Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

In the Arena # 83 - Right round baby, right round
From the Farmette #3 - Ask, and you shall receive

I finally found some time to ride over the weekend. Val was super mellow during grooming and tacking up. (maybe too mellow) And once the ride started, he didn't want to move - at all. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle of the legs led to tap, tap, tap of the crop. Some pony club kicks. Still a snail's pace. (Just a few months ago I thought we were on to straight, having handled calm and forward...)

Now admittedly Val has a lazy streak. I have my suspicions that this quality is what derailed his racing career. The horse knows how to conserve energy. Favorite gait - whoa. Favorite activity besides eating - sleeping. What complicates matters is that due to the ongoing drought, our arena footing is (at least) 8" deep sand. I can barely push the muck cart through it, and I'm no shrinking violet. When I get this severe lack of forward, part of me thinks - well, I wouldn't want to work in here either.

So I said what the heck, we'll work out in the back of the property - usually a muddy marsh, now an open grassy field. No fence, no gate, no boundaries... and the source of scores of horse eating monsters. I led him out, mounted and we got down to business. Val picked up the pace nicely. We warmed up and achieved a decent marching walk. There were some hiccups with steering, but I picked my battles - forward - and used circles to change direction. Keeping him moving was my main objective. We picked up a trot and did some nice work - round circles, serpentines and figure eights. Overall, I was very pleased. Especially that we both focused on working and not scary stuff :) A good session.

Afterwords we headed back to the paddock. Cowboy, who had watched us quietly the whole time we worked, suddenly decided to flip out. He has had very little exercise lately. This, coupled with excess feed, and he has been ready to explode. Running the fence line maniacally bucking. At one point he acted like he was going to jump the electric fence, right beside us as we walked by. Val - who had apparently saved all of the day's athleticism for this moment - did a reining horse worthy 360° spin. Seriously exciting. After the shock wore off, I dismounted and cussed Cowboy out while we returned to our space. It seemed like my tirade made Val feel as good as it made me feel. :)

Other than that eventful ride, we've been doing a lot of hand grazing. Also some impromptu liberty work - Val following me while I pushed the tasty hay snack delivery I mean muck cart... walk, trot, halt + yielding the hindquarters. Unorthodox but it worked. I hope things settle down soon so we get more rides in :)

My trainer, when I relayed the story of our ride during my recent "tele-lesson", cautioned me that my reservations about the footing could be the source of Val's reluctance. Beware the lack of leadership - our horses are always ready to step in and provide the agenda...


Now - on to news of the farmette. I GOT THE TRAILER!

my new front door
the "slide outs" - bedroom and dining room extenders

Dad and I gave it the thorough inspection on Friday. While I hope there's enough bleach in the whole world to (eventually) make me feel like it's clean, (no interior pictures as they are a bummer), the important things appear to be in order. No leaks - though I'll be resealing all the seams just the same. It's 36.5' long and 11' wide with the slide outs. (trailer lingo) The appliances can run on gas or electric - handy when the power goes out during hurricanes. Lots of light, and more storage than I would have expected. (look how optimistic I sound)

With any luck, I'll have it moved to my property this week. I spent yesterday going over all of the possibilities for where to locate the trailer, my storage building and the future house eventually. All things that I want to move only once. It was a quite a puzzle. And a bit draining. I believe I got it worked out.

My plans are to be moved in by October. That allows plenty of time to clean, clean, clean... get the water / electric / septic hooked up and build a little deck for some outside space. (The girls will be getting a fenced in yard! ) And also have the mother of all yard sales + pack up everything I'm keeping. And to find a storage space for my furniture - goodbye interesting eclectic furniture - hello mundane tacky blue grey upholstery. (don't even get me started on the carpet!)


I mentioned a few posts back that I'm calling my produce selling venture "Pie in the Sky" produce company. A few folks commented that they liked that as a name for the farmette. "Pie in the Sky"  came up because several years ago someone suggested I should buy my property and I replied "Well, that's a pretty pie in the sky idea!" 

I have been cooking up a few other choices. I'd love some feedback + suggestions - thanks :)

Willow Marsh Farm
Willow Ridge Farm
Marsh Ridge Farm
Pie in the Sky Farm
Higher Ground Farm
Dream Weaver Farm
End of the Road Farm
Sandy Lane Farm
Sea Horse Farm

today's harvest - a peck o'peppers + one sad tomato


  1. We lived in a trailer while we built our house too. Yours is much nicer, with a slide out and everything. I actually enjoyed living in it until the temps got down to freezing. - oh, and no I didn't eat oysters in Brittany. Just lots and lots of mussels.

  2. That's a lot of news! I'll start with the name first, I think I like Willow Marsh Farm, but the others are all good too. Your produce looks great.

    I'm sure there's enough bleach to clean the whole thing before you move in. You'd be surprised how you can make anyplace feel homey with some creative decorating and putting your own things around. Good luck.

    As for Val he sounds a lot like Blue. As lazy as can be sometimes. I'm pretty sure I would have cussed Cowboy out too. Good for you for staying on, sounds exciting.

  3. Everything looks/sounds great - what a huge leap forward in plans with all the money you'll save on rent towards building your house! So exciting.

    One thing about leadership and 8" deep sand footing - maybe you have reservations about it for a good reason - that is DEEP footing and can put a huge strain on a horse's muscles. Maybe the issue with forward and Val in the deep sand has more to do with the difficulty of moving in that depth of footing than with not listening to you. Or, to carry it even further, maybe he is avoiding it because if he tries to do what you're asking, he will end up injuring himself.

    My motto is - when in doubt, trust the horse. :)

  4. Like a record player...

    So many different things to comment on here:

    YAY for the trailer! That's excellent!

    I like Sea Horse Farm and Pie in the Sky Farm.

    And I totally hear ya about the leadership and agenda thing, not that I have any experience with that or anything (sarcasm)...

  5. I'm with smazourek--those two names are my favorite, too. Of course I kind of like crazy farm names (like "my" farm--even tho it's not really mine).

    That does indeed sound like difficult footing for working--human or horse. Some folks out here use pea gravel for round pen footing as a way to avoid the terrible dust problem, but that can be a problem as well.

    And congrats on the trailer. I have often fantasized about doing just exactly what you're doing! You're one lucky duck.

  6. I could definately make a "home" in that trailer, I think it's nice. It sounds like the two of you had a nice ride, Except for the 360. I like Dream Weaver and Pie In The Sky, I think they suit you very nicely. :-)

  7. I bet you can make the trailer a very nice home and it looks to be a roomy model. Living on your farm will make it worthwhile!

    I agree with those that said the arena footing sounds very deep, but I also liked your solution to take Val for some work outside the arena. The change in environment is good for mind and body. :)

    Pie in the Sky! I love purple peppers.

  8. Your trainer is totally right - but billie might be right too. I try to not have reservations about any footing that I ride on at any speed, and I trust Dixie to slow down if she needs to. (I'm more careful at rides where she gets carried away in the excitement of the moment, of course - I'm just talking about solo rides.) She's learned that it's ok to slow down on rocky or deep footing, if she feels it's necessary.

    I love Pie in the Sky! And I'd love to see pics of how you anchor your trailer for storms. It's gonna be lovely!

  9. Oh definately PIE IN THE SKY FARMETTE!! Because of your comment, it jsdut means so much more than a's(just about) a REALITY!
    Your new abode looks very nice..was it trashed inside or never really cleaned?

    Your deep sand may be a bit much..3-5 is safe but the 8 is-woo...he may have something there..don't want strained anything, on that horse! Love that you went outside the box and did so great...and good staying on the rodeo man's moves! Yea it must have been some adreniline rushing and some lips cursing(like a cowboy..for the cowboy move!)

    So much going on..truly exciting!
    loved your "Horse-like comment!

  10. I like them all, but I'm partial to Pie in the Sky. First, it's unique; second, I can remember you using that phrase when you used to talk about your dreams for the property.

  11. I love Marsh Ridge and Higher Ground. Great names. :)

    I'd be reluctant to work my horse in that deep of sand. That could pull muscles or tendons I would think . . . can't blame him for not being forward. It sounds like your ride in the field went fantastic (another reason I don't think his reluctance to move forward had anything to do with being resistant or ugly). Good job!

    Congrats on the trailer! Don't worry there is plenty of bleach lol. I'm glad I'm not the only one like that. Good luck with the garage sale. I hope you have a pretty, cool day for one when you're ready. :)

  12. Firstly...I like Pie in the Sky Farm...imagine the logos you can come up with for that one! I named my farm Bramblewood Acres, simply because the ENTIRE PLACE was nothing but blackberry brambles and wild roses when I moved in. I bled plenty getting it horse friendly.

    Secondly...what is it with gray OTTBs and LAZINESS? Holy mackerel...Gabe is exactly the same. I think he wants to be a western pleasure horse and I know WHY he failed as a racehorse. Go fast? Why ever for? *plod plod plod plod* I'm happy just moseying along, thanks.


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