Sunday, February 28, 2016

Clock is ticking update

Oh lordy this is simultaneously frightening and exciting.  I am ready to move emotionally, which is good, but there is a lot going on.  It also makes for some really scattered posts lol.  Last weekend we randomly (who randomly does crap like this?) bought an enclosed car trailer for SO to replace the flat trailer.  Like, made the decision and 12 hours later had it hooked up to the truck.  The house closing better go through at this point, that is all I can say!   This trailer has been being talked about for over a year and buying the hosue we did kind of solidified the need for it because SO doesn't have enough garage space for cars plus race cars.  This technically gives him an extra garage spot but the reason we bought it now was to save on the Uhaul rental.  That was coming in at $800 one way and we needed to make 2 trips.  Yikes.  Add in the money we are getting from selling the 16ft flat trailer, it is almost a wash.  Almost lol.

So last weekend we moved a load of stuff to PA and we moved half of everything left here in Michigan to PA.  Crazy!  The place is SO empty now and I have a month left.  The trip went well enough.  I mean...  sure Danica bit me on the cheek because she doesn't like my singing (no, seriously.  Not even joking) and then tried to bite me 2 more times because apparently I wasn't understanding the amount of her displeasure.  Then I fell while having our propane filled and sprained my wrist.  And then about 15 gallons of Super went on the ground because the pump shut off and I wasn't standing at the nozzle at the time.  And don't forget that the 10 hour drive out there turned into 13 because SO likes to stop WAY more than I do.  It was a very long weekend.

I did, however, finally pick a barn!!!!  I had 6 barns on my list that had an indoor.  The closest one was immediately crossed off due to cost, no way can I pay more in board than I do my mortgage.  Sad too because it was less than 5 miles away, so so sad.  Even if I worked off board it wasn't affordable.  The next closest barn never, ever returned my calls so I cold called and just showed up.  And no one was there.  Either time I showed up.  The stalls looked okay and all of the horses were out, SO didn't like the vibe of the barn and said he didn't know why I would want to go somewhere that wouldn't even call me back after 2 weeks of trying.  How well would they treat the horses?  What if something happened and I needed to get a hold of them? Well, ok, point taken.

Barn 3 was about 30 mins away and while it is a nice barn and I got along really well with the owner/manager, I am not sure I would fit in.  They do a LOT of lessons and therapeutic riding.  It seemed as though most boarders were kids and I am just afraid I wouldn't fit in.  Disappointing for sure, I will keep it in my reserves in case.  Barn 4 was only 20 mins away but was a no immediately.  I have boarded in plenty of not great places but this one kinda took the cake.  Very run down metal gate fencing for turnouts, extremely small turnouts that were 100% poo/mud, extremely small stalls, very crowded with junk and chaotic, no thanks.  It was by far the cheapest and I could see why.  No thanks.  Barn 5 was very promising, they did some eventing but mostly jumpers now.  The 2 boarders I met were very nice and the manager was extremely nice however I got the impression I was WAY outclassed.  I feel if they weren't even trying and I felt very out of place, it would only get worse if someone didn't like me or I started to get judged for my Wintec.  I dunno, it was just a vibe I got.

Barn 6 was the furthest away at 45 mins and holy crap guys, the barn is amazeballs.  It has always been a running joke about our farm here in MI that we catered to the people who wanted the step between backyard where ever and chandeliers in the barn.  I am not joking, this place has fricken chandeliers in the aisle.  I mean, no crystal so more like hanging light fixtures but still.  OMG.  They even have pavers in the aisleway and electronic locks on the doors.  However.  The people seemed amazing.  The owner has had the place only 2 years and is doing a ton of improvements to the outside.  Redoing pasture fencing, installing auto-waterers, making bigger pastures, adding eventing jumps, etc.  She was very down to earth and I felt none of the stuffiness that I felt in barn 5.  The bad part is they have no stalls available but they do have pasture board and it is affordable.  So that is the route I am going to try.  They will have their own dry lot with Electrobraid fencing until a dedicated pasture is fixed, will have a round bale with a Bale Buddy in the run in and an auto waterer.  At least with that setup, they shouldn't die before I get moved out there, fingers crossed anyway.

Oh guys, I am so nervous about this but I think it will work out.  The barn doesn't have a resident trainer but has clinicians come in regularly to give lessons.  Get this, they have a saddle fitter that fits Olympian horses that comes regularly!  New saddle problem solved??  Oy!  Both SO and I think this barn will fit me best and provide me excellent opportunities to expand my network so we will see.  The horses move on March 25th, it is getting really real now!

Monday, February 22, 2016

So this has been talked to death...but....saddles.

So thanks to my super hard work, we sold our house for more than it was listed at when we took it off of the market last year.  SO was also very against the pricing I came up with when it was relisted because he thought we needed to go lower than last year, not higher, despite having entirely new carpet, paint and repair throughout.  I told him that if the pricing didn't work, I would simply lower the price but I was pretty confident I was at the right price point.  Low and behold, the price was spot on, if not too low, as we had 3 showings scheduled with 24 hours and an offer with 48 hours.  So yeah.  I was right on.

It has been decided that I deserve something special for all of my work and get-it-done of this whole process.  No complaining about moving despite not wanting to, getting the house and farm kept up by myself, taking care of both properties alone plus working full time.  We went to California for a short trip last December but I really deserve something special.  So it was decided I will get....a BRAND NEW SADDLE. I have a very liberal budget to get a saddle, hell I can get two of them within my budget!  If I was going to get a new saddle, I would get a new jump saddle. My dressage saddle is less than 10 years old and I think it fits me well.  I mean, I will replace/add a dressage saddle if I have the budget, but if I was going to replace one, it would be my jump saddle.

So what now?  Well, I have heard/read the saddle shopping process can be both invigorating and horrible, saddle fitters who sell for a brand can be really, truly bad and pushy but independents can be very inconsistent and very wrong.  Ugh.  At one point I had a Stubben rep out to fit App and nothing she said made sense and her only repsonse to my questions were "this needs reflocked" and "well, it's an older saddle.  It is from the 90's and they are much better now".  Uh.... okay?  How she was checking the fit went against everything I knew about saddle fitting, I felt I wasted my money.  So anyway, let me break it down, here are my issues.

1.  This is the biggest one.  I have only really known one saddle.  When I started riding english, as I rode western for about 8 years, I bought a no-name all purpose/no purpose for $100 off of a boarder at the barn I was at.  I had no idea of saddle fit and it didn't fit App and sure in hell didn't fit me but we managed because I didn't know better.  Over the course of about 2 years, I made a friend who had a older Stubben VSS and she let me borrow it when she wasn't using it.  It was much easier to ride in and I leared about english saddle fit.  When I finally scraped up my $400,  I found and then bought a Stubben VSS as well as it is what I knew and it is the only jump saddle I have ridden in since.  That was 2003, (I just calculated that in years, yikes I am getting old lol).  So I don't know any other saddles to know if I would like them and have no one to borrow a saddle from to try out.  I am hoping that changes when I start boarding again but am not super hopeful.  I don't know what I would like or not because I only know a Stubben VSS.

2.  Where the heck do I find qualified saddle fitters?  I have to hope that when I move, the boarders will be knowledgeable and helpful.  The rushed, incomplete and bias information is not what I want to deal with.

3.  This is embarrassing.  Don't judge me.  You know what?  Just don't read this one.  Just skip it.  Come on....  Fine, I will admit it.  I don't really want a NEW saddle.  There, I said it.  I know right?  What kind of Tack Ho freak am I not?  See, I am not sure I can convince my penny pinching self to buy a brand new saddle.  And I am great at caring for saddles but the first time I damage it??  I can't handle that kind of responsibility.  You should see me with my truck!  I am hopeful I can find something and look for a used equivilent.  And then maybe buy 2 saddles lol!  Maybe these saddle fitters will do used saddles? Argh!

So tell me peoples....what jump saddles do you have?  Which ones do you love?  Hate?  I am not super concerned about fit because Mia seems to be a pretty standard MW without real issues and I don't seem to have any super weird leg issues and am pretty proportional.  So...any suggestions?  Share your opinions!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Plans, changes and full steam ahead!

With all of our napkin plans we had listed, I was kind of surprised things changed as much as they have.  But hey, I am pretty flexible and adaptable.  Some say I am way more than most people but hey.  I can roll with the punches.  The inspection came back clean on the house, the buyers came over this weekend and put up some hand railings and spindles to make the place FHA acceptable.  With them putting in some $$ and sweat equity, I am pretty confident the sale will go through, woohoo!  They seem quite nice, they have 4 horses and she rides all disciplines.  She does western dressage but also has a dressage and jumping saddle.  She, like us, is buying the property for the indoor arena :)  I am so happy that all of my hard work is going to someone who will appreciate the property.  While I am looking forward to boarding again, and am really looking forward to not having chores, I am going to miss my little farm and the conditions in which my horses live.

Our planned trips to PA have changed up a bit but I now have the next month and a half completely planned out.  We made a big purchase in an enclosed car trailer, we were originally going to rent a UHaul truck to move our furniture and stuff and use the horse trailer to move everything else.  Instead we made the decision to go ahead and just buy the enclosed trailer now instead of after the closing and move our stuff with it instead of the horse trailer.  Good and bad, I didn't have enough stuff "ready" for a 20' enclosed trailer so we packed the trailer with stuff not in boxes, etc.  That bugs the hell out of SO, but it is totally his own doing so I don't feel badly.  I had packed enough stuff to fill a horse trailer, not a 20' empty box.  Ugh, men.  We move this load of stuff this upcoming weekend.  Next weekend I go back to PA to put some of the stuff away.  I will then stay in MI until we move the horses the weekend of March 25th and then make one last trip to PA before closing.  On April 4th, we should close and relocation should be complete.  OMG!!  Relocation complete.  So crazy!

It means no shows in MI at all, which is a little sad, but I also haven't been riding so it makes sense.  And I also strained my LCL ligament last week which put a damper on riding after I finally had time to ride since, you know, I was unable to fully straighten or fully bend my knee.  SMH.  I am about 90% better so hopefully I can ride this week.  I tentatively have a show in PA written down for July, that would be cool to actually achieve that goal!  I only have one show written down so far, if I can make the one show, I will aim for more.  Baby steps.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

So yeah... that update I mentioned

Sorry for the abruptness of the last post, real life and all, you know.  So I ended up with 2 showing requests within 12 hours and a third within 24 hours of the house being on the market.  Wow!  The #1 showing came at noon on Saturday and I took the horses for a trail ride during it.  Mia was pretty good, not really able to walk a straight line again but not super spooky.  I ponied App and he was a huge pain in the ass, despite having a rope halter on and riding on the road, he was charging forward the WHOLE TIME.  Usually he is a boat anchor and I have to drag him along, this time, however, he was practically pulling out of the damn saddle in an attempt to go faster.

We did some trotting and a lot of walking, I knew better than to try to canter with App being ponied.  He sees no reason why he can't try to bolt and just GO FAST.  Damn old horse, I thought you were supposed to be half lame??  Overall the ride went quite well, Mia listened to my seat when I had to use two hands to control App, there were no freakouts and everyone seemed worked but not exhausted when we got back.  I changed clothes and met a friend for lunch for the 2nd showing.  Which they showed up an hour late for and showed up after I had come back and let all of the animals out SMH.

The feedback I got that night from showing #1 is that the buyers were interested.  Woooo.... I like the sounds of that.  The next morning showing #3 came around and they were here FOREVER.  Well over their hour allotted time.  I went shopping at TSC, went to the gas station, washed the truck, and drove around before they finally left.

A very short time later, my realtor shows up with a big smile.  He had a signed purchase agreement, they loved the place well enough they made an offer.  AND they offered $100 more than the asking price!!  WOW!  Just wow!!!  JUST WOW!!!!

We, of course, accepted and later that night showing #1 requested a 2nd showing.  OMG!  I couldn't get find much attention last year, now I seem to have multiple buyers!  I am curious if #3 made the above asking price offer because they didn't want us to wait for #1 to make the decision.  I don't care, I will take it.

So I will be here in MI until the end of March and will be moving the horses the week of the 21st, tentatively of course.  We will be closing in the first few days in April and then we will be official PA residents.  Wow, just wow.  I have called 6 barns to inquire about boarding and have excluded 2 already.  One is SUPER expensive, over $700 a month per horse, the other said no one rides at night so I wouldn't ever have anyone to talk to.  I will be visiting barns on the 21st so we will see how it goes.  I am super excited about this and really hope nothing falls through.  My world is about to get flipped upside down, hope you don't mind the ride!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The ball is rolling - An update...

Hey, guess what?  Guess what I was able to do?  I got the house listed for sale today!  And on top of that, I got 2 showing requests within 12 hours of it being listed!  Woohoo!!!  It has certainly been an ordeal but I am so, so, SO hopeful that something great comes of this.  I have it posted out on several FB groups, hell you may have even seen it already, and so far the comments are that people love the house (but of course have no $$ or want a land contract).  Hey, I will take that over last year when they were only saying they loved the barn or arena.  Seriously though, if I could have an offer soon?  HEAVEN!  AND I am offering a dealio to my FB friends and now to my blog friends, if anyone makes an offer and under contract by April 31st and says they heard about this from YOU, I will give YOU two hundred buckeroos to go all tack ho with!  Or, you know, whatever else you may want to do with it but tack ho'ing it is the best thing reason I can find.  But seriously, have them put in the first offer made "seen (or heard) about from (your name)", that's it.

So you probably want some details, no?  On Monday I worked to get the house ready and the realtor showed up a day early to take outside pics because of how poor the day was to be on Tuesday.  So I rushed to get stuff done.  And did.  He took pics of outside and came back on Tuesday for interior pics.  And I hated them.  HATED.  I did not want snapshots of my home, I wanted beautiful pictures to show the work I have done.  So I called my professional photographer friend who was on standby and he came out Wednesday and took pictures of both interior and exterior.

And on Wednesday night, for the first time in I don't know when I rode my horses.  People, read that again, I rode my horses.  BOTH of them!  Yes!  It was a short w/t/c ride, bareback in a hackamore, but they were w/t/c rides.  Woohoo!  Mia did well, a little fast but that is to be expected.  She was even decent in her right lead canter, woohoo!  App was awesome and tried hard but he is really out of shape and a bit off in his front.  It was funny, here I am riding bareback, in a hackamore, with muck boots on and he doesn't want to bend.  I simply pick up the dressage whip and suddenly he is Mr Bendy.  Ha!  I am really looking forward to boarding again so I have time to ride him regularly.  He is so out of shape and in need of exercise.

Thursday I had to go to the feed store and get grain so no riding, today was the day the house was listed online.  It was a mess too, the realtor used an ad he had worked on instead of the one I had done so it read really choppy and wasn't grammatically correct.  Uh, no, so he had to fix that.  And then he used 2 pictures that he had taken because I hadn't sent him the professional pictures (it was 6am people!) so I had to give him a hard email saying that was not acceptable.  And then I sent over a list of file names for him to use of the professional pictures.  Except he listed all of them.  That took ALL day to fix.


So that is what I had written Friday night before things went crazy.  Ya'll, I have an update but you are going to have to wait.  Sorry!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Almost to the finish line

One day left.  I have a lot to do in one day still.  On Tuesday a realtor comes to take pictures, eek!  The painting is pretty much done, enough for pics anyway.  The carpet has been installed and looks good.  The garage has been reorganized so it isn't a cluttered mess and the house is 90% clean.  Now to stage the house and prepare for pictures!
Basement in process
Basement with new paint on the floor.  Should have taken
1 gallon, took 3 and I had only 1.5 rollers full left of paint.
Cutting it close!!
Stairs, bye bye brown shag carpet from the 80's!
Hellooooo new carpeted stairs!
Teal bedroom before
Teal bedroom with old, brown shag carpet
Stairway in process, note the helper...
They LOVED their blue... blue ceilings, blue walls.
The entryway with peach walls, blue ceiling.  Peach
covered up already with new Creamy Mushroom.
Peach being covered up!

Bathroom before
Bath with new colors and flooring
Blue floral wallpaper - say buh bye!
Finished living room

With all of the work I have done, and I have done LOTS, I can't see what someone would say "needs work".  But we will see when it is thrown on the market by the end of the week.  Hold your breath guys, let's get this farm sold so I can move on with things and RIDE MY HORSE!