It’s been a busy summer! To make up the riding class that I missed while I was in Italy (you can read that blog here) I spent the first few weeks of the summer at school. I rode a wonderful and portly horse named Tyra, a Spotted Draft Horse mare. Her main issue was hip control; she could move her hip, but it took effort on part of the rider. By the end of my time working with her we had her hip under control and produced quality, flying lead changes under our cinch. One of my friends (and now roommate) also took the class, but had an accident that resulted in a major concussion and having to withdraw from the class. She was disappointed, but luckily the class was not required for her major. She has been cleared to ride this fall and is looking forward to starting her first horse, an APHA palomino filly who she calls Chloe.
The lady who is supplying her colt (as well as mine) invited me to ride one of her other horses in a weekend clinic with Mary Jane Brown. I had a phenomenal time and felt like I made huge progress on Zorro, a horse who I have been riding for about a year and a half now! This past winter Zorro had been sent to a trainer to have 30 days put on him, but the trainer was a dud and the horse regressed. Thankfully, after a couple of hours at the clinic we were back to where he had been when I last rode him in December; by the end of the second day of the clinic he had made strong improvements! Besides Zorro’s progression, the highlight was probably learning how to make a Poor Man’s Martingale (aka twine tied onto the d-rings of the saddle with the reins looped through). It was so much fun to do some cow cutting as well!
Though I had not originally planned to, I returned to my position as Assistant Wrangler at the Girl Scout camp in northern Idaho. They were short-handed and more than willing to hire me even though I would be a couple of weeks late due to my class schedule. Once again, I had a splendid time and had the chance to do a lot of riding. This year my main mount was a solidly built bay gelding named Dozer. Like “Bulldozer”, not like he was a lazy guy. Every morning I got to gallop him through the pasture and herd the remuda into the corral for the campers that would be coming through that day. In the arena, we spent a lot of time working on collection, cadence, and transitions. He made much progress, but I still wish that we had had more time together.
When camp came to an end and I returned home (by a route that I had not originally planned) there was about a day before my first housesitting job began. Since then I’ve had a houseitting gig almost everyday, usually with two or three during the weekends. Sometimes I drive across town three or four times to check on the different houses and the pets that lived there. It’s been busy, but the money is good and I get to hang out with some really sweet dogs, cats, and other pets! I have at least three more jobs before I leave for school, which will definitely keep my well occupied.
Last week one of my roommates (the one who got the concussion) drove over from Washington to go tack shopping. Pickings were thin in her area and she needed to pick up a few items for the upcoming school year. We hit a half-dozen yard sales, which were all bust of what we needed, as well as a couple of tack stores. One of the stores has a great consignment section and we hit the jackpot there with all of the blankets that we found. Both of us purchased gently used Big D blankets for less than $40 a piece and hoods for $35. We had a great time and, with all of the driving, got to see a lot of places that neither of us have seen before. She also had the chance to meet Chloe for the first time!
In nine days I will be heading back to Billings and I am looking forward to this fall semester. My colt starting class will probably be the most rewarding of all of my classes. Other than riding my colt, I will be participating in the IHSA again. Last year, I missed the first semester of shows because I was on my study abroad, but in the second semester I managed to earn almost half of the points required to move up to the next division and qualify for the Regional competition. If all goes well I won’t have to attend every show this season and will be able to save some money.