Monday, July 27, 2015

Last July Lesson Recap

First of all I just have to say…Only one more week of this horrid commute!!!!! I’m moving into the new place next weekend and since I’ll only be about ten minutes from work it will be easy to stop home, take puppy out, and then drive to the barn once rush hour is past. I can’t wait! 

 


The reason that I say moving into “the” new place and not “my” new place is that I decided to be smart with money and rent a room in a house rather than an apartment or a house. It’s saving me a TON of money every month so for the first time in a long time I’m able to think about putting money in savings, paying off a substantial amount of debt, and still being able to do fun things once in a while. The house already has three people living in it and all are single and either professionals or grad students. The owner lives off site but does this at houses all across the cities and has some great policies in place so I’m not worried about it being a party house. I’ve got the nicest room in the house in that it has its own bathroom plus I’m also getting a garage stall. On top of that the house has central air and a fenced in backyard where I’ve been encouraged to have a garden! Wedge will love the chance to run and I’m so excited about the opportunity to plant things. The garage will also be wonderful since I hate scraping ice off my car in the winter and on top of all of that the laundry is free (well no quarters anyway) and you pay a flat rate for utilities with your rent every month so it’s easy to budget for. I’m going to have to figure out where to put all my things but other than that it’s all great news!

 

Mainly though, although I’m happy about that, I’m just looking forward to not having to drive so far and leave my puppy in the kennel for so long. Last week I didn’t ride Sunday because Katai was tender and then I didn’t ride during the week because of Wedge so I only ended up riding on Saturday before my lesson and yesterday in my lesson. That’s just not ok for my pony or for me :-(

 

However, even with that Katai was wonderful! She’s really starting to understand what we are asking and thanks to some amazing coaching from L I’ve stopped picking fights with her so she is able to relax and even when she acts like a brat I’m able to laugh and we move on and get back to good work.

 

On Saturday I had a great ride that I kept fairly short since I didn’t want to blow her muscles and then ask her for a great ride during my lesson. She did some great trot work, I cantered her in both directions and we called it a day. Then during my lesson on Sunday she was AMAZING! She started out a little rushy and tense but each time this happens I get better at getting her to relax and go into her good work. On Sunday although it took about 15 minutes to get there we then ended up with at least 30 minutes of great, focused, relaxed, gooey, forward, work. I asked to work in the whole arena since Katai’s been falling out really badly on our regular 20 meter circle (It’s not about picking fights with my little redhead remember :-) ) and I had figured out that she was pretty sure if she could get to the other end of the arena she wouldn’t need to work. Instead we focused on mainly working her at the other end of the arena and returning to that circle for walk breaks and to end.

 

We’ve been working on 15 meter circles (that’s about the width of our indoor arena) and changing the bend from one to the other. Katai, like many young horses, has been getting offended when I change which leg I ask her to listen to and getting tense and rushy until we’re back on the next circle for a bit. Yesterday we worked on changing so many times and then taking her straight down the long side that she eventually just started to focus on my cues and not on “OMG she’s asking me to do something with BOTH legs and this is NOT ok”.

 

I really, really wish I’d gotten some video of our work because it was outstanding. I’m hoping to get my camera fixed over the next couple of weekends and hopefully will phone a friend to come out and get some video :-)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

This is My Life



Yesterday morning the car that I had borrowed from my sister on Sunday wouldn't start. I already had the tow truck scheduled to pick up my car that day so I called the shop and asked for a loaner car but they were fresh out.

If it were a job that I'd been at for awhile I just would have taken a PTO day or worked from home but this is only my second week at a new job so being flaky just isn't an option.

So yeah, this meme pretty much sums up my week...

Can't Find My Hamsters

Last week was my first week at my new job and with the mental workout that entails I just feel like I don’t have a brain. It’s not that my new job is especially stressful, in fact I’d say it’s way less stressful than my previous job, its more that between figuring out the social and political interactions and trying to cram as much new knowledge in my brain as possible my hamsters have left the building.



I’ve also added a 1.5 hour commute each way and since I was close enough to walk to work before this is a HUGE change for me. It’s not that I haven’t driven long distances all of my life but that change on top of all of the other changes that come with a new job mean that I had a stressful week. By the time I’ve been getting home in the evening I’m not good for much so I’ve been packing since that doesn’t take any real mental capacity. Between packing and taking the puppy out for walks my evenings have been full and then I crawl into bed early so that I can get to work early enough the next day.
 
None of this is meant to sound like I’m complaining since I am so, so, so, so, so thankful that I have this new job! Plus, I was able to find a great place to live that will only be about ten minutes from work! Short commutes for the win  :-) This does, however, mean that I’ll have a longer drive to the barn. I was trying to split the difference but of course finding a place in my budget, right in between work and my pony, in a good neighborhood, with the amenities that I was looking for would be like winning the lottery and I’d rather be closer to work than closer to the barn especially with all the car problems I’ve been having lately.
 
Then, after what felt like a long (but wonderful :-) ) week I was looking forward to a quiet weekend. On Saturday I ran some errands and did some shopping for clothes since I went from having a dress code that required dress clothes to working at a place that doesn’t even have a dress code where everyone wears jeans. I also stopped at the barn and rode but Katai was fairly tender after her hoof trim on Friday. She’s been tender after trims lately more that I would like but I’m thinking that a large part of it is that all the rain we’ve been having has kept her hooves soft. Plus, as she gets trimmed by someone who actually knows what they are doing, her hooves are going through a lot of changes. They are looking amazing but still have a ways to go. She had SUCH contracted heels and icky frogs that often were thrushy. Now her heels are slowly widening and her frogs are getting stronger but that doesn’t happen overnight. I’m going to guess that by the beginning of next year she will have almost normal feet but until then she’s going to need some continuing babying. I have tried boots but with the shape and size of her feet I haven’t been able to successfully keep anything on her. I can get Easyboots that are small enough but they won’t stay on and I tried Cavallo boots but they just don’t come small enough.
 
Then on Sunday I went to start my car to go to the barn to work in the morning and it wouldn’t start. It’s doing exactly the same thing it was doing the week prior and for a minute I thought I was going to lose it. I hate that I’ve been flaky recently due to my car and the added stress of not even knowing how I was going to get to my brand new job this week was just a lot to handle at 6:30 in the morning on a weekend. I was able to come up with a plan that involved borrowing my sister’s car but since she lives over 2 hours away that ate up the rest of my day and I didn’t get to even see my pony. Plus, one of my previous barn friends was going to check out my current barn to see if she would like to move there and I was going to go through the tour with her. I was really disappointed to have to cancel on her as well. I dislike machinery of any kind anyway and then when they make my life miserable like my car has been it makes me really sad.
 
Fingers crossed that it will get fixed this week and that my life can get back to normal. Only two weeks till I officially live in the city!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Stranded

My week started out really well last Saturday with a conditioning ride! I've been wanting to start doing some canter sets but I hadn't been able to find a good, safe place to do it. Luckily I talked with another boarder who had just been out doing canter sets and gave me a great place to do it. There's actually a good sort of grass track around the private paddocks that has safe footing and isn't too far away from the barn.
Unfortunately there are going to be lots of selfies for the next couple of weeks since the other camera on my iPhone won't focus and I don't know when I'll have a chance to bring it in to be fixed.


Katai did really really well. She's one of those rare horses that's forward and able to take off at a gallop and yet when I ask her to slow down she'll walk on the buckle even towards home. I had a great time and am going to try to do at least one conditioning ride every week as well as adding more trail rides since I know we both need to get out of the arena more.

Then, on Sunday, I had a great low key ride in the outdoor arena.

Monday started my last week at this job and things were going well at work and home until on Wednesday I found out that my car wouldn't start. Luckily I can walk to work so I walked in that morning and my boyfriend came up here to work on it that evening. We replaced the starter but it still wouldn't work so on Thursday I bit the bullet and had it towed to a shop. On Thursday it was out of commission all day and I was starting to think that I better find back up for my first day at my new job on Friday. Luckily it was fixed by Friday but not until the evening. However, that meant that I didn't get out to ride Monday -Thursday :-(

Recently between my schedule and unexpected things like my car it's like pulling teeth to get to the barn even twice during the week and with the new job and figuring out my schedule I doubt it will be easy this week.

Today I had another lesson and it was great! I lucked out and she was very, very good despite only having been ridden once in the six days prior. I've got my fingers crossed that nothing goes south this week and that despite adding two hours every day onto my commute to work I'll be able to get a couple rides in.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Updates!

So much has been going on in my life and I've been really bad about blogging so I think it's time to catch everyone up!

I think first and foremost that I need to talk about my job offer :-) I've been wanting to relocate to the twin cities for the last six years and I finally got not just any job there but the perfect job for me. I work in HR and this is an HR position working for a company smack in the middle of the twin cities that helps people with a specific health issue. I not only get to work for a wonderful company in the area I want but it's a company that helps people which is a really wonderful feeling.
         Me and one of my little sisters :)

My first day is the 13th which is only about a week away now. I just can't believe that I'm finally there! I will be relocating from northern WI but I have not found an apartment yet. Thankfully I can commute as needed but of course since I've wanted to be down there for so long I'm hoping to find something sooner rather than later. Of course between trying to close everything out at my current job, looking for apartment, trying to get a reasonable amount time at the barn, and spending time with my little puppy I've been a bit overwhelmed. It doesn't help that I don't know where home will be in a few months and that makes me feel on edge. I actually don't mind moving but I've moved enough in the last few years and I'm ready to settle in some place.

In other news Wedge is doing really well! He's been learning all kinds of useful doggy skills like walking nicely on a leash, how to go on a proper hike, what horses are (and that barking at them is very very bad), how to meet other dogs nicely, dog parks, etc. I think I've been wearing the little man out and because of that he's been the perfect dog :) I usually bring him with me to the barn as long as the weather is mild and he hangs out while I ride. I figure at least that way he's not still in his kennel at home. 

Then, back to the main topic of this blog, Katai has been great. She's been getting stronger and more athletic so when I don't ride consistently she's a handful but that's on me, not her, and she hasn't done anything really naughty. She just has lots of energy to burn off which means I've had to work with L to develop my skills on how to handle that. I've been back to about three rides per week and honestly that's just not enough for her. I really need to ride 4-5 times per week and hopefully this next week I can do just that. 

I'm continuing to adore my saddle especially as I get more used to it and it starts to break in a bit. The leather is so soft that it hasn't needed much breaking in but like any new saddle it's just not going to be completely comfy until it's been ridden in for awhile. I'm also still adjusting to how I need to sit and carry myself since it just seats me differently (read better). I think Katai is loving it as well but since she hasn't been getting supplements as regularily she has been a bit tight through the back and before I can determine that it's the saddle or not I need to get her back on her supplements and then if she's still a bit tight I'm going to have a saddle fitter out. To my eye, and everything I know about saddle fit, it's a WAY better fit than the previous saddle but ultimately it's up to Katai. 

The only other thing I can think of that could be bothering her is that my previous TSF girth doesn't reach the shorter billets on this saddle so I ordered a longer one (which will be here on Monday!) but it looks like my back up girth is maybe pulling this saddle forward onto her withers more. I LOVE my TSF and if anyone is looking for an 18" in brown I'm probably going to be rehoming my old one.

       My previous saddle also needs a new home.

The other big update is that I'm moving Katai to a stall! I've just been waiting for a little more income and then it's been my plan to get her in a stall :) I'm so, so thrilled that it's finally here. She'll be making the move in September and will get back to regular supplementation (I have to feed it to her now so she only gets her grain when I'm there). She'll also be on a diet that has less sugar and I'll be able to get rid of her mask. Even though it's pretty cute on her ;)

I'm going to try to be a better blogger and at least blog a couple times a week but no promises until I find a new place to live.