Mold-Pocalyse 2015

Mold. The enemy of tack. Its why people build climate controlled tack rooms. Mold just grows its ugly fuzz on the top of your nice (and even not nice) leather and gives everything a nauseous green glow.

At the barn, I get to use the instructor’s tack room. Right now, we only have four people working out of it, and so there is LOTS of room. Which really means my things have spread a little bit out of control, but it doesn’t matter because there is so much room for activities! We have a fan, and a mini fridge, and normally it just feels like the Hilton.

The downside of this tack room reared its ugly head this winter. It rained. And rained. And rained. And flooded everything. Including the tack room! I spent a lot of time troubleshooting. An eyewitness saw water running down the inner wall of the tack room, and so I looked to the gutters. They were overflowing, and I convinced one of the brothers to “help” me clean them out (I was mostly there for moral support and camaraderie). I nervously waited for the next bit of rain as I pushed the water up the tack room to the door so my things could dry out. I cleaned the mold off my tack.

It rained again. The tack room flooded again. My things are all in the back third or so of the room, which is also where the concrete slab has sunk or something, so the floor is about a quarter/half inch lower than the rest of the room. I broomed out more water and wondered what else it could be. I walked behind the barn and looked at the drainage. The farm is about a foot lower than the surrounding properties because someone decided topsoil was something to sell… and the property line is basically on the barn. I noticed there was a buildup of leaf litter on the concrete slab, and the downspout for the gutter didn’t have anywhere to go. Maybe the water was flowing down the spout and pooling, then leaking back into the tack room!

So I used my boots to make a ‘ditch’ for the water to run somewhere else. I made sure the barn foundation was higher than the surrounding dirt, and I crossed my fingers. I broomed out the water in the tack room and cleaned my tack again… At this point the moisture was in the air, so even though I cleaned the tack, it was moldy again within about two days. Ugh!

The next time it rained, the tack room still flooded!! I was really running out of ideas. I was considering taking my things home, or maybe just burning all the moldy things (not really, I’m broke). And then I happened to be in the tack room on another rainy day. And I saw water coming UP THROUGH THE FLOOR! Ahhh!

Now we needed to figure out how to fix the floor, before the next rain storm. Robert and I dutifully googled concrete fillers, and we bought some kind of caulk to fill in the floor. Five tubes later, we felt like the crack was all sealed up. And so we waited again…

And it rained… and rained… and rained…

And the tack room was mostly dry!!! Finally! We took all the blankets and saddle pads and washed all those things and only brought back what we needed. We cleaned all the tack again, and washed off everything else that was moldy. And mold-pocalypse was survived!

[No pictures, because it was just too depressing]


Another riding update

Well summer camps are all done for me, and the barn is closed this week so everyone can catch their breath and enjoy the holiday weekend. Whew!

I have one more week of teaching, and then I can go back to summer, which is to say more work on side projects. In barn land, it means I might be able to ride more than once a week with my only my lessons and no subbing. I have actually managed to ride all the ponies a time or two since last I updated you, but they were quick flashes, so I’m going to update all at once:

Jellybean and I got to ride one Saturday morning. I don’t have to lunge her anymore before riding her, and she is better and better at steering. I switched her from a full cheek snaffle to an o ring snaffle, because I am lazy and already have that bridle set up (mold-pocalypse 2015). We worked in the jump field, and she was good at the walk/trot/canter. We didn’t do many small circles, since I had too much junk in the arena. We did have a few moments when a trailer was being hooked up that Jellybean was distracted, but since I suspect she was “spooking” to get out of work a couple rides ago, I just ignored it.

We also went over a baby x a couple of times. This x was probably 6-10 inches tall (monstrous!) in the middle, and so we walked over it a few times and then trotted. Jellybean didn’t seem to remember that she wanted to go around the jump, so that was a good thing for her to forget. The first two times she trotted over the jump, she decided it was HUGE and jumped it like it was about 2’3″. Cute Jelly.

Anyways, she is doing well when I actually get to ride her, and maybe there is a dressage show in her future this fall.

Whew! We have been moving along, slowly in our dressage training, but moving. Knots got to go to pony club camp this summer and learn all about relaxing in groups and schooling some of the new cross country jumps. I rode him a couple of days after he returned, and I’d be lying if it wasn’t one of the most frustrating rides I’ve ever had with him. I have gotten spoiled being the only one riding him the last few months. All our rides have built, since there was nothing between them. Unfortunately, he forgot lots of concepts I was hoping were more clear in his mind. I keep trying to woo-saw and catch my breath, but the hopes I had of jumping a 2’3″ course were dashed when we were galloping away from my spur and throwing our head up to evade any contact. We ended the ride in side reins trying to remember something we worked on the few weeks prior.

I actually rode Gracie! No photographic evidence, but it happened. We rode in the big arena and I wanted to see where we were with her cantering. We walked and trotted really slowly, and I felt like the wasn’t running along. She tends to get so fast she is just tripping over herself, and then has to run along. Of course, when I say run, I mean trot extremely fast. Anyways, we cantered, and after she stopped her little buck and roll routine, I tried to do a few more transitions. If my weight was on her back, she wanted to buck and roll. If I was in a half seat she was much better. Sigh.

I think the course of treatment here will be to call out the chiropractor and see where that gets us. Its the cheapest of my options (lameness exam, neuro exam, etc), and if it helps awesome, if not we need to save up for the more expensive workups. Cross your fingers. My plan is to schedule mid-July.

So I guess a few rides in the last few weeks. I’m hoping to have a more regular schedule, because I would like to consider Meadowcreek in September… but we need more jumping and XC schooling before that becomes a reality.

Barn cat snuggles

In the Land of the Summer Camps

Sorry for the lack of updates, summer took off with a bang! Some of the highlights:

Robert got to ride on his first trail ride! We went with Maggie and Jackson and some of Jackson’s family off to Indian Spirit Springs, which is an awesome little place not far from the barn. They have lots of open space, they are always friendly, and its rarely crowded. Of course, riding in between rain showers generally lowers the attendance.

After the trail ride, I got to have a final dressage lesson before Maggie went to AT with the National Guard. I don’t remember anything in particular, except I shouldn’t ride without spurs the ride before a dressage ride. Unless I want to deal with “But you didn’t make me yesterday!”

Summer camps started last week, and boy are they fun! I have helped with summer camps off and on since I was about 13 years old, and I still love helping people get a quick taste of horses. We had a good small group to start out with, and our new staff members jumped right in. We had some personal growths, and our camps are all full until the last week!

It has been a little bit crazy with camps and my extra class I’m currently taking and the class I’m teaching. I mostly missed Jellybean’s birthday! I say mostly, because I was teaching a lesson when someone asked me how old she was, and I just said four, until Robert pointed out that the day was in fact her birthday!! I guess that makes me a bad mom. Hopefully I can improve… Which also reminds me that we didn’t mention Gracie’s birthday on the blog, although we congratulated her on making it another year without impaling herself on the day.

In other news, I managed to get bucked off a lesson pony. He’s a sultry five year old mustang/QH who generally just jogs along. Once in a while he decides he wants to be done, and he does a couple of baby warning bucks, then actual bucks. Sometimes a kid falls off, but mostly he is ridden by adults so it isn’t a huge problem. Anyway, one of my students was sitting on him when he decided to be a jerk, and she fell off. I got on and worked him through the exercise he didn’t finish with her, and then I started to canter him around (another trigger). He didn’t like that and bucked a little, so I spurred the crap out of him and pulled on his head, and he sent me up into the air. One of these days I’ll be able to keep my shoulders straight up and down, by this day they fell behind me and I landed on my booty. We had a meeting with Jesus on the lunge line, and I got back on and walk/trot/cantered him around. He was done. The kid finished up, and the day was done.

Anyways, calm before the storm this week before another week of camp. I’d like to imagine I’ll ride, but with work and camps and lessons, I don’t really see June being a good month for me. Until next time 🙂