Mini Updates

Olivia   October 27, 2017   29 Comments on Mini Updates


Shockingly, both of the turkeys are still alive. We really only got two with the expectation that one would die because they are supposedly very fragile birds to raise from chicks.

They are also massive. I wish I’d weighted them when we first got them so I could compare, but their size change has been incredible. I’ve never seen an animal grow this quickly. I can barely hold them at this point.

They’ve also gotten a lot uglier…

Saddle Shopping

I know no one enjoys it, so this will come as no surprise, but I hate saddle shopping. I have a very long thigh in comparison to my calf (I can wear a regular or even a short calf in boots despite being 5’8″) so dressage saddle shopping is a nightmare. A jumping saddle would be a easier to shop for because those are supposed to have forward flaps but dressage saddles aren’t designed like that. Levi’s not an easy horse to fit either. I’ve done a consultation with Jen the Saddle Geek and tried out 2 of her suggestions, both of which have been failures.


The first trial was a Sommer and it was ridiculously too small for me. Like my knees wanted to stick a few inches past the flap and were only held back by the knee blocks.

Next I tried a Prestige which is probably big enough for me (it’s an 18.5) but does bad things for my position. It really made me feel like I was riding in a bareback pad with stirrups and needed to use every muscle in my body to keep from sliding all over the place. And I’d still prefer a more forward flap.

He was pissed off about life this evening

Anyone have any suggestions for a forward flapped dressage saddle? I really don’t want to go down the custom route, but I’m also really tired of saddle shopping (these are the 2 I took on trial and don’t count the dozens I’ve sat in at tack stores).


As it’s now fall, the rodents are seeking out new homes. We have some rats living in our tack room. For a while I was catching and killing them pretty regularly, but now they’re evading all of our traps. I also found a few droppings in the truck and I don’t want them moving in there again. We’re not allowed to use any sort of poison at the barn (because the cats and the terrier also kill rats and mice) and I don’t want to use poison in the truck since our dogs stay with us in there and would inevitably get into it somehow. We also have no electricity so I can’t try those high pitched sound repellents (that I’m dubious about anyway). There’s no food in the truck and there’s no food they can get to in the tack room so they’re just nesting in there. Does anyone have any good advice for repelling rodents?

I could also use something for the trailer too

Baby Horses

The Mustang that our barnmate adopted was examined by our vet during fall shots and it turns out he’s only 2.5 years old, not 3. She’s going to take it really easy with him until he’s a bit older. The vet and seasonal trainer agreed that he’s fine for light rides a few days a week so she’s going to keep his training going, but not push him too hard. He’s such a sweet horse and doing really well. She’s even been riding him bareback.

Nilla Update

Yesterday was National Mule Day and Nilla spent it doing the same thing she does every day:

I basically turned her out to pasture and have been ignoring her. I was supposed to take her back in after 60 days for another ultrasound, but ultrasounds are very expensive and there’s no way she’s healed in 60 days. I can still see the swelling on her leg and she’s still ever so slightly off. She gets plenty of exercise in her pasture and occasionally I take her for walks.

Eugene says “OMG I’ve never seen you before”

She’s pretty happy with her life. When I re-homed Dijon it was because he hated not being ridden; he’d be jealous of me taking Nilla out because he really wanted to go for a ride. While I fully plan on rehabbing Nilla and riding her again once she’s healed, I don’t think Nilla minds her current situation. I think she’d be pretty happy to spend the rest of her life napping and eating. Can’t really disagree with her either.

29 thoughts on “Mini Updates

    1. Olivia Post author

      I think I looked at a used Kent and Masters when I was trying saddles for Nilla. One of Jen’s recommendations for me was to get an AP to deal with the forward flap issue.

  1. Sara

    Stubben makes a forward flap dressage saddle. I can’t recall the model name but I tried one on Gem when boarding with a Stubben rep and the flap was noticeably more forward.

    1. Olivia Post author

      I think that saddle was on the list to not work for Levi according to Jeb, but I’ll need to rewatch the video. I do like the idea of the forward flap saddle.

  2. Leah

    Omg those turkeys are getting massive! No suggestions on rodent repellent or saddle shopping 🙁 glad Nilla is chill about her rehab though – makes things easier. Hopefully she is back to 100% soon.

  3. Emma

    Good to hear an update on Nilla!! And omg those turkeys! I’m likewise dealing with some rodents-in-the-truck issues and…. Everyone at my barn is pretty convinced the only real answer is traps. Bleh.

    1. Olivia Post author

      Traps I’m fine with in the tack room (if they would just go in them) but it’s not ideal for in the truck because we have our bed in there so dead rats aren’t really better than live rats.

  4. Wendy

    Look at those big cute ears on those, eh, rats? We don’t have any rats in my neighbourhood, just so many voles (which are also cute, and so rediculously slow I don’t know how they even survive long enough to keep the population going). We have tried something called Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent which are little sachets you can stash in your vehicle. They smell really nice and we did not have any nests in the car we used them in after a whole winter of storage, so we think they worked.

    1. Olivia Post author

      I actually love mice and rats and used to have them as pets, but the wild ones can’t live in my truck 🙁 I actually bought some mint satchels that claim to repel mice, but I was pretty dubious. Glad to know they worked for you.

  5. rooth

    I really should get a new saddle as well but I’m also dreading the process – ughhhhh. Keep us posted on what ends up working for you

  6. Stacie Seidman

    Those turkeys are HUGE! Wow.
    I can’t help with dressage saddles since I know nothing about them, sorry… I may have just done a thing on the ebay today related to saddles though… Oops. Sorry bank account.
    As for rodents. I am in constant battle with them. I think I have a bigger mouse problem in my house than in the barn sadly enough. I’ve found that any new trap I introduce works great for like 4-5 catchings, and then they get smart and won’t be caught. So I have to keep getting different ones. Have you tried the Rat Zapper for the rats? It runs on batteries. I had to use them when I had the flying squirrels in my house, and I caught quite a few. Also caught a full size gray squirrel in one but he didn’t exactly fit. That was disgusting.

    1. Olivia Post author

      I’m not sure if I’m up for the rat zapper; that sounds a little horrifying. But I might have to go through with it if I can’t catch any with the current traps. I haven’t seen those before so thanks for the tip.

  7. lifeisbetterthere

    So I wound up with a (very very) used Tony Slatter after doing nowhere near as much looking as you (there are no tack shops here). It works well on my round mustang as far as I can tell. I don’t believe there’s a saddle fitter within 100 miles of me either so I can’t exactly get a professional opinion at the moment. Flaps are forward and I’m loving it. Maybe you’re looking for something fancier though.

    For the mice I echo the peppermint idea. But instead of buying a mouse-specific gadget I’d get a bottle of peppermint essential oil and put drops all around, or put drops on cotton balls/pads and wedge them in places where you think the buggers are entering. It works but you need to reapply regularly.

    Tell me more about the turkeys! I want to try some next year.

    1. Olivia Post author

      I’ll have to try more of the peppermint. I just kinda figured it wouldn’t work. I honestly know nothing about Turkey raising. I just read a few articles on the internet, but they have been pretty easy to raise so far. I think I prefer raising chickens, but this has been a fun change.

  8. Cathryn

    No help with the saddle shopping process – I have the opposite problem of you… I’m super short lol.

    I am glad Nilla is doing better – fingers crossed things continue to progress smoothly!

  9. Suzy

    I’ve seen a lot of used County saddles with a forward flap – not what I need but maybe worth a try for you, they are nice. I’m sure you’re aware but for dressage you will want to work towards lowering your stirrups, and getting your leg underneath you more sinking into your heels. The Prestige definitely puts you in a chair seat.

    OMG I’d take the mice over turkeys, big birds (especially fowl) scare the crap out of me! I know mice are destructive but I think they’re kind of cute. Not a fan of rats though.

    1. Olivia Post author

      Yeah, the Prestige wasn’t doing anything good for my position. I think the mice are cute, they’re just way too destructive to stay.

  10. Megan

    i have a similar issue – 5’6″ and most tall boots are TOO TALL for my legs, even the short ones.

    i have a devoucoux makila with a 19″ and 3A flap. the ‘A’ is slightly forward, and the large seat size helps accomodate my thigh even more. I always had an issue with being tipped forward in other drssage saddles or having my knee jump in front of the flap like the first picture you posted

    don’t give up!! the right used saddle is out there somewhere, looking for you!!

  11. Kalin

    Won’t the turkeys eat the mice for you?! 😀

    I’d try the peppermint essential oil. You can mix it with witch hazel to make a spray but you might need to reapply it frequently. I wonder if some of that Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap would last longer and repel them?

    Good luck with the saddle shopping! That is one of my least favorite things.

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