Sunday, December 29, 2013

December trail ride

I'm day 77 (ok, it's more like 10) into barn managing while my friend is on stall rest.  I have a new found appreciation for people who manage large barns full of boarders and I really understand why some of those barn managers are grumpy people who drink heavily.  Time is precious and should only be spent on people who appreciate that.

As a boarder think about what you HAVE to do and what you CAN do in an extreme situation and how much it pays off in the long run.

 I've introduced most of the volunteers to feeding/stall cleaning/and turning in and out and my friend is looking at getting more volunteer help and hiring someone to do some work as well.  Everything at the barn is labeled and I have a communication board to relay notes to people in the evening in case I have a day off.  I would say that things are going smoothly but I don't want to jinx myself.  Editing to add that I freaking jinxed myself.  Communication error and the horses were turned out on a day I had off.  Luckily my very fancy and well thought out name tags remained on despite the mud *HA!* and someone who had been out to the barn twice was able to navigate 17 horses into the right stalls.

It's a long road to recovery but we'll get there before we know it. 

I managed to catch a "pleasurable" trail ride with a friend at Whitewater State Park  yesterday.  Mental note, pleasurable for some people is a leisurely 4 miles with a beer in one hand.  For others, it's 8 miles at a brisk trot.  Observe the horses selected,  if your trail companion is on an arabian you will probably not have time for beer.



But seriously it was a ton of fun and I have not trail ridden like that in years.  It was nice to be on a dead broke trail horse.  If we'd gone slow enough to keep my beer from fizzling she would have been a perfect mount and I got a kick out of the seasoned endurance horse who spooked at the wet rock.  Horses.  Sheesh.  It was a lovely day in December for a trail ride and at least a dozen other people had the exact same plans.   



Back at the barn I got a short ride in on Annie, the first time I swung a leg over her since my friend's accident.  It felt almost sinful, I'm sure there was an empty water bucket that needed filling.  I also introduced Max to a very nice dressage rider without a horse and I hope it works out as it's a great match and a good opportunity to keep Max worked.  I'm looking forward to the barn returning to my peaceful sanctuary and eventually getting back to regular riding. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Contingency Plans

I'm going to blog about what happens for that big ol "in case of."  A very good friend of mine took an innocent looking tumble off her horse and hit like a brick.  Everyone's gonna hit the ground at some point when we ride animals who think plastic bags are out to get them but I think she's good for the next 20 years.  One 911 call later and she's in the hospital with a long recovery.  I'm sure the doctor thinks that old ladies don't recover very fast but they've probably never met an old lady who rides two horses a day and cares for 19 of them so I predict a speedy recovery and back to riding sooner than anticipated.  I'm also sure that the first doctor who calls her old or tells her to find a different hobby is going to get twitched and backed out of her room.

As horse people we're lying on the ground with the paramedics inserting an IV so they can move us without too much screaming while we're explaining exactly how to undo a pair of spurs or that YES these boots have zippers and NO you are not going to cut them off.  YES the last 12 times we were in the hospital was because we were flung off/kicked/bitten/trampled or something else involving a horse.  NO it wasn't all the horse's fault (not entirely at least).  Yes I did just ask when I can get back on a horse as the ambulance doors are closing.

What happens when you get injured and you have an entire farm of responsibilities and hungry mouths?   If you're a horse person one person makes a call and before you know it dozens of people (many of whom are friends of a friend of a friend of a cousin) are putting themselves on the list for care of your horses.  People you've never met before are driving out to do hard labor.   Us horse people know how to stick together and we know how hard it is to care for our horses when we're injured and none of us could imagine our horse's suffering just because we're in the hospital with a broken femur.  Nobody got time for that. 

We're just in the beginning stages here but I thought I'd make up a list of recent observations.

  • Barn set up is key when having a bunch of strangers coming in, we may be horse people, but everyone does something different.  The trick stall door, or that dang mare who knows how to open gates is going to trip someone up.

  • How complicated and mysterious is your feed program?  Do you have 30 horses on entirely different types of grain and is their amount a mystery to everyone but you?  Having a feed chart labeled and most of your horses on the same grain can be helpful.

  • What's your turnout situation like?  Do you have a different pasture for every horse and are they all bay mares?  How can you make it easier on people who don't know that Indy has a snip and Porky has a stripe?

  • As a boarder are you willing to pitch in and water some horses or clean a couple stalls?

  • As a boarder does your horse really need to get his 23 different smartpaks if somebody's cousin from ponyclub is feeding?

  • Horse people can deal with 2 loose horses, a colicing horse, a cast horse, a river running down the barn aisle, a gate off the hinges all while being soaking wet AND covered in hay and come back the next morning at 7am because you need the help even though you never asked for it.  Because horse people are good people.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Stocking Stuffers

As I've gotten ZERO productive things done with WINTER ANNIE I'm going to make another list of last minute Christmas gifts for your horse loving friends.

We'll start with Higher Standards Leather Care  which has a 56 page thread on COTH full of fans.  A nice stocking stuffer and everybody needs to clean their tack on occasion.  You might as well support a few equestrian and use a product that smells good while doing it.



For stocking number two, everybody that shows needs a hairnet.  We've all ended up with headaches and little dents in our foreheads from the knots on our hairnets.  I discovered this product a few years ago and I'll never go back, not only that it's so durable mine has been around for several show seasons so it's well worth the price.  Get one of these No Knot Hairnets for everyone on your list.



 
 
Shop around as the price varies on these, if you go to their website, http://www.eriquestrian.com/
the hairnets are actually a little more expensive but they have a really cool option of a case for holding your hairnet that contains a mirror and comb!  What a neat idea!




Here's another great stocking stuffer.  I have several rope halters, I like using them for all sorts of horsemanship reasons (even riding in them) but I HATE messing with making the knot to secure them.  Did I do it right?  Is it going to come undone?  This clever horse person has added a snap to her halters, making them simple and easy to put on.  She has lots of custom options for all your needs.  I like the wrapped (but not spiral wrapped) halter in purple with side pull rings!







Here's another great and useful gift idea, I have one of these Personalized lead ropes in green with Stanley's name on it.  I've had it for years and the color on the lead rope and the embroidery has remained vibrant and unfrayed despite daily use.  Great for boarding barns or going to shows, nobody will walk off with your leadrope again!  Just $14.99 for an 8 foot lead rope (longer styles available) in your color choice with embroidery of your choice on the end.  Nice solid snap as well!



Friday, December 6, 2013

What's on your Christmas List

With Annie slowly turning feral as work, weather, and prior commitments take up my time and desire to ride I've decided to follow in Cob Jockey's footsteps and do a 5 gifts for Xmas list post.

First up is an eventing watch from here (cheaper than buying from the US and in colors!).  A friend bought me a watch last year but it stopped working on me and I'd like to replace it.  I did get to use it twice before it kicked the bucket and I'm obviously going to have to coordinate leaving the start box and pushing the start button at the same time!  Harder then it looks!   I'm also getting to the point in my riding that I might actually have use for one!

Optimum Time Watch



A bracelet from here

EnteratA


This one doesn't really count as I've already ordered it, but it'll be my gift to me and will contain some of Stanley's tail hairs for a personal memory.

A custom saddlepad in my colors from here

Barb's Custom Saddle Pads



I've seen several in person at local events and they are wonderful.

Although it's not horsey I'm going to include an archery quiver so I have something to carry my arrows around in and eventually practice horseback archery with, as soon as I can hit something from the ground that is!

Back Quiver

Back Quiver 2



This dressage coat, with purple highlights!!!

Dressage coat



I'm going to break the rules a little bit and include a wish 6.  I've wanted one of these semi shaped Euro saddle pads ever since I saw them galloping around at Rolex (on a horse of course).  I think they look cool and they'll work great with my pint sized steed.

Euro Pad



What's on your Christmas list?