Friday, April 7, 2017

fun around the farm

Back when I used to publish posts each and every day (a habit that went uninterrupted for nearly 500 days, until I broke my leg), almost every schooling ride merited its own post.

For whatever reason tho, with Charlie, I often either don't write much at all about schooling details, or I just provide summaries on recent trends and highlights (or lowlights lol). Despite keeping the horse on a fairly consistent 4-5 days/wk schedule.

from the right angle and with the right amount of blur, he miiiiiiight almost look not totally unfancy!
That's not bc the rides aren't interesting to me - quite the contrary, I really enjoy my rides very much and look forward to our time together. And that's not bc they don't ever challenge me (also definitely not true - green horses are a constant trial in frustration and testing patience ugh haha). I almost want to say it's bc I don't usually have media... but that's not quite true either.

I think it's mostly bc we're working on very small things when we school at home. Just one step at a time. Can I displace his barrel with my inside leg for this one step? Can he push evenly from both hind legs into both reins up this straight away? Can we do a full circle without him bulging out or falling in?

And can I hold my own position throughout? Or are my reins slipping longer and longer; is my upper body tipping forward and down; am I sitting evenly on both sides of the horse?

baby bank ftw!
Like I said. Small things. Very important things, and the small little details that will continue contributing to both the horse's strength, and my own. But.... Ehhhh.... Not nearly as compelling as the bigger chunks of work we break off in our lessons with jump trainer P or dressage trainer C. So those get feature length billing here on ye olde 'Fraidy Cat Eventing.

But with the arrival of spring and longer daylight hours, we've been able to branch out in our schooling rides at home in a way that makes them maybe more interesting. Or at least adds a little variety. Namely - the horse needs conditioning. He needs work outside of the arena, on uneven ground. We can't just do mentally exhausting flat work for 20min 4x a week and call it good - that's not sufficient. Nor really useful for my purposes.

pets for good ponies. also this is a more normal trot haha
And lately we've been getting out of the arena a LOT. Last week (before our fun xc schooling over the weekend), I managed to get on the horse in the brief period between the day time and night time turnout shifts in the front mare's field that houses the above adorable baby bank.

This thing is obviously quite small.... but it asks the right question. And especially after Charlie's minor undoing at the bank into water during our xc schooling (which was caused by the water but bled into our later bank efforts anyway), I foresee us getting a lot more miles over this little bump. Up and down and all around, and maybe you should try doing it at a speed faster than a mincing shuffle, Emma!

faux rocks!!!! one of which charlie knocked down haha
Another exciting development around the home farm has been the transformation of a far field (part of Charlie's turnout, actually) into a jump field for an upcoming equitrial. The program directors have hauled out a bunch of natural style hunter jumps to mix in with some friendly solid fences. And they've been taking all the lessons out there to school.

logs on left, swoopy arena jump on right, cord wood stack in middle background. oh, and you better believe we practiced in those puddles too haha
So naturally Charlie had to go out too! I had felt a little sheepish after not actually schooling any fences during our xc outing.... And so forced myself to trot the solid jumps (log and cord wood) and the rocks a couple times each earlier this week.

Bc why school normal, level-appropriate and true xc fences when among the safety and camaraderie of friends when you can jump your green horse in a field by yourself when nobody knows where you are? #geniusoverhere

cord wood stacks!
And obviously the horse was fine. Like he was a little up and tense bc he knew he was in part of his pasture that he hadn't seen in a couple days, and he was pretty sure that his friends were right on the other side of the fence and maybe he really ought to get over there post haste.... And his always-present draw to the barn was amplified by his tension...

happy ears forever drawn toward the barn...
But ya know. He also just jumped the fences. And walk-trot-cantered around like the reasonable soul that he is. Next time, Emma? Jump the goddamn xc fences out with your friends when you have the opportunity. Bc the horse is fine. lol....

We went out again with a lesson the next day just to focus on flat work over terrain, since I often tend to get a little passive when we leave the arena. Having the other horses around helped reassure Charlie that this was totally normal, plus he got to stand around quietly and observe while they all jumped around. Always beneficial, imo.

And? He flatted quite nicely. Including some reeeally lovely canters. I feel like I always say that haha.... bc I really truly do love his canter. But the transitions are feeling really solid and consistent recently in a way that makes me feel borderline confident about tackling a wtc dressage test. Which, not coincidentally, is the requirement for most 2'3 divisions around here.

freshly organized trailer is so tidy! still feel like that hanging bag could be better optimized, but it's good for now. inside the bench pictured below
So long story short, it's felt really REALLY good to get in a lot of solid and true "eventing" practice lately, all without ever having to leave the confines of our small, quiet h/j farm. I love hauling out for lessons and getting to experience the benefits that different trainers, facilities, and locations have to offer.... But dammit sometimes it's nice to just hang out at home.

left: extra spurs, gloves, hairnets, xc/helmet cam helmet, spare strap goods
middle: extra grain, beat pulp pellets, treats, and beer coozies
right: bungee cords, extra bells, horse shipping hat, stud chain, spare cross tie
not pictured: tire iron & easy-up trailer jack
Tho bc we do, in fact, travel an awful lot, we also recently enlisted the help of my life coach Brita to clean out the truck and trailer for the season to come. Fun fact: Brita's OCD is the perfect complement to my hoarder-ish tendencies. When we boarded together, she would actually throw out my stuff without telling me, all while waiting to see if I noticed. And.... I never did haha. So obvi now that we don't board at the same barn I am desperately missing her tidy habits!

Luckily we were able to do some much-needed spring cleaning. Including optimizing storage within the truck's cap and the trailer's built-in bench to ensure easy packing / unpacking for all the adventures we hope to embark on this year. Tis the season, right?

Have you undertaken any big spring cleaning efforts lately? Or have you been looking around your farm with fresh spring eyes lately - looking for opportunities to shake things up and try new things?

32 comments:

  1. I'm in serious need of a Brita to help sort out my tack lockers...or you know I could just pull the finger out myself. Hmmmm maybe someday 😂
    Great to hear you both survived your first attempts @xc fences. Charlie is such a cool dude

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    1. Ha seriously. She's super useful to have around. All my stuff ended up in a total mess when I moved barns bc I now have less space than previously and everything got jammed into the truck. The new barn also doesn't have a dumpster like the last one so big trash items (like cardboard boxes and such) lingered. Ugh. So glad it's all gone now tho!

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  2. I have not yet started the spring cleaning. The weather is about to turn so that will likely motivate me. Right now I keep eyeing the fence in the back field and know that there are some hours of work for me there- the ice and snow did a number on it. I am not a hoarder by nature but I find it hard to throw out any piece of leather that may serve a function.....

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    1. Yea that's kinda how I am but my thoughts on potential future utility go beyond just leather. Like those stock ties we just made? With the pretty gray ribbon detail? Brita's eyes about popped out of her head when she learned the ribbon was from the handles of some shopping bags I had lying around from a local boutique. Bc ya know. Who would throw out a bag when it could potentially carry something?? Lol..... So yea. I call it hoarderish behavior in an attempt to delegitimize it in my own head.

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  3. I used to be so neat and tidy with my horse stuff. Boarding and hitting the trails every time I rode made it a necessity. Actually, hitting the trails minus my reins and having to be all ghetto with two lead roles made it a necessity. Now that they are home! Ugh. Everything has exploded. It is driving me crazy but it keeps raining and I keep ignoring it.

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    1. ugh yea i'm with ya on the "IGNORE" end of things too. except the stuff has a tendency to pile up instead of disappearing when left to its own devices. alas.

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  4. I need a Brita to come pack and organize my life! I'm seriously on a get rid of it so I don't have to move it kick.

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    1. lol i think everyone needs a brita ;)

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  5. omg nothing pleases me like a tidy organized trunk/trailer. I love the little baskets!!

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    1. i kinda love the baskets too! they're not quite the right size, but they were like $10 for a set of five on amazon (<3). and the idea is they'll keep things more or less in the right spot on the floor of the bench, and we can keep the bench moderately empty so things like backpacks, sandwich coolers, tote bags, or other medium sized odds and ends can be stuffed in there on show days.

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    2. yeah I get the little tupperwares with lids from the dollar store for my 'odds and ends'. I label the top with sharpie like a psycho. i love little tubs and bins!!!

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    3. omg i love little tubs too. and labels. and BUCKETS OMG.

      like, brita ran into the wall that is my inability to part with any bucket. she hates it bc they take up so much space and i have.... a lot. but idk. buckets, man. tho my 5gal bucket cracked so i allowed as we could maybe throw that one out...

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  6. I'm in the "waiting for the weather to get nicer camp" before I start my spring cleaning lol My lil stock trailer has no dressing room or internal storage area so I'll have to pack all the things in the back of truck method. So unfancy :P

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    1. my calico was the same, and it's honestly not a big deal. it might be kinda hard to see in the pic but we have a big green hanging back that has a big zipper compartment, another big net pocket, and then lots of little pockets within. very convenient for holding things like boots, crops, saddle blankets, and various other odds and ends. we also have one of those 4-hook wall hanger thingys that's hanging on some baling twine. in the stock trailer it was perfect bc we could move that outside and hang off the wall for our bridles and halters and what not when we were working out of the trailer. "unfancy" is nothing in the face of vigorous practicality!

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  7. Look at all that space! At the barn I board at, also H/J, it's all white poles, white standards, white gates. Every once in awhile I'll drag a hay bale or a barrel out of storage, but then I have to put it back. I wish we had room to ride like that. Since bringing P back, I haven't even looked in my trailer. I'm afraid to.

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    1. Yea we are all white poles all the time too. Unless they are brown. But mostly they are white haha. Tho they have a nice assortment of boxes for fill, and flowers. Some of the boxes are painted like stone walls too!

      The extra field to ride in is nice too, but it's temporary. They're technically resting the grass before it goes back to being a turnout. Tho we have another small field to ride in so that helps too.

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  8. If you school out in a lonely field by yourself then no one will be there to see you have a total panic attack over 18" jumps. That's my logic, at least.

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  9. OMG I TOTALLY get it. Even on Georgie I HATED xc schooling with groups. I felt all this pressure and could never get in a rythym and it just wasn't fun. There's something kinda nice about getting out there on your own, at your own pace and just enjoying it. I hear ya! But also, yes, next time do jump with your friends, lol

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    1. haha yea seriously! like there is something nice about just working by myself on myself, but i can also get like weirdly rushy about it, compared to when you ride with friends there are natural breaks as each person takes their turn.... idk. it's such a balance!

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  10. I look around the property and just cringe. So much spring cleaning to do since all this rain actually caused green stuff to grow.
    I know what you mean about riding in groups versus solo. I'm not a fan of group lessons because I prefer that one on one attention and I'm so focused on myself and my horse another rider is a distraction I don't want to deal with until my riding becomes a little more second nature.

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    1. yea the growing season really brings to harsh relief all the work that needs doing!

      and i should clarify in the above - i in no way meant to suggest i prefer riding by myself vs riding in groups. in fact, quite the opposite. aside from dressage, almost all of my lessons are groups and i much prefer the camaraderie of my friends. mostly above i was teasing myself for being slow to warm up to certain things with the horse, and therefore missing the boat on a more appropriate schooling activity bc i didn't feel we were quite ready, and therefore had to go back again and do the work on my own alone.

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  11. Spring cleaning ftw! I fully support Brita's habits.

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  12. Haha, yes definitely love changing things in the back yard. I have big plans for changing paddock/arena layout and have started deconstructing already. I strangley love working on fences and find it is my happy place.

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  13. With all the rain we've been doing lots of cleaning and organizing inside the barn, which was definitely necessary! I do need to do some more inside my tack shed, which I've been putting off.... haha. Especially now that it finally got beautiful again! Organizing can wait till a rainy day ;)

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  14. I've actually started my Spring-time cleaning as well!!

    I swept out the barn, re-arranged precariously stacked bales, took a heap of trash to the waste dump, and reorganized my tack. I also swept out the freezer that holds my grain.

    This week, I started picking the paddocks and cleaning up all the left-over Winter poop I wasn't able to get to due to snow/ice. It's such a good feeling to get things done!!

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  15. We've been doing quite a bit of spring cleaning of the trailer and truck. I need to do a post on what we've done to the trailer. We're also working on building a bench for our dressing room. I really like how yours opens up for storage.

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  16. Spring cleaning...uh....I moved. So there's the whole moving debacle of cleaning/purging that's a given with that lol. As time goes on I clean and purge with more vengeance than I once did; it's a continual process more than a once-in-awhile thing for me! I am currently in limbo with my trailer waiting for it to get fixed, then I'mma organize the snot out of it. The truck...uh...well, I'm going to sell the one I just bought and get another one, so I'll organize that when it happens. I'm itching to conclude that chapter so I can nest and organize lol!

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  17. I really like the outdoor work that you guys have thrown in there to mix it up a bit. Mine gets anxious if it's away from the herd. We're working on her confidence and taking her further and further away. Sigh, those sensitive thoroughbreds

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  18. I love that bench in your trailer! Def need to install one in mine.

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