Riding Guilty

Pair weddings/new job/actually-trying-to-see-friends-before-they-forget-I-exist with summer evening thunderstorms and really, I haven’t ridden much recently.

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But here’s the crux- even when I know that it’s not safe, and it looks like God is getting ready to shower the earth with lightning bolts, I have to have an external discussion with someone (poor husband) justifying why even riding in a covered arena in a thunderstorm is bad news bears. Metal horse shoes, in a metal container, sounds like a bad idea to me. Plus walking the horse outside, however briefly, to get to the covered arena leaves me wringing my hands. But still, I won’t feel better until I have a slightly scared person on the other end nodding that yes, I am making the right decision, and no, my horse won’t fall to pieces if I’m not there to save him. Last night I actually needed two such persons. Yikes.

Foster loves his cuddles. And I swear my nose does not look that beaky normally.

Foster loves his cuddles. And I swear my nose does not look that beaky normally.

Pretty much, I always feel guilty if I can’t ride, even if I have a stellar excuse not to. I know it’s my responsibility to keep him fit, that we won’t move forward without practice, and basically my horse loves a good cuddle, and it makes me feel like a bad person when I don’t see him for a long time.

Am I alone here, or does anyone else out there struggle with the guilt of not riding? How do you balance those feelings with having some kind of social life? Or how about balancing those feelings with basic things like a normal sleep schedule, and eating?

Catching Up: The Horse

I have been more than remiss with this blog for the past week, and so, I apologize. The good news is, a lot has been going on and so I have stuff to talk about!

Sorry y'all!

Sorry y’all!

Since our 3’9″ awesome-tastic jumping efforts a little while ago, things have gone a little downhill. As has happened in the past, summer has stolen a tiny part of Foster’s brain and run away until Fall. So, since I hemmed and hawed over a Calming supplement last year, and never did it, I’ve bitten the bullet and ordered SmartCalm to try out for the season. The theory, as I’ve been told, is that in the summer the horses sweat a lot (duh), and through the sweating process magnesium leaves the body. Magnesium is an active ingredient in calming supplements, and a supplement will help replace the mineral faster than the horse would normally replenish it. Hence, more sweat = more crazy/twitchy horse, more magnesium = calmer/less spooky horse that hopefully I won’t want to kill. We’ll see how it goes.

Please, please work!

Please, please work!

In other news, I also received my new saddle! It is oh so beautimous and pretty and shiny and new! I’ve ridden in it a couple times, and while I feel fine posting in it, I am still trying to create the muscle memory for sitting the trot. My legs in my old saddle definitely crept forward into a chair seat, so that is what I am trying to fight with the giant thigh blocks I now have. Will take some time, but the end result will be oh-so worth it!

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Other than his spooky moments, Foster has really settled into the new barn and we are loving the rubber footing! Between that and the new saddle (which really makes Foster lift his back in a way I haven’t felt before!), I think he is a happier horse already. Just hoping we will get back on track with the spookiness, and then I think this summer will be a positive one for our training and progression. At least here’s hoping!

 

Post-Move, Pre-Show

The move went relatively smoothly, and Foster has spent the last few days settling in with a couple attempted rides in there for good measure. Monday I decided we would actually even work a little, and he felt a bit rusty with his lateral work and I felt rusty all over- but it was a new arena and he hadn’t really done anything in over 2 weeks, so I’m not to upset about it.

Foster checks out the new place

Foster checks out the new place

Meanwhile, the fact that I am sore (even two days after my ride) makes me feel like a ball of flubber – I have seriously got to get my own fitness under control! No way am I going to have a lovely, tight position over fences when I feel like this…

flub

Tonight we will be riding through our dressage test (hopefully), which is the test I accidentally memorized for the last show! Novice A is nice and flowy, with only a couple trixy moments where you start a circle at E, canter, then start a new circle at B (never finishing your E circle). Let’s hope we don’ts forget this.

Foster has never shown well in his 2 previous visits to MacNair’s, where we will be competing this weekend, but hopefully 3rd times a charm! Assuming I can get a little jump school in, we will be just about as prepared as we were for Running Start- which is to say we won’t be very prepared. So we will just see how things go! If I go off course or forget my damn test, I will be upset though.

Our last time at MacNair's

Our last time at MacNair’s

So anyways, that’s about it here on the horse front. The weather is supposed to turn a little scary tonight- winds of up to 25 mph, so here’s hoping I don’t die inside the indoor arena! Woo!

 

Big [Horse-related] news

… I have decided to move Foster. It was a long-thought out, emotional decision, but one I had to make if I wanted any kind of life outside of work and horses. Since I started my new job, the commute to the barn has been much longer (50 minutes long), and has been taking a toll on me- mentally and physically.

The beautiful backdrop driveway for our current barn

The beautiful backdrop driveway for our current barn

Since I am also working later hours than I used to, it means I have been getting out to the barn close to 7 pm every night. Add in an hour and a half of ride time, basic grooming, and a 35 minute drive home and any kind of ‘down time’ doesn’t start until 9 pm. I know I should think of riding as down time, because it’s certainly not a chore, but let’s face it- everybody needs to veg out just a little bit. Not to mention my poor husband is already thinking about bed time at 9 pm, and frankly, so am I. All these reasons, plus the costs of gas meant the whole situation was less than ideal.

Another photo from our engagement shoot at the barn... oldest wood barn in NC!

Another photo from our engagement shoot at the barn… oldest wood barn in NC!

So I found a place that is closer to work – a whopping 15 minutes away, to be exact! Added bonus that it has an indoor arena, so I can ride even if it’s nasty outside. There are of course a couple compromises to be made, but I am hoping it will be a good fit for us.

Indoor arena at the new facility

Indoor arena at the new facility

I think the hardest thing about making this decision was the thought of leaving a wonderful group of fellow boarders that I have had for the past 3 years. These ladies are fun, fun, fun, and a nice down-to-earth type that I know I can rely on in a pinch. Luckily, they have all been super supportive of my decision and I desperately hope we all stay in touch after the move. It will be sad not to see their faces around the barn, but I hope I can make more barn friends at the new facility.

Fingers crossed that our big move [tomorrow] goes well!