Spring Break Barn Fun

I did something wild this year. I actually took the entire week of Spring Break and didn’t head up to the lab. I didn’t even think about lab actually. I still haven’t graded my quizzes from two weeks ago… (sorry?) The weather was in the 80s for most of the week, what could be more perfect?

With all this not-in-lab time, I got to spend lots of time with the ponies. Tuesday and Thursday we had barn work days, and then Friday the farrier AND vet came out. I got lots of rides in, and Rob even got to ride. And the week isn’t quite over, we’re heading to the High Point Farm Bluebonnet Derby tomorrow with some students.

Since there were actually multiple rides, I’ll summarize a little. On the flat, Knots and I worked on being relaxed through changes of rein. Nothing too exciting, I was also teaching a lesson. During another ride, we worked on placement to the jumps a bit. We cantered into some smaller jumps and worked on a good approach. No rushing, no ducking, no letting go of the reins. The struggle is real. Anyways, we had some good jumps and ended over a 2’6″ oxer for fun.

Jellybean got a lot of attention this week. We rode in the dressage lesson Monday, on the flat in a dressage arena on Wednesday, and over fences Thursday. Whew. The flat work was ok, I was working on pushing her into the walk and trot and continuing to focus on her bending her neck. Over fences we were working on me not sucking. I needed to ride her up to and over every fence. And we didn’t need to putz. We were moderately successful at this; I did take my stirrups up more and that helped. Its really fun that she pricks her ears and looks for the jumps. She seems to enjoy going along.

There was some derp though, she stepped on the random pole in the arena that we were going over several times. And she had some weird baby moment where she lost her feet, and I thought we were going down. Not over a jump, but just cantering along. Sigh. Highs and lows.


Finally, to end out the week, we had a party with the farrier AND the vet, ON THE SAME DAY. All the money was spent :/

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Jellybean, Gracie, and Knots all got the basic shots for the area, a coggins test, and then Knots got his business cleaned up. Jellybean, of course, got a shot of sedative as soon as the vet walked towards her with the vaccines. Sigh. The farrier enjoyed the sedate Jellybean though. When the vet comes back again this spring, we get to float Jelly’s teeth. I’m sure Rob will get lots of pictures of that level of derp.

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All in all, a well-deserved break, and a mental reset for the things coming up.

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Knots is chubby, I get to ride in the new saddle

I finally got a break from real life and got to spend a morning at the barn. I had a laundry list of things I needed to take care of (ride three horses, farrier, clean tack, fix tack room, groom horses, …), and I managed to knock a few out. First order of business was getting the ponies ready for the farrier.

Confession time. The end of the year got crazy. Knots got shoes before the October Pine Hill, and (shame on me) still had them on when the farrier was here.

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Notice [left] foot with shoe still attached compared to hoof freshly clipped, but not finished

First order of business then was fixing the ponies feet. I can’t believe Knots kept his shoes for so long. Its been crazy wet on the farm. Gracie did not choose to be so conservative. She lost her shoes practically right after she got them on. In any case, the ponies are back on track, and to quote the farrier, “it’s a new year.”

Trimming was pretty uneventful. No shoes for the horses, since they aren’t really doing anything and their feet are in decent condition, except thrush. Can’t kill thrush when you live in mud. We pour chemicals on the thrush when we pick feet, but its like trying to stop an avalanche with boulder.

The other task on trimming day is to worm the ponies. Its winter, so I try to do something with a tapeworm drug, so we did QuestPlus. The syringe was easier than I remember (or maybe Robert has been doing the dirty work for a few months). I put Gracie and Jellybean in the round pen so they would be easy to grab for the farrier and filled my pockets with treats. Then treat, wormer, more treats. Jellybean didn’t approve.

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Gracie fix it!

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This is sooooo awful!

While the ponies were getting trimmed, I actually got to ride in my new saddle. As I mentioned, saddle fit is starting to be a problem. I have lost wither clearance with the saddles (or I never had it as good as I thought). Generally I ride with half pads, but I decided its time to put on the big girl panties and fix the problems. Enter new eBay saddle.

The new saddle is between a medium and a medium wide. It is a tad wide for Knots and Gracie (so far) with their total lack of muscle, but I think its going to fit well as they get back in shape.

Without the half pad and after riding, there is about 1.5 fingers between the wither and back, so I’m very optimistic. I also really like the saddle. I can’t decide if its an all purpose or a close contact. If you have an opinion please let me know. As far as riding, it has a pretty deep seat and is very comfortable. Although, there is a trail ride planned for MLK day that may challenge the comfort. The saddle is Excelle, which was made by Miller NYC. Its in good used condition. There is a little bit of almost cracking in some places, but it is very serviceable and a huge step up from my older close contact saddle.

During the ride I worked on getting Knots to not run forward from my spur and relaxing. Basically every ride after a long break. At this point I can’t say that I am getting back on a regular schedule, but it was still a good ride. We did a little bit of jumping, Knots was rushing badly but he was clean. Again, same old same old. It was still an enjoyable ride, and he relaxed quicker than I was expecting at the walk. Small building blocks.

All in all, the morning turned out productive. Didn’t start on some of the more mundane tasks, but I did get the horse’s feet in order, worm all the ponies, ride Knots, and get to ride in my new saddle. I’ll call it a win.