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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Moving Time!!

Moving barns is never easy. It always seems like you never have enough stuff for your horse until it's time to move all that stuff. Then suddenly it's like you own an entire tack shop!

This effect is, of course, amplified when you're trying to move 13 horses, 6 boarders, and (I've lost count of how many) lesson clients and all THEIR stuff. Luckily a good chunk of the new barn was built already so we could move in stages the past few weeks.
View as of Monday from the upper field - photo credit: Chelsea
A few tack trunks here, some buckets there, a load of horses this day and that day. I take serious pity on anyone who has to move an entire barn in one sitting. We only had one minor hiccup when the truck broke down yesterday but big thank you to the mechanic who had it fixed within 12hrs so we could finish up the move! A week of this has left us all exhausted but worth it to see happy ponies frolicking in the big field:
Quest, Zone, & Top Position (who needs a barn name, suggestions welcome) - photo credit: Chelsea
Chelsea had skylights put in so it's nice and bright with a ton of natural light!

I don't even want to know what it is or where it came from!

Most of the Penwick crew came up last week for barn clean up and jump building. We managed to dodge the rain and enjoy pizza and lessons in the new indoor. Arizona tagged along to check out the new digs and came back from the woods with this doozy of a bone:

Painting poles

A glimpse of the kids hard work

We are super creative!

Awesome new jump standards! - photo credit: Chelsea

This week I'll be organizing our storage areas and getting everyone settled in while Chelsea shows at the Kent School HT on Sunday. (By the grace of God I managed to tame Regals mane in between moving but I SWEAR that horse grew another few inches this winter and he certainly used it to his advantage as I tried to pull his afro into something more respectable. Total pussy cat until you whip out a mane comb then he's my little wild step-child.) After organizing I get a few weeks to rest for a bit before trudging all my stuff up to the barn and my new apartment:
Coolest apartment ever btw - second floor bedroom has the best view of the pond and cross country field!

Friday, April 5, 2013

If I were a horse...

Warning - bottom of this post has a graphic pic - viewer discretion is advised.

I think if I were a horse I'd be a Thoroughbred. A fiery redhead, perhaps a descendent of the great Secretariat. But I'm not that fast so I'd need a career off the track, and I'm not terribly proportionate so Hunters are out - hopefully my owner would choose Jumpers or Dressage since I'm pretty agile and have a killer work ethic. Oh, I know - Eventing!! lol

After all, like most TBs, I'm occasionally hot-headed, very athletic, and a touch high-maintenance. Then, like most horses, I'm quite accident prone. Always pulling muscles and getting random scrapes and bruises from seemingly nothing. Also like most Thoroughbreds, I have a sensitive tummy and even more sensitive skin. I think my owner would need to invest in some bubble wrap for sure. Or at least some SmartGut, expensive sheep skin lined boots, gel wither pads, and a shoulder guard to go under my blankets to prevent rubs.

Speaking of rubs! I'm super prone to rubs. Every time I get new shoes I spent three weeks breaking them in and go through probably two boxes of Band-Aids. At least once a year I get a rub on my leg from riding. Be it from riding in a new saddle, new boots, or new half chaps. I submit my newest issue:

OUCH! I'm even sensitive to the tape when I try to wrap it lol

I suppose no pain no gain, right? Funny thing is, this is from my OLD chaps! I lost a ton of weight last year (yay!) so now they're a touch too big (boo!). At some point during my lesson last Friday my right chap must have slipped down and bunched up. Weight loss is not a bad problem to have I suppose, but having to buy all new stuff can be. Especially when I know I'll get another rub when breaking in the new chaps. *le-sigh*

Now if only I had the metabolism of a Thoroughbred! In that department I think I'm more of a Clydesdale. >.<

If you were a horse - what would you be?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Revenge of the Spiders

So aside from my horse related duties, I also try and keep Penwick tidy. With spring officially here, my OCD tends to kick into overdrive for some major spring cleaning! And since the vet came out for spring shots today, the horses needed a day off which left me with a few hours to tackle the job.

While I try to scrub buckets weekly, its been so cold that I've slacked a bit to save myself from frostbite, so today everything was scrubbed spotless and disinfected. The feed room got swept out and dusted, winter blankets folded neatly into the storage room, and grooming stall mats shaken out. I'll be cleaning the windows and attacking the tack room next week. (So Penwick peeps reading this - if you could organize your things near your trunks it would be greatly appreciated.)

Besame likes to help clean ;)

The first of the month I also dust the barn and try to "de-cobweb" the place. (Not that I have anything against spiders, after all they eat pesky flies and mosquitos.) But they also build unsightly webs that collect dust, which is no good for my ponies. Plus spiders just have a "creeper" quality to them. You know - eight, fuzzy legs, sharp fangs, and googly buggy eyes. Ewww!

"Dude, what's the broom for?!?"

Every time I dust I always feel like there are a hundred of those beady eyes watching me, plotting revenge. Like I said, creeper factor going on here. I feel the worst when I find a nest bundle, killing all the potential babies is sad. It's also when I'm the most freaked out - with visions of hundreds of little spiders bursting out and charging me down to the corner of a stall.

Before dusting, yuck!
After dusting = so sparkly & clean <3

Luckily that hasn't happened (yet). So I considered today another victory over dust, clutter, and spiders. Until I went to go home. It happened. The revenge of the creepy crawlies. Slipped out of my muck boots and into my sneakers. There was a tiny pinch on my right foot, figured I had some shavings on my socks so I pulled my foot out and shook out my socks and shoes. And there it was. The gnarliest looking black/brown spider ever. Sucker waited stealthily in my sneaker to bite my foot!!! Sorry for the lack of a visual of the culprit -  I was too busy yelping and doing a dance on my tack trunk while tossing bell boots around trying to kill it. You must understand - it was hideous!
The damages, please excuse the lack of polish on my toes.
I'm pretty sure he escaped and I'm now terrified to leave shoes unattended. Considering I'm still typing, I suppose he wasn't poisonous, but he still left me with a nasty lump on my foot. I can't wait till we move - hopefully the Passiac county spiders haven't pre-warned the Sussex county spiders about me.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Busy Busy BUSY

I feel like I haven't sat down to get my thoughts on paper (hmm or on screen?) in quite some time. I've had plenty of ideas for blogs but no time. Spring is my busy season. Between the start of kitten season at my full time job (at an animal shelter), last minute clipping for private clients with my grooming business, and show season prep at Penwick there's seriously not enough hours in a day! Going to make this quick and to the point. I promise I'll be making more posts soon <3
Animal shelter related: Anyone looking for cute kittens for the house or adult pro mousers for the barn please drop me an email or check out my shelter's page!! We have plenty of great cats to choose from who all need homes. Note - not all of them are up on petfinder so if you don't see what your looking for just ask.
Reiki: Domestic Medium Hair-Orange, Cat; Montclair, NJ
Reiki wants a home!
Equine Services related: Shedding season is around the corner! Any fuzzy holdouts from winter who'd like to book a clipping appointment? Check out my price list and let me know! For those who prefer the natural transition to summer coats better get those shedding blades ready! (Don't worry I can come by for a de-hairing full groom too.) I'm also booking for show preps and braiding to help you get to the ring looking your best!
Funny Seasonal Ecard: Shedding Season: When there is more horse hair on my clothes and in my car than on the horse.

Penwick relate: I saved the best news for last! I've been dying to spill the beans on this for months. We bought our own farm!!! Super excited - check out Chelsea's blog for pics of our gorgeous new digs! I know Arizona is thrilled about swimming in the pond, she couldn't resist a midnight dip when we stopped by for dinner last week. There's plans for a brandy new 26 stall barn, indoor arena, cross country field, and dressage & jump rings!
Ok. So this isn't the pond, but it gives you an idea about my baby girls love of water.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mother Nature, You CrAzY!

The calendar says February, but honestly I'm not sure what to believe anymore.

For those readers lucky enough to not be in northern NJ:

Jan 1-25th: moderate NJ winter.
Nothing too odd. Some cold days, some warm days. Some sunny, some rainy, some snowy. Minor blanket adjustments needed for the ponies and days where a double jacket or thermal pants were helpful to the humans, but overall not bad!

Jan 21-26thHELLO winter.
High for the ENTIRE week: 29 degrees. (Hmm, toasty ...not..)
Low of the week: 3 degrees!!
Average, you ask? Around 17 degrees.
We spent the week huddling in the tack room attempting to keep warm, hoarding hand warmers and thermal underwear, and breaking frozen water tubs in the paddocks. Our horses, who usually stay out all day, were cut to half day turn out due to the extreme cold. I don't think any of them minded the extra helpings of hay to keep them busy in their stalls though.

Jan 27 - Feb 1: things got super freaky.
Sunday: 34 degrees & sunny. Yay! Ponies can stay out all day again.
Monday: Same temp but with freezing rain. Boo! Ponies are stuck back
              in and my trail riding day is literally washed out :(
Tues: High of 50 degrees & low of 30! Spent the day playing blanket
         fairy making sure everyone was comfortable and not too hot or
         too cold. Also had an unexpected day off from work so made up
         lost time on the trail & in the ring.
Wed: High of 62 degrees!? WTF? Did I miss something about summer
         coming a few months early? Panicked about possible weather
         induced colic, we adjusted everyone's grain & spent the day
         obsessing over blankets yet again.
Thurs: High of 55, Low of 27 and windy, windy, WINDY! Did I
         mention it was windy? And windy to a Thoroughbred =
         the world is ending and everything is going to eat them.
                             -Just saying-
Fri: High of 27 degrees. Oh winter, welcome back. We missed you.
       Back to playing blanket fairy and bundling everyone up.

This upcoming week appears to be a repeat of the cold from two weeks ago, but after the week we just had, I'm not so sure. Regardless of what Mother Nature decides to bring to the table, make sure your horses (and you) are dressed appropriately folks!

Winter in Aiken or Florida next year anyone???

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ponies, Parties, and the Flu

So there's a flu epidemic going around. It starts with a sore throat, maybe a sniffle or a sneeze, then before you know it you're hacking up a lung and stuck in bed with a fever. As hardy as us Eventers can be - our immune systems are, unfortunately, not superhuman. And so, one by one, the Penwick team has spent the first few weeks of 2013 sick as a bunch of dogs. Yours truly is the latest victim. I was disappointed devastated last Wednesday when I had to use a sick day from my "normal job" as an actually sick day instead of a barn day. You're suppose to pinch your nose and use your best Daffy Duck impression on the jobs answering machine, then skip healthily down to the paddock to collect your pony and go off for an all day trail ride and picnic by the stream. I mean sick days were created for horse shows, clinics, and cross country schooling days NOT for wasted days spent in bed.

But in bed is where I spent a good chunk of last week while I tried to recover in time for the Penwick holiday party. Yes, we are aware that the holidays are over. But usually everyone is too busy with other holiday parties in December so we waited until this Saturday to have our barn party. It was a great time - a night filled with good friends, excellent food, laughter, and fun! Huge thank you to the Lambert family for opening up their beautiful home to host all of us! Even the barn dogs had a blast playing ring around the table and wrestling in the living room.

In my fever induced stupor I forgot to take any nice photos for my blog here, but Chelsea managed to snapped a few - which I promptly stole off her Facebook page for your viewing pleasure.

I also apologize in advance to anyone from Penwick who was healthy and now has the flu. You can blame me, Chelsea, or Leyla - I think the 3 of us were the most recently ill who went to the party.  I promptly spent all day Sunday recovering in bed.

Today I felt like a million bucks until I attempted to ride. Then I realized my lungs, like my immune system, are also not superhuman and may take a while to get back to normal. Huffing and puffing I gave up on any ring riding and headed up the hill with a few of the horses instead. They were all troopers about being on their best behavior for their weakling, tired, Darth Vader sounding passenger.

A horse & trail ride is the cure to any ailment.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Ahh, the time has come to reflect on the past year and set goals for the future. 2012 has been action packed with personal and global triumphs and tragedies. From the Olympics to the elections, daredevils jumping from space and crazy celebrity antics, to the multiple mass shootings and Hurricane Sandy, it's a year not to be forgotten. And since we managed to defy the Myans and avoid an apocalypse - lets wrap up 2012 and dive head first into 2013. 
From a Penwick standpoint, I'm proud to say all the horses and riders have come really far this year. We had a successful show season, Noble mastered his leads, Shadow figured out eventing is totally cooler than hunters, Noor learned how to tolerate a herd play nice with other ponies, Quest & Spiderman have come to terms with letting me clean their willies and not kick my head off, and I didn't break any of my lesson kids (yet)! New and exciting things are in the works for 2013 but that's a story for another blogging day.
On a personal level I successfully lost and kept off 50lbs! Go me! Here's to dropping another 50lbs in 2013 - I know the horses are grateful for that resolution. And so is anyone who's ever seen me in light colored breeches, I'm sure ;) And while I dramatically cut back my smoking, quitting was a failure, so that goes back on the list. (For like the 5th year in a row, but who's counting?) I had my first official bone breaking fall this year - something I prefer not to repeat next year! And despite my recent health crisis, I'm vowing to not let a little neuropathy slow me down in the new year. (Who needs full feeling in their legs anyway? Rock hard core strength here I come!)
From my family to yours - wishing everyone a happy and safe new year!