Thursday, June 24, 2010

A canter is a cure for every evil. ~Benjamin Disraeli (Pictures Added)

I'm leaving for NYC in 2 days (wahoooo-- I cannot contain my excitement) and I have so much to get done at work, but I wanted to share yesterday with you! I have a few less-than-flattering pictures that Becky took for me, but you will have to wait because I forgot to download them (may have had something to do with the handsome fella that came over to my house to watch a movie last night!).

First let me tell you that it is hot as hades here in central NC. Seriously, in the 100s today. Granite is not. a. fan. He is also not a fan of flies. I've had Becky putting his fly mask on every day (yes, apparently I am THAT boarder) but I don't think its doing the trick. When I get back I plan to buy one of those huge ones that cover their ears, eyes and nose. We are using the equi-spot and concentrate fly spray (so I can make it STRONG) and the battle of the heat and bugs on my poor black skinned grey horse still seems to be a losing one. But Granite was a trooper and when i got there at 5pm for our lesson, he begrudgingly cooperated.

I wouldn't call it a riding lesson, Becky ignores my equitation entirely, she focuses on how I am communicating with granite and that I am asking the questions in the same way that she is. I will be the only one riding him come July. We discover that I ride overwhelmingly from my legs and seat and often lack communication via my reins. I have always been very light in my hands (to a fault) and apparently I 'pester' Granite a bit much with my legs/heels when I should really be leaving him alone. Its nice to have someone on the ground to point out the obvious.

Granite was amazing. His trot is starting to be big and forward and his canter... my god, his canter... I am in love. I think I am simply passionate about that canter. Really, you need to ride it to understand :) He has some problems with his side passes on the fence (apparently he does really well with Becky in training), but we blamed it on the heat because Becky even got up and she had the same problems. We worked on some leg yielding that was really successful as well. I am just so pleased with his progress.

I also got really exciting news at the end of the lesson (besides the fact that I have exceeded Granite's "training fund" and still plan to have Becky ride him until I get back from NYC). Becky thinks that it would really benefit Granite and I to take some dressage lessons together. Yes, I still have an ultimate goal of Am Adult Hunters, but dressage is an amazing foundation and if we started from there, we could go anywhere! She thinks Granite is ready. Becky is also related to one of the best dressage trainers in the area and is friends with the president of the NC Dressage Association. She said she would see what she could come up with regarding Granite and me and some lessons! ahhhhh!

And as if that wasn't enough, she cleared us to start trail riding!!! She said it should be the most boring thing ever. She wants me to go with SLOW and STEADY horses and make it the most non-issue ever. I relayed this info to Dianne and I think that D will ride Karma and maybe bring our friend Jennifer and her QH Pickle (how cute is that name btw??) to do a painfully slow and boring trail ride out at Pilot Mnt. I am SO excited. I have been waiting to have a real horse. One that I can ride and take lessons on and show and trail. Finally!

And not only is Granite a real horse now, he is a real amazing horse! Becky even mentioned after watching THAT CANTER, that I have a baby with an extremely solid mind and a beautiful body (meaning his performance). Getting a baby is such a gamble, I am so glad I took that chance on the big grey man. He is everything I wanted in a horse (I know you are sick of hearing this!).

Alright-- back to work. I have so much to prepare to allow me to leave for a week. You know the charade. I also have to wait tables tonight. But TK will be coming over tonight since I won't get to see him for a week! YAY. I don't think I'm officially the girlfriend yet, but I can't wait til I am. He is nearly as fantastic a man as granite is a horse :)

and one of Reno as a bonus.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Ashley over at Process of Learning Blog mentioned in her post today about how I remind her of her sister in that I work all the time. Also, that I wish I had more time to spend with that pony I am working to support.
I figured maybe I would write a quick lunch break post updating you all on that...

My life reminds me of a Lady Antebellum Lyric: "Get caught in the race of this crazy life, tryin' to be everything can make you lose your mind."

I had a talk with the owner of the place where I am waiting tables last monday night. I told him that I do work 40+ hours a week at my 'real' job and that when I was hired I asked for 2-3 shifts a week but I had been continually scheduled for 5 shifts and have been working 65+ hours a week. I just can't maintain this life. I barely have time for running or Granite. Those to things make me sane and healthy (both mentally and physically). I know I'm bound to get sick soon trying to run on <5 hours of sleep a night and working >14 hours a day. It just can't happen. The boss man told me that he would take care of it and although he needed me one weekend night a week, that I would have a much reduced schedule...

Fast Forward to Saturday night. The new schedule (for Monday-- nothing like a little notice folks!) just came out and I work up the nerve to check it out. Not only am I scheduled to work 5 nights next week, 3 of them I had requested off anyway because I will be in NYC! Rachel is PISSED to say the very least. I thought about walking out right then, but I just couldn't do that to the other servers on a Saturday night. So I told the boss I needed to speak with him after my shift. And I did. I told him that I was sorry, but it just wasn't working out for me. I had been promised that my hours would be reduced and they were not and my schedule requests were ignored. I told him I couldn't tolerate the stress of not knowing if and when my scheduling needs would be honored and it just wasn't worth it. I didn't have a plan B for $$$ (student loans due in T- 18 days and I think Granite is going to start needing shoes on all 4s-- farrier comes on the 5th of July), but I have enough self respect that I know when the line must be drawn and I was(am) near my breaking point.

Well, the boss wouldn't let me quit! He said that the place was going through a transition and he was eliminating staff that wasn't competent or dependable and that he really needed me. He apologized for the "misunderstanding" (I think someone else wrote the schedule and he never communicated my desires). Then he asked me what I wanted to work (and I think-- now we are playing ball). We settled on Monday and Friday nights only. I said I would cover for vacations but only with prior notice (bc the $ IS good, but I can't do it with regularity). Boss used the words "I promise, Monday and Friday nights only." I'm not entirely convinced that this scheduling debacle won't occur again (soon), but its a start and I think the power shifted a little bit with that conversation. But, they have 2 strikes and if they plan to use, abuse, or take advantage of me again... I'm out!

But, lets say he does keep his word. I make just enough extra to cover my bills and I have the option to pick up a couple shifts for someone if I want to save for a show or something. I will have weekends off for riding and my sanity and can feed horses when the BO is out of town at shows (hello reduced board/ training fees). I can take mini trips to see Eva or my Parents again. My house can be cleaned and I can sleep for more that 6 hours one night. I can have my life back! So I need cumulative finger crossing from you people! Lets hope that this situation works out the way boss-man made it sounds. A regular, unchanging, light schedule with the ability to request off or pick up extra shifts when needed.

I am, of course, applying for 'real jobs' throughout the state (anything east of here bc I want to be closer to my family and best friend). I have been here for almost a year and despite merit raises this Fiscal Year, I will have to continue to wait tables and THAT is not a long term arrangements, even if the best case scenario (above) plays out.

 The only part that sucks about getting a new job elsewhere would be having to move Granite from his wonderful barn and leaving TK. Things are going so well with him. I went to his bluegrass concert on Friday. he was fabulous. I was so proud. I also met his family briefly. They were very nice and I can't wait to get to know them. He is supportive and funny and cute and everything I have been asking for for the past 24yrs. Its up to me to not screw it up and to give as much as I take (in my super-busy emotionally fragile state of past months with all my work-- giving of myself is rather difficult).

Now, in horse related news (sorry for the personal stuff-- but after Ashley mentioned my busy-ness, I thought ya'll may be curious). I emailed Becky BO about my ride Saturday. How I loved the canter but was having some resistance issues with our trot transitions. She said she knew what I was talking about and would like a chance to work with him and I on it. So, tomorrow night (only night off before NYC) I am going to have a lesson. I am nearing the end of the Granite Training Fund (read: tax return) and think that I may take over working with him in July. She said she would discuss that with me as well. It looks like I will be able to ride 4 days a week if my boss wasn't lying (can you see my hesitation to believe him and actually proceed to plan my life). She also said we would discuss..... a trail ride! Wahooop.

So, I hope to have some final reports to give you on Wednesday before I exit the blog-o-sphere (camera in hand) to go on my first venture to NYC :)

Happy work week everyone!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Canter, Please Go Canter

I don't have much time to write because I have to dash off to work all night, but I had to share that I rode today. No one was at the barn and I really got to concentrate on working with Granite. I wore my tall boots for the 3rd time and they have finally stretched enough that they are comfortable! Granite was so very good. We worked on transitions. His walk-to-trot transition is pretty bad. It takes us 10-15 steps before he figures out what I want most times. He ends up going slower and stopping. I think its mainly a communication issue. I must not be asking as clearly as Becky does. She is out of town for the weekend, but I'm going to ask her about it.
The big news of our ride is that I cantered for the first time. Granite has such a huge stride. I swear we got around the big arena in four strides :) Its not the flattest kneed canter in the world but it is very much a ground covering rocking horse canter. I was grinning ear-to-ear and wishing someone were there to document it for me.
My new camera DID come in this week however and I took some photos for you!!!
I work 6 hours tonight and 12 tomorrow then leave for NYC on Thursday, so I may be scarce, but I won't forget about ya'll :) (I also forsee myself quitting that horrible job soon, broke or not-- Its not worth it and I will figure something else out).
Fresh out of the pasture
Time to Go!

Bath Time!

Mom, Must you hose off my face too??

Best Barn Mutt Ever!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

So THIS is what a day off feels like???

I'm sitting on the couch, drinking my second cup of coffee and watching CBS's Sunday morning.


What isnt amazing is the list of crap I NEED to be accomplishing today when I really just want to plant myself by the pool on this first day off in 14. You know, the usual is on the docket: laundry, change bed sheets, clean bathroom, vacuum, grocery shop, apply for some jobs, ride the pony, run a few miles, meet my friends for dinner... Where is the pool time?

Anyway, I know you all live very similar lives, so I will spare you more bitching.

Thursday was date night (I love date nights). I couldn't ride Granite because Becky got to him first. So I groomed the boy and when TK got there I had a clean pony. The meeting was rather uneventful. TK wasn't scared but I'm not sure he knew how to react around horses either. When I put Granite out in the pasture TK touched the electric fence at least 3 times. Haha. It wasn't on strong, but it was pretty funny watching my city boy look so confused as to why this fence was hurting him. Sigh. A cowboy he is not! But he is very supportive and I like it. I like him.

I rode Granite yesterday. He was really really good. We had some issues getting a trot at the start. It was very resistant like when your horse has to poop and wants to stop... yeah, like that. But he got over his shenanigans rather quickly and we had a really pleasant ride. I love riding that horse.

Speaking of riding. I think I might try to take a "mental health" day on Tuesday. I'm scheduled 68 hours next week but have Tuesday night off. If I took a sick day, perhaps I could pump myself up to get through next week. If I do decide to take the day off of my day job, D and I will go trail riding!!! I haven't ridden Karma in ages nor have I been on a trail ride. I also am honest to a fault and am not sure I can pull off asking for a sick day without being legitimately sick. Then again, with these hours, I will be legitimately sick before too long...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Just Thought You Should Know...

That I bought ANOTHER new camera...
Lets hope this one lasts longer!
Should be here some time next week. Please try to bear with me till then. Apologies again for the untimely demise of the Red Camera.

Thirsty Thursday & Some QT with my guys!

Work work work. Its all I do. and it sucks. But, I'm making good money and I'm taking a 5 day vacation to New York City in two weeks, so I have chosen to not have a conversation about my hours with the floor manager until I return (perhaps I will need all that extra $$$ for the trip).

But, despite my 65 hour work week this week, I managed to go see my kid during my "dinner break" yesterday between my day job and a meeting I had to work for said day job. Granite and Reno both came up to visit me as soon as they saw me pull in. I grabbed Granite and headed for the barn bc it was starting to rain. I groomed him really well and noticed some crusty stuff in his mane. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it was a tick! EWWWW! Get off my horse you nasty critter! I removed the tick and washed, antiseptic washed, and antibiotic ointment-ed the effected area. Granite seemed un-phased by my shenanigans. As usual.

After a thorough grooming of my ugly horse-- I say this because I HATE his summer coat. He whites out and his pretty grey dapples turn brown. He constantly looks dirty, but its just his summer coat. He really turns into a pretty horse in an ugly suit in the summer. He also doesn't tolerate heat too well and spends all day profusely sweating. I think when its time to show, we need to find a lovely indoor winter circuit so we don't have to 'show-off' his ugly soggy summer exterior. But thats neither here nor there. I had some time before I needed to be back to work, so I brought out the itty bitty clippers to have some clipper practice. While the kid still erratically tosses his head about, I managed to get him still enough to let me CLIP his jaw line and throat latch. This is the first time we have actually managed to clip anything. So I will take progress where I get it!

Next we worked on some in hand work in our {huge} barn aisle. Becky must be working on some of this in the saddle, bc he has never gotten the concept of turns on the haunches until now. He actually crossed over with his front feet and gave me a pretty solid pivot. He is still pretty clueless regarding "squaring up" or standing as I dart around ala 'inspection". Fortunately, I plan to avoid showmanship at all costs, but next year I plan to show a local open hunter division, and most of the time to get high point awards (which he will obviously be in contention for, because? he rocks) you often have to suck it up and show in hand-- boooo. And it was raining, so I figured practice can't hurt.

Speaking of shows. Granite is cantering well and consistently moving in a collected walk and trot! I think its ALMOST time for me to begin researching to pick the perfect time/place for our show-ring debut! I will die with excitement! I am thinking late August. I want to be ready. I don't want to take him until I feel confident about being in the ribbons, because to be honest, I am a bit shallow and would be bent all kinds of out of shape if we weren't to finish in the ribbons in a local schooling show. I want to get some trail ride and hunter pace miles on him to get him exposed to working around different horses in different venues before we get in the show ring as well.

And in final news... TK (aka- Date) plans to meet me at the barn at 5pm tonight! I'm not sure if Becky is doing a training ride today or not, but if not, I will ride Granite as well. Tonight is my only evening off this week. TK is taking me to a minor league baseball game (I hate baseball but its $2 beer night and I like beer). I told him that we may be late bc I sure the hell plan to see my kid on my evening off then he said something about "the Gran-Man" and I asked when he planned to re-schedule coming to meet him. He said "why not tomorrow before the game". And I did an internal happy dance because Granite and TK seem to be the two men that can remove my waitressing stress and remind me that Life IS Good :)

Hope you all have a great weekend if I don't see  you before that. But perhaps I can manage a little TK meets Granite update. I feel like I remember writing a post about Granite meeting the LAST guy last summer. No guy has had the privilege of being invited to meet Granite since, so lets hope this time around it goes significantly better!

Also? Still no word on my camera! I am going to NYC for the first time in 2 weeks, and I MUST document. And I know you guys will shortly revolt without photographic evidence of Granite's progress, so I may comit my lunch break to ebay today and buy a camera... Heres to hoping.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quick Update tell you all just a couple of things.

A.) I rode Granite yesterday afternoon. He was great. I am noticing that his right side is his weak side. He tries to be a bit naughty about bending to the direction and sometimes twists his head a bit to avoid pressure. But his forwardness is getting better and he is carrying himself really lovely. I am so proud. I feel like I could take him in a walk/trot class at a schooling show tomorrow and place :) No kidding! I am so proud and its still so unreal to go out to the barn and ride!

B.) I hate hate hate hate my 2nd job. The cooks are really mean spirited people. I hate the long hours on my feet and the rushing rushing. Mostly, I am not emotionally equipped to handle jobs like that. Having to have my 'game face' on non-stop doesnt sit well with me (have a mentioned that I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder? -- no fun, but I generally know how to deal with it). I have nightmares about work and I spend my entire days dreading about when I have to work next. The money is much better than anticipated and I have enjoyed less stress in regards to bills, but I am loosing it as far as emotional (and physical) well being. I am scheduled to work a grand total of 65 hours this week, and Sunday the 13th will be my first day off in 14 days. I am a pretty tough cookie for the most part, and its not so much the hours I am having to pull, but the waiting tables in general that is killing me. I won't get to see Granite until Thursday :( Sorry for the complaints.

C.) The best news! I just got an email from Becky. Granite cantered today! Several times around the arena in both directions! She thanked me for letting her work with him and told me that I have a really "nice quality horse" on my hands!!! I am such a proud momma! I can't wait to see it. She says his collection and forwardness continue to improve and his leg yields are coming along! I am so proud and excited. I waited for so long and now he is progressing so fast. Yay for Graf Granite <3

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Follow up on Ride #3

I rode my horse last night. Its still so surreal to say that. I got off work and changed into my breeches and headed to the farm. I have been waiting to be able to do that for so long now; I am enjoying every moment. I tacked up my boy and headed to the big arena. No lunging necessary with this kid. He stands at the mounting block and doesnt move a muscle. Its fabulous. We did A LOT of walking. I wanted to work on steering and leg yielding. We walked around cones. We made all sorts of random turns. Then we worked on being straight. We would go around the arena on the rail and try to begin bending in corners. He got a little fish-taily on the outside line that backs up to one of the gelding pastures. He wanted to socialize so he got really really slow and wanted to stop and then he seemed to loose his ability to steer. But we worked through it and he did well. We worked on being collected yet creating impulsion. Its certainly not an easy job because he is so naturally pokey. We also trotted using the same concepts. He is definitely a push horse. I didn't run yesterday but I guess thats OK because he gave me a workout. To wrap up our ride we worked on turns on the forehand and giving a collected Back. He did so well. I am very impressed with the work that his trainer has done. My horse is absolutely a RockStar! Everything I've always wanted and more.

Date night was just as great. We went to an Irish Pub downtown and had a couple adult beverages then we went back to my house where he met my roommate and her 'friend'. That went pretty well. We all played some card games and had some red wine. It was lovely. He took me out for a cheeseburger at this amazing little diner that I didn't know existed for lunch today. He really seems to be supportive of my horsie shenanigans. I can't wait for him to meet Granite. He says hes ready to come to horse shows. I told him just to practice his ribbon holding stance :)

With the exception of the god-awful waiting tables gig I have going on, life is really going well for me right now. I am trying to really live in the moment right now and embrace everything that is taking place. My dreams with Granite are slowly becoming realized and I seem to have met a man with the potential to be a (supportive) staple in my life. I don't know how it will all turn out, but I know that I love where I am right now.

I think I'm going to ride after work tomorrow (so far? 11 straight days of work scheduled). I love that I actually get to tell you all about my rides now :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Happy Friday

After a generally annoying week in my life, it is finally friday! And the better news? Becky emailed me last night to tell me that she actually can't ride Granite this afternoon, so I could go for it! So, its Friday AND I get to ride Granite. Then? Its date night (I think we are on number 8 or 9 now). Apparently I'm being taken to dinner. And I am sooo OK with that :)
Date (TK) didn't get to meet Granite Tuesday night. I know you were all waiting for an update and I hate to disapoint, but I was just too exhausted and his errands and mine just weren't jiving enought to make a Granite and TK meeting happen. Granite isn't going anywhere however, so I am unconcerned. If he passed the Daphne dog test, then Granite will be a breeze. The G man likes everyone! Expecially if there are peppermints involved...
So happy weekend to all. I wish I could promise pictures, but I still haven't located my camera. So,  you will have to settle for a detailed account for my next post.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words....

Well... what had happened was.....
I rode Granite on Thursday. It was PERFECT. We walked and trotted, did turns on the forehand. Backed up. Leg yielded. He was a peach (a mouthy and slow peach, but one with only 21 rides under his girth). I got photgraphic evidence of this monumental experience. I promptly shared the photos with Dianne then headed home to get ready for a date (Date #7 if anyone was counting.... he is meeting Granite tonight! But thats a different post). In the shuffle, I LOST MY CAMERA...and the pictures of my very first ride!! So, yet again, cameraless and sans documentation of my monumental day! I could kick myself.

Fortunately, Eva met me at the barn Monday (yesterday) evening with her blackberry in hand as I rode the dude for the second time (first time under english tack). It went just as well and I have proof!!! Forgive my awkward position. I got a wicked sunburn at the beach (yes, I know I grew up there and that this is like admitting that I am no longer a local) and the back of my knees and my love handles were screaming in pain as my bunched up jeans/half chaps touched my skin. Also? I look like a huge fatty despite having lost about 13lb... Oh well, I shall work harder. Granite deserves it. But, without further pause...