A Day in the New Life, preview edition

So all the hints about what’s going on are over. Starting in May, I’ll be starting officially my new job at Three Brothers Stable. I’ll be teaching lessons, putting training rides on client horses, and helping the barn run more smoothly. I’ll be taking a more active role in managing some of our working students and helping with the website and online presence. And of course summer camps are coming up. But wait! That’s not all. I’m also starting up a freelance editing business, specializing in academic work. I’ve already completed a few projects for clients and I’m getting daily inquiries about new projects. Whew. With all that, yesterday was a pretty crazy day and seems like the new normal-ish. I’m thrilled!

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Majestic! Like the start of my day yesterday

6:00a Wake up and start getting the coffee pot going.

7:45a Leave for the barn after checking email and drinking coffee with Rob.

8:00a Start cleaning out the rest of my things from the other tack room.

8:15a Email exchanges with an editing client and the acceptance of my quote.

8:30a Chat with Maggie about the riding plan for the morning, grab Joe. Joe is a student’s horse that we are hoping to use in lessons, but he has lived in a pasture doing little for a few years. He needs a tune up.

8:45a Get distracted by another horse pulling back when tied and repeatedly breaking lead ropes. Work with Maggie and the horse to stop that nonsense.

10:00a Warm Joe up in the round pen and then ride in the jump field. Walking, trotting, working over poles. His steering is rusty, but he’s not doing anything naughty.

10:45a Put Joe up and grab Knots for some jumping

11:00a Ride Knots in the jump field and work over an oxer. We started by practicing trotting jumps, then moved up to work on cantering into the oxer. We used a place pole to help him measure the pace. When I sat up and rode, he was great. When I let him run at the jump, we sucked. Shocker. While riding, chat with Maggie about a client who would like her horse to be ridden at Pine Hill in the Green-as-Grass division in July. (I love the horse.)

12:00p Ride the ponies out to the XC field and evaluate footing and try to imagine how to move things to minimize the impact of rain.

12:45p Lunch time! Freebirds today

2:00p Unhook trailer from truck. Video Fred babysitting the puppies (Check instagram @atindalla). Move stadium jumps out to field. Beautiful craftsmanship, and heavy. Also associated poles and jump cups. Manage to twist/sprain ankle jumping out of truck. Five minute break to wrap it up in an ace bandage I happened to have in my car.

4:45p Break time for me before I teach my 6pm lesson. Email a new client who is requesting a quote. Try to elevate foot. Chat with barn teenagers.

6:00p Teach a riding lesson out in the XC field. Two students planning to go green-as-grass next week, one who isn’t showing (but riding at we-have-just-begun), and one who is showing WHJB. Talk about tricky, four riders, three different levels.

7:30p Head home, shower, ice ankle, have dinner.

10:30p Bedtime, whew!

On the flip side, today I am working in the office all day and finishing work on a couple of editing projects. Today is Rob’s birthday and I’m going into lab for cake and ice cream. I’m not expecting to break 5000 steps :p

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Byron in the office, keeping me company

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Flying a Jellybean-kite

Spoiler alert: I’m pretty displeased with my position over basically everything, but in the spirit of documenting Jellybean, the good the bad and the ugly are all part of the story.

Friday we made it down to Pine Hill for some cross country schooling. Jellybean loaded right up on the trailer with the other ponies attending. She only pawed on the trailer until we headed off.

Once we arrived, the fun started. Jellybean was very concerned about the strange trees. Bellville features pine trees, and Jellybean seemed concerned that she could see through them. Not as many oaks down here. We tied to the trailer and then left the ponies to sign in. Jellybean was more settled with Quest and Cowboy by her side. She kept flipping from side to side and looking.

We tacked up and I was pleased to notice that Jellybean has grown into Knots’ jumping boots! Some people fit tack and equipment at home, but other people show up late. Sigh. We walked around while everyone else got tacked up and then we mounted. Jellybean didn’t really trot off, but she did jig all the way down the hill, mostly straight, but sometimes sideways.

This really amused me, since I’m choosing to take it as proof of her thoroughbred blood. When we got to the bottom of the hill we spooked at a person standing behind those fuzzy trees again. This was still amusing, because it was so out of character. Hmm. We trotted around and warmed up a little bit, still staring at everything. I got distracted coaching some of the students and Jellybean mostly stood there.

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I’m on the right, Jellybean doesn’t look crazy here

As everyone went over the log, we headed over to the start box and started rolling. Lots of coaching (Maggie was distracted at this point, she is having a bad run with stirrup leathers). I did take Jellybean over a couple of times, and I wasn’t very impressed with myself. I need to shorten my stirrups! It seems like my brain should have registered that after riding the weekend before. Especially because Jellybean is determined not to hit the jump with her hind end.

I also can’t explain what is going on with my hands. She was being really good though, she stopped being so excitable as we got started. She never really cares about what the other horses are doing, and so she was just going along.

The next jump was the brush, which she went right over, except when she decided to put her foot down in the jump (?). Again, shorter stirrups. I’m kicking myself. The next time was better for Jellybean:

 

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Not beautiful

Back in the woods lives the steep hill with a log on top. I decided to walk Jellybean over it, but forgot it was a BN log. Luckily it was a short log, and we managed to walk up and down the hill without drama. I don’t know that she has ever experienced such a steep hill, living in the land of flat.

Anyways, after that little bit, we spent the rest of the time helping the other riders and hanging out. We did play in the water at the end of the outing.

One more log to jump over after the water and we were done. No major dramas, just crappy rider position. Jellybean did a great job!

 

Just another day in the life

Today was an average Tuesday. I worked in lab this morning, went to my internship this afternoon, and then headed out to the barn. I taught two lessons, made it home for dinner, and then started plotting my next task.

During my lessons, I helped one rider conquer their fear of cantering out, taught one rider how to follow the horse over a jump, and helped another rider learn to use tact to express their concerns about another rider. I laughed with one student about their lazy pony and tried to help another rider wake up their brain after a long day at school. I talked about being friendly to new students and boarders with some of the old guard. I discussed a life lesson with a parent, while I talked about competition opportunities with other parents. I talked to a little girl about encouraging her little sister to ride how she wants, even if it isn’t barrels like grandma, and heard how a rider was doing after a fall the day before.

I stood in the arena for two and a half  hours, and I feel like I’m making a difference in these kids lives. Perseverance, respect, joy, kindness, confidence, all the important things kids need to learn, and I help. Sometimes I reflect on this and wonder how I could ever stop teaching riding lessons.

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