July 31, 2011

Photo Friday

I had a good friend from Oregon visit me for a long weekend this week. She is a horse person as well, so she came along with me to the barn to visit Rose and I was able to beg a few action photos from her. So without further ado, I have some updated photos and a jumping shot at long last. Enjoy!

Jumping 2' vertical

At the trot

Rose & I
After looking at all the photos I'm amazed at how black Rose has remained due to night turnout. Usually she's faded to a dark bay color with black points by now. Love it!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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July 29, 2011

Barn hunt - big fail

Well, I checked out those two other barns. They are okay, and the staff seem competent and nice, but neither of them quite suit our needs. They both seemed to be more of a part-care situation, and we need a full care one. Quite frankly it doesn't matter to me if you are willing to feed my horse hay twice a day if you aren't willing to feed her her grain or put on a blanket. At that rate I still have to go to the barn every day, so I'd be better off renting a field and doing self-care. So, we will stay put where we are for now. At some point in the future we hope to buy our own property and build our own place, but that is a long way down the road. Like I said, I really love my current barn, but given the cost I figured it doesn't hurt to see what else is out there. I guess now that I've seen a bit of it, I'm more in love with my barn.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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July 28, 2011

On the Barn Hunt

I love our barn. It is beautiful, the grounds are huge and amazing, there really is no need to haul anywhere for what we do, and the staff takes immaculate care of the horses. However, this all comes with a very tidy price tag. Come October/November, Rose will be getting the winter off to unwind and grow some more. I hope she likes it because this will be her last winter off, or at least that's the plan. Given our near future lack of riding, it occurred to me that perhaps we should look around and see if we can get our needs met with a slightly more stomach-able price tag. So, that is what is on my schedule today. To check out a couple other local barns. There aren't many in the area with indoor arenas, so it's pretty slim pickings. However, since we won't be riding for the winter I figure we can do ground work in an outdoor arena covered in snow. So I'm checking out my options in that area as well. We shall see. Stay tuned for an update...

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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July 20, 2011

Free Jumping

Today was the big day! We started practicing free jumping for the upcoming ISR/Oldenburg NA Sporthorse Performance test, to be held in September in Lolo, MT. Rose hasn't been down a shoot before, so practicing seemed like a really good idea. We do want to do well at inspection after all. Given that I've jumped her under saddle a handful of times now, I felt confident in the fact that she would know to go over the jumps. My only insecurity was in the fact that I had no helpers. None. Nada. Zilch. Apparently people around here don't see any value in free jumping their horses. Oh well.

It took me about 45 minutes to set up the shoot on my own, and about a half hour to tear it down. Not too bad... Now, how was I going to get her down the shoot? Images of horses past that I've sent down shoots came to mind. Several people in the arena with whips in hand. It was never super easy, but always fun. Well heck, I thought, we can do this. I led her down the shoot, longe whip in my left hand, Rose in my right. She saw the jumps and....went for it! Heck yes! This was gonna be easy and fun. Everytime she went straight for the shoot and seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself, and the treats she got after she finished the shoot. Slowly I put the jumps up and in the end she was jumping a ground pole, ex, 2' vertical and 3'-6" oxer! I am so proud of my girl, and excited to start jumping her bigger next summer. There are certainly fun times ahead for this duo! Below is the video and some still shots. Enjoy!

The final jump set up
Rose posing with her 3'-6" oxer
Rose looks more and more like Gatsby all the time
A still of the final jump
Next time I promise to remember to zoom in on my video camera, and to enlist AR in taking some photos. 

Happy trails and swooshing tails!
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July 19, 2011

She's still alive

I had a very nice relaxing holiday up at the lake house, but I was very happy to get home and to get back to life as usual. To my utter delight and shock, Rose managed to stay impeccably clean and un-injured the past 12 days. Yea!

Although she was half asleep and very quiet when I arrived this morning, I decided to longe Rose anyway. The day I left she had been a tiny bit off on her right front (I'm guessing a stone bruise or such). I wanted to make sure that the lameness had gone away prior to riding her. In addition, I'm still in the habit of longeing her before riding if she's had a long period of time off. However, there was no lameness and she was as well behaved as I've ever seen her on the longeline. I guess my girl really is growing up.

Since it was already hot at 10am, I didn't want to do to much with her, so we just longed for 10 minutes and then went on a nice long stretching walk around the track, a short W/T/C hack in the outdoor arena, followed up by another walk and an hour and a half in the grazing pasture. It was a pretty nice way to start the week!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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July 11, 2011

Taking a Break

It's mid-summer and both Rose and I are getting a vacation. She's getting to laze about her summer days in her flysheet, with eating and pooping her only responsibilities. I am getting to relax and hang out here:

I'll be back in 10-days. Happy Monday everyone.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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July 7, 2011

I am my own blanket lady...

I have found that being unemployed self employed has rekindled my frugal side from my youth. It is so easy to drop a pile of blankets and sheets off at a tack store to be picked up and washed, dried, and mended. However, now that I am sans cushy paycheck, I have had to start getting creative again and doing things the hard way...myself. Surprisingly though, it's not so hard really, just time consuming. But luckily right now I have a lot of free time!

I learned to sew when I was younger, and if I could manage to get my hands on fabric I made all sorts of things, including curtains and quilts. Apparently, those somewhat rusty skills are now serving me well. Yesterday morning, I pulled out my recently gifted Grandmother In-Law's 1971 Viking 6460 sewing machine and Rose's fly sheet. Rose had previously worn her fly sheet last summer for one day before ripping one of the belly straps off. Actually, she didn't even wear it a whole day as she stepped on the strap, ripping it off, whilst I was putting the sheet on her. At that time I was too busy with work, the wedding, and everything else to find the time to fix it. It just didn't seem worth it to send it off to the blanket lady to fix, and I figured "I'd get around to it soon". So here we are more than a year later, and poor Rose has been showing up with giant mosquito welts and deer fly bites every morning after turnout. Fly spray just doesn't work for 16 hours straight. I decided enough was enough and I needed to fix that blanket! Here are my results...

The Repaired Belly Strap
 How to repair a belly strap on a horse blanket or fly sheet:
  1. I cut off all of the remaining thread on the blanket and the strap. In my case the strap was not broken, so I merely needed to re attach it. If your strap is broken, you will need to replace it with new material.
  2. I placed the strap in it's previous location, but shifted up an inch to have a solid area to sew onto, and pined it in place. The fly sheet material had been damaged when it was ripped out (but not enough to require a patch), which is why it needed to be shifted.
  3. I loaded my machine with heavy duty thread in both the spindle holder and the bobbin. I already had white thread from a previous project and I was being thrifty so I decided to use what I had. Otherwise, I would have spent the $3.29 on a new spindle of thread as close in color to the strap as possible. But hey, the white coordinates, right?
  4. I set my machine to zig-zag and reduced the tension on the pressure foot (due to thick fabric...I also have to do this to patch jeans. As such if you have a machine that doesn't offer this feature you may not be able mend your own blankets. The best machine you could use to do this would be an industrial sewing machine. I chose to use zig-zag because it was previously straight stitched, and well, we already know how well that held!
  5. I placed the sheet in the machine, making sure not to sew other parts of the sheet to my section accidentally (it is very easy to do this if you aren't careful).
  6. I sewed up all four sides and did a pass straight down the middle. 
  7. Then, I appreciated my not necessarily beautiful but totally functional work and placed it on Rose. All done!

Rose modeling the goods

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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