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Horses

Oxer!

Oxer – A horse jump or fence with vertical poles and another pole spread out a foot or two away that is usually higher than the first set of poles.

I have so much to say about Keira and Remi and riding and jumping and Amara getting married and moving to Florida with Seth and the Air Force and us finding a new trainer and and and and.

But it’s Monday and all of that will have to wait.

So I leave you with this . . . Keira and Remi training over an oxer . . .

oxer

Their oxer was a 2′ vertical, spaced by tires, 2′ 3″ vertical. Notice the markings on our ruler jump – Keira is over 4 feet in the air on a young 1,000 pound horse.

As a parent, this is NOT easy to watch, and this is a relatively low jump.

See that 36″ mark? That’s her goal before high school.

I’m gonna need more whiskey.

Tackless Cowboy

Keira decided she needed to get some neck reins for Cowboy. She wants to ride him completely tackless. I guess I’m fine with it because Cowboy is awesome! He may be a turd and try to buck everyone else off, but he and Keira have a special “thing” together – he lets her do whatever she wants to him . . . from laying on his back while he eats hay to dressing him up for costume classes at shows to riding him tackless. We paid quite a bit of money for him 2 1/2 years ago to be a jumping horse for Keira while she got her confidence back jumping after her accident. He’s 18 now and retired from show jumping – he’s had a rough life with lots of jumping. His previous owner was not good to him, so basically we ended up rescuing him.

We rescued him. He rescued Keira.

They have an understanding and I LOVE it!

Anyhoo – back to this . . . neck reins and tackless jumping.

It’s not easy for a mom to watch her kid jump over anything on a horse with full tack! But I completely trust Cowboy and know Keira is a great rider . . . so I got out the video camera!

Because he’s a large pony, she can get on him bareback without a mounting block – and he just lets her climb all over him. It always makes me giggle!

 

Once she’s on, she goes to town! She took his bridle off and got to work :-) Look Mom! No hands!

KCowboyJumpTackless

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She gives me a heart attack sometimes, but she loves it, so we watch and just make sure she’s as safe as she can be.

Like A Duck

That was me yesterday afternoon – frantically moving and treading underneath, still and calm where the world could see.

I was sitting at my desk working while Keira was out riding Remi in the arena. For some reason I had an urge to go see how it was going. As I got to the sliding glass door, I saw her ask him to canter . . . then I saw him turn his head at her, glare, and proceed to buck her off.

Little shit!

He stood there for a second then trotted off up the driveway to the barn and stood by his stall door.

Keira’s friend was out there with her, so while I really WANTED to bolt out the door to see if she was OK, I just stood there and waited. Keira got up, dusted herself off, said something to Piper, and stomped up the driveway after her horse.

I looked out my office window to see what she’d do. I was HOPING she’d get back on him. Instead, my heart deflated a little bit when I saw her untack him.

Really?! You’re going to just let him get away with that?

Uh – no. I should’ve known better.

Next thing I see is Keira stomping back down the driveway with her horse in tow. The poor guy had no clue what he was in for.

She lunged the crap out of him in the arena! He got to do all the cantering she wanted him to do originally, and then some.

And boy was he M.A.D.! I saw him put his ears back, give a little mini buck, and try to gallop off. Keira grabbed the lunge line with both hands, held on, and made him come to her.

He tried again.

Same result.

He finally put his ears up and started to nicely trot around on the lunge line. Then canter when she asked. Then change direction. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Finally she took the pressure off and just stood there in the middle of the arena.

He stood at the end of the lunge line. When he decided it was safe, he put his head down, slowly meandered over to her, and put his head in her hands.

Good boy.

She wasn’t willing to get on and give him an attitude adjustment without the fence up yet, but she found a way to get her point across without getting back on, that’s for sure!

We’ll see what happens when she gets on him to ride today.

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This morning when I went out to feed, I told him that if he hurt his girl again, we’d send him away to the cowboy farm where he’d have to actually do work and not have a cute little girl to braid his hair and bathe him and get him all ready for horse shows where everyone would love on him and give him carrots and treats and ribbons.

He actually looked at me, dropped his head, and nickered.

Good boy.

She’s Better At This Than I Am

We brought Remington home last Tuesday – he’s been here one full week :-)

He and Cowboy spent the first 5 days fighting . . . nipping at each other, kicking, pinning their ears and prancing around, kicking stall walls, getting stuck in the Cameo fencing when they tried to get to each other. All typical stuff for horses when they first meet – figuring out who’s in charge.

Quite frankly, I’m surprised Remi gave it any thought at all! He’s so laid back and passive, we thought he’d just settle in and let Cowboy be in charge.

They’ve stopped fighting and even took naps next to each other yesterday, although I still don’t know who’s alpha. They haven’t been let out in the pasture together yet. We’ll give that a few more days and hopefully let the snow and ice melt so there aren’t any accidents.

Remi came from a very nice boarding facility – he’d lived there for the past 2 years. His previous owner had him there and we left him there for winter so he could get training and Princess could use the indoor arena to ride him. Boy was he SPOILED! Three meals a day, big pastures to run in, temperature-controlled personal automatic waterer in his stall, inches of shavings on the stall floor to sleep in . . . and all the love and hugs and treats he wanted because he’s so darn cute and everybody down there just loved him!

We kept saying he’d be in for a rude awakening when he came home – he’d actually have to behave like a horse!

I have to say – Princess is much better at letting him learn to be a horse than I am.

Me: You should go spend lots of time with him and love and hug on him so he feels comfortable.
Her: I do love and hug on him, but he’s a horse – and I have to go back to school next week. He’s going to have to figure out how to exist without people around all the time.

Me: You should put some shavings in his stall for him to sleep in until he gets used to it here.
Her: No. That will only encourage him to pee and poop in his stall. And besides, Cowboy does just fine without shavings. He has his blanket and is comfortable. If he doesn’t want to lay in his pee and poop, then he will learn to do that outside where he should do it anyway.

Me: You should put his hay in the same place every morning so he knows where it is.
Her: Mom – he spent the past 2 years being fed at the same time in the exact same place. His gate to the pasture was open all day yesterday and he didn’t even go out! He needs to learn to look for food like a real horse. Yes, I will give him hay, but I’m going to move it around in his run and the pasture so he has to do at least a little work and behave like a horse. He will still get his grain inside like Cowboy does.

Me: What are you going to do when we let them out in the pasture together? I think Cowboy will bully him and try to eat all the hay.
Her: He will be fine. I will make a couple piles of hay like I always do. He’ll just have to figure out how to get his share.

And on and on and on. She’s great with her horses. When we first got Cowboy, I figured she’d baby him and try to treat him like a house pet. But nope – she treats him like a horse. A horse that she absolutely loves (and one who still has a pretty cush life here), but like a horse nonetheless. And Remi – just like a horse. Sink or swim, baby. He’ll get the food and love and hugs and work that he needs, but he will not be spoiled, not if she can help it (however, she IS at school all day and I’m here to do with the horses as I please – bwahahahahaha!).

After 2 days of having Remi here, she went online and bought a book – 101 Ground Training Exercises for You and Your Horse. She didn’t like his manners when she was feeding him and wanted to fix it right away. She looked through the entire book the day it came and tabbed the pages of the lessons she wanted to work with him on first.

So ya – Remi will be loved and hugged by his sweet girl as much as any horse should be . . . but he will also have manners and not be spoiled :-)

Can I say how much I love my Princess?

Horsey Home

Our little farm here is not bad. We’ve got 10 acres – 4.5 of which the horses get to roam freely on daily. They’ve got a nice barn with stalls for shelter and large runs for the days we can’t turn them out. They get fed twice a day and also get to graze during the day. They have sunny spots and treed shelter. We’re building an outdoor arena this spring. They get fresh water. They get blankets at night if it’s cold enough. They get to see their girl daily while she loves and hugs on them and cares for them. They are happy. It’s a good place for a couple horses.

This has been Remington’s home for the past 18 months . . . with daily turnout, temperature controlled automatic waterers, 3x a day feedings, night checks, and blanketing:

MM

 

The fence on the left of the photo (with the girls riding) is the giant outdoor arena. The large red portion of the barn is the giant indoor arena.

As Princess said when we left Wednesday “Remi is going to be in for a rude awakening when he gets to our house! He’ll have to deal with Cowboy and actually get treated like a horse instead of a king.”

LOL! Just one of the many reasons I love her . . . she absolutely loves animals, but is smart enough to know that they ARE animals and need to be treated as such.

Predators

Is it sad that Princess and I were way excited the day our package of 10,000 teeny tiny little bug coccoons showed up in the mail?

Is it sadder that we checked them out daily to see if any hatched?

Is it more sadder that when they started to hatch, we may have done a small happy dance?

Is it more greater sadder that we took great pleasure in spreading the predators in the stalls and around the pasture last night?

Ahhhhh – the excitement of fly control with horses :-)

There’s always something new! Next year we’ll be prepared in the springtime to hopefully get the flies under control before they take over!

The Rig

We’re starting to feel like actual horse owners!

Cowboy and Angel are getting along swimmingly :-) They love to nuzzle and give kisses through their stall grates. They stand right next to each other in the pasture. Angel has even convinced Cowboy it’s OK to go inside at night to sleep (something he never did before – he was an outside guy!).

We got 100 bales of hay delivered and stacked in our barn yesterday.

We found a house/horse sitter while we were gone for a week.

We’ve become pros at getting Cowboy into the trailer. He refused a couple weeks ago, so we had to get a lesson. We got schooled and he got an attitude adjustment. Now he walks right in for Princess :-)

But what really sealed the deal and made us feel like actual horse owners was our purchase late last week . . .

Rig

Yep! A brand spankin’ new pickup to haul the baby. The poor 4Runner was workin’ hard for the few weeks it took us to get the pickup – we are grateful for her service. She may now return to kid hauling and grocery delivering!

And in true Boedie fashion, the pickup fits into the garage. My rule has always been, if you have a garage and you have cars, the cars go in the garage.

Full_Garage

We did a little swapping of “stalls” with the vehicles, but they all fit :-)

Yes, this is ridiculous. Had I thought that bringing Cowboy home and needing a pickup to haul a trailer was going to happen anytime this year, we never would’ve bought the Audi (aka FunMobile) last fall. I’m a planner, so we all know this whole horse at the house thing happened way sooner than we thought it would!

I will feel much better about having 4 vehicles in the garage when Dude gets his permit next month . . . 3 drivers for 3 cars + 1 FunMobile. We briefly thought about selling a vehicle, but with the number of miles on each of them, it’s not worth it. We historically drive vehicles until they die. These will be no exception. Dude will get to purchase the Highlander next year when he turns 16 – it’ll be 8 years old and have 200k miles on it! So ya, we drive ’em (and yes, I’m working hard to justify this to myself!).

Also in true Boedie fashion, we put the new pickup to work right away and hauled horses, tractors, and canoes and kayaks the very first weekend we had it. It is already dusty and dirty and awesome! We broke it in right away – literally . . .

Broken_Glass

Less than 48 hours after we brought it home, passenger window got hit by a rock thrown from a mower at the Scout Lodge. We haven’t even rolled the window down yet because the tint is still setting! On top of that, insurance company doesn’t even know we own the pickup yet. You get 30 days of “free” coverage before you have to officially put it on your policy . . . we planned on going in this week. It kinda sucks to say “Can you please add this new vehicle to our policy? And oh yeah, we’d like to submit a claim for a new power window with tint today as well.” Yikes!

Anyhoo – I think it’s safe to say that we are now officially real horse owners :-) Let the adventure continue!

The Story of a Horse

We did it! We have our very own horse living in our very own barn on our very own property. It’s only been a couple weeks since Cowboy moved in. He’s happy. He likes his new pasture mate, Angel. Princess is happy. I’m happy.

But not being a “horse family” I have at times throughout this process wondered if we did the right thing. Did we get ourselves in over our head? Do I really know what I’m doing? Are we ready for this?

I knew that we’d have to buy a trailer some day. That day came last March when Princess’s trainer got a 3rd horse and filled up the spots in her trailer. So we spent time researching horse trailers and combing the internet. I think Princess is happy with her purchase!

CboyHomea

Then we learned that we were probably going to have to move Cowboy to a different place for boarding. I didn’t really want to do that. We bought this property for many reasons; one was so we had a place for a horse should we need it. Hubby took some convincing, but he finally agreed that Princess had earned having Cowboy at our house, and I was excited to be able to see Princess with him every day! By the time we got the old fencing down, we entered monsoon May where it rained a TON every single day. Took forever to get our fence installed, but it finally got done, rain or shine.

CboyHomeb

This meant it was time to actually purchase stall panels and install them in the barn! I pulled Princess out of school one day and she, Gigi, and I headed up north of Denver to get the panels. The boys at the ranch supply place were HORRIBLE at securing them with the tie-down straps. We lost straps twice in the first mile. So we pulled over and the girls made it awesome :-) I think Princess looks pretty happy :-)

CboyHomec

Next, our awesome friends gave up a Wednesday evening to help us unload the crazy heavy stall panels, and then gave up the entire next Saturday to help us install them. So thankful for them! We could’ve figured it out, but it would’ve taken forever – and we needed more muscle. They were also invaluable in putting down the stall mats.

CboyHomed

Even Princess and her friend, G, did a lot of the work. The cut the boards and installed them in each of the stall walls and door panels.

CboyHomee

They are kids, so they may have gotten a little bit “done” after awhile – and we’d moved onto the stall mats, which they couldn’t help with. So they got creative and created a rickshaw with an old wire spool and extra wood in the barn. Love creativity! I think Princess looks pretty happy :-)

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After a long day, DONE!

CboyHomeg

Princess couldn’t wait to put a few of Cowboy’s things up on his stall.

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Duma didn’t know what to make of the new guy out in her yard!

CboyHomei

But Duma was happy when she discovered that Cowboy is the same color as she is and, much like herself, likes to get dirty! Now maybe she won’t be the only one in trouble :-)

CboyHomen

CboyHomem

After a couple weeks of Cowboy and Angel getting used to the new place and pasture, Princess saddled Cowboy up and went for a ride. On the way, she decided to stop and do her best impression of Crazy Horse – except our Crazy Horse is munching on a snack :-)

CboyHomek

CboyHomel

Some riding around the pasture – your very own pasture on your very own horse – is good for the soul.

CboyHomej

So after all the time and effort and research and learning and lost sleep and stressful days and money spent, I sometimes wonder if it was all worth it.

I’d have to say yes :-)

When Kids Are Left Alone

Some awesome friends spent their Saturday helping us install the stalls for the barn. Princess and her friend, G, were a HUGE help. They cut the boards for the stall panels and installed the boards after we had the panels up.

StallsCM

(Um yes – those are lights above the stalls. Cowboy and Angel can have a barn dance!)

We got to a point where the kids couldn’t help anymore – the adults were installing the mats (100 lbs each – 6 in each stall – yikes!) and cutting them to fit. So Princess and G got creative. This started out as a Flintstones car with two spools, but ended up as a rickshaw. Love it!

 

Cowboy is coming home this afternoon. Can’t wait! Of course I will post photos because OMG we’re actually going to have a horse at our house!

Weekend in Words

Friday
Da Girls: Picked Princess up from school and we booked it up to Denver (where we promptly un-booked it in crazy traffic – still hate Denver!). We headed straight to the National Western complex for the Friday night portion of the Horse Expo. Our friend, MS, was riding in the Mane Event evening show and we wanted to be there! It was lots of fun :-) We got to help get a couple of the horses ready – letting down awesome long beautiful tails, brushing, etc. After the show, we headed to a hotel – just the two of us. It’s not very often we get to spend time like this alone. It was nice and fun and relaxing.
Da Boys: As far as I can tell by the credit card bill and the new clothes bags, they stuck to their plan of going to the sporting goods store for baseball gear (darn boy keeps growing!) and meeting some fellow Scouts at REI to shop for the high adventure trip this summer. Those are the only “details” the talkative men in my life were willing to share.

Saturday
Da Girls: Up bright and early. Princess made me promise to get her up early enough so we could eat breakfast and make it to the Horse Expo by 8:45 so we could be in our seats at 9:00 for the class she wanted to attend – Techniques for Trainers. Yep – given the opportunity to sleep in as long as she wanted, she made me wake her up so we could go learn how to train kids on horses. Spent a few hours walking around the Expo looking for things to buy (we succeeded) and getting quotes on stalls for our barn (yikes!). We may or may not have been sucked in by a live infomercial starring Princess herself – and we may or may not have bought a straightening iron that CURLS your hair. Last year, Princess loved watching the Colt Starting in the main event arena, so this year that was the 2nd must-do thing at the Expo. Sat our behinds in bleacher seats for 2 hours watching trainers break colts ranging from 2.5 years to 4 years. It’s actually pretty interesting and fun to watch! We left mid-afternoon to catch up with the boys at Dude’s baseball games. He had a double-header in South Denver.
Da Boys: Best I can tell, they got up, went out for breakfast, went to Denver, bought more baseball stuff, and headed to the ball field.
All: We had a great time watching Dude’s team play. He’s loving the high school baseball. He’s struggling a bit at the plate . . . hasn’t gotten his groove back after getting his cast off, but he’ll get there. The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful, and the facility was amazing! Private Christian school has some MOOLAH! It was fun for them to get to play on awesome fields. The games started late and ran late, so we all bolted the minute they were over.
Hubby and Me: Raced inside, cleaned up a bit, put on something nicer than shorts and a t-shirt, and headed out to a fundraising benefit with silent auction. Enjoyed lots of wine samples, yummy appetizers, and fun with friends. We may have ended up winning quite a few of the items we bid on 😉 Next time we might want to bid together!

Sunday
All that fun on Friday and Saturday meant catching up on responsibilities on Sunday. The kiddos were tasked with cleaning their rooms – like their entire rooms. For two kids who swore they had nothing they didn’t need, we ended up with 3 large trash bags and one large tote of clothes (2 to donate, 2 to put into a consignment sale in a couple weeks), 2 trash bags of trash (yuck!), and 2 totes of “stuff” they’re ready to get rid of. All is well in the land of the scary teenager bedrooms downstairs. Princess and I also made it out to the barn for a couple glorious hours of loving on Cowboy – brushing, cleaning his stall, giving him a massage . . . life is good!

And where are the photos of the horse expo and baseball games and before/after of the cleaning spree?

In my  melon. We were having so much fun just enjoying time with the kids and together as a family this weekend that none of us pulled out a phone or camera for a photo. I love photos, but this was a nice fun, relaxing, weekend with family and friends :-)

Now we’re off to the races again this week – horses, baseball, work, scouts, volleyball – Let the games begin! Woot!