Friday, November 27, 2015

Passing Time

 Black Friday?  I'd rather be riding...and I was.

Right now we're in that weird transient phase of moving.  Half here, half gone.  Most of our stuff on a truck in NJ, some of our stuff here.  One horse in NJ, two still here.  I'm ready to load the girls up and be on our way to our new home.  It still hasn't sunk in 100% that the ponies will be at home.  I can't wait.  Can. Not. Wait.  I am the self care boarder that is at the barn once and most days twice a day.  I'm the person that doesn't board because I want a babysitter for my horses.  Taking care of them is part of the fun of owning them, to me.

That's right the government pays for the round bale feeder, jump rails, etc... to get packed up too.  They just don't pay for the actual transportation of the horses.  That all comes out of our pocket every move.

The girls have been acting slightly oblivious to Wes being gone.  Little things let me know they DO care though.  The other day I had Mochi out and I heard Klein whinny!  That's rare.  She hardly speaks, so for her to care where Mochi was while she's at home is notable.  If Wes was there with her, she wouldn't care.

 Yeah...she pretends she's Ms. Independent but deep down, she loves him.  She is one of those tough girls that tries her hardest to never let anyone see her upset.

 Mochs and her bodyguard.

Meanwhile, Wes has adjusted to the daily routine in NJ.  He is already whinnying to his one friend when he leaves to haul out somewhere.  Luckily he has his other new buddy to hang out with.

 His morning roll.

 Enjoying cool fall mornings.

 Klein and I have been working on flying changes and enjoying some dressage work and hacks.  We schooled some 3' and 3'3" this week too.

 Working on flying changes, we definitely have the lift.

 Changing to the left behind.

Flying changes are something that we have never been consistent with, for no particular reason.  One of my new goals is to work on them consistently and cement them in.  No more intermittently working on them.  Klein's good to the right, but to the left we still have some trouble with.  She'll change up front, but not behind.  We have been doing some other exercises to help us.  Simple changes through the walk, changes over ground rails, etc...

On the dressage front Klein has just been KILLING it lately.  She is getting solid on her haunches in, building a higher degree of collection at the canter, becoming more sensitive to being ridden more from my core.  It's awesome.  What happened?  We used to dislike this stuff so much, now we have a blast.  We went out for a hack the other day down a dirt road and started off with leg yields back and forth across the road at the sitting and rising trot, then we were doing shoulder in to canter departs, working on our canter walk, working on our travers, and collecting and extending our canter as we went.  This was all down a dirt road.

And as always, 3' is easy fun stuff for her.

Today we went on a hack, because who cares about Black Friday.  That's a bunch of craziness that I want no part of.  I did check out all the online sales at SmartPak, Dover, etc... but I was pretty disappointed.  I have some particular items I'm about to buy right now and not a single one had a good sale going on for it at any store.

We hacked to the lake and galloped around it, scaring all the gators we could back into the water.

 This is what we have to cross to get to the lake:


This is how we come in from rides. I drop the reins and we just stroll home.

Always a good time on my Heart Horse, no matter what we do. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Wes' Trip to New Jersey With Brook Ledge

 This is becoming a very familiar sight.

Brook Ledge and all of their awesomeness strikes again!  Wes' ready date was 16 November.  At about 8am on the 17th they called me to say the truck was leaving Ocala at 11 and they would see me between 2-3pm.  The driver would give me a call when they were an hour out.  Cue mild heart attack because reality immediately set in that my boy was leaving in a matter of six hours.

Dispatch asked me where we were going to meet up because they were looking on Google maps and noticed there was just no way a tractor trailer could get down the road the barn is on.  It is a single lane dirt road that doesn't go all the way through.  Not a good idea, and that would be extremely rude of anyone to ask them to try to do it.  I talked with Brian as we both looked at Google maps together over the phone.  I suggested the spot I had in mind and he said he'd like to get them into a better area still.  We are not in an area with a lot of open parking lots so I suggested we just have them come on base because it was only about 10 mins away.  They liked that idea.  I found them a big empty parking lot on a quiet road.  At first we were going to meet in the commissary (grocery store on base) parking lot but I didn't want a crowd of people gathering around.  I found the perfect spot and told him to tell the guys to just come to the main gate on the base and we would sponsor them on.

I went to get Wes and he already started breaking my heart by looking intently at the girls before he loaded.  He loves his girls.  I felt terrible for asking him to leave them.  I promised him he would be going on a little vacation and make some new friends.  I promised we would have a happy reunion in a couple weeks.

Waiting for The Other Half to sponsor Brook Ledge on base.

Being a good baby, waiting on his limo.

 Cue tears.  As soon as it pulled up my eyes teared up and I had to tell myself the drivers don't want to deal with that, man up and don't let Wes clue in on me being upset.  He obviously already knew something was up.

 Here we go again.

Their rig makes my truck and trailer look SO TINY!

These two drivers were a class act.  This is the third time shipping with Brook Ledge and they are nothing but outstanding every time.  These two were super quiet when handling Wes.  We weren't far from the flight line on base.  There was a C-130 doing a full engine run up before take off and it had Wes' attention.  They let him stop and listen to it and watch it take off before asking him to step on the ramp again.  They let him take his time and in less than 10 mins he was on.  They patted him and reassured him and just were some of the quietest handlers I've ever seen.  That is worth every last penny spent on shipping.  They also asked me if he had a shank when I unloaded him off my trailer.  I told them no he doesn't and that I have never felt he needed one.  I said I did happen to have one in my trailer and asked if they wanted it just in case.  They said no, they didn't need it either then.  How awesome is that?  I really appreciated that.

Kisses for my sweet, handsome boy.

 He was super interested in helping them close the trailer up.  That made me feel a little better too, seeing that he wasn't so distracted by looking for the girls that he was interacting with the drivers.

Brook Ledge shared our photo on their Facebook page the next day.

Wes was heading to their layover facility in Lexington that night.  He had the whole rig to himself too!  He had a layover at the Lexington facility on his way out to GA from UT too.  Last time he was stabled next to 2-3 million dollar horses.  Another reason why I love Brook Ledge so much.  They treated Wes no different than the high dollar horses.  

I thought about him all night.  I had a dream about him, I woke up several times wondering where on the road he was.  First thing I did was call the Lexington barn in the morning to check on him.  The guy I talked to said he was there just hanging out, eating and drinking fine and would leave that night for the rest of his trip to New Jersey. 

That night, same thing.  I had dreams about him and woke up several times thinking about him.  I left my phone on it's brightest, loudest setting in case they called in the middle of the night.  I told The Other Half that if my phone went off and for some reason I didn't hear it, he needed to wake me up right away.

My friend was doing the same thing!  I called Lexington again in the morning and they said he had left between 7-8 that night.  My friend had his stall all ready Wednesday night so it would be ready no matter what time they arrived.  They told me Tuesday he would be arriving in NJ Thursday morning.  They called my friend when they were an hour out.  He got there at about 11:30am.  He actually transferred off the big rig at their Oley, PA hub and had his own personal rig the rest of the way.  When the driver of that rig called my friend he said "he's a big boy!"

 Wes' personal limo.  He had a box stall on this one as well.

When I got the first pic of him unloaded I could tell this trip was harder on him than his trip from UT to GA.  I think having to leave the girls was pretty hard for him.  He REALLY loves his mares and looks out for them.  He looked tired and slightly dehydrated.  Thankfully as soon as he was offered water he drank.  He also had a good roll.

 Meeting his new roommates.

 I got lots of pics and updates of how he was drinking and eating.  That was a relief.  He was eating, drinking, peeing, and pooping normally.  He just needed some rest.


 He even FaceTimed us his first night there! (Seriously, I know, best pony sitter ever, right?)

 Finally enjoying some crisp weather instead of 81 degrees and 90% humidity in November.

 Hanging out with his new gelding buddies.

 I love this picture, they are too adorable.  Wes is about the least threatening guy ever.  He just wants to be friends with everyone.

 The boys club.

 Enjoying a pretty sunset.

 Shadow Wes.

Sunset dining.

He looks great and has already learned the routine there.  He also makes his rounds of hanging out with his buddies then going and saying hi to the horses from across the road.  They stand at the fence and stare at each other for a while.  I think he is in the best place he could be while waiting for the rest of his family to make the trip up there.  

The Other Half is in charge of getting video of the happy reunion between Wes and his girls!  As soon as I drop the girls off at home I am going right over to pick him up.  Speaking of, the girls are acting like he never left.  I know at least Mochi will whinny for him when she sees him, so at least that will make him feel like they really missed him.  Klein might speak up too.  Not much longer buddy!!! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Horse Hubby Calendar Contest Results - We Made It!

Horse Hubby published the results of the calendar contest Monday!  Thank you to everyone who voted for us in the Horse Hubby Calendar Contest!!  We made it!!

It looks like The Other Half will be Mr. October, which coincidentally is his birthday month.  You can view the results here.  The calendar is on sale now, and it looks like it is still going at the pre-order price, so snag one now for a great holiday gift!  Horse Hubby partnered with Equibox Equestrian for printing, you can order a calendar here, and check out Equibox's other items here.  Equibox is where I ordered my LAE gear from.  Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Moving to New Jersey!

It's that time again.  We have been here 3.5 years, and it is time to head off on the next adventure.  We will be relocating to New Jersey in two weeks.  Several things played into this move.  This will be a GREAT career opportunity for myself and The Other Half.  I actually applied for and was recommended for a special position within the JAG Corps and I was selected.  The Other Half has a special position in his career field at our new location as well.

Also, my love of the heat here began to decline in the first week of August when Klein got a mild case of anhidrosis.  I have done a lot of reading up on it.  The number one way to manage that is to move the horse to a cooler climate.  Also, the bugs down here just drive her insane.  It has been in the high 80's up until this week, and that makes for eight straight months of bugs.  That's a lot for a sensitive grey horse with half a tail.  Plus when the bugs are out she is just miserable.  This move will give her system a break for a few years.  Yes, there are bugs in NJ, but not for eight plus months out of the year.

We found out about this move a little while ago, but I wanted to wait to post about it until I could write about the best part.  THE PONIES WILL BE HOME!

First, if anyone is looking for a horse property in New Jersey, you need to call Sharon Wristbridge at ASAP!  She is AMAZING!  I got her name from a friend up there.  Sharon found my friend and her husband their beautiful horse property.  We don't want to buy in New Jersey (Google NJ property taxes) so we were looking for a farm to do a long term lease on.  We had a unique request but Sharon got to work immediately and found us the most perfect place we could have hoped for.  See, it's always worth a try to ask!  Sharon also was super prompt at answering any questions, responding to emails, texts, or phone calls.  We really can't thank her enough, she was wonderful to work with.  She set the bar high.

This past week we drove up to New Jersey to see the farm in person, sign all of the paperwork, and drop two of our vehicles off.  Our little farm is just beautiful!  It has a four bedroom three bathroom house with a two car garage (mandatory for The Other Half), four stall barn with two pastures, a dressage ring, and a bridle path that goes around part of the property. 

 Typical horse person, I took two pictures while inside and the rest are outside!

We will be able to look out the front window and see the ponies!!

 A stream that runs through the property.

The bridge to the dressage ring.

 View off the bridge.

 Part of the bridle path.

 As we were walking around on the bridle path a big six point buck jumped out in front of us.  The owners told us we'll also see wild turkeys, woodchucks, and maybe a fox there.

 Jumps go here.

 The drive way is gated, I love it.

 One of the pastures.

 Our barn!!!!

 So excited!

 View from the barn.

 Each stall has a heated automatic waterer.

The other pasture.

 A bank, where jumps will go.

 Another pic of the dressage ring.

 My trailer will fit great in there!

Wes will be shipping with Brook Ledge again.  I will take the mares myself.  Wes will be happier there as well.  Poor guy is a polar bear.  Even with his clip, he is sweating before the sun comes up right now.  If we were staying here he would have a full body clip already.

I'm excited.  The area we'll be in is SURROUNDED by horse farms and show venues.  The New Jersey Horsepark will only be 40-45 mins away as well as other venues that hold schooling and recognized horse trials.  Right now I haul a minimum of 70 miles to go to a show, clinic, lesson, etc...  I'm looking forward to shorter hauls and not having to come in the night before so that I'm there for an early ride the next day.  Or sometimes I just get up at 4am and be on the road with the horses by 4:45am.

Overall, I'm excited for new adventures, new places to ride and show.  Sinead Halpin's barn is up there (you better believe The Odd Couple and I will be hitting up her mile long gallop track), so is Marilyn Payne's place.  The beach will be about 45 mins away there too, so we can still go ride on the beach.  Right now it is a 2.5 hour drive away.  There are a couple HUGE wildlife management areas close to us as well, one being 6,800 acres.  There is so much to do!  This is going to be a great move!