December 2005

December 29 , 2005

Once the rains come back, I don't get much done with my horses, because I don't have a covered place, other than the barn, to work with them. So that leads to long, dry (so to speak) spells on my diary during the winter.

However, it's time for an update.

I didn't get my weanling. I lost my Job From Hell at the end of October and found that the holiday hiring slowdown had already started. That turned out not to be a huge problem. I've had enough freelance work to keep me busy. The only downside is that much of it has been the type that pays later rather than sooner, so it hasn't really replenished our coffers. We had the money to get the weanling, but I was afraid that she would do something silly -- What? A weanling do something silly? -- and need veterinary care. I wasn't sure we could afford that. So I made a very difficult, but responsible, choice.

I haven't been happy with the new horse list either. I I loved the concept. I know what I wanted it to be and what I needed to get from it. But what the members want it to be and have made it just bears no resemblance to my vision. Since they seem to be very much in tune with each other, I expect it's me that's off -- that what I want just isn't possible right now, at least in an open group on the Internet. That makes me sad, because I have so many HUGE gaps in my knowledge, but hanging out with these people isn't helping me. Initially I just disagreed with them. Now I actively dislike many of them. Seeing messages come through from the list makes my stomach hurt.

I just don't know what I'm going to do. I don't want to unsubscribe, but I'm not getting anything positive out of it. If I had time to work with my horses, and I had questions, I wouldn't go there to ask because at least half the responses would be condescending. It's just... wrong. Very disappointing.

I haven't ridden my horses in a while. I went riding with Brandy a time or two on Smokey, but I haven't saddled mine up. Part of that is simple logistics. I don't have a covered arena to ride in, so I'll ride only when it's dry but not icy. The horses live, primarily in a large "dry lot" during the winter to save my pastures. It isn't very dry though, and I can't say that the prospect of grooming away that mud is much of a motivator.

I've felt the urge to ride lately though. I'm not comfortable riding at my present weight, but I've been going to the gym a little. While I'm not appreciably lighter, it makes me feel stronger and more controlled. So maybe I'll get off my butt and tack Guin up soon. It's funny though... I bet Blue would be the safer choice.

As the year draws to a close, I realize that I haven't made the progress I would like, on my weight or on training my horses. So last week I did some goal setting for the next year. I set some challenging but, I think, achievable, goals. I want to take both horses through all of Alex's in-hand progression using R+ methods, plus I want to freeshape a behavior each month. When I reach a certain weight, I want to take riding lessons again. Next year will be all about baby steps. Baby steps and perseverance.

Today I went out and did a short session with Blue. I'm shaping him to back up, and today I started adding a hand signal. My goal is to teach him to back continuously on a hand signal, and later combine that with signals for stop, forward, left, right, laterals, and so forth. But that's far away. Baby steps, right?


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