Saturday, April 28, 2012

A new home!

Sorry for the complete lack of updates!  Chev made it to her new barn and is doing fine.

Jumped right in the trailer to leave the old place, traveled well and unloaded like a pro.  I had forgotten how nice it is to have a horse that loads & travels!  And this makes me think the awesome shipper who brought her out from Oregon for me wasn't just being nice when he said she was just fine.

I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story.

 4 acre pasture

 Oooooh, horses!

Wait..what the heck??! (She has buffalo for neighbors)

Barn's on the left

Cruising around the corners

 As close as she'd get to the buffs

Checking out the neighbors

Her night stall, a run-in by day

Tack/feed room!

We've been doing the standard slow intro to grass pasture, and she has been doing great.  Honestly I don't think she's eaten much grass, but spends a lot of time running back and forth and really seems to enjoy all the room to stretch her legs.  

Her hooves have been cool, and I think tomorrow she'll be able to be out most of the morning and mid-day--but we're keeping a close eye on things.

She has another neighbor--a tiny, softball sized bunny.  Isn't he cute?

All tucked in for the night!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Crooked legs

I actually made it out to see Chev yesterday, and arrived right before my farrier.  He's been working with a 4-year-old filly through the barn owner for some people he's never met, and was there to ride her.

I think it's strange that people will have their horse in training and never come out to see it.  This is a "free" horse--and believe me, no untrained horse is free--that the barn owner is apparently charging the owners $700 a month for training and board.  Farrier told me he's getting $400 to train the horse (a reasonable fee), and in 30 days already has her w/t/c and stopping like a champ.  He's doing a pretty good job with the little filly.  They have signed up for another month of training (which in any other case would be wise).  What I don't get is, full care board is $260.  So what's the other $40 for?  Hmmm.


I can't imagine these poor people know much about horses, because their "free horse" unfortunately looks like this up front:

Oh dear.

The first time the farrier had this horse out for training, tied to a post, I literally did a double take and said, "Tell me her front end doesn't really look like that!"  I thought she must have just been standing funny, but no, she is so pigeon-toed her feet almost point at each other when she's squared up.  This conformity is so bad she already has massive amounts of sidebone forming, her fetlocks are trashed--and she's only 4 years old.

So here's what I don't get.

Besides the obvious fact that this poor sweet animal should never have been created in the first place, since this kind of conformation fault is most certainly hereditary...

Why, oh why, when this filly came in, did no one tell the unsuspecting and largely clueless owners that they had an animal unlikely to stay sound in ANY kind of work for more than a couple of years?

Why did no one mention to them that their $1400 in training could have bought them a nice, well broke, registered horse that can already do everything they hope for?

Oh yes--I know...

Because that way no one makes any money.

I want to make this clear though.  I don't fault the farrier one bit.

He has been contracted out by the barn owner to do the training.  He has neither met, nor spoken with the owners directly, nor have they come to see any of the training sessions, nor does he have any way to contact them--except through the barn owner.

What a mess.

And the poor filly is sweet as can be--of course.  If her legs had been straighter she most certainly would have been worth every dollar of training put into her.

But in my opinion, it is cruel and hastens the breakdown of a horse with this kind of deformity to ride it at all.

In my opinion, she should be made as comfortable as possible with corrective trimming and a nice pasture for as long as she can live without pain.

But as a riding horse, I don't see much of a future here.  It's true she doesn't stumble--yet--but it's only a matter of (short) time before she breaks down completely.

What a shame.

In other news, I rode the beast after more than a week off, and she was good.  Unfortunately when I got her back to the tie rack afterwards her pulling back issue resurfaced.  I decided to just leave her tied for 30 minutes, during which time she had several more episodes.  She'd get to the end of the rope, suck back and pull pull pull, almost sitting down like a dog with her hind legs braced under her, realize she wasn't getting anywhere, and come forward again.  It was actually fairly calm, if you can ever describe a 1,300 pound animal pulling with all its weight on a metal post as "calm".  This time, everything held fast, and after 6 or 7 times, she was done with that, even licked and chewed after she gave into the pressure.  I would feel worse for her (since surely it must hurt to do that)--except all she has to do to avoid the pain is not pull back.  I still think (thanks to the Hancock in her) that it will take another few sessions of this to cure her completely.  But it's a start.

Chevy has more than a few conformation faults of her own, but at least all 4 feet point in the same direction--forward!

 Does this picture make my head look big?

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm so busy, I don't know if I found a rope or lost my horse

All the materials I ordered for the fence have arrived!


Unfortunately the SO is in Nebraska for the week, so I probably won't get everything up and running until this coming weekend.

I also gave notice at my current barn, which despite my trepidations, went well.  They had already brought in 5 more boarders, so I don't think they'll be too sad to see me go.

But I'm sure Chevy will miss Speedy, and I'll miss him too.

Carrot please?  Carrot please?

Here's a picture of Chev from about a week ago, also hot on the carrot trail.

I know you always save the last one for me.  Fork it ovow.

I love that it is finally warm enough to rinse literally a whole winter's worth of sweat off of her.  Eww.  It was so bad that all the skin-drying salt coming off her coat cracked my hands all up when I rinsed her.  I bet she feels much better.

With the SO out of town, it's the perfect opportunity for me to make all the foods that he hates.

I know I haven't made this a foodie blog, because this is about horses (mostly) but man, do I love food.

Right now I'm having this:

Unfortunately I was a little short on feta.

My mom's Greek salad recipe--something the SO does not, sadly, appreciate.

I also have this in the oven:

Pavlova ingredients


The epic Pavlova, perfect for the low humidity Wyoming environment!  This uniquely Kiwi dessert is pretty incredible, with its combination of crunchy-on-the-outside, marshmallow-on-the-inside sweet pavlova, fresh whipped cream, and strawberries, which have started popping up in the grocery store in abundance, even in tiny Douglas.

I made it for the first time last week from an authentic New Zealand recipe, and my only comment is, Why the heck didn't I try this sooner?

Well, it may have had something to do with growing up in the perpetually damp Pacific Northwest.

[When I told him I couldn't make this dessert in high humidity, the SO said, "What, it's such a snobby dessert that it can't stand being a little damp?"  I tried to explain that meringue-like desserts don't like moisture, but I think he had gone back to his computer game by then]


Speaking of damp, we've actually had some rain in Wyoming lately.  We literally hadn't had any precipitation (save a few super dry snowstorms) since last October.  I'm amazed the grass was coming up at all.  But we've actually had a fair amount of rain (comparatively speaking, PNW friends) in the last few days, so I'm hopeful it will grow.

That also means I haven't been riding--since this whole place turns to super slick mud when it rains--I may not get much in before the move.

It's going to be so nice having Chevy close by!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Three Checks

2640 feet of 1/2" polytape:  Check.
Parmak solar fence charger with 1.5 joule output:  Check.
100 SunGuard step-in fiberglass posts:  Check.

And now we play the waiting game...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Selling everything but the kitchen sink

...Sort of!

I do have a few things for sale though.

How about a lovely RJ Classics Diamond collection 100% Italian worsted wool hunter/jumper show coat in 6R that retailed at $399.95 for $100?  I loved this coat, but I need the money more.  Only got to wear it 2 times.  You know you want to be ready for those summer shows...

For the love of all that is holy, someone buy it!

Or, a pair of pretty much completely perfect Tailored Sportsman 2-way stretch size 32 breeches in that crazy greenish beige color?  They don't fit me.  Only $40!


Yep, I'm selling the farm, or whatever the equivalent saying is for selling things so you can build a farm.  I need fence money, so a few things have got to go.  I'm just gonna go ahead and put the "horse insanity" tag on this one...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Another video

I've been a busily planning little bee lately.

I figured out that I need about 150 t-post caps to cap off all the t-posts on the property (cost TBD, awesome friend Marian thinks she can get them wholesale for me), roughly 130 Sun Guard step-in fiberglass posts that are supposed to be good for temporary fencing (, and about 3,900 total linear feet of electric polytape for the inside fence.  I think I've settled on this charger--needs to be solar powered because of the location of the pasture, and this one came with high marks:

I also found someone local who's selling a few hundred feet of good used v-mesh horse fencing for $100, which might be useful for protecting Chev from the barbed wire at the front part of the pasture where the electric fence needs to run closer to the barbed wire fence--just in case she were to get too close or decide to start pawing at something.

I also finally got out to RIDE said horse today--it always seems ironic to me that I can spend so much time planning horse things, looking at horse things and working on horse projects and never get to actually see the darn horse--but that's part of the point of moving her closer to me.  I am so ready to ditch this 2 hour commute.

I did get a short riding video today too.  I had to do some editing because of course I spent half the time off camera.  It's really hard to set all of that stuff up from the back of a horse--I have to move her out of the way, focus the camera, then move back in to start filming...I see why you need another person for this.

I have no idea what the loud BANG is in the beginning of the video.  I assumed when I turned around I'd see my camera laying sideways on the big metal barrel I put it up on--but everything was fine, so I dunno...Spirit barrel.

I did, however, get the straightest, most lifted canter depart ever on Chev yet today.  We have been really working on installing specific "buttons"--a touch here controls the shoulder, here the hip, here for sidepass, here for canter--she is catching on.  Unfortunately I have to be pretty exaggerated with my cuing at this point while she figures everything out, but still, it was exciting!  I usually have to really help her with the bend for her canter departs, this time I just barely touched her with my outside spur in the right spot, gave a little kiss and away she went!  She is also learning how hip control relates to the canter, since she is naturally built to kind of drag on into it.

I only got one depart on camera, bummer.

Without further ado...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Exciting news! & a hangup

So, exciting developments on the moving front!

Moving the horse, that is.

As is apparent from my earlier posts, I'm not totally thrilled with my boarding situation right now.  It's almost 40 miles away, takes 50 minutes to drive to, is expensive at $260/month (when hay out here is dirt cheap), and I don't feel welcome there.  The property owners are sometimes rude and unprofessional, and I've had to fix dangerous conditions in my horse's pen myself (or they don't get fixed!).  I also get in trouble for scrubbing out my horse's water bucket.


I finally found some property for rent in Douglas!  IN DOUGLAS!  Whoo hoo!  Only 10 minutes away!

It's a four acre property with a small, nice one stall barn and attached 7' x 15' cement floor hay storage/tack area.  The gentleman who owns the property is very sweet and knowledgeable, lives right there, wants to help with horse care--and there's even the potential of renting an arena to ride in that's just down the road.  There are also miles of back roads to ride on.  And it's only $100 a month.

The hangup?

It's all barbed-wire fenced.

Just like EVERYTHING is out here.

Even the boarding facility Chev is out at now has barbed wire, but I don't allow her to be turned out in those areas.

I am just not comfortable with barbed wire, even in a four-acre pasture.  Barbed wire is NOT horse fencing, and even though people seldom have a problem out here, I just know my horse, who is very accident prone, and who has never seen barbed wire, would get seriously injured on it, and I'm just not willing to take that risk.

So I have spent all morning and into the afternoon researching how expensive it will be to do an inside-perimeter fence of hot tape at the Douglas place.  There isn't power in the barn or pasture, so I was able to find an excellent, high-output solar powered fence charger that would work well for 4 acres for less than $200 (on major sale!).  I almost save that much the first month by moving her out to Douglas.

I also found good 15-strand steel, 1.5" white hot tape that's a good deal--$160 shipped for 2,640 linear feet because the spools have some breaks in them instead of being one, continuous strand.  Or, I could get 2,640 lf (4 spools) of unbroken, 1/2" Rutland polytape for $77 shipped (so far!  Ebay bids could go up I guess).

The thing I'm really worried about is the t-posts and t-post caps, which are both quite expensive for an area this large.  Plus I need to cap all the existing t-posts too--a lot of money!  I really don't want to hook the hot tape up to the barbed wire posts unless I have to.  I was hoping for a good 5 feet of skidding distance between the interior, hot-tape fence and the exterior barbed wire. (A friend of mine just told me she could get me t-post caps wholesale, whoopieee!)

I would love your thoughts on how to re-do fencing, costs, anything you want to add!

UPDATE:  I was able to get 4 rolls (2,640 feet) of Rutland 1/2" polytape on ebay for $78 shipped!  I think this will work well for the lower 2 strands of hot tape.