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

Four

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.


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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Grounded

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! 

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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.