Happy 11th Anniversary Subi!

Yesterday marked Subi’s 11 year anniversary with me.

He was young and spry 9 year old when he joined the family.

He’s now a 20 year old retired senior with some arthritis and hind end issues that are starting to slow him down, but he’s still my quirky and lovable chestnut.

It’s been an interesting ride and he was the one who started me down this road towards madness and I wouldn’t have it any other way… except on those days he chooses not to eat.

img_5388

Thank you Subi for 11 wonderful years. Here’s to many more with my Subliminal.

(He celebrated with carrots and peppermints in his breakfast)

Ranger Recap: Happy Place

I’ve been awful about blogging lately. I had a great lesson last week on Ranger and a really nice ride on Batts on Sunday (we rode in the ring and both enjoyed ourselves), but never got around to writing about it. Oh well…

Last night I managed to drag myself out for a lesson. I wasn’t in the mood, but I made myself. And then showed up to an empty barn. Thankfully after messaging my trainer, she was home and willing to come out and teach me when I was ready so I got Ranger ready and rode.

I guess it was camp week so I had a camp horse. He wasn’t exactly responsive on the flat. I mean, I had great brakes, but that was about it? He was sluggish and just wanted to drift to the middle. So, inside leg was the mode of the day. Great. I had none. But, despite that, he was a good boy and was quite willing to move at the trot. [We also spent way too much time on sit trot circles… Good thing I practiced those without stirrups on Batts…] Canter to the right? Not so much. But, once we re-established that when we don’t pick up the canter I will stop asking, recollect, and ask again, rather than looking like crap until I do get a canter, I got there, but damn, inside leg was necessary because someone wanted to drift in. So, when we cantered left, I was crazy surprised that we stayed out, because normally we don’t stay out that easily to the left.

img_4573

You can sort of see the course… Not the best view of the ring, but I took it from Ranger’s back while on a walk so…

It was another course change, but our outside single mostly stayed the same (but we lost the inside quarter line I liked so much). We started out cantering up our outside single and then down our inside single (brown boxes) which was actually UP to start with. Goal of this exercise was basically our path and pace. First time through, eh. I was a tiny bit slow the the first fence but the the spot was there, simple change was actually pretty neat and quick, we stayed out and had a nice path to our inside single. However, I didn’t actually trust someone enough and we were too slow to our inside single heading to the barn and chipped. Basically, I had no pace and  rode too passively. When I’m unsure, I get passive because Ranger will jump me out of pretty much anything.

So we circled and started over, this time with pace and energy and had a much better pace to fence one which we then carried on to the second fence. Now, after realizing that  I was riding Ranger, Camp Horse, aka, “I’m lazy and tired,” I was also I little more confident and active? Ranger can get strong and pull even though he’s amazing and perfect so knowing that heading toward the gate that this was NOT the horse I had, I rode his much differently and actually moved him up. So, turning the  corner to our fence, I saw the distance and instead of steadying him, we maintained our pace and had a nice forward pace and distance. From here, we continued to our inside line (I first almost turned to the wrong inside line… oops) in a 4, moving up on the landing of the first fence to actually get the 4.

Do you ever have one of those rides that after the first jump or 2, you just can’t miss?  That’s what this ride turned out to be. I saw every distance, made every correction necessary, because we didn’t actually come in perfectly at every given time. But, my eye was on. I need to remember and trust that I can actually find distances as scary as it seems. I just, most of the time, don’t trust that I can.

Our next course was basically the same in a slightly different order/directly. So, we came up the inside single (towards the road/away from the barn), down the outside single (towards the barn) and the same inside green line. And, because, for some reason I’m convinced my trainer likes me thinking on my feet, we can’t ever just do what I’m told, we have to add and keep going. So, after the green line, she had me do the brown boxes again, heading towards the barn. This time though, it just felt easy.

img_4609

Some of my favorite ears…

We ended with our brown boxes again, towards the road, to our other inside line, gross straw bales (it’s rained a lot lately and they haven’t done well) to the white stone oxer. We landed from the straw bales pretty slow and drifted left but since we started jumping, Ranger has been SO responsive and moved up off and forward off my leg and jumped the crap out of that jump just because I asked him to. I mean, he had campers all week on his back so he wouldn’t have if I hadn’t asked, but he was happy to do so at the slightest asking. Such a good boy. Everything felt easy. I love him so much.

We ended with a nice walk around the property and a bath before helping turn out. Hanging out with him is really becoming my happy place. How can it not be?

img_4604

summer in chester county

Oh and just because, meet Biscuit!

img_4503

The Biscuit “Bisquick” kitty

How to ride The Grumpy Chestnut

In all my posts lately about Ranger, I haven’t written a lot about Batty. In fact, after our few disastrous rides, I haven’t really WANTED to ride him. So far this year, we’ve had a grand total of 3 rides.

So, with summer coming up, I had to change that.

img_4067

Why not pick the hottest day of the year to ride again?

img_4068

I was going to haul out on Sunday morning, but instead, I decided to sleep in (7:30 just seemed so nice…), and then the idea of hooking up the trailer just seemed like too much work. I was already making excuses. So I decided to ride at home. I decided to try and bring the fun back for both of us and created a little playground in my backyard highlighting what Batts likes (crossrails, hills, and fun) and avoiding what he dislikes (anything that’s not a crossrail, solid jumps, too much work, non fun stuff, collection, etc.). So Batty watched me set up his course/playground with extreme interest and when I finally went to catch him, walked up to me rather than away from me (often I can’t catch him…)–huge change.

We also made 2 other changes. I lunged him lightly at whatever pace he wanted (to the left he chose the trot, to the right he chose a combo of a trot and canter) and I stuck a nose net on him to see if we could do anything to combat the violent head tossing he was doing the last few rides. He didn’t love the nose net but the head tossing did NOT resurface so… ???

img_4077

Surveying our “playground” — what you can’t see is the steep hill after the extreme right crossrail or that the crossrail right in front of Batts head goes up an nice incline after

After lunging we warmed up with some trot and canter sets up the hill by my driveway before we visited our “playground” in the backyard. It was already freaking hot by this point. The plan WAS to be off by 10 but we didn’t actually get on until 10 so… Oops. Either way, we didn’t do a crazy amount. But, we visited our poles and crossrails and had a look. A certain chestnut eventually got mad a me for making him look and then stopped but then started launching himself over his crossrails and “galloping” up his hills afterwards. He was having fun. At one point I tried to trot my one crossrail to the next one but someone would have nothing to do with it and insisted we canter to it and gallop out and up our hill, but other than that… I’m pretty sure I looked like a little kid on a pony I was laughing so much. I had no control either. If only I could do cross country with crossrails… he’d shine at that… But ONLY that… Crossrail champion of the world.

img_4084

So sleepy!

So what did this tell me? No idea.

img_4074

Walking back after a walk through the development to cool down because we do stuff like that because, why not?

But, he wants the fun back in the work and ring work just ain’t fun. Crossrails and hills? That’s fun. Weirdo. Batts is an odd one.

img_4090

Happy Grumpy Chestnut!

Well, he did take off on my after I untacked him and pooped in my neighbor’s lawn… So he wasn’t 100% well behaved…

img_4092

Diet? what diet… Oy.

I’m alive… sort of.

Short recap, but I am alive.

I’ve barely ridden this past month (good riddance May!) and managed to miss my last 2 lessons due to work travel. (Thank you work conference in Seattle that also had me miss the entirety of the Devon Horse Show).

img_3903

Yay for latte art

But, hopefully work has settled down and I can start riding again. Lesson this week and I can finally see my Ranger again! I miss him.

Miss that face! But, work (hopefully) calmed down and most students are gone!

Meanwhile while in Seattle, this little bugger nearly needed to find a new home.

Free to a home? Free to any home? He’s so damn lucky he’s cute.

Recently he’s been a turd. After 2 years of ownership, he’s started testing fence boundaries and breaking through fences and escaping. We put up electric and that worked until it didn’t which was day 2 of my trip. I got a frantic and angry call from my husband that Jiminy was loose and could not be caught.

Eventually he was herded into the paddock and then the shed. The next day he was released and got loose again… This time the calls were MUCH more angry and divorce was imminent. However, beyond the screaming (what the hell was I to do from Seattle?!), Jiminy decided his best place to escape was down the tree lined hill between the fence and the woods where he got caught up the fence between a downed tree branch, old pallet, and the fence and patiently waited for assistance. If there is ONE this I can say about this turd, he doesn’t NOT panic when stuck and understands when the fight is over. Humans are here to untangle you from the messes you get yourself caught up in…

img_4024

At that point, Jiminy was jailed. I told my husband to leave him stalled  until I return with hay and water less we repeat the near divorce proceedings again. Since the mid atlantic has been without much sun, we turned our charger off and this gave it some time to (hopefully) fully charge as well. Since my return, he’s been on supervised turnout with the assistance of an attached lunge line (it’s his ball and chain) –he’s fine with it– in the paddock. We added an additional strand of electric fence polywire Sunday but I realize we’ve got a bleed underground which is probably why the shock is so weak and the battery/solar charger is running down so quickly (we used the plastic tubing to bury our wire, but we’re just going to replace it with the underground wire since I can hear the stuff buried under the gate pulsing…). So, we need to fix that before he can resume normal turnout. But, Sunday everyone spent some time out on the grass and  he was a happy pony for several hours.

Then there was that moment I thought he was dead…

The other boys are doing well. Subi is Subi. He’s happy, eating well, and I thought was super sound, but still is having these skip trot moments behind that even my husband is noticing. My one dog does this thing were sometimes she trots on 3 legs (skipping one hind leg). My husband is comparing it to that. I haven’t seen it, but he’s noticing every once and and while he’s avoiding that one hind leg with the stifle issue. Overall, he’s happy and pasture sound, but I’m feeling justified retiring him. It’s usually after he goes for a nice gallop that he’s hitchy.

img_3974

If he had muscle, he’s be fat. But, no sign of ribs, he’s round and happy.

 

 

 

 

 

img_3981

Always my best boy

As for this guy, he needs to get back into work which HOPEFULLY will happen now if life has settled down some. I need to call the farrier again (for some reason never got a scheduling call back…) and the dentist, but I should still be able to do something with him in the mean time. He’s a little hivey and it turns out his fly sheet had a big hole in it I forgot about. With all these other expenses, I’m going to try and get it repaired by the blanket lady (she thinks it can be salvaged), but I need to wash it first so I don’t need to pay for that. So, hopefully I can to that today… In the meantime he’s got one of Subi’s old one’s on… He’s busting out the front. My husband compared it to the pudgy guy who wears a too tight fitting v-neck t-shirt, but that’s body-shaming… Half of his belly is hanging out too. But, better than nothing…

img_3998

When your mom makes you where your older, skinnier brother’s hand me downs…

Catching up with the boys

Not too much to write about. It’s been a rather uneventful week. This post will mostly be a useless pile of pictures.

img_2819

Big and Little

I took Wednesday afternoon off for a farrier appointment so I got to spend some time with my boys. It also happened to be 60 degrees which is crazy for PA in February, but whatever. The next day we got snow (though the storm pretty much missed us completely), but going from 60 to 19 in a day is always fun…

img_2814

How many horses does it take to fill a water trough? Too many when they help drain it while I ‘m trying to fill it…

Anyway, my boys being the idiots that they are, took advantage of being unblanketed and unsupervised for 5 minutes while I paid the farrier to go and roll and get gross that that they needed to be groomed AGAIN so before I could reblanket since temperatures were already dropping. I love my horses, I really do. I think I mentioned that Subi and Batty hate being groomed? Yeah. They love dirt and hate brushes. Yeah. Jiminy loves being brushed. He also doesn’t like getting dirty. He, however, did not use his unsupervised time to get gross because he’s a good mini.

“Hi Mom! Look what we did while you were gone!” Idiots.

So, they all got brushed. And they didn’t like it. But they got clean.

And thanks to the lovely weather everyone got reblanketed. This has been the strangest winter in a long time.img_2838

No lessons this week as trainer was is MS for a show. I got to go out a hack Ranger (I almost bailed because it was cold and I had a headache) though I really didn’t do much… I was there alone. It was windy. Tan Dan was stalking me. It was cold. Horses hadn’t been out that day, but at least I got to ride? Mostly I just focused on circles and tried to avoid running over our stalker cat…

 

 

Just a gaggle of pictures

Not much to post but why not some photos?

We pretty much went from warm weather to freezing on Saturday with a lovely wind storm and some strange frozen precipitation that left the boys none too happy. It also left me none to happy either. Lovely weather shifts leave my head celebrating with migraines. I tried out a new medicine yesterday that worked (yay for samples from the neurologist’s office) only to find out that my insurance will make me fight for it with a coverage review and “step therapy.” Shoot me now. This morning’s migraine I tried to fight with a different pill. That one requires that same fight, but left my stomach upset and head still hurting so no fight necessary there.

On to photos because pictures are better than migraines! This boy and I are going to try and take a trail ride on Wednesday and hopefully hit Fair Hill on Friday for a paperchase with strangers since no one I know can attend. Thankfully the organizers said they’d match me with some riders from their barn so we can still attend.

Then there is my little idiot who I finally body clipped. Thanks to the 60 and 70 degree weather we’ve been having during the day, he’s been sweating with his yak coat. The 30s at night have been cold, but he’s had enough blubber that I haven’t been overly concerned with him. That said, Saturday night I was NOT expecting such a dramatic shift in weather. He was one GRUMPY pony in the sleet when I finally threw his sheet on him. I gave in Sunday and exchanged his sheet for his medium weight. Now, most clipped horses I’d go right to a medium and not a sheet, but even clipped he’s super fuzzy. But, Jiminy does not like being cold and was extra grumpy in the wind on Sunday. Tomorrow will be warmer so I’ll swap back out to his sheet (it’s actually a really heavy sheet–way heavier than any of my horse sheets). I wouldn’t mind him losing a drop of weight before winter… Anyway, I did have a bit of a clipper fiasco that involved an unanticipated purchase of new heavy duty body clippers for his yak coat. When I get around to it, I’ll do a clipper review post… Maybe.

And finally, my favorite boy. Other than the super warm days, he’s been blanketed a lot lately. He just likes to be warm and grows very little coat. He was thrilled to have a new round bale yesterday. Of course, thanks to the new round bale or possibly the wind this morning, he only ate half of his breakfast. This horse kills me with his lack of eating sometimes… Normal horses cause panic when they don’t eat. Subi? Not so much. He sometimes just chooses not to eat and it drives me crazy.

img_2054

Pretty much just perfect in every way (other than the million ways in which he drives me insane)