Monday, September 01, 2008

Coming to Grips

But Is It Stuck???

Have to wonder about the thermometer on the garage--the one in the full sun. It's reading over 115F again today. Is it stuck? I forgot to look at it this morning when it was nice and cool. The temperature in the shade is in the 80's but my car's sensors read out at 90 F--in partial sunlight. The only blessing is that it is not really too humid.

Why the fuss? Because I have not been able to come to grips with the fact that summer vacation is over and school starts for teachers tomorrow. Bummer. It still feels like the dead middle of summer! As I said yesterday, my classroom will be miserable. I am not looking forward to it at all. *sigh*

However, I rode this morning while it was still cool. I gave Tucker a pretty good workout timing my trotting time at a good 25 minutes. We only had one full balk and one minor one, both fairly easily overcome with a tap of the whip on his rump and some encouraging words from me. I had the feeling he was thinking, "I'm not sure I can do this," rather than, "I can't do this." He was solid and even on both reins, so I didn't feel anything physical this time.

We essentially did the basics--for him anyhow. Walk, trot, canter, both reins, with simple changes (canter/walk/canter), shoulder in and half-pass at the trot, circles, and a little trot lengthening. I did not demand a really elevated frame with a ton of half halts, but the few I did, he accepted graciously. If I manage this kind of work for the rest of the week, we should be good to go for a lesson on Saturday. We won't be quite up to where we should be after nearly two months of no lessons, but the heat and the hoof broke my even minimal riding schedule.

I have decided that I need to measure progress in more leisurely increments than I used to when I was really focused on training and competing. I have NOT missed showing at all, and do not feel particularly ambitious to get back in the arena before the judges. Perhaps when I feel Tucker is really ready to cmpete at 3rd level--with those flying changes--I'll go back. For now, it just doesn't seem important.

I rode Chance next getting some quite consistent stretchy efforts on his part at the trot. His canter departs are prompt and on the correct leads but the canter itself is still pretty head high and unsteady. He has a nice comfy stride and is starting to relax, so after working on both leads, I put him back on the left--his easier side--and started asking him to drop into a frame. It was hard work for me as he does want that head free for balance, but I did make some progress, so I ended the session on a good note. I am not sure if long lining him will help, but I think it did before, so I may do some more of that as the cooler weather comes in...some day.....

Toby was decidedly not interested in doing anything and since the sun was already filling the arena, I again gave him the day off. Right now I have no incentive to keep him really fit as no one else is riding him. As long as he can take me on a hack or "play" a bit in the arena with the flying changes and lateral work, he can be as retired as he'd like. He is honestly a still sound, solid 18 year old, but I believe he went as far in dressage (Intermediare 1) as was good for his conformation and soundness, so there's no reason to push him anymore. He can do all the exercises on a loose rein (Cues, Muriel, cues) if I want to play, so why stress him or try to leg him up to competition fitness? Right now, he's just fun and he does like to go out to the woods to nibble on trees and browse the grass along the edges of the cornfields. I figure he's earned it as he began his career at age 2 in the long lines and worked for many years to learn all he has.

Thus my summer vacation ends.

I did not do much of what I had planned to do. I did get the run in shed built and my front porch fixed. I did swm nearly every day and I will swim yet today. I watched the Tour de France and the Olympics. I wrote the play for school. I tried and failed to finance a solar energy system. I rested a lot. I spent hours on the Internet and hours trying to fix the Internet. I cleaned parts of the house and uncleaned them so effectively they need to be done all over again. I started cleaning the back porch but did not finish. I mowed the lawn several times--it needs a trim again--and had both lawn tractors fixed. I sang a solo in church. I rode a few flying changes on Tucker and did seem to manage to school him well in the simple change. I started physical therapy for my neck. I watched a bunch of television for no purpose whatsoever.

I did not travel, but I am not a traveler or "vacationer" in any sense anyhow, so that's just fine. I did not go to the ocean once. That's a bit sad as NJ beaches are really nice, but I'm not sure my knees would have appreciated either the walks in the sand or the waves. I did not sell any Ansur saddles but I did do three demos. The last one may end in a sale eventually, though. I only went to see one horse show--4-H at the County Fair. I had a few meals out with friends. I missed going to a nice picnic but will probably make another picnic this upcoming weekend.

Aside from the housecleaning which is one of my constant goals, I had no plans, except riding, that I did not accomplish. I had set very low standards for my summer. Had it been cooler, I would have done more with the horses and outdoor chores. Other than that, I guess I have no regrets. Retirement looms. I am very seriously thinking about it and will meet with a retirement counselor very soon.

Gee, then I will have perpetual vacation and more than enough time to not clean the house!! *G*


  1. housecleaning is a job that is, of course, never finished - especially for those of us with animals about the place!

  2. Thermometer is not stuck. When I came home from swimming it was reading 80F which nearly matched the car.

    Does that really mean it was 117 F in the direct sun??? Yeech!!!

  3. It is hot in the sun Jean ^-^

    Retiring soon? You will have all this time for tarining and reading and singing. Grand Life.

    I like your approach of house-work very closed to mine ^-^