Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Pony Dentist.

Probably should have snapped some pictures, but as usual, it was a whirlwind. The vet came out to do teeth yesterday, and I'm pleased to say that Moon needed minimal work as far as hooks and points :) Probably his best turn-out to date.

Of course, he's had that one tooth where the gums have been receding and bleeding, so the vet had a look, gave it a wiggle and told me about how there could be root loss and such, and I got convinced to spend $180 on digital X-rays. That showed a perfectly healthy tooth and root, and just some really upset gums. Le sigh.

So $400 later, Moon now gets an antibacterial mouth wash once a day to heal up his gums, and thankfully no expensive tooth extraction. I'm happy that he's all done before moving home, and I keep counting the weeks.

Four more :)

I'm NEARLY finished my chicken coop, which means hopefully soon I'll really start on his horse shelter. I gotta get those posts in so I can finish off the fencing of his pastures, get the gates up and it's at least ready to contain him. Not a lot of weekends to whip through all of that!!

His transition hay bale is home and stored away, and H is going to save a hockey net or two for us to use at home. I've got to start going through his stuff at the barn and moving it home...which is fun considering it's been like 3-4 years there, so we have a huge messy pile and stuff is everywhere. Don't know where I'm going to stuff it all :P

Oh, and I managed to do 3 miles last week :) Not gonna say it was easy, cause it wasn't. Moon was awesome, but after 2.5 miles my pelvis was aching and I was having a tough go of it. But I pushed and made it home without getting off. Man oh man. We did trot and canter most of the way, which is pretty awesome. My legs got an extreme workout. I'd say I'm still fit and still riding, but the extra 15pounds I've put on already, is a lot of extra weight for the ol'body to lift in a trot! Or hold up at a canter! I couldn't believe it. I even have a tough go pulling myself up onto the fence rail to sit. I can't imagine what it's gonna be like in a few more weeks, but at the same time, I keep saying, as long as I don't stop, it'll be easier to keep going. Hopefully I'll manage another 2-3 miles on Thursday and we'll keep it up. We're at 18 weeks now, and I seriously hope to ride right up until 40 :) Let's see how Moon behaves once he comes home...

Speaking of, I seriously have NOT appreciated just how hot Moon really is. In my mind, he's a really sedate QH. Typical laxidazy slow going old guy. He's turning 17 in May! He's been exposed to all kinds of crazy things, and really is close to bomb proof.

But wow. We were standing around talking while the vet was doing teeth, and of course, while every other horse got a single dose of tranquilizer, Moon needed a double dose. I TOLD the vet he would. He'll seem out, but as soon as you touch him, he'll wake right up. Sure enough, the vet went to open his mouth, and his teeth were clenched down, his head went up and he backed up at high speed away from him. Not so tranq'd.

The whole thing started me really looking at him. So much of how I perceive Moon has to do with our relationship. I felt connected to him from the first time I rode him, and that's developed. It's been what? 6 years together?? 6 intense years. I know him like the back of my hand. He's PREDICTABLE to me. Not only is he predictable, but because he is, I feel confident in how I respond to him. So much of our relationship is just intense familiarity, that we react and roll of each other smoothly.

But around the barn, he's near the top as far as "hotness". A crazy first thought to me...until I take of my rose coloured glasses and really look at him. He's REALLY responsive. He's very alert. He LOVES to run, and *naturally* loves to race. Not the kind where you need to push the horse to race, but as in another horse takes off, he wants to be there running past him. If he can't, he's a snorting, blowing, prancing mess. He was bred to run.

What he's not is dirty. He doesn't use dirty tricks, he has no desire to ditch his rider. He doesn't have horrible trail habits that make him hard to handle on the road. He's not spooky, when he does spook he's a small clean spooker. He's quite easy and light to move around, which means that you've always got good steering and control when you're out there. I STILL ride him in an uber soft bit, and he's never "run away" with me. He's never been one to turn sharp or stop hard.

He's stellar on lead. I totally stopped appreciating it, until Monday when I was leading another horse, who trodden RIGHT on my foot!! WTH?! I seriously screamed and started trying to shove his body off my foot. WTH?! I can't think of the last time Moon stepped on me. Lord knows I would have lost it on him. Without holding the lead, Moon trots and walks off beside me, and stops and stands based solely on body cues. He's even gotten to be a great ground-tier most of the time.

But none of those things makes his "cool". What they make him, is well trained to me. He's still the horse that one cluck means give'er all you've got. He's still Mr. Sassy pants, he's still the boss in the herd, he's still out there throwing a tantrum when his ladies are gone or you won't give him his head so he can chase down whoever just passed him. He is, truthfully, a hot little devil of a horse in a tiny package who's bred to do one thing and he does it well: Race.

It's funny how I love him, and how well he suits me, even though I don't consider myself getting on with hot horses at all. Perhaps it's because he's a sensitive hot. Most of his heat is emotional rather then physical.

And that's maybe what I love most about him.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


A girlfriend pointed out to me on the weekend that I was "riding double" on Moon. It was the most sweetest thought. Already, long before our first child has taken their first breath of air, they've already sat atop my sweet pony and ridden through the wilds of Manitoba. That's special.

I wasn't sure how I'd feel about being pregnant and still riding. At first it was an easy no-brainer, the simple adjustment of wearing a saddle and making sure I use a bridle to make it "safer" for the husband's sake. I mean, he wasn't giving me issue with riding, the least I could do was be as safe as possible.

Somehow there was a moment around 14 or 15 weeks when I "popped" and suddenly it wasn't all bloat and morning sickness. Yes, it's still a lot of that, but there's this tiny lump that appears each night, and these fluttering kicks that roll along with it. Our first child. It hits you.

I found myself...nervous. Partly worried about doing something to hurt this tiny life, partly wanting to protect it from all the dangers of the outside world. Sitting at home I worried if I was being an irresponsible mom. I read stories, I worried, I questioned myself. I saw forum after forum of people being attacked for riding after finding out they were pregnant. Heck, quadding, ice skating and snowmobiling were also on the "stupid" list. And I had done all of them knowingly.

I think one huge thing for me is my OB/GYN. "You're a healthy woman with no pregnancy concerns at this point," she said to me, "Stopping being active is the last thing you should do. If you've been doing these things for years, you're doing them safely, then don't stop. They'll help."

Now part of me didn't understand how they'd help, except I can already tell you that my core muscles are stronger then ever because I'm still riding. And my body feels awesome because it's active. I've gained 9 lbs after 16 weeks and I feel great. It doesn't feel like pointless donut fluff, it feels like healthy baby growth with a side of baby fat. Stuff I'm excited about.

When I get on Moon, those nerves fade away. I sometimes still get frustrated when the group goes too fast, or the footing isn't perfect, or I'm worried about something spooking us out of the blue, but I know these are things that exist in everyday life. I've loved having the chance in the last couple of months to teach Moon to listen to ME, not the group. He can still be a bit of a goof about it, and he's definitely more athletic then he's ever been.

Somehow I just feel at home on him. Like he's a little extension of my body. I just melt away, and it's we.

So Saturday we went out with S2 and H, and we cantered down mile roads, crossed two bridges and trotted plenty. It was a hoot. Think we did 7 miles total. Ponies were sweaty when they got home, but it was a wonderful workout for us all. I can honestly say, I'm just as in love with Moon as I've ever been.

The snow has finally melted away (storm expected tonight, but I vote the snow doesn't stay around), and I can finally see my hydro poles for the horse run-in. I started marking them, and Garett and I are going to cut them to size this weekend and move them to the field. Then we'll put the backhoe back on the tractor and start digging!! I have about 6 weeks to get that shelter built. And cross fence. And build the fencing around it. And add gates. Gees it's gonna be busy!!

I'm so excited though. I almost can't put it into words.

When I was a kid, I fell in love with horses at a really young age. And then I remember in first grade going to the school library for the first time to pick out books, and finding this book on horseback riding. It was pictures, with everything labeled on the pictures. The parts of the tack and horse body parts and such. I LOVED it. I swear I took that book out a hundred times over the next 7 years. I loved it so much that I found it at a book sale years later and bought it.

I would ride the bus home and pretend I had a horse. I named him Victory Gallop. Vic for short. He was a buckskin. He'd run alongside the bus in my imagination and jump the driveways we passed. I'd get off the bus and put his imaginary halter on, and then lead him up the driveway to put him away in our mower shed. Sometimes after supper I'd go out to play, and I'd take him out again, and we'd jump fences, or I'd brush him.

I knew I'd never really have a horse in the mower shed, but every christmas I asked for a pony. I fell in love with the horse on the drive to the city who wore the baker sheet, and got one for my birthday a couple years back. When I got Moon, I knew I needed to get him home. In my own backyard, so that childhood dream was reality. To have him out back, wearing his baker sheet, and to walk out to him and groom him whenever I wanted.

I *love* the place where I board, but I can't describe to you what my imagination creates for what it's like to have your horse at home. It takes me about 40 minutes to drive to the barn and back. If I forget anything, I forgot it. I can't stop and grab a bite to eat over lunch. I can't squeeze in a quick gallop after work. I can't even really just go for a snuggle, because driving 40 minutes for 10 minutes of horse hugging just seems silly. It's just different. My mind tells me it's different. It floods with this overwhelming joy at the thought of it all. I've waited THIRTY ONE YEARS to get here. Okay, consciously, something like 25 years. But that's a LONG time to want something. I wanna put that Baker sheet on him and sit in the pasture as the sun goes down, knowing it's a five minute walk back to the house. I wanna wake up and stroll to the paddock with a cup of tea to watch him eat the dewy morning grass as the sun comes up. I wanna be gardening, look over at him laying in the sunshine, and sneak over to snuggle against his warm body. I don't want just pieces of his life anymore, I want his whole life.

We're building a little attached feed/tack room on the run-in shelter. I'm already picturing his stall plaque hanging over his saddle, the little row of his ribbons proudly displayed below a picture of him at his first summer showing. I'm seeing his slew of blankets hanging off the wall, each for me to choose from. Maybe he's just gonna wear a sheet because every day I can put it on and off?? Maybe I'll put his tail up in a bag? Hang all his bridles off little hooks?

Needless to say, I'm super excited about this next chapter. With a baby on the way, it seems even more poignant. As the days get longer and I get more tired, to be just steps away from my pony face is utter bliss. I know that we'll probably be down to just walking rides by the end, but I can't think of a better way to spend my summer then with my boy in my backyard.

6 more weeks <3