A Tour of “10M”

A Tour of “10M”

My new barn doesn’t have a name, but since it’s only ten minutes down the road from my house I’ve been affectionately calling it “10M”. It’s a privately owned facility that the owners just bought around a year ago. They’ve been doing renovations and are just starting to pursue boarders to fill their stalls.

Red is stalls and runs, blue is the arena, orange is the storage stalls, green is the small barn

10M definitely isn’t as fancy as KW. The structure is older, the floors are dirt instead of concrete, and most of the lighting is from skylights. It’s darker, quieter, and less aesthetically designed than KW. If KW is the luxury model of the barn world, then 10M is more of an economy car.

Board at 10M is super cheap for our area$300 for full care, not including shavings! By moving to 10M I’m saving around $150 a month. There’s a little more labor involved with the cheaper price (I’ve cleaned my own run a couple of times and I’ve got to soak my own pellets), but spending a little extra time at the barn is worth the savings. Plus I get to drag my own arena, which is super satisfying!

The arena itself is a little bit longer than the arena at KW. SellerH and I are confident that we can fit a small course of jumps in there, which is exciting! The footing was very uneven when we first arrived, but the more we drag it the better it gets. Working on the footing makes me want an arena of my own (some day!). I think it needs to be watered down, but it’s improved so much since the start of the month.

Raglan also seems to think that the arena is THE BEST for rolling.

The barn is shaped like an L around the arena. The long side of the L has stalls with runs attached.

Raglan’s stall gets cleaned every day, his water is always full, and he’s been getting a plethora of hay. He’s in the third stall, right between two of SellerH’s resale projects. I love that his run puts him right next to two other horses (yay, socializing!) and that he can stick his face out the front of his stall.

The short side of the L shape has stalls that are used for storage. One of the stalls is a wash rack and another one is a tack room. SellerH and I have taken over two storage stalls (one to keep our tack/equipment in, the other to store our grain and all of SellerH’s hay, since she’s doing self care).

There’s also a viewing room on the short side of the L (underneath the hay loft) that looks out on the arena.

The barn is really quiet. Out of the eleven stalls in the main barn SellerH has taken over five of them, I have one, the owners use three, and the other two have boarders. There’s another, smaller barn with five or six stalls in it, too, but I’ve only seen a couple of other people come out to ride their horses.

Of course, the best part of the whole facility is THE BARN CATS.

The barn owners also have a big flock of chickens (I love chickens 😍) and a few turkeys (I do NOT love turkeys, the hens are okay but the toms will chase you if you’re not careful 🙃).

Raglan and I are settling into 10M nicely! It’s been a lot of fun to have SellerH around. I’ve never really had an adult riding friend before, especially not a friend who’s also interested in jumping. At some point I still want to end up in a bigger facility with a lesson program, but for now 10M is a great fit for us.

Lesson Recap: First Time Jumping Off Property!

Lesson Recap: First Time Jumping Off Property!

Another weekend, another opportunity for SellerH to drag me out of my comfort zone for another adventure off property! This time we went south, to Tally Ho Farms, for a lesson with a local CCI* rider/trainer.

Don’t let the blue skies fool you, it was FREEZING

We started our lesson out at the trot, talking about the idea of rhythm (the consistency of the horse’s gait) and tempo (the speed of the horse’s gait). Our aim was to find a good rhythm for our horses. We control rhythm at the trot with our post, so TrainerMF encouraged me to stop fussing with my hands (guilty! LOL) and focus on keeping my shoulders even and my post steady without letting my hips get crooked.

Somehow it doesn’t matter how many different trainers tell me to stop worrying about where Raglan’s head is and focus on riding correctly until he settles in, I still keep trying to micromanage him. 🙄

Once we found our rhythm, TrainerMF had us come over a cavaletti set up in the middle of the arena while keeping the rhythm of our post. It was important to keep our eyes up and our body very straight. Rags hesitated slightly as he went over the pole the first couple of times (“wat is THAT?”), but we quickly moved on from figure eights to a couple of serpentine loops with cavaletti along them.

Something I found curious: SellerH and I were polar opposites for this exercise. Her rhythm was too soft, mine was too hard! She needed to focus on her front to back balance, and I needed to work on my left/right balance! It was kind of fun to see that our problem areas are so different.

Supervising SellerH and her rambunctious mare

For our transition into the canter we went back to figure eights with the cavaletti in the middle. We cued for the canter over the cavaletti. Raglan was such a star, he nailed almost all of his leads over the cavalettiand the times he missed them were when I stopped keeping my body straight (go figure).

Then it was time for the main event: a little green cross rail!

Giant horse makes tiny cross rail and tiny rider look EXTRA LITTLE

I aimed my giant horse towards it and pushed my weight down into my heels. Raglan trotted up to it, glanced down slightly, and then jumped me right out of my tack. We’ve jumped over tiny things back at KW, but never like this—he used his body in a way that I haven’t really felt before. I kind of crashed straight into his neck (#totalprofessional), but because we stayed straight I was able to recover.

We fumbled our way over it a couple more times (including one where I lost an iron and pushed for the canter anyways, trainers love that no iron perseverance LOL), until TrainerMF had me two point my way over the cross rail and suddenly everything made sense. This is going to sound funny, but I’ve never really felt like I needed to actively two point before! Even when I took Belle the Pony over 2’6″ stuff I stayed in my half seat and then let the jump happen, I didn’t actively focus on going into a traditional two point.

It was definitely amateur hour on my part during our lesson, but I’m still super proud of myself! Before this lesson we’d never even cantered off property, let alone jumped. I think doing new things in a lesson setting was really good for me because I didn’t really have time to get anxious or overthink things.

My biggest takeaway from this lesson, though, was how ridiculously wonderful my horse is. Even when I kept biffing it over the cross rail he didn’t hold it against me. He never even considered stopping, despite me clinging to him like a flea as we approached the tiny jump. Raglan’s the perfect partner for me and I can’t wait to see where we’re at a couple of years from now.

Now it just needs to stop snowing so that we can do more stuff!
… and Learning to Move Forward

… and Learning to Move Forward

TrainerA came out on Sunday to show Ezhno to a potential buyer. I haven’t been riding Ezhno (just a bit of small walk/jog here and there), but he thrives on a chill lifestyle, so he was a complete angel. He even sidled up to a big ramp so that the potential buyer could get on him without straining her injured knee.

The last time I went to sell Ezhno, I was upset. This time my mind feels quiet. I’m tired and stressed from trying to sort everything out, but I don’t feel like I’m losing a piece of myself anymore. As much as I love him and appreciate everything he’s taught me, I just don’t enjoy riding him anymore. I don’t think it’s fair to prevent him from finding a new person, especially not if there’s a chance that continuing to struggle to afford him could make me feel bitter in the long run.

A reunion—and a final goodbye

Yesterday, after I got Raglan settled into his new stall (which is Ezhno’s old stall at the new barn), I introduced Ez to the Miley. It took 30 minutes to get Raglan into the trailer, but Ezhno (who has no practice with straight loads or with loading onto a trailer with a ramp) got on in 5 MINUTES.

Clearly he’s just the best horse ever ❤

Ezhno’s potential new owners live just off of a local trail system—like walk down the driveway and you’re there. Ezhno hauled like a pro (outside of his inability to back down the ramp, which is fair since we’ve never practiced it; we ended up twisting ourselves around to face forward and walking off that way). Then we turned him out in a pasture next to his new buddy.

Ezhno settling into his potential new home today ♥

A post shared by Stephani & Ezhno & Raglan (@two.hearts.one.oxer) on

He’s on trial for the next two weeks. The hope is that he’ll be a good trail horse so that the buyer and her husband can tackle the trails together. I feel good about the people and about his new lifestyle. I think they’ll be a great fit! Maybe I’ll feel more sad at the end of the month, but for now things are okay. 🙂