Banding Together

This past week a big announcement came down the pipe. The barn I’ve been with for the 5 years is undergoing a large change. We are leaving behind our 46 stall barn facility to join a private farm’s already existing organization. Both groups will continue to train with respective trainers and do our own programs, but for the first time in a long time we will be sharing home turf.

IMG_2877

Throwback #doubleDee picture of current place.

Major perks are the fact that the facility is owned by established and immersed owners. They want to continue investing into the facility; the grounds and care is top notch. Not to mention our staff, who know the horses best, will be coming with. Being in a smaller facility could be nice too-the current place has a lovely giant indoor, and a nice outdoor, but it is also a lot to manage and I know it’s stressful for our people.

My biggest “sad moment” was realizing we were going to have to give up hosting all the local horse shows. The new place just isn’t big enough to deal with the onslaught of people. There is still several very nice local places, but nothing is easier than living at the show facility.  This is us getting that little extra shove to get out of our comfort zone, and it’s probably a good thing in the long run.

img_1492

Spoiled by our giant indoor arena.

The second stomach clencher was that yes, the drive is going to be longer. I’m not exactly sure how much further but when you’re a hot mess of a schedule anyway–every minute counts!  Obviously not excited about that, but there aren’t a lot of options closer to my home either way.

As a future boarder (God willing) I know that what pricked my ears up was the pasture board. It is double the size of our current situation! Plus a nice shelter, and is already set for hay and feeding stations. Big win there.  We’ve also been told that there is a fantastic outdoor riding space.  Both an arena, and a flat, grassy space where we could easily have lessons or move jumps out for when the weather is nice.  This makes me really excited to try it out.

I do think that this, with any big change, will bring pressure and priority changes within the organization.  We are a tight crew of riders, parents, staff, and trainer — but things like this do tend to divide.  So far, I have been really proud of the groups ability to all band together and make this happen.  Fingers crossed everyone stays positive as we continue on.  Move date is tentatively scheduled for one month from now!

It’s probably bad, but I’m weirdly happy to not have to move a horse.  Tack is way easier to maneuver.

 

Missing Time

Between traveling for horse shows, and lessons rearranging, I was able to snag rides on the big red lesson horse last week.  He doesn’t do a ton over the weekend, so trainer offered me the chance to get some badly needed rides in.

Big red could care less if I show up or not, but both of us could really use the fitness.  Okay, mainly me.

Pictured: one very excited to see me big red horse.  I’m lying.  

Since my riding experiences lately are largely tied to riding lessons, there is always a critique or request from trainer to focus on.  Riding on my own is a bit foreign now, and while I love any part of being in the saddle, what I found I miss the most are the times in-between training.

I miss the cool out sessions, where you wander aimlessly around the ring chatting with other riders.  Or perhaps the break between gaits, where I am walked to the center of the ring and BRH (big red horse) parks himself and prays I get off and be done.  I miss taking as long as I want to clean and chat with other riders around our tack.  Or having the chance to watch friends ride before or after me.

Special appearance by indoor turnout horse slobber on mirrors.  

I really enjoyed just being able to be a usual customer at the barn.  Recently I’ve been very aware of how long it’s been since I have been an owner.  I knew upon selling O that the disconnect from the social aspect would be just as rough on me as the lost riding time.

Anyway, maybe it’s being horseless, maybe it’s being a mom, but it’s something I miss far more than the shows.  I would never trade my hectic schedule and life, but I’ve accepted that on my path there will be times where I miss out on things.  This is why I am so thankful for the extra rides offered to me on big patient red horses, so that I can soak in a bit more of those moments.

Who else finds themselves missing the little moments, the in-betweens, more than actual training when they are horseless?  I can’t be the one.

 

The New Boots

Back in August, my husband gifted me the opportunity to go pick out my first real cowboy boots.  It took me weeks to go actually shop around, mainly because I was intimidated by all the options out there.  Thanks to everyone for their knowledge sharing!

Well a few weeks ago I actually pulled the trigger and brought them home!

Aren’t they pretty?!?

I got a great deal at a local boot place, and I cannot wait to really break them in.  They got some love already, a waterproofing, but other than that they’ve just sat here looking pretty.  I was too afraid to break them in while traveling, so I’m looking forward to that in the coming weeks!  I think they are nice enough to wear around, but can easily wear to work too.  And yes, they are Ariat.

The biggest take away from the buying experience is that western boots (in my opinion) seemed more difficult to fit than my riding tall boots are!  I must’ve tried on 30 pairs, and I feel like they were all very different once on.  Definitely not something you can purchase online.

I’m a Finalist!

I found out this past week that I was chosen as one of the finalists for Horse Junkies United’s fabulous blogging contest!  You can see the original post here, and the finalist post here.  I’m so, so honored to be a part of this group!  Not to mention how great the prizes are.

So here’s the kicker — there’s a voting system.  It will help with 25% of the final scores for all finalists.  Please, please vote for me!

Again, here’s link to vote!

IMG_5780

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!!

Sales Paddock App Review

The other day I was scrolling Facebook and noticed some local trainers had liked a page for the Sales Paddock App.  The app claimed to be the cool new way to connect with sales horses.  It hosts an easy communication tool with the owners, along with lots of filtering and sharing options.  Seeing as my riding life is a little on the quiet side, I was all over this. Who isn’t looking for their unicorn right?  I found my current job on an app…it’s not that crazy.

I quickly downloaded and got my account started.  It begins with the basics that you find on many horse sale websites (ie Dreamhorse.com, Equinenow.com etc.).

first on list

Once you narrow your interests a bit, the app launches up with 3 main pages

  1. To look at horses around you
  2. Show “check in”
  3. Look up horse by trainer selling them.

home

Show Check in

Trainers 3

Even though my region doesn’t have a ton of “really big” horse shows, I immediately thought the show check in was really neat.  I know that a large portion of horse trying and buying happens at shows, and it’d be interesting as a potential buyer who is showing, to be able to see who brought what sale horse.  If you’re like our area, there is also some really standout breeders and trainers, so having the ability to shop exclusively their horses is a fun feature.

As you get to looking, I would highly suggest using the additional filters at the bottom of the app to fine tune things a bit.  In my case, budget and location range helped a significant amount.  I was intrigued to see a lease option as well.

filters

Since I help my trainer advertise some of her sale horses, I see value in the ability to share any ad to Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, Instagram and Email.  That’s a lot of birds with one stone.

sharable

This horse has the best name!

And not someone who wants to call 10 people about their elusive horse ad– no fear, you can chat with the sellers on the app itself.

In the week or two that I’ve had it on my phone, I feel like I open it every couple of days.  As is the case with any sale site, it doesn’t change a lot, but a few new horses have popped up.  I wish their was a way to sort the ads, but maybe that will come later.

If you’re like me and love pursuing the sale ads, and seeing what’s out there, I encourage you to download and shop around a little.  Anyone else seen or used this app?

Happy (app) shopping!

 

Guys, I Want a Pony

I missed the pony rider stage, I was close to 5’7” when I started riding and now stand 5’10”. I’ve hacked some ponies, schooled naughty show ponies, and leased the fabulous short in stature Dee. But like I’ve mentioned before, I spent most of my riding career riding larger horses.

Well people, I may be a convert. This weekend we helped work some cattle at my in-laws cattle ranch. My usual ranch mount had a stone bruise, so we were scrambling to find something for me to move cattle on. The best option available was my nephew’s Shetland/Quarter Horse pony cross. So I stole their pony for the day.

And she is the coolest thing ever.

After an initial test moment where she tried to dump me in the driveway, we got along like peas and carrots. My husband was on a big grey gelding who coasts right along, and this little mare had no problem keeping right up. And we aren’t talking flat fields; we climbed massive hills, crossed roads, and rode through grass as tall as her body. She didn’t give a fig, and spent half the initial ride to the herd begging for more rein. My shoulders are feeling it today, and thats from holding her back.

I still made my husband open the gates, even if I was closer to the ground.

Doesn’t understand why we can’t run to catch up!

The cattle were pretty easy to gather, but the few we did have to pursue had a tricky moment or two. Little mare dug in and as soon as I let her, she’d spring after the cows. My biggest job was remembering how to steer (neck reining) and not to fall off during the terrain changes.

Standing politely.

Bored with standing.

The horses were high on their driving success, but little mare still let my daughter ride her around before we turned for home. I was way more comfortable on the way back, and let her stretch out and get her gallop on a bit. There’s a lot more movement, smaller steps, but she was so catty and careful I felt really safe on her. Not to mention it was like driving a sport car.

Once we made it home I made her pose for a picture (with me to provide scale) to demonstrate exactly adorable and small she is. And now I’m on a mission to convince my trainer to let me buy a sport pony.

Did I mention she’s got a great attitude too?  

I need way more ponies in my life. Who else is with me!?

Self Preservation

I think a lot of riders can relate to the ‘good old days’ when falling off was no big deal, or when you would literally ride anything someone pointed you at.  I was definitely that kid and that teen, and I attribute many skills I have now to valuable lessons taught by those horses.  But a surprising takeaway from all of that is now, as a young(-ish) adult, my self preservation drive is sky high.  Gone are the times I would hop on a strange horse, or be the test drive dummy for someone else.

FullSizeRender (31)

This one wasn’t scary.

In some ways, I honestly hate it.  I hate that I second guess things.  I hate that I get anxious about certain horses.  I hate that I grew to resent my own horse, when she began to put me in a precarious situation over fences.  I used to be brave, I used to push the envelope, and I used to beg for a challenge.

working student life

Teen me being dumb.

Whereas in the past few weeks, I pretty much broke down to my trainer about her well trained thoroughbred…and asked that I not ride him anymore.  He was never dangerous, but I was so focused on my anxiety over him, that I had stopped learning and stopped enjoying.  Again, stupid self preservation.  At this point in my life, I’m not willing to keep pushing if it doesn’t feel right.

Changing lanes a bit, my husband grew up around horses, and broke his own mare to ride in middle school.  Since then, he has sat on a lot of baby horses, and when his mare’s first colt was old enough to be ridden, he wanted to do it.  However, this time, he grabbed me as back up, had a lead horse to help, and kept it very short.  As he got off, he laughed at my teasing and said “I’ve got too much on the line now”.

img_0439

 

And it’s true.  As kids we only really answer to our trainers, maybe to our parents.  But as adults, we have family who rely on us, trainers who care about us, careers to maintain, and lives full of things other than horses.  So while I hate the second guessing, and the general increase in anxiety, it’s important as adults that we be our own advocates and do what feels right.  Even if it means slowing down the growth process a bit.

Everyone loves to ask me what I’m wanting to buy next, but my honest (and boring) answer is something that I feel safe on.  They laugh, but it’s true.  Apparently I’m past the days of reckless bravery…and that’s okay, I’ll just have to find a way to fill that void with a boatload of confidence and experience.

Happy Friday everyone!