Honestly guys, I'm feeling a wee bit stressed at the moment. Nothing that won't pass, things have just been busy around here, and I have way more horses to braid than I anticipated this weekend. 12 manes AND tails BOTH Friday night and Saturday night. And as it turns out, I do not have a helper in the barn for Saturday. More on that later though. Let's look back at the week shall we?
This may be redundant, I forget what time I posted last week... But I had a good lesson with Al last Wednesday. We had some struggles in one bending line. Okay, it was me. I had some struggles in that line, Al just did what I asked which was wrong. Not his fault! Lol! He just kept trying for me though! Good boy! I buried the poor dude way more times than was fair to solid 3'6" fences, and he just kept on getting to the other side.
|Just doing his best to climb over this oxer... nothing to see here.|
Finally, when he and I were both getting tired, I had trainer drop the fences a hole on the line we were struggling with. We did it perfectly (finally!) and called it a day there. The fence height wasn't the issue, I just didn't want to keep making him work that hard if I was going to continue making errors. Thankfully we had it worked out over the smaller jumps.
We had our second lesson Friday, and I was feeling a little like I should have pushed it to Saturday while I was tacking up. Al just seemed tired to me. He didn't want to come out of his stall and normally he's waiting at the door for his turn. He warmed up fine though so we started jumping some little jumps. He was super distracted and kind of looky at everything around the ring. Not the jumps at all, just like the trees blowing in the breeze, the air, the fence posts... Serious case of the distractions! We tried to move on with the lesson, but it became apparent it was going to be an easy small jump kind of day. What I really like about this trainer was that she could see what I was feeling and that Al just wasn't there for it that day. He wasn't doing anything terrible, but he CLEARLY didn't want to be there. So we didn't push him. We made him finish on a good note jumping a handful of 3' fences and called it a day. I love having someone help me who thinks like I do about horses. Horses are entitled to have an off day, and there's no need to nag then through it if they're clearing giving you the best they can on that day.
He's perfectly fine, in case anyone is worried these were signs of him not feeling well. He's been his usual self since. Although... he's started using his feet in very annoying ways in the barn! He's started pawing at the door if he thinks I'm taking too long to feed. And if he's hanging in the wash stall letting his legs dry a bit after a shower, he'll paw then too. I HATE PAWING! Why has he started this? How do I stop it? Please send help.
Trainer is away this week, and I'm a bit distracted with the upcoming hell weekend, so I opted to just play over some teeny jumps with Al today. He was a good boy!
|Even wore his ears over this one!|
Eros wound up not really jumping last week. I was taking it slow since the shoeing debacle. So the plan was to pop over the raised cavalletti Wednesday and then jump Friday. So we did just that on Wednesday. But Friday... In typical equine fashion of the best laid plans, he had pulled a shoe. A hind one thankfully. He didn't get it back on until Saturday so Friday's jump school wasn't a thing for him. Instead he had a lovely day off! Lucky kid. We did pop over a few little jumps today though!
He was a little bit of a torpedo, but like... a mostly ridable one, so I'll call it a decent day. I have a little trot in combination set up and he made me giggle. It's set on the shorter side 18' to trot in one stride and 21' for the second one. Al was great through it, be he's quite good at figuring out striding. Eros though... I told him, E, this is short, don't rush through it. But what did he do? TORPEDO!!!! He cracks me up. You have to laugh because the jumps were small, and he knows enough to pick his feet up when the time is right. But man... So ridiculous he is. The second time through he decided I was right and was softer. He still slightly torpedoed at the second one, but not too much. He is who he is, ya know? Next week when things are less insane we'll work through it some more. I kept it very small today and just popped through the two times with each horse, but next week we'll actually train through it and adjust the fences. And add the back rail of the oxer. Will be fun!
Pammon had one little jump school last week. He was a little excited, but overall a good boy. We didn't get any good screen shots, but well... there's this one:
I swear he was having fun... his face just isn't saying that. Poor Pammon. I had my last ride on him Friday but I didn't know it was my last ride, so I'm not sure we made the most of it. It was fine, but a little short. He was really good though which was nice because earlier in the week he was being a little spooky and fresh. So I'm glad we finished on a good note, even if we didn't know it was the last one. And I mean, he's not sold yet, so it might not actually be the last ride. Always a chance he'll come back. He went off to the sale barn Sunday morning. I gave him a really good grooming and told him how much I loved him and to be a good boy.
And I was a little surprised by how sad I felt. I could never flip horses. I get too attached. Even to the ones I'm not fully enjoying. I always feel sad when they leave. But I am hopeful he will find himself his own kid. Hopefully a true barn rat that just wants to hang out and love on him and go on adventures with him. Or an ammy that wants those things. Either way. I fully trust the trainer handling the process, she won't let him fall into the wrong hands and she's as upfront as I am about all he's been through. So fingers crossed his perfect human comes along soon.
And then there's Shiny... Oh Shiny.
|Flirting with Al, peep his lil nose|
She's been having it a little easy lately. She's been working with trainer's daughter when I have my lessons with Al. Trainer's daughter hasn't ridden too much, so it's mostly just trotting around in between when I'm jumping. She was trying to canter Friday but Shiny had no idea what she wanted so wasn't super cooperative. Eventually she did a few steps and everyone was happy. Since they're away this week starting today, they asked if she could ride Tuesday, which seemed like it should be fine. Lesson learned though, Shine needs a training ride on Tuesdays! She actually gave a little spook which is pretty rare for her. And then when kid finally got her to actually canter, she got quick (I know, Shiny, weird right?!) and gave a little... kick out? I'm hesitant to call it a buck because it wasn't much of one, but she managed to pop her kid off. BAD PONY. I felt HORRIBLE. Shiny proceeded to gallop away from the scene of the crime. Managed to get her leg caught in the reins, panicked, and flipped herself over. Fortunately, despite ALL THE DRAMA, everyone was just fine. Kiddo got back on and trotted around some more so I could make sure Shiny hadn't hurt herself. And even more thankfully she does want to come back and try again. I thought for sure that would be the end of her riding career. But thankfully she's hungry for more. They go back to Florida next Friday I think, so they don't have too much time left together for this season. But Shiny's not going anywhere so maybe next year they can do more.
I rode Shiny Thursday and jumped her around, and she was the best she's been in a long while. I've been struggling to get the pony stride in our line, but Thursday she just walked right down it. I even had to whoa a little. Very exciting! And I even put one of the jumps back up to 2'3". It was like nothing for her. Seems having a kid a few days a week has given her some confidence. Or something. I dunno. But I'll take it.
She's not jumping great in these photos, but honestly, she was just cantering right over everything. Like suddenly she has all this scope, and these fences were not challenging at all. I don't think I'll ever truly figure this pony out. I didn't jump her today as I figured she's probably a little sore after her antics yesterday. She flatted well though, so I think she's fine. She was still a little sassy and spooky. Might be time for her semi annual free lunge. Every so often Shiny likes to have a little gallop around the ring. Her paddock is a little oddly shaped and she can't really get a good run going in there. I'll toss her in the ring and see if she wants that before the kiddo rides again. For those gasping at the thought of a free lunge... I don't chase my horses in the ring. I turn them loose and give a few clucks at them. If they want to play they do. If they do not, I don't make them. It's nothing crazy. There's no chasing. It's no more dangerous than being a horse in a field. Which, honestly, horses are dangerous just existing aren't they?
So I think that catches us up on the horses. Let's talk about the insanity that was my weekend. And by weekend, it kind of started Thursday. Sort of. Thursday was fine. One of my braiding cusotmers was having photos done with her horse that day, so I went over and braided him up for her. It's just down the road, so was easy enough to do. Then I rode everyone before heading back out to braid one other horse a couple of towns over. I was home at a reasonable hour and got to bed on time after hanging with the pups for awhile too.
Friday was only mildly crazy. I wound up only having two horses to ride that day since Eros lost a shoe a trainer's kiddo rode Shiny. So I had time to have a nap before braiding five horses in two locations. I got home at 4:30 am which was about what I expected. And I had zero concerns because I had hired a girl to do chores for me both that weekend and this one coming.
|Five manes, three tails|
So I fell asleep just before 5 with an alarm set for 9:30. I woke up at 9 before my alarm and looked outside to see... no horses out there. The girl didn't show up!
My poor horses had no food and weren't turned out. OMG. So I ran out there in my jammies and got them fed. Then came back in to tend to the pups and get myself dressed. I sent a text to the girl to make sure she wasn't dead on the side of the road somewhere. She wasn't, so I let her know I wouldn't be needing her the rest of the days. I really didn't need her for Sunday as it turned out, but I really DO need her this coming weekend. But I can't count on her showing up. (She claimed to have mixed up the dates. But we met in person the weekend before and I definitely said I'll see you next weekend, so I dunno...) I can't be stressing on my ladder wondering if my horses got fed. It may seem like one strike and she was out, but she was also slow to respond to me earlier in working things out. Not just slow, but I sent a text that went unanswered for days. So sent another that she did respond to, but like 24 hours later. Which had all given me pause, but I figured it would be fine. It was not fine.
Anyway, I spent Saturday morning and early afternoon doing chores and letting the horses have their time outside. I got on Eros finally around 3:30 and he was a complete butthole. Spooky and annoying. I was so exhausted and had very little patience for any of it, but we worked through it. I got off, hosed him down, and realized there was zero chance of me doing that three more times. So the other three had an extra day off. By some miracle, none of my barns had horses showing Sunday so I didn't have to braid anything that night. THANK GOODNESS! So I got a good nights sleep and was happy to do chores the next day. OH, but I almost forgot....
So Saturday, after finishing chores I got a text that hay was coming Sunday, which Yay! Because we're getting low. But then I got another text from the trainer at the sale barn that they could pick up Pammon Sunday morning too. Which I apparently wasn't emotionally prepared for. He hadn't been ridden the day before and I wouldn't have time to ride him in the morning since I had to do chores and they all needed turnout. She said it was fine if he came a little sassy so I didn't need to worry about that. Okay phew. So we scheduled his pick up for 11 and hay guy was coming at 10:30. That would work because he would be down unloading into the hay shed when the trailer for Pammon arrived. But boy... it felt like grand central station here that morning! Also, hay went up and was nearly $3000 for the load. Good thing I have 24 horses to braid this weekend to help cover some of that...
|Mmmm, look at it!|
So that was mildly chaotic. But all worked out well. Pammon arrived safe and sound and hopefully isn't screaming his head off too much over there. I miss him already, but will admit, it's been nice just having three horses to take care of. It will be a big help this coming weekend too.
Which leads to this weekend. I have just one to braid Thursday night. But Friday, when I thought I'd have maybe 7 or 8, I have 12. TWELVE! Manes and tails. That's... a lot. I realized with that many, I'll have to start at 7 PM and there's zero chance of me being home to feed at 7 AM Saturday. Thankfully my neighbor (not THAT one, the fun one across the other road) is able to feed for me. So the plan is to braid all night, come home, tend to the pups who surely will have used my floor as a bathroom because they do anyway. (That's a tale of whoa for another day.) Do the chores and then sleep for the rest of the day. I think, if I can braid some of the little ponies really quickly, I could get five or six hours of sleep before having to do it all over again. Literally. I have 12 for Saturday night too. Thankfully, I got my weekday helper to work Sunday, so once I'm done that day I can go right to sleep. I'm quite confident my horses will have the whole weekend off and probably Monday too because I'm gonna need a day off too.
I get really frustrated with getting older and having autoimmune issues because weekends like this will leave me feeling off for a good week after. It's really annoying and hard to ride well when I'm all foggy and weak feeling. But, I'll get past it, and we'll be back to regularly scheduled horsing in no time I'm sure.
So if anyone's looking for me this weekend, I'll be on a ladder! Send help.