Sunday, January 13, 2019

Happy Birthday Opie!

Unlike last year's party where we got 2' of snow in about two seconds on the day of Dopie's birthday, this year it was just single digits cold with barely any snow to be found. Bonus that we didn't have to do any shoveling, but bummer that there isn't any snow to play in.

this party hat really highlights his donkey ears

Regardless of the weather, Opie got to share his homemade cookies with his two friends in between romping around the indoor like crazies--that being his two friends and not him.

"you guys got that."

I'm the actual worst at making homemade horse treats as any recipe I try to follow always turns out the same blobbish, gooey way so I've just given up and make my own version. I basically combine all the horse's favorite things (that meant heavy on the carrots and no apples for Opie), some oats to give it volume, and a generous plopping of molasses to hold-ish it all together. Enough time spent in the fridge and they turn out solid enough to make it from the container into the horse's mouth and that's all that really matters.

opie was eating them right out of the box at first and then by the end decided
he didn't really like them anymore...after inhaling about 7 or 8 of them.

fortunately they didn't go to waste

they're all OTTBs so i guess they all deserve birthday cookies this month

His real birthday present was not having to do any work because homie got schooled by myself and Riding Bestie the past two days. He clearly had a lot of excess energy to burn.

meanwhile his friends were flying through the air like psycho kites

Happy low key sixth birthday, Dopie Horse!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Dopie Doing the Dressage

It's only taken me into the second week of the year, but I finally feel like I'm back on a normal schedule again. I really hate the holidays people. Let's call it what it is.

I was feeling a bit lost in my horse life as well because I wasn't getting any time in the saddle. I was convinced that my horse had lost all of his training. Like, all of it. Would he even know how to horse when I finally got the time to ride again?! Would he know anything ever what if he forgets how to even walk oh god why do people have to socialize on my time?????

It was a period of great angst, you guys.

opie says, "check yourself, lady. i self-train."

Fortunately, #childgenius in the house and all my fears were immediately assuaged.

Did he rein back like a shuffling, inverted slob? Nope, diagonal pairs clearly lifted and right back into the walk.

Did he fake the stretch and just face plant about the ring? Nope, taking the contact down and lifting his back up.

Did he suddenly decide contact wasn't a thing and walk around like a rabid llama? Nope, light, easy pressure in the reins and struttin' off.

The horse is fine, the horse is trained, the horse does not give two shits if he gets ridden twice in two weeks as long as the cookies keep coming.

grey pony cookie delivery

We have, however, been tackling some new and old problems. The fun part of dressage is that you literally never stop training the same old shit, you just get to call it different things.

The main focus of the past couple rides though has been really engaging that inside hind. Opie has conned me into letting him get away with not using it as much as he can for long enough. It's easy to be tricked, too (at least when you're a multi-aids halfwit that has the focus of a gerbil--I was made for this discipline, what can I say?) because his short little neck is good at bending and making you think the rest of him is being just of flexible. But that is false.

The other day there were a couple of jumps set in the middle of the ring that made a nice 15m pen right in front of the mirror. I locked Opie into this jail cell and we worked at all three gaits both directions, stepping under and keeping all parts of the body aligned. He said it was the shits and super hard, but he was perfectly capable and willing to do it once I made it clear this was the exercise.

i am sooo out of media. riding bestie should be up soon to remedy that.

Then I gave him the day off because he worked really hard and I didn't want him to hate me. Currently I'm going through this phase of I AM NOT WORTHY TO BE YOUR RIDER. I basically feel that if I'm not actively worshiping Dopie then he's going to stop being so amazing.

But emphasis on "phase". I'm sure he'll be a real tool soon and I'll be a hundred percent over it.

I've been incorporating serious work with that hind leg in every ride since, but this morning I wanted to devote the majority of my time to the canter transitions. I'd left the arena doors open after dragging the ring so that was a bit of distraction at first until I reminded him that he may be getting worshiped but I am god in this relationship so pay the fuck attention. All was good after that and we warmed up with lots of 10 and 15m circles and spirals. Engage, bro.

"but my soul mates are out there."

Dudes, it's amazing what you can accomplish in a short amount of time when you go in with a game plan. While the departs still aren't as round as I want them to be, he sitting down and stepping up into them instead of just lurching into the canter and then getting sorted a couple strides later. The down transitions were fucking fabulous. The stronger he gets and the more collection he's able to hold the easier it is for him to just step back into the trot. Duh, of course, but it's nice to feel that all the mindless bitch work is doing it's job.

He tried to get strong and sassy heading towards the open door and I just gave a big half halt with my seat, and he sank like ten feet (possibly less) onto his haunches and brought his front end up about thirty miles (actual distance) and gave me the most ridiculous-in-an-amazing-way canter. I let him keep if for half the long side before back to the trot, change direction, and then over the jump left standing in the ring to finish on a fun note.

He sure does suck at lateral work compared to Bobby who got a lot of practice going sideways by flinging himself violently around the arena, but he's getting a grip on the collected (and stretchy!) work light years ahead of the big brown moose.

maybe one day you'll be worthy of wearing otto for real

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Cost of 2018

I did my first one of these in 2016 and found the experience so..."enjoyable" that I did it again in 2017. Now I'm back for year three! Either I'm a glutton for punishment or I just really enjoy math.


No one enjoys math.

Without further ado:

Supplements and Healthcare: $619.42
  • I put all of Opie's various weight gain experiments under here, along with such necessities as wormer and his brief need for medication for the aural plaques in his ears. 
Farrier: $590
  • In case you guys doubted my farrier is the best, which you shouldn't because she is, I spent more this year doing simple steel front shoes for Opie than I did for nine months of corrective and trying-to-be-life-saving shoeing setups and consultations for Bobby in 2017. 
Lessons: $640
  • One category I would be okay with being higher. Sadly I think this is going to be pretty low in 2019 with another big bill being introduced to our monthly life expenditures budget. 
Board: $1,290
  • Listen. I really hate horses some days, but I don't hate that taking care of them makes my board pocket change.
Vet: $586.50
  • Opie "needed" booster vaccines since I didn't have a written record of them from the track. He also needed extra dental care because Shark. That is all.
Shows: $1,141
  • Cost of all that satin? Priceless.
Tack/Gear: $1,880.82
  • I had a goal this year to get this category way down from previous years. Mission fucking accomplished. $1k of that was the last bit of my saddle I owed, and I bought a cart for $225. Take away those two things and I feel like a miser. In a horse owning sort of way. Plus I can't be held responsible for having to buy things like fly gear because my horse is allergic to nature and multiple replacement halters because my horse is bad. 
Miscellaneous (memberships, registrations, repairs, etc): $1,365.82
  • Oof, this one got me this year. Poor old Growler needed a lot of extra love at the beginning of the year, and then her power steering lines needed to be replaced mid-summer. I have a sinking feeling this category is going to skyrocket next year. I'm tacking on a few more memberships, and my truck is making a rather ominous clunking noise. As I told Farrier, "She needs some love and I've got no more love to give her." Fingers crossed the old lady doesn't need a complete engine overhaul because I really don't know what I'm going to do at that point. 
Overall total: $8,113.56
  • I saw that and thought it was still painfully high. Then I went back and compared to the last two years--almost $12k and just over $14k--and I basically paid zero dollars on my horse all year! (Pretty sure that's how it works.) 
This is seriously one of my favorite year-end posts to do. It sparks so much conversation, and I love when other people jump aboard and do their own calculations. So how about it? Was 2018 an easier year financially for you? Did you hit any grossly ambiguous financial goals? Are you also already absolutely dreading 2019's costs?