Thursday, January 28, 2021

Trailer Upgrade

 It's been apparent for some time that Cinder is too big for my trailer. I've been casually looking at trailer prices for the past year and half, trying to figure out what I want/need. But, as with almost everything, covid has impacted trailer manufacturing, and (at least in Oregon/Washington) there's not much in the way of two or three horse bumper pull trailers available. And if you want to order a trailer, the wait time is 6-9 months. 

Before Christmas my mom and I went to our local dealership to check out their trailers, but they only had a $25k Platinum warmblood sized two horse (nice but way out of my price range), and a very basic warmblood sized three horse available. The three horse is the same brand and model as my old two horse trailer, just taller/wider and thirteen years newer. I was somewhat interested in the three horse; it was in my price range, my truck can handle the weight, and in case of fire and needing to evacuate, being able to haul as many ponies as possible is never a bad thing. 

Pictured, not the Platinum or the three horse

But the dealership has another lot about two hours north in Washington, and for $200 would bring a trailer down to the local lot so I could buy it in Oregon and not have to pay sales tax. Oregon doesn't have sales tax and if I had bought it in Washington I'd have had to pay 7.8%. Paying the $200 was way cheaper. So my mom and I went on a mini road trip to check out the warmblood sized trailers in WA. 

They had three, two horse trailers that I was interested it; an all aluminum one that was only extra tall not extra wide, the warmblod sized version of my trailer, and a Trails West one. The TW was the most expensive, so of course it was the one I liked the best. The all aluminum one looked cheap and because it wasn't as wide and as long as the others I nixed it. The TW had more upgrades than the others, including a water tank, swing out saddle racks, and a bigger tack room. 

I put down a deposit on the TW and started making arrangement to have it shipped down to my local dealer. A friend of a friend had been interested in buying my old trailer but that ended up falling through and I didn't want to deal with listing the trailer on Craigslist or FB so I traded it in. Because the trailer market is so hot and they can't keep two horse trailers in stock, the dealership ended up giving me more than I thought I'd get in trade in (over 50% of what I paid new for it) so that made writing the check for the new trailer a little easier. 

I did throw Peebs in it once I got it to the barn, but I haven't taken it out with horses in it yet. It definitely feels heavier hauling it empty, but in a good way. My old trailer almost felt too light hauling empty and felt like it was bouncing around all over the place. The TW feels more solid.  Both ponies should fit easily in it, and I'm excited to start going places with it!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Ciner Progress Report: A Really Cool Horse

 I've kinda mentioned it, but after finding out what Trainer S didn't do with Cinder, I feel into a depressive episode. In her long winded explanation for not riding my horse, S mentioned how aggressive Cinder was, how hot she is, and that S didn't feel like Cinder would be a good match for me. Logically I know that this was someone who knowingly screwed me over trying to justify said screwing, but her words go to me. I mean Cinder is my first baby, I don't really know what I'm doing. Maybe I did pick a bad match. Maybe I am not a good enough rider for her. 


But other than making nasty face at dinner time (mare can get hangry!) I've never really seen an aggressive side to Cinder. She can be stubborn, and rude for sure (I mean she is a chestnut mare), but aggressive? Not so much. At TCF friend A's mom, who is not really a horse person, is comfortable leading Cinder to and from turnout. The mare lives for head scratches and will be your BFF for life for the price of a cookie. If she was aggressive with S, I'm assuming it's because S was aggressive with her and they had a major personality conflict. 

Trainer A on the other hand, absolutely adores Cinder.  In her words, Cinder is a really cool horse, a diamond in the rough. She told me that Cinder is her favorite to ride out of the horses she has in training. A currently has 3, three coming four year old mares in training and while Cin is the greenest, she's the most comfortable, the most balanced, and the fastest learner. 

Just in case you thought she was always perfect

I know A could just be blowing me up, but I don't get that impression from her. She seems very honest, almost blunt. I get the feeling that if Cinder was actually aggressive she wouldn't hesitate to let me know and work to correct the issue. Time will tell if Cinder and I will be a good match, but I feel better that my impression of Cinder was correct, and that I'm not completely blind to her supposed faults.  

Monday, January 18, 2021

Getting Back into the Groove

 Much of 2020 felt like I was rehabbing Peebs. Between putting his leg through the fence, the fires, the colics, and then his NQRness in the fall, it’s felt like I didn’t make any progress. But now that he’s feeling better we’ve started over again. 

Not pleased about our 8am lesson time

We’ve had two lessons now. Our last lesson was in November when I asked for my trainer’s opinion on him being NQR, and the last one before that was in August, before the fires. Our lesson last week was mainly reminding Peebs that he does in fact know how to go on the bit, and bend to the inside. He thought he was semiretired and that real work is bullshit. We had to have a couple CTJ moments and I was glad to have my trainer there to help me push through Peebs’ resistance. 

They trimmed the bushes along the driveway and I grabbed some as jump fill

Our lesson this weekend went much better and we were actually able to put together three whole jumps in a row for the first time since August. We’re still focusing on basics, like not rushing after the fences, or falling on his inside shoulder. Nothing groundbreaking but important nonetheless. Peebs is finally starting to feel like his old self and I’m getting comfortable asking for more and putting things together. Hopefully we can continue regular lessons and keep making progress. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Round 1 Done

Disclaimer: Not Horse Related

 I got my first COVID-19 vaccine yesterday! Monday, the director of my department at work sent out an email saying that the Oregon Vet Med Association had petitioned the Oregon Health Authority to classify people working in vet med to be included in Phase 1A of vaccine distribution. And the OHA agreed. 

Now, I don't work in traditional vet med, but I'm an essential employee caring of animals and perform a lot of the same tasks that vet techs and vet assistants do. My director contacted OVMA to specifically ask about us lab animal techs, and they said we were included in Phase 1A. So she forwarded us the info and about two minutes after reading the email I was signing up for my vaccine appointment. 

For my insurance, the only site giving vaccines for vet med workers was a hospital 45mins away. But whatever, I'm happy to drive that to get the vaccine. It turns out that two of my coworkers also signed up for appointments within 5 minutes of me, so the three of us carpooled. We did wear masks the whole time, but we've been working together during the whole pandemic and figured we're in each others bubbles enough that it was ok. 

The shot itself was quick and easy. I did have a slight burning sensation, and they made us sit around for 15mins afterwards to make sure no one had any severe reactions. My arm was sore last night, and this morning, but some Tylenol and it's fine. Hopefully I won't have any other reactions when I get dose 2 in three weeks.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

The Leather Experiment

Peebs is very picky about his bit. I know this but occasionally I still want to try something new. I had been perusing the sales page on Riding Warehouse and saw this:

For $30 bucks I figured why not try it. Peebs goes in a smooth, single jointed full cheek snaffle. He's not a fan of rubber snaffles, but I thought he might like a leather bit. It's not as hard or inflexible as the rubber bits I've tried. 

And he did like it. He was soft in my hand for flat work and didn't protest it all. Jumping was a different story. To be fair, we've just started jumping again after a couple months off so trotting x-rails is beyond exciting to him anyways. But with the leather bit he was flat out running through my hands to the fence and on the landing side. We did a couple hard halts after the fence, which usually reminds him that he can't run away but he was still heavy and pulling on me. 

"Me, be strong and heavy on my front end? Fake news"-Peebs, definitely


In one of our flat rides after we started jumping again, he kept getting heavier and heavier in my hand at the canter. I was having to have a really strong feel of his mouth, and continuously half halt to keep him put together. I switched him back to the metal snaffle. And while he wasn't as soft in my hand in our trot work, he did listen better in the canter and wasn't diving on his front end. And when he tried to get strong after a jump, he listened and came back to me. So for now, he's staying in the metal snaffle. I'm glad I tried the leather bit and it'll stay in my bit collection. Maybe he'll be able to go in it in the future, or maybe at some point I'll try it on Cinder.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Cinder Progress Report: First Jumps!

Friday I went up to watch Trainer A ride Cinder again. It was jump day for A's students/horses in training, but the plan with Cinder was to work on steering around the fences, and maybe do some poles. A tacked up in her dressage saddle, not at all planning on jumping. But we all know how well plans and ponies go together. 


Pretty much as soon as she saw the jumps, Cinder was jazzed. She was locking onto them as A was trotting around, and was much more willing to go forward. A calls her a gumby horse as she's very bendy, and she contorted herself trying to go to the fences when A circled her around them. So A finally said why not, and pointed her at one of the cross rails. And of course Cinder trotted up to it, then promptly stopped. 

Obviously she figured it out


A quietly encouraged her to keep going forward and she jumped it from a standstill. Second time she walked over it, and the third time you could see the light bulb go off and she figured out how to jump it from a trot with a human on her back. And there was no going back after that. She was having a blast and A cantered her over a few more fences. A said she really wasn't doing much up there, just steering and supporting but Cinder was already staring to balance herself and figure out her own distances. Cinder also showed off a couple nice flying changes, then started landing on the correct lead. They only did a handful of jumps, but A said Cinder was already more balanced and sure of herself than the 4yr old OTTB she has in training that's been jumping for a month. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Cinder Progress Report: Look Mom!

 Because Trainer A is Awesome™ she actually responded to my text asking if I could set up a time to watch her ride Cinder, with not one but two days that worked for me! It's a miracle. Yesterday wast the first day, and today is the second.

I'm too lazy to edit the videos I took, so have some screenshots

Not only can she schedule lessons, she also let me do things with my own horse. With Trainer S, whenever I was there, she always handled Cinder and I honestly felt awkward for wanting to do things with my own horse. Like one time I got there as she was bringing in horses and I offered to grab Cinder but she said she could get her. Trainer A was cooling out a horse when I got to the barn and asked if I could grab Cinder and start grooming her. Totally different vibe.

As we tacked Cin up, A talked about what's she done and noticed with Cinder. Ride #3 was a roller coaster, with Cinder having a major tantrum and rearing, but once she figured out the 1) A wasn't going to come off, 2) A wasn't intimidated, and 3) A wasn't going to escalate the argument, Cinder was great. She had her tantrum, then A politely asked to work and she was fine. Which is exactly what I've noticed with her over the years. Since then she's been great. They rode with another horse in the arena for the first time on Wednesday, and other than a little loss of steering at the canter (Cinder really wanted to go be with Pudge), Cinder was fine. 


Being a riding horse is exhausting you guys

Cinder looked great under saddle. Her steering is much improved (I was the magnet in the center of the ring that kept drawing her in), her trot looks great, and her canter, while big and a bit gangly, looks pretty well balanced. She's getting the concept of stretchy trot, wants to go on the bit, and is starting to get bending to the inside. A rode for maybe 20 mins, and made everything look easy. She said her goals right now are work on going forward and to have Cinder start accepting the aids, and build up stamina and muscle. She wants to keep things short and sweet, and have it be fun for Cinder. 

The only naughty thing Cinder currently does is nicker and call under saddle. Apparently she and Kiwi are BFFs are if Kiwi calls for her Cinder will call back. Which happened a couple of times during her ride. Thankfully both times were low nickers or a small whinny, no obnoxious screaming. But, being sisters and mares, during feeding time they will make nasty face at each other over their stall doors, threaten to bite and even kick the walls at each other. Oh girls!