Thursday, April 20, 2017

Horse Hubby Feature: NCIS...but cooler: An Air Force Husband Speaks


The Other Half just did an interview with Horse Hubby.  If you missed the last post about who Horse Hubby is, click HERE.


And to read the recent interview, click here:

http://horsehubby.com/2017/04/12/ncis-cooler-air-force-horse-husband-speaks/

And...if you are an Elisa Wallace fan like I am, you know she and Johnny are in England right now prepping for Badminton.  For the schedule and other event info, click here:

https://www.badminton-horse.co.uk/

Go Johnny Go!!!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Full Size 2+1 Trailer vs. Mini 2+1 Trailer


For the sake of comparison and general trailer info in case anyone out there is looking for something similar of either model here is a break down on my previous trailer vs. my new trailer.  I am OCD with details and I research every tiny bit of information I can find on things.  I have even physically measured my previous trailer, and before I purchased my new one I made the sales guy go out and take some physical measurements for comparison's sake on the new one.

Overall Length:

Full - 30'1"  (floor length 22')
Mini - 26'    (floor length 18')

Height:

Full - 7'6"
Mini - 7'6"

Width:

Full - 6'9"
Mini - 6'9"

Weight:

Full -  5,902  (empty) 13,000lbs (GVWR)
Mini - 5,760 (empty) 12,700lbs (GVWR)

Why so similiar with the weights?  The mini is a steel frame with aluminum skin, the new full is all aluminum.

Tack/Dressing Room:

Full - 4'
Mini 4'

Here is a walk through video done by a dealership in Michigan that gives a good overview/tour of the full:


Other differences:

The new one has drop downs at the heads of the straight load stalls.  This is a feature that began somewhere around 2013 on the fulls.  You will see fulls pop up for sale that will be around 2005 or newer and not have drop downs at the head.

Bigger wheels and tires, this is partly due to the trailer being longer overall.

Sliding windows in the tail curtains, this is another feature that the new fulls have that you may not find on older model fulls.  This also started showing up around 2013 as well.

Here is a side by side comparison where you can see that the 4' gain in length is.  It is behind the axles.  I had the sales guy measure from the start of the floor to the middle of the first axle on the new one and it is the same length as the mini.  This just confirmed that the floor length gained is behind the axles.

 
Mini.

 
Full.



Walk through door in the tack/dressing room.  Not a big deal to me but nice to have.  The tack room in the mini did have a window that you could see through into where the horses were, which was also not really necessary.

Carpet in the tack/dressing room.  This is just an overall change to various models that Sundowner has made.  No more carpet in the tack/dressing room.


The box stall is a big difference in the mini vs. the full.  The box stall on the full is 7'6" in length.  The area where you can put in a divider for a box stall (it doesn't come stock) on the mini is, making it more like a stud stall/ very small box stall.  The ramp on the full is also wider.

 Here you can see just how close the divider is to the front compared to the full.  I gained a couple feet in this area with the full.

 The width of the side ramp is also different.  On the full the ramp is 5' and on the mini it is 4'.



I like that the horses can see eachother through the head divider on the full.

I LOVE that the straight load stalls have drop downs!  Maximum airflow is SO important to me.

Here is the factory diagram of the full:


All the lights on the new one are LED and really bright, I'm sure that's on all newer Sundowners though, that is not model specific. 

So how does it pull?  Like a dream.  There really isn't much difference between it and the mini.  I can feel a little more weight to the new one, but it is barely noticeable (because it's barely a weight difference).  Actually, I must have not have plugged it in tight enough in my excitement when picking it up, because half way home I looked down and noticed my brake controller was off, I know it was on when I left.  I pulled over at the next parking lot and plugged it in, didn't have an issue again.  The only reason I noticed I didn't have trailer brakes was from looking down and seeing the light off.  I never felt it pushing the truck, but my truck is a manual too, and this is also one reason I bought a manual truck, in case stuff like this happens.  I have had my brake controller die on the way to a show.  Luckily the way I was going was on back roads with no traffic but if I was on a busy highway with no brake lights, yeah...problem.  Braking without my trailer brakes was no problem though.

Turns are about the same since the axles are basically in the same spot, I just have to watch the rear end a little more since there is just more of it now.  I was a little concerned about the tight turn into my driveway, but it was no problem.  I had actually taken some video of the mini leaving the driveway and pulling into it to get a good idea just how much more room I had to spare.  Plenty.  No problem.

Overall, again, I couldn't be happier.  I love this trailer, it is exactly what I need, and I look forward to many happy miles with it, and happy ponies!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New Trailer aka The New Hotness!


I have had my Sundowner mini 2+1 for about 4.5 years now and I have absolutely loved every second of owning it.  It has been the most versatile trailer ever and it has served me more than well.  I have hauled my girls across the country with it and put a ton of show miles on it.  It took me three months of searching the country over to even find it because I wanted that exact trailer and they are hard to find.  I ended up finding it at a dealership in Connecticut while we lived in Georgia.  I had it shipped down to me.

The only issue with it, is that it is not big enough to fit all three of our horses solely due to length.  Klein and Wes fit wonderfully in it.  It is a 7'6" tall trailer and the straight load stalls have plenty of room for them.  You can also turn it into a box stall as you saw in the trailer videos which any draft would find comfortable.  It has a ton of airflow in it, which is another huge reason I wanted that type of trailer.

Previous trailer, the mini 2+1.

I always knew that when the day came for a new trailer I would go for a full size 2+1.  You just cannot beat the setup that a 2+1 provides.  There are just SO many great configurations you can do with that trailer.  The only difference with a full size 2+1 and mine is the overall floor length.  The box stall is a full size box stall.  This would allow me to haul all three of ours together, no problem.

Every single time I have my trailer worked on at the dealership here I look at the new 2+1s, and I make The Other Half look at them too.  The guys at the dealer also ask me every time if I am ready to trade mine in for a new one.  Well, yeah...but not quite was always my answer.

After this latest round of obsessing earlier this year I decided I would just buy one next year before we move again.  I won't be taking all three of mine anywhere all together until we move so did I really need a new one?  Not really...until you think about emergency situations, then yes, I do need it.  If some situation arises where we would have to evacuate, I could load them and be gone.  No second trip, no finding anyone a ride.  And really, how do you make that decision?

So, yeah, I had talked myself out of it earlier this year and decided next year I would do it...until a week and a half ago at my lesson.  My instructor said she got her new trailer.  She said it wasn't what she had planned on getting and so I asked "Oh, what did you get?"  A new Sundowner 2+1.  G...t...f...o...  I had to go drool over it after I was done riding and seeing it all hooked up to her truck, I decided I'd had enough.  I called the dealership the next morning and said I'll take one.

I picked it up from the dealer today, a brand new 2017 Sundowner 2+1.


Full box stall.

 
The two straight load stalls behind the box stall.

I am a loyal Sundowner owner.  I have always had such great experiences with them.  Oh and if you are ever near Newfield, NJ, stop by Crossroads Trailers.  They have a big inventory of horse trailers, utility trailers, and RVs, and can do any work you need on your trailer.  Not only did I just buy this from them, they have been the ones that have worked on my previous trailer here anytime it has needed anything.  They have been great.  Great customer service and quality work.  One day while we were waiting for them to finish putting a new jack on mine, they ordered lunch of all of us in the waiting area.  They made this purchase extremely easy too despite using an out of state bank.  We did everything over the phone because I didn't need to go look at this trailer, I have looked at them a thousand times before I picked it up.  So when I did go to pick it up they had everything ready and all I had to do is sign a couple things and then they adjusted the GN for me to the clearance I needed and I was out of there with my new trailer in about 45 minutes, maybe less.

I will do a comparison post between these two trailers this week so that if you are ever in the market, or curious about the differences, or all the possibilities of a 2+1 in general, you will have some information.  I couldn't be happier with my purchase! 

P.S.  My smaller trailer is sold.  It went quick, sorry to those that contacted me about it.  I posted it Friday evening, had an offer in 10 mins, and it was sold by Sunday evening.  I'm super excited for the buyer, I genuinely hope she loves it every single minute she owns it as much as I did, and I am confident she will!

Monday, April 10, 2017

HN's Oh Crap Monday Revisited


Every Monday our friends at Horse Nation do a little feature called "Oh Crap Monday."  Last Monday Klein and I had the honor!  Click here to see us do the honors!  In our lesson that week Klein I happened to get on video what happens when Klein is right and I am very clearly wrong!  

As you can see I didn't have the greatest approach, Klein can jump from a counter canter, I decided not to fix her, that wasn't the issue, the issue was I cut that turn a little bit too much and didn't see that distance.  That's what I get haha.  So, Klein went for it as she should and I took a flyer.  I got launched and just couldn't right myself.  

I realized once I was coming off that if I let go of her neck I was going to take a knee to the face because she just couldn't stop that quick.  She does her very best to avoid me in situations like this and she always stops, she doesn't just keep going.  She always just looks at me like "Can you get it together?  Please?"  I didn't want to scare her if she kneed me in the face, so I pulled my knees up the my chest and just hung onto her neck until she got stopped.  When she stopped, I just lowered my feet, stood next to her, apologized and told her what a good girl she was.  The video stops before that last part.  

I hopped right back up and came around again and we nailed it as you can see in the post.  It's been a while since I've come off, so we should be good for a while now!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Hacking in a Wind Tunnel


Saturday I picked up Megan and Runkle and we went to a WMA not too far away where there are 6,800 acres of riding.




Klein had other plans for our morning.  She hasn't had a fit about loading for a couple months now, I guess it was due because she let me have it this morning.  She is SO random with her loading fits.  We will go months of her basically self loading and then one day, when the moon and stars are aligned and the ambient air temperature is perfect, I have a fire breathing dragon that gets pretty ugly.  On one hand, of course it's annoying because these fits are usually when I have time to be somewhere.  On the other hand, I'm kind of impressed with her ability to stand up for what she believes in I guess.  Either way, she's not winning.  She has never, EVER won that battle.  I'm the undefeated champ when it comes to her loading fits.

I texted Megan to let her know I'd be a little late and not sure just how late.  I had the equivalent of a Marlin on a deep sea fishing line on the end of my lead rope.  I'm serious people, when Klein decides she doesn't feel like loading, she can hop around and have a complete melt down.  It's possible!  Thankfully it is very rare, and I was actually telling Megan that because it is so rare I have to remind myself that she is so good the majority of the time that she is allowed to have a bad loading day.  At one point I even asked her "Why are you acting like we're deep sea fishing right now??"


I actually had an idea she might not be super excited about that morning.  When I pull my truck and trailer up she knows that it's most likely her that is going somewhere.  That morning she saw the truck and trailer pull up and she walked to the farthest corner of the pasture.  I promised her she was just going to hang out with her buddy Runkle and go for a nice, long hack.  In all honesty though, I really do think that her problem was that I hadn't fed her yet.  It was still early, so I thought I would feed her on the trailer since she'd be on it for a little while.  I thought that would be better than throwing their hay and then taking her off of it if she wasn't done.  Of course I'd put the left overs in the trailer if I did that, but she would still realize I just took her away from hay where Mochi and Wes still have some.  My plan was to feed her on the trailer, then throw Mochi and Wes their hay.  When this kind of stuff happens I always tell her, "You know what?  I do shit I don't feel like doing all the time, you're going to have to take one for the team this morning girl."

Remember I don't have an option for help right now either, so I was prepared to just wait her out like usual. She was not going to win.  We were going to the WMA and I didn't care what time we got there.  We were going.  She would put a hoof on the ramp and that was it.  Then sometimes she would stop 20ft from the ramp and not want to move.  This is her typical melt down.  Lunging her by the trailer doesn't work either, been there a long time ago and tried it.  The only answer is to be repetitive with her and continue to turn her around and walk right back to the ramp.  I tried something different this time though.  I put her bridle on her.  It worked and we were out of there in two minutes.  My undefeated streak continues.

We picked up Megan and Runkle and headed out.  Luckily they are not only close but in the direction we were going anyway.  Klein's circus routine delayed us about 50 minutes.  Thankfully on these days Klein also is immediately over it as soon as she is on the trailer.  She never brings her attitude with her.  She never gives me that kind of attitude about anything under saddle too, thankfully.  So she can act crazy but it doesn't have any affect on the ride.

Adorable!

 We had a great time!  Klein was great, Runkle was great and aside from feeling like we were caught in a wind tunnel most of the ride, it was nice weather.  This place is awesome because there are miles and miles of trails and there are big hills so even if you go for a long, slow hack, it's great for the horses because of the terrain there.  Or if you want to do some hill sprints, it is perfect to do them and cool out with a scenic hack.  I love this place.


 
 Happy pones.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring!


Finally!  It is starting to look like Spring around here.  Now that the weather is being a little more consistent it was time for spring clips for everyone earlier this week.  Wes looks five years younger at least without his winter yak coat.  I can't get over how much better he looks.  He looks (and probably feels) like a whole new horse.


It can be hard to tell just what is hiding under Wes' super thick yak coat.  I can tell you I was ecstatic when I got done with his clip to see that he looks just as good as I thought he did.  He is owning the hell out of being 26 years old!  

 Such a Handsome.

Klein was already half clipped so I took the rest of hers off, and Mochi, while she doesn't grow much of a winter coat, it is still getting too warm for what she does have, so I took it all off too and she looks much better as well.

The derp is due to being mid chomp with a granola bar when I took this.

Klein's workload is steadily increasing with conditioning.  Her gallops felt absolutely amazing the other day.  I have galloped a ton of light horses of all sizes and builds, but there is just nothing like her gallop.  Her gallop is so powerful, it feels like she is gliding over the ground.  I love it.  It's an awesome feeling and I feel lucky to be experiencing it every time we gallop.

#bamf

Friday, April 7, 2017

First Show of the Year, Complete With Prelim CT


Last Saturday we had our first show of the year.  It was a local CT.  I entered Klein in the Training and Preliminary CT.  I have wanted to take her in a Prelim CT for a long time now and for some reason I just haven't.  There is no good reason I haven't.  We've been schooling up to 3'9" for a while now.  Not regularly of course because there is no need for that, but I know she can do it no problem.  We have ridden Prelim A at a dressage show, it's easy.  It is just a goal I had for us to do some CTs at Prelim since a three phase will never happen at Prelim for her, Training is her max.  Eventually I realized that we haven't accomplished that goal by accident honestly.

We had not been to this barn before.  Dressage was in an indoor, a very nice indoor.  Stadium was out on their xc course.  The indoor, while very nice, was a bit dark with a huge glass wall right above the judge where their viewing area is.  Klein for once in her life actually was a little looky in there.  I'm not sure if it was the reflections on the big glass wall or what.  Normally she doesn't care about things like that but something in there caught her eye.  So I had to put a little more leg on to keep her going since she was a little distracted.  She wasn't bad by any means.  She was listening for sure, she was just a little hesitant I guess would be the best way to describe it.

 
 Here you can see the glass wall, this was the first leg yield in Prelim A.

Even with the new iPhone 7, low light videos still suck.  I give up.

 
She warmed up great, I would have liked just a bit more from her lengthening and I did add something different into our warm up for that while we were waiting to go back in for our second test.  My main concern was to just ride the tests as accurately as possible with what she was giving me that day.  Mission accomplished.

We rode Training A first and with that I would say that our lengthenings lacked, and so did our 20m circle where she needed to stretch down.  She was a bit too distracted to be consistent with her stretching on that.  For Prelim A I would say we lacked a bit of energy in our first turn off the center line and through our 10m circles.  We also weren't as straight as we could have been in our final turn up the center line.  For both tests her halt wasn't perfectly square like it is 99% of the time in our tests at shows, but I really can't complain because those are very minor things that can be instantly fixed with a change in venue.



She is being slightly dramatic here, I was not intending for her to get behind the vertical like that.


A post shared by Stacey C (@jumpingpercheron) on

After our Prelim test I went straight to my trailer to change tack.  I didn't have much time to get to the stadium warm up.  I had already walked my course and knew where we were going.  Thankfully Klein never needs much of a warm up for stadium.  Her usual is get a good canter, some good transitions and clear half halts so I know she's listening, jump a vertical and an oxer each way and we're good to go.  Then we usually go wait ring side and Klein takes a nap.  True to form, she stood there like a statue, dead to the world while the other rounds went and the course was raised.  People always comment on how calm she is standing at the ring.  She's always been like that.  It's her zen, she knows what she's doing, she knows why we are there, and she will bring it when we're ready to come around to #1.  So, I don't mess with that, at all.

Now, because this course was surrounded by xc jumps, they immediately had Klein's attention.  She cracks me up.  She LOVES the sight of xc jumps.  Every single time, no matter where we are.  As soon as she sees them, her ears perk straight up because she realizes she's headed to the playground.  As we are coming around to the first fence in our Training round she was trying to pull me to the left toward a xc fence.  I told her "not today, you need to be looking at these stadium jumps, but I promise we will come back SOON so you can tear this place up!"  We were a bit sticky to 1 and 4.  1 for no reason other than my own incompetence of not putting my leg on when I should have and 4 because there was a nice looking turkey feeder looking xc jump next to it.  After 4 though I was like ok, stop playin' we have to go.  The rest of the round was picture perfect and she didn't touch a thing even with chipping in on 1 and 4.  Fences 6 and 7 were almost on an angle to eachother so we took them on an angle and she nailed it.  I wasn't planning to jump that on an angle when I walked it but when we came around to it, it was the easiest way and I knew it wouldn't be an issue.

See that jump the people are leaning on in the background?  When we came around there to go to the first fence she was ALL about that jump.

The Prelim round, there must have been something off with my approach to 1 because we took a rail at 1 on the Prelim round but the rest of the round was picture perfect and she didn't touch a thing.  One noticeable thing about both rounds though, her canter was unbelievable.  Hands down the best canter we've jumped out of, no question about it.  Coming around to 1 on the Prelim round I felt her come REALLY through in her back and though "O...M...G...  Get excited because this is about to be GOOD."  I'm super proud of her.  These were two of our best stadium rounds to date.  They were the most powerful, confident, and accurate we have ridden and I know that is a direct result of my jumping lessons here.  I go to my jump lessons and we IMPROVE.  We aren't stuck floundering around in a comfort zone doing the same thing every lesson, we make noticeable progress.  Then, we put that progress to work.



A post shared by Stacey C (@jumpingpercheron) on

A post shared by Stacey C (@jumpingpercheron) on

Where did we end up?  After I got Klein taken care of and loaded I went to the office.  We ended up scoring a 36.19 on Training A and a 37 on Prelim A.  Normally, those scores would mortify me because it is rare I see anything that high these days with Klein.  However, I looked at everyone else's and it was across the board.  Everybody was in in the 30's, some were the 40's.  Out of the CT riders, no one was in the 20's.  Last time we rode Prelim A we scored a 25 or 26, something around there.  Of course I know that won't happen at every show, I just felt like, yeah she wasn't as good as she could have been, but she was by no means bad.  What I felt we could have been better on in the test was accurately reflected in the marks too so that made me validated that what I was feeling, is what the judge was seeing as well.  We were 2nd in the Training with less than two points separating us from 1st and we were 1st in the Prelim.

We had a great time, and we will definitely show there again.  I am also keeping my promise to Klein and taking her back to school xc soon too!