Sunday, September 25, 2011

Life Goes On Without Me

Weekends have come and gone. Most of them find me at Iron Ridge on Sunday mornings, except for last weekend. I had some airline miles that I needed to use or lose. Since I didn't have enough for a flight, I booked a night at a nice local hotel for Mr. Fry and myself to hang out. It was wonderful, except Mr. Fry can't take the sun like I can and ended up blistering. Not pretty.

Most of the time, I'm fine with my horses being at Iron Ridge. After all, I can only ride on the weekends anyway, and that's where my friends hang out. The sad truth is, I ride mostly on Sundays only, because Saturdays are generally spent doing the things that allow us to live comfortably indoors and keep the Board of Heath at bay. Now that the weather has begun to cool, I miss being able to jump on Jaz and take off down the road on a whim. But it still hasn't really rained. We've had a few showers, but it would take more than a foot of rain to bring us back from drought stage. The land has not improved, not even a little. So, at Iron Ridge they stay until such time as we feel the land can handle a visit from them.

Today was Pony Party and shot day for my Boyz. I bought the vaccines last week and Heather administered them. We put Daltrey in a stall and he didn't even stop eating his breakfast as Heather stuck him. It was a different story when we checked on him a few hours later. Nothing to be concerned about, but he was hanging out quietly, facing the back of the stall. When I spoke to him, he stiffly turned toward me.

Jaz was perfect, albeit a bit lazy, on our ride. We went about as fast as you can go at a trot without breaking into a canter. We're SO close! To be honest, I think I'd feel more secure if we were in the round pen rather than the arena, but either way, it WILL happen. Jaz got his shots after our ride, and was showing no ill effects when I left.

I seriously thought about shutting the blog down this week due to lack of compelling content. It's not the same when I'm not interacting with the horses daily. I decided to hang in there for awhile because Daltrey is now 19 months old and it won't be long until his adventures truly begin. Thanks to all who have continued to hang in there with me. I appreciate you.

PS -- I've mentioned our friend Rachel and her husband Chris. They have adopted one of Heather's Second Chance Horses, an ex-racing paint mare named Moon. Rachel has started a new blog, so stop by and check her out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Less Tacky Post

This is one of those follow-me-down-the-rabbit-hole posts.

Somehow, I ended up owning 5 saddles.
1. This is the saddle that came with Poco. It was inexpensive (as was all the tack that came with him), and I spent months conditioning the stiff leather into submission. The "tree" is nothing more than a piece of heavyweight composite plastic, which makes it lightweight and flexible, so it literally will fit any horse. The seat has zero padding. I added a gel seat pad and a sheepskin cover that helped.

2. I then bought a Tucker Trail saddle, which I eventually traded for this barrel saddle I now use, but I kept #1 as a spare for when other people came to ride.

3. I remembered that Poco's previous owner also had an inexpensive Aussie trail saddle that I knew was prolly just laying around in his garage, so on a whim I called him and asked what he wanted for it. I'd use it if I liked it (and sell #1) or clean it up and stick it on Craig's list if I didn't. I didn't like it at all, but since it had a large seat, I took it to Iron Ridge for some of the larger SCA riders to use. I had a few nibbles from people wanting to buy it, but none ever went through and it's still at the farm. I don't have any photos of it.

4. When I bought #3, Poco's previous owner also tossed in this adorable Mexican child's saddle. You can't tell from the photo how small it is, but the seat is barely 12". It is also an inexpensive saddle, and I'm currently waging conditioning war with the leather. No telling how long this was on his garage floor. This will be my grandson's saddle, when he's ready.

5. And this is the vintage western saddle I found at the yard sale. It is coming along nicely. I'm into my third liter of conditioner. Go here to see what it looked like when I got it. I don't like metal stirrups, but I have plenty of time to change them out before Daltrey is ready.

SO ... I cleaned up #1 with the intent of putting it on Craig's list, but Kris, who has ridden in that saddle countless times, bought it so she'd have a spare. I threw in the pad that came with it and the wooden stand that came with #5. One down.

Somewhere along the line, #3 (the Aussie) turned up minus a stirrup and leather, so I need to either bring it home from the farm, clean it up, replace the parts and stick on Craig's list — or — replace the parts and see if Heather wants to sell it and just put whatever she gets toward board for the Boyz. Either way, I want it gone.

I also gave Kris a couple headstalls (both of which were given to me) that I never use and that don't fit Daltrey's drafty head now, much less when he's grown. My goal is to be down to 2 complete sets of tack plus the kiddie saddle. We'll see how that works. Who can resist the siren song and luscious smell of tack stores?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

These Are The Days

Today was the last day of my 6-day extended Labor Day holiday. I enjoyed every single one of them, especially the 4 days I got to ride. I almost felt like a rich bitch. Or a retired bitch. I am neither, so tomorrow, it's back to work for me.

Our first two rides were okay, but the last two were primo. Jaz seemed to know exactly what I was trying to do, which is get used to a bit more speed. Although we did not canter, he gave me a gorgeous extended trot that was easy and fun to ride, and may even have been pretty. Jaz seemed to enjoy himself as well.

We set up ground poles and barrels on the inside of the arena, leaving the rail free. We set the barrels up in a straight line, so we could circle around them or weave in and out of them, like pole bending. And, of course, we could also hairpin through the ground poles, which was great for flexing. We had hoped to be able to ride the pasture, but the cracks are so bad a horse — Jazu — could hurt himself or his hapless rider. He is a lot of things, but sure-footed is not one of them.

Jaz has developed an annoying habit in the past couple months of chewing on his bit, which was a D-ring snaffle with a rather large (never seen one that big), flat, rectangular plate. I'm not talking about idly rolling it around in his mouth, but chomping down on it HARD. Jaz's teeth are not that great to start with, so surely this was not a good thing.
This is his new bit, and I'm happy to report he seems to like it. He plays with it but there's a lot less gnashing and clanking going on. We were laughing because with all the various drafts and draft crosses at the farm, this bit seems so teeny — 5".

And today, I rode Poko for the first time since my trade with Heather. Even if I never ride him again, I had to do it, just to prove to myself that I could. He was as well behaved as Poko gets. His gaits were smooth as silk, just as I remember them. I thought I might feel sorry or sad, or have a case of the coulda-shoulda-wouldas, but I didn't. In fact, it only served to remind me of how sweet, kind and wonderful my Jaz is, and why he's a much better fit for me. I sure wish Jaz had Poko's gaits, but I'll take my sweet, trustworthy boy every time. Yup. I'm over the bad boy.

My holiday was so busy, I didn't spend much time poking 'round the blogosphere, so I'll be catching up with everyone this week. Carry on.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Finally Cool Enough to Breathe

Imagine my disorientation when I stepped outside with the dogs this morning and the temperature was close to what it was in the air-conditioned house. What perfect pony weather.

It was only in the 80s today, so there was no reason to be at the barn at the crack of frikken dawn. I got there about 9am and took my good old time getting Jaz ready. It was wonderful to not be at the mercy of the weather. Well, sorta. It was windy, and since it's been so dry, the wind was blowing dust and sand around — sand in my eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.

 The elusive Mr. Jason Page on Doodles
and Heather on Boo (Jaz's brother)

 Rachel on Ash, her husband Chris on Poko, and me and Jaz

Believe it or not, Poko was the only one
willing and full of energy.
Everyone else had 2 speeds: really slow and stop.

Jaz, Boo, and Doodles were just lazy,
but Rachel was getting 'tude from Ash.

I plan on riding tomorrow and Tuesday also, but I may carry a crop. 
With Jaz, that's all you have to do; he won't make you use it.
I'm not buying the I'm-so-overworked routine.

What are y'all doing this long weekend?
Hope it includes ponies!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Beer:30 at Iron Ridge

 From left: Heather, Jason, Nita, Mr. Fry, and Suzie the Rottweiler

Drinking beer, Smirnoff Lemonade, eating junk food,
telling lies, watching the geldings nosh
as the sun went down.
 Jaz and Daltrey

Daltrey has been wearing a fly mask.
Because he has little pigment in and around his eyes,
he is more sensitive to the sun and wind.
His eyes run often, and his third eyelid always looks irritated.
That's the downside to those beautiful blue eyes.

Poko and Boo (Jaz's brother)

Beautiful evening and a perfect start to my staycation.
I'm off until next Wednesday — woohoo!
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