May 4, 2020

Connor's Birthday and a Return to the Barn

Yesterday was Connor's 14th birthday. And this year he got me for a birthday present.

I know it's blurry and from last month, but how do you top this picture for being reunited?

Based on four critical statistics improving over the last fourteen days, Indiana's governor is moving us into Phase II of Coronavirus lockdown today (with the total lockdown we've been in for weeks retroactively referred to as Phase I), which means it's go time for going back to the barn.

In addition to having me back in his life full time for his birthday, Connor got several other presents that will make our lives safer and more comfortable as I tack up at my trailer all summer.

He's thrilled with his birthday presents
When I did a test run of tacking up at my trailer the last time I rode in March (how has it been so long already?), I knew my setup needed a few adjustments. First, the mats. Although he's never taken a lame step on gravel, I wanted to give him a comfy spot to stand, and also, picking manure out of gravel sucks!

Trailer, sweet trailer

Pony got mats and I got a set of Mat Movers off eBay for $30. OMG how have I lived without these!

Second, the trailer tie. My barn is in a tiny triangle-shaped patch of land between two state highways and my 50,000 person city - if he gets loose, with how hard to catch he gets when he's stressed, I will never see him again. So despite the fact that he's never pulled back in his life, he gets tied with both a trailer tie and his lead rope to the trailer.

The prisoner in his shackles

Third, the manger. The first couple times I tacked up out here, he was on full Pony Alert and refused to eat out of his small hole haynet, which is normal for Stressed Connor. So I bought this folding collapsible manger so that I could put an enticing mound of easily accessible hay at eye level, along with his ulcer supplement. So far, so good.

"This'll do" - Connor, probably. Also check out that MANE 😳

Fourth, he got a couple of sets of polos. I'm not normally a fan of polos, but with tacking up around big metal trailers, I wanted some cushioning on his legs.

Fifth, I bought a GIANT jug of Stud Muffins for him in March at our semi-local tack shop when I picked the saddle up. I've been intermittently giving him those only when he's at the trailer, as a high value reward. Basically doing all I can to convince him the trailer is a good and happy place to be, even though he can't see any other horses.

It's good to be back.  Happy birthday, little buddy!


  1. Happy birthday Connor!!!! I'm so glad you can go back to the barn! :)

  2. Happy birthday, Connor! So glad you're able to get back in the saddle!

  3. Love the double ties. 🤣 Having two horses with histories of breaking free, I usually prefer a separate attachment. I've found halters give before the rope, usually. With Bast that can mean a rope halter and regular halter. With Pig usually a rope looped lightly around his neck (not tied around there, just looped to grab in an emergency). Thankfully both my boys tend to break things then walk 2ft away, which is a blessing. Since they do keep me constantly sourcing halters and leads.

  4. Happy birthday and if he got loose I sure hope he would head to Tennessee :) he is so dang cute. Glad you got to go see him and get to go back YAY!....and what a nice set up. I need those mat movers!!

  5. Awww I am glad that you got out to ride and see your horse. Happy birthday Connor!

  6. Yaaay!! Happy Birthday to my favorite Alternative Haffie!

  7. Connor made out this year! Happy Birthday to him!
    Love the trailer set up. Definitely a great way to stay safe while having pony time!

  8. Happy Birthday Connor! Glad you got to spend it with him and buy him all those great gifts!!