Saturday, November 3, 2012

stress vs. study break

I have a LOT of schoolwork to do. Like, a LOT. Today I accomplished a lot fortunately. But tomorrow brings more. And Monday brings an exam. But I'm hopeful that by the end of tomorrow I will be 75% ready for the exam and 100% complete with other things I need to accomplish prior to my vacation & some work travel that is all lumped together over the next week or two. Oi vey.

During undergraduate at college I would have been majorly stressing over the amount of work I needed to accomplish. Fortunately, I recognize that my old worrying and stress habits weren't healthy. I've taken leaps and bounds to overcome these old, bad habits. And I've succeeded in a very large way.

Before, I would freak out and blow things out of proportion. I'd make mountains out of mole hills and work myself into a frenzy (all inside my head) over things. I'd bottle things up to a breaking point. And then I'd explode in a crying heap of frustration over what was essentially -  nothing.

Now I'm different. In a very good way. I'm able to see things for what they are and accept them. I focus on what I need to get done and I do it. It can be frustrating, definitely. That's a little stressful, those frustrating moments, but for the most part they don't bother me because I know I can get through them. That big, bright light on the other side is always right there. I'm calm and relaxed about getting things done and getting through the rough patches. I know I'm capable. It might just take a little out-of-the-box thinking, that's all. And that's just character building. Its good for me. Or that's what I tell myself! So far, the only potentially unhealthy thing about my new studying/dealing with tough stuff routine is that I tend to just block off communication with people while I'm in crunch mode. Its offended a few, I think, but tough. Its not permanent, and it's not intentionally hurting anyone.

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Griffin's wee foot
I have realized I need barn time to get through everything though. Locking up and blocking out people and things for awhile is cool, but damnit, I need horse time. So I've been working on getting out more. Winter is just full of exciting groundwork possibilities, primarily because I can't get side tracked wanting to go on some huge ride since there are a.) hunters, b.) bad weather c.) poor trail conditions, and d.) ruined trails from Frankenstorm.

Friday afternoon I brought both horses in and worked on trailer loading after I found that Q's fetlock was back to normal and Griffin's back was no longer sore (he must have wrenched it playing with Oliver).

Q was up first. I led her on 2 or 3 times per the norm. Then we proceeded to self loading. It took her a second or two - no more than a minute. And up and in she went. She turned around immediately once she went on the first time and almost got stuck. Freaked me out a little but I got out of her way in a hurry and she got out without an issue. We circled a bit outside the trailer, then I led her on again. Perfect. Back to the self load. She did it within 10 seconds. I jumped on right after to placate her and prevent her from turning. Excellent. Repeat. She got on and hesitated, twitching to turn, but standing when I made the "eh, eh, eh" noise. I followed her on and praised her lavishly. Ended here on a positive note. Good girl.

Griffin was up next. I had zero expectations for him getting on this trailer as the slant load is much different from the stock trailer he'd ridden in prior. If I could get him on I was going to be happy. I circled him outside the trailer for a minute or two, then I strode on it as if it was nothing and he followed suit. My mind was boggled. Lavish praise for the little man. Good Griffin!

He was hesitant to want to back off. Not in this "No way am I getting off here and I'm angry you're asking me" way. It was more of a "Nah, maybe later. Its nice and shady in here and the sun is out of my eyes now." way. He sluggishly backed off with a bit of encouragement. Lavish praise.

I led him on twice more and then we proceeded to self loading. I implemented Dom's annoyance technique with the dressage whip here. He definitely figured out that forward movement toward the inside of the trailer made that obnoxious thwapping go away real quick. Within 2 minutes he'd self loaded. And he stood put, baby. None of that immediate turning nonsense per Q. Lavish praise. Repeat. He did it this time in under a minute. Lavish praise. Ended it there on that positive note. He wasn't showing signs of being tired from thinking about it, but I didn't want him to have the opportunity to even get frustrated. I want this to be a super positive experience through and through. Very satisfied with both horses' progress!

This afternoon I called it quits to go on a ride with the ladies to assess damage on the rail trail. Holy poo moly. Trees and powerlines down EVERYWHERE. I think I spent as much time out of the saddle clearing things so we could get over/past them as I did in my saddle. Oi vey!

It was a very good thinking ride for Q though. She hates things whacking against her legs and belly and it just couldn't be helped today. Not at all. It was a MESS. MESS. The simplest of my trails was obliterated. It will take an hour to clear that couple hundred foot segment alone! I think the majority of my trails overlap with hunters' trails, so fortunately, the bulk of them should get cleared as those folks take the 4-wheelers out to their huts/stands/blinds. But omgMESS.

Optimistically, some of the logs that get left will be GREAT for jumping. Today there was one that was a little gymnastic line. If I hadn't been with the ladies I would have let Q take it at greater speed. At the walk she still jumped the first little thing, pranced the second, and jumped the third. Silly girl. So eager and sassy.

 She was a really good girl overall today. She thinks and overreacts to things - making mountains out of mole hills...wait. Who does that sound like?! Its no wonder this horse and I get along so well. As Q decided that a giant ball of plowed snow might really be a horse-eating snow cougar and went TEARING past it in an odd trot/canter/sidepass maneuver with me just giggling, Tina remarked, "Its a good thing you got that horse. No one else would get that." I took Q back over to approach the snow cougar. She snorted a little and gave it a good eye, I wanted to make her touch it it, too, but there was one of the many downed powerlines down about 2 feet in front of it that I didn't want her to step on so we called it good where we stood. As we continued back home along the clear road between the rail trail and our trails she oggled at some stuff, but was a very, very good girl overall.

I started messing with her moving off my leg and not my hands, too, as she supposedly spent 3 years on and off with cowboy-man and is supposed to be able to do a helluva lot more than I thought. I'm not as skillful with my aids as he is, and I also lack a 3" shank on my spur that I'm sure was dug into her side a time or three, but she did respond well and we zig zagged dramatically back and forth along the road. This is going to be fun to explore.... She has no more excuses for not listening to me, and unfortunately for me, all fault will be my own! But more reason to learn to be better.

We checked the upper field fenceline (horses are gated off from this half of the property currently) for damage. Its remarkable that on 40+ acres of field with its appropriate fencing that there are only minor places of damage from fallen trees/limbs. The top strand is missing in two or three places, and the only downed tree (a whopper of a tree with a 3+ foot DBH) is in the top corner of the field and only BENT the strands, not breaking them or downing fence posts. Lucky?! Yes.

The ride was a phenomenal study break. I've conquered a significant amount with the energy I gleaned from it! Looking forward to a winter of more horse time, snowy rides, and ground training stress relievers. Oh, and skiing! ;-)

Hunters have no excuse shooting us

We're obnoxious even without the flash!

Barefoot on zee gravel

Obnoxious colors! Weee

Relatively easy to maneuver destruction

I was gallivanting in the snow having a jolly-good time

Hock action, no?

Woah there pony! I was beside myself giggling at this point.
I'd been making vroomy car noises and singing la-la-la!

Home is not places, it is love. - The Apache Relay


  1. Wow, look at all that snow!! Sounds like you had a fun ride :)

  2. Love these pics! Both you and Q look equally thrilled to be outside in the snow! :D