Tuesday, February 28, 2017



Klein has been jumping exceeding well lately.  We have been working hard on some things with our jumping this fall and winter and they are paying off.  We are jumping the best we have ever been and are nailing everything from every which way we jump it.  One thing that has helped a lot is that we have improved our communication through the outside rein and seat aids.  It's no secret a better connection through those two will improve performance and accuracy.

Heading toward the 4' oxer like who cares.

She has just been awesome. We'll be heading toward some 3'6" at a CT this year for sure.  It's time to get out of the Novice mindset.  I honestly think last year she just got bored with that.  I mean look at her over 3'6" and up.  Every ride just makes me more and more excited for this year's shows.

Last Friday I had set up a line with low wide oxers in it.  It was a cavaletti, ground rail, oxer, two strides with ground rails to a second oxer then a ground rail a stride out from that.  I wanted her to really stretch out, that was the point of keeping them low and wide.  When they are wider than they are high it also helps their bascule.  After she jumped through the line both ways a few times we jumped them on an angle from outside of the line.  She decided she would just go ahead and ignore the rails and jump the height of the standards, 4'.  Funny because I jumped her at 4' a couple weeks ago (first pic of the post)  Here's a video:

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She is an alien.  She has to be.  I still wonder all the time how I ended up being so lucky to find her as a random two year old on the internet.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

First XC School of 2017

Last weekend, Klein and I also went for our first xc school of the year.  She was her usual amazing self.  She was super forward to everything and got strong after the fences, she was definitely enjoying herself.  I wanted to school some Training level stuff but, I knew damn well that if we went somewhere with a full Training Level course we would get carried away between her being excited and being strong and me being excited and high on a great ride we would probably get carried away with more work than we need at the year's first xc school.  The point was for it to be an easy confident school for her, and it was.  Easy, fun, we're ready to get some real work done.

I apologized to Klein for this crap release.

For that school I warmed her up in a ring with stadium jumps.  We jumped some single fences then through a gymnastic line of three one strides, an in and out, and some other related fences.  She was feeling great.  We headed out to the xc jumps and got in ditches, rolltops, benches, ramps, coops, shark's tooth, banks, half coffin, a corner, some drops, and skinny chevron.  It was a perfect spot for a great start to xc for the year.  We'll probably do another easy school this time with more Training stuff then we'll move on to Training only schools to prepare for this coming season.  So, if you guys have been missing the helmet cam videos, don't worry!

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Another Adventure Into the Pine Barrens

The gorgeous weather over President's Day weekend meant a trip to the Pine Barrens for more exploring.  Again, I have yet to find the end of the main road.  I also found a new serious of trails that branch off from that main road.  This place is just awesome, except for some random creepers that try to take video of us.  Sometimes, I really wish Klein had an invisible button that I could press and we would instantly disappear.

We live in an area where there are A LOT of horses, yet people act like they have never seen a horse when she appears.  I know, it's because she's big, and she's grey (white).  She is a novelty.  But, novelty or not, it is WEIRD when people you don't know stop walking mid step, break out their phone and blatantly point it directly at you and hit record.  I DON'T KNOW YOU PEOPLE.

I completely understand if we are at a show.  People go to a show to watch the horses.  Video away.  But random people on trails????  It is just so creepy and voyeuristic to me.  I can't stand it.  I am kicking myself for not putting my GoPro on before we went out.  I had it with me because I had just done the box stall video.  If I would have had it on, you better believe I'd have video of these weirdos just like they do of me, and I would post it here and show you guys.  It happens every time, so next time I WILL have it on and I'm sure I'll catch some weirdos on camera for you with their stupid response of why they are being creepy.  I mean, what if I halted Klein, got my phone out and just started taking video of these people I have never met in my life walking by us on the trail without saying a word, is that not weird?  I will admit, I am fully aware that my profession has made me more paranoid than what you would expect because of the nature of my work, but I don't think getting videoed by people I don't know is far from a normal level of being creeped out?

Anyway, it was also my birthday that day, and I was determined not to let any creepy mofos ruin it.  I just turned Klein and trotted quickly away from them.  I didn't feel like confrontation that day, normally I'd be quick to call them out for being weirdos.  It was beautiful and I just wanted to enjoy it with Klein, alone.  The Pine Barrens also smell AMAZING.  So not only was it pretty, it smelled as pretty as it looked.

After we did some long trots, and a couple gallops down the new trails we found, we headed back and stopped at the water in case Klein wanted a drink.  She did, and she also wanted to play in it.  She cracks me up.  She LOVES playing.  She has always done it since we were in Hawaii and would get in the ocean.  She has never once tried to lay down in water either, which is why I let her splash as much as she wants because I know she's not testing the water to find a spot to dunk me.

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Also on our way back, we had almost made it back to the parking lot when two loose dogs came sprinting down the road at us.  I started yelling, which the owners heard before they saw us and then they started yelling for their dogs to come back.  People.  You are in a leash area, and you just came from the parking lot WITH A HORSE TRAILER.  But common sense isn't common, so I wouldn't expect them to put two and two together, or realize that is how lawsuits start.  Instead, I'll have to yell at your dogs to scare them before they do something they are going to regret.

That still didn't ruin our ride.  Creepers, loose dogs with their dumb owners and all, we had a beautiful ride.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Trailer Ride Video, Part 2.1 - Box Stall

You have now seen Klein riding in a straight load and box stall.  Time to see what the pony is up to.  First, you have to keep in mind that Mochi had not been in the trailer in over a year due to her being out of work because of a Navicular Cyst.  She has been on a staycation I guess you could say, which has recently ended.

Klein and Mochi are quite different in size.  A 17 hand horse fits very comfortably in the box stall, which means it is basically a VIP Suite for a 14 hand pony.  Since the trailer was already set up in the box stall configuration, I decided to take some video of Mochi.  We were only going about 30 mins away.

Mochi is also a very good traveler.  She has always walked right on, and aside from being vocal sometimes, is a model citizen.  I have hauled her up the east coast with Klein, with layovers, no problem.  All three of mine are good.  Klein may throw a random fit here and there about loading but no one stomps, kicks, or is destructive.

Mochi walked right on like usual, but she was nervous once I put the ramp up and shut the tail curtains.  I felt bad because you can't explain to her that we were just going to a friend's house for a little bit.  She hasn't been on the trailer in over a year, or regular work, so she had every right to be worried.  The only way for her to find out that everything was ok, was to get going.

She was her normal vocal self throughout most of the ride.  I did feel her move a little bit but from what the camera shows, she wasn't doing anything crazy, or turning in circles.  She was just moving her front feet to get where she wanted.  She would ride with the wind blowing in her face, then go back to the other side, as you will see in the video.  She is pretty cute, and watch her little ears for maximum cuteness.

Trailering on a regular basis will make it boring for her again.  I don't have any issues with hauling her like this, and will also leave the trailer set up with the box stall for Mochi as well, if I am just taking one horse somewhere.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trailer Ride Video, Part 2 - Box Stall

I took full advantage of the gorgeous weekend we just had and took a horse somewhere every day of it, which means, box stall videos!  Finally!

I took Mochi somewhere as well this weekend, and decided to leave the box stall in the trailer and take some video of her as well.  I am planning to get that up tomorrow in a post.

This video was done in comparison to those I took last month of Klein in a straight load stall.  You can find that post here:  Trailer Ride Video, Part 1 - Straight Load Stall.  As I mentioned in that post, I was curious to see how the ride is back there so I bought a suction cup mount for my GoPro and took some video to see for myself.  Here is my GoPro on the mount in my trailer:

For the sake of comparison, here again is what I'm hauling with:

My truck is a Dodge 2500 Cummins diesel 6 speed manual, which is why you will hear the shifting in the videos.  It has some mods so, that is also why it's so loud.  It's chipped with a full 5" turbo back exhaust and upgraded fuel system, among other things.  My trailer is an Sundowner mini 2+1 gooseneck trailer.

 Here is Klein in the box stall:

If you are wondering why I don't tie them, click on the link to Part 1.  As you can see, Klein doesn't really care one way or the other.  I do think she likes being able to see out though.  This way, the head divider isn't in her way.  She used to turn around in box stalls and ride backward but there must be something about my trailer now, or maybe she just prefers riding front facing now.  The great thing about the box stall is, she can do what she wants.  The plan is to leave the divider out for now and stick with the box stall, unless I need to take two horses somewhere.

Stay tuned for the video with Mochi tomorrow, she's a little more exciting to watch than Klein!  Nothing crazy, just a little more animated.  It makes it interesting to see how they move around in the box stall, if they move.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My Valentine

I am only sappy over very few things in life.  Consider this your warning.  This is a post about love.  I just want to give some recognition to The Other Half.  He is like Klein in the way that I can't figure out where he came from.  Right from the start of our relationship I knew he was the best human I have ever met and I don't know what I did to deserve him.  I am dead serious when I say that before he came along, I had accepted the fact that no person would ever make me as happy as my horses and to just get over ever thinking any different.  I was completely ok with being the crazy cat lady and sitting on my porch with a shot gun and some whiskey when I got old.

But, then The Other Half came along when I wasn't looking, and honestly wanted to be left alone, and changed all that.  He is the only person that actually makes me want to make a concentrated effort to be a better person and do well with every goal I set.  I guess it is true that the best things come along when you're lease expecting them.  That is how I found Klein too, because really, who was going to buy a two year old filly sight unseen off the internet and ship her to Hawaii while being active duty military??  Only this person right here, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my entire life for countless reasons.

Aside from all the things he does that you guys read about on this blog, let me tell you what this guy was doing just last week.  He was getting ready for a lengthy work trip, so he had taken some time off to get ready, two weeks to be exact.  What was he doing?  He was out doing things around the house and our property that would make things easier for me while he was gone.  I didn't ask for that.  I didn't want to add to his to do list.  He just did it.  One small example is that there were some branches growing a bit long out by where I turn around with my truck and trailer to park it and he went and cut them all down.  I could have done that.  Nope.  Done.  There are lots of other things too.

He is always there for me, even when he can't physically be home for work reasons.  He even makes sure to re-up the supply of granola bars by ordering them off Amazon for the ponies when he is thousands of miles away.  He went with me to almost every single show last year.  He was my voice of reason when I needed to hear it too. 

Because of this work trip, you guys won't see him until toward the end of the season, so I think it's worth mentioning that this is the only reason he won't be with us as much as usual this season.  Thankfully Klein and I are very used to being alone at home, shows, adventuring to random places, etc...  We'll be ok, but I will miss him a ton, I already do.

Instead of being sad that he'll be gone for a bit and waking up thinking about what is not physically here, I look around at everything we have TOGETHER.  We have an awesome life TOGETHER.  We are very fortunate to live the life that we do, and I never lose sight of this.  We are a team, and he reminds me of that a lot whenever a tough time comes around.  Whenever I try to take on a problem on my own when it's something that I got myself into, he is always there to insist on helping me solve it.  He is always there for me. 

I'll be busy with a lot of things like usual while he is away for work, and that will make time fly.  So, even though my Valentine wasn't physically here with me today, I am not sitting here pouting.  I'm sitting here happy and smiling because I am married to such a genuinely wonderful man.  Plus, we already have our rain check date planned at our favorite place here for as soon as he gets back.

I always tell people that laugh at how much I love Klein that if they don't have something in their life that they love and enjoy as much as I do with my horses, then they are missing out and I feel sorry for them.  I feel the same way with The Other Half, and I hope you guys all find a significant other that makes you as happy and treats you as well as he treats me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

You Have to Pay to Keep Playing

Soooo happy to have my Beast back!!

Some of you might remember that I was kind of getting the smack laid down on me for a little bit, about a year ago, by my trailer and wrote a post called "You Have to Pay to Play" about it.  A new wiring job, a new jack, new roof seal, and six new tires after I bought six new tires (NEVER, EVER put Hi-Run tires on your trailer).  Now it's the truck's turn.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my truck.  I'm a Dodge girl for life when it comes to trucks, and The Beast has been nothing short of one of the toughest trucks out there.  The Beast has been hands down one of the best things I have ever bought in my life.  But, it's a vehicle.  A 3/4 ton truck no less, that actually does what a truck like that is supposed to do, haul things, aka work.  Yeah, putting a lift and stacks on your 3/4 ton truck doesn't count.  I'd kick my own ass if I ever did anything like that.

Anyway, vehicles break, consumable parts wear out.  My truck is actually in excellent shape despite being an 02.  People try to buy it off me all the time.  I have even come out of the trailer dealership where I have my trailer worked on and found a group of guys marveling over it.  But, it just hit 148k, which is about halfway through its life span because the 5.9 Cummins is known to go to 300k and still keep on going.  Mine isn't driven every day, so it keeps the miles/wear and tear down.  I have a daily driver beater car for that.  I wouldn't subject The Beast to daily driving on New Jersey roads anyway.

A couple weeks ago I heard the clutch slip in 6th and hoped that I was imagining things.  That was with no trailer on.  Then a couple days after that, I heard it slip in 6th again while I was taking Klein somewhere.  I actually caught a slip on video when I was doing the trailer videos.  I wasn't too upset because 148k on the stock clutch is nothing to complain about.  Plus, I know the guy I bought it from at 122k was doing stuff like hauling GN hay trailers and not using a trailer brake with it. 

I figured I better listen to the warning The Beast was giving me and go ahead and get a new clutch in, so I called the shop the next day and had them order a Luk clutch kit for it and dropped it off the next day.  I know a lot of people would limp that clutch out until it was slipping a lot worse.  Why take the risk of having some catastrophic clutch failure while hauling horses somewhere though?  No thanks.  I'll just do the clutch now instead of having to call U.S. Rider to come save me one day when it's hot and the horses and I are stuck somewhere far from home on the side of a highway.

Once the transmission was out, we found the real reason the clutch was starting to slip.  The Beast had a MASSIVE crack in the bell housing.  Three week long story short, after the bell housing work, a new clutch kit, new rear main seal, new front drive shaft, and a $2,701.39 bill later, The Beast lives!  I picked it up today and it feels great, ready for a busy season of taking ponies on lots of adventures!  Yeah, that's a big shop bill, but as far as I'm concerned, having a safe towing vehicle is priceless when you haul live cargo.

Meh.  Hauling ponies safely = priceless.

Now I can do my box stall videos!  I kind of feel like the ponies and I have been on house arrest while The Beast was in the shop.  I feel weird if I haven't hauled a horse in longer than two weeks.  Every time I haul, when I look in my mirrors and see my trailer, it feels like the world is right.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Happy 26th Birthday and 3rd Homecoming/Retirement Anniversary to Wesson!

Yesterday we celebrated three years of Wes being home!!  I can't believe it has been three years already!  There are still days that I look out and still can't believe it is really him out in our pasture.  He thrives on his routine and is still very happy looking after his mares. 

Napping with his mares.

Here he is running after them earlier this week when The Other Half was out doing some pasture maintenance.

We call this day his Birthday/Anniversary because it is the anniversary of his homecoming and though he is a Tom Lane Belgian from Creek Side, I don't know his exact birthday.  So, we decided to make his homecoming day his birthday because it was the first day of the rest of his life.  How I know he is 26 is because I did know his age when I first met him, years ago, when he had just been bought from an auction out of Denver.

For his Birthday/Anniversary all the ponies had a beer mash to celebrate. 


Of course, every time the ponies get beer, guess who is the sloppy one?  The pony, who else?  Mochs would be the sloppy drunk that would still manage to drink everyone under the table, if she were a human.  This time I got some video to prove it.

Don't worry, she does NOT get as much beer as the drafts do.  Though she could handle it, I'm sure.

Happy Birthday/Anniversary to the sweetest boy in the whole world!  And thank you again to all of you out there that made his trip home happen!  I hope you enjoy all of the Wesson updates over the years!

Last week, waiting for me to come back with his mares.

Waiting for their beer mash.

Friday, February 3, 2017

First Mochi Update of 2017

My beautiful little spotted mare.  I absolutely adore this girl.

You all know my most favorite little mare is dealing with a Navicular cyst that we found a year ago now.  She was coming along so nicely after I finally cracked the code on her and I had solid plans of eventing her as far as she wanted to go.  She is a very brave, very fun little mare that loves to work.  Her quirky personality really can't be beat either.  She has made made me fall in love with POAs.  If they are all like her, sign me up for life.

This was in Georgia.  We would hack for miles off the property like this.  I'm telling you, she is one amazing little mare.

Learning gymnastics.  Excuse my floating hands, not really sure wtf I was doing there.

Getting her wings.

Last February she received her first injection of Osphos, a drug that is used to treat Osteoporosis, but just recently (about two years ago) began being used in horses.  It illicits a bone remodeling response.  Mochi is only slight lame from her cyst.  Her lameness is intermittent.  Our vet said she would be a great candidate for Osphos so we gave it a try.  It take about 60 days to begin working and Mochi made a noticeable improvement.  She now goes days without taking an off step, instead of the low grade lameness being visible at a trot on a consistent basis.

The vet suggested a full six months off of work for her as well.  She actually ended up having the past full year off of work.  A lot of people are asking why I don't just corrective shoe her and be done with it.  I have heard from several sources, these being owners of Navicular horses, vets, and farriers that corrective shoes doesn't always solve your problem.  Even if they are sound with corrective shoeing, they usually enjoy a year of that then begin to show lameness again.  I don't want that for her.  Also, she's very low grade lame.

I have also talked with people that have had their Navicular horse nerved, as in cut the nerve to where that area would be numb and they would no longer feel any pain there.  The issues with that are that the nerves can grow back and reattach 1-5 years down the line and you end up having to reaccomplish the procedure.  There is a limit to how many times it can be done too.  The other big risk is that with a numb foot there is the potential they hurt themselves and never know it until it is at a critical point.  They can also trip in/on/over things out on trails.  This could result in a minor stumble, or it could result in both the horse and rider falling.

I know there are people out there eventing nerved horses above Prelim.  I don't think that's the smartest idea.  I had no plans of jumping Mochi if we nerved her.  I would be happy just taking her out for easy hacks, MAYBE some low level dressage, if we went that route.  I have spent hours over the past four months reading opinions of vets and farriers about the neurectomy procedure.

I began to think that I wanted to go for it.  I discussed it with The Other Half too, it's a joint decision.  Our Coggins appointment was coming up so it was time to have another serious talk about the next step and I was going to ask about doing a neurectomy on Mochi.  I was 90% decided because instead of experimenting with other management methods this way it would just be done and we could begin moving forward again.

Another reason I want her back in some kind of work so badly?  Not just because she's such a fun little mare that is willing to go anywhere, but she LOVES to be out doing something.  She throws big fits on the days I come back with Klein.  It doesn't matter if I rode off of our property or if I am coming back with Klein in the trailer.  She will whinny and run around like she lost her mind and buck.  She's not herd bound.  She wants out.  The few times I've taken her out in the past year, she's as quiet as can be.  If she was herd bound she wouldn't want to leave the property.  Not Moch.  She has been down the road a total of three times in the past year.  It is a new and completely unfamiliar area to her and she struts along like we go down there every single day.  She just wants to do something.  I owe it to her to figure this out.  She's not ready to be a pasture pet.  Some horses would love nothing more, not her.

Anyway, the vet was here last week and my idea went over like a lead balloon.  The vet basically said Mochs is not broken enough to be considered for a neurectomy and that I'd need to really plead my case to her to convince her to do it.  She said she's not a fan of nerving any horse that is intended to be undersaddle again for any amount of work and that she typically does it on horses where the owner can tell them the horse is going to be retired to pasture.

She said she's so slightly lame that she believes we can get her sound with much less.  She said since she responded so well to Osphos the first time, we should go for that again.  She likes Osphos because it's an actual cure.  The improvement you get from the horse is because of a bone remodeling response, and that is permanent.  The improvement you get is permanent.  It's not a management method.  She also said that Moch might be sound in just regular shoes.  Now, regular shoes I am ok with.  But, a few months ago I also had planned on getting her in some Renegade hoof boots.  I just got distracted and never ordered them.

We decided to go ahead with another Osphos injection and I ordered her a pair of Renegades that day.  If we can get the same level of improvement with this injection I think she'll be sound.  I really do.

 You have to walk the horse for 20 mins after their injection.  The Other Half was home to take care of that at the appt and Klein decided she would join them for the walk. She had to make sure that Mochs wasn't getting something she should be getting too.

Her Renegades showed up two days later and they fit perfect!  I had previously tried some on her a couple months ago to see what size she would need for sure.  She is in a size two with maximum cut back.  I had also ordered a Fit Kit from Easy Care but none of the shells fit quite right.  That is what made us try some Renegades on her and they fit much better.

I put them on her and turned her back out.  She walked off like they weren't on her feet.  I wanted her to just walk around in them all day at her own leisure to get used to them.  Later that day I put her on the lunge line to trot her and see how she looked in them.

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And some video:

I am VERY happy with how she's going in the Renegades!  She took one or two slightly off steps on the lunge line, but I'm not 100% sure that wasn't because she is getting used to the boots.  Time will tell.

The thing with Osphos is that it takes 60 days to set in.  During that time the vet told me I'm fine to walk her and do a very small amount of trotting, really just a couple steps here and there, but no more than that while Osphos is working its magic in that 60 day window.  This is more than ok.  Mochs is so far out of shape she needs a minimum of 60 days of walking, easy hacks, before even THINKING about more than that.  This means our plan is exactly that.  I will be riding her at the walk on a loose rein, ponying her off of Klein for long walks, and walking on the lunge line a couple times a week for the next 60 days.  We will do some bridleless (well, with a neckstrap, so I guess it's more like almost bridleless) hacks and walk work in the arena too, that will give her mind something to keep busy with.  Once we get there we will take a close look at what we have from this Osphos injection and see where we can go. At that point, if she is still a little off, I will shoe her (with regular shoes, not corrective shoes) and see what we have at that point.

Here she is ponying off of Klein the other day for a little bit of trot just for me to see how she was looking that day in her Renegades and she was trotting sound.

2017 WILL be the year Mochi is back to work.