Busy. That's where I've been. Very busy. Life as a small business owner is very different from life working for a large sports organization. I have to be my own marketing department, IT department, Accounting department, etc. It takes up a lot of my extracurricular time such as blogging about my horses and even working them.
Matt and I have other blogs like this one, this one and this one which help us get our business names out there and on top of each of those blogs are corresponding websites which we are always keeping them current and setting them up best for google searches. It's a lot of our time.
So in prioritizing my life, my small photography businesses have to take precedence over my own "for fun" blogging.
Another reason I haven't blogged is because of an experience I had with a trainer who happened to stop coming to Lexington and notified us in a very poor manner - like not at all. And the organizer, whom the trainer dropped, was left with the dirty work of notifying all of us and being a very good sport in a not so good situation. The organizer gets my kudos, the trainer... not so much. I didn't want to blog immediately about this situation because I was so let down but after some time, I realized I was still annoyed by it all. So I'm writing about it here to get it out of my system. Phew. I'm done with it.
I don't have too many photos of me riding because Matt hasn't been out to photograph us in a long while. But Ollie has been good when I'm working him consistently. This past month, I haven't been working him at all due to other things (see first paragraph). I did take a lesson with Julie Congleton, who is infinitely patient with us. She helped me with some drills I can use to help Ollie learn to leg yield. Ollie is a very insecure horse and he tries to anticipate what you're going to ask him. But after awhile, the novelty of the leg yield wore off and he would relax into the movement. Anything new for him gets him jazzed up but when you repeat, repeat, repeat he gets better and better and better!
Oddly, the biggest novelty for me with Ollie this summer is taking him on walkabouts the property. The farm where he lives is over 100 acres so there are lots of fields for us to cruise around in. He's familiar with the fields so he's not worried when we are out of sight of the barn. In fact, Ollie is much better on these mini trail rides than Toby! Ollie relaxes, takes a really nice walking stride which makes my hips move like we're keeping a hoola hoop up. I love it when he gets all relaxed like that! One of the other girls at the barn will go on rides with us. She hops on Toby for me and we can go for a couple of miles around the property. I turn on my GPS pedometer and can see how far we have traveled. It's very cool!
Ollie isn't perfect by a long shot and we are moving at a snails pace with his training. That's ok with me. He's my for fun project and we don't have huge expectations and goals. He is moving in the right direction and I've been super proud of him and his behavior lately. He's a good horse and a trier! I just have to be ok with the fact that when I don't work him, we have to start over again from the beginning and work our way back to where we were. Sometimes, I think this helps him to reinforce things and builds his confidence.
Toby, on the other hand, has been getting friskier and friskier lately. He can be a total handful to bring up to the barn in the mornings for feeding. He jigs the whole way up and pins his ears at Ollie and tries to take a swipe at him. He has entered remedial training lately to get him out of this bad habit. Ollie has been the saint.
Toby had one incident from heat this summer. He started to act agitated in his stall, wouldn't eat his hay and was calling for Ollie who was visible to him in the stall right next to his. I brought Toby out of his stall and hosed him down. He was fine after that. I immediately went out to Home Depot and bought a 2nd box fan for his stall and hung it on his door. It's his favorite fan. He stands with his head right into it most of the day (we bring the horses in during the day due to heat and to get them off the grass for awhile). He's been fine ever since.
Toby has to wear shoes on his front feet. He has very weak hooves and stomping on hard dry ground for flies is just too much for his feet. So he gets his shoes and we like to photograph our farrier in action especially when they are new shoes and not a reset. The sparks flying when filing down the new shoes makes for fun photos!
So there we are! They are doing well. I'm not going as quickly as I'd like with Ollie but we are continuing to move forward. Once in awhile I think about bringing in a professional trainer for him but I just can't have him go to another barn. He'll have total melt down and the trainer probably won't get too far with him because he'll be so worried and stressed out. If only I could find a regular rider to come to our place... :) Secretly, I wish Erin Hamer was nearby because I'd put her on my ADHD pony in a minute for training. :)