Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Time Flies


"Mellon" Still handsome at 24 and deserving some face time.

Now that it’s almost the end of July and we have one more month of summer coming in August, I sit back and wonder where the time went.   Once again I feel as if I’ve really gotten nothing done with the horses this month. If August should turn out to be as hot as July, nothing productive might be happening next month either. After this miserable month of record-breaking temps and humidity I’m hoping August will cool off a bit and enable me to get more productive with the horses.

This weekend I managed to groom and saddle Dusty and give her a lesson at the mounting block.  I know we’re taking it slower than is recommended for this particular training lesson, but she’s down to only needing to be lunged once for swinging her butt out or taking a step sideways before she gets the idea and stands quietly, so I think she's catching on.  She looked like she didn’t feel up to speed on the lunge so I decided not to ride.  Her stride was a little short and it seemed her hind end was not quite right.  On Sunday I didn’t even bother to saddle her, but just had her stand at the block quietly while I lay across her back or stroked her neck.  She’s starting to get the whole concept.  Unfortunately, again, due to time constraints I can’t work consistently with her and I feel that is holding us both back.

So the grand plans I had for this summer to ride Dusty and Blue and advance their training and mine have fallen by the wayside.   I’m hoping the coming month of August will be more rider-friendly than July was. 

On another note, I wonder how everyone else manages to get in two or three rides a day when I can’t even find the time to groom or lunge one horse a day.  It shouldn’t be that hard to find the time to ride more often.  Should it?

I could use some tips from my blogger friends on how you manage to find riding time. 

Until next time

Quote for Today
A little horseplay... the way best to enjoy a summer day!

36 comments:

  1. Time management is not my thing. At all. I'm one of those people that needs to write down and specifically schedule anything if I'm going to make it happen. And when it comes to horses I'm really in my own version of the time-space continuum. It can take hours to complete the smallest tasks! Drives poor Husband crazy! Can't imagine if I had more than one horse lol.

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    1. I think I wouldn't have a problem managing my time if I had any extra to manage! There never seems to be any down time anymore.

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  2. Ah, no advice here. I haven't been riding either. I simply can't take the heat anymore. My knees are still a bit achy, which wouldn't normally put me off, but add the heat, and I'm a wimp.

    And yes, the time does seem to just slip away. I can spend hours just sitting around doing nothing productive. *G*

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    1. I'm with you I can't take the heat either but then I've always hated hot summer temperatures and humidity. Why can't it be Autumn all year round :)

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  3. I am lucky to get riding in on one horse as well (that is, when I'm able to ride). When Brett had his knee replaced I told him I would ride Flash while he recovered, but I rarely rode both on the same day. I don't know how many of the people who manage all those rides on the same day have their horses on their property and have to deal with ranch chores. I tell myself that they don't. I know its all I can do to get the chores done and get in one ride.

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    1. I used to ride two horses a day and be able to go to shows. Of course, we boarded then. Now that there are seven horses and chores there doesn't seem to be much free time.

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  4. At my age, I ride when I am motivated to ride and have removed any guilt over not doing it more often. This summer has been brutally hot here and even if I had not had a knee replacement, there is no way I would enjoy riding in this heat...don't think my horses would have enjoyed it either. It should be a pleasure to ride...not done under pressure. The people who ride 3 or more horses a day are usually in the business and are also financially motivated by their career choice.

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    1. Lori,
      I don't enjoy riding in the heat and neither do my horses. That's why I haven't ridden Blue at all, he just doesn't do well in the heat. You're right it should be a pleasure to ride. But I would still like to have had the chance to work with Dusty a little more with her training. If I have to I'll wait until the weather is more favorable then I will.

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  5. No need to ride in extreme temperatures. Balance in all things both for our horses and ourselves. No worries about what "should" be happening; you are following your instincts. Dusty is teaching you well.

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  6. yeah, i'm feeling like such a slacker this summer too, but i'm blaming work, projects around the farm, the weather, and the horses not being 100% for my schedule not working out as i'd hoped :-\ maybe fall will be more productive...

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    1. jme,
      I sure hope when the cooler weather comes around we'll be able to be more productive.

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  7. Uggghhh. I haven't ridden in almost two weeks. It's so blasted hot and humid. My arena is a sand dune. By the time I get my responsibilities covered there's so little time left, and frankly I want to rest. I feel your pain GHM.

    Hopefully when the weather breaks we'll feel differently and have a little more energy and time.

    Mellon is sooooo handsome!

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    1. CFS,
      This is one of the worst summers I can remember regarding the heat and humidity. I don't blame you for wanting to rest with all your gardening and various bites to your hands. Maybe the weather will break soon and we'll have the energy and time to ride. I hope so.

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  8. Well I'm up to my eye balls doing parent teacher interviews and my horse is simply dragged into the shed in the dark and fed ....no ride ....no time for that. I then muck Eve and Pebbles out before bed ...tuck them up with a pat and a promise of a ride some time soon when the winter rain goes away ......then day break they are dragged back to their paddock ....another pat and promise. I feel bad but the day light hours dont allow riding. I've given up feeling guilty. Come Friday I will ride and enjoy. That is my advice .....ride when you can and treasure the moment. Dont worry if it doesn't happen. They will all be there tomorrow

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    1. Sally,
      You do sound busy and winter is no fun either. The only saving grace summer has for me is longer daylight hours. Have a great ride on Friday!

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  9. Redefine or toss that word "productive." :) Really! I haven't ridden in 2 weeks now - between the heat and the late day thunderstorms it's just not going to happen. But I have spent a lot of time hanging out with my herd, grooming some, hosing, sitting in the shade while they graze nearby. Every moment of that time is precious to me. I've spent more time recently just standing with Salina and holding her head, talking softly to her. She's getting more affectionate these days and I'm loving those minutes where I feel her warmth and her breath.

    Don't get me wrong - I love riding and working on training with the horses (and the pony and the donkeys) - but there is so much more to living with them than riding/training them. It's easy to say if we don't ride we aren't productive. But I have come to believe the opposite is true. We're often the most productive in terms of building relationships with our horses when we focus on the time out of the saddle.

    If you're preparing a horse for showing or extensive trail riding or harder work, then yes, it becomes important to keep them fit. But hopefully that involves something the horse enjoys doing too.

    I've ridden three horses in a day - and felt like none of them got my full appreciation and attention. It's not how many hours you spend riding, or how many rides you get in a week. It's how present you are when you're with them, and how much you listen to what they're saying to you when you're there.

    My few cents. :) Enjoy the summer - my motto to self is that when it is freezing cold outside I'll remember this month's heat from a totally different perspective!

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  10. billie,
    Thanks for the good thoughts and advice. It is important to just be with our horses and interact with them whether we ride them or not. Sometimes it's just so frustrating to not be able to find the time to do anything but the mundane everyday chores.

    Salina is such a sweetheart and I'm sure she's loving the time you spend together.

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  11. My husband and I just tried out a new riding strategy this morning: get up and get straight out the door. We were at the barn by 7:00 (we have a short drive to get there) and even though it was 90° by the time we got home, we were comfortable while we were riding.

    I have gone through phases where I feel compelled to work with more than one horse on any given day. I find it quite tiring and difficult to sustain for more than brief periods. Lately our rides have been less frequent and shorter than usual, and all our horses seem a bit worn down from the heat. Right now we have a youngster who needs his confidence reinforced, and all I'm trying to do with him is help him accomplish at least one thing he can be proud of each ride. Lately I'm applying this way of thinking to how I'm riding my older horse too, who I usually hold to a much higher standard. Feeling like I have a goal we can achieve no matter what is helping me relax and enjoy myself, even in these harsh conditions. I think it's giving the horses a motivation boost as well. :)

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  12. Robin,

    It sounds like you have a great strategy for getting out there early and working with your horses. When I do get to ride I try to keep it short and reinforce a past lesson or instill confidence in Dusty. I think it's a good way to help us all feel like we've accomplished something in a short time. I'm all for ending on a good note too.

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  13. Sorry, nothing worthwhile to add although people are always telling me how efficient I am -- don't know where they get that idea!! I can procrastinate for England, shame its not an Olympic sport ;o) I'm forever making plans but seldom do they come to fruition ... still keep making them tho!

    Mellon's 24?! Wow! Lovely pix of a most handsome guy.

    Hope you get some cooler weather soon. We've finally had a week of unbroken sunshine, almost forgot what that's like.

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  14. Joy,

    Glad to hear you've finally got some sunshine to brighten things up.

    Mellon is one handsome horse, you'd never know he was 24. He still acts like a young horse and it's a pleasure to see him come galloping up at night to be taken in. He's very special to us.

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  15. 2 or 3 rides a day is really hard - especially on top of a job. I used to do it, and I really don't know how. Right now (being unemployed) I am enjoying a whole lot of freedom, but even with just 4 horses to work, I can spend up to about 6 hours at the barn doing everything myself with them all. Some days I wish I had help, then other days, I wish I had an extra horse or two to work, lol! Go figure.

    But, getting out of work, going to the barn, and then working 2-3 was a real feat. Getting home at 9or later was not fun. When I find a new job, I will only be striving to work 1 an evening after work. It's all I can do.

    It would be helpful to me to have a second person who can catch/groom/tack up and then take the worked horse and untack, etc... but only in a perfect world, Alas...

    lol.

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  16. Having a personal groomer/tack person would be ideal if there were a few horses to get ready and ride. Then again i don't really mind grooming and tacking my horses. I think it gives us some getting to know you time before a ride. It's a good time to check them over and spot anything amiss. Sounds like you're having fun this summer riding your horses!

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  17. Mellon is one handsome dude. :-) Don't be too hard on yourself. Trying to be motivated to ride when it's hot and sticky out is hard!! This type of weather completely zaps your energy.

    I found it very difficult to carve out time initially (and sometimes still do!), but I am very strict with myself. I have to be because I can get swayed by friends and family very easily. :-) If it's 28C or less, I will ride, but the temps can't go lower than -15C. Those are my guidelines and I really really try to stick with it. If that means that I don't ride 3 times in a row because it's 30C, then so be it. No guilt. I go out to the barn every Tuesday evening and every Sunday afternoon, no matter what the temperatures are and I do not deviate from those days. If it's too cold or too hot, I will simply groom. I have to say that summer is not my favourite time of year for riding and like you I am looking forward to autumn. :-)

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  18. Thanks Wolfie, we think Mellon is very handsome. We've had him since he was 3 or 4. He was my daughter's jumper and is still very athletic even though he's retired.

    Sounds like you have a good plan in place and it's even better that you stick to it! I seem to be doing lots of grooming and giving of baths this summer. I feel so bad for the herd and can only imagine how miserable it must be to have hair covering your entire body in this heat. Come on Autumn!

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  19. I find that my time for the horses varies. It seems like spring and early summer are always crazy--kid things, traveling, yard work, pasture work...and it's hard to fit it all in. This time of summer things slow down and I spend more time out there until Novemberish when the snow hits. I wouldn't feel too bad about it--the horses are happy to wait and I find they remember their lessons pretty darn well. We just got back from DC and Williamsburg and it was hot there, too. I don't know you can do it with heat and humidity like that. Here in Spokane temps have been high 70's low 80's and low humidity.

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  20. Horse time does seem to vary here too. Spring and fall are the best seasons for riding. I know what you mean about Williamsburg being humid. We've been there a few times and once about this time of year (I remember because we went for my b'day) when it was so hot and humid you could barely breath. The air was just so heavy. Since that July trip I've only gone back during the cooler months. Love it there though. Hope you enjoyed your trip!

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  21. Mellon is gorgeous! Very youthful in his expression.

    Harley demands after ride privileges, like a cool shower and grass time. If I rode more than one horse, I would not have time for all the grooming and grassing. I think that it would be very difficult to split time between multiple horses and still give them that special attention that fosters a relationship.

    I do not shrug off the hot weather we have been having either. riding early or late seems to help, although we keep getting thunderstorms late, so that kinds of ruins the plan. Dusty and Blue will keep until autumn!

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  22. Thanks Val, Mellon thinks he's pretty cool too. He still acts like he's a young guy. He's a Trakhener and must be from very sturdy lines.

    After a ride our horses get special attention too. A nice vetrolin sponge bath and a treat before they get turned out to the pastures. I would say start to finish it takes almost an hour and a half per horse. So that's where a lot of the time goes. I did put in some very early rides during some of this heat wave but it just isn't fun. Hope we get some nicer weather in August.

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  23. I've always worked a 40-hour a week job, had ranch chores, gardening chores, house cleaning, bill paying, errand-running...no wonder I'm tired all the time! Riding used to be my outlet for peace. My time. Now, I'm lucky to get on a horse more than a few times in a year. It sucks! I'm looking forward to big changes in my lifestyle that hopefully, will finally enable me to actually have a life, rather than always feeling like I'm doing what I have to, to survive. I'm out of energy most days to think about riding, but I NEED my daily horsey time just to stay sane. I hate to wish my life away, but I can't wait until I can retire.

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    1. I know how you feel. There always seems to be so much to do and so little time to do it. I hope the lifestyle changes that you mention are coming soon. We all need our horsey time.

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  24. Sounds like we all suffer from about the same issues.
    Too much to do and not enough hours in the day, or energy for that matter. I could ride after work most days, but then there is a family of boys all wanting dinner, or wanting to spend time with me. The only problem there is that their idea of spending time with me is sitting down together and watching TV. Not much gets done like that.
    Then there is the weekend work and of course the weather this summer has not helped. So how do I find time to ride??? Well usually I don't, but every once in a while I tell them all I am going out, no matter what. If their feelings get hurt they will just have to deal with it. Sometimes, the vacumming and other house chores will just have to wait. And I like what one person said about hitting it first thing in the morning. I love the days when I can feed early and saddle up and ride while it is still decent outside. Then when it is too hot I go in and take care of my houswork.
    Someday though, it won't have to be like that. I just don't know when.

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  25. Seems like we all have the same problem with finding time. I think riding early in the morning is a good idea if you can manage it. I've done it and it works great with the heat and the bugs. Glad you liked my post on herd dynamics.

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  26. With 3 kids and their activities and all my household and barn chores, I'm only able to fit in a ride once or twice a week. But I really try to make those rides special and worthwhile to hold me and my mare over until our next ride :)

    But yes, summer has just flown by! I'm afraid that August will fly by even faster and then we'll be preparing for winter...gah!

    ~Lisa

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  27. I was just thinking the same thing. How do people do it? Especially people who work outside the home. I know some of them don't clean their houses but I can't help it; I have to clean. I'm a Felix Unger type. The heat usually doesn't bother me but I have to say, this year I can barely stand it. If you're not trying to get to shows and don't have to keep your horse in tip-top condition, just ride when you feel like it. On the other hand, if you get out of the habit, it's very easy for other things to fill up the space. So I like to get myself into a routine. I HAVE to ride my main horse regularly because we're trying to barrel race so there's no just hopping on whenever the mood hits me. It works best for me to do it first thing in the morning. I agree, that's exactly how long it takes me to do one horse--an hour and a half from start to finish. It's funny because I always dread it. How can I dread something I love so much? I have so much to do! But I force myself and I always feel great while I am doing it and great when I'm done. The whole day is better after I've forced myself to go have my morning ride. (After dinner rides are also good but you run into the risk of thunderstorms.) I often wish I was still a kid with not a worry in the world, no house to clean, meals to cook, customers to call, bills to pay... just go out and ride my horse. What freedom.

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  28. Debi,
    I agree wouldn't it be nice to not have a care in the world and no responsibilities. Then we could do as we please when the mood strikes us. It's tough being the grown up sometimes.

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