Monday, February 13, 2012

P update (hula hoops, thermal imaging and new boyfriends)

I'm woefully behind on my horsey updates, but I'm going to try to catch up.  Last week was packed with Visiting P, visiting Prairie and continuing our trailer hunt.  Lots of updates on all fronts, but first things first - the main mare, Miss P:

Wednesday was a pretty lovely day.  The weather called for predictable February drizzle, but by the time Maisy and I pulled in to the farm, it was warming up and the sun was breaking through. 
the herd in the morning gray..

I scampered out to visit the yak-mare who was hanging out by her new boyfriend (she broke up with the gelding across the street apparently).  After the obligatory hugs and pats I headed back tot he barn to finish my coffee and figure out our plan for the day.
yak-mare hunting for treats

Our agenda included:
An arena play day for P. Followed by cold laser and adjustments for the little dog, then lunch, then a trail ride, then watching a new horse get let out with the herd for the first time, and finally - some thermal imaging of P with our vet's fancy new thermal camera. 

Pretty good Wednesday, especially with the sun appearing to shine for the day...

Cowboy Man went to fetch the mare, and while she was very friendly and willing toward him, the appearance of a human, or rather her human, makes her rather disagreeable towards other ponies, as evidenced here:

But, the P walked nicely (sans halter) to the barn and has grown up enough to have her snack and groom session without a halter.  (what a mature P).  Also of note was the fact that P now stands quietly and happily for her feet to be trimmed.  Cowboy Man pulled her front shoes to help her heels expand a bit and her feet look fabulous for it.  They've come a long way in the last 9 months.
Good P eats snacks, not farriers.

Here's a shot of how well P does at the barn now.  I know she has snacks in front of her, but still.  Not running to the hay, not running to the herd, not meandering around like she owns the place.  Such, dare I say it, manners? The other mare is China, a CUTE little Holsteiner who moves like a cloud and had really similar social issues as P when she first got to the farm.. they are peas in pods.

and P... standing happily while her toes get done...

Bear in mind she used to have to be held for the farrier.. and at the height of her shoulder discomfort, a little sedation was necessary to work on that left front properly...  but this - this is a happy horse.

After her toes were touched up, we headed to the ring.  P did a great job of showing us just exactly how you stick with your join up work.  About halfway to the arena, she decided that walking with Cowboy Man was nice, but maybe she wanted to go somewhere else.  She bolted (bad mare), but notice that immediately Cowboy Man is after her, and P even comes back to him as he gets close.  It's sorta cool.
This is where it might take an hour to get the horse following you all the way to wherever it is that you're going, but when they do, it's entirely free choice and you have that connection established.  Not always the fastest way to do something, but I like it.

Once she actually made it to the ring, it was time for the stuff that she's good at.  Running around, playing tag and targeting with some toys (ball, hula hoop, sticks, barrels..).  I took lots of short clips of that stuff, but I got bored of uploading to youtube, so I'll spare you the 42,000 mini videos.

I will share this one of P in the backing chute again.  You might not be able to tell on the (iphone) video, but her back is way looser and she's able to rotate her hips much better than last summer.  Small, small victory, but I am really feeling like this mare is getting more comfortable and happier by the day.

After her antics, we threw the mare back out with the herd.  There's a strand of electric fencing that keeps the herd from mingling around the barn when horses are being "worked."  Usually it just gets dropped to the ground when it's not being used, or if a horse needs to walk past, but today P learned how to go under.  Not exactly rocket science, but I just love how calm and willing she is.  a year ago this would have not gone quite as smoothly.  It would have been the sort of question we might have had an argument over.  but now? Now the mare just stares, sniffs then moves forward.

As I have to run to meetings I guess the summary of our Thermal Imaging, Trail ride and lunch (ok

Friday, February 10, 2012

Trailer (Almost Final Answer?)

OK, so, assuming this baby doesn't disappear between now and us getting back from the big trip, I think this might be the one.

The more (and more) I peruse goosneck options, the more (and more) I'm liking the "2+1" format.  I really like having the extra square footage in the horsey area for hay/bucket/whatever storage and I really like having the option for a smaller third stall if I want to haul 3 beasts (I've assured The Boy that this won't in fact force me to buy a third horse).

This Logan seems to fit the bill.  It's new, but discounted since it's a 2011 and it has all the features I want. Side ramp for loading/unloading, door in the bulkhead (makes the trailer into a "porch" of sorts that can help keep the tack room a bit cleaner, rhino lined under the gooseneck, water tank, lots of lights, lots of big windows and MASSIVE straight load stalls that come in at 94" from butt to chest bar (HOLY MOLEY).

I also like that the dressing room wall is at a slant, which does make the dressing room (and the + 1) space a bit smaller, but that also keeps the trailer to a really decent length of a 22' deck, which isn't much larger than a normal 2 horse straight load (20').  Totally helps us achieve the goal of keeping this thing maneuverable, while also giving a good amount of storage and flexibility.

The only downsides are  that 1) the trailer is in CA (although northern CA), so we have to deliver it.  and 2) that it's an extruded aluminum floor.  I really wanted to find a Rumber or WERM floor if we were shopping for new trailers, but this does have Logan's "Whiz Proof" vortex coated floor, so that's several steps up form a normal aluminum situation.

True to form, this is about double the cost of my original budget, but that just really shouldn't be too surprising to anyone (dammit).  What do you think?  Hate it? love it? total steal, should I snap it up before we leave on Wednesday????

Sooo, I'm liking it.  The Boy likes it, and it looks like we're headed back down to the Mountain Trail Clinic again in April... Which would be the perfect 4 day trip to have the new rig for so that both of the mares can go play on bridges and in ditches and out in big fields.

Sounds fun right!?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Non-Horsey Post - Celebrating 100 years

I know I always say I try to keep the non-horsey stuff out of the horsey blog, but every once in a while I"m so damn excited about something it's hard not to share (new shoes, new husband... you know.. the big things).

This seems like it might fall into that category, so forgive the lack of horses (although there are some pictures of horses involved).

2011 marked the 100th year that my family has had it's weird little business.  I am the 5th generation to come to work for the company and hopefully I won't be the last.  For the most part, our industry has seen small independent companies rolled up into big multi-national conglomerates, and while there are a few family owned businesses still out there - we are certainly the strongest in the Northwest, and among the largest in the nation (GO TEAM FAMILY).

The following is a quick little video (14 minutes) that chronicles our history and how it tied into the development of Seattle.  It's pretty cool.  Forgive the lower quality intro (we were running out of time before our big party last weekend), the actual history part is very well done.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Having officially recovered from my lessons on Prairie, it's only fitting that I'm planning to torture my poor legs (and left arm/claw) again with another trip this weekend.  I feel like a human ping-pong ball bouncing between total elation at having lessons scheduled - and total and utter despair at the thought of being absolutely crippled again.

Did I mention that maximum post-lesson-crippling should strike just about the time I fold myself into an airplane seat for our honeymoon?  Perfect.  Nothing like starting off a trip tied up like a pretzel! If it sounds like I'm complaining about riding my fabulous new horse before going on our fabulous big trip... well. I guess I am.

But I don't mean it (the whining that is).  I just always dread any sort of pretzel-related feelings.

In actuality I'm totally and completely thrilled with my life's itinerary for the next month.

Tomorrow:  Go see P and ride in the SUNSHINE

Thursday/Friday: work a little

Saturday Sunday: RIDE A LOT (yay big mare)

Monday/Tuesday: work a little

Wednesday until March.....  lions and tigers bears oh my!  Okay.  No actual tigers or bears.. but hopefully some rhino and elephants!!

I will be pretty absent for a while, but in theory our safari itinerary includes some rides (both in jungle and on beach) so I'm hoping to have some mildly relevant stories to share.

P has already made me promise to bring her back something, and P2? well, she doesn't understand why people would ever fly for pleasure (and pointed out that her passport has more stamps than The Boy's ((rude)) ).

Full report to come from P's visit!

Friday, February 3, 2012

I'd like to Thank....

My mares for being so adorable/frustrating/ridiculous/entertaining.... and I'd like to thank my boss, for letting blog for hours (and hours, and hours) at the office.  Without you, this blog just wouldn't have happened. Seriously.  (teehee)

Actually, I'd really like to thank DS over at Adventures in Colt (Filly) Starting, Jessica at Hopeful Jumpers and Sprinkler Bandit over at... well, Sprinkler Bandit.

Means the world that you guys (and everyone else!) enjoy my ramblings about the mares, especially enough to say so.  I've had so much fun chronicling our adventures - and honestly, knowing that there are people out there as amused by the ridiculous details of horse ownership as I am.... well that.. that makes me feel less insane.  Also, it probably keeps me from boring The Boy and Non-Horsey-Friends to death with discussion of bits and barns and buckles and BO's.

I've been so late to this awards party that a good portion of the blogs I really enjoy have been recognized (a few times over again), but there are a couple out there that I haven't seen pop up yet.

SO, without further ado, I highly reckoned that you check out Suzie over at On Track for a CC1*.  She's got a incredible old jumper who she's learned the ropes of Eventing (and then some) on, and she's just now starting her super cool baby.  She's incredibly smart, insightful, and has one of the more detailed training logs out there.  I really enjoy learning about her obstacles, successes and especially her methods.

Also, I'm sure that Marissa at Tucker the Wunderkind has been mentioned, it's just that she's so freaking busy she probably hasn't had a chance to thank all of her fans yet...
Marissa is on the H/J side of things so I'm always learning something about that world (like that people buy tail extensions!? whaaaaaa?). I think she has some sort of magical mind meld with her gelding, because her descriptions of his "thoughts" and "words" are just about the most hysterical things ever.  Plus, she introduced me to the term "drama-llama," which I find a near daily use for.

As for me, the trailer hunt continues.  The boy is OBSESSED with getting a gooseneck now (I won't complain) and we're currently high on the 2+1 configuration that gives a 4'-6' space in front of the two straight-load stalls, but behind the dressing room.  I'm not sure I'd ever haul a third horse there, but having the walk-off ramp up front, PLUS extra space for hay/bikes/crap, seems actually like a pretty good idea.  I mean, I've never not used extra storage space.  Even at home my shoe closet is brimming with too many (adorable) heels, and my coats have nearly exploded the front hall closet.

So the 2+1 just seems... well, prudent.

Happy weekends! I hope everyone is out riding, while I am.... going cross-eyed looking at trailer ads.  (too bad I love it so much!).

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Trailers... (cont'd)

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their comments.  Trailers seem to be one of those things that Horse people secretly (and not so secretly) obsess about, covet and totally just geek out over.  I know I've said it before, but my middles school self used to call out the stats on passing trailers like I was oogling a rare classic car... To each their own, right?

Supermom managed to scrounge up another fantastic option (pretty darn close to that elusive 2005 Sundowner I'm chasing..).  It's certainly not conveniently located, but it does absolutely tick all the boxes for what I want.  Plus its a... gooseneck? No LQ on this one, but it does have an A/C unit and a big 'ol awning which I won't lie... can't come in might handy for the hot (or rainy!) days at clinics and schooling shows and whatnot.  Here in the great Pacific Northwest, our awnings are just as good at sheltering us from drizzle and mud as they are at providing shade from the "sun."

2002 Sundowner, 2 horse straight load with the mangers and walk through.  Looks to be in good condition... the only downside is that it's.... In Southern California.  BUT the price is right.  It's (clearly) cheaper than the new bumper pulls we've been considering and might just be perfect? Plus, I always love a road trip!

Here's the Full Listing thoughts?

In related news The Boy just emailed that he's ordered a new truck box (his side box would interfere with a 5th wheel hookup) and has already obtained a few quotes for installing the 5th wheel hitch.. I'm getting the vibe that he'd rather get a gooseneck...

The gently used straight load gooseneck is also an elusive creature in the Seattle area... but I'm recasting my search net...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Trailers! (Round 2) (and more video)

As I continue to stretch my (still) sore muscles (seriously), it's time to move on to more entertaining topics, such as TRAILERS.

As you may (or may not) remember, I had a rather impulsive purchase of our current trailer a couple years ago which ended up serving us well.
 It's a great little Silver-Lite Freedom, 3 horse slant, all aluminum, 7' high, 7' wide, blah blah blah.  P is a bit squished in (ergo she earned the right to take up two of the slots), but she could squish if necessary, and it was easy to haul a second horse.

Enter Prairie - while not "stocky" she is rather "long lined" (read: MASSIVE).  She fills out an 84" blanket without trying and her giraffe/llama/loch ness monster neck means that there's no way I'm shoving her into a 7' wide slant unless she also gets two spots.

This is where good 'ol arithmetic never fails:

2 spots + 2 spots = 4 spots needed for mares and only 3 available.

Frankly, this is more of an excuse to go trailer shopping than I've ever had, so I'm TAKING IT.  I'm taking it all the way to the dealerships and I'm bringing my checkbook with me!

While the boy is ooh-ing and aaah-ing over having a big fancy gooseneck with living quarters, I think it might be prudent to find a good bumperpull that's our little daily driver if you will, while we keep an eye out for the perfect used option for the "big beast."

The Boy has found his "dream rig" and let me assure you, it is - in fact just that.  a total dream.  Unless he wins the lotto, I don't think he'll ever have the pleasure of hauling my mares down the road in this much style.  But it is drool worthy (until I consider the diesel bill to haul such a thing..).
Meet Featherlite's "Country Estate Villa."  It's a 53' three horse slant.  Yes, you read that correctly, this thing only hauls 3 horses.  BUT it does it with a full basement, several tack compartments, and potentially more square footage of living quarters than my house.

The horse had everything you'd expect, drop downs, pads, good matting...

But more importantly, the living quarters have more than everything I would expect...

Hello living room... with fireplace.  Naturally
And the Bedroom
Complete with home office?
and the bathroom... (because I really like lovely bathrooms)

This thing also has a full "storage basement" under the horses, and just about every other actual feature that would be useful (not that a fireplace isn't...)

If you feel like oogling the rest of the pics and specs, I highly suggest that you do at Featherlite's full page.  There is also a "ranch" version that hauls more horses and has a "simple" bunk room up front that makes more sense to me from a sales perspective.  However, the notion of the Country Estate Villa is just dreamy.

We thought about the CEV, but ultimately I think a two horse straight load is more our style..

And right now we're considering two primary models.

Sundowner's Charter SE and The Exiss 720 ST

Both have nearly identical stats in terms of size (and a 7'6" height), both have two escape doors in the manger area, and a full sized dressing room up front.  The differences are really in the styling and details.

The Sundowner:

And the Exiss
The boy likes the simplicity of the Exiss (and their additional LED running lights on the fenders) and I tend toward the Sundowner.  Just cause I really like Sundowners.

Thoughts? There are some really good deals on 2012 models of both of these near me right now, although I would LOVE to find a used 2005 version somewhere.  Realistically, selling my current trailer means I have a bit of cash to play with for our upgrade, but I'd still like to find the best deal possible.

I was thinking I'd have more time to expound on my current musings back and forth between the two, but now I'm late to a meeting, so I'll leave that for another day.

What say you readers? thoughts? opinions? love? hate? Think I should just sell the house and go for the Country Estate Villa? (I kinda do..)

Also, For those who never saw the sale video.. this is how Prairie is supposed to move when I'm not clenching/clamping/shutting her down completely.  (oops).  You'll notice her withers are elevated and she's much, much more fluid.  Even though this is a 3 month old video now and she's much, much stronger now, she still looks much more balanced and relaxed in this clip.  (the biggest change has been that her canter has strengthened and she jumps 'through' more these days...).  Enjoy!

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