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.


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!)


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?