Friday, August 11, 2017

#FOOTD-Summer

It took me long enough to figure out what the heck the #ROOTD hashtag meant (riding outfit of the day). I don't really ride often enough to do these but I certainly do have some pretty awesome FARM outfits of the day so without further ado, the #FOOTD post:

1. Morning chores
I do morning chores right before work so I have no pictorial evidence of this outfit, because lets be honest I was running late. Usually for morning chores I am wearing some version of my company polo shirt (color options: navy, navy, or faded navy) khakis that probably (definitely) have manure stains on them and my muck boots. After feeding horses this outfit also involves additional mud/hay.

2. Afternoon chores
Afternoon chores usually involve some type of weedwhacking/mowing/habitat destruction so I need to outfit myself accordingly. This often means jeans that have more holes than jeans (or cargo shorts to work on my awesome tan lines), a T-shirt in some shade of construction worker neon (why do I have so many of these...it is unclear), and safety glasses. I also wear my muck boots. Always the muck boots...
If I am going swimming right after afternoon chores I may also wear my bathing suit under this mess. I probably left my sandals in the house and will be wearing my muck boots over by the pool. The tan lines from this are amazing.

3. Actually riding
I own some real riding pants and hate most of them. American Eagle jeggings seem to be an ok substitute. I also wear my Ariat half chaps and paddock boots that I got at a mega-clearance sale like 7 years ago...I think I probably still own tall boots but I forget where they are and I hated those too. The helmet is the super hot non-ventilated Charles Owen (ie the cheapest one) and this striped shirt/jacket is from Joules...I think my parents got it for my when I was in highschool.
I do have some sweet ear bonnets for the horses though, so there's that. 


4. That one time I went to a show 
I went to a local show one time.
This was the last time I wore those damn tall boots. Also some random pair of tan breeches in super-gross ribbed polyester that I dug out of the bottom of one of my drawers. This is a coat from my foxhunting days (very wool, very hot). I'm probably definitely not wearing a long sleeved shirt under it. I can't tie a stock ties so I'm wearing a pre-tied one which idk if that's even a thing for this type of show. The judges probably didn't notice because they were too distracted by my horses' shaved off mane (which I did because I didn't want to braid).




Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My favorite love story

I was 23 when I met John for the first time, it was spring. I saw him from a distance at a carriage drive. I admired his poise and how comfortable he seemed with horses and people. I think we talked a little and parted ways. That January I found out from the person I worked for that John wanted to ask me something, John had cows at the time and I was working on my degree in dairy science, I figured he had a question about cows.

I made a bet with my employer, if John asked me out I would ride his horses for free that week. I lost the bet and rode for free.
We went on our first date, I was so nervous I stared at the floor and played with the ice in my drink the whole time.
After spending almost a year together, I moved to Tennessee and we drove back and forth every month to see each other.
He took me to the Biltmore estate and got down on one knee to ask me "a question about cows" "would I marry him" and I said yes.
 John and I moved to the most beautiful farm where we worked off our rent, he bought me a horse and we rode in the mountains. He worked as a mechanic and I finished my master's degree and found a job in Pennsylvania.

John bought a farm in York county, PA with a stone house and we moved back north. He reclaimed a horse farm out of 11 acres of overgrowth that hadn't seen animals in over 20 years essentially by himself.

John started and continues to grow his own business near our home. We still go riding on the weekends.
We stand on the porch of our house and watch the fireflies on summer nights. And I think to myself how lucky I am that my favorite love story is my own.

Friday, July 14, 2017

2017: A Pool Odyssey

We have a pool again. I mean, we had one before but it hasn't been open in three years, here's the deal:
Pool with cover...old picture, most of these trees are gone
The pool came with our house and was open when we moved in three years ago, I had no clue how to deal with it and there was a leak in a pipe underground so it would not hold water when the pump was running. The filter also clogged constantly and never worked right (I thought this was my fault...it wasn't more on that later). After that first summer of struggling with it we decided not to open the pool again. Then John and I met Terry who knows how to fix pretty much anything...including pools. So begins the pool odyssey.
Almost ready to use
We assumed the only thing wrong with the pool was the pipe broken underground, so John and Terry dug up all the pipes, found the broken one and replaced it...this was not the only thing wrong with the pool.

After the pipe was fixed we set out to clean up the pool (remember it was closed for 2 years), first the pool vacuum thingy kept getting clogged with chunks of dirt and concrete then the start capacitor on the pump died, then the entire pump motor broke...so Terry replaced the pump.
Ok so new pump, all good right? WRONG!
The pool turned green...like REALLY green, but Terry fixed it
We couldn't vacuum it or even run the filter without it clogging every 2.5 seconds, Terry actually called me at one point and we talked on the phone for about 20 minutes about how much he hated our pool filter. It turns out it was the wrong type of filter and probably the wrong size for the pool, which sort of explains why I had so much trouble with the pool the first summer it was open. We ended up getting a new sand filter in the correct size and everything got  better from there, the water cleared up and we could vacuum the pool without issues. We were able to get the water balanced and now I am enjoying the pool!

Frankie by the pool


TL;DR version
Opened the pool
Fixed leaking pipe
New pump motor
Stuff got clogged
Pool turned green
New filter
I have a pool again
Thanks Terry!


Friday, June 23, 2017

Doing the things

“Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”-Neil Gaiman

Riding:
I've been doing a few random scattered things the past few weeks that I thought would make a good random, scattered post. Mostly working a lot and riding...sometimes? I took Frosty to the Beaufort hunt trail ride at Spring Valley, I don't hunt anymore so this was a great opportunity to see some people I haven't seen in close to a year (the Beaufort hunt is by far the friendliest hunt ever!) It was a pretty hot day and I was on my third or fourth day of medication for hives (thanks seasonal allergies!) so I was definitely dragging a little by the end. Thankfully Frosty was perfectly behaved, I rode in my Voltaire saddle which I am still absolutely loving!

The following weekend we headed to Michaux state forest to ride some different trails than we usually do.. I think I actually liked these trails better than our usual ones as they were wider and less rocky with a more gradual slope. We saw a lot of 4 wheelers but this was ok, the people riding were very courteous and I feed my horses with the 4 wheeler anyway so they mostly don't mind.
John's horse on a fire road in Michaux state forest
Farm things:
In addition to riding I have been trying to get a few things done that I have been putting off. I finally collected all the winter blankets and John took them to be washed...usually we try to get this done in April...oops.
4 horses=many blankets to be washed
 I also swept out the cobwebs in the barn and re-organized the feed room. With the intermittent heat/rain cycles the weeds are doing exceptionally well (of course the grass looks like crap which seems to be typical of our place this time of year). I am feeding some hay outside since the pastures are pretty much done...but I still have to mow to keep the weeds from going crazy. Next order of business is spraying weeds around the buildings and fence lines (again).
Mowing weeds and a little grass



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ride Recap:The Pacemaker 2017

This past weekend John and I went to our first paper chase of the season along with my wonderful friend from work and her sweet mare. Usually we start going to paper chases in April but almost all of them were rained out this year (it has been raining every weekend for the past six weeks here in PA!) We were so lucky that the weather was perfect for this event.
The Pacemaker is one of my favorite paper chase/pace events to go to, it is hosted by the Susquehanna Equestrian Club and the volunteers are always super friendly and helpful and the course is very well marked. The scoring works by averaging all the rider's times at the end and then dividing the times into two groups fast and slow. The placings are determined by who is closest to the average times in each group.
Frosty's hair is always on point

The course was really varied and took us over a variety of terrain and obstacles including bridges, narrow/rocky trails, water, and open fields with optional jumps. This was probably Frosty's best paper chase ever! She was very calm and she jumped everything I asked her to. I was also SO impressed with my friend's mare on her first paper chase ever, she took all the new things in stride and was just a champ overall!

'
Course map
 Perhaps the most exciting part (besides all of us making it back to the trailer smiling and in one piece!) is that we got first place (closest to average time) in the slow time division and will be getting ribbons. This will be the first blue ribbon I have won as an adult and with Frosty.

Happy team photo :)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Spring-ish updates

Aiken in April- John drove the camper down to Aiken and we went down a few weeks later with the horses and dogs. We picked this weekend because it was the Horse Show in the Woods, a benefit show for Hitchcock Woods. The initial plan was to ride in and watch some of the horse show with our horses. Chester did not agree that this was a good idea, as soon as he heard the loudspeaker for the show he started losing his marbles so we opted to ride some other trails then get the truck and dogs and come back later to watch the show. Thankfully John was driving as you actually had to drive through the woods to get in and our dually barely fit. We really enjoyed the show and I think the dogs did as well!

Frankie in the camper
Driving through the woods
Maryland Hunt Cup-This was a great day! The weather was beautiful and it was a very exciting race. I got to dress up...and also day drink (2 things that happen approximately once a year...during the MD hunt cup). Hooray!
Proof that I can dress/look like a normal human...sometimes
New Saddle-I got a beautiful birthday gift from John this year! A Voltaire Palm Beach! I had been lusting over this saddle for months and it is everything I dreamed of and more. The leather is super soft and grippy and it fits Frosty beautifully.
Much wow.

Meeting Frosty's previous owners-I got a Facebook message from a friend of Frosty's previous owner that had found me through this blog that they were going to be in my area and would like to stop in and see her. They had owned Frosty from when she was around 3 until she was 7. It was so amazing to meet them and get learn more about Frosty and what she was like as a young horse. I hope they stop back again sometime soon!
The cutest poneh
Gunpowder Falls-We found a new place to trail ride over Memorial Day weekend, Gunpowder Falls in Maryland. We went on the Barley Pond trail (I took Chester) which is a 4ish mile loop and was perfect for horses, we only saw a few hikers and it was not very hilly or rocky. There was also a nice mix of open fields and shaded/wooded areas. I hope to explore Gunpowder Falls more in the future!
Chester at Gunpowder Falls

Friday, March 24, 2017

The year I gave up on winter riding

I spent a few minutes the other day scrolling through my facebook timeline and noticing the lack of recent horse pictures. Frosty was ridden once in November and again in February (in Aiken). Chester had a few weekend rides in December, maybe 1 or 2 in January and none since then. This winter really just took the wind out of my sails on the riding front. If this means I am not a dedicated horse owner then I guess I'm not dedicated. The horses have had unlimited hay, grain 2x a day, regular farrier care and blanket changes etc. through the last 4 months just hardly any riding. They are sick of being stuck in the dry lot (pastures are still too soft/muddy from this previous snow melt to turn out there yet). Daylight savings has come and gone and it is light enough to ride after work now, but the motivation is not there. The cold damp weather just has me burned out...add that to the fact that it is unclear if either horse even remembers what a saddle is.
Sorry about the buzzkill post...sometimes I just wonder why I am doing this?


The one time I rode in November