Monday, February 28, 2011

Everybody dies, but not everybody lives

The past week has gone by in a whirlwind.  I worked at job one on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday before class,  and then on Friday I started my new job at the other farm.  I never thought that doing stalls could be as relaxing as it is.  Its a pretty simple morning routine - feed the inside and outside horses, turn them out, check waters, clean stalls.  It only takes 1-2 hours depending on how many horses came in over night but either way its not bad.  My shoulders are sore which is great, and when I turn out the horses I get to watch 8 absolutely gorgeous hunters float across the fields.  All the horses that my boss owns are extremely well bred hunters.  Two are retired, two are four year olds, one is a two year old, one is a broodmare, and two are currently show hunters.  I'm lucky that I get to watch these beautiful horses float across the ground as I turn them out each day.  

On Saturday I went out and did the stalls again, and then afterwards I drove to Raleigh for the Professional Auction Services Quarter Horse and Paint sale.  Though I'm not a western person/rider I really love getting to understand different breeds and what their disciplines ask of the horses.  I went down there with Grayson, David, and Mary, and our awesome vet, Dr. Schuler, also came.  Having him sitting behind me, able to pinpoint even the most barely noticeable lameness, was really a treat.  He's so good at what he does, and is so willing to teach those around him that I have gotten to a point where I find out when he is coming to the barn and I drop what I'm doing just to listen to him, watch him work, and absorb information.

On Friday he came out to work on two horses, Christine's gelding, and one that trailered in.  At the end of the day as we were chatting he was asking me about all my activities (riding the three horses at Grayson's farm, the riding job at the second farm, the stall job at the third farm, a full course load of classes, and active involvement in a sorority, all while exercising enough to lose weight), and then he asked about my SAT scores, and grades, and based on all those things which I suppose boil down to work ethic and determination, he decided that I need to go to medical school.  While I'm not sure that is in the cards for me, I'm glad that he respects my desire to learn and will to work.  At the end of the day I also asked him if he had ever allowed a non-vet student to shadow him, and he kind of laughed as though who other than a vet student would want to follow him and said no, but that if I wanted to I was more then welcome.  I'm really excited for this incredible opportunity to learn from one of the top vets in the area, and although I won't be going to vet school, it is another step towards becoming the best horse person and owner I can be.

Yesterday I got out to the farm early enough to set up a free jumping chute for Aston.  She has been through the chute once before, and I wanted to have it be a little more technical so that she could start using her body a little bit.  What I found was that she is a bit nervous and unconfident at the idea of jumping on her own.  I think what that means is that she will need to learn to jump under saddle where she can feed off of my confidence and learn that she will be okay.  I don't necessarily think that the qualities she has shown in the chute are indicative of how she is going to do as a jumper.  Some of the coolest horses I've ridden are the types that really ask you, hey are you sure you want to jump this?  Oh you do?  Okay well lets go then!  I'm hoping Aston turns out to be that type.  So far she is coming along slowly but surely.  I have done lots and lots of work on the ground, since she really needed it, and after only a month of ownership she is already a different horse.  She gets excited to see me, she has settled into life on the farm, and she is happy without stressing. She is truly thriving in an environment where she gets payed attention to.

After working with Aston, I pulled the pony in to get her tacked up and ready to go.  It was her second day on a magnesium supplement designed by Dr. Schuler, and I was hoping that she would start to settle and focus.  Magnesium is supposed to aid in those things, but may take longer to take effect.  She was good, I did a lot of work at the walk focusing on bending around my leg and not scooting away as I apply pressure.  She is still so hot that its hard for her to contain herself without always moving.  I ended up jumping her over a tiny cross rail back and forth about six times before going back to work.  She loves jumping so much that she just gets very UP, and it takes a while to get her head back on straight afterwards.  Its all part of the learning process though.  She really is turning out to be a nice pony, she just has a few quirks that if she doesn't get over, will absolutely limit a potential career for her.

After the pony, Janene asked me to hop on Ritter and take him over a few bigger jumps so that her friend who was out to ride him could watch him go.  Its such a pleasure to get on a horse like him, and especially to jump because he's so easy and rhythmic that he just floats across the ground and over the jumps.  I jumped him over a 2'6 fence four times, and surprisingly there were some really nice photos!  I haven't been jumping since last spring because my horses are all still so green (and pony is unfit), but surprisingly I am still able to hold my position well over the fences because my guys take a lot of solid leg work, and I have been doing no stirrup work on Emma each time I ride her.  I could do more, and I should but its hard to push myself in that way.

This morning I went out to work this morning and fed the horses and started to turn them out, when my boss came out and asked me if I have a lucky star over my head or something.  I didn't understand what she meant but she soon began to tell me that in the short time since she hired me four days ago, she has had two job offers for me as well as an invitation to play squash with the Duke club squash team.  Then she joked that maybe she is the one with the lucky star over her head!  I think maybe we are both lucky to have come into each other's lives and I look forward to work every day I go out there.  Anyway, I'm very interested in one of the jobs, and really hope I have an opportunity to take it on.  The nice thing about barn jobs is that the hours are flexible. This job would be a riding job for a local trainer who is in the process of getting her judging liscense.  She has a bunch of horses in on training, and will need to keep them ridden when she is away getting certified.  This would be a great opportunity for me to make a new connection and keep income coming in regularly (as if the current four jobs aren't enough haha).  It will also be good for me in the future when I have to sell my girls to have as many connections as possible to call to sell them.  I really am loving life right now, and all the horses and people that are a part of it.

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