Monday, July 6, 2015

This week's activities: Horse Show Groom, Painting the Dining Room, Lesson, Barn Slave

This past week has been a whirlwind of activity. Just doing a day by day list. Sorry!

Saturday/Sunday 6/27-28
I went to Stonegate MT to groom for Trainer. She was riding 5 horses (three green beans, one moving up a level, and one just plain difficult) and needed someone in the barn to have the next one ready to go when she came back. I braided all of them, in one afternoon, while cleaning the legs of whichever one had just finished working. I made 5 trips to the washrack Saturday and 10 on Sunday.

To say it rained a little is an understatement.
Monday 6/29
I took a day off from work after the horse show. Took Mikey for a long road walk in the morning. He had a good time and we got to enjoy the brief time that the fabulous sun was out.

Road walk. Mikey was not keeping up with the youngsters on the way out, but he beat them coming home!
Tuesday 6/30
I went into the office for work today, no riding after work. Too much rain? I don't know, it's all a blur of rainy days. I had to clean my house too.

Wednesday 7/1
I worked from home on my usual work from home day.
My mother in law came in today to visit. We all had dinner at my parent's house.

Thursday 7/2
I worked from home for the holiday.
My husband, mom and mother-in-law peeled wallpaper off of our dining room walls and got them ready to paint to remove the 50s and 70s era paint that was under the wallpaper.
I used an early out to leave 2 hours early from work... which I used to go to the barn and ride! Had an OK ride until the end- I got two flying changes, one each direction! I haven't gotten one left to right since pre-surgery. He gave a huge grunt and did a clean change! Yay! Obviously very exciting for us.

Came home to go to my parent's for margaritas and quesadillas. Yum.

Umm, yes.
I dropped some broccoli. It fell on Nickels' head. He ate it.
Friday 7/3
I was off that day for the holiday, so I went to the barn in the AM. Braided a horse, had a lesson, braided another horse. Worked off my lesson, sweet!

We reviewed what's been going on in the last two weeks during my lesson, with the idea to check in and then cross my reins again. We never got to crossing my reins again, Trainer didn't think it was necessary.

Three major points:
  • Yes, we're pushing him to the outside rein. I am still allowed to use my inside rein. This is a total "Duh!" but I have a habit of getting heavy on the inside rein or over working it when the going gets tough. It's usually a right rein problem. In keeping with my last lesson's idea of inside leg and seatbone pushing to the outside rein, then outside leg kicking on for more forward, we should do the following: To the right: Since he doesn't fill up the left side of his neck, overbend to the right for a step or two, half halt, leg on, and give back. Repeat every 3-4 strides. To the left: Since he way overbends to the left already, counterflex him right for a step or two, half halt, leg on, give back. Repeat every 3-4 strides. The idea is to make him weigh both reins evenly, (again, totally duh!) and he has to let me half halt right to right, left to left, right to left, and left to right.
  • He's been more connected and through than I thought for the past week. I have a baseline of what through and connected feels like, and for the last 3 months, that has been a super deep connection (long and low). In the last week, we did a little more uphill connection, and it felt like his nose was poking out in trot and canter and that I had lost my connection. In truth, I did not lose my connection, I had established a raised poll that simply can't connect as deeply as it can when I let him go long and low. Duuurrrrr.
  • Start conditioning work again with Mikey. He just looked tired Friday morning. Nothing crazy, just start with trot sets and see how his hock holds up. If it doesn't hold up to trot sets through the hay fields, it'll never hold up to 3rd level work.
We finished in a very collected canter. Same leg, seat, and hand ideas from before (reading over this, it's a lot to think about, but it makes sense once I'm on the horse!), but applying collection by simply pulling my shoulders up and back slightly (think prim and proper) because that engages my core and thigh to collect. We moved between that super collected canter into working canter and back to collected. The transitions were EASY. Pushing it back out became as simple as allowing him to take a bigger stride, no leg necessary. Collecting it back in was a simple pull your shoulders back, but apply a good amount of leg and seat to keep the energy coming. Very good lesson. I wish the weather would break so I could practice on my own.

Went home Friday and painted my dining room for the rest of the afternoon and evening. And ran to Lowes on the worst home-improvement shopping day ever because the 3rd color we had picked for the trim was not going to be appropriate. Hello wasted paint.

The dining room's new colors. Edges still need cleaned up, stuff put back on the walls, window sheers need put on.
All the colors are a bit darker than we thought they'd be, so we traded a dark brown paint for white for the trim.
Saturday 7/4
Hello barn slave life. Trainer left Friday for an event, so I was at home taking care of horses. Put feed in stalls. Bring 17 horses in by hand (sets of 2-4 in hand at a time). Hay and water all the horses. Set up afternoon feed. Wrap the hoof of the horse with the abscess. Mikey lost a shoe, so call the farrier for him to come out Monday. No riding my own horse! We had trot sets in store for today, but that got scrapped since he lost a front shoe. I would have done them if he had lost a hind though. We'd be working on soft ground in the hay fields, and he's ok to work without the hinds on soft ground.

Since Mikey couldn't work, he modeled his new fly bonnet. He did not cooperate with me to take pretty pictures of him.
I ended up going home between morning and afternoon work. It's a 45 min drive, so I don't usually, but I was done at 11 and couldn't feed until 2 or 3 or ride my own horse, so I decided to go home, say goodbye to my mother in law, take a shower, wash my clothes (I was filthy due to rain/mud/uncooperative horses), and take a nap.

"Hello Human." Penny was my naptime buddy.
Afternoon feed involved putting those same 17 horses back out then cleaning stalls that had two days worth of gross in them because they weren't done Friday night (I couldn't skip out on more painting so Trainer arranged for someone else to feed and turnout only). I should have cleaned stalls in the morning, but I couldn't bring myself to do 17 stalls twice in one day. It's not the stalls were super gross for having two days of poop in them, the horses are out for 16+ hours a day. Hay, water, set up morning feed. Go home.

Tractor driving on the 4th of July.
Oh, and I rubbed two quarter sized blisters into the backs of my heels. Had to wear my damaged muck boots (neoprene on the back of the heel on the inside is worn away) to fetch the 7 horses on the hill due to mud at the gate. The trip involves walking a quarter mile each way to the field and leading the horses in a group of 3 and a group of 4, so two trips. Lovely.

Sunday 7/5
Barn slave life, part 2. Repeat Saturday's feed and bringing in with less problems than before because I wasn't flying blind. Went on a road hack with my weekend trail riding date, but I rode one of my trainer's "babies", aka 4 yr old OTTB Lucky, instead of Mikey.

Lucky and Leader on our road walk.
Go to Walmart. They have Subway, air conditioning, and running water/flushing toilets. Buy some groceries. Go to the barn. Stuff all perishables in the barn fridge.
Repeat evening chores. Stalls were much faster today with only one day's worth of poop.
Go home. Shower, Cook dinner. Make breakfasts and lunches for work for Monday and Tuesday. Pass out.

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