Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Year in Review

I had a really amazing 2015, and a slightly less awesome 2016. It wasn't bad per se, but it kind of has sucked ever since the election, culminating with the loss of one of my cats, Jasper. I've been really bummed out about that and decidedly feeling low. There has hardly been any sun in three weeks either, which isn't helping my mood at all. I'm grieving for losses like Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and Richard Adams, who wrote my beloved favorite story Watership Down (Lendri is named after an animal in the book). But, I do hope that 2017 will be a really fantastic one like 2015 was. I have hope, anyway.


January started out strong. A continuing theme throughout the year is always not having enough time for blogging. I started seeing a new physiotherapist for my calf, and kept working to try and get my body functional in the saddle again. I readied myself to say goodbye to Darby, and planned out my turnout for O's driving season. 


We said goodbye to Darby at the beginning of the both. We also said goodbye to Zuul's nuts! B2 came over to practice navigating on the back of the Dartmoor, and I started lunging Lendri a little bit. I trailered Pax out for her first solo adventure and it went... sort of okay. I continued planning my turnout for O. Not too much else went on, besides riding and driving! 


I decided I was finally going to be able to try working equitation! I had been interested in it for years but had never had a horse to do it on. I went to my first practice and had a great time, and so did Dylan. Deathstorm season began, and the mares came into heat, starting Dylan back to his old fencewalking habit with a vengeance. I reminisced about Gogo's many fails. O scraped up her leg, which led to me scratching from our first show, but we had Sunrise Ridge to prep for so we kept going! Naturally, AGAIN, she scraped up her leg right before that show as well. Because it's always something! While I was coldhosing and doctoring that cut, I did more working equitation practice with Dylan, and worked with the garrocha. Zuul was sold, and went to his new home. 


Sunrise Ridge kicked off the month! We had a really crummy dressage test and not a great cones course either, and gossip and drama nearly caused me to scratch from the entire thing. I decided to put my big girl panties on, and we finished the marathon strong, ending up in 2nd place! I made tentative show schedules for the year, and called out a new chiropractor to see about addressing O's terrible dressage performance and get Dylan on the schedule as well. (Turned out, O's problem were simple and Dylan had even more of them than she did, but is better at hiding them!) We went to our next show, another Games Day, and as usual won everything. We wished Pax a happy first birthday, and I revealed plans to breed both O and P for 2017 foals. At the time, Pax was considered sold. That fell through, but P never took, so we still came out sum 0 there. P at almost 21 is now retired from breeding - I got my one, and that's all I'll get, and I'm good with that. April was a pretty good month.


I found another special tiny moole to bring home, and due to being completely wild and feral, named her Sriracha. (I LOVE my Srirachy). I had lots going on, namely working on WE stuff with Dylan, breeding stuff with the mares, taming Sriacha down, working on long lining Lendri, working O who was now solidly in the middle of show season. I spent way too much money at the vet, and never did get P pregnant. I played a lot with my tiny mooles. O and I had a not great time at the Romp (which I don't plan on ever going to again, not after two crappy showings!), and I talked about trying to keep life organized (still haven't been successful there). I talked even MOAR about mooles. O, B2, and myself all headed to Pine Hill which was EPIC for so many reasons - read Part IPart II, and Part III (and bonus Romp pictures). We finished 2nd, and turned right around and headed out the next weekend for the final show of the season in Oklahoma! 


We finished 4th at our final HDT of the season! We should have finished 2nd but SOMEBODY (cough cough me) messed up the timing heading into marathon and started 30 seconds late. We were so fast on marathon that it gave us about 30 second of time penalties for going too FAST. Part I, and Part II here - Stephanie of Hand Gallop joined us for the marathon too! I pulled the plug on breeding P. It got REALLY HOT really fast, and I shared some pictures of the 2015 show season. I put O and Dylan out together, and it was magic from the beginning. I rode, a lot, and fought my body hard in order to make it better.


I played around with one-handed work for WE, and did not suck too badly at it. Pax's sale fell through right after I gave up on breeding P, and I contemplated if it was meant to be. Everything came temorarily crashing down when my idiot neighbors set fireworks off over my house, and both Pax and Dylan were hurt in the chaos. Since I had no one to ride for a bit, and O was officially off show duty and onto mommy duty, I had little else to do except pour my efforts into my mooles. I schemed up plans for the babies. Dylan got collected again, my neighbor's pig kept coming to our house, and I kept doctoring Dylan's leg, which healed very well. 


Zoodle arrived in the beginning of August after much planning! Even though I didn't keep Zuul, I still wanted to work with more hybrids, and picked a really special one to continue on with. Dylan went back to work mid-month, and did incredibly well. We also fitted his saddle, which was the final piece we were missing. I played with the babies, and continued to work to get it all done. (Sometimes, it doesn't work.) I made plans for Dylan's 2017.


My mooles were already getting hairy in preparation for winter! I went over Dylan's tack. I added more sand to the mare pasture. I talked about what it's like working with zebra hybrids. The chiro came again, as she does every month now. I rode, and rode, and it was HOT. And showed pictures of baby Zoodle, which are all adorable.


Dylan and I went to our first clinic together! It was awesome. I talked about Gogo, who has now been gone for 5 years and thus gone away from my life longer than she was in it. I talked too about Dylan, and what an amazing creature he is. I took my first lessons with a new trainer (which I love), took a second clinic with Tarrin, and signed up for my first show! (Spoiler alert: Dylan was great, I made dumb mistakes). It was a very productive month for Dylan and I, even though I did less with the others because I was doing so much with him!


O was waddling by November. I went over goals with Pax, and had another lesson. The election happened, and I felt like a deflated balloon for weeks. Dylan and I went to our second show, along with regulars B2 and R as usual, and did great. I wrote less than I ever have in a month in November, which really dissapointed me.


I started out blogging very strongly, which I am happy with. I had no intention of bringing ANY more animals home, but Big Frank ended up with us anyway! (NO. MORE). I started out talking about family trees, and haven't finished the second part yet. I had more lessons, both with Louisa and with Tarrin. The dentist came for her yearly visit! There was then a big pause in blogging for the holidays while I was away in both Austin and then Michigan, and a cold front came blowing in. It went from 80 degrees to 15 degrees, then back to 80 degrees and now again 30 degrees tonight. (I have NO idea what the hell is going on with our weather).

And... there will be more to come!

The end of the year is always full of chaos for me, with much holiday hectic travel and not a lot of riding or working the critters. But this is also a time for planning, for rest, and for looking forward to the future - and I have hopes that 2017 will be special. Or at least.... not terrible? I'm definitely ready for 2016 to be over with though. I know I'm not the only one there.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Arctic Blast

Texas is not known for being gentle or half-assed about ANYTHING. This of course includes the weather, and this past weekend was a prime example of the extremes that we get.

This usually happens a few times every winter, but this time it was EXTREME. It was about 75 and somewhat humid on Saturday. The horses had all been naked the night before, and were enjoying the warmth. Future Hubs and I had to leave that morning to go to Austin for his family Christmas, so I left my pet sitter with instructions to blanket them when the cold front hit that evening. We knew the temperature was going to drop, but you never really can appreciate how violent it is until it actually hits.

The cold front coming in. No precipitation, that's just REALLY cold air!

We were out on the porch having some beers when the cold front hit. It came in like a freaking freight train. Out of nowhere, this huge cloud covered everything, and suddenly we were slammed with icy cold wind. Chairs flipped over, papers flew, and people fled for cover as our fingers and faces instantly froze. The temperature dropped from almost 80 degrees to 20 in a matter of minutes, with wind chills in the single digits. It was like Mother Nature reached down and punched Texas in the face, and then beat us with a bag of ice. 

Back at home, my poor pet sitter was faring little better. I had wrapped all the faucet heads ahead of time, and made sure the insulation in the well house was good, but all the hoses still froze immediately, and the troughs iced over. The horses were naked and the wind was gusting wildly, so my pet sitter had to catch and blanket all the ones that needed it (P, Pax, O, Big Frank, and Dylan). Most everyone was easy to catch, and I had her catch and blanket Zoodle too (she said he was wonderful), but she couldn't catch Dylan. The neighbor's collie was back and chasing him around, and he was doing his usual you're-a-stranger-and-can't-be-trusted thing, giving her the runaround and refusing to be caught by any means. It must have taken her an hour, including the few minutes where she had to go sit in her hot car and warm up. Finally she got him after she gave O a carrot and convinced him to come and get one too. 

Fortunately, everyone survived the horrible weather. It was 14 degrees on Sunday morning, and the windchill was 3 degrees. When we arrived home it was little better, still very cloudy and gusty with temps in the 20s. Naturally, since *something* had to go wrong while I was away, when we arrived home all the mules and mares had let themselves out into the yard and were causing a ruckus. Dylan and O were FREAKING out. I grabbed Pmare, and everyone more or less followed her back into the pasture like little sheep. Everyone was fine thankfully, but of course, my life is a comedy of errors so something HAD to happen while I was away.

Moo and Tonka say, the only way to survive cold weather is to be inside and asleep

Finally warmed up today!

Unfortunately WD was not unaffected by the cold snap. A pipe burst in the indoor, which flooded the arena and made it unusable. I'm sure it will be fixed soon, but I guess Dylan's winter break is starting a little early! It's too cold to do much anyway, but when you have a lit arena to trailer to, you can make due during the winter even when it's chilly. Except... not if the arena is a skating rink.

Oh well!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dentist Time!

My dentist comes in from Maryland a few times a year to do client rounds in Texas. Dylan, O, and of course Big Frank were due, so I got onto the rotation. Naturally, the day she was scheduled to come out, we had a cold front come whipping in, which dropped the temperatures to near freezing. The day before had been in the 70's - this is Mother Nature's favorite winter punch-in-the-gut for Texas. Obviously there is no rescheduling when your dentist comes in from out of state, so she showed up at 8am and we got to work!

Both Dylan and O didn't have a lot to do, which was nice. O has been done by this dentist for a couple of years now, and I've been really happy her level of care. Plus, O stands perfectly still without sedation and is quite happy to have her teeth done, which is really something considering her personality! Dylan, not surprisingly, is quite a lot more suspicious about it and way less behaved. Still, his mouthed stayed pretty well balanced, and most of the work was on his incisors.

Big Frank, not surprisingly, was the one who needed the most work. He hasn't been done in 3 years that I know of, and his dental history prior to that is unknown, so we were expecting to find a big mess in there and we weren't disappointed. My dentist let me reach into his mouth when the speculum was in, which is something I've never done before - it was kind of scary! All I could feel is that everything was wavy, ramped, and some teeth felt like they weren't there at all. My dentist basically said, "yeah it's not likely he'll be able to eat much hay but we will do what we can." She was able to get the giant wave down quite a lot, more than I think she expected to be able to do. She estimates that he's older than we thought, probably about 25. He's losing some of his incisors, and he's running out of tooth, so she did the best she could.

I have to say, a week out from the dentist and he's doing GREAT. He is eating so much better than he was before - he's able to chew side to side, and most of the food stays in his mouth now instead of falling out. He's eating hay now too, although not as much as the others, and I am still keeping him on the hay mush for now. These past two days he hasn't finished all his mush, which makes me think his hunger and craving for forage is hopefully being met to some extent out in the paddock, but we will see if he continues to eat it or if he doesn't. Currently he's eating Healthy Glo fat nuggets, beet pulp, tim/alf pellets, and tim/alf cubes, plus a vitamin/mineral supplement.

Good dental work is SO important. I feel like I have a good team right now - a great dentist, a great chiro, a great vet. And, a halfway decent trimmer, if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Photo Dump Time!

Since I didn't blog very much in November, but still was taking lots of pictures, I have a rather large amount of photos that need to be shared! Most of these are from Halloween on, but there are also a few from December that haven't been shared yet.

Goobermouth on a hot day

Gooberface on a muddy day

Gooberhead on a really REALLY cold day

Gooberfish today, after breaking his halter and getting another one! I just bought him a new leather halter after his year-old one finally broke, but he broke the new one in about three weeks.

Lendri looking cute in the new Comfy Fit harness

Lendri hitched for a second time! I still am not sure if she's ever going to really make a reliable driving mule but I will keep trying! I've had her exactly one year now!

Zoodle has a neck when he's not sure about something!

Zoodle eating the burn pile corn stalks that were decorative during the fall season

Am I the crazy zebra print lady now? I have them in mini through horse size...

New Comfy Fit harness!


Thanksgiving pumpins!

Making friends with Big Frank

We are still working on perfecting lunging quietly on a loose rope. He lunges but learning my way has definitely been difficult for him - unlearning what he knew and re-learning how to do it differently is hard for these guys


Cool little feet... he has never been trimmed since he came here, he keeps them so well

From the other day.... he was being perfect but the neighbor's collie showed up and it was clear that there was no more learning to be had

Look at my horse, my horse is amazing
B2 made it into a Prisma

She was such a pretty baby... what happened D:

She is going to have a nice tail anyway... if she stops rubbing the top!

Doesn't care about anything, really


How did she end up with so much hair!
Scored several blankets for super cheap.... because she has no hair! She is in a 72" now so she got a lot longer over the year but not much taller

Gravity has not been kind to old Pmare

In heat, in November. Not the best time mare!

She'll be 21 in the spring. Looks pretty good! She's still on baby dragging duty but mostly all she has to do is sit around and eat food, which she approves of

Glam shots with Uma

Sriracha telling Frank to GO AWAY the day after he arrived. They're all getting on well now!

Boop! Donkey star, horse star!

This picture. 

O's magnificent winter coat.... it's.... uh.... shiny?

Versus Frank, who is THICK

Old Frank hanging out in the yard with his buds

Her belly no longer fits inside her blanket lol

Trying to sneak up and eat Dylan's food. He'll let her eat out of his bucket like the chivalrous gentleman that he is, so I have to watch her or tie her!

Riding the Franker for his first solo ride probably in his life.... he did well all things considered!