Monday, November 20, 2017

Cornered.

So I didn't post anything from my last ride, but I went out Sunday and did some dressage work. No pictures, as it seemed absolutely freezing. Not sure why because it said -6C when I checked, but it sure felt the coldest yet. Maybe the way the wind was blowing or something.

Really pretty uneventful. I think Moon is starting to get softer and more in contact again, which makes me happy. It's a slow process, but I like that we keep working on it. Man, being freezing cold though sure doesn't help you ride soft and loose :P

So I heard someone yelling outside the arena when I had been riding about 45 minutes and was just cooling Moon out anyway. So I decided to dismount before he got too worked up and sweaty. Inside the barn, a gal and her mom were moving a horse in, and she stopped to tell me that she was just "blocking me so I couldn't leave yet" but "would be out of the way soon". I told her not to worry, I still had to untack and groom still anyway. Which I at that point didn't even realize she meant she had parked her 3 horse trailer and truck directly behind my car, and I guess her mom had parked her car on the other side of mine, blocking me into the corner of the barn parking lot.

I guess everyone was on their way back from the big horseshow 3 hours away.

Well...I untacked, groomed, put my gear away, blanketed my horse, adjusted his blanket straps, put my horse away (in his far far away paddock), swept the barn aisle, picked poo in the arena...and they were still blocking me in. It was just a 3 horse trailer and I had seen them leading the horses out when I was walking Moon out...

So I found my old AP saddle which someone is interested in buying, and removed my stirrups from it since I wasn't selling them. Looked in my bin for the small gullet plate the buyer wanted. Restacked my stuff...

Huh. They were bringing some gear in around me during all of this. Saddles back on racks, hay nets back to the hay pile. Decorations in bins.

I'm an introvert and they were talking in French around me since the initial "We're blocking you" conversation, so I figured I'd just go out to my car and they'd clue in and let me out. It had been a good 15-20 minutes at this point so surely they were almost done and "soon" was about now.

I sat in my car. I turned it on bc it was cold. Taillights lighting up the back of their trailer, my headlights streaming into the darkness. Turns out they unloaded their shavings beside me too. Could *almost* squeak by, but wasn't worth risking it. If the car wasn't there I would definitely be out.

Waited a bit longer. They took out their water pails. Some halters. More shavings. In the barn they went. Out the barn they went. They stood a bit having a discussion.

I seriously went from "No worries" to "WTF! No worries meant I thought you could get this done in 15 minutes!"

Finally they appeared to clue in that I was sitting there in my running car and it was 9:40 on a Sunday night. LET ME GO HOME. The fellow went in and out and finally got in the truck and moved the trailer. I threw my car in reverse and hurried out of there. Because where there's one trailer coming back...there was 11 more based on what the BM told me on Thursday! And I was *not* getting trapped in there all night long!

Sure enough, by the time I got onto the road, there were 3 more trailers headed in. Close call!

But seriously? I understand that there's gear you don't want left in your trailer all night. But if you've blocked someone's vehicle in, why wouldn't you just place your gear outside the trailer, move the trailer, and then sort and organize it into the barn and various locations it needs to go? Or leave the hay nets and shavings and buckets for another day (the stalls have auto waterers). It really kinda felt like I didn't matter, and they couldn't be bothered by the fact they had boxed me in, and while I was kind and patient for a reasonable amount of time, they had now exceeded that time. It was my Sunday too, and while I appreciate they've been off showing all weekend, there's no warning to me that I needed to be gone by X time. The barn had plenty of space even to park so not to block me, but the whole rest of the group had parked in such a way that it wasn't an option. I just...sometimes I don't get people. Or society now of days. No one should sit boxed in their car, while you stand in the barn doorway having a discussion.

That is my rant. And if you're someone like this and you read this, PLEASE. We're all tired. We're all sore. We all just want to go home at the end of the night.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sweat it Off

So I missed my Wednesday ride because I had an exhausting, late day at work, a meeting that ran over, and a blazing headache. I just wanted to sit on my chair, under a blanket, glass of wine in hand, doing nothing. So I did.

I had a moment of guilt because I wasn't following my big plan after spending all this money on a fancy indoor arena, but too bad. Thankfully despite a rather crappy Thursday, I was ready for barn time. Probably because I went to bed at 8:30 the night before, and after crying in front of my boss (it's like the 30th time so hardly a big deal anymore), I just needed to turn my head off and ride my horse.

The wind was INSANE and blowing like the devil. There's apparently a show going on this weekend (somewhere...you know me, always asking questions), so a bunch of kiddos were at the barn with their folks getting ready. Trimming manes, and cleaning tack and filling trunks. I kinda loved it. I've already noticed there's two groups; the folks who proclaimed my horse "sturdy" and stood about with their 17hh beasts in their nice jackets and shoes, and then those that exclaim Moon is just the cutest pony while wearing their knit toques and joking about how much iced coffee they should have. Those moms and kids of the latter, I just gravitate to. They're what I want to someday be. Rolling my eyes at my kid while I head to Tims to grab a coffee while they spend another 30 minutes perfecting their horse's hairdo. Their horses aren't fancy or huge or expensive, but many are they loved. And their kiddos just, love horses. It's just that simple.

Yeah, my arms are like wings. But man am I happy. 

Anyway, the kids went about their business and Moon and I headed into the ring. I spent a good 15 minutes stuck in my head, wavering between "Are the kids watching and judging me?" and "Omg, that work meeting, what about, and who about, and what next", before I finally got irritated with myself. I half shut my eyes, in this loud arena with the wind making all the steel panels shake and odd noises float by, and I asked Moon to trot. I sat that trot and just felt it. I felt my body loosen. I told myself to let my hands become disembodied. To let me legs fall. My shoulders relax. I willed myself slowly into this almost trance, where I simply moved with Moon.

And it worked. Everything drifted away until I knew nothing more than the movement of the horse beneath me. Around and around we went, and I sunk so deep and wholly into that movement.

Finally we both felt more relaxed and content.

I knew it was a dressage day. We should work on flexing and softness and being supple. I know. But there was a jump course up thanks to the big show everyone was heading to and...well...I wanted to. Jumping is just that freedom for me.

So I did. Heck, I did in my dressage saddle and I really don't care if that was wrong. We whipped through that course over and over and it was wonderful. We knocked down one pole and I know we could have gone higher, but we just went. And it felt amazing.

When we finished, we were both sweaty. Like Moon was dripping. I'm seriously thinking about shaving him so that he's not so hot. It took FOREVER to cool him off. Many laps around the arena, then inside with a cooler, rubbed down, brushed, rubbed again and so on. It was a good 45 minutes to cool him off.

But I took some pictures of my old AP saddle to try to sell to cover the cost of my new CC saddle, and just messed around. Spoke with SL's husband a bit about the mascot goat and finally deemed Moon dry enough to go back. Man were his guts unhappy though. They swapped to 2nd cut hay and he was pooping like crazy. And SOFT. Ugh.

Anyway, it wasn't a learning experience, it wasn't a technical moment. But it was a hell of a lot of fun to just charge around the ring jumping crap like it's nobody's business. Man I felt refreshed when I got home <3


Doing a "combo"!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Just JUMP

Oh I'm loving having an indoor.

Wheee!

Sunday I headed off to the barn and it was FABULOUS. The weather had warmed (not enough to melt the snow, but it certainly was an improvement), and my DH bought me a swanky new flashlight. I mean it's SUPER bright, you can adjust the beam, dim it, has a belt clip, everything a barn girl needs.

Had no problems finding Moon from half-way across the paddock with the thing, and into the barn we went. It was later than I'd been going lately, but once again the place was all mine. Mmmmm....

Moon's blanket was perfectly intact, so I'm thinking everyone is settled in finally.

Chip-in!
I decided it was time for some jumping. Moon has become so relaxed and easy going in the arena and barn already, that it felt appropriate. He would still call a time or two our last couple of rides, but his head was in the game. Now thinking back, he didn't actually call out once during our Sunday ride! :D

Right under the Canada flag!

I pulled out two sets of standards and 4 poles. Insert lazy person claiming to be "training" and I grabbed a set of narrow poles (5') and a set a little wider (7'). One low vertical on the straight away, and one higher one across the diagonal. Next time I'll do some proper gymnastic jumping and think about strides and pace and all of that jazz, but this time it was late, and I just wanted to do it. I've always been one to over think my riding, and bounce between being too anxious to just do it, and feeling like I'm "not allowed" even though it's my own horse and I'm an adult. Figure that one out. He's probably not going to end up ruined because I threw us over some verticals, and no one can give me shit. So to hell with it. I was jumping.

Airborn!

We warmed up and then started.

Let me say, that it felt so good. Moon was ears perked, happy and energetic. I really think it's something he enjoys doing and finds a fun challenge. Dressage might be therapy but jumping is a treat.

Up up and away!

The highest vertical we did was about our "usual" max, and one that I've always felt pretty anxious heading towards. By the end of our ride?? I was just jumping it and enjoying. Yes, I was often ahead of the jump. Yes, often my toes tipped down, but I was noticing when it happened. My release was good and soft, my hands were steady and following.

Little vertical

When he weaved a little coming up to the jump I could keep him neatly between my legs and direct him straight. I never bashed him in the mouth, and I stayed on well. Heck, he even chipped in once and I stayed right with him for a massive jump.

It felt so good. To just tackle it and not stress about the whole thing. Makes me think about how kids must feel when they're 14 and have a horse and are just charging around the arena, doing crazy things to their hearts content. Maybe that's why I love this so much; it's like all the adulting just fades away for a bit.

Love his bascule in this one!

Actually, I'm sure that's it. More and more I realize that this time is my selfish me time, and I love it. I feel refreshed when I'm done for the night, I sleep like a log, I dream about ponies, and I can't wait to tackle another goal. Sometimes I think "Gawd, we're spending a LOT of money so I can ride around an arena all winter", and then I realize it's money well spent.

Better body position on this one.

Anyway, around and around and over things we went. It was awesome.

And then Moon was sweaty so I untacked him. I made the two jumps into a jump shoot and ran him through twice just to see :) And like a pro he did it all. The entire ride he didn't refuse a single jump for me. Gawd I love that boy!

Free Jump

Then I cleaned up everything, put the jumps away, walked Moon till he was almost dry, put a cooler on him and brushed him out. Back out to his paddock in his blanket he went!

And me, I drove home, just thrilled.

Moon snuggles the barn cat <3

:D Once a week we're gonna jump. Just for the thrill of it.

My beautiful boy <3 Look at that soft eye <3

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Strangers.

Ah barn night! Despite being up half the night with a cranky toddler (the wonderful husband (DH) actually got up with her...I just couldn't sleep because I knew she couldn't sleep, so I laid there in bed. Which DH the next morning pointed out that I might as well have been up with her while he sleeps, since he knew I wouldn't be sleeping when she wasn't anyway. But he knows I don't like his logic ;)

Anyway, dragged myself off to the barn once the kiddo was in bed, which got me there a little later than the recent days. Moon had dragged his girlfriend off to the furthest reaches of their pasture. I had thought the treeline was the end...but no. It carried on from there, and the two of them were pawing snow and eating the grass underneath. Okay.

Drag my boy up the hill and of course, all the horses except the twins follow us. And a big black beast decides he needs to bite the ass of my horse RIGHT when I'm opening the gate. Moon pulls away, the lead rope drags through my hand and I manage to flip a nail over backwards. Le ger.

Of course, I've been wrangling barn ponies for years now, and let out a loud "HEEEEYYYYY!!" in my deepest mom-voice, chastising the bad behaviour and vocally ensuring that I will not tolerate being run over.

Right as a random fellow and SL are coming down the path to another horse pasture. SL calls out to see if I'm okay, which of course I am. Random fellow seems to give me a raised eyebrow as I lead my horse past, grumbling about the burrs that are now stuck to my mittens and my sore finger and misbehaving ponies with horrible timing.

Into the barn and start unblanketing, happy to see Moon's rain sheet only suffered a small tear in the tail flap.

Then over comes random fellow, to announce that my horse has the "perfect" feet, to explain whatever it is he's explaining to SL.

"I'm not sure you say perfect like it's a good thing, or perfect like you're about to declare how perfectly imperfectly they are..." I retort to the fellow.

He lifts Moon's foot and proceeds to explain that at a recent seminar "they" had been discussing long toes and proper angles, and that properly trimmed, he would nip the hoof back to "this point", which was the little ridge behind the white line. Pretty well my thumb in the below picture.

Strange Fellow's suggested point of "trim"
He states that this will improve the angle of the hoof so it better matches the shoulder, because it forces the hoof to become more upright and natural. The toe will automatically shorten and the heel will come up.

While he's standing there holding Moon's hoof, Moon is shaking it every so often. Like "Who is this man, why is he doing this?" And he almost seemed to hold the leg...differently. When I hold Moon, my shoulder is touching his shoulder, my right arm is wrapping his leg and supporting it. This fellow seemed to more hold the hoof, and just the hoof. I could feel Moon feeling "unsupported", like if someone was holding your foot up by a toe, when you're used to them holding your foot up by your leg.

He proceeded to chastise Mr. Moon repeatedly about how he should stand still and to "stop that" with the shaking his hoof.

It was one of the those moments where you lean back half in bemusement, half in eye rolling irritation like "Kindly put my horse's hoof down and go spout your pseudo-farrierism somewhere else."

I'm getting less patient in my old age.

Mr. Moon, hanging out in the corner of the arena. 

He eventually moved on, namely because SL noticed the huge pool of blood on Moon's hind leg, dripping onto the floor and dying his white coronet band bright red. The fellow hurried over to run a hand down the leg, but I already knew it was just a little scratch that I guess with the cool temps stayed brighter red then normal. No biggie. Apparently Moon had done some mud bogging bc his back legs were covered in mud too. SL agreed it was just a superficial scratch and no harm. No swelling and it seemed to have scabbed over already nicely.

That freed me to carry on with my tacking and before long I had the barn to myself again. Oh thankfully! Sometimes I think I should ride more during the daylight, but man I love an empty barn to myself <3 I think this is sometimes an introverts dream. And I totally understand those people who build massive arenas and 4 stall barns and don't let anyone else in! I totally would. Just a few close friends and that's it!

We warmed up and started the "usual". Lots of working on bending and softening and reaching into the bit. You know what?? I think Moon did really well. To the right he had moments of beautiful that almost felt like they were 50% of the way to where we were when we quit lessons. To the left I'd say it's more like 20%, but I had a few moments of success and that made me over the moon!

Hard to see, but he's moving more and more with his head lower, his neck reaching. I even feel like you can see a bit of an "arching" to his neck, without his nose going behind the vertical. 

Considering it was the 3rd ride, I feel like that's awesome. I want to try to start adding more lateral work in again, but I feel like I need to rebuild a certain level of softness and flexion before I ask. Like he needs the opportunity to grow those muscles again that are needed to do it.

After a bit of canter work and a cool down, I couldn't help myself. There was still a little x-rail and a vertical set up (which saddle was out of my video capture!), and a huge perk of an indoor is jumping! Yes, we were in our dressage saddle, but I wanted to, so I did. And Moon's little ears just perked right up and he energetically headed towards the jumps. The x-rail he eventually just cantered over, but I got some cute little jumps from the vertical. Man do we love jumping!

Woohooo!! :D 

He was a bit damp by the time we were done, so I walked him out and then scooped poop while he followed me around. The barn was still quiet and empty when we went back in, so I threw his cooler on and puttered about for awhile. I had sewn up his winter blanket Tuesday night, and while the job isn't stellar, it's workable. The poor DH had to flee downstairs because of the "rich" barn smells the emanated from that old blanket lol.

An "acceptable" patch to Mr. Moon's blanket

Once cooled I re-dressed him and put him back out in the field. Already it was 9:30pm and I was tired, but happy. Really happy. No matter what, an evening at the barn just refreshes me.

I can't wait until Saturday when I get to do it again!! And with just 2 weeks until Black Friday and my saddle somewhere on the road between Washington State and North Dakota, it won't be long before I'm soaring over jumps. I was thinking lots about my Blackburn, and I suspect it might be part of my issues with toes down jumping this past summer. With my long legs and the position of the stirrup bars, I feel like it really moves my legs ahead of me. Even in my dressage saddle yesterday I felt like my heels stayed down nicely and felt nice and secure. Just to be sure, I did a good 10 minutes of 2-point work, and aim to do lots more!

We <3 Jumping.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Settle Down

So yesterday after dinner and putting B to bed, I headed back to the barn. Monday evenings are apparently lesson night around there, and three or four young girls and their parents were prepping their horses when I arrived. Off I went to gather Moon while they filled into the arena for their lesson. 

The weather here has gotten CHILLY and it was about -21C or -6F out there, plus a windchill. Brrr!

When I got to Moon's paddock, one of the twins greeted me at the gate. Not my own horse of course. There were a few newbies added, and while it was dark and hard to see, they all seemed a fair bit taller than my ol'Moonpie. 3 more came to greet me at the top of the embankment, but not my boy. He was nose deep in the hay feeder, with his new girlfriend Hazel right beside him. 

I would find out later from the barn owner's husband that they bonded really quick. Like by the second day, she was his. Apparently Hazel had gone to the barn with her owners yesterday and Moon threw quite the fit. I can only imagine. The fellow asked me if it was hard to get Moon out of the paddock away from her...and well...no. Halter on no issue and up the embankment and out the gate. Typical Moon. He's such a weird horse. He's totally nuts about mares, yet still his usual respectful self with me. I guess maybe that's just lots of training and work on our part. But man, he's a dick in the pasture with he's got a lady friend.  

I did notice a HUGE rip in his blanket. His beautiful Schneiders blanket. We're talking to the LINER! There was insulation hanging down, the liner a flap, and the 1680 denier cover torn open. And a good 12" square! Boo. And he even had a bite mark on his butt and was missing a chunk of hair! Thankfully I had brought his liner and rainsheet, so it was easy to swap and bring his winter blanket home for a fix. Which will be tonight. 

HUGE rip :(

Anyway, the girls' started their lesson a bit late and I really didn't feel like being a 5th body in the arena. I'm terrible for remembering which way to pass and always feel like I'm riding in everyone else's way. It's just way too stressful to me, when I can just super groom my pony and have the arena all to myself. And super groom Moon I did. It's so nice in a warm barn, that I even had my hat and mittens off as I worked. 

Barn Cat, that thinks it's my coach...

Barn Owner Husband (BOH) showed up and we talked a bit about Moon's new love interest. He said it was really nice to see them bond so tightly so quickly. I suspect Moon living alone for a good 8 months probably had a bit of an impact on that...maybe he's kinda like me, and when he actually has a friend he's like "GAWD don't leave me alone! I don't know how to cope in this large social situation without you here!" lol. I seriously hate being around other people when I'm running solo and have to be "social". 

Anyway, I noticed that there was a small goat in the hay storage area. Turns out that was a $30 auction goat, and their new mascot. Okay. Cut little thing that certainly could be addictive. THIS is why my husband won't let me get a goat ;) (Okay, he will but he doesn't believe I'll actually eat it come winter and we'll wind up boarding a goat for 4 months of the year!). It's still a juvenile and had the cutest bleeps. 

Mascot Goat!

Tacked and ready shortly before the girls finished, and then we swapped spots. The girl who was using the same cross-ties as me told me how pretty she thought my horse was. Insert melt! I know. But I still love when people tell me he's pretty. She had a HUGE chestnut, and I commented on how small my Moon seems next to it. She laughed and agreed that they have some pretty big boys. 

As I headed into the arena, this one fellow "pulls" his wife away from where she was standing blocking the aisle and stepped aside when I said "excuse me" to pass. He seriously had this look like "Omg wife! That horse is close to you and could kill you!". Except of course Moon was just walking and kinda more wide eyed by the fellows quick actions to move his wife. Okay. Sometimes I have to remind myself that while barn kids are awesome and pony-loving, their parents are...a lot like my parents. There because they love you, but they are NOT horse people. 

Which probably explains the next father saying to the group "Boy, that sure is a sturdy horse, ain't it", in reference to Moon as he passed. I'd like to say it came off as a compliment like "Look how secure and well-built that horse is", but it kinda felt more like when someone calls your kid "Big Boned". Like "Gees, how is that thing athletic?" or something. Granted, next to these warmbloods, Moon is...sturdy lol. He really is. But that's why I love him. And he's even actually quite delicate compared to a lot of quarter horses. His cousin that my girlfriend owns is a truly sturdy horse. Strong hind end, wide chest, broad shoulders, stout neck. Like he's a tank. Moon looks dainty compared to him! 

The barn owner who was standing there made me laugh when she replied "He's a quarter horse", and that's all I caught of the conversation as they closed the arena door behind me. I caught some muffled talk that eluded to him being that solid, simple, stout kinda beast that he is. He's a quarter horse. Yup. He's everything you want in one too!

Mr. Sturdy

Anyway, off to warm up, though the barn was noisy with the chatter of young girls and their parents and coach, but I didn't mind too much. Moon needs to work in a variety of environments. Around and around we went, but I gotta say, it was tough to release the encounter with the parents. You know, I love horse kids, but holy do I ever have a lot of bad experiences with barn parents and it puts me on edge. Questions always come off as judgements, they seem to eye you up and down, and it's always about who's spending more or on what. Who's riding what and how and all that. Not for me thanks. I had to try to push aside a lot of bad encounters of my youth, and remind myself that "Sturdy" isn't a bad thing. The fellow saw a horse that was sturdy and dependable and these are wonderful traits. I somedays yearn for the 17hh warmblood that I need the 6-step mounting block to get on, but I know that Moon still has my heart. I'd still choose him every time. 

And hey, the mounting block is level with his back. Talk about easy for me ;) 

Around and around we went, walk and trot and change of rein and transitions. Over and over. Time seemed to fly as I was stuck in my head, and tried very hard to think relaxing thoughts. Towards the end I was actually really happy with his bend to the right and he was starting to drop his head and reach into the bit again. Yay!!! Unfortunately to the left he's as stiff as a board and I wasn't in the mood to try to work through it with an audience nearby. Moon when stiff does his evil rabbit face, all teeth and head up in the air, and it's ugly. And while I try to channel my inner Coach W, I sometimes just can't ride the ugly. So I just left it alone for another day. 

We did do some beautiful canter work in both directions, and man, can my boy adjust his strides now! Collected and extended, and it was so nice! I loved it. And both 20m circles and around the whole arena, in both directions. So happy. His trot had some nice variability too, which makes me happy. An adjustable horse! Can't wait until we can do some jumping!

We finished by walking out, and then I dismounted and Moon followed me around while I scooped poop. The girls had forgotten to do theirs, so I thought I should be a good barn mate and do it all. Moon was awesome following, and we ran about a bit just for fun. 

Inside I groomed him and got his blanket back on. We still don't have a spot for our tack. I'd really like one because I like to be a bit more organized. 

I put him back out in the field and thankfully this time he walked down the bank properly ;) 

I also spoiled myself...and ordered a special christmas present from Santa ;) I'm picking it up on Black Friday. 

It's a Wintec CC Saddle!! :D I just have to sell my Blackburn to cover the cost, and I'll officially have a real jumping saddle! It was posted as an AP, but all my googling says it's actually a CC. And I thought it was a CC at first look because of how the flaps and panel are shaped. It's way too forward flap to be an AP. Either way it's still an upgrade from my Blackburn! 

Doesn't that flap look awfully forward for an AP??

It's camel coloured and in nearly new condition. With CAIR and changeable gullets, so everything I love! It shipped out yesterday! And from Washington state....the same place I bought my last Wintec dressage saddle! :D I'm so excited to get to jump all winter in it and be ready for some real jumping come spring! And the position should be SO much better than in my blackburn. Actually have my legs in a good jumping position by having a proper jumping saddle! I just need to get some brown leathers and a brown bridle to match...hehe. 

Gonna list my Blackburn as soon as I get the new saddle here. 

Billet Shot ;) 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Back in the saddle

So at 7pm last night I put my fear on and drove out to the barn for my first ride. I was so excited and nervous, just because it was new again.

There was just a girl and her parents there ending their lesson, and we exchanged quick hellos. I gathered Moon's halter and headed out to find him in the dark. The moon was full and there were little solar lights a long the path I never noticed before.

SL had messaged me earlier to say that Mr Moon already had made a friend; the little buckskin girl "Hazel". I knew he'd gather up the chicks ;) I had been told the first day that a different gelding is boss (one of "the twins"), and wad surprised to see the gelding on the far side of the creek with his pair. The two plaid blankets were standing there off away from the feed, while moon and Hazel were nose deep. Huh.

Moon was no issue to halter and lead back up the hill. It's pretty neat because it's clearly a floodplain from the river that boards the property. I guess in the low water months it's perfectly grassy. There's a neat little natural stream that cuts across it draining the upper pastures, and then you climb up the embankment to the usual ground level. It's quite a steep embankment if you don't follow the nice graded path they made at the far end. The shelter sits up at the top of the embankment.

So back to the barn we go, and by the time I get there everyone else has left. I have no complaints. It's only about 7:45 at this point I find that odd. Who wouldn't want to ride at this hour?

I take my time grooming Moon in the cross ties. The barn noises are peaceful though I miss the way W always had some classical music playing for the ponies at night.

My gear and the other newbie's still hasn't found a home, so I gather what I need from the viewing lounge. Man do I have a lot of crap (Well, spare blanket, cooler, quarter sheet, 3 saddles...).

Saddled and ready to ride.

Of course, I never did find out how to get into the arena. I try the button I find for a garage door opener hidden behind hanging blankets, but it doesn't work. I finally just try man handling it and have success. Next comes finding the light switches.

I said before that I really liked the apparent Type A styling of SL and I do. The light switches were labelled and I had easy success. Everything here is so hyper organized. Like finding a broom and muck fork took 2 seconds. Her feed room is equally nicely laid out and I feel like our gear in her viewing room must cause her some pain for now. But hopefully this weekend we get our own spots.

The arena is a nice size and the footing is lovely. Not dusty nor packed. It's mixed with shavings for a nice loft and it's pleasing to see that the seats in there are not covered with 4" of dust.

There's still some jumps out from the last rider but I don't mind something for a change of pace. They're all set to the ground and a couple of cavelletti to step over too.

We take our time warning up and Moon is a little rushy and stiff, but surprisingly well behaved. It truly reminds me of just how many adventures we have been on, that this type of stuff just doesn't phase him anymore. The whole hour we rode I got maybe a half dozen calls out of him, which is not shabby at all. And he never stopped listening to me while screaming.

We walked and trotted and worked on softening and bend. A lot. He was still and evil rabbit faced, but towards the end he would give me moments of pretty. We haven't done this in years, he's been just running around trails for the last 2 years and I had a baby a year ago. Let's just say I was happy with what we did achieve.

I will say, that having a child seems to have helped my riding. Granted at first I had some issues with a painful pubic synthesis as the tendons that hold it together get slack due to pregnancy hormones. When I rode Moon the 11 miles back to H's last fall, I sure felt it.

But at some point that all went back to normal, and I've found that maybe it was that same slackening in other joints, but my hips which always seemed to be stiff and difficult to shape so that my legs hung loose, seem so much more comfortable and loose now. I can drape them easily down Moon's sides and in most pictures I'm thrilled to see that they are aligned under me. From head to shoulder to hip to legs to feet. It's like finally they can just be how they need, instead of a tight mess I'm fighting.

And with it, I can sit Moon's bouncy trot. I can more easily work my legs independent of my upper body. My legs are still a bit floppy from being out of the saddle, but I can work on that. My chaps which used to be tight gap now. Muscles waste. Even my show boots which used to be painfully tight are now a loose fit. Poor muscles (but yay for boots fitting!).

My hands are also a bit bouncy but I like the fact that they seem better in line now and I'm more aware of not crossing them over centre.

By the end I sure missed Coach W. Man did she teach me so much, and I miss the encouragement she gave us that winter we spent at her indoor. It brought back so many memories for me.

We did some canter too, and while moon is still to the left, I had fabulous canter pick ups and movement to the right. Beautiful slow movement that was easy and comfortable to control. Like I can't wait to canter a jump course next week!

We finished by cooling out since someone got a bit damp. We walked over all the jumps and then picked our poop and headed back into the barn.

Threw a cooler on Moon and brushed him down. Untacked and put my stuff away. And then we were done. Winter blanket back on and out the door to walk back to the field. I need to start bringing a pail of grain so indoor have to walk as far once there's more snow ;)

I let moon free in the pasture and what does he do?? Heads right to the edge of the embankment and starts down! He has a moment of "Oh crap!" As he starts sliding  (It's snowy and icy here right now), and manages to maneuver down sideways. I honestly thought he was gonna roll.

He nearly walks over the stream, but changes his mind and takes the bridge. Gawd horse.

Huh. The twins see him coming and leave the feeders  to go stand by the fence. Is it possible he's already made himself boss? There he stands eating with his Hazel while the twins move off back to the stream.

And me? Back to the barn to gather my stuff and head home.

I slept like a log and it felt amazing. I'm excited for my next ride and really feel like I made a good choice coming here for winter. I miss this life. I miss this freedom. And I'm grateful for a husband who while it's not his thing (and he reminds me plenty that he doesn't understand why people want to try to convince a 1000 lb animal in the cold to let them sit on them and go in circles while hoping not to fall off, when there's warm houses and video games or hockey), he still is happy to find way to support me in doing it. I really hope B falls in love with it too, but either way, this is part of my forever.





Thursday, November 2, 2017

Winter Abode

Well last night was uneventful! Which is a great thing.

I took off work early, headed right home, hooked up the trailer and brought Moon up to the house and loaded him by 3:30pm. Dragged the Hubs and daughter along while I was at it (note to self, they do NOT enjoy this stuff as much as I do).

Took no time to arrive at the barn, and owner SL was there to greet us. Moon unloaded like a dream (he nearly self-loaded too, so I'm over the moon about how he handles trailering even in my small trailer). We walked him in, and I feel like she raised an eyebrow to my shipping boots. Thank gawd they weren't all shiny and new! I just always feel safer when he travels with them.

He stood in the cross-ties nice and we got him undressed and ready to meet his new "friends". Out of the barn we went and down a little alleyway to the field he'd be living in. They have a neat setup where the outdoor horses are divided into different groups based on their feeding needs (skinnies, fatties and normals). Moon is in the normal category, so he joined two bay geldings and a newly introduced buckskin mare. He didn't have much issues moving in while I was there. A quick kick to one of the geldings and a couple of paws. We'll see how he does today and tomorrow. I'm really hoping his blanket survives...

The dark dot near the middle is Mr. Moon in his new paddock. 


The walk was a little muddy (the snow was melting), and it's a bit of a haul. I think I'll try to sneak the short way from the barn to get him next time :P By haul, I mean I'm used to my horse being right where I drive up :P Gawd home is a spoiling too lol. Thankfully the actual paddocks are clearly pastures, and huge. And surprisingly the only muddy spots are along the walkway and at the gate. Which is odd because it almost seems like the pasture is a flood plain for the river that borders the property, but maybe that's only an issue in the spring and most of this group doesn't stay that long (most were snowbird horses; folks who head to Arizona for the cold months and let the horses they're not riding spend the winter looked after by the barn. My retirement goal ;) ). A couple were people like me, who just wanted a nice warm indoor arena to ride around in, and a barn out of the snow and cold to tack and groom.

No shortage of space to roam!


She hadn't cleared us a space in the tackroom yet, so we just stored our gear in the viewing lounge. I think I have too many saddles...

I filled out the paperwork (she keeps a binder with all the horse details, vaccine records, farrier, vet info, maximum values for medical treatment and conditions, contact information, emergency info, etc.). Signed my waiver, and handed over my cheques! That was it! We were moved in!

And I took B for a quick tour and she squealed at the sight of all the ponies <3 I can't wait to take her for a visit on Sunday after breakfast!

The place is just as beautiful in the daylight, and I'm super excited to head over on Friday for a ride. I figured I'd give him today to settle into the new group, and then see how he feels about the arena! I really really hope it's just like it seemed when I visited the first time, and I have the quiet peaceful barn all to myself in the late evenings. I know, I know. But I'm an introvert and I love quietly puttering around on my horse.

The weird thing is that my very social job had me caught between wanting to introduce myself and shake everyone's hands, and wanting to just go hide quickly away. Thankfully it seems SL is also an introvert and we all happily just exchanged smiles and ducked away to our own thing ;)

Eeee! Moon is moved in! I started packing away his gear out in the field too. The horse trailer is tucked under shelter, and I need to put the quad trailer and wheelbarrow away too. I'm a little peeved at this snow though. I pick my paddocks every 5-7 days, and everything since last Friday is now buried under snow :( Really hope it doesn't make my paddock a mess come spring.

I have about a bale left of hay when you add in what still in his hay nets. So I'll probably just toss that out into the field. Everything that's "mouse proof" is in the tack room, and I guess I'm about ready to call home winterized! Oh, and I need to dump the trough! I drained the water tank last weekend before it froze, thankfully!

I'm so excited for Friday night!!! :D

The New Barn!! :D