Sunday, April 29, 2018

New Barn Intro

I mentioned a few things about this barn previously but wanted to do a proper barn tour now that Katai has been successfully moved in.

The barn is in Western WI and about 50 minutes from where I live currently which has increased my drive by 15 minutes one way and half an hour round trip. The extra drive time sucks and I'm not looking forward to that piece but for all of the benefits I think it will still be worth it.

Outdoor Spaces First:


It was/is a working farm (corn and beans as well as producing hay and oats) complete with farm outbuildings and lots of property. The pastures are expansive, split between mares and geldings, and nice and hilly.  My only other reservation is how Katai will handle the grass but I'll get a grazing muzzle if I need to and I'm hoping that with the increased work load from last time she was on grass and all of the running up and down hills that she will be doing with her new pasture mates she won't turn into a pony tick.

Out the field road there is a way to get into an expansive trail system through other properties. It sounds like the owners of those pieces of land are more than happy to have horses riding through (around crops of course) and there are trails cut through the woods, around fields, through meadows, etc. These are exactly the type of trails that I grew up riding on and I am SO EXCITED to get to introduce Katai to proper trail riding.


There is also plenty of space to ride around the property itself including a long driveway and field road/paths around the barns. Even this is way more than we've had before and will be a good way for us to safely dip our toes into trail riding along with lots of potentially spooky things to look at which will be great for desensitization.

There is an outdoor sand, regulation sized, arena with white rails that I'm so excited to ride in and it sounds like they set up ground poles around the outdoor in the grass along the tree line and even a couple of jumps when the footing is dry and safe which will be fun to work on with Katai.

Indoor Areas:

There are two barns (upper and lower which is the main barn) and one overflow barn. Right now Katai is in the upper barn that just has stalls but I'm going to hopefully be able to move to the lower barn at some point. At any rate, both barns are ours to use.


The lower barn/main barn, has all of the grooming spaces including four wash stalls with heat lamps, tack lockers, saddle closets, lounge, and indoor arena. I should have my own tack locker (once things shake out) and get to use a saddle closet in this barn. Currently I'm in the fancy tack room so no complaints! Both barns are heated warmer than what we've had which is nice and the lower is kept closer to 40* during the winter which will be AMAZING. Both are bright and extremely well ventilated so that you wouldn't even know that horses live there.
Pretty sure she's punishing me for the move by blinking
The indoor is actually slightly smaller (shorter) than Jane's but has really nice footing that has some rubber in it. I really like it and Katai seems to as well so far.

Other Stuff:


Turnout times are similar to Jane's with the horses possibly staying out slightly longer during winter. They also go out more days including in snow and appropriate rain (unless it's really cold) which I love. Katai being able to have group turnout with grass during the day and friends to run with is going to be amazing for fitness, for her mind, and very likely for her sometimes ulcery tummy.  Hopefully the grass just doesn't cause any issues.

Tons of hay including alfalfa is also fed and it sounds like (and I observed when I was there) that horses eat their hay before their grain which speaks highly to the quality and palatability. There's also enough of it fed that they're eating constantly which will also be good for Katai's ulcery tummy.


The barn feeds a good ration balancer and will feed supplements. They have Barn Buddies which is great since my now more limited SmartPaks were no longer qualifying for free shipping and I hated paying for shipping on them every month.

The barn manager/owner (S2) lives on site and does some natural horsemanship training as well as being an accomplished dressage rider and competitor with her Silver Medal. She's currently showing Prix St. George. She is also able to give IV meds which is great just in case there's ever a colic situation that would call for it. Having met her and the other people who work at the barn I trust them completely with Katai's care. S2 runs a tight ship and has been showing for a long time so she has the infrastructure to do it well.
The large, fancy, show trailer
Blanket are put on and removed each day which is fantastic. They are also willing to mess with neck covers so I'm looking forward to having Katai fully body clipped next year.Also, my friend who rides her pony at 4th level currently boards there and helps with things like full body clips and will help with mane pulling if needed. I'm looking forward to potentially having her clip Katai with her MUCH nicer clipper next year so that Katai doesn't look moth eaten.

There are also a few big name clinicians who clinic there on a fairly regular basis including Ann Cizaldo which will be amazing both for auditing and riding opportunities.

I'm really hoping this is my last move for a long time. Maybe the last time until I'm able to afford my own property!


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Not To Plan = New Lists

Nice peaceful barn
My plan was to get back from OH on Tuesday morning, go into to work for part of the day, and then head to the barn in the evening. Instead I ended up starting to get sick (stomach flu like symptoms) on the flight back. I was pretty miserable yesterday evening and it got even worse overnight. My fever stopped sometime in the morning when I was dozing but by that point I only ended up with about 2ish hours of sleep before my alarm went off. I called into work but still did a few things from home so that we didn't need to reschedule people.

That was miserable on so little sleep and I was so low on calories at that point that with both combined I was still chilled and feeling light headed. I napped a couple more times throughout the day and in the afternoon I managed to keep down some toast and ginger ale.

I was feeling enough comparatively better by evening, and knew that Katai was going to run out of supplements, that I decided to drive out to drop off supplements and check on Katai. I probably shouldn't have since I still felt like crap but I was successful in my mission but napped again as soon as I got back. Not sure if any of this even makes sense since I'm so sleep deprived still but updating lists was something I could get done.

First, to catch up with the last list.

Plans for moving week (Week of April 15th):
-move pony to the new barn - Done
-move stuff to the new barn - Sort of done, still need space for the rest of my stuff but it's living in my car for now
-confirm show plans for the summer/at least the next few months so that I can request PTO
-ride at least 3 times and make use of the move to practice for riding in a new space - Done!
-schedule lesson(s) with S2

She still remembered me
New Lists!

Last Week in April:
-Ride/lunge/hand trail walk at least four days including Saturday
-Ride with M on Saturday morning!!
-Get my car (current tackroom) organized
-Walk Katai's warmer blankets (and get them out of my car!)
-Continue to treat Katai's thrush
-Schedule lessons with S2 (moving from above)
-Determine show plans (moving from above)

First Week in May:
-Try to ride/work Katai 5 days hopefully including some outdoor riding
-Hopefully have a lesson with S2 if I haven't already
-Make sure I get all my coggins and other show paperwork in order
-Register Katai with USEquestrian and NDPC (I already have my memberships but need to get these two done)

Second Week in May:
-Make sure my show clothes and other equipment are ready to go and that I'm not missing anything
-Ride 5 times
-Work on memorizing 1st level tests
-Register for show? (I think it will be this week and hopefully S2 will still think we're ready)
-Book hotel?
-Figure out method for transporting my show stuff
-Ride movements from tests
-Arrange someone to watch puppies

Third Week in May:
- Have another lesson with S2 potentially depending on availability
-Ride at least 5 times
-Ride through tests

Hopefully I'll feel well enough tomorrow even after work that I'll be able to get out to the barn and actually accomplish a bit. Now it's time for bed at 2 hours early.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Move


At this point Katai and I should be REALLY good at this. Unfortunately the spring weather after being locked up all winter between her barn and her paddock, the lack of trailer loading practice since last summer, and the lack of even much ground work since last fall combined to make for a very fractious beast. That added to my stress which was also made worse by the fact that I was moving Friday evening, had afternoon plans on Saturday, and was flying out on Sunday.

I knew that it was going to be really tight to get to the barn Saturday and Sunday and still be ready to fly out. Luckily this is a short trip and I'll be back on Tuesday morning but the timing just really sucked.

Then, as if I needed more stress, Friday was one of those days where nothing went right. I'd blocked off my calendar at work to leave early which I normally have the ability to do but something came up last minute that I needed to take care of which meant I got to the barn late.

I'll spare you all the little things that went wrong but let's just say it involved nearly running out of gas, almost getting lost, lots of being stuck behind red lights while the trailer wasn't, and a stubborn pony that took almost an hour to load.


In the end Katai got in the box stall on the trailer after trying to load her in the two horse straight load at the back (before I realized there was a box stall option) and she had a nice safe trip. I also made it safely to the barn if a bit later than the trailer, and she settled into her amazingly clean stall to munch on tasty looking hay while shooting angry mare faces at her neighbors.

After getting her settled in at her stall in the upper barn I went to the lounge to do paperwork with S2. Since it was late we decided to try to find space for my tack the next day since they're still over full and don't have a locker for me yet. I checked on Katai one more time to find her still happily eating her hay, drinking her water, and making angry mare faces at her neighbors.

Saturday morning I went out early and had happy tears in my eyes when I saw her out in a huge pasture with other mares, in the warm sun. She looked so happy and ever after our disagreements the prior day she came trotting up to me and walked politely with me to the lower barn for some exposure to the new grooming space. I'll admit that ample peppermints were involved.

She was nervous and stressy standing in the cross ties but perfectly happy to walk nicely around the arena and then acted as ear perking motivation for M's gelding who was getting pictures taken. She always impresses me in situations like that even if I'm slightly dismayed that she still doesn't want to stand nicely in the crossties in a new space. I ran out of time on Saturday to ride but that wasn't a bad thing. She got to stand tied twice and got groomed as well as getting to see the arena so that was good and we were able to find a temporary solution for my saddle, bridle, helmet, and grooming stuff.

Then on Sunday I went out in the morning again and had a tight schedule since I also had to get Veggie dropped off at the sitters and get to the airport by 1:00. I not only made it to the barn and managed to get Katai standing well enough to get her tacked up, I actually rode! I was a short ride but she felt amazing and behaved really well so it made sense to keep it short and sweet. That ride really enforced for me that I made the right decision to move her. After being out in the pasture with the other horses she felt loose and forward. She didn't have the stiffness that we have been dealing with off and on and although she was still a bit tense she was very rideable. I'm really looking forward to having a better baseline of fitness on her as well as the looseness that comes with her being able to be out running around in a huge pasture. Plus hopefully happy pony will be better behaved pony.

I still need to get some more pictures and do a barn tour post but it'll have to wait since I'm in Cleveland tonight and flying back tomorrow. I'm planning to get out the barn tomorrow night after work and I can't wait to see my pony and ride!!

Autonomy

The last night at the old barn. New barn updates soon!
One of the things about the new barn that I'm honestly looking forward to at this point is actually taking a break from lessons. As a background I've taken weekly music lessons since I was 5, had a brief break when I wasn't taking music lessons or riding lessons and then started riding lessons a few years ago.

I'm absolutely a student and certainly no expert. I will be taking as many lessons as I can afford with S2 (goal is at least monthly if not bi-weekly) and hopefully do a clinic or two but I'll also be spending a lot of time working through things on my own. I'm confident that at the least I know when to involve expert help and at the most that with all of the resources I have at my disposal I'll still make decent progress.
moved the pony and then flew to OH
for work the beginning of this week.
What's funny is that with my history of taking lessons and the way I grew up where learning from experts was the only way we did things, I feel a little like I need an adult to make this decision. Then I realize that I'm an adult and if I don't have weekly lessons in the budget and also just want to have more time to work on homework between lessons that's completely up to me.

This could absolutely still change. I may assess and decide that I really need to prioritize weekly lessons over other items and go back to having them. I'll also hopefully have some eyes on the ground from my friend M between lessons.

Also, right at this moment Katai has more buttons than she has strength. We have a technically correct leg yield, shoulder in, haunches in, walk/canter transition, counter canter, lengthening, etc. but need to practice all of the above and gain strength in all of the above. Of course they can always be improved and I don't want to practice them incorrectly but there are just so many things to practice and get back right now. Especially after this really inconsistent winter I feel like I've got mounds of homework and not enough time to just work on it and practice the things.

Veggie with his favorite
crew/puppy sitter while I'm gone.
I also want to incorporate more downtime days doing ground work, riding on trails, potentially doing trailer practice etc. and with limited time at the barn (hopefully I can still make it out 5 days a week) I really want to be able to do those things and still make some dressage progress between lessons rather than not doing the fun downtime things because I feel like I don't have enough time between lessons.

I'm excited to take this step and whether it works long term or not it will be fun to not have that weekly commitment for awhile.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Stubbornly Surviving

Saturday night, this poor person just gave up and sort of drove into an alley
This past week or so has been tough. We had a blizzard last weekend that started on Friday evening and didn't stop until late on Sunday. I also wasn't hearing from the amazing person who's willing to trailer my pony, probably because of the snow but it's stressful enough moving her without adding the stress of not knowing when. I've also been struggling with motivation which has been made that much tougher with all of this snow and crummy weather.

But we're still here! Luckily I lunged early last Friday prior to Katai's vet appointment since I already had that time off work. I was glad I did when the snow started earlier than planned on Friday evening. Then I was stuck at home on Saturday and Sunday. Luckily the bf and I got to spend some time hanging out with the puppies, playing Zelda, online shopping, and occasionally heading out into the snow to help rescue people.

From Sunday

Monday I worked from home because there was still significant ice on the roads and several huge snow drifts between my car and work. After a nice sunny day of melting though the roads were clear enough for me to get to the barn that evening. Unfortunately pony was still stiff from her shots and in no mood to play along. She was also extraordinarily reactive.

I took some time to think through it and realized that I'm learning (for the umpteenth time) that pony NEEDS to be on a fairly significant dose of magnesium or she goes out of her mind. Tiny things that would never phase her had her flying backwards or sideways and trying to lunge her only ended in her bolting around with absolutely no sense in her eyes. I had reduced her recently as mentioned based on the FeedXL suggestions but clearly her magnesium needs are slightly outside of what FeedXL is accounting for.  I realized that's what was going on Tuesday and ordered some through Amazon with 2 day shipping so it will be here Thursday in enough time for me to give her a couple of loading doses before she travels to the new barn.

Tough to tell from this angle but it was at his withers on Saturday
I did end up having my lesson on Tuesday but she was stiff and sore still through her neck so we  kept it pretty short and sweet. Unfortunately that will likely be my last lesson with Jane unless I'm lucky enough to cross paths with her in the future but the tools she's given me are things I'll be able to use for the rest of my life. It's continued to be bittersweet to think about leaving and I'm excited about the new opportunity.

In other news I've continued to try to focus on what I can accomplish vs. what I can't and have made more progress on my list. I also took care of a few things that weren't even on the list such as picking up the new hay net (a nibble net) and purchasing new brush wash packet so that I can get my brushes cleaned again prior to the move

Early on Saturday, almost to the top of my boots.
Plans for last week were to;
-clean all my tack including Katai’s leather turnout halter - partially done ahead of schedule
-post an update on the farrier/feet situation
-re-subscribe to feedxl since there’s a new ration balancer at the new barn that I need to figure out - Done
-ride at least 4 times - almost made it
-make sure I get at least one lesson in - Done
-try to wash Katai’s legs (which should have happened when it was warmer but oh well, at least this way she won’t go back out to mud since it’s all ice again) - May not happen with the state of the wash rack. If not, I'll take care of this at the new barn.
-wash blankets and make sure that all of Katai’s clothes are clean and ready to be used (moving to a more heated barn so we’re going to need different blankets than we do now) - Almost Done

 Plans for moving week (Week of April 15th):
-move pony to the new barn - Scheduled for Friday
-move stuff to the new barn
-confirm show plans for the summer/at least the next few months so that I can request PTO
-ride at least 3 times and make use of the move to practice for riding in a new space - rode/lunged twice so far this week. I plan to be out there Thursday, move Friday, and ride this Saturday
-schedule lesson(s) with S2

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Show Plans!!!

Dreaming of these days hard core right now

I am SO thrilled that I can actually make a plan about this for this year!

Tentative Plans:

Bara Trac I & I Too - May 26th and 27th

Dressage at Alpine I & II - June 9th and 10th

Or;

Dressage Lite I & II (I think, there are a couple of shows being talked about in this timeframe)

Can't believe that Katai might get to meet these two!
National Dressage Pony Cup - July 20th through the 22nd!!!!
- so, so, so thrilled that this is a thing for us this year! The timing for it to be so close is just perfect for us! Now we just need to make sure we're prepared to not make a fool of ourself.

Regionals (of course if we qualify) - September 6th through the 9th

There's at least one other show that we're planning to attend in July but I don't remember which one it was. I believe we'd then have August off and hopefully do regionals in September. We have several more available in this area but there were four plus the NDPC that the barn is planning to haul to. I'll update more once I'm/we're sure which shows we'll be attending this year!



Saturday, April 14, 2018

Another Update

Crabby looking sleepy puppies.
Their answer to dealing with the blizzard we're having is to sleep and cuddle
I'd like to be able post things other than just update posts but after taking such big breaks between posts it seems like it makes sense. Updates first and then I'm hopefully going to spend some time today writing more posts so that I have some prepared content for the next couple of weeks.

Plans for this week are to;
-schedule travel to new barn for Katai Doneish, I've received confirmation that travel will happen this next week, just not exactly when...
-make sure the vet visit for shots and coggins gets scheduled for before we leave  Scheduled and completed as of Friday
-drop off extra tack at the local tack swap this Friday - did not do
-finish “pulling” her mane 
-trim her beard and ear hairs as well as cleaning up her feather  I didn't get her ear floof trimmed but that's less important to me than the other stuff.
-bring home all the extra stuff I have at the barn and get it cleaned and organized for the move 
-ride at least 3 times  Yay!!
-try to reschedule several lesson make ups (at this point I’m certainly not going to get all of these made up but having a few more lessons before I leave would be great!) 
-make sure I get a new drawer from Smartpak since I tossed the other one and the new barn uses them

Plans for next week are to;
-clean all my tack including Katai’s leather turnout halter - partially done ahead of schedule
-post an update on the farrier/feet situation
-re-subscribe to feedxl since there’s a new ration balancer at the new barn that I need to figure out
-ride at least 4 times
-make sure I get at least one lesson in
-try to wash Katai’s legs (which should have happened when it was warmer but oh well, at least this way she won’t go back out to mud since it’s all ice again)
-wash blankets and make sure that all of Katai’s clothes are clean and ready to be used (moving to a more heated barn so we’re going to need different blankets than we do now)

 Plans for moving week (Week of April 15th):
-move pony to the new barn
-move stuff to the new barn
-confirm show plans for the summer/at least the next few months so that I can request PTO
-ride at least 3 times and make use of the move to practice for riding in a new space
-schedule lesson(s) with S2

Monday, April 2, 2018

So Done

With winter this year. I know that it’s not just us in MN that are struggling with a really rough winter this year but I live here and it’s been bad so I’m going to complain about it! 
Tiny car looks even cuter with the wipers up to prepare for ice
We’re on something like third winter right now and after a couple of warmer weeks of 40s with one day in the 50s we’re back to the 20s and 30s. This past weekend we had a day with wind chills of 0 and today and tomorrow we are getting ANOTHER snow storm (7-8” this time). This past weekend I didn’t get out to the barn because of cold and Easter. I didn’t realize there was going to be a snow storm until Sunday after Easter plans had already started or I would have prioritized barn when I could. Now I’m stuck not being able to get to the barn likely until Thursday this week since after the snow storm I have plans on Wednesday that I can’t change. This is so so so so so so so so so so so so frustrating especially with moving to the new barn and trying to coordinate vet visit, pony travel, and getting caught up after a winter of this crap so that we can manage to not make fools of ourselves at this show.

We’ll be ok, I know we will and sooner rather than later the weather will change and we’ll have at least a month or so of really solid rides and solid work. I’m also absolutely planning to use this show as a training opportunity and am not worried about what scores we get. This is all for fun but I don’t want to get there and completely bomb either since that won’t exactly be fun haha. Mostly though I'm soooo excited to move and have all of these amazing opportunities and just in time for spring!
Everything is melting at the moment but it'll turn into ice overnight.
You can't really tell in these pictures but the snow has been really
coming down and visibility was rough on the way home from work
For the short term I'm going to go with lists instead of goals since that feels less overwhelming and more useful.

Plans for this week are to;
-schedule travel to new barn for Katai
-make sure the vet visit for shots and coggins gets scheduled for before we leave
-drop off extra tack at the local tack swap this Friday
-finish “pulling” her mane
-trim her beard and ear hairs as well as cleaning up her feather
-bring home all the extra stuff I have at the barn and get it cleaned and organized for the move
-ride at least 3 times
-try to reschedule several lesson make ups (at this point I’m certainly not going to get all of these made up but having a few more lessons before I leave would be great!)
-make sure I get a new drawer from Smartpak since I tossed the other one and the new barn uses them - Done

More snow
Plans for next week are to;
-clean all my tack including Katai’s leather turnout halter 
-post an update on the farrier/feet situation
-re-subscribe to feedxl since there’s a new ration balancer at the new barn that I need to figure out
-ride at least 4 times
-make sure I get at least one lesson in
-try to wash Katai’s legs (which should have happened when it was warmer but oh well, at least this way she won’t go back out to mud since it’s all ice again)
-wash blankets and make sure that all of Katai’s clothes are clean and ready to be used (moving to a more heated barn so we’re going to need different blankets than we do now)

Plans for moving week (Week of April 15th):
-move pony to the new barn
-move stuff to the new barn
-confirm show plans for the summer/at least the next few months so that I can request PTO
-ride at least 3 times and make use of the move to practice for riding in a new space
-schedule lesson(s) with S2


Thank You!

Thank you all so much for your messages and positive thoughts. I'm really really really really really really really really really really...