Tuesday, March 20, 2018


The catalyst for all of this
Last year around this time I posted looking for advice about memberships needed to show and you guys were so kind and helpful. Recently I've been chewing over a more difficult, long term problem and realized that maybe what I need is some fresh perspective.

For the past 20 years I've been lucky enough to own horses and unlucky enough to have no way to transport them. I've never had the use of or owned a trailer in that time and while my friends recently have been amazing and offered to help out it's always fallen through for one reason or another (Katai's lack of willingness to load, family plans, emergencies, etc)

One of the few times recently that plans
didn't fall through and we had SO MUCH FUN!!!
I've never been able to plan a show schedule, plan for clinics I want to go to, or go on trail rides off property. Last year I planned for a trailer and that fell through. This year I was even more certain it would happen and now it's likely fallen through again since I needed to replace my car. At this point I have limited availability (maybe 4 times per year?) to show and no ability to ride outside of the arena except for another arena sized area in the grass near the barn.

I'm so sick of being stuck in this same predicament time after time after time.

Katai's vote is for more pasture, more trail rides, and more friends but no trailer
Also more peppermints would be her favorite
In considering this I've looked at how I "keep" horses really holistically which in my case means looking at my boarding situation. In order for me to not need a trailer I'd need the following things.

-Indoor arena (an absolute necessity in this area unless I want to skip riding for at least 5 months out of the year)
-Dressage instruction on site
-Trails of some sort or fairly significant property to ride around
-Friends/fellow boarders/coach who was consistently trailering to shows and welcomed me to tag along with Katai (as well as allowing me time to practice loading her in their trailer)
-Decent distance to drive (my cut off so far has been 40-45 minutes each way)
-Within budget (I could spend a bit more than I do right now but not significantly more like I was at the last barn and this is also a dealbreaker)
-Ability for Katai to get her supplements, at least the Magnesium

I have not found a single barn so far that meets more than a few of the items on the list. J's barn came closest but there was the whole abusive trainer thing.

In addition the things I'd prefer are:
-Plenty of turnout (I don't think Katai gets enough right now)
-Heated barn at least for grooming and tacking up
-Wash stall
-More people to ride with
-Open minded people who want to do things like trail ride, do canter sets, go to clinics unrelated to dressage, and basically just enjoy their horses

Jane's barn also meets four of the top items items but if we were looking at "ruthlessly excluding" that doesn't meet it either and I am getting really bored, tired, and annoyed with only ever being able to ride in the indoor arena. I can't do canter sets, I can't really work on fitness, I can't give Katai new challenges or exposure to the things she'll see at a show. The trailer this year was going to fix all of this but now I'm just trying to re-examin. I REALLY don't want to leave Jane but I have thought of a couple of options.
Hand grazing only has been our jam recently
1. Find pasture board (with an indoor arena) and use the difference between what I pay now and that to buy a trailer. This hasn't been an option because of grass but I could try the Greenguard muzzle and since I'm riding more consistently I may potentially be able to keep Katai's weight down. I could manage without a dressage instructor on site as long as I could trailer to one (Jane) on some sort of regular basis. Also, unless pasture board is really close I'll need them to be able to give Katai her supplements.

2. Find a more active dressage show barn that would trailer me places and potentially meet all of the items above except the distance. I know of two within this category and one that would meet everything except budget which is a huge deal breaker. This way I could skip the truck and trailer (which would be my preference) and have more show/trail ride camaraderie at the same time.

3. ?

So, fellow bloggers, I'm looking for some advice. What would you do? What are deal breakers for you? Please give me blunt and honest feedback. If I'm being a baby for wanting more and you think I should just stick it out and save up for a trailer let me know. If you have advice let me know. I really do want your opinions.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Catching Up, but first...

The 30 things blog hop! I've really enjoyed reading all of these and feel like they're a great way to get to know all of you. I started typing these up awhile ago but have had so much going on that they just sat in draft. It was amazingly hard to come up with 30 interesting things about myself!

1. I’ve always loved animals and grew up on a farm where we had ducks, dogs, sheep, horses, bunnies, goats, and cats

And my first pony, Prince

2.       Going back to the above, my mom had a huge herd of sheep when I was 5-10 or so that she sheared, spun, and sold the wool
3.       Also related to the above, in 4H I was grand champion dairy goat showman at our state fair so I’m kind of a big deal ;)
4.       I once saved someone who had slashed their leg open with an arrow by carrying them several miles out of the forest/trail system on the back of my horse when I was 13. The resulting blood stain on my horse scared my mom half to death when she picked me up from the barn that day
5.       I was homeschooled
6.       I have three younger siblings (oldests rock!)
7.       Both of my sisters are professional violinists
8.       My brother went to school for aviation and then joined the Marines, then didn’t re-enlist in the Marines and joined the Army instead
9.       I have my MA in HR
10.   I have sadly never traveled outside of the US except for a few road trips to Canada
11.   I have also been on road trips to ME, NY, WA, CA, OR, and of course hit a bunch of states in between.
12.   My favorite books are science fiction/fantasy and my very favorite book is Jaran by Kate Elliott. I’ve read it at least 30 times
13.   I pass out easily if people are discussing injuries or if I even barely hurt myself, in fact I once passed out while leading a new employee orientation at work right in front of a nurse I had hired
14.   I’ve never fallen off Katai and since I trained her she’s never had anyone fall off. Not quite sure how she’ll react if it ever happens…
NDPC 2016
15.   I’d never been on a plane until I was in my late 20s and that was to go to the National Dressage Pony Cup at the KY Horse Park.
16.   My BA is in Music Performance and I’ve played Piano since I was 5 and Cello from when I was 12-23.
I was probably 13 here
17.   I’ve moved basically every year since I moved away from home in 2011, currently I live in downtown Minneapolis, MN
18.   I have very eclectic music tastes and listen primarily to EDM and alternative but Kanye is my favorite for working out/running and pretty much the only thing I don’t listen to is country
19.   In my area people primarily ride western but there are actually a decent number of dressage shows within about an hour drive
20.   I’m a huge rule follower and almost the only time I haven’t followed the rules led to me walking within arm’s reach of Leonardo DiCaprio despite not actually thinking he was that cute
21.   My favorite tv show recently was the OA (it’s SO fantastic!) but I mostly just play NCIS on Netflix in the background while I do other things and rarely watch new tv or movies
22.   I’ve been vegan (or plant based) for just about three years now
23.   I used to be a voracious reader but now I pretty much read blogs and articles online and rarely read books. When I do read books they’re mainly non-fiction such as When Two Spines Align or How Not to Die (a nutrition book that’s FANTASTIC)
24. Veggie (my dog's) name was Wedge Antilles after the Star Wars character. I love Star Wars so I kept it but kept turning it into Wedgie which I didn't love. Then eventually it just became Veggie which stuck.

Veggie is second to the right,
clearly loving the Italian Greyhound meetup we went to last year
25. I'm a huge nerd and have always wanted to play D&D but didn't know anyone that played. Now I'm in a campaign with my bf (who is DM'ing), a couple of his friends, and his dad. It's way less awkward than it sounds
26. I'm not going to have kids
27. Despite REALLY not liking kids, my goal is to one day have a small piece of property and a few really nice ponies so that I can teach young riders to love dressage on appropriately trained and sized equines. 

Concerts like Rock the Garden are different though!
28. I don't like concerts or anything that locks me into sitting in the same place for a long time. I just can't sit still that long and it feels like a waste of time
29. I'm a minimalist and it drives me nuts having more than one thing with the same purpose. However, I have a whole closet, a large chest, a large re-usable bag in my car, and two containers at the barn of horse equipment plus my saddle, bridle, grooming stuff, a pile of saddle pads, and helmet
30. I really dislike spiders

Thursday, February 22, 2018

That Can't Be!

I'm posting again!!

I'm also riding again because MY SADDLE IS BACK!

First though, some updates!

I'm now pretty much fully moved into my new apartment and I love it so much. Anything I was worried about hasn't been an issue, such as street parking, and there are so many amazing things that I hadn't planned on being able to take advantage of. It's also definitely my first adult apartment which is pretty cool.

A small piece of the city skyline
The dogs are adjusting pretty well with just a little separation anxiety from Veggie. Moshy is being a happy puppy superstar! We've even visited the local pet store who's sharing a picture of her on their instagram haha. She's going to be famous :)
Moshy had a fun time with moving in and enjoyed
using my Tipperary bag as a sleeping bag ;)
Pony updates wise there isn't much to report. I've had two lessons since I got my saddle back and both have been primarily about gettin Katai loosened up and moving forward off my legs. She's pretty determined to stew in all her excess energy and not listen and we're pretty determined that if she just moves forward and we can keep her loose and flexible she'll actually feel better.

Right now we're not exactly sure who's going to "win" the battle but I'm feeling pretty good about our progress so far ;)

Also, look at how much more full this tack room is!
I'm down to two saddle racks and a pile of stuff underneath haha
I also love how there are more pink saddle pads at the barn now.
Pretty sure we're driving Jane crazy ;)

Unfortunately the weather has not been cooperating. This past Monday we got a snow storm and now we're supposed to get 3-5" tonight and snow again on Saturday. In addition I'm still getting used to the rush hour traffic so between that and doing some chores on Wednesday I wasn't able to get out on Wednesday either. It's so frustrating and I hate the cold and snow anyway so I'm really sick and tired of winter especially this year. Luckily our weather is warming up and is going to be in the 30s consistently this next 10 days or so. Unfortunately that also likely means more snow. At least it's end of February so this is on it's way out and can't just last forever.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Not So Super

My parent's road after one of the recent snow storms
Whelp, the Super Bowl is happening in Minneapolis today and me and all of my friends have been whining about it for at least a month now. It's not only causing there to be crazy traffic and limiting the places that I want to, or am able to, go this weekend it's also caused my boyfriend to leave town for the weekend and it's delaying my move to my new apartment which is right in downtown Minneapolis not that far from the new stadium.

I'm going to try to go to the barn later but with the traffic, the snow that got dumped on us last night, and the worry about more drunk drivers on the roads I'm still feeling a little hesitant. Plus the high today is only 6* if you don't count the windchill.

Saddle on the way to VTO, I just want it back!!
I've been spending the weekend cleaning and packing for my move which will start on Tuesday. I've also been enjoying spending lots of time with Moshy who's gotten the short end of the stick recently as far as my time goes.

Riding wise I'm still failing at making any progress. My saddle did finally get to VTO last week but I haven't heard anything about paying to ship it back which means that it likely won't be on it's way back until mid week next week. In the meantime I've been doing my absolute best to get to the barn to do spa days and lunge Katai but it's just been one thing after another including spending time with Jame's family since his grandfather is dying, crazy snowy/cold weather (we have gotten SO MUCH SNOW recently), still dealing with some SAD emotional things (although thankfully it's been better for this past week or so), and apartment things. I'm also still doing puppy class with Moshy on Wednesday evenings which makes that night tough.
My little squirrel trying to hide her bone in her pile of toys.
Also, yes that is a huge avocado toy, we're true millennials over here.
I'm going to do better with that and with blogging soon I promise! It's February so the worst month of the year is over and now we just have one more really cold month but it's a short one :) I'll get my saddle back soon too and that will be really helpful and much more motivation to get to the barn. Our weather/personal situation enforced break is almost over and I'm getting so pumped to get back to this again!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

What I've Been Doing

While I can't ride.

Can't ride might sound a little dramatic but it's where I'm at right now. I spent some time trying to find someone who could adjust a Prestige saddle tree in the area but wasn't able to locate anyone so I ended up mailing my saddle back to VTO which means that I won't get it back for awhile still. I have my back up saddle but it still doesn't fit, Katai still isn't happy, and because it keeps shifting around on her back it's causing me anxiety attacks. Literally, like I had to dismount and was in tears and almost threw up last time I rode. Jane even noticed how shaken I was and we've canceled lessons until my saddle gets back.

I'm dealing with my SAD which is manifesting a slightly different way this year with more anxiety. I've got the support I need but brains are funny sometimes and mine doesn't want to play along right now. The crazy winter storm that we got on Monday (12.5") didn't really help.

Yes, that snow pile is higher than the door of my car.
Thanks MN...
I'm planning lots of spa days for the pony, which are sorely needed, and I've already "pulled" her mane. I've also done some other things to prepare for having my saddle back, hopefully having decent weather, and feeling better including;

I don't know if you guys remember this little guy from last year but I didn't have him for long since he died a very crushing death by being stepped on by a horse. Pun totally intended.

Happy to have my little super hero back
I had gone back and forth about replacing it and decided to get a go pro but they're so expensive that I hadn't done it yet. In the end I got an Amazon gift card that basically covered the cost for the GenII Cube. These supposedly are better in low light so I picked up another one of these. I can't wait to use it to get more ride and lunging footage!

Like a lot of other bloggers I've been watching the USEF Network videos of the Robert Dover clinic. It's amazing how good dressage is good dressage and how despite these riders being far and away more talented and further along than me and riding really fancy horses compared to Katai, I'm learning so much that I can apply to my rides with Katai.

Spa Days:
Katai desperately needs her back legs washed, I'd really like to wash her mane, and I want to braid the top and bottom of her mane to hopefully get it back to where it stays on one side of her neck. I also want to pick through and trim her tail and potentially trim her feather a bit to prepare for the mud that's to come.

Good puppies nicely play with their toys together.
Tough to tell from this picture but he's 9 pounds and she's 2 pounds.
He plays so gently with her!
I haven't done it yet but I plan to pick up Windex this weekend and clean the arena mirrors! That way I'll be able to take way more mirror selfies ;)

Getting My Memberships:
So far I signed up for USEF and my group membership with the USDF through my GMO. I still need to get Katai registered with the USEF but I decided to wait until I get her coggins and can confirm that the vet clinic gets it right before I register her with the USEF under her show name vs. her barn name. I'm also tempted to register her with the NDPC so that I can potentially show at some NDPC qualifying shows. We have a couple in my area but they aren't shows that I can get to if I don't get a trailer so I may wait to make sure I get that accomplished this year before I register her

She did this herself while I was working from
home during the snow storm on Monday.
I'm not a huge fan of lunging but Katai needs to get some work since her turnout is slippery and she's otherwise in her stall. I'm hoping to do some free lunging and some more structured lunging.

Ground Work:
Katai is tricky since the ground work things that crop up otherwise don't tend to show themselves in her home environment. However, she has gotten a little bargy recently so I want to work with that. I can also work with the mounting block bareback and try to get her to stand nicely again. Currently we're at baby OTTB level for the mounting block and she's off to the races the moment my foot is in the stirrup.

Also making "healthy" banana bread

Bareback Rides: 
To be completely transparent I'm not sure if I'm up to this right now but I do want to try. At least walking her around bareback would be good for both of us if I can keep it together so we're going to take some baby steps and try it.

Puppy Time!
Not completely horse related but I do want Moshy to be good at the barn. With our extremely cold weather there was no way that I could take her but this next week is forecast to be much warmer. Plus I don't need her to hang out by herself while I ride so I plan to bring her to the barn most days. Tomorrow I even have a volunteer to hold her while I do spa things with Katai.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Walking around the third floor at work since it's way too cold to walk outside
I feel like I’ve really found the right barn for me and Katai but I’ve been very transient over the past several years. In fact, with the exception of a few months here or there, I’ve moved every year since 2011. Living six different places in seven years sucks and while it’s been fun to experience different things, and I’m an expert at moving, I’m really ready to find a place to settle in for a while. 

 I’ve known that my current living space was short term. I moved in November 2016 and knew that I would need to leave by April 2018 since I’m temporarily living in my Grandma’s house while my parents clean it out (with some help from me) and get ready to sell it. I’m paying very little for rent and it’s been great to be able to help take care of some of the chores and cleaning but it’s odd living in someone else’s space with someone’s furniture and treasures.

 Knowing that rent within my budget, in the right area, and with now two dogs would be tough to find I originally started looking last year. There were lots of options but nothing I liked which is sad because I have a fairly simple list that includes

Within budget
Hardwood floors
Dog friendly for two small dogs
Area -within my “triangle” of work, relationship, barn
Decently safe

 Because I’m on a single income and have a horse (and nasty student loans) my budget isn’t that high so my list is short. I was willing to drive further for something under my budget but it needed to be worth it. I was also willing to give up the dishwasher if needed but I REALLY wanted hardwood floors.

I definitely have carpet ptsd after living at my grandma’s…

Katai was excited to see herself.
Also, it got cold again so I still haven't cleaned the mirrors
I had been looking in St. Paul , the better city #notbias, but even into the suburbs everything that was in my budget lacked almost every item on my list and with dog rent it was only JUST within my budget. We’re talking cheap looking apartments with nasty carpet, no amenities, in not-so-safe areas that were only just within my budget.

It was pretty depressing so I stopped looking for a month or so. Then I started looking again at the end of December. With a new relationship with someone (who I REALLY like) living in Minneapolis my triangle shifted a little and I was willing to check out places in that city. As soon as I started considering those apartments I knew that I was going to end up there.

There were MULTIPLE places that met everything on my list and were well enough below my budget to leave some space to still do fun things occasionally and potentially not survive on ramen (only partially kidding).

 In the end I found an AMAZING place that likely was still available because it’s a sublease for a few months. I met the owners (they’re really nice!), got the tour, applied the week of Christmas, and found out this week that I got it! The positives are that it checks everything on my list, also has a small but nice gym, and is within walking distance of a dog park. It’s also VERY close to downtown Minneapolis.

I’m sure that the traffic is going to be tough sometimes but since I was little I’ve wanted to live IN the city but haven’t had that opportunity so I’m really excited! It’s also a bit further from work (8-15 minutes depending on traffic) and a little further from the barn (6ish minutes depending on traffic) but MUCH closer (15 minutes) to the person I’m dating who I’m spending a lot of time with so it should even out. Also, for the cost, amenities, and opportunity to live in the city I’m willing to drive a bit further!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


She rubs the snaps open on her browband :)
It has already been quite the year for me and Katai. First, because of weather I rescheduled my first lesson of the year (1/2) for Saturday (1/6). You all know how that lesson went. Then yesterday (1/9) both Jane and I had big plans.

However, I got to the arena, realized I’d planned poorly and needed to pee so I handed Katai to Jane for a minute. She held her for me while I ran to the rest room but when I got back Jane didn’t look happy. I assumed that with recent pony behavior Katai had stepped on her foot or been a pill but the first words out of Janes mouth were “your saddle doesn’t fit”.

 Damn it

 She was completely right, it was pinching worse on one side than the other but definitely pinching. I feel horrible that I didn’t catch it and saddle fit just sucks in general. I just lost a week of riding a few months ago when I needed to get it narrowed 2 cms and now I’m going to need to send it back to get it widened 1 cm.

Lazy vegan fajitas
This. Winter. Just. Sucks. Between the crazy weather and Katai’s moodiness so far I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything even though I’m miserably cold trying, but I’m trying to stay positive.

Positive number one: This is probably a huge part of Katai’s recent poor attitude and it’s fixable! I may still have my sweet willing pony once her saddle actually fits her

Positive number two: I have a backup saddle which I hate but at least I can ride!

Positive number three: I’ve been wanting to do more “spa” days recently so this is a good reason to do some things out of the saddle for the next week or so.

Positive number four: There are a lot of other great things going on in my life right now. More on that later