Sunday, August 24, 2014

Being Unemployed sure is keeping me busy!

I cannot believe how little time I have now that I am unemployed.  I mean I am constantly on the go, and every day is a full list of things that either needs to be done around the place or errands that need to be run.  

A lot of my time is spent in advertising, or shameless self promotion as I prefer to call it, or responding to emails or private messages on facebook.  TC had our hired hand (yes we actually have one of those) insulate  and panel the future saddles shop and then install a bunch of saddle racks too.  I bought 9 off the internet for a mere 8.00 a piece, which was a smoking deal as far as I'm concerned.  It is all done now and the racks are up.

I actually have 10 saddles in the shop now, every rack and every stand I have is full, and I'm pretty impressed with the line up of "inventory" that I have.  A few of them still need a lot of work before I would even consider selling them, but most are cleaned, conditioned, and repaired and ready to go.   I am, of course, going to be adding some western decor to my shop as I run across it and will probably make an actual sign this week.   I also have 2 people who are very interested in saddles that I have, so hopefully those deals will fall into place soon.

Bonanza Boarding is officially rolling now with our first boarder.  His name is Cody, I call him Big C because he is a tall boy.  He seems to be pretty sweet, and easy to handle. We are having a few discussions on respecting my space, which his owner is thrilled about. She is not enjoying the bad manners he picked up at his last home.   I took the advice of A and added a photo clause when I wrote out my contract so I am allowed to show you these.

We have another potential boarder coming to visit in the morning and since she is close friends with Cody's owner it is very likely that she will be coming to stay.

I have been working on building my own website, mostly for the saddle shop, but also for the boarding.  I still have a long ways to go and until I pay for an upgrade it will only let me post 4 saddles at a time, which is quite frustrating.   Anyways, is the link.  Please go check it out and then let me know what you think of it.  I need all the constructive criticism I can get.

I have not done any riding in a week. The last time I rode Melly felt really off, and Trax was sort of blah too.  Or wait, maybe that was me that was feeling blah.  I don't know, it was just a real let down after the awesome sorting I did just a few days before.   I wanted to sort this week but life REALLY got in the way this time.   Well there is always next week.

Today was my grandaughters 7th birthday which I hosted at our house.  It was a ton of fun, and of course all the girls wanted to ride.  Instead of pulling out Killian, I used Melody.  After all, who better to carry around 4 little princesses (literally in princess dresses) than the Princess Mellypalouza herself.   I rode her a bit to warm her up, and she did great. When we did a few shoulder moves, one of the girls asked if Melly knew how to dance.  Well she kind of does, so I showed them a couple of her "dance" moves.  They thought that was awesome.   Then they all took turns riding her in the round pen.  Melly did just great, and I was quite proud of her.

Well now it is the start of a new week.  I smell and need a shower and after the multitude of high pitched squeals we have had to endure today, am pretty exhausted as well.

Hope everyone is enjoying the last of their summer!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Alter Ego's...and Saddles for Sale.

I have been dying to go to the big arena in my neighborhood for a long time now. They do roping a few days a week, barrels a few days a week, and on Fridays it is sorting night.   However my job kept me from going.

Now that THAT is no longer in the way, I put on my big girl panties, saddled up Killian and Melody, and headed down the road last night.  I didn't take Trax this time for a couple of reasons.  First off, I have seen Trax on a cow, he could really care less. For a former rope and ranch horse, he is one of the least "cowy" horses I have ever seen.  Plus, I still have not gotten around to ponying any horses off of him in the arena to see how he will react.

I know that seems silly, after all it isn't the same as dragging a log, but I was adding in a couple of factors.  First off, I have never taken Melody any further than the end of my street, and I knew I would be ponying her.  While Melody is prone to spook, her spooks are small and manageable, but I still don't know for sure what will make her spook. Trax on the other hand doesn't spook that often but when he does it takes both hands to stop him.  There are too many variables there, and I felt that for our first time out I wanted to go with the horse I know can handle ponying another horse, especially one who could spook at any little thing and any given time.

However, I should not have been concerned.  Melody did fantastic, didn't even spook at passing traffic.  We had to cross a bridge to get to the arena, and Killian gave it a second look, but other than that, they did great.  Good job ponies!

We got there and there was no one there.  But I made a phone call and in minutes T was there, and said he would be right back with a saddled horse.  While I waited I went ahead and warmed up in the smaller arena.

I learned something about Killian right then, and about myself.   When I ride Killian, I don't ask much from him.  I push his shoulders around, mostly we trot down the road or around the arena.  I finally started insisting on correct leads and his lope has changed from off kilter, to a really nice comfy lope. This is especially true since his chiro adjustment.   When I ride the other two, I ask for a lot of short runs, quick stops, roll backs, take off and do it all over again.  I don't know why I never asked these things of Killian, but I darn sure will from now on.  I wanted to get him into what I call "Quick feet mode" and so we did those short runs, and quick stops, and let me just say DAMN, he really does know how to tuck that butt and stop.  I have clearly underestimated my old guys abilities.  Or maybe I just made excuses because of his age, but he is in pretty good shape other than being a little overweight, so that is all going to change.

Anyway, Melody was kind of sore acting the last time I rode her so I went ahead and gave her just a light dose of bute yesterday, so that she would feel ok.  As I warmed her up I could feel a big difference.  When she isn't hurting, her training shines.   She has some Back on Track hock boots coming, and we have a new exercise regime which we will be implementing (one that does not allow spins) so we can strengthen that hind end.   But for this night we trotted and loped and worked on our leg cues and such.  She is a dream, that is all I can say.

By then the guy, T, was back and we made our way to the big arena and he brought out the cows. There was a horse right by the gate in a pen banging around on the feeder and Melody said she could not go past that. So I had to get off and lead her.

I got back on and we loped around the arena once, she was on high alert, but responsive.  Once we entered the sorting pens her entire demeanor changed.  Where as usually she spends a lot of time worrying about what  is going on on around her, the minute we stepped in the pens she couldn't see anything but cows.

Right then, that very moment my flighty, dingbat of a diva turned into a cow eating machine.

T asked if I had done sorting before.

"Um no, but I have seen it done."

"Okay so you understand the concept then?"

"Yes for the most part."

So he explained how he likes to do it, and then sent me in after my first cow.

I picked out a cow, urged Melly forward and she went to work.  She cut left, she cut right, she almost lost me once because I wasn't ready for her quick moves, but I managed to stay on and she got the job done inspite of me.  We traded back and forth, I'd guard the gate, and he'd get a cow, then he'd guard the gate and I'd go get a cow.  When Melly was at the gate occasionally a wrong cow would head our way and she would give it her "I'm a cow eating machine" evil eye and said cow would run to the other side of the pen and hide.  (Okay that might be a slight exaggeration...but only slight)

After our first round T said, "I thought you said you had never done this before?"

"I haven't, but my horse has.  My horse was headed to the Sorting finals in OK, when I bought her."

We did a few more rounds as I got the feel for her and pretty soon we had a really good rhythm going.  Sometimes he would guard the gate and have me sort them all, and sometimes we would trade off.  She was amazing, I can't even begin to tell you how well she did.

Then I switched out horses and gave Big K a try.  Killian also has an alter ego.  My rock steady, doesn't give a darn about anything horse couldn't keep his mind on his job because he spent all of his time worrying about where Melody was.  I had to reach down and smack him on the shoulder with my reins to get his attention.

Eventually he got down to work, and it didn't take long before the sweat was pouring off of him. Not a bad thing, he is seriously over weight.  He does not have the "cow presence" that Melody has.  I think it was because she cared about her job, and he really didn't.  But all in all, for a horse who has not had to work in 4 years, he did pretty good.  I think I did 4 or 5 rounds on him.

Then I switched back to Melody.  She spooked at the gate but once she got in, the switch came on and her focus was soooo intense.  I mean she literally doesn't see anything but cows.  I love it!

We did a few more rounds, and I probably could have done more, but she has gotten a little soft since coming to live with me, and I didn't want to over do it the first time around, so we stopped there. After the last round I got the biggest compliment ever.

"THAT is one broke horse!" (in cowboy lingo it doesn't get any better than that.)

Then it was time to ride the dark....without a moon.

Killian decided that this would be a great time to become an idiot and do his, "I'm headed home before you get all the way up in the saddle trick."  Not cool big red, not cool at all!

We made it home safe and sound, they got a nice hose down and a tiny little snack.  I floated in the house and wouldn't shut up for an hour...okay 3 hours.

I cannot wait to get back there again.

If I could get Melody to get over her fear of trail obstacles, we could actually do really well in ASHA.  Really well.

Moving on,

I had a request for pics of the saddles I have for sale, for now I have 3 that are really ready.  I just picked up 4 more and still have 3 more that I need to work on. My saddle shop is under construction right now, so I don't really have a place to work.  It should be done this week, then it will be time to get busy.

First up is a very nice roping saddle.  This saddle was made by a company called Weatherford Saddlery out of Laveen, AZ.   It has a 15.5" seat, 7" gullet and is in fabulous condition.  The leather is buttery soft, the seat is in good shape, it comes with front and rear cinch and riggings, and breast collar.  The asking price on this one is $700.00  It is a good solid heavy saddle, made to get the job done.

Next is my Circle Y Equitation  16" seat, 7" gullet, FQHB.  light weight, but not cheap, has silver accents, comes with matching breast collar and headstall which have real silver conchos. They are also made by circle Y.  One of the most comfortable saddles I have ever ridden in.  Asking $900.00 for the full set, $800.00 for just the saddle.

The last one I have that is ready right now is my Colorado Saddlery trail saddle.  This one is older but the perfect choice for someone who is on a budget but still wants a good quality saddle.  It is 15" seat, 6.5" gullet, SQHB, leather is soft and supple, comes with front cinch and rigging's.  I only am asking $400.00 on this one.

Of course most of my prices are negotiable.

What I have coming up will be:

15" Circle Y Equitation- no silver, just a nice simple saddle, $500.00
Unknown maker 16"  Reiner/All around - $500.00
unkown maker 17" cutting saddle  $400.00
Unkown maker 16" rope saddle- $500.00
Blue Ridge 16"Cutting saddle- $400.00
Blue Ridge16" Rope saddle- $400.00
Unknown 15-16' Trail Saddle- $ 300.00

I won't post pics of the others until they are ready for sale.

I will ship to other states if need be.

Monday, August 11, 2014


I had my ass handed to me by a can of red bull yesterday.  I'm a little blown away by this simply because I have been drinking it for years.  Well, I had been.  Then I started the "no sugar" thing, and while I did not stick strictly to it, I have virtually cut soda of any kind out of my diet for several months now.

Yesterday I was headed to look at a saddle and having a hard time keeping my eyes open, so I sopped and grabbed an RB.  By time I got home I was sick and shaky and pretty much out of it for the rest of the day. Even feeding the horses took all my energy.  The crash from it was awful!

I have noticed an increase of what I call Hypoglycemic episodes lately. It is strictly a self diagnosis, but it is basically whenever I go too long with out eating (especially when it is hot) I get dizzy and weak and can't think straight.  If I push it too long, it takes me the rest of the day to get over it.  I was going to go get some blood work done, but insurance is gone now so it will have to wait for just a bit.

Moving on.....

Went to the local livestock auction Saturday.  I did not go for the horses, I went for the tack.  The tack was crap.  Well the only things that were decent went higher than I was willing to invest.  I did get 2 sets of nice Amish split reins, brand new for 17.50 a set.  That is what I have been using on Trax and I love them.  These will not go into resale inventory.  I got an old breast collar which needs some work, but the leather is quality, so it was worth the price I paid. Some new conchos and conditioning and it will be a nice addition to one of my saddles for sale.

I was not going to watch any of the horses but did, and I'll be honest it was hard.  I saw a couple of nice ones, but every single horse there was half starved, which doesn't make sense to me.  Maybe I'm ass backwards, but if I knew I had to send my horse to the sale barn and I wanted him to bring a fair price, I'd at least feed him before I went.   There was one that was totally lame, you know where he ended up. One pretty paint that I probably would have bid on if I were bidding.  Not because he was paint, but I just liked the way he was put together.  He went for $250.00 I don't think it was a kill buyer.

There was a very nice 18 year old sorrel gelding with some awesome training behind him, he went for $200.  I left after that.  I did see a very nice buckskin back in the pens, but I had to get out of there.

The look in the eyes of those horses was hard on me.  I've seen that look my own eyes, as I looked at my reflection in the glass of a prison door as it closed in front me.  I know the feeling that goes along with that look, so to watch what was happening on this day and be helpless to do anything for any of those was too much.  I seriously doubt that I will go back.

Sassy is still doing pretty good.  She has had a couple too many days off, but will get her exercise today even if I just work her in the round pen.  I can tell when she gets time off, she gets "stove up" looking.

I rode Trax the other morning, he had a minor relapse.  I do mean minor too.  I brought back out my rope gate and asked him to stand nest to it. If it is on his left side, no problem. In fact if it is on his left he is more than happy to execute the perfection.  When I asked him to stand with it on his right, he got jiggy. So we did that several times.  When I reached down and picked up the rope, I felt him tense so I set it down.  When we came back to it, I was able to pick it up but the minute I rubbed his shoulder with it, he bolted.

It's cool though, I knew it was coming.  I was ready for it and while it took me a minute to shut him down and bring him back, I only truly felt out of control for about 10 seconds.  It amazes me how quickly he can go from totally okay to totally gone in the blink of an eye. Mentally and physically G O N E.

Eventually I was able to go back to it, pick it up and set it back down again.  And we were still able to totally execute from the left, but I know where we need to focus that attention.  I guess I've always known, just need to remember to do it.

I rode Melody the next night.  She is sore.  Very sore.  So I need to explore more better options for her.  Another visit from the chiro, plus I have decided to invest in some Back on Track Hock boots.  I would like to get her a blanket as well, but it isn't in the budget right now.   I think what we have going on is one hock is fused and the other one isn't.  That combined with her hip issue is starting to get to her.  She gets better once she gets moving, but it sure takes her a while to get moving.

I got another call on boarding, this guy and his daughters rodeo, and have 3 horses.  I like people with multiple horses. Then another gal contacted me this morning.  So If they all come in, I will be maxed out already.  I could squeeze more in but I don't think I will.  The one thing I have going for me that a lot of my competitions don't have is the size of my pens.  If I keep cutting them down I will lose that. I don't want to be like everyone else.

I have changed farriers.....AGAIN.  I was so happy with my last one, except that he had a hard time showing up. Then Killian threw 2 shoes.  I never blame that on the farrier, because I know that it happens even to the best.  But it was how the refit was handled that bothered me.   It took 2 days before he finally showed up.  He gave me a time and I sat and waited for hours and hours. Finally about 8 pm I called and he didn't answer. Finally he called me back and said he never even got out of bed that day.  So he would be there the next day.  I waited again and finally had to go somewhere, he showed up at almost dark, threw the 2 shoes on while I was gone, but didn't touch the other feet.  It was one on the front and one on the back. Because Killian stood around for a week waiting for him to even get to town, the hooves were chipped and needed to be trimmed.  So he trimmed them and then put the same shoes back on.  No worries right?  Wrong.  His feet were 2 different lengths front and back. Then the next morning he lost a third shoe.

At that point I was done.  I called a different farrier, he was there that after noon, and came and reset all the shoes doing just as good a job, in half the time for $35.00 less!!!!!!    The previous guy was charging me $120.00 for a standard set of shoes.  That is the highest price in town.

So now I will stick with the new guy. Not only is he from my area, he does a good job, gets the job done quickly which is easier on the horse.  I would be a remiss if I didn't mention that this new guy is also quite good looking and while I would never hire a farrier just on his looks, we will sure call that a bonus!  LOL

Well now it is time for me to get back out and get to work. It is super humid today but I cannot let that slow me down.  I just picked up a nice roping saddle for a fair price yesterday and I already have someone interested in it, so I need to get out there and do what I do to get it ready to sell.

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer....or whats left of it anyways!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Happy Happy Happy!

I have not updated in a while, been pretty busy being unemployed.  I still can't get over the fact that I do not have to leave my house everyday.  I did not get the "work from home" job.  They called and did a phone interview while I was in the middle of doing evening chores.  I guess I should have stopped what I was doing in order to be more professional, but hey, if you call me after 5 pm, chances are I am cleaning stalls, feeding animals, or saddling up.  While it would have been a nice job I think, I'm not too concerned about not getting it.  Of course when financial destitution sets in, that may be a different story.  

Right now I am pretty much just loving life.  I get up early every morning, and throw back one cup of coffee. Then I grab the tractor, clean one pen, switch the horses on the pasture, clean the other pen, and then find one outside chore that needs to be done, and tackle that. Sometimes that chore is riding, sometimes it is something else.  But I try to keep moving until it starts to get hot. Then I move my energy to the inside of the house and tackle a chore inside.  

Once that is all done, I go on line and work on my advertising.  Bonanza Boarding is all over facebook now, and I join new equine groups everyday.  Through that I have gotten my first boarder.  She currently is boarding in Apache Junction, but lives even further out than I do, so was only getting to see her horse a few times a month. She will be bringing her horse in the first of Sept.  She is ten minutes from my house, really wants her horse on more pasture and less hay (which is what I like as well) and is pretty gosh darn laid back from what I can tell.  Plus she knows all the best trails up in the cool country of AZ.  She also is going to try and get one of her friends to come and board here as well.  

I was introduced this week to one of the other ladies who runs a boarding stable in our neighborhood.  She always has a waiting list, and was not happy with her only option to refer people too, so now she says she will refer to me instead.  

I brought in a different equine chiropractor last week. She worked on all the horses.  She does more than just chiro though. She does Electro magnetic pulse therapy, as well as massage.  It was a little expensive but holy cow was it worth it!  She started with Trax, found some really sore spots in his shoulders and in his poll.  She showed me how to stretch him before I work him hard, and explained that it will help with his movement if I am diligent about it.  

Then she worked on Melody.  The pulse machine really shows where their pain issues are, you can see the tissue responding to the pulse.  Or sometimes it is just too intense and the horse will pull away. At that  point she has to turn down the machine and work her way back in.  With Melody we found that she has significant pain in her left hock and right hip.  I knew the hip pain was there, but didn't know about the hock pain. But now I do.  She also had a ton of stuff going on in her ears and her poll.  By time she was done the difference in Mel was astounding.  She was okay with having her ears touched again, and was moving much better. She will need at least 1 more treatment, if not more.  

Next was Killian's turn.  He was not as bad as I thought. He had some vertebra out which she adjusted.  A little bit of stuff in his poll. Most of his was in his tail, but by time she was done she could flip his tail all the way up with out any tension at all.  I have ridden him 2x since then.  He no longer groans when walking so that is progress to me.  

Last but not least was Sassy.  Now you may recall that the last chiro did not want to work on Sassy till we got her feet under control.  Well her feet are better now, but she still couldn't make it around the block before hobbling.  Yet we could not figure out what the reason was behind.  She is in front shoes again, and doing good with that, but I knew it was time to do something more.    She started with pressure points and was blown away by the amount of pain in Sassy's chest area.  So she started with massage and then moved on to the machine.  When she put the machine up on the scar you could see the tissue jumping in response.  She worked on that are for a while. It was tight and the scar appears to have attached itself to the muscle below.  She worked on Sassy for a long time.  She showed a little front knee pain on the left. and left hock pain, but the biggest thing was that shoulder.  When she pulled the machine away you could see the muscle below still twitching. This did not happen on any of the other horses.    Then she did the adjustments and the stretching and then asked if we could take her straight to the round pen.  So we did.  We moved her at a trot, made her kick up to a lope and pretty soon she started reaching out...Sassy I mean.  Pretty soon she realized that it didn't hurt to move and she actually started moving soundly.  My jaw hit the floor.   We let her go back to a trot and when she lowered her head while trotting she was completely sound.  If her head was up you could still see some some tension, but still way better.  

Since that day I have ponied her behind Killian through the neighborhood twice.  Both times she has made the entire trip without hobbling, with out hardly even a misstep.  She is getting better each time.  This is not a gimmick, this is the first real honest to goodness progress I have seen in 2.5 years.  I rode her down to A's house who watched her move as we came up the road. She confirmed that I am not seeing things, or imagining soundness because I want it so badly. She says it is a noticeable difference. Sassy can't wait to get out the front gate now and go exploring. I mean she has always enjoyed it, but she is really loving it now. I can't wait to take her out to the desert and then in another few weeks I will start her back on light riding.  

So here's the thing. The pulse therapy is not the cure all.  But what it was, was the final missing piece of the puzzle.  She has been in pain for so long, its all she knew.  Her muscles were so tense, the skin at the scar was attached to the muscle restricting movement, and if it was tearing at all while I was forcing her to move, it hurt even more.  I got rid of the hoof pain, but had to get rid of the body pain as well.  She is not completely healed yet. I still see her short step sometimes, and until we get moving she walks like she is sore, but once we get moving she gets more and more sound with each step.  I am really really excited! 

The saddle shop plan is coming along slowly.  I kind of set that on the side burner for just a bit, as I have some things to finish to get ready for boarders.  But yesterday I was given a tip on where to go to buy good saddles cheap in order to really boost my inventory, and still be able to sell at a fair price. This will require me going out of state, but actually I think that is better as I find it is hard to buy a saddle off of the tack for sale pages on facebook, and then turn around and try to re-advertise it on the same page. Bringing in some new product will be good.  I also have a great connection now for buying new riggings at a fantastic price.  As a consumer I hate buying a saddle and then having to go buy all new riggings because what is on there is crap.  So my goal is for every saddle I sell to have new riggings, good stirrups, and to be clean and shiny and ready to go.  I think it ads to the value of the saddle, and mostly I want a reputation of selling a quality product.  Since there are no real saddle shops in my direct vicinity I think that once I get the shop set up and get my inventory rolling, I will do pretty well at that.  However, right now my shop is still cluttered with the remnants of TC's tools and such, from before he built his shop.  

In other news, I sold off both my vehicles.  I even sold my old Dodge which I loved.  It was hard to do, but a guy came along and offered me more than it was worth so I took it.  Then I sold my little yellow Nissan truck, which was the worst impulse buy I have ever made. I paid $8500 for it, put a bunch of money into it, and then sold it for a mere $6900 and was lucky to get that.   So with all that cash, of course my first instinct was to go buy another horse. But I didn't.  Instead I figured out exactly how much I needed to pay off all my debts, and then took the rest and went and bought another truck.  

I ended up buying the exact same model dodge that I had just sold.  This one is 2 years older, but has less miles on it, is an automatic (which is taking some getting used too) has airbags on the rear suspension, has a 3" straight exhaust on it, a nicer interior, and runs like a raped ape! Oh and it is a pretty color of green!  The down side is when we got it home we found a major oil leak.  The bright side to that, is where most people would think that is a major issue, I have a dodge diesel expert who was able to look at it and say, "Oh simple fix, its leaking from the accessory drive. We just need that seal kit."  I walked to the box of stuff I took out of my old dodge, reached in and pulled out a package containing the exact seal kit we need.  So I won't be driving it much until it gets fixed, but that is ok. I have plenty of other vehicles at my disposal.  

Someone told me the other day that I must be on the right track. She said I have not sounded this happy since she met me.  I am happy.  I'm not going to let my self worry about money. I will be more frugal of course, but I believe today that if I keep putting one foot in front of the other, and keep trying to make good decisions, like paying stuff off rather than getting deeper into debt, and working hard at home, everything will be okay.  

It seems to me I had more to talk about, like farriers, and emergency night rides on Trax and stuff like that, but now I need to get dressed and head into town with TC.  I will post some videos soon of Sassy.  I really can't wait to show you all how well she is moving.