Sunday, April 3, 2011

Coco day 9, Seven day 5

Pretty much a perfect Southern California day. Want proof?

There it is.

Weekends at the barn are usually so busy, so we try to go around mid-day to catch it when it's the most quiet. All of the early morning people are leaving and the evening people aren't around yet, which suits me just fine. It's so much nicer to have the arenas to yourself and not have to worry about being in someone's way or having them be in yours. Not that it's ever really an issue...I can't think of one person at the barn that's ever been less than completely awesome when it comes to sharing facilities.

We used the same workout as yesterday with both of the horses. Coco spent his time going over poles, and Mike says he's amazed at the difference a week has made. When we first started with him he could barely canter 5 laps and now he's easily doing 5 minutes in each direction.

Pick up those feet, Son.

Seven got her usual round pen work, and I think on Tuesday I might introduce some poles to her. She's a set it and forget it kind of mare...just tell her to start walking in a circle and she'll do it forever with minimal encouragement. She trotted her 5 laps in each direction with no sweat and was barely winded. We did lots of walking at a nice forward walk, then a little hand walk and graze around the lower part of the farm. Then we had a discussion about lunging after feed buckets and why that's a bad idea.

Shit feels good, man.

Now for the fun stuff. Currently there are only 2 communal poles that we can use at the barn. that's not too bad or anything, but the vet recommended that we work our way up to four over the course of a month and math tells me that's impossible with only two poles to work with. So, we had two options: 1) buy fucking expensive poles somewhere or 2) make some.

We're not fools, so we opted for two. Turns out, Home Depot sells almost the exact poles we needed to get started for about $9/pole. They're called peeler cores and they're around 8 feet long, if anyone ever ends up reading this and wants to sound like they know what they're doing when they ask the Home Depot lackey where to find them. They end up looking like this:

They seem pretty usable just the way they are, but knowing that ours are going to live outside, we decided we should probably paint them to give them a bit of weather resistance. Did you know that Home Depot sells gallons of "oops paint" for $5? It's paint that has been mixed with the wrong color that they obviously can't sell for full price. You don't get to pick your color, but for this project we didn't really care what color they were, just that they had a couple coats of paint for protection.

Ok, so it's actually "tinted primer". Whatever, it was the only outdoor latex paint they had in the oops rack. It's also a nice minty green. Very nice paint, too. Because we're painting them we sanded off some of the more scabby surfaces...

...using the angle grinder. I guess using some sandpaper with your hand would work, too. If you're not lazy or are lazy but don't have one of these sitting around. I'm sure this is more fun, though. And faster.

So, after all of the poles were sanded and prepped, we wiped them down with a damp cloth to remove all of the sawdust from the cracks so it wouldn't mess up the paint. It also showed us where we missed offending rough spots in the wood so we could take care of them, too.

Now we're ready for pai...Hey look! A hot air balloon!

Eeeee! *clapclapclap* I've lived here for like two years and it still makes me happy when I see them floating around. Sometimes there are like seven of them all at once and sometimes they nearly crash land in the yard. We've had them come in so low you can actually talk to the people riding inside them. Anyway, back to work.

So, we propped the poles up on our sawhorses and painted the middle sections like so:

An aside: I know Mike's the only one actually doing work in all of these pics, BUT that's just because he'd jump in and act all handy when I was busy taking the actual pictures. I actually did do a lot of this work! Anyway, once the middle sections were dry enough to handle we painted one end of each pole, allowed that to dry, flipped them and did the other ends.

And that's our progress so far. Tomorrow the horses have a day off because Monday and Thursday are Mike's physical therapy days. The poles need at least one more coat of paint and I'm also going to put some kickin' dark blue stripes on the ends and middle with some left over paint we have in the garage from our previous mounting block project.

It was a really productive day and felt damned good to get out and work on something in the sun. Projects like this not only save us money as horse owners, but also give us something to work on together. Neither one of us is particularly skilled when it comes to making shit, but building things like our mounting block or new ground poles makes us use our brains to figure out little problems that inevitably arise when you jump into projects like this. Not that sanding and painting pieces of wood takes much work or anything, but when it's finished we'll be able to say "Hey, we made this and now we're using it and it works." That's really satisfying.

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