Tuesday, May 31, 2022

the horse with no ears

At this rate it feels like we're averaging a lesson every 6 weeks or so.... But y'all might remember there was a brief intermission this spring when Charlie had a few weeks off for a sore hoof. 

For all my good intentions about building Charlie's fitness the "right" ways etc, it's kinda hard when you can't actually ride the horse. We're getting back at it, tho. Slowly but surely, as always, here in Charlieland lol.

this sweet face <3
And he seems good, ya know? Our schooling rides at home are pleasant and productive. The horse seems happy, especially after his season of discontent and malaise following BFF Iggy's death. But idk... sometimes I also kinda question Charlie's enthusiasm for the work lol... sigh.

ears up over the last jump of the day
Homeboy is up to date on his wellness schedule, maintenance routine, dentistry, chiro / acupuncture, farriery.... Etc etc etc. He's seen his team and gotten all his boxes checked. But.... He's also kinda been a bit of a bronto, excuse my french, about jumping lessons this spring. 

ugh lol... a lot to unpack here
This isn't exactly new behavior for my sweet war torn and world weary gelding. It's not uncharacteristic for him to.... not really wanna go. It's just kinda an uninspiring drag lol, and can feel like a real chore to get him clicked into gear. Not to mention that it always makes me worry too, naturally.

uninspiring jump 1 of final course
But.... once he DOES decide to go, he... ya know, goes. It just took a lot of work this lesson, lol. At least by the end, we got him cruising around stepping over the jumps from comfortable distances and even approaches while moving up to do the step. Basically like a schooled-but-bored jumper. Which ya know, that's ultimately more or less acceptable in my book. 

getting better as he goes tho
The working consensus right now from the people who know the horse best and whom I trust is that.... Ehhhhh he's kinda stiff and weak rn, as might be expected from a light winter and unintentionally sporadic spring. His topline is basically in shambles and his fitness is nil. And he is, legitimately, bored by the ring, I think.

and finishing strong
So the idea is to keep building and working on his condition as much as possible without making him feel so dull lol. Because realistically... the horse doesn't really look half bad. He knows his job, even if he does kinda phone it in every now and again.

Once he got a couple good jumps and forward distances under his belt during the warm up, it became easier and easier to click him back into gear. Kinda like shaking the rust off, I guess. Makes me want to set up a couple grids in the next week or two and see if that doesn't get him feeling a little more agile. 

He seemed to want a little less micro management and packaging up from me during this ride, too, which is a bit of a different style than I've been working on (having been recently focusing on really feeling both the front and back of the horse all the way around).  

we'll take it, sir, and we'll keep working on the margins while we're at it
Again, tho, the horse knows his job, so at a certain point I'm happy to leave him to it. A strategy he proved beyond any shred of a doubt at this past weekend's awesome hunter pace --- which was quite possibly the most fun we've ever had at one of these things. More on that later lol.

Anyway, tho, it was a good lesson. Kinda harder work for me than it should have been. And not necessarily the most awe-inspiring lol. But some good reps all the same. I'll take it! 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

mikey the manager

Happy start to a long holiday weekend for those of y'all in the States! And ya know, happy normal weekend for everyone else ;) 

just makin the rounds
Today's post is brought to you by Michael, our feline barn snoopervisor. Who, naturally, makes it his business to investigate every trailer that pulls through the barnyard.

inspector safety
And when I say, "his business," I really mean it haha. He's all business. Not dawdling, not dilly dallying. Not, thankfully, particularly likely to get accidentally brought along for the ride.

doesn't waste much time tho!
No no. He's just there doing his due diligence. Makin sure we aren't cutting any corners --- only the best for his resident pony friends!

"you pass. this time."
Naturally he was a little miffed at my whole emergency brake cable snafu last week.... In Mikey's mind, that's the sorta careless oversight that leads to horrors like accidentally stepping on a cat's tail or some other unthinkable atrocity. 

busted dongle -- note the broken plastic loop on the end
Luckily, for the bargain price of $2.91, replacement parts arrived and the trailer's hitching system is back up to code, per management orders!

replacement cable and dongle fully installed! 
Which was useful, bc we finally made it out for another lesson this week! Yay!! I think!! Idk!! Video is plopped below for your own judgement haha. I'll probably have more to say on it later. Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows!!

In the meantime, we're hoping to take advantage of the long weekend. Maybe with a hunter pace? We'll see lol. 

keepin' a watchful eye out on the neighborhood
Anyway. Hope you all have a good one too with good weather and lots of fun pony time!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

my dumb ass......

Guys. Guyssssss. I've done some stupid stuff driving my truck and trailer over the years. Basically all of which is recorded here on ye olde blogge for posterity. 

We have, in no particular order:
  -  Blown the brake lines a few times. 
  -  Killed the battery tonsss
  -  Cruised down the highway with the trailer doors wide open, flapping in the breeze. 
  -  Punched a quarter-sized hole in the trailer tire sidewall.....

Ya know. Some stuff. It happens. So. Rather than try to recount for you my latest.... incident... in any sort of narrative form, I present to you the full story as told in pictures. All I can say is... Thank god for friends who actually know things!



Photo Close Up #1 :: The emergency cable itself



Photo Close Up #2 :: a shot directly into the brake control box on my trailer frame



Photo Close Up #3 :: Found the weird little detached plastic plug on the ground underneath the hitch


Photo Close Up #4 :: Weird little plastic plug back in its house, minus the connective emergency cable





Siiiiiiiigh. I **hate** when I do dumb stuff like that. 

But, eh, at least I was just detaching the truck to use it separately from the trailer. And the parts can be easily replaced. And I have plenty of time to do said replacing. And I have knowledgeable friends who could quickly guide me back to finding that weird little plastic plug thing. 

Nbd, thankfully!

In the meantime, learn from my mistakes kiddos!! Or just laugh at my idiocy, your choice ;) 

Monday, May 16, 2022

legging back up again!

Charlie had some sort of mystery foot soreness for the better part of 3 weeks, plus bumped his face on something -- producing a little trickling nosebleed to round out a complete 3 week vacation. 

true story: i don't like putting bonnets on charlie bc they cover his big beautiful star. that's nothing a little DIY action can't fix, tho!
It's a little bit of a bummer bc he had been going so well in lessons, plus we ended up missing a fun little jumper show (he went lame literally the day I sent in my entry).

plus bonus lightning bolts to accessorize your fresh-back-into-work TB on a jaunt across the farm!
And, naturally, it's starting to look like we've seen the last of what had been a very pleasantly mild spring. The weather has switched gears in no uncertain terms to muggy oppressiveness bleh.

last gate before wooded freedom!
So idk what that really means in terms of my motivation to rush back into any sort of heavy work lol. We're both feeling a little weak and wimpy, if I'm being totally honest. 

so cool, so refreshing, so GREEN!!
Charlie's first two proper schooling sessions under saddle after coming sound were very short, and very to the point. Yet it's hard to say who was more winded from the effort lol. Maybe me, bc... Well. Reasons and stuff. But also maybe Charlie, who had actual little rivulets of sweat foam squeegee-ing through the holes in his billet straps omg.... After, again, only 20min of mostly walking LOL...

i love all the little stream crossings
But ya know. It's a joy and a privilege to have this horse healthy and happy and ready to go under saddle. And if I'm really gonna drive the 20mi each way to see him, might as well make the most of it, right?

charlie does too
People always love to tell me that long slow miles walking over hill and dale are the best solution to equine fitness work anyway, never mind that the horse literally spends more time roaming hills in a single day during his turnout than I ride in a full week (12hrs, to be specific). 

fountain at the neighbor's house!
So, hey -- might as well, right? And let's be real, getting out into the woods is just mentally so refreshing too. Esp on these hot sunny days -- the woods are legit much cooler. Plus with recent rain we've been having (thus the mugginess), the leaves are actually all still dripping with water -- so it's like getting spritzed down every time your gigantic horse runs you into yet another tree branch!! 

wheee was supposed to be hand-held video of us jumping a couple logs but my finger slipped so you just get 3sec lol
Extra bonus -- the nasty biting deer flies and black flies aren't fully out yet (even tho, dear lord, the TICKS absolutely are omg...). So my fly whisk and Charlie's bonnet ended up being totally superfluous. Better safe than sorry, tho! 

heading back toward the main outlying pastures
And guys, the horse just feels so good right now. Weak and lazy as ever, but happy and relaxed and soft. And considering we basically always follow the same exact circuit through the woods, he really needs minimal input from me to find his way around. 

ooof, they're mighty overgrown tho --- those giant xc jumps are nearly covered! 
Plus he knows where all the fun canter spots are, and all the fun log jumps!! Tho, sorry, I kinda failed at getting footage of us doing the last little line toward home. It ain't much -- but it's fun, and Charlie always lands in this nice big rolling (but careful!) canter that I wish was as easily replicated in the sandbox LOL.

mmmm grassssss --- i think charlie's group will get turned out into this big summer pasture starting next week, fingers crossed!
Anyway. It feels so good to be back on the horse again. And I think he's happy too. It's not really clear yet what our plans or goals will be for this upcoming year. We definitely wanna go out and have fun and maybe challenge ourselves a little bit. 

back into civilization, sorta. charlie's winter paddock is to the left
But most importantly, I want to keep him sound and happy and healthy, and am not particularly inclined toward anything that's gonna really stress me out or make me work too hard in too unpleasant conditions lol.... 

sweet trail pony <3
We'll see, tho. I've got a couple ideas :)   Anybody else feeling like summer is coming on faster than expected?!

Sunday, May 15, 2022

bee-autiful farm animals

Charlie's farm is old. And enormous. And, as it turns out, home to many many many various critters --- well beyond horses and ponies and barn cats.

critters. everywhere.
A whole bunch of them are right out in plain sight too, tho, it's actually pretty easy to miss them. 

i spy, with my little eye!
This weekend, I was particularly enamored with our resident carpenter bees <3 <3 

and hey look, there's another one!
These sweet fuzzy bumblers have moved into what must be ancient nests. If they're anything like the carpenter bees from my back yards growing up.... they've probably been living in these holes for (bee) generations.

morning ablutions, bee style
Can't say I've ever actually caught any of them hangin around. Actually --- I only noticed these guys bc I just about smooshed one by resting my broom on the wall right next to where his little bumble bum was sticking out.

well hello there!
Eventually, tho, even bees gotta get up and get their days started haha. And this one seemed just a little bit surprised to be watched in the process lol...

buzzing off lol
But bee life ain't gonna take care of itself, so off they gotta go. Bye, bee!

more critters!
For as interesting as the bees are, gotta admit I kinda like our standard fare barn animals. Like Mikey!!

lol and illustrations of critters
And the ridiculous barn pig Goose, who has been on a diet these last few months for... um, illustrated reasons lol.

lol when art imitates life
Honestly, the variety in animals is kinda nice -- just one more reason why long weekends at the barn are such a nice change of pace from the 9-5 drudgery, amirite?