Life returns to ‘normal’

Well, normal for me anyway – still trying to fit way more into a day than can possibly fit and always three projects going on at once it seems. At least I am almost finished painting cabinets for the pink house remodel – I still need to get some paneling for the side of two cabinets and touch up a cabinet door that had a flying insect kamakazi into the wet paint, leaving skid marks along with his earthly remains. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In addition to that, I am trying to finish my home office – that I started two  years ago! All that’s been lacking is to make pillows/bedskirt for the daybed I bought for it. But I got carried away and probably have fabric and pillow forms for about ten pillows. Less is NOT more in my world. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And, I have two MORE projects in the works: Gutting and remodeling our guest bath, and redoing our guest bedroom. We’ve lived here for 9 years now (it does NOT seem possible!) and the stuff that’s in the guest bedroom was in my “pink house” before we moved. It’s time for something new. So I’ve got the bedding, picked paint colors and am now shopping for ‘new’ furniture. “New” to me means something from the resale shops that I will paint. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In the next week I have to have one mondo trip to Home Depot and buy as much stuff as I can that will be used in our bath reno, since I have a 10% off coupon and it expires 7/31. Luckily I have already been shopping and took tons of pics of stuff and their SKU numbers/prices. All I need to do is check with Home Depot and see how they want me to place the huge order – we’re talking tub, toilet, sink, light fixtures, sheetrock, beadboard paneling, vanity, paint and tile. It will probably be $2500 in materials.

But on the horse front, things are back to ‘normal’ since I’m back to riding, AND I am happy to report I am riding on the base of my arena and it’s pretty good. Fling works much better on it. It’s a bit softer than the pasture, which is a good thing. We got about an inch of rain this afternoon and it rode just fine damp. The plan now is to let it settle a bit more, then have dozer guy come out and fix some of the low spots that developed when it settled. Then I have to sift the sand he scraped off to get the old bad clay base chunks out of it. I’ll use my front end loader to dump loads on the arena as I get them sifted, and when I am done, dozer guy will come back out and spread. I won’t need much sand on it, and I think when the coarse sand mixes a bit with the very top layer of the base, it will be absolutely fabulous.

Speaking of fabulous – Faxx was yesterday. Went right to work with hardly any warm up, taking super good contact. He did shoulder-in, leg yield, baby half pass at walk, and some pretty decent turn on the haunches. I am making a concentrated effort to raise the bar as far as getting him more ‘adjustable’ in his gaits, so we also did lots of forward and back at trot, and also many trot/walk/trot transitions.

And fling and Faeryn were fabulous today. I decided to take the bull by the horns and get back to working on our flying changes. they’ve been like the elephant in the room that nobody wants to mention. As in, they are STILL not confirmed. But not working on them isn’t going to help. I understand her canter needed to improve in quality to help the changes – but I think it’s time to face our toughest challenge. So tonight I started, and I think I have some insight into what may help us. For one thing, I discovered, when I ask for a change, i really have to MEAN it. She cannot read my mind. Sometimes when I asked for a change, I got nothing. So I had to make my aids clear. A few times, she did not change in back. So I tapped her with the whip as I asked for the change – something I’ve never done. It solved the problem of not changing behind.  Above all else, though,  Fling has to learn to do the change without completely barging through my aids and ‘taking off.’ We had a small ‘discussion’ about that, and what I started doing was canter across the diagonal and just walk where we would do a change. And then pick up the other lead and canter. And when she did listen to me, and I did a change, I started bringing her to a dead stop as quickly as I could after the change – which was not easy, considering stopping her after she’s done a change is like trying to stop a freight train. Wherein lives the big problem in trying to do more than ONE change. And therein lies the road block to fourth level. So around and around we went across the diagonal this way and that – sometimes changing, sometimes just doing a simple change, but ALWAYS coming to a walk after a flying change. And if she was barging as we went across the diagonal, we came to walk. She started getting the idea, and as a bonus, her canter/walk transition got much better.  it is hard to get cross with her, since she’s not really evading, she just is enthusastic and thinks SHE should make the decisions sometimes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Faeryn was good too. She felt less on the forehand than she has. I am seriously thinking about sending her to a rehab place for a week to ‘swim laps’ every day. It’s near Bellville and I’ve heard terrific things about it. They have a horse swimming ‘track’ that is sort of a large loopy affair – it’s very narrow so a person can walk on each side of the horse with a pole attached to their halter to make sure the horse does not get in trouble. It’s very reasonable, too. $30 a day including board and a swim every day.

I am also planning to go to the Sport Horse Nationals in Kentucky as a spectator. since I decided I would wait and let Faxx get some experience at First level, I knew that if I went and watched and saw the facilities, and got the lay of the land, I would be much more comfortable when it came to actually going to the show. A friend of mine who used to do endurance riding with me – and who is now into dressage too – is going to go with me. Hopefully we’ll finalize our plans next week and book airfare. I already have a hotel booked, since I was planning to go to the show. I’ll do this instead of going to the USDF Awards Banquet in San Diego to pick up my Bronze medal in person.

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