Friday, August 29, 2014

It's Hot.


It's coming up on seven months that Wes has been home, but it is STILL sinking in that he IS home, forever.  I think he might still be in a little bit of shock too.  Every time I am near his head he turns toward me and kind of nuzzles me.  I know he is still telling me how happy he is to be home.

 Mochi doing a fly by.

 I really have only been riding Klein right now.  It has been so hot this month I have really had to be specific with riding as far as when I am going to ride.  In the mornings, sure it's cooler but this is South Georgia people.  It will be 6:30am and 75 degrees but...89% humidity.  That's a heat stress index of 164 already, meaning pony natural cooling systems are already at a disadvantage.  When I ride in the mornings, by the time I get done with Klein it's already so hot there is just no sense in making a horse work for any amount.  Then in the evenings it takes so long to cool off that you pretty much have to wait until the last hour of sunlight to get a ride in so that it will be half way decent.  I'm not complaining though.  I'd rather deal with this for a month and a half than live somewhere that it snows.

It's been so hot that I haven't even hauled anywhere in a while because I think it's just mean to haul them in this kind of heat and humidity.  The only exception would be some kind of medical emergency where I had no choice.  This weather is why I went on what turned out to be a three month search when I was shopping for my trailer.  I ended up finding my trailer in Connecticut and having it shipped down here to me.  Sad I couldn't find what I wanted when we live so close to Ocala, huh?  Anyway, I would accept nothing less than the trailer I bought because of all the air flow options it has.  Even with that, hauling right now would just be blasting them in the face with hot air.  It would be like being in a convection oven.

 This is an embarrassing picture because of how dirty my trailer was, but this picture WAS taken while waiting in line at the truck wash.  I posted this because you can see how the dutch doors on the back latch open, as well as the door over the side ramp.  So, you can see how much air flow my trailer has.

See, I swear I washed it!!!!

No matter how early I would get up there is just no way to avoid the heat hauling home.  I'm not doing that to them.  I see people hauling horses during the day right now and I just hope that they are only hauling locally across town, if not, they are aholes.

Another reason I am so strict with watching the temperature and their workouts is because I treat them like I treat myself.  Would I want to go do a WOD at Crossfit in those temps?  No.  There's no AC at Crossfit...on purpose, because Crossfit isn't for babies, but that's a completely different topic.  I go early in the morning to avoid the summer heat and it's STILL like working out in a sauna most times and the sun isn't even up yet.  I mean seriously, would you want to go run during the hottest parts of the day?  No.  Then WHY would you make your horse do it?  They are not pieces of equipment, they are your partners.

On mornings that are already high in the humidity Klein and I work on lateral movement or just walk trot or her halts or something else at low speed/intensity.  We don't work above short trots.  Sweat doesn't evaporate in humidity, so basically they are being insulated by it, so you really have to be careful.

 Stretching during our warm up.

 On the lunge line one morning.

 We did have one little break in the weather this week.  One evening it was noticeably cooler and MUCH more dry out and there was a beautiful breeze.  So we took advantage of that and got some jump schooling in.

 Waiting for me to raise the jumps that evening, trying to get as much work in before our light disappeared.

Klein was galloping around the pasture when I got there that evening so I knew she was approving of the break in the weather.  She did not have walk in her vocabulary that evening.  It was pretty funny actually.  You can't blame the girl for enjoying nice weather.  3'3" might as well have been cross rails for her that evening.  3'3" isn't a big task for her in the first place, but she was just being such a handful she was getting a bit sloppy (as she does with cross rails, or anything under 3' because she acts like it's offensive to her).  She wasn't touching anything, I could just feel her jump a little flat at times.  Usually she is pretty point and shoot, but that evening I had to really ride every stride to every fence to keep her organized.

This morning I wanted to get her out for a legit conditioning ride because we had a much cooler morning at 65 degrees this morning.  The humidity was still up but the heat stress index was low because of the temp being significantly lower than usual.  We had to take advantage of this rare August morning.  I also had to get out there extra early today because we were going ring shopping in Tallahassee!

 Klein baby waiting for me at the gate this morning when I got to the barn.

 Sunrise with my Klein baby.

 Cooling out on our walk home.

 We put in a good workout this morning before the heat started.

 Happy yawns after our ride.  This girl is always happiest after a workout. 

 *le sigh*  I never, EVER get tired of taking pictures of my princess.

My Beauty Queen.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

From Russia, With Love AKA I Said Yes!

I had this post I was going to write about the crushing heat we are getting here right now.  Then something happened...and this isn't directly horse related but, it is.  You all know my Other Half is the best horse dad ever and he makes regular appearances on here.  Let me tell you a story from today.

There are two guns I have been after lately, one of which being an AK-47.  Today my Other Half and I stopped by a gun store that we usually stop by once every couple months just to see if they have anything we might want.  Today we asked if they had any AK's in just out of curiosity.  I've been checking them out at every gun store we go to.  Most times they hand me a crappy Chinese Norinco.  No thanks.  I have been shopping online for AK's lately too and had come close to ordering one but decided to wait to check out some local spots.

Well, today was my day because this local spot happened to have a Saiga aka a real AK-47 made in Russia by Izhmash.


The prices have went up on these because of the recent ban that was placed on them, but if you are going to get an AK you want the real deal from Russia.  This one also happened to have been originally imported through a store in Florida, which has special meaning to us.  The price was right and the Other Half said, "you want it?"  Well, yeah...I did.  So, he bought it for me.

Awww YEAH, can't wait to shoot this beast!  Mods will be forthcoming.

On the way home he had said that he wanted to wipe it down when we got home and I said that was fine and I went inside the house.  He comes in the house with it from the garage and says "Ummmm, I think we might have to take it back, the front sight is messed up."  I was thinking what?!  We just looked at it closely at the store what happened between the store and home?  I walked over and did see something was up with the front sight and when I got closer I realized there was a diamond ring on it!!!!

First diamond ring I have ever had...brought to me on the front sight of an AK-47.  1 million points for style.

As soon as I realized what it was he asked me to marry him!!!!  OF COURSE I SAID YES!!!!

That's right, guys out there everywhere, beat that proposal.  Take notes people!

Monday, August 18, 2014

PSA: Klein is a BAMF (but we knew that), the end.

 Klein owning a 3'6" ramped oxer.

First, let's all take a minute to observe the awesomeness that is my Klein baby.  This girl...I mean she jumps better than most light horses.  I think she is proof that alien life exists because she can't be from this planet, but I do have her pedigree proving she is 100% Perch, soooo...I'm confused.  She floats right over things like this, she didn't touch a thing at 3'6" but really, she IS 17hh.  Still, she's a thick 17hh and a full draft, I never lose sight of that and I maintain her like she is made of eggshell.  This pic shouldn't surprise me, we have pics of us schooling 3'9" and floating over that stuff too.  But this horse still leaves me in awe, *le sigh*.  Seven years and I still get little hearts floating around my head when I see Klein.

Klein and I have been focusing on gymnastics, long hacks, and dressage basics.  I really need to get some gymnastic video soon!  

 I consider this to be a perfect picture.  Wes grazing on green summer pasture with a breeze running through his mane and a storm rolling in to cool down the evening.  I have dreamed of these days and it's still a little hard to believe that they are a reality.

 Klein and I coming in one evening with a storm passing through in front of us.

 Sunrise in one of the barns.  Have to beat the South Georgia heat!

 Sunrise over the mare pasture.

 Ohhh Mochi pony...

 My Man Crush Everyday (it doesn't get better than him) with Wes yesterday.

And crawling between hot wire to see his beloved Mochi pony.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Thoughts

 The Princess warming up for a workout on the lunge line.

Through the absolute devastation of losing Ceylon of course the ponies have helped take the pain away during the time I spend with them.  I have just been trying to focus on some things I want to get accomplished with Klein soon to distract me.  Also, recently I tried Mare Magic with Mochi.

I have never used Mare Magic with any horse.  A friend had some and was telling me the effect it had on a horse she knew and her own mare and I thought why have I not tried this with Moch?  I had always thought Mare Magic was just for straight up bratty, moody mares or mares that when in season were totally unmanageable.  I have never owned a horse that fits into those categories so I never felt I had a need to use Mare Magic.  Well, it was worth a try and...I really think it might have done something for her.  Though the double rein pelham route is still working she still has anxiety.  It just seems like she doesn't have much of an attention span, pony ADHD??  After giving her Mare Magic we had the best rising trot work we have ever had (small victories, people).  She had a noticeable attention span for the first time.  This is definitely worth giving a try for a while.

Adorable Mochi is adorable, pony ADHD or not.

Mochs always makes me smile with how much she loves her dad too.  The Other Half is clearly her favorite person.  He whistles to her and she immediately starts heading in and nickers to him the entire way.  I need to get a video of it.  It's also pretty funny because the Other Half is 6'3" and Mochi is 14hh.  She has such a little personality. 

Out on Mochi.  Here you can see the slim profile of my HPG kit bag.  My Glock 23 is in there, that's a midsize .40 caliber 13+1 hand gun and no bulky feeling or look at all.  I'm telling you this kit bag is one of the best things I have ever bought for riding.

 Out on a hack.

 Don't even want to know what is lurking in that pond. 

 Klein and Addy.  Klein actually likes Addy.  It's rare she finds other horses, mares or geldings, that she really LIKES.  She is very independent.  But, she has liked Addy since the day she met her.  When all the other mares were chasing sweet Addy off Klein let her eat and drink next to her the first day they were out together.

 Klein making funny faces while eating breakfast.  This girl...her expressions always make me smile. 

 The Handsome.

Wes always makes me smile every time I see him.  It makes my heart happy that he is home with me and enjoying the retirement life he so well deserves.  He is becoming quite the independent guy and often is out grazing on his own.  Do you guys realize he has been home officially for six months already?  It was six months on the 5th!

 These two.  Jet is Wes' little buddy.  They INSIST on sharing a stall in the morning for breakfast. 

Klein and Addy galloping through the pecan orchard Sunday morning.

I haven't posted a helmet cam on this new blog yet.  I dusted the GoPro off for our ride this past Sunday morning.  We went out early to beat the ridiculous South Georgia heat.  Don't take that as a complaint.  I'd rather live here any day than somewhere that it snows.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Good Bye Ceylon. Heart = Broken


The past week has been horrible.  We lost our beautiful, sweet Ceylon to kidney failure this past Thursday.  We did everything we could for her over the course of a week but she kept going downhill as soon as she would come off of IV treatment and the pain would come back.  I held her while the vet gave her the injections.  It is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life.  I didn't want her to think that we left her at the vet.  This is going to hurt for a long time.  This came as a complete surprise and it all happened in the span of a week.  She made me a better person and I just cannot believe that Thursday even happened. 

 Spending our last time together at the vet Thursday morning.

I only had 3.5 years with her.  I rescued her from a shelter in New Mexico.  She was 8 when I got her so she was only 11 years old.  We owed her so many more wonderful years.  I feel so incredibly robbed and so sorry for her that this happened to her.  We told the vet that money was not an issue, whatever we could do for her, we would.  But there was nothing else we could do with out causing more pain and she did not deserve that.  If we were to go that route it would have been the selfish one that we did for ourselves and not her.  I owe her so much.  She just kept me company through the Other Half being deployed for five months.  She took good care of me for those five months.  I am lost in our house without her. 

She was the sweetest kitty I have ever known with the most personality of any kitty I have ever known.  I am so lucky to have had her in my life, even though our time together was short.  She was my Heart Cat. 

 One of my favorite pictures of us.  She loved to nap with us.  The Other Half's chest was her favorite spot in the world.

We don't have and (will not have) do not want children.  Our animals are our children. Some people just cannot comprehend that but thank you to those that do.  I wish this on no pet owner.  But like a good friend told me the other day that no matter how much losing them hurts a life lived without them is a life half lived.  Rest in peace my sweet, beautiful Siamese friend.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Wes is Winning at Barefoot

He's even adorable when he's just doing every day Wes things like enjoying his salt blocks.

First, let me say that Wes is definitely winning at being barefoot.

I am amazed after every trim.  There is improvement with every.  Single.  Trim.  Thank you Cindy Ford, DAEP.  She should be very proud of the artwork that is Wesson's feet.  I really expected it to take longer so see such changes in his feet.  I told Cindy that I wasn't expecting some kind of instant change and I was prepared to just be patient for however long this transition took.  I mean we are talking about a horse that was shod all the way around for nine years straight, that I know of for sure, and most likely many more before that.  Wes was at one point in his younger days, as a lead hitch horse, was shod with Scotch Bottoms.  In case you don't know what Scotch Bottoms are, they are unfortunately the draft horse shoe of choice in draft show rings.  Here they are on a team of Perches:

Um, gross.  Why???  Just for big knee action is why.

Anyway, so as you can see he has spent over half his life in shoes.  At 20 years old I really expected it to take a while for them to adapt to barefoot.  He has yet to take a sore step since the day we pulled his shoes.  He is doing better barefoot than I ever hoped for.  I had one person tell me "Well, you know he can't go barefoot."  Yeah...why is that??  There was no reason not to have him transition to barefoot.

He was trimmed recently and I felt it was time to take a couple comparison pics. He got here February 5th, we pulled his shoes and Cindy did his first trim on February 7th.  So, not even six months later, look at these February 7th pics compared to the July 25th pics:

Click the pic to check it out!

Click the pic to check it out!

That heel was insane and he pretty much had a talon for a left hind.  That was his ugliest foot.  It almost looks completely normal already.  The other day I watched him GALLOP out into the pasture whinnying and hopping around.  It was perfect.  He so deserves all of this.  He couldn't be happier in his retirement.