Thursday, July 21, 2016

Working With What I've Got

I'm starting to feel like such an adult in fact I think this post is a good example of my adultness even if the week didn't start out that way!

Yep, I'm playing it too
We're having a bad heat wave right now. Of course some of you would probably laugh because you're used to much worse heat but for us it's pretty bad. Yesterday we had 97* with 75% humidity which meant a heat index of something like 110. Today we had 96* with a slightly lower humidity so a heat index closer to 101, and tomorrow we're supposed to have very similar temps. I, unfortunately, didn't plan well and wasn't able to make it out to the barn Monday or Tuesday when the temperatures were better so that meant that I needed to try to fit in some pony time yesterday.

Sort of wishing for this right now
I ended up getting to the barn at 8:00 and planned a nice short ride, mainly at a walk, outside because there was a slight breeze. I planned to use the heat to help me out and work on getting Katai to listen when riding around the arena. Recently I've been hopping on Katai in the arena and after working her in there for awhile we go for a trail ride. It's my fault that I've been making the arena work, and outside of the arena fun but Katai has been full of herself trying to get out of the arena, very gate sour, and is not at all willing to even turn towards the arena once we leave it.

I worked her around the gate of the arena while inside, then around the gate of the arena while outside, and then rode her away from the arena and turned her around and rode her back to the arena. Despite that fact that I knew it was partially from the heat I was extremely proud because she did really, really well. We only "worked" for about 20 minutes and all at the walk other than one 1-2 minute trot that we did when she was really reluctant to go forward.

The sweat she had from being in the barn (no moving air and humid but far better than standing outside in the sun) dried and she didn't sweat at all while we worked. It was much more mental than physical. Once I was done I hosed her off and scrapped her and then she got turned out since they're going out overnight.

Tonight it wasn't even going to cool down that much so I decided to skip it. I want so much to be prepared for my lesson tomorrow but I also won't risk making her sick so Katai gets another day off. Hopefully she won't be too nuts for tomorrow.

Summertime vegan feast
Regarding other things that I'm working with, I had mentioned previously that I'd determined one of the things that is making it tough for me to be motivated. That thing is my budget. I am able to "afford" everything that I have and do right now including my biggest "splurge" which is having Katai and boarding her at a great barn. I think that I've very naively been thinking that at some point soon there would be a second income in my life. It feels silly now but I was in a longer term relationship for awhile and I was sort of thinking he was going to stick around.

I've realized recently that I don't want to add that pressure to date. I started looking at my budget and what I could adjust. There are a few things but none of them were nearly as helpful as considering cutting my boarding budget back. I ADORE my barn and I've never minded splurging on Katai and having a really strict budget with everything else. For the past few months though it's been tougher to feel that way. I've had to turn down going out to do some things with friends, skip a road trip that I'd been planning, and give up plans to find a bike. What really made the decision for me was when I felt crabby when some of my work friends invited me out because I knew it wasn't in my budget to go out until next month.

I know I've moved barns a lot but I feel like there have been a couple of "eras" in my boarding barn experience. First, my options were very limited because I was living in a rural area and was making very little so there was basically one or two options that fit into my budget and were within the area. All I've wanted ever since I got into dressage (nearly 15 years ago) was a good, dressage show barn with an indoor/outdoor arena and people with a similar passion to ride and talk with.

Miss this place
When I finally had the budget I found that barn. It was perfect, it was literally my favorite place that I've been. For example, there were three indoor grooming stalls and one space outdoors. More often than not they were all full and there were people waiting in line to tie up and groom. I loved the bustle and talking to the other dressage riders. People rode very regularly and everyone took weekly lessons plus they were all just so knowledgeable about dressage. Unfortunately this place was J's and she was way too horrible for me to stay. I did learn a lot from her and while I'm so glad that I got out when I did, I still really miss the place and the other people that boarded and trained there.

Ever since I left there I've been trying to get that back. I've found every "dressage" barn that I can in the area that fits in my budget and that I haven't been warned away from. They've all had positives but none of them have been like J's place. H found an even better place with a similar atmosphere but it's very much outside of my budget and would be a really tough commute for me.

In my search to find that place I've increased exponentially what I'm spending at each place. It's always been, and still is, "in my budget" but as mentioned above that's only if I don't have any fun outside the barn. I think what I'm getting at is that I would be more willing to make these sacrifices if I were at a barn like that but, even though my barn is spectacular it's just not the same, for anything less I just can't make myself do it anymore.

At first I was thinking of moving Katai to pasture board at my current barn but I just can't have her on grass without risking founder so that was out. I've done some looking and I have a couple of options planned. Both nearly cut my horse expenses in half but one, my favorite, would also include weekly lessons which is really important to me. The other includes a huge trail system and a few different trainers that I could work with on things like trailer loading.

I want to be clear that the only reason I'm moving is financial. I'm so, so, so excited to actually have a normal amount of money to spend on things like getting a couple of new items of clothing or going out to eat with friends :-) Obviously Katai's welfare is still my primary concern so I'm choosing the right place for her even if I lose some of the amenities that I enjoy I'll just deal with it.

I'll share more information soon.


  1. You need to be responsible- horses can suck up every dime! Right now Carmen has taken all my money- including a planned trip but it will be short term. :)
    Can you do trails at the favourite place?

    1. They really can! I keep reminding myself that I'm just lucky to have a horse :) it sounds like there's a dead end dirt road that I could ride on which is more than I've got now! It's not nearly as amazing as the other barn though and that's tough to turn down especially since I don't have a trailer.