Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

I’m looking forward to 2015, and putting 2014 firmly in the past. It’s not been the best of years, and despite having my health, loosing my best friend in Rio was a harsh and lasting blow.

But looking Forward – to the future – as we all must (otherwise we just get stuck in the past), I’m going to make some achievable New Years Resolutions, and some that I’ll need to work on.

1 – Work less, and enjoy more.

Being self employed has been fantastic. I’m my own boss, and when you work for yourself you don’t mind putting the extra hours in. But I’ve been racking up a crazy amount of hours every week, so I need to take time off. I’ve got better at this, but it needs to become a habit. Time off means not going near the computer!

2 – Learn time management; or at least maybe how to prioritize.

This I know will help with No. 1. Maybe it’s not just time management, but sitting down and doing a job with no distractions.

3 – Do not put off doing the accounts. Or the Stock take

I hate it, and leave it too long, so it becomes a HUGE chore. Bet this sounds familiar to other people too, maybe not with accounts, but there is always some job that we put off, yet if we chipped away at it, it would be far easier.

4 – Find a new riding horse I want to own.

This will take a long time. And it’s absolutely not one I’m going to rush. Ive been so lucky for the last few months to be riding a friends mare, which has taken the edge of the pony cravings ( Yes, you all know what I mean!) But finding a true friend will take time.

On that note, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. Roll On 2015 x

Not Great News

I’ve not added a post since mid June, and its not for lack of trying.

At the beginning of July my horse Rio, who features quite a lot in my blog posts, Facebook posts, and website, got injured in the field.

Only a few weeks previously the vet had been out and declared him very nearly sound, and more than likely just a bit stiff from not wanting to step through from behind, with a nicely healing back leg, and should continue as he was for about 4-5 more years, without to many problems. I was over the moon. He is one of the nicest horses Ive known, despite not always being one of the easiest to deal with.

So, on the 6th July, I went to get him in from the field, to discover that he was 4/5ths lame. Hes a tough nut normally, so this really didn’t bode well. Gravel (a Yorkshire term for a foot abscess!) was quickly ruled out, and a tendon injury ruled in. So despite being a Sunday night, the vet was called. The leg was looked at, scanned and due to the damage, decided that 10 days complete box rest was needed, and then to rescan it.

Progress was slow and steady, but always heading in the right direction. He started walking round his box easier, and was brighter in himself, so I allowed myself a glimmer of hope.

But it was not to be. The afternoon before the scan was due, his fetlock started to sink. Slightly at first, so that I thought it was just the way he was stood. But by late evening, the damage was evident.  We made him comfortable overnight, with a extra dose of bute, and booked everything for the following morning.

Ive held enough horses for the vet for their final journey before, so knew what would happen. Rio was 15. To me, still far to young.

Being the first horse I’ve ever owned, and the first horse of my own that I’ve ever lost, I could not have imagined the complete and utter sense of loss and emptiness that followed, and I’m so very glad that my best friend came and helped me through that morning, and the weeks after.

Life has been rather different without him. Some 3 weeks later I lost another horse, who I’d had on loan for a long time, but this time, being 29, I could easily say he’d had a full and complete life. It was no easier to say goodbye though.

Business continues pretty much as normal, I keep busy, but every day I am reminded of the reason I started my tack shop in the first place. Quite simply, I work to afford and enjoy my horses.

It’s a harsh reminder to enjoy what you have whilst you have it. Make the most of what you’ve got. Because tomorrow is another day, but it may be a day too late.

And to my next horse, when the time comes, ‘I’m sorry’, because you’ll have some very big shoes to fill, and a very large space in my heart to help heal.

 

 

Rio summer show 2007xx

Waste not, want not

Watching the pennies is becoming more and more important to everyone these days, but so is avoiding false economy, and waste. Even if you don’t have a budget for your horses, (or like me, dare not count up what you do spend!) it’s still very sensible to make the most of what you do buy.

You wouldn’t buy a 20kg bag of feed, and tip only 18kg into your feed bin, throwing the rest away. The same should be the case for all your lotions and potions.

Rio has been suffering from mud fever this winter, and whilst trying to get to the bottom of it, and get rid of it once and for all, I’ve used a lot of different lotions and potions.

    Carr Day and Martin Wound Cream has been Fantastic! 20140608_175400As a dual anti-bacterial and an anti-fungal cream, it cleared up the mud  fever really quickly. As you can see I’ve used this tub up. I squeezed every last drop out of the tube, and normally it would head in the bin – the recycling bin.

But, because I like getting every last drop out of everything, I grabbed a pair of scissors!

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You can see how much is still on the side on the tube. So I used up the cream in the top of the tube, the little part I’d cut off.

Then you can use the top to become the new lid.

As I’ve only got short fingers, to get to the very bottom of the tube, to get the rest of the cream out, I need to make another cut, for me, just below the horse picture.

The cream won’t keep as long as it would if you don’t cut the tube, but then again, all that cream was heading straight for the bin anyway! And when you’ve got every last drop out, it can still go in the recycling bin.

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20140507_083134There was enough cream hiding in the tube to treat his leg for 4 days. As you can see from the picture of his leg, there must have been a fair amount of cream, (as his leg looks the same on the front of his cannon bone, and the outside of his leg)

 

Poisonous pastures?

Summers nearly here in the UK, and like most horse owners, the end of mucking out for the winter is in sight.

Rio is going to stay in for the summer, in part to keep an eye on his waistline, but also in part to keep an eye on his hind leg, which seems to be holding up to the small amount of work hes doing at the moment. The lovely canter we had reminded me not only how much i miss working him properly, but how much i miss his company when we go for a ride full stop!

So with Rio confined to barracks overnight, the two little boys are left to play in the field. Fantastic, and for most people that’s the aim of the summer. To get your horse in a field, as its often MUCH cheaper than stabling. I do know of one or two yards that charge the same all year round (full livery prices, not DIY) but they are few and far between.

BUT – how many of us check our fields regularly enough? And – would we really know what we’re looking for?

  • Fencing – quite simple really. Secure and safe fencing, ideally not wire/barbed wire, but don’t forget to check your gate. 6ft fencing won’t keep your horse in, if the gate is hanging off its hinges.
  • Water – A basic need of any animal is a clean, constant supply and Access to fresh water. A stream is not ideal thought, although often very clean, and constant, you have no control over how much it rises when it rains.
  • Grass – How much depends on the horses in question. My Shetland would love me to say ‘lots of grass’ but vets bills are far too expensive to invite. So he has less grass than the other two. But there does need to be enough that your horse can graze properly. Dust paddocks are useful in restricting a horses intake of food, but they are very quick at learning to stuff themselves silly if you restrict the food too much. Also remember that bare paddocks mean that horses start to eat less  appealing alternatives, weeds/ragwort/bark off trees, and good old post and rail fencing!
  • Plants and tress –  Trees particularly are great for shade, as are hedges. But can you identify poisonous ones? Brush up on your knowledge of poisonous plants every year, so that you know what to look for, and also know which ones are more enticing than others to horses. Sycamore trees are hitting the headlines this year in the horsy world, after a sharp rise in a fatal disease atypical myopathy,  believed to be caused by Sycamore ‘helicopter’ seeds, as well as the trees, leaves and bark. For more information click here

I’ll be adding pictures in shortly.

 

 

It’s Easter!

Happy Easter Everyone.

We’re just putting a quick note together, as we seemed to have vanished over the last few months, and we wanted everyone to know we’re still here.

Hopefully most of you will be enjoying a few days off, either to celebrate Easter, enjoy the Sunshine, or Both! Like most, I take every opportunity to get in the saddle and enjoy a ride in the sunshine. Being Britain, it’s more often than not wet and windy!

I’d love to say that this was my view for today.  Rio in sunshine

But unfortunately I’m not. My poor little horsie, who has been battling with mud fever all winter, as manged to pick up another Secondary infection.rio poorly leg

So I’m spending the Easter holidays cold hosing his leg, to try and get rid of the heat and swelling.  (Despite the look of it, I do manage to get more water on his leg than this normally) By the time it gets better, he will be the shiniest pony in the county though, from all the grooming hes going to be getting.

During the time off, I have no excuse for not having some very clean tack, and with the grass nicely coming thought, turnout overnight for the summer is fast approaching. This should free up some much needed time to have a proper sort out of all my rugs and tack etc.

Even better our local Riding School, Cottingham Equestrian Centre is holding a Table Top Sale. Its a perfect excuse to clear out your pony cupboards, and get some, or lots or pennies for stuff that’s just sat there. It’s also a perfect opportunity to pick up some wonderful second hand bargains.

As well as taking a lot of my second hand bits and pieces, I will also be taking along a selection of new stock from The NoseBag Tack Shop, because like everyone else, once you’ve made some room in your pony cupboard, it means there is room for some new bits and pieces!

Goodbye February, Hello Spring!

Despite February being only a few days shorter than any other month in the year, it goes past in the blink of an eye. Not that its really much different to the speed that all the months go past. However last time I looked it was still Christmas and New Years!

Winter with horses seems to be one of those strange things, that if you were to ask me which is longer, the time before Christmas, or the time after? I’d tell you, that obviously they are stabled for longer before Christmas than after. Now my horses come into the stable on the night from about mid-end of September, and are turned out mid-end of May (depending on how much they resemble puddings rather than ponies!)

Don’t worry, you won’t be the only one sat there reading this thinking, can’t she count!  It’s very much physiological thought. The winter is always cold, wet, miserable and dark before Christmas, but once we’ve passed it, that fact that the nights are starting to get lighter always makes a massive difference to me.

Tonight was the first night, that I’ve been on the yard, and I’ve realised that its still properly light at 5pm, and it’s a wonderful feeling. Already I’m wanting to start tiding stuff out.

My last clip of the year was done well before the beginning of February, due to the terribly fluffy nature of the beast. He’s now sporting a close cut all over, with the exception of his face. My farrier did ask me why I’d left his face on, and when I explained, that even with sedation, and plenty of time on both our parts, the chances are that I’d be riding my horse out, with a lovely clipped face, and a massive pair of fluffy Ears!

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February also saw me take a very rare day off, when we went a couple of hours cross country early one morning to go to BETA International Trade Fair. It’s a three day fair, and since we’ve never had chance to go before it was rather daunting. We got in a good 6 hours work, before calling it quits, and heading home. It might have been a (very) long day, but it gave us so much time to play, I mean, test out, all the new products that we are going to be stocking on our website in the next few months.

Speaking of websites, it’s not finished yet, but our new website it up and running. Yay!   Even if I don’t know where February has gone I know the time has been well spent, going into the website build. Rio has had some extra days off, but with the rubbish weather we’ve had this month, we decided that battling gale force winds and horizontal rain is just a complete waste of time, and not worth the potential arguments that arise out of being cold, wet and miserable, not matter how you try to ‘keep calm and carry on’

Well this time next week will be March, and with the spring grass coming through, it’ll be weigh tapes and sticky bum jodhpurs at the ready…..

Tackroom time savers

If your lucky enough to have your horse/s on livery, then you’ll also probably have more than one person to help keep your tack room clean and tidy. However if like me your able to have your horses at home, or even just on DIY livery, then the only person responsible for keeping your space tidy is you. And the only person to blame if the space looks like a disaster zone.

I always cite lack of time as an excuse for not tidying up, but it can save you a massive amount of time (and money). Take the humble hoof pick for example, they wonder off all over the place, and are so easy to gather up with other stuff. I have at least seven of them, and I currently only know where two are, (in my grooming kit- for the moment). If you spend just 30 seconds a day, every day looking for a hoof pick, that adds up to a massive 3 hours a year, wasted, which definitely could be spent in the saddle. Try trying a bit of bale twine round the handle, as it not only makes it easier to see, especially if you drop them in a straw bed, but also makes them easier to hang up.

Be ruthless about your things once or twice a year. Have a good clear-out. Now is actually a really good time to do so, especially with all the very windy, and very wet weather we are having, riding is unfortunately taking a bit of a back seat. Do it bit a time, so its not a big daunting task, but also so you don’t get cold, and bored and give up half way through.

Go through the boots and bandages you have and chuck out the dead ones (which you’ve probably kept ‘just in-case’ or ‘for an emergency’). Sell ones that don’t fit (unless you can genuinely seeing the need for you to keep them – ie new horse on the horizon). Sort out which boots/bandages you use and need handy, and store the others away. The same goes for numnahs and saddle cloths.   I have a handy trunk in my tack room which contains a couple of spare numnahs and boots, which I use all the time. Others which I have bought on sale, are kept in a separate trunk, and only come out when I’ve thrown an old one away.

I keep a spare plastic bag in the corner of my feed room, which I chuck in all my wet boots/bandages/numnahs and anything else that needs a wash. It stops me picking up a wet or dirty pair of boots and then having to find another pair to put on Rio before we go out for a ride.  Once its got one or two loads in it, it goes into the house for washing. We use a Moorland Rider Wash Bag, which means you can shove all your horse stuff into the bag, and then into the washing machine. The bag catches all the hair, shavings, etc and stops them dirtying up the machine. It saves lots of time, and money rinsing out your washing machine. It also means that you don’t have horse hair clogging up the machine!

Lastly (as I could go on all day 🙂 )  I keep a little sweeping brush in the corner of the feed room, which is really handy for giving the floor a quick sweep. It makes a massive  difference to how it looks, and in 30 seconds (the time to find a hoof pick) you can really tidy up both your tack room and feed room, as well as preventing the food in the feed room from attracting little furry friends round to lunch.