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?
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.
I am a Stitch Fix girl, although you would never guess it. I hate to shop. I hate to try clothes on. And I used to hate most everything in my closet. Riding clothes excepted. I love shopping for those. It's sad when your selection of breeches and riding tops are the most expensive and nicest things in your closet.
When I found Stitch Fix on Facebook a year and a half ago, I gave it a try and have been looking forward to my monthly fixes ever since. I LOVE getting my box full of new stuff, and I almost always keep everything. So when Phil Van Treuren, owner of SaddleBox, reached out to me to ask if I would be interested in giving SaddleBox a try, I jumped at the chance!
If you haven't heard of SaddleBox, it works like this: You sign up for a monthly shipment for just under $35 a month. Each month, you get a box full of mystery horsey items like gourmet horse treats, grooming tools and tack, and gifts for the horse owner.
I have to say, the "Christmasy" element of the box is really one of the coolest things about it. When my husband brought the box in with a quizzical look on his face, I rubbed my hands together in glee and tore it open on the spot. It was really fun digging through the contents to see what I had received.
My box contained 8 items:
I LOVED some of the items ...
You can never have too many rolls of elastic bandages or hoof picks. That Carat Cake looks good enough to eat myself, and while I have tons of soft brushes, I hoard them so another one is always welcome. And that sticker needs no explanation. It's my favorite thing in the box.
But some of the items just weren't in my wheelhouse.
Speedy used to LOVE peppermints, but since stuffing his Pergolide in various treats, he's grown suspicious of anything that I can actually afford. Izzy might like them though. Speedy would also kick the crap out of me if I tried to use a metal blade on any part of his body. Izzy's not much of a fan of metal either. I only use long clinician style lead ropes since my boys can get a bit (cough cough) fractious at times, so the 8-foot rope is too short for my needs.
However. I definitely would consider sending a SaddleBox as a gift. No horse person that I know would say thanks, no thanks to a gift like that. How many gifts are easy to pick out while still being fun and creative? Not many.
If my budget had just a tiny bit more padding, I'd be all over a monthly SaddleBox. I love NOT having to shop. I LOVE having things delivered to my house. I LOVE horse stuff.
Please sign up for one, and if you do, let me know. I am happy to live vicariously through your monthly box of joy. And if you get something that doesn't float your boat, I'll take it!
This has been one heck of a week. Strike that. It's been a hell of a month. I've been teaching for 26 years. Never before have I had a first quarter kick my butt as much as this one has, and I am not alone. Every one of my colleagues is saying the same thing. What can you do though? Adulting is hard, even when you're approaching 50.
So when I got to the barn yesterday afternoon, I immediately felt the urge to sweep the feed/tackroom floor. There was no pressing need, and it's not like anyone is going to blame me for in tracking dirt. In fact, I'm the only one who does sweep. Even so, that dirt on the floor reminded me of the mental mess that I've been packing around this week. There is something very cathartic about sweeping. Scooping poop will give me the same sense of cleaning out the cobwebs.
And then I rode Speedy. It wasn't a great ride. I was pretty tired, and my heart really wasn't in it. Speedy knew it and took full advantage. He was behind my leg and heavy. I tried to get something productive going, but all I managed to do was break our flying lead changes. Out of "nowhere" the left to right change disappeared.
Eventually I realized how behind the leg he really was. As soon as I got some more jump to the canter, the change was there. I quit on that good note, and besides, we'd been working for a solid half an hour.
I untacked and let Speedy wander off to check out the lawn. As I was hanging up his bridle, I grimaced at the caked on dirt and gunk. It was just like the floor - it didn't have to be cleaned RIGHT THEN, but I couldn't stand it. I started off by wiping it clean with a damp cloth, but that didn't satisfy me. I then used a bit of leather creme but still wasn't free of the mental muddle I've been fighting. I finally dragged out the lederbalsam and finished it off.
With my fingers already feeling sticky, I looked down at my boots and figured a little more mental housekeeping wouldn't hurt. I wiped my boots free of dust and massaged in some of my boot conditioner. I find it's easier to clean them while I am wearing them. I looked around and realized that my mental state of mind had improved.
Today's going to be a busy day. I have an early morning Battle of the Books party to host for eleven 4/5/6th graders. We have a science assembly at 8:30, and then I'll be managing the lunch time detention program during my lunch. Add to that, it's Dress Up like Your Favorite Book Character day. Nothing like throwing in a bit more crazy to an already hectic day.
My husband has already agreed to pick up sushi for dinner. Bless him.
I don't think anyone can ever be completely debt free. Not if you live in California anyway. Our home mortgage is enough to keep us in debt until we're very, very old. I also have another year or so to pay on my car. No, the debt that I am referring to is Speedy's winter vet bill.
I could have paid it off sooner, but I would have had to miss out on the summer show season. Even my husband agreed that the small finance charge was worth it if it meant being able to show. It could have also been that he simply didn't want to live with a wife who had to stay home all summer instead of showing. He's a smart man.
I know the last payment amount and last statement balance don't make sense, but that's because I like to annoy the credit card company by sending multiple payments over the month. It makes bookkeeping on my side easier. Who cares how much work I make for them? They're getting paid for it, believe me.
It's the red circle on the left side that's important. For someone who never carries a credit card balance, this past year has been very stressful. Every time I got one of Speedy's vet bills taken care of, he'd injure something new. Or Izzy needed something. Or they both needed dentals. And then they needed vaccinations. It was freaking NEVER ENDING. And now I have a clean slate.
I will never again complain about the lost hour and a half that the original SafeSport training took me. Just before school started, my district office notified its teaching staff that we would be required to complete 3 hours of online "interactive" training courses on our own time. Oh, and I didn't get a certificate either.
The first one-hour course had three modules, one of which included our annual Employee Training. This is the SafeSport type of stuff: recognizing the signs of child abuse, child neglect, bullying, sexual molestation, etc. It also included all that business about teachers being mandated reporters (MR). Being a MR means I can get in big, BIG trouble if I knowingly turn a blind eye to anything that even smacks of child abuse. I've actually filed more than one Child Protective Services (CPS) report during my tenure as an educator. Forget about SafeSport's sanctions; not reporting could get me arrested. And jailed. And fired.
We were also notified of various laws that are new to California along with what to do if we have a shooter on campus. It was all pretty basic stuff except there was no way to pause or rewind the videos, so if you missed something, you were kind of screwed. Or in my case, the custodian came in to clean, and I had to ask him not to vacuum because I couldn't hear the video!
The second training, a mere 45 minutes, involved some really basic material. If you've been a teacher for more than ten minutes, you should already know this stuff. Heck, even my husband, who is not a huge fan of pint-sized munchkins, could have passed the test without seeing the video. In case you're worried, I scored 100%.
It was the third training that really made my eyeballs roll. I listened to a solid hour of how terrible adults can be to one another. Jeez, people, how inappropriate can you get?
I had to watch video after video about how it is not appropriate to comment on someone else's sexuality. I was also told that no still means no which means I am not allowed to keep asking the next door teacher out on a date after he has previously told me no 10,000 times. Really? Who does that? I am married of course, so it isn't me.
At one point in the video I was "welcomed" to my annual training. My ears perked up at that phrase. Annual? You mean I have to watch this same video again next year? While teachers get these trainings every year, this version, the online interactive thing, was new. I was horrified that I might have to spend three hours again next August listening to the same training. And on the heels of my SafeSport training which renews on September 1, 2020.
Rest assured all you moms and dads out there. I am the BEST TRAINED dressage rider you'll ever meet!
I recently saw this meme on Facebook and spent a ridiculously long time pondering which button I would press. I can be quite literal, so even though I regularly play the I Just Won the Lottery; What Would I Buy? game, I had a hard time choosing which button to press given my current living/financial situation. If I had my own horse property, the answer would be easy, but I don't, so here's why only one of those buttons works for me.
The Red Button - How would this work if you board your horse though? Where would I store it? Does it mean I get free board? The hay might be free, but the horses I would want to feed aren't. I have to skip this button.
The Yellow Button - Unless I am getting free hay, I don't need another horse. Can I get Valegro and then sell him and use the money to buy a new truck and an African Safari? Probably not. Does the free horse come with its vet bills and board paid for because if not, I have to decline. Sorry, Valegro.
The Orange Button - Unless I get to spend the million dollars buying my own property, this option would only be fun for about 45 minutes. After that, I would run out of stuff to buy. Even $10,000 would be hard to spend. I have to say no.
The Purple Button - Yes please, oh my stars this would be AMAZING! In our brutal summers, I could easily charge people for a shaded place to ride. But when I change barns someday, do I get to take it with me? No? Then never mind.
The Green Button - Shows aren't that expensive, and I am nearing 50. How many more years do I have left to show? Not enough to make this option even a possibility. A hard pass, thank you.
So which button does that leave? Yep, the blue one. This is the one thing that I can take with me wherever I live. And in fact, as I get older, I am going to need a lot of free training to start the next youngster who makes its way into my barn. And with free training for life, who needs a free horse? With enough training, a young project will hopefully turn into the "free horse" that everyone else wants.
What about you? Which button would you press?
Every summer and winter, Izzy's coat gets super light. This summer, I decided to try and keep the luxurious seal brown it gets in the spring and fall. I don't even recognize this horse. I don't think he's been that color since 2015.
This spring, I started topdressing his feed with Horse Guard's Flaxen Flow, a cold-pressed flaxseed oil. He's been on it for 5 months. It didn't keep his coat dark, but his coat is a lot shinier and softer than in summers past, and he has even kept some of his spring/fall dapples.
I now suspect that this color, this buckskin-esque blond, might be his natural summer/winter color while the seal brown is his spring/fall color. His RPSI Pferdepass (passport) lists his color as dunkelbraun, which translates as dark brown or black brown. Or in Izzy's case, just brown.
In other news, the big dunkelbraun horse really did a number on his eye over the weekend. There should be a rule that owners with more than one horse will never be required to medically treat more than one at a time. With Speedy's abscess needing daily packing and bandaging, it is not fair to also have to syringe and scrub out Izzy's eye.
The reason I have to keep such a well-stocked medical kit is because I need it at least three times a week. Someone is always whacking or scraping something, usually both at the same time. On Friday, Izzy probably laid down too close to the fence because his left foot had some gouges near his pastern and his left eye looked as though he'd been in a fight in which he lost. He has a small cut in the corner that's below his ear.
After hosing off his face and then scrubbing it with a soft towel, none of which he appreciated, I repeatedly syringed his eye with saline solution. He didn't appreciate that treatment either. I hand-grazed him for a while and realized that his eye wasn't affecting his soundness or his appetite, so I saddled him up and rode. Afterward, the eye was less swollen but still oozing.
The next morning, the ooze and swelling were gone, but the cut in the corner of his eye looked a bit more pronounced. I syringed it with more saline solution, and then I rode him. He seemed just fine. Eye injuries can quickly turn into something scary though, ask my friend Sarah whose gelding fought for three months to keep his own eye, so I am keeping a careful "eye" on things.
And finally, do you remember the photo I posted a few weeks ago of the new bunny who moved in? Well, he's getting tamer by the minute. He now comes running when he sees me pull up because he knows he's getting a handful of senior feed. Izzy introduced himself by pressing his nose deeply into the bunny's fur and taking a big long whiff. The poor bunny just hunkered down praying that Izzy wouldn't carry him off as breakfast. And that was it. Once Izzy satisfied his curiosity, the bunny was welcome to share his feed.
Life with horses is definitely not dull. There is always something to celebrate, medicate, or simply contemplate. It's what keeps me coming back for more.
Season three starts tomorrow! I hate to get so excited about a show for 12-year-old girls, but I am. Don't judge. Many of you are probably looking forward to season 3 as well, am I right?!
If you haven't seen seasons one and two, go watch them. It's a really cute show and definitely worth either binge watching the whole show in one day, or for me, just watching a half hour each day. As for me, I can't wait to see what kind of trouble Zoe and her friends get into this summer. Enjoy your weekend!
There is nothing I like better than to brag on the cool things people are doing, especially if it is someone I know. Yeah, it's cool to share about my own great scores and ribbons, but it is so much more inspiring for ME when I get to see people I actually know being super successful.
To illustrate my point, do you all know about Lehua Custer? She was recently awarded the 2019 Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize in the amount of $25,000. While we're not "friends," I do see her at shows and have chatted with her on a number of occasions. She's incredibly nice and deserves all of the success she's experiencing. Meeting people who are outstanding at what they do always inspires me to reach for more than what I think I can do.
Enter my friend Amy of Blue Canyon Ceramics Co. Amy is a geologist by trade, a mom by day, a barn owner by choice, and a horse girl bitten by the same bug that got all the rest of us. In addition to the ice business she and her significant other own and manage, Amy has also launched a new Etsy store, hopefully to be followed soon by a brick and mortar ceramics center.
I chose the word "center" because Amy eventually hopes to run a bit of a working school/supply store/pottery for sale shop here in Bakersfield. I have no doubt that it will be a great success.
Right now, Amy is working out of a small studio she had built just steps from her barn. She has a pottery wheel of course, as well as her own kiln. Her studio is filled with clays of different varieties, glazes, and products in all stages of completion.
Amy is currently experimenting with a variety of clay types - I love the speckled clay she's currently using, as well as with mixing her own glazes for truly custom pieces. Even her "cast-offs," the pieces she feels aren't nice enough to sell, were beautifully rendered and glazed.
Amy's Etsy store, Blue Canyon Ceramics Co, was just launched this year, but she's building her inventory daily. While she has items ready-made, her favorite pieces to do are custom orders. All she needs to create a beautiful piece is a "Can you make me a ... ?" Done!
Surprisingly, prices for her creations, custom or ready-made, run from as low as $20 to $40 for more detailed projects. Her pieces are dishwasher, microwave, and oven-safe. The serving pieces I brought home are too beautiful to put in the dishwasher though. In fact, I left them out on my counter top for several days just so that I could look at them and smile.
While we were talking, I asked Amy for some photos of her working at her wheel. When I realized she was going to actually make something, I quickly switched to video and watched as she created a lovely bowl large enough for pasta or salad or just something to catch your keys and make you smile. I can't wait to see what it looks like when it's fired and glazed. I have dibs on that one, Amy!
If you'd like to see more of Amy's work, you can visit her Etsy store, Blue Canyon Ceramics Co. Or, if you'd like something custom made for yourself or as a gift, simply give her call at 661-433-4472.
I am loving that horseshoe motif ...