Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2,400 pounds of pellets, coming right up

I've been using Guardian Horse Bedding (compressed softwood pellets) for Lucy for almost a year now. They are SO much better for a messy horse than pine shavings are. Lucy likes to "decorate" her stall in no particular pattern, and then she makes sure to drag her hay everywhere and stomp it all up into a nice mash for me to find in the morning. Let me tell you, there's nothing better than trying to separate a poop/pee/hay mash from what little bedding I can salvage at 7am.This was an especially nasty chore when the larger shavings were almost impossible to sift through.

The pine pellets break up into such a fine bedding, though, that I can actually sift through everything very well, and that allows me to save a lot of bedding and just throw out the manure. I go through about ten bags a month, as opposed to a bag of shavings every other day, which ultimately saves me a lot of money.

The supplier that I've been using used to deliver the bedding for a small fee, but recently that delivery fee has ballooned and I asked myself why I didn't just go pick it up with Kenny's truck. It's about an hour drive to get there, but a friend splits the pallet with me and reimburses me for gas, so it's really a much smarter idea than delivery.

I went up today and got a pallet of the bedding. A pallet consists of 55 bags and I got an extra five to make the order come to a nice round number of 60 bags, so that my friend and I can each have 30. Each bag weighs 40 lbs, so this photo is 2,400lbs of horse bedding in the back of that truck! It drove great all the way home, too :) After work I will go and drop off my friend's half of the pallet at my current barn, and then I'll drive to the new barn to hopefully find a place to stack the other half.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

in case you were wondering...

My tack trunk feels like it weighs a ton! In reality it is around 160lbs, but I moved it last night to the new barn with Kenny's help and we had to lift it into the bed of his truck and wowsers, that thing is hefty! We also moved the large grain bins I use to store Lucy's grain and alfalfa cubes and I rationed out her grain for this week and set it aside in buckets. I left a few bales at the barn to tide us over for the week but the extra bales all went to the new barn. I also moved the Western saddle because I don't think I'll be using it in the next few days. All I have left to move now are the small things: my English saddle, my bridle, and the feed buckets I am storing Lu's grain for the week in.

Oh, and Princess Pony herself.

So, the countdown til the move continues, and Friday will be here before we know it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Newport Polo: Newport vs. Boston

We went to watch another polo match yesterday. This time we did it the right way, and my friend reserved a tailgating spot. We had a huge spread of three tables of food. We enjoyed everything from homemade chili to sausages to fruit to hummus and crackers, in addition to cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries and a gorgeous cheese assortment.

We were very close to the field this time, and one thing that struck me this time around was that these horses are bitted up like WOAH. I don't know if they're gags or what, but they seem to be quite severe, and I saw some terribly harsh riding out there.

the "snacks", and this was before the third table arrived.


mega ouch...

Friday, June 24, 2011

my ride today

looking so cute trotting through the big puddle in the ring!

I just love her!


jeez Lu, don't look so happy...

no, really, people are going to think you're
abused or something.

nothing better than getting slapped in the face
repeatedly by her left ear!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

a gift, and the great hay hunt

I have gushed considerably on here about how much I like and appreciate my barn owner. I am sad to be leaving at the end of the month even though I know it's the right thing for my horse, so I wanted to do something for him to say thank you for everything he's done for me.

I referenced one of the photos I took of his dog that I posted in my last entry, and drew this:

I am very pleased with how it came out and I hope he likes it! He loves this dog. My mission for tomorrow afternoon is to find a nice frame for it, and then I'll give it to him on the 1st when we leave.

My task for this week was to find hay to buy. I called my "regular" hay guy last week to see if he had anything good and he said he wouldn't have anything for a whole month! I started to panic a bit because I only have five bales left of the hay I've been feeding, which will last us until the move but not much longer. I also really wanted to get hay delivered to the new barn before we moved the horses so that I didn't have to worry about it because I am sure I will be a bit fried after the move.

Then late last night I was perusing Craigslist (I know, I know) and found an ad for last year's second cut for $5 a bale. I have bought hay from that person before and it was awesome, so I called him up and asked if what he had now was similar to what we got from him last time. He responded that it was actually even better than that, and they are huge bales. Umm, huge second cut green grassy bales for $5 each? Sign me up! So Claire and I bought 80 of them to split between us and he'll be delivering them next Wednesday! PHEW! By the time the horses burn through this delivery, it'll be time for this years second cut so we should be in good shape.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dude, my barn owner's dog

A brief rest from zooming around the farm:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

hunter pace report

Most importantly: we survived, and I didn't fall off! hah!

Now for the positive things:

Lu loaded GREAT at the barn, trailered quietly with Boe, and unloaded fine once we got to the hunter pace. She was excellent to tack up, had no problems with the bright blue tent that the hunter pace officials were hanging out under next to the warm-up area, and stood quietly for me to mount up. She was SO BRAVE on the ride itself and around mile 3, actually settled down and had the most lovely stretchy trot on loose contact. She wasn't fighting to go faster and really got into a rhythm and was honestly a pleasure and a joy to work with. We had three stretches of canter. The last one was excellent and I even let her "go" a little bit :D She got worried when a little Paso Fino that was absolutely out of its MIND ran up behind us but she listened to my "woah" and held it together while he passed us (running sideways, might I add).


I had to get off and get back on three times in the first 200 feet of the ride. The first one was because she refused to step down off the road we had to cross to get to the trail head and onto the trail itself. There was about an 8" drop and she was being stupid about it. I hopped off and led her onto the trail and got back on. The second time was about five seconds later when she flat out refused to go through a muddy puddle, so I had to get off and lead her through that (and the muddy water went right through my paddock boots, oh joy). I wiped them off as well as I could and got back on. About five seconds later a group of horses was coming back from the ride and had to pass us. This particular area was very narrow, with a fence on one side and thick brush on the other. There really was not space for horses to pass each other and I don't know why the ride organizers arranged for that, because Boe was incredibly unhappy about being passed in such close quarters and kicked out. Lucy is in RAGING heat right now (yeah, I know, perfect timing) and squealed and kicked out with her front feet at the horses going past her. I had to hop off again and pin her against the fence to let people by. Finally I got back on the third time and luckily I stayed in the saddle for the whole ride :D

The biggest disappointment was that after behaving so well for the ride, she flat out refused to get back on the trailer when we were finished. She has NEVER had an issue with trailering. She has happily walked right on every single time we've gone somewhere. She wasn't afraid of the trailer and this was simply a "I don't wanna and you're gonna have to make me!" moment. She decided she did not want to get on that trailer, and it took us 45 minutes to get her to change her mind. She fought. She reared up. She tried flying backwards and at one point got the leadrope out of Claire's hand and trotted off and behind some trees. I was like, come on horse, could we have one outing where you don't REALLY embarrass me?!?!?!?!? The funniest part was that she trotted off, disappeared behind some trees, and then a second later reappeared and trotted right to me looking totally lost.

Eventually we enlisted the help of a friend and she was able to knock some sense into Lucy. I say "knock" because that horse kind of got her hind end handed to her and she deserved every part of it. She was totally disregarding everyones' personal space and was running through people to avoid the trailer. At one point I was close to tears because I was so disappointed in her, but before I knew it she gave up the fight and literally walked on quiet as a mouse. Then she happily stood in there and munched hay for an hour with Boe while Claire and I had lunch. The fact she stood on there totally relaxed like that almost makes me more mad when I think about the 45 minute battle we had to have to get her to load up. She really was giving us all the proverbial horsey middle finger!

Overall, though, I am happy with her. She behaved herself impeccably on the trail ride and we even did a little jump! I was really proud of her for cantering so nicely along with Boe. She could have easily gotten upset about him running next to her, or gotten silly, or tried to take off, but she was very good.

Friday, June 17, 2011


This week has both flown by and crawled slowly along. I have been super busy at work, so in that respect the time seemed to move quickly, but I am also apprehensive about Sunday, so in that respect Friday felt like it took a long time to get here.

Not to mention I have a social thing to do tonight and a wedding to go to tomorrow, so I have no idea if I'll even be able to ride before Sunday's hunter pace. Maybe if I go really early in the morning tomorrow I might be able to get a ride in before I have to get ready for the wedding.

I hand-painted two saddle pads last night, one for me and one for Claire. They came out well:

Claire's is purple and gold, and mine is green and silver.

I used to paint these and sell them back in high school/college but haven't done one for a long time. I had fun designing the artwork and painting them while watching a DVR'd episode of Covert Affairs. The paint had to dry, and then I ironed over it this morning to heat-set the paint so that the pads are washable. I think they'll look great! My friends have already expressed some interest in getting a painted pad for themselves, so who knows, maybe that little business venture can fatten up my (hopeful) horse show fund.

I tried the pelham bit on Lu a few days ago and while she seemed to really like it, she leaned on my hands quite a lot and didn't seem any more stoppable than she is with the snaffle, and in fact I think she had even less brakes. So we will stick with the snaffle for Sunday and maybe play around with some more bits if we decide to go to another pace.

Monday, June 13, 2011

stealing treats

stealing carrots out of my back pocket ;)
I had so much fun last night. Claire and I took the horses out behind the barn in the woods, where I cleared off the trail the other day with Cairo, and jumped over the fallen trees! It was so much fun! Lucy was totally brave and I was so proud of her. I am now more excited than ever for the hunter pace this weekend. I was originally not intending to jump at all, just to keep the first one simple, but after yesterday I see no reason not to let her hop over a few small jumps.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

and the scale says...



So that means she's gained just under 180lbs since I bought her. That to me is amazing. I am really pleased!

Then I had the most fabulous ride! It started to rain outside, so we used the indoor.


good girl :)

she was such a sweetheart today

I picked up a straight rubber pelham today...I hope she likes it! Thanks for all your suggestions!

Mary, you asked about a bitless bridle. We have tried that with less than stellar results ;)

Here's the entry where I wrote about that day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

successful trail ride!!

I'll admit, I've been a bit haunted by the thought of going on another trail ride because Lucy has developed a tendency to act like a complete idiot when we're out in the woods. Claire cautiously suggested we try to go on one before leaving our barn at the end of the month, and I thought that a) it was an excellent idea and b) we needed to get it over with ASAP ;)

Today was muggy but not too hot so we tacked up, donned our FITS breeches (seriously the most grippy and comfortable breeches my thighs have ever had the pleasure of being covered with) and off we went!! I was nervous but excited.

I hand-walked Lucy all the way down the road to the trail head and I was glad I did. We encountered trucks with big trailers, landscaping companies that were leaf-blowing along the road, and the scariest thing ever: a humongous moving truck. The first time we passed the moving truck, Lucy seemed not to care until we were about 3/4 of the way past it, and then she tried to spook sideways. I told her to knock it off and continued forward. She didn't care at all about the landscaping trailers, which is great because last year she HATED them.

There were a few rude drivers but overall the horses behaved very well and didn't react to any of the normal traffic, even motorcycles!

Once at the trail, I hopped up and we set right off into the woods. Lu was great. She was feeling brave and had her ears pricked forward, but not in that maniacal "we're gonna get EATEN!" way, more like, "hey this is really fun and that tree looks delicious [chomp]!".

She had a few small spooks, where she didn't try to go anywhere but did a little jump in place, and then when we were edging a field she had a big sideways spook. Thanks to my heels being jammed down like you wouldn't believe and the magic of my FITS breeches, though, my heinie did not even leave the saddle, not one little bit. I was really pleased!

Claire's horse Boe didn't want to be behind Lucy, but he didn't want to lead either (as soon as he'd get in front, he'd panic and start backing up) so he was not happy the entire ride. Poor boy :( We did manage to ride side-by-side for part of the ride and both horses were happy with that.

We were happy after our ride! Though I couldn't wait to get all my gear off...
I was wearing a t-shirt, my Tipperary vest, and a high-vis reflective vest
and I was HOT.

I am casually shopping around for a bit that will provide a bit more stopping power than the snaffle she's in now but won't be too much. Any ideas? Something not too bulky - she has a dainty mouth.

Also, tomorrow is Lucy's weighing. Any guesses on what she'll be? It has been over a year since her last weighing, where she came in at 1053. I suspect she's gained around 50 lbs or so since then, but that may be a stretch. We'll find out tomorrow!

long lost trash the dress photos

My mum, who took the photos of Lucy and I during the trash the dress session last October along with my wedding photographer, finally gave me the images from that shoot on a DVD. I hadn't seen most of the images on there before, so here are some fun/candid shots from the photo shoot!

The copyright to all of these images is owned by Patricia Axford/

I still can't believe I managed to climb all over this backhoe and not get my
white dress dirty!

Getting Lucy ready for her modeling debut

Lucy was not excited (or maybe that was
the Ace kicking in?)

I love this one! Pricked ears and everything!

My dress kept flopping to one side and I constantly had to adjust the train,
as you can see in this photo. I love the gradients of the different layers
against Lu's dark coat.

preparing for the move

July 1st is fast approaching and I am getting more and more excited about moving to the new barn! I still am very sad to be leaving my barn because, as I illustrated with my woops-I-ran-out-of-gas post, my BO is awesome, and I will really miss a few of the boarders. However, I am very hopeful that the great turnout will be what Lucy is missing.

I've already taken a bunch of stuff home from the barn to make the actual move easier, like all of Lucy's blankets and her extra saddle pads that I was keeping up in the viewing room. Her blankets were all washed (my washing machine hates me now) and folded/put in storage in my basement. I won't need to look at them until the fall! I stacked everything else neatly in Rubbermaid boxes and when we move the horses, I'll go through and evaluate what I actually need to have with me at the barn, vs what I can store at home.

I need to order hay for the new barn and I'll be doing that in the next two weeks. I don't want to do it too early incase the hay magically grows legs and "walks away" but of course it needs to be there for the 1st of the month.

I filled out the entry form for the hunter pace, and "booked" the truck with Kenny, so we are definitely going! EEK! Claire and I are going on a trail ride this afternoon to test the waters, so-to-speak. Today I am finally ordering a brake controller for his truck because the route we'll be taking to get to the hunter pace has a few large hills and the brake controller will make them much easier to navigate.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

tidying up

We're having a heat wave here in RI. Yesterday was in the low 90's with high humidity, and then we had severe thunderstorms that caused a lot of damage throughout the state. At my barn, a few horses were left outside all night in the weather with no shelter and that just blows my mind. I've already heard of one horse (not from my barn) being struck and killed by lightening last night due to the bad storms. I'm all for 24/7 turnout but in bad (and potentially deadly) weather conditions, I'm sure the horse would much prefer the ability to get out of the elements!

Instead of riding in the heat, I took Cairo behind the barn and cleaned up the trails that I rode on the day before in the Western saddle. Broken branches were strewn across the trail and so I got those out of the way. I didn't move the logs, though, because they're fun to jump ;) or in our case, step over gingerly.

Here's a photo of Cairo in the woods with me:

Anyway, today is supposed to be even hotter and more humid, and then there are more severe thunderstorms forecasted for the afternoon/evening. I hope everyone brings their horses in tonight!

Lucy didn't even go out today because it was still quite stormy this morning, and with the heat index so high, my barn owner recommended that the horses stay in. I set up her fan for her in her stall, and I made sure she had plenty of fresh bedding and water, and of course a big pile of hay. She looked quite content with her forelock blowing in the breeze generated by the fan, rhythmically munching on her hay. I kissed her goodbye and went to work.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

well I won't do THAT again!

I had a great afternoon at the barn. I haven't ridden much at all lately. I honestly didn't even want to. I think I needed to have some time out of the saddle after having two bad falls in a row, but today I found myself really wanting to ride. I decided to get the Western saddle out and ride around the barn's property. I even got brave enough to take Lucy for a little adventure through the woods behind the barn, where we saw two deer who exploded out from behind a thicket of trees in grand style, and Lu gave them the hairy eyeball but didn't do anything stupid. She was surprisingly AWESOME today and some of my faith in her was restored. "Keep that up, chicky, and we might be able to enjoy some real trail rides soon," I told her. There's a hunter pace next Sunday that Claire and I are interested in attending but I am slightly apprehensive about Lucy's ability to keep her brain in her skull, and I think that those feelings are warranted. She hasn't exactly been the model of bomb-proof equines lately.

Anyway, she was awesome on the ride tonight. I even got brave enough to take her across the street to a small development that I used to take her to when I first got her. She was perfect. She didn't mind some cars passing us, she didn't spook at the "scary" house with a dog that always runs out and barks at us, and she didn't mind people out in their yards. I was so pleased with her.

All ready to head out. She looks so tall here!

About to enter into the woods behind the barn.

In the development across the street.
She was so calm and happy :)
After she was cooled out and put away, I got in my car to drive home. My car has been on "E" for two days but I have been slacking big time about filling the gas tank up. I am 25 and have been driving for almost ten years, and I have NEVER done this before....but my car actually ran out of gas in the barn's driveway! I was so embarrassed. It couldn't have picked a better place to die, though. My barn owner had a can of gas at his house so I walked over there and sheepishly asked to use some of it. He had a chuckle but saved the day by letting me use some of the gas! He is so awesome.

It was enough gas to get to the closest gas station so that I could fill the tank all the way up. Phew! Crisis averted and lesson learned.