Monday, February 18, 2013

Plan B

So much has happened since last time I posted and I needed some time to get my thoughts in order, so bear with me as I try to explain everything....

Everything that I have been working for has had to shift. Of the many ways I occupy my time, one of them is my full time job as a high school English teacher. Due to the nature of the job, we do not get vacation days and we only receive a limited number of personal days (3) that we are permitted to use throughout the year. I used my personal days for Regional Championships because at that time none of this was really in the works and there weren't any shows on the schedule. As the schedule was decided, there were only two opportunities for me to choose from in order to show and attempt to achieve my qualifying score. Both options involve a good deal of travel. Option one and the most economically feasible was Wellington Florida in March. In November I approached my immediate supervisor about this issue wanting to know what my options were concerning days off beyond my personal days. I explained the situation and what I was working to accomplish. They made it sound like getting the days off would not be an issue-I could take unpaid leave. Fast forward to 3 weeks ago. I am happily making my plans and when I try to confirm exactly what they were willing to allow me to take I am told that my request cannot be accommodated because it would set a precedent (my para-phrasing here)and they would have to approve unpaid leave for whenever people wanted to travel.

If you are scratching your head, as I did saying "huh, don't you understand what it is I am trying to do here? This is so much more than just travelling...." then thank you. And I do understand the districts point of view, but I was requesting at a minimum two days-Thursday and Friday and offered to teach summer school (something that I have done for the past two years) for free (flex time)-I usually earn close to $800 in order to have just those two days off. Basically I was told that (paraphrasing again!) "its nice to have goals and you have a great story, but we don't want to support you." I am not impressed and the only thing I can respond with is this. Game. On.

This leads me to the two options I have left:

Option One Give up. I don't even feel the need to elaborate here-its self explanatory, being that there are so few opportunities for Para riders here in the United States, I give up live a satisfactory but unfilled life as a 2nd level dressage rider.

Option 2

Go to Sacramento, California and attend the only other CPDI*** Dressage Show offered this year. More expenses, and another 11 hours of travel. So....guesss who's going to California! This girl! Admittedly, the whole idea of travelling that far is overwhelming, the logistics of how I'll manage to get Bastian there as well as myself is a bit much to think about. I will happily take suggestions on shippers, overnight locations and if anyone else wants to go....I here the horse show is really

35 hours. 35-friggin-hours. I have it mapped out in the event that I am driving/hauling B and it works out to just over two weeks with travel time, recovery time, showing, then driving back. Instead of the 4-7 days that Florida would have meant. Now I am faced with more hotel fees, more gas money, more pet-sitting money for my sweet little Lucky dog and Doodle.....okay I'm getting whiny here, I'll stop. Like I said; Game on. I will be going to California and I cannot wait. Bastian and I will get our chance to show in an international ring against the best of the best.

So to continue on the bad news front, Bastian has had some hind end wonkiness, so I had the vet out today thinking maybe its just his hocks-he is 9 years old this year and we have never done anything joint wise. Alas, it was not hocks. We actually have an awesome mix of things going on....He has a splint on his left hind leg. Solution was an injection (can't remember off the top of my head), then he was off mildly on his right front, we blocked his foot and his ankle before he was sound. Then a-gazillion x-rays later and we have (insert big fancy word here) changes. (I don't have the vet report in front of me-its still sitting in my tack locker at the barn...) So injection there of stuff (different stuff than his splint injection), followed by 5 days of hand walking (hooray!) two weeks of bute and back to normal work in 7 days. If he's still off when we go back to normal work then I call back and we re-evaluate. I need to give a huge thank you to Dr. Berthold from The Cleveland Equine Clinic, he was so easy to talk to and he knows his stuff. I feel very lucky that I have such a wonderful vet clinic so nearby-they have always taken excellent care of me and my Chestnut Nugget of Joy. As long as he's sound we have a few more steps to complete over the next few months, but Bastian should be 100% in time for CA. Unfortunately my stress level has skyrocketed. I bought a box of little debbie cakes on the way home and well...they are almost gone.....

Here is our updated schedule:

KDA Spring Show, KY (May)

CPDI*** Rancho Murieta, CA (and because I am travelling I will again miss the June WPDA/Grand Haven Show :( )

Lexington, VA (July-still only a maybe, depends on if anyone else is going!)

NODA + Encore (July)

WPDA Summer Sizzler (August)

Para-Nationals, KY (October)-providing I Qualify at CA!

Regionals-Lexington, VA -October

It also looks like there is a training session with Robert Dover at some point for Para-riders, keeping my fingers crossed that I can A) be selected, B)its a reasonable distance and C)it doesn't interfere with my silly school

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley, -Robert Burns (1785)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Unwillingly Waylaid

First off- almost 5000 page views! How cool! :) and I'm up to 16 followers *thumbs up* thanks guys for reading/following!!!

Due to being scheduled at work every night this week and the week before along with having a flat tire two days in a row I have missed out on A LOT of Bastian time, but in order to have that Bastian time I have to work or else I won’t have the income necessary to do what I want to do. I’ve got some projects in the works to get me through the this “off” season, although it not really an off season since I have a show in about 45 days…..which I should note is still not a definite, there has been a slight monkey-wrench thrown into my plans and I don’t know if I’ll be able to work it out but as soon as I know for sure one way or the other I’ll be sure to update. So here’s more of the Good News/ Bad News:

Bad News:

Fast forward to Saturday…I get off work, head to the barn all excited to finally get to ride. I decide to lunge him first so we didn’t have to worry about too much goofiness and he’s lame. Something was off with his right front. Cindy and I poked (mostly Cindy) and prodded him and couldn’t find anything other than a titch of a titch of heat inside of his cannon bone. *sigh* I iced, poulticed, wrapped and buted him. Today he was much better, he looked more stiff/soar rather than actually off, and not a severe stiff/soar, just a "I need to stretch and warm up kinda stiff" in his right front. I’m thinking he maybe slept funky? Can horses do that? Anyway, I rode him today at the walk for 50 minutes and worked on walky-things and halts. We trotted a few times on the long sides and he felt good-he wanted to go and was stepping evenly. So I’m thinking that he is better, but he did have bute with breakfast I want to take every precaution so I’m playing it safe. He was iced and pouticed and wrapped again and is getting bute through Monday night. I work tomorrow so another day off will be a good thing and then I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s ready to rock and roll on Tuesday.
Bastian isn't a fan of the poultice!

Good News:

My freestyle is complete! I worked with Cynthia Collins of Luna Tunes Freestyle and although my initial musical choice wasn’t a good fit I was able to find some great Celtic music and Cynthia did a fabulous job organizing it and splicing it together. The choreography is excellent too, I think it will really showcase Bastian’s and I’s strengths. I’m working on learning the choreography but will have to wait until I am in a full size arena before I can actually practice with the music. I’m looking forward to it, I’ve always wanted to be able to ride a freestyle. I even already have plans for music for our next one-I’m hoping by next year Bastian and I will be ready for a freestyle that involves some third level moves.

Another project I’ve got in the works is refinishing a tack trunk I picked up. It was a steal of a deal for just $35. Aside from a missing hinge, the box itself is really in excellent shape, it needs some sanding and I’m working on stripping the paint. My plan is to refinish it with a dark stain and I have Kim working on designing a plate or such to place on the lid that has our awesome logo on it. Once its finished it is going to look super super classy and between that and the rolling saddle/cart basket do-hickey that we recently acquired I should be able to transport everything I need other than hay, shavings, and grain to a show. The trunk is a little bigger than I really wanted but for that price I just couldn’t pass it up. And I will be able to fit things like his water/food buckets in there as well as my helmet, boots and some other larger items. Like I said, everything but hay, grain and sawdust! I’m an organizational freak and so I’m also excited that I was able to order some pretty awesome stuff from Thirty-One to help organize mine and Bastian’s things. I’ll be sure to post pictures as I get farther along in the process! So far I am having a blast working on it, I’m all about doing projects like this and I will appreciate it all the more because I did it. (cheesy, I know!) Here it is on the day I picked it up (I took it apart-it was all in one piece when I got it!)
And from the side....

Not exactly horse related, but another project I’ve started is that I finally managed to enroll in Graduate classes. I am taking a full course load this semester in addition to everything else I’ve got going on. To quote Corey from Empire Records “There are 24 useable hours in every day!” I’m excited about taking the classes, if there was money in it, I would be a professional student, I really love taking classes and learning. If everything stays on track, then I will have my Masters by next spring.

I’m looking forward to getting out to the barn tonight and spending some time with the B-Monster. I’m sure he’ll be a bit of a fire-breathing dragon since he hasn’t been worked in forever and that’s the problem with having a super fit, young, healthy horse. I can lunge him for an hour tonight and then hop on him and ride for another hour and he would still be raring to go! And I’m not lazy when I ride, we go for 20-30 minutes before we take a legit walk break, like I said, he is super fit! But when he’s fit he ends up being more through and wow will he have some nice movement!

I’d like to encourage anyone out there who is currently looking for a new saddle whether it is a jumping or dressage saddle to visit The Hastilow Saddle Company custom fits their saddles to you and your horse and do an amazing job at it. Since switching to our Hastilow Concept Saddle, Bastian has been coming more through his back and lifting his shoulder more. His mediums have made major improvements and he is staying softer through his bridle because he has less reason to brace through his back. We’ve finally found a great balance of the right equipment, the right training and the right farrier that we are making huge strides in our training. Because all of the basics were there, now as I throw new things at him he takes them by storm. The difference in his way of going improved when I got the Concept Saddle and then improved again once I had the saddle fitter out to make a few minor adjustments to the flocking.

Until next time Bastian says “"In order to get from what was to what will be, you must go through what is." ;)