My life can be summed up right now as DO ALL THE THINGS!
Really, I'm not trying to be that nutty but its a bit of an unstoppable force at this point. Paying off debt has been amazeballs. Buying Jade isn't something I've regretted for a moment. Katy is rocking at life. Edison is the most amazing little red guy ever. Add that to lots of personal and professional triumphs and I'm rocking life right now.
Once things are going well though, I like to figure out how to maximize things. I'm still working on eating better, losing my weight back down another 5 pounds, but I feel super strong so meh. Imma eat that cupcake right now if I want. The main thing that I HATE right now is monthly bills. The main thing right now: the boarding barn.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the barn. I love all the wonderful people there that are enjoying themselves at their daily escape after work. As I tear around there lost in my mental to do list, I try hard to say hi, chat with them, but my crazy life doesn't allow this right now because once I'm done at THAT barn with Jade, Edison, and Piper, I have to come home to THAT barn/farm and do all the things again. Add onto that any dog training business things as home life things and yeah, I'm a task listing robot right now.
Apologies that I know hardly any of you lovelies by name!
And yes, I'm jealous a little. I miss the long lost days of going to the barn, shooting the hit, riding around together and just "relaxing." I've never really really had that though as most of my barn days were "ride this horse for me," "can you help me with X, Y, Z" "do you think this looks like instant death" and so on so yeah. Maybe I don't miss those days, but I do miss the days of it being an escape. Right now its just another place that I have some tack but not all of it but some of it.
Thanks for letting me borrow your lunge line Saturday Jeanette since mine was in my trailer at home this time.
So now I've written a few hundred words and gotten nowhere really towards my point. Some back story, sure, but actual point? Nope.
Point is, I need to actually get on to doing something about my barn at the house. You see, I have 33% of the barn I want there already. I just need someone to AT LEAST put the roof up over the other 67%. Joe and I would find time to get the rest done (eventually) even if the contract couldn't do it for us at the price I like.
Problem is, I can't get ANYONE out to do ANYTHING at the house right now. I have an unpainted house, a partially finished bathroom, and a few other odds and ends the handyman was working on but didn't get done just right. This hiring help sucks.
So I sent out an email asking for reliable, reputable people to not completely hose me over on finishing out at least the ROOF of my existing barn. Here's hoping but ugh, unno...
It appears that money doesn't buy you a robot horse and for that, I'm thankful. Jade is still derpy and goofy, but slowly getting with the program. We've dealt with her reluctance to eat the food she was shipped with (seriously?), the transition from timothy to coastal hay, and her skin freaking out over the bizarrely humid and icky Texas air/weather. She's adjusted well to the temperatures and that was a big concern for me. We also survived learning to groom (its just a horse, seriously!) and I haven't ruined her in any way lol.
She's working on her ground manners and its going great. She's super smart and slooowly learning to not drag me everywhere on the planet. None of my saddles come close to fitting her (something I foresaw but I can hope, right?) So I'm beginning the harrowing task of buying tack for her.
And she's a hot baby horse mess.
So Jade's here now... remember that? Yes, she shipped down from PA last week and spent the weekend in north Texas before heading this way. The past two weeks have been a mess with me coordinating Piper's rebreeding, moving Piper and Edison, work, family, Jade's PPE and shipping arrangements and all that. All good things, but still a lot to be handling.
But Jade finally arrived.
Boy was she ready to get off that trailer too. She ran over the transport guy who passed her to me where she proceeded to run me over and almost got the farrier (naturally my farrier was out there at the time too yay coordination!). All I had to grab was the THICKEST cotton rope ever and a stud chain - that wasn't over her nose. So I'm trying to get control of her while my hands are getting shredded by the chain and the transport guy gushes over how gorgeous she is and well behaved.
I'm being as aloof as I can as he goes on and on and ON about her (he was really friendly but its hard to chat with a 1600lb spoiled brat trying to drag you everywhere). He FINALLY leaves and I snap the shank as hard as I can and smack her off my body. She barely reacts. *sigh Guess we have work to do there too.
I toss her in her stall and head to work.
So in anticipation of Jade's impending arrival, I've booked a stall at the nearby barn. I hate to spend the money but she's not used to roughing it in a pasture 24/7 and she WILL need serious fan power to keep her cool during her first Texas summer. I asked for a stall and a paddock (so I don't have to compete for turnout with the rest of the barn) and everything was on track.
But then Granada called late last week and was all "your mare's ready to head home!" I was in slight shock. It felt a bit like when I brought my son home: "you're letting me take this baby life form home?!?! I mean... I'll probably kill it, I don't know what I'm doing!"
So I swallowed my anxiety and thought about the options for a one month old foal and his rebred but not confirmed in foal mum. Well, the house seemed a mess and I didn't think the tyke was ready to deal with REAL electric fences and I'm not ready to deal with catching a baby horse every morning because he got out again.
I decided to get them a stall at the barn.
The pickup went fairly smoothly and the baby was loaded pretty well. I tossed them in their stall and it seemed suddenly like we can do this. Plus I get to see Edison every day and torture him whenever I want. So win!
And he hasn't died yet, go me :)
Edison and Piper are still at Granada Farms with my decision to rebreed her. Its been nice having them in a stall rather than my open pasture and I'm totally enjoying being able to just show up and mess with them. Piper could care less, but Edison is doing well when I visit. I try to make it out there 2-3 times a week to show him humans are fun but its been hard with, what else? the weather and my other things.
We tried to just put a halter on him since I'm not entirely clear on how to handle all that but figured it couldn't hurt. Schiller has some things about foals, but it talks about laying them down and while I can totally see the value, Edison's legs look awfully breakable and I'm not sure I'm confident enough to attempt it without stumbling and falling all over him myself.
So we tried the halter and he ended up balking into me, bucking, me hanging on, and hitting the ground anyhow. Yay laying down now? I drag myself off him and proceed to take advantage of the situation by rubbing him all over, putting the halter on and off and so on.
Apparently I'm not going to break him, but I'm going to have to debate how to handle all of his body WHILE trying to lay him down. This seems daunting since the little guy is up to my waist at this time.
We'll get it sorted out though. Someday.
So I've done a lot of thinking and with the acquisition of fancy pants sexy black horse Jade, I've made the decision to sell Nigel and Arthur for sure. That should offset Jade's cost for the most part and yay. Now the next order of business is Piper and more specifically Edison. As a paint, he's useless right now and as a possible event horse he's useless too. I hate to say all that, but its true. No spots doesn't get you much (especially when your dad is an event/jumper bred TB) and eventers are going to want a young horse that's got good foundations.
So yep, looks like Mr Edison is here to stay for now and I feel pretty good about that. It'll give me a chance to learn about babies and continue this fun journey we're on.
That brings to mind what I do in the meantime. Piper is basically out of commission until after weaning which will put her around fall. If it rains then like it's rained now, then I'm out another year with her soooo...
LET'S MAKE ANOTHER BABY!
I'm still wanting my awesome APHA sporthorse so I decided to just do the cross I wanted to do last year but was too cheap/nervous/worried to do at the time.
Meet The Huntsman:
He's a paint, he's versatile, he's homozygous for tobiano! So basically I'm going to make a painted APHA paint no matter what and I'm breeding to a guy that's done it all (all over the country) and is just a sweetheart of a horse. He's done Battle of the Breeds, Jumper Derbies, and possibly the most important thing: trail horse all over the US and Canada in mixed herds. This guy has train ability and temperament to spare!
I'm excited about what's to come and there are some fun color opportunities I hadn't thought of that would be possible (homozygous black and tobiano filly anyone?) and that's exciting as well. So hopefully I get everything on my wishlist. The actual breeding was a little harrowing going from Canada to here and some phone line issues but everything got sorted out and we found out Piper is cooking a new baby 14 days later so whew!
If you like genetics and coat color, here's the calculator results. Basically, black and white baby 50% chance of homozygous tobiano.
So I did it!
I was THAT person! I booked my flight last week and hopped on it to head to Pennsylvania to meet the crew at ISF, meet some big black horses, spend some money, and then literally turn around the next day to come back to reality. One day of horses, two days of flying. Bring it.
So I'm going to keep this short and simple, although this was possibly one of the most epically fun things I've ever done in my life (yes, money can buy happiness). I headed to Austin around noon on Monday and stopped at Dover when I realized I could NOT show up without a nice new shirt that spoke of an understated but businesslike persona. I also bought some new breeches while I was there to match. Oops.
So everything thrown in my suitcase, I headed to the airport and hopped onto my flight to Chicago. There was a stop there and I hussled to my next flight to Philly. I ate some expensively boring but attempting to be healthy foods at both airports. Yay. I got into Philly late that evening and headed to the airport. Had to be up by 5am their time, 4am my time. Hooray.
Tuesday morning I hop the airport shuttle BACK to the airport and go to pick up my rental car. Well, rental hearse really. I'd asked for a full sized SUV because I love my trucks and I got a deal that cost the same as tiny compact car soo... yassss... all the things man. I get in the black beast of pimp and head out to the PA countryside.
So its like horse heaven out there.
I was set to live there forever until I remembered it quit snowing there like... a few weeks ago. Gross. ISF didn't disappoint and I drove up, parked where I guess was the office, and walked inside. They were super nice, showed me to the barn and we did the horse dance there. I pet my first Friesian (who felt like a horse, shockingly) and we tacked up to head to the indoor. Everything was fabulous (seriously, I'd go on for pages here if I could) and the ride was fine. The mare I'd narrowed it down to was Jade and she was a good girl but lacked forwardness that I like. Eh, she'd just turned 4, I had time to fix that. They let me walk her out of the indoor, around the building and down to the outdoor where we walked over some poles like epic people/horse types and then headed back. I laughed at her canter... it was sooo big and sooo fun and I'm suuuchh a goober.
Also, when they ask if you'd like to go on a tour, the answer is YES OMG YES!
We got done, did business things, I went to the office, made an offer and bought a horse. All before noon word. Next order of business was to head to Boyd Martin's place and sneak to the gates like a ninja, take a selfie and bolt before he could have me arrested. The ISF people stopped me before I left though to offer some nice toursity advice and see what my plans were. I told them about Boyd's and they laughed, before picking up their phones to text him that I was coming. Oh and then ask if I wanted to stop and Phillip Dutton's... the Schramm's and so on.
WHAT IS THIS PLACE?
So I'm all excited but only time for one, so I stick with Boyd's. I head over there and less than 10 minutes I'm there and its all awesome and people are prepping huge gorgeous horses over huge jumps before they head out to some local huge gorgeous facility for a huge gorgeous show. Seriously, this part of the world is sooo different.
I hung out with Boyd and his lessons for the afternoon and it was soooo fun. I was like a golden retriever puppy chasing after his scooter all around the cross country course. He had to head off to the show finally so I headed back to Philly where I ate what else?!?! Joe's Crab Shack (there are waaay too many philly cheesesteak options in that town!). I head to the hotel, pack, and sleep briefly before heading to the airport at like 3am.
I had a great whirlwind trip and bought a horse. Whoop!
I also had a 3 hour delay in Houston... SO CLOSE TO HOME RAWR
So I've decided dressage is A way I want to go maybe not THE way- completely. Actually, I NEED to go that way even if I stay with eventing in some capacity. Watching the latest events, you just really have to bring your A game to eventing in the sandbox or you're never going to succeed at it. Manage and make it through, yes. Be competitive, no. I reject your labels! (Besides Lainey Ashker manages to play in dressage right after competing in Rolex so ne'er)
I'm not a warmblood person really. I want to be and while I can totally appreciate them, they don't do it for me. The half warmblood/TB stuff is fine as well but then we're back towards eventing. Ugh. I'm going to have to do something for real here. I think of my other criteria I want in this dream horse and decide to be silly. Let's up the budget even more (I'd already worked my way up to $20K for a warmblood of some sort) and then make it ridiculous: Friesians.
In high school I worked with many different breeds being the only kid at a huge boarding barn of busy adults. Andalusians, Arabians, TBs, warmbloods, QHs, Saddlebreds, you name it. I was this freakishly responsible kid who was very logical and thoughtful so people let me work their horses when they couldn't. And I learned a lot. One horse I loved was a morgan from Maine. I learned to drive, ride a small horse, and I just loved how elegant the little guy could look. Now morgans aren't like Friesians really, but I'd always admired many of the Morgan qualities that Friesians also possess. That flash and strength for driving carriages (combined driving events sound like a fun compromise or something else to dabble in!), the intelligence, and the forgiving nature.
Is this something I could do? Heck yeah!
Also, I'll admit it - they're gorgeous breeds.
But I'm taller and so the Friesian makes more sense. Its also a carriage breed plus its doing well (enough) in dressage and so I'm starting to think this might be a good idea. But surely the price will put me off, no? I start shopping the Friesians online with this goal in mind... scare myself back into reality. What I find are many horses that aren't in the age I'm looking for, most are geldings, and a shockingly HUGE amount of them are competing at say Third level with their noses to their chest. Uh, I don't want to have to undo that, especially on a 10 year old gelding.
So pawing through the FHANA classifieds, I notice that Iron Springs Farm has two girls for sale. The price... looks reasonable for the age of the horses, the fact they're mares (yay!), plus training ability and I love that they're from ISF. I KNOW those horses have had a good life to this point and well, I will never forget the ISF commercials from when I was watching all the Spruce Meadows competitions on television in junior high and high school.
(Lainey Ashker also shows a Friesian in dressage... coincidence?)
Could this be the one?
What about this one?
Besides, they have costume classes where people do things like this:
And now I have that reason to actually buy renaissance costumes:
So I mean, how can this NOT be the right idea? Oh and also their resale stays up, their foals are worth a crapton, and each level I train a horse like this in builds so much value. So yeah, stay tuned to see what I did :D
So dressage. I'm happy with this choice except the simple fact I STILL have these horses at my house and NONE of them are really upper level dressage caliber. Its really not a terrible problem, but they're much better suited for H/J or eventing so I need to figure out how to head in the dressage direction while keeping my feet in the eventing pool.
Well, I guess the most fun place to start it dressage horse shopping. I can easily NOT find anything and rule that out. Then I simply keep an eye out for "the" horse and move on with my guys. I guess... that works. Unno, it sounds a bit iffy to me.
I should also note that I want to align with a sport, namely because I have been an "eventer" for so long but even that role was assumed in high school when my endurance career was cut off due to the insane construction and neighborhood growth near where we rode. I had a fit horse that knew some basic dressage and jumping so hey... trainer suggested eventing and so we did it. It made sense but I didn't really choose it the way lots of people do (although my heart hurts with longing when I see a cross country course...). Even at the Schiller clinic I had to pick a discipline and I cringed. I mean, I ride horses man. That's what I do. But I guess I like eventing the most? I could LOVE dressage but I have the ability to be more than OK at something now...
I just don't know but dressage feels good, it feels right. I... have been taking jumping lessons with Amanda reworking the basics of jumping. Well, its getting me riding (stupid rain) and in shape AND Katy likes it so whatever. Its working so I'm not messing with it. So I'm a dressage person that also does jumping? I think that's called eventing. OK, forget this whole thing.
I DO like the idea of a dressage horse that I ride. I've got that down. The rest will be what it'll be. I'm a pro at riding things out and now I'm learning to not resist as much as I might have done in the past. Things will work out, they always do and then you're wiser for that. I'm going to be patient and avoid shoving square pegs in round holes anymore.
Since Arthur is the odd man out, Shane has decided to work him for three weeks for me to help out and he's being doing well. Having him and Nigel away from the house lets me think and yes, selling them is the right choice. That leaves me with Katy, Piper and... Mango. Not exactly the star crew I'm looking for moving on in the next few years.
OK, let's horse shop again. This time though, what would I love to have... what is that dream horse? Something young(ish), something not broken(ish), something with good resale, something I may never want to sell because I enjoy it so much... hmm. Let's shop some more and get back to this.
I also fail at sorting things out ;)