Friday, May 29, 2015

Heart to Horse Box May 2015 Review

Another Heart To Horse Box came late last week. This was an awesome box that focused mostly on fly season.

Cost: $34.99 with free shipping. And 25% of the proceeds go to a horse rescue. If you sign up for the auto ship, the cost is only $31.50 with free shipping. Like last time, I will list the retail price as well as the 15% off price in parentheses, since always seems to offer a discount.

Absorbine UltraSheild Sport (32oz):  $20.99 ($17.84) -  A big bottle of fly spray.  It says it will last for 14 days and is resistant to sweat.  Frankly, I'm skeptical, but I love that they sent a huge bottle of this stuff. I've been meaning to get some of the more heavy duty fly spray to use while trail riding. Hopefully this will do the job.

Fleece Mitt: $4.88 ($2.97) - For applying fly spray to the face.

Swat - Clear (6oz): $11.59 ($9.49) - This is always good to have on hand. Thankfully, Max is good about keeping himself free of scrapes and cuts. Hopefully I won't have to use it any time soon. I do have the pink version already, but was told you shouldn't leave it on them while they're outside. But you can do this with the clear.

Finish Line U7 Gastric Aid Syringe: $9.99 ($8.49) - Honestly, I don't know what this is for. I will have to do some reading. Max may or may not get it.

TuffRider Boot Socks: $7.95 ($6.76) - Mine had different colored stripes than what is seen online. I love colorful socks and always need more knee high socks.

Rescue Fly Tape $4.49 ($3.82) - Pack of 3. This is something to hang in the barn. I'm hoping they might be able to catch a couple of these nasty boring bees that are always flying around. However, I don't think this tape was meant for that.

Bonus Item: A sample of Palletable Psyllium Pellets. It's something I will use as a treat for Max.

Total Value: $59.89 ($49.37 with 15% discount). Plus you'd have to pay shipping. And don't forget that 25% of the proceeds go to a horse rescue group.

Overall, another well thought out box. I appreciate all the fly control items. The only item I may or may not use is the paste, but that's mostly out of ignorance. Once I do some reading, Max may get the dose. Otherwise, nothing will be going into my "won't use/doesn't fit" pile.

*note*: I pay for this box myself. I don't get any compensation from for posting this.

Monday, May 25, 2015

AHR Award

Last year I joined the American Haflinger Registry and participated in their recreation points program. Any riding you do outside of shows or competitions counts as time towards this program. It counts anything from training and school rides to trail rides. Since I don't show, it was a nice motivator to get out and ride more often. We managed to ride 47.5 hours.  I think some late December weather prevented me from making it up to 50, where you got another award.

The medallion is for riding 25 hours.

I wasn't able to renew my membership this year due to the cost, but I hope to next year.

As a side note, I think I've decided on a show name if I ever do any local shows.  Max shall be dubbed....Old Man Melvis.  I love/hate his registered name.

Friday, May 22, 2015

TOABH: Making of the Horse

Since I started this blog at the beginning of the year, I ended up missing several of Beka's blog hops. I'm going to go back through and post the rest of them over the next few weeks. They're a lot of fun and make me think about some things I probably wouldn't have thought of before.

From The Owls Approve

Making of the Horse
Last week, we talked about our babies.  This week, let's talk about our greenies.  Who trained your horse?  Is your ponykins still in the process of figuring out this whole monkey-on-my-back thing, did you send off for thirty or sixty or ninety days, or did you buy a horse with all the bells and whistles?  Who has helped your horse become what he or she is today?
Simply put, I don't know. Max had several owners before me.  He seems to know quite a bit, but was rusty on everything when I got him. Plus, he has the intelligence that is characteristic of the breed.  So he can really take advantage of the person if they let him.

Intelligence + stubbornness + a bottomless pit of a stomach

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WW: Hay!

"Hay, you over there, gimme hay!"

"Seriously, right there...gimme!"

I had to get the hay in and move the truck before it rained on Friday.

Monday, May 18, 2015

New Saddle

A couple of weeks ago I found a great deal on a saddle package through a Facebook group. I got a Wintec Pro Endurance with the wide tree, and a bunch of other stuff for the trail. I've been eying something like it for a while, and when this came up, I jumped.  The saddle came last Monday. Despite me not feeling well, I had to know if the saddle would fit and it did!  I didn't test ride it due to being sick and not wanting to actually finish tacking him up.

Plotting pony says, "I don't like that saddle over there. You know it's windy out, right?:

So, later that week I had to try the saddle. We didn't do more than walk around the paddock and sit for a while. The leathers that came with it were way to short for me, so I ditched them. Overall, I think I like the saddle, but the seat might be to big for me. I need to put my other leathers on it and actually ride around in it to get a better feel though. When I was sitting there, it didn't feel like I had anything behind me. Maybe I am too use to the western saddle now. Maybe this would be good for getting a better position. I think the cantle on my close contact pushes me too forward, so theoretically this would help. We shall see.

His ears were up!

Frumpy pony says "I just want dinner"
This saddle also came with a pad with two giant pockets.  It will replace my mouse eaten pad for now.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Pasture Management Dilemma: To Mow, or Not to Mow?

Ugh...I've been battling an infection and side effects from the medicines all week.  Needless to say, I haven't been riding and am running low on post ideas so far. 

The pasture is out of control but I don't know if that's a bad thing. There are a couple of nice, cool-weather grasses and clover that grow like crazy in the spring. Since summer and fall was so mild, they grew again and bloomed like crazy, resulting in insane growth this year.  Once things warm up, they tend to die back and the weeds take over.

So, do we need to mow this to keep it under control?  Usually we do, but it pains me to see all that material to to waste. It's still providing nutrients to the soil, but it's not doing anything for the animals directly.  The first mow would normally happen before the clover and grass started to bloom.  Sadly, we only have a riding mower, so once it gets too high, we won't be able to mow anyways.

Left side is mowed, right side is not. It's even taller now. The llama is eating while laying down...lazy girl.

Pros of letting it grow:
-It will have a chance to go to seed to re-establish itself in the fall and next year.
-It's tall and I'm hoping it might smother out some of the hot weather weeds, even if it doesn't survive the heat. The sheer mass of the plant material should help somewhat.
-More for the critters to eat (with many limits).

-Once it gets too tall, we can't mow if we need to (when/if weeds start taking over)
-More difficult to ride in an enclosed area. Tall, tangled plants means increased chance of the pony tripping or some such thing.
-Might not do what I hope it will (smother weeds)
-Unintended consequences that I'm not thinking of???

We did mow around the inner perimeter to keep it off the electric fence, but that's about it.

So, dear readers, does anyone have any advice?  Should we mow to keep the pasture healthy? Should we leave it and let nature take its course?  I'm leaning towards letting it be this year. If things start looking bad, we can hope for the best and mow next year.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Consistency and Routine

I've noticed that when it comes to feeding, consistency is bad. He learns to expect his food, or grass at certain times. I've got hell to pay if I decide to switch things up and do groundwork or *gasp* ride before he gets his food.

I first noticed this over winter and partially attribute this to a couple of falls I had.  During the heart of winter, I would get home from work around 5 most nights and run down to the barn and feed before going into the house.  My reasoning was "F*** it's cold and dark!" I wouldn't want to venture back outside once I was warm in the house.  When it started getting lighter out and a bit warmer, I wanted to ride, but needed to do this before I fed. It takes him a couple of hours to finish a net of hay, and by then it would be dark. Taking him away from hay would guarantee a fight, so why not get the ride out of the way before feeding.  Well, he would still argue and try his tricks (spinning and bolting).

The mane, it's crazy

Clearly I'm not as smart as he is. It took a while for me to realize what was going on. So, I would wait until just before dark to feed. This helped quite a bit with the arguing. Max didn't like it at first, but he got used to it.

Then the grass came.  Lately, I've been putting him out on pasture for an hour or two right after work most evenings. Then feeding before dark. My stupid self didn't think this would cause any problem, but now I see that it is.

You have grain. I want grain.

The other night I decided to try some groundwork before he went out on grass.  Lets just say that he had other ideas.  So now I am tasked with trying to figure out how to break this routine up. There is limited time in the evenings and sometimes all I want to do after work is veg out for an hour or so. Sometimes I realize that if I don't do chores or ride as soon as I get home, then nothing will get done. 

I will say this...the boy is smart. I'm afraid I might not be as smart as him.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday Ramblings

What has happened this week?  Let's see. My plan to ride Monday came to a screeching halt. First, my lesson was canceled due to a sick instructor. It started to thunder shortly after getting home while the sun was out. Then it stormed, hard, for the rest of the evening. I hate storms. There was one point when I really thought a tornado was coming. When it finally stopped raining and I went out, Max was acting crazy. I'm sure the hail on the metal roof didn't help that at all.

Also, Monday I got stuck in an elevator at work and had a hawk swoop down above my head (also at work).  Monday was not a great day.

 Tuesday I had a last minute make up lesson. Due to it being last minute, I wasn't completely prepared and had to keep things at a walk.  Sometimes being larger in the chest area is not so good.  I rode the haflinger and we worked on straightness and bending. I think I finally understand how a good bend is supposed to feel. Yay!  Then we went on a trail ride around the property for fun. We saw interesting birds neither of us could ID and had some deer jump out very close to us. Surprisingly, neither horse spooked. Good ponies!

Wednesday, I just put the ponies out and did some chores around the house. The chicks finally went into their outdoor temporary coop and survived the night.  I don't think they're enjoying it yet.

Thursday was another barn day. I had to watch the tack shop for a few hours after work and got to play with all the ponies.

Not sure what Friday or the weekend will bring. We will spend the day at my in-laws on Saturday for Mother's day, plus fill that trailer up with hay. Sunday, we will be with my mom. It's supposed to storm all weekend too.

Oh, and I may have bought a new-to-me saddle to replace my close contact.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Saturday was awesome!  I participated in a CMO (Competitive Mounted Orienteering) with my MIL. Originally, I wasn't going to go, but her husband got called into work, it was supposed to be beautiful, and I needed a confidence boost. She brought her Haflinger cross and I rode her in my western saddle.

I've done a few of these events on and off over the last few years and really suck at them.  My husband and I usually do them with his parents and after the first couple of clues, I just give up and tag along for a nice trail ride. Unless no one listens to me when I say we're about to get hit with a severe storm when we are miles from the campground, then it turns into a pretty shitty ride, but I digress.

I didn't get any pictures Saturday, so you get recycled cuteness.

In a CMO, you are given a map and a list of clues such as "94 degrees TTM from the horizontal log, 158 degrees TTM to the crooked branch by the field". You use the map to get you in the general area, then use a compass and these "landmarks" to triangulate a small area. You're looking for a paper plate that you can see from horseback and write down the code on the plate. It's a timed event.

The plates this weekend were quite hard to find. But I actually found one! Never found one on my own before. I'm that person where you can be pointing at something right in front of my face and I still won't see it. So finding a plate was exciting. It was also the first time I was with a team that found all the plates.   People who find all the plates place above those who don't, despite your time.

We were out for about 3 1/2 hours. It's the longest I've been in my western saddle and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  My right ankle and knee were hurting after the first half hour. My ankle had also been bothering me while trotting during my last lesson, so I'm not sure what's going on there.  I do know there were some sore spots on me where the edge of the seat was digging into the back of my thighs a bit. It felt more bruised than rubbed raw though. I was very glad to have the cordura on my saddle when we were just about swimming through the creek crossing though.

This ride was a confidence boost I really needed. We did a lot of trotting and some cantering (but I still can't sit the canter in a saddle, instead, I did 2 point, or some variation of that for most of it). When we got back, I kind of forgot that I was in a western and didn't get my leg high enough over the cantle. It was a less than stellar dismount. Oh well.

Now I'm feeling more confident and am ready to ride the boy, but it's supposed to storm. Hopefully it will last.

Monday, May 4, 2015

April Goal Review


I rode Max four times this month, though the last one was a short putz around the paddock mostly working on transitions.  My husband also rode him once and gave him a bit of a workout.  Not to bad for the month, but not quite meeting my riding goals.  We didn't really work much on yielding. I was more focused on getting him in shape.



We do stretches almost every day. I've been trying to take him for walks. We also did some desensitization work a couple of times.

No tarp? Use feed bags.


I figured out how to set up a high line and started introducing him to it. I also started constructing a new obstacle, but haven't finished yet. 


Other stuff:

We bought a trailer!  So some of my other goals are now within reach.

Yea baby!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Product Review: Heart To Horse Box - April 2015

My Heart to Horse box finally arrived in the mail late last week.  I was very excited to get it. It's like getting a birthday present each month. You don't know what it will be, but know it will be good.

This month was another well thought out box focusing on getting ready for spring and summer.

Cost: $34.99 with free shipping. And 25% of the proceeds go to a horse rescue. If you sign up for the auto ship, the cost is only $31.50 with free shipping. Like last time, I will list the retail price as well as the 15% off price in parentheses, since always seems to offer a discount.

Shapleys Original MTG: 8 oz bottle $7.49 ($6.37) - I'm almost out of my big bottle of MTG, so I was glad to see this.  Max hates it, but I do think it helped his mane to grow out after he rubbed it out last spring.

Cell Phone Case: $12.99 ($11.04). I actually have this same case, except it's blue with multicolored horses.  It's always on my belt when I'm riding, just in case.  It has both a belt loop and a hook in case you don't have a belt, or want to hook it onto something else. (There's a picture of a headstall in addition to the case when you click the link. I have no idea why).

Tough-1 Cotton Lead:  $7.88 ($6.70). I received the one with two shades of blue (my favorite color). It's a nice, soft lead.

Kensington CatchMask: $29.99 ($25.49). Mine is a large bay color. It has an oval hole that goes through the layers of velcro that you can attach a lead rope to. Neat concept. It looks like it might be too big for Max and I question how snugly it will fit around the head. I will give it a try.

Car Air Freshener: Bonus - I couldn't find this on the site, so it counts as a bonus item. I really need this for my stinky car.

Total Value: $58.35 ($49.60 with 15% discount). Plus you'd have to pay shipping. And don't forget that 25% of the proceeds go to a horse rescue group.

Overall, I'd say this was another well thought out box.  I didn't particularly need any of these, but it's nice to have extra lead ropes and fly masks on hand. I'll be starting a pile of things I won't use. It will either be doled out as gifts or donated to the therapeutic riding place.

*note*: I pay for this box myself. I don't get any compensation from for posting this.