Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Countdown to Leche: The Trailer Drama T-3 Days

My checklist has progressed 

✅ Trailer serviced, all done and picked up and mechanic approved to go to Cali

✅ Pack trailer: Spare halters, multiple lunge lines, spare lead ropes plus what's already with her in CA. First Aid kit, lots of buckets.

✅ Book a place to stay in California

✅ Buy grain for Leche: I have a bin for grain storage that will go on the shelf, reusable ziploc bags to hold the grain, just need to figure out portion sizes for her and bring some of her old grain with me to transition her

🔲 New board contract signed

🔲 Make feed instruction sign for grain room

🔲 Pack clothes for trip: we did do a ton of laundry over the weekend so this should be easy enough

If you recall, I had mentioned that there was drama involved with dropping my trailer off for servicing. The weekend prior to my scheduled drop off date at the dealership, a friend borrowed the truck and it had a dead battery. The truck was jumped and they proceeded with their dump run with minimal fuss and the truck was returned and parked. 

I intended to drop my trailer off the night before so I didn't delay the start of my work day, except when I went to start my truck, that evening, it wouldn't start. It wouldn't even try to turn over. Since both of our other vehicles are electric, we had to pull out the marine battery I use for camping and my CPAP and jump the truck off of that battery. It turned on and the engine purred just fine. I hooked up and headed to the dealership with the trailer.

Once there, I discovered that they close off their lot. So while they may say drop off after hours is okay, there wasn't a good place to put my trailer that wasn't painfully obvious to someone who might want to take it. I agonized about putting it in the back of their spare lot but ultimately decided I didn't' want to leave it overnight in an open lot. 

All of this was occurring on February 7, which just so happened to be the 20th anniversary of when Claire and I started dating. 

So I headed back home, a little discouraged and wondering how long it was going to take to get the truck running the next morning and worried that I wouldn't get the trailer serviced in time. I parked everything, turned the truck off and prayed that the battery was holding a charge after the driving I had done.

Nope. Immediately dead.

So Claire and I went on a late night drive to AutoZone to purchase a battery and we spent the evening slowly figuring out how to remove the hold battery (and shearing a bolt in the process) and install the new battery. 

The new battery was, thankfully, the solution. When Claire looked up life expectancy of truck batteries we were looooong past end of life for my truck, so it's honestly surprising there weren't issues sooner.  
The trailer was in good condition according to the mechanic, all electrical was good, bearings on both the main tires and spare were great. It's peace of mind.
And then I had far too much seafood at an after work dinner with colleagues. 
And there were flowers in early February!

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Leche Preparations

 In no particular order, here's my to-do list for preparation for Leche's arrival.

✅ Vet check in California to acquire a Health Certificate for travel

✅ Strangles vaccine at the request of my barn owner

✅ Ulcergard for Leche to minimize risk of colic from travel stress

✅ Schedule trailer for servicing 

✅ Get Leche her own set of brushes

Haas curry and stiff brush

Brushes tote and some cactus cloth

✅ Pony club approved halter (breakaway, from Two Horse Tack)

✅ Biothane bridle (from Two Horse Tack)

There's also matching reins

✅ Organize feed shed to make room for Leche's feed

Plenty of room to add in things for Leche and the lower right container is empty

✅ Acquire lunging cavesson for baby training

The leather is super nice and it has bit hangers

🔲 Trailer serviced: In progress! Trailer has been dropped off with *drama*

🔲 New board contract signed

🔲 Pack trailer

🔲 Pack clothes for trip

🔲 Book a place to stay in California

🔲 Buy grain for Leche

Monday, February 5, 2024

Vet Recheck and T-18 days!

Our vet was running a dental special for February so the whole barn (minus a single horse) hopped onto that deal. We also all added in a lameness recheck. 

Miss Henny, I will miss her, she moves to a barn closer to her mom in a week.

Gwyn has doubts about the new vet tech
We started with a lameness evaluation to see how she's getting on with the rehab work I've been doing. I was complimented on the changes to her topline and got clearance to start adding trot work back into Gwyn's routine 5 minutes at a time. 

Gwyn is about 80% sound and that may be the best we get as a recovery. She's got a twist on the left hind that we both think is more than postural but ends up causing weakness leading to injury. With Chriss and I getting Gwyn to work much better through her back we're correcting for some of that poor mechanical movement but there will always be a risk of injury because of it. 

I'm just happy to have reached the end of a tunnel with light to see. This injury was probably the best thing that has happened to my riding, with it forcing me and Gwyn to really drill into the basics and stay at a walk to perfect things. And that will help me be all the better for Leche. 
But she loves Vet Claire

Interfering with spring shots cause she wants cookies

Mouth looked great

Her teeth were unremarkable in that we had perfect timing for the float. No excessive hooks or wear, just easily correctable items to keep her at her best. 

I showed her pictures of Leche and we discussed nutrition options and the best way to keep her happy and colic free after the stress of traveling. 

This resulted in me putting in an order for ulcergard for the trip to dose the day before, day of, and two days afterward. The trip is getting closer and I'm so excited!

Sunday, February 4, 2024

January 2024 in Review


Almost immediately after my NYD trail ride I got hit with something that wasn't Covid and turned into Pneumonia complete with fever, awful body aches and just general exhaustion. I managed a total of 7 rides, several of which were lessons with Chriss. We're working on refining how I use my aids now that I've been doing less of my old, bad habits. Gwyn is traveling straighter, more often and really starting to have longer stretches where she's lifting through her back and seeking contact. My goal now is to offer a centered place for her to find, so that I'm not carrying her. 

The biggest thing I've identified is a fairly significant twist that leads me to always have my left shoulder, hand and hip too far back. When I only have time for a short ride, I tend to spend the time just focused on body positioning to break my muscle memory. 

I've also worked on breaking that habit by riding on the buckle and turning Gwyn off of seat only. I can't turn her effectively unless I really have balanced seat bones and untwisted hips/shoulders. I also have to remember to not look more than two or three steps ahead of Gwyn (another bad habit that I picked up from the very broad instruction of "look where you're going" where I basically end up looking all the way across the arena. 

I just want to brag at how much her body posture has changed. WAY less underneck in use!

Leche Countdown T-19 days!

I have dates set to travel to California to pick her up! She's been getting A+ on her report card from WSS. She's a smart, sensitive kid who is blossoming within the training program. I'm really excited to get to meet her. I've been slowly putting together a few essentials for her and will probably discuss that once it's all assembled. 

First time wearing a saddle! She didn't like it at the canter and was bucking, which was ADORABLE.

And her first time wearing a bridle!

Saturday, February 3, 2024

New Years Day 2024 Trail Ride

Now that it's already February, I probably should get this out of drafts...
I like to start each new year with at minimum, a ride, preferably a trail ride. Last year was Bridle Trails with Cortney and friends. This year, Lake Washington Saddle Club was hosting an event at the park complete with a raffle for a state park pass for the year, coffee, hot chocolate and carrots. 
Mandy had asked if anyone was going and since I'm still vet approved to go to Bridle Trails, that had been my plan anyway, so I was more than happy to offer a ride to her!
Gwyn, apparently, had other plans when I arrived. To be fair, I had pulled in and then done nothing to come and get her and I think she thought I must have forgotten about her. 

The sassiness didn't last long and before long we were on the road to the park! It was packed full of trailers and they had park rangers assisting with fitting everyone in and making sure that people in just cars didn't take up space a horse trailer could use. 

We checked in with the Lake Washington Saddle Club folks. They were tracking who made the loop in the park for the raffle.
They also had hot chocolate and coffee for participants! We got some lovely compliments on our ponies and then we were off on the trail!
I took advantage of both the hot chocolate AND the coffee and made a mocha, which was lovely. Gwyn was relaxed and happy and it was easy enough to be on a one handed loose rein while we walked the trails.

Going in the holographic bridle may become a thing for the New Year.

Finn was on his best behavior and Gwyn was a great babysitter for him. 

Finn was tired by the time we finished while Gwyn was still raring to go. 
I did bring a lead rope just in case Finn needed help. He didn't! Good boy!