Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Two a Days

Yesterday was absolutely, ridiculously gorgeous. 75 and breezy the first week of August, with minimal humidity....WHAT?! So what did I do? I rode!
Cinna was up first at 6:30. She was NOT AMUSED 🤣
I have some new FB friends (I caved and accepted some co-worker friend requests lol) and our teal "outfits" are a big hit so we gotta appease the fans lol. 
Some creature dragged a partially eaten tomato over.... 
She was sassy and we did a LOT of cantering. 
She had some regrets about her life choices by the end haha. 
When DH got home, I conned him into a quick road hack. 
Ruby was so excited to be doing something outside the arena!
Trigger was less enthused, but he's a good egg.
Big scary... Thing
Pretty longhorn!
Moo cow
Ruby got SO EXCITED to see the barn we used to board at... She tried to duck down the driveway lol

Successfully passed dogs, kids on bikes, a few cars, and the horses were rock stars! 
Home again! 
Gratuitous video of Ruby's midday siesta, and then her being SO OFFENDED I woke her up, haha.

It's supposed to stay unseasonably cool so I hope to get a lot of riding done this week! My dumbass left the Pivo on last time I used it so it was dead yesterday, but hopefully I'll get some more footage this week!

Monday, August 3, 2020

Tack Shed Renovation: Organization Part Whatever

God I know I'm taking forever with this. Anyway. This weekend the weather was DELICIOUS, and I really wanted to haul out to ride. But Friday DH came home from work sick as a dog, so we spent Saturday getting him a coronavirus test instead -- bah. He was negative, and feeling better by today, thankfully, but it did put a damper on most of the weekend. But since it wasn't a million degrees, I went ahead and got the remaining boards cut and stained so I could put them up in the tack shed.
Making sure my cuts were correct before I spent time staining them. 
Tedious little pieces, but at least it didn't take that long!
Of course the stain takes FOREVER to dry.
I might have smudged some still-wet stain on the wall putting these up, lol. Whoops! But both my bandage racks are now hung, and filled with my polos/no-bows/standing wraps :)
We also hung two more girth racks (one to the right, there was one already there so I added a second next to it, and the one below), a basket with some hooks over next to the helmet racks, and then you can see the board where I'm going to hang my horseshoe boot hangers -- I need horseshoe nails to attach those to the board, we didn't have any screws narrow enough. Boo!
Hung the last four bridle hooks -- I think I'll make this my "show halter" hanger, or for leather halters... I just... have no idea where I'm going to hang it, lol. 
It's hard to make out because of how busy the background is, but I hung a bridle cleaning hook. I originally had it on a chain but then that made it too low. 
So no chain -- just the hook!
It was originally stainless steel so I did a questionable job with my "hammered black" spray paint lol. 
The lighting was real bad but I threw my Pivo case and gloves in the basket, then hung up some stuff I reach for frequently -- my rainbow spurs (okay shut up I don't use them I just want to look at them), my Horse Holsters, my bluetooth speaker, and the various tripods I use for the Pivo.  I also used the magnet closure on the EquiSense bag to hook it there as well. This is right over an outlet so I ran the cord up -- super convenient for charging everything!
Aside from the show halter rack, I'm getting down to the last few things to hang. I have a harness hook (that works really well for my big leather surcingles), my whip rack... and I think that's it? Of course now I'm in the position of trying to find unused space to hang things because I'm using like every inch of available wall space lol. I also have two boards I stained to possibly turn into some sort of browband display (for all my bling!) but I haven't quite figured out where those could go. I went ahead and stained the boards because once I start staining that paintbrush is usually one and done, so I have them ready if I figure out where to put them... we'll see!
Would like to display beauties like this instead of tucking them into a drawer to await use!

I'm kind of debating tucking the whip rack back here. All the pads swing over, so it wouldn't be hard to access. 
And then the final touch will be all the artwork! At the rate I'm going, that might get done by like... December. Let's not get too excited, lol. I idly commented to DH that I need to go ahead and get the air conditioner ordered at some point and he was like "why bother summer is practically over" haha. I think he'll change his tune when it's back in the 90s next week, but it is blessedly cool again today and the weather looks unseasonably cool all week - no complaints!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Playing with the Pivo

So, as I mentioned on Monday, I sold my Pixio and opted to replace it with something that was a bit more suited for the way I have time to deal with media: the Pivo Silver. Funny enough, someone asked me about the Pivo last year, but that was back before they started heavily marketing it to equestrians. At the time, she got one (a Red), and while it did an okay job of tracking you on a 20m circle if you rode around it at a walk or trot, that was pretty much it. Obviously now they have made LEAPS and BOUNDS of progress. I'm not here to sell you on the product or teach you how to use one. I'm just here to talk about my experience with it :) I will say Amanda's First Impressions post was super helpful in terms of managing expectations and setting yourself up for success, as well as spending a lot of time in the Pivo Horse Riding Community group on FB. If you expect this to perform like a Pixio or Soloshot at a fraction of the price, you'll be disappointed. That's not how the technology works.
Unrelated photo from Tuesday... It was misty and weird and it almost looked like a rainbow was ending in my back pasture? 
So understanding the limits of this particular technology, and also my own penchant for NOT BEING GOOD AT TECHNOLOGY (see, the 80% of user-caused errors when I first started trying to use the Pixio), when it arrived Monday I charged it up and started playing with it. I am using my old Pixel 2 to film (which I replaced due to a cracked screen and diminishing battery life), while I keep my Pixel 3 on me to sync with the Equisense (and also call for assistance should I become... er... lawn darted/incapacitated/need emergent help for whatever reason). I goofed around with the Pivo and my old Pixel 2 in the garage first, having it track DH (and our neighbor) while they worked on some truck repairs... then I took it out to the arena and threw Ruby out there (I pulled her in from the pasture, so ignore the grazing muzzle/fly mask) just to get a feel for it.
Crappy screenshot but you know, just testing!
Tuesday morning I was super stoked to ride Cinna and see what kind of footage I could get. I rode for about 25 minutes, and I'd estimate that it tracked us about 22 of those minutes. One time it lost us as we went down to the far side of the arena (and since we were traveling "away" from it, I imagine our shape wasn't recognizable as a horse), but I noticed it wasn't tracking so I just circled closer to it until it picked me up again, no sweat. The next time, it got distracted as we rode by Sam (one of our goats), so then it followed him for a while -- which frankly I found hilarious. He is boxy shaped, although not a horse.... haha.
Not a horse. But I can see why that's confusing!
While I was trying to get the settings right for video I accidentally took this picture and it made me giggle. She stood like this the entire time I was checking the settings. 

Super cropped off a screengrab, so not great quality. 
She wore my new Weatherbeeta ombre set so she could look FANCY!
Such a diva. 
I was a little less successful yesterday when I rode Ruby with it. I changed some settings and the location -- I started with the tripod near X thinking that might make following me down at the far end a little easier. Unfortunately, due to the time of day I ride, the sun coming up ended up blinding the camera any time I rode up one side, so it kind of gave up and stopped tracking me and just stared into the sun... lol. So I got off and moved it back to the corner, and it still struggled a bit. My arena set up isn't ideal for this (I'd rather have it outside B or E, but the view would be blocked by the fence), and I can't exactly control when the sun comes up/the angle it hits my arena at, so I'll have to keep doing some tinkering with both settings and tripod location! :) I also bought a little tripod with the bendy legs to try mounting it directly to the arena and bypassing the "normal" tripod, so that's another option.
The Pivo recording me taking a picture of Ruby, because she looked so darn pretty as I walked back to get on. 
I did use a white pad thinking that might make it easier to follow us, but I'm not sure that really helped.
It tracked me for a minute until it decided the tack shed must be a horse instead...
Riding back by to try to pick it up. 
I'm not sure what in the background there was so fascinating, but I have a lot of footage of it. 
It also hung out looking at the goat shed for a while. 
Trying unsuccessfully to convince it to watch me instead of the goat shed. 
It did finally follow me a little more towards the end of the ride as I was cooling her out. 
So... a mixed bag for my first two attempts :) I think Cinna is a lot easier for it to identify, so it makes sense it didn't struggle as much there. I have a "busy" background, so I'll have to keep trying different settings to see if I can get it to track Ruby more consistently.

I tried to make some GIFs but failed miserably so enjoy these little Youtube snippets!
Just some walk in our warmup. 
Cinna being amenable to my flopping around asking for a canter transition.
The supremely annoying camera shake it did in the beginning of Ruby's ride... I made sure the red box was on her (identifying her as the horse for their tracker), hit record, and then walked back to get on... and it just shook back and forth like this for a while. 
Generic, not exciting trotting

It lost me when I was way closer to the camera and then didn't pick me up again until I was circled allllll the way around, so you missed what felt like a really fun/great canter :)

Here you can see the issue I had with the angle of the sun blinding the camera...

So... some encouraging media, some discouraging media, and a while lot of ideas to try again! :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Blog Hop: Home Office

Viva Carlos had a great blog hop yesterday that I wanted to join in on, since working from home has been the unexpected bright spot in the absolute shit show that is 2020. I felt like I had blogged about my office at some point, but apparently it wasn't for the office blog hop, it was for one about horse decor -- since I didn't have any in my house, just my office, that's what I wrote about. Of course that was 3+ years ago, and I'm not with that agency anymore. I think I shared some pics of my new office from my promotion last fall, but considering I spend like no time there now, let's talk about my home office!

My agency was pretty quick to mandate us working from home (if possible) in mid-March. Back then, not knowing how long it was going to last, I wasn't super excited about the idea of spending a ton of money on a new home office set up. So I improvised.
First up - my antique vanity. I didn't want to work in the bedroom (where it lived previously) because I already have issues with insomnia). So I pulled this out into the living room. I figured that would be fine for a few weeks. There's my garbage old laptop, lol. And a spectacularly crappy chair we got God knows where. 
After about 48 hours of trying to work solely on the laptop, I bought a second monitor, a new mouse, and keyboard. Oh and a different chair! (a saddle stool). I did eventually upgrade the laptop too, because that blue one kept trying to die on me. 
Once it warmed up, I did consider trying to work from the tack shed.... but alas, the wifi extender struggles to reach that far. So. Next best option?
Eventually once it became clear the WFH thing was here to stay for the near future, I moved my workspace into our spare bedroom. You may recognize it from my DIY ribbon display. This is the view to the right of my desk. 
To the left of my desk, we have a dog bed that hosts various noodles throughout the day. They like to take turns keeping me company. 
In June, I broke down and bought a new more ergonomically sized desk for me. DH also bought me a new office chair for my birthday, because the saddle stool started REALLLLLLY doing a number on my back. This was the day I set everything up (so artificially neat, lol). A few things have changed since this photo (namely stacks of papers as we get closer to my program's charitable campaign haha). 
A photo taken yesterday after I finished working for the day. To the right is a display of old soda bottles (DH) and there are more in the cabinet to my left. You can see the dog bed too. I do attempt to tidy up at the end of every day and have a "for tomorrow" stack. 
This is my view on the left wall - when the horses are out, I can see parts of the front paddock and dry lot from my window! This used to be where the antique restored pew we had lived, but we moved that out to the living room and it works way better out there :) plus it makes this room feel more open and pleasant to work in!
I really, really like working from home. Every hour when my activity tracker reminds me to walk (when I was at the office I would do a lap around my floor), now I walk down and check the mail, or walk out and throw Jack another flake of alfalfa. When its not blisteringly hot, I take my morning walk and do laps of the driveway :) the kitchen is only steps away for my lunch or snacks! Instead of hustling into my car to get started on my hour-long commute, on days I don't ride I sit and enjoy a cup of coffee on the porch.

I truly don't know how long I'll be able to continue WFH -- my agency seems to be erring on the side of caution in terms of bringing people back, so aside from a weekly trip in to check my mail and occasional in-person socially distant/masked meetings, this will continue to be my normal for a while. I'm very grateful to be able to do this, no matter how long it lasts. I don't think there has been any reduction in my productivity (in fact, I'm taking on some new duties at work), so hopefully I'll be able to keep this up for a long time :) While I certainly do miss some social aspects of being in the office all week, I wouldn't trade this extra time with my horses and dogs for anything. Plus ya know, I can wear jeans and grungy t-shirts and slippers instead of dress clothes! haha

I don't know if it's lucky or not, but since he has moved back to an institution, DH is "essential personnel" at work, so he still goes in every day. I like to roam and walk while I'm on conference calls (which is relatively often), and he likes to do everything at volume level 100, so I'm realllllly glad we're both not trying to work from here. One day he did stay home to do some work remotely and I pretty quickly banished him out to the garage (it has wifi and is heated/cooled, so really not a bad place to work lol).

In retrospect, when we built the house, if we had had any idea that I would have the chance to work from home (no option in my last job, or most of DH's jobs), I definitely would have set the house up a little differently and made space for a dedicated office, but all things considered, this has worked out relatively well. Although if the WFH becomes permanent, we did discuss an office addition lol.