Monday, February 28, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The UGLY

We have found in our quest to find a horse trailer all of the above. It has been the most frustrating process. We found a truck in less than a week and I love it! Looking for a trailer however, well that's another story. When starting out, I made a list of things I was looking for: bumper pull trailer, 7' inside or taller, fully enclosed, full size escape door, dressing room. I was flexible on all of these as long as it was a nice, well taken care of trailer and figured I'd be pulling one behind my truck in no time. I had no idea how wrong I was.

The reasonably priced nice ones sell instantly. In fact my husband called on one ad within 15 minutes of it being posted and someone was already on their way to look at it. Sure enough it sold before we even had a chance. Most good ones are extremely overpriced and even many bad ones are asking way more than they are worth. Several were just plain ugly, while a good chunk are SCARY! I wouldn't put my kids bike inside, let alone a horse.

I have since edited my list:
1. Must not have tarps and bungee cords used to cover holes and hold it together.
2. Must not be covered in rust....if you painted over the rust with a can of spray pain it still counts as rust
3. Because you cut the top off of it does not make it a convertible, nor is it "great for those hot summer days" nor is it "great for those extra tall horses"
3. If it weighs more than my house, I can't pull it.
4. If you have to make the statement "not the best looking trailer" or "not for your snooty horse shows" then it's probably not for me since oh shucks....I do go to those darn snooty horse shows....if only I didn't.
5. By the way, I've never found being hateful in my ad a real selling point, such as "I don't have time for your crap so only call/email if your going to buy it". I don't have time for the therapy I may need from dealing with you so I'll look elsewhere.
6. I don't want your old broken horse free with the trailer.
7. I don't want your junk that's loaded down in the pictures of the trailer, nor do I want to have to clean it out. Come on folks, clean out your trailers before taking pics of it for sale. It's a real turn off to see one covered in poop and a tack/dressing room piled with junk where you can't even see in. Of course it let's me know you've taken real good care of it!
8. It says "it's sturdier than it looks"....uummm, I'll pass
9. I don't plan on eating my horses, so my trailer does not need to double as an oven.

Well, it's thunder-storming and there are tornado warnings everywhere, not exactly ideal riding/teaching weather, so I guess I'll stay in and keep looking. Cross your fingers for me!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I realized the other day why I so quickly became so addicted to blogging. It's like scrapbooking online! Anyone who knows me knows I love to scrapbook, but due to my crazy life schedule I don't get to do it near often enough. Faith recently has gotten into scrapbooking too, wanting to do one for each competition/horsey year! I think it's a great idea for her to be crafty and creative and put those thousands of pictures to good use! So to all you other "scrappers" out there...I hope you enjoy my online version!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Naughty Blogger

I've been bad and haven't updated in awhile. We've been so busy and I have been so tired when I get home that I've been showering and crashing a lot. So here's what you've missed:

The morning was spent getting MayMay her last training ride in before she went home and working Lulu, lunging Johnny and Pilgrim. I did two quick lessons in the afternoon before rushing off to Dwight's green belt ceremony. Part of his ceremony they learned how to break a board! I actually thought Dwight might chicken out and not want to do it, but to my surprise he was one of the first to volunteer. He tried to break it with an "iron palm" but when that didn't work he did not give up and he did a stomp to break it. We were very proud of him, and he got to keep his board as a souvenir. We went out to dinner afterwards to celebrate.
Dwight getting his green belt

Dwight and Sensei

Getting ready to break the board
Dwight's attempt at "iron palm"

I for once did not have lessons on Saturday, and we got up early to go look at a truck. We took my brother who is a mechanic with us to check it out. We need it to haul the occasional hay and feed, but more importantly to pull a trailer. After a test drive, the boys gave it a thumbs up and I drove it back to the farm. MayMay got to go home today, so Heather and I helped load her and followed her home to help unload and talk the family through the adjustment back to home. She did great on the trip and seemed to know she was home. We then headed back to the farm where I rode Chip during one of Heather's lessons to help the student get used to riding with others and in a group class, since she is wanting to start showing this year. We then practiced jumping out in the field, where I got to act as a demo rider for her to watch and mirror while she rode. They had fun, and while I think Heather took a bit too much pleasure in my being out of shape and being sore when I got off, I have to admit I had fun too!
After all was done Heather finally had a chance to get on Pilgrim and take him for a spin. Come to find out it's definitely not a pain or soreness issue, or even a me issue, just a Pilgrim wanting to be lazy. They fought each other tooth and toenail, but Heather prevailed and Pilgrim actually had moments of self carriage! We are going to alternate riding him so he can get the best of both worlds! I'm sure he's going to love that!
Heather working Pilgrim

Heather and Pilgrim...and my thumb

Heather and I then had to go to a friend of ours Bachelorette party. Lots of fun and a long night later, I finally got to go home and get some much needed sleep.

Another beautiful day weather wise and after finally dragging my butt out to the farm I let Faith ride Chip. They had a good ride and got in a lot of really nice canter work. We then headed out to grocery shop and to bed early as I had an early morning on Monday.
A little late, I know, but I wanted to put up a pic of Faith's birthday cake from her birthday party.
I had to be at the farm at 6:30, feed, then head out with Jane and Heather to Roane State Expo Center to teach at the 4-H Clinic. We had a good attendance and a good group of kids and a lot of interest from many to join our show team. I then headed back to the farm to take care of the critters and after my evening lesson rescheduled for later this week, headed home early to spend some time with my husband. He was off for the holiday and got to stay home.
I was pleasantly surprised this afternoon to get a phone call letting me know that Rebecca (MayMay's owner) had successfully ridden her at her house with no issues. I was so excited I could almost cry!

New Truck!

My new (used) truck....for all those horse trailer hauling needs!

For the last few years we have typically rented, borrowed, tagged along with someone, or used one of the farm trailers that Jane, the farm owner had to pull for us. So besides a busy show team schedule this year (when we will use the farms gooseneck trailer) I have several shows and clinics I plan on attending with Pilgrim, and Faith has a few shows I may bring her to on her own. We needed our own trailer, which meant it was time to invest in a truck. So after some begging, my super cool husband bought me my super cool truck! Now we just have to find a nice 2 horse bumper pull, preferably with a dressing room. Anyone have one they are looking for good home for?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The trials and tribulations of Pilgrim

While Pilgrim's leg looks gross on the outside, it was actually much better today. His movement was sound, no heat and no swelling. I decided to take him for a spin. He was really good at the beginning. He held his frame the whole time we rode and even through his transitions, but during the second half of our ride he started bracing on the bit and getting really stiff. I spent the rest of the ride trying to get him to soften and relax again. I talked to Heather about it after the ride. I'm not sure what is causing it, soreness, resistance, him just being a jerk, or something I'm doing. Heather decided she's going to ride him tomorrow and see what's going on inside a Pilgrim brain. I feel much better and am excited to see what he does for her. Hopefully she can help me come up with a game plan to work through it. I feel like he's come such a long way, but I know that we have a lot more work to do!

Despite the struggles with Pilgrim, it felt great to ride him in the beautiful weather. Warm and sunny, almost 70 degrees out. You couldn't ask for any better. I'm crossing my fingers we can keep this weather for awhile. With the great weather I couldn't help but take all my afternoon lessons out for a trail ride. They all enjoyed it and the horses seemed to really like the time out! After lessons I had to rush Dwight to Karate. Chuck had a late meeting with a non-profit group that I accidentally encouraged him to be on the board of....they put him on 3, and wouldn't be back in time. This is always an adventure as I have to go straight from the farm and dressed in breeches, boots, half chaps, and a horse hair and hay mixture spread all over me. I usually get several curious looks and some outright stares. Now after checking homework, helping with spelling words and getting the kids off to bed, I'm wiped. Time for shower and then bed.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


As I got Pilgrim out for our morning workout this morning, I find myself wondering if we'll ever be ready for a show if we keep having interruptions in our training. While grooming and getting ready to polo wrap him, I found another injury. He hurt his back leg on his pastern. Nothing serious, but there was a little swelling and warmth, so I decided to play it safe and doctor it, give him a little bute, and give him the day off. He also had some cuts and bruising on his gums and lips from playing bitey face with CJ. I'm going to recheck him tomorrow and hope he is healed enough to work.
Pilgrim's newest injury
Don't ask me how he did this
Oowww! Somebody get him some toothpaste! Yuck!
I have gotten the newest horse in training out, Lulu, the last two days. She has been surprisingly calm, sweet, and smart. She has wonderful ground manners, is not spooky, saddles fine. I rode her yesterday with Heather leading with no issues and rode today on our own. We only walked since we weren't even sure if she was broke when we got her in, but so far has done great and has nice brakes, just sit and say whoa. After watching her movement on the ground free longeing her she looks trotty but we think she may be a racking horse. We look forward to seeing what all she knows. I'll try to get pictures of her up soon.

Unfortunately MayMay had a real setback in her training. This is her last week and we were hoping she would really do well. She had several good days, and today started well with her really listening and being good on the ground and longeing. When I mounted her, one of the new boarded horses started calling in her pasture and she went into a total panic, running me into the side of the arena and then throwing herself backwards. We had just worked through this issue last week! I ended up having to dismount and take her into the round pen, get back on and try to work it out. Grrr. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. 

Dwight on the other hand was very excited. With the weather being warm enough, we could finally take his remote control boat he got for his birthday out on the lake! 

Chuck teaching Dwight how to steer

Dwight's boat
Dwight takes over
Look out geese!

Trooper keeping a close watch

Monday, February 14, 2011

Perfect Sundays Lead To Good Mondays

The Two Loves of My Life

Pilgrim's true personality!

With the beautiful weather yesterday Chuck and I couldn't resist spending it outside with the horses. How did I get such a great guy who will hang around the farm all day with me? After checking on all the horses we started to saddle up! Chuck rode M.C., short for Mint Chocolate, our Walking Horse Pony around the farm.
Chuck on M.C.
Two Handsome Boys!

I of course rode my boy. Even though I lunged before I got on I guess the warm weather made him feel good or the music I was playing but...oh my, I had A LOT of horse underneath me. On the bright side, he was super responsive! He did really great and is starting to be able to hold his frame for much longer periods of time. We got in more canter work and while he still is unable to sustain it for really long periods, it's much more balanced. His halt to trot transition is really good. We still have to work on down shifting gears as he tends to dive down, but we are working it out.

I enjoyed my weekend spending so much time with my hubby and definitely was having myself a case of the Mondays this morning. Chuck and I stayed up late talking about when we first met and how much different our lives are now that we have each other and how we almost didn't know, mushy love stuff. So anyways, I was tired this morning and had to drag my butt out of bed. At least I knew I had another day of pretty weather ahead of me!

I rode Pilgrim again this morning. His ride was even better today. I did not lunge him prior to getting on and he was fine. After warming up we worked on canter circles, leg yields while keeping good forward impulsion instead of sucking back, turns on the haunches and forehand, and his halts. Today was another good day for him and I'm hoping it keeps up. We need to ride outside of the arena and out in the fields. One, to help build up muscle tone and endurance, and also so he gets used to changing his riding environment. River Glen has Schooling Shows scheduled for the end of March and I'm crossing my fingers that we will be ready to at least attempt a training level test. It's going to be a bit before we can get to first level...still a lot to work out. Guess I can put that freestyle on the back burner! =) May and June start rated shows, but I definitely would like to get to schooling show first so we don't completely embarrass ourselves!

We also worked with MayMay today. This is her last week in training and then she goes home this weekend. We will definitely miss this character, but we will see her weekly at her home and we have three more horses already on the farm ready to start over the next few weeks. Tomorrow we are going to get out two of them and evaluate what all they are going to need, Lulu and Peanut. One is a smaller, sweet mare, the other a 16.2 black walking horse ex-stallion. He should be fun.

I had lessons this afternoon and Faith rode as well. She has now worked her way up to coursing 6 jumps at one time! The pony was having a really good day and they did well. He did give her a few bigger jumps than he needed to, but she rode through them fine and he wasn't rushing the jumps so I can't complain. Afterwards we rushed home so Faith could finish her Helen Keller project for school and Dwight and Chuck could play catch outside while we still had some daylight. Dwight wants to start practicing since Little League sign ups are this weekend. He wants to move up to coach pitch.
Just a girl and her pony
Faith's Helen Keller Project
Yes, I really do have a son and I promise I will get some more pics of him up soon! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentines Day

Valentines Day is just around the corner. The time when most people think of cheesy cards, chocolates, and stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes. Well, either that or stocking up on liquor, anti-depressants, and kleenex. I find myself feeling a bit more like it's Thanksgiving. When I think of Valentines I of course think of Chuck and I am reminded of how thankful I am to have him in my life. He has been such a blessing and with him I feel finally complete.

After all my lessons yesterday, Chuck and I celebrated Valentines early. Monday is such a crappy day for it to fall on, so with the kids off to Grams for the weekend, we went home and showered and changed. I got to dress up and actually look like a girl again....on most days this is a major accomplishment when I tend to come home in boots, breeches, covered in dirt,horse hair, hay, sweat and an unidentified smell. We went out to dinner with no reservations. We're rebels like that. That also meant we had to find a place without an hour wait for a table. We finally settled at The Crown and Goose, an English pub in the Old City. We had been meaning to try there, but hadn't gotten to it yet. It was really good! We definitely have to go back. After dinner we went to see the play Heather was in. It was funny and she was excellent...hands down the star of the show. After, we all went out for coffee and dessert before heading home for the evening.

Today is suppose to be beautiful, the start of a week of really nice that Spring I smell coming? We are taking advantage of a nice day and heading to the farm. I'm going to work Pilgrim and Johnny while I let Chuck ride the Walking Horse Mint Chocolate. Hopefully we can get some good pictures and video.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Whoever keeps praying for snow....STOP IT!

Enough said. Spending your day riding and teaching on the half of the arena not frozen and covered in snow is very limiting. Despite being frigidly cold outside, I managed to get my lessons in and things accomplished around the farm. The kids were out of school due the snow, so they were stuck with me, but Faith got some ride time in on Chip. It's suppose to start warming up and be in 50's and near 60's next week. I am so looking forward to a whole week of decent weather and I plan to take full advantage. Hold on to your shoes Pilgrim, we got work to do! =)

Dwight passed his green belt test at Karate tonight! We are so proud of him! 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Christmas Decoration Recycling Program

Occasionally I watch the show "Cougar Town". Not my favorite by far, but on a night when nothing else is on in that time frame, it fills a void. As I was driving home from picking up the kids from school today I was reminded of the last episode that I watched. For Valentines Day Ellie's husband gathered all the towns left out Christmas decorations and they burned them in their subdivision cul de sac. Ellie was thrilled and thought it was so romantic. I giggled at the time, but today I realized that might not be such a bad idea as I saw several houses with lights hanging by a thread, fallen over candy canes, deflated Santas and Snowmen, and wreaths that were now little more than sticks with bows. Don't get me wrong, I love is the most wonderful time of the year and what not......but it's February people! It's time to take them down. I may have to start a decoration recycling program, maybe I can turn them into cool jumps for the ponies. Any volunteers to donate their time to a good cause? =)

My boys back to work!

I'm not sure how it suddenly drops 20 degrees one day to the next, but man did it get cold! To battle the cold I decided to layer up like the kid from "A Christmas Story" which worked great at first, but I quickly found myself sweating to the oldies while riding Pilgrim. He did well today. We worked lots of serpentines, circles and figure eights. Since he hadn't worked in close to a week I worked him in a lot of stretching frame with only brief periods of collection, asking him to go on the bit. He is really trying and I can feel his back round and him collect when I get that much desired bend at the poll, and his stretching frame is really nice! It was nice for the two of us to be working again. I missed my boy! MayMay was less kind to me, but we eventually worked it out. She kept trying to drag me to the gate and then threw a baby hissy fit when I tried to get her move off my leg. She eventually managed to focus the rest of the workout. Tomorrow is going to be busy....lots of horses to work in the morning and lessons all afternoon...last one ends at 5:30.

Dwight gets to test for his green belt in karate on Thursday...wish him luck...Go Dwight!
Faith studying hard
Faith's wall of horse show ribbons

Monday, February 7, 2011


Superbowl Sunday
Chuck and I woke up early on Sunday to a phone call from Grams, where the kids were spending the weekend, that Dwight had a stomach virus and was very sick. We met her at the farm to pick up the kids. While we waited, we took care of all the horses, taking all the blankets off and feeding. It was very pretty and sunny, I wished I could have spent all day there! With Dwight not feeling well, we headed home to get him some much needed rest. Chuck and I spent some good cuddle time on the couch before I started preparing our Superbowl Feast! Not much of a feast, but lots of finger foods to snack on all during the game.
Yummm...pigs in a blanket
Yes, those Oreos are shaped like footballs!
Our favorite, Cheese and Sausage Dip
Our source of veggies for the day

Chuck was rooting for the Steelers and I was for the Packers. Chuck was pouting most of the game, and we were both disappointed in the commercials this year (my favorite part).  Dwight threw up Sprite all over the stairs, aahhhh the joys of parenting, but by the end of the night he seemed to be on the mend.

Dwight was feeling better this morning but he was definitely still really tired, so I kept him home from school today. I stayed home until late morning to make sure Dwight got some extra sleep and he was feeling well enough to come with me to the farm. After getting to the farm, Heather and I drove around to check out the new horses on the farm. We had several new boarders move in and we were excited to visit with our new friends. They all seem to be adjusting well.
Yeah!!! Pilgrim finally got his shoes fixed!
We worked MayMay and Johnny this morning before I had to head back out and pick up Faith, then rush back to the farm in time to meet my farrier. I let Faith ride while Pilgrim was getting his new shoes and until my new lesson came. She is a six year old and it's her first lesson, so I didn't mind the pony being a little tired! My new student is very cute, and even though I was informed she can be quite a handful, she proved to be very well behaved and listens great. They had a wonderful first lesson and seems to remember things well.
Faith riding Chip
Faith's so pretty!
This is MayMay's last week in training before going back home. We are going to work with her owners and her there, where she will be living, once a week after this. This doesn't mean we get to slow down. Besides still needing to get Johnny back to work, get Pilgrim ready for Spring dressage shows, we have 3 more horses waiting to come into training and several more on a waiting list. I'm tired just thinking about it!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Crazy Weather

Today was one of those on and off days with the weather. It started rainy and windy, then turned sunny and quite pretty, then back to windy and downright cold. The boys (Heather's husband and my husband) helped us get projects done around the farm in between what few lessons that could get in around the weather. With Pilgrim still not able to be ridden until his shoes are fixed, Jazzy still on the mend, and Johnny still in week 1 of being on the farm (I'm doing two weeks groundwork before riding him since he's had so much time off), and the weather being pretty for a bit, I had the bug to ride and was running low on options. I broke out Chip and rode with our working student, Alexis, who rode Junie. The jump course was pretty nice, not slick, and we had just rearranged it so after a warm up we worked on jumping. Chip tends to get dull to leg pressure with so many students riding him and also picks up bad habits so it really helps for me to ride him on occasion and give him a tune up. Plus it was fun to jump again! Something I don't get to do all that often.

Tomorrow is Superbowl Sunday so we went grocery shopping after leaving the farm and picked up lots of snacks and stuff to make finger type foods. I'm throwing my husband a mini Superbowl party!

Yesterday was a race against the weather. Unfortunately, the weather won. By the time I got to the farm and the critters fed and medicated, etc..., I was only able to work Johnny. Then some weird slushy, sleety ice/rain mixture starting pouring out of the sky. My farrier apparently melts if he gets wet so he rescheduled for Monday afternoon, and Pilgrim completely lost one shoe now. (I still love my farrier...just so everyone knows) Johnny somehow got his entire forelock tangled in burs. It had to weigh like 5 lbs! Heather and I worked for about 20 minutes trying to get it out, but Johnny had had enough and eventually I decided to just cut it out. There were lots of sharp pointy ones and I was worried they were hurting him. I had to cancel my afternoon lesson due to bad weather.
Johnny post new haircut
His forelock, look at all those burrs!