Friday, February 25, 2011

Trailers scare me...

I have been looking to buy a trailer for a while. But I’ve been a bit more serious about it since we are possibly moving and I’d like to have my own trailer so I can bring ConeMan back out to the barn for lessons, shows and in an emergency, the vet. We don’t need a HUGE trailer with live in…correction…we can’t afford a huge trailer with a live in at the moment. So we’ve been looking at little 2 horse bumper pulls. The thing is I’m terrified of horse trailers.

Last spring Piney sent me to the hospital with a concussion and to get my scalp stapled back together. It was a freak accident and just one of those times I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The horse loading after him spooked and he panicked and as I tried to unhook him he smashed me into the frame of the emergency exit. Not a fun day at all. Luckily it was at an equine health and wellness clinic and the veterinarian that gave Piney to me was able to tranquilize him and help us load him up. Even dopped out of his mind he didn’t want to load into that trailer.

The day I got him he was tranquilized before we loaded him up. The vet said it’s just better safe than sorry. The trailer we brought him home from the first time was a newer trailer and it was white with a white interior. The trailer we brought him to the clinic in was an older trailer with a darker interior. I know for a fact that he thought it was a dark scary bear cave, but I also think that he didn’t think he was going to fit in there. He didn’t want to go in there that morning either when we loaded him up. I know I obviously need to work on trailering for both him and myself. I just figured that he’d been trailered all over the country as a youngster so he would be used to riding in a trailer.

I don’t have much experience with trailers. I’ve never hauled one but it’s something I’m going to have to learn. My experience loading them is pretty limited too. My friend had a 4 horse/livestock trailer that was super easy to load. It was divided in the center and one horse would ride infront of the divider and one behind. It was easy to get in and out of and the horses we hauled were awesome…point them to the trailer and they’d hop right in.

The other trailer we used a lot was a 3 horse slant I loved loading monsters into that. It was basically load them in, shove their faces into a haynet and shimmy their butts over and latch the divider. However, we had horses that loved riding in the trailer.

I am not a fan of older trailers for a few reasons. Mostly the size. Horses 40 years ago were smaller than they are now. A two horse side by side from 1970 doesn’t offer the room that a horse of today needs. A few years back I borrowed a friend’s 2 horse trailer from the 60’s or 70’s to move Yellow to the farm I was living on. He barely fit and he was a real narrow Quarter horse. Gosh I loved how willing to hop into that teeny tiny little trailer he was though. He always had the “We are going somewhere today? Cool! I’m in! Let’s do this!” attitude wherever he went. Piney freezes at the sight of a trailer. It’s bad and embarrassing.

Every single trailer I’ve seen in our price range I’ve picked apart and imagined how badly I’d get hurt using it. I look at the ones with little escape doors and I replay that day I got smashed into one. But I’d rather have an escape door than a little escape window lol. I have a very active imagination and I see myself bringing the monster into the trailer and having him flip out again this time doing more damage to both me and himself. I HATE trailers…Why can’t a nice 2-3 horse slant be more affordable?

Monday, February 21, 2011

inventory and memories

I decided the other day that I wanted to do an inventory of all my horse things. It was half way through the list I realized I have a lot of stuff! I didn’t even realize how I acquired all this stuff or when!

I have 11 Saddle pads…ELEVEN! Two are western and one is a Gel under pad but still. Who needs that many? Apparently I do. Some are fun and colorful and some are for show. But ALL of them are in need of a good scrubbing. Apparently no one taught me how to properly groom a horse.

I have 4 saddles, and I don’t even ride in a saddle lately. (laziness is the main factor in that!) I have my dressage saddle, my western saddle, an Australian saddle I picked up for $40 at an auction and have yet to ride in, and the very first saddle that was ever 100% mine, generic no name a/p English saddle that is way too small for me.

I have been trying to sell my generic a/p saddle for some time now. I have dropped the price drastically but still no one wants it. I suppose I could keep it, it does have a lot of memories attached to it. As I said it was my very first saddle and I got it years ago when I was working at a barn with my friend who was the barn manager. The Barn was private and was owned by a family. It housed their personal horses plus my friend’s horse. When I started there I didn’t get paid I just got to ride whenever I wanted. And that was payment enough for me at the time! I started working more out there so my boss bought me an English saddle from Fleet Farm as a “thanks for helping out”. I was pumped. I knew it wasn’t the best saddle in the world but it was MINE! I babied that thing and spent hours cleaning and oiling it. My friend would laugh at me when we’d go out trail riding and I’d ride in MY saddle, mostly because to her English saddles looked weird.

Yellow in MY very own tack picked out just for me!
 The thought crossed my mind to sell western saddle too. But its always been a brief thought. I don’t see myself ever parting with that saddle. That saddle has way more memories attached to it and I don’t even ride western much. It was about a year after I got my English saddle, my friend had moved across the country and I was now the barn manager. I was getting paid (not much) and working my butt off. My boss would treat me to new tack every so often. And it was always an awesome surprise to get to the barn and have nice new tack waiting for me that was all mine! One day I was lugging out one of the western saddles and he said “why don’t you go to town and pick out your own saddle, my treat” My jaw dropped and I hurried to town. I hit both our tack stores and fell in love with a Circle Y trail saddle. It had a “squishy” seat and looked awesome with the tack I already had. I told the lady at the shop to put it on hold for me and that my boss would be by to pay for it. She told me not to worry since she knew my boss, I could take it home that day. It was my first “real” saddle that was ever mine and WAY more than I’d ever spend on a saddle. I rushed back out to the barn and grabbed my favorite horse…Yellow…and tacked him up. Yellow and I put a lot of miles on that saddle and we had some fun adventures. It was a few months after I got the saddle I got Yellow’s AQHA Transfer papers for my birthday…he was mine. That job didn’t pay me THAT well, but I got a lot of “stuff” from it and that “stuff” meant more to me than my old boss will ever know.

When I left that barn I took stuff that I’d need and I promised I’d be back to get what I had forgotten and just never did. When I was loading up Yellow into the trailer to leave they kept giving me more stuff i'd "need" so I think that’s where I acquired most of my horse stuff. I promised I’d come back to visit and I’d come see my two horse buddies there. But sadly the next time I came by was to say goodbye to my horse buddies. It was a year ago on the 17th that the barn burned down. Both horses were trapped inside and were killed.

My friend who used to manage the barn came with me and we stopped by to pay our respects the day after the fire. It was insane how small that once huge barn was. How happy that barn had made me had changed and I felt sick to my stomach looking at it. I still can’t believe it’s been a year. We promised we’d be back to visit again, but we just haven’t.

picture from WDAY
 I’ve always been a freak when it comes to anything that could start a fire in a barn. That fire just made me even more careful when I see things that are potentially hazardous. It’s one of those things you think won’t happen to you but it can. There is no such thing as being too safe with horses. Remember that...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm still here!

I rode yesterday and it felt like I haven’t ridden in a million years. I was going to ride, then I wasn’t going to ride, then my helper said “are you sure you aren’t going to ride? Your horse misses you!” then I looked at the big red monster and decided I better ride. I only rode for about 20 minutes bareback. I’m still too lazy to adjust his saddle. And I didn’t feel like hauling out my western saddle that weighs 200 pounds. So I just hopped on bareback. Once I was up there I was very happy I decided to ride.

Pinecone is such a good boy, but he isn’t easy to ride. I’ll be the first to admit that. It’s not that he’s going to take off and leave you behind, or buck or rear, or anything scary. He just requires a lot of “encouragement” to get him going. My riding instructor thinks that he may have ulcers which may be the reason he lacks energy, and is grumpy when tacking up. I’ve been doing some reading on ulcers and I think I saw that 60% of horses have them and 90% of race horses have them. A lot of the symptoms sound about right. My riding instructor said that she talked to the vet last week about what we should do and she said she’d fill me in on what he thought we should do. We’ve always talked about getting his blood tested too just to see if there was anything fishy with that.

In other news the hubby and I have been looking at buying a home with some acreage. Sadly there isn’t a whole lot in our price range, but we have looked at a few, all foreclosures. Hubby’s horse is about 250 miles from here so he never gets a chance to ride. With the arm and a leg I’m paying each month for board I could be spending that towards a mortgage AND we could actually ride together!
 The first house we looked at I was in love with. It was built in 1928 and had amazing character, but sadly it hadn’t really been updated much since it was built. It would have been a huge money pit. It actually sold shortly after we looked at it and turned out to have asbestos and some pipes burst, so it was for the better that we didn’t have to deal with it. The other house we’ve been looking at is newer and in better shape. It’s a rambler built in 1976 and I like it more than I thought I would since I hate ramblers. the kitchen is HUGE, I never thought that would be something I'd want in a house but I do!

It’s on about 5.5 acres and has most of it fenced off into pastures. However it’s fenced with barbed wire. And the fence is down in a lot of spots. We could only see a bit of it since we’ve received a lot of snow this year but I think if we buy it I would want at least one strand of hot rope on the fence since we’d have to repair it anyways. But at least the fence posts are up that is the hard part of fencing!

The barn is in need of a lot of upgrading as well. It is divided into two parts. The first part was the original barn with two 10x10 stalls that haven’t been used in 20 years or more. The second part of the barn was newer and about 3 times the size of the original barn. The part with the stalls would have to be gutted and redone. 10x10 is just too small for my monster. I don’t plan on stalling the horses every night but I’d like two stalls for “just in case”. We plan on building a 3 sided shelter in the paddock for them as I think horses are healthier when they live outside. This coming from a girl who pays thousands of dollars a year to have her horse live comfortably in a stall lol.

But we don’t want to get our hopes up too high as there are some things with the house that need fixing, and updating and it may be a money pit too. But it’s an option that we have. I can’t wait until I can see my monster every single day and be able to kiss him on the nose.