Saturday, 22 February 2014

Winter!

After feeling like I already had my winter from October to December in Alberta, winter finally followed me to the south coast this morning. I'll take it as a friendly reminder to not get complacent about packing my cold weather gear for a spring/summer in Edmonton :)
Ginger was too busy enjoying the snow to watch her back so my spy skills sort of worked. It's impossible to get any sort of candid shot of her just doing horsey things so I have to be super sneaky about it- otherwise she's always like "OH HI! HERE I AM SAYING HI TO YOU" :)
Saying hi - no idea why it looks like she is smiling, beside her obvious awesomeness. Also, this is why if you want pretty snow pictures of your horse, you don't get one with 4 white yellow socks (or use an iphone). 


I need to apologize for the lack of posts lately. No matter how I try to spin it, I'm in a bit of a funk about leaving again. I'm not by nature a long term planner and tend to just live in the moment, so right now I am sad about leaving rather than excited about being financially secure buying tons of horse stuff and advancing my career.

 I'm still spending a fair amount of time at the barn and spending most evenings catching up with friends. I've been avoiding the computer since I really need to be using it to finish off some paperwork for the job and arrange accommodations for myself, not to mention finishing all the boring bank and government account and address changes even a short term move seems to necessitate.

I'm signing up for two lessons a week at a barn in Edmonton, as well as looking for a weekend barn job, so I will still have plenty of horsey updates over the next 6 months. It's also not completely out of the question for me to bring Ginger along if I find I'm missing her too much :)


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Good News/Bad News

So....

Ex Forester/Park Ranger turned GIS Tech has been offered a contract for a mapping project with Alberta Parks. If ever a job was meant for someone...

So...

Even though I wanted to take a good long break, I made the decision yesterday to leave in two weeks for a 6 month contract...

Which brings us to the good news/bad news thing. Career wise, this is excellent news, and almost exactly what I want to be doing. I wasn't really looking and heard about it through an ex co-worker who recommended me. That also makes me feel happy - it's nice to feel that I'm appreciated and valued in my work. Personally though, it really stinks telling your honey on Valentines Day that you've been offered a job in another province. G, because he is awesome and all about long term planning (there really is a method to all this madness, I promise!), is happy and totally supportive. Cheap direct flights between here and there are also helpful.

Horse wise, it's also a good news/bad news sort of thing. I'll be quite sad to say goodbye to the horses at the therapeutic riding barn, but the good news is I am welcome to come back for the fall program. And of course, there is Ginger. Ginger will stay here. Stressy mare is content at the barn here, and I couldn't be happier with the barn as well, so here she stays. I have a trusted friend who'd like to trail ride her now and then, so really it's Ginger's ideal life. That's the bad news (for me, at least - I'm sure Ginger will be quite pleased!). The good horsey news is that I will be based out of a major centre with all sorts of really excellent barns. G is encouraging me to "live it up" and take full advantage of the riding opportunities available there. We have some pretty major plans and expenditures coming up in the fall, so I'm going to forget being a responsible adult for a few months and spend a good part of my income on some of those things on my horsey bucket list.

Finally, I need to do a shout out to Mona at Panic and The Pony. I was feeling super discouraged about my upcoming hiatus and the resulting lack of progress with Ginger, and her last post served as a friendly reminder that there's really no rush to get anywhere :)

Friday, 14 February 2014

Ginger Has a Valentine!

There's a new guy at the barn and he and Ginger are now madly in love. She wants his babies. This was the sight that greeted me yesterday morning - Ginger came running to say hi, but made sure to bring her new boyfriend and introduce him:



I think I will forever find my horses' social lives fascinating, Ginger and Lainey were always best friends no matter what, and it was pretty neat to watch them interact. Now that Ginger shares the pasture with boys things are getting even more interesting. 

 Happy Valentines Day, everyone!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Redeemed


Lesson Update

Where to start?

I'm glad yesterday was a lesson day because Ginger showed off some of her worst spooky, anxious, crazy pony behaviour. Logic is telling me we would have had a good ride if I followed what is becoming the normal routine where I lunge then hop on for a pretty low key ring ride, then maybe hit the trails. However, this is the real world where life is not always completely predictable and a change in the program is always good for us both.
Ms Creature of Habit reminding me that it's time to go for a ride and she needs to be groomed now. Seriously, lately she sees me drive in, I open the gate, and she walks into the barn and waits where I normally tie her. So funny.
As soon as Ginger saw S get out of her car, she was eyeing her up. Not in panic, but in the normal-for-her 'all strangers are suspicious' way. Once S actually entered the ring, Ginny decided that she maybe didn't like this stranger a whole lot. S is very talkative and outgoing, and I'm sure she wouldn't mind me saying "loud". I'm super quiet and more introverted, so we are completely different as to what energy we put out there. I hate to say it - I know that with some people, Ginger is just reading my reaction to them. In this case, I actually like S, but Ginger is not so sure. While they spent a little time saying hi, S and I spent some time discussing the puzzle that is Ginger and whether I can get her more accepting of strangers. (Consensus - she's come super far, and maybe it's OK for her to have an opinion about people. We're at the point now where it's a fairly subtle reaction provided they don't pressure her.)

S spent a little time showing me how she lunges, then asked if she could hop on. Since Ginny seemed to have relaxed a bit with her I gave her the OK. Ginny immediately decided to try to bolt when the stirrup iron bumped her side. I'm sure S was seriously questioning whether Ginger has any saddle time at all. S talked to me about desensitising Ginger, and again I had to explain that when I do stuff like that or am riding she just doesn't care - I am not the world's most elegant rider so Ginny has dealt with lost stirrups and things bumping against her more than once. When I trail ride, I can have all sorts of things tied to that saddle. But when a stranger does it or the situation otherwise changes, she takes great offense. I'm not sure what to do about that beyond being aware (and embarrassed!) So, long story short, S got to ride a super spooky, sucked back, scared of contact Ginger. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have let her ride, but the bigger part of me feels that Ginger has had other riders before, and I'm sure is going to have them again, so it's good for her to have someone new hop on now and then. Particularly as S is a beautiful, soft rider and I knew there was no way Ginger was going to have anything 'bad' happen to her beyond her own self inflicted worries. "One person" horses sound all awesome and romantic in movies and novels, but in real life it's not overly practical.

They ended on a good note, with Ginger fairly relaxed and steady. S asked if I wanted to ride a bit and embarrassingly, I said no. My nerves were through the roof after seeing Ginny's antics with S. Also, I'll be honest and admit that inside, I was feeling quite discouraged and embarrassed by her behaviour - and those are not emotions that belong anywhere near horses. I may be able to fool some, but Ginger always knows right away when I am disappointed. She's the best at keeping me honest! I am not a touchy-feely-acknowledge-my-emotions type girl, so it's a bit rough for me to have a horse who reads me so well and makes me own up to some of the more negative things swirling around in my head :) Logically, I know Ginger has been pretty steady-eddy with me the past couple of weeks, but my body and emotions weren't listening to that. S was super about it and showed me the start of some pretty neat in hand work - a back up tool for the days when I can't or don't want to ride but still want to train or 'do something' to progress her under saddle work. I'm intrigued by that.

S says she has driven by and seen me riding a few times, and was quite encouraging that we looked good and that everyone goes through times where they are feeling less confident, that it's fine to pick your days and not rush anything. She really liked Ginger and loved how sensitive she is. She generally has a very positive outlook. So, although this wasn't a lesson I'm overly proud of or
happy with, I'm still left with a good feeling. I think even just having S's positive vibe and encouragement once a week will be invaluable.

Also, the sun is shining again today, so I'm going to redeem myself and head out for a ride :)

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Ginger Interprets Eventing

Ginger is apparently offended by my last post in which I voiced my doubts about her future as an eventer. This morning, she decided to show us some of her moves :)

Dressage:

Halt at E

Stretchy Tror
Canter all uphill and fancy like
 Cross Country:
Galloping

If there was a ditch here she would have owned it
Invisible bank

Finally, Show Jumping
Lining up for the big jump


This could be her weak phase ;)
 Poor Ginger, I sent that last photo to half my friends and we all had a giggle. A+ for effort, Ginger, but you're doing it wrong :)




Saturday, 1 February 2014

February Goals

Hoping I don't jinx myself by making a plan! Things are moving along pretty smoothly in this neck of the woods, so I think it's time to start making goals. We'll start off pretty low key, though.

1. Get back into regular lessons.
I have Tuesday afternoons booked with a local instructor, plus am on the list for lessons with an excellent clinician. I'm not sure if the clinician will be here in February, but I can hope!

2. Ignore the weather as much as possible.
No making excuses because its cold/raining/whatever. I'm going to try to get to the barn and ride at least every second day, which should be more than reasonable.
"C'mon - the gate is open, it's barely raining, and I only rolled in the mud once!"

3. Get back out on the trails.
 I've been waiting for G to have the time to walk along with us, or other boarders schedules to line up for a ride. It seems like no one else is really into doing much given the weather. Either that or we are incredibly unpopular :) I'm not sure going alone is safe right now given the busy road issue and not super traffic safe pony - maybe lead her along the road and ride the trail part of the loop for a start?

4. Work on getting Ginger more traffic safe.
She's come along really well, but still has issues with bigger trucks and trailers coming too fast/too close. Honestly, I don't blame her, but hopefully more time out there will help.

5. Conquer some nerves (both of us). 
I'm hoping regular lessons and time in the saddle will get us back to a more confident place.

6. Continue working on myself. 
Watch what I eat, get out for a good run, hike or bike at least every other day.

7. Try to evaluate my longer term horsey goals objectively (not something that's going to happen in a month, but I like to reevaluate things now and then.)
 I just had another big lifestyle change, so this is as good a time as any. I need to really sit back and objectively look at things. Ginger is a wonderful girl, but to be honest, she's just as hot, sensitive, and anxious as day 1. Lots and lots of miles and training certainly have helped, but that panic button is always pretty close to the surface. Maybe I'm just feeling discouraged this morning because her buddy went off the property a few days ago and Ginny got herself in such a state over it that she colicked. I don't even know what to do about that - she's had her buddies leave and come back a billion times before. I guess she's (still!)in heat and this one is "special'? I wish I could say I exaggerate the drama on this blog for entertainment, but it's real.
I really want to event. And I really want to have fun. I don't feel I am talented enough to get Ginger out there, and more importantly,  I am not sure I have the level of dedication that would be required to get her there. Also, the logistics of taking a pony who won't eat or drink properly for days due to the stress of being somewhere new are intimidating to me.  But do we really want a second "been-there-done-that" horse and all the associated responsibility and costs? I'm certain we are keeping Ginger (her positives far outweigh any negatives and we have built an excellent partnership), I'm just uncertain what path to take with her or my riding at the moment. Definitely something to think through further after we're back into a regular lesson routine :)