Thursday, February 16, 2012

Shows you what I know...

Yesterday was one of those 'downer days' as I headed home from work. The office had been abuzz with recent talks of huge government spending cuts and the very real possibility of huge job losses as well. Talk of 30% across the board, which is enough to make even the indeterminate (permanent) employees start to worry. Now the talk is nothing new but it's only in the last couple of days that it's made it's way to my building, largely thanks to the roll-out of a series of meetings that teach managers how to deal with job losses: "For some people, losing their job is a good thing.". Right...

As someone who was a term employee for 2 years running, it's terrifying. I still remember the panic every spring of wondering if I'd have a job and finally managing to haul-a$$ out of there and find myself a place with what I hoped was more stability. As my boss said to me yesterday "Sure am glad we made you indeterminate right away". This whole thing just reminds me of watching term after term lose their job and wondering how the heck I was gonna get out myself.

The BF's union is also having strike talks after their contract lapsed. The last time this happened, we saw a month of lost wages and hardly enough of a wage increase to make it worthwhile. Let's compound that with the fact that the provincial governments have been FORCING strikes to end and often favoring the employer.

So of course, I'm worried about seeing the loss of both of our pay cheques, which is a struggle for anyone. We're probably okay to get by, but it wouldn't be roses and we'd be crazy careful with our spending. It'd be a hard time and there would be no summer of cross-country courses and dressage shows, that's for sure. And that's pretty sad in and of itself.

Reality and my bosses remind me that we'll be fine and our department isn't going to be seeing the grim-reaper of the job world, but enough gossip can make even the best of us start to worry. 

Now let's add in my charred lip thanks to a VERY hot piece of meat in my little Stoffer's hot pocket, an unimpressive day at work, snowy/slippery weather that's filled with bad drivers and a general malaise of one wanting springtime already, and I was pretty blue.

I headed to the barn early figuring I'd be able to spend some time with my boy and find some cheer there, and was greeted by more blue-ness.

I walked into the tack-room and it was rearranged with more hooks on the walls. No biggie, but my heart fell a little to see my tack box laying by the door, almost 'out of place'. It felt (though I know it wasn't) like I was packed and set to leave. Blue days just make everything feel blue. I'm not leaving for 2 more months, so why did I feel half out the door??

Then when I finally settled in to groom Mr. Moon, hoping to just stand there and whisper my problems away to him, someone else showed up. No more sweet quiet moments with my boy, though again, it's not like showing up was their fault.

So I tacked up Moon and was irritated to find 4 sets of claw marks all over the seat of my saddle. My beautiful saddle. That I ALWAYS keep a cover on. Let me say, I am NEVER letting a cat in that tack room again. IRRITATING. My body temperature raised about 10 degrees and I'm not much of an 'angry' person. But I was angry at whichever cat did that.

Finally I got out into the arena and I just KNEW it was going to be a crappy riding lesson. I just KNEW it.

Shows you what I know...

Moon flexed and bent and stretched down to the bit. He found a frame and held my hands through the bit and reins and was spectacular (for a Mr. Moon). It was...our best ride to date (as far as "dressage pony skills" go. I still love madly galloping over open fields or trail rides down hillsides with good friends better...).

When we moved into trot, he was "CANTER?!" all over the place. But guess what? He CAME BACK TO ME!

And carried himself just beautifully at the trot. Lively, energetic but attentive. We had HALF HALTS that WORKED! I could slow him down, I could move him around and I could lift him up.

So we shoulder-in'd.

And GOT CONSISTENTLY three or four strides where he was not only making 3 tracks, but HE WAS STRAIGHT! least in one direction...

For a horse who's only started learning shoulder-in, he was awesome. W thinks his lateral work will prove to be his greatest talent. I'm tempted to agree.

My heart was bursting when I felt like I was riding. I could CONSCIOUSLY move and place him. Direct him. Guide him. He was listening and we were moving TOGETHER. He was right THERE with me. Partners.

Oh he tried his little heart out. All of our little battles were resolved and BETTER once we worked past them. He was a dream pony to ride, so soft, supple and smooth. Transitions? Yes please! He was soo straight and I actually felt like my timing and responses were happening properly and at the right time.

We finished with canter. The first time he just wanted to GO, but settled nicely (GORGEOUS uphill trot with connection). Topline development? Yes please!

In his "good" direction, he did a full circle. In his "bad" direction, he did it even BETTER! The first time his "skipped" around the corner (W compared it to you rear wheels skidding out on a turn when driving a car), but did awesome the second try. W commented that she thinks from what she's seeing, he'll have a lovely uphill canter as well.

I must say, his "bad" side is becoming his good side. And I LOVE it.

When we finished that last canter in the bad direction and I slowed him back to trot (instead of falling out of it), I threw my arms around his neck and praised every bone in his little pony body.

My heart swelled with such pride.

And W looked at me and said "He loves it. He FINALLY looks like he's enjoying himself out there."

9 months of bickering, arguing, fighting and resisting, and TODAY, it all comes together. And my boy is HAPPY out there doing it. Oh to hell with everything else. To hell with ribbons, shows, breeding and pomp. MY BOY IS HAPPY DOING DRESSAGE.

And my heart bursts.

This ^^ was my pony last May...

THIS ^^ is my pony today... (okay, to me anyway)


  1. I think the blues are going around :(
    I know I am feeling them.

    But yay for the ride on Moon! I am so happy for you guys!

  2. I love it when things come together!
    And Hot Pockets and Pop Tarts are totally dangerous foods. I got a second degree burn under my fingernail from hot Pop Tart frosting. Which is probably a sign that I shouldn't be eating Pop Tarts...

    1. You're my soul mate! I'm nicknamed "Poptart" due to over consumption... ; ) Unfortunately, we don't have as many interesting flavors to burn ourselves on up here...

  3. Our horses must be communicating somehow... we're both having wonderful rides! I'm so happy for you and Moon! Horses always make it better, don't they? :)

  4. The whole layoff, strike, cutback cycle just seems like it won't go away. It just flat out sucks. You never know what you are supposed to be doing. I hope things go ok for you.

    Omg, cats in the tack room. I could rant for many pages! Cats chewed my western reins, scratched my dressage saddle, put teeth marks in all of my foam pads, slept on my wool pad, and pooped under my saddle. The same lady kept locking the cats in. Thank goodness I don't board there any more! Now we just have one cat too fat to chase mice lol. Ok, I feel better now.

    Sounds like you had a fantastic ride. I find it amazing how my horse can come through for me just when I really need that boost. I know the blues have sure been clinging to me lately. I must be due for a whole day at the barn.