Friday, July 28, 2006

I should be working

I should be working, yes I should. I have a lot I should be doing. A big presentation, writing an article... But I feel like vegging out. I had my pilates mat class today -- got to skip the company picnic so that I wouldn't miss pilates. It was really hot and muggy out anyway. Now my muscles are stretched and tired from pilates 2 days in a row, plus I rode Zoe after pilates last night. That's a lot of working out in 24 hours. I either need some caffeine (which I haven't touched in 2 years), or I need to stretch out in a comfortable, cool place and pet my puppies. My mind wants to relax with my body. What will typically happen is that my brain will kick into gear about 4:15 and then it will be time for me to get home, or to the barn. And my creative flow will again be interrupted. That's the hardest thing for me. The typical work day doesn't fit my natural flow. I am forced to "work" when my brain can't, and when it can, I am usually stuck in a meeting or I have to get to my next activity. Time pressures. Ugh.

I rode Zoe last night. She was very good. I am concerned that she has some sharp points on her teeth. At the end of the ride she seemed to be in some discomfort on the right side of her mouth. The vet comes Monday to check it out. She's been tossing her head still, but really only in her stall. We stopped feeding her the hay that no one really liked and she seemed to get better. Maybe there was something in the hay, or maybe she was just pissed off that we were giving her crap to eat and she was hungry. I think it was probably the latter.

I am feeling really good about riding Zoe these days. She is becoming more and more reliable, more consistent, and I think she enjoys our rides for the most part. When she doesn't enjoy it, she tells me, and we work it out. It's a good relationship being formed and that makes me happy. I'm not as afraid that I won't be able to handle her. We get along quite well, and I have always made it through her fits. I can feel her becoming more and more mature in the mind. It's cool. That is one of the exciting things about being working with a young horse. I am looking forward to our first show. She is going to kick ass.

Jimmy is doing great, too. I rode him earlier this week. It wasn't the best ride, but I think that was because I was PMSing. Horses are very sensitive, and I think Jim could tell I was on edge. I made him canter a lot. When he gets stressed he takes on characteristics of a 5-year old. This time he developed a phobia of a bench by the arena and the entrance to the arena. Whatever. I didn't ride that long, because I know it is more destructive than constructive to let your bad moods creep into a ride. I tried to stay soft and encouraging, but I could tell underneath my nerves were grating for no good reason. I rode until Jimmy was soft and comfortable, and then we quit. Tomorrow Kimberley, the 12-year old daughter of a co-worker, will be coming to ride Jimmy for the second time. She was sweet, and it was fun to see her excitement around the horses. I look forward to another morning of working with her! I'm not sure Jimmy is as excited as we will be, but he will be a good boy.

Oh, I found a blog today that I loved reading. I realized that I know the person who writes the blog even though there is an absence of real personally identifying information on the blog. Yet, I just got the feeling of this person reading it, and some subtle clues confirmed it for me. It was a cool experience. Pretty Typewriters I bookmarked the site for future reading.

Speaking of interesting blogs. I also spent an afteroon looking at this cool comic blog a few weeks ago. It looks like the author is in hiatus right now, but it was fun reading it: Adventures of a DramaGeek

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Big Missing Story

Oh, yeah, upon review, it looks as though I left out a pretty significant story. Memorial Day Weekend (May 27 to be exact), Zoe got a huge cut on her nose. I really can't go into details right now, but I hope to come back and edit this post to add more. Suffice it to say for now that she had to have surgery to close it up. Argh. BUT she is healing great and the scar is disappearing.

Another story about Zoe, a few weeks after her wound started healing, oh, around 4th of July to be exact, she started tossing her head in her stall and stopped eating hay and grain in her stall.

So we moved her to another stall where she started eating again. And I stripped her stall and found tons of smelly mold under the floorboards. That started the huge project of stripping out the moldy clay and putting in new footing and rubber mats. I did that the same weekend I helped friends bale 8 acres of hay and load trailer after trailer of hay.

But I still love the country life.

Zoe is doing better with the head tossing, but still seems to have an irritant in her nose. It's not going away, so I will have to call the vet out to check her head -- nose, eyes, ears, mouth. The horses just love it when I spend more money on them.

Grueling Heat

Looks like my last post was in April. Time is flying by. I have only had time for fleeting thoughts of posting to this blog, but other commitments and things like fighting Japanese Beetle infestations have kept me away from posting. I'll see how much I can catch up on today.

Since I mentioned Japanese Beetles, can I just say how much I hate those things? They are ruining our idyllic country residence. Apparently we have many of their favorite trees on our property. Starting at the Cherry, Apple, and Pear trees they have completely devastated rows and rows of trees. After walking the property and finding branches of our Cypress trees sagging under the weight of beetles, I decided I had to do something about it. I looked online for Japanese Beetle eradication. Depressing. Milky Spore can take years to make an impact. Kill the grubs -- over 5 acres?!? Expensive. I did break down and buy lots of Sevin, mixed it up and sprayed the trees that had the worst infestations at the time. It was absolutely disgusting. Now I am afraid to go near those trees since the dead beetles -- probably millions of them -- have dropped dead around the base of the tree. Get within 20 feet of the area and the stench is disgusting. Inches of rotten beetles, yet the ground still moves under foot as the living beetles search for a place to lay eggs. I feel helpless in this battle. And I am very concerned about next year. How could there be even more!? Plus, I could treat the heck out of my property, but the damn things are going to fly in from the croplands surrounding us. They will have a fat winter and spring feeding on corn and soybean roots, and emerge ravenous for our delicious, delicate tree leaves. Next year I am learning how to operate the giant sprayer. I am mixing 50 gallons of Sevin, and I am spraying the crap out of these things. I am saving my trees.

Now I'm just mad.

So let me move on to less stressful topics. Such as my horses. :-) We had a clinic this weekend. We had one last month as well, but I never got around to writing about it. At this point I will just say that the clinic in June was excellent, and get on with writing details about the most current clinic. I rode both Jimmy and Zoe both days. I noticed that I was the only person riding 2 horses in the blazing afternoon sun. I noticed that some of the other clinic participants were having David ride their horses instead in the blazing afternoon sun. On Saturday I had 45 minutes between my two lessons, which gave me enough time to cool out the first one, hose him down, put him away, rest and cool off myself for 10 minutes, and start saddling the next one. I rode Jimmy first. He was just great. I am very happy with our progress on keeping a nice, soft connection through all transitions. We did our best simple changes EVER. Jimmy felt so happy and relaxed the whole time. I was very proud of him. It was hard riding him so intensely just from the standpoint of the heat and sweat constantly in my eyes, but Jimmy was a trooper and pleasure to ride. On Sunday he was even better. We needed virtually no warmup and could start from the place we finished on Saturday. That was great. We decided I need to do a lot of counter canter with him to strengthen him in his downward transitions. It is going to be fun homework for the next 4 weeks, and I already look forward to the next clinic.

Zoe was also well-behaved for her lessons. She still is not quite as balanced consistently, but we are getting there. I love riding her when she's good. :-) She is so much easier to ride than Jimmy. Her stride is big, but not as bouncy. Anyway, I had a moment of ah-ha! when we were doing trot/walk transitions. In order to get the reactions I wanted (smooth transition, acceptance throughout, balance every step), I had to use all of my pilates muscles (aka my core). She was beautiful! It felt so wonderful. That is what I have to look forward to. On Sunday she was also very good, but did have some attitude later in the ride. I guess I am pretty used to that popping up as she gets tired, because I found it easy to ride through and get her back to being happy. Meanwhile, I impressed David and the onlookers with my "good riding". It was quite fun. Again, she feels so wonderful when I get her through and balanced. I ride for those moments every step. I will work on that consistency for the next clinic.

Crap. It's 5:00 already and Sven has called for me to take us home.