February 04, 2016

Photo Shoot....sort of

A former colleague from CO is doing lots of fun art things for his enjoyment.  He said he wanted to do some of my horses and wanted me to sent him some pictures without too busy a background.  It was fading light in the evening but I figured why not.  Here are some of the "results".

My two ungroomed ponies in the field nibbling and grass bits. 

Chance mainly kept his head down like there was something really yummy buried beneath the grass.  He was licking mostly.  LOL

Then he moved and I thought "sweet maybe he'll pose!"  Nope just an itch.

Then he walked to me curious if my camera was edible.

I backed off a little but didn't quite get a good shot before he went back to grazing.  Plus, " Hi Dani's butt!"

Oh and speaking of butts....at least her head was up.  I think her butt is cute.

Chance decided to run around a bit and snort at things but the fading light meant my shutter speeds could not keep up with the action.

Finally Dani was a good girl and listened to sounds of people off in the distance.  Nice set up pretty girl!

I can always try again since they are right in the backyard!  :-)

February 02, 2016

Problems with Mud

Horses, precipitation and dirt....that means lots of mud.  I've mentioned on this blog that we have a drainage problem around the barn and stable yard.  First off there are no gutters on the barn.  Who would build a barn and not put on gutters to move the water away from the building?  The barn has been here probably since 1997 so maybe it just wasn't an issue then?

A north facing area of the "wormhole" as we call it creates a very muddy path and the water doesn't drain easily at all.  The muddy path is through the riding area towards the barnyard

Our plan when we finally have time, it's not raining or snowing and the ground isn't frozen solid is to start the French drain here along with removing much of the muck and replacing it with pea gravel and some sand.  The adjacent area, the "riding area" will be a project for another day.  I want to grade it slightly (there is hump right in the middle) and add rock and then sand to make it a decent large round pen area with good footing, it's mostly flat so will work well I think.  Plus when I get sand footing in there I'm sure it will be a favorite rolling spot for the horses.

Once the water does start flowing a little bit from the muddy path in the riding area it creeps around the higher ground of the barn walkway.  Then the water makes a path along the edge of the barn overhang.

It veers to the left of the trough and forms a "quagmire".  Some water drains to the right and some is starting to drain towards The Shire pasture but also towards where our septic leach field is located in the lawn...not a good thing.  Where you can see the fence corner there is a human walk thru and this is about where the lowest lying area of the barn yard is located, we'll need to build this substrate back up at some point.  

The plan is to create a French drain along the water pathway past the barn, towards this puddle near the trough and then towards the right away from the leach field and out to the other fields.  In the picture below with Dani this is the area to the side of the trough where we want to direct all of the water, between the barn and shed, and then that would lead the water to the other fields.  The eventual goal is to lead all of the water off to the natural slope of the land where it flows to a gully off our property.

You can sort of make out a line that goes between the barn and shed in the property aerial below.  The line moves across Gallifrey and Westeros.  It's hard to make out the topography but the barnyard has become the lowest area of this part of the property (even though overall everything slopes away from the area).   It's probably from years of horse use and inevitable compaction just in that paddock.  It's just what happens when heavy animals are concentrated in a smaller area.  Substrate needs to be added regularly but water should have been directed away from these buildings with gutters and downspouts.

When we had freezing temperatures for a while the muddy pathway had become even more hazardous when it froze solid.  It wasn't just hard and solid, it was pocked with hoof holes that were at least 6 inches deep and could pose a threat to bones and tendons.  When we had our Jonas experience I kept the horses off this area for fear that they wouldn't see the pock holes with a covering of snow.  When summer comes this could become a breeding ground for insects we would like to prevent from breeding rather than encourage.  

 I'm hoping here in the next month or two that we can get the drainage project under way, to also include gutters on the outbuildings shortly after we install the French drain.  We haven't had the time to really deal with this since moving in, unpacking and having family over often with the holidays. The weather issues have not allowed us to trench the area for the French drain either, so we've just made due and dealt with the mess.  I've kept a close eye on the horses' hooves and fetlocks and have been proactive in preventing Scratches and Thrush with my arsenal of No Thrush and MTG.

I want to get this project done so badly!  Steve and I plan to start measuring and figuring out a supplies list.  Here's hoping that weather wise we can get this done in the next month or so. I'll post before and after photos when we finally get this worked on.

January 31, 2016

January 29, 2016

Steve in the Lead

Steve and I gave both horses a good grooming on Saturday and then took them for a walk around the neighborhood.  I was riding Dani and he was leading Chance.  It was best for them to start on the ground and since it'd been another couple weeks since the fall and little work done with Chance we figured it was best to do some groundwork.  The weather has been colder and then there has been some rain and even some snow flurries.  It hasn't bode well for the riding area footing, the muddy Wormhole or for giving us a moment to work with either horse.

I rode behind Steve and Chance and sometimes in front of them.  Steve asked questions a couple times about what to do when Chance was pulling in front of him or circling around him.  I told him to snap the lead and make Chance back if he didn't listen and that seemed to work for them.  Chance was excited to walk out of the road and see some sights.  When we walked past a neighbors house things went awry rather quickly.  Chance decided to prance, toss his head and lift his tail.  Gorgeous as he was Steve looked like he was showing a silly yearling in a halter class and Chance wasn't listening very well.

Steve brought him back to the barn since he was afraid of getting out of control.  I didn't realize that and thought we were going to walk around the back of the property away from the horse Chance seemed to want to impress.  Dani started getting a little agitated now that Chance was gone but I wouldn't have that.  I made her circle and turn her hindquarters and then made her walk behind the house and by a plum tree to the easement on the north of our property.  She glanced at the large heating unit monster on the side of the house but I wasn't going to let her feign spookiness...nope.

We walked around the back of the house and then up the south western side by the wooded lot adjacent to our property.  A loud clicking sound got Dani very agitated and I noticed that a line of the fencing from Westeros was broken and laying inside the field.  There was nothing in our path to hurt her so we walked past the scary spot.  All this time that we were riding around the property Chance was having a fit and galloping around the paddocks and into Gallifrey the pasture we were using at this time.  He gets really upset and tears up the ground with his antics but I made sure Dani kept calm and didn't act up with her own shenanigans.  I don't know what to do about Chance but we'll figure out something.  We'll also have to see how he is if ridden off alone.

I eventually rode Dani around the front of the property and back to the barn where I dismounted to untack my mare.  We ended on a good note, not so sure about Steve though.  I think I need to work on him one on one with Chance, that way I can show him what to do when Chance acts a certain way.  We do plan on taking some lessons soon, possibly together since I'm not against going back to basics anyways.  Always good to work on your seat and the feel of riding since that is sooo much of what it is.  I think a weekly lesson on Chance could do wonders for Steve and I, it would be good for us both to ride Chance and Dani.  

I have noticed though that Chance is slowly getting more responsive to Steve and I at feeding time.  He's nickering more and not acting like we are the mean boss mare like Dani.  Sometimes Chance will move away fast from us as if he's afraid he'll get nipped.  The more we work with him he'll realize we are boss mares but a little more fair than Dani!  He and Dani are definitely different.  He's on the lower end of the pecking order and she's higher so there is a bit more of that "oh my god!" freak out reaction vs. Dani's "um...why should I?" reaction.  It will just take time and as the weather and El Nino cooperate we'll get more time in working with him.  It's a slow process when I have so much I need to do in order to make the substrate safer. 

Oh plus I need to find a job, there is that whole thing, I'm trying to find something biotech/lab related and since I haven't done that work in a while I'm taking some refresher courses at a local college.

January 28, 2016

How we Faired with Jonas

It's been year's since I've dealt with a Noreaster.  The snow is different out here, it's icy and there isn't much you can do to remove the stuff.  Powder from Colorado is easier to deal with.  I was curious to see how this storm would be.  

  The day before the storm was warm and sunny.  The horses didn't know what was coming but they were soaking up the warmth none the less

I was hoping we wouldn't be without power since we don't have a generator yet.  I filled a barrel with water and kept that in the garage as a precaution in case we were out of power and needed water.  The horse troughs were filled to the brim and the water heater working well.  If we lost power and water iced over my plan was to boil water on the grill outside and then break the ice and add the hot water to the troughs, not perfect but would work in a pinch.

At least I only had to use the grill for making filet mignons.  A little snow won't prevent a girl from Colorado from grilling.

 It will be nice to get a generator at some point to not have to worry about what to do out here in the country.

The ponies had their blankets, Chance's was a little too small (didn't cover his bum) and didn't have any insulation so I used the 100 weight liner of Dani's with his top sheet.  We'll have to get him a new blanket with some insulation but at least this worked well enough for this storm. 

 I was mostly worried about keeping them dry since we were to receive some freezing rain before the snow.

When the snow did come the horses seemed to have a good time in it and loved racing around the pasture.  The frozen mud that is located in the wormhole area was gated off.  I didn't like that there were deep pock-holes in the mud and that they were a potential leg breaking hazard.  I hope to get a temporary solution going this week to make that area more safe.  More to come on that.

The humans also had a bit of fun in the snow a couple days later!

January 27, 2016

Beer Touring

Steve's parents stayed after New Years since they offered to take care of our critters while we attended Marie's wedding.  That also gave us all time to check out some more breweries.

Oi my liver....and yet yum.  There was also another cool flight tray at this brewery!  Lonerider was pretty good too.  Lots of beers I liked so certainly a place we'll have to return.

Steve and his mom.

Mac and I.

New Year's day my brother who only lives 3 hours north of me came down to hang.  We went to Ponysaurus Brewery.  I don't know if I'm liking this one the best so far because of the name, atmosphere or the drinks available but it's a great brewery and I highly recommend it!

Selfie with beer!

Family time is fun even if it means fewer chances to ride the ponies.  The benefit of having them in the back yard will be that I work with them more often.  Here's hoping to good weather and more riding chances!

January 26, 2016

New Years and Ponies

Steve's dad and Steve really like going to local breweries.  Heck who am I kidding, so do I.  That's what we did on New Year's Eve until about 9ish, then we headed home to toast in the New Year properly....in our pjs of course!

Crank Arm Brewery was on the best breweries we hit that night.  I really like the creative serving tray they used.  The decor was very bike oriented.

There was a wit, a couple saisons (my favorite beer styles) and then some Golden ale and browns.  They seemed to have a good variety and most were pretty good.  We'll have to go again.

Steve and I took on the large came of Jenga...it went for quite a while but alas I was the one to knock it over.  I was doing good for a bit though!

Me with my in-laws Mac and Kathi.

Back at home with my love toasting the New Year with our Dragon flutes from our wedding....lovely gift from Michael and Justin and Mike and Ashaleigh.   Love you guys!

This was the first New Year's that I could go out and celebrate with my pony...now ponies!  I went out for a hug with Chance and Dani and tried to do some selfies.  In the pitch black dark I couldn't really see what I was pointing the camera at and I think I blinded both myself and the ponies

Nothing like a Chance ear and then a photo of my hand with Dani....didn't even make it in my own selfie!

Blurry nostril pictures are awesome...

Was very happy though to toast in the New Years with all my critters at home!  Hope you all make 2016 awesome!

January 25, 2016

My Bestie's Wedding

My best friend Marie got married in January.  We headed to Houston, TX for the ceremony.  I was one of the bridesmaids along with her two sisters.  Before the big day we all went out to a nice dinner just us girls and many of Marie's friends in Houston.  Marie lives in Ankey, IA and her future husband was in Oklahoma for a while but they are both now ending up in Houston.

It was a hard thing to plan a wedding from another state but what a gorgeous wedding it was!  I cried many times even before the big day.  It makes me so happy to see my best friend so happy.  I really like Raja her husband. They are a perfect match!  So for the night out with the girls I was told to be more dressy.  I'm a jeans and tee shirt kinda gal so this was different.  I still had jeans but donned mud free cowboy boots and a cute top.  I did my hair in air dried beachy waves.

Marie was badass as always and though I know she was exhausted from little sleep and lots of preparations she had a  great time and I think was pleased to have long time friends there to celebrate her night.  Several drinks and good food with friends makes for a great evening!

The day of was pretty well organized.  Marie is not a picky person and was one of the most relaxed brides I've ever seen.  Her dress was gorgeous and she was stunning.

I had to bring Percy our traveling penguin along.  He was at Steve and I's wedding and was a hit with all our friends and family.  He wanted to at least come along and wish Marie well.

So here are Steve and I all gussied up for the wedding.  I'm wearing pearls!!!  Fake ones but still. I'm also wearing lace!!!!! Mandy, one of Marie's sisters had the idea we could do fuzzy wraps.  I wasn't sure about that but we all went with it and it turned out awesome.  It was like 1950's Hollywood glam!  Plus it was a weird chilly day in Houston and we were freezing so the warm wraps actually helped a little!

The next two pics are not mine, I think a family friend Sara took the one and Raja took the other.  I'm hoping I'll be able to show some cool professional pics once Marie gets those back, I know they are  going to be fantastic!

Look at the happy couple!

The wedding topper was perfect.  Marie has always loved elephants and it's awesome that her husband is an Indian man.  It's like fate or something.  She clicks really well with his culture and has already taken and plans to take more trips to India with him to see his family.  The rehearsal dinner had Marie dressed in traditional Indian attire and it was gorgeous.  The water works started there for me!

This is a glimpse of the reason I was gussied up....a fantastic occasion watching my bestie say vows with a wonderful man.  I'm looking forward to getting to know him better and seeing where their marriage takes them.  Cheers!