Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chilling with my peeps

We got baby chicks! I wanted to get a few more hens since I am down to only one laying hen and one rooster. So today I picked up 4 baby chicks and two 6 month old hens. That should help boost my egg production back to where it should be! Granted, it will take a while for the babies to start laying (6 months or so) but it will be worth the wait for fresh eggs. Mmmmm, omelets.....

The larger hens will need to stay in this cage for another day until I can let them chill with my free roam birds. I wanted them to get used to each other a bit first through the bars before I just released them into the "wild". So far things are going fine and they seem not to care about each other.

The barn cleaning is going slow but well. I should have started this a few weeks ago and not waited until the last minute, but hey, I'm lazy, so what of it? It's supposed to rain for the next 4 days (insert my grumbling here) so I'm sure Steve will be starting the barn since it's inside work.

It's slowly coming along. It's been in the low 30's and after that wonderful weather in the 50's and 60's, it seems cold to me so I haven't been wanting to be outside much. But I am plugging along and doing my best.

I am thinking about going back to my boarding the horses idea while Steve is working on the barn. I had changed my mind and thought that they would be ok here while Steve worked, but now with all the mud, I would rather have them someplace else for a while then standing in mud all day here. I need to step up my search for a boarding barn. This is what I will be doing tomorrow after work. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 26, 2010

I've got to move all this stuff out of the barn. Steve needs the barn as empty as I can get it so he can start renovating. This is just one corner, not too bad, but still.

This is the other corner. Still not bad, but I'm lazy and I don't want to move all this crap. It would be nice if I could get a little help with this but no one at the house will help me. Maybe I'll ask some friends for help. It'll make things go by faster. It's camping gear, an old bike that has flat tires, some doors and windows, some books and other junk. It's stuff I don't really use or if I do use it, it's only once a year. I need to learn to let go of my junk! I've thrown a lot away already but there is always more that can go. It's spring cleaning at it's best. Once it's out of the barn, I would like to keep it out. There is no need for junk in the horse barn!

The other day I was raking the flower beds by the barn and started making it look all pretty. It was too cold today for me to finish it. I need to pick up the piles. I hate picking up the piles! Then I have to find a place for all the brush. I don't know where to put it yet.

The mud is still awful. I hate mud! I can't wait for it to dry out, if it ever does. I hope it doesn't rain again but I know it's going to. It's sad I have to worry so much about rain.

And since I didn't talk about the horses much in this post, I will leave you with Mystic eyeing for treats. She thought the camera was something good to eat and was sad when she couldn't eat it. Poor Doodles.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

drowning in self pitty....and mud.

I hate rain. Rain makes mud. I hate mud. I hate mud with a passion. The whole paddock is sloppy mucky suck your boot off mud. I hate it. The horses hate it too. I was able to let them out for a while this afternoon when the rain stopped but they just stood by the gate because the mud is too thick and deep to walk through. I don't know how to fix this. I don't have a tractor and anything I do by hand doesn't do anything. I can't even make a dent. It never used to be like this. I don't know what changed.

The barn is falling apart. The first guy who re-did the floors messed everything up so bad that the barn may fall down anytime. My horses are in that barn because the mud is so deep they can't find a dry spot to stand.

I need more time in the day to get things done, I need more energy. The horses need a good grooming because (surprise surprise) they are covered in mud. I need to remove mud and manure from the paddock. I need a new barn. I need more money. I need to try and relax.

I am having a hard time staying positive in all of this. I am just waiting for hoof and leg problems that this mud will cause. I am waiting for my barn to fall down. I am waiting for more rain to fall and for everything to be lost in a mudslide. I am waiting for everything to be ok. It could be worse, and I'm sure it will get worse. I have a ticking time bomb in the mud and the barn isn't any better.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Sunday filled with horses......

Icelandic horses and a couple of Paints!

I woke up at my normal time (6ish) and let the horses out and gave them thier hay Then it was off to Boulder Ridge Icelandics to watch Shannon and Rebecca have a lesson. It was very Intresting and I learned a little. I got to meet some wonderful people who live nearby and they may help me with my search for an icelandic horse of my own. I got to ride Ari after they had thier lessons and Shannon and I rode down the driveway and back. Shannon got to take a little hack on the trails and she looked so happy when she got back.

Doesn't she look happy?

Shannon showed me how to hook up a horse trailer which is much easier then I thought it would be. I can't wait to get a truck so I can get a trailer of my own and take my horses new places to ride!

Shannon's truck and borrowed trailer

When I got back home I rode Gypsy and she did ok. She still needs to learn that she can't get away with not going foward when she doesn't want to do something. I think I made a break through today, but one can never be sure with that mare. I was able to ride her down the trail to the river, but I did have to lead her past the spooky spot st the end of the driveway and there was a place where the river water laps at the bank making a spooky sound and she didn't like that much but I was able to get her past it without getting off. We did some trot work and she did throw me some bucks which I was not happy about. I stuck to her and rode her out but I really don't like the bucking thing. That will be something we need to work on as well.

It was just such a great horse filled day! I'm super tired now though. I will sleep well tonight! I'm hopeing it doesn't rain in the next few days but it is suppossed to, because I would like to get another ride in on Gypsy tomorrow and start the ball rolling with Mystic. I also need to start thinking about getting my fenceing stuff so I can re-do the fence in the next few weeks. My fence looks like hell and I need to get it working properly again which means re-doing it properly.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Triming feet, black and blue foot.

The black and blue foot would be mine.

The farrier came today to trim up the girls. Before the farrier came I figured I'd hose the horse's feet to get all the mud off and brush them before she came. I did Gypsy first. She was fine with it since she is used to the hose and the feeling of water running on her feet. After the hosing, I tied Gypsy to my hitching tree and brushed her off a bit and was able to unearth the horse that was under all the mud and dirt. Gypsy was uneventful and easy going. She was the good horse at that moment. Next was Mystic. Mystic freaked out coming out of the barn and thought it would be really cool to spook at everything. There were some kids doing some gardening and yard work for us and she thought they were going to eat her. Next the hose. She didn't like the hose, it looks like a snake you know! The water on running on her feet made her pick up her feet like a crazy dancer. After hosing her feet I thought it best to groom her inside since Gypsy was making a fuss screaming for her and kicking the walls. I HATE wall kickers. Gypsy knows this. Anyways...I brought Mystic inside, put her on the cross ties, like I have before and started grooming her. Gypsy was in the stall by the cross ties since I wanted her feet to dry and stay clean, otherwise I would have had Gypsy outside. Gypsy must have spooked Mystic, who was already in a spooky everything is going to get me kind of mood, and Mystic pulled back on the cross ties. She flew back so fast and then got even more scared when she realized she couldn't back up anymore and she was tied. She panicked and then fell down, stomped on my foot somehow and then the break away halter broke. It happened so fast I didn't have time to pull the emergency snaps on the cross ties. I was able to catch Mystic easily, despite my throbbing foot, in the barn and get her settled again. Mystic was the bad horse in this moment. So now my foot is black and blue and it hurts, but nothing is broken, it's just really really sore.

The farrier came and Gypsy was good with her fronts, but awful with her hinds, like always. She's getting better but she still makes the farrier work a little harder then she should have to. Mystic on the other hand is wonderful while getting her feet done. Gypsy's feel are getting even better and the next time the farrier comes out with will me measuring her feel for easyboots! We though it would be best to give her feet a little more time and see what happens. Mystic's feet look awesome but one foot wears differently then the other and we can't figure out why since she doesn't move off balance or paw or anything like that. It's strange and it's something to keep an eye on.

Sorry, I have no pictures to go along with my post today. I will make up for the lack of pictures with more pictures this week. Really! I will!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


There is mud everywhere! We had a lot of rain the other day and now the paddock is wet and muddy. The pasture is wet too. I don't want to let them down to the lower pasture right now because I don't want them to dig it up and destroy any new grass coming in. I feel so bad for Gypsy and Mystic because they don't have much of a dry area to stand in. They come in at night so they have time to be out of the mud and let their feet dry but still, I'm sure all the wet isn't good. There isn't much I can do about it though. I wish that it would just dry out already! It's getting there. Another few days of dry weather and it'll be good. I don't think that's in our forecast though. It looks like more rain is coming.

I feel like such a bad horse mom because I let my horses out in that mud. I can't see any other way though. It's either out in the mud or not out at all and I hate to keep them in. Everything is sinking. The barn, the house, the horses. It's just too wet here. It shouldn't be wet, we live on a hill but yet it's always wet and muddy. Trenches need to be dug and drainage put in. But for now, we must sink until it all dries out.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A step forward

This morning I watched the best clip ever of a rider working with problem horses. You can see it here if you would like to check it out.

Now some of these horses pull some of the same things that Gypsy does and it got me thinking. I'm really an ok rider. Most people wouldn't be able to deal with some of the things Gypsy throws at me. But somehow I can handle it. The video also inspired me to work a little harder at being quiet and calm while riding and also being persistent in asking what I want and not backing down to her. Ride through it and come out the other side. Well, that was exactly what I did today. I rode through it and came out the other side better for it and Gypsy did too. Gypsy refused to leave the yard at first but I kept at her and let her take things at her own pace too. She kept saying that she couldn't but I finally got her to believe that she could and she believed me! She walked down the road past the scary spot and kept going to the field that I like to ride in with little slowing down and almost no stopping and freezing. I was able to walk her around the field an even get a small trot going. Nothing much for a trot since it is still sloppy and wet but still, it's something! She was also much less spooky today which was very nice. It was still hard to keep her attention but today was our best ride in a while and I feel like we are making steps forward. I'm happy and I should be. I've worked hard to get her sound and keep her healthy. Now I'm working on getting her where she needs to be in her training. It's a lot of hard work, but it's what I wanted. I can't back down now because it's too hard. The funny thing is though, is that I'm finding that I do have the knowledge to do this, it's been there all these years and I'm now learning to tap into what I learned from others many years ago. Or maybe I'm getting some confidence back in myself.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Short post today

Today 2:00 couldn't come fast enough! I kept looking at the time and getting more and more excited the closer 2:00 came because today I knew I would have time to ride! The past 2 days I haven't been able to ride since I haven't gotten out of work until 4 and that means I don't get home until 5. By then, I figure it's getting to dark and spooky to ride. Today though, I did get to ride. It wasn't the best ride ever. We worked on some things, lots of circles and bending. Lots of spooking in place and some rearing, bolting and bucking. Bad Gypsy! I knew I was in for it today when I went to the gate and Gypsy came galloping and bucking over to me. I didn't take any pics of our ride since I was trying to stay on her back and not fall off through all of her jumping around. Tomorrow I get out at 1:00 so that means I'll be able to work her again on some things. The area I use as a riding arena is drying up so that's a big help. Too bad we are supposed to get rain this weekend.

Short post today because I'm not really in the mood to write but I thought that I should anyways. I'm ready for a hot bath, a cup of tea and sleep!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's almost been a year and I'm still out of shape!

I need to get in shape. I'm not super out of shape, but I am out of shape. I blame myself for spending too much time online reading other people's blogs and chatting on facebook. Also, I'm sure all the candy, iced tea, and Chinese food don't help much. Those are my weaknesses. I had an exercise routine going, but of course, I fell out of it. I need to get back to it. My boyfriend thought I was insane when I bought a pair of sporty exercise pants and some sports bras the other day. "Why do you need that stuff?" He asked. "Because I do." was all I could muster up for an answer. My fat behind needs to get moving. Really. I thought about joining a gym, but it's really not convenient for me. So at home exercises will have to do. I used to exercise all the time, but when I moved into the city I stopped. I haven't really thought about exercise much until a year ago when I bought Gypsy. I have come a long way since last year. Last year I could barely get my foot in the stirrup, now I can reach with ease. I'm slowly getting back what I lost after 5 years of not having horses. My legs are getting stronger my posture is coming back. I am getting there, but it's slow going. I didn't help that I couldn't ride for 6 months while Gypsy was getting over her laminitis. That set me back. It set both of us back.

I've almost had Gypsy for a year now. It will be a year next month on April 7th. We've already gone through a lot together. White line disease, lamintitis, her barn sour issues. I hope to make a nice horse out of her. She is getting there. We are long way from where I would like us to be, but we are getting there. We have progressed since last year. Now I can ride her and almost keep her walking away from the barn. I found out today that a crop helps a little, not much, but a little. If I keep annoying her with it and tapping her bum lightly I find it helps get her attention and helps my weak leg aids a bit more. My legs get tired with all the squeezing I need to do to keep her moving. I'm not beating my horse to a pulp with the crop, just using it to make things a little more clear.

Gypsy has a birthday coming up too. May 6th Gypsy will be 7 and on May 4th Mystic will be 5. I'll have to have a birthday party for the two of them. I'll have to find a nice horsey cake recipe for the girls and make them a cake.

I need to get Mystic backed soon. I've just been kinda nervous to do it myself. I'd like to get some help from trainer, but the best one nearby is always very busy and hard to get to come out. I've done it before with other horses. I've started other people's horses, a Standardbred I got off the track who was my first mare and a Tennessee walking horse colt who I bought when he was nine months old (I started him at 3). I don't know why I'm so nervous with Mystic. Maybe it's because I haven't started a horse in so long, maybe it's because I'm older now and not as fearless as I used to be. It needs to be done though. Her ground work is solid, she is ready but I don't know if I am. My Dad used to help me start the horses, but now with my Dad gone, I don't have that extra pair of hands. I could ask my boyfriend, but I find he is a little to rough with the horses and I don't like that. He's not mean, he's just rough because he doesn't know.

Gypsy went muddin'

Gypsy's feet are covered in mud since I tried to ride her through the back part of the property and didn't realize how boggy it was back there. I gave up, got off and lead her back to the barn, we were both covered in mud after. I will not be doing that again until it dries up!

I tired my bosal on Gypsy today. It was an experiment, but she did ok in it. I'm thinking of going bit less. I would like to, I just need to save up some green for a bit less bridle. She's always chewing the bit and I just think she would be happier bit less. We are not ready for the bosal yet, I know that, but I think bit less may be worth looking into.

A yawn after our ride.

And then a roll!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Top 10 spooky things

Taken from EquiSearch because I love lists.

Top 10 Spookey Things
A horse's point of view
10. Blowing Paper:
"At any moment it could whip up into our faces, covering our noses. We could suffocate. And don't try to tell us you'd do CPR."

9. Barking Dogs:
"What? You've never read Steven King's CUJO?"

8. Puddles of Water:

7. Trash Cans:
"They've been known to swallow horses and transport them into another dimension."

6. Babies and Li'l Kids:
"Long lost tribe of horse-eating pygmies."

5. Plaid Horse Blankets:
"Hey, when was the last time you wore plaid? It adds 100 lbs."

4. Ropes and Hoses on the Ground:
"Dreaded North American Trail Snakes."

3. Ponies:
"Cute, cleaver, hardy. They want to take over the world."

2. Windy Days:
"Two Words: impending tornado."

1. Carts and Wagons:
"Look. You put a human on our backs, we can always buck them off. But hitching a horse to a wheeled object? It's just not right."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

When 4-wheelers attack!

These feet were only part of the beast I had to excavate from the mud. The rest did not look much better. Yes, it is mud season in Maine. A very early mud season, but mud season none the less. Since the day was so nice I thought I'd take Gypsy for a ride to the sand pit and back. She did well with that, even though I had to lead her over the bridge so she wouldn't stop dead in the middle of it and block traffic. She likes to block traffic when we go out. I however, do not. I would like to live to see another day and NOT get hit by a car, thank you.

Our ride was good on the trail but I could hear some 4-wheelers nearby which was making me nervous so I didn't go all the way to the sand pit since that's where they always are. We came back to the house and of course the 4-wheelers went flying by, popping wheelies or whatever they call them these days. Gypsy just about came unglued, she nearly tossed me. So after lots of calming talking to her I was able to get her settled enough to teach her that 4-wheelers do not eat horses. I don't think she believed me. Hell, I didn't even believe me, but these are the things a trail horse must ignore, even with a nervous rider on their back who is about to have a heart attack.

Us at the end of the driveway, right before the dreaded 4-wheeler attack.

So, now I think I will be having a talk with with my neighbor asking him to try and drive a little slower on his 4-wheeler and not pop wheelies when going by me and my not so experienced trail horse. Also it would be nice if all 6 of his buddies riding behind him would do the same.

Anyways, Now for a hoof update! Gypsy's feet are doing good. I think i will need to invest in some easyboots since she is wearing her feet a bit more then I would like on our short rides. I am going to ask my super awesome farrier to help me measure her feet for a pair the next time she is out. The white line disease has almost disappeared altogether and the laminitis seems to be a thing of the past. I'd like to keep it that way too. Who knew that NOT putting shoes on would make such a difference. Again, my super awesome farrier rocks!

Look! Her feet look better!

I also went to Tractor Supply today and bought a new helmet. After the evil 4-wheelers, I thought I would like a newer model keeping my noodle safe. I really need to stop going there though, I always spend waaaay to much money. I went for just a new helmet and that's it. I ended up leaving with a new full cheek snaffle, some horse treats, a new magazine to read, some tools that my boyfriend said I needed and I of course believed him and a new brush, plus the helmet. Go me!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Barn plans

The more I think of building a new barn in place of the old one, the more I like the idea. Of course, money is always an issue but I don't think I need anything super fancy, just something that works. I would like at least 3 stalls, a feed room, a tack room, a grooming/vet/farrier area and maybe overhead hay storage would be nice. My girls are rugged ladies and don't need a high tech barn, they just need a barn. It's me, the silly owner of the girls, that wants nice things.

Now this would be one idea of a layout.

This may be something we could do without fully re-building, but without the strange lone stall in the corner.

I know nothing about building barns and right now I am in the "OMG! Look at this!" phase. It's the dreamer phase. It's easy to sit in front of the computer, drinking a cold beer and dream about how nice things could be. In truth, what I want to do and what I can do may be different things. I'm looking forward to re-building, may it be a full re-build or just a re-model but I want it to be reasonable too. There are some things that are just a must have and other things I don't need.

The more I do my horsey barn homework the more ammenities I find. Wash racks, though nice, not practical in maine and not something I need since I don't show hardcore and don't really need a super clean horse. Heated tack rooms, again, very nice, but why heat another space for leather? These are the things I try to think about.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A missing Moe and a barn under construction....again

On Saturday night our much loved male pit bull went missing. We looked everywhere for him and were frantic. We called animal control and all the other places and people one should call when missing a dog and of course kept looking around the area trying to find him. We have a river near our house, which right now is very high due to all the rain we have gotten so we were very worried that Moe (the pit bull) fell into the river and was swept away. 24 hours after he first went missing we got a call from animal control saying that a dog was found not far from our house and if it was our dog we should go pick him up and take him to the vet since it looked as though he had been in a fight. We rushed over to the address given and yes, it was our Moe and yes he was very banged up. He was about 2 or 3 miles from home and it looked as though he had been hit by a car and not in a fight. We took him to the vet for stitches and we are happy to report that our much loved Moe is back at home and recouping. It was a hard weekend for both the humans at the house and Mr. Moe.

The Moe beast, this is an older pic so no stitches. I will have to get a new pic of his stitch face.

Now onto the horses! I had a man come over and take a good look at the barn and was told what i knew already. The other person who was fixing the floor, did it very wrong and everything needs to be re-done. The barn has been half-done since Christmas and has needed to be finished but the guy who was doing bailed on us and left us with a half finished job.

This is the best pic I have of the UN-finished job

So this new guy has been hired on to fix the problem. He is going to replace all the work the first guy did, fix the sills and the broken beams (something the first guy was supposed to do but didn't) and re-do the stalls. Work will start in about a month once the ground thaws and the horses need to be moved to another stable for about 2 to 3 months while the work is being done. I've never boarded any of my horses so I'm a bit nervous about this. I'm not even sure what to look for in a boarding stable. I'm hoping to find one nearby and maybe one that has training facilities and a trainer. I figure this is a good time to get some much needed training in on the girls. So my search for a boarding stable starts. I have about a month to move them. I don't even know how it's going to be to not have to take care of my ladies. I've got some good tips on farms and I have to find the right one for us. I don't want just anyone working with and taking care of my girls!

I rode Gypsy today and she started off poorly but after I threatened her life in a very nasty tone, she smartened up and straightened out. I was able to take her down a trail to the sand pit and ride her back home on the road. She walked through a huge puddle with no worries! I was so proud of her and i think she was a bit proud of herself too. she was a very brave girl today and she is showing signs of turning into a very nice trail horse. I hope we can keep this up and not hit any setbacks. For now though, I am very happy and proud of my white and black monster. She was nervous, but she listened to me none the less and did as I asked. She was a bit sweaty when we got home but that's OK since I want her to work a little. We only walked and trotted but I guess that was enough to get her sweaty. We are both out of shape and I am working on getting us both where we need to be. She's on a diet, I'm on a diet. Good for us! We will lose weight and get in shape together!

This is a sight I've been waiting for!

Gypsy's feet are getting even better but I do think I need to buy her a pair of easyboots. She is wearing her feet too much on our short rides and if I want to be able to ride her long distances then I will need some protection for her feet. Easyboots are like sneakers for horses. They are expensive but they will be needed if I want to keep Gypsy barefoot (which I do) and keep riding her (which I do). Her odd pancaking foot isn't so pancakey and has less flare. Dare I say we have gotten that under control? I hope so but time will tell.

Hooves are looking more like a horse's and less like a pancake!

Gypsy giving me the stink eye. I love my grumpy mare!