Droodles Making Progress

While it’s been rather rainy and my work has been eating into my horse time (work funds the horses), I’ve had time to make progress with my beautiful, dapple gray teenager, Drew (or Andrew or Droodles).

She thinks I’m pretty! Aww.

While there hasn’t been any cantering and jumping (blame mud), there has been a lot of other stuff to work on, and I’m proud of his progress and mine.

I’m proud of me, too, though I didn’t like standing under this hackberry tree full of giant bees.

I’m working on keeping his trot and my jog both slow and steady when we are in hand. It’s improved! We are also practicing side passing and other walk-level activities.

But first, Suna had to groom me. I do like mud. I even had it on my face.

But mostly I’ve been spending time with him and the others, just enjoying the day. It’s paid off!

I like to walk together.

Yesterday it dried out enough to go to Sara’s and practice obstacles for the next couple of shows. We skipped a clinic this weekend because they are hard to do in the ground and I had no driver. Rainy times are not ideal for trailer pulling practice!

See, I ain’t scared of the “bridge!”

The highlight was actually the walk between our place and hers. He was much calmer than in previous trips, and we practiced stopping, starting, transitioning to trot, and staying in synch. We had fun!

I like to walk right behind Sully and her pretty rear.

He got distracted by long grass and other horses once we arrived, but did pretty well practicing. Since I’m just out to enjoy the shows and just trying to improve our skills, I think he will be fine.

Oh, I’ll side pass if I must.

We are trotting much calmer if I just concentrate on it. There’s just so much to remember! What obstacle is next, how to do it right, what side of him I need to be on, whether he’s trotting or not, blah blah. More than my ancient mind can do all at once. So I’ll just have fun!

Sully can do it, too!

That was a pep talk for me. In any case, it’s great to see Sully and her improvement, and to enjoy her and Sara working together.

Sully and I both are working on this new obstacle.

I also took pictures of Sara and her new mat for standing horses on while working with their feet. It’s just the right size! I enjoy doing horse stuff together like we used to.

Droodles gets a break today, as the plan is to ride Apache with Sara on either of her grays. Sully is still working on going forward. Aragorn’s feet are looking well enough he may not need his shoes for a while! Good job to all who worked on his feet!

Note that wet ground after mowing means lots of grass in your tack room.

Now, enjoy bonus photos while I vacuum.

Will I Ever Get the Partnership Thing Down?

I’m not referring to my spouse. We’re pretty good, even when we’re grumpy. I’m talking about the horses, yet again, mainly Apache. How many years have I been trying to get the whole leadership thing down with him? Six, eight? A long time.

He’s pretty, though. Here he was pretending not to realize I had a halter in my hand.

Oh, we’re making plenty of progress, for sure. I’m a better rider and he’s a better horse in so many ways, thanks to our lessons. And it hasn’t even been a year yet since we started back up learning from others. Breaking bad habits takes a long time.

He’s in good shape and gets along well with others, such as T. Drew is just glad they let him stand near them.

I’m just hard on myself, as any of you who know me in person would confirm. So, when Apache completely fell apart over at Sara’s on Friday and put us both in danger, I blamed a lack of leadership skill on my part. Why didn’t I widen the reins more, relax my legs more, bang my leg harder?

The horse, on the other hand, was back in his old home pasture, near his favorite horse friend (Spice, Sara’s retired previous main horse), and not interested in Suna at all. He was also not noticing the new fencing going in, nor the open holes for fence posts. I knew Tarrin would want me to keep working with him, but I also know she wouldn’t want us in danger, so I got off.

Here at our ranch, Apache loves T. Don’t tell him she’s leaving soon. Luckily he also likes Mabel.

Once I was safe and over being annoyed, we decided to walk back, with Sara riding along. It was good for Aragorn, who is also having his own interesting issues. It’s always something!

What’s weird is that Apache acted all rude and pushy, plus refused to back up (which he’d been doing in the saddle, too, for unknown reasons). But the moment we got past the cattle guard and headed home, he relaxed, slowed down, and walked at my side like an equine gentleman. We stopped to talk by our gate, and he stood quietly at my side, not even trying to eat when Aragorn did. Huh.

I’m just here eating my moist food. I’m gaining weight!

Today I went out again. This time I groomed Apache by the tack room, not the new trailer. He seems to not like the trailer, intensely. That at least started us out calmer. And I have to say, he did great at all his schooling stuff, even leg yielding. He jumped, too, in his way. It needs work.

We rode through the front field, too, turning and not heading back immediately. If I had stopped there, I’d have had a good day to make up for Friday. But, I wanted to go in the small paddock to do more leg yields. That required us to pass these horses’ asses.

The cool kids being cool.

All Apache wanted from then on was to go to them. He repeatedly tried to go in the pens, out the gate he came in, or anywhere except where I asked him to go. He got pretty insistent and started hopping. I had no urge to get bucked off into a fence pole or pen. I got off.

Vlassic wondered if Apache “won” and screwed up the relationship again.

I promptly converted his reins to a lead rope and marched him off for ten minutes of ground work. Whee. I hope he enjoyed the figure 8 at a trot, the serpentine, and the repeated stopping and backing up. At least he backed up a few steps. He got to go back in the pasture only after the other horses had headed out to graze. Well, I try.

Drew also tries to make friends with the other horses.

I’m just so grateful for Drew. We had a very nice session and worked on all his skills. He followed all my gait changes (I got in a fine workout with all the trotting on lead line). He practiced standing by the mounting block. Ah. And we just had a nice, long walk and chat together. He’s a joy to work with and I credit those months of training!

Back a few steps, I guess, but I’ll get there. I’m not a failure even when I feel like it. Just a work in progress, trying, failing, and trying again.

Every day you get to start again.

Suna and Apache Go Forth and Ride

I must have the best horse trainer and instructor on earth. She has helped me and my horse work through our issues and come out better than ever. She said it’s like we went through marriage counseling. So true!

I am so happy here.

Apache did well during his week with Tarrin. She got him back to paying attention to his rider and getting confident. Lots of great work gave him such a good tuneup. Obviously. We went out into the pasture like we did it every day.

We are both smiling.

We also successfully made it down the passageway he had so much trouble with last week, twice, without incident.

I am concentrating. But I’m happy inside.

Apache gets to stay another week for further refinement. It is probably not his idea of fun. It may be, though, because he has always seemed to be having fun when we did things together in the past. We always enjoyed trail rides with Sara and going to clinics. I’m looking forward to a clinic in a couple of weeks, now that we are doing better together.

Happy trails to us!

I feel a lot better now that I have the tools I need to communicate well and not confuse Apache. And I can stop his inclination to test me quickly. We both have refined our skills. Of course, there is way more to do.

Coming around the round pen to test his new skills.

Wait until we get to trotting and someday cantering! That would be real progress for him. He’s never been balanced enough to canter well. Let’s hope his trainer has more education ready to roll out. I think she does.

Thanks to my photographer friends, Tarrin, Teddy, and Lee. They captured moments that will keep me going in the coming weeks whenever I feel useless and unimportant. I’m important to my horses!

I have a big day tomorrow. More on what I’ve been learning tomorrow. Today I learned that Suna and Tarrin don’t like me pushing into them.

Book Report: Restoring Your Historic House

I saw a little blurb in This Old House magazine, saying this new book is a “must-read” for anyone restoring an old house. Why, I’m renovating an old house, which is close. So, I ordered two copies, one for me and one for Kathleen, of Restoring Your Historic House: The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners, by Scott Hanson (2019). At 720 pages, it has a good chance of being comprehensive, anyway!

This post will have two parts, one in which I review the book, and the other in which I talk about the choices we have made on the Pope house that do or don’t follow Hanson’s recommendations.

By the way, we now have TWO stuffed animals for kids to find, and we’re going to put Easter eggs in the window, too. Look at that original stained glass! Look at that trim! Let’s keep it.
Continue reading “Book Report: Restoring Your Historic House”

Getting Supplies Safely and Helping the Unemployed

We’re still working on the Pope Residence project, even though we are down a couple helpers, temporarily. Yesterday, Chris made a trip to the Lowe’s in Temple for the supplies needed to do the trim. How did he keep himself safe, you ask?

He felt really good about the precautions the store was taking, which let contractors and others get supplies they needed but not spread germs. Each cart got sanitized before a customer used it. And all the staff stayed 6 feet from customers. When Chris needed to look at a staff member’s screen, he moved away. Chris was impressed with how customers all kept their distances, too.

Chris ordered some doors. They look just like this, apparently.

Chris got our sink for the break room and a lot of interesting trim to finish off the sides of the windows and around the doors, where there are gaps between the brick and the frames. It will look pretty spiffy. Wow we have a LOT of trim to paint, though! He’s thinking of ways to automate it.

A very deep sink. Perfect for the break room.

Next, though, is texturing the few drywall areas. It has not stopped raining for three days, though, and he really wants to do it on a dry day. It’s also cold, ugh.

All taped up and ready to texture.

Helping Out

As you probably know, a lot of businesses around here have closed down due to the state of emergency, curfews and such. One was the local car detailing shop. So, we have brought on Marcus, who works there, to help out on our project. It’s good today, since Randy is out and Easton is taking care of stuff back at the farm.

Chris is adding boards here, so it will match the upper part of the stairway. We will paint this the ceiling’s color.

He is really meticulous (duh, he works at the car detailing place), and is doing an amazing job taking layers of gunk of the door trim. I almost cried when I saw how beautiful the trim around the stained glass above the door came out. Wow.

Just glorious.

I’m glad we can help out people who’d otherwise be unable to contribute to their families or their own needs. It’s only a few people, but it feels good to be doing something positive.

When it is stripped, you can really see the trim details better.

Bummed

Like many of us, I’m having a bit of trouble being positive right now. We have daily meetings of the Hearts Homes and Hands staff, in which we go over in excruciating detail what we need to do to protect ourselves and our clients. And I think I’ve read too many articles on disease progress projections. And I miss Anita and my other house. All normal stuff everybody is dealing with right now.

Here’s the trim o go around the windows and doors. That is a nice distraction.

Sure, we’re all lucky in some ways, and we’re all inconvenienced. It’s okay to be sad and miss the old world, even as we are grateful that precautions we take may save lives. I think I’ll take the rest of the day off. Tomorrow, volunteer work and more work. And I’m glad I can do it.

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