2019 Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange

Another year, another fabulous gift exchange thanks to Tracy over at the Printable Pony.

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This year my gift came from Olivia at DIY Horse Ownership. There are absolutely no words to describe her extraordinary gift.

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You see, I signed up before I lost Batt. I thought about emailing Tracy to either edit my description or pull out but… I didn’t. I was not in the holiday spirit at all for weeks. In fact, at Thanksgiving, my husband asked what I wanted for Christmas? I said I wanted my horse back… so yeah. I just had to home someone would read my blog and realize I lost Batt and at least not address the card to him and me (I’ve done stuff like that).

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But Olivia? Her gift? I was crying after reading the card and bawling by the time I opened the gift.

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Handmade quilted stuffed Batty is perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

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Thank you Olivia!

**The first thing my husband asked when he saw it was, is that from the person who made mini Jiminy a few years ago? Strangely enough, I think they might be to scale to each other!**o poop

 

Yay or Nay: first lesson (!)

Let me start by saying, NO ONE DIED!

But Nay Nay managed to get caught in his hay net during the 4 minute drive to the barn and had to be cut out. Seriously horse, you are on a suicide mission.

We got there and thanks to the hay net incident, I had an anxious mess on my hands. I did some walk/trot/halt/backs in the indoor before starting to lunge but when my trainer came in, we decided just to run him around the indoor. He proceeded to not move faster than a trot, and keeping him trotting was HARD. We gave up when he decided he wanted to roll (no) and stuck his bridle on. He showed he had ZERO ground manners 🤦🏻‍♀️😳 and was a complete embarrassment. But, as I’m paying for assistance, he and trainer exchanged words and he was actually a gem for me to get onto once the bridle was on.

We worked for a while on walking and circles and keeping my leg against him without reaction or me pulling or doing anything (so hard just to sit and be loose!!!!). But we got there.

Then, how exciting, we trotted. And, nothing exactly happened. I had to not pull other than play with inside rein if he was focusing outside but we circled and changed paths and all that and changed directions. All was pretty good. He had moments of weird head fits that I can’t really explain–mini I want to act up but then doesn’t so he just tosses his head in the end.–I don’t know. But he was very good all things considered. He was anxious but, lesson 1 is in the books.

After the lesson? His brain melted out his ears and he couldn’t handle getting his bridle off or saddle off or halter off. Trainer’s husband helped and helped load him in trailer. But, then we got home, and lightbulb went off and he realized that we go places and we come back home. No pulling or poor manners. He wasn’t even interested in going back in the field or seeing his friends (walked to water and started eating hay). I’m pretty sure that with repetition, he will get better.

I will be doing a short course of ulcer treatment for him just in case. His whole life has been turned upside down and I just want to make sure his gut is healthy. He has some loose poop, especially when he’s stressed…

Lesson 1 with Nay Nay is in the books!

1 week!

Nay Nay has been part of the family for a week and…we haven’t done much. Lol. I’m still not sold on Nay Nay as a name, but I haven’t got anything better. My husband is calling him Mr Meeseeks from Rick and Morty but I’m not sure that’ll work beyond a nickname… always in your face, whether you want him there or not.

He’s does NOT like being cold OR wet. So, rain is his least favorite thing EVER. He’s grumpy and miserable when he’s wet. For someone who lived out 24/7 without a blanket until a week ago… Granted, my property is colder and damper, but… He’s getting a 100 gram liner in the mail too because grumpy horses are a pain in the butt.

He’s getting better with turn in too. We’re taking him in first and then we take Subi and

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Baby 5 yo Nay Nay

Jiminy. He’s shown his displeasure about being in his stall alone (with grain and hay) for 90 whole seconds, but last night? He didn’t scream once to his friends. Stood, ate, and looked around. He’s also locked in his stall completely. Both dutch doors are closed and his window. He was a little too bitey-face with Subi over one door and the first time I left him alone, he was stressed PLUS wet and cold (so miserable pony) so I closed his outside top door to make sure he didn’t doing anything crazy like jump out. And? He seemed to really like his stall doors closed overnight. It made his stall toastier. So, now they just stay closed. It is winter after all.

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You can kind of see a tiny bit of puffiness. His ugly ankle is normal…

He did do something stupid and gave himself some sort of bump on his splint… Idiot. Dried blood yesterday and it’s a little ouchy today and a touch warm/puffy. He lets me mess with it, but does pick it up for me when I touch it. Sound on it though. Stupid pony. Dealing with it more tonight…

Today and tomorrow? More freaking rain. I want to haul him out to trainer’s and play with him in the indoor. I have no clue if my tack fits him. I’m hoping I can make my saddle work since I don’t want to sell that yet (it fits Bob relatively well and I’m still riding him). I assume I have a girth for him. Bridles? Well, all of mine are horse sized… Him and his little cob head. So that’ll be interesting. Right now I’m hoping it’ll be dry enough for my to lunge in the woods tomorrow and them MAYBE haul out in the afternoon for a field trip to the indoor (not concerned about riding). Then maybe I can ride Sunday if he’s quiet enough? Lesson on Bob Sunday, but I should have time for both…

So that’s where we’re at. He seems to be settling in. He loves his stall, loves his grain, loves to eat hay, drinks a full bucket of water every night. He just hasn’t figured out a slow feeder net yet… He’s destructive on hay bags so I can’t go that route (grr), so he’s getting a small amount in a traditional net and extra in a slow net and hopefully eventually he’ll figure out the net? Horses.

Bogging Blob (blogging Bob?): catch up

I’ve failed on recapping Blob lessons lately. And I’ll fail again as I’m a week out and I remember very few details of my last lesson (forget about all the lessons that have come before that one). That said, I should probably try to catch up with some details.

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Baby 5 year old Nay Nay 

I’m going to try to keep up with Bob as long as the money holds up. I’ve haven’t been back on Nay Nay yet (hopefully this weekend) and haven’t hauled him out to my trainer yet, but it’s going to be a slow process. He’s had some training, but he’s green. Riding a relatively well trained horse, especially over fences, can only help me and Nay Nay. And, until it’s spring, chances are I really don’t feel like hauling on weeknights. So, I’ll be limited to non-horse show weekends anyway for lessons. Besides, he’s turning me into a stronger rider, making me sit up and strengthening my core.

Lately we’ve been working on pace. Initially, working with Blob, it was all about staying even and consistent and getting comfortable. If I don’t ride to the base, Bob says screw it and stops. He’s not a stopper exactly, but, if you don’t ride, he gets lost and stops. The reason I say he’s not a stopper is that most of the time? I can have zero pace, but if I keep my body back? He’ll jump it. The distance doesn’t matter. He’ll fit it in. Snail speed? Sure! Jump for me? Eh… No.

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“What do you mean I’m going to have to work?!”

So, the first several weeks of Bob were spent just developing the feel. Collect, 3 strides out squeeze, and jump. After my first lesson where I basically stopped at EVERY SINGLE FENCE for the first half of the lesson until the collect 3 strides then leg message clicked, we’ve had very few stops. But, we’ve been slow. It’s fine. But slow. First jump of the day is snail slow and then everything else is just collected.

Now? Trainer wants me to have an actually forward pace. The forward pace will help everything eventually, but lead changes in particular. See, we get them now, especially after fences, but they can be sticky and often dramatic on the flat. So, the goal is getting a forward pace so that I’m not, er, flying around and being launched in the air when we practice our changes (note: we usually asked for 1 left to right and one right to left change on the flat each lesson). Also, forward pace will keep SOMEONE from getting bored and swapping down the long side 2 or 3 or 15 times some days.

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Standard Blob and Splinty picture

Anyway, we’re on week 2 of FORWARD. Warm up at the canter consists to leg, crop, and galloping down the side and some growling at Bob. And more leg, crop, and growling before we finally are forward. I feel completely out of control, but supposedly we look good? Lol. I have to get used to the hand gallop. That said, the changes are much cleaner even though we have a temper tantrum at the canter before we get to that part.

As for fences? I’m struggling a little more. I see all my distances now at the slower pace, but my eye hasn’t adjusted 100% to the more forward pace. I’m trying to remain consistent and we’re getting there, but it feels fast. Last lesson? We had to circle once when someone wanted to run off with me around a turn and I needed to regain control, but otherwise, we’re getting there. One of these weeks I’ll get video for comparison purposes of slow Blob vs forward Blob.

And, as they say, you adjust one thing and everything else is a mess… One day. At least our changes are consistent?

So I went shopping…

When you get a new horse, what else do you do other than go shopping?

Nay Nay (or SNN or SSN because that’s how I read SNN every. single. time. Michele texts SNN) has been living out 24/7 at the rescue without a blanket. It’s been relatively warm-ish and he has a decent coat. BUT, he likes to roll. And he likes dirt. A lot. So, if I have plans to ride him, ever, he’s going to start being blanketed. And he’s a thoroughbred so it’s not like he has THAT great of a coat.

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So Saturday morning it was cold. I got him cleaned up, pulled out some old blankets (a 72″ that fits more like a 74″ of Hayley’s that Subi can squeeze into in a pinch — fits his chest, but his butt hangs out), a 14 year old 76″ Stateline of Subi’s (he fits better in a 78″ these days) that possibly isn’t waterproof anymore, and an 80″ dover of Batt’s that was narrow, but never was washed so…

The 72″ fit-ish pretty well, but was a bit short in the butt. It would work. But, it was a heavy weight and Nay Nay really didn’t need a heavy weight. Hayley was never a 72″ and I’m not sure if she was a 74″ either. Honestly, the sizing of this blanket was just weird.  Nay can use it if he ever needs a heavy. Lol. The 76″ fit really well but I’d prefer not to use it as anything other than an emergency spare (see age plus I found a tear in the seam so I kept it on and headed over to Dover first for their blanket sale.

And mostly struck out. See, unless I wanted to order online, the store was out of a lot of their rider blankets. I could get a northwind for a decent price, but then I’d be stuck with the same blankets as Subi and with Subi in a 78 and Nay Nay in a 76, I’d have to be checking constantly the size and I’m lazy. I want to be able to tell by looks which blanket belongs to which horse. So, Nay Nay got a cheap sheet and…

Panda Bears.

He looks very good in Panda Bears.

Next stop? The new Fair Hill Saddlery. From what I understand, the ownership may be similar to Chick’s Saddlery (family’s last name is Chick), but some of the merchandise is more high end (fits, Tailored Sportsman, etc.). Saturday was the official grand opening though they’ve been open for about a week. They had a tent sale and lots of cheap blankets. I got 2 sheets (one for Subi and one for Nay Nay) for $35 each and a cooler for $23.

I also ended up with 3 lunge lines and a new cheap halter. Nay Nay has a cob head and his new horse size halter he came with is too big… Plus a free saddle pad from Dover. And a new tiger’s tongue.

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So. Much. Stuff

 

Welcome to the family Say Nay Nay

(there may be a few versions of this post published and unpublished because wordpress hates me today)

Welp, I adopted a horse on Wednesday. For those of you who are friends/follow on Facebook/Instagram, this isn’t news. (Or for everyone I’ve emailed/texted, lol). For the rest of you, I’d like to introduce Say Nay Nay, aka Nay Nay because I am continuing my tradition of not naming my horses.

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Nay Nay is a 8 year old thoroughbred. He was a New Holland kill pen rescue 2-3 years ago after his rather…slow…racing career and was adopted out to a lady in Maryland. Due to health reasons, she can no longer physically ride so she returned Nay Nay and after some refresher training, he was listed for adoption again. He’s still a bit green, but I rode him after a week off and he’s also part Shetland pony mentally. Lol. He has some ugly front legs, but clean X-rays and the vet says it shouldn’t hinder any career at all.

Nay Nay came home yesterday (screaming the entire trailer ride), but settled pretty fast. Subi perked up immediately. Jiminy wanted Nay Nay to know he’s Subi’s best friend and has stuck like glue to Subi. Nay Nay just wants to eat and finds Subi annoying outside. Constantly on the move, “can’t we just stop and eat hay scraps you idiot?”

He was nervous coming inside to his stall last night. My husband had to lead him the last part of the way because trying to do him and Subi was hard. Subi wasn’t helping (ooh, grass!) and I kept getting squished. But, he didn’t do anything, just took things in. He found his feed bucket immediately and checked out the stall between bites. He’d been living out so it’s an adjustment. Several times he and Subi touched noses through the stall bars. My heart. I checked on him an hour later and there was poop and he was mugging for peppermints (this horse is a food hound). I had to stop myself from going out all night.

I’ll check on them in a few minutes with breakfast. Hopefully everyone did ok. Nay Nay is used to living out and Subi and Jiminy have been staying out, but I’m trying to start bringing in again vs 4 hours and 1 hour for feeding.

I wasn’t looking for my horse yet, but in my search for a companion, someone sent me to MidAtlantic Horse Rescue and there he was. They also do an amazing job with their companions and I could have adopted/borrowed one from them for as long as I needed. But Nay Nay grabbed my heart. I decided if he didn’t work out, I wasn’t looking for a riding horse until spring. No pressure but he had to be everything. I had people (many) say it was too soon. I thought it was, but everyone heals differently and I haven’t been healing. Nay Nay hopefully will help Subi heal but he will definitely help me heal. I won’t forget Batty ever, but I need to love another horse in order to get through this. I’m more like Subi than I care to admit. I’ve been surviving as a shell too for a month. If feels good to smile again.

Anyway, welcome to the family!

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Jiminy’s Monster Fighting Adventure

Things are still rough around here and I’m missing my Batthorse more than I can explain. Subi isn’t doing well. He enjoys carrots and some peppermints, but that’s about it. I’m working to find him a friend, but I’m not sure he’s going to get through this loss.

But today I wanted to talk about Jiminy.

img_1564I’ve taken to bringing the boys in for a few hours each evening for dinner and then turning them back out. The goal is to get Subi to eat without giving him time to stress too much. Results? Eh. But, he’s less stressed than when he’s in overnight (he eats less though).

Jiminy is NOT a fan of this arrangement. Especially if the weather is less than perfect. He has some tall tails of woe to share about the weather. Especially because on Wednesday night right before Thanksgiving, it was super windy. In fact, wind gusts reached 50 mph occasionally…

And Jiminy says he almost blew away.

He was NOT HAPPY.

img_1508Jiminy says it’s been a really really rough and tough 24 hours. First, he had to stay outside in the dark and cold and wind 💨 last night and he almost blew away.

Then, overnight he had to fight off, single handedly: a fox, a bear, a coyote, a wolf, a dragon, a chimera, Camaro, and a Humvee.

And now his brother is being mean to him and chasing him away from the hay pile (there are 7 piles).

Jiminy needs a rescue squad.

And he wants his stall back overnight.

Struggle bus.

We WERE making progress, but now? Not so much.

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A lot of this is still happening…

It seems Subi is back on a backwards slide and has regressed since Friday. Since Sunday a week ago? I finally felt like he was moving forward with his grief and we might get through this. He was eating in his stall at night, laying down, and while not necessarily happy, generally content.

Since Saturday, not so much. He’s more or less back to where he was before. Stall walking, desperate to be out in the morning, and being a jerk (trying to run me over and/or bucking and rearing like this morning). Each day seems to get worse. He’s not trying to be bad, but he’s just… miserable. And it’s heartbreaking to see.

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Miss him being happy

I’ve put some feelers out for a new horse, but emotionally, I’m not ready yet. I want to take my time and find the right horse and I think waiting a few months would be better for everyone. Especially when the first horse that came along was a coming 5 year old TB cross with a good brain, started over fences. He was free lease that probably would end up given to me and I just…couldn’t. For so many reason. I didn’t even want to look. I mean, yes, it was greener than I need/want, but, I’m NOT READY. So… yeah.

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Miss him so much

So, right now I’m looking to borrow something for a few months. A trainer friend has a horse I might be able to borrow, but she has to work out a few details (make sure her clients are OK for one). It would open up a spot for a border for the winter for her. Crossing my fingers this one works out. He’s a nice horse, but if it doesn’t, she’ll help me find something to borrow.

My goal here? Change the herd dynamics and give Subi something else to focus on. He needs a new friend and a change of scenery.

 

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flashback to happier times. 

Blogging Bob: “except he’s such a jerk.”

Ah Blob. It’s about time I catch up on some lesson recaps. Or, more accurately, start recapping lessons again. I mean, I’m not going to even try to recap all my missed lessons. But, some lessons did happen.

Proof:

Last night (and the last couple lessons), the focus was on maintaining a consistent forward pace. The week before, I ran into the issue of running out of gas leaving the in gate for my inside line and it sucked. Basically, I got over the in, landed, did NOT move away from the fence, then Blob decided it was time for a lead change and I decided we most certainly were NOT attempting the out.

So, goal? Not to do that again.

Unfortunately, I struggled a bit cantering on the flat and was doing a weird twisty thing with my body. Up the quarter line on the left lead, Blob will throw in all the changes in the world if you’re not careful, so, in an attempt not to do that, I was a little too active. I was also recovering from the pneumonia shot in my right arm (and flu in my left) and right arm weakness was playing a role… Lol. Still, our left to right change was spot on and we continued around, past the in gate (aided my some crop because, er, leg was not enough), and the right lead canter was a touch better, less the weird twisty stuff I was doing. We finished with another acceptable change (right to left) and celebrated with a nice walk (er, stand) break and Blobber fell asleep.

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“Are you talking about ME?” 

We warmed up with the tiniest of fences, the outside single, which was basically just the flower boxes and a pile of poles left over from tiny pony kids earlier. Left lead, once we figured out balance through a circle for a nice canter, was lovely, and right lead, we got over it, but continued back around for a much nicer second attempt. I did have to re-remember a little “tug, tug” from Ranger days because, while less extreme, a bit of head dragging was occurring. One thing I did realize is I like horses with higher head carriages while jumping. Subi, Bob, etc.

Next, we attempted the inside straw bales around to the inside line. I HATE THE INSIDE LINE. I have this issue of turning too late and losing gas (see above). The first time, I think the single just sucked so much that we started completely over just to get a nice canter. OK, what really happened is that I forgot the squeezing 3 strides out and just stayed back with my body so, because I did that, Blob jumped and I got left behind and it was super ugly. Take 2? I rode, added leg and it was better and then, again, the inside line?  I turned late, but got off the ground, and was forced to ride every single step to the out. It was fine, but I felt like I had to work too hard.

So the thing about the line was that turning late is USUALLY better than turning too early. Except, it my case, I get sucked into the in gate because I actually use my rail, and I don’t seem to have a strong enough right leg (I need to ride more). But, if you turn too early, based on ring setup, horses typically assume that they’re heading down the quarter line…

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Not to be left out, Miss Marble!

Take 2 (er, 3? if you include the first failure?) again I was fine for the single, and turned earlier for the inside line which allowed me to keep the forward momentum from the single which carried me across the fence and the line rode well! Woohoo! So, trick here? Turn a touch earlier than I normally would or I get sucked into the gate and it becomes a little be too hard. I guess early for me isn’t exactly early, but straight? Who knows…

After a break where we talked about horses and Bob (see the end of this post), we finished up with a course that included way too many lead changes during the “wake up you idiot phase” because Bob, being Blob, was convinced he was finished and I couldn’t be serious with my canter… Oh Blob…

Our course? Inside pink single, around to outside single, inside line, straw bales. Honestly? It went REALLY REALLY WELL. Nailed every. single. distance. And every lead change we needed. And it was fun. I really like this horse you guys. He makes me work, ride, and be assertive. But, if I ride, he rewards me and does everything.

So, my trainer is pretty sure his owner might give him to me, except, the problem is, he’s a jerk. Bob, who is perfect to ride, goes on trail rides, is dead quiet. Is a complete, utter, jerk. To the point that he can be dangerous. And, that is probably a no go. Trainer thinks it is. There is no way my husband could handle him. He bites. He can be downright mean. And I don’t know that I want something like that at home.

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Really Blob, why are you how you are? 

So, the horse that could probably teach me everything I ever need and want to know, is a complete ass.

Nice, right?

I haven’t had to deal with too much of his jerk behavior. Though I did the one day I came out to ride right after I lost Batt. He was napping in his stall and didn’t want to be disturbed. Ears pinning. Snapping. Threatening. His threats are a warning of what could come. I wasn’t in the head space to deal with it, but I know how to now. Trainer got him out with a combo of halter tossing and kind words whenever he backed down. On the crossties? He was an angel.

The worst part? We get along really well and I think he actually likes me. But for now, this is a no go.

Thanks Blob for being a jerk.