Archive for June, 2007

back from NORTH CAROLINA!!!

Yes, we did it!!

Okay….here it goes!

Win had sold, but was still pending vet check.
My mom had already found her next horse.
She needed to sell Win before buying the next horse, both logistically (we’re out of stalls) and financially.

The people buying Win were supposed to get the vet out last week. They call Friday morning and say their vet couldn’t do it until Monday. My mom says fine. Oh, and having no clue what they’re doing, they chose a vet near where THEY live – two hours from where Win was. They want us to haul Win to them to do the vet check – and they were prepared to complete the sale right then and there if he vetted out.

After much debate about how and when and lots of swearing on our end, we agreed 😉 Oh, and they wanted us there as early as possible so he could settle in before the vet got there at 11:00 am. Did I mention it was TWO HOURS away? Okay, fine – but as we’re doing them a favor, it’s on MY TERMS! So, my mom checks with the seller of the mare in North Carolina, I call my boss to take the week off of work, and by Friday afternoon out tentative plan is:

Monday: Leave the house at 7:00am, to the barn by 8, loaded at out by 8:30, to Ann Arbor at Win’s new place by 10:30, vet at 11:00. THEN, assuming he vetted, leave by 1-ish and drive as far as Charleston, West Virginia by Monday night.
Tuesday: Sleep in a bit, and get to Charlotte, North Carolina, by 3:00, check in and drop the trailer at the hotel, and try the mare out at 4:00. Assuming trying her goes well and we haven’t changed our minds (yikes)…
Wednesday: Be at the barn at 7:00, on the road by 7:30, and drive straight through, hopefully home by 9:30 or 10pm, but realistically home by midnight.

OMG. Have you ever been physically SICK before a vet check? I mean, Win was completely sound, but with SO MUCH hinging on that one deal…yeah. Just a bit nervous there!

Oh, and I had a show Saturday. OMG. I was also supposed to haul in to a lesson on Sunday – cancelled that 🙂

So, first off – the show Saturday went GREAT!! Third in Reinsmanship, first in Pleasure, and third in Gambler’s Choice!! AND, better yet, I even got my mom to go in the ring with me 😀 Yay!!

Sunday was a blur as we packed, checked lists, packed some more, and got ready.

Monday we were out the door a couple minutes late, but hitching and loading went better than planned 😉 , and we were there by 10:30. The barn is great, and the barn owner is fantastic. Shares a lot of the same horsemanship ideas that we have, but more importantly will be great for these first-time (and mainly clueless) horse owners. Vet got there about 11:15. And then did the most thorough and lengthy pre-purchase I’ve ever SEEN. Two and a half hours later we’re all STILL there, but thank goodness Win vetted out with flying colors and they completed the sale with cash 🙂 BUT, somewhere in there Win got really impatient, so I was at his head in the cross ties, and he came up to paw and NAILED me!

A parting gift? OOOH I was MAD! lol

But on the upside, the girl buying him is about my size, bought some of my old show clothes off me, and I made $50 on the deal! Woohoo!! 🙂 lol

Rule Number 1: If the vet is involved, add an hour to the schedule 🙂

So, it’s about 2:30 when we stop for gas, drinks and a quick lunch for the road. I drove for a bit over an hour and then suggested my mom take a turn – we VERY intentionally started in a flat, rural stretch of Ohio with the EMPTY trailer. She did okay, a little panicky, but not bad, and lasted about half an hour before we decided I should take over to face Columbus/rush hour traffic. Just in time too – I swear we hit 270 at 5:00. I just LOVE traffic jams with the trailer, but at least it was empty!

I’m driving driving driving, missed an exit and headed too far on 7 North (which strangely headed east…), finally crossed the river, driving driving driving, I think we stopped for food at some point, but I can’t remember, driving driving driving.

Now, my mom does NOT like hauling (even riding as passenger). She doesn’t like driving in the dark because she can’t see well and gets a lot of glare. And she really doesn’t like mountains. So of course, we hit mountains, hauling, just as it was getting dark.

Rule Number 2: You cannot pack too much Xanax

Around a curve she told me, “I’m really freaking out here!” Okay, no biggie, I’ll slow down. “How fast were you going?” “58” “Oh my god we’re never going to get there!” 😆 More Xanax, a call to my dad, a couple tears, and we were doing much better!!

About midnight night we finally pulled into our hotel in Beckley, West Virginia. Thankfully, our plan for Tuesday involved NOT having an alarm set 😀 We were up before nine, and I think on the road by 10:30. And you know, there are a LOT of mountains along I-77 🙂 We made it to the Charlotte area by 3:30, and to our hotel by 4:00, and were changed, unhitched, and to the barn in Matthews by 4:20. Wow.

I could barely remember how to walk, but had my half chaps at the ready 😉 Also thankfully, the horse was EXACTLY as described, and the seller just fabulous. She rode, I rode, and we hurried out of the thirty second downpour and the 100 degree heat.


Rule Number 3: People really are nicer down south 🙂

So, we were out of the barn by 6:00, and dead on our feet. We grabbed some dinner, during which we got a call from the sellers – the woman went home and told her husband that we were picking her up at 7:00 the next morning, and he said OH NO THEY’RE NOT! Apparently with that plan we’d have been sitting in morning rush hour headed for Charlotte for at least an hour, and so he wanted to head us off. Okay, good to know…

We decided to leave to meet her at the barn at 6:00 instead, and then went to bed early!

At 5:30 the alarm went off, we made a stop for coffee, and were at the barn at 6:00. We were given some of her stuff – halters and blankets and such, my mom gave her money, she gave all the necessary paperwork, a bale of hay,

(Rule Number 4: Drought conditions cause hay to look pretty weak next to our lush grash!)

the pony walked right up, and we were on the road by 6:15. By 7:00 we were north of Charlotte and watching the horrible traffic we narrowly missed. By noon we were north of Charleston. By 4:00 we were well beyond Cleveland and so had missed that rush hour too. And each time we checked on Anna she was cool, calm, and happy! And while she didn’t drink anything, she did pee!! We had Panera’s for dinner and they gave us an apple, so she did get some fluids 🙂 But overall, we just couldn’t believe how good of time we were making.

And then…brake lights. Couldn’t have been that easy, could it? We hit Dundee and traffic was STOPPED. About ten feet ahead of the exit I looked at my mom and she nodded, “take it – let’s just keep moving.” So off I turned and headed west on M-50, to pick up M-52, and come up that to 94, to 127, to 96. Just as I was turning off the exit ramp we saw them shut down the exit ramp, so I’m assuming fatal accident and one LONG traffic jam to wait in. We wound around the roads, finally making it through each interchange – closer, still getting closer, but not close enough! Less than 10 miles out and my mom and I both NEEDED a bathroom, just couldn’t wait any longer. We really didn’t want the delay at that point, but we stopped again. We FINALLY got to the barn about 9:00. We still made great time. We let her run around a paddock, saw her drink, nibble some hay, and tucked her in for the night. Our BO came out to see the new girl, and asks me “what’s up?” UUUMMMM….I woke up at 5:30 and have been driving for the past 14 hours. Don’t talk to me 8) My mom was on my page though…we unhitched the trailer and she drove home!

We were up early today to start the introductions and check over our other two girls thoroughly – their stalls stunk last night 😦

Snow and Anna had a chance to mingle between their stalls last night, and nosed eachother without squealing, so they got turned out together. Sure enough – buddies from the start!! Allie had a couple scrapes that needed doctoring, so I started stripping stalls while my mom took care of her. We finally added Allie to the mix, and all three girls just got along great!

Rule Number 5: Since when do three mares just get along??

Anna seemed to like checking out her new digs:

We finished stripping stalls, put down PDZ, srubbed buckets, washed out the trailer and pulled out the mats, and then left to get some lunch! Exhausted, we went back to the the barn to get everything put away, put fresh bedding down, and put the trailer back together. Oh, and ride. Why not? Anna settled in fine, and I really just wanted to hop on and see how she’d be. Strange place, one heck of a haul, I promised her I wouldn’t work her hard 😉

True to my word, I even let her jog along. But she was fantastic!! Calm and sensible, even when there were horses bucking and squealing along a shared fenceline. I finally stopped and looked at my mom and said, “You HAVE to ride her!”

She didn’t want to try out a horse in front of anybody, and then today she tried saying she would wait until she had her saddle with her. Nope. You finally have this perfect for you horse, time to ride.

So, for the first time in almost a year, but mostly, the first time since her accident, spinal cord injury, and surgery, she RODE!

We even got a little trot in!

Don’t they both look so happy??

Rule Number 6: The right match IS worth driving half way across the country for 😉

Rule Number 7: 1600 miles in two and a half days, hauling a horse trailer, through the mountains….is a LOT 🙂


June 26, 2007 at 12:29 pm 4 comments

time for another ROAD TRIP!!

(Yes, I did remind my mom that I don’t have the best track record when it comes to road trips and horse trailers, and yet here we are…)

Okay, so even though Win has only officially been for sale for two weeks, my mom has been horse window-shopping for a couple months now Which should have sent up some big red flags that she’d be selling Win, but whatever. Anyhow, she came to the conclusion that for whatever reason she just doesn’t feel comfortable around or on Win – mostly that he’s just too darn BIG. And there’s the “big dumb gelding” thing. She really likes mares better. And she decided that she REALLY does want to ride again. But that if she does, it’s going to have to be on something a lot closer to the ground, and a much smoother ride, and also better broke. Win is still in that semi-green wiggly stage…he’s kind of all over, even when he’s being good.

She wanted something much like Win though in that she could train for dressage one day, hit the trails the next, pop over some fences the next, and throw a western saddle on for fun the next – a horse willing and happy to do anything.

So, the search began for short mares that were broke broke broke, but still fun. To her credit, she figured she’d have to pay for all that training, and was looking at horses upwards of $6000. That surprised me. She was looking at anything and everything. Lots of quater horses, of course. And then she stumbled across Anna.

Anna is, first off, a Haflinger. Bonus points right there!! She is seven years old, was broke at three, but only ridden on trails for the first year. Since then, she moved to a family home – the mom has been using her for dressage and jumping (not a TON of jumping, but some impressive dressage scores!), but she’s safe and sane enough to pack this woman’s 6 and 8 year old kids around walk-trot classes! And she’s very well bred, and has had a foal once already 🙂 AND she’s only $2500. My mom got a video sent, and we were mailed video of every single show they went to last year…and it’s adorable! The horse just looks like a blast.

So, about the only downside at this point is that she’s in….North Carolina. The person selling Anna thinks it sounds like a great match (knows about my mom’s spinal cord injury and all), and is willing to hold on to Anna for a little while until things with Win are official. So, once Win is officially gone, we’re planning a road trip!! 😀 I’m excited for my mom, and hope this works out.

Now for the important part…PICTURES!!

At three years old:

And her one foal:

Doesn’t she just look FUN? 😀

June 11, 2007 at 8:23 am Leave a comment

on selling horses

What a weekend of exhaustion!!

Friday night a girl came out with her trainer. Trainer was HORRIBLE. Trashed everything…Win, my riding, the facility. Said he’d make a nice horse for somebody, ANYBODY else. Her student had a pretty horrible seat too. Go figure. We were all feeling pretty crummy after that.

Saturday a woman came out who kept comparing Win to her “perfect” Thoroughbred who she just had to retire. Any TB person will NOT like Win…he can get heavy in the bridle and needs leg to keep him going.

Then Sunday…

I had been e-mailing with this girl Jen who had been riding for several years and was now looking for her first horse. She mentioned high school equestrian team, so I knew she was a teen, but didn’t mention too much else about what she was looking for, or her experience. She wanted to come out THIS WEEKEND. As of Friday, we had it narrowed down to “sometime Sunday.” Saturday she sent me an e-mail asking what time. I replied with “how about 1-ish? If not, let me know.” No reply. She’d been very quick with responses up until this point, and now nothing.

I tried calling the phone number attached to her dreamhorse response…it’s not in service. Greaaaaaat. Kid collecting pretty pictures and video now…I’m SURE of it.

Check my e-mail again…NO REPLY. Now, my fault for not being explicit enough with a teenager – I suppose I should have said let me know either way But at 12:00 I still had no reply! So, I left for the barn figuring I’d wait and see – if they showed up they could try him, if not I had plenty else to do at the barn (like get the trailer ready for a trip to North Carolina…which is another post!).

We hadn’t been there ten minutes and I’m still doing stalls when my mom says, “you’re never going to believe this…somebody is here!”

Sure enough…a girl and her parents get out of a car, excited as can be. I was pretty much dumbfounded at this point – we all thought for SURE they were going to no-show, and here they were!

We start bringing horses in, and the girl brought Win in – all smiles!, and already calling him “Windy.” I find out she’s been riding six years, currently leasing an OTTB, but they can’t haul him for shows, so they figured it was either lease a SECOND horse, or finally buy one.

Her AND her parents are in love with Win before he’s even tacked. I lunged him, and so far so good. I take off the lunge, grab my helmet and a bucket so I can mount…and before the bucket is even on the ground this girl is on it – a little excited I guess….she didn’t even want me to ride first! Okay fine, go for it!! Win is solid enough that even if she’d never been on a horse before I wouldn’t have been worried.

And lo and behold…he’s going WAY better for her than he EVER has for me. She had just enough contact that he felt comfortable, but she didn’t push him into a frame. He was happy, allowed to be all strung out, and she was happy that he was responsive and sane. She rides him all over the arena, gets his pesky left lead no problem, doesn’t care one bit that he’s stiff as a board because he’s out of shape (her words were, “I’ve got the WHOLE SUMMER to get him into shape!”), and then she decided to take him out into a field to see how he’d be out there. And of course, he was great there too, and she walked around on him for probably another hour – all smiles. Her dad FINALLY convinced her to get down…but not before she threw her arms around his neck from the saddle and begged us not to sell him to anybody else.

Dad was ready to write the check, but really felt that since they were all clueless she should have her instructor come look first…but none of them saw any reason why instructor wouldn’t approve. They called their instructor right then and there, and she told them to leave a deposit, she could come Tuesday, and reinforced her opinion that above ALL ELSE, as this girls first horse, they should just make sure he was calm calm calm – she said she could fix training issues, but too hot of a horse too soon could sour the girl’s love of horses forever. They assured her Win was anything but hot 🙂

It still took some work to drag the girl away, but she’ll be back Tuesday with her trainer, and a trailer from the sounds of things 😀

June 11, 2007 at 8:10 am Leave a comment

miss pissy

Allie is in heat 😦

June 7, 2007 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

for the fun of it

It’s been almost a year since I just had fun messing around on a horse. We had our moments, but I always trusted Kai to take care of me, and I’d spend plenty of time hacking around him. In four weeks, it will have been a year since I retired him, and I’m pretty sure that was the last time I just had FUN on a horse. Not riding for a lesson, or for a show, or for somebody else – but just climbing on because I wanted to. And we all know that, without intending to, I stopped riding for a long while. I kept showing all winter, but I wouldn’t even ride between shows. And with only a couple of exceptions, it’s been about six months since I rode at all.

Last week I hopped on Win, and had a decent time plunking around in the western tack. And then I had that FANTASTIC ride on him where I really put him together. And we’ve had nothing but torrential downpours and thunderstorms since.

Last night there was a break in the rain, but the ground was soaked. I threw the western saddle back on him, and we splashed through mud puddles, walked around, and outside of a few suppling exercises, didn’t really do anything productive. I wasn’t riding because he needed to be ridden (figuring the ground was too slick to DO anything), I was just riding him because I wanted to.

Except for the day last week, I can’t remember the last time I threw a western saddle on a horse, or rode in jeans, or just plunked around for the heck of it. It’s bittersweet for me…and makes me miss Kai dreadfully. But for the first time in a LONG time last night, I was relaxed, and happy, and just playing with the pony. And even when I was asking him for some tough stuff, he was relaxed and happy too.

There may be no arena at Jim’s, but I think it’s good for me. Time to get out of the sandbox, and remember why I ride…..for the fun of it.

June 6, 2007 at 12:37 pm 1 comment

horse-eating breeching

And after four trips without caring about the breeching at all, Snow decides that the horse-eating monster around her butt MUST go. The pictures are….VEEEERRY entertaining, but really, she did great!

She’d buck, and each time I sent her forward. What thrilled me to no end is that she constantly stayed on me – she’d buck, but if I told her to trot, she WOULD. If I told her easy, she’d come down. If I told her whoa, she’d stop. She stayed responsive and focused, even while nervous. So, a little rodeo, yes. But I couldn’t be happier with how she handled her fear. By the end, she could handle transitions and changes in the bounce of the breeching without any problem, and she was quite calm. Hopefully she’ll be a good thinking horse – she realized all on her own tonight that the breeching really WASN’T horse eating! 😀

June 1, 2007 at 10:20 am Leave a comment

A few words on how horses haven't managed to kill me (yet...)
June 2007