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The Trail Less Traveled

5577 Views 61 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  horseylover1_1
The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The above poem by Robert Frost (no copyright infringement intended)I am using to start my new journal. I feel that it describes where I am at this point in my life. It's not the new year yet, but I feel that I'm at a point where I need to leave the past behind me.

A lot's changed for me in the past couple years. Just the past few months were very turbulent. My mom and her horse Belle are no longer a part of my life. She just moved stables a few days ago and that was pretty much the last connection I had with her. DH and I have been through the ringer recently, but God has been so good and provided every step of the way, and we are continuing to see new doors open.

I've let go of the dreams of showing and such. Being someone that's never been a ribbon winner, it's hard to let go of that need to feel like you must have something concrete that proves that you are a good rider and horseman. I realized that I wasn't wanting to show because it might be fun. I felt like I had to prove something, and to strangers no less that are for one reason or another advocated as authorities on horses, judging horse and rider teams whom perform (in a quite honest term) useless maneuvers in a ring. Kudos to those who do show, and I'm not meaning to demean you. But for me to show because of a strange need to prove myself, these are not the right reasons for me.

I will continue to practice dressage, but only for the purpose of improving my horse and myself. Also known as training level dressage :wink: I hope to get back to doing little jumps for fun, and setting up a small cross country course out in the desert. This will take some work, but it's only a half hour ride to my "gallop track" and it's such a nice section to set one up on.

Shan is doing well. Despite the colder nights, her arthritic symptoms have not returned. She is unfit, but so am I. If I can get two or three good rides in a week I will be very happy. I may have a connection with a trail riding business a street over from my boarding barn. That would be fun to get involved in. The barn is also getting new boarders in. The only other horse at the moment is one named "Peppi", he's a beautiful blue roan two year old stud colt. He's got a lot to learn about life, and how not to spook at things! Shan thinks he is 'oh so handsome', but just between us, he's a little young for her. I'm looking forward to maybe being able to help with his training, and riding with the other boarders soon to move in.

For those of you who don't know us, I have one horse. Shan (Cheyenne) is a BLM mustang/Tennessee walking horse cross (best guess) mare. She is currently 13 years old. I got her when she was 5, green on green. Did all the training myself, and she now rides English or western, jumps, bit of dressage, awesome trail horse, loads into any trailer, goes anywhere, rides alone or with others, ground drive, lunge, all that good stuff. She's my little star and I just love her to pieces. I can't wait to see what the years ahead hold in store for us.


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I had some lovely replies to my first post, and they were lost to the "Great HF Update", where we all lost a bunch of posts over a certain time period. I'm sad about that, I really love the replies and support my lovely HF friends give.

So I'm really bad at journaling, because I wait SO long to update. A lot has happened.

I had one good ride on Shan before leaving for Christmas vacation. She got feisty and reared up (that little brat), since she hadn't been worked in so long she likes to find ways to act up.

I felt very strange over vacation, I thought I might be getting sick. Something didn't seem right. I had a feeling, came home, took a test... and found out that I am pregnant with our first child. My whole world turned upside down. It's not something we ever expected to happen, we never planned on it. But not keeping our little baby is NOT an option so... here we go!

We came back to a full barn of horses (just four stalls lol). The stud colt is gone. He was kind of risky, got out one day and nearly bred my mare through the fence. Yikes. The new boarders are as follows: A and her OTTB Pie, and two brothers with a mustang mare and gelding. A and I have become fast friends, and we go on a trail ride together every Monday. This is great because otherwise I don't have motivation to ride (my first trimester has been SUPER rough).

I noticed that Shan has been super careful with me ever since I got pregnant. She knew before I even knew. All the times where she would normally do an ornery protest in response to being asked to work after time off, she doesn't. She hasn't even been grinding her teeth (she's so opinionated lol!). I feel so safe with her, and she has really mellowed a lot over the past couple years. I feel that by the time our little tyke is ready to start riding, she will be a great babysitter horse.

A's horse Pie is a bit of a nervous guy. He also likes to crowhop when he wants to gallop and is told no. I'm a bit disappointed, because both Shan and I are dying to hit our desert gallop trail and carve it out. But I'm leery of riding out alone now, and A's horse probably won't be ready to try a canter for a while yet. If I wasn't pregnant, we probably would have switched horses and I would have galloped him out for her (I've acclimated a few OTTB's before). But since I am pregnant, I'm sticking with my steady eddie and avoiding unnecessary risk.

We have plans to move back to Ohio in April. We will be shipping Shan first, then heading to Virginia beach for a work vacation, then returning to where Shan will be at the family horse farm and finding our own place to stay. I'm excited to move out of the desert, and actually excited about the future. I'm so happy to be moving to where there is grass and leaves and trees and autumn and spring and summer and winter. Our baby will be able to play in the grass, and I will be able to try our DH's family's Walking horses. I'll get to hang out on the beach for a while this spring.

I feel so blessed and thankful for the opportunities we've been given. And I am so glad, and so thankful, that Shan will continue to be a constant part of my life. It is so cool that my own first horse, my first training project, first everything, will probably also be my child's first horse.

Ah, and don't worry, she's not too unpredictable to be a child's horse (especially a few years down the line). She knows how to figure people out. She has been nothing but gentle and careful with children and the inexperienced. But you get someone who knows what they are doing on her back, and she might test them a bit. Smart mustang.
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Thank you everyone!
I was really scared at first. I've always been afraid of child birth. But I thought about it, and thought about all the women that go through it, and how I have a high pain tolerance and have brushed off things that many women would have cried over. So I thought that 'if they can do it, so can I'. Now sometimes I might get a little bit scared, but mostly I'm excited.
The morning sickness has gotten a lot better, thanks! :grin:

Tonight's ride was awesome. A is becoming a fast friend and a huge support for me. She just had her first baby six months ago, so I've been able to ask questions, which has been comforting to me.

Shan was a bit spooky starting out, but so was Pi. She settled right down after a few minutes and I laughed and told A that she only spooks when she's got pent up energy. Kind of like a get out of work tactic, or maybe just to burn some of it off.

We got out at a decent time so were able to do the full trail loop. Pi was much better behaved this time. Shan got really excited and picked up a couple canter strides a few times, and Pi didn't go into a crowhopping fit. The trails were dusky just before sunset, and there wasn't any wildlife or people to be seen. It was very nice, just us and the horses and friendly chatter between us, while Shan and Pi took turns threatening to nip and flirting with each other.

With the exception of @gottatrot who I only rode with once, I have never had a riding buddy that I have enjoyed as much as A. I'm generally a quiet person until I get to know someone very well, but conversation between her and I just flows so easily. The quiet moments are comfortable and peaceful, but few and far between. Neither of us has an issue with a spontaneous change in gait, such as suddenly deciding to trot without warning. One reason I avoid rides with other people is because the etiquette of calling out "can we trot?" to the group every time gets old. So I enjoy riding with those who don't mind sudden change, and don't freak out when horses start acting like silly horses.

Unfortunately A is having some trouble with her western stirrups. She finds that after a period of time they cause her ankles to hurt and so she can't trot after that point. I have had similar problems with western saddles so I understand. I suggested putting a broom handle through them to turn them the way they need to be, but I'm not sure if that would help or not. A did go out and buy a used english saddle. It's a pretty nice one, not super expensive, but nice. She was missing a girth but I had an extra one laying around and gave it to her to use. I think she will like english better, once she gets comfortable with it.

I'm finding it fairly easy to sell off my excess equipment. Tonight one of the boarders asked me if I might sell my hoof boots to him, and if he could try them. I told him sure, and that I would sell him the set for $80 if he wanted them (being used and such). Then I could buy the hoof boots I really want (cavallos), so I hope they fit his horse. Not that Shan really needs hoof boots right now. She's not been tender on the rocks, and since I started doing my own trimming, it's easy to fix any chips of any overgrowth or such before they get worse.

That's about it for now. I'll probably post again next week. :wave:
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It's been a while guys. I haven't posted because I haven't really done much with the horses. The next Monday ride was cancelled because A was trailering out with a friend she hadn't seen in a long time. The following Monday, I couldn't make it out because I had transportation problems.

The last week was pretty nutty. Had some issues with the other boarders (not A). A's horse Pi wasn't getting taken care of properly despite her paying for full board. So I gave her one of my slow feed nets and we worked out a schedule between us for feeding. I like it much better. She feeds on weekends for me when I can't really make it out easily, and I do the second feeding, turnout, and stall cleaning on weekdays.

This past Monday we did get together for a ride. But I didn't really ride. I'm just not feeling up to it as I've gotten further along in the pregnancy. So I asked A if she would help me out by riding Shan on Mondays. So we switched off, I would lunge and ground work one, while she rode the other.

I got to learn a few things about A's riding history from watching her, and noticed some fairly large holes in Pi's training. Shan showed me that A, while a good rider, has not learned how to reinforce her cues and gain body control over a horse that doesn't want to listen. My guess is she has mostly ridden the schoolmaster type that don't offer resistance. Working with Pi, I noticed that he does not like giving to pressure, on the ground or under saddle. While he will move out under saddle, he does NOT have a good stop, he doesn't turn well... in general he lacks training and control. And though he is soft when he does want to listen, he is more stubborn than Shan when he doesn't want to!

I started showing A some dressage on Shan, then had her get back on Pi and we did some exercises on getting him to relax. At anything faster than a walk, he likes to raise his head to evade the bit. And I don't mean that the problem is he won't travel "on the bit", he raises his head to the point where she doesn't have any control, he completely evades the bit. Unfortunately, she put a bigger bit on him to solve the stopping problem (I had her use one of my snaffles for the dressage exercises). As many have learned and know, a bigger bit does not guarantee a better stop. That comes with training. And it showed in what happened the next day.

Last night, I got a text from her. She had a bad fall on Pi. She was heading out to the trail, but it got windy and he started getting very excited. So she decided to turn around and head back and just work in the arena. At this point, he started bucking and bolted down the street. She just barely got him turned a ways down the street, then they ran into a tree as she fell down. Her entire side basically got slammed into the tree as she fell, with the weight and speed on impact. She can't put weight on it as of now. I told her not to worry about getting out to the barn, I can take care of the horses.

I felt so bad for her. We had a long text conversation, and while I apologized if I came across as a "know it all" as I was just trying to be helpful, I said that Pi really needed ground work and arena work to fix these problems he's got. I offered her use of Shan anytime she likes. I said that I think if she can learn to ride Shan well and get her to do what she wants, it will help her with Pi. While Shan can be lazy, she is super safe and a great trail horse. She should be a good confidence builder for A.

I think that if A had been able to gain body control over Pi that bolt would have ended much differently. But he seems to have learned that if he doesn't want to listen, he doesn't have to. He hasn't been taught the one rein stop, she can pull his head to her knee and he will still walk sideways.

I'm hoping that I can help her make some progress with him before I leave in April.

Sorry this post didn't have much to do with Shan or me. Neither of us are doing much these days lol!
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When she fell, which bit was she using?
She was using her bit. I did recommend when we worked together the day before this happened that she use what she was familiar with on trails. Her bit is I believe a tom thumb with metal curb chain, though to be honest I hadn't given it more than a passing glance when out of Pi's mouth. Regardless, it's got a good shank on it and the curb chain, so she should be able to put a lot of pressure on his mouth. The fact he can run through that concerns me (he ignores this bit on a regular basis). In fact, she said that he "bolted faster than he ever did before". This happened before apparently? :frown_color:

However, he is an OTTB and if he was never properly reschooled after the track, bearing down on his mouth means more go than whoa to him. Some dressage teaching him cues to stop other than just rein should definitely be helpful.

Tom Thumb for those who don't know:
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I'm a little late finding this journal, but CONGRATS on your baby! Imagine all the fun you'll have teaching him/her to ride! ;-D

Nice to hear that you're having fun with A and Pi; sucks that Pi is acting up though. I'm guessing he's a young horse?
I am super excited. I can't believe that my horse that was such a little devil in her younger years is now a confidence builder for someone else. I am so pleased and happy, I just know she is going to be awesome for my baby when the time comes to ride.

Pi is an ex-racehorse. I think he's in his teens. Not young, just seems to have a lot of holes in his training.
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I think this is great! Subbing :) Shan is gorgeous. She looks really kind and smart. Congratulations on your little accident XD
Glad to have you join us! And thanks :D

Shan is totally amazing now, but she was a holy terror in her younger days. She did just about everything bad vice wise a horse could do! She outsmarted me a lot lol. But with a ton of time and patience, and lots of hours and miles training, she has turned into an incredible horse. Just wait till you see how awesome Katie is going to turn out in a few years.
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Unfortunately it appears that my friend A doesn't know much about bits. I explained that shanked bits don't really allow for direct reining like snaffles do, she wasn't aware of that. I also explained about racehorses running into bit pressure, she didn't know that either. She is extremely nice, I like her a lot, and actually very teachable. She seems to want to learn what I have to offer. The problem is now I'm thinking that I have barely over a month to teach her, and I'm concerned it won't be enough time. I do think that she is fully capable of retraining Pi, with just a little tips and guidance. I'm more than willing to help out with instruction and ground work, but I'm sure not getting on Pi's back!

The pelham is a good suggestion @whisperbaby22 , thanks! It will probably be something to look into in the future, once she and Pi have mastered the snaffle in the arena.

In other news, she did visit the ER as she had a bad fever. Found out nothing was broken, so that's good, but she is very sore.
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Today was a good day. I met up with A, who is feeling much better and walking normally. We set up to do some ground work with Pi.

First, I took out my baby Shan and gave her a twenty minute lunge. She is such a good girl, and boy does she make me laugh! After getting warmed up, I asked her to canter. She got real fired up and spent half a round galloping, which made me laugh at her, which then seemed to give her the idea to spin towards me and rear up playfully. She wasn't being aggressive, but playful. She was about ten feet away from me and just took a second pawing the air, and tossed her head as she came down, which made me laugh again. Then she stood still and awaited my directions.

Some people would be afraid if a horse reared in their direction on the lunge. Others would aggressively get after the horse, thinking it to be disrespectful. But you have to know the horse. You have to be able to read them. I know Shan, and I can read her like a book. We know each other very well. I'm not afraid of horse antics because of the liberty training I've done with her. So when she rears in play, and all of that power and joy and energy comes bursting forth in an explosion of emotion, all it does is fill me with wonder, awe, and joy. I can't even express how that feels in that moment. You just have to experience it for yourself. If you haven't tried liberty before, you should consider it.

Anyway, I got my silly playful girl and tied her up after lunging. A's 7 month old son was with her, in a playpen that was put in a safe location but also right next to the horse tie. As I began to help A with lunging and ground work, I watched Shan over there with the baby. She ADORED him. Ears pricked forward, head low, just calmly watching him. She kept an eye on him all the way until his dad came and picked him up. She really likes babies and kids. I'm surprised, but glad.

So Pi did really good on the lunge, and was sidepassing, moving haunches, leading well, etc. So my next idea was to ground drive him. We put her western saddle on him, a D ring snaffle, and I ran both the lunge lines through the stirrups. Then I started ground driving him. He picked it up fast. It was good because I was able to feel what A is dealing with on the rein when riding him. He can be a bit hard mouthed, and he doesn't seem to have been taught how to turn with his whole body when asked to turn instead of just his head. I worked on turning with him. He tried running out on me a couple times on a turn, but I was able to quickly convince him to move the direction I wanted by keeping pressure on the turning rein and using the opposite rein/lunge line against his body to encourage him to move away from it. That really seemed to help and he was soon moving well for me.

By the time all was said and done, his turns had vastly improved. His stops are pretty bad though. He liked to try to run through my hands. So I kept the pressure on until he stopped, and then I made him back up a couple steps. Then had him walk on and do something else, then stop and rinse and repeat. His stops were a lot better by the end, but they definitely need work.

Me trying to help A with ground driving was pretty funny. Performing an action is one thing, but explaining how to do that action is entirely another! Pregnancy brain wasn't helping, but I tried my best. She caught on and was doing well with him at quitting time. I told her that my opinion was that this would really help him if she did this once or twice a week. It's also good because it is giving her a feel for how the horse should look and feel when working, rather than letting them slop along, and I think this will help her with feel once she gets back in the saddle. She had him looking good at the end of the session and I was pretty happy with both.

Shan, while a star the rest of the time, is a devil to trim. SUCH a brat, and I'm not very fast either. It's only been four weeks since I last trimmed, so her hooves weren't too bad at all. But she makes it difficult. She likes to yank her foot away, and I've tried a variety of methods to make her stop, none of which have really helped. So I was only able to get the front two hooves done. I'll try to come back later this week and get the hinds and touch up the front again. I'm either going to have to teach DH how to trim, or just call my trimmer and have them come out for one last trim before I ship her out in April. I'm thinking the latter is going to be more feasible because poor DH has enough on his plate with his crazy work schedule.

That's about it for now. I wish I had video of that lunging session. It was so fun and just crazy hilarious. And the rear was beautiful. Something like that happens so very rarely, and I always feel like I've been given a gift when it does happen.
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Definitely subbing! I LOVE your journal. You write so well, I felt like I was right there when you were describing your rides and groundwork sessions.

I'm glad you found a horse friend you get along well with. I haven't found that in years, unfortunately. I get along with everyone at the barn but they are more acquaintances than someone I could call a friend. Also so happy to hear that you're able to use your passion for training with someone that really wants to learn and can benefit from it. What you're doing with A could be exactly what she needs to enjoy a better relationship with Pi. Even when you move. Speaking of, whereabouts in Ohio are you moving to? I live a couple of hours from Cincinnati.

Cannot wait to read more about your training with both horses, the move, and of course the new baby!! Ahhhh so exciting!! Are you wanting a boy or girl?
Aww, thanks! I don't hold a candle to those like @gottatrot or kalrai though when it comes to writing. Glad to hear you found it interesting though!

I want to help A and Pi as much as I can in what little time we have. I think the ground driving should help immensely. If she's been doing OK on that on her own, I may ask this coming Monday if she would like to try her hand at riding Shan again.

The area I'm moving to is fairly close to Dayton. That's very cool you live within a few hours, we should meet up sometime this year if possible.

I REALLY want a girl! I've still got my childhood breyer horse collection that I want to pass on to my child. I think a girl would enjoy it more. DH and I both think it's a girl, but we will find out for sure in May. But we will be overjoyed with and love the child whether it's boy or girl. I will admit that I'm daunted by the prospect of naming a human being. The fact that I will be deciding what the child is called for the rest of its life is a much heavier responsibility to me than even that of parenting.
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That is a good point. I really enjoy names that are unique and different though, but I'll be sure not to pick anything that is too difficult to spell. I haven't really thought about boy names because I am so hoping for a girl lol. I'll find out next month what the gender is, and then we will have until September to make a decision. My DH's suggestion for a girl name was "Marilyn", being a combination of both of our names. I was not impressed lol. I personally would not like such a name, being associated with Marilyn Monroe, who is too often a sex symbol.

My favorites are the ones that have something to do with music:
Aaralyn - "An American name meaning with song; A woman with song"
Song (I knew a little girl named Song. It fit her so perfectly, she was very cute).

I'm not a big fan of the names that are too obvious, like the last two I listed. Something like Aaralyn with a hidden meaning to the name I think is very cool.

But all just my musings. It sure is a lot to think about. I will be more inclined to listen to DH's suggestions if it happens to be a boy. The hard part is that we both have to agree on the name! lol!
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With "Aaralyn", she'll have to get used to spelling it out for others. Not sure how it is pronounced, but I'm guessing spellings like "Eralynn", "Arelyn", "Eralin", etc. I'm probably showing my age here, but not many people have to ask me, "How do you spell Bob?"

I once spent a few months doing volunteer tax preparation. I learned to hand the parent a sheet of paper and ask them to write down their kids' names, birth dates and SSNs. Then I'd have to ask how they pronounced the names. Of course, Anne of Green Gables always had to specify, "That's Anne with an E...."
I think I found the name (if it's a girl). I posted it in my pregnancy sucks thread lol. "Aria Elizabeth". Aria is short, she will still have to spell it out, but it's short! It has musical ties, a Hebrew meaning "lion of God", and an Italian meaning "air". It got the approval from DH too. Now, I don't know if the 'i' in Aria is supposed to sound like an e, y, or just an i. I like the e or y pronunciation better.

Elizabeth would be the middle name.

I loved Anne of Green Gables, well the show on netflix! I am a reader but I never could get through that book. I always got lost in her very, very, very long monologues. But hearing and seeing them acted out was hilarious!
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Aria is a beautiful name. I think most people would know how to spell it (even though I asked a coworker and she came up with a very odd spelling that included a W?).

When people come up with good names, I think hmm, maybe I could name one of my pets that...(no offense).
A co-worker got this funny look on his face when I was talking about taking care of my orphan baby rats. He confessed he once had a rat as a kid, and she had my name! I told him I was not offended, but was honored to have the same name as his rat.

My sister and I read all the Anne books when we were kids, and both have gone separately to Prince Edward Island, LOL. Beautiful place!
The new show on Netflix has a different twist, kind of darker and sad but I liked it. It made me think about adopting a kid for about ten minutes before realizing kids don't eat food out of bags or cans. Actually, they do eat cereal and baby food, don't they?
I'm not offended if you want to name a pet that. It is a pretty name, I'm glad you like it so much!

You made me :rofl: at the last sentence. Yeah, ideally, people like home cooked food. It's better for you! Actually, homemade baby food is super easy to do. Cooked sweet potato or yams, apple sauce, etc. Soft food that they can't choke on. Since I've done the whole custom diet thing for birds, I'm not daunted by this prospect. Parrots are as difficult to feed as kids! Actually, more difficult.

My BIL more often than not fed his kids cereal as a snack or for dinner. I admit that I was disappointed to see this, because it leaves huge gaps in nutrition. But he is a single parent and full time military, so I understand his situation.

BIL was mortified when DH wanted to make everything homemade for the family Thanksgiving. BIL wanted to get things out of cans! DH was mortified by the can idea, because their entire family excluding BIL are cooks. So we made everything homemade, and they made this ridiculous chart/schedule about when things were supposed to go in and when you are supposed to start making them, etc. I told them to give me as little work as possible because I knew that I would not be able to keep up with their pace. I'm a fairly good cook in the kitchen, but I am pretty slow!

The cat is being super cuddly with me right now. She has been for the past couple months. She knows I have a baby, can sense the hormone changes or something. It's been a struggle teaching her not to climb on my stomach though.

Oh, and I meant to add that I think you should consider having a kid at some point, whether through adoption or otherwise. I think that you would be a great mom, and your DH sounds wonderful too.
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Yesterday was the first time I have really spent time with Shan in probably two months. She has been so neglected attention wise, but perhaps she doesn't care if she looks like a ragamuffin and gets to laze around, so long as she has food.

I'm a few weeks into my second trimester now, and I feel GREAT! It is a huge relief, I must say. I was so sick and tired of feeling sick and tired :lol:

So I woke up yesterday with a lot of energy, and aside from my morning coffee coming back up, felt really good. I decided to do all the house cleaning that morning and devote the rest of the day to barn time. The nice thing about having a tiny house is even when it is super dirty, it only takes me an hour and a half to clean, and that is with me moving slow.

Got all the stuff done and then pestered DH to drive me out before he started work on the car. I spent about seven hours out at the barn yesterday, and came home sore, tired, scratched up, and overwhelmingly pleased with all that I had gotten done.

The first thing I see upon arriving is that my bridle is hanging outside the tack room, by the bit, halfway taken apart. I was annoyed. This has been an ongoing problem, and A and I are sure that it is the guy boarder using our things and moving them. I know for a fact that they used my trimming tools while I was away over Christmas and dulled them out (with no business trimming their own horses, they got the angles all wrong) which seriously ****ed me off as I had just bought them and used one time. It's my fault for leaving them on my shelf in plain sight, but since I've never met anyone in person (other than gottatrot) that trims their own horses, it didn't even cross my mind that someone might use them. I was more concerned about my saddle, whips, etc. Anyway, back to the bridle: it could have been the new boarders that used it, but more on them later.

I started off with giving the shedding ragamuffin a bath with her hypoallergenic shampoo. (Oh, a side note, she is not itching herself to pieces this spring, so I feel even more sure that what I thought was a bug allergy was actually an alfalfa allergy.) Her summer coat glowed, most easily visible on her neck and chest. I sprayed out her hooves and had a good look at them, as the reason I had devoted the entire day to the barn was because she needed a trim.

I started with her rear hooves and worked on them a little bit at a time throughout the day. This made it much easier on me, and her too I suppose. She can be an obnoxious fart about getting her hooves trimmed, no matter how gently and how low I hold her hooves to the ground. I admit to smacking her more than once on the shoulder with the metal rasp when she continually yanked her hoof out of my hands. Yes, not the best horsemanship, but I made sure to hit muscle and not bone, and I did not hit her hard enough to do any damage (honestly I doubt I'm strong enough especially in my current state). I am glad no one was there taking pictures or video of the process, because I'm sure I would die of shock if I saw for myself the precarious positions I put myself in while trimming. I'm not strong enough to manhandle her farrier style, and with a horse fighting me, I end up in some not so great spots. As much as Shan fights me though, she has never stepped on me or hurt me, to her credit. I think horses are more aware of that than we give them credit for.

I was struggling with trimming the bars on a rear hoof when the new boarders showed up. I had seen the underweight older mare show up in the empty stall over the weekend. That stall had no water trough so they took my bucket (yes mine, I paid for it) that I use for setting up and filling hay nets and filled it with water. Sigh. I didn't say anything.

After talking with them for a moment, while their young children looked for ways to get into trouble with the horses, it became apparent that they knew next to nothing. The owner is a young girl probably twenties, and she had brought her brother and his wife and their many children out with her. The owner explained that they had bought the mare, an older broodmare, and was told she had been under saddle, broke, and given the impression that she is a good and gentle riding horse. This is not the case, and it's plain to see that the mare is in poor shape. I was thinking 'they saw you coming miles away', but didn't say anything of the sort. I said that my mare is very good with children and that we could get together sometime and do pony rides. "OH! Can we do them today?" she said. Um... I looked over at Shan who was fidgeting after having stood for a bath, deep conditioning and brushout of mane and tail (her tail is down to her fetlocks now!), and some hoof trimming. I said "Sure, she could use a break anyway" and proceeded to put the saddle on her. I lunged her first and she had lots of wiggles, she was feeling very exuberant. She reared up in my direction on the lunge and was bucking at the canter. This made the girl nervous and she asked if she bucked when you get on her. I explained that she had been locked up in her stall and not worked for a long time, and so she just got excited on the lunge. I'm pretty used to even gentle horses getting exuberant while lunging, so to me, it just exemplified even more her apparent inexperience. I can understand being nervous for the kids though, and I assured her Shan is safe.

It took them a long time before they were ready to put the kids up, so I went back to hoof trimming. During that time A showed up and started to saddle Pi. A good while later, the dad brought the kids over for a pony ride, one at a time. I had him walk on the same side as me next to the child, because they didn't have helmets for them and the kids are young (4 to 6). Shan made faces the WHOLE TIME and had me a bit concerned. I was surprised that she was acting this way and just focused on keeping an eye on her. She had her ears back in the annoyed way and the angry mare nostril wrinkles. I honestly think that she was upset by the dad walking next to her back there. She likes kids, but I'm not sure that she likes men much. It took her a long time to warm up to my DH, and sometimes she will still be a snot to him.

During the time we were pony riding, they brought the old mare out and had the other girl hold her rope over the hitching rail, but not tied. The mare immediately pulled back. Holy cow. This mare is a serious project, and they are extremely ill prepared to deal with her. They also asked me if I thought she looked pregnant, as they think she is. I said that I couldn't tell either way and they should call a vet out who can run tests and find out for sure. They didn't seem to like that idea.

After that slightly stressful pony riding experience was over, I decided to hop up on Shan for the first time in a very long time. I just had her halter and lead on her and she was surprisingly very good for me. She trotted and cantered on the gentlest of cues, no whip required. I was able to post for a little while, then went to two pointing/half seat at trot and canter. All the motion is too much for the baby inside me.

As I climbed off and went to take her saddle off, the girl ran over and asked if "we" could ride. I wasn't sure what she meant by we, but Shan needs exercise, and I was there to supervise. So I let her up on her. Shan was practically laughing at this girl and completely ignored her. The halter was not working out with this girl on her, so I put her bridle on. I started to give the girl a mini lesson because it was yet again apparent that she knew nothing. After circling at the walk for a little while, I asked what her riding experience was. "Oh, I've been riding since I was 9!". I looked at her, and I wonder if I looked annoyed. "Yes, but what kind of riding experience." "Oh, mostly trail riding. I barrel raced one time. I can walk, trot and canter."

OK, well, we can try it. I went and got my dressage whip and had to explain to her how to use it. Ask with leg, backup with whip. It didn't take her too long and she was trotting and cantering. Kind of an impressive feat, because it doesn't matter what you are using, if you don't ask right Shan will just walk (I think she would make a good lesson horse). Her hands were rough and she didn't listen very well about how to stop, she was rougher on her mouth than I would have liked. She also bounced at the canter, and I was grateful for that therapeutic saddle pad because with that I'm sure Shan didn't feel it much. If she had, she probably would have started being very ornery with the girl, but as it was, she behaved pretty well. The girl exclaimed "wow, she IS a good horse". I felt arabian mare attitude rear its head inside of me. Of course she's good, I put years and years of training into this horse.

Then, while I was talking with A who was riding, the girl rode over to the hitching rail. I guess the other girl wanted to get on, but didn't ask me if she could. The second girl was wearing flip flops and short shorts. She climbed on and started to walk around in the 'arena', with the dressage whip in her hand, which I would not have given to her. I probably wouldn't have let her on at all because of her attire, but she didn't think to ask me. After futilely plodding at a slow walk, at which I couldn't help but laugh inwardly at her futile attempts to speed up which Shan ignored, she came over and asked how I usually make her go. I gave her a couple sentences about the cues. She tried for maybe five more minutes and gave up. A and I laughed at Shan's excellent ability to figure out a person's skill and ignore them if 'they are not worthy'. It reminded me of @bsms Mia, except Shan didn't toss her riders if they were not worthy, she just ignored them.

If they ask again about riding... the answer will be no. Not unless they are going to pay me for lessons. The difference between them and A is, A has a lot more experience. She and I get along like two peas in a pod, she's easy to teach, and she doesn't make herself out to be something she is not. I can trust A not to ruin my horse. It wouldn't take very long for these newbs to ruin her. I'm not trying to be a snobby know it all, I just am extremely picky about who I let ride my horse.

While I was talking with A, she mentioned the guy who I mentioned before at the beginning of this post. She said that he fed Pi 4 flakes of alfalfa without asking (he isn't supposed to feed her horse), and he told her that he did it because he thought Pi looks thinner since we took over feeding instead of him. What an arrogant... Pi was thin BEFORE we started feeding and looks much better now on the schedule that A and I came up with! Before, his hip bones protruded and ribs were visible through his winter coat. Now he is at a good weight, just about perfect. Hip bones covered, good muscling, ribs covered, but not overweight.

This guy seriously gets on my nerves. He sticks his nose into everyone else's business and likes to try to micromanage the barn. For instance, feeding. We have pole stalls that are open to the elements, partially covered with a breezeway down the middle. Hence, feed, dust, and everything else flies into the aisle and lays there. The footing in the aisle is an old, pitted blacktop. It is impossible to keep clean, a broom can only do so much. All the horses get hay outside of the stalls, including his. All of the feeders are at the front. He comes up to me and says that he wants me to hang my hay nets on the outer part of the stalls (where they are open to elements and can get wet from rain), because they get hay in the aisle. Excuse me? Are you moving your feeders so your horse doesn't get hay in the aisle? WTF? I told him that I don't like hanging my nets out there because my hay can get wet. He says "OK, I guess that makes sense for the five times a year it rains here." I didn't appreciate the attitude, but focused on the task at hand (hoof trimming) and didn't say anything. You have the audacity to consistently use my things without asking, screamed at me more than once over the phone over stupid things, and now you are going to complain about how and where I feed my horse? Grow. Up. This is a self-care barn, where everyone is pretty much supposed to keep to themselves and do their own thing, not use other people's things, and not stick their nose where it doesn't belong. If it's not hurting your horse, what's your problem? Oh yeah, and he pulled ALL the bedding out of my stall, 'being helpful cleaning', even the shavings I put down, so now the stall is hard dirt.

OK, that's enough barn drama for now. I needed to vent. If it wasn't for A, I'd probably be going nuts. If I was going to stay long term I would get a shed to lock up my hay and equipment, but since I've only got one more month there, I'm just going to put up and shut up for just a little while longer.

I wish I had gotten pics of Shan. She looked so pretty after her bath and mane trim and hoof trim. I'm looking forward to giving her a good, easy life in Ohio. Pasture, deep bedded stall, fresh orchard grass hay, sounds like heaven!
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Be careful this last month. I know you want to get along with everybody, but I'm afraid you have set yourself up for free pony rides. Use your pregnancy to keep these people off your horse.
That's what I'm concerned about. Honestly, I don't mind pony riding kids around on a lead, which was why I offered. It's when the two adults got pushy about riding that I got uncomfortable. It's easy enough to say no though.

What has crossed my mind is the possibility of them feeling entitled to ride my horse now, with or without permission. If I find evidence of my horse being ridden and it was not A who did so, they will have h*ll to pay. However, I could probably pretty easily solve that problem without even having to do something drastic like padlock the stall... I just need to tell them a few stories about how unruly she is when I'm not around. Just a few tales from the early years when she was a holy terror. I think they would scare easily, since they got freaked out over how she acted on the lunge.
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That's nice of you to share Shan. But I am glad to hear you don't plan on making it a habit because these people do sound like trouble. Even though it's not funny, your stories make me chuckle. It's like reading a book sometimes - you got all the "characters" at your barn. Lol.

Glad to hear the pregnancy is going well!! You'll have to excuse my ignorance as I've never had a kid (and don't keep up much with other peoples) but when do you find out the gender? :)
I'm glad someone got some enjoyment out of it LOL! People have said that I get very funny when I'm annoyed, I guess that it might show in my writing too. DH likes to do ridiculous things just to get those annoyed looks from me, it cracks him up. My mom did also, and the two used to tag team me, back when mom was still in my life.

You can find out the gender between 16 and 20 weeks, if the ultrasound tech can get a clear picture, i.e. baby isn't blocking view lol. I'm currently 18 weeks. I'm going to the doc next/this month (April), so I should know then.
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Well, there won't be much in the way of updates from this point on.

Shan loaded onto the truck this morning, headed to Ohio. Horse shipping is stressful! I went with KC horse transportation. Overall, they have been good to deal with. The pickup window got changed twice, but I think that's a pretty common thing with shipping companies transporting multiple horses.

The two drivers were nice. They were as patient as could be expected with my mare who was acting like a little ****. I was horrified honestly at her behavior. Normally she is such a good loader. But one thing I forgot about is her hatred of backing into dark spaces. Indoor barns, wash stalls, and the like aren't really a thing out here in the desert. So it's not something I've worked on with her. She was fine walking up the ramp into the trailer, but when they started trying to back her into the stall (head to head setup), she said "hell no!" and started throwing a fit. It took both guys and me (helping in what way I can) to get her in her spot. About 15 to 20 nerve wracking minutes of pushing and shoving and me trying to coax her a bit, and swinging the rope on her chest to encourage her to backup, etc. They had to revert to using a chain. First over the nose because she kept trying to run back off, and then under the lip because (according to DH, I missed this) she bit the driver and then was trying to bite me. All fear caused. And I felt horrible about it, but when you have a horse shipper that needs to get back on the road, that is not the time to spend several hours doing a training session. I feel like a bad horse owner, like I left her ill prepared. But it seriously didn't even cross my mind about the head to head setup because she loads wonderfully... walking FORWARD, not backwards. :(

I apologized to the drivers. They said not to worry, that wasn't even close to the worst they've dealt with.

Of course, once Shan was in there cross tied with the bar up and a hay net, she was perfectly happy munching away. I'm hoping that by the time they get to the layover in Texas, she will be tired out and used to the trailer setup and not be such a problem when it's time to load up again.

Here is a couple pictures of her and me, and one of her on the trailer. I will post updates and pictures as I get them.


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Excited for you, DH, and Shan to start this adventure! Did you end up finding a barn in Ohio or will she be staying with your family?
I found a private barn owned by a woman. She races harness horses for a living and has a few personal horses of her own. She has a couple different pastures, feeds orchard grass hay, nice enclosed barn, does blanketing and the whole shebang for $250 a month. The downside is that it's not close to family, but since we are going to be in VA for at least two months now (possibly until spring 2019!), it doesn't really matter as much. I won't be riding anyway.

DH almost changed his mind about stopping through Ohio before heading to Virginia (found out Ohio is out of the way). But I threw a fit, because I won't be traveling during my third trimester (so the whole summer), and I don't see road trips happening in winter. I'm not going a whole year without seeing her, I at least want to see her settled in her new barn and meet the barn owner face to face.

I'm not sure where we will be after this summer. Like I said, we could be in Virginia for a long time! It's all kind of up in the air. But I'm glad I found a place where Shan will be cared for very well, since I won't be able to be around.
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Thanks! I'll post updates every once in a while, and beach pictures too, though they probably won't have horses in them lol.

Thing is, I knew what the setup was. Head to head is like a larger version of straight load, and she goes well in a straight load (I absolutely did NOT want her in a slant going cross country. I do not like the wear and tear on their body from traveling at an angle). But in a straight load, you walk forward into it. And in a head to head, the horse to back into the spot. Like I said, totally didn't cross my mind. She is going to learn to get over her fear of backing into dark spaces though, since we are now moving to the midwest and indoor barns and wash racks are going to be a thing.
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Got an update yesterday from the shipper. Shan was doing well, chilling at the layover in Texas. Look at those gorgeous stalls! *drool* She will be arriving in Ohio tomorrow, a whole day earlier than expected. These guys make good time.

In other news, I had my first pregnancy checkup yesterday. I was late on the ball with checkups, since I'm at 21 weeks (from LMP). Regardless, everything looks good. Baby is super active, would not hold still so the nurse could get the heartbeat :lol: must have took after dad. The facility didn't have ultrasound so I wasn't able to find out the gender yet. And of course the place they referred me to for the ultrasound said they didn't take my insurance (wtf right). So I'm doing without for now, but at least got all the bloodwork and tests done so we know all is well in baby town.

Pictures of my other baby, Shan. :D


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