Monday, April 24, 2017

Barn Enhancements - What Would You Do?

To carry on with my previous post, I wanted to update y'all on our housing situation!  If you aren't familiar, buying a house is long, drawn out, stressful and nerve wracking.  We're further along than my last post, but there are still a few things that can go 'wrong' and affect the sale.  That being said, we have signed the Sale Agreement which the lawyer drew up, paid the deposit and everything is in the Bank's hands now.  Currently, we are waiting for the Bank to arrange the Appraisal. Upon that, we will have the Insurance Company out to do their thang and we're off to the races.  Our Possession Date is June 5 assuming all our conditions, which were previously mentioned, are met by May 4th.

In closing my last post, I mentioned that I will be looking for suggestions if the sale goes through. Perhaps this is premature, but I am starting to allow myself to get a little excited so I thought, what the hell!
I Hate the Silver Tin, but it will be staying, because the only thing I hate more is the fact that if I changed it, it would no longer match the Shop which is also Silver.

The original barn was built in 1989, and is roughly 24 x 32.  Currently, it has a vacant area with old cattle feeders, and a standing stall for milking cows, as well as a small tack room.  In the mid 2000's, he expanded to build an additional 32 x 32 pole barn.  There is a random chicken coop thing hanging from the roof by the door which will most certainly be getting knocked down!  The floor is dirt, and partially rail road ties packed with sand.  There are 4 sliding doors in a "T" Shape to accommodate driving a quad/small tractor through in a straight line for cleaning and 2 standing/tie stalls.  In the past, he just used portable panels as needed for stalls.

View from one of the side entrances. Directly behind me is the tack room; hanging in the Left by the door is the weird Chicken Coop thing lol.  Directly in front is one of the Tie Stalls.  There is another directly across from it

Basically, my intent is as follows:
  • Insulate the walls and enclose them fully, keeping in mind a future heat source
  • Replace any ratty looking Plywood/etc with .... something nicer?
  • Knock out basically everything inside other than the support beams/posts necessary
  • Develop the vacant & milking area in the original area to be suited to storage/tack and groom bay area
  • Construct 4 Box Stalls in the 'new' area of the barn
  • Landscape and install better drainage around the barn, especially the front door
  • Finish the rain gutters and fix any flaws in the siding/roof caps/etc
This shows the partition between the Original Barn (right) and the New Addition (Left), and one of the sliding doors.  Directly behind me is another sliding Door..

Now here is where you come in....

What would you guys do for flooring in both the Isle and/or Stalls?   At first thought, concrete may seem ideal, but I personally don't want it in the barn for sake of it being kind of inconvenient to install in an existing building, the cracking over time, etc.

I would really like to use the rubberized bricks for the Alleyway but i'm not sure how it would work on a dirt/sand base (pre-leveled of course) - do any of my wonderful blog followers have experience with them?

Additionally, the ground slopes away from the barn and as such, the front door is about at 'ground level', while the back door steps down about a foot.  For a variety of obvious reasons, I would love to eliminate that drop in/out of the back door.  Does anyone have experience with building a gravel ramp of sorts? Did you find the gravel stayed 'in place'? I intend to kind of frame in the sides to keep it from just spreading wider over time, but what does the maintenance look like in terms of tracking gravel elsewhere, etc?  Keep in mind it will likely have quite a lot of foot and ATV traffic.

I have pretty limited Photos for the time being, but these give you an idea of the current layout.

If you were in my shoes, anything else you'd do? If you've had experience with these types of Barn Reno's, please feel free to provide any input and considerations!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sometimes Good Things Come In 3's?

Why hello, Blogosphere! It's been a while, and I feel like the past few posts have always started with some sort of 'i have nothing to post about so..', but on the contrary I think my life has had some pretty giant advances since my last post... Perhaps it's too premature to refer to these changes as 'advances', but time will tell.. 

When you feel like your horse has lost some weight...

 So anyway, 2 major, but non-exciting things have happened in my life since my last post on March 9, and one is currently in the works.

#1 Non-Exciting Update,

My "alberta bestie' is trying her hand at training horses, and wanted to get her butt on more horses.  She finds Kidd very informative to ride, and never passes up an opportunity to ride him and about a month ago she took him to her place to leg up for me in exchange for weekly lessons.  This came about for 2 reasons; 1 I already mentioned, and 2 because of my 2nd Non-Exciting Update.

Second Winter has arrived.... but is quickly melting

So while Kidd is only getting ridden about once a week, he's really showing me how much he needed those 6 months off. He has come back in a totally different mindset. He's truly happy to go to work, and he has been a total rock star.  His second ride he got thrown into an obstacle clinic unintentionally, and he did everything bareback in a halter without even batting an eye.  He's also been used as a lesson horse for one of my clients, and he's done all this in less than 10 rides after 6 months off and best of all - he has been trustworthy and reliable thorough it all!

Jumping Barrels in a Halter in the Obstacle Clinic

#2 Non-Exciting Update,

I got a new job.  This is a large part of why Kidd went to his aunties for a while, at least until my arena at home is dry enough to ride in.  On March 13 I started at the local college in a new, full time but temporary position.  It's been keeping me incredibly busy and i'm continually being reassured that it will become permanent, but time will tell.  My contract runs until June 30, and i'm really enjoying it so I hope it becomes permanent!  Once my arena is dry and ridable, Kidd will come home and I will be riding more accurately.  

One of the muckier areas of Kai's paddock that was nearly rideable less than a week ago..
Ironically, about 3/4 of my riding surface was dry and safe until Thursday morning when we had a massive storm roll in which left us with about 6" of soaking wet and heavy snow.. That being said, I can't complain too badly as some of my friends within a 45 minute drive of me have over 2 feet!

#3 Exciting, but not 100% Confirmed Update,

We have an offer in on a farm.  We should know in the next day or two if it's been accepted, but it's been quite a process.  We've done 2 walk-thrus and then sat down with the owner yesterday regarding his timeline, expectations, and a few items he had for sale that interested us if he was interested in including them.  We're currently hung up on a few things, as the few items that interest us we want included in the mortgage and he would prefer to sell them separate so he has the cash in his pocket right away.  This doesn't work for us financially, so either we include it on the mortgage or lower our offer $5,000 and not have it included. While the specific items would be nice, it's not a huge deal if they aren't. For the most part, it's a done deal regardless but i'm trying not to get too excited about it until the first box is getting unpacked.

Now for the exciting stuff - the details!

It's situated on 160 acres which is roughly 80 Acres open in Pasture/Hay, and the remainder in bush that has trails all throughout.  There is a fairly large yard site with a big double-entrance (shallow u-shape) drive way that curves around a 100 x 200 ft sand outdoor riding arena, and a 50ft sand round pen.  It also has a large shop with lean-to's off 2 sides, and a barn large enough to accommodate 4-5 stalls and a tack room.  There's also a large garden area, fire pit area and play ground area that has become dilapidated and overgrown.  The land itself is fully fenced, and cross fenced multiple times.  There are 2 main pasture areas, one which is seeded in Timothy, Brome and Alfalfa.  The other was previously used for cattle and as such as lot of random (but kind of cool) things planted in it like Timothy, Brome, Alfalfa, Oats, Turnips and Radishes.  There's also an automatic waterer, and it has crown land on one side, a gravel road that hooks up to the highway on the opposite side, and my hubby's families pasture land on the other 2 sides.  It's on a private road about 1.5 miles off the highway.  You may notice I haven't said much about the house itself, and that's for a variety of reasons - 1 being that i'm happy with a roof, a fridge, power and a heat source and 2 - There's not much to report... it's tiny, literally. 1 (large bedroom), 1 lovely little bathroom, a half wrap-around deck, tin roof, wood stove, small kitchen and even smaller living room.  While it's not ideal, truth be told we had always planned to build our own home and this is a great opportunity to do so.  So again, it's not set in stone yet but my fingers and toes are crossed!  If it all goes through, there will most certainly be a post about it, because there is going to be *a lot* of landscaping required and the barn is getting totally gutted inside and I'll be needing your guys' help and expertise with that!

Lesson Pony Extraordinaire!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

VC Blog Hop: Naivete

Coffee is life
Some how I missed L's original Blog Hop on this (link) but I caught it when M posted her version, and I totally love the idea of this.  L's question is essentially, "What Horse Related Thing did you once believe, and later find out it's incorrect?"

So before I jump into this, I feel the need to say WHY I love this question.  In the equestrian industry, we are so stuck on defending ourselves, and many of us often feel the need to be 'right'.  Besides, if someone else said it it must be true, right?  Wrong. On the contrary, I love this question because it allows us to identify with our stupidity naivete, and own our mistakes.  Just think, in another 10 years we could come back to this and probably find even more things that we once believed in, to be incorrect!


I once believed
That anyone who competed a higher level than me, or showed some sort of 'status' in ways of a nice trailer, expensive horse, etc, was immediately 'better' than me

I have since learned
No matter how much money is invested, you've still got to be able to ride that expensive horse, or keep your butt in that fancy saddle. On the flip side, jealousy is cruel and detrimental, and quite frankly, a total waste of time.

I once believed
That breeding was a fun and exciting venture

I have since learned
While I think it will be worth it in the long run, but as of right now it's nothing but stressful and expensive lol!

I once believed
If my horse's nose was ATV, I needed a stronger bit, or to see-saw harder, or both

I have since learned
The beauty and power felt when a horse engages itself correctly, lifts its back and reaches for the contact.
I once believed
That I knew what a successful half-halt was

I have since learned
I had no fcking idea up until the past few years what a truly successful half-halt felt like.  Ever since, it has been the forefront of my Coaching Program for my students who are capable of this.

I once believed
I was useless to the Equine Community; just another hum-drum rider following the masses, offering nothing of value to improving the community or my own self

I have since learned
I was so wrong to think so poorly of myself.  In recent years I feel as though I have really flourished as a Coach, Rider, Leader, Wife and Friend.


I'm sure I could go on forever with this, because lets face it, who can't? But I decided to cap it at 5 important learning curves I have come to realize over the years, and i'm sure there will be many more in the future!
This needs no explanation. My Dog is adorable.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Judgement Day

Well the day has finally come - Vet day for Miss Nik!

I had a feeling she was going to be a total snot based on how she behaved on Farrier Day (Sunday), so I decided to go out an hour before I planned to load her to give her 30CC of Omega Alpha Chill.  I decided to give her another mouth full as we put her on the trailer for good measure. Much to my surprise she was lovely to catch, and walked right onto the trailer.  We headed into town and had a few stops to make before our appointment. I repeatedly told my Hubby how much I hated this because last time she basically trashed my trailer..... Ok i'm being dramatic, she just frayed by trailer tie, but I didn't want her in there any longer than she had to be.  To my surprise, she stood great and was quiet through both stops.

We made it to the Vet Clinic and Hubby offered to unload Nikki while I ran inside to meet the new vet and 'check in' so to speak.  One of my really close friends works there, so we chit chatted back and forth while the Vet got ready.  We were quickly faced with a major problem; earlier in the day someone backed into their overhead door, which is the only safe way to get a horse inside, and it would only raise about a foot off the ground and there was no way to manually lift it.  Seems ridiculous for a mixed practice clinic, right? Worry not, since being bought out by a new Partnership, they are already drawing up plans for renovations and additions.. I'm hopeful that this includes an alternate route inside for horses.  I headed outside and found Hubby walking Nik around. I was sad to see she was pretty sweated up and shaking a little, but she was doing her best to be a good girl.  I filled Hubby in on the situation with the door.  At this point, the Clinic's game plan was to wheel the ultrasound machine to the nearest door and they would just do her outside.  This made me nervous, because i'm sure the new vet values her Knee Caps, plus it's about -10 which doesn't go well with wet things, and if you think the Duck Bill at your doctors is bad, I got WEAK in the KNEES when I saw the horse version.. but more to the point, imagine that in -10 weather... No thanks.

At this point, I was thanking the Gods above that Nikki was a race horse, because I offered to take her through the Cattle Chute (what? lol).  Luckily, she walked quietly through the filthy cattle chute which is intended for calves, might I add, and is quite dark and narrow, with rickity old poop covered boards for footing.  Ray lead her through as I brought up the rear, because if she panicked half way through our only hope in hell was sending her forward.  As I watched the boards bend and shift under her weight, the once white sides grazed her belly. She got to the end of the dingy tunnel and was forced to make a hard left and shimmy her body around a square corner (this makes sense in my head).  YES, she was inside, now to make our way past a labyrinth of cattle chutes and squeezes and into the horse section of the clinic... Thank God for Race Horses.

I was the designated tail holder and ooh - ahh'er at the ultrasound
Finally, we make it inside and I got to meet the new Vet.  She's not permanently here, but the Partnership that bought out our local clinic sent her up to fill in for another Vet who is away on Holidays.  Luckily for me (and everyone else in this area), she is an Equine Specialist and just finished her Internship in Equine Surgery.  She was young, confident, and welcoming.  She's only been here a few days, so together we fumbled our way through using the Ultrasound Machine, which she called 'ancient' to give you an idea, and got down to business.  Not that I am surprised, albeit a little teensy bit sad, Nikki is not pregnant.  Nevertheless, we continued onward with the appointment and switched our focus to her 'date' later this spring with Cherokee Country.

I brought up the findings at our appointment last year, which to summarize, basically state that Nikki is 'overactive' on her left side, and 'under-active' on the right in terms of her Reproductive tract.  I'm told this isn't unusual, as long as that 'under-active' side is at least slightly active.  Some mares only ovulate on one side. Who knew?  Anyway, the over all health of Nikki's reproductive system looks and feels great.  She said conformationally, she isn't great.  At first I was a little taken aback because I thought she had pretty darn good conformation, especially for a Thoroughbred...  She must have seen the look on my face, because she quickly caught herself and told me she was referring to the angle of which her reproductive system sits.  It's a little more angled or 'tipped' than she would like to see, and this can often lead to pooling, which can cause infection.  That being said, she found no signs of this throughout the hour-long appointment, and as such is confident that it wont give her any grief given her age.

Upon checking her Ovaries, we found they showed no change in terms of their activeness, or lack there of, from last summer.  She had a large (40MM) Follicle on the left side, which posed some concern for the Vet because we had discussed that last year when scanned she had a 38MM Follicle, but I teased her for 11 days straight and she showed no signs of heat.  So we were left with the question, is this a Follicle, or does she have a Cyst that has grown 2MM since last summer?  Oy Vey..

We carried on with the exam and found there was some healthy fluid in the Uterus - Ok, got it.  Then, the Vet pulled out these HIDEOUS, CRINGE-WORTHY AND DISGUSTING LOOKING things that are basically a supersized, stainless steel version of a Gyno's 'Duck Bill', AKA a Vaginal Spectrum, and took a look at her Cervix (which was super cool BTW), and as the Vet said "For lack of a better term, it's floppy and soft". Ok, got that too. But seriously... this thing.. was like the size of my arm.. I will never complain about a Pap again...

Just in case you don't get the picture - it was literally the size of half my arm

Carrying on, in conclusion, based on the 'floppy cervix', the 40MM Follicle and the fluid in the uterus, all signs point to her nearing the end of a heat cycle.  With the thought of a cyst rolling around in the back of the Vet's mind, she again came back to another concern - how early it is for a mare to be cycling in our area.  While I don't disagree, many of our mares have shown heat symptoms for the past month, so while I realize light is a massive factor, the Vet and a Reproduction Specialist who I am friends with think the unseasonably warm weather and the fact that we have a stallion on site and she's turned out with a gelding could in fact have the mares cycling sooner than usual.  As a result, as an example if we were AI'ing, she wouldn't recommend breeding her on this cycle.

Don't believe the ridiculous look on his face, my hubby is very supportive lol

Regardless, she gave her 2 Thumbs Up and said she's in fantastic health and condition - she couldn't believe her age by just looking at her.  She really liked her (except for when she had to draw her markings on the Coggins paper - c'mon, do you blame her?) and said because it's a young stallion with good semen and it's a LFG, to take her down and breed her.  She said Cysts in the ovaries are very, very rare and there is essentially nothing to be done besides full retirement if that's the case.  Subsequently, I could take her back to the vet for a re-scan as if it is a follicle, it should be released in a few days, but the simplest way would be to tease her with our Stallion - however he's currently still in his 'winter pen' which isn't set up for teasing mares... so we will just wait.  Regardless, she seemed very comfortable with just breeding her in May, because there isn't much to lose otherwise.  As well, if it is a cyst, it won't affect her ability to carry a foal, it just makes it harder for mares with them to get in foal.

So for now we wait, track her cycles, and she will head down south at the end of April or early May, depending on how her cycles fall.

^ Cherokee Country v

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I Thought Breeding Was Supposed To Be Fun?

This Blog Post has been sitting in my Drafts for like, ever, because I don't want to convince myself of something and then end up being wrong.. So I began drafting this while things were heavily 'what ifs', which it still is, but we will have answers after our Vet appointment on March 3rd.

Unlike my typical posts, this one has nothing to do with Kai, the faults within my personality, or how boring my life is.  In fact, this one is about one of my other horses, who I rarely mention.

If you didn't already know, I have 3 horses.  Kai and Kidd are commonly blogged about, however you rarely hear about my beautiful, sweet and colourful 1999 Thoroughbred broodmare, 'With No Knickers', or affectionately referred to as Nikki or, most often, Nik.  I'll save you all the boring background information, but to sum it up she was born on my In Laws farm.  I sold her years ago on their behalf, and bought her back last spring but this time in my own name.  The woman I sold her to was moving her family to another province, and was taking on the city slicker life which left no time, money or space for Nik.  She originally bought her as a casual barrel prospect, but I honestly don't think she ever rode her more than a handful of times in the 3+ years she owned her, because she had far less experience than she led me to believe.  Regardless, Nik was well cared for while in her possession, and that's truly all I could have asked for.  That being said, I didn't hesitate to snatch her back up and bring her home as soon as I heard she was willing to sell her. I had no idea what I would do with her, but nevertheless I brought hooked up my trailer and went to get her.

Within a day or two of bringing her home to the Farm, she started to cycle.  Suddenly, I knew what I would do with her.  I discussed with my FIL about breeding her to their resident Stallion, a graded Stakes Winning Thoroughbred..  Nikki had a foal by this stallion before I sold her on behalf of my in laws, so this would be a repeat breeding.  Knowing the stallion had some issues the previous breeding season due to his age, we weren't sure we would even find success.  Never the less, we decided to give it a shot.  

I hand bred Nik on April 25, 27 & 29. Roughly 21 days later I teased her, and she seemed to be cycling again, so we hand bred her again but the Stallion had some issues (old), and we were never confident he bred her fully. In June, when she was due to cycle I teased her morning & night on what would have been day's 20, 21, 22 & 23 following her previous cycle, and she didn't accept the stallion. Sadly, I became really busy and couldn't continue teasing daily until she cycled, so I presumably missed her. On July 8th, roughly 31 days after when she would have been 'due' to cycle previously (however i 'missed' her), she showed some interest in the stallion, but certainly wasn't in 'raging heat' and it only seemed to last about 2 days, so I only got her covered once. That being said, she didn't she tease like she had on previous attempts.. it was more like 'oh hi friend, you're cute' and a slight tail lift, vs previously being quite the hussy.... She stood for the stallion, but again he struggled and we weren't confident in it being successful.

Given our climate and lifestyle (racing in the summer), it was becoming too late to continue trying to breed, and we were far too busy, so I booked a vet appointment for July 12th thinking if she caught, it would likely be from the April *or* May breeding and should be 'obvious' and just hoped for the best, though I was already pre-disappointed because of all the issues we ran into with the stallion (age related). I later found out from a reproduction specialist it's still just as easy to miss at that stage for an inexperienced vet, but I took her into the local Vet, who I wouldn't consider 'great' by any means. I am new to breeding and had never used him previously for Repro stuff, so I figured why not - ignorance is bliss they say. To sum it up, he was confident she wasn't in foal, but was 'due' to cycle in 2-3 days based on the 'follicle' he was allegedly looking at. As a last ditch effort, I teased her morning & night for 10 days straight, and she never showed any interest. I gave up and carried on with life. In hind sight, previously mentioned Equine Repro Specialist believes he may have been looking at a cyst, or in the case of being severely incompetent, looking at an embryo from the most recent covering during her short, lack-luster covering.

Thinking she wasn't pregnant, I booked her into a stallion for May 2017, and because it's Thoroughbred stuff it has to be done via Live Cover, which means taking Nik to the stallion who is roughly 5.5 hours away.. no big deal for an open mare, right? Well... There's a chance she might have the reproductive system of Mother Mary herself, and somehow be in foal from 2016 Breedings. Not a big deal, if I didn't 'want' her in foal to the stallion from 2016, I wouldn't have bred her.. but.. I'm *really* nervous about taking her and a foal south to someone's house - someone who I've never met, and hope for the best. I know i personally am not a fan of wet mares coming to be bred to our stallion because it's always a pain dealing with someone else's foal who's hardly halter broke while trying to do Live Cover. Not that it matters, but our stallion is no longer standing at stud so we don't have to worry about it for now..

As such, I made other arrangements for 2017, and paid half the stud fee to book Nikki in to Cherokee Country for a 2018 foal.  Now fast forward to now, and i'm being coerced into thinking there is a possibility that Nik has the productive system of Mother Mary, and is in fact pregnant.  While  you might be saying "but the Vet said she isn't", keep in mind pregnancies are regularly missed, and there is a stage around 3 months gestation that it's nearly impossible to tell.  Either way, this is my current stresses but I will soon rest assured, as we are going to the vet on March 3rd to be certain, as well as do all the necessities required prior to going to be bred to Cherokee Country later this spring.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Depths of My Cold, Black Heart

As I scrolled through recent photo's posted on Facebook of a Jumping Event in my home town, I found myself over run with ridiculous judgement.  Like, ridiculous judgement. Okay, some of it was probably warranted, but for the most part, I was being incredibly b..... 'witchy'.  "Jeez 90% of the Riders saddles are about 5" too far forward, those poor horses shoulders!" "Man, look at her thinking she's all that when she can hardly ride" "Holy, how about you jump with your horse not for it?" and the list went on........  Alas, just as quickly as I was overcome with something I didn't even know I had in me, I told my inner 'witch' to settle down and get back in her dungeon and as I dismounted from my high horse and I was left questioning my sanity.   At what point did I become drown in such negative emotions, and what qualifies me to be so judgmental? Really, what qualifies anyone?  If there's anything that bothers me more, it's people who are cruel to those who are trying their best with what they have, and while I realize that's incredibly contradictory at this point, it's the honest truth, so bare with my self inflected bullet wound to the foot.  Regardless, i'm still shocked and incredibly disappointed in myself for allowing my mind to wander that far into the depths of my own struggles of clashing personality traits... but hey, I'm human.. I think?

I feel like a large part of the reason this subject is so 'sore' for me, is because I was once the person on the receiving end of such insensitive and mean acts.  I was blessed to have some fantastic horsey friends as a child, and we were inseparable on our horses.  That being said, within our trio I was the least 'privileged', and that's not to feel sorry for myself but just a simple fact.  While we all had our share of hardships, and none of our parents were truly 'horsey', mine was the least involved.  I was raised by a single mother who worked for not much more than today's minimum wage.  She worked tirelessly and she put all that she could into my desire to ride as well as my older brothers love for Hockey.  As i'm sure you know, these are both very expensive sports, so you can imagine the struggle she must have went through.   My mother is a very proud woman and she never let us know the financial burden our passions caused, and quite frankly I'm certain that even if she had, it wouldn't have registered in my young mind.  Now, being an adult and responsible for funding my own passions, I can only imagine how tight finances must have been for her, but she gave it her all in order to allow my older brother and I to do what we wanted.

While I now have mostly high-end, expensive tack & apparel, I got to this point through years of buying & selling, saving & selling.

My first saddle cost a measly $50, and had nails sticking out of the pommel that my sweater would regularly get caught on. I had 1 saddle pad that I bought at a Used Tack Sale for a whopping $2, and all it's billet and girth straps had been torn off so typically, I had to get off at least once per ride and pull it back up under my saddle as it attempted to slip out over my mares bum and into the dirt.  In hindsight, it would have been less likely to do so if my saddle fit properly, but I had no concept of that back then.. and even if I had, there was no chance in hell I was going to be able to buy one that fit well. My bridle & first bit also came from the same Used Tack Sale, which I paid $15 for.  I also had a flaming red girth that was given to me by the BO - probably out of pitty - but we rocked it!    As time went on and I was able to do odd jobs to make some money to fund my Tack Improvement Project.  While i'm sure i'm not alone in feeling relatable to the 'rags to riches' stories, the moral is never judge someone who's doing the best they can and working with what they've got.  While, on the flip side, I am regularly judged about my 'expensive, lavish taste in tack & apparel', I worked HARD for what I've got.  Everything I have, from my Horse Trailer, to my Tack, to my own horses, were purchased with my own money, and it didn't come easy.  It was only made possible through methodical budgeting, pinching pennies where ever I could/can, and i'll be damned if i'll let someone make me feel guilty for my hard work to get to this point.


So why did I allow myself to judge someone who's out there working hard with what they've got access to right now? After all, that was once me, and it really wasn't that long ago.  While I briefly fell victim to hatred and abuse, i'm grounded and reminded how cut throat and cold hearted the horse community can be.  While I was able to claw my way out of that mind set, many are comfortable there.  Really though, as a group of individuals chasing the same (or similar) dreams and aspirations, how do so many of us develop this self-righteous entitlement that allows us to belittle our fellow equestrians?  I personally feel like there is a fine line between Incompetence and Ignorance in the horse world, and while there are many people who don't fit into either mold on a consistent basis, these two traits make up the majority of the Equine Community, and awareness is the key to improvement.

An Incompetent person is simply a person who hasn't been nurtured enough, or correctly, to grow and develop.. The great thing about fitting into this category, is the sky is the limit!  While it may not be 'easy' due to a variety of reasons such as financial ability, ease of access, etc, there is always hope for improvement with a good support system and a great coach.  Sometimes these can be found in your own back yard, and often they're not hiding behind a piece of paper or an extensive show record, so you have to learn to read between the lines, and as I mentioned in a previous blog post - ALWAYS draw your own conclusions.  The incompetent people are often like sheep, continuing to do something because everyone else is doing it, so it must be right.  Even as that person, you have to be able to step yourself out of the equation and look at your situation as a whole.  Perhaps you're working with a coach and you're happy with them, but when you look back over your growth over say, 6 months, 8 months, or even 12 months - have you improved?  Has your horse improved? Are you still working on simple concepts you were working on 6 months ago?  If so, is your coach taking necessary steps to explain things differently or take a different approach since it's obviously not working the other way? Again - ALWAYS draw your on conclusions.  Don't follow the herd, because they do the same thing every day until their card is punched.  If you're feeling like a fish out of water, but motivated to learn to swim, you're probably an Incompetent person.

Pony Club Testing, 2006/2007?
On the contrary, an Ignorant person, to put it plainly, hasn't a snowballs chance in hell at improving until they step outside their tiny, boarded-up little brain, and accept that they are not the answers to life, nor are they gods gift to the horse world.  Again, you have to be capable of reading between the lines because often these are the people who are the first to say [and always with confidence] that life is really, really hard.  As well, these people will never truly own their own problems, but instead cast it upon others like a Monkey flinging poop.  If you're still confused about the Ignorant people in the world, picture this... They're in their small, dark closed off cage in their own brain.  There's a door to get into this little cage, and the key is in their pocket.  They grow, as all people do, but eventually they become too big for their little cage, so they are now crippled and crooked.  Surrounded by darkness, they become frustrated and begin casting blame on others for making their cage so small, but they are so encased in this game of blame and hatred, they don't realize the key has been in their pocket the entire time.  Now typically, these people eventually get bored of feeling sorry for themselves and miraculously find the key. At last, they're able to rid themselves of the confinement of this small cage, and step out into the darkness.  Standing up tall, stretching their decrepit soul they breath in the freedom that was always available once they pushed past their natural 'woe is me' tendencies and accepted their Incompetence.  If you're feeling stuck and like you're constantly fighting the same battles with very very little improvement, you're probably Ignorant.

But no matter what you are - its OKAY.. Tell yourself that 10 times as you pull up your boot straps to trudge on (Incompetent People) or wallow in self pitty (Ignorant People). It. Is. O. Kay.  But now what?

While I briefly fell into the nasty spiral of Ignorance yesterday, I drug myself out of that hell hole and brushed myself off.  Awareness is the first step in improving yourself personally, and as such it will improve the equine community you belong to AND as a whole.  We are so quick to break each other down, when we should be working together to pick one another up.  Ask yourself, which 'club' do you call home, and how has it been working out for you?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Kai, A 'Mini' Before & After

And 'just because', here is a mini Before & After of Kai

Keep in mind I am in no way implying I 'rescued' her, nor am I implying she came to me in poor shape - she came to me as a horse fresh off the track, just as expected.  She had a few long days on a strange trailer, in strange barns, with strange people and no doubt that took a bit out of her as well... Sorry, but it drives me crazy when I hear people promote that just simply buying a horse from a racing home means they automatically rescued it - head desk -

Before she got shipped to me in Alberta

A few days after arriving

Same day as above

January 14

There isn't a lot of change between these two photos, but in the photos below, taken roughly a month later, her top line is more smooth and balanced.  This is also after doing a Kidney Flush treatment.

Overcast weather doesn't do her coat justice!
What we have done or learned since she arrived on November 9, 2016

  • Kai loves the curry comb
  • Kai was initially really broncy and lunged like a total dick, but after her Chiro Treatment & Kidney Flush, she's knocked that off significantly and as such, is probably going to be a regular with the Chiropractor just like Kidd - maybe i'll get a 2-for-1 deal?!
  • She's great to squirt stuff in her mouth, often a 'sour subject' for a lot of OTTB's
  • She ties, is good with the hose and handling her feet, is quiet to tack up and after some work, stands great to mount at the mounting block and get on
  • She's not an overly easy keeper, but isn't necessarily a hard keeper either
  • She has a build up of Scar Tissue on her LF and I was finally able to expose a small nickle-sized spot of Proud Flesh, which we are currently treating
  • She eats & drinks A LOT. Like, A LOT A LOT
  • She loves her bum scratched, just like Kidd
  • She is super sassy and a total attitudy-judy, but is equally sweet and loving
  • She has grown taller and filled out more
  • She's very green under saddle, which is amazing for how many years she's actually been under saddle.. as such, she's certainly more 'track broke' than I was lead to believe - but that's fine!
  • Her and Kidd currently can share everything, from blankets to tack - thank god!
  • She may or may not go back to the race track, it's undecided
  • She chews things when she gets bored such as the eons we spent standing still and quiet at the mounting block, tied up while I do barn yard things, etc
  • She has been treated for Ulcers as a precaution, and I have done a round of Kidney Flush (great results!) as well as de wormed
  • She had her feet done once since arriving, and is getting them done in an other 2 weeks as i'm not loving how her RF is growing - will address with Farrier next weekend
  • She is testy - for example, yesterday scissors were terrifying while trimming her mane. I kept at her, and she quickly gave up.
  • She has huge fetlocks, and I don't know if it's just me looking at dainty legs for the past few years, but she seems like she has so much bone.
  • She loves Carrots & Apples - FINALLY A HORSE THAT EATS NORMAL TREATS!
  • I didn't touch her or hardly say hi to her for about 3 weeks, and she emerged a totally different horse - in a good way!
  • I've ridden her twice (Jan 15 & Feb 15), no funny business either time but we kept things slow and simple
  • Her sense of steering is atrocious, but she seems to have excellent brakes and accepts the leg - though I think mostly because she has no clue what it means
I'm sure there's so much more, but I was surfing through photo's today and truly hadn't realized how much she's changed physically since I got her, and she's really changed mentally as well! Totally in love with her adorable face!

...... and Photo Spam, just cause!

At the rate she's going, she may be lucky enough to have her back graced with my one true love -- my Dressage Saddle!