When You Find a Good One…

Now, May and I have had a pretty interesting go of it when it comes to farriers. The first farrier (FF) that I used when I got her was not up to May’s standards. In fact, I got a very upsetting call from the BM at the time, letting me know she tried to kill him…. Cool… She was then relegated to having to be held for the farrier… but she was still really poorly behaved. We pulled her shoes and switched her to the barefoot trimmer.

Here’s the issue. May had learned that she could pull her foot away from the farrier, so she did. While barefoot trimmer (BT) was fixing the issues, we learned that FF had been not really doing his job the way he said he would. I won’t go into details here, but it turns out that May was TOTALLY justified in hating this guy.

Once we started training seriously, May’s feet just weren’t happy being barefoot, so we called in Farrier Number 3 (FN3) to throw front shoes back on. All was well for a cycle or two, and then a cycle was turning into 10 – 12 weeks. He was the kind of guy that just couldn’t seem to get his schedule on track and would push appointments back farther and farther. Since May didn’t have any major defects, she was often the one being pushed vs. horses that needed pads, wedges, etc. etc. etc. Just as I was at my breaking point, it was time to move to KY, and May shipped to KY with 10 week old feet because I couldn’t get FN3 out. (and telling a new farrier to come work on my horse once before never seeing me again is not a great way to get a new guy out for one horse)

So then we came to KY and May needed her feet done BAD. I got recommendations and called farriers of other people at my barn… and no one would call me back. I am not sure if everyone was fully booked, if they didn’t want to work on a draft cross, or if I just sounded crazy on the phone. Then, I got a recommendation for my current farrier (CF). I also got mixed reviews from people saying he didn’t totally know his stuff and he wouldn’t be their first choice. Oh well. I was desperate, I was out of work, and he was affordable.

He met me after work (major bonus because it was already past dark), and I held May for him. He asked me a little about my competition plans (there were none) and about May’s workload (very light). Then, he got to work. We chatted to pass the time, and it wasn’t until he pulled a hot shoe out of the fire that I realized we had never discussed if this would be a cold shoe or a hot shoe… or that I had no idea if May had ever been hot shoed before. He wasn’t overly concerned, but he did make sure he was holding on when he pressed the show to May’s foot. She didn’t love the smell or smoke, but she allowed him to finish.

May’s feet looked (to me) great when he was done. We had no issues with tripping, cracking, or soreness, and five weeks later, he texted me to set up our next appointment. HE TEXTED ME! It was like the sky opened up and angels sang.

Then, KY mud hit in the spring, and we began to lose shoes. RAPIDLY. May had never pulled shoes before, but I had always had her in a very small, dry lot, not the multi-acre field she is in now most of the day. Without hesitation, he would come out each time something happened (it was probably 3 or 4 times) and fix it. There was no formal charge, but I started paying him more than I owed him each time May had her feet done.

Then, this happened….

And we decided to go barefoot. He remained patient and diligent throughout the process of allowing that foot to grow back. After a few months, I texted him to see if he thought he could put a shoe back on that foot. He was pretty optimistic, so we did just that. The best part? I no longer feel the need to be at the barn when he comes, a giant crack that May had since I got her has been growing out really  well, and she is one of his favorite horses to work on because of how well behaved she is for him. (I am sure he also appreciates the “extra” cash.)

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After the ripped off of the shoe incident, I got text messages with updates since I couldn’t be at the barn when the damage was revealed. 

So what does this all mean? It means that when temperatures rose to the high 20s for the first time in more than a week and for just one day, I got a text. He was asking if he could come that day and do May’s feet. She was due, but I had kind of decided to leave it up to his discretion. I certainly wasn’t going to call him screaming like a banshee, demanding my horse who isn’t working and is barely growing any hoof have her feet done at EXACTLY 6 week. When I got that text, I happily texted him back telling him he was more than welcome to do her that day and to just let me know when he was done. She got done, and he got an extra tip.

I am not saying that I will always use this farrier, as situations always change, but I am very happy with what I have found. What about you? Do you do anything special for the people that go above and beyond to help take care of your horse?

2018 Goals

I (very) briefly considered writing up a 2017 in review for you all, but I realized it would’ve gone something like this: I have no trainer, I have a trainer for 2 lessons, I have no jumping saddle, we did some lateral work, I took May’s shoes off, May’s eye is puffy, I put May’s shoes back on, we did more lateral stuff, I found a saddle. All true, all part of the process, none interesting. SO! I figured I would just jump into 2018 with some goals!

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Riding Goals

  1. Do 1 Clinic: my barn hosts a few clinics with great riders and trainers throughout the spring and summer. All I really have to do is get in shape and sign up!
  2. Do 2 Horse Trials: Whether these are recognized or schooling shows is pretty irrelevant to me. Louisville has a wonderful unrated horse trial circuit, but my barn mostly does recognized events. (as a lot of people are going at least Training level and these tend to top out around Training). Also, if I was going Training, I would probably care if my horse had a real record on USEA. The level also doesn’t really matter to me. I would like at least one to be at BN, but if we decide to start out doing on starter, I wouldn’t be heartbroken.

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  1. Get in shape: Maybe this should be the number one goal. I’ve already done a pretty good job over the last month of going to the gym or incorporating workouts at home. Although some overindulging over the holidays means that I am not really seeing any results! Oh well, it still feels good to keep active. May, however, has been on a serious vacation since Christmas. With holiday chaos and now temps that are staying below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, she is not in any kind of work. She is turned out about 16 hours a day, and I have been going to see her to give her a grooming and check on her; however, that’s the true extent of her workload right now. However, the sun now goes down past 5:30 at night, so as soon as it warms up a touch, I can start riding at night again. (I am also starting a new job with a shorter commute and more flexible hours, so that should help too!)
  2. Ride 4 – 5 Days a Week: This one is on hold a bit until it warms up, but it is something I really want to commit to in the new year. It isn’t fair to ask May to step up her workload if we aren’t working regularly. 4 – 5 days is usually enough to get her in shape without overloading her and making work less fun.
  3. Plan Out My Rides: I am always envious of those people with calendars on their walls of what “day” it is for their horse. Jump? Dressage? Conditioning? Light Hack? They know before they even get to the barn. I have decided to become one of those people. Starting in February, you all will start seeing my monthly riding calendar at the beginning of each month and a summary of how things went the previous month. It should be a great way to track progress and find a program that works for us.
  4. Get Comfortable Over 3′ Courses: Pretty self explanatory. We were pretty much there in the early summer of 2016, but really haven’t jumped much since then.

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Other Goals

  1. Blog 2 Times a Week: I have been a terrible blogger. I would like to be a better blogger. This at least sets guidelines. 🙂
  2. Clean Up my Email InboxSeriously, I get HUNDREDS of emails a day from companies. I need to figure out who I actually buy from and unsubscribe from everything else.
  3. Start Meditating Again: I did this for a couple of months in 2016, and it was really beneficial. I need to start it up again.
  4. Do One Thing Every Month That is Outside my Comfort Zone

So that’s 10 things. They should be totally doable, especially since some of them are really a Feb – Dec type of deal. 😉 Are you starting 2018 with any goals in mind, or are you having more of a “I’ll just wing it” year like I did last year?

Off Season Goals & Secret Santa

Since this year didn’t totally pan out the way I had expected, I didn’t get the chance to meet really any of my original 2017 goals. (You can hear me complain all about it in this blog from August.) However, we are officially at the point of looking towards 2018, and hopefully, the horse trials that will accompany it. While it’s probably too early to set any concrete goals for our actual show season, I thought it made sense to put together some goals for our off season.

Well… I guess just one goal. We need to get in shape. Not just May, not just me, but both of us.

May is currently on a light work schedule due to the lack of light and due to the craziness of the holidays. I will be going away for a week in January (finally taking that honeymoon!), so I figure once I return from that, it will be time to start putting fitness back on May. Fun fact about draft crosses, especially those with no thoroughbred blood, they lose fitness FAST, and it takes a long time to really build it back up.

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Unfit May vs. Fit May

Our rides right now mostly consist of either long walks or easy, stretchy sessions. Basically just get the blood moving, make sure the buttons still work, and leave it at that. It just isn’t fair to ask for a full workout without any real breaks when she’s not in shape. (And that’s not even considering the increased possibility of injury)

As for me, I am hitting the gym. The nights when I would usually ride, but it is too cold and dark? Well, that is now automatically a gym night. The few days off I am getting around Christmas? Also gym days. (subject to the days my gym isn’t closed). Anyone have any fun/effective gym fitness routines they do?

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Secret Santa!

A big shout out to Hillary at Equestrian at Hart for my secret santa gift! The ear warmer has already been put to good use (although we are going to have some warm weather around Christmas). It’s the first ear warmed I have found that I can comfortably fit under my helmet.

Not surprisingly… May’s favorite part we’re the cookies (which already made their way to the barn before I remembers to snap a pic)

Yum yum cookies 😂🐴#horsesofinstagram #may

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Yeah… those are going to go real quick. 🙂 Merry Christmas May (those treats might be the last of the unhealthy kind until that goal up there is achieved hahaha)

Fighting the Dark

Dramatic title much? Borderline click-bait? Oh well, I got nothing else.

Can we talk about something real quick? This:

Weather

Now, the cold is totally something I can deal with. It is not even that cold. If you put on a few layers and keep moving, it’s totally do-able. What I am talking about is that bottom right hand corner… that SUNDOWN AT 5:22PM thing. As someone that works a job that requires me to be at work until 5PM and a job that is 40 minutes, without traffic, away from the barn, this is kind of a big issue.

Who cares if it’s dark, just get your horse from the barn and shut up about it? Right? Well… no. My barn does year-round night turnout. From a horse management perspective, I do really love this. The horses go out around 4PM and come in around 9AM, which gives them around 17 hours of turnout everyday. And with either access to grass or round bales in the fields, it also means my horse can more easily keep herself comfortable, temperature-wise.

However, it also means that if it is pitch black out, my chances of finding my horse in the field plummet. And trust me, I have gone out there with an amazing flashlight and stumbled around a frozen field more than once trying to find my horse… only for all of the horses to spook at me when I get close to them and run off again. Sometimes I get lucky and can catch mine, and sometimes I don’t.

The point of this post? There are 13 more days until the days start to get longer, and I am begging each one to go a bit faster.

What limits your riding during these winter months?

The Unicorn Saddle Search Recap

Let me start this out by saying that I started our whole saddle shopping adventure more than 6 months ago. (May 8th was the official “start date” of this adventure. The goal? Find something that fits my horse REALLY well that I do not hate to ride in.

I tried the following over those 6 months.

  1. Albion K2 Jump (original jump saddle. Sold for around $1,800 used)
  2. Duett Bravo (around $1,500 new)
  3. County Saddle (no idea how much it cost. tried a barn-mates saddle, and it wasn’t even close enough to ride in)
  4. Black Country Solare (around $2,500 used, around $4K new)
  5. Prestige Eventer (about $3K used)
  6. Stubben Roxanne (about $5K new with the modifications I needed)
  7. Black Country Wexford (about $2K)
  8. Stubben Genesis (about $1K used)

 

There was also a wide range of other saddles that I seriously considered:

  1. Amerigo Saddles
    • $5K new?… probably more
    • I never could find a local rep or any used saddles in a wide. That was probably a bad sign.
  2. Patrick Saddles
    • $6K new minimum with nothing to actually try on my horse
    • I was told that they could bring me a medium tree to try… but I would have to ride a different horse. Sorry, but for $$$$, I need May to also agree that she likes it.
  3. Bliss of London Saddles
    • I saw these at Rolex and really liked them. They have a bunch of different tree options and some of them looked promising.
    • Loxley saddles start new at around $2,600, but bad reviews regarding customer kept me on the sidelines
  4. Another Albion
    • I couldn’t find any in the specs I was interested in trying.
    • The local rep was not helpful. She answered my inquiry with an “I can order what you’re looking for if you want to buy it…” Sorry, but I really need to sit in something before buying it.
  5. CWD
    • I took one on trial that claimed to be a wide… and turned out to be a narrow. I at least got my money back (including shipping) on that one.
  6. Fairfax Saddles
    • They literally do not make these saddles larger than a 17.5″
  7. Philippe Fontaine Saddles
    • The reviews on them are mixed, but the price of the one I was looking at was more than comfortable for my budget. I even found one in a wide and in the proper seat size.
    • Unfortunately, (or fortunately) I have gotten very good at looking at pictures of gullets and deciding if they would work. This one was a no. (after waiting 3 weeks for pictures)

Final Verdict!

Does this make my butt look big? 🤣#horsesofinstagram #thelwellpony #fluffypony #may

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Like my wedding dress, I ended up buying the cheapest saddle I sat in over the course of the entire 6 months. I bought the Stubben Genesis Jump Saddle in an 18″ with a 32cm tree. In fact, I now own 2 Stubben Genesis Saddles in a 32cm tree because it is almost the exact same model as my Dressage saddle, which May loves and no saddle fitter has ever been able to find a flaw with. (the Dressage saddle seat is 0.5″ larger)

I have now owned the saddle for a couple of weeks, and I have a couple of early thoughts. (sorry for this “listy” post)

  1. It is NOT a lot of saddle.
    • My Albion had LARGE front blocks. This Stubben has almost none. It has a very close contact feel, but it does not lock you into place in any sense of the word. After riding in my Dressage saddle for so many months, this is taking some getting used to.
    • might end up swapping the blocks out to the velcro versions and getting the larger blocks as an options.
  2. The act of jumping has not gotten easier.
    • I think this has more to do with my comfort level with this “less than” saddle than anything else. With increased strength and balance, I think it will feel totally normal again.
  3. But jumping May has
    • Jumping May around typically “wakes her up” and she gets a bit rushy and opinionated and stiff. She even used to crow hop after fences in my Albion if we took a huge distance or hadn’t jumped in a while.
    • In the Stubben? She has actually seemed to get MORE relaxed the longer that we jump, even if we haven’t jumped in a while. Another thing to continue to keep an eye on.
  4. I forgot how much my Dressage saddle sucked when I first got it.
    • Stubben wear like iron. They last forever, and I would think most people have probably plunked one on the back of a school horse when they were first learning to ride.
    • That also means that they are TOUGH to break in. My dressage saddle was also only slightly used when I bought it, and it took probably a full year to get it fully broken in. With similar leather and treatment, I hope my “new” jumping saddle takes the same amount of time to break in.

Here’s to celebrating the end of a long search, and to hoping to not have to do it again for a LONG TIME.

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The Nicknames

Defiantly continuing my blogging about random topics. Today, the nicknames.

Most horses have 2 names: their show/registered name and their barn name. Some have 3, like a Thoroughbred with a Jockey Club name, a show name, and a barn name. However, I have affectionately given several horses in my life extra names for really no reason:

May – AKA Fat Mare (also called Maysville by my trainer) Granted, May came with the name “Krimpet”, which apparently had been changed from “Delilah.” Her show names were also “Too Many Cupcakes” and “Hey There Delilah.” I think May, Fat Mare, and May As Well are upgrades.

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May

Ezzie – AKA Lady Bird

Red Mare
Ezzie

Why did I call her Lady Bird? Honestly, she sometimes reminded me of the dog from King of the Hill. Occasionally though, red devil would have been a better name for her. She would buck and scream and carry on, but I absolutely loved that horse. Below are a couple of the few videos I have of her.

There was another fiery chestnut mare with a big white blaze named Ellie that I rode for quite a while. I just called her mama. I used to have a picture of us jumping a maybe 2′ vertical jump… and our takeoff spot was a solid stride and a half before the actual jump.

There was also Hamlet… who the entire barn renamed Beelzebub. He started out as Hammie… then he decided that scaring the crap out of people until they got off of him was his new favorite game. He was the first horse to convince me that you really do need to buy the brain, not the looks.. and I was all of 13.

Hamlet
ALSO – who loves my hunter duck here? For some reason, we entered a horse that had never completed a x-rail class at a show in a 2’9″ hunter division. 

Then again, I also do this to my dog (as does my husband). Hannah becomes Hanner-Nanners almost everytime we refer to her. She doesn’t seem to mind.

Happy #nationalpuppyday !!! ❤#hannah

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What about you? Do you have alternative names for your pets?

Selecting the Corgi Horse

I’ve written before about how I came to acquire May (story here. Spoiler alert: Sangria was heavily involved.); however, I have seen a lot of posts lately about wish lists from horses. Michele blogged about finding a horse online, Tracy posted about her Unicorn List for horse shopping, and Amanda wrote about her perfect horse as a response to Olivia’s post on the topic.

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Old media is better than no media, right?

It got me thinking about my own brief and painless purchase of May. (looked at one horse, traded my previous horse for her, made 0 negotiations on price, did not vet check… still cannot recommend this method EVER.) On paper, my previous horse should have been everything I ever wanted.

  1. 16.1
  2. Well Built
  3. Quarter Horse (papered)
  4. Schooling Show Experience
  5. Not spooky (turns out though, he was also VERY sensitive)
  6. Athletic (3’+ was no issue for this horse)
  7. Brave and Honest
  8. Vetted Clean

I took my time with him, but after 3 years of him proving to me that he did not want to be my horse, I bit the bullet and put him on the market. (or more like I cried for 3 months and then put him up for sale). He now has a wonderful home with a teenager who absolutely adores him. I follow him on social media, and it is incredible how much happier he is.

However, when I decided to sell him, I was left with a dilemma. How do I NOT do this again? I started with the things he had and that I had to have again:

  1. Sound
  2. Not Spooky
  3. Brave and Honest
  4. Easy to live with

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Honestly, on the ground, my previous horse was the easiest horse in the world. Farriers loved him. Vets could do all sorts of things to him without medication. He would turn himself in and out to his paddock. (Although, I learned last week that May now handles her own turning in and out situation. Works for me. We all know she isn’t going much farther than the next patch of grass.)

I then added in the things that would have made my partnership with him successful:

  1. Lack of tension (Notice I didn’t say No Thoroughbreds. Below is a (10 year old!) video of me competing a thoroughbred that I rode for not less than 8 years.

I realized that his tension was the number one reason we did not get along. Nothing I did seemed to ease his tension. I tried everything I could think of, but we just could not get through that tension. 3 years later and with a lot more knowledge of Dressage and training under my belt, maybe I could deal with it now. However, I know I would not want to. I am an amateur. I have to WANT to work with my horse.

So what else did I add to the list:

  1. 15 – 16 hands
    • I am 5’3″. I really do not need height and was quite a bit intimidated by my last horse)
  2. 6 – 12 years old
    • I have ridden A LOT of young, green horses. As a junior, I put a lot of “firsts” on a lot of horses, but I also could ride multiple horses, 6 days a week. Now, I cannot commit to being at the barn as much as a really young horse needs me to be, and I cannot afford to put something into a program with a pro.
  3. Not gray
    • After owning a gray, I actually wanted a plain bay… Oh well. I found something yellow.
  4. Ability to become a packer at BN
    • First of all, I COULD NOT afford a made packer at any level. (seriously, May didn’t steer when I bought her).
    • Second, IMO, a horse needs a bit of athletic ability beyond the level you are competing at to be considered a “packer” at that level. (i.e. the ability to easily bail you out of a bad situation)
    • Right now, I would consider May to be a packer up to starter level for an intermediate level rider. I have, intentionally, made her too sensitive to the aids for a beginner, but I have seen her pack advanced riders around after they have taken an extended break for one reason or another.
  5. Unfailingly Sensible
    • I am not going to use the word “quiet” here. I don’t necessarily need a “quiet” horse. I do need a horse that is still thinking even when pressure increases.
    • Really good eventing horses are able to think through complex jump and Dressage questions when the pressure is on, and it is not a skill that is easily taught.

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Things I would not put up with under any circumstances:

  1. A horse that rears
  2. Heavy amount of maintenance
    • Not to get into the politics of it, but if a horse cannot comfortable run around BN without heavy and expensive vet care, maybe it is in their best interest not to event anymore
  3. Something super HEAVY
    • Physically carrying your horse around a XC course is not fun. Sure you can lighten a horse up with a lot of dressage, but I have found that if this is their default way of going, it will surface again. (often when they are tired)
  4. Something careless over fences
    • May and I knock rails… a lot because I miss a lot. However, she has the ability to get out of her own way on XC. Horses that cannot do that make me very uncomfortable to jump.

I then scoured the internet and found… May. How does she stack up?

  1. Sound – I have injected her hocks once, and they will need to be done again next year. However, I think that is fairly reasonable right now.
  2. Not Spooky – Lol. Nope. Definitely not spooky.
  3. Brave and Honest – Always. I have to really mess up for this horse not to jump. And then, it is usually in self preservation.
  4. Easy to live with – exceedingly. my farrier can do her on the cross ties, my husband can lead her around without issue, and she ground ties wherever I put her (with our without a halter).
  5. 15 – 16.1 hands – Yup. We are around 15.2. (I think, I have never measured her.)
  6. 6 – 12 years old – In theory, yeah. No one has really any true idea how old she is.
  7. Not gray – … not Bay either.
  8. Ability to be a packer at BN – Totally. I just need to like… jump stuff to make this happen
  9. Unfailingly Sensible – this is probably the hardest thing to evaluate when shopping. May is sensible, but she can flip me the hoof if she hasn’t been ridden regularly. She doesn’t run away or buck or rear or do anything really naughty. She kind of just.. tunes me out? It’s a tough sensation to describe to people.

I think I did pretty good! I continue to window shop on the internet, looking at horses that fit my criteria, and they are few and far between. (at least at the price ranges I could even consider paying at this point in my life). What about you? Do you keep a list of what you wanted/want in a horse?

Life Update! (and Lesson Recap)

It has been almost exactly one week since we signed the papers, and we are officially all moved into our new house! It is substantially larger than our old, little apartment, so it is empty and a bit bare, but oh so perfect. We’re staying in saving money mode so that we can afford to buy some furniture for it, but we are in no rush. My plan is to fill the place with things I love for the people I love. It also needs paint… I’ll include a few pictures below but basically every main living space is either lime green or yellow with gray molding.

Supervising Her Kingdom
Hello Lime Green
Hello yellow! (and boxes… so many boxes)

What does this mean for May? Well it has meant a lighter riding schedule lately. Moving a house does not leave a ton of time for barn time. This weekend was spent gathering essentials, unpacking boxes, hanging curtains, cleaning our old apartment, and actually taking some time to spend with my husband and dog. (Also, it was in the 30’s this weekend, so I wasn’t so heartbroken about not being able to get to the barn. May LOVES the cold weather, but I am just not mentally prepared yet).

It also means that I can start actively looking for a saddle again. Stubben is having a sale on November 1st, so I am going to see if there is anything that fits my (very specific and rare) criteria. If not, there is a local saddle that I might get to try, and I spotted a saddle at a popular consignment shop that might work as well. The journey definitely continues!

I did, however, get a lesson in during one of the warm days last week. A Dressage lesson (again). However, we worked a lot on the flexibility of May’s hind end and her willingness to isolate that part of her body. We started with baby haunches in at the walk down the straight line. Moving the haunches, then the shoulder when she straightened out, then the haunches again.

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Picture from This Website

It’s definitely hard for May and not something she can hold, but this alternating between moving the haunches and moving the shoulders has made a big difference for her. Originally, she would snap straight as soon as I asked the shoulders to move straight, and if there is one thing I know about May, it is that I cannot simply shove the hind end over again when this happens. So how do I help her understand what I am asking? By asking for more isolation in a way she does easily understand. And guess what, she has started holding the haunches in without an argument or meltdown. Good mare!

When we moved into trot, it was more of the same with some leg yields. At this point, May simply moving off my leg is not quite the name of the game. I need to be able to dictate depth, speed, and trajectory of the leg yields. The best way to do this? At the sitting trot and using my seat. Now, sitting the trot on a horse like May is SEVERELY different from sitting on a thoroughbred. I can use the weight of my seat to encourage her to loosen her back muscles and as this looseness happens, she gets more swing (and dare I say even a bit of suspension) in her step. It’s a bit of an odd sensation, going from sitting on something rigid, to encouraging that rigid thing to move, but it clearly helps. It also meant I spent most of my lesson in a sitting trot and was rightfully nearly crippled the next day from soreness. Oh well, something to work on during No Stirrup November! (I have like no media, but this series of Laura Graves doing clinics on specific movements is amazing stuff)

Once May was swinging and in tuned to my leg aids at the trot, it was time to move into the canter… and combine the walk work and the trot work into one exercise. Now, May has developed a really wonderful canter leg yield in both directions off of both legs, so we were back to this concept of isolating parts of her body to improve flexibility and engagement. Great. So how’d we do it?

We started on a 15 meter circle at the canter. We then asked the haunches to come into the circle, while the shoulders stayed on the 15 meters. We rode the haunches in for 3 – 4 strides, then asked the shoulders to come in and join the haunches on the smaller circle. Then, we leg yielded out a couple of meters to reestablish the bend and the outside aids. And May did amazing. She immediately picked up on the idea of moving her haunches over, easily swung her shoulder in to match it, and obediently leg yielded back out to the desired circle size. It was awesome, but definitely exhausting for her, so we only did it a couple of times each direction before calling it a success. Maybe this means I will eventually have enough control of the hind end to do lead changes? One can only dream…

Virtual Barn Tour (finally)

So May and I have officially been at our current barn for a year (actually a year and 7 days), so I figured it is probably time for a barn tour!

Capture
Please ignore my bad drawing skills. Making things really pretty takes a lot of time. 

When May first arrived and for the first few months of our stay, May lived in the (very small) barn on the right side of the map that I circled in dark purple. The barn holds around 6 horses, and, at the time, they were all geldings. I think everyone was relieved that May doesn’t hate gelding and isn’t prone to squealing and kicking walls.

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This might actually be the only photo I have of this stall.

There were some advantages to this barn. It was quiet, there was plenty of room for my tack trunk, and May went out in the paddock right in front of the barn by herself (between the purple barn and the pool). There is also a separate wash stall for his barn and it pretty much never had a wait.

However, there is no direct route from this barn to any of the arenas (Indoor is circled in orange, the outdoor is in lavender, the dressage court is in bright blue, and the small outdoor is in pink). You have to walk along the driveway. This wasn’t an issue when I wasn’t working and was at the barn during the day.  However, once I started a full time job, riding in the evenings as it was getting dark got a lot more difficult. Much less trying to do so in the rain. I also felt like May would benefit from some buddies, and I would benefit from being in the more social part of the barn.

So we moved once a spot became available in the main barn (highlighted in light green). She seems to like this stall about the same amount as she liked the other one. Maybe more because she can more easily see above the front wall.

May is now turned out in the light blue field with a few other mares. There are literally only 5 mares on the property, so they all go out together. The field runs up next to the property next door that has a herd of cows, and May LOVES them. I once caught her reaching over the fence to groom one of them. The grassy fields of KY do mean that May wears a muzzle anytime she is out now, but she really doesn’t object to it at all. She also seems to be benefiting from getting the majority of her calories from grazing now, rather than from grain.

May’s Field:

#sofast or #sofat oh well. At least she's running towards the gate #may #draftcross

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Well… my pony is somewhere out there. #eventerproblems #foggy

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About the arenas. Every barn I have ever ridden at before this had a maximum of 2 arenas. An indoor and an outdoor (or back to my really early days, a jumping arena and a dressage court). This barn has 4. It also has 2 fields that connect to the outdoor arena with cross country fences in them (once fenced and once completely open.) We also have one field that can be used for fitness, as it has a huge hill in it.

XC field next to outdoor arena (there are actually 3 ditches dispersed throughout this area of various widths and difficulties. There is also a bank complex directly to my right):

The only scenery I need are #xc jumps that scare me 😂 #eventing #draftcross #horsesofinstagram

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Dressage Court (not set up but freshly dragged… Ill take it):

Indoor Arena:

Funnily enough, I have never actually ridden in the small, fenced arena on the property. It is really only ever used by people with really green horses either lunging them or starting them under saddle. So that is pretty much it! There aren’t any trails (bummer) but no area is off limits for meandering around, and meandering we have done a-plenty! Hopefully, next year we will get to test out some of those XC fences.

And that is pretty much it! Hope you enjoyed checking out the place with me. 🙂