Sunday, 14 August 2022

Summer Barn Updates

I’ve been beating myself up for the minimal barn progress that I feel like I’ve been making this summer. In all fairness though, it’s a bit hard to be your own contractor when you also have a full time job, get Covid, still want to ride and take a vacation…etc etc :)

Looking around this morning though, I think there has been progress worth documenting. An hour here or there tacked on to regular pony chores eventually had to add up! 

A short list of July/Aug barn improvements:

- WATER! In the spirit of DIY, I learned how to be a plumber in the beginning of July. Or at least enough of one to tie into an existing tee we put in when we had the house water service redone a few years back. It ended up being a 200’ run to the barn and despite renting a little machine, I used two work vacation days on raking and shoveling. Also on a 100 year old house there are many old pipes in the ground and we may have initially dug up and identified the wrong tee ;) But I have water! At the barn! 

Hydrant at the fence line and one at the barn. No more garden hoses required!

- Barn interior renos. Remove all the nasty chicken coop mess and garbage a tenant I’ll now hate forever installed in the barn (so gross! So many truckloads of wire and old junk to the dump) New gravel base installed, new plywood on bottom of walls, barn is pony safe once more.

I should have taken a before picture, but it was so awful and discouraging to see it so trashed. Imagine someone put used boards, pallets, and wire covering the whole interior and never cleaned up anything from the chickens and you might get close to how gross and un horse friendly it was. It took days to get all the nails and wire off and 4+ truck loads of junk to the dump.

- Barn exterior upgrades. Built and installed a gate on back of barn so I can leave the doors open in nice weather. Installed a new post supporting the front roof. The old one was compromised and someone’s fat itchy bum *cough Bridget cough* really did a number on it. Replacing posts is going to be ongoing, but for now I can check the urgent ones off as done.

Back of the barn. I really like how this turned out, now I can slide the big doors open in the morning and ponies can have a room with a view.

Front of barn featuring a new centre post :)

Front of barn. Stall doors on left, feed/tack straight ahead. It used to be two 10x10 stalls, but now it’s just one big one with the two doors and I’m liking it that way.

To make myself feel better re: my progress, here’s a back of barn before pic May 2021. Things have definitely changed! 

Front of barn before. When it’s all really done I’ll have to recreate these picture angles exactly, there’s a new fence line and paddock here now and some nice rose bushes and a garden in front of the barn on the right side.

Front of barn before

- Yard cleanup. All the old construction waste from demolishing tenants old creations over the winter finally went to the dump and the whole place is rider lawnmower/Bridget friendly at last.

Perfect for napping and eating now

This was maybe 1/4 of the brush and construction waste we took away.

- Poles painted, jump standards ready. What can I say, this was so low priority, but I needed something easy to do when I was feeling like garbage. I now have a set of jumps ready and waiting.


- Rubber mats installed in barn (soon). Person bought a house locally and found them in the backyard and didn’t know what they were for but they’re actually the proper stall mats and they’re new! So of course I bought them :)

- Manure bin (soon)

- Drainage for ring installed. Existing ditches piped and filled (Sept) 

- Shelter/tractor storage build in spare paddock (Oct/Nov)

- Continued perimeter fencing (Ongoing)

- Extend roof on barn for grooming area (Oct/Nov)

- Arena base added (October -ish) 

I feel like this is the cheapest and slowest barn reno ever, but I suspect there are more than a few of us out there not wanting to spend a fortune and trying to fit such projects in around a real job. I can’t be alone in this! 


Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Making up for lost time

 I feel like I fit the entire spring and summer calendar of events I missed into last week’s vacation.

I’m not sure I have the words to adequately recap everything we got up to. I’m sunburned, exhausted, and have a mountain of laundry and tack to clean…the hallmarks of any good horsey get away? 

If you haven’t been following along lately, some friends and I got a somewhat last minute idea to pack up our ponies for a week and venture to Hi Point Guest Ranch on Vancouver Island. Check out the link if you're interested in pictures of the facilities, since I didn't think to take any! 

Lake Bridget also came out of retirement and attended

Since my spring and summer went completely off the rails, Bridget got drafted for the job. I worked hard the last month or so to get her back to a level of fitness where bringing her wouldn’t be unfair.

The horses and humans all travelled well and on arrival we were pleasantly surprised that the farm was even nicer than advertised. We had a choice of paddocks or stalls next to the gorgeous indoor arena, and us humans got lakeside camping with bonuses like a refrigerator, dock and power outlets available to share. There's even a nice little cross country course spread over a few of the fields and hay sales right on site. Not really roughing it at all :)

Morning view from my tent site. 

Day 1 was spent on a nice trail ride and some floating in the little lake. The trail system was awesome. I would go back just for that alone, you could easily ride all day and the property connects directly to the Trans Canada Trail.

Trans Canada Trail is like so, but there were plenty of more technical options up into the mountains from here that we barely explored.

But, the real reason we were there was for lessons!

Day 2 B and I had our first dressage lesson in….years? And it was super exciting. B showed up ready to work and tried so hard. I’ve had a couple of long standing things I’ve never really solved (a minor pony head tilt going to the left being one) despite lots of great advice, but the clinician zoned in on that immediately and gave me tools that also worked almost immediately. She hopped on and had some fantastic feedback for me as well. My favourite part being that B feels 100% fine to her physically, and none of the “problems” I’m feeling are anything I should worry over, it’s just fitness and training from here on out :) Then since it was hot, I hosed B off and lounged in the lake the rest of the day.

*would I even be me if I didn't take 10000 pictures of my friends and their ponies, but request zero of myself and Bridget? After all these years, I'm still a terrible blogger and you get no pictures of my dressage lessons.

Day 3 was another dressage lesson first thing in the morning. The clinician challenged us to a bit of basic lateral work and some back and forth in the trot and canter…I liked that she was respectful of wanting to keep it fun but also not work pony too hard. The buttons are still there and super responsive, the execution was rusty and could use some refinement lol. In all seriousness I was really pleased with the little potato, we’re both wobbly and unfit but she’s still game to show off her moves. In the evening once it cooled down I took B to the cross country course and popped some logs and just had fun. It’s been a long time!

Oh hi, here we are doing something!

Day 4 there was a xc clinic, but in keeping with respecting B’s current fitness we did working equitation instead and had a great time. It’s not something that particularly interests me, but I can see the attraction, it’s very much dressage and trail challenge all in one. B had ants in her pants either because the course was set up on the xc course or because she really liked it. Not sure, but we had lots of fun navigating the patterns and obstacles and even got to pretend to be the real deal by spearing rings off a fake bull. B was 0% phased by any of it and already familiar with the natural obstacles due to previous xc and trail experience. She seemed to pick up the objective of the new to her things quite quickly. I think she might have found her calling! Honestly everyone we met was super nice and fun too - really I am not seeing any negatives to this sport and almost feel like I should give it a chance to grow on me and go to another clinic or two.

B and her angry bull spearing face

Day 5 the temps just kept increasing and it was super hot. I was also expecting to have a tired pony so didn’t schedule anything formally. The other ladies had another clinic day and I planned to give B a quiet hack. But since she was still spicy and on a mission on the shady trails our proposed leg stretching hack turned into a 10km expedition on the nearby rail trail. Apparently there is an amazing trestle bridge at 20km, so something to plan for next time (because there will be a next time!) 

Day 6 was sadly our last day and with the ponies needing to be on the trailer 5+ hours to get home B and I both just enjoyed a bit of a quiet morning and I had a last swim in our little lake.

All in all, it was a really nice blend of riding and learning, plus some much needed downtime with horsey friends. We’re planning to make it an annual thing and I already have so many things I want to do next year.

Like making it to this bridge...we got half way and turned around since it was so hot out - it didn't seem fair to the horses to add another 10k to the outing. Photo borrowed from here

I’m glad as well that I ended up taking B this year, I’ve been feeling quite lost as to a plan or direction with both ponies and this week really helped solidify a lot of decisions I’ve been waffling over and eased some of my worries. More on that later (and no, this is not a cliffhanger with any exciting life altering announcement pending, just a future blog coming with some thoughts on future things to aim for with the girls) 


Thursday, 28 July 2022

Let's Just See

 Bridget's coming back feeling GOOD. 

I mean, the wiggly pony with less than desirable coordination is still very much alive and well and all the things we used to work on are still there waiting.  Two years of mostly trail riding on a loose rein followed by 3 months off didn't magically create an upper level dressage pony.

But, she's feeling very sound and strong. Mentally, she's night and day from a few years ago. 

Long term readers will recall she used to often be worryingly dull and uninterested in working (or much of anything, really) many days. 'Predictably Unpredictable' I think I used to call her because some days she'd come out ready to work, but the majority of days I never did find the key to getting her to fully participate. In my defense, she came to me that way and vastly improved with all the lessons and help we had, but I was constantly feeling like we were missing something NQR with her and I was letting her down, whether it was mental, physical, training program, my riding and management, or a combination of it all. Maybe she's simply not a 5-6 day a week riding pony. I truly don't pretend to know what is/was wrong even now, I just know on her 'on' days we had the most fun ever and that's what kept me going all that time before I finally just decided enough was enough.

With hindsight being 20/20 and slowly figuring out that there's a super energetic, fun, curious pony under there, there are obviously a lot of decisions with her and ideas I had about her personality and work ethic when I first had her that I've love to go back and have a re-do for. 

With B reverting to main riding pony this summer it looks like this is my chance for that re-do. I don't pretend to know everything that's working for her now vs then, so my expectations aren't high. I certainly have no plans beyond continuing to do my best by her. I'm really curious to see if a more ES based training approach will be helpful, but mostly I'm going to just keep doing what we've been doing the last 2 years as the vast majority of the 'plan'.  

Bribery via super lush grazing

Sorry for the ramble - I find this whole thing so fascinating, but I'm very much figuring it out as I go and putting it on a page helps. Glimpses of the 'dream pony' were under there all along, so I'm not hugely surprised that with the right combination of things B is not at all the dull and quiet pony she first came advertised as. Funny though how with the lack of expectations or focus on her she's really come out of her shell. Perhaps we can add that because I thought she was a certain way... she was? to my list of possible things that originally weren't quite working for us.

Current barn status from the back...we're there working for at least an hour or two before and after work but B works extra hard supervising every detail.

Perhaps it's possible to have Happy Sound Bridget and the odd small competition or advancement, perhaps not. We'll just see...right now she's saying she wants to do more again. I happen to already have some adventures booked and paid for with Sophie in mind, so let's go see what that looks like this summer with B instead :)

One of those adventures is a xc clinic next week. This should be interesting!


Monday, 25 July 2022

Maybe, Just Maybe

 What a year it’s been for me to feel superstitious about declaring my (very average) plans here.

But, probably I need to start talking - explanation and context is likely required otherwise you’ll likely be wondering what happened to Sophie? And why all the upcoming Bridget media?

As a bit of a status update…my property is not quite ready for the likes of Sophie. To be fair, it’s not quite ready for the majority of horses, but Bridget is happy to accept things like fence lines that are more suggestion than reality.  Sophie’s boarded out about a 45 min drive from Bridget, living in a herd of horses, happy as anything, looking fantastic.

Is that temporary fence wire even electric? She’s convinced it is and that’s what matters. A certain blonde pony would have tested this particular puzzle on Day 1. 

Current circumstances have pushed the start of the ring and the additional pony shelter at our place closer towards the end of September. That seems like the logical time deadline move Sophie home and put her back to work. 

Until then, I have easy access to a Bridget and lots of neighborhood roads to ride her on.

Oh, and I have several things upcoming I signed Sophie up for before I got sick, Sophie got moved, and the property got so far behind. You might guess where this is going.

The bay ears have been officially drafted to the A Team, and are currently getting a lot of extra walking for fitness miles.

All of it is actually a huge blessing in disguise. 6 weeks off and still not feeling super great has a noticeable effect in the saddle… I feel less secure, tire easily and am weaker in general. With that, my confidence isn’t at an all time high. Early days back I was very much at B’s mercy should she have got any ideas, thankfully she kept all her feet where they needed to be. I couldn’t be more grateful that she’s coming back happy and sound. Although she’s quite fresh and keen, she’s definitely a comfortable, happy place for me. We’re both rapidly getting fitter and I’m already back in a far better mindset. 

So, since things are starting to happen pretty rapid fire this week, I might as well tell you - regular Monday lessons start today. My old coach EC is coming up to visit and teach us Friday. Next Wednesday we leave for a week long camping trip to Vancouver Island…that also includes daily lessons and lots of fun events planned. 

A pony in the backyard is probably never going to get old.



Friday, 22 July 2022

Blog List Updates

 I'm just doing some website housekeeping and noticed my old 'Rainy Day Reading' blog list wasn't updating reliably anymore. Then (of course!) I managed to completely break it. 

So...please, if you're a reader here and/or you've got a horsey blog that isn't on my new list let me know. I'd love to read some new blogs and I for sure didn't mean to intentionally ghost any of you who used to be there!



Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Full Speed Ahead

 Well, maybe not *full* speed, but moderately paced doesn't have the same ring to it. After the last month of feeling sick and sorry for myself and doing exciting things like sleeping 16 hours a day, going back to a moderately paced average week feels hectic and exhausting. But never mind that, I'm just thrilled to be back out riding, puttering away at the property, and catching up with friends (for now, let's pretend I don't have a job, the less said about the backlog I've accumulated at work with the better part of a month off, the better ;)

Here, have a Sophie picture

Bridget has been pretty wild, although I know her so well I feel pretty safe up there. Despite all the snorting, prancing, and humping her back, she's not one to spook or bolt off or generally endanger herself or her rider out on a hack. Cantering and jumping would be putting my life at risk at the moment, but I'd like another week of walk/trot before we get back to a bit of that anyway. Last week I did 20-30 minutes of walking under saddle each day, this week I'll add in trot and maybe a bit of canter towards the end. She feels very strong and energetic, but I'm cautious not only because she's reverted to a semi feral state - three months off would have done nothing for her under saddle fitness and I don't want to risk straining or injuring anything via doing too much too soon.

B living her best life in the backyard :)

But also not so subtly hinting she'd like her stall in the barn finished already! We're so close, Bridget.

Sophie, on the other hand, has been not wild. Her farrier appt somehow coincided with a hay delivery at the barn, and an excavator working on the other side of the fence. She stood quietly over by the parking and was a total pro - big win for a pony who normally has trouble standing still and not fidgeting/getting distracted long enough for one foot, let alone all four. I got a message a few days ago asking if I'd bring her for use in an Equitation Science demo. They were looking for a quicker thinking, higher energy, distractable horse and somehow the organizers thought of Sophie? lol. So of course I said yes, dragged her out of the field after 6 weeks of doing nothing, took her to the fair grounds and expected her to deliver on those requirements. And of course she yawned and slept and was super dull and basically acted like Opposite Sophie with a load of tranquilizers on board. The one time she had a free pass to be 110% Sophie and she was like "no, nevermind" and didn't put a foot wrong. I felt a bit sorry for the clinician because adding to that, apparently a lot of the groundwork I do mirrors the ES teachings so Sophie just did the thing and there wasn't much in the way of a demo of how to train.

Banana Pony is consistently inconsistent. She lets her feelings be known and it's always to the extreme - this weekend we must have interrupted nap time in a big way.

On the ES subject, there is a lot I really like about it. If you've had horses a long time or had a good mentor I think a lot of it is things you might have instinctively picked up or been taught as good horsemanship, so it's kind of neat to connect the dots on why those things work so well from a basic animal behavioral science view. The basic principles of it just sense to me.  I know I've said here before a lot of the natural horsemanship teachings don't quite connect in my brain. I know they work for many people, so I'm not making judgement, but for me I think it's important I understand the hows and whys of what I teach my horses if I want to be successful. With most of the NH trainers I've been left with more questions than answers...some of it just doesn't suit my learning style perhaps.

I'll leave you with an interesting thing from this weekend's demo. When leading or doing groundwork with my horses, it's been a thing for a while that they should follow my intention and my feet. For example, if I start walking forward, they mirror me. I take a step towards their shoulder, they move said shoulder away. No pulling, poking, touching. They have their space and I have mine. My what nicely trained horses I have :) It's fantastic for Bridget, but reality of that with a sensitive, busy horse (like Sophie, or for really long term readers, Ginger)  is that you're like "yes, good pony" except "no actually, don't swing your quarters away, I need to pick up your foot" "No, actually, please just stand still while I walk towards you with the clippers" "No actually, I just want to put this jump up, please stay back there" "No actually don't move away or follow me this time because...etc etc" Last night we added in a very simple cue to ask Sophie to start moving when I do. If that cue isn't given, guess what? She 'parks' in place until I give that cue.

So simple, definitely a 'why didn't I think of that' kind of thing. I also like that if they've been 'parked' they can just chill and relax and zone out until given a cue....I felt like before they still had to keep at least half an eye on me and what I was doing because if I was moving around, surely they should be too? How confusing that must have been for them and a good example of something that I had left a big gaping hole in and the how to fix it hadn't really connected with me coming from the NH angle...I think if I had pondered on it I would have thought my horses should read my energy as to whether to move or not, but the reality was it stayed pretty unreliable (and my energy is likely all over the place on any given day so who can blame them).

One more pic at Camp Bridget where all continues to go well and I'm just so happy to have her at our own place.


Wednesday, 13 July 2022

New Beginnings - Backyard Pony

With full board where Sophie is being very pricey and me having a barn full of hay stashed away I wondered if I might as well just bring Bridget home when I picked her up from the vet's. 

Plus, covid. While the internet assures me I can't be contagious this far into the game, I still very much have a cough and head cold like symptoms and am thinking the boarding barn and general public will continue to thank me or staying away.

Our little barn and property are still a work in progress, but there is a newly fenced paddock right off the covered area in front of the barn. Bridget is no trouble at all and not one to test fences or be concerned with machinery or work going on. She's also not normally a big fan of other horses and will choose to hang out alone if she can. If ever there was a pony happy to live in a backyard semi construction zone barn, it would be her.

Happy at Camp Bridget. I still have work to do leveling and putting mats down in the actual stalls in the barn, but the covered area in front of the stalls is more than big enough for her to get out of the elements.

So, I went for it and moved her in. And of course she's happy....there is a ton of grass with all the rain we've had so I had to divide her paddock into thirds for a more gradual mow. I was looking around last night and thinking that if I only had Bridget and was careful with paddock management, likely I wouldn't need to feed hay most of the year - I forgot just how ridiculously fast the grass grows up there.

B's very efficient mowing service hard at work

She hadn't been ridden in about 3 months and I'm still pretty under the weather, so I hopped on for a 15min stroll around the block last night. What could possibly go wrong?  

Spicy and snorty but she never puts a foot wrong.

I have some tentative upcoming plans for Bridget, so there will be a lot more walking for fitness in our immediate calendars. 

Right now, I'm just deeply appreciating having her home on our own property and being able to pop on and go for a ride whenever I like. Sophie will be moving in once things are farther along, but I'm feeling a bit like a bad person at the moment - having one horse to care for is so easy, and there is zero herd bound drama. I miss seeing Sophie regularly a lot, but I'm appreciating this quiet time.


Monday, 11 July 2022

We Regroup

 Sorry for the silence. While I don’t mind documenting the lows with the highs, sometimes it just seems like nothing but lows and who wants to keep a record of that to look back on? Apparently not me.

So, let’s get back into it with a short status update.

- I have been out of the saddle for quite a bit with a weird autoimmune reaction followed by covid that further complicated things; I am starting to feel better now.

- Bridget did not get in foal; I am bringing her home today. If you’re interested in the details and costs of such a venture, at some point I can expand.

- Sophie is still on a pasture vacation, she’ll stay there until late August.

- The property is ridiculously behind schedule because I haven’t been able to physically do much for a month, but I’ve got water line installs and drainage prep for the ring being finished this week and Bridget is moving in.

- I’ve got a bunch of fun horsey events and property projects coming up, but you’ll have to stay tuned for those as they happen because I’m feeling a bit superstitious about making any plans or project timelines after these past few months! 

Sophie says hi

Monday, 13 June 2022

On Her Own Time

 Super long term readers will remember the constant struggle with Bridget was her unwillingness to do the thing NOW. Always, no matter what, she needs time to process and think and then put the plan into action. Bridget isn't hasty about anything. It's not ideal when you're needing a sharp transition at C and your pony doesn't connect her brain to her feet without a processing lag, but on the plus side if a scary thing happens she's still pondering it well after everyone else has just run away :)

Ahh, so cute. I actually want 10 Bridgets to just make my life entertaining forever.

I should know this about her and have guessed it would apply to putting her in foal as well. Besides being cute, it's kind of her 'thing'. I really should not be surprised that she didn't take the first time. I also shouldn't be surprised she foiled our plans the second time by holding out days past when she should have been ready, even opting out of reacting to the meds that should have solved that and given us a predicatable 48 hour window to breed her.

I feel like timing Bridget ovulating might be more art than science, comparable to the perfect avocado. Days of "it's going to happen tomorrow", then oops too late. (and just in case you thought you might put another order in, it's 3am Sunday morning now too, ha ha ha)

When I reached out to the vet about whether it's worth trying a third time, part of her response included mentioning how Bridget doesn't necessarily cooperate with plans and likes to do things on her own time and needing to factor that in. Despite being poor and sad from this whole experience, I did have to laugh. At least she's consistent.

I need to have a chat with her...I mean she could have a year + of this potato lifestyle, or she could go back to work as an eventing pony? Maybe I'll threaten her with lesson pony duties *evil laugh*

So, we'll check in two weeks but the odds of her being in foal are very slim. I've gone back and forth over trying one more time and literally can't make my mind up. I'm normally pretty optimistic but I can't shake the feeling this just isn't going to happen and I'm wasting my money. The again, I've been spending every spare moment installing foal safe fencing at our place so maybe I'm not that negative! Plus if there's anything that would make me gamble, it's the prospect of a Bridget 2.0. 

For now we'll wait on Bridget for a couple more weeks and see what happens. Cross your fingers hard for me, I realize the odds are super super tiny but maybe there is a baby in there despite the timing being way off?

In the meantime, I have a lesson with Sophie on Friday, and I haven't ridden in weeks. I'm THAT person. I knew I would likely be very limited in time leading up to this, but didn't want to lose my ongoing lesson spot. I'm going to try my best to just work with whereever we're at and get what I can out of the day...don't expect a glowing lesson review of all the amazing new things we accomplished. Just getting out there and getting it done in spite of the universe seems to be the name of my game this summer.

Speaking of that, the jack failed on my year old trailer when I went to hook it up to ride this weekend. YouTube fix it videos seem to think they fail when they're hooked up to your truck and the jack is accessible, but no...that's not how my luck is. But I still managed to replace it myself so...winning? Sort of?

Property updates coming soon - we've got a lot happening there this month!


Monday, 6 June 2022

And We Wait A Little More

- Bridget's ultrasound results were not of the variety I had hoped for, so we're coordinating a retry. Maybe I'll have different news in a couple of weeks? I'm disappointed of course, but it is what it is. We'll try once more and then whichever way it goes is how we move forward. I'd absolutely love a foal from Bridget and have to give it try, but also I'm feeling surprisingly rational about the whole thing and the realities of the risks and costs.

- Sophie moved to her temporary home yesterday and was very happy with the greenery in her paddock, less so with the geldings over the fence line. I'm a bit apprehensive about reintroducing her to the herd, but trusting the barn owner to know when it's a good time.  She's been pastured with the crew out there before, but she was very young and it's been a few years.

- Rain, rain, and more rain. It's still basically winter rains here and we're setting all the records for cold and rainfall. So our excavation work is postponed another week - there is standing water everywhere and the soil is completely waterlogged. Progress as far as fencing, etc continues but we really need things to dry out!

- I had my first appointment with a sports psychologist and it was amazing. Highly recommend if you in any way struggle with anxiety around riding or shows, or even if you are just feeling the daily struggle of horses being unpredictable creatures that don't follow a plan. Homework = redefining what I think constitutes me being 'good enough' or 'getting better' at something. Hint: Enjoying, learning, and being in the moment while in the saddle are good goals, and much better than something more quantitative like "riding fourth level' or "capably jumping a 4' course". Hint 2: You'll never be worthy in your own mind if you base too much of your worth on wanting achievements that haven't happened yet or focusing on things that happened in the past. You're 'good enough' right now.

- Sorry for the lack of pictures or media today. I've been uninspired, but I have promised myself a photo taking time out later this week - Sophie has finally shed the last of her winter coat and is looking great, plus there's that big beautiful green pasture background to take advantage of :)


Thursday, 2 June 2022

'Vacation' Time

I think I had two averagely OK rides after my last post, but Sophie managed to get a puffy leg last Wednesday and so I gave her a bit of a break.

She likely kicked at the neighbouring gelding through the metal fence panel again She had opinions about that scraped up leg on farrier day, but bad choices lead to consequences, Sophie ;)

That one small blip in the plan has lead to some bigger temporary changes. I had that lesson where it kind of went sideways and I had a moment (or ten) where I felt like I just couldn't do it, mainly because I just felt I don't have the time or proper headspace to be there the way she needs at the moment. Getting to the arena is a trailer ride across town and no matter how much I feel like I rush, it takes 2-3 hours out of my day that I often don't feel I have to spare. I went into that clinic feeling overwhelmed, tired, and unprepared. The whole situation sucked, but was a lightbulb moment that I just can't keep doing what I'm doing how I'm doing it....I mean I am not the least emotional person out there, but also I am not the person who has a days long breakdown when my lesson for what's supposed to be my fun hobby doesn't go perfectly, either.

Sophie needing a few days off combined with me having vacation booked from work was a blessing in disguise. Taking riding and work off the list temporarily made such a difference in my outlook and made it so much easier to reevaluate things.

I'm making some short term changes with the horses. Sophie is moving to full board this weekend, and Bridget is moving there too when she gets back (no update yet, ultrasound scheduled for this coming Monday) It's more of a retirement type place with no onsite arena, but there are acres of fields for the girls to vacation in. While they are 'away' I'm going to prioritize getting our property ready for them - I'm so close and it feels very good to make real progress there. Also I really enjoy DIY improvements, so it doesn't feel like work. (And yes, we've hired a contractor for some things to speed up the process, another compromise!)

Sneak peak at in progress fencing

My backyard 'workshop', often how I spend my lunch breaks

Building gates for the orchard/garden area last weekend. I don't think I have actually stopped moving in two weeks and am in a perpetual state of soreness....reminds me how ill suited a desk job actually is to my fidgety, busy self.

I am a little disappointed because I feel a little like I’m admitting partial defeat of my summer riding goals but  I'm well and truly burnt out from trying to keep riding regularly given my current work/board arrangement plus all the property improvements I'm trying to finish at our place. Plus, really, what horses wouldn’t be happy with a 10 acre summer field vacation for a month or so? 

The grass I planted at home for them last fall is growing like crazy, too

I do still have a busy summer clinic schedule and a horsey camping trip  I’ve already booked and paid for, so expect me to be “that” person with the pony who hasn’t been getting as much saddle time as would be ideal. I know it's not a perfect answer, but I think it's a logical one and regular riding is the easiest thing to take off the table right now. The longer term answer is obviously that riding and fun things can have priority as the less fun things (and my mental health) get sorted, but we're not there yet. I'd be lying if I said I have an immediate plan for how I'm feeling right this instant, but it's been a bit freeing to just get to that place where I'm OK with admitting I can't do all the things right now and need a bit of a break from some of it.