Monday, December 10, 2018

Spider repellents

Recently I had a day off work since my new man was having a medical procedure and would not be able to drive afterward. I took a couple of my dressage magazines to read because there is rarely good reading material in waiting rooms. One of the articles mentioned making small repellent jars to help get rid of and keep spiders away. Since these sounded super simple to make, I figured why not give it a shot? 

The article suggested using glass jars, but 1) plastic just seems like a safer option around horses and 2) easier/ cheaper to get. So on my next trip to the $1 store, I got a small bag of Moth Balls and two of the 4 packs of small Betty Crocker containers. 

I opened one package of the containers and got to work. The article said to use a nail to make 3 or 4 holes in the top of the jar. I'm sure we can all get creative about where we place the holes, but I just went with simple, even, quartered spacing.

I had used a screw to make the holes and grabbed one of my S hooks to see if I could put it thru the holes to hang it up. Sure enough, it works!

Armed with my little containers, I opened the bag of moth balls. The article said to place 2 or 3 moth balls in each jar, screw on the cap and set them out in places where you have seen the most spiders. I wedged one in the bridle rack just because, one is hanging up by my girths and saddles, another one near all my bags of polo wraps and the 4th one is wedged in the pallet by the door to repel the barn cats. There were plenty of moth balls to complete the second set of containers which I haven't yet punched holes in the top of. For a total of $4 my tackroom should be free of spiders and all the other bugs they eat.

For anyone concerned about the smell- the few holes are supposed to keep it contained for the most part, but let enough thru to ward off the spiders. To me, they smell like the little things they hang in the toilet in a gas station restroom, similar to a urinal cake. Every now and then there's a light whiff of that smell, but even then it is mild enough not to be annoying, let alone strong enough to make anyone gag.  So far they seem to be working, so the occasional smell is worth not dealing with the webs or worse- getting bitten.  

Saturday, December 1, 2018

$1 store, barn edition

Oh the $1 store, how I love thee.
Let me count the ways......

Tote bags-> The $1 store has these in different sizes and in different colors and prints. You might have to wait to find the one you like or even dig thru the pile but they're worth it. They're great for polo wraps, pillows wraps, standing wraps, all the wraps. I had even found one years ago that is perfect for brushes. It holds 3 full size brushes, a grooming mitt, with pockets on the front for a hoof pick and mane and tail comb or brush.

The one woman at the barn has the hanging shoe bag in her tack room. It holds all of her spray bottles- fly spray, detangler, shampoo & conditioner, ointments, gels, etc. each in their own pocket. This could also work for splint boots. Hers has the clear pockets so tossing small stuff in one of them doesn't mean it is lost forever.

Wire S hooks-> great for hanging up a lot of things. These come in a 6 pack.

7 hook rack-> great for hanging up and organizing girths, bits, reins, snaps, extra leads, lunge lines and long lines... The hooks on these are rather small and close together, so it kind of limits what and how much you can put on it, but they still help kp things neat and organized. The S hooks above^^^ yeah, you need these for that.

4 or 6 hook rack-> great for hanging all of the tote bags on. This could also be used for halters and leads. I have one just for my lunge lines and long lines.

Small dry erase board with marker and eraser- for keeping track of feeds, supplements- who gets what and how much. This is handy if you're not doing something like SmartPak and have someone else feeding for you.These can also be used to note any number of things.

Over the door single and double hooks-> portable and easy to hang up everything in the barn aisle near the cross ties- tote bags with brushes, polo's, bridles, lunge lines, etc. I also have one for my car keys and jacket or sweatshirt while at the barn.

Small tote bin-> Since I don't yet have a shoe bag, mine holds the bottles of peroxide, alcohol, shampoo, conditioner, Epsom salt, baby powder, baby oil, petroleum jelly, shoe polish, spray bottles (fly spray, antiseptic and mane & tail conditioner) and a large sponge for bathing- all of which come from the $1 stores. There's also a  few bottles of other things from the tack or feed stores.

In the medical department of my drawer unit-> latex gloves- because, 100 count pack of plastic gloves, a pack of band aids for me, wound ointment, a 100 count pack of cotton squares- for wiping alcohol when giving shots, a small set of drawers for different size needles, a pencil box for syringes, a package of panty liners, maxi pads and children's diapers for wrapping an abscessed hoof or wounds with a few rolls of 'sport tape' similar to Vetwrap. Plastic wrap for sweating a leg, a few 'cold wraps' and a couple jars of Arctic Ice for icing a leg. A roll of paper towels and probably more that I can't think of off the top of my head.

In the tool drawer-> duct tape in fun colors, utility knife, a pair of pliers, a small set of screwdrivers, a tape measure, assorted clamps, a roll of electrical tape, zip ties, and a small flashlight. Again there is probably more that I can't think of at the moment.

For general grooming-> Hair brushes for manes and tails, shampoo and conditioner, large and small sponges, a 2 pack of wash cloths for wiping eyes and noses. A black dish towel for cleaning gender bits. Another towel for wiping fly spray on their face- a car wash mitt works for this too. A pack of the small bands for braiding or banding manes- they have these now too.   

Tack care-> dish towels for wiping down tack after use, wash cloths for wiping down bits- cheap enough each horse can have their own. Wash cloths for applying leather conditioner or neatsfoot oil, 3 pack of paint brushes for neatsfoot oil. The clear plastic gloves (see medical drawer above) keeps this all off your hands if needed. Small container with lid to keep cloths and brushes in between use. 

General cleaning-> A strainer works great for getting hay and feed sediment out of water tubs along with a small scrub brush when you just need to dump and scrub the water or feed tubs. Small bottle of dish soap for getting it all clean or washing my hands after applying meds, ointments or ??? Some $1 stores also have bleach if you really need to disinfect things. Disinfectant wipes-does this need further explanation? Broom and dustpan, small doormat for the tack room floor doorway. You can get trash bags, but I just use empty feed bags. Quart and gallon size zip top bags to line fly trap bottles- because I am NOT cleaning those things out to re-use it. Zip it closed and toss it in the trash. Done!

There's probably more stuff at the $1 store that would be useful around the barn or different uses for things I have listed here. Of course there are always going to be some things you just can't find or get at the $1 store. And even still, some things you just don' buy at the $1 store but spend the money and buy the brand name stuff. All of the things listed here, I bought at either Dollar Tree or 99 cent.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
May we all be surrounded with good friends and people we love.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Staying oganized

After my friend sent me that Instagram pic in the last post, and me trying to come up with something like it for my own tack room, I got to thinking. Scary I know. But seriously, now I was wondering how other bloggers stayed organized at the barn?

These are the things I use-

Tractor supply has 3 tier saddle racks. I have one and if they ever go on sale again, I will pick up another.  They're awesome.  While I don't care much for the wire rack underneath for pads, because it is pretty much useless for anything, the saddle racks are sturdy and durable.

The 10 hook tack rack from Schneiders. I got this from the Schneiders tent at the Scottsdale All Arabian show, (back when I lived there and used to go every year).  It has been awesome and again-when they go on sale.....

The $1 store had these 7 hook racks. One of them is for my assortment of girths. 

They also have a 6 piece package of wire S hooks- to hang the 10 hook rack, the 7 hook rack, the 4 prong hook I've had for ever and the manure fork by their stalls. 
There's also another $1 store find- the 4 hook rack that holds the various tote bags with my different sets of rolled up polo's. More bags with standing wraps and no bow wraps... and a few of these bags also came from the $1 store.

I also got one of these footlockers in gray for Kat's harness several years ago when it was new. While it has held up well for quite a while, it did finally start having issues with the handle on the front pulling out when trying to carry it. I bought one to replace it in Teal. It was around $30 at Wally World. The gray one is now a good place for their blankets in the off season. My assortment of Navajo pads fit in the footlocker, so I have another one just for those.

Sterilite makes these awesome drawer sets that are actually stackable. I have the 2930 model and the 2895 in wide, both in black and stacked up. It didn't take long before the drawers were all filled. A drawer of its own for just about everything.

So what do you use to keep things organized?

Monday, November 12, 2018

Enabler status?

A friend of mine sends me this as a screenshot pic off Instagram. I almost hate her for doing it. Seriously, I do.
Because now I want something like this to organize all my pads and shit at the barn.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What's your style?

While watching the WEG, one of the commentators had mentioned "This persons 'Style' of riding is very fast. That person's Style of riding is very careful." While yet a few others she described as elegant, effective, classical..." and so on. Not to long ago a friend of mine made a comment about a judge not liking her 'style' of riding. That got me thinking- What is MY style of riding?

While we all hope for our riding to be described as careful, elegant, effective, classical, quiet, etc. we often describe what we feel what we're doing up there as being None of those things. Our seat is off balance- sitting heavier or deeper on one side then the other. Stiff shoulders, leaning into our turns, sloppy lower legs and then there's Grabby McGrabby Hands with a death grip on the reins.... It's so easy for each of us to find fault with the way we ride and most of us can tick off the things we need to work on and either Do More or Stop Doing.  

While there have been things I have worked on to overcome- my hands are a big one for me. Whether it's keeping them on the horses withers or where I hold them when driving, and having one person telling us to do it this way and another telling us the opposite- It gets frustrating. We try hard to please everyone and try to guess what the judge likes to see and 'Do That', but it doesn't always work.

I have thought long and hard about it over the past few months, about what My style is. My new man told me a while back that at the last driving show, he felt bad for me and my Ponyman, that we didn't win any of the ring type classes on the first day. But then on the second day, when it came to the Games classes and we turned on the heat to Bring It, opening up a giant can of Whoop Ass!? He was super proud of us flying around the courses the way we do. He could understand why Kat and I enjoyed it so much. We were a force to be reckoned with and people around him were excitedly asking questions about us.

Things that different people have said over the years have stuck in my mind. People whose opinions I respect in the different sports I have competed in, have helped shape me in how I ride or compete.  But that still leaves the question to be asked- What is my 'Style' of riding?

I have decided that it is a combination of things. With the driving- Our forte is not elegance. I know this and have for some time. We get things done and can hold our own in pleasure classes, but Kat and I are not the stand out type to watch on the rail. Our Dressage tests were hardly flawless, but our scores were always decent enough to get us by on. While I'm okay with that, maybe it's something to focus on and take a bit more seriously. If we were competing and traveling a lot to do so- it would be beneficial. At this point, it's just something to be considered. When it comes to the games classes, cones and hazards- we are fast and what some might consider almost reckless, but things are still under control, so it's all good. We are definitely fun to watch. Kat and I don't have to think, we just DO. He's quick and loves it and I enjoy letting him go for it.

My riding is much the same. Rail classes I can take it or leave it and score decent marks to get by on. I'm not sure I'm an elegant rider, since I don't often have anyone around to take pictures, let alone video, that I can share and dissect over and over to improve upon. I ride both English (hunt seat and dressage) and western and one of the girls at the barn asked me about it the other night. She had started out at a dressage barn but hasn't sat in an English saddle in years.  She wondered which one I'm more comfortable with? I shrugged it off as I told her that I've done both so much it's all interchangeable.

My style? Some days I still don't know. If there's one thing for sure, it's a work in progress.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Move on already

At the last barn, there was a group of people who used the round pen to the point of overuse. They would lunge their horses in the round pen but their idea of lunging was to run the hell out of them, whipping at the horse and yelling constantly. Any time they had a problem with the horse- back to the round pen and run the hell out of them some more.

The funny thing was that they always watched me ride, had often asked me for help solving their problems and complimented me on my horses several times over. Not once were my horses in the round pen. I helped them a few times with some of the minor issues and solved them, working either out in the pasture or on the trail.

And yet when I made the comment about how the barn owner should tear down the round --pen, they got a bit butt hurt.  Before anyone gets the idea that I'm all Anti Round Pen, I'm not. They are good to have for starting horses, for free lunging on occasion and for turnout when the horse may be on restricted movement due to injury. But life does not revolve aound the round pen. At some point, you need to move on.

Once you've taught your horse to lunge on a line and can do it outside the round pen, You have moved on. If you're riding at a walk, trot/jog and canter/lope in the arena or out on the trail, obviously you've moved on beyond the round pen too. All things these people and their horses could do, but still they reverted back to the round pen, where they would run the hell out of the horses and damage any bit of the bond they had between them.

On top of that- the footing in there was for shit. It was uneven, deep in some spots, thin and hardpacked in others and there was also the perpetual mud spot that never dried up. I'm not one of those people that's difficult to deal with or hard to please, but I try to give my horse a chance and I'd like to keep them sound. adding to things, the round pen was small, as in too small. That kind of stress on their legs and joints is asking for problems.