Monday, October 9, 2017

Wild Child (and Some HorseShaming)

Earlier this week, I got my very first photos of riding Charmer at home! Considering he has been home for nearly 3 months now, I guess it was finally time I got some photos of riding him at home.


Since life has gotten in the way of riding for the last few weeks, Charmer had gotten almost 2 weeks off. So of course our ride started out sassy. His stride length was approximately two inches long, and all of his energy just wanted to blow up. When we cantered, every stride was this funny little bounce and I could practically hear him saying "I just want to buck so bad". But he did his best to be a good horse and only threw one little baby buck - and I couldn't help but laugh at it. After about 10 minutes, he finally settled down and got a good rhythm going.


We worked on a fun little exercise of trot poles and canter poles, and he definitely started out putting extra strides in, or speeding up to make the distance, but after a while he settled, and thought about his feet and lifted instead of getting long and flat, and it felt great!


There is a functional animal in there somewhere, I know it! I am working really hard to find it. He is really getting a lot of great moments, and as we start stringing them all together, he is going to be such a rockstar.

We rode in our arena one other time this week, and then I was helping out at the barn I train at this weekend, so Charmer got to tag along on Saturday, and we had a lesson in the afternoon.

He has been pretty excitable in the pasture lately, and at the beginning of our rides. This is probably to do with his feed change - we have changed him over to alfalfa hay since he has been having so much trouble keeping weight on, and I recently changed his grain to a higher fat and protein content, but I think his excitement has much more to do with the hay change. We have also finally gotten into true fall weather, meaning that it is getting colder, and I'm sure that has something to do with his fiestyness lately as well.


He warmed up okay for the lesson. He felt a little tight in his left hind, but that is the leg that always tends to be a little short, and when trainer looked, she said my hips were twisted as well, which probably contributed to how weird it felt. Once she got me sitting straight, it all felt 100x better. Charmer still felt like a little ball of fire though. He hasn't had any problems with horses running up next to him or behind him in over 6 months now, but he took advantage of a horse cantering up from behind to start to bolt and throw a hard buck. I let it slide because I figured he was just feeling a little exuberant.


Then we went down a 5 stride line of tiny cavalettis and Charmer bolted through them. We tried again, the other direction, and the same thing happened. So we cantered on a 20-ish meter circle for about 5 minutes while Charmer settled and pulled it together. I felt bad for the poor two other ladies that were lessoning with us. I knew this was going to be one of Charmer's "days". He definitely took up most of the attention of the lesson, but it actually ended up being less extra time than I thought he might take.

Trainer CP asked if I wanted to get off and lunge, and I simply responded with, "honestly I would rather just stay on and work through it. His antics aren't scaring me, and I feel like its easier to work through when I'm on top rather than on the ground". I'm pretty sure I surprised just about everyone in the arena, including myself, with that response. That would not have been my response a year ago. I would have been like "I'M OUT! See ya!". That was just another moment where I realized how much my confidence has grown lately, but more on that in another post.


Charmer got a significant portion of the ants out of his pants, and we just started jumping with everyone else. Charmer's antics really don't intimidate me all that much anymore, and since we can't jump at home (yet - we are working on standards though), I like to get all the practice in at lessons that I can.


Charmer felt great over the jumps. I mean, really fantastic. Even with his dumb behavior in between the fences, he really seeks the jump and eats it right up. I mean we used to have problems with the jump, and everything in the middle. Now at least we have gotten the jump part together!


We can't leave out his pretty glorious dolphin leaping though. It was pretty entertaining. He came back almost every time within a minute or so, but it was funny nonetheless.


We had some really great jumps, but after nearly every one he had to take at least 5 strides of being stupid. I think at some point, it was just out of habit more than actually him feeling like he needed to bolt off.

One of my new favorites

He's got some pretty cute form over fences now, even if he is kind of weird after them sometimes. And of course, in the last five minutes of the lesson, his stupidity had to catch up with him somehow...


You see that? Yeah, that is his shoe. Right front to be exact. And of course Mr. Sensitive cannot handle life without shoes, so he is currently having his foot packed, loaded with cotton, stuffed into a diaper, and wrapped in vet wrap until Farrier can come out and fix it.

#horseshaming #heisproudofhimself

You see that piece of the shoe on the far right of this picture. Yeah, that part of the shoe is perpendicular to the camera, so as you can see, he really mangled it up when he pulled it. I have decided that Farrier doesn't get this shoe back. I think I'm going to have to hang it on the wall or something, because Charmer really made art out of this thing.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Your Perfect Horse

I saw this particular blog hop from the900facebookpony who got it from hellomylivia. I found it to be a pretty interesting topic, as I noticed from both of them that their own horses had a pretty significant number of the qualities from their "perfect horse". As I thought about it, I realized that a lot of my "perfect horse" qualities mirror Charmer's too. It's kind of a chicken or the egg thing. Not sure if I wanted these particular qualities in the first place, and that is why Charmer has stuck around this long, or if Charmer made me really love and value his particular qualities.

1. Color and Size

Right off the bat though, I can tell you one thing that I would hands down have in my dream horse. Chrome. Doesn't have to be anything massive, but like a sock, or a snip or blaze or something!

Fake chrome

I pretend he has chrome by putting white boots on him but it is not quite the same. Now I have accepted Charmer's lack of white, and actually find it pretty cute - plus I never have to whiten a sock or anything when it comes time for a show. Also it has given me a vast range of options for tack. When your horse is a plain jane, blank slate, you can deck him out in pretty much any and all colors and it looks great. Too much color can be overwhelming on a horse that is already pretty flashy.

You just can't wear bright turquoise on every horse

Nonetheless, I would definitely at least get like a blaze on my dream horse. And then I want something at least 16hh. I feel more comfortable on something at least in the 16hh range, and my max is probably 17hh. Charmer is just the right size for me. He is a nice 16.1-16.2, with a good thickness. And then I would love for my perfect horse to be an easier keeper (coughcoughdefinitelynotCharmercoughcough). It would definitely be a little lot easier on my bank account.

2. Scope

Then of course I want scope, but honestly I don't want something absurdly scopey. Like I don't need something that jumps-5-feet-over-the-crossrail scopey. I want something that long term has an acceptable amount of scope for at least prelim, maybe intermediate. As it stands right now, I can't think of going bigger than that. Maybe one day I will, but for my current level, my dream horse has an acceptable amount of scope, but it doesn't need to be a horse or anything. Like can cruise comfortably around 4' and do singles of up to maybe 4'6" or so. But I don't need anything that can course at 1.50. Those jumps are definitely out of my league.

Definitely acceptable scope

Charmer may not be absurdly scopey, but he cruises around my 2'9" rounds with plenty of room to spare, and has free jumped up to 4'3" with room to spare, so I definitely think he will check my boxes scope wise, and he doesn't really ever feel the need to excessively overjump anything. If his knees were snappier, he would hardly have to put in any effort at all.

3. Cuddly (and Goofy)

Personality wise, I really love a horse that is just oozing personality from their pores. Goofy, cuddly and sweet. 

No shortage of cuddles from this goofy kid

Charmer definitely checks the box on this one. I've had horses and dealt with horses that, while they enjoy their job, would generally prefer if you would leave them alone otherwise. If they are good enough at their job, I could get past it, but a horse that loves to be loved, and groomed and just generally hang out together is so fun! Plus it helps when they are a little bit of a ham. You can have a bad ride or a bad day, but a goofy horse never fails to make you laugh.

He's a good sport about being cuddled 24/7


4. Photogenic

This one sounds a little dumb, but photogenic. I love looking at pictures of my horse, I print them out, and frame them, and I want to get some canvases made, and I love to share pictures of my horse with others. My horse is about 95% of my life, and I enjoy sharing pictures of my best boy with the world. And it helps when the pictures actually come out cute!

Photogenic is his middle name

Charmer is a total poser. I swear to people that he preforms better if he hears a camera shutter. He knows when a camera is around he loves to look good. I always get comments on how photogenic he is! (now if only I could be a little more photogenic......)

5. Movement

And then of course, movement. I want to sit on a horse and at least feel like it has pretty decent movement, and can put its head down and work for a dressage test pretty easily.

Lil' stretchy trot

Charmer is clearly not the best mover in the world, but he has acceptable enough movement to get us some nice dressage scores, and the horse definitely knows how to put his head down when he works which I love.

And also their movement has to be responsive. I hate horses that take approximately 7.4 years to react to your aids. This especially applies to forward. Oh my goodness, I cannot stand a horse that you have to pony club kick every time you want it to canter! I don't want anything that runs away with you constantly either, but something that springs up when you ask for a little more. There is nothing better than that feeling on cross country where you have a gallop stretch and ask for your horse to open up a little bit and they respond with "don't have to ask me twice!". 

Definitely don't have to ask him twice

Charmer ticks this box without even a second thought. The horse won on the racetrack for a reason, he likes to go fast. He is learning that other speeds can be fun too, but fast is his favorite place to be!

6. Work Ethic

Last but not definitely not least is work ethic. I love a horse that shows up every single day and wants to work. They may not know exactly what you are asking, or they might do it wrong, or they might be naughty sometimes, but a horse that shows up to work is so much fun. 

Loving his job

I want a horse that always shows up to work, whether my version of "work" is jumping around a BN cross country course, or if it is hacking around bareback. Charmer is one who is always game for any of it, and is always happy to come greet me at the gate saying "so what are we doing today??"

Splashing through water is a fun job too

All in all, I look at this list and I see a horse that ticks every box except for the chrome. And you know what? Chrome is a lot less important to me than anything else on that list. Plus I think that my horse is pretty freaking cute, even without a lick of white on him. And he is pretty fun to dress up, which makes up for the lack of chrome in my book.




Sunday, September 3, 2017

Bravery

This weekend I attended another local horse show with Charmer. I've been riding him at home, but we don't have any jumps (yet). But even with that being said, when we jump he has been doing really, really well! So I decided to be a little extra brave when signing up and enter him in 2'6" and 2'9", as well as our first ever 2'6" derby for fun.

From our 2'6" round. New favorite photo

For him, basically every time he has walked off the trailer lately, he just marches right off, looks around a little, screams a few times, and then just eats hay with zero drama. It is so nice I have never had a horse that will just do that. I can leave him tied at the trailer for hours at a show and feel confident he will still be there when I return. This show was no different. He took his look around and then settled right in at the trailer.

I wandered around the show all morning talking to people and taking lots and lots of photos. Our first class of the day was the 2'6" derby, so I spent time getting Charmer ready and got on about 45 minutes before the class just in case he needed some extra time since he hasn't been jumped since the derby two weeks ago.

My favorite beast

When I first got on, the warm-up arena was empty, which was super nice. I got on and we had a nice w/t/c both ways. Then a few other people came in along with a jump crew so they could adjust all the jumps for me which was awesome! I started out popping a crossrail a few times and he was thoroughly bored by that. Then I had the jump crew set one of the fences to a 2'3" vertical. Charmer plowed through it once. They set it back up, and I went again, and he halfway jumped with his front end and then didn't even try with his hinds and plowed through it again. I asked them to throw it up to about 2'9" to give him something to think about. Once it went up, his ears went forward, he locked in to the fence, and FLEW over it. Didn't even touch it. That 2'3" fence in warmup was the last rail we tapped all day. 

Height is clearly not an issue

Since he was doing so well after that, I jumped about 10 more warmup fences, and headed over to the derby about 15 minutes early. We watched the 3'3" derby go, and then we went second in the 2'6' derby. I decided to ride the derby in his SJ bit (loose ring lozenge snaffle) instead of his open spaces/cross country bit (full cheek corkscrew). Which probably proved to be a less than stellar decision, because he went around fast and big, but he never reached a point where I felt out of control, and I was thrilled by that.

Feeling so good

We kind of biffed the first fence with a weird distance, and then had a stop at the brick wall at the second fence, but after those two kinks, we had a fantastic rest of the course. He even jumped the rolltop at fence 4 without batting an eye.

Down bank like a boss

There was a down bank only maybe 12 strides after the rolltop, so I couldn't really get him back to a trot quickly enough (especially in his non-XC bit), so I decided to go for the canter, and he rocketed off the down bank from a canter for the first time ever without hesitation. 

Ditch was no problem

Option #6 was a ditch, which he couldn't have cared less about. We had a few more normal show jumping fences, all of which went fine, including our first triple bar!

Tidy hind end

Final two fences were an up bank then a rollback to the jump pictured above. Charmer boldly canter up the bank (which I've only ever asked him to do one other time) and ended with a very tidy, clean jump over the final fence. Even with our one stop at the brick, I couldn't have been prouder of him! Especially for his first derby, in a non-XC bit, he never once bolted or made me feel out of control.

We had about 3 hours between the derby and our next class, so I took him back to the trailer, untacked, gave him a drink and a quick hose off, and then just let him eat at the trailer for a while while I went and visited with more people and took some more photos. 

I saw some friends have some really awesome rounds, and accomplish lots of personal goals for themselves. I love the community aspect of local shows, where everyone is supporting each other, and cheering for when someone gets their horse over a jump that it was clearly struggling with or when a little girl makes it around their first 2' course and they are just so proud of themselves and their ponies. That feeling is one of the absolute best things about horse shows to me.

When we got closer to the start of the 2'6", I went over and tacked Charmer up once more. It was about 100 degrees out at that point, but Charmer still greeted me with perked ears! We tacked back up and again got on about 35 minutes before our class, just in case he needed some time. Wrong. I got back on and we w/t/c for about 10-12 minutes and then we jumped exactly 5 jumps and he took every one in stride without even thinking about it. So we went and just restudied the course and chatted with friends while we waited.


When it was our turn to go around the 2'6", we marched right in and the jump judges even commented that most of the horses looked exhausted and hot, but Charmer looked totally ready to jump anything I pointed him at! The first jump of the course had been coming down all day long, I mean probably a good 30% of the rounds took out the first jump, so Charmer made sure to give it some extra room. 


His jumping felt better than it almost ever has. He jumped so cleanly and so quietly, and he is actually starting to pick his knees up more properly too! There was one line between jump number 5 and 6 that was a little bit of a tight turn, and I was a little nervous for it, but I shouldn't have been! Charmer took a really beastly jumper turn and we rocketed through the line! I couldn't believe how good he felt. Never tapped a rail in the whole 2'6" and it felt like the best that either of us had ever jumped.


Charmer got lots of pats and cookies after his 2'6" and then we waited only about 15 minutes before the 2'9" was ready. Not a lot of people were willing to be out in the heat, which worked out for us, so our classes were pretty quick and small. Charmer was extra sure to give the first jump extra room again, and he was awesome over the second jump as well. I accidentally buried him hard into fence 3 but his heart and athleticism got us over clear. 


We took a huge long spot to the fourth fence, but Charmer wasn't phased, and also didn't hold a grudge from the previous fence that I buried him in. 

This jump is sponsored by the high school I graduated from!

We made it through the next several jumps really well, then I buried him into a couple more distances, but both times, he somehow squirreled the both of us over without taking out any fences. The biggest grudge he held was a slight flick of the ears at me as if to say "get it together lady". 


Then at the very last jump I got this BEAST picture of Charmer doing his first kick out with his hind end! We even got second place in our 2'9" round! I was so happy. I still have not wiped the giddy smile off of my face from yesterday. 

I think the best part to me is that this is the first 2'9" round I have done on him, and the first I have done in exactly 2 years, since I did it with Pancho at this show exactly two years ago. Also, I couldn't believe how small the jumps felt!! I distinctly remember the feeling of 2'3" feeling big at the beginning of the year. Now 2'9" feels small? I love this horse and the confidence and the bravery that he gives me. 

I hope you all made it through this huge proud mom, brag post. I am just so thrilled to have a horse who so wants to try his heart out for me and be my partner. 

All the pats for the best pony ever





Monday, August 21, 2017

Figuring Things Out

Charmer has lived at my house for about a month now, and it has been absolutely amazing. He loves living on a nearly 2 acre pasture for most of the time, and is more than happy to be ridden in our arena, or climb on the trailer for lessons and shows.

I gave him nearly 3 weeks off when he first moved to our property because we were working on making the arena ready to be ridden in - pulling weeds, getting a drag, etc. Once the arena was finally done, I climbed up on my horse (which was a little comical, as we don't have a mounting block yet, so I wandered around trying to find something tall enough to use as a mounting block for the day). As we were walking around the arena, the horses in our pasture come galloping over, and I was sure Charmer was going to have a full blown meltdown. Wrong. He lazily flicked an ear in their direction and went right back to work. Even halfway through our ride, the neighbors' horses decided to start screaming and running because ohmygosh there is a horse being ridden! Charmer perked up and neighed back at them once, and then couldn't have cared less the rest of the ride.

Since he was being so good, I decided to set up a lesson with one of the trainers at the barn last Saturday. We loaded up and headed over (I love that 9 times out of 10, Charmer walks on the trailer without any coaxing whatsoever). There was this cute little grid set up with a few single jumps at one end. We started out slow and small, since Charmer can sometimes get a little wild in grids, but he took it all in stride and was being really good. We even got the jumps put up to about 2'9" and he didn't hesitate at all, just ate them right up. He even offered me a few flying changes which was super fun!

What a beast!


After such a fantastic lesson, I set up a XC lesson for Monday. There was a derby on Saturday and I was interested in doing it if Charmer was up for it. On Monday, we again loaded up and headed over to the XC schooling area. As I was tacking him up at the trailer, he fell head over heels in love with a few foals at the property "ohmygosh mom can we get one?!" was what his face was saying the whole time. When the trainer showed up and we started our lesson, he had a couple of moments of stupidity, solely because we were leaving the babies, and then he settled down and we went to work. We started off just cantering around the field, getting him used to all the sights and sounds, and I cantered him through the water a few times. Then trainer CP had me start working on some of my own position. We worked on cruising position (no interfering! Its hard for me...), then getting him prepared for the fence and maintaining the pace all the way to the jump. Once she felt good about his gallop, and about my position, we started over fences. Our first jump was a cute little coupe that we cantered over a few times, and Charmer never once hesitated.

Cute little BN coupe

After getting him nice and warmed up, she started to add more jumps to our little course. We jumped basically every BN fence on the property. Coupes, rolltops, log piles, a steeplechase jump (my favorite), we even did banks (up and down) and went over a faux ditch, as well as a real one. He powered through everything. The only time he hesitated was dropping down the bank, but once we did it a few more times, he was fine - and his down bank form is awesome!

Faux ditch

Once we had jumped everything, trainer CP double checked that I felt good about it all, and that there wasn't anything else we wanted to do, and then she said "he is getting so fun now!". Huge compliment from her in my book. And Charmer really is getting super fun now, I am blown away with him. I talked to her about the upcoming derby, and said that I really just wanted it to be an all around positive experience for both of us, since we both could use confidence building. I asked her what height she thought we should jump. I told her I would love to do the Beginner Novice, but was happy to drop down to Intro if she thought it would make for a better experience for him.

Killing it over the rolltop

She said honestly he was doing fantastic and told us we were definitely ready to try the BN. I just about threw a party then and there. It has been so long since I have even thought about wanting to do BN, or since any trainer has thought that I could be doing it, that hearing CP tell me we should do the Beginner Novice was the best thing I've heard in a long time.

Loving this cross country machine

On Saturday morning, I fed him breakfast, got the trailer all packed up, put his BOT boots on him, and we loaded up to head to the show. Luckily for me it was not an early show, so we had time to mosey around a little in the morning. I arrived at 8:30, and went and got my course map and walked the cross country. Luckily the show is at the same place we schooled, so he had already seen most of the elements, they had just added a few for the show. I double and triple checked the course in my head and then unloaded Charmer and let him eat until we were ready to ride. 

Always tidy with the hind end
Our first ride time was at 11:15, and the show was running fairly on time. I decided to get ready about 10:30 so that I would have plenty of time to warm up in case Charmer was a nutcase. I got on and started walking around when I realized I didn't put my cross country vest on! Luckily I had a friend on the ground who ran to the trailer and grabbed it for me. Charmer waited patiently while I put my vest on and then we continued wandering around warmup for a few more minutes, then trotted and cantered around. I played around with my various positions, and sent Charmer forward and brought him back, and he responded really well to all of it. I popped him over a crossrail a few times and he did awesome, despite being cut off by some crazy ponies twice on the way to the fence!

Working on that form (both of us!)

Since we had over half an hour to our round, I took him out of the warmup with those scary ponies (he wasn't all that phased, but they really frightened me when they ran right in front of him a few times). I found a nice place to stand and watch the other riders go around, and it gave me time to run through the course in my head again. Charmer stood patiently and watched as riders went, horses galloped, a rider fell, several refusals occured, and throughout it all he stood like a rock. We watched one of our best friends go and kill it around their 2' course, and watched about 10 other rides go. Then we had 10 minutes to go until our ride time, so I headed back into warmup and took a few moments to canter him around again. We jumped a 2' jump once, and jumped a 2'6" jump twice. He felt awesome, and I knew I was doing two cross country rounds so I didn't really feel the need to jump his legs off in warmup when he was being perfect. Instead, I just went over to the lady running warmup, and chatted with her for a while, before we headed over to hang out with the people at the start box. 

Playing over the coupe again

We had a good time talking and having a few pictures taken of Mr. Photogenic. The people at the start box even commented on his quiet and calm demeanor and the fact he even had a leg cocked! He was completely unphased by the whole environment. When the rider before me finished, we walked into the start box and he stood quietly for the coundown. I just trotted him out (I don't want or need him to jump out of the start box at this point, I would rather have calm and quiet experiences for him) and then picked up a canter to our first fence. The first fence on course is one he hadn't experienced before, a faux trakehner, it it just a hanging log with some different colored bark underneath, but it resembles a ditch underneath enough that Charmer was hesitant, but with a squeeze and a tap of the whip he soared right over. We took a nice little gallop between the first and second fences and then after the second fence he bolted, so we took a circle to tuck our brains back in our skulls and then continued on to fence #3.

Fence #3 is an inviting maxed BN rolltop

He went full beast mode through the next several fences. Rolltop to faux ditch, then coupe, into the water (no hesitation!), then out of the water to a fun little table. Then we had a nice amount of space to gallop. Charmer hit his stride and I stayed out of his way. We regathered up for fence #8, a stadium jump in the furthest end of the field. Honestly I think the stadium jump in the field threw Charmer off more than any of the other jumps, but he jumped it well and we headed off to the steeplechase jump, then followed by going up and down a dirt mound - which again really confused him, but he went through. We finished our course strong with a triple log, to a log rolltop, back around through the water, then one more stadium jump followed by the same rolltop as fence #3. We hit the ground and I loosened my reins and really let him gallop through the finish flags.

Finishing strong!

I could not have been prouder of him. I had the biggest smile on my face as we came out. The timers told me I was the fastest time thus far, including my circle, but there were still several riders to go, so I did not expect to stay in the top. It definitely surprised me that we had been the fastest, since I felt like we wasted a lot of time in several parts of the course, but I guess that is the perk of owning a fast OTTB. He doesn't even have to be trying to be faster than half the other horses out there.

Log rolltop

I opted to keep our second schooling round, just to really nail in some confidence for the both of us, and honestly it was just so much fun!!! It also gave us some opportunties to fix the few bobbles we had in the first course. The second one didn't count for prizes or anything, but it gave us a really fantastic second round where we took out the circle, didn't even try to bolt once, and took out the few parts where we trotted.

Quintessential cross country picture

Even after the second course, Charmer wasn't breathing hard at all. I walked him around the grounds for a little while before hopping off, and he was a cool customer. I couldn't believe the fact that seriously nothing had set him off all day. I untacked him and gave him some food at the trailer, lots of cookies, and then headed off to the office booth to see what the scores were like. I didn't expect to be first, but I figured we probably ended up in somewhere like third? When I went over to check, they were just finalizing the scores and I WON! I couldn't believe it! Blue ribbon for us! And we even got a cool new saddle pad saying "Duck Alley Derby Champion". I was SO PROUD. It has been a long journey gettin gus here, but through the course I felt confident and like I could trust him to get me to the other side of every fence safely, and Charmer felt brave and bold and confident. It was the best feeling in the world!

I honestly don't remember a time in my life that I have had more fun on a horse. Every other time I have had an experience this good, it was always on a very schooled horse that I was going several levels below where they were experienced, but for the first time this was on a horse that I have trained, and it was his first time going through this. It just felt like the biggest accomplishment in the world. I have gone from the track to here with this horse, and it feels so good. He has such a fantastic future ahead of him, and I feel so excited and privileged to go along this journey with him.

Best. Horse. Ever.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Life Experiences: Part 2

So as I said, there would be continuation from my last post, regarding all of the life experiences that I've had recently. Thunderbird was awesome, and the clinic was even more so, but both pale in comparison to this.

I bought a house!

Now when I say that, I had immense amounts of help from my family and could not have done it without them. But my name is officially on this house and I am the primary homeowner. This also means that the mortgage shows up on my bank account and makes me die a little bit inside every time I look at it, but I could not be happier with this house!

Overhead shot of the property

The house is approximately 1,700 square feet, and it sits on 3.5 acres of land. As you can see in the picture, about half of the acreage is just pasture, then there is a dry lot with shelter and an automatic waterer, a hay barn, and there is an arena out back which is approximately 120ft x 200ft. Which is seriously a bigger arena than I've had in some boarding facilities!

Dry Lot
The whole property was clearly designed with a horse person in mind. There are gates connecting the dry lot and pasture, and a gate going between the pasture and the arena as well. 

Hay Barn/Dry Lot

The hay barn isn't huge, but comfortably holds 1-2 tons of hay, and is conveniently located right next to the dry lot and pasture gates.

Shed/Tack Room
Out behind the house, butting right up against the arena, is a tack room/shed. They have water and power run out to it, so it works quite nicely as a tack room, especially being right next to the arena so you can just run out to grab something only a few feet away.

Arena gate

And then there is absolutely nothing better than looking out your back door to a view of the huge arena in your backyard. 

Last but not least, my absolute favorite picture:
Gorgeous sunset, and my gorgeous horse

Charmer moved out to the property about 2 weeks ago, and neither of us could be happier. I still get goosebumps every time I step out the door and see his face waiting there for me. This whole property is a dream come true for me.