Thursday, 11 August 2022

July Photos

 July was a real rollercoaster! After babysitting the Friesians again for a month while K was away in May-June, we went on holiday, and only then did I start to settle into my new routine when we got back. Of course, the new routine now includes wedding planning - in which the Lord has been incredibly gracious, as usual.

The night before we left. The yard might not be perfect, but it's ours and we love it ๐Ÿ’œ

24 hours later, after 12 hours in the car, we reached East London. The Eastern Cape is really temperate and it was a welcome break from winter!

I'll have to put all of our holiday photos in a separate post, but suffice it to say that we had an amazing time, even if this one decided it was a great idea to waltz around on the beach in his farm boots.

We didn't quite have swimming weather every day, but we enjoyed exploring the city - especially the museum and aquarium - and walking on the beautiful empty beaches.

This was my first visit to Nahoon Point.

Back where we belong, only now we're engaged! It was a little bit of a shock to wake up at home the next morning and realize that we were still engaged. Part of my brain sort of categorized our engagement as being a holiday-only thing, I guess. It's still sinking in.

The layers seemed pretty happy to see us.

My sister was really excited to see us and assembled a card, flowers, and a gift before we even got home!

Sahara's mane has gotten soooo long! Midas's kid outgrew him and is leasing her now, and I also have a half lease on her for the riding school. She's a very good mare, big enough for grownups, very forward-going and obedient.

Wynnie and Thunder have developed an adorable friendship. Basically, Wynnie never leaves him alone, and Thunder always puts up with her.

I'm really unhappy with his weight this winter. He's not unhealthy exactly, but he's not the shiny, glossy muscle-man he used to be. It's been this way since the start of winter -- I think his itchy coat really bothered him in the summer and he might even be dealing with an ulcer as a result.

Noah helps me teach every afternoon now. He occasionally gives at least one of us a heart attack by popping out from behind things, but I love his company.

Lancey is super grubby but at least he's happy. It took me a while to get into my routine with him, I hardly rode the poor little guy at all in July. Even after a long holiday and all this time, I still feel the effects of burnout.

I'm giving poor Thunder grey hairs! I can't believe he'll be 12 in October.

We did lots of pole work this month. It was fun! I especially liked doing poles on a circle or transitioning from far-apart poles to close-together poles to add some variety.

Ladybug is starting to look pretty legit. This kiddo helps me out around the yard a lot, and though the Pessoa caused her some consternation at first, she's proven very useful.

Faithy noodle is doing well but still just standing in a field for now. I'm hoping to find her a rider who wants to compete on her. EM ended up getting her own horse, a gorgeous and really well-behaved Friesian that I actually schooled back at the Friesian stud, through a stroke of amazing love and providence. They're perfect together and I'm excited for many happy hours of riding together!

Faith's hair growth has been insane. She rubbed this part down to the skin back in January.

Eventually it'll catch up to the rest again.

This is Carnegie, a new retiree. He's a good old boy.

We took the little monsters out for a pre-Finals training show in July.

Caught this barn cat snuggling a calf at like 5:30am when we were prepping for aforementioned show.

Shadow hugs for the best Thunder boy. He really started to come back into his old level of strength and fitness this month, so we're back to playing with the changes and walk-canter-walk transitions in travers and half-pass to prepare for the pirouettes.

Toy continues to enjoy his weekly rides, and I have discovered a new photography genre: between-the-ears pics feat. engagement ring. The silicone one, because I do not trust myself with the real thing when I'm riding, lol.

This kiddo is always fun to ride with, even though Dusty spent the entire ride trying her best to run away with him. Dusty's weight has given me many grey hairs this winter. She's feeling well in herself but I just can't get that weight up again. She's only about 19, which isn't old for a pony, so it concerns me greatly. She did start to pack it back on again after we dealt with a mild worm burden, so I'm hoping that that was the root of the problem. With her history, though, it's so hard to tell.

Lancey retained a surprising amount of strength and fitness, so we've been schooling counter canter, shoulder-in, and changes through walk.

It still doesn't feel quite real. Like a very happy dream ๐Ÿ’œ

This guy is a happy dream too ๐Ÿ’œ He's going to feature in our engagement shoot and I'm REALLY excited!

Coat = OK, condition = bleh. I've switched from the Capstone Stud Time to Equifeeds Racehorse Feed (hilarious, I know), since it's less exorbitantly expensive than the Stud Time and while the Stud Time put a lot of spring in his step I do think he lost weight on it. Forever tinkering with a formula to make him spicy and chunky. His coat has done well this winter but he still gets scabby gross spots on his face, so I've bought him a very expensive fly mask, which Wynnie removes at least twice a day.

Jamaica did this to his foot two weeks before Gauteng Finals. I freaked a little and went the whole NSAIDs, wrapping, icing, antibiotics route but he was sound the next day.

The "sorry for sending you a gory pic of your horse's leg" pic that I sent his owner when he was all doctored up. I was out of Vetwrap (thanks to Red who overreached the same week) but this stable bandage did the job overnight until I could get more. Sometimes you just gotta improvise.

When I actually stick with Thunder's dressagey schedule Mondays through Thursdays, we spend Friday jumping whatever exercise I have up for the kids. He enjoys it and it's good for me to remember that I actually can jump.

We only pop over about 80cm or so but it's plenty of fun!

I got these incredibly delicious horse treats from S who runs the Arab stud now. The horses went crazy for them! They were Wynnie's first horse cookies and she was confused at first and then wildly excited.

Flashy enjoyed some outrides with his kiddos.

More "wow I'm engaged!!!" pics on a squeaky clean Lancey for once. His mane has gotten sooooo long and luxurious and pearly white - a good thing considering I'm going down the aisle on him in just over 3 months!

Am I going to take tons of these photos with my silicone ring and various horses? Yes. Am I sorry? Not even a little bit. We've waited a long, long time for this. God's grace has been so good in the waiting, but I'm glad it's done now!

I got this GORGEOUS new riding shirt from Zeuster Equestrian. The very nice lady bought Vlinder (from the Friesians) and I ordered a bunch of yard shirts from her and she kindly sent me this one as a present. I love it so much. It's nice and warm for the winter but very comfy and flattering.

Why was my lens so dirty on this day? Anyway, Red is finally starting to look like something. He still has a ways to go weight-wise but he's doing much better than when he first arrived.

It's weird to see Rene without much muscle, but her mane is sure getting long. She also needs a little bit more weight but has picked up well through the winter considering we weaned Rose recently and she's pregnant again. She's only due in January, so there's plenty of summer grass to pack on some more kilos before her third trimester.

Sunrise on the first day of SANESA Finals with Spirit, Flash and Dawn. None of my primary school kiddos qualified for Nationals, but it was their first Finals ever, so we were chill about it.

The old battle queen has started losing a little weight now, so she'll go onto some Speedi-Beet this week to tide her through the last of the winter. She's doing better this winter than last year, though, so I'm very grateful.

Now into the last, gross, windy month of the winter until the tide finally begins to turn towards spring, and then summer, and everything that that means - including our wedding day. I can't wait. God is so good!

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Where To Begin

 I don't know, honestly. So much has happened in the past two months. Too much for me to put into words right now, but I will try.

To summarise: God is good, always.

First, in mid-June, Thunder and I rode our first ever Medium. He was absolutely amazing and perfect in every way. He won his class with 64.8% and it was just really fun. Definitely our best show to date.

Then, the beloved and I went on holiday to visit my grandparents on the Wild Coast, where we enjoyed a whole week of rest and beauty.

And July 8th was the best day of my life when I officially became the future Mrs. Sadler. Love is life-changing in so many ways. The whole story is incredible and I'll tell it sometime.

Exactly three weeks later, Magic colicked for the last time. We rushed him to hospital, but even before I loaded him up I knew that it was time for him to go Home to his Creator. After 24 hours of intense care, he showed no improvement, and I asked his vets to set him free. He runs in Heaven's pastures now, but until we meet again, there is a massive aching hole in my heart, soul, and life.

And last week I was signed for a long-term ghostwriting contract that will change my world financially.

A bit of a rollercoaster, to be honest. But as always, and forever, and in all things, God's grace is perfect. I miss sweet Magic, but I know there is a whole new world opening up in front of me, and first and foremost and best of all is the fact that in just a few short months I'm getting married to my best friend. 

I just can't wait. God is so good ๐Ÿ’œ

I can't wait to be married to this ๐Ÿ’œ

Monday, 30 May 2022

Lancey's Spa Week

After a busy weekend, Lancey had last Monday off and then lunged on Tuesday afternoon. He was a bit of a pain to lunge, honestly. My usual setup -- elastic side reins on the bottom ring of the roller, between the front legs -- was really great at getting him to stretch and soften instead of running around in his patented Arab PoseTM, but he's starting to get really heavy on his forehand in it. I have my Pessoa back now and I'm intrigued to try him in it next time he lunges; I think there will be some shenanigans at first but once that is over he might bring his bottom underneath him much better.

Thunder lunged on the Monday, and on the Tuesday, I schooled him. We worked hard on getting that change from left to right more through, and on the videos, I saw a huge improvement. He gave me several really nice, through, relaxed, expressive changes on that side. We also worked on the half-passes briefly, especially in trot, and he continued to feel much better.

On Wednesday EM came over for a ride and we had a great time. She took Flashy -- she is hoping to find her own horse soon, but Flashy will be showing her the ropes for now -- and we had a lovely long walk/trot in the sunshine with the doggies all around, chatting about life and people and God. I think that this might be one of the biggest gifts the Lord has given me when He gave me horses: this safe space to talk and enjoy deep and silly conversations with the rhythm of a horse to punctuate it all. I wouldn't call myself socially anxious but I do have a hard time connecting with people, but when I'm on a horse it all just disappears. EM is lovely, too, and we go back a long way, so it was just wholesome and happy and good. Flashy was a bit resistant at first until Lancey and I crashed into the bushes and I broke off a switch for EM, and once he'd had one flick around the bottom and we took a nice long trot, he actually pricked up his ears and began to enjoy himself hugely. EM has been good for him.

Lancey, of course, didn't put a foot wrong the whole time and I don't think I ever actually put both hands on the reins. He was more than happy to trade his enormous Arab trot for a quieter rhythm to keep in step with Flashy.

That afternoon, the dentist came over and checked everyone's teeth. To my great relief, we only had a handful that needed to be done. Lancey happened to be one of them. My current dentist uses power tools and so he checks my whole yard each time but normally only floats every 12-18 months to avoid taking off too much. Skye hasn't been done in ages but he said that there's so little tooth left that it doesn't really wear down anymore, so he's not going to mess with it unless there are sharp edges. The only ones of mine that needed to be done were Faith and Lancey. Neither were terrible, so it was all very routine. With the most minimal sedation they both actually behaved perfectly (we won't talk about Shaila who put up a terrific fuss even with sedation). Lancey hardly moved a muscle. He was a tiny bit sharper on his right, which is the side he's wary of connecting to, so it could be either cause or effect of his unwillingness to take the bit on that side. Either way, it does seem better now.

Thunder had Wednesday off because it was hectic with the dentist being around, but I did lunge him on Thursday morning, increasing the intensity and adding a lot more spirals and transitions but sticking with 16 minutes in total.

I honestly don't even remember what Lancey did on Thursday, I think I may have lunged him again? Or maybe he had the day off, it was a busy one. Either way, on Friday morning everything was very hectic. The vet came to do microchips and scans at the same moment as Chiro J arrived. They'd both been very busy and I was lucky to get appointments at all, so between Madela and I we just had to swing it. It all worked out in the end. Dr. K (a gift to horse-kind, honestly) put chips into Rose, Lassie and Wynnie and took hair samples for their DNA. Then she scanned Rene, whose baby is chugging along great, and had a look at a weird spot on Dawn's jaw that might need to be cut out at some point.

Wynnie also got her first tiny plaits and stood moderately still for 10 whole minutes, which is a long time when you're five months old

Chiro J was just as busy. He worked on Jamaica, who was a bit desperate for it, and then on Bullet and checked out Faith who is about to come back into work. Faith surprised us both by not needing any work done whatsoever, even though she conceived by live cover in the field and then had a little trouble giving birth.

Finally, I had him check out that asymmetrical feeling Lancey has been giving me since he came back into work. I could easily feel it even walking on the buckle on the trails, so I was pretty sure it was coming from somewhere back in his body, probably his sacrum (which has a habit of doing funky things). Sure enough, his sacrum was misaligned on the left, and he also had two lumbar vertebrae rotated to the left, with two ribs on the left and one rib on the right misaligned. He also had a little tightness in the middle of his right neck.

That was the end of Lancey's Week of Costing Mother Lots of Money, but he did feel significantly better afterwards -- which I'll talk about later. He had Friday and the weekend off to let everything settle after chiro, but I put Jamaica's kid on Thunder in her jumping lesson that afternoon because her horse was also off after chiro, and he had a blast jumping through a gymnastic and letting her push all the fun buttons. She rode up to Elementary on Jamaica so she really enjoyed riding half-passes and flying changes, even though his changes were dead lazy with her (on the aid but always late behind), little bugger.

God is good!

Skeptical Wynnie

July Photos

 July was a real rollercoaster! After babysitting the Friesians again for a month while K was away in May-June, we went on holiday, and only...