The dogs, cats and horses are all settling in well. My daughter's new little POA, Frosty and my elderly AQHA, Girlfriend are completely herd bound now. I think they were herd bound the minute they met. Girl hates to be alone and having had to be alone for about a month before we moved here she has been a bit needy with Frosty but he doesn't seem to mind at all. Geir is settling in well too and lives in his own paddock across the driveway although today I opened up all the gates in the three connecting pastures and turned them all out together and they seem to be doing fine. I'm only going to do that for a few hours a day because Geir and Frosty are very (ahem - let's use the polite term) "food motivated" and I don't want to tempt fate having them live together 24/7. Plus at night I put Frosty and Girl in the front pasture where there are no low hanging branches or large broken branches on the ground, to avoid clumsy horse night time injuries. And it's just not big enough for the three of them (or Geir and Frosty specifically).
Other than cursing nature every time I have to pick poop in the grass in the pasture everything is perfectly set up right now. I realize it's healthy to be able to munch a little fresh grass throughout the day but every time I pick I find myself wishing for a nice two acre gravel pasture which is soooooo much easier to pick poo out of. That said, it's been nice and summer dry but in the next couple weeks I'm going to need to re-do the footing in the sacrifice areas before it starts to rain and my pastures turn into a mud bog. I've noticed that you can ask five people about sacrifice and arena footing and get five completely contradictory opinions. So, I've taken to reading everything I can on bases and footing. What I've come up with is a plan - now whether or not I can afford this plan for our arena is another question. But here is the plan so far: Geir's sacrifice area still has some hogsfuel left in it (most of it has been broken down to dirt after lots of years of use but it's still not as bad as the front pasture) so I'm going to rake out the last of the dried grass tumbleweeds and clumps of dead weed roots, put down a geotextile fabric, then put two inches of 5/8 minus gravel covered with 2 inches of pea gravel. After reading several different articles that seems like it will work best in this area. I'm going to do the same in front of the shelter in the front pasture too although I may have to dig it out a little and put in 3 inches of 5/8 minus because it is pure dusty sand back there. We'll see. But at Girl's last pasture I boarded her at in Woodinville the ground was the same and they put down geotextile fabric and two inches of 5/8 minus and within a couple months the fabric was all torn up and the gravel had sunk into the mud. I'm not wanting that to happen. Sure, it's better than pure mud, but it also feels like a waste of gravel to watch it get squished into the mud.
The arena is a tougher proposition. For one thing we have to take down some small trees which also involved pulling out their stumps and refilling those holes. Then flattening it out. Then I was thinking three inches of 5/8 minus for drainage then add on top of it this stuff - which adds both cushioning and drainage - then I'm wanting to do a sand/rubber combination but I may not be able to afford that. So, if not then a couple inches of pea gravel. But it has to be *real* pea gravel, not just small gravel - "hard" or "quartz" pea gravel, because the other can just be broken down to dirt and dust quickly.
I'm ancy to get started on this project because I want an arena to ride in. But honestly, at this rate it may be cheaper just to buy an old truck and trailer and haul a couple miles to the equestrian park and use their arena!
I've been slowly starting to put the word about my equine massage business but haven't done much marketing yet. I've gotten some similiar feedback here as when I was in Woodinville that the market is already saturated on the island, but then my massage instructor reminds me there are 1100 horses and there is plenty of business to go around for all of us so just keep looking for my niche. I've donated a prize to this event so I'm hoping that whoever wins it will appreciate it and I'm also looking forward to meeting lots of other local horse folks. And next year I think I will enter. I'm also thinking of talking to Cafe Luna and asking if I can come in one afternoon for a couple hours and give some complimentary 5 minute on-site massages to promote my out-call massage business.
Eventually, I am going to make one of our outbuildings into a massage studio but at this rate that may not be for awhile because the mud-abatement strategy is far more important at this point. But it's a great little building - just the perfect size, with a cute little loft for storage and everything. At this point with all our projects it would behoove me to get a part-time job to save money to afford all of it but so far I haven't seen anything in my skill set. For a moment I did consider applying as a school bus driver and my daughter said she thinks I'd make a great bus driver because I'm "so calm" (this is news to me!) but I'm not sure about that. It would certainly be a fun new experience I suppose and completely outside of anything I've done before.