Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Road Riding and Riverboating

Last Friday ended up being my most productive “horse” day in weeks! I tossed riding clothes in my car so on my way home I could just go straight to the barn (although now that it’s only a mile away, it’s not like its time prohibitive to go home first haha). I changed and tacked up quickly, and Ruby and I got to enjoy a lengthy ride with Jacki and Mort! Although it really highlighted for me how much I miss the trails at the old place – we rode down the road a bit (avoiding the house that has dogs that chase me on my bike all the time), around the mowed sections, and along all the fencelines we could find. The weather was cooperative enough that we weren’t totally melting, and the horses seemed to enjoy it as well. 

 

Saturday the heat crept back in, so I was mostly a lazy bum after doing chores at home in the morning (Dr. Who marathon FTW -- Saturday while DH is at work is the only time I get to watch "my" TV shows). In the afternoon I had chores down at the barn, so I decided to bike down. This was a really poor life choice that I regretted before I was halfway there. I did finally make it to the barn and I texted DH to see if he could grab me some water on his way home and drop it off – God bless him, not only did he bring me water, but he also pitched in and helped out with the chores so I didn’t die of heatstroke. 
Chilling with the dachshunds during the day!

Sunday morning I was feeding at the barn, so I decided to bike up again since it was early in the morning (aka, not quite as hot). I made it about halfway there before the chain on my bike completely stopped cooperating and started coming off every 5 seconds. I’d get off, wrestle it back into place, and then make it another 5 seconds before it would pop off again. I was far enough from the house that I didn’t feel like turning around to get the truck, so I just hoofed it the last half mile. At least I had this beautiful sunrise to look at as I grumpily walked down the gravel road, wheeling the bike? 


This was basically the precursor to a rather annoying morning in which the horses refused to come to the gate to be caught (involving me trekking all over the LOVELY large pastures at the new farm, haha), Ruby losing her fly mask, and just general annoyances. I also had to text DH to come pick up the bike so I could get home, because the thought of walking it home once the day got hot made me want to die. About the time he showed up to take me home, I was climbing on Ruby bareback to walk around her turnout and look for the fly mask (the flies have been so bad this summer that putting a horse out without a mask basically immediately leads to icky swollen eyes). I was hoping I would have a better vantage point from high on Ruby’s back (which was a good idea in theory I guess), but I still couldn’t find the damn mask. As I fruitlessly circled the field, Ruby started to get more and more worked up about the bugs (she really doesn’t like bugs. At. All.). I finally had to concede defeat, and as I walked back to the barn I saw DH driving away (wtf honey). He did manage to fix the bike so I could ride it home. 
I stopped in the barn for a snuggle with Cinna to make me feel better.

 

By the time I got home all I wanted was a cold shower and to never, ever move again. At least one of those things happened? After I recovered a little bit, he wanted to take the boat down to the river. Since I didn’t have any other plans with the horses (too effing hot and humid), we loaded up the truck and took off. He was excited to take me up to a sandbar that he found exploring with his friend last weekend. I tried not to be a buzzkill, but I was super bored. I had my kindle so I read on the sandbar for a bit, but it got too hot, so I went and sat with him in the water. Which was fun for like…. 10 minutes, and then I really just wanted to go home. He has been such a good sport about horse events for so long that I’ll keep trying to have fun out on the river with him, but I will also very much encourage him and his friends to go out fishing so there is no room in the boat for me… haha.

 
 
 
 

Unfortunately yesterday was too consumed with a dentist’s appointment and a GMO meeting to get in any horse time, but I’m okay with that, because the weather is still shit. And unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get much better any time soon.... Blech. Maybe I'll dig up some photos and do tack reviews? Too hot for much else! haha. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

In the Stillness

The heat finally broke a little yesterday -- we had a pop up shower shortly before I left work (in fact when I walked out to my car it was raining while the sun was shining brightly. WTF Missouri?), but no rain at the house. I was still kind of recovering from a less-than-stellar week at work, so I opted to buckle down and get the majority of the chores done in the evening to free up my morning to work Cinna. In the middle of the night, I woke up to the sound of rain tapping on the tin roof. I briefly cursed myself for not working Cinna in the evening, but figured if it was only a light shower, the arena would probably still be okay.
I ended up waking up well before my alarm, so I figured I might as well get the day started. When I walked outside, all three horses were sacked out in the field napping. I crawled through the fence and went to join them for a bit. Jack and Cinna both let me sit on them for snuggles.
 
 
 
 
Life's hard when you're a baby horse!
After getting all the other animals taken care of and the boys brought in for breakfast, I headed out to the arena with Cinna. She was a champ -- I kind of thought there might be histrionics about having to walk away from breakfast to come work, but she was unconcerned. She hasn't been worked much lately, so I let her get some ya-yas out on the lunge before I asked her to buckle down and focus.
She really brought her A game this morning. I was a lot more lax about consistency when I taught Cinna to lunge initially (as opposed to Ruby or Topaz) and sometimes she cuts her circles and dodges in -- today I insisted she stay all the way out on the end of the line, and once she worked through that concept and figured out what I wanted, she rocked it. I think some of it is a confidence thing -- both Topaz and Ruby were much more confident in themselves and didn't need much reassurance, but Cinna needs a lot more "hand-holding" so to speak. Any time she's nervous about something, her default is to look to me for safety, and on the lunge line, sometimes that meant coming closer to me.
I'm uh, not great at keeping her in the center of the frame haha.
I didn't ask for much canter, because she's not fit, but we did quite a bit of trotting. I also focused on using the whole arena, walking up and down the center so she was constantly making circles in different areas. We also did a little bit of work on me running next to her while she trots -- quite often, she interprets that as a signal to take off cantering at top speed, but today she was more attentive and less panicked, and we made a few runs up and down the long sides.
Her walk though. I love it.
Even though it was cooler this morning, it was still quite humid and she worked up a bit of a sweat. I decided to make poor life choices and climb on her bareback to finish walking her out (poor life choices because there was no one home but me and if something happened, no one would find me for hours and hours). When I first climbed on, her head shot up like a giraffe and she started chomping on the bit. After a minute though, she settled back in and we just casually wandered around the arena. I've been ruminating on Megan's post about eliminating static, and I decided to really focus on my body and stopping myself from giving Cinna any unwanted aids. At one point I was focusing so hard on not doing anything that I unintentionally tensed up and stopped breathing, and Cinna immediately halted and was like "WTF are you doing up there?" I laughed, remembered to breathe, and she set off again.
Itchy face haha.
It was a really interesting exercise for me mentally, although clearly I'm not even a tenth of the rider Megan is. But it made me realize how many aids I give inadvertently because I lack the necessary body control to ride quietly. Always something to work on, right?
This view never gets old.
At any rate, it was a very productive morning, and after she cooled out, Cinna got to enjoy some clover before I put her up for the day. I tossed some tack in my car and am hoping to ride Ruby after work, so fingers crossed the weather and my schedule is more cooperative! This morning was just the quietness I needed to relax after a hectic week.
"Nom nom nom"

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Melting

This will be a disappointingly short entry, because I've done a lot of nothing this week. Monday I did get up early, bike down to the barn, and let Ruby play on the lunge a little bit. I wanted to try out a new teal/black lunge line (shut up I know I have a problem, okay?), and I was hoping to start lightly working on her fitness with the goal of resuming lessons at some time in the not too distant future. We worked both in the indoor, and also out in the grass, and she was excellent.
Not so sure about this "work" thing.
Yeah definitely still not sure.
Okay FINE. I'll work.
Outside work is more fun anyway!
Wheeeeeeeee.

And that's all I've accomplished this week. The end. It's been stupid hot, which always kind of kills my motivation. And then I've had to spent more time than I care to think about playing referee to a bunch of adults who really should know better (both at work and in my personal life).
 
 

On the plus side, it's supposed to cool off a little today and over the next few days, so maybe I can get some horses worked. Or maybe I'll just sit with the teeny dogs and Netflix and all you'll get are pictures of alcoholic beverages. Jury's still out.
When you only have $10 but need a drink REAL bad.
But in the meantime, enjoy this morning greeting from Samurai, my little baby goat (shut up I also know DH won this round because this little sucker is cute AF and he thinks I'm his mom and I'm in love hahaha). Gotta have your sound on!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Bumming

Last week was... obviously not a solid blogging week for me haha. Wednesday night I popped down to the barn to work Ruby, but a miscommunication with my farrier had me rushing back home. On the plus side, the boys got their feet done, so they're ready to hit the trails again, if it ever cools off to a temp less than "Hell on Earth". Ruby took advantage of some mud to liberally coat her entire body (including her face), that definitely sapped my desire to get anything done -- brushing mud off a horse when it's this sticky out basically becomes the equivalent of going out and rolling in it yourself.
Accurate. The "feels like" factoring in the humidity is even worse.
Also, who wants to try to ride this? Ick.
 
"Who me? Muddy? Noooo. It's a special clay mask, to exfoliate my skin." -- Ruby, probably.
Thursday I had really good intentions to ride (I even put on breeches), but then I walked outside into the sauna and said "fuck this noise", so we just lunged. Footing was delivered last week for the indoor, and Ruby really had fun working in a much bigger indoor space than the old barn had! Then I spent some time hosing her off and removing some of the really nice mud dreadlocks she was sporting from the previous pics -- thanks girl. Friday a bunch of the boarders met up at the local Mexican place to celebrate the new facility with tequila (because that is ALWAYS a solid plan!).
Mmmmm, tequila is the best! (j/k we don't waste tequila on dogs!)
Friday was also a banner mail day. Thanks Nicole for this recommendation!
My mailman was definitely judging me.
Although half of them were truck parts. Which is... less exciting (although I do really need the truck fixed, so there's that).
One of the boxes was a TEENY DOG LIFEJACKET.

The KYOOT. IT BURNS. (check out my insta for video lol).

Saturday morning I was determined to not be such a lazy bum, so I climbed on my bike and headed up to the barn. You know how people say "it's just like riding a bike" when they say something is easy to remember how to do? Lies. I feel like with the amount of riding I do (especially on green horses), I would be coordinated enough to manage the bike, but that was patently false. As long as I was on it and moving I did okay, but getting on and off was dicey, haha. At any rate, I made the trek out to the barn and back with no issues, and enjoyed some snuggling with Ruby in between. I'm not sure I could handle biking to the barn, riding, then biking back (yet!), so I think the plan for the near future will be to bike up there on days I plan to lunge or just groom, and then work my way up. I definitely need to get a slightly more comfortable seat for it -- even just the two miles had me a little sore in places I really don't want to be sore... lol.
Saturday afternoon we took the boat out with some of DH's friends from work and had an absolute blast -- we anchored up at a sand bar in the river and just sat in the cool water, snacking and drinking and hanging out. The new boat performed admirably (although the others were in a MUCH bigger boat and had to make allowances for us in terms of speed, haha). We installed a small bluetooth radio, and are waiting for a canopy top to come in. I'm going to have to buy stock in sunscreen -- even after reapplying it 3 or 4 times, I still managed to get lightly burned. Thankfully it's almost all faded already, which is nice.
 
 
 
 
When your day ends by eating a cheeseburger with grilled cheese sandwiches as the bun, it's a damn good day.

Sunday morning I had a photoshoot with a local acquaintance and her horses. I'm pretty pleased with the way they turned out, and I hope she is too! We spent a few hours in the blazing heat, which sapped me of any desire to do anything else for the rest of the day (other than edit photos and binge watch Dr. Who). I did bike up to the barn again last night, but the horses were already turned out for the night (and I didn't really have any goals other than just more exercise lol), so I just cooled off and then came home again. I can't really feel guilty about ignoring the horses when it's this miserably hot, because most of the time they're sweating just standing in their stalls. And we have no immediate goals or plans that I am working towards, so they can bum around and we'll pick up when the weather is nicer. Last week my work hours were a little wonky, but this week I'm back on summer hours, so hopefully I can get up early and get some work done before the blazing heat!