Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Holidays

The ponies had Christmas lights and Christmas music.

It's been a little quiet on here, but we're about to fix that.  Once again I had something major (a positive thing) going on for my career that was every bit in my control so I gave it 110%.  With that, I had to re-align some of my priorities for the last month.

In that month there have been jump schools, chiro adjustments for the girls, more second level dressage work, and sunset/dark rides.

Heading down the road for a sunset/ride in the dark.

I have zero worries in the world about jumping on Klein bareback, in a halter and lead rope, in jeans and muck boots and heading off into the dark.  Sometimes, it is these rides that are the biggest stress relievers for me.  Just quality time with my heart horse.

Doing chores aka cleaning the kids' rooms with the drag that was in the last post.  This thing is seriously one of the best things EVER.  When I do our ring it's like my own personal horsey version of a Japanese Garden.

Klein baby at work.

The Other Half and I enjoyed the holidays because we actually got to see each other after only spending 2.5 months together this year because of work.  Thankfully not every year is like that, but it's all for our end goal, which is building our forever farm how and where we want it.

Having a drink during our cool down one evening.  The Other Half was just getting the fire started before some friends came over for more drinks.

We got a little bit of snow and Wes has loved it.

Wes telling the storm to bring it right as the first snow started.

The guy will not come inside when it snows.  He has the option, but he's not interested.  He is also just in general being more active now that the temperatures have dropped even more lately.  When the mares get stirred up he usually watches them and just tries to stay out of their way.  Lately?  He joins in on the silliness.  We have seen him run around and buck more in the past couple weeks than we have since before spring.  This is from today:

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We have had our first snow since the last post too.  As usual, it makes Mochs verrrrry sleepy.

I even caught the Princess herself napping recently.  They were taking turns, Mochs had just got up from hers when Klein decided that it was her turn.  This never happens during the warmer months.

The girls keeping us on schedule as usual.  

It starts in the distance, then when they realize it isn't working...

*ahem* we'll wait.

Wes is your typical gelding that is just happy to have food.  The girls however will not only be vocal to remind us what time it is, in case we forgot, but they also just give us the stare down.  Notice Wes is not part of the stare down.

Klein was happy to get out for some gallops today.  Even if we're not actively conditioning during the off season, gallops are still required for her because she loves them.  She genuinely enjoys going out and just getting to fly.  It's good for her mind too, just a break from any real, concentrated work.

The face of a happy mare after galloping.

Some of our scenery today.

A week ago I took Mochs to a hospital in the area for a full lameness evaluation after dealing with her having some intermittent lameness again lately.  All of that information is for the next post though!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Horse Hubby (or HSO) Basics aka Farm Life Hacks

Hey everyone, this is the Other Half. I am going to give you guys some things to think about if you are new to owning or renting a horse property. If you are a regular follower of the blog or Facebook, you know that our little horse farm keeps me busy.  Below are some tools that will help you in maintaining your property, and keep your significant other off your back, and on the back of her horses. This is not an all inclusive list, this is just a quick, down and dirty of things you should buy sooner rather than later.  



If you have recently purchased any amount of land, or are renting a property with land, this should be your first purchase. You should buy this fairly quickly.  It’s not a matter of if you will need this, it’s when. Two things that are a must when buying a chainsaw: 1. Get one big enough to chop down the largest tree in your pasture or on your property. 2.  It must be a Stihl.

If you have any questions, go to a Stihl Dealer and tell them you want one for storm cleanup and felling smaller to medium size trees. My Stihl is a MS250 with a 16-18” bar. This model has plenty of power to do a variety of things. If you plan on cutting a lot for fire wood, this is not the model for you. I have cut numerous trees up ranging from a cedar around 14” in diameter, to cutting a log in half that was 26” in diameter. My saw out performed a generic( Tractor Supply or Lowes brands) saw that was twice as big and had twice the power. Of course don’t forget the gas, bar oil and sharpener. Just ask the dealer to hook you up.

Another quick buy for yourself is a set of Bugz-Eye Mesh Safety Goggles. These are a must have.  They don’t fog up, and you won’t get a splinter stuck in your eye for a week, ask me how I know.

Your significant other WILL ask you “Does the tire look low?” To which you will respond with “Let me check.” Nothing too fancy here either.  Don’t get a pancake style compressor, they are too small. Get the digital tire gauge too, that way there is not question on what the actually pressure is.

Fence Repair Kit

Pretty simple and cheap kit depending on your choice of tools. All you need is: hammer, speed square, chalk line, small pry bar or Cats Paw, drill or impact and bits, and a handsaw or saws-all. I also highly recommend using Grip Rite screws, they use a Torx bit instead of a Phillips, which leads to less stripped screws. Don't forget extra fence materials too, don’t think that stringing a lead rope across two fence post is a “fixed” fence. 

Badass Flashlight

Flashlights are great to have multiples of, they are cheaper and higher quality than the MagLites from the 90’s. You should only purchase LED lights from this point on, and again have multiple types. One flashlight I highly recommend is a Streamlight 88047 ProTac HL 3 1100 Lumen. This flashlight will light up an entire pasture or shine through a forest. I swear I could stand on a rocky point with this light and pose as a light house. Don’t shine it in the house in the middle of the night, the light reflecting back will blind you. The batteries that this take are special, they are CR123A. Get a bunch of these because the light does go  through them on the highest setting. This is not your all around everyday light, this is responding in the middle of the night to something entering your house or messing with your horses. I do use this light fairly often on the lower setting but I want this light fully charged from when I need to see something or everything in the woods. Anything Streamlight.


For everyday lighting needs, get two or three. Your significant other will steal yours, even if you bought her one with special functions. Your significant other will also never charge the headlamp either, why should they when they can just take yours? This is your job now, keep the headlamps charged or batteries fresh. Get the brightest ones you can afford, anything in the $40-60 should be good enough.

Heated Hose

A heated hose is necessary if you life somewhere cold. This does not make the water hot, this is just to melt the ice in the hose. Plug it in, wait ten mins and turn the water on. It will blow ice chunks out and you can use the hose for filling up the tank or mixing with your beet pulp.

Portable Hot Water Heater

This made an appearance last year in the blog. It's a tankless water heater that runs off propane. The pressure comes from the pressure of your water supply. I installed this on a  dolly to make is easy to transport. Should be pretty easy for you to duplicate off the picture, if not hit me up on Facebook. 

Muck Boots

Get you and your significant other some muck boots for cleaning pastures, mucking stalls, etc. Don’t buy a specific “Horse Owner Boot.” You will soon find out that companies will slap the word horse on anything and charge you twice as much for a product that has the lowest quality. Get hunting style muck boots, these will last us forever. I laugh when I go to horse barns and see the latest style trends in waterproof boots that only last a few years.


This is not a pro or anti gun discussion. I don’t care if you are think everyone should have the ability to buy any type of gun, or if you think they should all be melted down and they all should be illegal. I will only suggest these questions to you: If an animal is attacking your horses, what do you do? If you see a poisonous snake in your pasture, what do you do? If you find a wild animal suffering, what do you do? If you have your own kind of answer to these, then do that.

What would I do? Glad you asked! I have a few different guns to handle a few different scenarios. If something is chasing the horses, I have either a Glock, AR or a lever action 30-30 to choose from. If I see a coyote in the pasture and it is not actively chasing a horse, my AR or  Lever Action. If  I see a poisonous snake, well depending on size, Glock, a decided Revolver with Snake Shot (shoots tiny BBs instead of a single projectile) or a 12 gauge shotgun. I am also armed all the time, especially when traveling with the ponies across the country or to a horse show. What would you do to protect your four legged children?

 One of Manny's personal favorites, obviously.


Pole Saw

This might move to the must have list depending on the trees you have on your property. DO NOT BUY one from a  department store. These suck, the saw doesn’t work that well, the pole is cheap and never goes high enough. I bought mine from a Stihl dealer, works like a charm. Goes to 18 feet, I have used it all the way extended and have cut some large limbs off quite a few trees.



I bought one of these when we first got to our property, I used it and I do like it, but I don’t use it very often. Don’t make the mistake I did and purchase one that can’t be towed behind a riding lawn mower. I hate lugging this thing around the pasture, and if the ground is wet, forget it.

Buy yours used, if you buy one and find you use it all the time, upgrade to a new one. Again I would stay away from department stores if you do purchase a new one. Department stores ask companies to make equipment to a certain price point which results in extremely poor quality. Just like if you buy a Husqvarna chainsaw from a department store, it will be drastically different from one purchased from a dealer. 


If you notice a theme with most of these, its quality. Buy something once and have it forever or cheap out on it and look forward to buying it again in a few years. A quality axe and handsaw is great to have around because it saves you from grabbing your chainsaw, pole saw, etc. I have a Husqvarna 19” Carpenters axe and a Silky BigBoy Handsaw, these will last you a long time. The Silky handsaw makes quick work of trees and limbs around an inch but it will cut a lot bigger trees, not that I would know of course. 

Another quick hack if you have a battery saws-all, they make pruning saw blades which work great just make sure the battery is charged. 

Side note for cleaning up trees around the property, you can also just have a fire, but be sure to check with your city for size limitations/regulations, in case you need a permit.  You don't want the entire fire department called on you for them only to find out you don't have the correct permit. 

Tool Box

Stacey had this crappy, cheap plastic drawer system that she kept her brushes and hoof picks in. Well, a mouse decided to live in one of the drawers and chew her brushes. First of all I can’t describe how much I hated that plastic drawer setup she had. So I I surprised her with a Lowes tool box in her favorite color. This will last her forever, unless Wes discovers it and decides to mess with it. This will also keep the mice out. 

Like I said, this didn't include everything but should get you started. If you don't have things on the must have list, Christmas is coming soon. Make your Horse Hubby read this, he should enjoy it because its all about tools and guns.

I can’t stress quality enough on these items, but if you cant afford it, buy used of the same quality or buy as best quality products you can afford. If there is one thing I cant’t stand, it’s rebuying things because they broke after only having a short time.

Speaking of quality Horse Hubby and Horse Rider, pay attention. DO NOT buy stuff that says it is for horse people. Case in point, the hot water heater. They make a horse owner specific hot water heater and guess what? It’s terrible and more expensive than an RV hot water heater. Same thing with horse bags for holding, horse things like brushes and cleaning supples. You know what also does the something for 1/4 of the price, a regular bag.

Yes, there are some things you need to buy that are horse specific like hay nets, jump cups, hoof picks, horse brushes, tack, etc. Just before you purchase something for the barn, trailer or horse, Google it and see if there is something else that will work. If it says horse or equine, it’s probably a really expensive low quality product.

Oh and dressage letters are expensive, right? Not if you make them.


Hope you guys enjoyed this, and maybe even got some ideas for Christmas.  I will answer any questions you guys have and also welcome suggestions on equipment I should buy too. Not bad for a first time posting on the blog right?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Obligatory Beach Gallop

Saturday I met up with a friend for a ride on the beach that we had been talking about since before my last work trip.  I promised we would go when I got back.  And really, who wouldn't want to make good on that promise?  I was excited to go with this particular friend because this friend is fun to ride with and I knew she wouldn't have a problem letting Klein and I have our obligatory beach gallop despite it being her horse's first time to the beach.

We planned to get there early in the day because rain was supposed to come in late in the afternoon.  We ended up having a little delay because when I went out to hook up my truck and trailer, The Beast didn't want to turn over.  It would crank but just couldn't get the momentum to turn over.  Well, that is a result of my own absent mindedness.

I am the only one that drives The Beast.  Since I was gone for five and a half weeks The Beast sat.  I drove The Beast the day after I got home from Florida and it started right up.  I didn't drive it again until I went to start it that morning.  I don't drive it daily, I have a Caddy I drive every day to keep the wear and tear off The Beast.  But, in this case, I should have driven it a couple days last week anyway.  Oh well.  We have had some pretty cold nights already, and that doesn't do vehicle batteries any favors.  I also didn't plug my block heater in because I couldn't find my super long extension cord.

I wondered if maybe it was just that time because the batteries that are in The Beast are 4.5 years old now.  I figured it was just because it had been cold, and I didn't plug the block heater in, which is a big drain on the batteries when you cycle the glow plugs without the block heater being plugged in for a while on a cold morning.  For those of you that drive diesels, you have probably noticed that the glow plugs take longer to cycle on a cold morning when the truck hasn't been plugged in, versus when it has.

The Other Half to the rescue.  Funny, he had just bought a giant vehicle charger last week.  I found my extension cord, after The Other Half reminded me where it was, and plugged the block heater in.  After about 45 mins of the big charger on each battery for an amount of time, and the block heater plugged in, The Beast lit up immediately, cranked over no problem, and Klein and I were on our way.  If the batteries were actually dead I would have just ran down the road and bought two new ones and we still would have been on our way shortly.  Either way, we were going.

Made it!

Klein baby like "Meh...been going to the beach since I was 3, whatevs..."

It hasn't been busy at the place I ride on the beach here.  Last time I went, there was one other trailer, and Saturday, besides our two trailers, there was only one other trailer.  There are six miles of beach we can ride, so you don't even see the other people.  There was a fishing tournament going on that day so there was a bit of traffic and people parked on the beach.

Klein might be getting a little soft as she gets older.  She actually VERBALLY greeted her friend that day.  We ride with them a lot so she is very familiar with that horse, and actually LIKES that horse.  It is VERY rare to hear her say anything to other horses.  She looked out the window for him and everything.  When we went to leave, same thing.  I loaded her first and she looked out the window at him tied to his trailer, and he whinnies for her.  It says something when another horse can hold her attention over a hay net full of alf.

Oh my pretty girl...there is just nothing like spending time with her at the beach.

It was a bit windy, but not too bad.  It was actually a relaxing ride except for the few gawkers that had to start taking pictures and video of us, which we immediately called them out for.  It's pretty funny to me that for some reason random people think it is perfectly ok to get your camera out and start taking video of people they don't know, but when I do it back to them, they flip.  Oh, ok then, it's ok for you to do it to me, but not the other way around?  Explain that.

One guy in a green Jeep that was driving by stopped and immediately began recording us.  So, I got my phone out and started doing the same thing.  He started yelling at me, rolled his window up, and slammed on the gas, almost getting his Jeep stuck in the sand.  What's the problem there, guy?  I don't get it.

Anyway, this friend and I always have such a great time riding, a few creepers weren't going to ruin it.  We had a blast and it was pretty much a perfect day.  And, The Beast started right up to go home, so that was a relief.  It wasn't my batteries, it was my own stupidity.  I honestly know better than that, but it's been a crazy week since I've been home.  I even thought Thanksgiving was NEXT week, not this week.  So...yeah.  Beach ride was definitely what we needed.

And here is the obligatory beach gallop, because no trip to the beach is complete without it.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

What do You do With Your Horses When You Get Back?

I told you about what typically happens when I go on trips for work that can vary in length.  Now that I'm home from my most recent five week trip, here is what I do when I get home.

First order of business, go say hi to my babies.  I got home at night and went outside to see them.  I called their names as I walked up.  They stopped eating their hay and their heads shot up.  They flipped around toward the sound of my voice with their ears pricked like "Is she home?!"  All three of them immediately came over for some love and hugs.

Sure did miss waking up to this sight, and no, they don't stay in that temporary paddock all the time.  That is only a couple days a week, and only when we are home.  So don't worry about all the leaves, they're gone now too.

The next day every one got groomed.  Klein and Wes got their legs and face clipped, along with bridle paths.  I keep the feather off of them, and I cannot stand when the hair under their jaw line grows out (especially with winter coats half way in).  Mochs really doesn't get a beard going on, and she definitely doesn't have feather.  She just needed a bridle path.

The Handsome after enjoying some grooming time complete with treats.

Later that same day.

Something about colder weather puts Mochs down for afternoon naps.  She will start falling asleep in the sun, then lay down for a while to nap.  She never lays down to nap in warm weather.

The girls both went back to work.  As soon as I tied Klein to the trailer to tack her up she let out a big sigh then pricked her ears with every piece of tack I brought to her.  She was happy that her break was over.  That is her equivalent of "Yes!  We're going somewhere and doing something!"  I took her out for a hack down the road.

She hasn't done anything for five weeks.  While she would love to take off at a full gallop, that's not going to happen until she gets rides with long walks, trots, and slow canters.  I gradually bring her back into work after weeks of doing nothing for the sake of being preventative.  If I was only gone a week or two, no big deal.

Mochs, well, you know she hasn't done anything since Klein kicked her at the end of July.  The Other Half sent me videos of her tearing around the pasture, leaping in the air, and breaking into a floaty trot on a regular basis while I was gone.  She looked great.  With her though, not only is she not even close to the fitness level Klein is at, I need to make sure she is actually feeling 100%.  The plan for her is long walks for the first couple weeks with some time on the lunge line walking and, trotting a little bit over some ground rails.  She has to build some strength back up.

With Mochs, she usually reverts back to being somewhat undomesticated after long breaks.  Her anxiety is present and there is a lot of jigging, power walking, and evading the bit the first couple of weeks back under saddle.  She was the best she has EVER been this summer and I was hoping that her new calm would still be there at least a little bit.  Even a little of it would be an improvement.

I'm happy to say that more than a little bit of that calm was still there.  Her first ride I could let her wander on a completely loose rein.

In case you can't tell, I was holding my other glove.  I took it off to take the picture, that's why it looks odd.

I did trot her a tiny bit to see how she felt and there was some intermittent lameness, not from her hip, but from her right front where the navicular cyst is.  I highly suspect it's a strength issue.  She was going great this summer and completely sound.  That was after doing exactly what I plan to do now though, long walks under saddle, with work on the lunge line.  It took about two months, and that's fine.  There is no rush with spring not being for a while.

Video from the bareback ride:

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Remember that drag I told you about that The Other Half bought right after I left?  Yeah...that thing is AMAZING.

I also came back to an AWESOME surprise.  The Other Half cleaned up my storage stall where we keep feed, blankets, the water heater, grooming stuff, etc...  It was a bit, um, unorganized.  He also bought me a Kobalt tool box for my grooming stuff and other supplies I keep in there after getting tired of the cheap set of plastic drawers I had.  That thing is PERFECT for that!!  It will last forever, and it can easily be rolled onto a trailer if I want to take it with me somewhere.  He seriously should write a book on all the stuff he does around here, and all the ideas he comes up with.

Christmas is coming, people.  Put one of these on your list if you don't have something similar.

He also got these really nice letters for each of the horse's names to hang over their blanket racks.


I'm so happy to be home.  Sadly, it is reverse for a lot of people that are on these trips.  They use them as an escape from an unhappy home life.  I'm one of the lucky few that has a home life that is much better than my work trip life.  As cliche as it sounds, The Other Half really does make everything more fun.  Every time I'm gone, no matter how many cool places I go, I just wish he was there because it would be much more enjoyable with him.

And of course, all those sunsets on different beaches every evening were beautiful, but really...this is the best place to be for sunsets...