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Bel Joeor Sale and Giveaway!

Amanda from Bel Joeor is hosting a big sale on her Etsy site and a giveaway on her blog!  She makes beautiful saddle covers and bags.  I highly recommend checking out her shop and entering her contest.  

Ellie's First Adventure - KMF Fall Trail Ride

First, let me express my overjoyed, delirious happiness that my DK saddle sold a couple of weeks ago (and I got the same price I paid for it back in June, THANK GOODNESS).  A local rider purchased it from me, so I even got cash in hand, didn't have to deal with shipping or Paypal ripoff charges, and only had to drive two towns over to meet her halfway.  Never again will I stray from my beloved Stubbens!!

Anyway, on Saturday, October 21, Ellie and I went off on her first adventure.  We headed back to the farm of her birthplace for their annual fall trail ride.  I figured it would be a good way to get her off the farm to a "new" place but not totally new.  Plus, even if she was a poop head, everyone their knows her (obviously), so it wouldn't be the end of the world.  I asked to be put in a group of riders who would be willing to go slow with a greenie, and to my delight, we were to ride out with her dam and granddam, Kennebec Rejoice and Kennebec Joy!  I can hear that collective "awwww"!!  ;-)

Ellie hopped right onto my trailer (her second time ever being loaded despite the fact I had considered practicing loading the week beforehand and never gotten around to it - clearly she is OK with it) and we had an uneventful drive to KMF.  It was a gorgeous fall day, just the most perfect weather for a morning trail ride.  She screamed (and her long lost BFFs screamed back) when we arrived, and when I unloaded her, she definitely had a moment of "OMG WHERE AM !?" before it dawned on her she had no need to be nervous.  She was still pretty looky and up, but nothing I hadn't expected.  She was a little worried about being tied to the trailer, but did so without issue.  We groomed and tacked up about fifteen minutes before our to-go time of 9:30, so I could take her in the small dressage ring for a quick longe and pre-ride flight check.

There probably wasn't much of a reason to longe her after all, so after a few relaxed laps of trot in each direction (and no bucking or silliness), I mounted up and rode around to wait for our riding partners.  Ellie was great and I had the same horse underneath me as I do at home, so I was pleased.  She was so excited to see her mother and grandmother join us and off we went.  The three of them have the exact same walk, so we were able to ride out without worrying about one horse trying to rush or one lag behind.  They literally marched along without any issue, and Ellie was super happy.  This was her first trail ride ever, and even though she was being well behaved, I didn't dare take out my phone and snap any "between the ears" pics.  I kinda regret that now, but I also didn't want her to spook or get nervous (both completely normal reactions for a young horse on their first ever trail ride!) and drop my phone or fall off LOL!  

Kennebec Morgan Farm is comprised of hundreds of acres and is located right on the coast, so it is literally an incredibly gorgeous saltwater farm.  Funny thing is that I remember coming here a few times as a kid for their fall trail ride with the lease horse I had before my parents bought me my first horse, Sparky, so it was pretty neat to be back here riding.  Ellie is definitely everything good about my childhood and I like that quite a bit!  :-)

We weaved through field, wooded trails, along the sides of horse pastures, and down a tarred road, and Ellie didn't put a foot wrong.  Everything was at a walk, which was probably a good idea.  I could have offered to have us trot, but She was happy to be three abreast, to be in the middle or the back, and at one point she bravely strode out ahead.  I was impressed with her desire to lead the pack and she did so for a little while, until at one point she was like yeah this was a bad life choice hahaha.  She didn't freak out or anything, she just very calmly slowed and filed herself in behind her mother, who was just to our right.  There was no input from me on that decision, and I swear it was something she would've done coming in from the field at night haha.  


Ellie is on the far left, then her mother is next to her, and gramma is to the far right.  They are all so much alike!
Being adorable with her granddam, Kennebec Joy 
And with her momma, Kennebec Rejoice
When we arrived back at the farm after about an hour of toodling around, we walked and trotted a bit around the big arena before going back to the barn.  The barn staff had moved my rig up close to the barn and Ellie was NOT IMPRESSED with having to be tied in a tight spot between the barn doors and the grill/food area.  I don't think even my veteran show horses would have liked to be tied there, so I was allowed to bring her into the barn, which was super nice of the staff.  I put her in the stall and there was a small handful of alfalfa pellets left in the grain bucket.  I asked one of the girls I rode out with if I should remove it, and she was like, Ohhhh that's probably fine.  I kinda wanted to take the bucket out, but I also figured there was no harm in Ellie having just a few pellets; also it wasn't like there was a huge biosecurity issue, as she has only been gone from there for seven weeks LOL!

I walked out to my trailer to hang up my saddle and bridle and to remove my helmet and boots.  In just the few minutes I was gone, Ellie choked on the pellets, and both of my fellow trail ride buddies were standing there in the open stall door as green slime began to ooze out of Ellie's nose. 

OHHHHH FU*K.  I was so upset!  I stayed pretty calm on the outside, standing there with her, feeling the stuck lump of stupid pellets in her throat latch area, but then she suddenly shuddered and gagged, three times about ten seconds apart.  OK, then I started trying not to panic!  :-(  One of the riders called the local vet for me, and besides the fact I was incredibly worried about my horse, I figured this was going to be the most expensive trail ride of my life.  

Most horses do seem to clear out any type of choke on their own, but I wanted to be sure the on-call vet was aware of what was happening.  The vet recommended we wait one hour and if she hadn't cleared it on her own, then she would come out.  Ellie made quite a few terrible grunting, choking noises and a shit ton of green slime came out her nose, but after ten minutes that felt more like 100 years, she FINALLY cleared it out.  Jesus, that really scared me.  I waited around for a little over an hour before I felt comfortable trailering her home, so she just hung out in the stall (and was annoyed that we took the hay out that had been in there).  She did take a sip of water and was frisking me for treats, so I knew she was feeling fine.  I ate lunch with everyone and checked on her a bunch of times, but she seemed no worse for wear despite her choke.  Lesson learned!  Don't allow her to eat alfalfa pellets (she's an equine Hoover!) and always trust my gut when I think I should do something even if someone else thinks it is fine LOL!  To be fair, there was no reason to suspect Ellie would choke like that and I don't blame anyone but myself.

So despite a little scare, we had a GREAT morning!  I am really glad I went up, even if it was a long drive for "just a trail ride".  I don't have anyone to ride with here at the house, so it was a good idea to ride out in the woods with others before I attempt it on my own.  It was a gorgeous day and the photos are adorable!  I miss having a barn family, so at least I have fellow Morgan friends and the staff at KMF to share events with, and hopefully we will make it up there for other shows/rides they host!

There are more pics, as one of the barn workers took a ton of pics out in one of the gorgeous fields, but she has not had time to share them with me yet.  When I get them, I will share!  :-)

Comments

What a cool experience. Having that connection to her breeders and being able to see her dam and granddam must be so fascinating. All the horses I've owned have had no real history so this is really fascinating to me.
KateRose said…
Besides the scary choking incident (eek!) that sounds like a great outing for Ellie! :) So cool to hang out with her relatives too haha
emma said…
what an awesome family affair for Ellie and her maternal relatives! plus all you riders too, i suppose ;)

scary about the choke tho - i worry about that a lot with charlie since he gets alfalfa pellets and i'm always paranoid that the folks feeding him are a little casual about how long they let it soak before doling it out.... so far so good tho. hopefully Ellie is back to 100% asap tho!
TeresaA said…
That was a great experience, except for the choke. I’m glad that it was fine
Martidoll said…
oh my i am so jealous you not only have one of the kennebecs but you got to ride with them too :) Very cool. Sorry about the choke. Silly Ellie, slow down eating. LOL. But glad it all went well (besides the scary moments). She really does look her mom and grandmom :)
It is so neat! Having grown up riding at a breeding farm, it is totally normal to me to know my horse's relative, so this totally brings me back to being a kid! Because of this, it is super strange to me to not know the full back story on every horse LOL! ;-)
Yes! It was perfect! (and holy hell, no more hay pellets for her EVER!)
I hear you on the soaking thing. Other than one instance of a school horse choking back in college in the late 90's, I don't have any other personal experience with choke. So scary, but thankfully it was a tiny amount of pellets and she cleared it herself. I have fed alfalfa pellets to my own horses a lot over the years to help with weight, but I guess none of them have been a hoover like Miss Ellie! Whew!
Me too! Lesson learned for me!!
Isn't it so cool? I am thankful that despite the fact Miss Gardiner is 96 years old, the girls who run the barn have been super friendly. I just wish I was closer as it is a two hour one-way drive! Worth it though, even for just a trail ride haha! And she is her momma's twin!!