I have been AWOL from practically everything in my life since the first week in October. Faxx has been ridden about 4 times, and Fling and Faeryn an equal amount. That’s because I have been wearing my other hat, “Accidental Landlord.” I have a cute 1920s farmhouse on 5 acres, set up for horses. (Go to www.alvinhouse.com if you want to see it.) I bought it in 1995, and my dad and I put a lot of sweat equity in it to make it the cute little pink dollhouse it is today. When I got remarried and we bought our own place in 2002, I really could not part with it. So I lease it out. Mostly it’s no trouble, and I have people standing in line to lease it – but sometimes “things” do happen. My most recent tenants, who’ve lived there almost 3 years, problem-free, apparently ran into financial difficulties because they just moved out 3 months before their lease was up, with no notice.There is always a lot of work to be done between tenants – improvements I want to make, or things that just need to be done that you can’t expect tenants to do. This time it needed exterior painting, which, since it’s completely frame, and has the original wood-framed windows, is a big job. So you know what I’ve been doing. But, thankfully, Sunday I handed the keys over to the new tenant and hope that now life can get back to ‘normal’ – whatever that is. Curiously, during the last two months, despite being ridden very minimally, I finally got Faeryn to some more schooling shows, where she was high score of the show at two of them. The last time I’d shown her was in April and she was a WILD CHILD in the warm up. Perhaps being six months older helped, because she was quite good and focused at these shows. A little scared of the judge’s stand and spooked at that – but can’t blame her because I was not able to get her into the actual arena before our test. I had one piece of very good news during my ‘indentured servitude,’ as I am calling it — I got a call from the Dressage Foundation, notifying me that I am the Region 9 recipient of the Gifted Fund Scholarship for Adult Amateurs for 2010! It’s a $900 grant that I will use toward taking all three ‘kids’ to Marta’s for a week of intensive training. I had hoped, if I won it, to do that in January – but as it is, I need about a month of good solid riding on them before I want to do that. So maybe February. The times I’ve ridden her, Fling has been quite good and I’ve even been brave enough to throw in a few flying changes. Her canter still needs strength – but I am very happy with her trot work. I got on Faxx after probably two weeks of being off last week and he was quite good – responding to just my seat aids, and much more willing to take contact and much steadier in the contact. Sometimes time off can do as much for them as if you’d been riding them the whole time! Tomorrow a friend and I are off to the USDF Symposium – we skipped the convention as too $$ and required too much precious vacation time for me. I debated about going, and missing ANOTHER weekend of riding – but decided in the long run, the Symposium might do more good for me!