The Little Things

Finding my rhythm again has been a little bit of a challenge. At my last job, I had a great schedule that left me plenty of time to go to the barn during the afternoon and still be home in time to do other things. Sadly I found myself not really taking advantage of it due to being so mentally exhausted at the end of the work day. 


New job has sadly doubled my commute and I now get home a whole two hours later (may shift a bit when I am feeling a bit more comfortable with my job). But, even with that change in time, I get home and actually want to go to the barn. I was a little afraid I had lost that for good. 


Last night I stopped at home just long enough to grab Guinness and then hightailed it to see Gus. We had a wonderful ride and worked through some major stiffness to the right. And afterwards, I actually went through my whole routine of wiping down tack and a full groom… all things I’ve let fall to the wayside when I barely had the energy to make it our to the barn. 

I’m excited to start working towards my goals again. We’ve got big things coming up and I don’t want to miss them because I’m too mentally drained to get out to the barn. Although, I’m sure Gus didn’t mind the break! 

Highlining

A few weeks ago, LT invited us to go camping over the weekend. With the horses of course! Do people actually like doing this without the horses?

There is a state park camp ground that allows you to highline or bring in coral panels. We went with the highline which was a brand new experience for both Gus and I. 


At first I was really impressed with how well Gus was behaving on the line. He just stood there quietly, ate some hay, drank some water… it wasn’t until a few hours later that I realized it was because he was scared of the line! Thankfully by the next morning he was over it. 
That first evening we went on a several hour hike to find a place to get into the water. Gus was a bit of a pill being behind the other horses but fine to go in the river. 


That night the storms came in and it poured. Poor ponies were stuck out in the rain but that’s how camping works sometimes! Because of that, we were all a little slow moving the next morning and decided to not go back out. Some of the trails had already been slick and we didn’t want to risk it. 

Still, it was a fun break from the normal training routine and something I definitely want to so more of. 

Out With the Old (Job) and In With the New (Job)

A few weeks ago I went to Tahoe and had the most amazing time. I came home from that trip feeling refreshed, if a bit sad, and determined to turn my life around. So what if thing a are a little crazy at work? If I just buckled down, I was determined to get it under control. 

I dutifully showed up to work that next morning, rolled up my sleeves, got my coffee, and opened my email only to find that while I was gone work had apparently decided to go to hell in a handbasket. I wish I was exaggerating but what little moral remaining in our department was completely shot. My get’er done attitude went out the window in less time then the greenest cowboy at his first bull ride. 

But little did my office know that I had an ace up my sleeve. While in Tahoe, I got a call from a recruiter about a job. Within a week of returning I had gone through the interview process and found myself with a job offer that was more pay and less work. I didn’t have to think hard before signing that! I gave my notice immediately and this week started my new job. While I’ve doubled my commute time (a total bummer but pretty much unavoidable here in Hotlanta) I am already much happier. 

It will take some time to completely recover from the stress and anxiety I was under at my last job but I am already seeing signs of improvement. So now it is on to the next big adventure!

XC Schooling x2

Since Area III Champs I have gone XC schooling at Chatt Hills twice and blogged about neither. Both times we’ve gone LT has stated that the goal for me is to “continue being confident” but truthfully, the real goal was to jump bigger and better. She’s sneaky like that.

But, I was successful at both goals during both sessions. Not only did I jump confidently and strongly, I also tackled some bigger questions. The big success for me was jumping my first corner. It wasn’t the fact that it was a corner that was bothering me, it was the fact that it had been the C element in the championship training course just a week before.

Gus of course thought it was no big deal. I’ve got to remember that I have a different horse under me than I did at the beginning of the season. He’s not confirmed by any means but he’s confident now and he loves his job. Still cautious but more than willing to work with me now.

After jumping all the novice fences and even a few small training questions successfully, I was feeling a lot better about this whole XC thing. My goal is to move up to novice soon and this first XC session went a long way to making me feel like that wasn’t a stupid idea. The only thing I was still worried about were down banks.

Every time we have gone out XC schooling, we have gone down banks. Every time we have gone XC schooling, Gus has balked at going down the banks. This first time schooling after Area III champs though was the worst I’ve ever ridden. He hit the breaks hard and it was a battle to keep the leg on an wait on the edge for an explosion. It came, eventually, and we went back around to keep schooling it until we weren’t stopping at least. It was never pretty though.

So I was a little worried when LT has us go up and down a bank complex without doing the down first. But I put my leg on and Gus quietly slid down the bank. And then we did it at the trot and he quietly slid down the bank. Then we cantered it and he quietly slid down the bank. Miracle!

It feels a lot better to slide down then it does to jump off the bank…

 

A Little Vacay

As the humidity ramped up here in the south, my motivation to do anything outside that didn’t involve being completely submerged in water quickly wound down. So I hung up my helmet, let Gus get as dirty as he wanted, and decided to take a little vacay myself. If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you know I used to live near Lake Tahoe. The region is sadly missing close access to a good eventing community (damn you mountains!) but you know what else it is missing that makes if fabulous? The humidity.

This trip actually was put into motion when my brother-in-law’s long time girlfriend reached out to me and asked if Eric and I would be interested in going back to Tahoe. How could we say no? We haven’t been back in almost five years and now seemed as good of time as any. And honestly? After being back? I don’t know how we ever left. As the plane landed in Reno and all the mountains and casinos came into view, it honestly felt like coming home.

If you’ve never been to Lake Tahoe, you should go. It’s wonderful. Sort of hard and expensive to get into (you either have to fly into Sacramento or Reno) but it is so worth it. And I swear there is no place like it in the US.

And yes, the water is cold, especially on the south side. But if you can find your way up to the northern shore, it’s not too bad once you get in. I honestly could have hung out, swimming and sun bathing on the rocks for hours.

And okay, we did. The first day we hiked the Rubicon trail near Emerald Bay, a hike neither Eric and I had ever done. It wasn’t a very stressful hike (except when you had to come back because it was all uphill… ugh!) but by far the best part was being able to off road down to the water’s edge and go swimming. The water is so clear and blue and deceptively deep. It honestly looks like you’re in the Caribbean at some points. We stripped down and jumped in. It was wonderful.

We also were lucky enough to catch up with several good friends. Of course, I couldn’t keep from going for a quick ride.

And we had to meet my friend’s new German shepherd puppy. He is the sweetest, goofiest, cutest little guy you’ve ever seen. He’s also only eight months old and 86 lbs!

And of course, when you’re in Tahoe, you have to drink the local beer.

And take a quick drive down to Amador/Eldorado counties for the local wines.

And if you do find your way down to South Lake Tahoe, make sure you stop at Riva Grill and have a Woody. Careful, they are very very strong! But also amazing and we definitely spent more than one lunch drinking rum slushies before going to the lake.

But being back in Tahoe did make both the boy and I realize how much we wanted to go back. The weather, the outdoor life, the skiing. While nothing is written in stone, I believe we will be making plans to head back that way as soon as it makes sense for both of us. Hopefully it won’t be too long until we’re back in paradise for good!