Friday, June 23, 2017

Doing the things

“Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”-Neil Gaiman

I've been doing a few random scattered things the past few weeks that I thought would make a good random, scattered post. Mostly working a lot and riding...sometimes? I took Frosty to the Beaufort hunt trail ride at Spring Valley, I don't hunt anymore so this was a great opportunity to see some people I haven't seen in close to a year (the Beaufort hunt is by far the friendliest hunt ever!) It was a pretty hot day and I was on my third or fourth day of medication for hives (thanks seasonal allergies!) so I was definitely dragging a little by the end. Thankfully Frosty was perfectly behaved, I rode in my Voltaire saddle which I am still absolutely loving!

The following weekend we headed to Michaux state forest to ride some different trails than we usually do.. I think I actually liked these trails better than our usual ones as they were wider and less rocky with a more gradual slope. We saw a lot of 4 wheelers but this was ok, the people riding were very courteous and I feed my horses with the 4 wheeler anyway so they mostly don't mind.
John's horse on a fire road in Michaux state forest
Farm things:
In addition to riding I have been trying to get a few things done that I have been putting off. I finally collected all the winter blankets and John took them to be washed...usually we try to get this done in April...oops.
4 horses=many blankets to be washed
 I also swept out the cobwebs in the barn and re-organized the feed room. With the intermittent heat/rain cycles the weeds are doing exceptionally well (of course the grass looks like crap which seems to be typical of our place this time of year). I am feeding some hay outside since the pastures are pretty much done...but I still have to mow to keep the weeds from going crazy. Next order of business is spraying weeds around the buildings and fence lines (again).
Mowing weeds and a little grass

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ride Recap:The Pacemaker 2017

This past weekend John and I went to our first paper chase of the season along with my wonderful friend from work and her sweet mare. Usually we start going to paper chases in April but almost all of them were rained out this year (it has been raining every weekend for the past six weeks here in PA!) We were so lucky that the weather was perfect for this event.
The Pacemaker is one of my favorite paper chase/pace events to go to, it is hosted by the Susquehanna Equestrian Club and the volunteers are always super friendly and helpful and the course is very well marked. The scoring works by averaging all the rider's times at the end and then dividing the times into two groups fast and slow. The placings are determined by who is closest to the average times in each group.
Frosty's hair is always on point

The course was really varied and took us over a variety of terrain and obstacles including bridges, narrow/rocky trails, water, and open fields with optional jumps. This was probably Frosty's best paper chase ever! She was very calm and she jumped everything I asked her to. I was also SO impressed with my friend's mare on her first paper chase ever, she took all the new things in stride and was just a champ overall!

Course map
 Perhaps the most exciting part (besides all of us making it back to the trailer smiling and in one piece!) is that we got first place (closest to average time) in the slow time division and will be getting ribbons. This will be the first blue ribbon I have won as an adult and with Frosty.

Happy team photo :)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Spring-ish updates

Aiken in April- John drove the camper down to Aiken and we went down a few weeks later with the horses and dogs. We picked this weekend because it was the Horse Show in the Woods, a benefit show for Hitchcock Woods. The initial plan was to ride in and watch some of the horse show with our horses. Chester did not agree that this was a good idea, as soon as he heard the loudspeaker for the show he started losing his marbles so we opted to ride some other trails then get the truck and dogs and come back later to watch the show. Thankfully John was driving as you actually had to drive through the woods to get in and our dually barely fit. We really enjoyed the show and I think the dogs did as well!

Frankie in the camper
Driving through the woods
Maryland Hunt Cup-This was a great day! The weather was beautiful and it was a very exciting race. I got to dress up...and also day drink (2 things that happen approximately once a year...during the MD hunt cup). Hooray!
Proof that I can dress/look like a normal human...sometimes
New Saddle-I got a beautiful birthday gift from John this year! A Voltaire Palm Beach! I had been lusting over this saddle for months and it is everything I dreamed of and more. The leather is super soft and grippy and it fits Frosty beautifully.
Much wow.

Meeting Frosty's previous owners-I got a Facebook message from a friend of Frosty's previous owner that had found me through this blog that they were going to be in my area and would like to stop in and see her. They had owned Frosty from when she was around 3 until she was 7. It was so amazing to meet them and get learn more about Frosty and what she was like as a young horse. I hope they stop back again sometime soon!
The cutest poneh
Gunpowder Falls-We found a new place to trail ride over Memorial Day weekend, Gunpowder Falls in Maryland. We went on the Barley Pond trail (I took Chester) which is a 4ish mile loop and was perfect for horses, we only saw a few hikers and it was not very hilly or rocky. There was also a nice mix of open fields and shaded/wooded areas. I hope to explore Gunpowder Falls more in the future!
Chester at Gunpowder Falls

Friday, March 24, 2017

The year I gave up on winter riding

I spent a few minutes the other day scrolling through my facebook timeline and noticing the lack of recent horse pictures. Frosty was ridden once in November and again in February (in Aiken). Chester had a few weekend rides in December, maybe 1 or 2 in January and none since then. This winter really just took the wind out of my sails on the riding front. If this means I am not a dedicated horse owner then I guess I'm not dedicated. The horses have had unlimited hay, grain 2x a day, regular farrier care and blanket changes etc. through the last 4 months just hardly any riding. They are sick of being stuck in the dry lot (pastures are still too soft/muddy from this previous snow melt to turn out there yet). Daylight savings has come and gone and it is light enough to ride after work now, but the motivation is not there. The cold damp weather just has me burned out...add that to the fact that it is unclear if either horse even remembers what a saddle is.
Sorry about the buzzkill post...sometimes I just wonder why I am doing this?

The one time I rode in November

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Are you ready to have horses at home?

There comes a time in the life of many horse people when we may feel that is no longer cost effective to board or that we would get more enjoyment (this is a lie) out of our horses if they were moved home to our own properties. Here is a simple guide to determining if you are ready to move your horses home, if you can pass all these tests/perform these tasks, congrats! You are ready to embark on the joyous adventure of having your own farm.

1. Find the muddiest place on your newly acquired property and roll around in it, make sure you do this 15-20 minutes before you have to go to work

2. On a day with 40+ mph wind gusts practice haltering and leading 2 horses at once to the barn...make sure this is at 5:30 am or some other time when it is pitch dark out for maximum effect

3. Grab the hose and spray ice cold water down your boots and gloves, this will simulate the conditions after cleaning water buckets and troughs in the winter

4. Take a round bale, tear it apart and spread all over your car and inside the house, now that you have horses at home your car and house will look like this all the time

5. Got a tractor without 4wd (I do not recommend this)? Cool! have fun figuring out tire chains (remember it will be dark and probably sleeting/raining while you are doing this)

6. Become really good at starting your ancient tractor using ether and/or an adjustable wrench across the solenoid

7. Make friends with your local chain saw and lawn equipment dealer, since you will spend more time with your chain saw and weed whacker than you ever will with the horses

8. Are you allergic to bees? Do you have crazy reactions to poison ivy? Time to find out!

9. Practice carefully calculating/titrating the correct amounts of expensive pasture fertilizers and herbicides only to have your pastures still look like mostly shit at the end of the season

10. Remember that Costco and Sam's club sell vodka and boxed wine in bulk

Monday, February 27, 2017

Aiken day 3: Frosty lets her freak flag fly

The third day in Aiken started out innocently enough, we got to the farm, cleaned stalls, and turned the horses out for a bit, then I went for my first ride ever in my very own "ring." There is a leveled out flat spot on our property which is mostly square and most importantly FLAT. I was able to WTC in there and could probably even add jumps or dressage letters if I ever want to. Frosty was a little excited but I did not think much of it (I should have).

We cleaned tack and John's horse got a bath (thanks to the almost 80 degree temps!) before heading out to meet some of John's friends to ride in Hitchcock woods. I did not take any pictures of their boarding barn but it was gorgeous and located right outside the woods. I should have known this would happen considering the fact that Frosty has not been out with a group for over a year but she was LIT, rearing/cantering in place and generally being a pain in the ass until she was allowed to go first (then she was perfect). We even jumped around a bit in the same place in the woods as the previous day. 
Needless to say Frosty had plenty of energy to spare after that ride so we headed in to town and parked the trailer along the street. The Aiken horse district is really unique, the roads are dirt, horses have right of way and even their own traffic signals. There is also a polo field (FLAT!) in the center of town which is open to the public so I got to ride on there and go fast (really fast!). Then we went for a walk around and looked at all the cute horses and nice properties.
Polo field=flat awesomeness

Walking around town
Overall this was a really solid day with lots of riding! The next day we loaded up and headed home :(. Until next time, Aiken!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Aiken day 2: touring the training track and riding Cathedral Aisle

Our second day in Aiken was another early morning, we went to the farm to turn the horses out and they loved the soft sand (big difference from the rocks and mud at home!) It was so nice to see them able to stretch out and roll. Later that morning we went to tour the Aiken training track, I was really excited to see the track as I have never seen race horses work or been to a track before. The tour was conducted by one of the head trainers and we got to watch the horses work, see the starting gates, and see where the horses lived. I hope to stop by the track to watch the horses on return trips!

Young racehorse in training

After the tour it was time to ride! We went to Hitchcock woods which has a large trail system in the center of Aiken. I picked the Cathedral Aisle trail. Hitchcock is pretty awesome in that it only allows hiking and horses, no bikes or motorized vehicles allowed. The woods were so gorgeous with soft, sandy footing and lots of my favorite trees (Longleaf pines.) There was a small jump course and even a grass ring (with GREEN grass) further down the trails. I got to jump Frosty around a little for the first time in many months and she was loving it! The temps were in the high 60s and it started to drizzle just as we were getting back to the trailers (talk about perfect timing!)
Cathedral Aisle fences-I did not jump these because I am a chicken and they were big!

Frosty is confused by the green grass-she has not seen it in SO long (small jump/XC course was behind us)

Longleaf pines in Hitchcock woods and blue skies (this is an older picture from when we visited to look at our property)

Happy poneh and rider loving the great footing