Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Peebs (and Cinder) go to Summer Camp: 2019 Edition

Last summer when I first started hauling Peebs over to A's place for lessons, he spent a few days there and gave her cousins pony rides.  I've been hauling over to A's somewhat regularly for lessons and to ride with her since.  I love A's barn and have lamented over the fact that she doesn't have enough stalls for my two ponies. They have one extra stall, but I have two horses.

Peebs hanging out in one of A's stalls
A is going to be gone this summer for a 10 week internship in Ecuador. Her parents were planning on taking care of the horses, since they all typically live outside 24/7 in the summer and come in once a day for grain/fly spray/feet picking. But one of the boarded horses broke a hind coffin bone and is on stall rest indefinitely. He also has some other medical issues, and combined with the injury and possible side effects, A's parents felt they weren't equipped to handle it.  I offered to help take care of the barn and they've graciously accepted and are letting me move my ponies in for the summer.

Peebs testing out his summer home this past weekend

If everything goes to plan, Peebs will live in the small pasture that's half dry lot half grass and has a run in shed. Being out on full pasture 24/7 isn't great for Peebs' delicate stomach (and his waistline) so this will hopefully be a good solution. I'm planning on chucking Cinder out in the big pasture with the three geldings.  A's gelding Scottie loves to play but the other two don't so I'm hoping he and Cinder will play together and wear each other out. At my current barn, the ponies only get about half day turnout in the summer in paddocks, so I'm excited to get them out more and let them be horses.

Meeting the other ponies

My trainer is also going to coming out to A's more this summer to help keep Scottie in shape.  I'm looking forward to getting more lessons in and having her help me start long lining Cinder.  I'll probably also ride Scottie a bit too, which will be good as he's a very different ride from Peebs. We haven't worked out exactly when I'm moving in yet, but probably within a few weeks.  A leaves in early July, but we're planning on going to a show the end of June together and I'd like to have Peebs over there to jump more before the show. I'm super excited for this summer but so sad that A will be gone. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Terrible Twos

Cinder officially turned 2 last Thursday.  I had originally planned to do pics for her birthday, but since I got back from Africa life has been beyond crazy.  I caught a cold, then majorly tweaked my back; work has been incredibly busy and unfortunately the ponies kinda got put on the back burner for a bit.

 Right before I left for Africa Cinder's hives that had been off and on for weeks finally decided to stay on.  The vet came out two days before I left and we put her on steroids for 3wks and started the process of trying different bedding.  So far the sawdust the barn gets and one brand of bagged pine shavings don't agree with the princess.  We're trying pellets at the moment, and she comes off another round of steroids tomorrow so fingers crossed!

She was so mad

But there's progress!  Vet wanted me to try and rinse Cin off after each round of failed bedding to clean her up.  Only problem is she absolutely HATES the hose and getting wet.  I was able to sponge her off, but no time like the present to work on getting hosed off.   We had one major come to Jesus moment after she busted the crossties and jumped half way into a wheelbarrow during our first attempt at bath time. But with the help of a stud chain and cookies I've slowly been able to work our way up to a full bath.  She still hates getting her hind legs wet and will kick out (not at me, more stomping angrily) but she hasn't tried to vacate the wash rack or run me over again, so I'll take it.

So grown up!
We also started working on the longe more and revisited wearing tack.  She's totally fine being saddled and having the girth tightened.  She's fine walking with the saddle.  She's very not fine being asked to trot while saddled.  There was much rearing and head snaking involved. At one point she almost went over backwards but caught herself.  I was internally screaming as I had used my saddle instead of the crap Wintec on her.  We'll go back to using the Wintec until she's over her feelings about working under tack. I'm also internally screaming as she fits perfectly into Peeb's 48" girth.  Like, it was on the exact same holes as he uses. Just how big is she going to get?!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Lions, and Zebras, and Rhinos....Oh My!

Last summer my mom texted me asking how much vacation time I had, and how much could I use at one time. I replied with how much I thought I could use at once, and asked why.  Her response was, and I quote, "We're going to Africa and taking you with us. Dad and I want to do it before we're older and more decrepit that we already are." 

We booked our trip through a travel agent for eight days in Tanzania in April. We were on a guided tour, with a driver. The vehicles can accommodate up to 7 customers plus the driver, but there only ended up being one other person besides the three of us.  The trip ended up happening over my birthday, even though it really wasn't planned that way.  But it was one of the best birthday presents ever; maybe second only to Chancie, my first horse that was my 14th birthday present.

Any birthday presents including equines is a good birthday present
Our trip started by flying from the west coast to DC, spending the night in DC, getting woken up in the middle of the night by emergency alerts on our phones of tornadoes in the area, then getting on a plane for 13hr to fly to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We had a two hour lay over, then another two hour flight into Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Unfortunately there were clouds blocking Mt. Kilimanjaro when we flew in and out so we never got to see the mountain. By the time we got through customs and to our hotel I had been awake for over 24 hours, had no idea what day or time it was, and was so happy to see a bed. We spent our first night in Arusha, a fairly large city, but we didn't venture away from the hotel.

Not your normal, everyday sight

Our first full day in Tanzania was spent driving to and through Tarangire National Park. We saw elephants, zebras, cape buffalos, vervet monkeys, baboons, giraffes, impala, gazelles, and probably more that I'm forgetting.  It honestly didn't feel real. I kept expecting to see fences, or zoo keepers. Like, is this real life? Our hotel was in the middle of the park and at night we had to be escorted from the main reception/dining room of the hotel to our rooms in separate building because the wildlife can wander in.  We did see monkeys and warthogs on the grounds of the hotel. 

The third day was supposed to be a 6-7 hour to the Serengeti National Park, but ended up being almost 12 hours due to stops and wildlife sightings.  Almost as soon as we entered the park we saw a cheetah just chilling on the side of the rode, not 15 feet from us. Dude totally didn't care that we were there snapping pic after pic. Our hotel in Serengeti was once again in the middle of the park with no fences and we had to be escorted back and forth to our rooms.

Pride rock
The fourth day was my birthday and it started off with seeing these guys above. From what we could count, there was about a dozen or so lions here. Again, it was like something out of a zoo, or Disney, not real life. We spent the day driving around the park and came across a huge herd of zebras. There were probably 200-300 of them. And we drove right through and they didn't care at all.  Right before we stopped for lunch we saw another two lions sleeping on a river bank.  We were able to get pretty close to them.  Later in the afternoon we came across a different pride of lions that had just brought down a wildebeest and was having dinner.  The older lions had already eaten and the cubs were staring to eat. We probably spent 45 mins just watching. It was like National Geographic come to life. We also saw more elephants, giraffes, zebras, hippos, and Nile crocodiles.

Younger male lion by the river bank
Our second full day in Serengeti was spent driving to the western edge of the park. We drove through the wildebeest migration and saw upwards of 200,000 of them.  It was incredible. The morning of our sixth day we woke up early to try and spot a leopard.  We were able to see one asleep in a tree, and another crouching in the brush.  I tried to take pics, but they didn't turn out very well.  We also saw another three cheetahs.  We then drove out of the park and into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, home to the Ngorongoro Crater.  Our hotel was on the edge of the crater.

Our last full day in Tanzania was spent driving down into the crater.  Here we were able to cross the last of the Big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, Cape buffalo) off the list. We were able to see two black rhinos.  We weren't able to get close to them but I was amazed at how big the older one's horn was.  Much, much bigger than anything I've seen in a zoo. We ended the day by having a pregnant lioness walk up to our truck, lie down next to us and take a nap.  She was so close my dad could have reached his hand out of the window and pet her. 

Just using the running board as an arm rest
The whole trip didn't seem real, and being back home for a couple of weeks now makes it seem even more unreal. I've had to ask myself if that really happened, if we really did that.  It was an amazingly incredible trip that I can't thank my parents enough for. I only hope I can go back one day.