Some days, I am jealous of those of you who only have one horse to fuss over and worry about. Those days are long gone from my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way - but it makes it hard to get things done with everyone every day!
I try to set a goal of working two horses every day. Sometimes this means driving O and riding Dylan. Sometimes this means grooming Pax and Uma for 5 minutes each. Most days, it is working one of the "in work" horses, and grooming or playing with one of the "not working" horses. Pax, Uma, P and Zuul are all basically just getting played with once or so a week, to keep everyone groomed and tidy. They of course get their daily flyspray, flymasks, feedings, cookies, etc. That to me doesn't count for anything other than daily care. They are all in different places along the training scale - Zuul is the wildest, P at nearly age 20 is the most dead broke. Speaking of Zuul - there is a local guy around here called the Zorseman, who has 5 zorses and 4 zonkeys of his own already. He wants Zuul for his own - he wants to teach him to pack and carry a cooler full of beers along on his epic trail rides and chuckwagon races that he goes to. As I think it would be a great match - who better to take on a zonkey than a guy known as the Zorseman? - I am happy to let him go there. I think Zuul is great and I've done a fair bit to make him a handleable zonkey, but I don't believe I can get any further than I have. Without a stout pony horse to basically drag him around with, I can't teach him to lead without bolting. I'm just not physically strong enough, and if I can't even lead him anywhere, his training isn't going to go any further than where it alraedy is. As he has shown aggression towards the other horses and minis (although thankfully never towards people), I think it's a fair life to let him go be somewhere where he will get proper handling and more than just a boring isolated life here. It's kind of a mixed bag with a kill pen rescue, much less one that is half zebra - you don't ever really know what you're getting, and you can't always predict the outcome. But I'm glad we saved him, I'm glad he didn't go to anyone else (god knows he would have been dumped again), and I'm glad I ultimately linked up with the Zorseman who can give him the best possible life for what he is.
So, my herd is in small shakeup mode at the moment. Zuul will be leaving in a few weeks. Pax should be leaving mid-summer. Sriracha is of course new, and O is for sure bred. As for P, we shall see what happens. If we don't get a successful breeding out of this, she'll probably go back to a light duty trail horse, something which she enjoys as much as I do. I've been craving hitting the trails, and am even thinking about finding a good western saddle for myself like the old Corriente I used to borrow. I miss that thing. I want something old, and worn in, and deep seated and high backed, like a barrel saddle or old ranch saddle. Something that is comfy to sit in for plodding up the trail. I have this entire battery of nice trail horses and am not currently using any of them for that!
My leg has still been bothering me, which is really unfortunate. While I try to sort that out, Dilly is on short hiatus, which isn't tremendously ideal but also works out well with O's upcoming show schedule. She is right about to plow into the heat of things - there is the Romp next weekend, a clinic the following weekend, Pine Hill HDT the following weekend, and Cowboy Country HDT the weekend after that. Four busy weekends in a row, bam bam bam! Then the show season abruptly stops until September, when it flares again. There is another Romp in September, an HDT in October, a Games Day in October, and Black Star HDT in November. Now, at some point she is going to be too pregnant to continue on, and I'll pull the plug on that. I'll let her tell me how she is feeling. By all means I'll call it early if I feel that I should, and will make a mandatory cut off at some point as well. But I think it is good to keep pregnant mares fit and going, so long as she fits in the shafts and the work is not too strenuous. Again, we shall have to see.
I'm going to be missing the next working equitation event, which is this month, as well. AND I'll be missing the next two to boot - we will be in Austin for one weekend, and Colorado for the other. I refuse to let this get me down any further than it already has, and have doubled down on being diligent with my stretches and therapy. By god, I will not let this defeat me. It might sideline me here and there, but I refuse to let it get me down.
I also have been putting a lot of increasing focus on the mini mules. I just adore them and love working with them every day. Lendri has become SO agreeable, even when she is acting like... well, a mule. And Sriracha is coming right along in terms of friendliness and handling. Currently, Lendri is getting long lined about every other day or so, and lunged here and there - she knows how to lunge pretty well now, but her steering still needs work, so that is what we have been focusing on. She trotted today in the long lines for the first time, drove in circles around the house for the first time, and wore blinders for the first time (or well, minus the bit). She didn't mind them at all, although I will not likely work her much in them until she is further on. Not that I'm any kind of mule or driving expert, but I like my guys to see what is going on behind them, and to understand and not be afraid. I'll start her in an open bridle too, when she gets broke to the cart. She is *almost* ready to drag a tire, but not quite. She needs to steer better first, although I think she will not mind dragging anything. She might be flinchy about the shafts though - she can still be really squinchy on her sides. It's hard to say if she was mishandled, or not handled at all, but it was surely one of the two.
So, it boils down to that. In my most ideal week, my equines get this kind of work:
Dylan: 2x dressage rides (with obstacles, sometimes), 1 obstacles specific ride, 1 hack
O: 1 lunge, 1 endurance drive (4+ miles) with dressage work interspersed, 1 dressage/cones drive
Lendri: 2-3 long lines/lunges
Sriracha: Handling every other day - leading, touching, petting
Uma, Pax, P: 1x week grooming and handling
So technically, per equine, it's not that much. O gets worked 3x a week and no more, and sometimes less. She is very fit and doesn't need a ton of hammering on, but it's a slower progression than if we worked 6 days a week in terms of our dressage and obstacle work. I'm pretty sure though that of all horses she would be the LAST to tolerate a 6 day a week work schedule. I used to work my horses that hard, every day, but all I ended up with was a lame horse and nothing to show for it. I moved away from that, and think this works better. I might not get along at quite the same speed, but things get done all the same and the impact is less on their bodies. Things go more slowly, but we all stay more relaxed and happy for it. The pressure is on when it counts, but it's not on 24/7.
Next year, when I am down a show horse, it will be much easier to pour my riding focus into just Dylan. Lendri should be driving by then, and Sriracha should be about ready to start working (I hope anyway), so I will still have that to work with, but it should be a little less work for yours truly.
And of course, the schedule RARELY pans out that they all get that much work anyway. I LOVE to relax, dawdle along, take my time, lay in the hammock, and take long naps. I think relaxing is just awesome, and behind my workaholic nature, I am completely lazy by heart. Today, Derby Day, I was of course supposed to go to the Trec, but it was cancelled due to the recent flooding. All I did today was hang out in my PJs, watch Derby coverage all afternoon, and long lined Lendri. Lendri got picked because she is the one I am currently most excited about in terms of progression. And I think that's ok to do this here and there. There is a limit to it though. I might love to lay around in the grass and do nothing all day, but then... nothing gets done!
I've definitely changed a lot since I first started blogging with Gogo. Back then, I was extremely driven, almost to the point of being maniacal about it. I lived for nothing but my mare. Every day had a plan. Every week had a plan. Everything was planned, drilled, and evaluated after the fact, everything. I do wish I could get some of that back - but there are so many other things to worry about as we all age. We need a new hot water heater. We have hail damage on the roof. My truck is getting old. I have the business to attend to. And so on.
So readers, how do YOU get it all done in a day? Are you regimented, or more laissaz faire? Are you anxious about it, or relaxed? Does it all get done all the time, or does it hardly ever get done at all? How do YOU find the balance?