Saturday, October 31, 2009

Alexandre & Jasper settling in.

This morning the boys said goodbye to Pam's Paradise. Jasper said bye to Red, his most favorite playmate. I said bye to Mindy Lou, it was fun to see her so often! Alexandre didn't get to say goodbye to anybody because he was such a jerk while he was there.

Pam hooked up her truck to my trailer and we, plus my mom, drove out to Valleyford, WA this morning. Once you get off the highway it is a beautiful drive. Countryside with fall colors, fields, forest, and Hangman Creek. They unloaded well and we put them in the arena where strangely enough, Jasper ran around. Norm, the owner, is really nice and helped us unload stuff from my trailer into the tack room. He asked how many saddles I had and I said 3- the jumping, the dressage, and Alexandre's Aussie- an decided to leave the western in the trailer. I felt a bit guilty with how much space I was taking up with the saddles plus my big trunk plus Jasper's garbage can of supplements. Eek.

They're going to stay in the arena for a couple of days until he finishes making a few new corrals, when a lot of the horses will be re-arranged, and there will be room down in the big pasture for them. The trailer parking is down below next to the big pasture, and Norm showed us where one of the trails starts and GOES THROUGH THE CREEK. Yes! Water crossing! Think it's about a foot or so high right now. In that place anyway, I guess his daughter tried crossing somewhere else last week and her horse ended up in a swimming hole and swum. Literally. Woops. Brrrrrrr.

Unfortunately it looks like Al scraped his eyeball on something this morning and it was weepy and starting to swell. Luckily the vet was willing to sell me a tube of eye antibiotics without a barn call. $8.50 sure beats $100. I went back out this evening and gave him 2 doses. He was VERY good and held quite still. I think he actually realized I was trying to help him this time. That or he just remembered the cookies from last time.

They both seemed happy and content when I went back this evening. The place is way out in the country and is very peaceful. Al got goop in his eye and his forelock braided to the side. Jasper got groomed, his sheet put back on, and his bucket of supplements. When I left they were happily munching hay.

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. This is a long-term solution to my low-income self. You can't beat $150 a month for board. Yay!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Valley Chapel Farms

Today I drove out to Valley Chapel Farms in Valleyford, WA. It's about 15 miles from my house, partially on highway. I found them on Craigslist months ago, and wrote down their information because they were advertising board for $150/month, and I thought hmmm, if I ever lost my job I should check this place out. I actually called them when I DID lose my job but they were full. So today in the snow and sleet I made my way out there and checked it out.

Talk about pasture board. The "pasture" is acres and acres and acres taking up the entire valley of this place sectioned off into 4 gigantic pastures that 6 horses are rotated through. They have all-you-can eat grass hay and automatic waterers. Shelters in each pasture. There are smaller pastures and pens as well that are full. Most of the pens have feeders at the top, and they have a pretty steep downhill descent as the paddock area.

Jasper will LOVE the galloping space. I told the owner that I am concerned that he will lose more weight as he will not get supplements unless I'm out there. He seemed willing to work with me and that we will keep an eye on him and see how he does. There is one paddock by his house Jasper could possibly go in- it it the feeder at the top on a steep muddy hillside though so I don't know. We'll just have to see how everything works out. Right now there's still grass in the pasture, so between that and the hay, supplements when I go out there, and a blanket hopefully he'll be OK.

There is small outdoor arena, a round pen, a barn to keep tack in, and TONS of awesome cross country riding! Fields, hills, trails, and even access to Hangman Valley Creek- wouldn't that be awesome? Water training.

Moving this weekend.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Alexandre for Lease..?

What do you DO when you're suddenly unemployed with 2 horses to suddenly take care of? Both my boys have lived at the ranch where I used to work. Unemployment did not take into consideration boarding costs- what were they thinking?

So what do I do? I promised Alexandre I would never sell him. And I won't. We've been together 10 of his 17 years, he's my boy. He likes trail riding. He'll do dressage. He can't jump anymore. Jasper is a 4-year-old OTTB. A dime a dozen. Sell him? He can jump. He has the potential to event. But he's all potential with not much to back it up yet. I have much more of an emotional connection to Alexandre. And my dreams lie upon Jasper's back.

So I have decided (I think) to try to lease Alexandre out on a care lease. I was firm on this decision a few days ago. I made a slideshow of pictures of him. I called the dressage trainers in the area and even put an ad on Craigslist. And Dream Horse. One lady even came out and rode him. She used to game and wants to trail ride. He kind of took off with her but she didn't seem scared. She had a lot of trouble trying to post his trot. I was supposed to look at her place today but I am procrastinating. I guess I'd prefer if he was at a boarding barn and whoever was leasing him was taking lessons... it that unfair? I think HE would prefer to trail ride. Although he prefers me.

I asked Jessica Wisdom (awesome dressage trainer in Yelm, WA) if she would like a working student for a couple of months. She said she's working on it, but they are short on space. I'm considering calling boarding barns tomorrow and asking if I can work off board...

Thursday, October 1, 2009


This morning I went back to ranch and got my final paycheck. I also got the rest of my stuff, Anke's bike, and the elk and buffalo skulls that Anke, Annie and I brought back from one of our camping trips.

The ranch has told us we can not have any contact with any of the boys, past or present. Our attorney said they're blowing smoke up our asses and we can have contact with all of the boys, past and present. They can't make up rules AFTER they fire us for no reason. Obviously we can't go to the ranch and trespass. We are working on it. These boys' lives have been full of neglect, abuse, and abandonment. We refuse to let them think we've left them without warning or a goodbye and have gone on with our lives to never think of them again. It seems like child abuse to me.

Karlin's (who trained Porsche) dad called the ranch to try to get information. He sponsored Porsche this year. He was told the equine program is going in a "different direction" and now they have enough money to hire Catlin (the board member's daughter) AND an assistant for her. Isn't that great? And I had to fight to get $400 tarps to cover the hay. Looks like mommy is paying someone's salary and doesn't want her to work too hard.

Anyhoo after that I stopped on my out to Pam's (have I said thank god for Pam? The boys will be staying at her place a little longer as I'm searching for mega-cheap board somewhere) and picked up some Equine Senior for Jasper. He's decided to strike against really eating anything, but for some reason he looooooves LMF Equine Senior. He's now on a beautiful irrigated grass pasture 24 hours a day, plus he gets supplements AND alfalfa hay all night. I hope after he settles in he'll gain some weight.

I'm ready to shoot Alexandre. He's driving me nuts. He's decided he's a stallion and is after one of the mares in heat. He is completely nutty/bonkers/beside himself. He has NEVER acted this way before. He's lost a ton of weight (a good thing) because he continually paces the round pen trying to attack horses over the fence that get close to Rosanna. Even when she's out in the pasture with them. SHE is quite a witch when she's in heat and had double-barreled him more than a few times. We decided they deserve each other and stuck them in the round pen together. Alexandre runs over to attack the horses on the other side of the fence when they get close to her, and Rosanna intervenes and attacks him. He's slowly learning to stand on the other side of the round pen away from her. At least I don't have to listen to the sound of horse crashing into metal the whole time I'm out there.

I rode Jasper today and he was high as a kite. Trotted around in the pasture and he continually broke into canter, and I would halt, back, and go on to trot again. He did lots of head scooping and even did some baby bucks. He did settle down towards the end, and we practiced leg yielding at the walk and some little walking pirouettes using outside rein. He's so light and responsive (while bobbing his head and neck up and down, swishing his tail, and chomping the bit). Lots of praise when he stood still for 5-10 seconds, a blanket to cover all his bones, and a bucket of mush. Hopefully I'll be able to catch him next time.

I'll get some pictures of Pam's place and the boys' new roommates. Jasper has really taken to Pam's gelding Red. He's testing the waters to see if he can be dominant over someone. He slowly walks up to Red, stands real close to him for a while, then pins his little ears back and sometimes Red steps away.

And... I'm sleeping in tomorrow!