Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It never slows down

It was hard to convince myself to study for today's exam.  After all, what could we possibly be tested on after 3.5 weeks of internship?  It was open note so I printed all the readings out before class and headed on in without much of a care.  Since it was open note it ended up being pretty easy, it was just a lot of writing. We had to relate some of the stuff we learned to our internships, but because I only met 4 different clients during my time at the Partnership I didn't have many instances to choose from, but I did what I could.  

After the exam I went out to brunch with Sarah, and we went to Mimi's.  I love getting brunch with Sarah because she and I can literally sit around forever just talking about anything and everything.  Afterwards though, we headed out to the barn to play with our ponies.  When I got there Aston was out in the field, but she came right over and I took her into the barn.  Once in the barn she was totally fine just hanging out, but then Dazzle started screaming and so Aston started to get worked up.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A day of play

I could barely contain myself towards the end of the day at work today, and I ended up taking off a bit early.  Other than that though my last day at the Partnership was great, and in reality it may not even be my last day.  They offered me the opportunity to come in and keep doing some of the same stuff I have been doing, but as a paid part time position.  I of course told them I'd absolutely be interested if its paid, and they all know about my horse so they weren't surprised I jumped at that.  They have to look at the budget to see if they can take me on, but hopefully I will continue working there, and using that to help pay for my Aston.  

On that note I decided to name the beautiful mare Aston.  I'm sure y'all know what an Aston Martin is, and I just somehow thought it was fitting.  She may be plain but she sure is athletic.  Grayson said this morning when she was moving around the pasture that she wasn't sure she'd seen a horse with as nice of a trot as she's got.  She just floats across the ground, as Grayson said, I can see exactly where the dressage is bred into her.

Safe and sound in North Carolina

After hours and hours of trying to pass the day surpressing my excitement about my mare coming down, around 9pm I finally headed out to the farm with a pizza and went down to the house to hang out with Grayson, David, and Bobby.  I bribed them with a pizza to wait up for me for the horse and it worked!  After hanging out and talking about names and other things, at 10:15 Grayson and I headed up to the barn thinking that he would be there right around then.  We finally met Steve the shipper on the corner of Shoe Road and our driveway, and it took some convincing but we convinced him to pull back to the barn and unload her there. 

As my mare stepped out of her stall onto the ramp she got a little nervous about going down such a steep ramp.  After a little bit of positive encouragement she just jumped right off and scrambled to regain her footing.  It was cute in a very endearing way.  Since she was a bit up we decided that we wouldn't turn her out but instead just walk her and then put her in her stall.  If we had put her out its entirely possible that she could have started running and not stopped until she collapsed in exhaustion or found a way to hurt herself or something else crazy.  Not interested in that. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

And the adventure begins

This morning I woke up to a phone call from my shipper, the wonderful Steve McRae of High Goal's Pony Express, expecting to hear the usual, "All set and on our way".  Instead I hear, "Well, there's never a dull moment in the horse world..."  

Steve was telling me about how he got to the farm bright and early, and about how Mike had called him and said his groom would be there to load the horse since Mike couldn't.  They load the horse up and Steve heads off down the road.  Steve was about 20 miles away when he received a phone call from Mike saying that his groom had given him the wrong horse.  I said WHAT? The WRONG horse??

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A good support system is better than gold

"So is getting a new horse like getting a new car?  Is there, like, a new horse smell?"

All of my family and friends are very excited for me, and happy for me because they know how badly I have wanted a horse and how hard I have worked for it.  But no, there won't be a new horse smell, it will just be the same old smell.  

I remember begging for a horse growing up.  I remember how I would ask my parents to buy me something and how I'd scour the internet for free horses (hint: its not the purchase price that ever counts as expensive).  I even remember the days when my dear mother would look at me sweetly and say "Sure!".  My eyes would light up with glee until I would of course realize this was some sort of trick, and I'd narrow my eyes to get a good look at Mom.  Then, inevitably she would continue the rest of the sentence matter of fact-ly, "When you are 21 and are paying all of the bills yourself!".  I kid you not, that is exactly how it happened.  Mom, are you a psychic?  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Seizing opportunity

It was 60 degrees today, can you believe it?  Obviously it meant that I would have no excuse to not work the pony, not that I ever need an excuse, she's super!  We hung out in the barn a while, I met the girl who moved her horse to the barn in October, and also hung out with Grayson a while.  Even once the pony was tacked up she just got to stand around a be a good citizen.  Its definitely good for her to stand around, its something she wasn't ever able to do before.

When I finally got on I just focused on doing some trot work.  She started off in a really quick pace, trying to get those little legs moving, and once she had expended a bit of energy though I slowed her pace and got her moving nicely.  She was a little annoyed at the presence of water, and then even more annoyed when I made her stomp through it, but eventually she'll get over it.  She still remembers most of the things she has learned, so its more a matter of getting the muscle back that will allow her to be successful.  Hopefully this is the year I will be able to get a pony jock on her and get her sold.  

She's officially mine!

Today I finally received the bill of sale for my new mare, and this afternoon Dad went out to pay for her (with my money of course).  This means its real!  She's officially mine! She's supposed to ship down to me on Saturday, so as long as the weather stays decent I will go receive her Saturday night!  So I guess its time to talk a little bit about her.  She doesn't have a name, so that's one of the first things I will have to do when she gets here..  She's a 16h coming 5 year old Dutch Warmblood/Thoroughbred mare.  She's a dark bay with only a tiny bit of white on her back left heel.  She's very feminine but big bodied, and extremely sweet natured.  She was started last summer at a dressage barn (the same fancy dressage barn I found her in) and then was turned out for the fall to grow up a little bit after about 10 rides.  Since then she has been ridden once (the day I went to meet her) so she really is green as grass.  She's athletic though and fancy though, which all I wanted.  I'm super excited to get started with her on this journey.  I've never felt so broke, but I've never been so happy. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New job and some other adventures

Grayson and David went out of town this weekend to the NCQHA convention, and so saturday morning I woke up early and went out to feed the horses.  They were all glad to see me, making faces as though they hadn't eaten in weeks, although judging by their bellies it wouldn't kill them to miss a meal or two.  Once I had everyone taken care of, fed, hay, ice pulled from the waterers etc. I left and headed out to Hillsborough for my job interview.

Blue Skies of Maple View Farm is a small 10 acre facility with just twelve horses.  It has large fields, two rings and a round pen, and all the horses are furry, fat and happy.  Debbie and I got to talking and ending up talking and brainstorming ideas for about an hour and a half.  Basically I have a job now!  I'm super excited to get started.  I really think we are going to work well together.  I will be teaching some low level lessons and probably doing a bit of riding as well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Moving right along. Or stuck in a square box?

Today I booked the shipping on the beautiful new mare!  I'm trying not to get excited but its really hard not to.  She's going to be a super fun project and she's going to be ALL MINE.  For the first time I will be able to take full responsibility for any success or failures, and be responsible for the outcome.  Slow and steady is how we'll proceed, but its going to be hard!  I think if she's what I think she might/could be I'll hang on to her until I finish college before I try to sell her.  I would like to see how far I (we) can get, and when you own the horse nobody can take/sell the ride out from under you.  

I have been having a really frustrating time at my internship, and I feel bad because there are so many nice people doing really great work.  I'm frustrated though because I'm supposed to be in the field getting experience (like the rest of my classmates are) and yet I'm stuck in a cubicle for most of the day doing cold call surveying or file management.  I have yet to meet a single client face to face.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I have a job interview!

Okay so for one, mare-sy had her coggins pulled and health certificate done today!  Hopefully this means we are moving forward in the process, and as soon as we get the bill of sale completed I can formally buy her and have her shipped!  Hopefully she will be here by next Wednesday or Thursday!

So as many know I wrote up my resume and sent out to a bunch of farms in the area.  I hoped that if anything I would be able to get a part time job that will cover enough that I will be able to pay board and bills on my horse.  The alternative is getting a waitressing job, and that option is still on the table.  I have until March 1st to find something.  I had decided to postpone the waitressing job search under January was over because my internship has taken over my life.  I work from 8-5 everyday and barely have time to make it out to the barn before it gets dark.  Anyway, one of the farms I emailed my resume to in December wants to interview me on Saturday!  I'm really looking forward to this opportunity to meet a new barn owner in the area, and hopefully since its part time I will still have time to ride my horse/my projects this spring (there will be at least 3, with a few more possibilities in the works).   I suppose I just need to take my time and get things all figured out.  When the internship ends I will likely have to look for a waitressing job too, so I'll certainly be busy. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ponies, sisters and an X workout

The weekend is always a time when I think I'm going to have so much time to get things done and that never ends up being the case.  Friday I got off of work around 4:45 and then went out the barn to lunge the pony.  That makes one full week of lunging, and her fitness is starting to improve every so slowly.  I just have to keep in mind that she is like me in terms of fitness.

As much as she or I may want to start working at 100% the reality is that our bodies just aren't ready.  And while I have the privilege of being able to know when its too much and where I can push myself, its my job to read her and her body so that I don't push her past where she is ready for.  Its my job to be responsible about her conditioning even though I know her personality is similar to mine, and she'd probably rather push herself too.  She and I are very similar when it comes down to it!  

Friday night I went to a pre-game with my pledge class and it was definitely nice to see everybody and start catching up.  I didn't feel like going out, and was tired from my whole week so I went home from there around midnight when everyone else started to go out.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Internship, 30 Day Shred, yoga and ponies

Well yesterday after class I came back to the house and decided to do some yoga.  I had given myself Power Yoga as a Christmas present which is an 65 minute DVD of intense yoga led by some guy who is an ex ballet dancer.  Let me just say that this is not yoga for beginners.  But y'all know me - go big or go home!  I'd rather just do it and do it and do it til I get it right than do beginner yoga then get a little harder each time.  Maybe its not the smartest thing in the world, but it certainly keeps things interesting!  Anyway I finished about half of the DVD and called it quits.  It moved forward into some movements I had never done before so I decided to just quit while I was ahead.

Things are moving forward on the horse I was tell y'all about before, but still nothing has been signed so no details.  Hopefully within a week I will have a horse of my very own though!

Today was my first day at my practicum (basically an internship til the end of January), and I can already tell that I'm going to struggle for the next month.  The organization that I'm working with definitely does great work, but I'm not sure I will survive cubicle life for 9 hours a day Monday-Friday.  Just gotta put my head down and get through it though I suppose.  Today I made about 75 phone calls to families to survey them about one of the reading programs offered, and of those calls I completed 6 surveys.  Tomorrow I'm going to tackle the spanish speaking clients... Should be interesting!  Hopefully I will be able to go out on home visits though and really get to know the program, and hopefully they don't keep me cooped up too long - I may go crazy!  

On a brighter note I have been playing with the yellow pony each day, and have begun lunging her because she is SO out of shape.  Right now I trot and canter her in each direction for a total of 15 minutes and the poor girl is panting and sweating.  Time to burn some calories dear!  By middle of next week I think I will reintroduce side reins, and maybe each weekend I will get on her for a few minutes for Saturday/Sunday.  This way when February rolls around (and I have some free time when it isn't dark outside) we will be ready to start working.

I also picked up another spring project which I'm looking forward to, which is getting David's western pleasure mare Emma back into shape.  I'm really excited about it because I don't have much experience riding western, especially western pleasure where the horses barely go forward!  It should definitely be fun though, I will ride her with a more dressage frame of mind, engaging the hind end and using that energy to loosen her shoulders and stretch forward in her movement.  She has to be able to go forward before she can collect.  Maybe David will get back to competing this year!  

Tonight after hanging out at the barn for a while Christine and I went out to dinner.  We both decided it was too cold to work our horses, so instead we hung out with Grayson and then treated ourselves to Vesuvios, a wonderful italian restaurant.  I had a grilled chicken salad, and only a bit of the appetizer.  I'm still working on cutting the calories, but hopefully by introducing some good exercise I will get going on my goals.  

After Vesuvios Christine came over for a while and we did a few workouts.  Its nice that my room is big enough for the two of us to work out comfortably, and I'm glad she wants to join me!  She is already in much better shape than me (and naturally thin) so its good incentive for me to catch up.  We both have the same goals of wanting to become better riders.  We managed to finish the whole Power Yoga DVD and then the P90X Ab Ripper DVD.  We started the 30 Day Shred one too but both decided we were a bit tired (I had already done that one once today anyway).  Eventually I will start going to the gym with her and running, but for now I just need to start the process.  I'll probably be sore all month but it will be worth it.  

At one point Christine and I even started talking about summer and NJ and life in general and we started playing with the idea of taking our horses north for two weeks to work with some of the trainers in NJ and develop more contacts.  I have a few ideas in mind of where we would go and where we would keep the horses.   I guess I have to get to work!  She also wants to go to a few jumper shows and dressage shows this spring, and I'm looking to try my hand at my first Beginner Novice event, so hopefully we will be able to have some fun!  I decided if my horse has any eventing potential Christine will have to be the one to take it up the levels, I want the horse to have a good resume!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Beautiful start to the day

Well there is a gorgeous red orange and purple sunrise over Elon today.  How do I know this you ask? Well I have been up for over an hour already!  At 6:15 my alarm went off, I rolled out of bed and started the workout for 30 Day Shred.  I'm not going to have time to do it in the afternoons so I'm doing it in the mornings hopefully 6 days per week.  After the workout I jumped in the shower and then made myself an egg and cheese sandwich on whole wheat toast with a side of fruit salad (that I made yesterday).  Check out the sunrise!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hello North Carolina! I have missed you....

Yesterday I spent the day driving back to NC from NJ, and it was a surprisingly easy drive.  I got up early and only stopped twice so by 3:30 I was getting settled into my new house.  The house in an unofficial AXiD house called "Station", and I'm excited to be living with three girls I'm not super close with yet.  We will have a lot of fun I'm sure!

The horse search is well under way and may already be coming to an end, but there is nothing officially signed yet so no more details until that happens!  Fingers cross though...

I went out to the barn yesterday and today, and am so so glad to be back.  It really does feel like I'm home now.  Yesterday I hung out at Grayson's house for a while with her, David and their daughter Mary, and then I helped Grayson feed and we continued talking well into the night.  Boy am I glad to be back!  I'm really looking forward to several prospects/projects for the spring.  I have some ideas, and really hope I can make them happen.