Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Steal of A Deal

I don't know about you, but I love the European style stall fronts. I've been wanting to use them in my barn, but the ones that I've seen are pretty expensive. I had decided that I would use a gate for now and down the road I'd upgrade to the stall fronts that I want. 

Friday afternoon a friend emailed me a Craigslist link to some never used, European style stall fronts. They lady was asking $950 OBO for 2 fronts. I contacted the seller and she did still have them, and agreed to take $850 for them. The next piece of the puzzle was that they were located a couples of hours south of us. A good friend grew up in that town and her family still lives there. I texted her to see if her family would be willing to buy them for me. The answer? Yes! On top of that they were coming to her house for her daughter's birthday party.  I was able to send them with money and they picked the stalls fronts up on Sunday. How's that for wonderful friends?! 

Per the seller they are $2000 per stall and never ended up using them as she added on more stalls than she originally planned and couldn't afford to use these for all of them. I'm super excited to get them home and put up in my barn in the nearish future. 

This is what it should look like

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


My baby girl is 4 today. Can you believe it?  If you've read my blog for any length of time you know I'm thrilled with this little mare. She's blossoming into a lovely partner and a horse that I thoroughly enjoy being around. She has built my confidence as our partnership continues to develop. Things have been especially fun since I've been able to start riding her.  I'm so thankful to have her and can't believe how quickly the past four years have passed.

From a little squirt to a big girl - time went by fast!
A few of my favorite photos from this past year. 
First show 
First mounted mountain trail

She's a pro at "selfies"
Trail riding
All grown up
Second show
Third show, first reserve champion ribbon
Fourth show
Clinic with JW- Starting to go around like an adult
First time riding at Perrydale Trails
Last big adventure as a 3 year old

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Social Butterfly

Saturday morning Emi and I hit the beach with Melissa and Scotty. The weather was perfect; very little wind and it was fairly warm. Emi had been one other time and was equally good the second time around. She was a little up to start so we set of trotting pretty quickly. She had her nice big cob trot on for a while. She was trotting so big that Scotty was cantering next to us and we were keeping up just fine. She led most of the way out and it was so fun to be cantering happily down the beach with her.  She was super about the ocean and it didn't take much convincing to get her to march into a shallow waves.

We did lots of trotting and cantering and by the time we headed back to the trailer she was getting tired. We came across a couple of kids playing in the shallow water and she made a beeline for them. It was so sweet to have her stop on her own accord to visit. Next we walked up to an older couple who was taking pictures of us. Emi marched right over to them too. Finally we encountered a few kids on the trail off the beach who asked to pet a horse. Melissa motioned to Emi and said "that's the one to pet."

It was so cute to see her being her social butterfly self out on the beach. What a terrific ambassador for welsh cobs and horses in general.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017


My trailer is currently floor-less...and the truck is getting a new transmission. This leaves Emi and I grounded.

Since I'm not able to haul out I figured I might as well start working Emi at home. The weather was overcast and a little damp today and I wasn't feeling super motivated. I mentally geared up for Emi to be fussy and unsettled, expecting Roz to be hollering for her. With my patience in hand, I headed out with her rope halter. I tied her to the trailer and she quietly munched hay while I got her groomed. No hollering so far. I tiptoed away from the barn with her (as much as you can tiptoe with a horse), expecting Roz to start up at any moment. 

Master of the side eye. 
As it turned out his donkey and pile of hay were enough to keep him occupied while I had Emi gone. He never made a peep and she didn't either. Major score! Once we got over to the arena I put Emi out on the lunge line with a quick tap on her butt to convince her that stopping for a snack wasn't allowed. She was a little bit animated but didn't put a foot wrong. She confidently navigated the slightly uneven terrain and was listening nicely. When we finished our quick lunge I led her around the edge of the mowed field. It's nice hilly terrain and I'm hoping to do a little bit of condition by riding around the property. 

I was totally thrilled with how well this first outing went. It was wonderful to have Emi be good and so nice that Roz wasn't screaming for her. I've kept them separated in the paddock for the past week and I think that's helping us when I take Emi out. They still share a fence line but apparently sharing a fence line and sharing a paddock are quite different and makes for less attachment. Whatever it is, I'll take it! 


Thursday, June 8, 2017

She's Home

This post could have had many titles. New Routines, It's Hard to be Three, Growing Pains, McFarm Life or Is Our Arena Done Yet? But first let me back up.

I moved Emi home last week Wednesday. It's so nice to see her out my kitchen window each day. She is getting along well with both Roz and Liam, which I expected since she's been turned out with both of them before. As always, adding a new member to the herd brings new dynamics and new challenges. One of those challenges is that I currently have 1 large paddock and no real way to separate everyone. Feeding time requires a lot of babysitting on my part. Liam gets tied and I stand with Emi until Roz finishes his grain...yes, it's a pain.

Yes, that's Roz's back you are barely seeing above the grass, and he's standing up
Stylin' in her new greenguard grazing muzzle
On the riding front, until my arena is completed I am hauling Emi back out to NDF to ride.

So far I've hauled her out three times (Saturday, Tuesday & Wednesday). If we have to haul out I'm glad it's to somewhere familiar to her.  I've lunged her for under 10 minutes each day as she has been amped up coming off the trailer. She isn't very thrilled with the trip to the barn (after leaving Roz) and was especially difficult on Tuesday. Wednesday I had a bit of a new game plan which included feeding her a small amount of grain on the way to the barn. Leaving the farm seemed a little better but when we got to NDF she and another mare were calling back and forth. This continued into the arena which is unusual. This led me to think that she might be in heat....We returned home around 8:15pm and Roz was running the fence line screaming for Emi. That was a little more dramatic than what he had been doing the other two days so I thought my "in heat" idea might be true. 

I left them in the pasture for a while and I got their feed set up for the evening before returning to bring them in. Once they finished with their grain Roz went over to Emi and flirted with her for a minute before mounting her in full on stallion mode. Umm....seriously? My gelding is not supposed to be doing that! So that led to a late night makeshift fencing project to be able to separate them. They are currently still separated and I'm pondering how to handle this. I'm pretty sure she was coming out of heat when I moved her home which was barely a week ago. Does anyone else have a gelding who thinks he's a stallion?  

Monday, June 5, 2017

Buying a Baby

As I was coming home from Perrydale Trails, I was thinking about the things that I have enjoyed about my experience with Emi. I think a lot of people consider buying a baby or breeding their own so I thought I'd share my thoughts with you.

I put a down payment on Emi when she was 3 days old and in a lot of ways it was daunting to think of all of the things she would need to learn in the coming years. Haltering, leading, tying, loading, hauling, having her feet handled, clipping and so many other "first". At the same time, the first 3 years were very low pressure. We spent a lot of time hanging out...trying not to take it too fast. Have there been frustrating days? Have there been some bumps in the road? Yes.

Bump #1 - Impaction colic. Poor baby. 
Things I have loved about bringing Emi up from a baby:

The fact that she's not quite 4 and we already have "history" together.

I trust her. I love that part of a relationship with a horses and I love all of the hours I've spent with her.

The fact that I've been able to take her so many places in hand and I have a very good sense of what her reaction will be to things. I know her well and she knows me well.

I know what she knows! There aren't those surprises where you realize something you assumed they know...they didn't.  I also know her flaws. There are two things that come to mind as "quirks." She won't back out of a step up trailer. As in, will not. It stresses her out (there's no ground down there) and it wasn't worth the struggle. She's small enough and quite polite in the trailer so we just turn around. The second has been clipping. It's coming along but I do still have to twitch her to clip her bridle path.

I was very fortunate to get a horse with a good brain and I'd like to think that's due to her breeding. I had followed Cardi and his offspring for quite some time before I got Emi. Would I do it again? Yes! Did I "save" money? No, I'm sure I didn't. Am I happy with where we have ended up? Yes.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Perrydale Trail Adventures

Last week Michelle emailed me to see if I was interested in meeting up at Perrydale Trails on Monday. My response, yes! I had been wanting to do something fun over the long weekend but didn't have anything planned. Emi had been to Perrydale Trails twice before, once as a yearling and once as a two year old. We missed last summer due to various other commitments. 

Emi was a little over stimulated at first, trying to take in all of the obstacles and all the activity with 4 other horses in our group. I ended up hopping off of her for a little bit and leading her around to show her that everything was okay. Once I had her working over some of the obstacles I got back on. 

We spent a good deal of time following Michelle and Lance around, which worked out perfectly for us. Emi will do pretty much anything if she's following another horse but she's not as thrilled about being in the lead. I do think that's something that will get better with more experience and I am glad she will willingly follow someone else. It makes my life easier!

Following Michelle and Lance through some new Christmas tree trails
 Emi's great with bridges and seems to really understand those kind of questions. This was a "balance beam" that she staggered off of twice like she was drunk. The third time I made her slow down and she did it just fine. She navigated several other bridges, ditches, logs, water crossings etc.

We did it!
Rebecca, the owner of Perrydale Trails, takes photos of everyone who comes out to ride. I haven't gotten any from her yet but she specifically wanted one of Emi's tail and asked if it was real. Haha.

She was great about the water. Followed Lance through once and then we did it a few more times unassisted. 

The tire shown below is a fun one. It's the same tire in the top and bottom, they've just added some more "steps" to it 3 years later. 

Yearling Emi vs 4 year old Emi
Navigating a ditch that she didn't like as a 2 year old and still doesn't really love. 
You've got to watch out for deer!
I felt like Emi's confidence grew through out the ride and by the end she led through a deep ravine and then trotted back to the trailer in the lead. It was a super fun outing and nice to do something other than arena work. It's also wonderful to be on a horse that's safe and who I trust. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Clinic Recap

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I had three very specific things I wanted to address with JW.

The first thing was that I think I should be expecting Emi to be more reliably on the bit. JW agreed with my assessment and we discussed how to go about addressing it.  I added that when Emi's tense she really carries the tension in her neck. As I was telling her this the horse before us left the arena and Emi gave a perfect demonstration of the tension in her neck.

JW said the solution was getting her from my inside leg to my outside rein. The way we accomplished this was to leg yield on a circle until she softened and came round. We did about a circle and a half before Emi decided she couldn't possibly keep moving off of my leg. We pushed through a little further until she softened and then straightened her out of it. JW said leg yielding nose to the wall would accomplish the same thing as I need to get her connected from a leg to the rein and once I have her on one side I'll have her on the other.

As we were working on this JW said that I needed to bend her right. I told her bending right was my second issue! To which she replied "how did I know?" JW said Emi doesn't bend right because I don't make her bend right. She went on to say that her gut feeling is that Emi's just a left handed horse, but she did say to explore teeth, saddle, chiro etc. On the teeth and saddle fronts I believe we are totally good. Her saddle was checked  and adjust just a couple of months ago and her teeth were done at the beginning of the year. She was also adjusted when her teeth were done but it's possible she needs to be re-adjusted.

The third issue is the canter transition. JW watched those and said it's still just a matter of time. In her experience trying to stuff them together and force the transition causes a lot of problems later on in life. She also said that she feels a canter that is slow to develop is very common in the cobs. She "implored" me to be patient and that it would come together. I'm totally okay with that answer...I just wanted to be sure I was on the right track.

We worked through all three issues on Friday and then got to go back and do it all over again on Saturday. I had some video that I watched on Friday night and had a chance to really think about the things we had covered. Saturday Emi and I both brought our A game. I was determined to do a better job of asking for right bend and also keeping my hands low. One of the pitfalls of riding with out enough instruction is that odd bad habits pop up. I don't think I've ever had a problem with my hands being too high until I was called on it this weekend. Ugh.

Anyway, Saturday was a blast! The right bend was significantly better as was the connection and I tried to be really diligent about not over-bending her to the left.  We worked quite a bit on getting her moving off my right leg and picking up her right shoulder.  We had some really lovely trot work. At the end of the ride we did a 6 loop serpentine, going from the rail to the centerline (and back). As I started out I mumbled under my breath that "this is going to be hard." I forgot we have a two way headset so JW responded that yes it was going to be hard. LOL.

It's so fun to see those glimpses of what Emi will look like a year or five from now. She's going to be fancy.  I'll let the video speak for itself.

We did discuss our current show plans. JW completely agrees that it's intro for us until the canter falls in to place. I really appreciated getting a chance to discuss it with her. I haven't really been that excited about showing intro again but after talking about it I'm going to take her out at least once more this season and see if we can nail two solid tests.

Side note, although kind of related. Friday marked a year since I took a lesson on Cardi. It was pretty neat to be able to take a lesson on Emi exactly one year later.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Rock Star

I was in the middle of writing a great recap from our clinic this past weekend when a spider came running across my bed...this led to me putting on my spider hunting boots, stripping my bed and grabbing the vacuum. Finally tracked down the spider and I'm heading to bed. Instead of my recap (I'll finish it tomorrow), I'll leave you with some video stills from the weekend. Emi was a rock star!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 10

Questions taken from The Horse is Not Black.

1) What are your summer goals?

Wow, this one is a loaded question this summer and I'll break it down by Emi and the farm.

  • Take monthly lessons
  • Successfully show training level
  • Trail ride at least once a month
  • "Cross country" schooling - basically this will be going in the water, popping over some tiny logs and doing banks & ditches. 
  • Ride at Perrydale Trails - we've gone twice but both times were before she was under saddle
  • Go to the beach!
Perrydale Trails with baby Emi
  • Get the outdoor arena put in, fenced and lights figured out. 
  • Paddock
    • Gravel for mud control
    • Get the horses entry into the barn 
  • Fence the side of the pasture that is currently open to the slough
2) Do you have any tips or tricks for fly control?

Repel-x lotion...that's it. It's magical and I use it for both horses on their belly. I also use fly masks and sometimes natural fly spray (Eco-vet or Smartpak brand) although I don't think fly spray works all that well. 

3) How often do you bathe your horse? 

I hose them down when they are sweaty but normally only bathe before a show or something like that. Roughly once a month. I will give Roz a bath or two during the summer, just because. 

4) Do you have any upcoming travel plans? Equine related or not?

As you all know, I just got back from attending Rolex. Besides that, I've got one camping trip to the Steens Mountain this summer but will otherwise be home (working on the projects listed above). 

5) What is your favorite way to beat the heat? 

Honestly, it doesn't normally get that hot here so I don't have a favorite way. 

6) Do you do anything to keep your horse from sun bleaching? 


7) How hot is too hot for you to ride? 

Again, it doesn't get that hot here. We might have a week or less of 100 degree temps. My riding temperature depends on if I have a show coming up. I'd say 90-95 would be my cut off. 

8) How important is sun protection to you riding or just in general? 

Being of Irish heritage and being very pale, sun protection is important to me. I generally wear sun shirts which work nicely. My favorite ones are my under armor shirts. They are super thin and don't make me too hot. 

Stylin' in my sun shirt. 
9) Have you ever gone swimming with your horse? 

Not intentionally. I once had a scary beach experience where my horse was heading out into the ocean...but actually swimming, no. I do think it would be fun but I'm not sure where I could do it around here. 

10) And because shopping is always on my mind, whats on your summer wish list? 

A new trailer floor and new billets for my saddle. Practical for sure!