January 31, 2014

Snow Days

It's been snowy one day, then in the 50's the next.  On with the blanket and then off with it.  Dani's had a few rolls in the snow but nothing else has been going on to post about.

Maybe on Sunday it will be tolerable for a short ride???  We'll have to see.  Dani likes the snow.  She finds a nice deep area to roll in.  Then she gets to dig for remnants of hay bits in David's area.  He'll probably be getting another big bale soon but I now have a green fencing to put up if I'm out and about and letting her wander.

I'm ready for it to stay lighter for a little longer when I get to the barn.  I'm ready for some nicer days but I don't want to go through another fire summer here.  For now I'm content with the snow and my mare with the fuzzy fetlocks!  LOL.

January 30, 2014

Oh the Latigo.....

I see the function, I can even embrace the versatility of being able to change up a saddle, replace straps etc. without bringing to the saddler...but honestly western saddles are a bit complicated! Needing to have leather working skills what not something I imagined upon buying a saddle!

First we have the long latigo used to attach the girth to the saddle and tighten it.  I think I have that down.  I get it.  It's a bit bulky and not necessary...I think there are better ways to cinch a saddle but it goes with the western tack.  I get it. I wanted to moved my girth from the 3/4 position to the front position or ring on my saddle.  I think it will fit better on Dani.  So I had to cut the leather tie off the latigo to move it and therefore could not reuse the string.

I found some saddle string that was 1/4 inch in thickness.  Anything local I found was too thick and you have to put this through double thickness in one of the holes, I needed something skinnier.  I was surprised I couldn't find what I needed locally though.  Guess people cut their leather but I want to keep my fingers thank you....anyhow.  

Here's the process after much searching online to figure this out.  I ran the leather through the two bottom holes on each side of the strap.

Then I took the two ends and fed them threw the single hole on the backside....

And finally the front side of the strap.  This took a tool to pull centimeter by centimeter of leather through the tight hole.  I also greased the lace with some saddle soap which seemed to help.

The backside has a twist on one part of the lace, it's supposed to lay flat, whatever.  It works and it went through the hole.

The loose ends on the front side were then placed under the lace that went through the original two holes.  I trimmed it up after this picture a little so the excess wasn't so long.  You can see the crimp marks I made while trying to get this sucker through the holes and tight.  

It was tough!  I beat the crap out of that leather.  Perhaps there is an actual tool for this?  Better method??  I just got the job done and now my latigo is secured where I want it.

Now, for the off-billet, it's different.  Of course right?  Can't have three holes there, no let's have two instead, just for fun!  The first time I had the thing tied on I just knotted it.  Nothing pretty and probably not the most secure.  What I did this time was thread double thickness leather lace into one hole but leaving a little loop open.

Then I ran that double lace back through the second hole and then tucked in the excess in the loop on the front side.  Voi-la!!  Much more secure than a shoelace knot!

Again the back side twisted but the lace went through the holes and the off-billet is now aligned in the correct position.  All done!

January 29, 2014

Trailer mats

Last weekend Steve and I worked on the tack room again.  All odd nails and screws have been removed and so has the saddle stand.  We cut up two mats I already had purchased a while back.  They need some cleaning so when it's warmer I'll get those out and scrub them and hang them to dry.

The size and width of the mats meant we had two large sections and two smaller.  I'm fine with that.  They are heavy.  The large sections will still be a workout to remove but they are movable by myself.  We'll still get about a half inch thick wood to put on the whole floor to make the floor flush with the door lip and therefore allowing me to sweep directly out of the tack room rather than having to use a dust pan.

I worked on some of the caulking, scraping it off.  I'll need to get my mask and eye protection for the sanding of the rusty spots but it's nice to see the tack room revamp moving forward!

January 28, 2014

Growing Up with Riding Lessons

I started riding when I was 9.  We'd moved from Colorado to Virginia and my mom found the Great Falls Horse Center.  They had good deals on group lessons.  My first riding companion was Chug a Boom.  The cutest little thing you have even seen!  He was a Chingoteague pony.

At this barn you received your horse assignment, grabbed the bridle and when to the back of the barn for the helper to go bridle the horse for you.  Then you would bring them to a row of hitching posts and groom and tack up the pony.

I learned a lot on Chug a Boom.  He even freaked my mom out when he got made at a horse behind him and kicked several times.  I stayed in the saddle but it was like being on a bucking bronco!

Our basic beginner lessons involved stretching and balance exercises.  The ponies were oh so patient.

I eventually grew up some and needed a taller horse so I rode Shadow.  I learned to jump on her, tiny jumps but jumps none the less.  

We also did canters where the group would one at a time canter around the ring and go to the end of the line.  She was a pretty little thing. 

My next assignment was Cinny.  In this first picture you can see a little rider on Chug a Boom behind us!

Cinny had an attitude.  I don't think she liked being a lesson horse.  She was cinchy and tried to bite you when you tightened the girth and when you tried to mount.  She was also the first horse I met that was a cribber.

Even with her faults, under saddle I remember having a good time on her.  

She was a pretty girl and I loved chestnuts.

We moved on from the Great Falls Riding Center to another private instructor.  She was someone who we later found out had stolen horses and was a bit shady.  We didn't last there too long.  Honestly I have no idea which horses were stolen!

After only 3 years of riding I was in my first horse show.  First and last I might add!  I won two 3rds and a 6th.  I had a fun time but really wasn't into that scene.  I rode Witters a bay pony in the jumping short stirrups equitation classes.

Barny was a white appaloosa with the spots just on his skin.  He was interesting by a pain.  He was stubborn.  He's the first horse I fell off of.  He ran off with me a week before the show and I spent that entire week soaking in the tub every morning.  Ouch.  I remember during the show warm up I tried to get him to jump but then when he didn't want to was going to turn him around and try again, that's when he decided and I was unseated.

I went to another stable with a gal named Joy I think.  She was an FBI agent and DIDN'T steal horses!  B.C. was a favorite of mine.  He was an off track TB.  Very push botton but with moments of "oh my god that's going to kill me!".  I did jumping on him and trail rides off the property.

He was a good little jumper and even though I didn't want to show we had fun doing little combinations of jumps.

He was also very tall, over 16 hands.  Often times I would use the fence railing to hop on him. Is he the reason I like chestnuts so much?  He was gorgeous.  The pictures don't do him justice but he was a horse I definitely clicked with.

There were some other horses as well that I grew up riding at one lesson barn or another.  I haven't tracked down all the old pictures.  By the end of high school though riding was not affordable to me or my parents so I only went on trail rides every once in a while.  I should have kept up with it, I should have figured out a way. I didn't want to compete, I just wanted my own horse to trail ride with.  Most colleges didn't offer a trail riding team, they had jumping teams or dressage.  Not my cup of tea.  So I did other things in college.  I know I could have figured a way to ride every week or twice a month at least...you young-uns....KEEP UP WITH IT!!!

Of course we all know that this story ends happily since I got back into riding full swing in 2010 with lessons and leasing horses.  I now have my dream horse!  She's a great partner and I'm content as ever to finally own a horse since October 2012.  Even though it would have been great to have had a horse sooner, and I probably could have, Dani's the perfect girl for me.  She's a great first horse for this re-beginner!

January 27, 2014

Show Me Your Barn Blog Hop

Occasionally I see surveys and such on other horse blogs that make their way around to a lot of the blogs.  This one was simple enough and since I don't have too much exciting stuff going on with training Dani I figured I'll post this...why not!

1) A view of the barn
It's just a shed row with about 6 stalls, each having a nice storage area behind. Electricity, water, lights are all there. You have to provide the feeders and water troughs and do all the care yourself. I love it being closer to my home and I enjoy being the one to care for Dani every day. Nothing like hearing that low throaty nicker when I arrive each day! I'm the "Hay Girl!"

2) Your horse's living space
Dani lives in a run. Unfortunately there are no horses right next to her. I think that would be nicer to have a friend right there but she sees the other horses up and down the hill.

The common pasture area can be secured for roaming but since there are trailers, hay stacks and equipment stored in this area I don't let her go unattended.  Plus this is where the fun obstacles are located so often people are out utilizing this area on the weekends.  Dani gets to go to the fence lines and say hello to other horse residents and neighbors to the south.

3) The tack room
 Behind Dani's run I have room to store hay and tack.  We've set up a saddle stand I had and then installed another on the boards.  There is a shelf for all the my grooming supplies and plenty of space to place my muck tools.  It's my own space and I try to keep it as organized as I can.

4) View of where you ride
Lately I ride in the arena closed to Dani's barn. It's big, it's sandy and convenient. We'll ride around the grounds sometimes too, near the fence that borders the road, around the round pen etc. Soon I hope I'll be able to post pictures of trail rides!

5) Your favorite feature of your facility
I love the obstacles placed in the area. It's great to work Dani on those and not have to set up a lot of stuff. There is a shed in the middle of the picture off to the other side of the arenas that also has more obstacles like poles for pole bending, cones, and jumps. 

Another thing I like is having the place to myself most of the time! There are maybe a couple people riding on the weekends but for the most part I'm not in anyones way and they aren't in mine. Saturday evenings during the summer the Gymkanas are busy but that's not until about 4pm.

Only downside is the amount of turn out Dani can receive. It's a shared space so she can't be on pasture 24/7. At least her run is roomy and I let her out into the shared space as often as I can. I've been very happy at Kit Carson Riding Club. At first I was hesitant because of the lack of pasture board but Dani is doing well. 

I'm still on the look out for other places and always up for the idea of trying to get our house sold and buy some land....we'll see, maybe that will happen this year.

January 26, 2014

January 25, 2014

Hay Trough

Sweet!!  Semi flexible tubing wound on the edges of the net appears to be working!!!!!

January 23, 2014

Must Ride More...

Dani is a good horse, even when it's been weeks since I've been in the saddle.  She's a horse you can just get on and ride.  It's hard when I can only ride on the weekends right now and of course I have other responsibilities too.  It's not an excuse I know.  I hopped up on Dani this Sunday for a short ride.  I wasn't feeling good all day so didn't get out until pretty late so probably only rode for 20 minutes before the sun set and it started getting windy and cold.

She did better about mounting, I didn't so much but I think when I wear jeans I just don't have the flexibility I do when I wear my breeches.  Stretchy fabric is the best!  My next riding purchase will be jean breeches...the best of both worlds.  I rode Dani through the noodles, over the little bridge and into the dry water puddle.  She's a good girl, she remembered all that stuff.  We walked up and down the hill and then out and around the grounds.  

Then I walked to the gate and opened it from her back.  She was so funny trying to nudge it with her nose...but in a trail competition that's a no-no, personally I don't mind it if she isn't barging ahead and banging my knees.  I opened the gate and walked us through then closed it back up.  I haven't gotten it down to the point of being able to keep my hand on the gate the whole time, which is the proper way, but being uncoordinated that I am I am very happy to be able to open it at all and keep Dani slow and responsive.

We just kept at the walk today but I'll try to be better about riding more on the weekends, even short rides.  She needs more work with standing for grooming and not being so fussy and I know the more I do that the better she'll get.

Sometimes it's hard to even think about setting up my light system to even do groundwork.  It's cold and lately my hubby has actually been home!!!  This weekend is supposed to be really nice so I plan on getting some pony time in but we'll also head to Denver for some aquarium and beer brewing errands I think.  Perhaps I'll scrape some caulk out of the trailer tack room too but the priority will be to get a ride in.  Or two.....one at least....let's not set ourselves up to fail!

Get in the saddle peeps!  On the count of 3......one, two.............THREE!!!!  Weeeeeeee!!!!

January 22, 2014

Why Do Horses Pee on Their Hay?

I removed my slow feed netting from the trough....I'm trying to see if there is a simple way to make the net ends stiff by placing some type of non flexible material on the edges.  The lattice worked so nicely but broke so easily.  Frustration.  I love my Nibblenet.  It's perfect and works so nicely!

Even feeding in the trough, of course without the slow feeding attachment, lots of hay gets on the ground.  Dani steps on it with a muddy hoof or lately, because it hasn't been warm enough to really dry things out in the shaded stall, her feet have pee mud on them.  She's also peed ON the hay!  Urge!!!!!  One of many reasons to use a feeder is to reduce waste.  I don't understand why some horses will pee on their hay.  At least it's not too regular of a thing but I've noticed it a couple times.  I just need to figure out a permanent fix for the trough slow feeder or just go out and buy another Nibblenet.  I don't want to spend tons of money on solutions that may not work nor spend that much time on it with the other projects I have going on in my life.  At least this issue doesn't seem to faze my mare....

Update:  Just did a quick search and got an idea!!!  

This idea will take very little extra hardware and cost me less than $10.  Granted if I had just bought a slow feeder....expensive as they are, I would have probably saved money!  LOL.  Sometimes trying to retrofit something it's the best plan.  Nibblenets will be my future purchases but I'm gonna make this trough work darn it!  

To Be Continued.....

January 20, 2014

The Tail End

I noticed Daenery's tail was touching the ground again.  Very happy it grows so nicely.  Her mane doesn't as much but stays thick and long.  I've compared pictures of her to last year when her tail was shorter.  I didn't realize how much it's grown!  Love it!

This picture below is from I think November of 2012.  Somewhere around then.  Dani's tail was about mid-way down her cannon bone.  It's easily 8 or more inches longer now and I've trimmed it once already!

I trimmed a few inches off her tail today.  I really don't want her accidentally stepping on it and pulling out hairs (ouch!).  I love combing through her tail and making it nice and silky.  She has some gorgeous locks!!  Please ignore the ridiculous fuzzy fetlocks...it is winter after all!

Steve and I did some more work to the trailer.  All odd screws are out of the trailer and we got the saddle stand out too.  Opens up the trailer really nicely.  I'll have to figure out where the new saddle racks will go but they will be directly on the wall rather than jutting out into the space of the tack room.  We ripped up the ugly carpet and the boards look nice under it.  Next step is to cut my rubber mats to fit.  I may even think about laying another layer of wood (removable) over the floor and then lay the mats on that.  There is a several inch lip at the door and if I can get the floor flush with that lip it will make sweeping that much easier!

Now will begin the scrapping of chalk and sanding of the walls in preparation for Corroseal and then paint!  Maybe next weekend Steve and I will go to a trailer store to figure out the wiring.  He wants to get that done asap.  He feels more comfortable having everything electric completely replaced.  He wants to make sure his little wife is safe.  Awe....