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?


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!


Saturday 21 March 2020


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 ;)


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


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!