Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The "Dearest" Award

Kelly, at Princess Diva Diaries, generously and kindly awarded me with an Award:

Thank you, Kelly!

Liebster means “dearest” in German, and the award is intended to help up-and-coming blogs get the attention they deserve. Here are the rules:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

2. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award

3. Pick your five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.

4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs!

I read quite a few blogs, as they all bring me different viewpoints and life stories, and I enjoy them all. I have tried to pick blogs that have fewer followers, but that I think are worthy of a peak. Here is my list:

My Buddy and Me - This blog follows "One Bud Wiser" as he transitions from a Ropin' horse to a Hunter/Jumper, and his fearless rider who took on a horse that has flipped over with previous riders.

My Friend Grayson - The newly engaged Julie, and her rescued Paso Fino X, Grayson.

Diary of Hunter Princess- Shelley writes this blog, and it details her journey with Ollie. Unfortunatly Ollie is dealing with some health issues, and Shelley may have to return him to his owner and look for another mount.

Mad for Smarty - a quickly growing blog written by Madison, whose dream came true when she was gifted with OTTB Mad for Smarty.

The Road Apple - The hilarious Blog by HillBilly Farms. Laugh away......

Thank you. Hope you follow these blogs and enjoy them as I do.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Retired Racehorse Trainers Challenge

The "Retired Racehorse Training Project" has started its "retired racehorse Trainers Challenge" and you read all about it here.
In this challenge they pick three Trainers, and four OTTB's and give the trainers fice weeks in which to retrain the OTTB's for their second careers. Hope you enjoy reading about this as much as I did.

The Chronicle of The Horse has an article about the challenge that includes the outcome of the first time these trainers mounted up.

Family Commitment.

I saw this today on the Cowboy Magic facebook page, and I really like it:

There’re many lessons we can learn from wild horses…one of them is…

“A stallion’s commitment to family is not an option…if he wants to keep them”…

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pippi the Pipsicle.

Miranda and I have, as I think a lot of horse owners, quite a few pet names for our mare. Whenever it is cold outside, we call her "Pipsicle." Well this Friday, she truly was a Pipsicle, as our area was covered in ice. It was windy and icy overnight friday, and this what her world looked like Saturday morning.
Pippi, framed in icy chicken wire, all wrapped up against the cold wind. She now loves her hood so much that she refused to go outside the other day until it was on. :)

My snowman has a sign that says; "Let is Snow!" Not let is ICE!!

Branches covered in ice.

So cute to see the Big Pippi hoof prints and the little Mini Horse hoof prints.

The Chicken wire looks breautiful, nature is fantastic

My Holly tree was a work of art
Pippi framed in icy Chicken wire

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yes? No? Now? Later? Used? New? I quit!!

The search for a Trailer continues............and continues..............and continues.........and...........

Frustrating stuff for sure! I realize that money does not buy happiness, but it does FOR sure buy a whole  lot of peace of mind which I am SURE contributes to overall happiness. I have a decent job, I have some money in the bank, and I don't have a lot of debt. I can go to any bank and they would be happy to give me money, and I could take that money and buy a brand spanking new Eclipse 2 horse straight load trailer big enough for an 18 hh warmblood horse. It cost a little less that $7000.00. (sigh)

Okay, here is the gist of what has me so irritated, no..........dismayed is the word. There is a trailer for sale by owner in our area, parked right in town. A 2006 two horse slant load trailer with a dressing room and rear tack. It is VERY nice. I called about a while back, and they wanted $9000!!! Uh, no! So I moved on. Yesterday a co-worker who knew that I was looking stopped and got the phone number off the trailer, and came and told me about it. He didn't know that I had already called, but apparently the priced was dropped to $7,900. Co-worker buys a lot of used cars, I swear he has car trading as a hobby, and suggested I take a look at it, and offer a crazy low amount for it.
At lunch I headed over, and took a look. It is very gently used, hardly used at all. Looks as though a horse may have been in this trailer twice, but certainly not more than that. I know that I can get a trailer just like it, brand new slant load, with dressing room (but no rear tack) for $7000 at the Eclipse Factory right here in Ohio. (I would rather have a straight load as I see BIGGER horses in our future, but for the right price I am flexible). I called and offered the lady $5000 cash right now! She stated that he would not go below $7000, and was rather clipped when I told her I could get a new one just like for $7000 and she sounded like she did not believe that. So we got off the phone.
Later on I decided to call back, on the advice for Mr.Usedcarbuyer in our office, and ask her if I could show her the new trailer for comparison. She stated that another person had called and that the trailer was most likely sold for $7000.
Oh well.....
But Seriously, why are people willing to pay so much? I don't get why trailers are either priced as new, or over priced for even a rust bucket stock trailer. I feel like giving up.

With the house repairs needed (whole house rewire, etc, not elective stuff), the cost of soon to be two kids in college, the need to go to Norway to see relatives (it has been 8 years since the kids and hubby went, and four years for me), aging cars and etc etc. I just get a bit discouraged.
We so want to take Pippi to bigger and better shows, and even dream the impossible (taking Pippi to Paint world show in Texas, although we KNOW this will not happen). I am tired of being dependent on others to give us a ride since it makes me feel like a "user" and a "mooch."

So here is my mantra for the day, and one I should use all the time:

I do not have all that I want,
but I have so much more than I need.
 That does not make me stop the want,
but it does remind me of my greed.

These words came to me before Yule, and it is a lesson I am trying so hard to teach myself. I am fortunate to have a healthy happy family (since Miranda was sick, it is not something we take for granted), money to pay our bills, a roof over our heads and love.

On top of that I have a horse! The luxury of sharing my life with a horse is a gift indeed. I will have to let Pippi remind of the simpler pleasures when I go to the barn tonight. She never let's me down in getting my priorities straight!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A roadtrip? To look at a Trailer? Heck Yeah!!

Yesterday was a great day. Any day spent in the company of Kevin and Donna, Miranda and the Son, is a great day. But when you add in the excitement of the fact that we were going to look at a Horse Trailer, well it was off the hook. (I am so way cool, I know all the cool terms).

Kevin called about the Trailer, which was advertised in our local paper, and spoke to an older lady who sounded a lot like Diane Rheem. She was either 79 or 97, and stated that the trailer was in excellent condition, and was prepped for a paint job. That did not intimidate us, as the price was such that a paint job would still make it worth the drive. Also, without shiny gloss it could be easier to see rust and damage. The lady told Kevin where she was located, and that being near a great family restaurant we decided it would be a great Sunday Drive.

So on Sunday at noon we set off. I called and told Diane (a good a name as any as she sounded look her) and told her we would be there in about 30 minutes. And we would have been if she lived where she said she did on Saturday night. Not finding her road, we called and she told us we were about 15 minutes from her. So we headed down the road about 25 minutes, found her road, and called again for final directions.

Diane lived in a hilltop farm house with two dogs, which she advised us not to pet because "they are liable to chew you up." She was a character; my best kind of person. The Trailer was in a lean to, and after a quick hello we walked over and checked it out. Diane is in a wheelchair, so we did this on our own. And that was good, because we had comments. The straight load Trailer, no name brand to be seen, was Avocado green under the pale grey primer. It was quite rusted, and according to Kevin the undercarriage wouldn't have made it back on the highway. The interior wall, separating the stalls from Tack area (with new indoor/outdoor carpet), had been moved a foot or so. Pippi is only 15hh, but we would be forced to really work on her bend to get her in the back of that trailer. I think the majority of the trailer space was in the tack area. In the lean to was a vat array of farm implements, a model T Ford. !!!!!

We headed back to speak with Diane. She also had a saddle for sale, according to the ad, and we wanted to see it. It was a western saddle, $100, and it was sold. She did have another one though, she said, and we could come in and look at it. So in we went. We entered into a very HOT mud room with an old fashioned wood stove, and from there into a kitchen. Diane was able to maneuvers about very small spaces in her wheelchair really well. The house wasn't that small, but when you are a HOARDER!!! things get kind of tight! OMG!!! Now don't get me wrong, it was not disgusting, it was just filled with stuff. The smell was not fresh by any means, but neither was it gag worthy. But you should have seen the antiques. Some were from the Civil War she said, and I believe her. It was unreal. We saw the saddle, it was gorgeous, but one can't save for a Trailer and buy $200 saddles one does not need. Eye on the ball PEOPLE!! ( the tooling was perfect, I really wanted it, but we do not need it).
Diane spoke to me of times gone past, she used to be a hairdresser, and was an Herb Adviser, and the President of her local Woman's Historical Society. She used to have 15 women in her house for meetings, and "look at it now."  She loved the kids' hair, and remarked about how she "used to have great looking hair, but now I just let it go grey and greasy."

So no Trailer. No Saddle. We ended up driving by a Trailer sales place (since we were so close) that didn't really have anything, and had lunch at Cracker Barrel instead of our planned place. It was a great day.

I wish I could have had more time with Diane. I bet she has some stories...........

Friday, January 6, 2012

In or out?

Wiola over at The Riding Instructor's Diary had a post about whether horses should be left in or out, with a link to an article about that topic. This inspired me to post about how we have set up Pippi's life:

With the generous, and oh so very kind, help of Kevin (BO) Pippi's stall was converted into an in/out stall. During the night she is in her stall, closed up to the world with Chance (a mini horse) across from her. It is only the two of them in this building, as the other mini's are in an attached building. We feed her about 7am, and depending on the outside Temperature we may open her doors at that time. If it is very cold, Miranda will come back later in the morning to let her out. Being in college her schedule luckily allows for that.

Letting her out means that we open the door to the outside. The door swings inward and links it to a gate that blocks her from walking freely around inside. We then open up her stall door, and with that she can go outside into a run and from there into a small field. We have the option of two fields; her daily field, and one that we are trying to keep some grass in and use maybe once a week.

We have found that Pippi chooses to be outside the majority of the time. She will stand in the doorway during heavy and cold rain, but I can not recall her ever being truly inside when we arrive or do a drive by. Pippi used to live a sheltered life, and was scared of the world as a whole. I love that she now ventures around all by herself, and has some autonomy in her day. I think it makes her more of a real horse (if you knew her when we got her you would totally get what I mean), and less fearful.  She is also really healthy, and Strong.

Personally I like this constant turn out option better than just a "few hours a day weather depending." But each horse is different, and a few years ago this would never have worked. I will have to take some pics to show you what a great lay out Kevin made for our Pippi.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Equine Pellet Bedding Revisited

I wrote a post about how we had decided to give Equine Pine a try as our bedding. After a few weeks of using it we were quite happy, and I promised to write again after a few months to let you know if I was still a fan.

After using it now since Mid November, I can tell you that we are still VERY happy with this type of bedding. VERY happy!! I was concerned about what it would be like when temperatures went below freezing, but it still works great. We did strip the stall after about 6-7 weeks, which is half the time of the 3 months stated on the website. But with Pippi in her stall quite a bit, and her stall being quite smallish, I still think that is fantastic!!

Kevin and Donna, who owns the barn and the 11 mini horses that live there with Pippi were also quite impressed with the conditions in Pippi's stall. They were still not hearing from the sawdust guy (they bought a load for double price at a benefit for "Make a Wish" only to get cheated out of the load), and real tired to spending big bucks on shavings (what a yucky mess) and decided to give Equine Pine a try. So about a month or so after we tried it, Kevin ordered a skid of "Equine Pine", only to come home with "Equine Fresh." I was a bit concerned after hearing that this was a inferior product, but we gave it a shot.

Well I was wrong, Equine Fresh
  is just a great as Equine Pine.
A local "know it all" told us that:

 "This kind of bedding is fine until they pee or poop in it." Well actually that is when it is as its best. Soaks up, and sifts like a dream. You end up taking out a lot less than with sawdust, and you strip and start over a whole lot less. Take out soaked, real soaked stuff, but wet stays and fluffs right up when mixed in with dry again. It's MAGIC!!!
"It's fine until they ingest it." Neither Pippi, a 15hh Paint mare, with a huge appetite, or any of the minis have ingested any of it. (and if they have we have not seen any effects of that)  Let's face it, mini horses live to eat. As a matter of fact, Pippi seems a lot less interested in this than she was in sawdust, as she used to snort and sniff that a lot when it was laid fresh.

"It's dusty as hell." Nope - sure isn't. The pellets break down into a sawdust state, but is far less dusty than sawdust. The ammonia smell is also less prevalent with the Pine bedding. Neither Pippi nor the mini's have tried to eat the pellets (sometimes we mix in dry pellets without watering to increase absorption is pee spots).

"Your horses are gonna look the mess with that stuck in their fur." Now, I am getting sick of this guys attitude, Mr.Pessimist, STEP OFF!!! Pippi is as easy to clean as ever, it's winter and muddy outside, so that means not easy at all. But that sure as heck is not the pellets fault. Not sticking to leg fur at all. Not packing hard into hooves, just fine!!

So there you go; we have saved money, gone green and we love the results. Any questions?

ps. I forgot to mention when I first posted this; it is fantastic not to have to deal with keeping the sawdust dry. The bedding comes in sealed bags, much like feed, and so takes up less room, and is less vulnerable to damp conditions. (I would not leave them outside though, as there may be a hole or something) Kevin plans on removing the sawdust pen all together which leaves us more trailer and parking area. No more pulling heavy wet tarps off of sawdust, or chipping at frozen sawdust all winter. Yay again!
In UR FACE, Negative Fella!!