New things

Jun
2014
05

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Training

Walking around

Walking around

It was both horses first day working with Michelle at the new place. The new trainer was going to be there as well so her and Michelle could get on the same page and all that jazz. I was both nervous and excited. We moved in last Sat i gave the girls Sunday off and Monday i started to get them used to the new place. Taking them for walks around the property bridle paths, getting them into the wash stall and used to their new cross ties. Everything is going really well. They are settled into the routine and their stall suites. Those stalls are freaking huge!

Michelle arrived and we started with Jezebel and went down to the indoor arena. One other person was working her drop dead gorgeous German imported warmblood. She was very friendly and welcomed me to the new place. Jez all tack up got lunged. She did well, she was a little bit of a lookie loo but Jezebel and i have experience in an indoor. She did as she was told, moved nicely  and loved looking at herself in the mirrors (of course she did) it went so well that Michelle decided to hop on. Bonus! she walked to the left ( her current good side) in a few circles then hopped off. Jez got lots of praise then Michelle got back on and went to the left again. Jez was being really very good so Michelle went to the right. The right is the side she usually rears on. Only she didn’t. Even when she was asked to stand still she didn’t rear. After a few circles jez was done for the day. It was a A+ day for miss Jezebel. The idea here is ground work then short successful rides, very slowly increasing them. If she rears ten she will get worked very hard. If she doesn’t then its going to be easy peasy.

On to Circe. Circe walked down to the right like a champ. She looked a little bit but really didnt care and was calm and relaxed. Once in the indoor it wasnt so easy. I have no idea of Circe has ever been in an indoor before or not. There were two people working their warmblood in the ring this time (see a pattern here?) One dud was cantering his horse and though he was controlled the sound of his hooves hitting the equicush footing was disturbing the ever sensitive Circe. The other rider had a bad habit of getting very close to your horse when she was riding by. Circe also was upset by this but eventually she got into lunging and then calmed down enough for Michelle to get on her after the cantering dude rider left. Michelle did some nice trot work with Circe and it took a long time for her to settle in. The mirrors scared her and when the last rider (too close girl) left Circe almost had a melt down being left alone working in the indoor. However even with all that she did really good, she eventually relaxed and did some good work. For her first ride in a new place in possibly her first time in an indoor.. she rocked.

Michelle and the new trainer had a chat about how to move forward and Friday is the new trainers first day on Circe. Im pretty excited because there wasn’t a huge step backwards. Both girls did well and we can keep moving forward and it looks like i will be able to get n Circe in the near future. Jez wont be far behind but her i’ll be working with on the ground. So far the new place is working out well.

New home

Jun
2014
03

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel, OTTB

Just settling in to the new place

Grazing in the new field

Grazing in the new field

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checking out the boys next door

Checking out the boys next door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Field 16

Field 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bridle path

Bridle path

Not again?

May
2014
30

posted by on Barn tales

aerial view

aerial view

The rumors are true i am moving the horses, tomorrow. But you just moved them, you say! Yes, thats true i did just move them. Its only been two months and i am moving them again. Its a very long story and i will be writing more about all the trial and tribulations in future blog posts after i’ve had a little time to settle me and the girls into the new place and had a little time to reflect on the last two crazy months. The main reasons for the move are as follows

• My horses need more training

• I want an indoor

• Crazy people suck and life’s too short

Let me start with my horses need more training:

The barn i’m leaving has no ring, the ring available is at Schooley Mill Park. Its a public park and i had full access it. All i had to do was cross the street, a shot little walk or ride for those with traffic safe horses and viola i could use this amazing beautiful ring. Not to mention the trails and cross country jumps on a course thats also free use. Awesome right? Wrong. Not when you have baby green ottbs. The disadvantage being everyone else in the universe with a trailer also has free access to the ring. So there was lots of trailering in and some atrocious riding and manners and no “rules” other then we all can use the ring. The ring would often be empty but it would just as often be full of 10 year olds on naughty ponies taking a jumping lesson with a questionalble coach and stage mothers gathered at the gate giving you the stink eye because you intended to use the ring.

Its a chaotic atmosphere and you never knew what you were going to get. With green ottbs this was troublesome as Circe would often lose her mind. My usually sweet girl did not do well there. Would it be a calm day or a crazy one and that was just “IN” the ring never mind the fact that this is a big public park and there are all manner of people using it. Baseball games, soccer games, hell ive even seen them playing cricket. People yelling screaming, running, jumping. Park workers with mowers and weed-whackers. People driving through the parking lot like idiots. You get the picture. Needless to say this whole environment was not one Circe thrived in. It took two months to get a decent ride on her where she was relaxed and her normal self. Of course that was my last time in the ring. Go figure. Jezebel did better as shes a pretty adaptable pony. She settled in quicker and was less stressed but she also has to take baby steps and mostly is doing ground work because were restarting her from scratch because of the ulcers and rearing. So basically as beautiful and huge as the ring is … it sucks.

Next up: I want an indoor. I never wanted to stay where i am now in the winter and i had been keeping my eyes open for a place to move with an indoor in the fall so that come the snow id have a place to ride. This has always been on my mind and in the plans so when the decision was made to move an indoor was an actual requirement. I didn’t even want to  look at a place if it didn’t have an indoor.

Lastly and the most upsetting part of the last two months. Crazy people suck and life’s too short. I was duped into moving into a barn with a seriously clinically mentally ill person. The kind of person that is either off her medication or seriously needs it adjusted. I was told that the person i would be sharing the barn with “Liked to do her own thing” and thats why there was no coop in my barn. Thats cool i like to do my own thing too. The truth was that it wasn’t that this person wanted to do her own thing, its that she wanted the barn to herself and if you had any kind of presence there it screwed with her “this is my barn” fantasy. I began looking for a new place 14 days into moving into the barn. It only took that long before it went way off the rails into full on crazy town culminating in her husband being banned from the barn for behavior that often lands people in jail.  I’m still under a directive from management to call the cops if i see him on the property. For my own safety.. good times.

With all the being said i found a place that fits my needs.  Not too far away about 45 mins drive. It’s an eventing barn that rents out to different trainers. After visiting it, taking the better half to see it and asking the trainer a million questions we made a deal on two stalls that will include some training rides for my girls. I’m still keeping Michelle cuz shes amazing but i will be adding a new person to the training mix  and setting some more concrete goals. I hope that between the three of us that we can get the girls in 6 days of work or close to it. I think they need it and i know i know i need more help and Michelle is too busy to give me more then 2 days a week. Shes in high demand!

The new barn has huge stalls, 14×17,  a tack/ feed room, washer and dryer, its own bathroom, hayloft, hot and cold wash rack, nice fields with automatic waterers and the trainer and i see eye to eye on lots of things. Shes new to MD and looking to build up her business. This could be a win/win. The facilities include a dressage ring, a jump ring, a gymnastics ring, an indoor ring with super amazing footing, a cross country trail, a cross country field. One of the areas 4 star eventers, one you see at Rolex and international events has two of the barns here. This is a serious riding barn. Its also expensive so i will have to put my nose to the grindstone to pay for it all.

Tomorrow i load the girls and get them to new digs. I’ll be glad when the last two months are behind me and im excited to move forward. I’m hopeful the adjustment to the new place will be swift for the girls as they have to be used to moving around by now. I’m gonna omeprazole them both for the trailer ride for calmer horse tummys.  I have some short, medium and long term goals to work out but my team will be expanded and i will have more help achieving them. Wish me luck.

Devistation

May
2014
25

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Training

The better half and the horsey half

The better half and the horsey half

Jezebel is still rearing. Second time under saddle with ground work first then a short walk only ride. Well that was the plan anyways. While she was stopped in the center of the ring on a relaxed loose rein and for no reason whatsoever out of the blue, she first baby reared and then when up for a second try never getting fully vertical. Michelle dismounted and worked her on the ground before making her stand still to be re-mounted from the ground then walked her around in both directions with out incident.

I am devastated.

The ulcers have been addressed there is no physical reason for this. The physical has been eliminated. This is because Jezebel has learned to rear. Testing? Defiance? Bratty? Bored? A plan is being put together to deal with this as a behavior issue. No plan for how to deal with my stress and upset because of this though .. i’m just going to have to wing it.

New camera

May
2014
24

posted by on Barn tales, Off Farm

The new camera arrived. Since my trusty 7 year old Canon EOS died on me last week out of the blue and when i needed it, i had to get a new camera. I settled on the Canon t3i so that all my Canon glass would fit and so that my learning curve wouldn’t be gigantic like if i had decided to put myself in hawk for a Mamiya or something. It functions similarly to my old camera so it was an easy adjustment for the most part but its got lots of bells and whistled my 7 year old Canon didn’t. Like a HUGE fancy LCD screen and its auto focus is super fast on the recoil. I was just playing around … but i got some fun shots. I was pretty happy with it and i hope it lasts me another 7 years.

Smart Pak sold

May
2014
23

posted by on Rant

Advertising and Marketing?

Advertising and Marketing?

I’m not sure how i feel about this one. When the email showed up in my inbox I was kind of at a loss. I love Smart Pak and i’ve been vocal about that. I don’t want them to change. That doesn’t mean i don’t want them to grow but i really don’t want them to change. They are a very customer service oriented business, their customer service in the horse world is head and shoulders above most if not all. Their products are solid and i am a fan. I also enjoyed the fact that they were a small company, if you can call 350 employees small. I felt like they were all invested in their customers. With this acquisition by Henry Schein Animal Health i’m afraid that a lot of that will change. Oh not right away but when something like this happens its either to plunder or profit and both options means some changes to the end user are on the horizon for Smart Pak.

This deal is a big one im guessing though no finiachials have been disclosed but you know it is because there are three partys involved… Enter private equity. In this case its Oak Hill Capital Partners and you can bet they expect major return. Will that mean lay offs of personal to adjust balance sheets? Will it mean cuting corners on products to buff up the bottom line? or maybe all that amazing free shippig to barn buddies will slowly fade away. Who knows but you know it will mean change and usually when a deal is this big (i dont know why its not getting more press in the horsey world) The change is usually not very good. I will try not to be a naysayer and give it a wait and see attitude but mark my words… the times they are a changing for Smart Pak

posted by on Review

Thats the print right behind the smart paks!

Thats the print right behind the smart paks!

When the nice folks over at Fulcrum Gallery approached me about reviewing one of their products I was pretty excited about the prospect, cuz yanno I went to fancy art school and I happen to love art. I did however have to think on it a bit, how exactly would this fit in with a blog about horses? Then it hit me… I needed tack room art! Yeah, thats right art for the new tack room. It a a big space and the walls were art free. I could change that with a little help from the folks at Fulcrum.  After talking to their rep, I started with a search on “horses” and ended up after a little thought and effort with a really nice framed art print ready to hang.

Pros: They have a really nice selection of horse art. If you like cowboy art, fox hunting art, classical paintings, vintage horse art or photographs. They have pages and pages of nice selections. I know because I looked at them all. Seriously all of them.  They also have really nice stock framing options. From different kinds of glass  (museum, low glare) to a wide selection of frames in a varies of materials and colors. Even though the menu is preset you can do a single, double or triple mat on your selection and chose the mat width with in reason. I did a double mat because i think triple is almost always overkill and single mats are rudimentary. Yes, i’m a frame snob, go figure. Oh and the prices are super reasonable. No lie! If you’ve ever had anything custom framed then you know how much that costs, its like two car payments and a juicer expensive.  So if you are looking for a quality art print, framed nicely at a reasonable price then Fulcrum Gallery is the way to go.

Cons: I would have liked to have seen more options on mat colors. They have the standard neutrals and a few brights but in trying to match or balance out your print it can be a little challenging. Especially if you want to do something that isn’t standard linen white and black. Id also like to see more classic black and white horse racing photo options for prints. My first thought was to hang black and white racehorse prints for the tack room but the selection was limited for this OTTB lover. Instead I went with something classical.

Lowdown: Over all it was a smooth experience and i was really impressed with the selection of possibilities, how it was packaged for shipment and the overall quality of the item. Id totally get frame art prints from them in the future. I of course was looking for horse art but their selections on other areas are just as deep and wide and well worth taking a gander at if your looking for framed art. Its a quality piece that looks great hanging on the wall people might even think you had it custom framed.

SeuratEventually I settled on a piece that would look great in my dining room. I know you thought tack room art, right? Me too! but then my life changed and though not a secret to those close to me I’m moving out of the new farm into a an even newer one (more info to come shortly) and i no longer needed to dress up my tack room but the dining room i spend a lot of time in. I settled on a lovely Georges Seurat (one of my favorite post impressionist painters) print called “The Circus” which was an unfinished work by Seurat as he died before he could complete it. Its a nice example of  Divisionist theory and juxtaposition. Oh snap, i just all art school on ya’ll!

One of the many names for Jezebel is Circus Pony and I have always been fascinated by ponies that have run away to the circus like i often wanted to do as a child. So it was fitting choice on many levels.

 

posted by on Barn tales, Off Farm

photo 5I went to the Maryland Open horse show this weekend. I didn’t enter any horses cuz .. yanno crazy. I did watch my trainer ride her horse in a few classes and take home some ribbons. Its a casual little schooling show hunter jumper style and they will be doing these once a month though i don’t know if i’ll go next time to watch. This seems to be a fairly tight knit little group and had my fill of listening to the stage mothers and the coaches trying to sound important whenever the stage mothers were in ear shot. This is mostly a kids show and there are very few adults competing. Mostly the adults are there for the green horse class getting their horses experience and putting miles on them. Just like my trainer was.

I would have lots of pictures to post only my SLR broke. I loved that camera and i’ve been using it for 7 years with no issues and then yesterday… it just craped out. Sadly. I ordered a new one as there have been a lot of advances in digital SLRs in 7 years. Even though its an unexpected high dollar item. Of course its a Canon so all my lens’ are compatible as in my book Canon makes the best glass. You cant call yourself a professional photographer with a camera phone… but I did get a few camera phone pictures though … cuz i cant help myself.

 

The girls

May
2014
17

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel, OTTB

Jez’s second time over at the ring went well. She seemed happy to be working and eagerly walked over all the jumps that were left set up in the ring. She also listened on the lunge and all though she was interested in looking around she was paying attention and not too distracted.

Circe also did well under saddle, walked over jumps and did some good trot work. With out losing her mind. I call that a win.  I took a lot of pictures.

All in a days work

May
2014
12

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel, OTTB

Down the driveway

Down the driveway

Jezebel went across the street! She did rather good. She was calm though very lookie-lou ish  and she crossed the street with no issues at all. Into the woods she went, on the little trail and over to the ditch and the creek. Jez doesn’t like ditches or water for that matter. She has jumped both with me on her in the past rather then just walk across or down them. Michelle was leading her and though she stopped at the ditch she didn’t balk at it. She looked around snorted a little then decided it was okay to walk down the ditch incline. She thought about jumping the tiny creek but decided walking though it was ok after a couple minutes. Score one for Miss Jez! Up the trail into the parking lot and over to the ring and Jez was doing great.

Ditch and creek

Ditch and creek

Michelle noted her ground manners were lacking. That i’m sure is all my fault. I haven’t wanted to do much of anything with her until her ulcer meds were on board and working. She’s been a pasture pony for about 2 months. Into the ring and on the lunge. Thats when the calling started. Jez was calling and calling and calling and horses were calling back to her. There was a women who had just finished using the ring when we went in who had a difficult horse who then wouldn’t load. Jez and him were calling to each other. Making every one frustrated. 2 girls rode over to go on the trail and their horses weren’t being good at the mounting block. Jez was calling to them. Then of course horses across the street were calling to Jez. Not Circe as she was in her stall at home waiting her turn to work. However the horses in the field next door to mine… calling like idiots.

Lunge time!

Lunge time!

So every time Jez called to other horses she got worked harder. She seemed to understand this but also seemed to not care. Stubborn mule. She did good on the lunge and didn’t seem to favor any direction which is what i was worried about. It was a hot and sunny day and Jez worked up a sweat which she needs to do on a regular basis because lets face it Jez is fat. 6.5 body score but to me she just looks tubby. I feel for her because my months off riding have made me fat too. We have that in common. Peas in a pod. Going home back though the parking lot, down the ditch, though the creek and across the street Jez did great. Though i don’t think i’ll be taking her over alone until i’m sure she wont jump that ditch on the way over, i think i can very soon. For her first day back in work after months off i have to say she did really great and i was very happy with her.

Sweaty Jez

Sweaty Jez

Looking for traffic

Looking for traffic

Walking in the street, i got this!

Walking in the street, i got this!

Then Michelle went to get her project horse Moon an OTTB  gelding shes trained and currently has up for sale and she rode over to my barn. I tacked up Circe. We went across the street, traded horses and went on a trail ride! Thats right i finally got to ride a horse (Moon is amazing BTW) and Circe and Moon went out on the trail. Circe’s first official trail ride. Circe led the entire way and was very brave and mostly calm. Even when we had to alter our route because lots of the trails are closed off because of flood damage from the crazy 3 days of massive rain and flooding out here (hello climate change!) We got to a point where there were some people with kids and dogs coming at us and decided to turn back and thats when Circe lost it. She started to get all freaky styley and had one of her now famous melt downs. Michelle ended up getting off and walking her  (after the atempts to rear) with me riding Moon behind. I offered to dismount too but Michelle wanted me to stay aboard so i did.

ShootTheMoon and Moi

ShootTheMoon and Moi

A pattern has emerged with Circe and it has to do when she thinks its time to go home. This turning on the trail and melt down freak out confirmed it. So instead of going home Circe got taken into the ring and worked. I walked Moon around and Michelle mounted from the ground (Circe stood still!) and worked with her at a walk until little miss freak out was able to walk calm and relaxed and then she rode her at the walk on the buckle. Which doesn’t sound like much but it really is a big deal. Once she did that we called it a day and walked both horses across the street only i walked Circe and Michelle walked Moon. I backed her every time she tried to get ahead of me and i did have to circle her a few times cuz she threatened to rear. Good times. I was happy to have Michelle there for back up but also happy i waked crazy back across the street myself. After we were safe across the street Michelle left us to take Moon back across the street to school him over the cross country course they have. My better half was waiting for me at the barn after having done all my barn chores for me (I totally scored with him let me tell you) and we hosed off crazy and let her go out with her herd. It was a very productive day.