Bel Jeor Blog Hop: If your horse were a drink...


I haven't done a blog hop in a long time, but when I saw this one I immediately knew what Fiction was:


If you're unfamiliar with Korean culture, you may not know what soju is or the kind of role it plays in Korean society. Soju is an alcohol produced from distilled rice/grains or ethanol derived from sweet potatoes. It is similar to vodka and essentially accompanies most meals in Korea - even during lunch.

When you go out drinking with friends, you can bet soju will be the first drink of choice. It's considered rude to turn down the first shot, and it is customary to continuously pour each other shots the moment the glass is empty. Soju is cheaper than water in some places and gets you drunk fast.

So why is Fiction just like soju?

He pulls cheap tricks, hits hard, and for some reason you just keep coming back for more. He exhausts you, makes you question your insanity, and break into tears of happiness or depression after every ride. He's a roller coaster that often leaves you wondering just what the fuck happened, why you're so sore, and if you're crazy for wanting to do it all over again.

When I want to quit him, I can't. When I don't want to quit him, he winds up giving me the nastiest hangover imaginable and the cycle gets stuck on repeat.

So yeah. Not the healthiest of relationships, but it sure keeps life interesting.


Weighting Choices


Owning a horse takes a lot of decision work. For me, it primarily comes down to money. For example: chiropractic adjustment or super nice flysheet for 24/7 turnout? Flysheet won.

I have limited income and the majority of it is poured into my horse. I resent him sometimes for it, if I'm 100% honest, but at the same time I would be a complete introverted recluse without my horse and for that I am grateful.

Some things I don't question. When his allergies became so bad this year that he began hacking in the field, I immediately put him on SmartBreathe + horse cough syrup before every ride. In one week his coughing and nose dribble were completely eliminated. SmartBreathe works. It will now be my permanent go-to during the allergy seasons.

Other things I do. When he is perfectly sound with no back shoes, do I really need to spend $60 extra every 4 weeks for them? Or will they make him even more comfortable and I'm doing him a disservice by not having them on his feet?

At the same time, I already sacrifice so much for this horse, sometimes I feel like he needs to sacrifice for me.

Speaking of rider comfort, let me let you in on what will be changing for us when we move to Trainer's barn in August. Her barn is a working barn, so here is what will be changing:

    • No indoor arena.
    • Unlit outdoor arena (which makes winter riding a pain in the ass)
    • No bathroom.
    • No hot/cold washrack (though she is working to put one in).
    • No individual tack lockers
    • No lounge
    • No heated barn
    • Windier/steeper roads that may present a problem during the winter

But, we will be gaining:

    • Access to tons more trails
    • Access to Trainer for training rides/more consistent lessons
    • Huge pastures with small numbers of horses that are constantly rotated to ensure optimal grass growth (absolutely no over-grazing).
    • No children (this satisfies my inner grouch)
    • Peace and quiet
    • $100 less in board a month (for stall board - no field board offered)

He's starting to get a little chubby - all that grass I guess haha. We had to cut him back on feed.
The care will remain the same - sheets changed, supplements given, etc etc. This move was made with both Fiction's training and my comfort in mind. Having easy access to a trainer right now is essential to Fiction's progression, and I'm willing to sacrifice a lot of rider comforts for that. On the other hand, I will be gaining the peace and quiet I no longer have at my current facility. When I moved in it was a small barn with mostly adults. Now the barn is overcrowded, stuffed to the brim with boarders and people who now attend their regular beginner lesson program. This is the business model they chose to pursue, which is totally fine, but no longer fits me. When I constantly have to dodge people, search for open crossties, and work around multiple people in the arena, I get anxious and frustrated. Riding is my quiet relaxation time. If I'm not relaxed, I don't want to ride. I need a small facility of adults or goal-oriented teenagers in order to feel comfortable. Luckily, Trainer's barn fits the bill.

How do you go about making decisions in regards to your horse? Have you ever changed barns for your peace of mind, not necessarily for your horse?


General Updates


It simultaneously feels like there has been nothing going on in my riding life and yet so many things have happened.

Fiction got a bunch of new clothes - new fly sheet, new fly boots (the Shoofly leggins work for his front feet only when combined with bell boots, otherwise they fly off of his feet no matter how tight), new Tekna halter & lead rope, new Majyk Equipe Dressage boots, etc.

He's also experiencing some nasty respiratory allergies, so he's on horse cough syrup before every ride and I fell back into the rabbit hole that is Smartpaks and put him on SmartBreathe and Smarthoof.

Finally, he now gets pour pads on his front feet because of his delicate soles. I had to pull his back shoes again (had in him all fours for training) because I simply can't afford $180 every 4 weeks right now. Luckily, he's always been sound with unshod backs.

Picking and choosing where money goes for this horse is astoundingly difficult. No matter what I do, whenever I cut back on something I feel like such a horrible horse owner for doing so. Still, I try to stick to my 'how would I address this problem if I was the one experiencing it?' motto when combating all animal issues. Hence the reason why I dole out tons of money for cat/dog teeth cleaning, a special low sodium raw food diet for the 13 year old dog with a heart condition, joint supplements for all animals except the cat, and now allergy meds for Fiction.

They can't treat themselves so it is up to me to provide optimum care within reason (the money in my account is pretty finite after all).

We had a lesson last Thursday. I have video and a recap already written up, so that will be around sometime soon.

I brought him back to my current facility on Saturday. It was a 5 hour adventure that involved two flat tires and a truck running out of brake fluid. Fun stuff.

Bane of my existence.
He seems to be doing OK on pasture board. He promptly lost two shoes his second night, but that was 100% expected and he was reshod on Tuesday. They fly spray him every day (sheet is on back-order, sigh), and check him over when they feed him, so I don't worry too much but I'm finding that I have a stronger urge to go out and check on him now.

Perhaps the biggest update that I have that will get its own post in the upcoming weeks is my decision to move Fiction in August. We will be returning to Trainer's barn as boarders this time around. A lot of thought went into this decision that I will detail later, but I've already given my two months notice to my current BO.