Sunday, November 23, 2008

Poor :\

Well, as a graduate student I've always been poor. However, my time as a grad student is ending with the new year, and so I'm about to be poorer. (Hopefully ending with a Masters degree I'm trying to eck out, but possibly not even). My priorities in life have changed: I don't want to do science all the time ever forever. I'm considering getting a real-person normal job, or becoming a high school teacher. The teaching position would allow me to still play with science (and ponies all summer!), but the normal job would pay more, especially over time. I do love teaching; I had wanted to become a professor at a small college but I can't get over this hurdle of being that dedicated to research during grad school, and the idea of chasing grants and papers for the rest of my life is..... tedious, as is moving all around for a job. I do still love science but I don't want to be a lab tech for 10 bucks an hour for the rest of my life either. I can tolerate teenage exuberance well, but licensing requirements are midly obnoxious and may take a bit of time anyways to obtain.

So yes, I can relate to all the heartbroken people I see who in financial times cannot keep their horses. One must give up luxuries in hard times.

I would like to affirm that I am prepared for harder times. This is how:

1) Dante has always been paid for out of my secret second job. I work two days a week at Blockbuster, 6-12am, and his board is 210 a month. That's about maybe 30 hours of work per month, and at 12 hrs a week, this is easily covered in 3 weeks, with the extra money taking an edge off vet/farrier costs. This doesn't intrude on a normal 9-5 work day for me. His feet are thankfully pretty easy and slow-growing, and I give my own vaccinations (he gets just about all of them available). His teeth haven't needed to be floated yet (he eats fine, too trust me!- I made the vet check each time), and since I kept him all summer for under 200 dollars (excl. farrier) by letting him munch at my in-laws, he can be a cheap horse. I don't show, well okay my showing costs were 16 dollars this year! (15 for the fun show with a dollar for the ride-a-buck event). I did spend money on building supplies for saddle stands and cavalettis (which need buildin), and I did buy Truck. These were all extras with money I had from BB.

2) If my hard times get really hard- I have the following option: I can bring him to my in-laws, buy hay, and wait till it warms up and give him the winter off (MN is frickin cold to ride outside, and often dark, and other than practicing some yeilds in a barn the size of a round pen.... eh). I can always borrow a horse for free where I'm at now and keep up my skills, Dante will not forget everything by waiting a few months.

3)I have paid for Dante's board through to January. I have the next month's cash ready to be given to keep him through to February. He has not damaged his blanket.

4) Were there some sort of colic-emergency type thing: I have credit. Veterinary stuff is not to be skimped. Ever. Nor is farrier work. Our tack is all manageable, if something broke I could borrow. Truck can break, car can break, I'm okay. I also own half of my brother's house, and he's getting antsy to buy me out so if I need money for a while I have that option.

5) All of this does not involve my husband's income, which is steady. However I generally support myself- we don't fight over money. Grad students only make 20K a year where I am, so nearly any full time job will more than compensate what I was at.

6) I can if spending a period of time unemployed, work at the farm for 10/hr and apply that directly to board.

I do not have the option of leasing him out. He failed at that. I could to the right person, but do not want to deal with such worries.

So maybe I will be on a Ramen/multivitamin diet, but he's all set!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cowhorse :)

Friday night we decided to play cowhorse. Sarah and I dragged a cow from the pen to the indoor arena (fat little bugger). We then got Dante and a horse I had once done team penning on (slowly and rather poorly for fun) as we knew that horse wouldn't flip out over cows, and was a former pasturemate of Dante.

As soon as we got in there, Dante's eyes were only for that cow. We let the two of them run loose with it, and as soon as we did it was farting bucking fun down the arena at the cow. They were EXCITED!

They then proceeded to gang up on the cow and chase it around for a while (we wanted them to work out any uneasiness or extreme excitement before getting ON them!). Then while the cow hid in the corner I tied Dante and picked feet, groomed, saddled etc. His head was yanked around and he would not stop staring at the cow.

I did cheat and give him a handful of grain to distract him for saddling. Yes I know there's better ways to desensitize and we work on it all the time. His saddles DO fit, he's not tender afterwards, etc. He just learned it hurts and won't forget anytime soon. Maybe someday.

I got on and man was he dancey. I decided to trot some circles away from the cow and ended up having to hop off and remount (Rebooting Dante is realy that easy, it's a mental reboot for the both of us I think). We then played with cow.

I had a blast. Not only does Dante know what to do with a cow, he likes it. I think he was mad that I didn't know what to do with a cow. Having been busy by studies and work I didn't push too much learning on his part. I tried to get him to sidepass (something we can do normally) and was very adamant that cowhorses do not sidepass and not only was I being silly but cruel and how could he possibly be expected to know these things? We did a weenie bit of cantering, mainly after the cow and there was no flip-outs. Afterwards his trot was gaining little hops as he was encourageing me to cut him loose, but I wanted to keep this a pleasureable ride and fun time for the both of us since it's been a while.

I know the pics are horrible but what do you expect from a phone at a distance in an arena at night?

Eventually the cow (as it did when I 'halterbroke' it a couple weeks ago) decided to lay down and not run around, even when Dante kicked it. Lazy little bugger. After a few rousings we let him go back to his friends. I bet he won't let me halter him again. :)

We'll have to do an open team penning. I think he'd love it. He should have gotten in the trailer last time and I wouldn't have had to ride Jack instead. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thrown :(

Okay, so that's not me. I wasn't prepared to get that photo.

First off: the Doop moved back to the boarding barn for winter, and I've been super busy with school. Loading was good, and in our OWN trailer, which is a plus.

We were riding around in the indoor arena, I had another rider check him out, and she was cantering him around and he was fine, albeit she could tell he was very tense.

Later I end up in the outdoor arena, and he's being soo good (even windy out) that when she suggests I canter him, I quiet that sniggling voice that says "bad idea" and go.

4 strides later: dirt.

I landed about like photo person, on by back fat. Dante stood perfectly still with an "oh NOES!" look on his face. We rode around for a while but I wasn't about to push it again.

Saving some pennies to buy him some training to make cantering not worth tensing over. I may have fixed his trot on my own, but I was comfortable trotting before he was. I think I'd trust him in the indoor, we will likely try more short bits of canter until he's comfortable doing it. We did in the beginning of the summer, I'd canter him up a small hill (since he couldn't do that very quickly anyways it was less stress).

I still think he tries too hard and gets flustered. Whether it's because he really wants to please me or because he thinks I'll beat him like some other lady did, I don't know.