I obviously fail at keeping up weekly posts. I did fairly well for a while, but then I got distracted or unmotivated or other things demanded my time and updating this blog slipped so far down the priority list it was about to fall off the bottom. And I don’t want that to happen.
Perhaps a monthly update, or even a whenever-I-feel-like-it-because-I-don’t-have-anything-better-to-do schedule, would be a better idea, because I obviously can’t get organized enough to produce regular posts. My bad.
But SO MUCH has happened and changed since my last update back in August!
For starters, Southaven Stables is no more. That’s where Skipper lives, and thankfully is allowed to stay since he’d old and wouldn’t have handled a move well. As of October 1, 2014 the owner leased out the facility to a hunter/jumper trainer, and it has a new name, but I don’t know what it’s called now.
Anyway, all the old boarders (except for Skipper) had to leave so the new trainer could fill up the barn with her horses and students’ horses. That was a bit of an upheaval to say the least. It also meant that I now have fewer horses to ride since a handful of them moved to a barn that has a resident trainer and doesn’t allow outside people to ride boarders’ horses because that’s a service she offers, and who in their right mind would invite competition on their own facility. So Mya, Massey, Cutter, Buddy, Howie, and Dale now live at Grace Park.
At least I still get to ride Dante and Fairing, who moved to Old Hillsboro Manor. That place is really nice and has a covered ring, with mirrors so I can see myself not sitting up and all the other bad riding habits I’ve been perfecting without access to a coach telling me how much I suck. There’s also a proper dressage arena and a larger ring with tons of jumps in it. But there’s not a lot of hacking, unfortunately. If you want to “ride out” you pretty much just circle the property a few times or you can go up the dead end road and back as long as you stay off the grass.
Even though I lost a few rides, I still have plenty to keep me occupied because a couple of months ago I started riding horses that belong to a foxhunting family. The dad and daughter hunt, and the mom takes lessons and trail rides. They have 6 horses in their barn, all mares, and I regularly ride Nona, Nelly, and Aerie. Their daughter has 2 ponies, Sweet Potato (who she foxhunts) and Charm (her show pony), and they also have an older mare named Karats. So that’s fun and keeps me off the streets. Pictured below are Aerie, Karats, and Nelly, and Sweet Potato being all cute snoozing in the paddock.
Since I haven’t had a riding lesson since July, and I don’t see myself getting regular help from a trainer any time soon, I’ve been doing the geeky thing and setting up my iPad to take videos of me riding. This way, I can get some idea of how the horses are going and watch myself develop bad riding habits. I desperately need to stretch up tall with my upper body and keep my shoulders back. I look like a freakin’ turtle when I ride.
Skipper is doing fairly well, all things considered. He still has free roaming privileges, which is awesome because the more he moves around the better he feels, but he’s also starting to really show his age. Dr. Kara was out this past week to do chiro and acupuncture on him (anything to make him more comfortable since he already gets as much Previcox as he can have), and she noticed his loss of muscle tone. He also lost another tooth, and we’re transitioning him to hay chaff since it’s easier to eat. Eventually he’ll probably have to get soaked hay pellets, but he’s not quite there yet.
I took his grazing muzzle off him earlier this year, for several reasons. Mainly, he could use a few more pounds going into winter. But I also noticed that when he has trouble chewing he’ll ball up the grass and spit it out, which blocks the grazing muzzle hole so he can’t get anything. Him not being able to eat at all is bad, and I figured since he’d not actually consuming the grass he spits out, then he’s less likely to eat too much. Plus, the horses are on daytime turnout now so he’s out grazing fewer hours. He’s happier and more comfortable, too, because when he was wearing the muzzle all night long he was getting rubs on his face from it.
I plan to ride through the winter again this year, so I took advantage of a recent sale at Dover saddlery and bought 2 pairs of winter breeches, some gloves, and these boot cover thingies that are more for protecting the leather than keeping your toes warm. I still need to get some winter paddock boots, because the ones I have right now won’t fit comfortably with thick, heavy socks. I’ve already discovered that the hard way. I hate blisters. I was able to buy all that with money I earned riding horses for people, so my goal of this being a self-sustaining hobby seems to be working. I also paid my USEA, CTDA, and USEF membership dues the same way, and here I’ll admit to being cheap and only joining as a supporting member when possible since I don’t compete and full memberships cost more.
Oh, and remember, remember, it’s No Stirrup November! I’m participating, are you?