Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekend Activities

This weekend was all about me :-) The boy was running in a Ragnar so I was all on my own and I made good use of the time to myself!

I had ridden Katai on Sunday and Tuesday so far this week and she had been excellent both times. On Thusday and Friday I worked on her hooves but then rode again on Saturday and Sunday. She has been soooooo good and is developing a nice, forward, relaxed walk. As you can see from the photos I'm riding her in a LARGE open field and she hasn't tried anything funny at all. 

She is going to be SUCH a great little riding horse as she gets some more miles on her. Shes just so calm, relaxed and obedient. I love this picture of her because you can see the custom browband I had made for her. Its in her colors, Navy Blue and Pink, and it is nice and big so that it doesn't squish her pony brains. Ponies certainly don't need their brains squished lol.
Craaaazy pony face picture,

and proof that yes, I do ride her sometimes haha.

On Saturday I decided to check out the new Dover Saddlery that opened up in the Twin Cities. It's about 45 minutes away and I didn't really NEED any tack but they were having a tent sale and that was a good enough excuse haha.

My sister compared these bridles to art and I think thats pretty appropriate :-)
I ended up with a waterproof turnout sheet, breeches (which I LOVE), cute argyle socks, crocheted gloves, a magnesium suppliment that I'll write more about later and some Swat. It's been an awesome weekend :-)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Goal Oriented

I’ve always been someone who sets goals for myself. It started with my mom pushing us when we were little and learning to play the piano, she wanted us to all be professional musicians and two of my sisters will be, and has carried on from there. I’ve always had goals around my career in HR, some assumed and simple, others more difficult that I have to work towards, and I’ve met or surpassed them all so far. However, things with horses have always been different for me. It started with the fact that we had so few extra resources as we were growing up, I got my first horse when I was 12 years old, that even owning a horse was difficult and there was no way we could afford a trailer, lessons, or appropriate tack. Because of that they always had to be just fun and that carried on as I grew up partially because after being pushed so hard by my mom to compete and be competitive with music I had lost my taste for it with the horses. They were my escape, my fun and the best therapy ever.

Now though, things have changed. I chose to change my career from music to an office job so that I could have horses and be more serious about riding, owning and training them. I have always wanted to be more competitive than I was and now that I’m making a better living it’s something that I can actually pursue in the way I want. Because I changed my career at least partially for horses I feel like I have almost an obligation to myself to pursue this at least for awhile.

I do have realistic expectations though. I’ve been riding since I was 12 and I can stick to anything, have shown a couple of times, had some excellent lessons and trained three ponies, before Katai, that all ended up as children’s’ first ponies. I am great with groundwork and making horses/ponies into safe, excellent citizens that are safe to ride while not teaching them any habits that would be hard to break for any discipline. However, I do still consider myself an intermediate rider and know that to reach any goals with Dressage I will need lots of lessons and hard work. I’ve had so many hurdles in the past such as the lack of resources and time that I haven’t made it as far as I would have liked but I’ve also always known that as soon as I could get a good job it would be completely within reach. When I acquired Katai I looked ahead and knew that I was getting close. I had my dream pony and a new job was within reach.

I took a couple of Dressage lessons that winter and although I couldn’t afford many I learned a lot. I had already lost some weight but during the course of the winter I lost more and brought my total to 45 pounds. I started running, something I NEVER thought I would be able to do, and now run over a mile consistently with the goal of doing a 5K sometime this fall or next spring. Most importantly, at least to me, I started working with Katai. That fall was a huge battle dealing with a pony that was somehow spoiled and scared of people at the same time. She would run right into you and walk all over you but if you approached her first she would spin and run. She was tough to catch, didn’t respect fences, and had no idea about what a halter was much less any other piece of tack. She caught on quickly though and last fall I sat on her for the first time. During the winter she sat mostly because I didn’t have any place to work with her in the snow but right away in the spring we started working again. Now she is doing excellent and would be even better if not for all the other little distractions I’ve had this summer such as taking on a new job, being short a person at the job and doing twice the work I should be, starting a relationship J, and moving myself to a new apartment and Katai to a new facility. However, even with all of these distractions and all that change she has mastered a lot of important skills. She now will tie, hard tie or cross tie, can spend time in a stall, is easy to catch, will pick up all four feet, lunges all three gaits in both directions with side reins or without, trailers beautifully J, and is riding nicely at a walk.

My next hurdle is to move her to a different, bigger facility that has an indoor or at least an outdoor arena and an instructor since there is no way I will be able to afford a truck and trailer anytime soon. To be able to move her I need her to be good at a couple more things first. She has to be able to be ridden walk and trot and safely enough that I don’t feel like she’s going to buck or take off at any moment (she feels great at the walk now but the trot will be a whole different story), she needs to be able to be trimmed by a farrier, and she needs to be more comfortable in a stall/barn. The last part is almost set and after this winter she will be fine in a stall. I just emailed Dan yesterday asking when his farrier would be out next so that I can have her professionally trimmed for the first time. The only part left is up to me and should be easy to achieve by the end of fall. I also plan on continuing to work on myself this fall and will keep running, would like to lose a couple more pounds and will be taking some Dressage lessons.

Why do I want to compete at all? Honestly I’m not sure how much I want to compete. I’ve always thought that it looked like so much fun to be at a show with a horse, to talk with other horse people, show off a bit of what you’ve learned, and have people admiring your cute horse. It’s something I’ve really wanted to do since I first got a horse. For me it’s never been about ribbons or winning, its more about doing better than last time and conquering all of the tough tasks that a horse show embodies for your horse, being around other horses, trailering, being in public, standing quietly, and being around other horse people while getting to ride which is something I truly love. However, there are many things about showing that I don’t love and I don’t know if the wonderful things will outweigh those and I won’t know until I try.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

So Proud!

Today was the first day that I feel I can call what I did with Katai "riding". Up until now it was sitting on her, training, working with her or something along those lines but tonight I rode.

This morning my parents drove up to see my new apartment and I showed them where I work. Once they left I went to the local tack store which is now only about 15 minutes away. Scary how easy it is to go there now haha. I needed a dressage whip since my old one was lost and it had actually kinda needed replacing anyway because it was falling apart thanks to poor care. I'd had it as a teenager and it had been left outside and driven over in the law mower a dozen times. I picked out a cute purple whip with nice balance and some fancy treats that I knew Katai had liked since they were part of her Christmas present this last Christmas. This is the first time in my life, well since i was about 8, that I've had only one animal and so she gets to be spoilt :)

Then I went out to see her. She got one of her new treats when I caught her and I don't know if it was an incredibly effective bribe or if she just wanted to be on her best behavior but either way she was perfect for everything.

She was very calm so just got lunged for a couple of seconds in each direction and then I mounted up. The new whip was perfect to endorse my leg and follows the same idea as when I ground drive her so it helps her understand the leg cues. I rode for about fifteen minutes and during that time she went where I asked and was nicely forward compared to how she's been in the past. Now I can't wait to ride again!

I actually took some pictures today and in blogger app fashion they are all going to be stuck at the end but it looks like I may be getting Internet!! It would be awesome to be able to blog from a computer again, it's been about three years! At any rate the pictures are of the tack shop and then the incredibly spoiled pony's fan which runs anytime the temp is over about 75 0-0 they were actually sleeping under it when I got there :)

Finally are pictures of my new saddle pad, I'm officially a Mattes fangirl! Yes that is a Navy blue pad with pink fur, binding and piping and a blue strip of piping. Katai's official colors in a pony sized Mattes and I things it's completely adorable :)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bad Blogger

I have been an extremely bad blogger recently and it's not because of the weather or lack of horsie, pony, stuff to report. It's actually all because of work.

When I started at my new job I was warned that the other generalist (I was going to be one of two for a company of over 500 in an HR department that consists of manager, assistant and two generalists) was going out on maternity leave and when she got back she would be promoted to the education manager. This meant that it would be me and only me while we looked for a new generalist.

We actually found someone fairly quickly who was extremely qualified but fast forward two months and she had failed to learn even the basics of the job so was let go.

We are now on the hunt again and that means that since I started I've basically been running the generalist show. I'd had very little experience on a lot of the issues I'm currently facing when I started but I'm starting to feel like a pro. The problem is that I'm also getting burnt out, like really really burnt out.

Instead of having 10 managers and 240 employees relying on me like I should have, I've got 20+ managers and over 500 employees relying on me for every single thing that requires HR. I'm recruiting for over 20 positions at a time, dealing with employee relations, terminations, legal, paperwork, orientations, paperwork, trouble shooting, time cards, paperwork, complaints, many computer issues, complaints and paperwork.

Rant over....

Seriously, I love my job and all the people that I work with. I'm learning a ton from my boss and have been pretty positive and able to cope but this week I feel like I hit a wall. We NEED to get someone capable in that position ASAP so I can concentrate on stuff outside of work and not feel so tired and stressed all the time.

I did get moved into my new apartment last week and while it didn't help my stress levels at all I LOVE it here. It's great being on my own and not living with two huge dogs and four cats has made life way better :)

I've also been working with Katai who continues to adjust to her new home. She has been so relaxed and happy and I think she really likes her new buddy who is much less neurotic than her previous herd mates were. I rode her for the first time at the new place, if you count mounting and dismounting a bunch, lots of flexing and a couple of short walks a ride, and she was great. She is starting to relax and I could tell that she was feeling naughty today so I kept is short and ended positive.

I should have time to ride on Saturday and I hope that since I'll have a little more time that I'll be able to get more pictures.


With my current decision to move I didn't have to think that long to decide which barn I would move to if I could. The barn I'm movi...