Saturday, July 12, 2014

Looong Week

Well it was my first week working full time and can I just say it was exhausting. I don't know how people do this and juggle not only horses but also a family too. Geez. I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually... I hope.

Luckily I did manage to ride fairly often this week.

Monday I was completely melting from the heat. It was way too hot. I think it was in the upper 90's maybe 100 when I got to the barn at 6pm? Way. Too. Hot. I didn't feel like riding but I had nothing better to do so I hopped on bareback in a halter wearing my shorts and had a fun ride on Misty then lunged Jetta.

Tuesday I had zero energy so I just lunged both girls.

Wednesday I was scheduled to get off work a little bit earlier than normal but instead got off even earlier so I made myself go for a trail ride! When I got to the barn I really didn't feel like it, especially once I realized I'd left my trailer tack room key in my car but had brought my truck instead... But I forced myself to do it and had an absolutely lovely ride on Jetta. She was pretty much on her best behavior! We only went about 4 miles (Miss Fatty is, well, out of shape a bit). But it wasn't too awfully hot and the whole trail was shaded. However, the mosquitoes were BAD. I didn't realize they could actually bite me through my lightweight breeches so my legs are covered in bites. Lovely.

Thursday I worked in the afternoon to late evening so I went out to the barn bright and early and rode Misty western. Jetta got turned out in one of the grass paddocks to graze meanwhile which I'm sure she enjoyed. And had fun terrorizing the horse in the next paddock. Sigh...

Misty was really good. She's just too much fun. I haven't ridden western in forever... as evidenced by my saddle. I couldn't find one of my cleaning cloths (I think I took them all home to launder them but now they have disappeared) so I didn't even wipe it off before I rode.


Then Friday, no energy yet again so I didn't even go to the barn. But I have the weekend off, a half day Monday and no work on Tuesday so I should get plenty of riding in before work gets crazy next week with the grand opening!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Lesson Recap

Long overdue lesson re-cap! After blogger ate my initial post I was kind of huffy about re-writing it all, but I like to have it written down somewhere so I can come back to in eventually if I need to so... here goes again!

I took Misty to have a lesson with KB. It's been soooo long since I had a lesson. Way too long. I had a general idea of things I kind of wanted to work on, but generally just wanted KB to pick us apart. We ended up working on some first level things we're still in the process of learning: leg yields and 10 meter half circles.

First off though was some work in transitions. Misty's transitions have imporoved by leaps and bounds. Initially, she could only do relaxed transitions on a loose rein (a la western mode) and got fussy and tense about doing them on contact. Plus downward transitions were very abrupt and upward transitions tended towards the "too expressive" side. They've become very prompt and on the bit now, no popping her head up or slamming on the brakes.

However, KB noted that there was still some tension in her transitions so we worked on getting Misty to bend deeper to take away that tenseness. We lost some "promptness" but once we get the relaxation we can alternate asking for prompt or relaxed transitions and will eventually put them together. Misty was very confused at first. She has a very vertical headset which is nice because then I don't have to worry about her sucking behind the vertical, but it makes it hard when she gets so confused by me asking for that increased bend through her poll! Eventually she figured it out (she is a smart girl after all) and the transitions were much more relaxed. Additionally, we get more lift through the shoulders and withers instead of just the neck on our upward transitions. Cool!

Next were some leg yields. As I've mentioned, Misty swings through cycles of "I got this! These are easy!" to "Ohmygosh these are so hard! Why are you asking for this?". Of course she was of the latter mindset for our lesson. We worked on getting her haunches over on a circle. KB wanted to see more of her hind legs crossing on our leg yields plus some additional straightness through the neck (I try so hard but I just tend to overbend them in the leg yield which is not conducive to a nice movement!). Once Misty got the hang of haunches out on a circle we did it along the wall with her nose to the wall, then leg yields up the centerline. Had some good moments, but this is something we need to take home and work on.

Lastly were the 10 meter half circles. Interestingly, though Misty has an easier time to the left, her left half circles suck, so I've just had to really ride the half circles and control her shoulders so they don't run out of the circle. KB said this was correct, but gave us something else to help. Working on bend because she's anticipating the change of bend. Why didn't I think of this? I should have thought of this. What we'd do is a half 10 meter circle off the wall to the centerline (to the left let's say) then hold the left bend and continue in a straight line up the centerline, then straighten, then bend right but stay on centerline, then finally a half 10 meter circle to the right. This is really going to help her anticipating and keep her from throwing her shoulders everywhere.

Overall a good lesson! We have plenty of things to work on. I was hoping to debut her at the show this coming weekend First Level but with working full time in addition to my research project and my complete lack of money this month, it sadly isn't going to happen, which I'm really put out about :(

But it's probably for the best. Not a lot of riding has been happening. More on that later! In the meantime, cute photos:

Typical. I call for my girls and Misty looks. Jetta just keeps eating. Fatty.

Lover girls.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Big or Small?

I just had my last day at work today before starting a new job and I'm quite sad over it. I've worked at a little feed store for almost a year and they just sold it to a big feed/hardware company so it will be closing its doors after 84 years...

I'm surprised I'm so put out about it, but I guess it's because of several reasons. First of all, I absolutely loved my job there. I loved the store, my coworkers, the customers. Loved it. Secondly, while all of the employees will now be working at the big store that bought us out, the manager will be retiring. He was planning on retiring anyways next year, but it's just really sad that it's so sudden and early! I'll miss him the most. He is hilarious and always made work fun. He knew basically everything there was to know about everything we sold and was our go-to for any questions. Thirdly, I grew up in a small family-owned feed store. Literally. My parents are feed store owners in our home town. So it's really sad to see a similar store to my parents' closing down.

Being dorks with my favorite coworkers

All day today customers were telling us how disappointed they were that we were closing. And it's weird to think that there's not going to be a small feed store in town any more, there will only be the big chains left. I've never done any of my feed shopping at a big store before. I'll go into some for random little things that I can't find at the small businesses, but I'd much rather support the little guys. They have much better customer service, I love how "homey" the small stores feel to me and all of their history. I love hearing the stories of customers who used to come to the store with their parents when they were kids and are now bringing their children with them. A lot of times they're cheaper than the big guys or carry things I can't find elsewhere. At the very least they could special order things for me.

It made me think, where do you guys shop? Why? Better selection, prices, customer service? More convenient, better atmosphere or is it the only option? I'm curious to see if most people shop at the big chains or the little guys, though I have the feeling that there are very few of the little stores around any more.

It's definitely the closing of a chapter and opening of a new one. I have my first training day at the new store tomorrow. I'm already overwhelmed by the amount of products that they stock! It will be different for sure. Especially because I'll be working full time this summer so it'll be fun juggling work and the horses!