Friday, February 21, 2014

Twelve Week Horsemanship Challenge

Not sure if anyone else has heard about this Facebook Group, but in the beginning of January a horse group went around on my Facebook feed that challenges riders to ride throughout the winter. I joined, reading the info and seeing that the challenge was for 30 rides and 40 horsemanship hours. After the first couple days into January, the challenge closed to additional entrants, some 600 people are a part of the challenge!

I thought that 30 rides and 40 hours would be pretty easy to do. It certainly would have been just two short years ago. But I have found that it is much harder to clock those hours then I originally thought. I am currently at eleven rides and eleven hours. We are halfway through the challenge and I havent made it halfway yet! Clearly once or twice a week rides isnt really cutting it. But in the end, even if we dont make those magic numbers, I am grateful for the challenge. It really has helped motivate me to get in the saddle more after work. It sure can be difficult when the dark comes quickly and the rain wont go away. This challenge has helped me take advantage of the few and far between nice days and prime opportunities to ride, allowing me to see the moment to ride when I may otherwise work on laundry instead.

Aside from general motivation, seeing the activities that others are working on has encouraged me to work on other elements to our rides rather then just exercising. As many single riders may know, sometimes its hard to stay focused when in the saddle riding by yourself, or even knowing what to work on next without an instructor there. Thats were the challenge, magazine articles, and talking with other really helps me find some tasks to work on undersaddle. For instance, when the weather cooperates again to allow for a ride (and work schedule, I am working overtime tomorrow), I am going to start working on dragging a log on Milo. This exercise was inspired from reading an article in this month's Horse and Rider Magazine.

Just some food for thought. How many hours are you really logging in the saddle this winter? Seems simple when you arent challenged to actually saddle up!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Milo's Little Fit

The last couple of days Milo has displayed some humorous behavior. When I drive past the property before pulling in the driveway I can see that he is quietly standing at the gate. He remains there nicely as I begin cleaning the stalls but as soon as I go in Moose's stall and give him a little attention Milo starts to get irritated.

First  he will begin by pacing the fence line. Heaven forbid if I head into the hay canopy and start getting their dinner served. When the food gets lain and Moose might get a few more "moose-a-woose" coos and ear scratches, Milo is not happy! Running in circles and rollbacks on the fenceline are his next steps to gain my attention. I'm not sure which he wants more: his dinner, his Mom, jealousy over Moose getting attention, or simply just wanting back in next to his buddy. The funny thing is when I go up to get him hes a perfect angel. Either way, the last few days have been amusing when I get home and I thought I would share.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Horses Finally Moved In...Temporarily

So the horses were supposed to have their temporary stalls in the barn in fall when the nasty weather began to hit, but thanks to some a-hole county inspector, more unforseen additions to the barn and property, and two inspections, we finally were cleared for the barn's first inspection which meant the horses could now be housed in it.

The whole idea behind getting the round pen panels were not only temporary housing for Moose, but to serve as the temporary stalls (Im getting tired of writing the word "temporary" haha) for the horses in the barn, and to be able to use down the road for paddock fencing, etc.

So now that the barn passed first inspection, and I had slowly began accumulating stall mats, it was time to set up for the horses! So last Saturday was busy. First it started with getting a ton of orchard grass hay, which we ended up waiting at the hay dealer's for an hour while their one-day-late hay delivery truck unloaded alfalfa, timothy, and finally the orchard grass. So we were a little behind schedule, but arrived home, promptly got a friend to come over and help, and carried (with great effort and difficulty) Milo's assembled carport canopy down to the barn were it would house our new hay. And this was the second temporary use of the craigslist carport (first for Milo's shelter, second for temp hay storage, third...trashed by then?).

Once the hay was put up on pallets and done, we set up what would be Moose's pen with the other panels we hadnt used yet. So we set those up, carried the HEAVY FRIGGEN stall mats down from Milo's old stall and the two from Moose's pen and put them in his new stall. Then Moose got to check out his new digs while we dismantled his temporary tarp shelter and moved (in ONE PIECE - dont ask Husbands idea) those six panels for Milo's pen. We had some extras hence making Milo's pen into a half circle so he has a little more space when confined. Then we repeated the stall mat task, only this time these mats are 4' by 8' so heavier and thicker at 3/4" versus 1/2".

We were finally done! And the part we were all waiting for! Horses moved in, and photos taken (actually these pics were taken the next daylight).

Milo's stall measures about 22' wide by 24' long (roughly as its hard to tell with the half moon shape).

Moose's stall is the same as before at 12' by 24'

A better view of the shape of Milo's stall. Lots of room for the baby when the weather doesnt permit turnout. 
 The boys have a sheet of plywood separating their stalls so they can have a little privacy (lol) and safe from kicks but plenty of face playing. The plywood on the posts are so Milo cant chew on the very important and very expensive posts (as we all know he would do).

What I'm doing right now is using the slow feed hay net for Milo during the day tied to the arena gate and turning Milo out in the morning when I feed and leave for work, and bring him in for dinner when I get home. I'll have to pay attention to the weather forecasts as there's no shelter up there now for him, but that was part of the reasoning behind the large stalls for when we have the crummy weather. :)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I just gotta say. ..

BOOM! Y'all notice the Pacific northwest yet? 

Go Seahawks!  First time superbowl win!

Milo and I had a pre game ride with friends on green mountain today and moose spent more time ground driving.  Btw....

They moved into the barn!! More to follow .