Friday, January 1, 2016

Equilutions 2016

Happy New Year!!!

I began writing Equilutions in 2009.  I was four months into owning my first horse and I am proud to say Junior and I achieved every one of those goals.  You can read other posts about Equilutions here: Equilutions.

My last Equilutions was in 2013.  For the past two years I have not felt able to set any type of specific goals. There was always a goal to get another horse, but for a long time after I lost Junior I wasn't able to bring myself to make specific "dreams" about the future.  I needed to just take it one day at a time for a while.

But this year I feel different.  Things are different with a different horse.  I have no idea what to expect from our upcoming show season.   Our first show is less than 4 months away and we've not done a half-decent lead change (since the clinic) and I can't figure out what cadence his slow lope and his fast lope need to be, I haven't even tried a whole reining pattern yet, and are still inconsistent with loping off without trot steps.  So we're having trouble with just, you know, ALL THE THINGS.

BUT our jog is extending nicely.  We are doing better with ropes, gates, and stuff... though the sound of a rope cutting the air makes him toss his head or hide behind me.  We are finding the different buttons for moving hips vs. shoulder and finding the difference between transitioning down by only one gate and not slamming on the brakes at the slightest ask for a jog. We are getting better at not throwing rodeos on the lunge line.

I like my new horse.  I've no idea if this season will be successful at this point, but I'm enjoying the journey.   Last year I took a western pleasure horse (something I knew a bit about) and made him a buckled Green Ranch Versatility horse.  Now I'm taking a reining horse (something I know very little about) and turning him into a Ranch Versatility horse.... something I still need to learn a lot about!

I remind myself that last January I was VERY frustrated with Kevin. I didn't blog much about it, but we'd hit a rough patch.  He was constantly cranky and irritable about work, would misbehave if asked for anything but basic rail work.  But by spring he was soft in the bridle and always had a bright expression.... so did I, and you know how that season ended, so maybe we still have time.

We had a nice ride today, though we had a serious rodeo on the lunge line. Not surprising since we really haven't had a work out since before he cut his face. He hasn't bucked that much since the day I brought him home! I made sure he was tired before I rode and we had a nice ride.  So much to work on, but a nice ride!  His wounds are healing.  His face will be a much bigger scar than if the stitches had stayed in longer, but he's a ranch horse, so it'll be fine.

Equilutions for 2016

1. Do something about those "training dees" on my saddle.  I will eventually get a good saddle, but I'm not ready yet.  I found my current saddle for $200 on Craigslist.  It had never been oiled and has a tear in the leather holding one of the rear-cinch dee-rings on.  I replaced all the cheap/chipping conchos with copper ones, removed the d-rings on the pommel, and tied down the d-rings at the back.  The crupper ring and the big rear d-rings make noise when I ride and it drives me nuts.  The biggest issue is finding a way to quiet them that isn't unsightly and doesn't make the saddle completely un-sellable. I found a similar saddle (same brand, not a training saddle) on Craigslist, but I'm hesitant.... am I getting a slight upgrade or am I trading one set of problems for another?

2. Get rid of the clutter. This goes for general household as well as horse equipment. I did sell my hunt saddle, my good helmet, and a few other things off Facebook but OMG people are horrible! I had so many people say they would buy things and then ghost, and some people I met were incredibly late for meet-ups. It's hardly worth the stress! Instead I've got a booth booked at the biggest tack swap in the region on Valentine's Day at the University of Findlay.  Last time I went there I sold nearly everything I brought. Hopefully we'll have good luck this year, too.

3. Say GOODBYE to making show clothing. I've designed/made/sold show clothing on and off for over 15 years.  I have a decent amount of supplies on hand, but I've severely lacked the motivation to make any in a long time, especially since I don't show in those kind of clothes anymore.  The market is flooded so I haven't been getting what I think my pieces are worth. It's a buyer's market, and Americans can get a t-shirt for $5 so why should they pay more than $100 for a show top?  I sold my last several pieces (not including the custom work I designed specifically for clients) well below even off-the-rack prices, just to stay in the black. At this point I think I'm going to finish the last piece I started (an olive green showmanship suit) and sell off all my fabrics/trims.  I would probably still work with repeat clients, though, if they were ever interested in adding to their wardrobe.

4. Learn how to tool leather.  I've never done it.  I might hate it, but I want to try it.  I have been drooling over some custom belts and tack makers for the past year and though I think their prices are appropriate for the quality of their work, sadly they are not appropriate for my budget.  There is a Tandy Leather store in town that gives classes.  I'm going to try to tool a belt for myself and see if I never want to do it again, or maybe it's something I could add to my Etsy store.

What are your Equilutions for 2016?