Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Sibling Not So Similarities

 I've posted before about how Cinder is pretty much a copy of her mom and older half sister Izy (out of the same mare, by an Oldenburg stud). But now that Cin is at WCS and is stalled next to her younger half sister Kiwi (same dad, out of a Welsh Cob section D mare) we can compare and contrast them!


 Obviously the height difference is pretty evident. Cinder's going to be 17hh, if not bigger, while Kiwi is probably going to finish around 15.1hh. But that's to be expected. Abby, Cin's mom was 16.3ish while Peaches, Kiwi's mom is 15ish. Apparently Rogue (dad) added a little height to the mares. 

Not the same place in their stride, but close enough for me. To my (not so educated) eye, Kiwi looks more dressagey while Cin looks more huntery. But that could just be me wanting Cinder to be a hunter.  Kiwi does have some serious moves and UL dressage potential. Again, Cinder is obviously bigger and longer while Kiwi is much  more Cob-like in her build.

from Ellen Chappell Photography


It could be the blaze, but Kiwi seems to have a longer head and bigger muzzle. Cinder's muzzle has always seemed a bit small to me and when Kiwi's just seems more normal. But it could be small, just fit's her smaller size. I love Kiwi's tiny ears, compared to Cinder's giant ones. Seriously, Cider's ears fill out a bonnet that's too big for Peebs. But as they say, big ears help you fly.

After talking with KP and the barn manager, we've all agreed that poor Rogue really didn't contribute much to his only kids. Both seem to be slightly bigger versions of their moms. Also, Kiwi is for sale if anyone is interested!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

2020 Summary Blog Hop

 I really wasn't looking forward, or even planning to do a summary of 2020 for reasons. But then I saw Albera Equest's blog hop. I really liked hers, so here we go. 

What's the best thing that happened to you in 2020?

 Personal:  My parents moving 20mins away from me. I've spent the last 16yrs being 1,000 miles away, and for the last 5yrs they've lived in a different country. Having them so close, especially during 2020 has been amazing. I've been going over once a week for dinner, and having my mom's shoulder to cry on in person, as opposed to over the phone, in my despair over Cinder/Trainer S was incredibly comforting. 

Horsey: Finally getting Cinder going under saddle. I brought her home three years ago and it seemed like such a long time to wait. I'm so glad I have her at WCS and with Trainer A now. 

What's the worst thing that happened to you in 2020?

 Personal: Honestly, these past few months have felt like stab-Molly-in-the back-months. Between Trainer S and a coworker, my anxiety has been off the charts. And that's on top of covid induced anxiety, election anxiety, seasonal affective disorder, my cat getting sick and needing to be put down, and general life stress. I did have a small depressive episode a couple of weeks ago, but I've been in therapy and will continue to be. I feel better now, but am still having small anxiety attacks.

Horsey: Vet shit. Between Peebs putting his leg through the fence, colicking, and being NQR this fall, plus about $2k in bills for my dead cat, I would really like a break from vet calls and vet bills.

How Peebs feels about vet visits

What was your biggest purchase in 2020?

 Personal: Besides the vet bill for Eddie, my mattress would probably be my biggest purchase. I love it, and it was totally worth it. 

Horsey: Cinder's training bills followed by vet bills. As far as tangible things go, my biggest purchase was probably my new OneK MIPS helmet. 

What was your biggest accomplishment in 2020?

Personal: Surviving

Horsey:  Even though it took him colicking twice, I think this would be getting a better handle on Peebs' digestive needs. On my vet's recommendation he's on a really good gastric supplement, we have a better idea of what type of hay he does best on, and I've been able to bump up his hay intake and reduce how much hay pellets he gets. 


What do you feel COVID robbed you of in 2020? 

Personal: Vacations, and seeing family and friends. My uncle died in September, as well as a close family friend. Not being able to go to their funerals, or even offer more than a text or call of support sucks.

Horsey: Shows. Obviously we wouldn't have shown most of the summer anyways due to Peebs' leg injury, but even the opportunity to show, or go watch a show, would have been nice. 

Were you subject to any COVID Impulse Buys in 2020?

Personal: I did sign up for Hulu, but I think that's about it. 

Horsey: I did kinda impulse buy a new helmet, but since Cinder dumped me and I got rid of my Trauma Void after, it was a good decision. And the flower boxes I bought from a barn closing was impulsive, but needed.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

First Real Ride

 Trainer A started working with Cinder on Monday, and on Tuesday I got a message from her with pics and video. She had done ground work and lunging on Monday, and decided to hop on Cin on Tuesday.

Look at her!!!

A said they did w/t/c, and that once she settled in was very good. Apparently she was a little cold backed to start, which would explain her bucking me off 5 steps into my ride on her. A said she was very comfortable for a green bean and that she was fun. Steering is a little drunken but that's to be expected. 


 I knew that TrA is good friends with the breeder of Cinder's older half sister (same mom, different dad) Izy but I didn't realize that A had worked with Izy when she was young. A said that Cinder is very similar to Izy. Combine that with riding Rogue (Cin's dad) this summer, and A should have a pretty good understanding of what's going on in Cinder's head. I'm kicking myself for not sending Cinder to her in the first place. 

Low quality pic of two high quality horses. Cinder on left with her younger half sis Kiwi on right

And speaking of family relations, the barn manager at WCS knew both Cin's parents, Cin before I brought her home, and Cin's 2yr old half sis (same dad, out of Welsh Cob mare) Kiwi (she's for sale!) is on the property and is Cin's neighbor. I feel very, very comfortable having Cinder in the hands of people that know her and her family. And it's really cool to see how she compares to her family members. So far we've determined that both Cinder and Kiwi have almost nothing of their dad in them, both are clones of their mothers. 

I'll leave you with this glorious video of Cinder's first real ride. Sound on for some great commentary.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Peebs Progress Report

 First off, thank you for all your comments on my last post. I'm mostly over my anger and disappointment at being taken by S and am really, really happy with Trainer A so far. I do want to add that if S had come to me at any point in the 4.5 months she had Cinder and said she didn't think Cin was ready to be ridden, or needed more or something different in terms of turnout or whatever, or even if she said that there was a personality conflict between her and Cin I would have been accepted that and worked to rectify the problem. And I would have respected her. Since she never communicated any of that, I've lost all that respect. 

 But this a Peebs post, so onto our main man. When we last left off with him, he had been NQR, mainly on his left hind, his bad leg. I had had an appointment with my vet scheduled before Thanksgiving but he had to cancel because the underwater treadmill was being delivered and installed at his new clinic. Since I would someday like to use the treadmill for my ponies, I said I was ok moving the appointment to a week later. 

Tis the season for candy canes

I hadn't been doing much with him, mainly some easy w/t/c rides not asking for much. We did have some nice rides where I was able to ask for him to work in a frame and bend, but it was hit and miss. At his appointment, we did flexions and he flexed at a 1.5 on his left stifle, which I was expecting, and at about a .5 on his right stifle. Vet also mentioned he has a slight wobble on his hind end, partially due to him not being out of shape, and partially that's just him. Vet felt like the NQRness I had been feeling wasn't necessarily just the stifles, and since it kinda came and went, that it was more of whole body stiffness. It had been off and on very cold so Peebs is probably just feeling the affects of winter on an aging body.

Because of the colics, and that it's only been 10 months since we lasted injected the stifles, vet was a little wary of injecting a bunch of steroids into Peebs. So we put him on a low daily dose of Previcox. If it seemed to upset his GI tract in anyway, we'd stop it. Once you pump them full of steroids via injections, and bad shit happens, there's obviously no way to get it out of them. We're also going to put hind shoes on him at his next farrier visit.  

Happy Hanukkah from my ponies to yours

He's been on the Previcox for two weeks now, and homeboy feels GOOD. Like too good. Like, get off and lunge because he bolted in the canter good. Right now we're just focusing on building up his fitness and slowly asking for more connection and bend, and reminding him what a half halt means. We've started doing some ground poles and he was so excited he nearly face planted trying to jump a set of trot poles. I'm so glad he's feeling better, but I wish he wasn't quite so exuberant about it.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Suspicion Confirmed

 When you get a message from someone that starts “Ok, so well...” you know bad shits going to follow. That’s how Trainer S started her reply to my message asking about what she’s worked on with Cinder under saddle. Turns out she only got on Cin a handful of times in August and has been lunging her since then. 

I had had my suspicions about how much S was actually doing with Cinder and that message confirmed it. I had basically paid $2.5k for my horse to learn how to lunge. Awesome. When pressed for more details, S  made noise about how hot Cinder was and that she felt terrible sending her home like that. Which I interpreted it as Cinder wasn’t getting enough turn out, probably intimidated S, and S felt bad about not telling me but still taking my money. 

Bruise on my left thigh from my fall

I’m taking full responsibility as owner for not checking in on S more, and not being persistent enough in trying to set lesson times with S. I totally understand why she didn’t want to, because all she had to show me was how well Cinder lunges and that she started wearing side reins. I feel like the world’s worst owner in letting this happen, and completely betrayed by S. 

I told S to not bother coming out to show me what she’s worked on with Cinder, because I can lunge my own horse. I did flat out ask her if there is anything else I, or another trainer, needs to know before I send Cinder to someone else. She said no, but I’m positive she’s still not telling me everything. 

And as far as sending Cin to someone else, as luck would have it, her breeder has an open stall at her barn and the eventing trainer there has an open training spot. So Cinder moves on Friday. My intention was to basically give her the winter off and work her lightly, but since she really hasn’t done anything since August I feel ok sending her back out for training. I’m going to make sure I get to watch Trainer A work her, but I feel like breeder KP will let me know if things are going wrong. Trainer A rode Cin’s dad so it’ll be interesting to see how they compare. 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

It Happened!

 I had my first ride on Cinder yesterday. And my first fall on Cinder. Also, my first fall in 6yrs. All within the space of about 10 seconds. 

So, I have been under the probably wrong assumption that Trainer S was riding Cinder. After a week of ground work and lunging at home I scheduled a lesson with my Trainer, J. We showed off our lunging skills to J, and then proceeded to the mounting block. J held her while I put weight in the stirrup and laid across her back. No reaction from Cinder. 

With my heart beating out of my chest, I got on. My saddle shifted a little, but other than putting her head up Cinder seemed fine. We took a few steps away from the mounting block, J leading us, when I felt Cinder's back come up and then was flying through the air. J let go because I was coming down on top of her, and we both landed in the dirt. 

I sat in the wet arena sand for a minute, not really hurt just so mad and upset. I already had the feeling that things weren't going well at boarding school and this seemed to confirm it. Cinder should have been fine with being ridden, or if she wasn't S should have told me. Both J and I think Cinder acted out of not being ready for me on her back, not maliciously trying to dump me. Its possible she wanted to see what she could get away with, but if she pulled these moves with S, I really need to know about it. 

I messaged with S a little bit last night, but she hasn't answered my questions about Cinder under saddle. We tentatively have a plan for her to come out to TCF on Saturday and work with Cinder, and I really, really want to see her be ridden and get some answers.

Friday, November 27, 2020

All Checked Out

 I wanted to get a few things about Cinder checked out once she was back home again. Mainly have my farrier look at the shoeing set up training farrier gave her (my farrier isn’t familiar with this type of shoe), have the chiro vet check her out, and have a knowledgeable eye check my saddle fit on her. 

Monday was farrier day for Peebs, and while Cinder was at 3 weeks and not ready to be done, I did have my farrier look at her. He had talked to training farrier a few weeks ago at a seminar, so he had a little more background info on her set up. He still wasn’t 100% sold on the special shoes but we have a plan moving forward. And if we run into trouble I told him I’ll have him and my vet out together to see what we need to do. 

Chiro vet came out on Wednesday and was able to check both Cin and my saddle. I was worried that my medium wide treed saddle wasn’t going to fit, but it’s actually not bad. Maybe a tich wide, but it makes pretty good contact along her back and has plenty of wither and shoulder clearance. With my half pad, it should be good. 

As far as chiropracticly, Cinder felt great as well. Chiro said her back felt strong and she had a nice top line for a lightly worked 3yr old. I had been thinking that Cin was a little under weight, but chiro said she didn’t think so. It’s more that she’s still gawky and gangly, and that she’d rather see her in this shape than overweight especially since she’s still growing. Cin is also just going to a bit of a leaner built horse than I was expecting.  To completely dash my hopes, chiro thinks Cinder is going to top out closer to 17.1 hands, than the 17 I was wishing for. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Back from Boarding School

 I brought Cinder back home to TCF on Saturday. I was so done with having my ponies at two different barns and was beyond ready to have them be back together again.

 In all honesty, Cinder is not where I was hoping she’d be after being in full training for 4.5 months. A good part of that was due to waiting for the farrier to put shoes on her and for the three weeks lost due to the wildfires and smoke. But in that 4.5 months I only saw her worked once, and never got any pics or videos of her under saddle. Trainer S agrees that Cin isn’t as far along as she should be and has offered to come to TCF in December to work her for free. I have some thoughts and feelings about this and am not ready to decide either way yet. 

The kids were very happy to see each other again 

When I hauled Cinder over to S in July, it took maybe a minute to load her in the trailer. She stopped before stepping up, but then happily jumped in after a quick pause. She was nervous and sweaty when we got to the training barn but I chalked it up to not hauling anywhere for a year and being hauled alone. S hauled her to GS and said it took over two hours to get her to load in the trailer. And at one point she laid down in the trailer. I was a little worried about bringing her home, and I had a reason to be. It took almost two hours again to load her and we were only able to because S showed up and helped. I was beyond frustrated and so upset that the horse I dropped off at training had better manners than the horse I picked up. 

This makes it worth it 

But Cinder unloaded great at TCF and immediately settled in. Peebs and Scottie were more worked up about her coming home than she was. When I went out to the barn Sunday morning and took Cinder out to groom her, Peebs started screaming for her. We were all of 20ft away from him. I free lunged Cin in the arena and Peebs would periodically scream for her. Thankfully Cinder didn’t seem to give two shits about her stupid brother. When I went to lunge Peebs he kept looking back at the barn and was obviously distracted. I’m honestly surprised at how worked up Peebs was. I know in a week or so he’ll get over it and will be back to trying to bite her over the fence. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Cinder Progress Report: Changes

 First and foremost, I've lodged a complaint with Trainer S on the fact that whatever she's feeding to Cinder, or doing to her, has caused Cin to have a massive growth spurt this summer. She's grown about 1.5 inches, clocks in at 16.3, and last week was butt high again. I told both Cin and S that I want her to grow out, not up. 

At least she's more level this week

And while I realize I haven't taken many pics of Trainer S's barn, some eagle eyed readers might recognize where these pics were taken. Trainer S has started working with friend and former barn owner MG at GS barn. Aka the barn I was at before TCF. Starting December 1st, S is moving her whole business into GS, but due to footing concerns at her current barn, S asked if I was ok with moving Cinder earlier. I was, since I would still be boarding at GS if stalls hadn't opened up at TCF. 

Cinder handled the move pretty well and settled in quickly at GS. The two boarders there who were there when I was both commented to me on just how giant Cin is.  One commented on how she looks like a fresh off the track TB. She's lean, muscled, and awkward limbs. She's definitely one of those horses who doesn't finish filling out till she's like 6.


The current plan is to leave her at GS for about 3 week, then bring her home around Thanksgiving. S and I are trying to set up times so I can watch her work Cin and hopefully I can get a lesson or two in on her before moving her back home. I'm off the whole Thanksgiving week so I plan on working her at TCF a little, then letting her have her winter break. S is also thinking she might be able to come to TCF and ride/give lessons so maybe next spring I'll have her restart Cin and we'll go from there.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Oy vey

I don't know how else to say it, but fuck 2020. The last month has been one thing after another, if not on top of each other. 


So three weeks ago, after getting home from work one night, I noticed my 14yr old cat Eddie was weak and wobbly, losing control of his hind end. He was very painful when you tried to pick him up, or touch his hips/tail.  He was also reluctant to eat, which for Ed was a big red flag. He was always up for some wet food. I took him into the emergency vet and his xrays showed no acute injury. He had some arthritis, but nothing out of the ordinary for an older, active cat. His blood work was normal. I was supposed to leave the next day to help my parents drive up from San Diego, and because Ed was so painful, I decided to keep him at the clinic while I was gone. 

I got good reports while I was gone, and picked him up on a Sunday afternoon. He came home with some strong pain meds and was doing ok till the last dose of meds wore off. Then he was worse than he originally was. He was crouched on his front legs, with his hind legs collapsed under him. He could barley move. I called the clinic for his final appointment. KP, Cinder's breeder, is a vet at this clinic and did the euthanasia for me. We sat and talked for a while about Eddie and Cinder and it was nice having a friendly face there. 

Six days later I got a text from the barn that Peebs was colicky. Again. A month after his first colic of 2020. I left work, called my mom, called the vet, and immediately dosed Peebs with banamine once I got to the barn. By the time the vet got there, Peebs was much more normal and was eating the small amount of hay I gave him. Dr. W checked him out and declared this was a gas colic, as opposed to the impaction he had last month. We pulled blood as precaution, and talked a lot about some feeding changes for Peebs. 

The hay TCF feeds is a local grass mix, mostly orchard and fescue. Vet thought the orchard grass might be irritating Peebs since it's a physically rough hay.  I went out and bought Peebs half a ton of timothy hay. Peebs also started getting Purina Outlast. He's not normally what I would think of as an ulcer prone horse, but it couldn't hurt. Finally, he started Assure Guard Gold on my vet's recommendation. I had to order it, so he started on it yesterday. 

We did have the conversation that Pebs could potentially have a lipoma causing issues, but nothing serious enough yet to warrant surgery.  But it's something we need to think about. I was convinced for about a week that Peebs would be on the operating table by the end of 2020, but that's lessened somewhat. 

She's 16.3 at the withers and is currently butt high and dropped weight

And to top it all off, Peebs has been NQR under saddle. We've had some good work to the right, but tracking left he's very stiff and unwilling to bend. I had my trainer out for a lesson/to get eyes on him and she agreed it's nothing I'm doing, or not doing, but he's very stiff. I had the chiropractic vet out last night and she said he feels great and is in good muscle condition following our rehab from the wildfire smoke. I think his issue is that he needs his stifles injected again, as his left stifle is worse and that's the leg he's unwilling to bring under himself. So I'll have our regular vet out again for a lameness exam/injections. 

And in case I haven't had enough vet bills in the last 6wks, my other cat Luna goes in next week to have two teeth extracted. Cinder is my only animal to not have any vet bills and I told her she needs to keep it that way. Despite continuing to grow when I told her not too, she's the current favorite animal in my household.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Reflections September 2020

This makes me happy, and I need all the happy I can get

Loving: Peebs' unicorn blankie
Smelling: Coffee
Learning: About the guinea pig reproductive cycle.
Writing: Sadly, not much. Again.
Reading: Rereading the Green Creek series by TJ Klune in prep for the final book's release in two weeks.
Watching: I tried watching The Boys season 2 but wasn't in the right head space. Enola Homes was good.
Craving: Sleep.
Obsessing: My new One K helmet and that I can swap out colors on it. But they don't have the rose gold, boo.
Needing: A new charging cord for my headphones. Mine is on its last legs and I keep forgetting to get a new one. Can't survive work without my headphones!
Wanting: Time off from work.
Trying:  To keep my cool at work and not go postal on my coworker. Again.
Drinking:  Coffee and cider
Feeling: Excited. I have pony plans this weekend and then next weekend I'm flying down to SD to help move my parents up here.
Hoping: My parents don't kill each other in the next 9 days before the move and that things go smoothly.
Listening: Spotify
Clicking: Blogs to read


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Just a Little Retial Therapy

Between the fires, hazardous air quality, Peebs colicking, and general anxiety I might have done a little retail therapy. I mean, why not buy stuff you only use when riding when you can't ride for a couple of weeks? Gotta get that serotonin hit from something. 

The barn I bought Peebs from is closing and was selling off pretty much everything not nailed down. They had jumps for sale, and while we don't need more standards or poles, we could use fill. Unfortunately they wanted to sell the jumps as a set, but had some extra flower boxes I snagged. The brown ones each need a board replaced, while the yellow and white ones just need some cleaning and a new coat of paint. 

In need of a little TLC

 I took advantage of the International Helmet Awareness weekend and bought a One K MIPS. I'm super happy that One K's now come in long oval and with the MIPS. While I don't need a new helmet, I'm sure Cinder is going to turn me into a lawn dart at some point and my Trauma Void is a smidge loose on my head. Much rather be out $$ for a new helmet than a brain injury. 

I was going through my blankets and sheets and realized the only sheet I have for Peebs is his Back on Track one. I love it, but he doesn't always need it. Cinder thankfully still fits into last years blankets but will most likely need to size up next year. Peebs and Cinder currently wear the same size, and Peebs can also wear the size up depending on the blanket, so I decided to get a rain sheet in 78. It's a little big on Peebs, but will fit Cinder next year. 

Because he's a unicorn

 So when I saw a unicorn sheet at the feed store, I had to get it. Peebs has the matching unicorn fly sheet in white, but I really like the blue rain sheet. I'm slightly upset of the thought of him going outside and rolling in the mud in it. It's almost too cute to use.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Not Even Surprised Anymore

 What would 2020 be without a colic scare? Because at this point I've accepted that anything can and will happen.


From my vet's office on bringing back horses from wildfire smoke

 So last Thursday we got thunderstorms. We desperately needed the rain, and it helped clear out the wildfire smoke so we can start rehabbing, but we also got a shit ton of thunder and lightning. Like almost nonstop for close to an hour around 1am on Friday morning. It also rained off and on for most of Friday. At TCF the ponies were still turned out and we brought them in Friday night around 5. Peebs was tucked into his stall with freshly cleaned and filled water buckets, hay, and his hay pellet grain.

A's mom called me around 9:30 Saturday morning saying she had turned Peebs back out at 8 with his hay and grain in his paddock but he hadn't eaten anything and was down. Peebs is a vacuum and him not eating is a big sign. I ran out to the barn, gave him banamine, called my vet, and brought him back inside so we could monitor him a little better.  When I brought him in, I noticed his water buckets were still full. He hadn't had anything to drink from 5pm Friday night to 8am Saturday morning when he drank from the paddock trough. We were obviously dealing with some dehydration and impaction. 

Vet gave me the ok to hand walk/graze him and offer small amounts of soaked hay. Peebs did eat and around 2:30 passed some normal looking poop. But around 6:30 he went down again. At first I wasn't too worried since it looked like he took a 20min power nap, but then he sat up, started biting at his stomach and rolled twice. Called vet again and was told to take him into the hospital. As I was hooking up the trailer, he did pass a little more manure but I had already called and told the hospital we were coming, so off we went. 

Once again, I had to hand him off to a tech and sit in my truck waiting to hear from the vet. About an hour and a half later the vet walked out to talk to me. Back in May the vet called me from inside the hospital to talk about Peebs, so this time I was sure he had died and she didn't want to deliver the news over the phone. But it turns out this vet has much better bedside truckside manners than the one we saw in May. Peebs wasn't showing any symptoms, his vitals and blood work were all normal, and she couldn't feel anything other than some soft manure on the rectal exam. Most likely, the poop he passed right before heading off to the hospital was the impaction. They did tube him with some water and Epsom salts and they did want to keep him overnight to observe him. I was more than fine with that, since I probably would have been sleeping in the tack room if I took him back to barn.

Getting sprung from the joint

They called me at 10 on Sunday  morning to report that Peebs had passed a bunch of manure during the night, and was happily eating hay. Their protocol is to keep them for 24hrs for observation so I could pick him up between 6-7 that night. Peebs was very happy when they walked him out of the hospital and jumped right into the trailer to go home. I turned him back out in his paddock since I didn't want to chance him not drinking if he was inside. He ate dinner Sunday night and both meals yesterday completely normally so *knock wood* he's in the clear. We do have an appointment Friday for his fall shots and I'm going to ask my vet to do a quick basic exam on him just for my sanity.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Wake Me Up When September Ends

 While 2020 has been fucking awful, I had been able to mostly stay optimistic and not let anxiety, dread, and depression get to me too much. But this past week has broken me. A very close family friend passed away (not COVID and he had a lot of medical issues so not completely unexpected) and then the apocalypse hit Oregon. 

Pretty much the entire state is burning. I live halfway between Salem and Eugene

The forecast was for hot, dry, windy conditions. The winds were coming out of the east and the National Weather Service said we were going to have the Oregon version of SoCal's Santa Ana winds. I grew up in San Diego and know first hand how awful and deadly Santa Anas can be. We were under red flag warnings and critical fire dangers. This was only the second time that the fire danger has been this high in this part of the state. 

Work on Tuesday morning. There's hills back here hiding in the smoke

Monday was when things were supposed to start getting really bad. I went to the barn and rode in the morning (and yelled at the jackass next door mowing the dry as a bone overgrown field next to us) then hunkered down at home. Around 5:30 I got up to feed the cats and make a little dinner then went back to Netflix. About a half hour later I get a strong smell of smoke and run outside to see what was going on. The winds had shifted and picked up, and we were getting all the smoke from the fires. It was so bad you could taste it. 

More fires started up Monday night and Tuesday morning it felt like the apocalypse was starting. The air was pure smoke and ash, so bad I had to wear goggles while feeding our alpacas at work. Evacuation notices were popping up on my phone left and right and A’s mom called to see if a friend could use my horse trailer to evacuate their ponies. Thankfully everything was far enough away from us that I only felt mild panic. We busted ass at work and got the week’s critical work done on Tuesday just in case. 

I added an N95 mask for Wednesday and Thursday 

Tuesday afternoon I did decide to leave my truck hooked up to the trailer, just in case. I wasn’t worried about Peebs, but Cinder’s barn is in the middle of the forest on a small one lane road up a hill. If a new fire was to start, evacuating that barn was going to be hard. Trainer S did contact me saying she has put labels on all the halters with her phone number as well as the owner’s number and that all the horses were not getting worked and just light hand walking. I seriously debated bringing Cinder home so both of my ponies were in the same place, but decided against that. First Cinder would be all worked up and the boys at TCF would get excited with her back. No one needs to be worked up right now. Second, if we did need to leave TCF having one more horse there didn’t make sense. Especially since we have the two evacuee ponies. 

Peebs was very intrigued by Ari the pony mare. Filter on the photo from the smoke

Wednesday was the same as Tuesday with the fires still raging out of control and more and more of the state being evacuated. Last I saw some 500,000+ people have been evacuated, about 10-12% of the state’s population. Entire towns and communities are gone. Multiple barns evacuated and then had to evacuate again. The university I work for shut down early on Wednesday (and is still shut down) because the air quality was so awful multiple buildings on campus had their fire alarms going off. I’m essential staff so I went in on Thursday to check animals and then left. My manager had me stay home Friday.

Thankfully the winds have died down and shifted, and the temperature has dropped. It looks like the fire crews are starting to get a handle on the fires, as there aren’t as many evacuation notices popping up. It is supposed to rain next week and I’m crossing every crossable and doing rain dances. After pretty much not leaving my bed on Friday I’m feeling less anxious and strung out, but the threat won’t be over till the rains start in earnest in October/November. My plea to you dear reader is this, listen to scientists about climate change, and vote for officials that do the same. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Reflections August 2020: A Couple Days Late

 Where the fudge has time gone? How is it September already??

A carajillo in the wild

Loving: That my parents will be here soon. While they haven't made it "Facebook Official" my parents have their house in Mexico in escrow and have bought a house 20mins away from me here in Oregon. They should be moving up here in October. When they came up in June to house shop them moving up here full time seemed so far away but it's almost here now.
Smelling: Hollyberry body lotion
Learning: Sad to say I can't think of anything off the top of my head.
Writing: Logs and charts for our semiannual inspections at work this week.                              Reading: Blogs. Currently in a book slump.                                                                               Watching: Legends of Korra, Lone Star Law                                                                                Craving: I was craving carbonara and got it for take out last night. Yum.                                            Obsessing: Over how the hell we are going to do lab inspections over Zoom. This should be interesting.                                                                                                                                      Needing: My coworker to chill the fuck out. We have these inspections twice a year, there's no need to flip out over them.                                                                                                                          Wanting: Fall weather!                                                                                                                    Trying: To not lose my cool and go off on my coworker
Drinking:  Carajillos. It's espresso shaken with Liqueur 43 (a Spanish herbal/citrus liqueur), poured over ice with a lemon rind, and then topped with smoke from a cinnamon stick. It's fucking delicious. Tastes like the smoothest iced coffee ever. My iced latte yesterday tasted so sad in comparison.  Feeling: Relaxed after a four day weekend last week.                                                                    Hoping: It doesn't stay in the 90s-100s for the next 10 days like they say it will                       Listening: Somebody Killed His Editor by Josh Lanyon

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Bringing Fun Back

 I fully admit that I'm the type of rider who doesn't jump or jump anything of height for a while and I get nervous. I KNOW that I've jumped higher, and that both my horse and I are capable of doing what's in front of us, but I still get worried. And lately, Peebs has been super charged when we've jumped and we've only been doing cross rails.

I had set up some trot and canter poles last week after the arena was dragged because I was too lazy to set jumps.  Peebs was good warming up over the trot poles and single poles I had set out, but when we went to school the canter poles (a one to a one) he lost his little brain. Going left was fine, but going right he threw his head up and bolted down the line. We did a lot of transitions before attempting the line again. He was still strong, but listened. Not exactly a great confidence booster, but I was happy we ended on a good note.


His little face 😍

So imagine my surprise when scrolling through Instagram on Sunday I saw a gymnastic exercise and immediately wanted to do it. My horse had just lost his mind doing poles, and here I am wanting to do a gymnastic? I set it up Sunday telling myself I could always break it back down and just do the trot poles to the first cross rail when I jumped on Monday. Which is what I did. He got a little excited the first time, but biffed the trot poles and seemed to realize his mistake. All the other times through the grid he was foot perfect. 

I gradually built it up to trot poles, cross rail, one stride to a vertical, one stride to an oxer. Obviously nothing got big but as soon as I made the third fence an oxer I got super nervous. We had just done cross rail, vertical, vertical and it was perfect and I know making an oxer changes nothing but I still had a pit in my stomach. But Peebs does what he does best and took care of everything. He was quiet and calm coming in, hit each stride perfectly and was soft in my hand. It was the easiest thing. And best of all, it was fun! I hadn't realized how much I missed having a fun jump school till this ride. It was exactly what we needed! Now I just have to remember this feeling going forward. And probably set gymnastics more often.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Cinder Progress Report: Finally

 Farrier J finally came out on Tuesday and Cinder got her first shoes. He was supposed to be out last Saturday but never showed up. I went out to see Cin and Trainer S was very apologetic. I told her I know its not her fault, J is just like that. He does good work, when he shows up. 

I apologize for the absolutely horrible pic, but I forgot to take a nice one. She's got shoes on all 4 and is going to be living in bell boots on the front since she overreaches so much.

Cinder is also officially under saddle. Trainer S has ridden her a handful of times, mostly just sitting on her. She didn't want to do too much until Cin had her shoes on. Cinder has been great about being ridden.  Hopefully I can see S rider her soon! And get on her myself! The plan is either at the end of next month, or during the following month, we'll swap out one or two training rides a week for lessons. I can not wait!

Cinder moved stall and isn't quite as in love with her new neighbor Onyx as she is with Airy. Especially when I pet him and not her.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Peebers Progress Report

Since Peebs popped a splint a few weeks ago, we’ve taken it slowly. We’ve mostly been doing flat work with a couple jump schools. He’s been sound *knock wood* even though the leg looks gnarly. 

Our first time jumping in about a month was in a lesson. I wanted my trainer to put eyes on him to make sure he was sound. I can pretty much always convince myself a horse looks off if I’m worried about their soundness so having impartial eyes was a big relief. Peebs was pretty happy to be jumping again and was launching himself over the crossrails we were doing. 

We also been hacking out in the “derby field”. The barn has a big grassy section off the end of the arena that’s the drain field for the septic system. In the winter is too wet to ride on, but it’s totally dry in the summer. There’s holes, and I don’t feel comfortable doing more than walking out there, but’s it’s been a great to wander around in. I wish there was a way to till it to even out the ground without disturbing the septic system. It would be super fun to jump around out on the grass. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Friday Funny: In Trouble Edition

 I posted this on IG, but I figured I'd do a longer version for all the horses I've had.



Phoenix: Letting himself and/or a friend out for a walk and not being where he was supposed to be.  

Buddy: Talking back to the teacher, not applying himself in class, being lazy.

So naughty at times, but so cute

McKenna: ADHD issues, randomly breaking out into dance moves in class. Would get the comment of talented, but needs direction on her report card.

Peebs: Roughhousing with friends and they destroyed their clothes and shoes were lost. 

Cinder: Accidentally destroying school property and not knowing how she did it. Not paying attention in class.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Cinder Progress Report: Waiting Game

 It was my understanding that Cinder was going to get her first set of shoes last Friday, and that Trainer S's hoof/leg specialist vet would be there to consult with Farrier J.  Half of that ended up happening.

I failed at getting any media of Cinder, so here's Peebs looking cute

Vet K was there, she was also doing a PPE on another horse in the barn, so I did have her take a look at Cinder's feet. Cin had some high/low issues going on, and after a set of radiographs, her left front is a club foot. Not a bad one, but a club foot. Luckily, she has more sole depth than K thought she would have and my farrier, Farrier L, has done a great job of trimming her. I would honestly like him to keep doing her while she's in training, but he doesn't have time to do just one horse at a barn he doesn't go to. 

Farrier J, S's farrier, ended up not being able to make the appointment so hopefully he can make it out sometime this week to do Cinder. I've used J in the past, and he's good, but he's not so great about communication, or being where he said he'd be, when he's supposed to be there (big reason I switched to L who is fantastic about communication and being on time or letting you know in advance that he'll be late). Vet K did message him about what set up she'd like on Cinder (aluminum Rockers in front), and what size shoes she needs so again, fingers crossed, J can make it happen this week. 

Monday, August 3, 2020

Cinder Progress Report: First Month

Cinder's been in training for a month now and I finally got to watch Trainer S do a ground work session with her. Trainer S's approach is short, but frequent sessions. Most days she works Cinder twice, a short ground work session in the round pen or arena, then takes her out for hand walk on the trails. She's planning on the first ride this coming week.

Mare's going to need to live in bell boots

Cinder has gotten used to the hoof boots, and hopefully will get her first set of shoes this week too. She's much more comfortable moving out and holy crap can she trot. I didn't get any of it on video since I was so impressed, but it was an under saddle winning trot. When I first brought Cinder over Trainer S said she's built more like an eventer, but after watching her move she agrees that Cin is a hunter. I'm going to have to learn how to ride the hack better to keep up with her!

Cinder's ground work has come leaps and bounds. Trainer S works in the Buck Brannaman style and has gotten Cinder to the point where she moves whatever leg Trainer S looks at. She still wants to blow Trainer S off at points, but a quick correction and she's behaving again. Trainer S did say she's the type that you really have to convince her that you're the boss.

Trainer S has said that Cinder's taken in everything pretty much in stride. The past two weeks they've had all the boards on the indoor arena walls replaced and stained, and Cinder handled the noise better than some of the older horses. And out on the trail she might look at something, but she usually wants to walk up to whatever it to investigate instead of spooking. So of course the day I'm there she legit spooks. There was a white plastic barrel that had been moved down to the round pen and Cin spooked and snorted at it. She puffed up and took a few steps sideways, but got over it pretty quickly. If that's the extend of her spookiness, I'm ok with that!

Fingers crossed S has an uneventful first ride on her this week!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Reflections: July 2020

How the F is it already the end of July??!!

Cinder finds training exhausting

Loving: My new mattress.  Did you know you can wake up in the morning and not feel like a 90yr old crone??
Smelling: Burnt microwave popcorn. My supervisor moved some of us around at work so I'm now spending two days a week at a different facility and my coworker there has microwave popcorn EVERYDAY for a snack. The whole place smells like burnt popcorn in the morning.
Learning: How to care for germ free mice in isolated cages. 
Writing: Sadly, not much.
Reading: SOPs and articles on humanized and germ free mice.
Watching: Rewatching The Umbrella Academy to get ready for Season 2
Craving: Fall. It's been hot and dry and I'm ready for cooler temps and rain
Obsessing: Not over much lately
Needing: For Peebs to stay sound and keep his shoes on! I want to ride damn it.
Wanting: I guess I already said it above, but to ride.
Trying:  To keep my cool at work and not go postal on my coworker.
Drinking:  Water, tea, and lemonade
Feeling: Frustrated and like a babysitter. I know that's why I got paired with the coworker, because she needs someone to keep her in check, but that's not in my job description.
Hoping: This new change at work is reversed.
Listening: JVN's podcast, Curious
Clicking: Blogs to read

Monday, July 27, 2020

Again, Seriously Peebs?

I swear Peebs is on a mission to get all the time off. We're assuming his leg bump is a splint and after a few days off I started riding him again. He was never lame on it, so back to work he went.

We had a couple easy flat rides before a 2 day heat wave hit. He got those days off because I'm prone to heat stroke and don't ride if it's above 90. Our rides last week were pretty good, if a little rough around the edges. Peebs had reverted back into thinking he doesn't need to bend or listen to my right leg, but we did a lot of circles, transitions, and lateral work and ended each ride on a good note. I did pop him over a couple cross rails last Thursday before texting my trainer to set up a lesson for this week.

At least he's pretty

My plan was to lunge him Friday, flat Saturday and maybe jump Sunday morning. Yesterday (Sunday) was the start of another heat wave and Peebs was going to get Monday (today) and Tuesday off. Depending on the highs Wed/Thurs I was going to lunge or ride. But when I got to the barn Friday night Peebs was missing his right front shoe. We had added clips at his last farrier visit and at least he had pulled the shoe cleanly off, no missing chunks and didn't step on the clips.

My farrier can't come out till Wednesday, so Peebs gets almost another week off. At least he picked a year when there's no shows to try and get all the time off. I've told him that he needs to get it all out of his system this year so we can hopefully have a full show season next year.