Finding the Lemonade

Training Journal

If you’re riding a horse, you’ve already won.

Ooof. What can I say that you can’t read elsewhere? The only thing that bears repeating is Thank you.

Thank you to nurses and doctors caring for the sick.

Thank you to first responders going where you are needed.

Thank you to grocery store clerks who are restocking shelves and running checkout counters in situations when we-the-customers might not be at our best as human beings.

Thank you to people who are links in the supply chain: those who work in factories & canneries, those who sort and ship; those who transport, e.g. drivers, deliveryfolk, mail carriers. We can order online all we want. Someone somewhere has to make it happen.

Thank you to the people who are keeping the lights on, the water running, the cell phones working, and the Internet alternately amusing and annoying us.

Thank you to anyone I have overlooked who is, as Mike Rowe says in Dirty Jobs, making civilized life possible for the rest of us.

A post by Journey with a Dancing Horse: Gratitude in Uncertain Times (Bloghop) reminded me of others who should not be forgotten: veterinarians and feed stores, lab techs and non-medical hospital workers. The list really goes on doesn’t it? BTW, my gratitude list looks a lot like hers: family safe from virus (crosses fingers), horses in the backyard, places to walk, spring weather, entertaining husband, and so on.

Finally, thank you to all folks staying home and staying out of the way.
In the normal course of things (Ha!) we would continue to ship hither and yon to take advantage of better footing and enclosed spaces. That’s not happening. Instead, we are making a virtue out of necessity.

We could still go places. Barns in my area are open, subject to restrictions. The arenas are either open air or covered. No indoors. We tend to arrive when no one else is around. If other folks are present, we mostly wave at them from across an open parking lot. Social distance before it was cool.

The only common spaces we use are the restrooms. That could be handled, if needed. Or not handled, as it were. See above re no one else around.

Is it possible? Yes. Is it allowed under current state and local guidelines? Yes. Is it essential? No. So we have chosen to stay home. At some point, we needed to work on getting everyone comfortable working in the backyard. That time is now.

For Rodney, we will treat the pasture as a new place, gradually allowing him to adjust to the workspace [Peeling The Emotional Onion]. He’ll just have to get over his cow obsession [Cow TV].

Milton is cool at home. His issue is one of facilities. We don’t have a good place to drive. Plus, for now, I flat out refuse to be party to hitching him without supervision. We are working on developing more practice cart/sleds for him to pull. Our first one got old and has disintegrated [Practice Cart, Milton Gets Shafted]. Will keep you posted.

As for riding, I will put on my super-strength big girl britches and get on my own d*mn horse in my own d*mn backyard, without the comforting support of the SSF round pen [Old Arena].

Both will go on lots and lots of pasture walks [Team Ride]. Perhaps by the end of all this, we will be able to ride at home and save traveling for lessons and occasional outings.

We good. How you?

Stay safe. Stay sane.
Katherine Walcott

9 thoughts on “Finding the Lemonade

  1. I am frustrated. Between age and asthma, I am considered high risk. Went to grocery’s seniors only hour yesterday; no one asked for my ID. Have to risk going out again in a few days for meds, but depositing a check will have to wait.They keep tightening the “protocols” here. But i can go for a walk if the weather co-operates. The standard “good bye” is “stay safe”. I’m sick of this whole thing. More griping in my blog.

  2. Since we usually work at home, there’s no big change in our lives. Daily trips to the grocery stores to hunt down the elusive toilet paper keeps my partner amused while I cook, read, knit and play cards on my iPad. When the news gets to me, I take a long, hot, soak in the tub with a lighthearted book, pretty much what I do anyway.

    I realize that the world is in crisis mode but here at home, I try to live day by day, as usual.

    Thank you for the blog. It’s interesting to read how others are managing.

  3. At the beginning of March I gave my notice at the barn where I’ve been boarding the youngster. Given it’s a brand new facility (well, an old facility, resurrected under new management.) they didn’t have anyone at this time wanting his stall. So we left it casual, as in, if it’s a super wet, messy month I can stay a few weeks longer. If not, I can take him home when I’m ready. They’ve been great like that. Then the virus hit and many boarding barns around here are closing to horse owners so staff can stay safe. I get that, but I’m not happy about it at all. Mostly for me it’s a financial irritation. I’m paying to ride, not to have my horse stand around and be fed. If I can’t get there because I’m busy with something else in my life, that’s on me. If I can’t get there because the barn owner says I can’t be there … that’s a big nopity-nope. And yes, I do understand their situation … I’m just not OK with it.

    So Saturday afternoon we went and got my horse and brought him home. No, we were not 100% ready for this moment, but there you have it. I was a nervous wreck about the other three horses meeting the new guy, but he went right out with them and we let the introductions commence. For the most part it’s been pretty good. Lots of squealing, touching and crowding. The boys got over it pretty easily, but the mare is not having any part of it. Throwing a new horse into her midst put her right into heat and is making her even snarkier than normal. Once the new boy gets his bearings and decides he’s had enough of her ear-pinning and charges he’ll call her bluff. He just needs to hold his ground against her nastiness, then that will be the end of that. She’s all talk and not much action … but that dialogue can be pretty intimidating.

    I did put a 1.5 hour trail ride on him the very next day. Went out with a friend for his maiden ride here and he settled in nicely, did me proud. Now it’s going to snow this week. Life pretty much sucks.

      1. We are in CT, about 30 minutes south of Hartford. More snow expected later this week. It’s not sticking around longer than a day or so, but still. It’s been a very bleak winter here. Minimal snow, LOTS of rain; as in day after day after day. Sun has been extremely rare.

    1. When the mares at the barn I used to be at were temporarily in a barbed-wire enclosure due to construction, Priney would creep under the lowest wire and graze outside the enclosure. When it was time to come in for dinner, she’d creep back under. The barn manager let her be. I know she was only 13.2 hands, but still….Social distance in practice.

    2. Poured rain late yesterday afternoon and night. (Was supposed to clear around 1-2 AM) Big decision: do we put the mare in or put the new gelding in or let them all have at it and sort things out? I know I might come off as not sounding too concerned, but I am and my stress level has been through the roof. We can’t see our run-in or paddock from the house, so I made lots of trips outside to “spy” on things. (Plus, we are on a hill, so rain is making everything extra greasy) Evening feeding (in the pouring rain) went amazingly well. We use Porta-grazers in the run-in and as I filled them with hay each horse settled in at one and dug in. I was stunned. No jostling around. No ear pins. Nobody standing out in the rain looking dejected. I sneeked out twice to spy on them over the course of the next few hours and all seemed quiet and well. Again, at evening check/feeding the same decision: someone in or everyone out? Still pouring. We added a flake or two to the grazers and watched as everyone took their places. Again, no nonsense, no jostling. I was shocked. Maybe the rain was a good thing in that it forced them to make choices and deal with each other? This morning’s feeding was (again) uneventful. Now that it’s not pouring one of the boys is less inclined to squeeze into the shelter to eat, but he’ll figure it out. With all this rain, ground feeding is out of the question. It’s just a waste of good hay and then I have to pick it all up and toss it. I know the first few weeks are always the hardest, but it feels like it’s going a little better? Fingers crossed!

  4. Circling back to catch up on comments. Two weeks ago seems like last year. I hope the new horse has adjusted. I hope everyone has adjusted. Somewhat. As much as possible. The words. I have them not.

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