Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Witchy Q

Words. I have them, but I can't string them together today.

So, instead, have a video of me mocking Q from Monday evening.

I love her so much. Mare faces and all.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Manic Monday

First off, thanks to Holly and Amanda for setting up the Zoom call Saturday night. It was a ton of fun to hang out, watch the KY3DE stream together, and see everyone's faces! I think we ended up having around a dozen people? Regardless, I loved the change of pace and getting to completely nerd out on horses with y'all.

My husband walked by the Zoom call a few times saying this and giggling to himself as he listened to our horse nerdery.

Amidst a Zoom-heavy weekend (I had two virtual baby showers yesterday), life continued par the quarantine course in my neck of the woods. Which is to say, Dave played video games for hours a day while I puttered around the house and yard playing with plants and animals. Oh, and I made my second monthly trip into civilization to fetch groceries for humans and animals. I was really happy to see a lot more people wearing masks than I had on previous visits; employees at the grocery store and Tractor Supply all had matching masks on!

At any rate, I don't have much more of a narrative to add. However, I do have lots of photos and short stories to share. I'm going to dub this "Manic Monday" due to the complete lack of focus on any one thing for more than a moment.

Trillium erectum
Trillium erectum
20200419 Hike and Sunrise_7
Bog off Canaan Loop Road
20200420 Sunset_19
Sunset husky play
20200420 Sunset_24
This dog is so sweet. We've been enjoying her snuggles more than ever now that we're home all the time
20200420 Sunset_30
And this old man is just so happy to have me home all the time. He lies behind me as I telework every day.
Ride With Your Mind Essentials...and pandemic essentials.
The last sunny evening we enjoyed. There is snow on the ground this morning.
Sunrise light before the clouds settled in one day last week. Look closely in the front field to see the beginnings of XC jumps
Beautiful evening light on our way to get ramps
Lots of ramps for making ramp pesto! I also dropped some off to my neighbors. When I dismounted to set the bag on their porch, Grif took the opportunity to leave me (and their lush, grassy yard) and head home on his own. As it was only a quarter mile, I walked laughing to myself the whole way. I found him waiting in his stall for me upon my return.
My most favorite beer. A tripel sour that rings in at 9.5%
Imagine hot tea instead of coffee in that mug and this is basically my life.
I'm still waiting on my window shade to show up before fully debuting the "complete" tack room, but I LOVE my new jute rug! I had an Amazon credit/gift card to use before the 15th so I opted for this lovely rug. It is WAY NICER than I had imagined and is really perfect in this space.
With the return of migratory birds, Norah was gifted with a homemade clown collar to lessen the likelihood of bird kills. This design has been scientifically proven to lower the probability of cats killing birds. Bonus, it looks REAL CUTE lol
She really didn't seem to mind it at all when I put it on. Continued her usual love fest.
Except by the next morning she'd ditched the collar, killed a vole, mouse, and chipmunk AND was lightly skunked. Little girl may have had some feelings about that clown collar after all lol! It was also a very rainy night; I was impressed with her bounty amidst the weather.
The horses showed a lot of interest in the dead when I was removing them. So I let everyone smell them.
I've let them smell a lot of interesting dead animals through the years.
Nothing tops letting them sniff bear blood after we dressed out a bear years ago though. They sniffed cautiously and then went wheeling and bucking across the field at mach speed. 
And after my post about hypothetical stimulus check spending, Fox Rider shared that this Kerrits Coaches coat was on one of the FB equestrian groups. As I've literally lusted after one of these jackets since 2017 and knew that if I was ever able to find one in my size that was new or in good condition, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. Annnnd I didn't. And I ended up having THE BEST online purchase experience of my life. The chick who was selling it was SO SWEET. It fits perfectly and kept my warm and dry on a short ride with Miss Q in the rain. Seeing as my forecast is nothing but rain all week, this jacket came at a perfect time. Thank you, Fox, for helping this happen!
20200420 Sunset
And to close out Manic Monday, I'll leave you with a beautiful sunset and a Civil War era cabin that my neighbor had rebuilt on his property. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

KY3DE Zoom Party

Okay, blogosphere. We're having a party this Saturday evening beginning at 6p EST. For updates to the plan, please search out the public event KY3DE Zoom Party on Facebook.

20170427 Rolex Finals (45)

COVID-19 may have prevented us from all being at KY3DE this weekend, but we are still planning to celebrate! Join us for a Zoom call where we will stream last year's event while chatting and inevitably drinking.

The preliminary plan is to stream the 2019 event and watch while on Zoom (sounds like the event will be in its own screen on Zoom). We'll stream all 3 phases so folks can join in for part or all of it. (I know time zones are weird, so hopefully a longer event helps with the timing difficulties.)

Meeting link:
(ID for anyone who needs it: 935-1533-1745)

We're still working out the details, so stay tuned to the Facebook page for updates! And please extend invites to other bloggers!

20170427 Rolex Finals (63)

I'm excited to "see" so many of you so soon!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Equestrian Stimulus Spending

Like Amanda, I spent my stimulus check on boring, responsible adult things like debt. But! Like Amanda, I think it is a fun exercise to imagine what horse-focused things I could spend it on if I didn't have the burdens of adult responsibility to look after.

In my hypothetical world of spending my $1,200 on superfluous horse-related things I would buy:

  • Navy saddle covers (from Amanda!) for each of my three English saddles so my tack room looks more "uniform" - 3 @ $20/ea. for a total of $60

  • a Back on Track sheet for each of the ponies - 3 @ $200/ea. for a total of $600

  • a new pair of Ariat Terrains because the pair I scored for $25 at a consignment shop in 2013 are on their last legs - $105

  • some tall boots that actually fit me; a cursory search found the Ariat Volant S Back zip boot on sale for $260

  • and I'd put the final $175 toward a riding-specific long raincoat. I'd like to see the Kerrits Coaches coat come back in stock! C'mon Kerrits, please?

What about you?

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Continued [Slight] Changes to the Dry Lot / Barn Setup

Finessing the setup of my barn/dry lot has been such a fun process for me. As I detailed back in November, the setup has been modified a fair bit since moving the horses home.

With the end of winter, I've separated Grif from Q and Stan yet again. This suits everyone better and guarantees each horse has sufficient resource access with as little stress as possible. They can certainly exist in one big space together, but they are all so much happier in their discrete areas. In fact, while I was resistant at first, I'll likely get Grif his own trough and trough heater for next winter so that they can remain separated all the time.

The happiest, relaxed ponies munching on evening hay while alpenglow lights the distant mountains

The newest slight-modification is that I'm now leaving their stall doors open 24/7. I had dreamed of doing this from the very beginning, but was hesitant about it because of my worries that Stan would flit into a stall unannounced and cause one of the other two to panic and flee and injure themselves in the process. However, as time has passed, this worry became much less as we all became more accustomed with our routines at home. And so, for some weeks now, the horses have had the ability to be in or out of their stalls as they see fit.

At first, I worried that I had reverse-litter box trained them. They all wanted to make quite a mess of their stalls! UGH. Fortunately, this only lasted a few days before they realized that they liked loafing in their stalls and really didn't want to loaf in a mess of their own making. From that point on, they pretty exclusively use the bathroom in the dry lot and use the stalls for shelter and naps.

The oblong circle visible in the stone dust on Grif's side is a low spot in the dry lot from where a hay feeder sat all winter. Because it puddles first during high precipitation events, Grif doesn't tend to use it as a bathroom spot. Once it drains less than half a day after rain stops), he tends to use it for rolling and naps.

I feed in the morning and evening. Almost every time I enter the barn, at least one of the boys is in their stalls. Often both of them! Q, who prefers a much closer social proximity despite her mareish ways, tends to stand right outside the stall Stan has chosen (which is usually the center stall these days) under the overhang. However, whenever the weather is really inclement (rain/snow + wind) each horse holes up in a stall for the duration.

In fact, it's kind of amusing to watch Griffin - who is most visible from the windows in my loft - turn tail and hide in his stall with every single strong gust of wind. Such a goober.

Note Grif's copious buckets of water. A temporary solution while I devise the best trough setup for him.

The setup has been perfect for our topsy-turvy spring weather patterns. I haven't worried much at all about blanketing. I know the horses have amazing shelter options for when temperatures drop 40-60 degrees in less than 24 hours. As long as I make sure they have more than enough hay, I know they'll regulate themselves as needed with their shelter situation. Despite their shedding coats and the crazy temperature swings, I have yet to see clenched tail or shivering behavior from any of them!

This slight change seems to have made my already-happy horses even more content. If they weren't spoiled before, they're sure as shit spoiled now. It makes me so happy to see them so relaxed and happy day in and day out. 💙

Monday, April 13, 2020

My Slow Feed Hay Setup

I've received a lot of questions about the specifics of my slow feed hay setup since bringing the horses home. And to each of those questions, I have promised I'd do a video. And then something happens and my best laid plans are way-laid and the video doesn't happen.

Well, y'all. I finally took the video. Yet another episode of Liz's Barn Babbles lol

For those who aren't video lovers/can't watch due to connection issues see the screenshots below for details.

Net in the IBC tote

Demonstrating size of net holes

Each container has a two anchors: cheap carabiner attached to paracord 

The opposite anchor

One of the reasons we use these! To minimize waste and slow feeding times.

Ah, much better.

Paracord around each net cinched tight with a quick release knot and daisy chain to keep horses from fussing with it

Half IBC tote and Tartar hay basket

Full (almost) size IBC tote - same height as hay basket.

I love this setup. It has worked very well for the horses and I. Their eating is slowed down greatly; this artificial system more closely mimics what they are designed to do in a natural environment and helps keep them healthy. It also GREATLY reduces hay waste, helping me get more bang for my buck!

If anyone has questions beyond what I covered, don't hesitate to reach out.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Finished Windows

Oh happy day! The windows in my tack room are officially finished.


And I love them. I squeal a little every time I walk into the tack room since Kate finished them.


There is just something about a trimmed out window that finishes a space for me and makes everything feel so settled and complete.

Now, I'm just waiting for my equestrian-themed pillows to show up for the couch and a curtain for the window behind the couch and then things will be pretty much complete.

I'm not completely sold that I'll keep the carpet that is currently in there in place forever. I may eventually get a small runner to put in the center of the room, but I'm not in a hurry to do that. Things will fall into place as they're meant to with time. The linoleum piece will likely stay forever because it lays over the most heavily trafficked area of the room and helps to keep the inevitable barn muck from scratching the wood more than I know it will. *shrug*

This was the best "pose with your work" I could get out of Kate when she finished lol

The next immediate steps I'll be taking are: painting the medicine cabinet and accompanying drawer cabinet brown to match the couch/window trim, painting the breaker box that same brown, and then possibly painting the door navy? I'm not sure yet. The curtain behind the couch is likely going to be navy, and I have had dreams of a nice navy door since this whole project began. So, we'll see.

It has been so much fun to work on evolving this space over the past several months. I'm spending an increasing amount of time down there these days, and I really enjoy the paradise it is becoming.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Spa Day for the Horses

Last weekend, the weather was beautiful. Some of the first truly warm days we had this spring. It was the perfect time to take advantage and give the ponies their first baths since last fall!

Tools of the trade for the afternoon

Other than Grif, who is quite Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde about grooming, the horses really seemed to enjoy the extra attention. I mean who wouldn't love a full body massage coupled with a bubble bath?!

A clean, happy Staniel returned to his precious hay.
So skeptical of my BS. He totally kicked that bucket over before things were said and done, too. 
Trojan Pony: A Bathtime Beauty. Norah definitely was clutch in getting this photo lol

Stan was the only good boy who didn't roll post bath. Q rolled on one side only. And Grif? Well, I knew that was a losing battle so I put a cooler on him and let him run amok in the yard grazing, hoping the new grass and luxury of grazing would distract him enough. Not so much, but fortunately the cooler took the brunt of the roll so he's still relatively clean for a grey horse.

I had set him up grazing in the backyard but he decided the front yard would be better
And then when I went to fetch him to bring him in for dinner, he scurried away from me
So I just took his photo as he marched away, not wanting to encourage his little keepaway game any more than necessary

I finally ran out of my Cowboy Magic detangler and opted to order EquiFuse Gleam after reading multiple positive reviews in blogland about it. And, WOW! I love it. It smells amazing and definitely works better and with less required to make a big difference. Big plus that it works amazingly well on wet hair. The CM required inordinate amounts to do anything when applied to a wet canvas.

Trying to get them both to look at me for a photo was impossible
At least their tails are fluffy?
So when taken one at a time, here is Qdle
And here's Staniel - looking so damn good for almost-19!

While temporary in nature, I loved having soft, clean horses for several days in a row. I couldn't stop petting them! So soft. So fluffy. And so much nicer to groom to release shedding hair!

Additionally, it was really confirming to see that when their remaining winter coats were flattened out by their baths, each of their weight/body condition scores was in a great place. Sure, it was a minor winter, but we've had a lot of those for years now and this is the best they've all looked coming out of winter in a very long time. Goes to show what quality forage-focused diet can do!

And this turd
Still stained, but a clean stained! And whatever, all of that hair is gonna shed out this month, so I can't be too bothered to make him pretty right now.

I'm so excited for the warmer weather that is becoming more common as we settle more firmly into spring. More frequent baths will definitely be in the future for all of the horses.