Thursday, October 31, 2013

22 Horse Hallowe'en Costumes That Will Get You Noticed!

 Hallowe'en is my favorite time of year, just one reason I run our Short Course event in the fall, so we can incorporate costumes.  I love looking at everyones original ideas for their horses.  Here are 22 examples of some great horse costumes!

A pinata horse.

Nothing runs like a Deer.

Beyond creepy.

Is Johnny Depp going to arrive?

Monsters Inc!  At our Short Course Event.

Just plain creepy.  This was at our short course event.

Every girls dream.

A bobby and a jailbird.

Cruella De Ville and one of her Dalmatians.

Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion.

Harry Pony (Potter)!

Bo Peep and her Sheep.

The little mermaid.

Spongebob and Gary - My favorite!

Gumby and Pokey

Scuba horse.

Fred and Wilma Flintstone.


My favorite - Official MLB Horse!

Twister anyone?

Poodle skirt.

  Do you have any others they would like to share??

Have a safe and Happy Hallowe'en everyone!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Great Broom Mystery

Tired Pen after our clinic.

  Sunday afternoon I returned home from a dressage clinic, in which I rode Penny and William.  More on the clinic to come, the real theme of this post is what I returned home to.  I didn't have time to clean stalls before I left, so I turned the horses out for a short bit while I was going to do the barn chores.  I cleaned the stalls and went looking for my favorite broom for the final sweep, but alas, it was no where to be found.

it's just not the same with this broom.
 I checked all the stalls, checked the feed room, checked the tack room, checked the garage, the garden, the house, I even checked the field and - nothing!  Like it just disappeared into thin air. Where could it have gone?  I gave up searching and used my back up broom, which I truly hate.  To top things off, my leafblower died so there will be no arm free sweeping.  Seems as though the powers that be want my barn to stay dirty and dusty - but alas - they can not stop my obsessive barn cleaning!

still spotless.
  The question remains, where DID my broom go?  Will I ever find it again...or did some witch ride off on it?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Farm Girl Fridays ✫ #2 - Stall Mats

 Rubber mats are not only a necessity in indoor stalls, they can also be extremely useful in outdoor stalls, shelters, wash racks, and any area where there is heavy foot traffic.  We were pretty lucky with our farm, all but one stall had really nice matting already.  There were however no mats in the aisle way and one stall still needed to be done.  I scored a wicked deal through my moms co worker who had purchased about 16 mats off a farmer and wanted to use them in his garage.  The only problem was when he got them home, the smell of cow manure was so strong he had to take them out of his garage!  I got a great deal off him and a few weeks in the barn aired them right out.

A perfect install job was done before I moved in.

 *The benefits of stall mats are numerous;  *

  • Adds cushion and leg relief for long standing and laying down.  Has been known to reduce stocking up and help with arthritis.
  • Prevents slipping, especially in wash stalls and in aisle ways.
  • Aids in the absorption for bedding, preventing urine and water from seeping into the floor.
  • Prevents holes and uneveness on dirt and wood floors.
  • Reduces the amount of bedding used making stall cleaning time reduced and cost savings.
  • Prevents sand colic from dirt or sand bedding.
  • Prevents cold and dampness from coming up through the floors.
  • Money savings in long term horse care.

 Typical stall mats are made of recycled rubber and are about 3/4' thick.  For a more cost effective mat you can turn to cattle matts, which are typically the mats that fit together like a puzzle piece, slightly lower quality.  When laying mats, you can cover the entire stall floor, or, if you are looking to save money, you can cover 3/4 of the stall starting at the back, and leaving the front area dirt or concrete as the horses are less prone to stand and sleep there.  Mats with texture are recommended over smooth mats as they tend to be less slippery when wet.

I sweep my shavings back during the day to let the mats dry.

  When installing mats you want to make sure to install them properly so they lay flat and there are no gaps between mats.  You can also secure them to the ground by bolting them down if you are laying over concrete.  Installing a mat properly can save you much heartache and annoyance in the future, from fixing the shifting and cleaning under them.  They will also wear quicker and be less effective if they are not level.  If you do purchase mats, take the time to have them leveled and installed properly.  You can also invest in seams for your mats which will make them waterproof and even more secure .  Personally, I think taking the time to measure and level them should be sufficient for the average barn owner.

Ozzy snuck into this one :)

  When looking at mats be sure to look at the warranty if there is one offered.  Some vary from 6 months to 10 years, however my advice if you are on a budget (which most of us horse ladies are), is to look online on places like Kijiji and Craigslist, or estate auctions where you can usually buy bulk for a fraction of the cost.  You should weigh the cost vs the long term durability of each mat.  You can expect to spend anywhere from $250-$500 to mat a 12 x 12 stall, less if you just mat the back.  I know it took me 5 mats to do my aisle way, with a single mat in the center for the entire length.  This has also saved my concrete floor from wear and tear because of shoes.

The stall that wasn't matted - after installing new puzzle mats
  Spending money on a quality floor in your barn will never be a regret.  Mats can last up to 30 years if treated right and are worth the investment.  You can even purchase one mat a month if you are on the skint side, and before you know it you will have 12 mats in a year, enough to do 3 or 4 stalls.  The amount of money you will save on bedding alone makes your money back in the first year or two.

  A final tip for those who need to move mats - use vice grips on either end and just pull.  As a 5'2 petite female, I was able to install all 16 of my new mats last year by myself with ease.  Thank my dad for that tip!

 Keep Calm and Farm on!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Staycation Over! Conformation Critique Please :)

  I have been busy busy busy but that is finally over with (hopefully).  I took a week off of work to prepare my farm for our third Short Course Event which was a huge success.  It was a staycation, but turned more into a workcation that never ended.  I am officially exhausted, but my farm looks great and I have a few new cross country fences out of it!  More on that later!  For now, I want to have some fun with some FABULOUS pictures of my guys my lovely boarder Susan took for me.  I wanted some good conformation pics and she certainly delivered.

 If you are into this sort of thing, please do a critique of each of their conformations.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  Let me know who you think has the best jump, gallop, and movement based on their conformation and I can confirm or deny your hypothesis.  I am planning on posting them on CoTH and getting users to guess their ages/breeds/ and comment, but I can't really do that here since most know their history.  Here they are;



  Looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Farm Girl Fridays ✫ #1

 { I have been wanting to do a series for some time now but kept putting it off, not having the time to sit down and write some well though posts but I don't want to put it off any longer so I might as well just start now.  Now that I am 30 I  have no time to waste. ;)}

 Every Friday I will share a tip from me, a must have, or a how - to that I have learned from my first year or so on the farm.  I know how daunting it can be for new farm owners who already have so much on their plate.  Hopefully my posts can help save you the heart aches and headaches I have gone through and maybe you readers can educate me on some things too.

 The first absolute must have item I want to share is a good pair of wire/fence cutters.  If you remember, the first summer on the farm (last year), my yearling at the time Liam decided it would be hilarious if he galloped around the field like a maniac, sliding in between Archie and Parker.  When they both turned their bums to him he had no where to go but up and over the 5 foot fence in front of him.  Unfortunately for him, he didn't quite clear it and he was hung up by the stifles with his front legs dangling.  The fencing in this area is page wire with wooden planks at the top.  The plank popped off the page wire was strung so tight I absolutely could not bend it, break it, or undo it.

Liam and the fence in question.
  The mistake here was that I didn't have any wire cutters.  I could have easily cut the fence and freed him in a matter of seconds, but instead I had to use a crow bar, a screw driver along with some patience, and good faith.  Luckily, Liam was quiet as a clam the entire time and stood stock still.  I had to pry the fence staples out one by one and roll the fence down.  Eventually it lowered enough that he could slither off without harm.  He had nothing but a few hair scrapes - thank goodness.

 Not only are wire cutters great for this type of emergency, they can be used for many things;
  • Repairing and building fencing, and tin roofing.
  • A make shift hammer to hit things with.
  • Removing coating on cables.
  • Helping to remove nails on loose horse shoes.
  • Making jewelry and crafts.
  • A bunch of other things I have not needed yet but I am sure I will.
 The cost can range anywhere from $10 to $100 depending on size and quality.  Ideally, to have a set of big bolt cutters and smaller wire cutters would serve your needs on a small hobby farm.  

  If you don't have a set of wire cutters yet, get out and get some!  You will be happy you did when the need arises.  Happy Hobby Farming Friday!

Happy Appy bum right there.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - I'm 30

 Time to celebrate, or time to cry?  Tell me how you celebrated your Dirty Thirty!

my punishment at work

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gulp! The Big U to the Big T

  The moment I had been waiting for.  The moment I have spent obsessing about for the last 4 years.  The moment I spent hours and countless minutes devising a plan for it to come...finally arrived.  Now, it may not be a big deal to some of you, but it has been an important goal for me.  The step forward, the step in the right direction to pursue my long term riding goals that is.  I finally have a Training level event horse again.

 To some people, Training is not a huge deal.  It actually isn't to me either, but finding another horse that could take me back to this level has taken what feels like FOREVERRRR.  This is what happens when you are young and stupid, and don't have a lot of money to spend on a horse.  You are clueless as to what you want in life and you can't even get your head on straight to get your life in order.  I once had an amazing event horse who took me around my first Prelim clean at the age of 16.  When he retired I spent year after year trying to find a suitable event horse to replace him with a limited budget and didn't get very far.  I had horses that won at Pre Training but the Training was just too much for them, or they just weren't careful enough for my liking. (Westie and I at Stevens Creek in 99).

  I had an Appaloosa who did go Training and could jump the moon but I foolishly thought he would never be good enough for Prelim and let him go by the way side.  If I had known then what I know now, I would have spent many years at Training just hanging onto the experience and learning.  I was young and not dedicated.  The constant struggle to replace my super horse Westie became depressing and I pretty much gave up on showing.  It wasn't until years later when I had Archie three years in, was moving home, had a good job and a line of focus in my head, that I wanted to start eventing again.  We all know the struggle I had with Archie to get him to be an upper level eventer and this time I was not getting discouraged and giving up.  I kept positive and Penny came into my life at just the right time.  She restored my faith and has given me another glimpse of hope that some day I will be jumping those green numbers once again.  We might even get to jump some of those reds too if we're lucky.

  Penny and I entered Stevens Creek Horse Trials for September 29th.  I had done their Training level almost 10 years earlier with Westie at the Championships and finished third.  It was the first time they were holding an event in 7 years and I was really excited and nervous about our upgrade.  I had no idea what the course looked like now, but I did know Penny was bored and not challenged at Pre Training, and that is the clear sign to me that it is time to move up.  I didn't feel as nervous as I thought I might.  Our dressage is improving and our stadium is getting better too.  I have been lessoning weekly with Rick and my riding is getting better.  Still lots of work to be done but I feel a lot more confident.

  I walked the cross country and didn't have too many worries.  The scariest fence to me was the bank up - one stride - bank down - over a ditch on the landing side, 5 strides to a somewhat skinny arrowhead.  I wasn't sure how she would react to the ditch or the skinny but I had a plan and that was to ride like hell and hold on.

ditch on landing side of bank


  I was happy with our dressage test, some little bobbles here and there but a nice overall flow for the first time running through.  I actually thought it was the best test we had done this year.  The judge thought otherwise and commented to me that my horse looked unbalanced in the canter and scored me harshly because of that.  Nothing to get upset about though, it's not a dressage competition and we can make it up in the jumping portions if we are lucky!  I have all winter to work on her dressage.

 The stadium course was cute and rode well.  The ring was quite heavy footed and on the line coming from 2 to 3 we got an awful distance in and Penny ran out to the right of the second oxer.  She was going to jump and we both sort of thought - ahh no better re group.  I re approached and she popped right over.  I kicked her more forward and we had a flawless remainder of a round without touching a single rail.  I was thrilled.  Stadium is by far the most stressful phase for me and I was really happy with how Penny went.

 Cross country started out with an interesting bang when Penny spooked at the row of first fences and I couldn't get her anywhere near her first fence, and we cantered right by.  I mean really...we just sailed right by.  I had my left rein pulling so hard but Penny was off in her own world getting away from those scary jumps!  I stopped her and gave her a good smack behind my leg.  Regrouped and approached with a good strong leg.  No way was I going to have any more issues on this course!  Penny sailed around the rest of the course like a breeze.  She gave the bank a good look but went straight up and over.  She aced the coffin and flew into the water without hesitation.  We made home with just the one silly mistake and clear inside the time. We survived our first Training level event together - wah hoo!

  The course proved to be a challenging one and half the division was eliminated.  We ended up in 4th place and took home a cute yellow ribbon and a nice big gift basket!  What an awesome end to a perfect day.  Alayne and Cayden were out in full force once again to finish an amazing third in the senior Prelim.  Go team! Go TTE!

Alayne and Cayd

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