Tuesday, June 16, 2020

quick xc school + locker update

Today's post is a two-fer, since one topic is light on media and the other isn't necessarily the most compelling content haha. I'll let you decide which is which, lol.

best horse in the world canters down hill <3
First up!! I managed to convince a riding buddy to snap a quick video from a recent ride -- hooray for actual jumping footage!!! Which, naturally as is my habit, I milked that single video clip for every single screenshot possible lol.

best barn cat in the world too
From a riding recap perspective, it wasn't anything serious or important or whatever. I showed up to the barn at the same time as two other friends, and we were all feeling similarly indifferent about where to ride or what to do.

It was pleasant weather -- but the sun was just strong enough to suggest the arenas might be kinda hot. Plus, the ground is still really hard despite recent rain, so the arenas would probably be dusty too. But 2 of the 3 of us kinda wanted to do a little trotting and cantering, plus maybe jump a couple things. So. To the cross country fields we would go!!

i just love this N red coop. it's so inviting, always jumps fantastically, and is big enough to be a good effort while still forgiving any imperfections
And I gotta say, having complete xc courses at home is really such a boon. During the quarantine, there was a fair amount of bullshit going on at farms basically everywhere - enough to make people wonder if their current farms were really where they wanted to be.... And quite a few boarders did decide to relocate.

Right now, for me personally, the pros of this farm outweigh the cons. The biggest pro is how happy Charlie is here - in his stall, with his turnout, among his herd. Esp compared to how grouchy he used to be at the last place, and how much he weaved in the stalls there.

Major secondary pros tho include the facilities -- the available spaces we have to ride. Including, naturally, the extensive xc fields.

cannonball horsey says "splish splash, motherfuckers!"
The first year or two that Charlie lived here, we really didn't take advantage of this access. And... I'm not entirely sure why. At that time, I was still maybe really nervous and insecure. I worried about somehow messing up Charlie's training, or feeling like I needed to be pushed to actually challenge myself.

This past year or so has been different, tho. We've adopted a schooling style of getting out more frequently to just jump a couple things per session. Usually hitting at least 1 (but sometimes up to all 3) of xc's holy trinity of ditches, water and banks; and stringing a couple things together.

The advantage to this approach is that.... it's way more relaxed. Nothing is ever a big deal, and we never feel like we have to "do all the things" every time. The disadvantage is... I almost never bring my helmet cam haha bc it seems overkill when we're just jumping 6 things, womp.

BN out jump is on the small side but works nicely with the whole line
Anyway, This was our first actual intentional 'school' back from quarantine, so even then we kept it suuuuuper basic. Trotted and cantered around a little bit, looped up over an Intro produce stand, then a BN house, and then thru the water up and over my favorite red N coop.

Then another quick circuit back the other way over the N coop, into the double water features, and out over a BN roll top (this is the sequence in the video below). Then one more loop over an N table to give a lead to a friend's horse who was being.... speshul lol.

And Charlie.... He's just so perfect lol <3

plz to enjoy this very quick video of putting it all together

Obviously we've jumped all these things many times before -- this was not exactly a "challenging" ride. But it was still great to just get out and canter over terrain and test out our eyes.

Charlie's eye was very very good. And I'm proud of myself for continuing to work on softening my hands to the fence -- even when it looks like it'll be a tighter distance - like at the roll top out of the water.

I'm also proud of Charlie particularly through that water line. Again, we've jumped it a few times at this point, but this was the first time where Charlie seemed to understand from the very get go that we'd be traveling directly to the blue roll top. In the past he's sorta wiggled in the line thinking we'd go around that jump. This time was very clear and direct tho -- I like it!

finally had time to install this salt block!
Hopefully if I can keep his feet in good enough shape (pads coming soon!) we'll be able to keep getting out for these fun little jaunts <3 <3  Because the best news coming out of the weekend is: My barn is officially moving into the next phase of reopening!!

The barn will still be closed during feeding times to reduce the number of people on premises at any given time. And boarders are encouraged to please limit visits to 2hrs. Otherwise, tho, they're no longer scheduling appointments!! Yayayayayay!!!

at least he knows it's there now!
It's such a relief to continue easing back into my pre-Covid riding habit rhythms, picking and choosing my riding days based on small details like how I feel, how Charlie feels, the forecast, etc, instead of always having to adhere to a rigid pre-determined schedule.

Plus! It means there's more opportunity to spend my barn time on non-riding to-do items that were swept aside all spring. Like.... cleaning up and storing all the winter items and pulling out all the summer stuff!

disheveled state of locker...
My poor locker has really suffered this spring. With such limited time at the farm, I'd kinda gotten into the habit of just shoving shit onto the top unoccupied saddle rack to deal with later.

Which... naturally was all the invitation the mice needed to come set up house. Ugh. Mice, so so so many mice. Mice everywhere. Mouse poop everywhere. Mouse bite marks on everything. Sponges decimated, drawers ransacked.... Ugh.

after clean up! 
So obviously all that had to get addressed. Since I don't need to worry anymore about what days I'll get scheduled or whether I'll have to borrow flex time from work, it was easier to plan ahead for this project and bring all the necessary tools and hardware! Plus, obviously, a few extra odds and ends purchased for this exact effort.

My biggest issue with the locker is storage for bottles and products. The 4-tier wire spice rack I picked up from Amazon a couple years back was too limiting bc it could only fit taller bottles on the top tier. Plus, it was only hanging from the door with baling twine rather than being screwed in, since I didn't have a drill at the time of original installation.

chopping this spice rack in half (other half is on bottom of door in pic above) was a huge help
Turns out, tho, power tools make all the difference. Not only could I finally properly attach the rack with screws --- I actually used the circular saw to chop it in half too! Meaning it's now two separate 2-tier racks instead of one 4-tier.

One half went back on the door to hang well below the bridles -- so reins won't keep getting stuck in spray bottle levers etc. And the other half went on the inside left hand wall of the locker, to house some of the products that had been jumbled up on the locker floor.

plus twinkle lights omg!
I also removed the other saddle rack since we've used the jump saddle exclusively for months. Maybe one day I'll get another dressage saddle... but, eh. It's not a priority. I also love the simplification too. Another pet peeve with the locker has been struggling to close the door or fighting to get the saddle in and out. Hopefully more negative space will keep things tidier.

And naturally the whole fandango was finished off with these pretty battery-powered LED strip lights, also from Amazon. I bought them months and months ago... But again, it was hard to dedicate time to installation. So so worth it tho - look how pretty!!

And so so satisfying haha. Every time I open the locker now and it looks so neat and tidy, it makes me happy haha. I love not having to pull a bunch of stuff out just to reach something in the far back corner. And also... ya know... I love not having to swat mice off my stuff all the time lol.

So all in all, a productive couple of days over in Charlieland -- and I'm already looking forward to our next little school out in the xc fields, and hopefully maybe some other adventures too! Anyone else feeling good about checking some long standing items off the to-do list after quarantine??


  1. Revamped locker looks great!

  2. Charlie OWNS the water. Daggon. And hell yesssss twinkle lights!

    1. yessss definitely master of that water feature haha!

  3. That's great that you're allowed to jump the cross country jumps without being in a lesson. Around here, no barns allow jumping outside of lessons. (Part of why I can't wait to get Shiny home.)
    New locker set up looks great! And ugh, mice. I had them get in my show trunk which I hadn't opened in a couple years, and it was a literal shit show. Shit everywhere. Blah!

    1. ugh mice... the freakin worst (but so cute, but so gross, ugh)... and yea a lot of barns around here also frequently have rules about jumping outside of lessons -- typically it seems like mostly h/j barns that have the rule (tho, notably, the last place i boarded charlie wasn't particularly zealous about it). that's something i specifically consider in choosing a boarding facility bc i do a lot of jumping on my own or just with friends haha. bc yea.... sometimes that's just what we wanna do!

    2. So many h/j barns have that rule! Interestingly enough, where we ride, no such rule. So, we can haul out and use the jumps or, when I would pick up extra rides, I could practices over fences too. The only thing we are asked is not to jump higher than we consistently jump in lessons (which is 100% understandable). This winter (while everyone was away for a month), my homework was to get comfortable over small fences with Nay. I doubt I could have done this at most h/j barns.

  4. Charlie looks like he's having so much fun splashing through that water! And your locker looks great. I love the lights. Mice suck. And ants. Ants are my problem right now. Lol. And teeth marks on my saddle. But those are due to a certain bay horse who shall not be named... Lesson learned. Don't leave saddle within reach of said horse while he's in cross ties...

    1. i mean.... my horse just threw my precious french monoflap into the stone wall of his stall, bc he absolutely fricken SMASHED my foot stepping on me, then lunged away in horror, all while the girth wasn't fully attached yet... sending the poor hunk of leather flying :(

  5. I love reorganizing spaces like lockers or cabinets and stuff! The end result is so satisfying!

  6. It is so satisfying to revamp and organize barn stuff! I've been checking off a lot on my list the past few weeks and it is soooo satisfying!

    <3 Mikey

    Great that you are able to do some xc schooling! I would love to ride through some water - looks fun!!

    1. gosh i love checking stuff off the list haha.... and yes riding through water is suuuper fun! esp once your horse is fairly predictable with it lol - bc nobody wants to take a bath!

  7. i love your locker setup, particularly the DISCO LIGHTS WHAT AMAZING

    1. those lights turned out to be prettttttty perfect

  8. Go Charlie go! lol Looks like such fun taking advantage of your home course, and your locker looks fantastic! Those LED lights are perfect!

    1. definitely fun - and even better to have media this time! we've gone out literally dozens of times over the past few months (including last week!) but never get footage so it's easy to miss

  9. You had me at "Usually hitting at least 1 (but sometimes up to all 3) of xc's holy trinity of ditches, water and banks; and stringing a couple things together." This sounds like SUCH an amazing thing to have in the backyard. I am super jealous. Also jealous of those twinkly lights...

    1. getting to see ditches, banks and water so often is a huge advantage. i admit, i do the water the most often and am still squeamish about the banks... but maybe this will be the year i get more serious about that?

  10. SO jealous of your ability to XC school whenever.

    1. tbh i'm so spoiled by that access now that i can't imagine boarding somewhere that *didn't* have onsite xc lol...

  11. I love the video of the easy cantering you guys are doing through the water. It all looks so smooth and effortless.

    Re: the tack box- you know that the mice will not think it's a disco and there will be mice raves on a regular basis, right?

    1. omg if i ever open my locker up to a mouse-sponsored dance party i'm just gonna pack up and go home LOL


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