A night with Buck Brannaman

"Your horse is a mirror to your soul.
Sometimes you might not like what you see,
sometimes you will". 
- Buck Brannaman

You know, sometimes I just don't know where I'm headed. I don't understand why I got a horse to begin with when I have a baby, a career, a husband. I have an incredibly full and happy life with little wiggle room. And then, I see something that just resonates, and it all clicks. I've read a few of Buck Brannaman's books, and liked them. Then, on a whim the other day, I decided to buy Buck's groundwork DVD off of Amazon. Tonight I watched it, and it's like all these holes in my horsemanship training became SO very apparent. I am much more of a "rider" than a "horse person". Watching this DVD made me realize all of the gaps in Finn's training, and all of the things we need to work on prior to riding. I'm viewing this whole laminitis episode as basically a fresh start (think positive!), and literally as a way to start over. I got Finn, and basically thought, here's my next great event horse! And never really thought about all the gaps in his training, and creating a relationship between us. Finn is tense, stressed, and unconfident 100% of the time. And, I do nothing to help him feel better and more confident. Buck stresses giving to pressure. 100% of the time I am struggling to bridle my horse with his head in the air. It is a constant battle. And it shouldn't be. I want a horse that enjoys his job and is a willing partner. Finn is so far from that. I want a horse that trusts me and thinks of me as the leader. Finn does not. I think I make Finn tense and stressed, because 100% of the time I am tense, stressed, and in a rush. I want a horse that I can say, let's go on a trail ride today, when really all I'm thinking is Finn's going to be nervous/bolt/buck/refuse. 

    As soon as Finn is healthy we are going back to groundwork 101. 


For better or for worse

"...to have and to hold from this day forward,
for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish;
from this day forward until death do us part".

When I adopted Finn I feel like wedding vows would have been more appropriate than an adoption contract. This last week has been trying to say the least. That day when I went up to the barn and he looked like he was going to collapse, all I could think about was giving up and returning him to the MSPCA. I wanted so badly to just be done, with everything. Finn kept coming over to me, as I was crying in his stall, and nuzzling my hair. And I just wanted to say to him: JUST BE OKAY. WHY CAN'T YOU JUST BE OKAY. Then the vet came that dug away at his hoof and said, well, it's an abscess. I knew it wasn't an abscess. 
    I had another vet out a few days ago, a vet at the top of his field in diagnostics. I couldn't even be there because I had to work. Matt was up there all day with Finn. After x-rays, and a lameness exam, Finn was diagnosed with acute laminitis (no rotation). 


   The first thought that went through my head was that this was all my fault. I moved Finn and put him out on grass, now he has laminitis. I also didn't do my research on the allergy med he was on, dexamethasone, and how it can lead to laminitis. The vet said it wasn't any one thing that caused it, and we're lucky we caught it when we did, and that we introduced Finn slowly to grass which was the right thing to do, and that Finn was probably the 1 in 100 horse that this would happen to...but still. I can't help but blame myself. I feel so guilty. Finn's on a low-sugar grain (carb guard), and vet wants me to cut out supplements (concerned about additives). Keeping him on the doxy, packing his hoof with magna-paste, putting him in boots, icing him constantly, and vet also put him on Isoxsuprine. He's also on stall rest for 30 days, and then we will reevaluate. 
     I know that this is acute, and that there is no rotation, thank god, but I feel horrible for my poor horse. I'm completely exhausted. This whole week I have felt like a zombie. Between going back and forth to the barn, work, and baby, my brain is fried. I have run the gamut of emotions this past week.
    Then, I started thinking. When I adopted this little guy a year and a half ago...I made a commitment to him. I really didn't know what I was committing to at the time, but it was a commitment none the less. Finn had nothing at the time...and a horrible name too (Shrimp). I have given him everything I can, and I hope and think he appreciates what I do for him. In the short time I've had him he's taught me so much-- patience, trusting myself, trusting him, and not giving up, ever.  Even though there are days that I regret everything, he is mine for better or for worse. 
    The vet also diagnosed him with very thin soles. The vet likes to see 15mm, one of Finn's soles is only 6mm, the other is 11mm. This past week I've started thinking about my goals, and if they are really going to be best for the long term health of my horse. I don't know if my horse's hooves/legs will stand up to the rigors of eventing, I may consider dressage, or competitive trails--something I think we'd both really enjoy. Whatever it is, and wherever this road leads us, I know this little guy is mine forever and I'll do whatever I can to keep him happy and healthy. 


Even though hubby wont admit it, he loves Finn just as much as I do



Super husband

Finn is still very lame. Yesterday I was working and wasn't able to make it up to the barn so Matt went up to the barn for me and soaked, rewrapped his hoof, iced his leg, sore-no-more'd him, and gave him a massage. He also talked to barn owner! A lot of things were cleared up that I was having an issue with. Finn is now on free choice hay, and barn owner was horrified that he didn't have any water . They are also hiring a barn administrator to make sure all horses are getting what they're supposed to get. His stall is also getting extra bedding while he's injured. Barn owner said that if we don't tell her what we're having issues with, she can't address and fix things. She's absolutely right. I know a lot of my frustration is stemming from his lameness.
    I don't think Finn has a hoof abscess. After soaking hoof with epsom and hot water, and packing hoof with a variety of different things (flax seed, icthammol, animalintex), there have been no signs of an abscess, or any improvement. We walked him in the indoor a bit today and he is probably about 25% better than he was the other day.
    Soaked his hoof (he's a champ with this), iced his leg, and rewrapped hoof with animalintex. Then Finn got to hang out in his BOT sheet, then he got a massage with his Equilibrium Massage Mitt. This thing was one of the best purchases ever. Finn LOVES it. I thought he'd be a bit nervous with the buzzing, but he's obsessed with it, and would stand forever while I give him a massage. He leans his whole body into it and closes his eyes. I think he's really enjoying all the attention, I just wish he'd get better.
     The barn has a standing weekly appointment with a wonderful vet, and on Thursday Finn will be seen by the vet for some nerve blocks/radiographs/ultrasound. This guy is at the top of his field in diagnostics, and I need to know what's going on.
This video is from today. He has gone from extremely lame (unable to walk), to this. Head bobbing at walk, tripping. Both heel bulbs are a bit swollen on left front. His left hoof is a little warm. There is no heat/swelling/sensitivity anywhere on any of his legs or his shoulders. He was on bute for four days. I stopped the bute last night, and he is not acting like he's in pain. He's eating/drinking/pooping, and acting pretty normal. 
I bought Finn a bag of Safe Starch Forage to keep him occupied while I work with his leg. He gets so excited when I show up to the barn with a bucket of it. He loves it!

The very ghetto way of icing your horse's leg.

Look at all my hay!



Finn seemed a little bit better yesterday. Although I hate that he's on stall rest and in pain, I like taking care of him when he's so sweet and not all wild eyed. I sat with him in his stall for hours yesterday and he kept coming over to me, nickering, and nuzzling on me. It's the first time he's shown real affection towards me. He's been so good about keeping his foot in the tub of water/epsom salt, and so good about not moving around and getting all crazy. When the vet was here the other day he felt a digital pulse in nearly all four legs...and wanted to test for Lyme. Yesterday afternoon vet came back to test. I assumed he was going to pull blood and send it to Cornell. Instead he did a SNAP test, which I thought only tested whether or not the horse had ever been exposed, not whether or not there was an active infection. Well of course he tested positive, and we put him on Doxy. He does have alot of the symptoms, and a bunch of horses in the barn have it, but I still want to get blood pulled and sent to Cornell. So after a $650 vet bill weekend my horse is still a hobbling mess. I pulled him out of his stall and the old man hobbled into the indoor and we did a little hand walking/standing around. He was happy for a change of scenery. He does not seem to be in any pain, I just feel horrible about how he looks and is acting.
     There was all this drama at the barn last night...Nobody showed up to bring horses in/feed, and barn owner was no where in site. One of the boarders called one of the young girls that works there, and the girl said barn owner was supposed to bring in and feed. Instead, the girl showed up, brought everyone in, fed, and didn't know where barn owner was. It's all very confusing and unorganized. I'm very concerned that my horse isn't, or won't be, receiving his meds/supplements/correct grain/water/hay, because there's so many different people working, and NO organization.
     After spending the afternoon with Finn I went and checked out the co-op barn my friends board at. I loved it. It's super quiet, huge, flat, grassy turout, very clean, and very organized. It runs differently than most co-op's I've seen. Instead of having to do your stall every day, you choose one day a week and do chores for all boarders. So I would go in the AM feed, turnout, stalls, clean, water, and then bring in and feed PM. Hay is included in board, and you have to supply your own hay and shavings. There is no indoor, but there is an indoor across the street that you can use if you take lessons with the dressage trainer. I liked the set up, but it is 50 minutes from my house. The girls said they wouldn't mind doing PM chores (turn in and feed) on the day that would be mine. It's also really inexpensive, and if I took lessons with trainer next door, bought my own hay/shavings, I still wouldn't even be paying with I am now for full board. And I'd have a support system, and Michelle to do training rides on him. Although I don't want to move him AGAIN, I have to. But, I want to make the right decision for us so that I don't have to move him anymore.



Ever since we've moved it's been one bad thing after another. I am completely numb right now. We've had some rain this past week, and with work and baby, I never ended up going to the barn for that ride that night. Well, yesterday morning I was all prepped to have an awesome ride. The weather had turned around, the sun was out, and I was motivated and ready. We had a babysitter, and Matt wanted to watch me ride, so we headed up mid morning. Got to the barn and all the horses were in. This made no sense. The sun was shining, and it was in the mid 70's. I asked the girl mucking stalls why they were in and she said she didn't know. Okay. So, I go in Finn's stall, he's very quiet. Pat him for a minute. Put his halter on, clip the lead line on, try to walk him out of his stall, and he ALMOST FELL OVER BACKSWARD. Like all his legs were suddenly broken. Try to move him, he won't without severe pain and hobbling. I quickly feel for heat and swelling, his left hind looks a little swelled but that's probably because he's stocked up due to being locked in his fucking stall since pretty much the day we moved. There's a lot of heat in his left front leg and hoof, and a pulse. The girl mucking stalls must have called the barn owner because at this point I'm crying and hysterical and saying oh my god over and over. Barn owner says he was fine yesterday. Barn owner asks me if "I'm a first time horse owner, and sometimes first time horse owner's freak out about things".... I call my farrier who rushes over, pulls the shoe, and feels for an abscess. Doesn't find anything, and he's sensitive on all four, not just the one. Because I just moved, I don't have a local vet yet. I call the barn's vet and say it's an emergency. The office tells me the vets are booked for the day, but they'll try to get someone out. I call another vet who says he'll be there within the hour. Me, Matt, and farrier sit in Finn's stall with him, while he just looks so sad, and completely broken. I feel horrible and guilty, and like my horse is going to die. I think he's foundering/navicular/or something neurological is going on. Vet shows up, and he is an old school vet, with rough hands, and a rough personality. He chips away at the left front hoof and tells us it's an abscess. Neither me or the farrier think it's an abscess. There's no abscess material, and he's testing sore on all four, not just the one. He's also had front pads on for the past 8 months and his hoof has been exposed to nothing. Once vet leaves, farrier says lets treat it as an abscess, and if he's worse after the weekend, I'll call my old vet (who is two hours away), and beg she come take a look at him and get some radiographs. She's an expert at diagnostics, and I really wish I had just asked her to come out yesterday.
     I soak his hoof in hot water, and epsom, then pack the hoof with flax, and wrap it up, give him antibiotics. After spending eight hours in the barn yesterday, he did seem somewhat better when I left. He was eating, drinking, pooping. While I was at work this morning, my amazing husband took our daughter up to the barn to make sure he was doing okay. He said he was much, much better, was putting a lot more weight on his bad leg, and didn't look like he was going to fall over. He was also in much better spirits. Matt also mentioned that ALL the horses are in today. The weather is 75 degrees and sunny....
      While I was at the barn yesterday, I happened to look in the grain room. I just received a notice from SmartPak that my next order of auto-ship smartpaks were getting ready to process. I checked Finn's two drawers of supplements (he receives AM and PM supplements), and he hasn't received a single supplement since he's been there. Not one. The vitamin E he needs due to his low levels... hasn't received it. His joint supplements...nope. I was horrified.
      I told barn owner that he hasn't received his supplements, and she goes "Oh you must have gotten them shipped to the barn, sometimes they arrive a few weeks early". Those supplements came with him from our old barn....
As soon as he's well enough to travel we are getting out of here. Our old barn will take us back in a heartbeat, and my friends have an empty stall at the co-op barn they're at. I haven't made a decision where we're going yet, but we need to get out of there.



I went to the barn this morning. Finn was supposed to be turned out with other horses. Him and Jake were getting way too herd bound. I found him in his stall, pacing back and forth, with no water. I asked the barn worker why he was in, and I guess barn owner never told him to turn Finn out. So, because I didn't go up to the barn yesterday he's been in since Monday. Not having water is completely unacceptable. And to me, the owner of a Thoroughbred, who NEEDS to be turned out or he's CRAZY, not being turned out is unacceptable too. Especially when I'm paying a pretty penny for full board. This barn has absolutely zero communication and I don't really feel like my horse is safe there yet without me checking on him every day, which is something I can't do. At my last barn, I was completely confident leaving my horse for a week and knowing I'd get a text message or a call the second anything seemed off. Barn worker turned him out with his new boys, three other geldings, and he was great with them. On another positive note, Finn is 100% from what I saw of him prancing and galloping around the indoor. I don't know how he could go from being SO lame, to being 100% in 3 days?
I talked to one of the girls that I used to board with (Amanda). Amanda and Michelle moved their horses a few towns over from where Finn is now to a rough board barn and they're very happy there. Amanda said that if I did need to move him I could move him there, Michelle could ride him when I couldn't, and we could work out a barn work schedule. At 1/3 of the cost I'm paying now, and more personalized care, I'm going to go look, even though it's further. There's no indoor, but at least I'd know my horse is safe with my friends.
On the riding front, I haven't been due to Finn's weird lameness. I'm hoping to get a ride in tomorrow night if the barn's not too busy.
Although I haven't had much time to really sit down and read Inside Your Ride, I have read a few pages. One of the major points I've taken away so far is to have goals before your ride, visualize those goals, and make them happen. Whenever I go up to the barn I'm always like hmmmmm what will we work on today....and then we do nothing. Tomorrow I want to:
      -Work with trot poles and cavaletti. I used to work a lot with trot poles/cavaletti and they helped Finn loosen so much through his back (he's been very stiff and unfocused since the move). I will set up 3 trot poles on the ground, off the rail, down one long side. And 3 cavaletti, on lowest setting, off the rail, down the other long side. These will help him get focused, pay attention, and use his body correctly.
      ~During this exercise I need to keep him forward through the exercise, using himself correctly, and don't let him get heavy on his forehand.
My biggest challenge will be: looking down at his ears or the poles. I always look down at his ears to see what he's doing with his head. I need to be able to feel his correctness, rather than see it.
I will be telling myself: FORWARD, CHIN UP, EYES UP.

I will warm up walk (with leg yields), trot, canter, work with poles at the trot, canter a bit more (I should notice how much looser he is at the canter after poles), and then get some stretchy trot, and call it a night.


The lame game

The cards are not in our favor. Michelle is still planning on doing training rides on Finn (she lives right down the street from our new barn!) and I was psyched that she was going to come out and ride him today. Got up to the barn this afternoon and the horses were already in. Put Finn on the cross ties and he was an absolute dream! Calm, quiet, and just the perfect gentleman that I know. When Michelle got there he was already tacked up and ready to go. We hand walked him through the indoor, and down the long gravel path to the outdoor. No spook, and just caaaalm. We were so busy chatting we weren't really paying attention. When we got to the outdoor Michelle goes.... "I think he's lame". Sure enough, completely lame on the right front. No heat. No swelling. Tried to trot him out, he couldn't. Hobbled our way back to the barn. My farrier had shod him on Wednesday, and although I didn't think it was a hoof issue, called him up and he said he'd be right out (he is AWESOME and lives right down the road). Hoof tested him and he tested a bit sore on the left front, but not the right front?? We didn't bother pulling any shoes just yet. Farrier felt a slight pulse...in all four...but nothing throbbing. Barn trainer came over and said that during the barn's schooling show this morning Finn was turned out and he was so worked up and galloping around that she had to put him in because he was causing a scene. Said he probably pulled something because he was being an idiot. JUST. GREAT. Buted him, and he's on stall rest for now. Will reevaluate tomorrow about calling vet or not. Argh.


Final straw

Had my first lesson today at new barn. It went so badly that new trainer hopped on...I don't know where my horse left his brain, but I'm pretty sure it's back at his last barn. He is so stressed, so tightly wound, and basically the 100% opposite of the horse I've known for the past year and a half. He is miserable.  The barn is loud, horses are on trailers, off trailers, there's schooling shows going on, a bazillion lessons, farrier here, vet there, and Finn's little pony brain says OH MY GOD. He is such a total dick, and I feel like the most incompetent person on earth whenever I head up to the barn. I don't know what to do. More on lesson tomorrow, need to decompress.



Guess I'm doing something right...
April 2012 vs. June 2013

He looks so sad and tired in April 2012. He looks SO much happier and healthier now.


Maybe I was a little hard on myself yesterday. Maybe I haven't given Finn enough time to settle in. Maybe I'm completely overwhelmed with new barn/routine. Maybe.
    Brought Finn in this AM. Me and Carole talked and decided that Finn and Jake cannot be the only horses in that paddock. They are much too attached. They should be moving to a bigger paddock in a few days with possibly two other horses. Finn was a mess on the cross ties. New barn is scarily spotless at all times. While I was picking Finn's hooves, one of the barn worker's was already underneath us with a broom sweeping up! I'm definitely not used to a barn being this clean and organized. Finn was a nut on the cross ties, and because the barn was pretty quiet, I decided to lunge him in the indoor. He was pretty crazy and not listening at all. Decided to let him off the lunge and let him run around the indoor. He cantered around for a good 30 minutes... And wasn't even sweaty after. It also wasn't a crazed/nervous canter, and minus a few squeals and bucks he was really just getting energy out. After he explored everything in the indoor he was an angel. I think he is so distracted by the horses in the paddocks next to him and the grass, that he's not doing his usual canter/gallop around the paddock and saves his craziness for me when I bring him in.

This horse needs a scratching post....

    Didn't have time to ride, as the farrier showed up. Finn was a jerk for the farrier and completely distracted by the horses outside. It took him nearly 2 hours to get new shoes. Luckily his farrier is a saint and was so patient with him.
Finn hiding...he knows he's in trouble
I will hopefully get a ride in tomorrow night. If not I am off on Friday and will be riding Friday and Saturday. Michelle is coming up on Sunday to ride him too, so he'll get some quality schooling in him again.
I was so upset yesterday and thinking about it was all just a series of events outside our control. And I did not handle it correctly. I just know our next ride together will be better.

I think this is the best conformation shot I've gotten of Finn ever. I think he looks great!


How to be the worst rider

The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.  ~Andrew Carnegie

Today may have been the worst ride I've ever had. Worse than the jumping lesson I had when I was 10 and fell off a dozen times. I completely lost faith in myself as a rider today. The barn was pretty busy when I got there at 2pm and there were a bunch of kids getting ready for lessons. I still don't know the barn routine, lesson schedules, etc. and I hoped it wouldn't get too busy until after 3pm. Brought Finn in from the paddock, Jake flipped out that his buddy was leaving. He was much calmer on the cross ties today, not so look-y, and saddled up without a problem. There was only one other woman riding in the indoor and I thought it would be our safest bet to hang out in the indoor for his first ride at the new barn. He was pretty good walk/trot, but very stiff, ignoring my leg, ignoring any sort of contact, spooking and grinding his teeth constantly, and looking out the window at Jake galloping around and calling to him. I got a few decent trots out of him, and it's definitely pretty cool having mirrors in the indoor to see how we look. I was riding on the outside track, as the other woman riding was walking and constantly changing directions-- like didn't even go halfway around the ring before switching directions. I came up behind/alongside her, about 20 feet away, and she told me that I really needed to call out what I was doing. Um, staying on the outside track, trotting, while you walk your horse/change directions on the inside track? I've always been taught that faster gaits have outside track? She kept patting her horse and telling him what a good boy he was, but they were these loud smacking pats, and Finn must have thought this horse was getting beat up, because every time she did her good boy "pat", Finn would tilt his head toward her and spook. Once she left the ring we were alone. Barn owner showed up with her friend who was there to fix indoor sprinklers. We continued to ride as he fiddled around. I came up the long side of the arena, and all of a sudden a BOOM, a shot of water, similar to what a fire hose would do, came sideways at Finn and hit him square in the side. This wasn't just a little spray of water, and I'm not exaggerating when I'm saying it was just like a fire hose.  Finn shot off, rearing and bucking, out of his mind. And so was I. I stayed on. He said "I didn't think that would happen. I'm sorry". I think I was in shock. I said "okay", hopped off, and left the ring with Finn a snorting mess. We walked all around the property and after about 15 minutes went down to the outdoor while a lesson was going on. My husband said I couldn't leave our ride ending with that and told me I better get back on. I knew he was right, but all I wanted to do was leave. Hopped on anyway, with Finn looking and doing baby spooks at everything. I was so nerved up from the sprinkler experience, I knew Finn was picking up on how I was feeling, but I just couldn't control myself, and be what he needed in that moment. I was so mad that our first ever ride at the new barn was going like this. The other trainer was awesome. She was teaching a young girl and reminded her to give my horse lots of room and pass wide. When we picked up the trot, the trainer said he looked great. And he did. I got a couple of really stretchy trots and when he could just settle down and relax he was moving and feeling better than he ever has before. The footing in the arena is better than any we've ever been in and it sure showed in how he carried himself. We didn't even canter today.
        I want to be the strong, confident rider that Finn needs. But, I'm not. And it's always been my biggest fault as a rider. Having Finn makes me question everything about my riding. I am so upset that I couldn't help him through his fears, and ended up probably even more scared than him. He's a great horse, but more often than not, I'm scared of him. Even though he never does anything dangerous.  Today pretty much shattered my confidence. Dreams of eventing are far, far away. I'm so upset.
       Barn owner seems pretty busy with her lesson kids, so I may see if the hunter jumper trainer that was teaching today will give me and Finn a lesson. Her students compete on the A circuit, and she seems pretty hard core-- she was really pushing the little girl (that couldn't have been more than 8) to get the correct strides to a jump. But, I think we need someone who's hardcore.
    I'm also starting to read:

Originally posted by Jen. Hoping it will have some ideas on how to be a more confident rider. If I just had an ounce of confidence, and could get out of my own head, and enjoy my horse, I know we'd have a better time together. Today was not a good time.

Farrier's coming tomorrow. I'll be up at the barn in the AM for a ride, and praying it goes better.


Taking it slow

No ride today. By the time I got up to the barn they were just starting to turn the horses in. I went to get Finn, brought him in (NO HIVES!!! WOOHOO!!), and gave him a quick brushing while he danced around on the cross ties and called out to the other ponies. It was 90+ degrees, and super windy, and Finn had his head in the clouds. I decided to give him a quick lunge in the indoor to see what type of brain I was working with. The indoor at this barn is unlike any he's ever been in. One wall is entirely mirrors (which really confused him), the two long walls have huge windows higher up that open and let in lots of light/air (and also give him so much to look at), and the other short wall has the main door to get to the paddocks. He was actually really good on the lunge. I haven't lunged him in ages and he listened to all my commands. One strange thing was that he swapped leads behind once, and I'm hoping it's just a strength issue and I was keeping my circle too small, rather than a hock/SI/stifle issue thing. By the end of our lunging session he had his nose to the ground, one ear tilted towards me, and was licking and chewing. Rather than push it and ride, I decided to just hang out with him and keep it relaxed, and I'll ride tomorrow night. We went into the wash stall to rinse off the sweat and then walked around the property so that Finn could check everything out and eat some grass. The property is just so BIG and there's so many fields/rings/trails to ride in, once he settles in I know we're going to have a total blast.
    This week I plan on asking BO/trainer how lessons work and hopefully me and Jake's owner, Carole, will be able to take semi-privates together. Carole also mentioned that she'd like to take the boys off property to trails or x-country schooling at least once a month to get them ready for shows. Love having a friend with a trailer!
Wash stall


A fresh start

The move could not have gone smoother. Got up to the barn around 7am and rode Finn first. After having a significant amount of time off he was HOT. He almost unseated me bucking, and popping all four legs off the ground picking up the canter. I probably should have lunged first! Finn had a bit of an issue loading, as he's never been on a ramp trailer, but once he saw his buddy Jake hop right on he was all for it. Pulled up to the barn, unloaded, and Finn was so well behaved. Most of the time when he's nervous/excited he has horrible ground manners, but he was really great. Finn and Jake were turned out in their own, huge grass paddock. I'm pretty sure they'll be the only two in this paddock so we shouldn't have any more issues with ripped halters/fly masks, or little bites all over him. There were tons of people up at the barn and everyone was super nice. Barn owner got us all settled in and helped us put our stuff away. There's tons of storage space and I'm able to keep my saddle, bridle, brushes, and stuff I regularly use near his stall, and his big tack trunk upstairs. When I left the barn Finn was happily munching grass like he's lived there his whole life. It just seems like such a peaceful place and I really think we're both going to be happy there. Tomorrow afternoon I plan on going up, riding him in the indoor, and hopefully walking him around the property to show him everything as long as he's calm enough.