Work Woes

Work has been a series of unfortunate events lately.

One system down after another and the worst by far was not having email for five days. And it was not just that I couldn’t access it… people couldn’t even send me emails, they kept bouncing back as undeliverable. I had managers and employees calling to see if I still worked here. On one hand, this was a good thing because it meant that when I did get my email back, I didn’t have a mountain of unanswered emails waiting me. On the other hand, I had no idea what I was missing either.

It just seems to me that for as big of a company as we are (Fortune 500), we have a pretty crappy IT department. But that’s a story for another time.

In the midst of all of that happening, I was also in the thick of things for Sporting Days and Poplar so I didn’t really have time to worry about what wasn’t getting done. I just figured, I’ll do what I can each day and things will take care of themselves. Well, things have not taken care of themselves, no surprise there, and now I am drowning. And, okay, technically I was drowning way before this but it feels worse now.

My motivation is completely gone which is leading me to sleeping less which leads me to being cranky which leads to even less motivation and we start the whole Goddamn cycle over again. Worst of all, I am sick of hearing from my manager that “in benefits, the work is never over.” I’ve worked in benefits/HR almost my whole professional career and while that is technically true, what our department is going through now is not the same thing. We just don’t have the people to deal with the problems that are coming in and we are ALL feeling it (except apparently my manager).

The boy’s solution to this is: find a new job. We all know that’s easier said than done. First off, the motivation is again a big factor. You’d think I’d have a lot of that but truthfully I’m so drained at the end of a shift that I don’t want to be job searching. Plus, because of him I have moved all over the country and have not held down a job for very long (I find a good one and BAM, we move again) and have big six month gaps between those jobs. I NEED a longer stay job on my resume and preferably one with a well known company. A job like the one I have. I could jump ship. I could find a new job. But if that job ends up being worse? Then I’m really screwed.

Plus, the truth of the mater is, I’m not a quitter. And when things are good, I generally really like my job. I like benefits. I like helping people (when they aren’t being assholes and yelling at me). I like my schedule and I like the fact that I have my very own office where I can close the door and put my head down on my desk when things get too hard. And, most of the time, I like my manager. Those things shouldn’t be thrown away lightly. I want to plow through these issues at work and come out on the other side knowing that I did a good job.

Figuring out how to get there is what is causing my problems though.

These last two weeks since Poplar Gus has gotten a long vacation. LT rode him once for me last week and then I did go out for a quick ride/photo shoot on Saturday but otherwise he hasn’t been asked to do anything but get fat and be a horse. Part of this decision to give him a vacation was because he had had two back to back horse trials and just needed the break. Right after Sporting Days, Gus lost a bunch of weight and I didn’t want that to be a trend.

The other reason though is that I wanted to focus on getting through these growing pains at work without worrying about getting my riding time in. I wanted to give myself permission to work hard and then just go relax myself. I didn’t want to worry that I wasn’t putting in quality rides or having enough lessons. I didn’t need more stress.

This majorly backfired on me.

Turns out that without my horse time, I haven’t been getting quality me time and the stress levels have gone WAY up. I can tell that in the last two weeks I have been incredibly agitated and letting little things at work twist my guts up in ways that I just don’t like. It’s making me someone that is not me and that is not cool.

Work is not going to be bearable the next few weeks. It might not be bearable for the next few months, if I’m honest. I was so excited when I got this job. I really thought I’d be here in this department and position for the long haul (or at least until the boy decided to relocate us again). Now, I know that’s not going to happen and it’s not something I want. However, I do want to get through this tough patch for no other reason but to prove to myself that I can.

I am just going to need Gus to keep my sanity in check!

Poplar Place Farm May HT – Video Round Up

I wasn’t able to share these two videos with you due to random things so I wanted to make sure I got them up on my blog!

The first is my trainer videoing my stadium course. You can hear her riding the entire thing with me which is so cute.

The second is my helmet camera from XC. It is fun. I love XC.

 

Supplements

Despite the fact that I like supplements, Gus has never been on anything since I got him two years ago. I don’t believe all supplements work, some are definitely hooky, but I think for the right issues the right supplement can help.

Lately I’ve been noticing that Gus has been EXTRA girthy when it has come time to put the saddle on which we all know is a big sign of ulcers. Now, I should probably be the good horse mom and get him officially scoped but that’s expensive and, truthfully, I’d rather spend my money on other things. Especially when ulcers is the most likely of outcome. Between the heavy workload, being in a stall, and all of our traveling and shows, if Gus doesn’t have ulcers, I’d be shocked.

So I will be taking the “Two Scoops for Two Weeks” challenge from Redmond Equine and start Gus on a round of their Daily Gold Stress Relief supplement. Gus loves the Redmond Rocks I get him so I’m hoping he won’t mind the taste of this either.

Daily Gold is supposed to improve digestion, increase energy (do I really need that? probably not…) lead to healthier hooves, and greater endurance. According to their website, it is also supposed to help sooth ulcers for healing.

Hopefully it works! I just wish SmartPak had this so I didn’t have to do baggies. What supplements do you all feed?

Poplar Place Farm May HT – XC

We had moved up to third after Stadium so you better believe I was determined not to get any silly time penalties for XC. Thankfully, I wasn’t worried about any runouts as long as I stayed focused. The course was a little weird but not particularly difficult. There were, however, a lot of faux baby keyholes and light/dark questions. Since Gus is usually very willing and we had just had our best stadium round the day before, I was feeling confident.

As long as I didn’t come in over time that is… because the way I walked the course, I was definitely going to come in over OT if I rode at the posted speed of 325. No bueno.

So what is a girl and her OTTB to do? Well, up the speed of course! Lol. I had all my minute markers mapped out and knew that I had to get a time over 5 minutes but under 6. That shouldn’t be too difficult on an ex-racehorse. And it wasn’t, the course ran fast!

I met my first three minute markers perfectly. We came out of the start box a little heated so the first fence was less than pretty but worked. Then came the coal box which we’ve jumped a million times before but Gus was not focusing so it surprised him. Again, no issue but at least it got his head out from his chest and we moved on to the third fence (a “double” coop between trees) and jumped it beautifully. That’s when the first minute marker rang right on time as we swung around to fence four a simple log into the woods.

Fence 1

The path to fence five from four was weird. We had to swing wide out of the woods and then back in. I actually rode my line completely wrong and almost missed the fence. Thankfully Gus didn’t think twice about the full sized house (complete with squirrels) and we went cantering into the woods. Our second minute marker was supposed to ring after a quick jaunt through the woods and right before we jumped fence six out of the woods and we hit it perfectly (and the fence out… though Gus did spook at the jump judge).

Fence 2

It was then time for the little squid jump and the weirdest BN water crossing I have ever seen. You could have ridden the water in this case without ever going into it. The quickest line was to actually ride as close to the left flag as possible and immediately make a 90 degree turn around it. So silly. I rode hard into the water and did a roll back. I didn’t want to risk missing the flag and we need the water practice. It still rode weird but whatever, sometimes you have to go with it.

Still doing well on time, we jumped a semi related distance of a lattice vertical and a table. Between those was our third minute marker. So far, so good but that’s where my luck ran out. Not with Gus being a superstar though.

Fence 3

The next fence was a “squeeze” and you had the choice of two different skinnies between three trees. I ended up taking the one on the left just because it felt better but I had no really reason for saying that. Either way, despite the squeeze and the dark, Gus didn’t even hesitate. I was still trying to be cognoscente of my time and took a wide swing around to the up bank combo but then I got confused and thought I was behind time and let Gus go a little bit faster to the mushrooms which was fence 13. We were still flying after that fence and as we came down the hill. That’s when I looked at my watch and went “oh crap, we’re going to get speed faults.”

Fence 14

We slowed down to a reasonable pace to jump a really pretty table (seriously, why do I ride like crap when I know my husband is photographing that fence?!) but took the inside turn to a little tiny log on top of a hill and had the worst jump of the day. Ugh. Then I knew we were going to need some forward momentum to get to fence 16 and it was indeed the only fence that Gus slightly hesitated at. I can’t blame him, it was a weird one and was supposed to be jumped at a bit of an angle.

Fence 16

We only had one fence left before the finish and I was under 5 minutes. Cue the major slow down. I think we were barely cantering and, as a consequence, barely popped over the last fence. But you know what? We came in at just over 5 minutes. No speed faults and under optimum time. Lol.

I was so happy when we crossed the finish line. While it definitely wasn’t as pretty of a course as Sporting Days, I felt like Gus had been a lot braver. So in that sense, it was a better course. Gus and I keep getting better each time we go out and our confidence keeps improving as well.

In the end, we did get our third place and I couldn’t be happier. Not only did we qualify for the AECs (which we’re not going to) we also qualified for Area III Champ Shows (going to but not competing in the champ division). That is two major goals on my list and it happened in our first two shows.

 

Poplar Place Farm May HT 2017 – Stadium

Let’s cut to the chase because I know you are all wondering: Gus and I rocked stadium. No joke, we owned that course. Okay, not really, there were places with issues but you would have never known that just two weeks ago I was seriously wondering what was so “fun” about this whole ordeal.

But I got into warm up and felt good. Probably being at Poplar helped since we have shown there quite a bit but also I really do think we both learned a valuable lesson at Sporting Days. I wasn’t the only one who rode hard to the fences, Gus was actually taking me there. He felt springy and happy and excited.

Super trainer, LT, and I had walked the course the day before when it was set for the Intermediate course. They took out several jumps and combos by the time they got to Beginner Novice so we walked it again when it was set at Novice. This course was all about testing whether or not you can ride a corner and keep your horse powered through that corner. A lot of fences came down at all heights due to this.

I was actually feeling pretty good though about the course because powering through the corner is something LT and I have been working on at home A LOT! Also, we ride and jump in basically a dressage arena so making these types of turns are second nature to us.

After a spectacular warm up, we rode right into the course and had an awesome round. I had to push a little bit to the first two fences as the switch from plain warm up fences to brightly colored and decorated jumps backed Gus off just a bit. But he was willing and by fence three, was raring to go again.

Because we rode so late in the day (I don’t think we actually got into the ring until almost 6:00 pm), there were a lot of jumps with light/dark questions. I made sure I rode hard to those because I didn’t want a stop over something silly.

And Gus handled everything like a champ. No rails, no time. We marched out of there so happy. Best of all, we both had a blast!

We have really been struggling with stadium recently but I think this trend of good sessions has really helped us find our footing again. I have to thank LT for that because I don’t know what would have happened to us without her. She has been so supportive and knew just the right exercises to get us both feeling confident again. I know she was riding every step out there with us and that she was just as excited for us to cross the finish flags.