Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Settling In

Well, we moved the girls on Sunday afternoon. It was pretty low-key, actually - strip the stalls, load up all the equipment, then stick 'em on the trailer with some hay bags and we're off to the new barn.

They settled in quickly and calmly, which we expected - they both have been calm in temporary stabling situations at shows and clinics, and this wasn't much different. In fact, it was easier, because they were together! (They also had piles of the barn's fantastic orchard grass/timothy hay, so they shoved their noses straight in.) The only sign of nervousness was the way Pandora followed McKinna. They are stalled next to each other, and each stall opens out to a large run. Whenever McKinna went outside, Pandora spun around and walked quickly outside. When she came in, Pandora came in. Kinda cute.

We left them with that for the day, and I PROMISE I took some pictures, I will upload them when I get home tonight.

Yesterday they went out in the (big, nice, OMG) pasture, though they were quite ready to come in when we arrived. Nervous a little, maybe? They were a bit 'up' all evening. We longed them separately, one in the indoor and one in the outdoor, which caused a bit of hollering, but in all they weren't totally nutty. We then tacked up and went for a nice brief ride in the indoor arena, for which both mares behaved admirably well.

We met a lady who trains several boarders' horses. She is extremely nice, and is going to be my new trail-riding buddy! Apparently, there are some trails at the back of the property, but she didn't want to take horses out by herself and of course I wouldn't either, so this is a nice situation. I'll probably take McKinna out first, since I believe she has a bit more 'real' trail experience. Ideally I'll be riding both girls out there on a pretty regular basis, as to me trail riding is an excellent way to condition for eventing.

I am so happy with this barn. It's quiet, everyone we've met has been very friendly and outgoing (especially the barn owner), the horses have super nice hay in front of them at all times....it's just lovely so far. We walked their pasture on Sunday, and other than a strand of barbed wire across the top of most of the fenceline (not something I like), it's great. Very big. Extremely varied terrain - some people might like manicured pastures, but remember I'm an eventer, and while I don't want my horses to be hurting themselves dealing with ridiculous conditions, I want them to be able to figure out elevation changes, trees, banks, etc on their own. There's a creek bed, dry at the moment, with a nice crossing point and a little trail. Lots of trees for shade, plus a little run-in shed. I also plan to do some riding in there, which I have permission to do, because it'll be a great mini-trail ride and I think there's actually enough space that I can do some cantering. Failing that, trotting for sure.

We started setting up our little tack room last night. Our horses are at the upper barn, which is about 30 feet from the main barn - it has three stalls, a tack room, and some other storage space. Ours are the only two horses up there right now, so it feels a little like our own private barn ;-)

I am excited to go out to the barn each evening now. This is the first time we've done full care, and I've got to say, I am already loving not having to muck stalls. It's not that I think it's below me - heck, it's the best way to warm up in the wintertime! - it's just, when you can show up and immediately tack up and ride instead of mucking stalls, cleaning water buckets, picking the paddock, etc....you have a lot more energy to ride. The time we spend at the barn seems shorter because we don't have to do chores. (Maybe with less chores I will start cleaning my tack after every ride, eh?)

Pictures up this evening. Things on Pandora are pretty much back on track, by the way - I think everyone was right and we just had a couple bad days. I had a great ride last night with lots of obedient lateral work, which I think is the key to suppling and strengthening her. There's several different places at the new barn that I can get out and ride her outside, so I will be practicing calm half-halts while cantering in the open again. If I can find a big enough open area in their pasture, I will also start working up to being able to jump a grid calmly outside, starting with just a trot pole and building up from there.

I'll let you guys know how it goes.


RuckusButt said...

Great to hear everything went well! It must be a relief to be happy and looking forward to going to the barn instead of inwardly cringing at what the horses will be like when you get there. Hopefully this will be a positive, long-term commitment :)

Leah Fry said...

Sounds like a great situation at the new barn. Can't wait to see photos.

Are you back to school? Still with the BF? Yes, I'm nosy.

Meghan said...

Sounds like a nice barn! It's really freakin' hard to find the perfect boarding barn (no, actually, it doesn't exist, at least not where I live). I'm pretty happy with Sofie's current barn, except that the owner is a little too quick to bring horses inside in bad (I use that term loosely) weather. Also, she doesn't get enough exercise because the other two mares she's in with get along well and are pretty low-key. And ideally I'd like the indoor arena to be bigger, and I'd really like the footing to be dragged more often. But it's the best barn in the area for the price, and it's not terribly far away.

manymisadventures said...

Oh sure, there's some things I'd change in a perfect world - bigger arena, less-dusty tack room, trails, a big open area to ride in. But it's just great so far. Pandora had a MOUNTAIN of hay waiting for her in her stall, it was so awesome I took a picture.

LOL Leah Fry - yes, still with the BF. He is headed off to Washington for school in a couple weeks. I start school Sept 29, so basically in October. Love how late we start, it's pretty much a whole extra month of summer.

Cara said...

Sounds good! Not having to muck, etc. will not give you more time to clean tack! Keep dreaming!

MyLittlePony said...

I agree with Meghan. The perfect boarding barn does not exist. We've owned horses for five years and this is the fourth place we've boarded. Yikes. I'm really hoping to stay at this one until we finally are able to get our own horsie property. At least we have seen a lot of examples of how to do things and will know just what we want when we buy a place. I don't envy the boarding barn owners either - trying to keep their place the way they want it and make everybody else happy too...

mugwump said...

When I moved my horses to the pasture in Kiowa my poor little yellow mare went into shock. Kind of. She had always been a barn baby. Lived in a stall, got safe, contained turn-out, had blankets, heated water and so on. She begged to be let into my friends house at night.
After a few weeks she decided she was a wild mustang and wouldn't be caught.
Now she's a wild mustang who follows me around and wants to be ridden again. The uneven terrain has been wonderful for her coordination and confidence.

summersmom said...

So I've been reading your blog off and on now for 6 months or so and haven't commented that I can remember. Today was the first time in a while that I've popped in to read, and as I was scanning your new posted pics I noticed everything looked awfully familiar. I looked again and realized I board there too!!!! I actually was there Monday afternoon when you and your mom came out to work your horses. My mare is currently being leased by someone until October since I just had a baby boy in June. Welcome to the barn! I've been there for over a year and love it. The level of care the horses get is incredible and everyone is very friendly.
On Sept. 19th I am planning a trail ride at Elijah Bristow and you guys are invited! See you around!

manymisadventures said...

What a small world! I remember seeing you out at the barn on Monday. We absolutely LOVE it there - I'm looking forward to going out every evening and I am so happy with the way they're being cared for.

Unfortunately I can't go on the trail ride with you, which is REALLY disappointing as I've been looking forward to trailering to Elijah Bristow for rides! I'm going to be in Turner at a Pony Club Rally. Bummer. Maybe my mom would go with you? I am sure we can get together another time, too.

Mugs, that's great. When I think of my own place, I always want tons of acreage with hills etc so I can throw the horses out there and let them figure it out...but then I remember that I really don't want to spend the time it takes to truly maintain that many acres in the Willamette Valley.

summersmom said...

Your mom can definitely come if she'd like. I think Kristy and her daughter might go too, and Brittany sounds like I may have her talked into it too. I'm excited to have some new people to ride with. When I first moved out there I was super lonely because there weren't any other boarders and I had just come from a really big barn. It was hard to adjust but I'm so spoiled now I'm just not sure I could ever move to another big barn, lol.

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