Thursday, 26 March 2020

Changes I Might Keep

The last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy.

With health concerns, the travel restrictions, and only essential/emergency services available, obviously my little horsey plans are on hold for the foreseeable future while we pay attention to much more important things. It's got me thinking, though. While there are some things I'm definitely sad to postpone (breeding Bridget, riding clinics, buying a trailer) a lot of the other stuff I had on my goals or to do list suddenly feels like it was just that... 'stuff'. So unimportant now.

Social distancing should actually be something you can request from certain people all the time. Can I keep it?
(Creepy neighbour, I'm looking at you.)

Show and training plans for Sophie? Perfectly happy to leave that alone and save my money. We have all the time. Do I even want to try to fit a 'regular' lesson schedule and show season back into my life? Undecided, honestly. Right now I feel relief at having a bit of a reprieve on scheduling all that in and paying for it.

Plus, it kind of looks like she's growing again!

Riding clothes and show gear - shopping's not really my thing so it's a relief to not feel the need to buy anything special since I'm not planning on showing now in 2020. Which got me wondering why I even thought I had to, why I even care whether my jacket is up to date or my white breeches brand new looking.

 I've been bookmarking money for a newer truck as well, and I've happily put that on hold - I LIKE my little truck, even if it's starting to feel it's age and can't safely tow two horses in our terrain. Buying a new truck because 'it's time' as far as trade in values, etc? Meh, don't wanna, can borrow husband's truck for towing if I need to.

Like a lot of people, I'm trending back towards being more frugal and enjoying some pretty simple things - gardening, cooking at home, reading and hiking being the main ones I've been indulging in.

Working from home is AMAZING. I didn't realize how much of my time and paycheque is sucked up in the vortex of commuting, living part time, and working in another town. Despite all the craziness in the world, I actually feel a lot more grounded and less anxious than I was a month ago. In the future, I'm going to find a local job I enjoy. I was wrong in prioritizing income and career advancement.

Because being home for dinner with my husband and a lunch break gardening with Kitty is more valuable than a big paycheque

By necessity, I've simplified the horse care side of things too. Since I want to be at the barn for the minimum amount of time right now I just pop in around dinner time and give them their buckets and a quick grooming while they eat. Guess what? The barn owner is perfectly trustworthy to toss hay and fill waters. The world isn't ending if I only pick paddocks twice a week and the girls don't get eleventy billion supplements twice a day. While I enjoy all my barn time...yep, there was definitely room to make it simpler.

Ate only hay for breakfast, still has a shiny dappled coat growing in.

Are there any silver linings you've been finding? Any changes in outlook or lifestyle you've made (or have had to make!) that you might try to keep?




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Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Gratitude (Blog Hop)

Liz is one of my very favorite bloggers, mostly because her blog is so positive and has so many beautiful pictures of her home and barn and the surrounding countryside and creatures living there.

So, I'm not surprised she's started a blog hop guaranteed to put a smile on everyone's face. She writes:

In an effort to introduce a bit of positivity and happiness amidst uncertain times, I thought I would share some of my gratitude items here in the hopes that our lovely little community of bloggers will echo back with some of their own. It's been awhile since a blog hop has gone around, but perhaps our little group can come up with a suite of them in the coming weeks to ease us through these unknown times?

I have so much to be grateful for at the moment.

In no particular order, I'm grateful that:

- I'm an introvert at heart. I have so many little hobbies and the past while I've been quite content to read a book on the couch, reno my future home office,  and start making the plans for my spring garden a reality.

Some signs of life in the garden

I got new rocks and have an Easter Island/stonehenge thing going on right now because it amuses me, lol

- My immediate circle is OK, and listening to the advice we're being given.

- My horses will be fine. Bridget thrives on benign neglect, Sophie is a little more high maintenance but a time out as a just coming 4 year old isn't a bad thing!


Sophie's mane and forelock are always doing interesting things

- Spring is here, and the weather is fantastic. I've been out in the yard gardening and the horses have spring grass starting to fill their turnouts as we speak.

- I am able to work from home and my work has committed to keeping full staffing until at least the end of the month. My husband isn't able to work remotely, but is still getting paid. I'm grateful that even if we were both to be laid off, we'd figure it out.

- We have a cat, and he is endlessly entertaining :)

Sunbeams on the floor are fascinating, he says

- There is so much online content. I can go to the gym virtually, I can have work meetings, I can audit riding clinics. Not to mention read blogs!

Stay safe, everyone!

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Saturday, 21 March 2020

Intermission

Our provincial and federal organizations have advised equestrian facilities have to do their part too, so effective yesterday all non essential people at the barn are not permitted. I'm reading the rules and I'm still OK to go since I feed in the evenings and muck out, plus it's a tiny private barn so it's a grey area. Still, I think we're all responsible to follow the spirit of the rule and if the ask is for essential people only, you're just going to see me making one trip there a day for feeding time.

Bridget is working hard mowing the grass

Our equestrian club grounds are closed, but they amended that to possibly allow one person there using the outdoor arena at a time. I imagine that's pretty low risk and I'd wipe gate handles down should I decide to go, but for now I'm going to wait until they have a more solid plan to schedule people and confirm things with their insurance.

There's always trail riding...I thought that was my in to keep us active, but I think everyone has the same idea because literally everyone and their dog was out yesterday on a Friday morning and on trails we never see a person on. There were groups of people, dogs, kids everywhere. Given how narrow the trails are and no one leashing dogs, it was super awkward to maintain any kind of safe distance (horse and virus wise) so I'm not quite sure what to do...we ran into two separate groups of people who were making fun of the whole social distancing thing and laughing at me for trying to give them space. I just don't even know what to think about that, especially as the worst offenders seem to be the people you'd think would be the most vulnerable.

The weather has been gorgeous, though

So, I'm thinking we're on a riding intermission. A part of me is very sad to not be utilising this time at home to get some more miles on Sophie, but in the big picture it's a small price to pay for doing our part to keep everyone a little bit safer.

Burning off some steam last night

I'm working from home at my "real job"  for the foreseeable future, but that job at the therapeutic riding barn is probably going to be put on hold soon until the new school year. It sounds like they're just going to end the spring session early and put the horses out for a spring/summer break.

I hope you're all doing well. I'm an introvert at heart, so to be honest the working from home and virtual meetings are a dream come true. The most challenging thing so far for me has been the limited horse time and frustration with people for doing dumb things. So, life as normal, really. ( I'm a terrible human ;)






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Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Status Update: Go...Go...STOP!

Title reflects my life this week.

 I was busy, busy, busy last Monday - Wednesday with my normal work travels to our office further down the coast. I got home Wednesday night, then up bright and early Thursday for my first barn shift. I'm pretty sure I won't have a problem fitting it in prior to a 9am start time at my 'real' job. I work remotely from home on Thursdays, so my start time is slightly flexible and my 'commute' between barn and home is about 5 minutes :)

 In real world news, those 3 - 4 hours of barn work pay the same as about 1 hour at my normal job. Good thing I like it. I'm going to look at it as AM Barn Boot Camp, rather than a source of much income.

Fridays, I have off 'real' work, so work at the barn was a little more relaxed - I started a little later and didn't have any pressure to be anywhere as soon as I finished. I popped up to my barn after and got both ponies out, fields mucked, and both ponies' dinner prepped and was still home by noon! Friday was super productive and I was feeling like Superwoman.

Bridget was a fire breathing dragon on Friday...for the first time in my life I just about got off and led her home because of  the spooking and spinning and general porpoise impressions otherwise.

Unfortunately, I felt super washed out and tired later in the day and despite my hopes of just needing some more sleep it quickly became apparent my coworker had given me her nasty head cold earlier in the week.

Saturday/Sunday the cold was raging in full force. Given all the risk associated with COVID-19 spread, I've been choosing to work from home and isolate myself rather than risking giving anyone a cold and potentially making them more vulnerable to anything more serious that's going around. Our area is getting hit pretty hard and is a retirement community and I'd hate to contribute in any way to increasing risk for anyone.

So, my past weekend consisted of gardening in my yard, reading some books, and some spring house cleaning. I was going to my horses once a day later in the evening when no one is around and cleaning my paddocks and feeding a late dinner. It's a very small barn (one other boarder) and my horses and things live in their own space, so I think it's relatively low risk to do that. The barn owner tosses hay for breakfast and fills water buckets, so I think we've got a good system.

It's pretty quiet there (and getting so green!)

This week, things went south fast re: the coronovirus. My work is closed(?) as of this afternoon (As of this minute I am actually not sure if I am supposed to be working or not...I work for local government and they are now in emergency response mode, staffing levels TBD. I'm guessing a lot of us will be laid off temporarily starting tomorrow.)

Kitty: "I hope you're not planning on staying home and sitting on MY couch!"

Even though I guess we all knew this was coming, it still feels like a shock when I think of how everything was 'go,go,go' last week, and today almost everything on my calendar is cancelled and we're encouraged to just stay home. The local grocery stores are cleaned right out due to people panic buying (if this is you, PLEASE stop and consider that there are others out there who need groceries too), I can't find hay locally for the horses, and everything has been cancelled indefinitely, even that long awaited vet visit for Bridget. G and I are both potentially facing temporary lay offs until things stabilize a little and our organizations have a better idea of how to proceed.


None of it really matters though in the grand scheme of things and doing our best to keep people safe. If the hay delivery doesn't come, the horses will just have to eat the bales of their less favorite hay that I have left. G and I are probably going to finally clean out those cans of soup he bought by the case last summer. (In a few more days I'll be in solidarity with the ponies re: my opinion of lunch options, lol)

Sophie's actual face the last time I tossed her a flake of THAT hay instead of her favorite.

I'm determined to try not to worry too much about anything and have been trying to filter the media I consume to a bare minimum. Our house backs on to a lovely trail network in the forest that leads down to the beach, my garden is in need of some spring prep, and of course I can ride the horses for hours around here without seeing another person. All very enjoyable and perfectly acceptable things to do right now.
A nice vista, and I think I've only seen someone on the trail once this year.

Stay safe everyone (and I hope you're all able to visit your horses for some stress relief)


Beach wave noises work great for stress too









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Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Full Circle

Sitting in an office all day really isn't my thing. It's unfortunate that sitting in front of a computer doing data analysis pays so much more than related jobs that are fieldwork based.

Blue vista from a recent after work hike. How could I not be happier looking at this than my computer screen.

When I saw an ad that the local therapeutic riding barn was looking for morning help, I was a little nostalgic - I used to work and volunteer there and all these years later, I still miss the horses and the kids. It was pretty close to a dream job for me, ponies all day long and very little in the way of non horsey responsibility. No desk, no meetings, no non stop phone calls and short deadlines. Too bad about the (tiny) paycheque :)

So, I did a thing and called about the job, because I'm impulsive and not fiscally responsible at heart. A few hours later, and I have myself a new (old) part time job. My existing work is going to let me start a little later in the morning a couple of days a week, so it's a win/win for us all - I keep my responsible full time adult income and get to work with the horses too.

I'm pretty excited. I've already bookmarked the barn paycheques to fund more fun things for my horse hobby, like that new trailer that I keep talking about but has yet to materialize. Current status: I've inquired with a bunch of dealers and possibly found 'the one', but I'm waiting until the weather in the mountains is a little kinder to drive in, plus it won't hurt to have some more savings.

Current front runner is an aluminum Maverick trailer. Fingers crossed, the dealership so far seems really good to work with, so I hope I like the trailer in person. I know I said I wanted a Logan Crossfire, but wasn't impressed with their semi local dealership when we went to shop, so we kept looking!

Pony updates:

Still fuzzy, still cute. The blankets came off for an afternoon...spring feels like it's on the way!

Bridget is happy and so shiny and content looking. I had some weekend trail riding plans for her, but our hot water tank flooded our basement and I had to deal with that instead. That responsible adult thing hits again! I did get out for a couple of short solo trail rides and she had a farrier visit, but that's hardly exciting news. We are still pending a vet visit for a breeding exam (is he EVER coming? - I feel like I booked us on the list weeks ago and still no firm appt time). In a small world coincidence, the farrier (who travels to us from the city every 7 weeks) mentioned she'd trimmed a gorgeous palomino Welsh D the day before. Of course, I wanted to hear more, and it turns out he's one of my two choices for B's baby daddy. Kind a a fun, random, thing ( I thought he was still in the US). Anyway, her feedback on his manners (and hooves) was excellent, and I got far too excited by that, lol.
"Bring me my dinner! I need to eat for the future baby already"
Happy mare.

Sassy/Sophie had an easy week as well. She was adequately behaved for the farrier, which is progress, but we need to start contemplating at least front shoes which knowing her will be next level interesting. I have a lot of prep to do, I think.

Such an innocent looking face.
Her coat is shedding like crazy - I have no clue why it is so 'extravagant' in our mild winters. I joke that since I wanted a 'fancy' pony, she came with an extra luxurious coat, but really it's just all kinds of yuck - that amazing welsh pony winter coat on a horse sized body, lol. I can't wait until she's properly in work and I have an excuse to keep it clipped.

Now actively shedding and currently with 50% less fuzz! Not that anyone can tell :)
I can't wait for it to be replaced with a sleek and shiny pony.

 We're about a month out from our next clinic and if I want to have a proper riding lesson I need to get back at it. I'm thinking with the time change I shouldn't have a problem fitting regular outings in again, though. The therapeutic barn just happens to be the place I use the outdoor and indoor arenas anyway, so if I'm working there again, let's hope that's extra incentive to get a ride in...Sophie is only a 2 min drive up the road from there so I'll have reason to be in the area more often!

We're coming up on her 4th birthday and two years of ownership, already. So hard to believe!





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Saturday, 29 February 2020

Good Po-neighs

I've been pretty intermittent in my posting lately, but it's certainly a case of no news being good news. Spring is in the air, the ponies are starting to shed, and there's been enough daylight to fit some pretty full days in outdoors.


My husband G has had some vacation time, so we've been doing a ton of hiking and I've been fitting in a Sophie ride most days I'm home. Sophie rides are about as exciting as watching paint dry, hence my lack of things to blog...there is the odd spook and scoot but generally we can be found walking around the round pen, getting our whoa and go solid, plus working on bending and similar concepts new and exciting for baby ponies but less so for blog readers. We're getting close to a point where I'll feel confident riding alone - I'm starting to have a few reliable tools at my disposal rather than just feeling like a passenger, which is always a good thing!

Hiking
And ponies! Every day :)

Today was a leap day, and Sophie took it extra seriously. She was a bit "stuck" today. She sometimes gets a bit of a hump in her back if I push beyond where she's comfortable. I've been guilty of working around that (ok avoiding it) so today it was bad and I needed to step up and be accountable before I cause a bigger problem. So, I pushed, she bucked, and it was tiny. Phew! So with that out of the way I pushed harder, more tiny bucking and crowhopping happened and then the glue broke and we had some nice trot. I immediately hopped off and gave her tons of scratches, because that 'fight' was all my own creation due to being too tentative and accepting too little the few rides before. I think with her being so naturally spicy I was so focused on keeping things relaxed and happy I inadvertently lost the forward.

Knowing Sophie, tomorrow she'll bring ALL the forward to the table, because she wants to be a good girl like that. I'll wear my sticky breeches just in case!

Trots just fine without a human = must be human error.

I so wish I was a brave kid again, but I think we're fine doing what we're doing. Some days we're a little outside Sophie's comfort zone, some days it's mine that needs to be pushed. We seem to muddle through in the end with no one any worse for wear.

Hi Bridget!

Bridget is also doing just great. She accompanies us every time she asks to (I spoil her so badly, lol, and let her hang out in her pasture if she doesn't come up to the barn when she sees me) It works well, because honestly I don't always have time to ride or exercise the both of them on the same day, so Bridget gets out a couple times a week and groomed on the rest, and seems happy enough with that. As always, I love riding her best, but if I want Sophie to be like her, I need to focus my miles and time on Sophie right now.
Showing off.

We're expecting a vet visit mid month to discuss all things baby ponies. I'm very excited, but also trying not to get too ahead of myself - it's something I'm taking very seriously and we have a lot of questions for the vet.

This is getting way too long, so I'll post later on why I'm considering breeding vs buying or rescuing. TLDR; been there done that with the rescues, and there are no Welsh Cob breeders near me. It's not all happy stories, but I'm open to sharing my experiences with the highs and lows of upgrading and rescuing if you're all interested (15 years worth prior to this blog and current pony/Welsh Cob obsession;)
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Monday, 17 February 2020

Gratitude

I had such a great long weekend. It just got better and better as it went. I'm going to be pretty sad to hop back on the ferry for work - I have to go straight to Vancouver this week for work which isn't my favorite thing. I love the city itself, but the logistics of getting myself around and to meetings on time are a little outside my comfort zone. I like the "slow coast" lifestyle we lead here a little better ;)

Speaking of my comfort with things moving a little more slowly, this week Sophie has been absolutely full of energy and pushing all the boundaries.

So fancy.
Then, when I get on, she's a perfect angel toodling around. Maybe a little too much so as trot is still very sticky - rushing and stopping, but I'm promising myself not to worry too much. Every day she's more forward and free in the walk and I'm hopeful a nice relaxed trot will come. I'm feeling less and less like I'm sitting on a keg of dynamite and more and more she feels checked in and thinking rather than wanting to be distracted by every little thing. It's tiny baby steps all the way so everyone (including me) is having a positive and fun experience.

Look, we can turn! :)
I don't feel like I've quite figured her out yet. She is often holding a lot of tension and I'm not sure why. We do a lot of bending and stretching (what she knows how to do so far, anyway) in walk and I feel like that's helping. We are moving at a snail's pace, but given I honestly feel a bit big on her and she's quite immature for her age, I don't think it's hurting anything to stick to very short walk/trot rides. She may be the type that settles in and is happier once she knows enough and is strong enough to be given proper work to keep the excess thinking at bay? I hope so :)

She is SO hairy though, omg

In very exciting news, I do think I'm going to make an effort to have Bridget bred this year. There are two potential baby daddies, both reg'd Welsh D. (I'd like to try welsh/warmblood but I'm totally inexperienced and also have no clue what B will pass on, so it seems safer to cross like to like). I'm having a vet visit next month to discuss logistics and realities surrounding that. I feel anxious and 'not ready' but B is 11 this year and if this is happening, the time is now. It sounds terrible considering I am lucky to have Bridget and Sophie, but my dream pony really is just a slightly more athletic version of Bridget. I have zero regrets purchasing Sophie and she's fantastic in her own right, but I guess I do love my sturdy Welsh Cobs. I've got a local horsey acquaintance who is breeding as well, so if it works out we'd be able to share some costs (and questions and worry;) I'll obviously keep you updated on what I learn and how this all plays out. Right now it's far from guaranteed there'll be a foal on the horizon, but I'm going to seriously consider the option and am open to sharing whatever decisions and results come from chatting with the vet and breeders.

Bridget and I had some nice neighbourhood trail rides this week, although my near miss of the winter surprisingly came from her teleporting across the road on Saturday...thank goodness for silicone full seats, lol


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Monday, 10 February 2020

A Productive Weekend (At Last!)

Thank you so much for the ideas and commiseration on my recent post. This extraordinarily dark and wet winter has been really affecting me mentally. Even though logically I recognize what's happening and know that I'll feel better if I just get out there and do the thing, emotionally it's difficult some days to push through and get things accomplished.

Because once I just do the thing, I'm so much happier.

Lucky for me, getting out there was a little bit easier this week because the weather gods gave us a break and the never-ending storms finally moved onwards and left drier weather and even a little sunshine behind.

As I mentioned in my last post, I wasn't the only one super happy to have a break from the rain. The horses were all absolutely wild and feeling pretty high on life.


And so, when I tacked up Bridget for our first ride in 6 weeks, I felt like I was ready for anything. What I was least ready for was what happened - she just marched happily along on a loose rein - a standard, everyday Bridget trail ride. No spooking, no rushing, no antics. Right back to business as if we'd never taken a break. As always, worth her weight in gold and I'm not sure how I ever got so lucky.

The puddles are still numerous and large at the moment
B is looking good, though

Sophie, on the other hand, required just a little more prep ;) Rotten Banana has been back in full force. To watch her you can literally see her pondering bad decisions and lacking the impulse control to curb them. Usually Bridget or I catch her at the pondering stage and a warning nips it in the bud, but she's creative for sure and is often in trouble with either "Aunty" Bridget or I. I need to get video - Bridget just stomps a front foot or sighs in her general direction and S is on her best behaviour for at least the next 30 seconds ;) At this point though, poor B has to be persuaded to go through the gate into Sophie's paddock even just for a short playdate. She's so fed up with her! Just between you and me, there are days when I'm totally on side with Bridget and we leave Sophie alone for a bit and just hang out on our own like adults. Word of advice: if you're considering working with a youngster, having a reliable well trained horse on site is something you'll never, ever regret. Bridget, thank you for keeping me confident and sane  :)

I did pop on for two short rides on Sophie this week, and she was a good girl. A very good girl if we consider how very few times I've ridden her and especially how inconsistent I've been since Christmas!


We trotted a few steps in the ring for the first time, which was a big win. The mare sass was strong regarding that! I'm aware of her attitude for sure, but not super worried...she has a lot of opinions but so far seems to let go of them pretty quickly. She also really likes to hear how wonderful she is when she makes a good choice so that makes my job a lot easier. Stereotypical mare, I guess - She'd prefer that we all bow down and adore her :D I think if you brought a fight to her she'd be pretty interested in winning it, but if you ignore the drama she kind of forgets it was a thing.


Maybe I'm right in my approach, maybe I'm wrong and could push harder, but I guess better to take small, easy wins than risk rushing it or making her sour or getting myself into a situation I can't handle. She's a lot more sensitive and quirky than anything else I've started, so it's an excellent learning opportunity for me. She's more work than I would have willingly signed up for or believe I have the tools to do justice to, but that's horses I guess, the journey is never predictable and there is always so much for us to learn.  The important thing is that I do think she's going to be fantastic and well worth any extra effort.

This saddle pad made her look tiny :D

I look forward to our spring clinic to get a good progress check in and to pick S's brain about all this. A big part of having the confidence to do this is knowing I have so much excellent help available! I'm still not ruling out sending S to a pro for a bit, but for now I still feel like we're right where we need to be.




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Saturday, 8 February 2020

Springing Along

We had sunshine and dry weather for the first time in 37 days (not that any of us here in Mudville were desperately counting or anything, lol!)

It felt like spring was in the air and horses were feeling very, very good. (Let's be real, us vitamin D deprived humans were feeling pretty giddy too!)


I did end up riding the shaggy, half feral baby pony (and Bridget got out too!). It feels really nice to be back at it. I have some more things planned for tomorrow so I'll update everything properly on Monday. 


For now, here's some pictures of Sophie having a good time burning off a little of her pent up energy (she is surprisingly fit!)






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Sunday, 2 February 2020

Keepin' It Real

I really, really had all the best of intentions of getting stuff done this week. And I did! I got so much done! Just nothing truly horsey blog worthy :(

Despite my high levels of motivation to ride, the weather got up to it's (now usual) trickery and was pretty awful Thursday & Friday. The weather forecast was using terms like "atmospheric river", which proved an accurate description. Both horse's paddocks were a mess with water and fallen tree branches. Bridget's shelter had standing water in the front half, but we got off lucky compared to all the flooding and storm damage just a little further south. I spent a big chunk of time at the barn doing interesting things like digging ditches and shoveling muck from one place to another. So fun :) I'd happily pay full board right now if only anyone was crazy enough to offer it!
Look! A tiny bit of sunlight on Saturday!

Saturday morning we had a break between storm systems and I got Sophie down to the club grounds for an outing. I was sure she was going to be a total nut after having almost a month off, so I just brought longeing gear. Of course she was quiet and lazy and I probably could have just tacked her up and hopped on. Who could have predicted that!? She's such a funny little thing.

And so muddy.

I didn't feel quite so bad when I bumped into some friends that I'd consider dedicated riders and both said it was their first outing in a month or two, because of the terrible weather and short daylight hours. I'm not alone! Whew.

Sunday was meant to be a riding day for both ponies, but the rain turned to sideways snow and sleet and hacking down the road or to the arena simply isn't safe in those conditions. A shame, because Bridget was being a complete jerk(!) due to pent up energy and I think really would have enjoyed an outing.

Someone had an even larger than normal sense of her own importance. No one tell her that her attempts at being sassy and tough are actually more amusing than intimidating.

Honestly, I'm struggling a bit mentally right now. I want to be out there riding and having fun but the weather and my current boarding set up really doesn't make it easy, (or even possible) lately. I'm putting in multiple hours a day at the barn doing chores, only to get caught up just in time to head back out of town to work on Monday. I get frustrated with that (all that work and money for "nothing") and then am upset with myself because I know in the grand scheme of things I'm lucky and my problems are very small ones. I'm catching myself being quite negative about my riding goals and being an equestrian in general for the first time in many, many years - a sure sign I need to get back in the saddle and start having fun again!

This too shall pass, right? I'm crossing fingers hard we get some friendlier weather soon (please, no more torrential rain, even just for a few days!) I just need to be patient. In the meantime, I think the take home lessons from this winter are:

- I'm irrationally grumpy and negative if I can't ride, and;
- I need to implement some changes before next winter. I dream of packing us all up for a month's vacation somewhere sunny and warm. But a trailer and/or a change in boarding arrangements are probably more practical :)

This black eyed Susan is attempting to bloom in my backyard right now. Craziness, or maybe a sign that spring might come?

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