Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Ponies Will Not Have To Live In Some Hillbilly's Backyard After All

...Because I am finally, officially employed! Three and a half months after being laid off, I've landed a Program Manager position for a great local non-profit. I'll be overseeing a program called Everyday Digital, which teaches adults from all walks of life basic computer skills (which are really life skills at this point). At the end of the class, the graduates are given computers donated by various groups. Pretty cool, right?

It's a relief for a number of reasons, obviously. Selling my horses was never on the table, but I don't know if they could have stayed where they are for much longer, even with the help we got from my super understanding, generous parents. I'm very happy they will not have to move to some backyard outfit:)

It's also a relief because, well, being unemployed for this long has done a number on me, I'm not going to lie. While I've had more time to ride, work at the barn, write, etc, it sure didn't feel like a luxury and I couldn't really enjoy it with all the worries that being unemployed comes with. Not to mention, in those three and a half months, I've had four interviews and three second interviews, along with sending out customized resumes and cover letters (and filling out all those blasted online applications) every week. Lawd I'm glad that's over.

While unemployement overall is decreasing across the US, my sector (non-profit or state jobs-basically anything that is publically funded) is not doing well at all-those jobs continue to decrease every month. Still, it's the place where all my professional experience lies, where I feel most comfortable, and, most importantly, where I feel valued and have the most to contribute. I can't feel passionate about working to make some shareholders somewhere that much richer; okay, I know there are many private companies out there doing wonderful, creative, important things, but I have no experience working for any of them, so this is my (I'm sure horribly) inaccurate perception. What I know is that I can feel good about working in the community, with people who benefit from my services, while actually making a difference. Extra bonus? I'll be working at a community center 6 blocks from my house, along with one of my dearest friends who was a coworker at my previous job. So, huzzah!

Now for pony news! The kids are doing great. I'm thinking of switching Chamie from SmartFlex Senior to BL this point I think she needs more pain relief than anything-her walk is still ok but she's obviously got some arthritic/navicular issues that are hurting her. The lack of movement in the pasture due to either mud or now frozen mud isn't helping her. I'm going to talk to my farrier about this as well, but in the meantime does anyone have experience with BL Pellets? I could also put her on a low dose of bute but I would prefer not to.

I took Miles into the indoor ring yesterday for a quick lunge. My phone buzzed and when I fetched it out of my pocket, he took the opportunity to have a good roll, or five. He needed that relief after being blanketed for months now. Afterwards, he trotted and bucked and farted and galloped (all respectfully, if that's possible!) and basically had a great time finally being able to move out on the lunge after being stuck in one small space for too long. I know just how you feel, bubs.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Put A Fork In Her

OK, that's a little extreme. Still, when it comes to my 26 year old mare Chamie, and her work on the lunge, even in the arena under she told me that she's had enough.

I worked her on the lunge today, the first time I've worked her at all since her pony session with Miles. She gave me an epiphany. Though I owned her from age 8 until she was about 16, she has endured a lifetime since.

She didn't do anything crazy, and she moved as comfortably and soundly as I've seen her, which is great. Chamie just told me she is done with arena work. She listened to me, because she was taught to. She obeyed the lunge commands as she was trained to. Still, her heart is not in it. Yes, she is a mare, an old mare, in RAGING heat (!!), but that wasn't all of it. I think I've felt it ever since she came to the barn...her acquiescence, her obedience...but that's it...there is nothing else there. No passion, no heart, no drive to work. She cooperates because she has to, and because she was taught to. She is an old mare who has put in her time, one way or another. She is happy in her retirement, and I need to give that to her.

That's not to say she is completely off the hook. She is as sound as ever, and I really want to take her out on the trails when Spring arrives, if not sooner, and show her a life outside of the barn and pasture that she loves so much. I have a distinct feeling that if Miles goes with her, she will be the best little trail horse ever...she better be, if I put my family members on her:)

Miles continues to be my sweet, sensitive boy. I'm doing evening chores at the barn 4 times a week, and thus haven't been riding nearly as much as I should. Still, even yesterday when I rode Miles for the first time in longer than I care to admit, he went ca-razy on the lunge but was a total gentleman under saddle, even when my phone leaped out of my jacket pocket and onto the ground right next to him. In short, nothing has really changed, and even after days of neglect (ha!) he's still my Best Boy.

The difference between Miles and Chamie is so...interesting. Miles never stops being engaged...I get Chamie's attention with treats (ok, this is also true with Miles to an extent). Chamie loves the barn, loves being around people and other horses and, of course, food. Miles love those things too, but he also loves working and going off on our own and exploring. Chamie has paid her dues...Miles doesn't understand what dues are. Does that make sense?

In short...Miles needs more rides, and needs to work more than we are now, while Chamie is done with the arena. I need to get her on the trails soon to see if that is something she would enjoy and be reliable enough for my family to ride her as well.

Also, Detroit Lions? You broke my husband's heart.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

In Gratitude

2011, you haven't been super awesome, on many levels. Still, I'm so, so grateful...

That I was able, through luck and the support of my amazing family, to bring my Chamie girl home. Her new environment has brought out her happiness, and I'm so glad she's no longer ignored, living in a stall all day...

And that I continue to own the most incredible horse alive, my boy Miles, who loves to see me, who tucks his head into my arms like a dog, who forgives my mistakes, is more than patient and who, I know, sounds too good to be true. He really is ridiculous in the way that great horses are, though...they defy description. I still don't know how I ended up with one of the greats, though I suppose everyone feels that way about their heart horse.

Happy 2012, my friends. I wish the world for all of us and our beautiful equines in the new year.