Wednesday, December 25, 2019

2010s Photo Challenge

I see this one's making the rounds, starting over at May As Well Event, and it sounds like fun!  I... may have gotten carried away with photos.  It's one photo per horse per year; that's close enough, right?

(Also, hey, I'm still here! lol)

This was one of the first years I started hanging out at the barn where I now board.  I don't have a lot of photos from this year, but I do have one that I think is worth sharing.
Back side - I have photos of both sides too.
This is one of those "why I wear a helmet every time" photos.  One of my now-BOs was wearing this helmet when she hopped on board a youngster that had already dumped her mom that day - just a baby thing, where she took off and mom, being not the best rider, came right on off.  Said youngster panicked a second time and took off with now-BO, who eventually decided to do an emergency dismount when it seemed like the "get away from human on back" panic was going to drive the little mare to try to jump the arena fence.

She landed ok at first, but quickly ended up flat on her back, plowing a few feet of arena, and was unconscious for probably a minute and a half.  No lasting damage, aside from needing to replace what started the day as a brand new helmet.

Every time, y'all.  Every time.

...was apparently a really boring year.  lol More riding at the barn I would eventually board at, on whatever was trained for saddle and seemed safe, including a couple of times on this kind of daft little guy - one of only two horses that has ever licked me.  (So, so weird.)
This is his "you are not my mom" face.

This was the year I met the other now-BO, as well as one of the crazy women who later went on to cause so much drama (and still are, omg), and I took photos while the others rode.
BO2's mare at the time; the mare has since passed away.
The year I first started messing with Cessa, although I only have a few photos.  She'd been (temporarily) owned by a lady before this, one who just was not equipped to deal with her - much as I love her, Cess is just enough of a bitch that if you are spineless about enforcing discipline, she will take advantage of that - so even though I thought she was beautiful, I'd been hesitant to mess with her.  Her ownership transferred to BO1, and she assured me I could play with her all I wanted... so I did.
Mostly we played pretty princess, let's be honest here.
It was a bumper crop of babies at the barn - as I recall, five that year?  I think this was also the last year the herd was as big as it was when I first started riding up there.  2015 would bring herd downsizing, particularly as we were in a lengthy drought.
A fraction of the herd - the white face in the middle is Boss Mare, with her son that's now a stud to the left of her and Cessa behind him.
I'm not saying I had a problem, but I did buy a cheap halter and lead rope for a horse I didn't even own.  lol
Also, lesson learned: $2 nylon halters are not worth it...
And the year Justice was born.
Aww. So narrow. So cute.
Most importantly of all - in December of that year, I became a horse owner!  Of two horses, because I'm insane and my BOs are enablers.

My first year as a horse owner!  Full of things that are really only exciting the first time you have sole responsibility of a horse, like "I have to buy a bag of grain!" and "I have to buy a blanket!" lol I... I may have been enthusiastic.
Pretty girl
One of my favorites of him
Sadly, I don't have a lot of not-head-shot photos of Justice for this year or the next.  He went through a series of godawful awkward stages.  Like "I have photos and I'm not going to share them, because there were times where I would come home and go look at his baby pictures so I could have faith there was going to be a nice horse come out the other side" godawful awkward stages.  I'd seen normal baby awkward growth, where they get fat and then convert all that fat into growth and ribbiness, and I'd seen draft baby awkwardness (which is a whole other thing indeed), but Justice took it to a whole new level.

The year of the ridiculous selfies!
Yes, that's the spot where it itches...
And baby pony wearing a birthday hat!
Still makes me laugh. What are you even doing, little dude?
2018 started off really rough, and never really recovered from there - by the end of the year, I'd had to put down a horse and a cat, and I lost a grandmother in between.

The horse?  Justice.
During his last month.
In July of 2017, we noticed he was having severe vision issues and his eyes had gone milky/cloudy where the pupil should be.  Medication helped some, but it never really went away.  If anything, it got worse.  By the end of the year, we knew he could only really see - at most - shadows and light.  Plans were in the works to get him to a specialist, but he also still needed his nuts chopped off (at two and a half, he had just started to realize that girls were a thing, so it was time).

The vet examined him for the gelding appointment in January and let us know that it would be best to put him down - and after watching him in the stall, where it was clear he had been relying on his sisters all this time and that he really couldn't see anything and it was freaking him out, I made the decision to do so that day.

On a happier note, my 12 year old broodmare finally got started under saddle.
And she was so thrilled about it, too.
Which brings us to this year.  We got in some rides, but mostly it's been a quiet year.
OK, so maybe I took a selfie as proof I rode my horse. Maybe.

I'm looking forward to the new year - new opportunities to ride (and lord knows she and I both need the exercise, lol)... and possibly a new face, depending on what happens this spring...

Friday, October 25, 2019


Still not a lot of news on the me riding front - fat mare is still fat, weather and allergies still kicking lots of ass and taking lots of names - but the young stallions my BOs own are starting to get out and about.  We've attended a couple of local playdays where one of the boys was out competing.

Well.  Ok.  Competing might be a strong word.  The first one - his first playday - he was dead last in everything, with runs somewhere around 3-4 times as long as the winners. lol But he's trying!  He's getting better at it!

The usual format for these playdays is poles (which we keep missing), barrels, spur (run through cones on one side of the arena, loop around a pole, run out through cones on the other side), and the bootlace.  I'm pretty convinced that the bootlace is evil. Or the organizers are, because they put it last so all the horses are used to sprinting back to start after spinning around things.
Look at this thing.
It's a fun chance to practice some photography skills, though!

One day, I will figure out why sometimes his spots are purple when I take pictures.

I love the dust on this one.

Scary stallion coming through, y'all.

I was cracking up when I was editing this one - you'd never know she did the entire pattern in a beautiful hunter lope.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Still hot

It's still hot.  I don't know who ordered Septaugust, but they can take it back.

Also, exciting news from the barn front...

She's definitely not pregnant!

...Yes.  Yes, we actually did check, despite it seeming unlikely.  Because after a full month on dry lot, there wasn't much visual improvement on the fat-ass problem.

Like, look - I'm making jokes about it because there's nothing much else I can do except let the BOs keep her on a diet, but this mare is unhealthily fat.  We're talking "she jiggles when you pat her vigorously" fat.  We're talking "she walks into the stocks and has a muffin top" fat.  We're talking "her tail head is indented in her buttocks" fat.  The vet says she has a solid inch of padding over her ribs to lose.  It's so bad.

How'd she get this fat?  Pasture.  We had a really rainy spring, and the pastures are lush as hell right now.  And she was up in the north pasture with the herd for half the summer, on the lushest of lush, basically out of sight and mind for everyone (long walk, no shade, ugh) aside from occasional checks.  So all of a sudden when the herd was brought up for vet stuff last month... holy mother of god, she's a walking lard factory.  Nobody else is this fat, though - just her.  She's special.

So now she's on dry lot, with rationed food, in the hopes that there will be an actual horse there by spring instead of a land whale.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Summertime odds and ends

Let's start this post off with a game!

The game is called:

Pregnant Mare or Headed for the Dry Lot Life!!
Good lord.
Hint: she's in heat.  And she doesn't have a date.

Yeahhh.  She's been up in the north pasture, full of clover, for a couple of months and we've all been either rained out or unmotivated to walk that far, so nobody had really clocked just how fat she'd become.  Vet spotted her during pregnancy checks last week and flat-out said she needs to lose 300 lbs.  As soon as there's a spot, somebody gets to live in the dry lots instead of the ungodly lush pasture, and if I thought there was even a quarter of a chance of her keeping a grazing muzzle on, she'd have one this weekend.

Also, please do not look at the tail.  Ms. Tail and Mr. Cowboy Magic and Ms. Water Hose and Mr. Comb all have a date next weekend, and in the meantime, we are all going to pretend that that is a perfectly ordinary tail and not a hellish baseball bat of hair and nasty-ass sharp seed pods from under the trees.  (I don't know what those bastards are - some kind of devil's claw, maybe - but I haaaaaate themmmm, and she apparently loves them so much she has to carry them around in her tail. Regularly.  She's lucky it's fly season, because I'm not above banging it off as high as I can if she does this again when it's not.)

In other news, there are two pregnant mares I'm very excited about (see also: awesome BOs), but the process of getting there has been something of an adventure.

First there was "oh, Best Broodmare gets pregnant if the stallion looks at her."  Yeah, well, her daughter did... her, not so much.  So BB got a shot and another round of stallion time.  Then, first ultrasound, she a) had twins b) that were already implanted c) too close together.  Try number three, twins again, but this time one of them could be pinched off, so we're good there.  I think.  Today was supposed to be followup ultrasound #2 to make sure the unpinched baby stayed put.

Then there was the adventure in horse hauling.  The trainer we use is three hours away from the barn, and since she was willing to haul, the BOs paid her to haul one batch home and another batch away from training (including two of the three stallions).  We were also planning a cookout for that evening.

So the husband and I are getting our stuff together to head up there - finding shoes, preparing steaks and grabbing BBQ supplies, that kind of thing.  First I get the can you pick up these sides text.

Then I get Want to be a hero? Trainer is stuck with 2 dogs and a trailer full of horses right by you. Horses are fine, humans and dogs need some water. Can you bring her some bottles or something?

What else do you say to that but Sure!

So we grabbed a pitcher, an old dog bowl, and a couple of cups, and drove the mile or so around to go help out.  Introduced husband and trainer, petted dogs, chatted... watched the mastiff lay down with his nuts in the water dish, laughed... you know.  Good times.

Trainer's husband, who was following her anyway, showed up after maybe 20 minutes, and they got the truck going and hit the road again.  We headed home to get back to loading BBQ supplies.

As we were picking up sides, I get another message.  Truck broke down again. We may have to pick them up.

Five minutes later: Wait, problem fixed.

Ten minutes later: Damn. Truck broke down again.  Need to pick them up.

They hadn't made it more than 10 miles from me by then, and round-trip with the trailers would have been an hour and a half, sooo... we mostly called off the cookout.  (I say mostly; when trainer, husband, dogs, and horses finally arrived at the barn, she had had a single banana to eat all day, so there was something of an impromptu "we have burgers and hot dogs and you're going to eat before you drive 3 hours home" cookout.)

Fortunately, between the three husbands that were at the barn that night, they managed to diagnose and repair the truck so that the ride home was much smoother.  And I hear the herd sent down for training are doing great.  :)

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Another lovely boy

Well, this summer may turn out to be "let's bathe the ponies and take pictures instead of ride" until September or so.  I don't mind too much, though - collecting my horse from the back end of the 30 acre farm in 80-90 degree weather with 50-80% humidity is... it's not pleasant when no part of the walk is shaded.  It's just not.  I pretty much drive past that end of the farm and make sure my horse is alive and call it good. LOL

Anyway... on to some pictures!  This young stallion is the son of my BOs' best broodmare and full brother to her daughter.

...He also knows where the camera is and what it's about. This is literally the closest I've got to an outtake (other than a few blurry ones where my focus went wonky):
Can we be done now? Please?
And we had a friend!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Handsome boy

I think I mentioned elsewhere that my BOs have offered me a baby to replace Justice; this is so incredibly generous of them, and I can't even put into words how much I appreciate it.  They're even letting me pick who mom and dad will be!

After some deeply considered thought and a lot of indecision, mom is going to be either the best broodmare on property or her daughter; they ended up deciding to breed both and let me pick rather than make me pick between the two mares.  (The other baby will be for sale, I believe.)

Dad was the easy part.  Farm's got some really nice studs, most of which I've known since birth, but I've kind of had my eye on this guy.  Just... the pictures I've had of him until this weekend looked an awful lot like this:

Which, I mean... he was a cute baby, but "cute baby" and "actually worthy of breeding to" are... not necessarily the same.
Especially when he's grown up a little!

Or a lot.  :)  He's 4 this year, and this will be his first crop of foals.  He got lightly started over the winter, and he'll be going back for training in a few weeks so he can start showing.  We already know he'll clear a 5 foot fence handily.  (No, that wasn't planned.  It also wasn't to get to mares.  Guess he was bored!)

Regardless of which mare... Although color is not a factor here unless all other things are identical, both babies should come out black or bay/brown, with ~ 50% chance of spots.  Both will also be high draft percentage - somewhere in the 75-90% range, as I recall.

The stallion isn't perfect; neither are the mares. But I wouldn't cry to get an exact reproduction of any of the three of them, either, and the worst parts are things like "a little long in the back" or "a little short in the neck" or "your foot is a dinner plate and looks a bit disproportionate" or "that... is a lot of feathering."

I am very quietly excited about this baby.  Cessa is 15 this year, and part of what I was looking forward to with Justice was doing some showing and other events that I'd be hesitant to push an aging broodmare with allergies to do.  The other part was having a horse that my husband could ride, if need be... which this baby totally should be, given the personalities of the equines involved.  (I would be hesitant with Cessa - she could surprise me, but I'd rather not bet my distinctly non-horsey SO's safety and happiness on it.)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

All's Quiet

So hi!  It's been a while!

Turns out, when it's raining every freaking weekend but two for the last three months, not much horse stuff gets done. lol I mean, I've seen Cessa?  She's fat and happy?

Not that you'd know it by photos. Silly mare.
The two weekends it didn't dump inches upon inches of rain on us... we couldn't really ride because it's breeding season, and between three stallions and a boarder whose horses can't be out in the big pasture with the rest of the herd, there's no room (and none of us are comfortable enough yet for trail riding!).

So it's been quiet.

And wet.  I mentioned wet, right?  Like, I don't want to complain too much because it's better than the decade of drought we had, but... um.  Could the rain maybe happen on Monday instead of Friday or Saturday?

At least my roses are happy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Hey Cessa!
What'd we do this weekend?
Yep!  We went riding.

Related: ohgod.  Don't stop riding for like three years and then start again.  Your thighs will not thank you.  Nor will your ass. 

Also... Apparently I will get told on every time I tip forward or fail to use my relatively undereducated seatbones.  lol Not that this is a bad thing, but boy is it a brand new sensation after two decades of lesson horses.
Also, this is what happens when your fat mare is a yak, you're not precisely svelte yourself, it's 70 degrees, and you ride at a walk for half an hour or so.  Fitness: it's what's on the year's plans...