Unfortunately, the skies have opened once again and the nearly dry ground is once again, excessively saturated, which means no riding today. I do have some field trips planned for the near future, but for now, a blog hop to kill the time as the rain drizzles and drips off my tin roof - We'll start with something easy before getting into the nitty-gritty.
Q1: What hobbies do you have outside of riding?
Life on a farm is very busy, and I work full time and I am also taking some courses part time as well. In addition to riding, we raise chickens for eggs and meat, grow and harvest our own hay and crops. We also tend a large garden and I am planning on attending some local Farmers Markets in the near future to sell eggs and some things from our garden!
Q2: What is your boarding situation? Are you happy with it?
I have a 160 acre farm, but sadly given the climate it is really only conducive to seasonal riding. Being in Northern Alberta, our winters average 7 months per the year. Unless I win the lottery or a scam e-mail finally comes true, I am therefor forced to board elsewhere in the winter if I wish to ride. The local boarding facility is also set up for haul-ins, but I am 20 minutes from town and I hate hauling a trailer on icy roads. In addition, it's hard on the horses to get heated up in a heated indoor, go outdoors and travel down the road in the frigid temperatures. Finally, I also struggle with the intermittent riding that occurs when hauling in - I like to ride relatively consistently, or not at all. I don't like hopping on once every month or so, so it really isn't an effective use of my time or money. As a result, I have decided to board at the in town for at least the majority of the winter.
My farm has a large outdoor arena, and my horses live on pasture. My horses are mashed daily, and on hay in the winter as well. Hay feeding usually ranges from late October to late May. The boarding facility has a heated indoor, and indoor options however Sierra will be on outdoor communal board during her stay, where she will be on a round bale and mashed on days that I ride. Personally, I really don't like boarding at the indoor, but my hands are tied if I want to ride consistently.
Q3: What's on your horsey-related wish list?
Apart from the saddle I'm in the process of buying, I would love a white Anky pad for clinics and shows, if Sierra and I ever get our poop together enough to actually get competitive (aside from going places to get experience, like we're doing now).
Q4: What is your most expensive horsey-related item?
Definitely my horse trailer. My trailer is a 3H 2009 WB size Cimarron Norstar LX Gooseneck. Second place will be my new Dressage Saddle, which I'm in the process of ordering.
Q5: What was the hardest horsey-related decision you've had to make lately?
Selling Kidd, hands down. It's so weird to me to not see his cute spotty bum out in my field, and I waffled with the idea of it for a long time before finally reaching my decision. It was very difficult, but alas I know it was the right decision.
Q6: What's something you feel you can't live without in your routine?
This is a tough one to narrow down to a specific item, but I love me some Elite Three feed, and EcoLicious Grooming Products. I've had fantastic results with Elite Three in terms of condition, though I'm the first to say I haven't noticed any of the alleged side effects such as "anti-anxiety", etc. Regardless, I love how my horses look and feel on it, and therefor, I love it nonetheless. In addition, I have never used an EcoLicious grooming product I haven't absolutely loved. Last, but certainly not least, I absolutely love Draw It Out Liniment. I literally have several bottles open at any given time, and it's my go-to for everything.
Q7: What's on your horsey-related calendar for the rest of the summer?
I have a few field trips planned to the local indoor for some schooling opportunities - blog posts to come!
Q8: What is one thing you would willingly change about your horse?
If I could change anything about Sierra, it would be how easily she becomes tense and she's really hard to get back in hand once she loses her noodle.
Q9: What is something you most want to improve on with you and your horse?
We have a lot of things I would like to work on, but right now the thing plaguing us the most that seems like it will never improve is our issues on the right rein. I am confident it is 98% me, and I just can't seem to fix it. As a result, It's causing Sierra to be crooked, miss leads, and so on and I'm really over it. I need a serious boot camp! No matter what I do, I can feel myself pushing into my left (outside) stirrup, even if I feel straight and even in the saddle, and Sierra's back feels raised and rigid on the right, as though she wont bend through the shoulders and rib cage (probably because I'm clearly leaning). My self-inflicted boot camp is going to include some no stirrup (or perhaps one) stirrup work, because dang girl... you're better than this. But seriously - if anyone has suggestions or exercises or even just "been there girl, keep plugging away" please let me know.
Q10: What has been your [current] horses most severe injury?
Knock on wood (seriously), but Sierra has been pretty good aside from some nicks and cuts along the way. Several months ago Sierra sustained a puncture that I suspect bruised a nearby tendon and took a very long time to heal which landed her in a small paddock and daily dressing changes, but otherwise she has managed to kill me slowly through a series of expensive maintenance (shod all 'round, Pentosan, etc) rather than ruin me in one shot. She's so thoughtful.
Q11: What do you feel your biggest downfall is as a rider?
I'm my own worst enemy and I know it, so several things about my position, personality, etc immediately came to mind, but I think one thing that I have been painfully aware of lately, is my stubbornness. I hate asking for help, and as someone who spent a short time coaching less experienced riders, I am ashamed to admit I struggle with some sort of complex of asking people, especially friends or similar-leveled riders, for help. Whats most ridiculous about this is that I've been ignoring one of my best (and free) resources, and for what? Pride, that I honestly shouldn't have? I am very much an amateur and though others may disagree, would consider myself an "Advanced Intermediate", and sometimes someone wording something a certain way, even if you already know the jist of the information, can make all the difference.
Q12: What feeds your motivation?
Everyone loves an underdog story, but no one wants to be the underdog... except Sierra, apparently. She has done an exceptional job at carving out a 'come back kid' story for herself, and it appears I'm just along for the ride.. While the frustration of it all keeps me up at night, striving for the day where we can go to a show and actually go with the hopes of winning something, keeps me motivated (for the most part). I also long for the day where I can comfortably enter an event such as clinic, etc without being confident that it will just be a waste of money because she'll be so tense and worried that we won't learn anything and will continue to be the laughing stock of the horse community. Part of me is terrified we'll just never get there, but I do my best to push that thought out of my head and continue construction on the pot holes in her training in hopes that one day we'll be past this.