New Plan: No Plan
When I started this blog, I had ambitions of weekly updates, bi-weekly if I got really busy. At minimum I figured I'd be posting 1-2 times a month. Alas, I've had to prioritize my life and at the end of the day if I simply don't have the time or motivation to write, I don't.
|We do have time for the parents to visit for Thanksgiving and take pics of all four dogs and me.|
I'm trying to go easier on myself with things like riding and writing, really anything I just don't have the time or motivation to do. As do most people in this world, I've got a lot on my plate. Two dogs to care for, love, and exercise, a horse who needs the same, a condo to maintain and find time to clean, and a full time job that I love but is mentally exhausting and requires some extra hours this time of year in our busy season.
|Mud season is real.|
This summer I was able to get to the barn most days during the week, typically five days, sometimes less, sometimes more. Goose was getting back into shape, my riding was getting stronger, and I was able to take some lessons that I both enjoyed and learned a lot from. We were more on track than we have been in a few years and it was GREAT. As we got deeper into fall, we lost the light, I started working some extra hours, and my motivation went out the door. Due to lack of time and money, I have no major goals right now and have made a plan for the next few months.
|Too dark to motivate myself to ride so I pet this face|
My plan is to have no plan.
Goose is a hairy yak. I haven't left him this fuzzy since the very first winter I had him seven years ago. I clipped him once in September, but haven't touched him with the clippers since. He's in his natural, feral-looking state and is like a giant fuzzy pony - I don't hate it. I've decided not to clip him until spring for a couple reasons. One, I'm not coming out to ride very often and can't really justify the time and cost of blades to do an Irish or bib clip on him. He also lives outside, so he can be his natural self for the winter and has the fur to keep himself warm. It's also one less horse my barn manager has to worry about blanketing if I can't make it out there myself. Unless it's frigid or pouring, he can be naked.
|Gloriously, fuzzily, muddily naked|
|"Oh hai, you bring a naked Goose a carrot? Also I need new bell boots for Christmas, thanks."|
I'm averaging going out to the barn once during the week and both days on the weekend if the weather cooperates. If the weather doesn't cooperate, this means I only get to pick out his feet and treat him for the dreaded thrush that sets in with the mud season. My rides lately have consisted of walking and trotting, sometimes picking up the canter if it's not too warm. Because he's so furry and South Carolina is averaging 50+ degrees during the day right now, he SWEATS and stinks, and rather than work him up into a lather that is too difficult to clean up without warm water, I'm working him lightly and focusing on getting the basics correct. For me, this means sitting up with my hands up and out in front of me (HALP), using my leg effectively (HA) and working on figuring out the best way to tackle Goose's evasions (FML). For Goose, I'm asking him to carry his own damn self because frankly I'm sick to death of holding him together with every ounce of strength I have. We're currently working on moving his hind end independently of his shoulder, and his shoulder independently of his hind end. This often consists of me reminding myself to relax and not swear at the sweaty beast as he refuses to move off my right leg, and I'm getting better at reminding myself that we have the whole winter to accomplish these little things. Note: spurs are far less effective when the horse has an extra inch of fat and three inches of thick fur padding his body. Sometimes I think I'm digging into his colon - nope, still just fluff.
|Help me fix my crotch hands plz.|
I'm hoping that this approach to the winter is going to assuage some guilt I have about not seeing Goose so often, and will also let me take a step back and work hard on some basics I've let slide in both myself and my horse. It's amazing what we can accomplish at the walk! By spring, I'd like to jump back into lessons with Coti, clip the beast, and hit the ground running for summer 2020. I also recognize that I can't put a timeline on that, and adamantly refuse to make goals other than "do what I can within reason" and that's what I'm sticking to. I miss lessons and riding regularly, and there is a clock ticking in my head reminding me that Goose is turning 16 this year, and I still feel like I haven't accomplished enough with him (which is total BS but my head is a dark place). Alas, my schedule won't allow it right now and it's not fair to me, the yak, or my wallet to lesson intermittently this winter when none of us are fit and I can't keep him in enough of a program to make anything stick. He is fat, feral, and happy, and I love him. That's all that matters.