Sore Muscles

After a month and a half of inconsistent riding due to rain followed by two weeks out of town, it’s safe to say my riding muscles are pretty much gone. I’ve been riding a lot this week and I can feel the results.

Monday I wanted to go to work without worrying about time for my first day back in office. Tuesday I went out before work. The morning rides seem to be working pretty well. Im not ending up too tired during my day and I can get a reasonable ride in before I have to leave. Scarlet isn’t as much of a fan. He’s pretty annoyed that he doesn’t get breakfast before I pull him out. I do give him grain while grooming him so he can just suck it up.

Wednesday I was super focused on transitions. I tried to not make it drilling but more like we were doing transitions all over while we were riding our normal things. Transitions really get Scarlet back on his haunches and forward so I love doing them but it’s pretty easy to get him too tense as well. We got some pretty good walk-trot-halt transitions. I’ve really made the connection (a very basic one but better late than never) of how exactly I need to keep my legs on for the downward transitions. I could feel more of the squeezing to a halt type thing. It killed my legs though.

Our trot-canter transitions are still quite terrible. I need to make a point of working on those more. Scarlet really wants to throw his head up for upward and throw his whole body into the ground for downward. I think we should do some concentrated practice on half halts and then going back forward to help with the downward but I don’t know what to do about the upward. Something to think about.

Thursday I was planning on jumping but I didn’t get out to the barn when I wanted to so I had much less time to ride. I want to move the jumps to various heights of xs instead of just using the mini ones set up right now which takes time.

So I changed my plan and just did a basic short ride with circles, serpentines and a bit of counter canter. Scarlet has almost always been good at that. He has zero problem going across the diagonal and cantering around the arena. I do need to try doing some smaller figure eight type things to really make us work at it.

My overall focus for the weekday rides was forward. I wanted Scarlet to move forward at all gaits. Forward requires leg. Leg requires muscle, which I don’t have yet. Ugh I’m sorry and tired. But I’m getting rides in and they are pretty awesome.

Wednesday Writing Wrap-up

Still no actual writing from me (get it together Alex!) but I do have some interesting things in the realm of writing.

My new job has allowed me financial freedom again. This means that I recently purchased tickets to the Nebulas. They are in LA this year so it was killing me that I might miss it due to not being able to afford it.

The Nebulas is a writing conference out on by SFWA, the science fiction and fantasy writers association. They are a professional organisation that helps writers in their careers. They have an emergency medical fund, legal help, advice columns, advice for non members and more. They obviously have their problems like any other organization but they’re working hard to make the changes they want to happen. Membership is limited to writers who have made at least a novel or two professional rate short story sales. So in my mind, being able to join is a huge sign you are making it.

I loved the last writing convention I went to. This time it’s a conference so I believe all the panels will be focused on business aspects. I also signed up for the mentor program they have. Established writers link with newbies to give them info and advice. I’m super excited to see how that goes.

I’m asking for the Friday off from work, though I’m still going to be quite new to the office. I think I can get the one day off. I’ll miss some things on Thursday but I’ll be able to be there period which is awesome.

Also in the interest of learning more about writing, I read 45 Master Characters. It’s a book describing feminine and masculine archetypes and how to have a character arc using these archetypes.

Overall, I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be based on recommendations. I think it might have helped if I’d watched more of the movies and TV shows the book used as examples of the characters. The archetypes seemed flat. Sure I’ve seen many of them in stories before but the basic description seemed to be missing something. I think combining a few examples might help with the flatness.

What I did find interesting was the character arc write up at the end. There were two main arcs, the feminine and masculine. Theses aren’t necessarily male or female arcs but more of internal and external. Feminine arcs generally consist of finding your inner strength/truth while masculine arcs are the heros journey, saving the world etc.

I liked how the author broke down the arcs and gave a “gender bending” example as well.

Overall, it gave me a lot to think about. Books aren’t the magic answer. They are tools and should be used as such. Even if it’s not my favorite, I really enjoy reading books about writing as well as writing.

Horse Time!

I’m back! A bit late on this post but when your train that is supposed to arrive at 12:30 am on Saturday is delayed by malfunctioning brakes and you don’t end up getting to sleep until 3am and then you wake up at 8:30, that exhaustion stays with you.

I am back in San Diego though and so happy to be home.

Despite my tiredness, I got out to ride both Saturday and Sunday. Scarlet had been out a lot due to Holly being a boss. He looked pretty good. She’d wrapped his cut to keep the bugs away and prevent him from biting at it. I left it on for Saturday as it had only been on for a day at that point.

Our ride wasn’t anything crazy. I ended up leaving the arena because there were five or six horses in there and then someone went to teach an up-down lesson as well. I have no problem with those lessons but do those in an arena that isn’t the jump arena! The jump arena doesn’t even have a gate that closes!! We had a good ride despite that. I forced him to walk down part of the trail because the mustard seed flowers were ridiculous.

He was the most uncooperative for scale model in the world. The flowers were like five feet high or something. Very tall and very pretty. Also very spooky.

Sunday we jumped a bit. Even though we haven’t been riding recently, he’s been lunged a lot so I figured he was good to go for a bunch of small jumps. And he was. He definitely loved the jumps. He was a bit too excited at first but I worked hard to go with him instead of trying to hold him back. We got pretty good take off points and we were able to loop a few jumps together for a nice mini course on each lead.

I’m hoping to put the jumps back up in height and do some research on some good jumping exercises to set up. Have to pull my 101 exercises book out to get some ideas and measurements. Setting up the jumps is going to be hard when I’m riding in the morning but I will figure it out. Work is really flexible about when I show up so I don’t feel as rushed in the morning.

I did look at his wound and rewrap on Sunday. It’s healing really well. I just want it to get all closed skin or closer to it before I leave it exposed.

Horses…

So, two days away from me being home to deal with stuff myself, Scarlet goes and cuts himself. Not bad. It’s quite small and Holly cleaned it and put some meds on it.

But really horse? Really? I’m ALMOST home and you decide now is a good time? I swear they plan this freaking stuff.

It really doesn’t look too bad and small cuts on his legs don’t worry me much. The flies aren’t really out yet so I don’t think he will bite at it due to them bothering it.

But, the cut is oddly deep for being so small. It’s also the 3rd or 4th such cut that is way deeper than I would expect. I couldn’t find anywhere where I thought he was catching himself on the piping of his stall. I know he plays with his neighbors but they aren’t going to get the inside of his leg like that. At least I don’t understand how. It’s not like they have spikes on their shoes to gouge small holes in his body.

I’ll be back home tomorrow so I can keep an eye on it. I’m even more grateful that Holly is an awesome friend and taking care of Scarlet for me. It may not be the worst injury ever, but I prefer to know about them and keep watch so that a small injury doesn’t become big.

Scarlet Care

I obviously am not home to give Scarlet any care but I’m super lucky to have good friends at the barn. Holly has been getting Scarlet out this whole week. I’m so grateful that I don’t have to worry about him not getting out at all.

Monday she texted me and told me he’d just “walked right out of his shoe” when she took him out. He wasn’t tender on it so she lunged him in the arena anyway. It’s the other shoe than the one he’d last thrown so that was good. I kinda expected that to happen at some point since his stall was still so wet. He didn’t tear it all, just pulled it right off. It was about 7  weeks in his cycle so I just asked the farrier to come out and do his whole shoeing a week early. She did say the stall looked better with the pellets so hopefully that plus the fact that it’s been sunny all week will help his stall dry up some more.

She commented on how easy he was to free lunge. Scarlet is pretty responsive if you’re just holding a whip. He doesn’t think you mean it otherwise. He also doesn’t run himself into corners and listens to voice commands to change gaits. I’m glad he’s behaving himself for her and that he is getting some exercise. I can’t wait to be home and riding again.

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Miss this handsome boy!

Wednesday Writing Wrap-Up

Writing. I remember when I did that.

In all seriousness, I haven’t written for another week. Being away from home and training for a new job has taken all my spoons. I have no more spoons for anything that is work. And while I enjoy writing most of the time, it is definitely work.

I do need to force myself to do just a little bit of work on it. I have to get the ball rolling or I will never start writing again. And I do want to finish this.

I’ve been considering what I need to do. I think that I need to go back and change a bit of the effect magic has on my MC (main character). I need to set a bit more of a definition of what “normal” magic is for other witches. My MC needs to be able to do magic to a normal level without any issues. Once she goes over that level, there needs to be increasing levels of pain after that.

I wanted to keep going on the editing but it’s sticking in the back of my mind. I feel stuck and like I cannot move on. If it’s that bad, I need to fix it. Hopefully I can get that sorted in the next couple of days and move on from that.

Getting Some Rides

By happenstance, I was able to get out of work early on Friday (the whole office did) so I got out to ride Scarlet in the afternoon. I had planned on going out in the morning but woke up to rain outside my window. It worked out well either way.

Scarlet decided to be a butt while I was grooming. I’m putting it that way because I have to remind myself that it’s half my fault that this even happened. I haven’t been cross tying him for a while. He gets too concerned about things going on behind him and dances around to twist and see what it is. Instead, I’ve just been looping the lead over his neck and grooming him while we stand in the crossties. He’s been much better about not moving like that since he can turn his whole neck without having to turn his body.

Friday he lost all that privilege. I was grooming his butt when he decided he wanted to walk off to see where the horse that was being had walked had gone. I scrambled for his lead but didn’t get in front of him fast enough. He realized he was loose and took off running. FML. The barn I’m at is NOT enclosed. Like basically at all. There is a “gate” across the driveway that can be closed but that’s really only good for keeping the horses off that street. They can go anywhere 340 degrees and go for a long time before the meet a fence if they meet one that is able to be called that at all. So Scarlet running away from me (which he hasn’t done since he was freaking 10!!!!) is pretty much  my worst fear.

Luckily, my dumbass horse ran straight back to his stall and then stood there looking at the closed gate in confusion. One of the ladies who is near me in the stalls was out with her horse and was able to walk up to Scarlet and collect his lead. I was embarrassed and annoyed and mad. Both at him and myself. Him because wtf horse you don’t move when I’m grooming you. Me because I kinda left the barn door open and hoped that everyone would be in there in the morning.  I finished grooming him (tied of course) and then left him there tied for a bit so I could let some of the mad go before I got back to riding. Riding mad is good for no one.

Scarlet was really hyped up when I finally got on. No surprise since he basically just went on a joy ride. Despite the energy, he was decently good for the ride, if spooky. I feel like I’ve gotten better at stopping the sideways motions of spooks without pulling back on him. It’s just gathering the momentum and shoving it forward instead of sideways now. We lose less of our feeble connection when I do it right.

Saturday I got out in the afternoon as well. I’d stopped by the feed store in the morning and picked up a couple of bags of bedding pellets. I wanted to try and lay them down in his stall to see if they would help with the wetness of it. I know they aren’t going to do a ton but if they could even expand his dryish area slightly, that would be awesome.

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I hopped on for a ride and then moved a ton of mud around to try and lay the best possible foundation before spreading the pellets above. Scarlet didn’t care at all about me carrying a bag around his stall and shaking it. His neighbors did though. I have such a subjectively spooky horse.

I got out Sunday for the last time in about two weeks. My new job is requiring me to go to the headquarters in Santa Barbara for training. I’m only mildly bitchy about having to be away from home that long. Holly said she’d get Scarlet out to lunge him for almost every day while I’m gone and the husband can take care of himself and the cats. I just don’t like to be away from home.

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Sunday after half a day in the stall. Not fully expanded but hopefully they will help with the few showers that are expected in the next couple of days.

He was good for his ride. It’s quite difficult for both of us to work hard as we are so out of shape. I do my best and he responds decently well. We just don’t have the muscle to keep it up. I also seem to be hurting my right knee when asking him to get off that leg. I have to do that a lot as he likes to lean to that side. It’s not horribly hurting but it feels strained like I’m bending it wrong. I am going to look into stretches to see if there is anything that might be useful for that. Any suggestions anyone has would be welcome.

Not sure how I’m going to keep my sanity with not riding for the next two weeks. Any suggestions on that as well? XD

New Hours

Along with getting a new job, I got new working hours. I’ve been working a 7-4 shift for around five years at this point but my new job has me working 9-6 for the moment. It’s a really late start for me and is requiring some adjustments. My brain doesn’t want to be on then. It also is requiring me to go to the barn in the morning.

Leaving for the barn after work would mean that I’d get he sometime around 9 and would also either have to pack my dinner or buy one on the way there. I decided to try going in the morning before work, in the interest of ever getting home at a reasonable hour.

My barn doesn’t open until 7am (city regulations) so I have to get there right at open to make the most of my time. I gave it a trial run on Tuesday since it was the only day without rain in the morning. I got there about 10 minutes late but was still able to get on Scarlet by 8am and get a 30 minute ride in before I needed to get off in order to put him away and drive to work by 9ish.

I wish I wasn’t as focused on speed, otherwise I would have had my phone on me. Scarlet’s face was hilarious when I showed up that early. It was really obvious that he was confused to see me there that early. He hadn’t even gotten breakfast yet. He did forgive me for that when I fed him his grain while tacking up.

If the rain ever stops, I think it will work. I get up at the same time I would to start work at 7 and get home around the same time I would have gotten home from the barn. I feel a bit rushed with riding but I should be able to get 30-40 minutes if I get to the barn right at 7.

We will see how it works out. I’m ready to do any schedule that makes time to get out to the barn. 🙂

Wednesday Writing Wrap-Up

So, I actually did zero writing this last week. But that’s for a good reason.

I got a new job!

I was interviewing with this company for most of February. Last Wednesday was my last interview. I got my verbal offer an hour after that interview and my written one the next day. I started working this Monday.

It’s been a big change so I haven’t had the brain cells left to do writing. After I settle in a bit more, I’ll get back to my regular writing schedule.