Monday, March 28, 2011


Well we did it. I got pinecone out to his spring break location. It was probably a lot tougher on me than it was on him. Since I was so nervous about him trailering I went and picked up a sedative for him. It contained lots of Tryptophan, the same stuff that is in turkey and makes you real drowsy. I dosed him up and then waited the two hours for it to start working, then we put him in the trailer. He wasn’t a big fan of the trailer at first. He refused to hop in, until I bribed him with grain. We got the center divider gate closed on his butt, then tied him up and we were loaded. I HATE how noisy trailers are. He was just shifting his weight around and it sounded like he was thrashing about in there. I should have taken a shot of the tryptophan before we left!

The trip was uneventful. I checked back about 1,000 times to see if he was doing okay. He was just gently swaying back and forth in the trailer, seemingly enjoying the ride.

I’m happy that hubby was there and did all the scary parts of loading. I honestly don’t know how I’m ever gonna load by myself. I’ve done it before, lots of times. But my accident just sent me back to square one again. All my confidence in loading is gone. But I’m sure with time it will come back.

When we got to hubby’s grandma’s place all the horses knew what was going on. They all rushed over to the gate to catch a glimpse of what was coming off the trailer. I’m sure to them Piney looked like an alien. He had a thin nylon sheet, his shipping boots, and his halter with fleece noseband. Those horses have had a completely different life than Piney and I’m sure none of them have ever had a sheet on, let alone shipping boots. They were all interested in meeting him, and showing him who the boss was. Piney stayed in a different pen for the night just to let all the horses meet over the fence first.

He was really calm and even my hubby’s uncle commented on how calm he was. it doesn’t really surprise me that he was calm because a) he’s always pretty calm b) he’d had a lot of tryptophan. We feed him some hay and he was happy as could be. Right as we were pulling out of the driveway I looked over and he was trotting through the deep snow, then stopped in a big puddle and started splashing around. I can’ only imagine how dirty he’s going to be in a few months when I pick him up!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

We made it!

Just dropped him off. I'm sad. Post to be posted later...when I'm not on my phone.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

two year aniversary...

It was two years ago I first laid eyes on my horse. He was not what I thought my dream horse was going to look like. I will never forget the first time he came up to me and started following me around. He looked so hopeful when he approached me like he knew I was his person. After all he had been on the retirement ranch for two years and had dozens of people come out and look at him and his herd mates. The owner of the ranch told me that Piney was the friendliest horse he’d ever hosted at his place and it was a mystery as to why he’d been there as long as he had been.

Seeing Piney for the first time wasn’t love at first sight. I knew he was a sweet horse when I first came in contact with him, but he just wasn’t what I’d dreamed about in the weeks leading up to that day. But I’m so glad that I did end up bringing him home with me that day. He’s been nothing short of a dream come true.

I never knew that the dirty, hairy, bony beast that I brought home that day two years ago would turn out to be such an amazing horse. He made an amazing first impression with all the girls I ride with at the barn. I brought him into the arena to groom him and then before I knew it I had 3 friends helping me groom him and he was just eating it up with a spoon. He stood there the entire time not moving a muscle, loving every second of 4 girls loving up on him. We pulled about 50 pounds of dirt and hair off of him, and pulled his mane and trimmed his tail. He stood there ground tied the entire time. He started to shine and it was a few months later when he FINALLY lost his shaggy, winter coat we uncovered the softest, silkiest coat we’d ever touched. Everyone couldn’t believe that just a few short months prior, he was such a hag. I’ve heard everyone at the barn complement me on how soft he is and how they could stand there all day petting him.

It was May the first time I rode Piney. And I honestly thought it was going to be much more work than it has been. When I rode him for the first time it was one of my most memorable and amazing rides in my life. The fact that he walked and trotted around that arena like he’d done it all his life was unbelievable. I wanted to take things slow because he was still kind of skinny and I was kind of nervous to ride an ex racehorse. I didn’t know if he was going to blow up when I got on his back, I had no idea what to expect. But I got up there and he stood still as I mounted (something I hadn’t even thought about working on) which was awesome. First I had someone lead me around. As I felt more confident I asked her to un hook the leadline and we were off. Walking and trotting around like he’d been an old lesson horse not a racehorse.

He’s been such a great partner and I couldn’t ask for more in a horse. He’s my buddy and I love him so much. He’s not everyone’s dream horse, that’s for sure. He’s hard to ride if you don’t know which of his buttons you need to push. It took me some time but I’ve figured them out and I can ride him like no one else. That sounds really cocky but its true. I know I haven’t ridden in a very long time. This winter has just been so hard on me. I’m glad it’s spring and it warming up. I’m looking forward to a lot of riding this summer. I know Pinecone will enjoy trail riding and going new places with me. If at all possible this summer we may even bring him to a few shows. That is if we get over our trailer anxiety.

Monday, March 21, 2011

almost time to move

We went up to north to pick up Hubby’s Grandma’s horse trailer yesterday. It’s an old 4 horse/stock combo trailer. I’m pretty much in panic mode. Pinecone is going to freak out when he sees it. All this week we are going to be working on trailering and probably all next week too. I am a nervous wreck. I’d be a nervous wreck putting him in a huge NEW trailer. My trailer phobia adds to his phobia I’m sure. We have as long as we need to get him out of the barn, but I am a nervous wreck and he freaks out when he sees a trailer so we are going to need all the help and time we can get.

We had a house inspection done last Friday. It went really well. He said the house looked great for being vacant for almost a year. It just needed a little help to bring it back to life. The snow is melting and starting to show off the pastures a bit better. We really need to fix them. So far it looks like it is divided into two pastures, but we just need to stretch the fence back up. From what I can tell there hasn’t been horses there in a very long time. But we will fix it up and make it an amazing horse property. Sucky part is all the work that needs to go into it, but the reward of having my monster in the back yard will be worth it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

theres a flood coming

The flood of 2011 is quickly approaching. We’ve had temps in the 40’s all week so the snow has been melting like crazy! Its hard to believe just a few weeks ago we had a 6 foot snow drift outside my house! In case you didn’t know I live in Fargo, North Dakota, and I work across the River in Moorhead, Minnesota. Piney lives in Moorhead too. The area floods every year. Some years are worse than others. In the 10 years I’ve lived here there has only been one really bad flood, and that was back in in 2009. The Red River is currently at 16.28 feet. Flood stage is at 18 feet. In 2009 the river crested at 40.82 feet. I think I heard forecasts of the river cresting at 41 or higher this year, but they aren’t certain where it’s going to crest. My house is far from the river, if we flood over there the whole state is screwed.

Here are a few pictures of the 09 flood. The pictures are from a few days before the crest.

this is the Red River from the Main St bridge.

Trying to get to Moorhead from Fargo was a nightmare. This was the interstate and the ONLY road with a bridge open. Traffic was at a standstill most of the day

Sandbagging at my friends parents house.
That group of trees is what surrounds the barn. To the right was all water from melted snow on the fields and overland flooding. It was sucky.

The company I work for has a few large buildings that they rent out to the city of Moorhead to store their sandbags after they are filled. I think I overheard them say that there are 400,000 sand bags being stored there. We went yesterday to have a look. It’s unbelievable to see all of them. Here are a few pictures from the farm.

This is a building connected to thes shop it's 80x300 ft and filled up with rollaways.

The ladder I climbed up to take a look. I think it was a 6 foot ladder.

This building is 100x200 ft and filled from one side to the other. I walked across all the sand bags to get here.

So heres to hoping that we don’t flood as badly as we did in 09!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Where would Pinecone prefer living?

Offer acceptance papers signed and sent in yesterday morning, home inspection set for Friday morning. Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly! I’m excited but at the same time I’m not letting myself get overly excited because there is always that chance that something goes wrong and we don’t end up getting the house.

I’m getting very nervous about sending Piney up north for a few months mostly because of the trailering issue. I need to just keep reminding myself he will be just fine and things will be great. He will be living a very different life than he’s been living now. The hubby’s family’s horses have a barn to run into if they want and all they can eat hay, and all the water they can drink. I keep thinking that he’s not going to be happy with that, but then I reminded myself of the ranch where I got him. It was similar except he spent the year turned out on 4,000 acres. That lifestyle was FAR from his life on the track. The thoroughbred training and breeding farm where he grew up and spent the first 7 years of his life was quite luxurious. I often wonder if he could choose any of his previous homes which one would he choose.

Gates to the farm where Piney was born and raised

Aerial shot of the Farm Piney grew up on in Arizona (the horse shoe lake is for rehabbing the horses and the fence was shipped in specially from Kentucky

I’m sure he’d pick his home in Arizona, minus the racing part. From talking to his breeder, he lived quite the life. He was loved very much and had top notch care. She told me that he had been one of her favorites and they are happy that he found himself a good person to take care of him because he deserved it.

Some of the horses out on the retirement ranch where I got piney.
(These horses were fresh off the track, or personal horses of the
But Living out in Western North Dakota was a pretty good life for him too. He didn’t have to work, and he basically lived life the way horses should. Wide open spaces with a nice big herd. He received his shots, and got his feet trimmed when they needed to be done too. But basically he was free to be a horse. That time out on the range really gives the horses time to be horses. Many of them had spent all their time in a stall and never really learned to be a horse. I’m a firm believer that OTTBs need at LEAST a year out on pasture before they are put back into work. Piney got two and he’s fantastic. Horses that go out to the retirement ranch where I got him are required to stay one year before they can be adopted out . If they never find a home they can stay forever because there is plenty of room.

The barn I’m at now gives Piney amazing care though. He gets to be outside all day, and then has a nice clean stall to sleep in. He gets treats and human interaction every single day. He seems to prefer being in his stall than anywhere else. So I guess I just don’t know where he would pick if he had the chance. Each place has its advantages but there are also disadvantages to each living situation.

There is a lot of work to be done before the new place is ready for horses. Mostly the fencing needs to be tightened back up and the barn needs to be gutted and re set up for horses AND I need to build a shelter for the beasts to keep them out of the wind. So the fact that Piney is going up north for a few months is great because I’ll have time to do all that stuff. I’m gonna miss a lot of stuff about boarding though. Mostly, that I never had to schedule hay, vet or farrier visits. I’m really gonna miss all my friends at the barn too. Even though I haven’t really seen anyone all winter. But it’s sure going to be nice to look out my window and see my big red horse.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Barn cats hard at work

Fun Website

I recently stumbled upon my favorite website that I’d lost along the way. Its the FBiPlanner from FBi Buildings. It’s a free online building planning site. It’s for a company that specializes in buildings for storage, machine shops and equine barns. The last time I played with it was in 2005! For some reason I forgot what it was called and then just kind of forgot about it. I logged in and my old dream barn building plans are in there. I had done a plan for the barn I was working at, at the time. I had designed a few changes I would have made. It’s funny to look a back at them. If you have the chance, play around with the planner it’s a lot of fun. They even let you print out your plans and save them. It’s all free too.

I put in the dimensions of the barn at the property we put an offer on. I wanted to see how I could gut it and make it ready for some monsters. I’ve designed my dream barn a million times, now if only I could AFFORD my dream barn.

One of the pre designed equine barns
One of my dream barns I made in 2005, complete with attached riding arena and viewing lounge! The thing is I don't think i'd WANT a 12 stall barn anymore 5 years ago i had the energy to clean 12 stalls twice a day...I don't anymore!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

30 Day Notice

Yesterday sucked. I put in my 30 day notice that I’d be leaving my barn. I was sick over the thought for a long time. I HATED yesterday. I decided to write a letter saying I was leaving and explain why. I added that the barn had become my second home and everyone there became like my family. I honestly put a lot of blood sweat and tears into that barn and leaving is tearing me apart.

I left the letter in the arena with my board check and I was hoping to sneak out without seeing anyone so I could spare myself an emotional breakdown. I wasn’t so lucky. I was mixing grain when I heard the dogs barking outside the door which meant the barn owner was on her way to the barn. I told her I had a check for her and a letter with bad news. She already figured I was leaving since I said a few months ago we were house hunting. She sounded so sad which of course made me cry. I told her I didn’t want her mad at me for leaving. And she said she wasn’t mad she was sad but happy for me. I told her that we had made an offer on house, and received a counter offer. But nothing was set in stone yet. But that at the end of the month we’d be moving Piney up to my hubby’s grandma’s farm to be with his horse.

I’m not gonna lie when I say it’s gonna be awesome to have Piney someplace where someone else is taking care of him for a while. Being able to go home right after work will be a nice change and actually being able to use my gym membership will be a nice treat too. I’m gonna miss Coneman like crazy but it’s only for a little while until we can get his living situation at our new place figured out. Then I’ll get to see him every day! It’s going to be nice to have the option for me and hubby to go riding together. Even though I prefer riding in an arena. But since we I won’t have the option to ride in one looks like I’ll be trail riding until I can figure out where to put a small outdoor arena!