Friday, December 11, 2015

2015 In Review

This year has been crazy.  We started off strong, then life happened and is ending with a feral yak beast.

Full beast mode engaged

 I feel like the year started out fairly well. The winter was very cold, so not a whole lot was done early.  We ran into some issues with spinning and bolting early on and this really affected my confidence.  Then in the spring I found out I was pregnant. The nausea and lack of confidence kept me out of the saddle for just about the rest of the year.

Some other highlights include:
-Did a CMO in May with my in-law's horse. This was a confidence boost, but couldn't outdo the nausea
-Got a new-to-me saddle that I still need to figure out if I want to keep. I sat in it once and Max hasn't had a saddle on since. Unfortunately, every time I think of this saddle I start to feel a little nausea from association.  Hoping this will go away once the kid is born. It needs a better fitting girth and longer stirrup leathers. I do remember that much.
-Built a teeter totter/bridge that has been a lot of fun. 
-Started doing carrot stretches with Max. I've since tapered off, but still do them occasionally. He loves them! (okay, really it's the treats he loves)
-I did putz around bareback on Max a few times in the paddock and he was still relatively good.

We teeter and we totter. We're a good boy!

Let's look at my goals written a year ago. 

We did go for rides! But not through icy water.
Goals for Max:
- Improve leg yields
- Nope
- Get a decent turn on the forehand and haunches - Nope
- Work on some trail obstacles - technically we did this, just not as much

My human is crazy, but she feeds me so I try.

Goals for Me:
- Continue lessons in some fashion - this started off well enough, but then I had to stop due to life events
- Be able to sit the canter under saddle - we didn't work on this during lessons and I never got Max to the point where I could even think of sitting. 
- Build/set up some trail obstacles - Yes! I did not make as many as I had hoped, but I got a bridge/teeter toter made. I also made some poles colorful enough to see in the pasture and had that L thing set up for a while. I have more plans for the coming year
- Ride the pony with the goal of working on something, at least once per week* - This did not happen. It started, then it ended fairly quickly.
- Doing groundwork or lunging at least once per week** - Nope - At this point, the beast hasn't been handled all that much and has turned feral. He's getting pushy and needs some refreshing

We bow for treats!  Actually, we bow a lot, even without being cued. Gimme treats!

Other Goals:***  We did buy a trailer, right around the same time I found out I was pregnant
- Have at least one lesson on Max - Nope
- Take Max off property at least once for a trail ride - Nope

* By this, I mean more than just absentmindedly riding around the property. I want to ride with focus and a clear idea of what I want to accomplish during the ride.

**Again, this is more than just the basic stuff we do every time I'm around him.

***These are completely dependent on whether we are able to purchase a trailer this year. Have truck, need trailer...

The beginning of the easy life for me.

So, over all I'd say goals not met, but I don't feel too bad or guilty about that.  I mostly feel bad that I haven't been spending much time with the pony at all.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

TRM Blog Hop: 25 Questions

Yay for filler posts. This one comes from That Red Mare

1. Mares or Geldings? Why?
Either. Most of the mares I have met have been fairly even tempered. But I've also met some moody geldings. It all depends on the individual

2. Green-broke or Fully Broke?
Right now, I much prefer fully broke. I don't so much mind a horse that needs some refreshers, but he needs to have a good head.

3. Would you own a "hotter" breed (ie. Arabian, Trakhener, etc).
Probably not. I prefer my drafty types.

4. What was your "dream horse" growing up?
Palominos. Then I grew to love the chestnut with flaxen mane.  Haflingers for the win!

5. What kind of bit(s) do you use and why?
Max just goes in a double jointed eggbutt with copper lozenge. I've read that the double joints can be a bit better for haflingers that tend to have low palates. I would like to try others, but just don't have the time or money right now to be buying them.

Just add some copper.

6. Helmets or no helmets?

7. Favorite horse color?
A nice golden palomino or chestnut (with flaxen manes)

8. Least favorite horse color?
Plain brown, or black. Black seems to attract more bugs in summer.

9. Dressage or Jumping?
Right now I don't really do either, but I could see myself enjoying jumping more.

10. How many years have you been riding?
On and off for about 10.

11. Spurs/whip or no spurs/whip?
No spurs. Occasionally I ride with a crop. Half the time it's because I want to work on something specific that requires extra reach. The other times it's used to flick flies off his ears.

12. Your first fall?
I was riding bareback and was trying to mount from the ground. I managed to lay across her back, but swung my leg over too hard and flipped over onto the ground. Pony just gave me a look and started grazing.

13. When was the last time you rode and what did you do?
It's been a few weeks. We just puttered around the paddock bareback and went over the teeter totter. I think we worked on some leg yielding too

The yak is here, the snow is coming sooner than I like.

14. Most expensive piece of tack you own?
My western saddle simply because I bought it new.
15. How old were you when you started riding?
Not any real riding until I was in my early 20s

16. Leather or Nylon halters?
Nylon. It's easier to care for I guess.

17. Leather or Synthetic saddles?
Synthetic. I'm lazy and don't show. I also don't want to worry about getting the saddle wet when out on a trail ride.

 18. What "grip" of reins do you like?
Webbed or something else synthetic. I have some cotton reins I really like.

19. English or Western?
I lesson in english, but prefer a western saddle for trail riding (for the most part, that's another post altogether I think). I would also like to learn how to properly ride western.

20. How many horses do you currently own/lease?
Just Max

21. Do you board your horse? Self-care/full board? Home board?
Max is kept at home, so his care is 100% up to me.

22. Have you ever had to put down a horse that you loved?
I haven't had to put one of my own down yet. Several I have known have passed away.

23. How many saddlepads do you have?
One western pad and I might still have an english pad if the mice haven't eaten it yet.

24. Slant-load trailer or straight haul?
I have a slant load and like the way it loads better.

25. Why do you ride?
It makes me a happier person. It still amazes me that we can form this kind of partnership with an animal.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Jumping on the bandwagon here since I don't have much to update on.

Written by the yak himself:

I love life right now
No work, no heat, just lazy
Could use more food though


Food, food, food, food, food
Food, food, food, food, food, food, food
Food, food, more food please?

He does this on his own now if he think it will get him a treat.

Oh, I see a treat!
Here, let me bow for you
I'm a good pony

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Drunk Pony

The vet came out last Friday for fall vaccines, teeth and other stuff.

Stuff I learned:
-Drafts are lightweights when it comes to sedation
-Even when heavily sedated, Max was able to stop the float by pressing his cheeks against it, forcing it against his teeth
-You can tell if a llama needs to be dewormed based on the color of the inside of the eyelids
-I'm an idiot:  I've been leaving the hose in Max's water bucket.  Apparently, the hydrant will continue to siphon water back out. I'm not convinced this completely explains the bucket being almost drained every day, but it's a possibility. The bucket wasn't being drained as quickly in the day or two before the vet came and now is being drained even less.  I decided to skip the blood work since everything else seemed to be fine with him. She gave me some other signs to watch for.
-Max snores.  The vet, her student and the tech were all amused when they left and he was snoring away.
-Vet said his weight was perfect and was impressed. Yay! I constantly worry about his weight and think he's either getting a little too thin or too fat.  Guess I'm doing something right.

A very drunk pony
I was glad I had taken the day off. Shortly after this picture was taken, he started to cock his left front leg while keeping his back leg up too. I thought he was going to go down in his stall for a minute.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Oh, Animals!

Animals....sometimes I seriously wonder why I have them.

Max has suddenly been drinking water like crazy. Usually I fill his 20 gallon bucket every other day or so, but he's been draining the whole thing in about 12 hours. No leaks that I can see either.  Since he was due for shots anyways, I called the vet. She seemed concerned, but not enough to come out so soon. She will be out a week from Friday to do vaccines, teeth and a blood draw. Her immediate thoughts were Cushings or something with his kidneys.  Of course, this morning he drank a normal amount for the first time in days, so who knows. Otherwise, pony is normal.

Also this morning, I was getting ready to leave for work and noticed one of our chickens running around. We currently have 3 chicken tractors set up.  Everyone else looked fine until I looked at the farthest one and noticed there were not chickens....anywhere.  This is odd because if they get out, they usually stick close to the other tractors. They freak out because they suddenly don't have access to grain, but can't figure out how to get back in.

So where did these 5 other chickens go?  There was one body found out near the road. The others had completely disappeared. Not the M.O. of racoons or opossums in my experience. So D and I are disposing of the body in the back area, come back up to the front to find a fox sniffing around looking for his kill.  I'm guessing he took the other 4 and hid them somewhere. Poor chickens.  I'm hoping he doesn't try to go after the other coops today. We will be doing some reinforcing this evening and get the hotwire back up.

Not so funny side story, or lab mix was in the front yard the entire time.  Did he bark, or otherwise try to scare the fox off?  Nope.  He'll bark and chase after deer and loves to kill small animals (squirrels, small birds), but I guess a fox is too much effort.  Useless animal. Max is more of a guard animal than the dog is.

I did ride Max last week, but need to get some photos and video off the phone before I post. It was a highly amusing session. Love the pony!

Monday, October 5, 2015


It's been a little while since my last post. Mostly that's because nothing much has been going on. I haven't been riding and Max has only been moved between pasture and paddock. Even that's ending soon since the leaves are changing and they can't be out while the cherry trees are dropping. For me, I mostly come home from work with the intention of laying down for a few minutes to relax my back and end up falling asleep for a couple of hours. Such is life right now and Max certainly doesn't mind.

You give me more hay now??

His fuzz is also getting thick already. It's so soft and wonderful, but I hate what it means (winter is coming). Pretty soon he will be a blond yak.
No? What if I'm cute? What if I try to eat the faucet?

Last week the farrier came.  It was one of those crisp fall type days with the wind blowing that really sets off the horses and she ended up being late because of crazy horses before me. Max was no exception. He was a spooky impatient thing.

However, while I was waiting, I got a chore done that I'd been meaning to do...rinse off my saddles. They're going in the garage for winter since I won't be riding and we've been having mice problems.

This is why I love synthetics. They feed my laziness.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

4 Things

Jumping on this, since it's been floating around and I don't really have much to update on right now.

Four names that people call me other than my real name:
  1. Meg ... and that's about it
Four jobs I’ve had:
  1. Lab Tech
  2. Field Tech
  3. Assistants in various labs
  4. Greeter
Four movies I’ve watched more than once:(really, there are lots I watch over and over)
  1. Princess Bride
  2. The Last Unicorn
  3. Black Beauty
  4. The Emperors New Groove
Four favourite books:
  1. Any of the Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey
  2. Black Beauty
  3. The Three Musketeers
  4. Most Neil Gaiman
Four places I’ve lived:
  1. Florida
  2. Chicago
  3. Australia
  4. Indiana
Four places I’ve visited:
  1. Puerto Rico
  2. Virgin Islands
  3. Australia (east coast)
  4. Grand Canyon
Four places I’d rather be right now:
  1. Bed
  2. Bed
  3. Bed
  4. Bed (I'm falling asleep here)
To break up all the text. Plotting pony says hello

Four things I prefer not to eat:
  1. Tomatoes
  2. Coffee
  3. Coffee/espresso flavored things (like chocolate)
  4. Beans (except green beans...those are good)
Four of my favorite foods:
  1. Ice cream
  2. Mac and Cheese
  3. Things made from fruit (pies, cobblers, etc)
  4. Chocolate
Four TV shows I watch
  1. Friends
  2. Scrubs
  3. Orange is the New Black
Four things I’m looking forward to this year:
  1. Not being pregnant (ok, this might not happen until January, but I can hope)
  2. The holidays
  3. Getting the house in order
  4. Barn time
Four things I’m always saying:
  1. No worries
  2. No problem
  3. F*** you! You GD moron! (Pregnancy hormones + road rage...very real)
Four horse breeds I’ve ridden:
  1. Haflinger :)
  2. Rocky Mountain
  3. Thoroughbred
  4. Belgian
Four breeds of dog I like:
  1. Corgi
  2. Husky
  3. Mutts
  4. Huge dogs (but I would never own one due to the drool)
Four horse events I want to participate in:
  1. Some sort of trail event
  2. A hunter pace
  3. Any schooling show
Four of my favorite animals:
  1. Horses
  2. Cats
  3. Dolphins
  4. Birds
Four places I would like to go:
  1. South America especially Chile
  2. Back to Australia, especially the west coast
  3. Europe - it's hard to pick a country, Germany, France, Spain would be tops I think
Four hobbies/interests (other than horses)
  1. Spinning (wool)
  2. Weaving
  3. Making soap and body products
  4. Other random crafty project 

Thursday, September 10, 2015


This is a delayed post. I thought it had posted last week, but I guess not.  

I rode Max the other day in the paddock since my husband was home early from work. It was hot, sunny, humid and very buggy, so we kept it short. We went over the bridge several times in different directions. I wasn't brave enough to try it on the teeter totter yet, but I will soon. We worked on leg yielding, which he did somewhat well. To the right is more sticky than to the left. For some reason, he did it well the first step. Then when I asked later, he just couldn't get it.

"Sigh....I want to go that way, not be ridden"

Pony is also very out of shape. We did a slow, slow trot each direction a couple of times and he grunted for most of it. I love his slow trot. It's so easy to sit bareback.  It's not at all correct or pretty, but it feels smooth to me. Next year I need to get him into more of a collected working trot since we've gotten into the slow trot habit. Ooops.
I kept trying to get a photo of his cute face before I bridled, but Max insisted on sniffing my belly.  It was amusing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Linky Love

How Old is My Horse in "Human Years"? - Originally posted by Dressage Hafl.: Max is well into middle age, but not quite elderly.

King Mufasa's win stirs emotions at Illinois State Fair harness racing -  No matter your stance on racing, this is a pretty amazing story.

An Open Letter To Horse People via Poor Woman Showing -AMEN!  This is why I chose the barn I did when I first got Max and had to board. Actually, before that, when I started lessons. I wanted a no-nonsense barn with minimum of this gossipy BS.  It still goes on, but has a much more relaxed atmosphere than some show barns around here.

My Cubicle - via A Collection of Madcap Escapades - I just think this whole thing is pure awesome!  From outfitting a big camper to the whole idea of the bringing a reduced spay/neuter to low income areas.

Horse Forums...An Inevitable Train Wreck - via The Idea of Order - A web comic that perfectly explains why I tend not to participate in forums aside from reading. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I did....something....

It's getting hot and humid and is expected to remain this way until mid September. We are supposed to go camping and riding (not taking Max) down in Brown County this weekend, and I'll admit, I'm a little apprehensive about the heat, bugs, and just my general state right now. The husband and I are only staying over one night, thankfully, so that will ease some of the potential pain.  You see, it seems like something bad happens, mostly to me, every time we go down to this park.  One year it was a crazy storm that hit while we were driving up the hills to go into town. There were huge tree branches falling everywhere to the point we had to stop and couldn't get around them in either direction.  Then last year was the horse flies. One attacked a horse I was holding and he spooked onto my foot, which remained extremely painful for the rest of the trip and several days after. Oh, and being attacked by bees while riding. I forget what happened in previous years. Maybe that's a good thing.

Anyways, I did what I said and worked with Max a bit before putting him out to graze.  I pulled that bridge I built in the spring into his paddock. He really had no problems with it. Then I put a pole under it to make it into a teeter totter. After trying to go around once, because I was walking next to, not on it, he got the idea and calmly walked over.  No spooking. Good boy!  We only worked on this for about 10 minutes because I had enough of the sun and heat.

On the teeter-totter. "Can we go out now?"

Tuesday, I did some more. I got him to stand on the fulcrum and was able to get him to shift his weight enough that he could tip it forwards or backwards without moving a foot. Next up will be riding him over the bridge.

We also worked a bit on personal space.  Apparently this is now a huge issue. He was very pushy and letting me know he wanted to go out to the pasture. I think as long as he gets what he wants, he's willing to behave, but when I ask for something different, he gets pushy. I'm going to try to continue working on things every day for a few minutes. Especially the pushy.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Switching things up

I had intended on riding, or at least doing something with the pony on Saturday.  He got to go out to the pasture in the late morning instead of the late afternoon.  It was supposed to rain that evening and we had plans anyways.  So, when he came back in, I was busy scrubbing buckets and other stuff. By the time I finished I was tired and a little sore, and the pony was standing in his stall doorway mostly asleep. I forget that the early afternoon is his nap time. Because grazing for four hours is such hard work. I nixed that idea in favor of my own nap in the cool house.

Old photo. I interrupted naptime.

Now it's getting hot again.  Pregnancy + heat makes for a cranky me, but I am determined.  Today, I plan on working him in-hand in the paddock for a little bit before turning him out to the pasture. I suspect he will not be happy about this as it will disrupt his routine, especially since this routine involves food.  But I also feel like mixing things up would be good for him. I won't be riding since D won't be home until later in the evening. Maybe once he comes home and Max has had his grain, I will pop up. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Crazy Life

I feel like things are just crazy right now.  I looked ahead on my calendar and there's something going on every weekend through the beginning of October. And I imagine more will be scheduled. This is hard for someone with hermit like tendencies.

We are also trying to redo the main bathroom, having a new fridge delivered, clean, prep for winter, etc etc etc. We are also trying to set up the baby's room, which meant some crazy rearranging of things in the office to try and fit the treadmill. 

Also, our dog is currently missing.  Husband let him out of the invisible fence last night and went back into the woods to weed wack. gone and hasn't come back yet.

There's a crazy highway detour that is going right past our road. Traffic was backed up for miles due to a wreck on the detour and I couldn't get to work. Then I almost got t-boned on campus because of some idiot who tried to run the a very red light and ended up stopping half in my lane. 

Between everything and the hormones, I almost broke down leaving home this morning when Max called out a couple of times to go out to pasture.

I love coming home to this.....

And this....

But it's really hard to leave....

Friday, August 21, 2015

Why Haven't I Been Riding?

Why haven't I been riding?

Because I'm jumping on the bandwagon.

It seems that everyone is pregnant right now. I even have a new nephew as of two days ago.

Anyways, I've been struggling.  I pretty much gave up (temporarily) of riding back in May.  I was trying out a new-to-me saddle (see my post about it here), walked around for a few minutes, got really nauseous and had to get off.  Every time I would even think about riding, or even that saddle, the nausea would kick in hard.  Then that went away and the extreme exhaustion set in.  I would come home from work, sleep for 3 hours, feed the animals, myself, then pass out for the night. That's still going on, but not as much, thankfully.

Now I'm trying to work my mind back into the idea of riding while I still can.  The bugs are bad,terrible, horrendous, the sun irritates me to no end and the pony is just so happy to see me when I get home. It's a little hard to get motivated to do much.

I need this sign for our property. I was inhaling them the other day when trying to collect some water samples from our creek.
I'm also trying to not feel guilty for letting the pony be.  He should be ridden, and definitely could use some respect refreshers, but for now he behaves in a way that is acceptable (and safe) to me. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Jumper

So, what does Max do when he misses out on pasture time due to storms, and it's time for grain?  He decides to jump the mud puddle.

The mud puddle that is in the doorway to his stall.

Multiple times.

Seriously. I watched this pony jump that thing several times. Mostly going out of his stall while I was getting his grain. But he also jump into his stall a couple of times. They were nice little jumps (not hops) and he managed to stop before hitting the door on the opposite side.

Old photo.
He also threw in some little bucks while I was walking down to the barn.  He was not pleased with missing pasture time. Impatient pony is impatient.

He ceases to amuse me. And for that, he is worth his weight in gold.

Monday, August 17, 2015


Olivia at Do It Yourself Horse Ownership is doing a giveaway for reaching 200 posts.  The prize is a $20 Riding Warehouse gift card.

Congrats to 200 posts!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Heart to Horse Box: June and July

My new computer finally came so now I can start posting more. I'm a bit behind on my Heart to Horse boxes.  This will be a quick post to summarize the June and July boxes.  The August one should be here in a week or two.


The June box mostly focused on bathing. 
-3 piece grooming kit
-Kensington bath tote:  It's mesh and would allow bathing tools to dry out or dirt to fall through
-Mane 'n Tail and Body 12oz shampoo
-Cowboy Magic Detangler and Shine 4oz
-Haylage Slow Feed Hay Net: I'm not sure if this is the same one I got, but it's very similar. 
-Noble Outfitters Wound Care+:  I received a 2oz bottle for small and large animals.


When I opened this box, the first thing I saw was BLING on the hat. I love sparkly stuff and was ridiculously excited to see the sparkles. It's the simple things people....
-Bling Horse Hat:  I got black, but now I see they have a teal! 
-Magnetic Curry Mit
-Fold-Up Bucket with Cover: Handy for camping/trailering
-Apple A Day Electrolyte (1lb): Not sure I can really use this
-Celebration Spot On Insect Control (6 weeks):  I'm torn. The bugs are bad and Max might benefit from this, but lets face it. It's poison. I'll use this kind of thing on my cats and dog if there's a flea infestation, but I don't know if I can justify it on Max when the bugs are transient. However, there was at least one confirmed case of West Nile in the county to our south, so it might be worth it if it can actually help with mosquitoes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WW: Dinner Time

First, the photo from this post that didn't go through.  Dumb phone/app.

Dinner Time!  The only thing that makes him trot on his own.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Note Cards

I just purchased a set of beautiful haflinger note cards from Emilie at A Blonde, Brunette, and a Redhead. She's holding a contest to raise money for a trip to gather her winter things before she needs them.  For every purchase and social media share, you get a chance to win a custom piece of artwork. Check out her post here...

A Blonde, Brunette, and a Redhead - Contest Time

Monday, August 10, 2015

I Rode My Horse!

After finishing up barn chores Saturday morning I had a few extra minutes before we had to leave. So I popped up on Max bareback and wandered around the paddock.  You can see where I divided it so cinderella could have her own paddock. And how overgrown it's become since they've both been spending so much time in stalls with the fans. this short ride was a good reminder for him that yes, I do expect him to be ridden.

On another note, my computer should be here tomorrow so I can do some proper posts. I hate posting through my phone.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Self Loading Pony

At dinner time Max goes from pasture to his stall all on his own. Despite all the grass and hay between the two.  Trust a haflinger to follow his stomach to his bit of grain.
Cinderella follows behind mostly because she doesn't want to be alone. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

I Rode A Horse!

Well, my computer finally bit the dust over the weekend. We put up a valiant fight, but it was simply a no go. Now I'm looking for a new one but hate computer shopping. Hate Hate Hate!!!

Anyways, I managed to ride a horse last Thursday and it was interesting.  I haven't ridden since May.  It wasn't Max, but a horse at my old barn where there's a nice small arena to work in. The horse was also a Haflinger and being a complete ass. He has a habit of trying to rub his riders off on the fence. In addition to this, he insisted on taking off towards the gate when heading that way, and just generally ignoring what ever it is you were asking. Trotting a straight line?  Did not happen. Trotting around a corner....nope.  Trotting in general was a joke. But it was good to get back up on a horse again. I only rode for 25 minutes or so, but I was feeling it in my legs the next day. 

Not the golden ears I was riding, but similar. These are better though.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I missed it!

2013 was a big year for me in terms of horses.  I bought Max and brought him to the boarding barn on July 13th.  Later that year, around Christmas, he came home.  Two days later I bought and brought home Cinderella.

Max is my first, and so far only, horse.  We've had our ups and downs and continue to butt heads occasionally. He isn't being ridden at the moment, but I have plans to at least climb on and walk around a little.

This is one of the first pictures I have of him modeling his new tack at the boarding barn. The saddle is a Wintec close contact that was purchased used. After sitting in a pasture for several years, he wasn't too excited to be tacked up.  Note the swishing tail. I'm not sure how my riding instructor got his ears up for this one.

We managed to go off site one time to some trails. He did really well, aside from being very forward. And the cars. That came up after this picture was taken. He really wanted to bolt.

Trying to get a Christmas-y shot a couple of weeks before he came home. He wasn't having it.

He came home and a week or two later we get hit by a massive snow storm. I wanted to see if our road had been cleared, but couldn't tell from the house.  In some spots, Max decided that jumping the drifts was easier than plowing through them. Koda followed in the trail we blazed. Note the half buried chicken coop to the side. The girls were nice and toasty inside their coop.

In 2014, we didn't do a whole lot. Mostly just conditioning around the property.  I discovered just how much Max hates mud when he decided to keep jumping a tiny, muddy ditch instead of walking through. That led to my first big fall off a horse.  But I got back on and made him walk through some other muddy areas, then called it a day. Thankfully, I was only sore.

One thing I noticed last summer was that we didn't have horse flies.  I was ecstatic.  Those suckers are nasty and hurt like hell when they bite. Last summer, my foot got fractured while camping (with my in-laws horses), when the one I was holding jumped on to me when a horse fly came swooping in trying to bite. I've also had issues with them while trail riding.  If they come close, the horse I normally ride likes to try to crow hop when she hears them. This isn't so good when you're on a steep, rocky slope.

Sadly though, I saw a horse fly yesterday in our pasture.  Max came trotting up from the back area when it was time for feeding and it was following him.  Thankfully, he wasn't jumping around or kicking, just aggressively trying to bite it when it got near.  I hope he stays that calm when they're around. Horse flies are why I'm trying to desensitize him to me randomly slapping him.  I'm hoping he'll understand that I'm trying to help him by killing them and stand still, rather than kicking, or otherwise flipping out when I'm near.

Anyways, sorry for that tangent. Horse flies = bad.

Monday, July 27, 2015

TMM Blog Hop:Bit of Luck

An interesting blog hop from The Moody Mare

I think that we all have those tried and true bits in our collection while others we just steer clear of.  Are there any bits that work like magic for your horse?
I've only ridden Max in a double jointed snaffle.  His current one is an eggbutt with a copper lozenge.

Like this, only with a copper lozenge.

 I had read that Haflingers tend to have lower palates than your average horse, so I went with a double jointed. I wanted to keep it as mild as possible. The copper provides something a little tastey that he could play with.

That being said, I'm not sure how much he likes it.  We go well enough, but he can get bull headed and try to push through it or ignore me. I've been wanting to try other bits, but I'm not sure what. Plus, time and money are at a premium at the moment.

I've been considering a baucher, some sort of happy mouth bit, or an elevator. I like the idea of the elevator simply because you can adjust where the reins attach and use it as a simple snaffle, or use the curb action.

I feel like I have good, steady hands and don't lean on his mouth for balance. But he has his moments when he decides to grab for grass and yanks me down with him. Those Haflinger muscles are no match for me.

Any advice?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Link Love

Posting mostly for my own reference:

KEP Italia: Buyer Beware @ The $900 Facebook Pony - A helmet is destroyed on impact and the company's response is to call the rider a liar and threaten to sue over defamation.

 How to Help Your Spouses Sanity If You Get Smushed By A Bus @ She Moved To Texas - Not really horse related, but it's very important for everyone to have a plan if you die.  Even if you don't have a partner, it would be helpful for your friends and family to have easy access to this information.

10 Things to Give Up to be Happy @ Viva Carlos:  Great list. This might go along with #10, but I would add, "Give up caring about what other people think."

Fear @ A Enter Spooking:   Fear and anxiety are a big part of my riding. This post is very well thought out and helps explain some of the anxiety I feel. I especially like the section on rational vs. irrational fear. I could (and should), write a post on my own fears. It might help to clear things up in my own head.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

WW: Itchy Pony

Poor boy. The mosquitoes are awful this year. But look at him move that tree!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Frustrated Pony

Since half our barn is currently stuffed full of hay, I've been using a halter to bring Max in and out of the barn. The aisle is now only wide enough for either one person, or one horse, but not both, side-by-side. 

Max loves his halter. All I have to do is hold it open and he shoves his nose into it. However, I've noticed he gets frustrated when something goes wrong. Like when the lead rope slips from my arm before I can get the crown over his ears, or the throatlatch flips under and gets caught on the side of his cheek and I have to readjust.   He glares at me when this happened. It's like the fat pony version of the mare glare. He's impatient and knows the halter generally means something good is coming. In most cases, it's pasture time.

Not the fat pony mare glare. More like a "there's hay about a foot away from my mouth. Give it to me now, glare.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Vet Visit

The vet came out Wednesday to take off Cinderella's bandage and have a look at her foot.  Good news is that it had healed better than he had expected. Bad news is that it hasn't healed as much as I was hoping, but I'll take it.  She'll have to stay in the stall for a few days and see how she does on the foot without a bandage.  I'm hopeful she will continue to heal.  She might have a limp for the rest of her life, but it shouldn't really cause her issues...not in the same way it would with a horse anyways.

Hack job with her wool. I had to be quick before she started to wake up.

She kept kicking so the vet had to knock her out with some happy juice to get a good feel of the leg. Once he left, I did all her nails and hacked away at her wool. All that was much easier when she's asleep, aside from having to roll her over. Also, she was snoring.  I got some video, but I'm not sure how well you can hear her. I might post it later.

Max was pretty worried about her too.  The vet mentioned that he was much worse when he came out at the beginning of June. He was pacing and pawing at everything.  I think maybe because Cinderella was out and there were only strangers there.  This time, I was there and he just kept watching through the slats.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Max Gets Some Exercise

I apologize for the lack of updates. I really haven't been doing much with Max lately, especially with all the rain. I have several posts started, but no photos to go with them since my computer is trying its hardest to bite the dust.

Saturday, we were having a load of hay delivered in the morning. 226 heavy bales to be exact.  So at 8, I went to put Max and Cinderella out in the pasture so I could get the stalls cleaned and the barn cleared for the hay.  My thought process was "hey, he will love going out on pasture and eating some yummy clover over old hay".  Apparently I was wrong. 

I brought him out, let him loose and he did a 180 right out the gate before I had a chance to put the hotwires back up.  Okay....I go get him, put him in and chase him off enough for me to get the middle line up.  I usually do this so he stays in and I can bring Cinderella in without taking it down. Well, he comes cantering up and tries to duck under the line back out into the yard.  Thankfully he listened when I yelled at him to whoa. So I put up the other two hotwires and hope he doesn't try to run through those. 

Well, he didn't like this.  He took off galloping at a mad pace around the pasture.  I've never seen the fat boy move so fast before.  I watch for a minute to make sure he's not going to try to run through or jump anything, then head back to the barn.  My new thought is that he was upset he didn't get his morning hay. In the barn I could hear him thundering around the pasture.  I ended up putting up a bag of hay in a tree and that seemed to calm him down.  Cinderella went out and I managed to get the barn clean just in time for the hay guy to show up. 

He looked something like this. I wish I had my camera with me.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Quick Updates

Big blog world hugs to everyone who is going through stuff.  I know there are at least two bloggers with horses in a hospital right now. Scarey stuff.

The bugs are horrible at our place right now.  We've been getting a lot of rain, and with the creek and floodplain, there's a lot of standing water which means mosquitoes galore. It's insane. I'm so glad I got those fans this year.  Most of the time, Max doesn't even come out of his stall to greet me like normal.  He's always ready by the gate to come in from pasture in the evenings. I think he just gets sick of the bugs.  I've been slapping him to squish bugs. This is partly to desensitize him for future trail rides. The Brown County trails always seem to have a ton of horse flies and we try to kill as many as possible when they're around the horses. They're nasty buggers. I would rather he stand and let me slap those suckers dead than flip out and buck like I've seen some horses do. I want to work with him, but those mosquitoes scare me away. I won't even go back in our woods right now.

The farrier was out last week and mentioned Max had a broken bar in his hoof. She didn't seem concerned, just wondered how it happened (I have no idea). I don't know that much about hoof conformation and all that, but Google tells me it's not a huge deal. He's not showing any signs it's bothering him. 

Cinderella seems to keep getting better. She's limping quite a bit, but is putting weight on her foot.  She got out the other day and we ended up herding her back to the barn. She was moving too quick for us to walk up to her, but I didn't want to pick up the pace and make her work harder. The vet is coming out next week to take the bandage off and see what's going on with the leg. Hopefully it's healed and she will continue to get strength back.

This was our back yard a couple of weeks ago. The creek is past the wood line.  Normally, you can't see it at all from the house because of how far back it's set. You can just see the edge of the shed to left. The barn is farther up.It's been a lot higher than this, but not for a couple of years.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


I think this is the dirtiest I've ever seen Max. He's not a horse to go roll around in the mud so I was surprised to come home to this. Can you tell how impatient he is to go out to pasture?

We also made some minor improvements to the barn. Each stall now has its own fan. It's helped so much with flies that I don't think Max leaves the stall often during the day.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pasture Time!

As long as conditions allow, I put Max out in the pasture for a couple of hours each day after work. He loves it. He usually eats the good stuff for a minute, grabs a big mouthful and trots off to his favorite spot in the far corner of the pasture. Occasionally he is full of himself and takes off cantering. It is highly amusing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Revised Goals: 2015

Due to some medical conditions, I haven't been able to ride much this year.  So far, it's looking like this is going to be status quo for a while.  Between that, the weather, and life in general, I don't know what I will be able to do with Max (or myself) for the rest of this year. There's enough going on that I even stopped taking my weekly lessons.  Due to all of this, I've decided to revise my goals for the rest of the year.

Goals for Max:
-Try to do groundwork when possible with a focus on yielding to pressure.
-Go for walks, especially in the woods once the mosquitoes stop sucking us dry
-Don't let him get too fat

Goals for Me:
-Try to ride a few times, even if it's just walking in the paddock for 10 minutes.
-Continue to update the blog, but maybe step back to twice a week

 Other Goals:
-Continue making trail obstacles if/when the materials should magically appear.
-Survive the year with humans and animals in once piece.

What? You want me to leave all this for some grain?  Okay!

Friday, June 19, 2015

New Obstacle

It just needs some trimming then I'm done. Yay! I can also slip a pole underneath to make it a teeter totter.