How would you spend your $5?
I also saw this on Facebook the other day - thank you, Haute Rider. My first instinct was to say smart and sound, but then I got to really thinking about it. I am not so sure I like smart horses. Smart horses, like both of mine, cause a lot of trouble. They break things, including themselves. They have opinions, usually opposite to mine. They're nearly impossible to fool or trick, even when it's in their best interests. No, rather than smart, I think I'd prefer a good temperament.
When you really look at the price of smart, it goes for a mere buck, you have to wonder why smart is so cheap. A good temperament on the other hand, will gobble up half your budget. It's so pricey in fact that you aren't going to get much else. Do you go with broke or a gelding? Maybe young or short?
If not smart and sound, what else would I choose? Well, for $2 I could get a young horse under five years old. While I've said never again to a baby, it would be acceptable because I could guarantee a good temperament for $2.50 putting the price of my unicorn under budget at only $4.50. Of course, I might have to spend a lot on training and lessons down the rode, but with good temperament, he'd be easy to train.
I would also consider a horse ready to compete. Sure, that's nearly my entire budget at $4.50, and yes, he might be a lunatic, but he also might be magical. Truly a unicorn. Something like this. That's Verdades - talented but slightly nuts in his younger years. Reminds me of Izzy.
Unicorns are elusive for a reason. Even with a $1,000,000 budget, they still break. Sometimes they get too big or don't grow enough. Some are never ready to compete, and they all get old sooner than we'd like.
How would you spend your $5?
Last week, a friend shared this article on Facebook. It's worth the read. I scored 94 points. Based on my score, I am among the very privileged.
I thought about that quiz the rest of the day. Do I think I am privileged? Yes, but more along the lines of it's an honor to be trusted by so magnificent a creature. Do I feel privileged in the sense that I have unearned or undue access to a lifestyle that others are denied? I don't.
I was raised by a single mom who came from a teenaged mom herself. My mom was a high school graduate with no skills who was married, divorced, and then the primary caregiver to two little girls by the time she was in her early twenties.
My mom dug deep. She got herself some training, worked a man's job, and did her damndest to avoid public assistance. As a little girl, I remember going with my mom to clean houses, pick fruit, and scrounge scrap metal to sell. My mom taught me to be a hard worker and to take responsibility for myself.
Neither my husband nor I feel a sense of entitlement. We're not owed anything. We don't "take." We don't expect the government to help us or fix things. We pay our taxes, go to work, and invest our money for retirement. While we are both of European descent, neither one of us gives a rat's ass what color you are or who you love. We won't judge you based on your color or gender, but we will judge you by your actions.
Before you criticize me for being insensitive or blind to the realities of the world we live in today, I get it. Not everyone has had the same "access" to the choices that I've had in front of me. By the same token, others have had more and better choices than me. I don't resent them for that.
My husband has expressed his frustration more than once about the recent movement that paints white men as oppressors who should feel guilty about their station in life. Should he donate his retirement to women who have been raped because it is men who perpetrate that crime? Should he be forced to give a portion of his salary to the NAACP because he makes more money than many black men?
Deep breath, Sweaney. I read the article. It made me think. Bigotry and racism have always made me angry. I am frustrated that there are assholes who force others to feel inferior or threatened or ashamed of who they are. But that's not me. That's not the man I married. I won't be made to feel guilty because of my European ancestry and gender.
I've been an elementary school teacher for nearly 30 years. I've seen more than one generation grow up, and I've seen a lot of changes over the past three decades. The one change that I am most excited about is the overwhelming diversity that I see in my classroom and my students' complete ignorance of racial lines. In fact, most of these kids have last names that don't seem to match their ethnicity.
All of these kids know that racism is "bad," that bullying is unacceptable, and that gender is becoming a fluid idea. That doesn't mean that this generation is going to solve the world's problems, because they won't. There are still kids who have parents who are blatant racists, homophobes, and bullies themselves. Those kids will struggle.
Is horse ownership a symbol of privilege? I never thought so, but I am not black, gay, mentally ill, or physically disabled. If I were one of those things, maybe I would feel differently. In the meantime, there are some who think that I don't get a say so because I am white, and in their view, white equals privilege. I am certain that many white kids do grow up with privilege, but so do many black and asian kids. I sure didn't feel privileged while I was picking walnuts and scrounging for scrap metal in a junker car. I felt poor and disadvantaged.
I was the first person in my extended family to graduate from college, but it wasn't easy. I worked part time jobs - sometimes several at a time, applied for and received a few grants and scholarships, and borrowed the rest to pay for college. My mom taught me that if I got an education and worked hard, I would be successful. She was right. Privilege wasn't any part of my growing up, but I wouldn't have turned my nose up at a college fund.
What about you? Did you take the quiz? What did you score? Do you feel "privileged?"
While it doesn't yet show up on my expenses for November, trading in Blue Truck and Juke in exchange for Newt is going to alter my spending in not-so-fun ways. Trucks big enough to haul three horses are a lot more expensive than cute little cars made for zipping around town.
I spent most of November adjusting my budget to account for the bigger truck payment and added fuel costs that I'll incur from here on out. Juke got around 30 miles per gallon while Newt seems to get about 15. Newt's monthly payment is nearly twice as much as Juke's so that means both my monthly payments and fuel costs will double.
When I look back over the month, I am actually surprised that my overall spending looks so low, although not going to a show "saves" a lot of money. So does not taking regular lessons. The truth is, I spent a lot on "stuff." I bought new girths, muck boots, and the double bridle. Selling some old stuff helped even things out though. And when I look at those costs, I got super great bargains on all of them.
In late November I went on another round of spending while I was in the midst of trying to cut spending. How I rationalized all of that, I simply don't know.
I bought Newt's floor liners (which I'll pay for with my school detention check. Oh, how I loathe running the detention program, but I love getting that check.). I also bought new tall boots, the browbands from the Dressage Pony Store - more on those in another post, and a new blanket for Speedy. I'll pay for all of that in December.
So yes, horse are expensive, especially when you keep buying stuff!
As I saw someone else write on Friday, "Someone please take away my phone and my laptop and my iPad. I can't afford them!"
In all fairness, some of it was stuff I was going to buy anyway like Flaxseed oil and vitamins. I simply took advantage of Riding Warehouse's 20% off sale (which runs through today by the way) to buy my monthly supply.
The rest of the stuff was on my will need soon list. So what did I order? Well first, my justification for ordering ...
My tall boots, which I really like by the way, have started to show some wear. It's wear that I can live with and still use, but I know the day is coming when the holes will be too big to be seen with in public.
I've purchased two pairs of TuffRider boots, and while they haven't lasted forever, they've done what I expected for boots south of $200. The first pair, the TuffRider Baroques, lasted just over two years. I loved them. They were comfortable from the first day I wore them. I replaced them with the TuffRider Belmont Dress Boots which I loved even more. I've been wearing them for nearly two years.
While browsing through Riding Warehouse's current inventory of tall boots, I saw both the Baroques and Belmonts on clearance for $131 and change. They weren't eligible for the extra 20% off, but how could I complain when I was buying a pair of boots that I know and love for $131? I bought the Belmonts.
Since my other pair is still going strong, I put the new boots in storage until the old pair suffers a fatal injury. But of course, more came in that Riding Warehouse box. It was a big box.
I tried to tell myself it was for the "free shipping," but we all know that's a lie since the boots alone were enough for Riding Warehouse to waive the shipping. So why did I need another Haas brush? I don't know, quit judging. We all have a thing, and right now I am kind of obsessed with these brushes. I already bought the Fellglanzsburste, which I love, so it seemed reasonable to expand my collection. This time I bought the Parcour which is a bit stiffer. Next on the list is the Diva. Hey, Santa? You hear that?
We've had some unusually wet and very cold weather this past week which forced me to pull out my collection of winter blankets. Whether it's due to the Cushing's or just age, Speedy didn't handle the first round of cold very well. I showed up and he was a gigantic ball of shivering jello. I quickly bundled him up in a winter blanket and crossed my fingers.
Since then, he's been happily blanketed on all of the rainy nights. Unfortunately, my nicest and heaviest blanket literally fell apart the first night I tried to use it. I wish I had taken photos. The ranch owner saw it at feeding time and was horrified to see it actually disintegrating in front of her eyes. She carefully picked up the pieces that had fallen off and judicially chose to wrap Speedy up in his lighter, but safer blanket. I threw the old one away.
Four or five years ago I bought a new blanket for my last horse, but he never needed it. I threw it on Izzy for a couple of our most recent coldest and wettest nights, but he proceeded to ventilate it on both sides. Speedy gets a new one. He doesn't. As it just so happens, Horze was having a fabulous Black Friday sale on ... you guessed it, blankets!
While Speedy's medium weight blanket is still going strong, he really needs a warmer one. After deducting a coupon code from the sale price, I paid $71.55 for a 1200 denier, waterproof, windproof, and breathable blanket. Shipping was free of course. How could I turn that down, especially since Speedy's actually fell apart?
On Small Business Saturday, I dropped another hundred bucks at my local feed store, Fred C. Gilbert's. Today's Cyber Monday, but I have jury duty so hopefully I won't have time to do any browsing.
I am not sure what the cold and mud had to do with reckless spending on Black Friday, but that's the story I am going with. Did you score any great deals?
Holy freaking hell, people. This double bridle thing has simply been exasperating. I cannot, CANNOT, tell you how many times I have dismembered that double bridle in an effort to get the p e r f e c t fit.
And poor Speedy. He has earned himself some HUGE bonus points for putting up with the endless pinching, tugging, pulling, and conking that he has endured this past week.
Since we've been battling that abscess, I've taken the time to get him accustomed to the feel of two bits in his mouth before he has to work with them in his mouth.
Speedy loves his interactions with me, so when he is benched for any length of time, he's quick to feel left out. Bringing him out every day to not only check his abscess but play around with the double bridle lets him feel important. He doesn't really care what kind of attention he gets, so long as he gets some.
Like all double bridles, this one has what seems like an infinite amount of adjustments. After ruling out the baucher as the snaffle bit, the hanging rings made everything just too busy, I decided to use a regular bradoon as the snaffle. The next thing I had to decide was which bit to hang from the removable strap that goes over the crown piece.
My first instinct was to use that piece as the bradoon hanger. After more research though, I saw that many bridles that have this removable piece use it to hang the weymouth. So I gave that a try. That was an epic fail. I switched the bit back around so that the bradoon hangs from that strap and the weymouth from the fixed strap.
I also spent several days raising and lowering the snaffle and another few days raising and lowering the curb. Finding that happy medium where the snaffle rests just inside of the curb has not been easy.
The weymouth bit itself is a tricky beast. With shanks that rotate, it is very easy to slide the leather of the cheek piece into a shank that has rotated 180 degrees. If you're really inexperienced, like me, you might find yourself asking why the rein is attached to the front of the bit instead of the back.
Like most bridles with a crank noseband, convincing the noseband to maintain a round shape is not always easy. Every afternoon, I may have cursed a few times as I've tried to wedge the noseband in between the cheek pieces to "train" it into maintaining a round shape. The booger just won't stay where it's supposed to.
A week later, I think I finally have everything adjusted to where I like it. Of course, things may be different once I start actually riding Speedy with it. He may hate it. I may hate it. If so, we can always go back to a regular snaffle.
I don't think that's going to happen though. Speedy's a pretty good egg who tends to go along with whatever new thing I've come up with. For a few cookies, he's usually in.
I have far more to be thankful for than I probably deserve. I have a loving family, a nice house, a job with great hours and excellent pay, two dogs that know they're loved, and two horses that I adore.
On this day in particular, I'd like to say thank you for being a part of my everyday life. I write because I like to write, but it's the connections that I've made with other equine enthusiasts that make this little space so dear to me.
Thank you for stopping by and letting me part of your life.
Getting rid of a car (and a truck) and replacing it/them with a new truck is a lot like moving. You have to pack, sign A LOT of papers, swap out keys, unpack, and then figure out your new routine.
I think I am finally all settled in, but just like moving into a new house, nothing ever goes perfectly. I've had to make a few little adjustments over the past week. Figuring out my keys took longer than anything else.
Juke had a keyless ignition, one of my favorite inventions of all time. There was no actual key, just a fob, and as long as it was in my purse or pocket, I could start the car by pushing the button. I could also unlock my door by pushing the button on the handle. The best thing was that I couldn't lock my door if the fob was in the car, and believe me, I tried. About a million times.
We have an alarm system at our house. To deactivate the alarm, you enter the code at the door that leads from the garage into the house. Entering the code also unlocks the door. All of that means that I have been living a keyless lifestyle for four years. It has been fantastic.
As luck would have it, a few days before Newt arrived, our gage door suffered a fatal injury which meant replacing it. It's been ordered, but we can no longer use it until it is replaced. That means that I have had to park outside and can't use the keypad into the house. I now have to unlock the door with a key. It has been more than a little irritating to have to schlepp all of my stuff (work, barn, groceries, you name it) through the front door as I hear, "Disarm System Now... DISARM SYSTEM NOW... DISARM SYSTEM NOW" in an ever increasing tone of urgency.
Not only do I now have to use a key to unlock my front door, I also have to use a key to start my vehicle. First World problems, I know. Newt has a regular ignition, regular except for the shape of the key. It's a "switch blade" key. With the press of a button, a long narrow key pops out of the fob. Newt has keyless entry, but no one at the dealership where I bought the truck knew the code. Normally, I wouldn't have cared too much except that I have grown incredibly fond of not needing a key in my hand to unlock my door. I was also ridiculously concerned that I was going to lock my keys in the truck since I had grown lazy about knowing where the keys were. Juke wouldn't let me lock the keys inside, so I never thought twice about hitting the lock button.
Even after a half a dozen calls to the dealership in Paso Robles, no one could find the door lock code. Ultimately, I gave up and called my local dealership who immediately reassured me that they knew how to retrieve the code in fewer than 5 minutes. All it took a was a quick scan of the barcode located beneath my steering wheel. Suddenly, I was once again keyless - at least for locking and unlocking the door. I still need a key to start the engine, but at least I can liberate my keys if I accidentally lock them in the truck.
Besides getting the keys sorted out, there have been a few other getting to know you moments. I had to find a place for my Trailer-Aid to live. I had a great storage compartment behind Blue Truck's backseat, but Newt has under seat storage instead. The Trailer--Aid was too big, but it does fit nicely behind my saddle rack in the horse trailer.
I also had to find a place to store my road/travel kit. It has jumper cables, a mini air compressor, first aid supplies, flares, a flash light, and on and on. It's a handy thing to have, but it too lived behind Blue Truck's back seat. I am not sure I love where it is, but my choices are limited.
Just like moving into a new house, I immediately wanted to change the flooring on Newt. Blue Truck had a rubber floor, something we paid extra for. My husband had purchased WeatherTech FloorLiners for my Juke, something I can no longer live without. Newt has carpet and carpeted floor mats. Yeah, no. In fact, that's a hard no. Before Newt had been in the driveway for 48 hours, I was already clicking options to determine my floor's configuration on WeatherTech's website.
Rather than two mats, one for the right and one for the left, WeatherTech makes a single liner that stretches from the driver's side over the center hump to the passenger's side. As you would expect from WeatherTech, the liner fits precisely and snugly.
Since I go straight to the ranch after work without stopping by the house, my barn boots and clothes live behind my seat in the truck. No matter how well I rinse my boots before tossing them in the back, they're still dirty. No matter whether I touch a flake of hay of not, it still finds it's way to the truck. My back floor mats get dirtier than the driver's side mats do. I had to have a rear floor liner, too. Like the one for the front, this one is also a single piece that stretches all the way across the floor. I am insanely happy with how well both liners fit and look.
Were they cheap? No. The set, with tax and shipping, cost $266.86, but it was totally worth it. They fit better than the standard mats, and they really keep the dirt under control. I can either do a quick vacuum, or when they get really dirty, they pop right out and can be hosed off.
Newt and I are still getting to know each other, but I already love her. Nothing against Blue truck, but it's amazing how quiet "new" can be. Sirius Radio, Navigation, Blue Tooth, back up camera, and a dashboard computer that reads like a NASA switchboard don't hurt either.
I am looking forward to our next show so I can really flex Newt's engine muscles. That's the real reason for getting a truck like this, power. And I ready to start wielding it!
Speedy is "sound," but he's still recovering from last week's abscess.
Last week, I poulticed his foot until I found the abscess. When he seemed sound a few days later, I wrapped it with a Betadine compress for two days and then left him to finish healing on his own. A day later he was lame again.
I got out the hoof testers yet again to confirm that he was still sore where the first drainage hole was, and then I got to work with the hoof knife opening the hole up even wider and deeper. I repacked it with a Numotizine poultice and left it to percolate for three days.
I pulled the poultice, scraped it clean and put the hoof testers on again. He was a tiny bit sensitive at the hole, but you know, HOLE in his foot. I asked for a quick trot out on the pavement. He was a bit off, but then he jogged out sound on the grass. Hoping that the abscess had cleared, I packed it with gauze soaked in Betadine.
I next wrapped that in brown gauze. I find that the brown gauze stabilizes the Betadine soaked gauze pads and gives the whole thing a tiny bit more of a cushion.
Next, I use about three-quarters of a roll of a cohesive bandage like Vet Wrap or Co-flex, whatever I last bought on sale. This just keeps everything in place.
The last step is to secure the whole thing with duct tape. The more the better. I can't stress this enough. Use more than you think you need, and then throw on a few more strips. Personally, I use the wrap it around and around method followed by layers of strips. I like to do a layer running east and west followed by a layer running north and south. Sometimes, I then do another wrap around layer, or 4.
We're due for some very heavy rain on Wednesday and Thursday. Even if Speedy looks sound this morning, I am rewrapping it through the weekend until the mud dries back up. Our December show is already off the table. I'm going to do my best to see that we make it to a spring show.
Keep your fingers crossed for us. We're in need of a little luck.
I have never been a bumper sticker type of person. In fact, I like my vehicles to be pretty nondescript. While I like subtle colors, we have had a couple of "loud" vehicles. My red Juke comes to mind as does our fiery red Honda Accord (sold long ago). The rest of my vehicles have been dark green, dark blue, dark gray, and Newt's color which was described as magnetic metallic. I insisted that that is NOT a color; it's an adjective, but whatever, it's subtle.
A few years ago though, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, gave me one of her Team Symphony stickers. Suddenly, I was a bumper sticker driver.
And then Chemaine gave me another one.
And then Chemaine gave me something for my license plate.
With that, it was on.
My Riding Warehouse sticker was first.
The Dressage Pony Store was next. If I need it to fit, this is where I am looking.
When I received that sticker from SaddleBox, I knew right where it was going.
Newt came to me free of any tags, so I remedied that right away.
Now I need another sticker from Chemaine for Newt. I sure hope she has some!
Well, I was right. Speedy's recent lameness was due to a baby abscess. After leaving the poultice on for two days, I pulled off the wrap and used my hoof testers to see if I could find a sore spot. Instead, when I squeezed the testers, I made a little hole. I practically squealed in delight. I knew those things were going to come in handy!
I quickly grabbed my hoof knife and pared away the softened sole to reveal a nice little hole. I dug around some more and found a teensy tiny black line which was the abscess track.
After trotting Speedy out to check for soundness, I gave my vet a call. He suggested I make the hole as wide and deep as I felt safe doing. The bigger and deeper the hole, the higher the probability would be that I opened it up far enough to let it drain all the way. I dug it out a bit more, and then on my vet's recommendation, I packed it with gauze soaked in Betadine and rewrapped it. A poultice serves to draw out the infection, while the Betadine serves to kill the infection.
Thankfully, my wrap held on through most of Wednesday's downpour. And even though the wrap came off a few hours before I got there, the gauze was still stuffed into the creases of the frog which protected the hole for just a few hours longer. Since Speedy was shivering in the rain, I took him for a walk to warm him up - I also had to blanket him for the first time in years. Walking him gave me a chance to do a soundness check though. He trotted out 100% sound on both the grass and the hard-packed driveway.
I would have liked to rewrap the hoof for another day, but his "dry" pasture was a lake. There was no way a bandage would stay on in that mess. Given that he was sound and the hole had filled in considerably, I left it to finish healing on its own.
And then on Thursday ... To be continued.