Recapping Ranger. I’m a mental mess.

I’ve been avoiding posting about my lessons for the last few weeks. First because I didn’t have a lesson for about 3 weeks and then I had a really crappy lesson. So crappy that I managed to fit an extra lesson in over the weekend that sorta made me feel better but not really. This past week was better. Still, I find myself struggling to recap.


Exciting news! the barn now has ELECTRICITY! 

Thursday nights have turned into groups with the “big kids.” Aka the teenagers and their horses/division large ponies who have no fear. As a result, at this point, they all ride way more often than me. When I’m on, I don’t find this intimidating, but sometimes? Yeah. We also all seem to get on whenever so if they start at 6, I start at 6:30, it all merges in to who knows what… Lol.


The other week, I just couldn’t find a rhythm to my canter. It wasn’t there. It was fine when the jumps were small, but when raised, I basically rode a saint into the a nothing spot. And, to make matters worse, I spent the entire start of the lesson, jumping the same fence over and over again until I could get it right. 15 attempts later, I finally succeeded in not failing. That’s how low the bar was… And I could NOT let it go.


Gorgeous sunset one evening

So, come Sunday, I thankfully had a private. The jumps stayed low, and while I didn’t ride much better, there was a little less failing. As a result, I dwelled less on said failures. *yes, my attitude needs work*

We started off on a circle, jumping the four single fences — Outside single, the end stone wall w/o standards, quarter line skinny, and end gate. Goal of the exercise was to work on turning in the air, maintaining a rhythm, and keeping a consistent pace and we continued around several times. My goal? Survival. (expectations=low) (secondary goal? not to die). It actually went pretty well and the second time around actually looked nice. Other lead, rinse, repeat.


Not Ranger but… 

The issue however was, as we moved on, finding the right canter for the remainder of our course work… The previous exercise required collection, the rest of our coursework, not so much. So, after a few fails, I finally got the correct forward canter and stopped riding to crap…

This past week? Back to our group lesson. Instead of the 4 fence exercise we did on Sunday, we took out the skinny and used the remaining 3 with rollbacks/turns. So, left lead to outside single turning in air to end jump (stone w/o standards) turning RIGHT back to outside single on RIGHT LEAD turning in air to other end jump turning left back to outside single on LEFT LEAD repeat. Like always, first time through was about survival and not dying, but the second time was actually pretty nice.


Also not Ranger

From here, our course work consisted of large SKARY fences because, big kids.

So, right lead to outside single, inside single, inside line (repeat inside single, inside line). Focus here was finding pace, keeping pace, and MAINTAINING FORWARD but not galloping. While we got through it initially and it wasn’t bad, I had to make sure to 1. KICK Ranger to make sure I actually had the forward installed (lol) and 2. really squeeze at the base of the fence to remind Ranger to actually jump not just up but over as well… He was sort of kind of going up and straight down vs across…

In the end, we did get there. But, I’m just feeling SO RUSTY. I need to ride more and I want to but life. And then I just feel down and frustrated and hard on myself. And riding with fearless kids just makes me feel incompetent… It’s funny, I’m not a perfectionist, but I expect that I don’t make the same mistake over and over again. And lately, I just can’t stop making mistakes. It’s been rough.

As a result? Blogging hasn’t happened. If I wrote this blog 2 weeks ago I’d have written how much I suck. So this is progress? lol.


So many belts in progress. 

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.


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…


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?


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.



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…


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!


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…


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…


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…


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.



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!


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…



And just because, the dutch doors…


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).

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. 

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.