For all non-horsey folks, this part is
TRAVELER - Conditioning Log
04/03/2009 - arrived, met Star, time off to adjust
didn’t eat any bran mash
04/04/2009 - hung out, another day off to settle in
04/05/2009 - short walk around high front field with Justin and Ed
nervous and jiggy, concerned with Star’s whereabouts, but well-behaved overall
04/06/2009 - day off to settle and start to work slowly
04/07/2009 - day off - I had class
04/08/2009 - 30 min hack in high front field
I picked up a large circle bounded almost halfway around by the curve of the driveway, to give me some guideline in the tall grass. My original goal had been just a leisurely walk to stretch out, and do some suppling work for his first day under saddle, but he was still highly concerned with “his” mare, Star’s, whereabouts, so the plan changed and we worked mostly on focus and some transitions. The field is not flat, so I spent most of our time trying to maintain a rhythm and consistent circle. He was too nervous at first to walk, so we trotted more than I had intended, but eventually did settle down, and worked much better than I had expected for his first day back in almost two years. We even did two half-circles (uphill only, for the sake of control) at the canter in each direction. I’ll need to be really careful about how quickly I ask him to go in a frame. When he gets to feeling hot, like today, I tend to shorten up on him, but I really need to remember to start out with a lot of long-and-low work, as his neck musculature is pretty much completely gone. He still jigged most of the way home, but did walk some, and I think we can improve that too.
04/09/2009 - day off - I had class
04/10/2009 - Very short bareback hack through the stubble fields
Again, he was nervous and jiggy, concerned with Star. Just after leaving the side of her field, the breastplate bit for the bareback pad came unhooked, and I was unable to get back on after removing it, as he would not settle, but after walking back and remounting, we managed to tour the high field and go twice around the loop, and then return by way of the squiggle path in the north stubble field. We barely managed to walk at all, but he was giving me some attention, and trying to behave despite being very worried. Overall not terrible, just will need some time.
04/11/2009 - Long walk out to Hwy 10 by way of Powerline Trail
Trav was marvellous, being very careful about placing his feet, despite the ubiquitous mud, and crossing the little streams. He barely batted an eye at stepping over the plastic tarp erosion barrier, and was content to walk much of the way. He rather disliked climbing the hill in the forest, so perhaps a better path can be found, but really he seemed to enjoy getting out and exploring, rather than just circling a field. It was probably more than I should have asked him to do, right off the bat, as the terrain was pretty hilly, but he seemed to enjoy himself. We did jig some on the way back, but nowhere near as bad as I had expected. He really does love being under saddle and out in the back country. On getting home he was sweaty and warm, but it wasn’t quite warm enough to really hose him down, so a sponge of the key areas had to suffice. I can’t wait to get him all cleaned up again.
04/12/2009 - day off
I was concerned at the strenuousness of the ride yesterday, and the weather was miserably wet and moderately cold all day, so I decided to let him relax and stretch out as he wanted in the field w/ Star. I’m afraid he might have gotten a little chilled this evening in the rain, though it’s still only down to 42 degrees (at 11:30 pm), which won’t help him loosen up, but I’ll give him the day off tomorrow too, as I’m working 10 hours and need to meet Roberta for coffee in the morning to discuss a position that’s opened up in her department at KU.
However, he was much more content to stay in his stall this evening, even after he had finished his grain, rather than running out into the rain again in his worry to be near Star. I’ll have to keep a close eye on exactly how much nutrition that field still provides. He was remarkably hungry tonight, I think, as he preferred to eat hay inside away from her rather than grass outside, or hay near her, at least for a while. I really need to get the vet out here, and get some advice on grain rations and supplements, as well as getting him his shots.
In other news, I spent today trying to find the reputed Calontir equestrian practice, about which I've been in contact a couple of times with the woman who runs it. I only managed to drive around the hinterlands of the Flint Hills for nearly six hours, and finally arrive at her place with approximately ten minutes to introduce myself before leaving to get home for Mason's birthday dinner (at which point I got lost for the fourth time.) It's just as well the practice today was canceled for rain I suppose.
Also, being in Tucson for the wedding was wonderful, and also gave me the chance to finally consolidate all of my material possessions in one state for the first time in quite a while. When Trav arrived a little over a week ago, the move was pretty much complete. I live in KS now, on paper and in all practical senses, though it still feels very weird to say.
Work as a phone monkey continues to be spectacularly tedious and reach new heights of monotony, but I'm currently playing for all I'm worth at a promotion to the Client Relations department. They're desperately understaffed, and it would be a relatively huge pay increase (like on the order of 45%.) It's probably hellaciously stressful and would suck royally, but it would help financially, and it would look much better on a resume, so it's probably worthwhile. The only other real potential option right now is a position at KU that's opened up in the department run by a friend of Justin's. The problem with that one, though, is that it's roughly comparable pay (better benes), and is only a secretarial position, so doesn't really "advance" me much, unless it's just inherently better to be at KU.
Other than that, I'm still working a lot, but doing much better at balancing a realistic (50 hr/wk) schedule with the bliss of finally getting to ride again (Can you believe I hadn't been on a horse since mid-July?!?!) And of course, having my wonderful man around is phenomenal. I can't think of any way I'd rather have this set up, even if it might have been risky to move in with so little history, it's worked out better than I ever could have hoped.