Thursday, October 12, 2017

Might be Hard to Explain: Part 2

Because there's always a Part 2. At least when I'm involved. Or horses. Considering it's me AND horses, I expect a Part 3 to most stories. Luckily, not this one. I think this is just a two part-er.

So I left Truby turned out. She seemed fine. I had things to do. I'd check on her later. We headed over to the ranch after dinner. I hadn't brought my purse or my phone, because why bother? We drove over in the husband's car. Which meant I also didn't have a flashlight, and Tucson is dark at night.

The ranch driveway forms a big U that goes behind the house, and curves around by the gates. The short end of the U points at the gate to the ring/Truby's nighttime pen. Husband stopped pointed at the gate, but basically in the middle of the drive. I asked him if he was going to pull over or just block the driveway. He said he was going to stay in the car, so blocking the drive won't be an issue. Fair enough.

A Truby in the Tucson desert darkness


I grabbed his phone for the flashlight, and gingerly made my way to the feed room to get some Bute made up. I survived the trip (Arizona is full of things that want to kill you, walking around in the dark in sandals is not good times, at least for me!) and gave Truby her Bute mush. It was nice to be out though. The moon shone, the sleepy horse snorts, a soft fuzzy Truby to pet.

After she was done, I locked up, got in the car, and...nothing. Car wouldn't start. Did all the sad, desperate things you try and do when your car won't start. Nothing.

Now, we've lived in Tucson for almost a year, but haven't really made any friends. Met some nice people, yes. But definitely no one you'd call when you need a ride home or a jump start. I'd actually been joking about this with one of my co-workers, and she told me if I ever needed it, I could call her. But...my phone was at home. I had no idea of her number, because who memorizes phone numbers anymore? We just tap them into our phones and forget it.

So we walked next door to where the ranch owners live, and knocked on the door. Luckily we could owner G right before he headed off to catch a movie (Kidnapped, he doesn't recommend it) and he let us borrow one of those solo jumper things.

Nothing.

It was a nice, cool night, and we lived nearby. So we decided just to walk home. We returned the jumper, rolled the car as close to the gate/out of the way as possible and headed home. We did peer hopefully at the vet's parking lot, perhaps if there was an emergency...but no. Everyone was home and healthy and happy. Anyway, we're only about a mile and a half, and we've been walking 1.5-2.25 miles almost daily. No sweat. We got home and decided to deal with it in the morning.

We started off by buying our own auto jumper. I've owned one before, and it's AMAZING. Especially for someone that has a tendency to leave their headlights on. Oops. I got two jumps out of mine before it stopped holding a charge, but it was totally worth the $40 I paid for it. So we bought one, charged it up, and headed over to the ranch. Truby got some more Bute and snuggles, and we tried jumping the car.

Nothing.

We went BACK home and decided to call a tow truck. G just happened to call before we did, and he told us he wanted to try jumping it off his truck. It might work since it had way more juice than the solo jumpers. No problem, never hurts to try.

how I spent my day off

I'm sure you know where this is going. Nowhere. We tried it all and husband's car is just dead. We called our insurance, and the sent a tow truck over. He got there in about an hour, and my husband worked on some schoolwork, and I wandered around petting ponies and talking to my dad back home in Maryland. It also gave us a chance to review the damage from Truby's "You won't like me when I'm scared" Incredible Pony Hulk experience. Luckily G had the same reaction I did, just laughed it off. No big deal, no one hurt, an easy repair, man aren't horses something?



She's definitely something!



watching the tow truck pull up



Already bored with watching the tow

To continue our All's Well That Ends Well theme, the tow was covered 100% by our insurance, and we were even able to pick up the car the same day. The battery was dead. 3 volts left and they said nothing was gonna bring that back to life. They checked out everything else, and it was fine, literally just the battery. 

So there you go. A wild "weekend" for us. Everything worked out in the end, and everyone, including the car is just fine today! Let's see how long this lasts...

Planning shenanigans. I know it!



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

This Might be Hard to Explain

Today is my day (mostly) off. I have something planned for the afternoon, but the morning was free, all for me to enjoy. I slept in a little bit, did some lounging around, did some housework, did a little yoga. I had enough time to go visit Truby. My plan was to deep condition her tail, give her a good grooming, and go for a short bareback ride.

Today's Truby Time

The weather is gorgeous today! It's sunny and warm, but (finally) not TOO warm. And there's a nice breeze too. A cool breeze. It's lovely, and almost feels like autumn. Almost. I had Truby tied to the hitching rail, it was a lovely morning, spending time with a lovely horse. 

And then....who knows what happened, but Truby threw herself backward while I was brushing her side. I immediately began with the 'whoa, steady, easy Truby, whoa...' routine that you learn to do so you can calm spooky horses. But instead of hitting the end of the rope and stopping, Truby kept pulling back...and then...

50 feet down the driveway...


Aaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!

Of course I didn't just whip out my phone to take pictures while she was freaking out. She had stopped and was standing. As I approached her, I figured I might as well grab a pic. Then Truby remembered that WTF IS GOING ON??? and starting running back again. 

I finally got to Truby. She had pulled SO HARD the knots on her rope halter got pulled overtight and stretched it out so much it slipped off her head and was just around her neck. I untied the rope from the hitching rail (knot slipped right out) and reset the halter. Truby was being to calm down, and as I stroked her neck and rubbed her forehead, I thought

How am I going to explain this to the ranch owner??????




So I texted over a picture and tried to explain what happened



I *think* Tru pulled slightly and the top weld gave away
That startled her and she starting pulling...


VERY SUSPICIOUS HOLE
She dragged the concrete right out of the ground


I managed to drag it back to where it started. That sucker
is heavy!

The only reply I got was that the ranch owner was glad neither of us were hurt. I think Truby will be sore, but she seemed to be okay otherwise. Ranch owners are really nice, understanding people, so I'm sure it will be okay, and they know it was just an accident, and hopefully not kick us out! Fingers crossed!
The pole parts were fairly light weight, but the concrete setting was HEAVY. I would say at least 75-100 pounds. I had a great time dragging it back in place! I left a deep gouge in the driveway. There's maybe one or two divots from where Truby pulled it down the drive - she's strong - especially when panicked! 

Rhett was sooo concerned the shenanigans outside his pasture,
can you tell?


Looking innocent


I decided to give her some Bute
It made her angry




So sweet and innocent!

Horses! I just don't even. At least no one was hurt? Sigh.




Thursday, October 5, 2017

I have a problem



99 problems and a clean horse will never be one

No. Well, I mean yes. In addition to the chronically dirty desert pony problem, I have other problems. *gasp* I know, you're shocked. My problem is that while I'm pretty good at setting goals...I am terrible at follow through.

Then I discovered a trick. If I sign up for an event or contest, and set my goal around that, I'm about 98 million times more likely to follow through. 

I love you, lazy person. 
Because you're not too lazy to bring me cookies. 

Even though it's October, it's still quite hot in Tucson (have you heard? It gets hot here.) It's been in the upper 90s during the day, although it's getting quite chilly (50s) at night. Btw, my body DOES NOT APPROVE. It should be cold, or it should be hot, but it should not be both every day. 

So, it's pretty hot, which makes it hard for me to do much outside during the day. It's hard to be motivated to ride. Too hot. Too sunny. Will melt. 

Late evening is glorious though

Enter good ol' Pony'tude. I've been following her blog for years, and last week she announced the 2Pointober contest. Basically, you time yourself riding in 2 point (jumping position) and see how much you can improve over the month. While I've barely ridden all summer, there's a "most improved" category, so hope for a prize! Yesterday I did my baseline time, and it was short, but that only gives me room to improve! 

I'm quite excited about this. It gives me the motivation to make a riding plan, and stick to it. It will also help my other goal I'm working towards, which is a 5k. Because I'm a moron. 

Truby is less excited, and looks how my thighs feel today.

In a more perfect world, I would be able to set goals, and follow through based on the strength of own self, rather than requiring the approval of other people (ie contests) to follow through. But, not a perfect world. At least I have something that works! 


More cookies. Less riding. Less baths. Tao of Truby. 







Wednesday, September 27, 2017

#Mareglare

Truby is usually a pretty sweet and easygoing horse. She's been a generally good natured and happy horse her entire life, with maybe the exception of being 4. She was a bitchy teenager at 4! She tends to be more of a "people horse" than a "horse horse", but even so, she usually gets along with everyone and don't fuss or fight. Much.

Hi! I'm Truby, let's be FRIENDS!!!



Right now she's out with a laid back OTTB named Cherry. Truby loves Cherry, and they're the very best friends. Briefly a third horse was in with them, and Truby was happy to be Second-in-Command to Captain Cherry, as they played Mean Girls to the new horse. (Cherry: You can't sit with US. Go sit in the corner!"Truby: YEAH, go sit in the corner!) 

Sharing midday hay. They took turns eating from the tub. It was cute.

But...Truby Does Not like to share two things: my attention, and treats. Cookie Person and Cookies are 100% Truby Only. Truby is also super NOT imtimidating, even when she puts her ears back and makes ugly faces. It's like a tiny kitten hissing. It's just hard to take seriously. 


Basically Truby being "mean"



So yesterday I was visiting the barn, and groomed Truby loose under the trees, and then went for a little bareback ride. Washed her tail afterwards, and loved on her a bit. I returned her to her turnout area with BFF Cherry and put my stuff away. I grabbed the last two carrots from the fridge, and went back out to give each mare a carrot. They both enjoyed them (of course). And then the carrots were all gone. No more carrots. No more cookies. All gone. So Truby started getting bitchy about imaginary carrots. Potential carrots. Carrots that could be. 

Cookies. Are...gone?


Truby: MY CARROTS
Cherry: I love you, friend. I just like being with you.

Truby: GET AWAY FROM MY CARROTS!
Cherry: I like hanging out with you, my friend!


Truby: SHE'S STEALING MY CARROTS (that don't exist)
Cherry: Yay, friends! Let's remember eating yummy treats. I like carrots.


Truby: GET AWAY FROM MY CARROTS, IF I HAD ANY RIGHT NOW!
Cherry: I don't have a carrot either, let's look for some together!

Cherry: Truby is my friend and I love her. I love carrots too. Have any more?
No? Okay. I still like you.


Cherry: *wistfully licks her lips, remembering carrots*

It really is hard to be afraid or intimidated by a Truby, even when she's angry. Her MARE GLARE-EARS FLAT only makes me laugh. People used to horses just roll their eyes. And the other horses she lives with? Not impressed. At all. Ever. Cherry is especially unconcerned, it's kinda like when your best friend is stressed about something and freaking out and you're kinda just like, "it's ok, you can say whatever, I know you're just worried about your job. No biggie. Let's go get ice cream."


No more carrots? I guess there's no reason to be cute.
Ever. Again.

Carrots. Srs Bsns is Trubyland. Guess I'd better restock the fridge!





Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Beautiful Morning

You know it's going to be a wonderful day when you drive up to the barn, see your horse is grazing by the road, roll down your window and yell "Hi!", and they throw up their head, whinny, and start walking over to you.

All the feels



"...is anyone else coming?"
(slightly less feels)

This was a couple of weeks ago, the weather was a bit cooler (upper 90's instead of in the 100s. SO COOL, am I right?!) I decided to swing by the barn on my day off, and just brush Truby and love on her some. I mean, that IS the best way to start the day! When I saw her in the front pasture I figured I would take my grooming kit out there and groom her under the trees and enjoy the day.

I heard there might be snacks?


As luck would have it, I ran into the barn owner by the tack room, and finally got to meet the owner of the new mare that now lives with Truby. We chit chatted for a few minutes, and I saw Truby and her new friend, Cherry, walk up to the ring and wait for us all to stop talking and do something interesting, like feed them. I was disappointed, but Cherry's owner, Jenna, was really nice and we had to do that thing where you swap the life story of your horse and how you got them and how you ended up boarding here and is it ok to give treats and all that good stuff. This barn is so different from our last barn, which was self care, and you knew everyone and saw them basically every day. Here I might not run into anyone for weeks. It's really nice to have privacy and feel like the place is yours and yours alone, and not have to share the ring or the wash rack, etc. But it can be a little lonely sometimes. 

never  lonely with this one

By the time we finished chatting, Truby and Cherry had given up on snacks, and wandered back out front to graze. Score! I grabbed my grooming tote and headed out. It was so peaceful, under the hot Arizona sun, shaded by the prickly Arizona trees, currying and brushing my favorite pretty princess until she shone. It was a bit hard to leave that day. The light breeze through the trees tossed an endless pattern of light and shadow on the ground. The quiet munch munch munch and soft snort of the grazing mares. The occasional  truck driving down the gravelly road. Leaning against the warm solidness of a relaxed and happy horse. The absolute lack of needing to do anything at all. Amazing that no matter where you go in life, it seems you can always find those moments with horses. 

especially with this one around <3



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Truby's Field of Screams

Last week my husband had his longtime friend from Maryland come visit. Since his friend had never been to the Grand Canyon, they decided to head up there for the weekend, and come home around dinnertime Saturday.

Right before I went out to say hi to Truby, I got a text saying the Painted Desert was really awesome and they wouldn't be home until much later. It was a beautiful evening, almost cool out. I decided to go for a little bareback ride in the front field since I unexpectedly had the time.

Arizona has great sunsets


One of the things I absolutely love about Truby is that she's a very comfy horse to ride bareback. It's like sitting on a chair that's just right. She's smooth, and soft, and padded in just the right way. Since we're both rather lazy, we like to go for little bareback rides with just a sidepull (bitless bridle). We don't do anything fancy, but it's wonderful to just go for a stroll and enjoy being with each other.


turns out, I don't have a nice pic of her in a sidepull


We went into the front, and as I patted her back I noticed how sleek and shiny her coat is. Ah well, just going for a walk, no worries, I thought as I hopped on. And by "hopped", I of course mean used a 3 step dressage queen mounting block! Even thought Truby is just about 15 hands, I am not in any way graceful or athletic, and far too heavy to be throwing myself around. So we DQ it proudly.

yay! DQs! What's that? Is it cookies?


Our ride was lovely. We strolled around the trees. We looked at the Catalina Mountains. we walked along the fence line, and up and down the tiny little rolls in the pasture. Then we stopped to admire the sunset. And we walked off again for another few minutes of bliss.

nice view of the Catalinas


golden sunset


We stopped for a moment, and I heard a quiet "fhhhhhht', and felt Truby tense under me. I went to put my hand on her neck to reassure her, unsure of what the noise was...

ahhhhhhhhh!


And then the sprinklers went off, and Truby exploded! I had forgotten the field got irrigated in the evening. The sprinklers are a couple feet high, and shoot water out in alternating patterns of full circles and semi circles. And Truby does not like them. Truby does not like the sprinkles with a fox, she does not like them in a box, she does not like them a ham, she does not like them, Sam I am!

So there we were, standing in the middle of  where THREE sprinklers overlap. Me with loose reins and bareback, Truby in a panic, every muscle tense. She leaped up and forward a bit, trying to run, trying to rear, maybe to spin...she couldn't quite figure out where to go, but she was ready to get there! I remember sliding back, and thinking "oh shit, I'm gonna fall off!". I fought to keep myself on, and to stop Truby. I remember looking for a place so I could fall safely. Not seeing anything, I just hauled on those reins (sorry, Tru!!) and gripped with my legs. I finally got her stopped, and looked for a place to jump off. We were in front of the tall metal pole fence, so not there. The ground on either side was uneven. I feared that if I leapt off, I wouldn't stay on my feet. With Truby's panic, she could easily trample me if I lost my footing.

Truby does not approve of sprinklers


As I looked, one of the sprinklers to our right changed direction and splattered Truby on the bum! Cue the rodeo ride again. This time I was sitting better and more prepared, but really not wanting to play buckin' broncs! Luckily I was able to steady her much faster, and found a flat place to land. I jumped off quickly, stayed on my feet, and rushed to give Truby all the hugs, pats, and comfort she needed.

water attack!


With me safely on the ground, Truby calmed quickly, but was still pretty unhappy. For several minutes I gave her pats, and hugs, lots of apologies and laughter. Poor Truby! What a terrible thing to interrupt our ride! And to add insult to injury, I had to walk her back through allllll the sprinklers to get back to her night pen.

everything is better with noms



Happily Truby recovered fairly quickly and completely once back in the safety of her nighttime pen and away from the sprinklers. I stayed with her while the sun set. The next afternoon she was 100% happy Truby. Perhaps now I'll  remember not to ride up front in the evenings?

unlikely

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Desert Dirty



Truby is no stranger to being dirty. Actually, she loves it. A good roll in the muddiest or dustiest spot after breakfast? Yes, please! Roll after a bath? Of course! Roll in your stall after a pre-show bath and braiding? Let's not even talk about that one!


Sometimes I take pictures just to prove that she can be clean!


So while I may like to pretend Truby is a gleaming horse of the palest silver, the reality is...well, a bit different.

Dirty

Dirty


SO dirty


Yup. Pony likes to get dirty! In fact, the day she arrived at her current farm, she was down in about 10 minutes. She said hi, screamed at everyone, ate a cookie, and then rolled.

video



 It seems most horses out here live in either a traditional barn stall with a small run attached, or a "mare motel", a pipe fence enclosure about the same size as a regular stall and run. The "stall" part is shaded and the "run" part is open. 



And some horses live in various size pens, anywhere from slightly-larger-than-your-average-stall to round pen or even larger sizes. But mostly I see some variation on the mare motel being the most popular. It's a far cry from the large grassy turnouts on the East Coast that we're used to! In fact, when Truby first moved to Tucson, she stayed in a mare motel at a very nice ranch. As a special feature, they had GRASS TURNOUTS. Twice a week (or more, if you paid $$$) the horses went out for a couple hours. Not the 24/7 field board on 20 acres Truby enjoyed in Maryland. Or the out-during-the-day, in-at-night we had in Pennsylvania. But something. And a luxury out here in the desert.

While Tucson isn't the barren desert of cartoons, natural ground is basically dirt/sand/rock. Grass has to be irrigated and pampered. Open space is usually covered with various types of cacti, scrubby brush, gnarly trees, and desert dirt. And trust me, everything is pokey. Even the trees.  (Ouch.) So general turnout areas are (a) loose dirt/sand or (b) a minefield of sharp pickle-y stuff. It may seem weird, but the stall/run option is probably the best (and safest) way to keep horses out here.

So. Let's get to the point. Want to know my very favorite thing about where Truby lives? 

Just up from - you guessed it - rolling!

Actually, this is "just up". Graceful, isn't she?

She lives out 24/7. And during the day, she has access to a very nice, fairly large, pasture. With grass. And trees. In fact, it's nicely shaded, so even during the sunniest Arizona day, her grazing area is cool (well, relatively) and shady. It's not lush, emerald green grass, but it's grass! The grassy area connects to the riding ring. It's basic desert dirt. Truby and her buddies are fed in the ring, and spend the night there. It shares a fence with another pasture, so the neighboring boarders can talk, or squeal and fight, over the fence if they like. And there's some big trees that provide shade during the day. It's a pretty nice, and spacious, place for her to live. Of course, this provides Truby with ample choices on when, where, and how to get dirty! As a bonus, if we have a heavy rain, like the one a few weeks ago, the ring puddles up nicely. Lots of mud to play in! My little gray horse, always spoiled for choice. 


Morning after her first Monsoon


Yeah, someone had fun!




So, as you can imagine, between Truby's love for rolling, living in a desert, and just being a light colored horse, we do A LOT of brushing. And currying. And brushing. And more currying. 


video

She loves it though. I love spending time with her. She likes me spending time with her. And she does clean up nice, doesn't she?

No shampoo, no water, just a lot of brushing.






Might be Hard to Explain: Part 2

Because there's always a Part 2. At least when I'm involved. Or horses. Considering it's me AND horses, I expect a Part 3 to mos...