Tuesday, January 30, 2018

why we can't have nice stuff

Try as I might to poke and prod all the photographers who attended the cross derby at Loch Moy two weekends ago, no action shots of Charlie have emerged. Sadness. I had hoped that maybe someone would have caught a lucky shot during the warm up schooling break, but alas.

our only pro photo from the derby at loch moy, when charlie and i camped out next to the photogs while waiting for brita's run. charlie immediately ingratiated himself to the photographer,  who had cookies lol. photo credit Samantha Haynie
Tho one photographer very generously supplied the above picture - a super close up bc charlie was actively mugging her for cookies. At least he managed to pull on a majestic look-of-eagles expression for this one moment tho haha.

My inner media junkie is still sad tho. I guess it just means that next time we better be ready to do our timed round instead of just the schooling!

back at home, it's mud season. blech.
Things at home continue to just chug on along tho. The ground conditions have been absolutely bi-polar. Swinging wildly between very muddy, slick conditions, to freezing even when it doesn't actually feel that cold out. Plus a fair bit of rain, just to keep us on our toes.

charlie. buddy. i leave you without your sheet for one day, and THIS is how you repay me??
Blanketing Charlie through the season hadn't actually been that challenging, up until now. This barn is different than literally any barn I've ever worked at or boarded at before, in that blanketing is simply not a service offered. There's a very small add-on fee for checking blanket straps at turn in and turn out, but staff doesn't change blankets as a rule.

(Tho I've seen some staffers who will make the executive choice to pop on a sheet or blanket when the weather is doing extreme yo yo stuff, so it's not like they're totally heartless -- it's just simply not a service included in board.)

sigh...... sometimes i really miss our vacuum cleaner from the last barn.
This legitimately had me freaked out going into winter. Every other place I've been, staff members checked forecasts and changed blankets at breakfast and dinner as needed. At Isabel's barn, I *was* one of those staffers changing blankets constantly. Charlie, being the delicate hot house flower that he is, certainly appreciated his regular changes at the last h/j place.

He doesn't grow much of a coat, after all, and is kinda a pansy about nasty weather (particularly wet or very windy conditions). Plus the last thing I wanted was to see him drop any of that hard gained weight over the winter!

at least he still has a sock?
Luckily, one of the staffers in a different barn on property (there are three barns that operate under slightly different mgmt) set up her own little side business. For a small monthly fee, she will change and adjust blankets as needed on week day mornings.

I quite happily paid her up front for the whole season, tho I've also been happily surprised in not actually needing her help as often as I expected. (Obvi it's very reassuring to know she IS there to help when I need it!). Mostly I've been able to keep Charlie blanketed to my preferences when I'm there on week nights and weekends.

random aside, i had major rig envy the other day while strolling through my baltimore city neighborhood only to stumble across this police rig. which, obvi, naturally i went stalking around trying to find the horses themselves. only spotted them from a few blocks away, going the opposite direction. oh well!
Lately tho it's been a little more of a challenge. We're in that strange period of time when it's still dipping below freezing often, and days can be cold. But then we have the occasional rainy day where temperatures soar up to the 50s.

Since Charlie only has two blankets (a light and a medium, which I layer together in very cold temps to make a heavy), it's becoming challenging to play musical chairs with them, esp in the rain. Nothing dries very fast in this weather either. Idk. Tricky tricky. Probably Charlie just needs another set of clothes to help with the constant rotation of late. Maybe.

and bc it's been too long since i've fulfilled the internet-mandated cat quota, here are two of them. trying to act innocent. not being innocent.
I guess these are the little aspects of horse ownership, esp with boarding somewhat far from home, that are harder to anticipate. In my ideal world, I'd board at a farm with more services included in the board.

But.... I had that at my last place (and it was closer to home) and still ultimately came to the conclusion that this new farm was the place for us. Mostly bc of the wonderful facilities that naturally are less accessible during the winter months. Like the cross country course! So we stay put haha.

yea. not innocent at all. via GIPHY

It helps that Charlie legitimately seems happier at this farm. I might grumble about the challenges posed by having to change my own blankets (grumble grumble lol), but Charlie hardly seems to notice. Actually, his whole personality at the new place is more relaxed and friendly.

Remember when I wrote about him going after and biting a staffer at the last place? And I'm not sure I mentioned it, but when they blanketed him they had to do so on cross ties bc.... he could be a nasty sonuvabitch.

Naturally I warned all the staff at the new place to watch their backs. And literally all of them have, at some point, come back to tell me they can't understand why on earth I was worried. That he's so easy and friendly and laid back. Even the lady who helps with his blankets (who I encouraged to tie him up while doing so) told me he's a perfect gentleman. Go figure.

"don't look at me, it wasn't my idea to bring that one home!"
But I'm never gonna argue with a happy horse. And Charlie is currently a happy horse. So we stay put. And I'm meanwhile fantasizing about days when blanketing is less of a concern. And when the ground conditions improve beyond either constant mud or constant dastardly frozen peaks.

Because we want to go out and do stuffffff!!!

and bc not a lot else is going on this time of year, why not make overly ambitious plans for the future??
To help feed the beast of impatience, my riding buddies and I all sat down last week with a printed out version of my list of potential 2018 events to see what strikes our fancy. That list isn't even fully up to date yet - there are still a couple venues that haven't published their starter trial schedules yet.

But there is a LOT on the list that looks exciting to us! And actually, after discussing it, I'm not so sure after all that Charlie and I will play around with anything recognized this year. There are just so many fun and excellent unrecognized options (which, naturally, are at least half the cost) that it doesn't really make sense considering we're not working on qualifications for anything.

sticking to last year's planning framework, we just looked about six months ahead, with the expectation to regroup in july/august
All the same tho, we took a good long look at vacation schedules and what kind of intensity we think is sustainable for a competition schedule. Only really looking out for the next six months with the idea that there's usually a midsummer lull in July and August (lots of recognized stuff those months but not many starter trials).

I highlighted days on the calendar above that correspond to events that are denoted with a "*" on my events page. We identified potential volunteer opportunities too - knowing I want to volunteer in 7 of 12 months, per my goals. It's kinda an ambitious schedule looking at it like this. But naturally it's all very flexible and will depend entirely on how the horses are feeling.

It's exciting tho. Lots to look forward to. If the mud ever goes away, haha. And if we survive this interim period of not knowing from one moment to the next how to get my darn horse blanketed appropriately for the weather..... We'll see how it goes lol.

32 comments:

  1. your planning... im so jealous of it. I was making some plans but I can't do more than like 2 months out anymore it makes me too anxious. i'm like we could literally all be dead by may why even bother?????

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    1. honestly i'm with ya on feeling a little squeamish about planning so far in advance. mostly tho it has more to do with coordinating schedules between friends, and trying to keep some semblance of balance in the timing and hitting all our venues, than it does with being set in stone that "Charlie will do X on This Day." bc.... it's charlie. it's horses. shit happens. but i like to be optimistic with planning, then work with what we actually got when the time comes. i guess. lol. we'll see.

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  2. Ugh the mud. When Amber and I were part of the college class we couldn't ride our horses for almost a solid week after starting the new semester. Mud balls caked EVERYWHERE. The girth alone took a week (even coming out 5 days). I feel like mud is second worst to frozen things lol.
    That schedule looks exciting though!

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    1. the mud kills me, and i definitely agree that it's right up there with frozen solid ground in being totally obnoxious. esp bc as soon as i start seeing mud everywhere, i start getting ridiculously paranoid about skin funk....

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  3. love your cats :) Do they chew on the plants? Mine would which is why i have no plants LOL. And ugh on the mud/freezing/whatever winter throws at us. GROSS. Remus is going thru bellboots like nuts this winter due to the mud. It just sucks them off!! I am glad you are planning. Always fun to plan. I myself can't plan much a week or 2 away LOL. :) And Charlie.....mom left your sheet off to let your skin breathe not to roll in mud!! (Wow about your barn not swapping blankets as a rule, I am so lucky where I am (Tho I know you have great things at that barn and Charlies is happy). I just dont get out as often so i am glad someone removes/adds as needed without me paying! :)

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    1. ugh the cats DO chew on plants. i had something like 15 different potted plants when i left my last job and had to bring them all home from my office. the three in that pic are the last remaining survivors. for whatever reason, the cats have mostly let them be. tho the big one is actually TIED to the radiator bc the cats will somehow knock it off the desk. cats. ugh. never again lol.

      and yea the blanket thing is definitely a tricky thing. and has caught me off guard a couple times (like christmas morning when i unexpectedly had to drive out to the barn early in the morning bc i hadn't planned ahead, or when we got that first snow storm of the season and charlie spent the weekend in his sheet bc i was out of town and the person i had asked to help flaked out....). mostly tho it ends up fine. go figure.

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  4. How odd. I’ve never seen a facility without blanketing offered as a service. At least you have found someone to fill in for you just in case during the week! It’s sooo hard when the weather is like this.

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    1. yea it's definitely.... tricky. really tho this place operates very similarly to a co-op -- almost like a full board co-op. they handle the necessities like turning in and out, feed/water, and general barn chores like stalls and sweeping. but... that's kinda it. everything else is either not offered as a service or is an add on fee.

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  5. Looks like a busy schedule! ☺️ I wish my area was better about posting dates this far in advance! Haha

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    1. ugh yea, i'm always so impatient for places to publish their dates lol. most of the places that do, have done so bc they also have recognized events that have to be submitted to the usea in advance. still.... there are quite a few venues that i'm waiting on for more dates!

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  6. We always make compromises when we pick somewhere to board. Even when people get to do it their way and keep the horses at home then its a sacrifice of time. That is one full schedule of activities for 2018! Exciting!

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    1. yup. compromises are the name of the game in horses, no matter what, i think. even tho sometimes i get frustrated by feeling like i can't have things exactly the way i want them, it seems like charlie for his part is satisfied and happy. so.... there is a balance in there.

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  7. Well, Batty's currently wearing a sheet because my barn owner forgot that he's been wearing a sheet because she's sick and as a result never put on a blanket even though it's snowing. And she's not sure how long he's been wearing a sheet because he's so gross that grooming is OUT of the question?

    Maybe said barn owner will blanket tonight? ::walks away in shame::

    On another note, I think my husband would be THRILLED if I only had 2 blankets per horse rather than... 10? Well, Subi has about 15, Batt 8-10, and Jiminy has 4... I'm a hoarder! Some were Hayley's and some are spares and some haven't been worn in year (and some desperately need to be washed), but I just CAN'T get rid of blankets that I MIGHT need in the case that EVERY SINGLE OTHER BLANKET DIES! My basement/feed room is blanket storage...

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    1. omg i would totally FIRE your barn owner, how dare she??? being sick is no excuse for those poor neglected ponies who must certainly be near death by now!!!! lol... snort....

      in all seriousness tho, i totally foresee the day when i own 10 blankets per horse. frankly, i'm shocked i didn't own any prior to owning the horse since i seemed to already own literally everything else before hand (full sets of tack, all kinds of grooming and maintenance equipment, and, uh, a truck and trailer, all before actually owning my own horse lol).

      so far tho, i've been kinda slow in collecting more blankets. mostly bc i haven't really seen a need. until now, that is, when i'm dealing with not enough drying time in between when charlie needs to wear the same weight blanket.

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    2. What's even worse? Subi and Jiminy are wearing medium weights... I'm not sure how I forgot Batty was in a sheet? I mean, it's purple and mud colored and his medium is teal and mud colored? I know he stays warmer than the other 2... If I'm fired, who feeds tonight? Want to come over and feed? Ha!

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    3. haha i'm not sure your ponies would find me an improvement over current management lol ;)

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  8. My barn doesn't offer blanketing either. Luckily the girl who feeds in the morning will take the blankets off for us for an extra charge. We have to go every night and blanket them ourselves. Other barn people will help out as a favor if we're away, but there's no long-term solution other than DIY.

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    1. yea that sounds pretty similar to our situation. it doesn't seem so surprising to hear about these barn mgmt practices on the west coast where snow and freezing temperatures are't super common.... around here tho it's atypical. but... actually not really that big of a deal, or at least not as big a deal as i was afraid it would be. still a hassle sometimes tho lol

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  9. I have my horses at home and the blanket switching in fall and spring drives me nutty!

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    1. there is certainly no end to it, that's for sure!

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  10. I am SO GLAD I am not the only one who puts every show I MIGHT want to go to in a spreadsheet, then picks from there.

    I've never been to a barn that won't do blanket changes (they've always charged a fee per change or a monthly fee), but my current one has full service blanketing included. That's really only because the barn is heated, so every owner would have to come out morning and evening to put the correct clothes on the horse and take them off. I am so incredibly spoiled by that- my horse will always wear his BOT mesh sheet in the barn overnight (45F), and we never have to guess at layers during the day since we don't have to contend with making it appropriate for frigid nights and "warm" days.

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    1. oh man, a heated barn sounds SO NICE right about now lol! and yea the whole huge giant list of maybe potential just in case events lol.... i honestly really like having it all in front of me and in one place for reference. plus a lot of my friends use the list too - it helps us plan to know what all options are out there!

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  11. Love the planning out of the show schedule- how fun! I don't blame you at all for wanting to have a fun year of unrecognized stuff. Like you said, if you're not trying to qualify then there isn't a real point.

    p.s. your cats are really cute and DEF not innocent looking! LOL!

    Kelly @ HunkyHano

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    1. yea i actually never do recognized eventing - never have, and hadn't really expected to do so for my own purposes (i actually wrote my whole thought process out on it a couple years ago, come to think of it....). but this year some of my friends have different sets of goals that may or may not be taking them to their own recognized events for qualifications purposes and i've toyed with the idea of tagging along. i'm not ruling it out, but based on our planning sesh, i'm not thinking it's likely at this point

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  12. I don’t miss the mud. Ugh. It’s really nice that that lady is doing the blanketing. Well, maybe not nice since she is making money on it but you get the point :)

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    1. oh i'm definitely grateful that she's doing it - it's a service i will HAPPILY pay for, whether it's just included in my board or an extra add on by an enterprising soul willing to take time out of their day to do it!

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    2. Everything is ~3 hours that I've found.

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  13. I love your giant list of events! I wish it was easier logistically for me to get to so many. How much freaking fun. I'll just continue to live vicariously through you!

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    1. we're definitely super lucky in this area. and that list is basically all stuff within <2 hrs driving, there's a whole bunch more right around 2-2.5hrs up in PA or more around VA. have you looked much around the VA area too?

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  14. I am also feeling this struggle, just on a California scale. It's in the high 60s during the day, but dips into the 30s at night. My horse will sweat in a sheet in the daytime but needs a medium at night.... So that's nice. I miss the weather being consistent!

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  15. We have no mud yet... just lots and LOTS of snow ugh.

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  16. I know I'm super lucky when it comes to blanketing. My trainer does it for free - although if you're picky about the different kinds and off-and-on during the day, you're on your own. Mae has one (which she's already ripped holes in) and that seems to work quite well for her, thank goodness

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