Tuesday, July 18, 2006

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.

No comments: