully, Lloyd was able to fix that, and add screenings to the stalls, fix the grading, and add additional screenings around the barn.

The end result? A perfect barn.

We’re so close! I cut the stall mats that needed cutting yesterday and now just need to move in the full sized mats, add Jiminy’s panels, and add bucket hooks. Hopefully everything will be finished in time for Saturday and Sunday’s ugly weather.

These 2 provided absolutely NO help…

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utterly useless.

Virtual Barn Tour

The barn project hit some snags, but on Friday, they were FINALLY able to finish the set up! My foundation people are scheduled to come back on Wednesday to fix the footing at add more screenings/stone dust (4-5 inches in the stall and basically fix the run in area which will be Jiminy’s stall plus add whatever they have left to the outside area of the the barn). Basically, MUD (it should be a 4 letter word) and RAIN (the really 4 letter word) have killed us.

But, bright and early Friday morning, the crew showed up and 5 (!) hours later, my barn set up was complete!

And your 3 part walking tour.

The barn has experienced its first snow as well and looks gorgeous!

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Hopefully all will go well for footing this week! I really don’t want to postpone! There’s a possibility for an actually storm next weekend (anywhere from 2-15″) so I’d like to get everything set up before then! I could make the stalls work as is if absolutely necessary, but the run in… It’s not usable until the ground is fixed… It’ll be close to 40 on Wednesday so HOPEFULLY they can do something…

Ranger Recap: Ride Defensively.

The frigid cold finally hit the Mid Atlantic yesterday in the form of crazy wind gusts and plummeting temperatures (gusts were up to 50mph during the day). Nonetheless, after cancelling last week due to a migraine, I dragged myself off to the barn to see possibly my almost favorite horse ever.

I was warned that he’d be grumpy, angry, and possibly crazy and that the kids can’t work him through that, but I said I was up for the challenge. Now, Ranger is a draft cross. I’m used to thoroughbreds and warmbloods being up. Ranger being up isn’t like that at all. He doesn’t get up, he gets heavy.

I got on and he tried to convince me he needed a nap. So we worked on trotting with energy and eventually I managed a forward trot knowing that everything could come out over fences. My trainer eventually asked me to through in halts and backs. This is when you could tell he was faking as it took everything I had (and several attempts) before I could halt without Ranger pulling his large head to the ground. Eventually, I was able to keep his head up, but the struggle was real…

After a while, we added in the canter which was surprisingly lovely. However it took a few strides to get my body back were it needed to be (why? no idea but I started the ride a bit forward). After 3 or 4 or 5 times around the ring, we added in the in of the outside line on a circle, in an attempt to tire him out before really starting over fences. We did this 6 times, with the first 3 being nice, then I got passive and Ranger NOPED to the outside. See, I came up to the most PERFECT spot on the most PERFECT stride so I didn’t add extra leg and since we had already jumped it, I didn’t use extra hand (both hands to the inside). Ranger saw the inch I gave and took a mile. I need to be on the ENTIRE ride. Ride defensively. On repeat (x2) no issue.

We switched directions, cantered around 3-4 times,  and did the same thing over the outside single on the other side with no issue.

Feeling “warmed up,” we started down over the inside single heading towards the in gate and then were to come around to the outside line in a holding 7. The inside single is the jump that Ranger loves to OMG LAUNCH over because it’s heading home and GATE. Sure enough, right as we turned, I felt him go for the bit, but I was able to tug his head up early and a couple follow up tugs brought us to a perfect spot. It was really nice and Ranger was slightly pissed that I had his number… We stayed way out but unfortunately, I didn’t keep enough outside leg on him for the line and he noped out of it. That was the last NOPE of the night and sort of woke me up… Circling back WITH outside leg, we got down the line in the 7, continued around, did it in a 7 again, evenly woahing at strides 1-3, continued around and did the line again, this time in a 6. And then we got to walk. Finally.

Next, the word “skinny” came up. Since everyone knows how much I love skinnies…. the plan was to approach the inside single from the opposite direction (away from the in gate) and then stay close to the wall to do this crazy awkward inside line of a skinny to oxer. The issue with the line (in addition to the blasted skinny) is that everyone wants to turn too soon and then the horses assume that they’re jumping the outside single vs the inside line which is not the normal diagonal line but off set so you go all the way around the corner and part way around the side before you turn.

So first time through, we started, and another pony was in hacking so I had a bad corner to my jump because she decided to be in her own world so I circled defensively and Ranger had an “oh shit, she means business” moment when I forced him through a tight turn and made him bend… Ha. Our inside single was perfect and then I forced him to stay OUT and wait for the skinny which in turn made the line an easy 6.

Ultimately, we put in all together. Down the inside single towards the in gate (check). Outside line in the going 6 (check). Awkward skinny inside like (check). Inside single away from in gate (check). Could not have ended with a better course.

The jumps may not have all been picture perfect throughout the lesson, but as my trainer said, it was some of the best riding I’ve ever done. I rode defensively most of the lesson because I needed to. If I gave anything away, Ranger ducked out. I had to ride to the base and over or else we were going around. Lol. When Ranger has energy, THIS is how he shows it. But, it was fun too and great for my confidence. A year ago, I wouldn’t have trusted myself that I was strong enough to ride him through everything. Last night? No issues.

Progress!

After days, weeks, and months of RAIN and then abnormally warm temperatures (read, lows just above for nighttime lows), Sunday night was COLD-ish at 25* which meant on Monday morning they semi-successfully delivered…

MY BARN!

It’s here!

The ground was frozen and the top of the pad was too, but, as it turns out, under the surface of the pad…wasn’t. So, I have some repair work to do. I’ve reached out to the site prep people for a quote for screenings and a quote for them to do the repairs (my husband says he can rake and tamper himself, but why not ask?) though I haven’t heard back yet. But…

MY BARN IS HERE!

I was shaking like a leaf the during the entire delivery process.

You see, only ONE GUY is here.

And half of it is via remote control.

And then he got stuck in the pad… (no video or pictures, my phone died). Not that he ever admitted that.

But the BARN IS HERE!

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Once the setup is complete, the sides will actually be attached…

A crew should be here today (this morning) to set it up and attach it together so it’s not yet officially up, but ONE STEP CLOSER!

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You can see where he got stuck under the overhang… But some raking, tampering, and screenings will fix that. But it’s so pretty!

The stalls are in much better condition. I think the one side just took the bulk of water…

VS

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And just because, the dutch doors…

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Now if only it would STOP RAINING! The good thing is this area is now protected… I have mats to go outside the stall entrances too plus outside of Jiminy’s run in entrance (I’m closing the run in with round pen panels) so at least where they enter will be OK). Eventually spring will come and seed and straw will go down (straw my go down sooner too).

Subi’s Pumpkin Molasses Muffins

So you asked for it and I’m FINALLY providing the recipe. It took me a while because, well, I had to write it down. Which required me making them again… The recipe is rather flexible. So, modify if necessary. I do! (If I’m out of an ingredient, I just use something else or a different quantity. It works!)

Ingredients:

5-6 carrots
3 cups oat bran
1 cup flour
1 quart sweet feed
2/3-3/4 of a 29oz can of pumpkin
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp pink sea salt

Grate/shred the carrots. I threw mine in the food processor because I’m lazy and it’s super easy. img_9104

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
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Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl. If you have a stand mixer, you may wish to use that. img_9109

Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing throughly. img_9111

Fill mini muffin pans [I like the silicone ones, they make removal super easy. I use these] to the top (packing tightly). The muffins don’t rise so no need to leave room. I fill with a regular spoon.

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Bake at 300* for 60-70 minutes.  Cool on rack.

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They ARE shelf stable, but I found that after a couple of weeks, I like to refrigerate. I leave mine a little soft so I can stick a pill in the top so they could probably be cooked a touch longer due to the pumpkin. After 3+ weeks, they start to go with the moisture content. But, they do keep longer in the refrigerator.

Makes ~7 dozen. You can cut the recipe to make less.