Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dylan End of October Analysis; November Goals!

Happy Halloween!!!!

Is it the end of October already? What happened?
I feel as though my goals for October were mostly on. I didn't get everything done quite to the massive extent that I was really hoping, but I did take a pretty good stab at everything on the list. I realize that basically all of my problems stem from my inherit laziness.... I am LAZY. I love sitting around, lounging, napping, and generally taking my time doing everything. My current workload is heavy but still allows for a bit of leisure time most every day, if I plan it well, as well as a few days a week off (not every week, but most of the time it works out this way). As I never used to have any time for anything when I was a bit younger and more ambitious, I have taken full advantage of this - but am feeling like maybe I take it too far. I am very, very active first time in the morning, and then don't have any interest in doing anything in the afternoon. I need to remember this when scheduling my days - scheduling ride time first thing in the morning is always a good thing. Alternatively, I don't do very well when pressed for time - so scheduling work in the late morning or afternoon doesn't always mean I get a good ride in during the morning, as sometimes I feel too pushed for time to get it done. My best bets are usually to pile my workdays full of work and not ride or drive on those days (or just hack at the end of the day), and then use my days off to take my sweet time about everything. I do great with a structured schedule, less so with optional things, and just terrible with many things crammed into one go. As long as I know these things about myself, I can optimize the way I schedule and operate.

Rare moment of holding still long enough to take a picture


Dylan October Goals:

1) Continue gaining weight and muscle and be a happy healthy feral beast outside!
Success! This month, a few weeks ago, Dylan went through another fencewalking period, shortly after he got his teeth done. I suspected that his guts weren't totally in order, and made some alterations to his diet. I saw immediate improvement - in fact, he is even better now than he was before. He has not been walking at all, and he has not been getting worried or upset when the mares go away up the hill like he was before. It helps that we are now entering that time of the year when hormones quiet down (although, don't tell O, because she is still in flaming heat right now...). I think Dylan quite enjoys being a feral outdoor beast - he lounges under the trees, struts about his kingdom, goes for a good gallop when he feels like it, rolls a million times in the dirt every day, takes his daily naps in his sandpile, and munches hay at his leisure all day. It's a pretty fair life!

2) Get his teeth checked/done
Success! His incisors were super long and he was slightly overfloated in the back - typical stuff. My dentist is great and did a good job with everyone, just like she did last year. Dylan feels quite the same under saddle after his dental work, but given all of his funny little quirks with his head/ears/mouth/bit/etc, I think it's important to keep on top of all these issues.

3) Start trailering to WD - 2x a week if possible!
I did quite well with this - while I didn't get to go this week, I did get to at least go once every week, and one week I went three times. I hope to be more consistent this month - i.e. not go three times one week and only once the next - but it will depend on many things. I have a friend coming into town for a week, and will also be out of town for the No Lamintis conference for several days, which will alter this schedule significantly, but I will do my best. I am shooting for the end of January for our first show!

4) In addition to working at home, hacking out - 1x a week in gradually increasing amounts
Success! I've been out at least once a week every week. I've been doing the same two mile loop every time, but in varying ways, and sometimes loop back on the route a few times to change things up. Dylan is a good boy to hack out, but he does tend to get a bit jiggy and rushy on the way home, so I have taken to putting his usual bridle on instead of his nice bitless one - if he gets rushed and jiggy, he has to work.

5) Start looking over the show schedule and making tentative plans
Success! I need to continue fine tuning this and making a schedule according to it, not to mention figure out which organizations I need to renew memberships on, but I do know our first tentative show will be in January. It's not that far away when I think about it....!


Dylan October Goals:
1) Continue hacking out 1-2x a week!
2) Continue trailering to WD, 2-3x a week if possible
3) Continue working on my own strength in the saddle!
4) Contact the local trainer of my choice - ask about upcoming lessons! 
5) Continue working on the show schedule, which memberships I need to renew, get a calendar together, and plan which things I will need to replace


Oh man.... the crust.... oh the crust! He looks quite pleased with himself...
Lucky Braids shampoo gets the horrible red mud out at least!

I have another post with the mare goals up shortly.... and the big news for O! I am going to make an effort to write a blogpost at least every other day in November. I may not succeed, but I have not been great with blogging anything in great detail lately. I want to make sure things get documented properly!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

NTW Games Day 10/25/15

Did I win?

Well I'd say that went pretty well, wouldn't you?

Our final show of the season was this past weekend. Since we unfortunately can't make Black Star this year, I figured this would be a good end to it. We missed a lot of shows this year, and I am admittedly disappointed about that. I did find out that there is one final local show in late November that I might be able to do, but we will just have to see about that. 

After the not-too-successful Romp, I was hoping to do quite a lot better at this show. O really excels at these little playdays, and they are super fun. She is definitely into the idea of turn-tight-go-fast. Being that this show was very close to Halloween, there was also a costume competition - we all dressed up, then everyone voted for their favorite costume. As for us, I donned a viking helmet over my actual helmet, and dressed O up as a red dragon:

Y u do dis

Wings and all! And yes I did cut her mane (and put red hairspray in it) - it was getting long and was about time to roach anyway, so I figured this was as good a time as any if I was ever going to do something crazy with it! I spent about $25 at the discount Halloween store for the horns, wings, viking hat, and hairspray, then took red poster paper and ziptied spikes to her harness. Basically this costume was just awesome in every way, and a got a LOT of compliments. We didn't win best costume, but personally I thought it was pretty excellent. 

We borrowed the little red cart from my client who bought it, which I am thankful for. That little thing can sling dirt! It weighs next to nothing and it can just whip around things at high speed. I can't wait for the professional pictures to come out - at one point I know I was all but standing up with all my weight braced to one side, counterbalancing her turn at speed. It has to be a ton of fun to be a navigator, truly.

The first pattern of the day was "Pattern G", which was a marathon hazard. Since they get really confusing when you first look at them, I outlined the path we traveled in blue. The rules are similar to eventing in that you have to go between two flags, the red flag being on your righthand side. You must do the gates in order (i.e. A then B then C etc), and you can't cross through any of the gates out of order. Gates are live until you cross them, then they are considered dead and you can go through them again without any penalty. For example, if you look at where gate A is and where gate B is, it looks like you should just be able to cut through the middle of the hazard to get there right? But look again - gate C is in your path, and you can't cross it before you cross B or you are eliminated. It can be hard to remember at times!

Clear as mud right?
O being O, she trotted casually up to the first turn, then turned on the afterburners throughout the whole thing. We won this class!

The second class was the corset. It was basically a set of weave poles, a cone, and more weave poles. O went in and charged around just fine, so I was surprised when I ended up in 5th place, 10 seconds behind the leader. What we think may have happened was that the person in front of me had a ten second penalty for cantering, and that somehow may have gotten added on to my score instead of hers, because she ended up second and I ended up 5th. But, ah well. I didn't fight it because I thought it would be mean to take away that person's second place, even if it was supposed to be mine. I would fight that at a bigger show, but not at a playday. I know how we did and that is good enough for me. 

The third class was the Flying W. The formatting on this picture wasn't right, so I drew in red how it was suppose to actually go. O powered around this one too at high speed, and won it as well! 

We broke for lunch while the organizers set the cones course, and then we all walked the course. It was kind of a doozy of a course - difficult and very turny. You'd really get going and then you'd have to crank around in a tight turn. It's a little bit hard to see on the map, so I drew in the path I took. From 9 to 10 was the toughest turn - on the map it doesn't show it, but there was enough room between 10 and 16 to cut between them, then loop back around to 10. It was tight but we did it! I was one of the only bigger horses to attempt it, both in the cones course (trotting) and the Derby (same course, cantering). It paid off as we won both of those classes! I was hoping to break the minute mark in the Derby, but O in her usual fashion took her time slowly trotting up all the way to the second set of cones, and finally she bothered to pick up the canter. I don't canter much, if ever, in the 2-wheel cart, so I think she just sort of ignored my asking for a few moments, thinking "hmmm... she is asking me to canter... but I am not supposed to do that... do you REALLY want me to canter? Are you sure? Well, ok then...." Our time was 1:10 - I think had I gotten her cantering before the timer we could have shaved several seconds off the time. Our time was 15 seconds slower than the fastest time in the pony division!

The final course of the day was the Double Keyhole, which we did in our first ever playday a year ago as well. We did not do very well in this one last year, but we did significantly better this year - we won it too!

It was a very successful outing. I can't wait for the professional pictures! 

And, on top of that, I have a really exciting driving-related surprise to share soon.....

Monday, October 19, 2015

She Trots!

It took 6 months for me to really be able to see it, but yes, Pax does in fact trot and it's pretty cute!

I saw her trotting a few sproingy steps the other day that were beyond just her usual bouncing around. Her preferred speed is canter for sure, so I know exactly what her canter looks like (also cute), but not her trot. On a whim, I decided to see if I could get her to trot out for the camera. I've never taught her this, but by now she leads very well, so I figured it was worth trying.

I've been taking her out every couple days, tying her to the trailer, and grooming her. She is a very good baby and she stands like a little rock, totally nonplussed by this. The rest of the horses get very upset when I pull her out, but it doesn't bother her one bit. I lead her around in increasing amounts after I groom her each time, and she is happy to leave all the other horses and head out. She never wants to go back into the paddock either - she always balks at the gate and doesn't want to step forward. That's the kind of ethic I like to see!

She does still act the fool sometimes when being led - if something spooks her, she definitely is liable to leap around, scoot, rear, and strike at the air like the Black Stallion. She gets better about it every time but she hasn't quite yet connected the fact that work time does not equal play time. She will get there - she is only 6 months after all. She hates to be reprimanded like any kid, but she does respond, especially when she does it to herself like galloping off and hitting the end of the lead rope.

I set up my camera and tried to see if she would trot - and she does! I haven't taught her this but she seems to understand the basic concept of go-with-the-human, so she was happy to jump right up into the trot every time I jogged forward.

Pretty cute little tot

I have a clip of the video in slow-mo too. Caveat: I did not think the idea through in advance and therefore didn't even have a bra on. I was basically trotting down the road in my pajamas with no underwear on. Sorry about my flopping boobs and SUPER classy outfit. I'm pretty good at putting together a Walmart-worthy barn outfit, I'll say that about myself. 

Classy, classy girl, that's me.

You can see why I think she'd make a cute hunter though, with that very flat-kneed floaty trot. 

Today we tried something new too: ponying! 

Here let me eat this bridle for you

She was actually quite good, better than I expected. She still had plenty of bouncing, rearing, and acting goofy, but since O is big and strong I could just kind of pull her along and stop the nonsense. She eventually started to get tired and began dragging behind a little bit, which is when we called it a day. We were out walking around the front yard for maybe 10-15 minutes. 
I don't think I will be ponying her again until we stop the rearing nonsense while leading. She is still just a little babe too and while I think these lessons are important to learn early, there is no sense in overdoing them. But it will be very handy for the future, as I will be able to pony her out on O for trailventures and experience. Plus, if I am to make a pair out of them in the future (if I don't sell her, of course), they will be working together a lot. 

O thinks Pax is a giant annoying pest but she clearly was delighted to be smooshed up against another warm body. Pax doesn't seem to care whether or not she is near the other horses, but O does - O LIVES for her herd. She can't function without it. Having a herd member there next to her all the time will probably multiply her happiness tenfold. She goes out and drives alone with no issues, and can pass by other horses without freaking out or getting herdbound, but I'm pretty sure if she had her way she would never detach herself from her buddies. 

Pax does seem to have inherited P's personality, which is what I was hoping for - with the added bonus of being really, really friendly. She always comes right to you in the pasture, she wants attention, she likes to be groomed and messed with. P can't be bothered with any of that, so I am super pleased that Pax likes all of it!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Weebles Wobble But They Don't Fall Down

I have a confession to make:

Getting back into riding is absolutely one of the most exhausting and painful things I think I've ever put myself through.

 Currently, I am the Human Weeble. Flooping here, leaning there, clamping my thighs, sitting crooked, bouncing. I *know* how all my body parts should go, but my body parts aren't always in agreeance with me. 

Different Weebl, same concept.

I *know* where all of my body parts are supposed to be. I know how to feels when you are sitting just right and working in harmony with your horse. I have these things deeply ingrained in my mind.
But apparently, not in my muscle memory.

Thank you for not bucking me off when I floop around

It has been a solid year since I put my butt into any saddle of any sort, save for 10 minutes one time when a client told me to try out her TWH and see what the gaits felt like. And it has been five years since I really was in saddle shape. And it SHOWS.

I also have the problem of my non-bending ankle. In that picture above, you can see the amount that the leg flexes. That's it. That's all I get now. I don't know that I will ever gain full flexibility back in that leg. I have to ride with that stirrup 3 holes longer than the other one in order to feel like I am sitting up straight in the saddle. As my body progressively warms up over the course of a ride, my calf doesn't stretch - instead, my ankle rolls progressively outward.

This is all a side product from limping around from the pain in my bad hip for so long. The good news is, as long as I ride in a saddle with a very narrow twist, the hip doesn't hurt at all. K sent Dylan with his Schleese - a brand designed specifically for women - but even that is too much pressure on my hips. I put my Prestige on him two days ago and felt a WORLD better. It fits about as well as the Schleese, which was due for a fitting anwyay, so I think what I will end up doing is fitting the Prestige to him instead of the Schleese. My Prestige was custom molded for my butt by angels, I am completely convinced of this.

I've been able to go to WD three whole days in a row this week. Three days in a row!! That is a rare treat. Every day I feel a little better, every day I am not quite so awkward. I'm still stuck in a chair seat with rounded shoulders flooping around and it looks ridiculous. but I am sitting cleanly enough that Dylan mostly understands what the hell I am asking him to do. He tries very hard.

Overly enthusiastic changes... he gets really excited about what's happening up front and forgets about his back end a bit!

It's hard. Everything is hard. Everything hurts. 

But, I understand that this is how bodies work. When you're not in shape for something, it is really freaking hard. And it hurts. Everything is painful. And everything kind of flops around. Nothing goes quite where you expect it should. You stretch it out, put it there, and then find that it has gone off somewhere else in just a few minutes. So, you put it back again. And again. And again.

And I know that eventually my body will go where it is supposed to. I will feel better and sit nicer. I know that I will feel like less of a floopy fool and more like someone who is not only fit to ride, but can be an effective rider.

And the only place where I can get those things is in the saddle. Logging hours in the saddle is the only way.

Everything is hard and everything hurts, but I ride on.


On a cuter note, here are two sassy babes running amok last night in the pasture. I actually got to see Pax trot yesterday - really trot - and I think there may be hope for her movement yet. It wasn't sustained or long but it was quite attractive! Alas, it was not caught on video.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Pax - 5.5 Months

Pax is now 5.5 months old. She will be 6 months old on the 23rd... where does time go?

She is still a bit awkward right now but she has definitely 'prettied' out a bit since Approvals. Her color is much better now too - more liver-y than it was. Hard to say if she's a true liver but compared to my other chestnuts, she is DARK. She is getting darker every day. 

The prettiest face on my property

She definitely inherited the DDM head/face. She looks like all of those babies. Beautiful, beautiful face and eye. She did get the family radar ears though... you could signal NASA with those things.

Kind of amazing what this silly looking little redhead turned into. 

I sticked her today and she is now 12.3hh at the withers. She is slightly taller behind, but not much - the only time she was really butt high was right before Approvals (naturally of course). I also measured and bought a winter blankie for her - our local tack store was having a sale on all of their tiny blankets and giant blankets. I found this super nice waterproof turnout for only $20! It's a 62" and it only just fits. I will probably need to get another one before this sale ends, so I can make sure she has something to grow into. I want her metabolism and haircoat to be good and functional and tough, so I don't plan on blanketing much unless I need to, but we are supposedly in for a horrible, icy, miserable, wet winter, and even though they have a shed I don't think she can make it through a winter without clothes, even if we are pretty mild down here compared to the north. I won't be running out and throwing blankets on her every time it dips into the 50's though.

I know I *said* she was technically for sale, but of course, now that I've put that out in the universe I don't really want to. I'm sure I will fluctuate back and forth with this for awhile until I settle on a final decision - and if I breed a few more babes I will need to make choices, because I'd be broke if I kept them *all*. If I was a bazillionaire who could hire staff to help with my five zillion horses, that would be one thing, but alas, I have not won the lottery just yet.

She's been going for little walks down the road with me. She is quite happy to do this - always strides out boldly - but she still has a tendency to explode and rear and leap whenever something spooks her. She is just a tot, so she will chill out over time as she gains more life experience, but it is rather exciting when one of the dogs jumps out of the underbrush and suddenly I have a galloping, rearing filly at the end of my lead line. I want to start ponying her off of O, but I think she needs to mentally grow up a little more before we try that - she still likes to rear and climb all over the other mares, so I quite imagine she will do the same when out for walks.

I still have hope that she will stay about O's size... maybe I'll get lucky!

Uma gives O a smooooooooch. It's amazing how gentle the bigger horses are with the tiny one - they are all very well socialized and they are careful not to ever bump her, step on her when she sleeps, or hurt her in any way. They will nip her and move her out of the way if she is being sassy though!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Remembering Gogo - Four Years Later

Four years have gone by since I lost Gogo. Four years applying the salve of time really does do wonders for your hurts. When you lose something that dear to you, it may feel like you'll be never okay again, but someday you will be. You won't ever be the same again, but you will feel much better in time.

Gogo's death changed everything. Losing her was utterly worst-case-scenario for me. When I lost Metro to his massive suspensory injury, I vowed to make sure that the next one I found was the soundest, nicest horse I could find. I looked for the better part of a year before I found Gogo. I traveled around the country. I turned horses with iffy prepurchases down. Gogo ended up being right around the corner from where I was living in PA at the time, and her prepurchase was immaculate save for her one clubbier foot. She needed a lot of training but otherwise she was a clean slate. I was convinced nothing would ever happen to her. I was very careful with her. When she did injure herself, I spent every waking moment carefully bringing her back, obsessing over her care. I successfully brought her back twice, only to have her reinjure twice. Two years of failed rehab later, and everything I had hoped for, everything I had struggled to keep all fell apart. Despite everything, everything I did, I still lost her. Gogo was everything to me - the only thing that mattered - and losing her left me completely shellshocked. She factored into every major life decision I made. She was the only thing I cared about. At the time, I described losing her as being forcefully cut in half, with the remaining piece of me being thrown back out into the world to try and relearn how to live again. 

And I did learn. And I did change. Everything is different now and a lot has happened in the four years since I lost her. I've been around a lot tragedy in my life, and seen a lot of extremely gross and gruesome deaths, but Gogo's death stands out in my mind as the worst. She died peacefully and quietly, but it was the hardest for me to deal with. Every death after hers has been easier for me to process - including the deaths of my two elderly dogs - I think because Gogo's just left me utterly shellshocked and completely rattled. When you do everything in your power to make sure something never happens again, and that thing *still* happens despite being 100% nonstop obsessed with trying to prevent it... it changes you. I think it's part of the reason I have as many equines as I do now - having several at once takes the intense focus off of just one. Looking back this far out, I can say that I think the burning total involvement that I gave to Gogo was not totally healthy for me. Then again, I think part of the reason I've not seen the same kind of success since is because I don't have the same kind of crazed maniacal fire directed exclusively at one animal. Although, now that I think about it, I *have* had a lot of success with O and have a good 30 or so blue and red and yellow (and one sad white) ribbons hanging on the wall, including two Reserve Champ and three Champion ribbons, which is three more Champion ribbons than I ever won with Gogo. So, maybe I am wrong there. I don't know. 

But I am different now. I put a lot of time and resources into my business, which takes away some of my pony obsession time. I am not quite as young and limber as I was ten years ago, and now at the age of 30 I realize that I only have one body and I need to make it last the rest of my life. I smashed it up pretty good when I was younger and never thought anything of it, but I've started to realize that I am not quite so bulletproof anymore. Some days I am too tired and sore to ride or drive at all. That was definitely not a problem when I had Gogo - I would just bounce up and go. I wonder, would these things all be the same if Gogo was still here and I didn't have any other horses? I don't really know. 

It isn't something I dwell on though, with her or any other lost thing in my life. I don't see much reason to play the what-if? game with myself. I played it when Gogo died - what if I had done this different? Or this? Or changed this? Or not done this? And in the end, none of that matters at all. What's done is done, and it can't be changed now. I am happy to be where I am, doing what I am doing, and love the horses I am with now. O has brought me her own hilarity, stories, successes, failures, highs, and lows. I love and cherish all of my horses, but that red mare is just my girl. I may not have ever found her, or any of my other horses, if Gogo was still here - so in a way, I have her to thank for all of them. 

I guess the point of all this babble is this: time really does help the heart heal. Gogo led me to so many wonderful things and I am so much to be thankful for, all because of her. I'm not the same - I will never be the same - but that's okay, because our life experiences shape our personalities and we should never be too sad to add new layers to ourselves, so long as we focus on the positive things. And our dead loved ones will never really be gone, as long as we remember them and honor them and carry them along in our hearts. 

Go tell your ponies that you are thankful for them every day. They may not speak the same language as us, but they understand what you mean when you tell them.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Tiny Side Project

It's time to spill the beans about my tiny side project. Some of you have seen her on Instagram and have been begging for more! 

This is Uma.

And Pax. And my poor dentist's bag of tools that these two kept knocking over. 

Uma is a miniature molly mule foal who is the same age as Pax (5 months). She currently stands about 29" tall and will probably stay under 34" fully grown. 

I LOVE longears. I love mules and donkeys. I've always wanted a performance mule and I've even blogged about it in the past. But this spring, when I saw a mini mule competing at Sunrise Ridge, that was it. I HAD to have one.

Then at the end of August, I saw an ad for a weanling mule who was sorrel. Meaning, she matched my entire herd. And obviously, that's *clearly* the only important criteria when horse shopping, right?  

She was totally feral. She has never been touched by humans except for when she was grabbed and taken away from her mother. She was VERY upset and walking the fence like crazy when I went to go pick her up. But I got to see her trot and I was super impressed. She can really move! She is flashy for a tiny little bidget.

She rode home in a dog crate in the backseat of my truck. She was THAT tiny.

And she just stood there eating hay. Because mules are awesome, that's why.

The mares were not sure what to make of this tiny thing. I think mostly they just accepted her as another foal (which, she is) and that was that. I left her in a catch pen for a couple of days because she was so TOTALLY feral and terrified of people. It didn't work out very well for her though - she walked the fence pretty much nonstop because she wanted to be out with the mares. 

Aside from being a little mystefied by her tiny hee-haw, they are good and social creatures, so I finally just attached a breakaway catch rope onto her halter, and turned her loose with the mares. 

What the.... 

(And yees, she does have a tiny hee-haw. You don't hear it much, but it's there. She is very, very quiet for a mule! It's hard to describe the noise a mule makes... it's not a full on donkey hee-haw but it's not a horse whinny either.)

It was INSTANT love between her and Pax. They've been inseparable ever since. They do everything together, from cuddling up and sleeping to galloping and bucking. 

Mule got moves!

She wore her catch rope for probably two weeks while I worked on catching her. I finally got her to trust me enough to take off the rope - though I have left the halter on. We're definitely still working on her trust issues - she is very interested in the people and not afraid anymore, but if you come at her wrong it still frightens her. 

The funniest thing you will see today

And no, she doesn't regularly "nurse" on Pax like that - Pax doesn't tolerate it and shoves her off. I just happened to catch that care moment a few weeks ago when Pax was nursing on P, and Uma was trying to mmurse on Pax!

Trying to get Future Hubs to pay attention to her

Like everyone on my farm, good food has definitely made a difference for her. She has changed color from an orangey-sorrel to a deeper red. I've been able to trim her several times - she needed some corrective work in the back end and had a clubbier front foot that needed some help. 

As for that giant gut - she's been dewormed a couple of times and has a clean fecal, so mostly we assume it's just because she is a tiny growing feedbag champion scoffer. If she sees me filling haybags and she is on the other side of the field, she RUNS at full speed over. And if I am not fast enough, she gallops around bucking and shaking her head. She, like all mules, is happiest when eating!

She still doesn't love to be petted or brushed but she does tolerate it, She ties, stands for me to do her feet, gets groomed and flysprayed, and leads. Not terribly well, for any of those things, but she will. She is only 5 months after all and was totally feral up until weaning time. 

She will be my driving mule when she grows up. I also plan on taking her to all the local mule shows, and also doing packing with her. I love to go hiking and walking, and I will now have a tiny pack companion to help me tote my gear along. 

I can't tell you how much I love this mule. I LOVE THIS MULE! If I had a whole farm full of tiny mules like her I would die a happy girl. She is the BEST!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Explanations and Other Things

Blogging is a wonderful, magical, excellent, and sometimes completely miserably terrible thing to do with one's time. It's very akin to having your own cheering squad and your own execution firing squad all at the same time. I learned long ago when blogging about Gogo that there just are some things you *don't* talk about when blogging. I, for one, will never open my mouth about OTTBs again - I was so thoroughly berated for my views on them that I decided the topic was 100% taboo.  Another topic is breeding. Inevitably, when you talk about breeding, you will get scores of people who are all too happy to tell you what a piece of crap your mare/stallion are, what an irresponsible choice you are making, and what a terrible person you are. Likewise, I also just found out that if you take the resulting baby following such a breeding, and you consider changing your mind and listing it for sale, you will get attacked by that same faction of people.

I did list Pax for sale, tentatively. She has two ads up, neither of which are paid for ads, neither of which are aggressively marketed ads, and neither of which have gotten a single hit. I don't know if I want to sell her, really, but maybe I do. I will explain all my reasons in a minute, but I will also explain what happened when the word got out that I had put her up.

It started out as a well-meaning comment. Someone was curious to know if I had listed her myself or if someone else had stolen her information and listed her without my permission, because they had found the ad and didn't think I had planned on selling her. Unfortunately what happened when people saw that comment was a huge email explosion - people left and right flooding my inbox, telling me I was irresponsible, that I didn't care about my horses, that I was a greedy money-loving hog who was just here to make a buck, that I was a trashy backyard breeder, that my horses were garbage that nobody sane would buy, that I should be ashamed of myself. I'm sorry if I got defensive about it - I was really taken aback, and hurt too. It's literally exactly the same responses (and the same people) as I had berated me before for wanting to breed Gogo back in the day - they are the reason I didn't blog about planning to breed P, and why I probably won't blog much about planning to breed anything in the future if I decide to do so. I know that their from-behind-a-computer-screen opinion doesn't actually affect me in the real world, because they're not the ones here making these decisions, but still. I'm kind of a softie and I don't like getting jumped on for something I had no intention of talking about in the first place.

And yes, I am considering selling Pax, maybe. Did I originally intend to keep her? Of course. Am I still probably going to keep her? Of course. I'm not actively marketing her, and I'm not looking to get rid of her by any means. But, if the right person comes along and says they want her, I will agree to that. Here's why:

I bred her specifically because I wanted a fancy, flashy moving, upright-built dressage-type baby. That's always what I had in mind for her. I spent two years picking a stallion that I thought would stamp her well enough to deliver that. And I did get a beautiful, well put together baby.... who moves like the flattest kneed hunter you ever saw. She screams hunter. I am hoping she gets a bit freer in her shoulder as she gets older, but she may not. As such, perhaps her talents are in that field, and that is not something I am interested in. My hopes if I keep her are to still pair her with O so I can use them as a team together, but she will have to match O's size and movement if that is the case. 

I also may breed P once or twice more before she is fully retired. Dylan is actually the stallion I was going to breed her to before I picked DDM, because I thought he would improve her movement the most - now I have breeding rights on him should I choose to use them. I also am still very strongly considering breeding her to Lasting Impression, who is Gogo's full brother. He is still sound and going in his 20's, and was a GP horse. THAT baby would be the keeper. Absolutely no doubt in my mind. 

I don't take bringing new lives into this world lightly, so I gave P this year off for sure to just rest and work on feeding Pax, while I consider all my options. I'm not here to breed crap and garbage and I'm not here to make money from this. I want to weigh all my options carefully. I want to produce only nice, sound, sane things that can go on to good lengthy careers, either with myself or someone else who loves them just as much as I do. That's all I'm trying to do here. 

So, yeah. Basically that's the story. Please stop sending me emails telling me that I need to kill myself because of what a crappy person I am. 


Anyway. Back to what we've been up to. 

I set up a schedule for Dylan's October workouts - it's nothing insane at this point, it's mostly just for my benefit so I can strengthen up and be a good solid rider for him. I renewed my membership to WD and plan on trailering him over there 2x a week. I also will hack him here at home 2x a week. Every ride I get a little stronger and it feels so good. My bad ankle/calf is holding up well and my hips are fine. I don't think I will ever regain full flexibility of that leg though... I can't force it to happen any more because there is just a limited length that it stretches. I'll keep working at it, and working at it. But I may have to accept that I might not be able to ever cram it into short stirrups again.

Dylan lunged last Thursday, went for a hack last Friday, trailered to WD on Saturday, and then had his teeth done on Sunday (and had yesterday off because of that). He went out totally alone for his hack - this was a first, and I wasn't sure how it would go. I was prepared for him to be a noodle head, seeing as he was a noodle head the last time B and I rode them out through the neighborhood, but actually he was wonderful. He gets his giant washing-machine walk going, where you feel a bit like your stomach is going to be sloshed right out of your body, but I think complaining about a forward walk is just not something you should ever do. I rode him in the LG too, which is going to be great for trail rides. 

Wild Stallion of the North

I'm also *hoping* I can grow more mane on him than this. It's a bit pathetic! If I'm going to have a hairy horse, then damnit he better be a HAIRY horse.

On Saturday, we went to WD for the first time. I don't have any pictures of that unfortunately, seeing as there were a bunch of people XC schooling and I had a very hot and screaming stallion to deal with. I think this is just kind of the way he is - the first time he goes out somewhere, he has to be all manly and screamy and prancy, and then once he has been there he chills out. He yelled and screamed for all he was worth, but aside from a few dancing prances he was otherwise really very well behaved. He stood tied at the trailer (mostly still), rode quietly (and very well!), and then stood to be hosed off at the end. Every ride gets a little bit better with him - I think I am just sitting straighter and stronger. We weren't doing anything fancy by any means, but had some nice trotwork, a few good mediums, and some flying changes tossed in here and there. When he gets bothered or confused, he gets a sideways piaffe thing going, and he has almost none of that going on that day. Although he did get really hot and bothered by the mirror and tried to inch over there every time we passed it..... ah well.

Sunday the dentist came. She is the one who did P and O last year, and I was really happy with her work. She flies in from up north a few times a year to do the rounds in Texas, so we made sure to get on her list. Both P and O had minor work done - compared to P's MAJOR work done last year. O was a little bit crooked and off, which didn't surprise me - she bends super well one way but not the other. Dylan's incisors were WAY super long, which was taking his molars out of occlusion and giving him very limited lateral movement in his jaw. I figured this would be what we would find, and it was. 

Checking those long snaggletoofs

Following this, O, who is hyperemotional at best, decided that something changed in her life, so she was going to die. I actually posted this status on Facebook the following morning:

"Sorry to my entire neighborhood who had to listen to the operetta happening at my house all night... O is too hyperemotional to eat after she gets worked on in any way (this time, teeth), so all night she kept wandering away up the hill looking for wolves to pick her off because she is convinced she is dying. Which sets Dylan into a total galloping screaming frenzy because she is the only mare he could ever love on this whole planet and she must be convinced of his love so she will come back and not kill herself. 
I know I for one *loved* listening to that all night long..."

When I went out to feed them that morning, O was lying flat out next to Pax, rolling her eyes up at me in despair, playing a Sarah McLachlan album, asking me to read her will and testament. She was *sure* that she was going to die.

Luckily, the second the haybags got filled, she jumped to her feed and started gobbling, all traumas of the previous night forgotten. Mares....

Friday, October 2, 2015

October Goals: Dylan

Edited to add: people keep ask if I am selling Pax. The answer is, maybe, I don't know, possibly, or maybe not. But I am not interested in discussing it. There are things you just don't blog about without fear of being crucified, and changing your mind about selling a horse is one of them. So, we are not discussing this right now, because I don't want to be violently flayed open. I've learned a few things over the years - don't discuss selling, don't discuss breeding, don't discuss OTTBs. I think everything else is fair game but I may be wrong there. Blogging is kind of a terrifying and uncomfortable process sometimes.


I had a whole long post written up last month about goals - and then just now realized I never actually finished it. Such is the life!

For the moment, I am just going to set out October goals for Dylan. The retirees and babe are doing nothing for the next few months, just eating and having a good time. I have no definite weaning goals for Pax - P will wean her when she gets tired of her. I have no qualms with leaving a babe on her mother for as long as it takes. I regularly take Pax out away from P, and vice versa, and they are quite fine. As the weather cools, I will start teaching Pax to pony off of O - I think her extreme rearing days are mostly behind her, so hopefully she does not kill me when I start to do this. O's one main remaining show for the year is the last playday of the year, should we decide to go. I think we will go, they really are fun despite the politics. O enjoys Hauling Ass and whipping around things, and so do I.

My main goals for the next few months will probably center mostly around Dylan and getting us both back in shape for the upcoming show season. I am getting stronger every time I ride, but I have a long way to go before I can sit the trot again without looking like a ragdoll having a seizure. (Seriously, it used to be so easy... where have my muscles gone!?) Dylan has put on 75+ pounds since he moved here, and he looks really good. He has had no problems at all following his deshoeing, and has totally mellowed out being outside 24/7. He is off all hard grainfoods, is barefoot, and is out all the time - and he looks and feels great. I intend to keep him this way throughout the duration of my time with him. 


Dylan October Goals:
1) Continue gaining weight and muscle and be a happy healthy feral beast outside!
2) Get his teeth checked/done
3) Start trailering to WD - 2x a week if possible!
4) In addition to working at home, hacking out - 1x a week in gradually increasing amounts
5) Start looking over the show schedule and making tentative plans


I renewed my membership to WD for October, which is great - it's only about a 20 minute drive from our new house and therefore completely reasonable to make. Their footing really is the best around, and you can't beat having a covered arena for all seasons. (It never gets cold enough here for true indoors). 

As for riding goals specifically - mostly they revolve around just getting my strength back. Dylan has all the buttons and they are easy to push if you are sitting correctly and are able to access them - but you have to be a strong and sufficiently correct rider in order to make that happen. As I get stronger, we'll be increasingly capable of doing more and more things - but I have to get there first, and the only way to do that is just spend time in the saddle. 

O He Majestic Beast of the North

He really has put on quite a lot of weight. He looks like a different horse already - and he shines, even though he is solidly grey. I may not be good at many things, but putting weight and shine on horses - I got that covered.