I’m back! I feel like I have my blogging ducks in a row now, but that can always change. I would love MORE feedback from my readers! If you like a post, please comment. If you want to know more about something, please tell me. If a blog is boring/offensive/fantastic, let me know. I sometimes feel like I’m writing into an abyss and getting feedback helps me stay motivated and write interesting content.
We have a somewhat unique lifestyle that people seem interested in learning about it, and that is the primary reason I started this blog. I love writing, too, so that is my selfish reason for blogging. I’m hoping to maintain more “themed” days so readers will know which days to tune in if there is content they find more interesting. I presume most non-riders get bored when I write posts about the details or riding and showing, but I enjoy reading the blogs of other riders so I like to add my 2 cents about that every now and again.
This post will be somewhat of a catch-up on goings-on at the farm as well as some just silly pics of the farm animals. Enjoy!
Chivas has been somewhat on lock-down the past 2 months because she has some serious seasonal allergies. We haven’t gotten her officially tested, but every spring she gets mad itchy and is a tiny ball of oozing, itchy sores and keeps us up at night with her scratching and chewing on herself. This year has been the best for keeping that itching at bay, but it reared it’s ugly head in mid-May so we opted to try to keep her in the house and not take her out for rides and feeding. This is how she feels about being left in the house.
Who knew a 13lb dog could TEAR UP a giant dog bed…..
I posted before my blog break that we had a surprise set of twin goats. They are adorable baby goats as all baby goats are, but they are also weirdos. This is a photo of them nursing from their aunt Punky. Punky doesn’t currently have any kids and hasn’t had any kids since last summer. Their mom, Penelope, is producing plenty of milk for them, but for some reason they have also started nursing from Punky. We have never had kids do this! Punky and Penelope were part of a set of triplets and Penelope had to be bottle-fed because the Mom only had one teat to nurse from. Since the kids are nursing from her, Punky has gotten milk in her udder. Kind of a fascinating little social/ag experiment going on here.
The twins and their aunt Punky.
It has gotten hot in Texas so Murtagh has more or less moved in the tack room with AC 24/7. He also has mites in his ears that we are treating so I like that he’s happy staying close to home. He is just the sweetest kitty in the whole world!
In early May the horses came running to the barn from turnout to be put up for the night. Coco and Simon walked into the barn aisle where Boot City was opening stall doors to their various stalls. Coco turned and pinned her ears at Simon and he in turn tried to turn away from her a little too quickly on the concrete floor and fell down. It was one of those stomach-in-your-throat moments as he lay there and waited to get up. When he got up he was CLEARLY lame on his left hind. We got the other horses put away and fed them their dinner and I went to taking pics and video to send to my vet. Within an hour Simon could hardly walk.
We approached the injury fairly conservatively (my vet didn’t seem at all worried that he had broken anything) with stall rest, cold hosing, bute and poultice. Thankfully it only took a couple weeks for him to be almost 90% sound. I erred on the side of caution and kept him on stall and then paddock rest for a full 3 weeks before he was clearly stir crazy, not hurting and about to do something stupid when his friends got turned out and he had to stay in the barn. While he was sore he was a perfect gentleman on stall rest and even behaved for Boot City when he had to do the cold hosing and poulticing while I was away at a horse show with Sterling. Simon is a very wise and calm horse for only being 4 years old.
Poultice and stall rest o-rama
It took a good few months for her to settle in, but Ouiser finally seems to be happy and content in our house. She didn’t leave “her” room for about 2 months and now she more or less has the run of the house. She loves to sun bath in window sills and she is very chatty with Boot City and me.
Ouiser getting out and about in her house
Last, but CERTAINLY not least, is our dear Pablo. Pablo appears to have foundered or something similar and he WILL NOT let us catch him to try to see what is up. He lies down a lot. Stands on soft ground as much as possible. Appears sore when he moves out. We fear that his refusal to let us treat him will result in an earlier than necessary demise and believe me when I say we have tried working with him. Donkeys are “stubborn”. Everyone knows this, but you don’t really understand it until you have had a donkey. They don’t forget anything and they are not at all trustful.
Someone has mistreated Pablo and he refuses to get over that. We have, in the past, forced him to let us vet his legs/feet, give him meds, etc, but it just isn’t worth it. He will occasionally go into an enclosure where he knows we can catch him and let us groom him or trim his feet or whatever, but he seems to be doing that less lately. We don’t really know how old he is, but we have had him for 11 years. All 11 of those years we have given him treats, groomed him and basically let him do what he wants, but he still is terrified of the halter and being caught. His feet don’t look bad and he’s eating just fine (as you can see by his belly!), so he’s not suffering. We got 10 semi-loads of sand in April and he’s been loving rolling in it, sleeping in it and standing on the piles.
If you are an actual donkey-whisperer, I’d be happy to hear your advice for dear Pablo.
Pablo on his empire of sand
Please comment if there is anything I don’t write about enough or that you are just interested to know more about. Thank you for being here and reading about our little corner of Texas and the interwebs! Happy weekend and I hope it is cooler where you are than it is here.
Happy Friday! The weather here in North Texas is AMAZEBALLS right now! Temps in the 70s and green grass (and bluebonnets) everywhere. It is truly delightful!
I feel like I never post pics of the chickens, so here is a chicken (one of our Blue Andalusians) with a beerhound photobombing.
Cheesy goat smile.
Some days you just need a unicorn and a prosecco.
I had quite a lot of help unloading feed on Monday.
If all goes accordingly this weekend will be the final hunt for this season. It’s always a bummer when the season ends, but exciting to get my Saturday mornings back! Now that I have three sound horses (and hopefully they stay that way) I need all the time in the saddle I can get!
FINALLY a week without any vet visits (at least so far)! I’ve ridden Sterling twice this week and he even tried to buck once! Clearly he is feeling better. Still trying to figure out what is causing Coco’s woes, but her rides have been better this week also. There are only two more fox hunts left this season and I haven’t been out in a few weeks so I’m excited to be back out again tomorrow.
Dickens surveying his domain while I tack up a horse for a ride. He’s so stinking cute when he isn’t going off property.
My birthday cupcake in Houston last weekend. Of COURSE it has a horse on it! I have no idea why I’m posing so awkwardly. Haha!
Coco and Simon in a rare moment of sharing instead of teeth baring and kicking each other.
I grew up listening to Garth Brooks. I’ve never been a huge fan, but due to his level of popularity and the fact that my hometown had 3 radio stations and the ones with good reception were country music stations, I know most of his songs by heart. I didn’t want to be on the “bandwagon” of his popularity, but even I can’t deny that his music is great and that he is the quintessential entertainer!
After a decade long hiatus from performing he’s been doing some shows lately and when it was announced that he was opening and closing the Houston Stock Show my girlfriends were determined we were going to go so I lucked into tickets for the closing performance. It was difficult to get 6 seats together so we had some trouble finding them close together. When it was all said and done our seats were definitely nosebleed, but there really weren’t any GREAT seats and none were terrible.
I have to say that seeing Garth at a rodeo venue was the BEST way to see him! He was definitely in his element and clearly loved being on the stage surrounded by true rodeo fans (although half the stadium was empty until the concert started). He opened with Rodeo and really got the crowd going immediately.
My photographic timing is poor here, but we were also lucky to have Trisha Yearwood join him on stage for a duet and she sang her own American Girl. The only bad part of the concert were the feral people sitting in front of us. They were the ONLY people within eyesight who insisted on standing and dancing during most of the concert, blocking our view and the view of people behind us as well as being obnoxious in general. We asked them to please sit down and they responded with snarky comments. They were drunk and seemed younger than us by a few years and clearly missed learning their manners in social settings.
The concert was amazing and I’m so glad I got to go! I’m not a big concert goer, but this being the second Houston Stock Show concert I’ve attended I def think it is my preferred venue. I love seeing the country performers at an actual country venue.
If you are on Instagram you can see some live video in my Insta stories. @tntibbetts
Last Thursday Sterling came in from turnout with a pretty good gash on his left front forearm. It was a couple inches wide and deeper than a scrape. I cold hosed it for a few minutes. Scrubbed the crud off and lathered it with Corona cream. The next morning I did basically the same thing, but instead of Corona cream I put Furazone on it in favor of something with more antibacterial properties. I didn’t really wash it again, but kept it gooped with Furazone and checked it at feeding time. All seemed well. It had a good scab on it and looked to be healing well.
Until yesterday. Boot City had put the horses up from turnout and fed them and hadn’t noticed anything terribly awry. I went out after dinner to put blankets (or coats, as Boot City likes to call them) on the horses because it was going to get down to the 30’s overnight. When I went to put Sterling’s blanket on he very awkwardly and slowly evaded me and went into his stall run. I just stood there staring at him, terrified that it was something neurologically wrong. He pooped in his run (horse people are ALWAYS happy to see horses poop, no matter the situation) and slowly limped back into his stall. I looked more closely at his cut and sure enough his entire forearm down to his knee was swollen.
I immediately called my vet (yay, at 9p, the cheapest time to call the vet) and thankfully we determined that it was probably cellulitis and didn’t absolutely require that he see the vet RIGHT NOW. I had medicines on hand that we could start dosing him with and could cold hose and put topical meds on his leg.
Mind you, my plan for this particular evening had been to talk to Boot City about showing at Pin Oak for the first time. Well, Sterling nipped that right in the bud. Now I just hope he’s sound and can go to the Southwest Classic show in Fort Worth at the end of May. My regular vet is out of town, but a different vet from the same clinic is going to look at him this afternoon. Sterling and I would both appreciate positive thoughts, prayers, good mojo, whatever you want to send our way that might encourage healing and future soundness!
Dang horses sure do keep us humble! And I welcome any advice on treating cellulitis, however I DO NOT want to hear any of your horror stories. Thank you in advance. 😉
WAY back in December I ordered a custom tack trunk. My first one ever. I was beyond excited. The retailer (Centerline Style, I’m not going to tag them because their customer service was horrible at the end and I don’t want to send them any business) was having a 20% off sale which included custom tack trunks and it was a deal I just could not refuse.
I emailed the store (which turns out was the owner) with my myriad questions before I placed my order. All my questions were answered quickly and succinctly so I felt “safe” in ordering the trunk. To make a very long story somewhat short, the great customer service lasted for a few weeks and then the customer service fell off the planet. I last received a response to my question about a delivery date in mid-January and it wasn’t an answer, it was a “here is a $40 store credit to thank you for your patience”, which frankly made no sense to me. I placed my order on December 17. The website stated a 6-8 week turnaround, which would have my trunk arriving somewhere between January 26 and February 9.
I had a show the first weekend in February and was REALLY hoping I would have it by then, which would have been towards the 6 week end of the timeframe. The days leading up to the show I emailed, called, online chatted and contacted the retailer online to no avail. No one answered the phone ever. No one returned my call. No one responded to my email. Needless to say I was getting angry and a bit worried.
The week after the show I called the trunk’s manufacturer. They were AMAZING! Turns out they hadn’t even gotten my order until January 2, so the 6-8 week window got pushed out two more weeks. Thanks Centerline Style. They gave me the current status of the trunk’s build and finish time and told me to expect it to be ready to ship in a week and a half. That timeframe had the trunk arriving sometime between February 16 and 23. I had another show the last weekend and February and was super excited to have my trunk. Finally.
The week of the show arrived and I contacted Centerline again. Still no response. No one answered the phone. No one responded to my email. I was starting to get REALLY angry. I contacted the manufacturer again and got some really good and really awful news. My trunk had been done since February 14, but the retailer wasn’t responding to communication from the manufacturer so they couldn’t ship my trunk. Now I was furious. I left a 1 star Google review, contacted the Better Business Bureau, and lastly contacted my credit card that I had used to buy the trunk. You’ll never guess how this ends……….. within 24 hours of contacting my credit card I received this email from Centerline,
“I just wanted to let you know that your tack trunk finally shipped yesterday! Don’t hesitate to ask if you need anything at all, we can’t wait for it to arrive!
To be clear, the trunk actually shipped the day after I got this email. I don’t think the retailer was trying to pull a fast one on me, but I do think they are understaffed and have bitten off far more than they can chew. Retail in 2018 is tough. The Dovers and the SmartPaks of the world do a pretty good job of answering their phone and email in a timely manner, especially when you order something that costs more than $1,000. I’m sure many people have horror stories of the big equestrian retailers and I’m not here to start an argument, but to go over a month not responding to a customer’s requests for information on any order is unacceptable.
In happier news, here are my “unboxing” photos from when my trunk finally arrived last week. In March. 10 1/2 weeks after I ordered it. Boot City is highly entertained by online unboxing photos and videos, so these photos are dedicated to him.
The delivery vehicle. For some reason he didn’t want to drive up my driveway. Some people have no sense of adventure.
I had to finagle in out of the bed of the pickup to be careful to not drop it! It wasn’t crazy heavy, but it wasn’t light. That is Punky the goat in the background. She was very helpful.
My first glimpse….. of Styrofoam……..but I have to admit that it was very well packaged.
I had to lay the box on its side to slide the trunk out. I put cardboard under it to be sure to not scratch it at all.
Ta da!!!!!!!!!!! It is a beauty! But, of course, Centerline messed up the order. You see, my initials are “TNT”. The coolest initials you could possibly have, so I wanted it on my trunk as “TNT”. The way it is on the trunk now is the “correct” way, but not how I ordered it. I’m not going to send it back, because Lord knows how long it would take for them to fix that. But I will be bringing it to their attention…..(them being Centerline, I know the manufacturer just did what they were told)
Last, but not least, the inside. Murtagh approves, but I don’t think there will be room for him in there once it is filled with all my horsey goodies!
My advice is to shop at Centerline Style with extreme caution. Kelly at Hunky Hanoverian also had issues with customer service at Centerline and if you read their Google reviews, all of them in the past couple months are pretty terrible. I’m excited to have my trunk and am grateful for the discount, but I’m pretty sure the time I spent trying to wrangle my dang order cost more than I saved. We live and we learn!
February in Texas means time for the Winter Series horse shows in Katy at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center. It is a series of four weeks in a row of hunter/jumper horse shows and for some reason is one of my favorite shows of the year. Possibly because it reminds me of showing at the NILE when I was a kid and probably because I tend to enjoy the precarious weather that February brings to Texas.
The series started the first week of February and had four separate shows going until the last weekend of February. In the interest of not abandoning Boot City for multiple weekends in a row we opted to go to the first and last weekends. I drove down and hauled horses with my horsey bestie the first weekend and she picked us up to go down the last weekend. It is way funner to get to go with your best friend on a four hour drive through a really boring part of Texas.
My name is Sterling and I hate baths. Why a horse who was born to turn white has to dislike baths so much is beyond me. He’s gotten better, but he still thinks you are torturing him.
I have been taking lessons at a local jumper barn and was REALLY feeling READY for this horse show. I’ve gotten much better at seeing distances to the jumps and feeling like I’m actually riding rather than passengering. Well, the first weekend of showing didn’t really prove to be my best riding. We are still showing over 2’6″ fences so my mistakes aren’t hugely cumbersome to Sterling, but man they are frustrating for me. The first weekend of the show was smaller so there were only 10-12 in my division and we placed in all our classes so I’m happy about that aspect of the first weekend of showing. I am still not doing a very good job of controlling the consistency of Sterling’s canter around the course which caused a few chips (getting really close to the jump which is then HARD for the horse to get over safely) and a couple of very L O N G spots.
I went home and watched a bunch of videos from trainers teaching how to practice to find distances and set up some small cross rail and cavalletti jumps to practice. The weather wasn’t very cooperative towards the end of the month so we didn’t get as much practice as I would have liked, but thankfully I have two other horses I can ride to do the exercises multiple times in one day. Plus Simon and Coco benefit a lot from going over cavalletti. I went into Week IV feeling a bit better about my skillz. Now if I could just keep my brain tuned to the right channel while showing I would be in good shape!
We got to the show a day earlier for Week IV than we had for Week I because horsey bestie was showing on Friday. It was nice to be there and get to settle in before showing. Sterling gets a bit nervous so I felt like the extra day allowed him to settle in more. Plus it was WAY warmer in Katy than in Azle during the two day iceapolooza storm we had. Sorry Boot City for leaving you to blanket-unblanket-blanket-repeat three horses while I basked in the 75 degree temps with my one horse.
Our first schooling ride over fences was fabulous. He was relaxed. I (mostly) made good decisions. We got to school in our show ring without a ton of other horses to distract us. I finally felt good about showing. Hopefully I could keep it together for another 48’ish hours.
Nap time for the Unicorn. He doesn’t lay down often, but I think it is so cute when he does. I imagine this is how parents of real children must feel times 100.
The second weekend of showing definitely went better than the first weekend. It wasn’t perfect, but it was much better. Not once did we come out of the ring and trainer ask if I was trying to kill my horse! We had one bad chip the whole weekend. A few close spots and a couple long spots and for some reason I still let him zoom around the ends of the ring. There were nearly 20 in our division and we placed in 3 of 4 trips over fences so I was very happy with those results! We were in very good company (read, competing against horses WAY fancier) and didn’t make fools of ourselves. Plus I had SO much fun. Like SSSOOOO much fun! I love my barn family, my horsey bestie and pretty much everyone I get to hang out with at horse shows. And, of course, I adore my horse. Never would anyone have thought that the ugly steel grey yearling would turn into such a wonderful show pony!
Maybe one of my most favorite horse show pics to date. He just looks SO cute!
I first read a “30 Things….” post on 900 Facebook Pony and she got the idea from May As Well Event so I’m joining in the fun blog sharing. I feel like anyone who knows me may already know many of these things, but thought it would still be fun to share!
1. I like most any food, but I really do NOT like barbecue. Especially Texas BBQ. If it is smoked I really really don’t like it. Give me whatever sushi and I’ll at least try it. Asian. Thai. Indian. I have a low spice tolerance (I call this my Montana taste buds), but I don’t want anything to do with BBQ.
2. I went to Carroll College in Helena, Montana for my undergraduate degree and in many ways consider those four years to be the BEST years of my life! Everything was sponsored by my parents (to whom I am forever grateful), I had freedom, I had amazing friends, I learned every single day, and I lived in the most beautiful area of the country. What is not to love?!
3. I moved to Texas and the only person I knew was my friends’ grandmother (whom I lived with for a few months) in Fort Worth. People often think I moved here to go to grad school, but I moved to Fort Worth because I love the town and the people. 16 years later I think I still like it here.
4. I sew. Not quilts and such. I prefer to make clothes. I don’t give myself nearly enough time to sew, but I have three fancy schmancy Bernina machines and when I put my mind to it can make some beautiful clothing. When I got my colors with the hunt I ride with I made my own frock coat. Sadly, I left that coat at the cleaners just a little too long after changing jobs and they got rid of it. The saddest part of the story is that it had over $100 worth of buttons on it. You see, custom hunt buttons are like $8 each. SO SAD!
5. I have a ginormous family. My immediate family is normal sized, but my extended family is huge. I have 12 cousins on my Mom’s side. My Mom has about 75 first cousins and I’ve met nearly all of them and know some of them very well. I don’t know my Dad’s side as well, but he had 3 siblings and I have 7 cousins on my Dad’s side. My Grandpa’s side of the family on Mom’s side has a reunion every 4 years and there are usually close to 200 people in attendance. We always go somewhere awesome (Bend, OR; Glacier Park; Black Hills in SD; Jackson Hole WY. etc) and we spend 4 or 5 days together. We joke that we could drive from coast to coast of the U.S. and stay with family the entire way. I’m grateful for ALL of my family!
6. I’m obsessed with planners and I have been since at least middle school. Like right now I have 3 planners in action. 1 for work, 1 for “life” and 1 for horses. It is ironic because I’m not very good at actually planning, but I sure do like writing stuff down with fancy pens on nice paper.
7. I have a fancy pen collection. Pelikan. Montblanc. Waterford. Waterman. TBSI. I LOVE writing with fountain pens or even just nice rollerball or ballpoint pens.
8. When I was a kid and would go with my parents to cuttings (horse shows) I would find every dog on the property and make friends with the owner. I loved taking them on walks and just petting them. It’s not wonder I grew up to be a crazy dog lady.
9. Before I met Boot City he had never really owned a pet. He had had a cat and his dad had a dog, but he had never really had his very own pet. My family continues to be astonished at our current pet collection and how tolerant he is of my obsession with animals. Clearly he likes them, too.
10. I played the piano for 9 years. I never got very good at it and really just continued to make my Mom happy, but I’m glad I learned how to play. I haven’t sat down and played in at least 20 years, though.
11. I don’t watch TV. In the recent 10 years the only shows I’ve watched were Downton Abbey and Outlander. I didn’t watch much TV as a kid so never really got into it. In college we would watch the Bachelor and Friends sometimes, but I can’t follow most TV convos to save my life.
12. I was a rodeo princess when I was in grade school. I was the Bucking Horse Sale Princess in 1991 or 1992. I had to model, answer some questions from judges, maybe give a speech and I think there was a horsemanship portion. My Mom made all my outfits and I was hands down the best dressed kid. The clothes my Mom made for me when I was growing up should be in a museum collection someday. I thought for sure I would run for Miss Rodeo Montana when I was old enough, but by then I had completely abandoned rodeo in favor of showing Quarter Horses so it seemed weird to be a rodeo queen.
13. I hate and am terrible at cooking. My dad told me for years that no man would marry me because I can’t cook. I showed him when I married Boot City because Boot City is the most amazing cook I’ve ever met. He makes things with recipes that start with “day 1” instead of “step 1”.
14. I’m pretty religious, but like to mostly keep it to myself. I grew up Presbyterian and I went to a Catholic college. My Mom grew up Catholic, too. I consider myself a Christian and was a member of a Methodist church by my house for a few years, but didn’t feel very connected to Methodism. I’ve gone to a few other churches since then, but am pretty lazy about actually leaving my house on Sunday mornings. I read the Bible every day and I pray a lot, though.
15. My first vehicle was a 1993 2500 Diesel Chevrolet regular cab, long bed. My second (after I totaled the first one, oopsy) was a 1996 2500 Chevrolet extended cab, long bed (and a manual transmission). I only drove a pickup until I was in my mid-20s (I did have a brief interval with an Impala that my parents got me to drive when I lived in Minneapolis for a summer). I am, and always will be, a truck girl. The pickup we have now is a 2002 Ford F-350 with 4 doors and a long bed, so Boot City drives that more than I do. I have to suffer with whatever Lexus lease vehicle we have at the time. I’m on my sixth or seventh Lexus and love the brand. Boot City works for Lexus so we get a sweet deal on them.
16. I never had a best friend when I was a kid. I had lots of great friends, but never a best friend. It really bothered me sometimes, but I had oodles of cousins who were (and are) my friends and I’ve actually gotten closer to a lot of people I grew up with now that we are adults.
17. I’m really outgoing and for many years didn’t have a very good filter before spewing my opinions on a subject. I like to think that my filter has gotten better, but I still tend to be pretty direct. I’ve just learned when I should keep me mouth shut. Most of the time.
18. I hate appointments. This is the primary reason I very seldom get haircuts, manicures, massages or any other similar thing that requires me to drive to some service provider at a specific time. I would MUCH rather spend that time and effort with my horses/dogs/husband/friends.
19. I’ve ridden horses my entire life, but have only been jumping for about 6 years. I started taking Sterling to “A” shows in 2014 and we have both come a REALLY long way in those four years! It was asking quite a lot for a green horse to teach a green rider how to jump, but he’s been fabulous. We have been lucky to get some really great instruction along the way, too.
20. When my horsey bestie and I go places together people ALWAYS think we are sisters. She has been showing hunters quite a bit longer than I have and when I am at shows and she isn’t there people will start talking to me as though I’m her. We both find it hilarious. We went to France together a few years ago and got more or less the same reaction there. We assumed people would think we were a couple, but they assumed we were sisters.
21. My dad owned the auction market in my hometown until I was in middle school. He would often buy horses (and sometimes ponies) in the horse sales for me to ride for a few months then he would sell them at a later sale. I enjoyed working with them and increasing their value. And now I know that I may have saved many of them from a pretty dire fate. The one I remember best was a black pony we called Inky. He was a bit of a holy terror and liked to gallop everywhere. I got him slowed down and responsive to specific cues for each gait. I sure hope he went on to be a good pony for some kids!
22. The Budweiser Clydesdales came to our county fair around the time of Montana’s centennial in 1989. They were stabled close to where our 4-H horses were stabled so after we got our morning chores done we would go over to help out with the Clydesdales. I even talked my way into “riding” one of them! I really just sat on it and the handler led it to the wash rack, but somewhere there exists a photo and it was truly an amazing experience. I highly doubt they are able to let little horse crazy girls sit on them these days.
23. Today is Boot City and my 13th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary to us! We didn’t have a fancy wedding, but it was a really FUN wedding! Definitely one of my very favorite memories.
24. I kept a diary from the time I could write (like, 1st grade!) until a few years after I got married. i don’t really know why I quit keeping a diary, but now I tend to write diary-esque things in my planner. I do keep a horse journal to record horse things. I find it can often help refer back to my horse journal when one of the horses turns up lame or ill or something. If I write things down I am more apt to notice a change.
25. I have a Bachelors and Masters degree in Communication, with an undergraduate dual major in PR and a minor in Business. Not like telephone communication, but human communication. I would go to college forever if someone would pay for it and support my horse habit at the same time. Hardly a moment in my life goes by when I’m not using some aspect of what I learned from my degrees. From everyday life, to work, to horsing, to general interactions. I’m so glad that I made the choice to change from biology to communication studies my sophomore year at Carroll. I always tested strong for math and science, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Some days I wish I had a career more horse-oriented, but I’m grateful that my career allows me to support my love of horses and showing.
26. I took Spanish for six years and can understand quite a lot, but am not very good at speaking Spanish. I would LOVE to someday live abroad and be immersed in a language, but it stresses me out to think about what I’d have to do with all my animals were that to happen.
27. I read a lot and my favorite author is Ayn Rand. I LOVED The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I also love pretty much everything I’ve read that Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy wrote. I like modern literature as well, but it doesn’t seem to stick with me as much as the older tomes. It took me 6 months to read Anna Karenina, but it was so worth it.
28. My Mom got me my first subscription to Vogue when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I would read it cover to cover and drool over the beautiful clothing. She made all of my formal dresses in high school and we would usually pick out a style we like from a Vogue magazine, find a pattern that was similar (usually a Vogue pattern), then she would make the dress. The best one was a black pigskin dress she made for my Junior year Winter Formal. I think I still have it and it fit well into my late 20’s!
29. I mostly went to horse shows by myself the summer between my junior and senior year of high school and the summer after my senior year. I showed three horses those summers and I would haul them, get them situated in their stalls, enter my classes, braid or band manes, bath/clip/groom them and usually start showing on Friday morning by myself. We had lots of friends at the shows and I never felt like there wasn’t someone there to help me if I needed it. Mom would usually come on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. I loved every second of it and was grateful my parents let me go. I would usually stay with a good friend whom I showed with or a trainer so I also had a blast hanging out with them. I can’t imagine any parent I know today letting their 17/18 year old daughter do that by herself!
30. This list was WAY harder to make than Amanda said it would be!
Happy Friday y’all! It is COLD here in Texas! It was in the 20’s overnight, but thankfully should be getting in the 40’s today. Life is much easier when it gets above freezing during the day. Much time is being spent blanketing and unblanketing horses, hauling hay, turning heaters on and off. All things I never had to do in Montana! The irony! As I write this it is -2F in my hometown.
Pablo the nuzzler. He’s such a weirdo!
Pablo’s left front foot has been sore for the past few weeks and when his feet hurt he WILL NOT let me catch him. I guess he knows I want to mess with the hurt foot and he just isn’t into that. I feel like a bad donkey parent, but I also don’t want to wrangle a donkey. Now that the ground has dried up he seems sound again. And now that he’s sound he is super snuggly. He likes to stand behind me and rest his chin on my shoulder, then ever so slowly he starts nuzzling my coat, hat and ear before he tries to bite. This donkey. He should write a book about himself.
Murtagh the cat and Dickens the Whippet are best buds. Murtagh LOVES to play with the sighthounds and often can be heard terrorizing them in the middle of the night.
I was trying to snap a photo of Samson in the snowflakes that we had for about 45 minutes yesterday, but he was not into the photo op!
Super hairy ponies have to be the cutest thing ever! Samson is still difficult to catch in the field, but he loves to come in the barn to steal hay and is easy peasy to catch then. He desperately wants to be with the big horses, but the one time we tried that Sterling chased him endlessly to the point I was worried about Samson. We will try it again one of these weekends and let Samson out with a smaller group of the big horses. He has been out with Jaguar once and that went really well. Jaguar ignored him the whole time.
The forecast in the next week or so in north Texas is COLD! Highs will be in the 40s and lows in the 20s, plus it feels colder because the air is humid. Mind you the temps in my hometown in Montana are MUCH colder with highs in the single digits and lows well below zero, but consistently freezing weather in north Texas is pretty cold. At times like this I try to remind myself how miserable it is to ride when it is in the 90s and humid in the summer so I can motivate myself to take advantage of not roasting. It can be difficult.
I wish I had photos from winter rides during my childhood. I can remember helping friends move cattle and 20 minutes into the ride I couldn’t feel my feet. By the time we were done moving the cattle or whatever task we were seeking to accomplish I likely couldn’t feel most of my face, my hands and below my knees! I didn’t ride regularly in the winter as a kid. Usually the winter was when I participated in some school sport like basketball or volleyball. My horses always got the winters off to get fat and hairy and have some down time.
We never had a horse colic in the wintertime, either. My parents had a very successful program for winter horse management. The horses had plenty of shelter and hay to keep warm and dry plus our stall runs and pastures had access to Ritchie horse waterers which NEVER froze. Horses don’t like to drink freezing cold water and if they don’t drink enough water they can get impactions in their gut which cause colic. It is vital that they have access to clean, not-freezing drinking water at all times.
Now that I live in Texas, winter is my favorite time to ride. It generally doesn’t get much below 40 for most of the season, so with enough clothing it is comfortable to be outside.
Sterling decked out in his winter riding attire.
When it really is “cold” I use some extra horse clothing to keep them warm while I ride. The quarter sheet covers their hind end, which is where some of their largest muscles are located. Quarter sheets are usually made from some type of fleece or wool fabric so when they do get hot it wicks away the moisture. I keep my horses under lights all year (this tricks their body into not knowing when the seasons change so they don’t grow thick winter coats) so they don’t get super woolly. Because of their lack of winter coat they need blankets when many fuzzy horses don’t. It seems cruel to take off their warm blanket to go ride and not cover them up at all, so I use a quarter sheet.
Bundled up rider, but less bundled up horse.
When we really get to working I will remove the quarter sheet so as to not overheat the horse, which can be worse than getting cold. It is much easier to get a horse warm than it is to cool them out in the winter time. At the horse show we went to a couple weeks ago many riders used a quarter sheet right up until they went into the show ring and put it on as soon as they came out. The older the horse is and the harder it is working, the more important it is to keep those muscles warm and prevent cramping and discomfort.
My tack room is heated so my horses also don’t have to deal with freezing cold bits in their mouths. When I go to fox hunts I often put my bridle in the floor board of the pickup under the heater so when we get to the hunt they get a nice warm bit in their mouth.
As far as keeping myself warm, I’m a big fan of layers. Especially in Texas where it often feels really cold when I first go outside, but as I start moving around I get warmer and warmer. Layers allow the removal of extra clothing so I don’t get too hot. And my favorite way to keep my ears warm under my helmet is with “hunter hair”. Hunter hair is accomplished by putting your (long) hair in a ponytail with hair covering your ears and a hairnet over your whole head to keep your hair in place. You flip the ponytail up and put the helmet over your hair. This makes your hair an ear warmer! Brilliant!
You can kind of see my hunter hair covering my ears. It works much better and is far less bulky than any type of headband to cover your ears under a helmet.winter r
If I still lived in Montana I’m pretty sure my horses would still get winters off and I would spend the season gaining the festive fifteen from eating too much and not getting enough exercise. I’m looking forward to lots more winter and spring rides before hot Texas summer returns.