Thursday, July 19, 2018

An evening toodle

The weather, while we need rain, hasn't been as bloody hot lately and it makes for some really pleasant evenings. And since it's been dry, the mosquitoes don't even seem as bad. Last night I decided that after a ridiculously busy day at work, I needed a bareback toodle. We could work on right leg and rein sensitivity and responsiveness without much pressure of a full workout. 

Hazel came to the barn with me and insisted on leading Gwyn up to the arena. I have a photo of Gwyn following Kaylee around like a puppy at this same age and this mare once again fills my heart with how precious and priceless she is. She kept her head low and followed that toddler with carefully placed feet. The only thing I need to do is show Hazel how to hold the lead line so Gwyn won't step on it. That was our only snafu, but even Gwyn started self correcting for getting too close and ground tying herself accidentally (lead rope was on the halter, not the bit, I know it's hard to tell)

Hazel has her own helmet, of course, and wants to put it on as soon as mine is on my head. She's also finally starting to show an interest in riding Gwyn, though not on her own. She likes riding with me. Since I had the bareback pad I think it was more comfortable for her too. She also likes holding the reins.





She chatters the whole time she's up there.

I worked on keeping Gwyn straight between me without using the arena edge and then also responsiveness to leg aids and neck reining as necessary. I didn't have my whip with me, and we didn't work on anything more than a walk.

As a random side note, I can't find my rainbow crop OR my black dressage whip and I have no idea where they might be.

Revelations I made, which might sound silly that I'm only figuring this out now, but ah well, that's why I'm taking lessons right?

Constant leg pressure aid was less effective than bumping her with a tap-tap-tap AND ALSO FUCKING EASIER ON MY LEG. Jesus. Why didn't I try that sooner? I feel like it's a super obvious thing and why didn't I do it, I have no idea. I feel silly. But there it is. I think I've been imagining my right leg as needing to be a wall or barrier which is making me hold contact and pressure, and that's probably wrong. So my mental approach to this needs to change. I'm going to experiment with this later when I can ride without a 2 year old in front of me.

Our selfie game is strong. I'm feeling really good about myself right now too with how everything is going health wise
So then I put kids to bed and promptly did a hip-opener yoga sequence and my legs are screaming at me WHY DO YOU HATE US!?? But I had cleaned my bedroom, like super clean and I now have a little yoga nook beside my bed that's just lovely and relaxing to be in.
The embarrassing before

The very zen after

And then I got crappy sleep because Hazel didn't sleep through the night like usual and woke up only to hear brays. Which is unusual. I figured someone went back to the barn and Saffron was calling to Gwyn and dismissed it.

Then I heard Gwyn whinny. And she doesn't really whinny unless she sees me at dinner time or unless someone escaped.

...


I'm sure that grass was nice and tasty but one of these things doesn't belong
On the plus side, my coworkers were highly amused by my text of "Running late, donkey escaped" As it turned out, I forgot to latch a stall door last night and despite putting both boards up on the door, Saffron is adept at lifting the bottom board just enough to slide under and then it settles back into place. So that was a great start to my morning,

Then, I stopped at the post office because I had a package from Belgium that needed to be signed for and for the life of me I couldn't remember what I was expecting from overseas.

I finally saw the box. It's the god damn megasus horse runners.


You know. That arrived after I caved and put shoes on Gwyn.



Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Dressage Lesson! Recap so I'll remember my notes

I had my second dressage lesson today. I happily skipped out of work early, which made my drive SO much nicer to get home, picked up grain since I was low, and got home and got ready. I'd already packed the trailer the night before. The only thing I needed to load was the horse. I was super nervous, for some reason. I'm not sure why. Gwyn loaded well and we were off!

She was really calm at the farm and we were greeted enthusiastically by the GP horse who was still coming off his rehab. All the horses were in (at 4:15pm) but he has a window out and lords over his domain. I groomed and tacked up at the trailer, rather than in the cross ties with all the new horses. The weather was SUPER NICE.  Low 80s and not humid with a breeze.

On our way to the lesson

We started in the outdoor arena with lots of bending to get her to reach into contact and to work on me making sure that I was supporting her correctly and riding more off my seat and getting into a steady, one-two rhythm. She really wanted to rush around so my first plan of attack was getting into less of a rushed movement and more of a dressage quality trot (lol) that wasn't so much on the forehand. And for that I did a LOT of circles and serpentines focusing on her bend.

Her walk is excellent. She's a loosey goosey horse and that translates to a swinging walk. We just need to contain the loosey goosey-ness in trot and canter.

Trainer wants me working on the inner track, rather than the outer track, even at home, so not right at the rail, which gives me room to move her body and bend. I should keep my whip in my right hand since that's the side she likes to blow through and think about turning her shoulders. It's almost like I want her to neck rein. So if she feels the right rein on her neck she's turning left.  My hands need to be low to block her right shoulder from having an out and I need to have strong right leg as well. My tendency is to raise my right rein and that leaves her shoulder open for her to wiggle through. This holds for all gaits but  especially at the trot and canter. If she ignores those aids in a turn left, tap the shoulder with the whip. I want to create almost a hypersensitivity to moving her off those aids. Think spinning western reiner.

Dressage court with no sides. Challenging for exactly the right reasons!

With the canter, again keeping her on the inner track to give her room to bend and be pushed out, start with a quality trot before asking for canter. Circle to really connect the outside rein. Ask quietly. I ask quietly on the trail and on xcountry, I should be doing the same in the arena. Gwyn is a forward horse already, I don't need to add to the forwardness. And with that, outside leg back and inside leg pushes her out into the outside rein. Tap with the whip. She does MUCH better if I let her use the long side (I notice this at home as well) because she can balance in the straight away instead of feeling like she's falling in (because she is) on a circle.

I feel like I really just need a giant arena to do HUGE canter loops in to practice this. I should see if that exists anywhere. Otherwise I should be practicing asking for the canter on the trail and in fields and making sure I'm getting both leads. She is better balanced when on the right lead and will prefer the right lead even if we're going left. At this point, don't worry about leads when asking, reward for a quiet transition or attempt.

The cantering wore her out though, lol, so we finished by working on some stretchy trot (more serpentines!) back in the outside court. Again, not on the outer track, but the inner, and then if she's not reaching into the contact as I switch bend through the large serpentine, to circle and get that contact back. I really wish my arena at home was big enough for a large three loop serpentine. I can get a figure 8 at best. It's so short :/

Tuckered Goober Pony ready to go home and get a bath.

Anyway, did I mention riding her shoulders and body, not her head? I think I did, but I'm saying it again because I think it's pretty key to getting the feel in my head of how I should be riding her which translates to my body doing it correctly, lol.

And I really need to figure out exercises off horse to strengthen my legs. Are exercise ball squeezes a thing? Is there a resistance ball I can squeeze with my whole leg?



Anyway, I untacked and loaded her quickly. Since we're not far from home I figured I'd get the sweat and grime off there. She got a hosing and then a liniment bath since I think her SI was starting to bother her by the end. Trainer noticed that she was starting to short stride when we moved back out to the deep sand court. So we will need another adjustment and I'll keep up with her adequan doses until the course is finished (only 2 more). Chiro is likely going to become another regular expense until she can build up the muscling to protect that joint.
Hugs for Saffron, bestest donkey ever

Monday, July 16, 2018

WEG 2018

So I am officially a cross country jump judge! When I initially signed up they assigned me to be a crossing marshal which I was excited about ... but it was no fence judging. Then I noticed they were still looking for more judges and I emailed the coordinator about switching. It was officially assigned this morning and as of this afternoon I have my accommodations reserved for the time I'm in Tryon!

While I did qualify for free volunteer housing I opted to pay to be closer. I'll be tent camping (thank you Endurance for making this seem like NBD) at a campground about 10 miles from TIEC. Given that I'm expecting traffic to be a nightmare while I'm there, it really made the '40 miles from TIEC but for free' seem like not such a good deal.

And now I'm browsing prime day deals to see if there's any kind of camping equipment I could snag to make things more comfortable.



But honestly I think I'm all set. I'll be getting food vouchers for the days I work, so that takes care of lunch and I think dinner. Breakfast can be all cold stuff and I can pick up ice and milk once I'm in the area for my cooler and mainly do protein shakes for breakfast. If I do a double shake, I'm good for a long while and could do a late lunch. I've grabbed a clear vinyl backpack for carrying my stuff to my volunteer duties as that will be a security requirement and we'll have lockers to use. I already have water bottles and my cooling towels.

Sleeping wise I have the cot, so I won't be on the ground, I just need to make sure it'll fit into the tents we have. So far I've only used the cot in my truck tent and my trailer. I'll need to test run that first. I'm pretty sure it's going to be ridiculously humid still in NC/SC so sleeping should be fairly comfortable. My tent site has electric (!) so I've picked up a converter and could run a small fan at night for more comfort. It'll be practically luxurious! LOL

Historical averages say to expect mid 80s in the daytime in September in Tryon and mid 60s at night. That'll be perfect. I'm really only worried about rain at this point and keeping my stuff dry.

I can camp fairly independently for endurance rides so this shouldn't be much different. At most I want a pop up tent in the event of extra rain. That's it. If I really need to, I can just sleep in my car. And I found a purple one at Dick's for $50, which is cheaper than anything on amazon.


Gwyn wants you to know that she has doubts about the skills of the tiny human...and her big human's judgment in letting the tiny human make her trot...


Horse Show Budget Breakdown

I really like the idea of sharing this information, just to see regionally what everyone spends and within each discipline as well!

*Memberships I have purchased for 2018

Eventing

Locally I only have one event and it's not rated so prices will reflect that aspect of this show. It's also not a full 3 phase, stadium and cross country are combined. I also don't show rated.
Entry: $85
Stabling: $35/night. I live 15 minutes away so I trailer in for the day and save this cost
Schooling fee: $25 (for the day before, you must have a trainer)
Clean Stall Fee: $40



It's a one day show, which puts me out $85 plus snacks/meals and gas (<$10)
I could join the state Eventing association
Yearly membership is $25/rider and $10/horse.  There is no lifetime option.
As always there's national organizations but since I'm not in a place to show rated, it's not worthwhile to me. For USEA that would be $85/year

Hunt Club



Hunter paces are held twice a year, once in summer and once in fall. Again local.
Gas: <$10
Entry: $45
Unlimited sherry provided lol
Weekend cost of $50




Hunt Trials
Per Class: $30
EMT fee: $5

Endurance

*AERC membership: $85  ($63.75 if you are brand new to the organization) You get mileage tracking and patches as you accumulate miles
*AERC horse membership: Free for the first horse, $20 for each additional equine, mileage tracking for the equine as well
*Great Lakes Distance Riding Membership: $20/yr or $200 lifetime for their year end awards
Upper Midwest Endurance and Competitive Ride Association: $35/year, year end awards
*Green Bean Endurance Program: $15/yr 



These prices are listed in ascending order of ride length from 15 miles, 25, 30 miles, 50, 75 and 100. Since I volunteer one day, I only pay for a day of riding. Some people ride both days!

Brighton:  $35/57/69  for 15, 25 and 30 miles plus 20/night for camping
White River: $25/60/80/130 for 15/25/50 and 100 plus 20/night for camping
Metropark: $30/60/80 for 12, 30 and 50 miles plus $15/night for camping
Oak Leaf: $25/60/80/110 for 15, 30, 50 and 75 miles plus $15/night camping plus $5 processing fee

Gas: up to $120 as these events are about a gas tank away so I fill up before I leave there and before I come home
Food runs me about $100 for the weekend, and if I volunteer I get fed.
Total weekend cost: $320




Dressage

USDF annual membership: $90  Again, I don't join because we're not in a place where it's worthwhile
USDF lifetime horse number: $115   I might do this now just to get Gwyn in the system
Michigan Dressage Association Membership: $51



Show at Rattlewood Farm
Class Fee: $20  - I'd probably do at least 2 classes, up to three, each day, so lets assume 6 classes total
Stall Fee: $90 for two days  -  required, no showing out of trailer allowed, priority given to people who stay for both days
Office Fee: $20
Shavings: $8/bag  I would bring from home at $3/bag
Camping: $15/day
Post Entry Fee: $30
Food: nominal
Gas: <$10

I live 20 minutes away, so I don't have to pay for accommodations. This, however, also makes that $90 stall fee REALLY hard to stomach and honestly is why I haven't really pushed to go to this show series yet. My total cost of showing for a weekend, if I went to both days would total  ~$250

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Forward Movement!

On the poison ivy front at least! I went to see a dermatologist who completely upended my medication regime and I'm already seeing improvement. The main gist is that I quadrupled my zyrtec dose, went back on just a straight high dose of prednisone and I have a completely different antihistamine for night time.

The hives haven't spread since starting this and have started to fade. As such, I've contacted Alison the dressage trainer and set up a lesson for tuesday! I've fixed what I can on my end, now it's time to focus on training.

Before this hives business I was thinking of doing the July dressage show but now I've got my sights set on the August shows. I already know that the July eventing derby is a no-go, but I'm still gung-ho on the hunter pace with Alicia. In a way, it's almost a good thing with this poison ivy and training snafu because it automatically limited my choices for next weekend, which has the dressage show, hunter pace AND eventing derby. Ridiculous.





SmartPak had their rare sale on BoT products so I snagged two saddle pads. I really like them!

They're a good size for my larger saddle with plenty of room for wither clearance while still allowing use of the girth billet. 

Love this view!
 I didn't ride for long. I lunged a bit, but Hazel and Kaylee were in the arena with me and I'm not a fan of running my horse over my children. Hazel rode with me for a portion of the ride so we just toodled around while she chatted happily.

For the time I rode solo we worked on moving Gwyn's body laterally. Mainly because I know that's going to be something I want to show that we worked on when I have my lesson tuesday. Gwyn did pretty good! We also did some canter. She was much better to the right than to the left but nothing that was scary or unridable. I just boot her through it and ask again. She was much  more unbalanced to the left as well, which is what I'm attributing to her bucking and hopping. When her feet were moving appropriately, the canter was nice and controlled and rateable.


Each kid has their own helmet! Safety first.... until the 2 year old automatically removes her shoes upon entering the arena, lol

I didn't ride for long. I lunged a bit, but Hazel and Kaylee were in the arena with me and I'm not a fan of running my horse over my children. Hazel rode with me for a portion of the ride so we just toodled around while she chatted happily. This is one of the first times she's actually ridden with me and I'm really excited! For as happy as she is around the animals (and how comfortable they are with one another) she really hasn't wanted to ride. Or would get scared.

Hot mare. It was overcast but humid.
We rode 1.5 miles in about a half hour. Kaylee also got on to ride but quickly got frustrated because she tries to steer and be independent, but Gwyn always returns to me. Pokey ploddy pony she is not. She just wants to make sure Kaylee is safe.

And because I am all about all things purple... I found purple spurs and nunn finner purple rubber spur straps. I am stoked!


Sunday, July 8, 2018

A good morning


Because I know that sometimes there can be many reasons for a behavioral issue under saddle, I really wanted to also rule out my saddle fit as a cause. It's been quite a while since I last had the fit checked and I'm certain Gwyn had changed shape in that time. I contacted a local-ish saddle fitter a couple days ago and fortune had it that she could fit me in early this morning before another appointment she had further out. It worked out perfectly!


She spent time checking the current fit and determined that while the saddle was well balanced on Gwyn's back, her gullet size was too narrow. She showed me on the wither tracings how my current gullet was not quite right (MW from thorowgood) and how the wide would be better, especially after the wool flocking was rebalanced. If I was in the market for a new saddle, she recommended that we move to a hoop tree instead of a V tree. That is good information to file away!

In general she said the wool was in good shape, so that's good! Once the saddle was back together we went into the arena to test it out and see how it felt for both of us.


Gwyn has doubts about this whole thing...

I immediately felt balanced and not tipped around weirdly, so that was good. And Gwyn immediately moved off in the biggest, swinging walk I have ever felt on her. It was AMAZING.  We tried a canter under saddle but with not having ridden in over two weeks and her feeling REALLY good she was a bit too light and was crow hopping happily everywhere. But willingly picking up the canter when cued and not turning to bite at my foot.



So I guess there's that to know. Saddle fit should be checked if she starts exhibiting that behavior. She's such a good mare, I feel terrible that I didn't put two and two together before. But I've got it fixed now and that's what matters.

This is the face of someone who, despite being covered in poison ivy rash, is actually finally feeling better! I had a cooling scarf on my head and another one wrapped around my neck to keep my zipper on my sun shirt from irritating my chest.
So after the fitter left I went back up to the arena and lunged Gwyn, letting her get the wiggles out and she was SO bouncy on the lunge line and moving very uphill. I think it felt good being able to really move her shoulder.

She was sproingy, lol.

We had a great ride in the arena and I decided to go on a brief trail ride to see what the farm fields were like. Last year they were planted with soybeans, but this year it's corn. I didn't particular feel like fighting a wiggly, feeling good horse in a straight line through corn, especially since I really don't want to damage the crops at all (and there isn't a good field edge to stick to). So I got onto the road as soon as possible and headed out to the main street. From there I decided to just see how Gwyn did on the road.

We haven't road ridden here in Michigan because there is definitely some baggage left over from both our pasts. However, Gwyn was feeling good and I was pretty sure I could at least finish the block and get home. And if really necessary I could get off and walk.


Corn
Well, we got spooked by a motorcyclist and she went sideways down a steep bank and refused to turn around to get back to the more quiet road. But she did the bank drop really well! I was impressed. Good mare practicing for cross country! So then I figured since it was early ish on a Sunday that traffic wouldn't be too bad and we could make it. Like I just took it chunks at a time. We had one more incident at the main cross roads when a large box truck just really did not slow down early enough but there was enough space I could be off the road and steer her around to get her back under control.

We had a lookie incident when she saw the horses across the street from daycare and they came running over but I could let her stand in daycare's lawn and watch them and just breath a moment. When I saw another motorcyclist I turned her to face them and she did just fine. At a calm point we crossed the road and went over to the high school and walked around there. I wanted to see if getting to the fields on that side was possible and it seems not, because of a wire fence. Balls. We turned around and headed home.

She got a nice cold bath and I turned on the fans in the stalls. And I stayed relatively not hot, despite the rash I've got. My outfit seemed to work. I'm excited to use these cooling towels for endurance rides. I think they'll work really well for me.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Best Laid Plans...

I had a poison ivy followup on Tuesday morning and realized that the temperature is SUPER ideal for riding at 7am, even if you still have poison ivy and are going back on steroids and have to stay cool. LOLOLOL.

So I decided that I was going to ride today early in the morning. And then, as I was lying in a tent, itching away because the benadryl just wasn't cutting it, and Kaylee wanted me to join her sleeping in the tent..., I realized I could not only ride, but I could go do a conditioning ride at the Polly Ann Trail because Gwyn had new shoes (as of Saturday) and I had reapplied Hoof Armor to her hinds so we could really move out on the rockier parts.

Are you ready to laugh with me? Why do I bother planning stuff?

Anyway, I couldn't sleep in the tent, so at 2 am I gave up and retreated to the house where benadryl finally took me to a restful sleep. Alarms went off at 6:30 and I got up and reapplied my 'STOP ITCHING NOW GODDAMMIT' stuff.

Then, dressed in my icefil tights, with my cool new cooling towels from Amazon, a water bottle and a protein shake, I went to tack Gwyn up.

Side note:  These cooling towels are the fucking bomb. They are lightweight, narrow enough to be used as a scarf and reusable. You just get them wet, wring them out, and 'snap' them in the air and they're instantly cold. They've been a blessing staying cool in our 90F temperatures. $16 for four on Amazon. 
My face is still red and a bit swollen, but this was after getting a steroid shot at the doctor yesterday so it's actually looking way better. Under my boobs? Not so much. 

They come in pretty colors! I got purple, pink, blue and silver/gray. 





My thought was since I didn't have the trailer divider back in yet after getting hay, that I would get her saddle on at home, load her, and then all I'd have to do is stick her trail bridle on and we could go immediately. I caught her easily enough, tacked her up and went to load only to realize that one hoof looked... different.

Damn horse pulled a shoe off last night. It's a BRAND NEW SHOE. She just got them Saturday! We applied SO much stuff that's supposed to help it stick. I grumbled, and then grumbled more because she was being an idiot about loading and decided we were going for at least a ride in the trailer because I would like for trailering already saddled to be a non issue and trailering in the open trailer to also be a non issue.

So I drove to the trail head and had my protein shake while really paranoid that Gwyn was going to jump over my head out the escape door. I'm thinking I should figure out a way to make the chest bumper cross this door too for these moments.


I drove back home, nice and slow because she was loose and I know she likes to ride backwards when she can and fucking expertly parked my trailer first try. Like of course I did. I unloaded Gwyn and she was a sweaty, foamy mess.

So I gave her a pyrethrin shampoo bath and went to scour the pasture for a single shoe.

No luck on that front, sadly. I did text the farrier, and he'll be back out tomorrow to put a shoe back on. Hopefully I can find the one she pulled. It's a clean pull too. No damage to her hoof that I could see so somewhere, in my resting summer pasture that they were JUST PUT OUT ON, is a shoe with all the nails in it. Grrrr. 

Jerk Mare was even wearing bell boots.

We've got two baby deer that come to visit.


Some of my poison ivy. 

The only good news so far, is that despite being on steroids, I am still losing weight. I'm down 23 pounds as of this morning!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Not much to report here. The weather cooled off last weekend which was nice and we got a ton of work done clearing the back fence line, only for me to not realize that there was poison ivy EVERYWHERE.

It's all over my face and arms. I am lopsided, lumpy and above all, itchy in all the places. The doctor recommended that I stay cool and not overheat, and that advice came just as our heat returned. So yay. This lunging session occurred right before the poison ivy breakout. I had a couple spots on my wrist but didn't realize what it was yet.

I did get some new lunging equipment to try out, which is fantastic. I started out with a warm up walk on the hill, with no tension on the side reins. I know hill work will be great for her SI and wanted this to be as low impact as possible.




I found these side reins and I really like the idea of them. You create a 'V' and the contact point on their mouth slides so it's easier to reach into contact and more like hands. I also got a new lunging surcingle and lunge line because my old stuff was falling apart. I also snagged a surcingle pad but in retrospect it made what was already limited in size barely fit Gwyn. Oops.

The side reins I had to look up online how to attach because it was not intuitive. I figured I'd take photos so I could reference them for later.

After hill warmup I moved to the arena and added contact in the side reins. She was tripping a bit in here and on the hill but I think it was because her feet were in terrible shape. Good news, the farrier was out on Saturday and she now has shoes (and bell boots). I'm hoping she'll be moving better. And I'm hoping to get back to riding once this damn rash dies down. One more day of prednisone... These videos are after two doses of adequan. I still need to do this week's dose for her. Probably tomorrow.







That's all, not much to report except for a couple of product review videos I made for the hell of it but won't put in this post.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Seeing improvment?

On Sunday I gave Gwyn her first dose of Adequan and then it was just so bloody hot (and my Mom was here) that I didn't do much with Gwyn, but I felt better by telling myself that I was giving Gwyn some time off after her chiro adjustment and letting the adequan start its work.

Last night I went out to lunge. I've got the creeping crud but the weather has been SO NICE that I made myself go. It'll be hot again soon. As per usual, despite feeling like I could fall over and sleep once I was actually out and grooming and lunging I perked up quite a bit. I just grabbed my surcingle (need a new one) and my side reins (also falling apart) and switched out the sidepull for a baucher on my biothane bridle. 


Is that a more balanced canter I spy?!

Almost immediately I noticed a difference. Gwyn was offering the canter very willingly and was much steadier and more balanced than she's been. There was clear separation and push in her hind feet placement and no bunny hopping until she sassed me and got too rushed and off balance. I was so paranoid watching the quality of her gaits.


I also had two trot poles but I need to finesse the distance. They were set up and then my 5 year old decided that rearranging my arena was totally an activity she should do while I was otherwise occupied. Oh kids.

I didn't want to overwork her on the 20m circle so we did a little bit and then I took off the surcingle and side reins, reattached the regular reins and hopped on bareback to walk her and cool her out. I worked more on the lateral work, side pass, haunches in, shoulder in and she was great. I'm really loving how I can swing her body around right now. That dressage lesson was just wall breaking with whatever obstacle was in my head in how to achieve it.

"I smell your boot"

Good mare
 After riding I hosed her off and fly sprayed her just in time for Eric to come out with Hazel. He wanted to finish moving the hay out of the trailer so that's what we did (because the weather was super conducive to moving bales of hay)
"Okay tiny human, this is how to walk into the trailer"

So hard to see because the bushes and fence are in the way, but we caught sight of a Doe and two fawns! 


 Once all the hay was gone, Saffron slowly made her way into the trailer to snatch up the leftovers. The last time she was on this trailer was when I brought her home and I just sat and watched her. I really want her to be able to load calmly and have good associations with the trailer so this was excellent! The one thing I read that I feel is really important about donkeys is that they remember. They've got an iron trap of a mind and if you've got a repeat bad association you're pretty much screwed with them ever thinking otherwise about a situation.

I also didn't want to leave them alone with the fence open like this. They are escape artists, these two!

Have a silly video of Saffron hanging out with me and Saffron.