Tuesday 31 October 2017

Spooky, But Not Spooky

On Friday night I decided that I would work on some desensitization with Cisco. I had Pony Grandma whip me up a flag that I was planning to use in some way. She did an excellent job of making a big, bright yellow flag on a stick with no notice.

I loaded my pockets up with treats, grabbed my clicker and target and headed over to the arena with Cisco. The plan was to work mainly in the scary end, with the hope that the positive reinforcement would help to alleviate some of his worry in that area.

Cisco happily followed the target down the arena. A couple of times he circled away from me, but came right back to the target.  Once he stood with me, I decided to start working on the head down command.

Until it happened.

No, it wasn't the land shark this time.

It was the Killer Kitty.

There is a hole in the door at the end of the arena. And who decided to come through that hole in the door to terrorize the occupants of the arena? Jerry, the Terrifying Tabby.

Just look at the evil in that face.
Cisco gave one snort and flew down to the safe end of the arena. And then he trotted half-way back towards me. Killer Kitty was winding himself around my legs (obviously trying to trip me so that he could grab me by the jugular) so Cisco came to make sure I was okay. And when Killer Kitty walked away from me, Cisco chased him all the way down to the end. He showed him who's boss.

Cisco actually quite likes Jerry. He loves to nuzzle him, and Jerry is happy to be nuzzled. But that is in the barn. Kitties shouldn't suddenly appear through the wall.
Proof that kitties aren't always terrifying.

So, now the scary end was terrifying again. Sigh. We keep making progress down there, and then something scary shows up.

We made our way back down to the scary end. I had to let Cisco touch the target much more often that I had the first time so that he could be rewarded and be convinced it was okay down there. I did a few minutes of work, and when I ran out of treats in my pocket we moved onto the next thing to torture him with.

I grabbed the flag, but initially left him loose. Standing directly in front of him, I gently waved the flag around. And he stood still.  So I waved it around a bit faster. He flinched a couple of times, and looked to the side a couple of times, but stood still.

I started really waving that flag. So that it flapped and snapped. And he didn't move.

I hooked him up to a lead shank, and handed the flag to Pony Grandma. She enthusiastically flapped the flag, while I led him in a small circle around her. After a couple of circles each way, his head dropped and he sighed.

I took the flag back and awkwardly led him and tried to wave the flag over his back. No biggie.

So, according to Cisco, large, bright flappy pieces of fabric are nothing to get excited about. But kitties that appear through the wall? Totally evil.

Monday 30 October 2017

Why Writing a Blog is Hard

Writing a blog is hard.

Is it because I have to come up with original content five days a week? Not particularly.

Is it because I end up staying up late after getting home late to write an update on how my ride went? Nah, I go to bed too late most nights as a regular habit.

Is it because most of my rides are rather boring, and not much happens that I can make interesting for the few people who actually read my blog? Not so much.

The reason writing a blog is hard? It's because I have a cat in my house.

Friday 27 October 2017

Better with Friends

When I got out to the barn on Tuesday night, there was another person out there for once. Finally!

We tacked up our horses and headed over to the arena. Cisco actually was the big, brave boy for once - the other horse is not a fan of the automatic overhead door into the arena. Proud mommy moment when he stood rock still in front of the opening door.

I threw him on the lunge line before riding. No sense tempting fate in trying to get by without lunging a second time in a row. We went straight down to the scary end. And it was probably the first time that he wasn't cranking his head to the outside as he passed the scary end. I'm hoping that it's because he's getting used to that end, but it's probably because there was another horse in the arena for once. He stayed on a much bigger circle, was much more relaxed, and listened quite nicely. So I didn't do too much on the lunge.

We walked on down to the other end to do a bit of groundwork before getting on. And then a huge distraction entered the arena. Cisco and Phantom's buddy, Ned.

They have been in a different turnout for the last couple of months from Ned, so Cisco was a bit excited to be in his presence. So back to groundwork we went. We gave them a short opportunity to sniff noses, and that seemed to help Cisco settle. They got split up when Cisco tried to start a game of bitey-face.
Cisco isn't the smallest horse on the property!

He was much more settled right off the bat than he had been the last two rides. No trotting until I asked for it, and much less fussy. With the other horses in the arena, he was much more relaxed, which meant that he was not as forward either, but not what I would call sucking back.

He had a major splat spook at one point - we were trotting down the long side, and Pony Grandma was sitting in the bleachers. She moved her arm to scratch her nose and Cisco slammed on the brakes and got a foot shorter in front. I cussed, but didn't really lose my position. But I felt my back go crunch, so I knew I was going to feel it later on. I was stiff by the time I drove home.

The other thing I did a bit of work on was parking. I haven't ridden Cisco too often with other horses in the arena, so haven't had much chance to park and then walk away from the other horse. We only parked for a minute or two, and he was very good about walking away. I did this a couple of times and decided that was a good night's ride.

I finally found the charger for the video camera, so I promise some proper video in the next short period!

Thursday 26 October 2017

Craft Day

They put a wind warning weather advisory up for Wednesday on Tuesday afternoon. Wind gusts at 90 kph were forecasted for the late afternoon. I had warned the two students that I teach lessons to on Wednesday that I might cancel if the advisory continued through the day, and made the decision early afternoon to not teach. I didn't want to deal with spooky horses, and honestly, the drive on the highway.

And I definitely had no plans to ride Cisco in this wind. He's been getting better about the arena not being too spooky, and a super windy day would likely set that back. Plus my back was rather sore from yesterday's ride (which I will write about tomorrow) so I decided that today was a full day off and I would craft something for myself.

So I made me a shirt.

Well, I decorated a shirt that I bought from Costco.

Every year Costco carries a base layer top and bottom from a company called Paradox. They are only$20 Canadian. The style and colours change a bit every year, and a few years ago they changed from 100% polyester to a merino wool/polyester blend. I think every year except one they have been a quarter zip style (that other year they were had an asymmetric zipped opening on one shoulder). I pretty well exclusively ride in these shirts in the winter so I buy a new one every winter.

I had an idea for a shirt that I wanted to do, and decided this shirt would work nicely for it. The only bad thing about the shirts are the lack of colours - this year the selection include a black mix, a tomato-ey red, and a black/grey camouflagey print. Originally I grabbed the red, but red won't go with my brick red or brown breeches. So I stuck with the black mix (another black shirt wouldn't be my first option).

Here's how it turned out!

And I added a reminder to myself on the left sleeve.
In theory I shouldn't be looking down to read this when I ride. In reality however.....

I'm very happy with how it turned out. And it's really hard to take a good picture of a shirt in a small house!

And in the end, they dropped the wind advisory about an hour after I cancelled lessons. It didn't get anywhere near as bad as they forecasted. Typical!

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Sunday Night

I prefer to spend my Sunday evenings at home, curled up on the couch watching Masterpiece on PBS. Since I got my second horse this past spring, Sunday's have not been days of rest. I usually teach a few lessons until about 2pm so that I can afford the second horse. So my personal barn time is later in the day on Sunday. That is, if I have nothing else scheduled. Much like Saturday nights, it's not uncommon to see me alone at the barn on a Sunday evening.

This past Sunday I went out after dinner. Not my dinner - on days that I ride, I eat after riding. Which is usually some time after 10pm.

No, I waited to head out until after the ponies should have finished their evening hay.

Cisco was quite quiet as I groomed and tacked him up. Again, I thought that I would try to get on him without lunging. But I took the lunging gear over with me, just in case.

He quietly followed me over to the arena. Quietly for half of the way. Because then he saw something in the yard that blew his brain. I looked out into the blackness of the open field next to the arena. What was out there? Deer? Moose? Land shark???

No. Cisco was losing his brain over 2 flags. Tiny flags. The flags that they put in the ground to mark for underground wires so that when you dig you don't die. There was a slight breeze so they were flapping a bit. And they have been there for months.

I made him walk up to the flags of death. He sniffed them, then looked out into the distance for a new reason to spook. Obviously the flags were real scary.

As I expected, when I turned him to continue on our path to the arena, he tried to zoom past me. Like 4 different times. By the time we got into the arena, he wasn't so quiet anymore.

But I was determined to try to ride without lunging. So I did some groundwork first to see if he would settle. I just did some simple leading, but constantly changing direction. I did it in the scary end of the arena, with the hopes that he would focus on me a bit, rather than looking for a reason to spook. It seemed to help, and he did settle much quicker than I thought he would.

So I hopped on. We walked maybe quarter of a lap and we were suddenly trotting. I was planning to do another slow, quiet ride, but Cisco thought he might have a better idea. I wondered if not lunging was a really bad idea.

He really wasn't that bad. We just had some sudden we're trotting moments. I just steered him onto a circle, let him trot a circle or two, then asked him to walk.

I do think the work from the previous night of just walking may have helped. He relaxed much faster and was for the most part less fussy with his mouth and neck. I did ask for some trot, and towards the end of the ride did some halt/walk transitions. We seem to have lost our halt under saddle. He had a really good one in the beginning, but now that he is thinking a bit more forward our halt seems to have suffered.

All in all, Cisco was pretty good with being ridden without lunging. I mean, if the worst thing that he does is trot quickly without being asked, I'm not going to complain. He still steers, his head is up, and he's not trotting at 90 mph. I am very aware that the other options could be much, much worse.

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Walk It Off

Let's try this post again. Hopefully it doesn't get eaten up by the internet this time.

I generally work Saturdays. So my Saturday nights are usually either spent on my couch trying to stay awake late enough to watch Saturday Night Live, or at the barn, since I have no life because, well, horses. This past Saturday was the barn version of a Saturday night for me.

Cisco was my victim for the night. After tacking him up I took him over to the arena. I thought maybe I would be good to hop on without lunging first. Then I laughed and laughed.
Always alert.

After lunging for a few minutes, I hopped on. And had a horse who was a bundle of nerves under me.

Cisco is always on. He has yet to come into the barn for his grooming and have a nap. He is 6 going on 2 based on his ability to stay focused. He's naturally curious, but not terribly brave. And he is a sensitive, smart horse.

In his brief time under saddle, he has been very mouthy with the bit, and all over the place with his head and neck carriage - giraffe, snake, German dressage horse (you know, curled behind the bit). I think it is mainly due to nerves. I am not asking him for any sort of frame at all, but I have short enough reins that I maintain a forwards feel of his mouth, wherever he puts it.

In a perfect horse-breaking world, we would hack out every day with an older horse and spend lots of time out in the open at a slow gait, just working on relaxation. However, I live far from a perfect location. I live in a an area that is frozen and dark for half the year. So we have to ride in an indoor arena. Which is rather boring.

This Saturday night, I decided that we would just walk. Just steer and walk. And see if he would (could?) relax.

At the beginning there was a lot of chomping on the bit. Constant chomping. Which resulted in fussing with where his head was.

But after about 15 minutes, it changed. We had 3/4 of a lap of the arena with no chomping. His neck was (slightly) lower. His walk stride was longer. And lots of sighs.

We did a few more minutes and left it there. Cisco was by no means walking on the buckle, but I felt it was definite progress from where we had started.

There will definitely be more days of just walking over the next little bit. Walking is sooo boring. But boring isn't necessarily a bad thing when it comes to green horses.

Monday 23 October 2017

Damn Internet

Dammit. My original Monday post that I stayed up late to write got eaten up by the internet somewhere and went poof. Despite me saving it more than once.

So I won't be able to redo it til tomorrow.

Quick preview - I rode Cisco, and no one got hurt. In fact it was nice and boring.

Til tomorrow!

Friday 20 October 2017

Waiting for the Farrier

Thursday was farrier day. I called dibs on the first spots in the day as I had to go straight from the barn to work. They were originally scheduled to arrive for 10:30, but when I woke up this morning there was a message that they were running about a half hour late. I was up and ready to go, so I figured I would head out and find something to do with the kids while we were waiting.

I had gotten my clipper blades sharpened a couple of weeks ago, so after putting the blades back onto the clippers I thought I would keep them out and do a quick trim of the goat hair that shows up on their chins with their winter coats.

Phantom was, as per usual, perfect for clipping. I have been known to ground tie her for body clipping, so it's obviously no big deal to her.
Waiting for the farrier to arrive. And for treats to appear.

Cisco has been clipped once. By clipped, I mean I trimmed his fetlocks with the clippers this summer, since that was the only hairy part on his body in July when I made my first attempt at using the clippers on him (I had worked a couple of times with the clippers on desensitizing him to the sound near his body before this). He was very good that day, but he hasn't been too happy about them up by his ears. Not scared, just not happy.

Today I started with doing the hair under his jaw, and he was very good about that. So I thought I'd push my luck and try to do his bridle path.

Which went about as well as I figured it would. I've been working on a "head down" command with him, and he's generally pretty good about it. I press down on his crest a few inches ahead of his withers, and he drops his head and neck.

I pressed on his neck, brought the clippers up towards his ears, and he turned into a giraffe. I tried a couple more times and got the same result.

So I grabbed some treats.

Same idea. Press on his neck, bring the clippers up. But this time, when he dropped his head, the clippers turned off , I clucked and he got a treat. He figured this out very quickly - he got the treat reward and the removal of the offending object only when he dropped his head. As I said earlier, he wasn't scared of the sound, he just didn't like it. So I knew I could push it a bit.

I didn't get his bridle path clipped. I stopped after he gave me a few of the right responses in a row. Hopefully after a couple more sessions I won't have any more issues. And then I can work on desensitizing him to the much noisier body clippers. Because he's going to have to get nekkid around Christmas when I start riding again after their upcoming 6 week vacation.

Phantom got her winter shoes on when the farrier arrived. It's pretty discouraging to think that it's time to put the snow pads and borium on already, but her next reset won't be until early December. The chances of us having snow by that date are pretty high. Like, you can be 99.9% sure that we'll have snow on the ground. Thankfully I actually thought of this on the drive home from the barn the night before. And actually knew where her shoes and pads from last year were. And actually put them in the car before I went into the house because I knew I would forget them in the morning. So it didn't cost me anything extra.

Thursday 19 October 2017

Thinking Forward

Two rides in one week on Cisco??? Whaaaat?

Yep, he got ridden again on Wednesday. He was the same as the previous day - kind of a twit in the barn and while getting ready, but fairly relaxed on the lunge line. I didn't lunge him as long so that I could do a bit more under saddle with him.

The ride itself wasn't too exciting. Steering was a bit wonky at the beginning of the trot, but got better. He was a bit sticky at a trot going to the left, but when I asked for a slightly bigger trot he gave it to me. He was fussy in the contact (not that there is much contact yet), and had some moments of retracting his neck, but a moment later he pushed his nose forward. His halts were not as good as he can do. But overall, everything went as I expected, and for the most part better than I expected.

Phantom is already super fluffy

I have seen a bit of what I think is progress the last couple of times that I have lunged him in the scary end of the arena. There are pigeons that live down there, and like to fly up as a horse goes past them, and make noise in an open duct at the end. They are terrifying pigeons, at least to Cisco.
She will still get fluffier. 

His normal reaction when on the lunge or when being ridden at that end is to stop when he hears an unexpected noise or some sudden flapping. He stops, and sometimes tries to leave.

But the last couple of times at that end, when something unexpected happens, he keeps going. He might slow himself down, or do a stutter step, or there was the time he went from a canter to a momentary halt, but then trotted off right away. He's thinking forward.

There was a very loud noise today that spooked him, and he scooted forward a few steps. Normally there would be a good chance that he would stop as he approached that spot again. Today he kept trotting. Yes, he trotted faster, and dropped his shoulder away from that spot. For about two laps. By the third lap, his pace stayed the same. Another two laps, and he was staying out on the circle.

Fingers crossed that this continues and will carry over to when I ride him.

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Short-Legged Stirrup Problem

I am short. I am 5 foot nothing tall. My inseam is (at most) 27". And for some reason, I keep riding chunky, wide horses, instead of the slab-sided ponies I should be on based on my conformation.

A couple of years ago I came upon this article by Wendy Murdoch. What she wrote kind of made sense to me.

I am short from hip to knee. And tight in my right hip. I have never been able to ride in long stirrups (my hunter/jumper background probably has something to do with it also). On my chunky horses, my knee doesn't come down very far on their sides.
My stirrups felt so much longer than the picture proved them to be.

I have definitely seen many pictures where my feet are not level in my stirrups, and my big toe sits much lower than the outside of my foot. What Wendy described is exactly what happens to me.

So I built a set of shims for my stirrups, using cardboard, duct tape and vetrap. And here is the difference.

How did it ride, you ask? On my initial ride, I didn't feel too much of a difference at a trot, but definitely felt better at a canter.  It felt just as was written in the article - like I had a balanced base underneath me. It doesn't seem to help in 2-point though - I have a really hard time keeping my foot in the right spot when I try and canter around a corner. It might have to do with the amount of pressure in the stirrup needed in 2-point versus in a full seat. 

So I have continued to use a wedge pad in my stirrups. I did upgrade to proper rubber treads. They weren't easy to find. So hard to find, I couldn't find a picture online to put on this post.

And now I have a dilemma.

I will need to use safety stirrups on my new treeless saddle that should arrive around Christmas. And I am having a hard time finding a set of stirrups that I can use the wedge pad in. 

I know that I don't want peacock stirrups. I've always hated how the elastic would ping off as I was getting on the horse. So that may only leave the curved side stirrups as my only option.
Style 1

Or style 2?

For jumping work, I might use my beloved MDC Super Sport stirrups, and just add cages to the toes. I hate the way that cages look, but pretty sure I would hate the damage done to me should I get hung up in a stirrup even more.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

A Good Night

I finally got both ponies ridden in the same night! First time in 4 weeks.

Cisco hasn't been ridden in those 4 weeks. Life got in the way - sick, work, other things - and when I did have time to do something with him he has been kind of a twit.  With only 20-something rides on him, twittiness means I might die if I were to hop on him.  So he's been lunged a bit, mainly at the scary end of the arena, to try to get over whatever he thinks is still going to jump out at him in that end.
I found a beached whale out in the paddock on Sunday.

He's been really good the last couple of times that I lunged him. So Monday night was going to be the night to get him back under saddle.

But the twittiness was back. He did his idiot dance in the barn while I was getting him ready. I threw the saddle and bridle on him, since he hasn't worn them for most of the last month, although I was pretty sure I wasn't going to hop on him. It would be a bad night for me to die, as it was going to be really busy at work the next day, and my boss would be pretty pissed if I were to call in dead.
I really wanted to sneak up and tickle her tummy and see if she giggled like the Pillsbury doughboy.

So I took him into the arena with the thought that I would just lunge him. He wasn't great about standing while I was getting myself organized. Then I sent him out on the circle. And he was really good!

He was moving forward nicely, on a big circle without falling in. He even showed that he is not a giraffe, and had moments of reaching out with his nose and dropping his head and neck a bit.
Legs straight out.

I decided that it would probably be safe to hop on him to cool him out, to remind him about steering (that I figured would be non-existant after a month off). And that my chances of dying were less than earlier thought.

He was a bit bouncy when I got on, but the steering was actually quite good. We weren't doing the drunk horse routine that I thought we would be doing. A friend brought her horse into the arena (thankfully she yelled door and gave me time to position him so that he could see the door open and a horse magically appear on the other side), and this caused Cisco initially to be a bit excited. But suddenly a switch went off and he just relaxed.

I just walked him, and did lots of steering. Then threw in some walk/halt transitions to get him listening to my leg and thinking forward. And decided to leave it there. It all went much better than I thought the night was going to go, so I called that a win for me.
She was snoring quite contentedly. And she knew I was there, as when I arrived she was laying down in a sternal position. She moved to this position after I went out and told her I wanted to grab her before Cisco.
I grabbed Cisco first.

Phantom was feeling pretty sassy through our quick ride. Nice and forward at a trot. Waiting for me to give my hands forward after an exercise at canter to go whoo-hoo. But she was listening, and had some nice moments.

But the best part of the night? I put a pair of breeches on that I haven't worn in probably 2 years (I think my smallest pair). And they fit!!! And weren't even tight!!! (They may have actually fit fine for the last couple of years, I just haven't worn them as I like my Pikeur's much better. It's just a great feeling when you put something on after a long period and can still fit into them.)

Monday 16 October 2017

How to Put Up a Tail

Phantom's tail is supposed to be white. Like this:
I had to go back two years of pictures to find one with a white tail.

As soon as she wears a blanket, it looks like this:
More poopy coloured than white.

A few years ago I started putting her tail up over the winter months to try to keep it cleaner. My barn doesn't have an indoor washrack, and trying to wash a tail when it's -25 degrees Celsius ain't fun. I've had many people ask how I put her tail up, so here is my tutorial.

Supplies needed:

  • Duct Tape - I like to use fun patterned tape, but you can use the plain stuff from the dollar store, or good ol' utilitarian silver.
  • Vetrap - I prefer to colour coordinate with my duct tape. One roll will do her tail at least 4 times.
  • Elastics - the silicone ones are better than the rubber elastic types as they don't fall apart.
  • Leave-in conditioner treatment - Show Sheen type products really dry the ends of the tail out, and her tail feels like straw when I unwrap it. I switched to a human leave-in conditioner, and it's made a big difference. So don't use Show Sheen! 
  • Scissors
Start with a (relatively) clean and combed out tail. Apply the leave-in conditioner, making sure to apply to the ends. Comb it through and allow to dry.

Optional step - I use a bit of a french braid on the lower part of the dock. It must be super loose!! I put no tension on the braid. I do this because the shorter hairs on the side that wouldn't go into the braid below the dock get rather poopy. I would skip this step if her tail hairs were long enough to go into the main braid or if the poop factor wasn't an issue.
Very loose french braid, with a band at the bottom of the braid.
You can see how loose it is!

Braid the bottom of the tail, starting your braid below the end of the dock. Keep the first couple of inches fairly loose, then you can add more tension to the bottom part of the braid. If you did the french braid, add the tail of that braid into one of your strands so that it is included in the main braid.  Put a band into the end of the braid.

Get your scissors and Vetrap handy.
Take the end of the braid, and thread it through the top part of the braid, an inch or two below the end of the dock.
Depending on how long the tail is, you might need to double it and pass it through again.
Take the Vetrap, and thread it through with the end of the braid.
Wrap the Vetrap one wrap above, but making sure it stays below the end of the dock. I make this wrap snug.
Then continue to wrap the braided part of the tail. You only need one layer, so you don't have to overlap by much. Just make sure the whole braid is covered by Vetrap, including the end of the folded braid. Cut the Vetrap and stick it in place.
Cut 2 strips of the duct tape, about 4 inches long. Lay them across the end of the braid, in a kind of X pattern. Then cut a slightly longer piece, and wrap the top of the braid, ensuring that you keep the tape on the Vetrap. Keep this piece snug.
Then, starting at the top strip of tape, wind the roll of tape over the Vetrap down to the bottom. Again, a single layer is fine. Cut the tape when done.
The finished tail:
A bit blurry as she was moving it.
I try to take it down and rewrap it every 3-4 weeks through the winter.

This is how I do it. I know there are other ways that other people do it.

I don't like tail bags or socks, as they are fabric and absorb the poop or mud, and then the poop or mud soaks into the tail. If poop isn't an issue for you, they might work fine.

By threading the Vetrap through the top of the braid, and then wrapping above it, it kind of locks the covering in place, preventing the wrap from just sliding off the bottom. Been there, done that.

The duct tape covering gives it a bit of waterproofing. But if it rains, water will slide down the top of the tail and will get into the wrapped braid. Where I live, it probably just means that it's going to freeze into a tail-sicle. I have heard of tails rotting off, so if you live somewhere where it won't freeze, take heed if the tail gets wet.

By keeping her tail up all winter, I can usually cut 4 or 5 inches off the bottom in the spring. This helps to get rid of some of the worst-stained parts of her tail every year.

If you have any questions about the process, let me know!

Thursday 12 October 2017

Project Revealed!

I made me a saddle cart!

At my current barn, my tack box is in the first stall at the end of the barn. I generally tie my horse up about a quarter of the way down the aisle- not really close to my tack box, but not really far either. At this time, there aren't any saddle racks on which to put your saddle other than in your tack box. Since I use the same saddle for both horses, I don't really want to bother to put it away in-between horses. And when I want to clean my stuff, there's nowhere to put it. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and make myself a saddle cart.

Dad and I built it on a day off.

I actually made it with the assistance of my dad. I designed it, he cut a bunch of pieces, I did a bunch of sanding, and we both operated drills to put it all together. Then I took it home to paint and put on the hardware.
All loaded up

I have used it for the last couple of times that I was out and I've been quite happy with it.
From the front

It will hold my saddle (with pads). It has a wide bridle holder for my wide-crowned bridles, a couple of hooks for a breastplate or whatever, and a folding hook on the opposite end that is for a bucket when cleaning tack, but turns out to also be a great coat hook. Then there is a shelf, and closed storage on the bottom.
Bottom storage area with a flip down door. Currently stores a blow dryer, will store tack cleaning stuff and hopefully Cisco's boots.
Bucket hook doubles as a coat hanger
Shelf under the saddle rack
The hardest part of making it was definitely the painting. I tend to like dark colours, and always forget how many coats it takes to get proper coverage with said dark colours. I lost track as to how many coats I gave it, but it's somewhere between 6 and 8.

I used my Silhouette Cameo to make the decoration that I used. I could have created a stencil and painted the patterns, but that would have added another 2-3 hours of very monotonous painting (dabbing very light coats over and over). So I used vinyl and made decals that adhered into place.

Silver glitter decal!
My name is in silver glitter, the rest is just silver-grey.

I then used a spray can of clear coat over the sections with the vinyl to make sure it would stay on. That added another couple of days to the project, as my skills with a spray can are atrocious. I had to do 4 coats on the front side to get a mostly clean finish. Banksy, I am not.
The saddle area could use a couple more coats of clear coat. Maybe in the spring.
My favourite part is probably the cell phone holder. 
It was an organizer pouch from the dollar store (but it cost more than a dollar). I added the decor.

It's compact in size to fit next to my tack box. I don't want to take up too much room, and the space next to my box is mostly dead space as my doors open out. When it's being stored, I can't open the right side of the tack box all the way as it hits the handles on the cart. That should be okay though, as my saddle sits on that side, so if I need it I can pull the cart out and put it on there. 

I didn't do a very good job of matching the colour to my trunk - at the paint store the blue I picked looked much darker! It's actually quite a nice blue, just not as navy as I would have liked. 

All in all, I am very happy with it. I might still need to add a magnetic catch to the flip down door so that it doesn't fall open when I am moving the cart. And I am hoping the wheels will be okay (wheels are stupidly expensive). I still want to design a little shelf that I can add and remove to hold my tack cleaning soap when I clean my tack, but I'm not in a rush. 

It probably cost in the $200 range to build. The lumber was about $90. Wheels were $40, the rest of the hardware was another $50. And a can of paint. If I knew it was going to cost that much, I might not have built it. But I am happy that I did.

(Please let me know if the pictures take forever to load - I used my DSLR camera so the pictures are large. If need be I will make them smaller and repost.)