One Week of This New Life

What an absolute whirlwind the last week has been. Let me tell you, the new job is cool, but the new job is clearly going to demand lots of overtime. Which, on one hand is super nice because I’m currently hourly and my eyes sparkle a little at the thought of overtime and maybe even golden time pay-Cue angels singing–but on the other hand will probably come with added stress. 

I’ve said many times before that my major source of stress relief is my time spent with my horses. Something about how zen you have to be to keep them zen is just wonderful. I won’t have that easily accessible outlet in LA for a while and the weight of that definitely came crashing down as I drove away from San Diego. I have no shame in admitting there was quite a bit of ugly crying happening on that drive, only some of it from awful LA traffic. 

On the flip side, when I came home for the weekend and stepped into the barn Aria went nuts in her stall. 100% it was excitement and a reaction to seeing me. I’m not even anthropomorphizing her, we just have that bond that Iberian horse are known for. It was a very pleasant surprise and earned her some extra attention and love.

14th floor! Apparently a window on the 18th shattered yesterday. Talk about air condition!

 

Of course Catalina screamed her little head off too. She’s so adorable I just want to punch her and smoosh her face. I have serious bouts of cute aggression around her which is stave off by stuffing her with treats and food (heaven help her hay belly, I am doing nothing to prevent it).

This was my day 1 gift. I have used it twice already b/c IT savvy my coworkers are not.

Valeria and Ben, while interested to see me, weren’t over the moon. They have each other and that seems to keep them happy. Ben’s lifetime pasture mate, my sister’s senior mare, was moved off the property for a while, and when she returned he put on a reunion show worthy of an Emmy. I don’t get the same greeting when I’m gone all week, so I assume his first love is that cute little palomino. Haha. 

I want to write about some very fun and exciting rides I’ve had over the last two weekends but I’m currently on a plane headed to Dallas (go figure it’s the only time I have to blog lol) and I feel those posts require proper media and planning. Speaking of–sorry for the lack of media on this post. I’ll make it up to you! I also need to make time to read blogs. It was a regular thing for me and now I miss reading about everyone’s adventures. 

Sob. Me too, Joe. Sob.

Last Week On Spanish Walk…

I left you all with a terrible cliffhanger last week and I only marginally apologize for doing that to you. I knew it was a done deal but I didn’t want to say anything until the ink had dried. Something about all your eggs being in one basket, and what not.

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Last week I was offered a position at NCBUniversal, not the theme park but the production studio even though they’re located in the same place. I’ve been trying to get into a studio since I graduated make-up school in 2006. I absolutely couldn’t say no, especially since it wasn’t an IT position (YES). This will be a huge change for me and a brand new career path. I’ll be working in the Consumer Products and Licensing department handling all movie and tv assets (or as I’ve told a few people: getting paid to stare at Chris Pratt all day). I don’t know what I’m allowed to share about this position just yet, but I will when I can.

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Yup. Totally willing to look at that all day. I’ll even work overtime.

 

I’m starting on Wednesday, the background check having only cleared this morning. What this insanely quick turn of events means for me is moving over the next few weekends. Normally I would take a week off to get all that squared away but Universal was pretty insistent that I start ASAP. So now I’m trying to figure out the logistics of moving from San Diego to Burbank. Luckily I can stay with a friend for the time being but I’ll have to go house/apartment shopping eventually.

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I also have to go barn shopping. Something I’ve NEVER done before. I don’t know what I’m looking for and I anticipate it being rather stressful to find a place that will cater to my delicate princess, Aria. I have no clue what is normal barn management. I am pretty excited to have someone else clean poop though! Even though it won’t be for a while. Aria and Co. are probably going to have to cool their heels until after the New Year. Barn shopping will definitely have to be a whole blog post on its own.

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I’ll be traveling to San Diego on the weekends to get in two days of riding a week, so don’t worry, this blog won’t wither away. My parents are kindly offering to care for my horses until I can move them up. They know how much I’ve been chasing this job opportunity. And as much as I hate it, this is definitely fast tracking the sale of two horses no matter how I look at it. I cannot cram Ben into a box stall at his age and Valeria is too young to sit in a stall all day doing nothing. I have to do what’s best by them and I think staying with me is not best.

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I am considering calling up Catalina’s sire’s owner and seeing if they would be willing to pasture board her with all her siblings until she’s grown up and ready for training. I think letting her be a horse for the next few years would be very beneficial for her. But I’m also not sure I want to be away from her for so long. I mean, you saw her face in last week’s post. How do I leave that? Luckily I have time to decide and don’t want to rush it.

All in all it’s been a crazy seven days but it’s also been an exciting seven days.

Baby’s First ‘Trail’

Even though I don’t have all the time I wish I did, I have been making some progress with our favorite moose. She has finally put the brakes on her growth and it has definitely been a gargantuan task to accomplish. As you may recall Catalina had developed physitis in her knees and rear fetlocks due to the rapid rate she was growing at. At 5 ½ months I weaned her to stop the consumption of whatever super serum Valeria was producing. I mean, seriously, I should have bottled it and sold it to scrawny, weakling children. It probably has the same properties as ambrosia, food of the gods.

Weaning went well and Catalina thrives quite well on the strict diet of bermuda grass. I’m so happy I now have two, count them—TWO—special snowflakes that can only eat bermuda. I guess my wallet is kind of happy since alfalfa prices are constantly on the rise. The nice thing about that though is I can turn the two of them out together and not worry about what kind of hay they might be getting into. I’m so fortunate to have the space for a bermuda only turn out and an alfalfa/misc hay turnout.

Turnout with Aria has been great for Catalina. All the shit she put Valeria through is not flying anymore. Aria is like a drill sergeant. The second Catalina is out of line there’s a well-placed bite to correct the shitty behavior. Aria isn’t a kicker and she’s also not aggressive so it’s a great balance of discipline and reward. Not that Aria doesn’t like to run around and kick up her heels with Catalina, they’re both babies after all.

With Aria’s help I’ve been able to work with Catalina very well. Mouthy baby behavior is almost gone, she’s gotten great at not crowding your personal space, and she has a healthy respect for ‘no’. She leads very well. She’s getting the hang of tying. I’ve gotten her in the trailer several times, not without food bribes but that’s acceptable for now.

Trailer loading practice has now opened us up to fun activities like trail rides and trips to the public arena for crazy galloping turnout. Last week I took Catalina on her first trail ride. Really it was just a spin around the bridle path next to the public arena but the whole area is fenced in and it definitely looks like a proper trail which makes it the perfect testing ground for this whole ponying business.

Catalina might lead great on the ground but she does not like to be lead from the saddle. I’ve tried several times and she’s always a bit of a mule about it. Sure, I can anchor the hand holding the lead rope to my hip and with Aria’s weight drag Catalina around but it sucks. As you might be able to tell, I’ve done is several times in the arena. It’s not my favorite.

Initially when I loaded Aria and Catalina up to head to the public arena I had planned to just let them run around and stretch their legs. Catalina is getting a hay belly and she need exercise. My neighbor decided to join me there with her two horses and after a few laps around we decided to get in a quick bareback ride. Why not? Bareback on a sweaty horse, ponying a filly who doesn’t like to pony on her first ‘trail’ ride…what could go wrong?

Sometimes I think it’s a miracle I’m alive.

I dealt with Catalina’s mule bullshit for about 2 minutes before I was done almost getting pulled off Aria. I unclipped my moose-cum-mule and said ‘bye Felicia’ as Aria and I moseyed on down the bridle path. The area is totally fenced in so the worst thing that could happen is I’d have to chase a baby horse all over 20 acres.

She’s incredibly independent which caused a little concern but I shouldn’t have worried because she’s smart and a good egg. Catalina grazed for a few seconds and as we pulled far enough away she raced to catch up. After a while she chilled in the middle of the ‘herd’ but towards the end she got comfortable enough that she did her own thing at her own speed. I think more of these loose baby moose trail rides will be in our future. I just hope we don’t run over hikers in the process. Ha!

Back to Business

I had a lesson over the weekend which was nice because it’s been a long time since Aria and I saw the inside of an arena. While I felt great in the saddle, it didn’t go so well for Aria. She was bracing for a lot of the lesson making it difficult to get proper turn on the forehands and any kind of lateral work. We struggled for a while before it became clear that getting someone with more experience in the saddle would fix the problem quicker.

P ended up schooling Aria about 75% of the ride. Totally fine by me since it was clear a tune up was needed. Especially if I considered how long it might have taken me to get the same results. Aria ended up pulling off some pretty nice work towards the end but she didn’t make it easy.

Now I’m planning to hit the arena again for some serious flat work this week. We need to get back to business. More flexion, more stretching, more circle work, more walk/trot work. We’re definelty going to be doing way more walk/trot work that I would like but sticking it in low gear really is the best way to perfect the basics.

I don’t think a lesson will happen this following weekend since P is one of the clinicians at the Norco Horse Affair but I might pop over to check out her session on Saturday. A bit unfortunate that I won’t be able to get a set of professional eyes on me again for a couple weeks but Aria and I will work something out, I’m sure. Hot Mess is certainly a style we could shoot for. Haha.

Sunday was super chill because I ended up busy all day and only had a small window of light to work with. I saddled up to ride with my neighbor but some unfortunately placed new geese caused Aria and my neighbor’s horse to lose their ever loving minds. Aria held it together for me pretty well but was definietly feeding off the panicked energy of my neighbor’s horse. He’s HUGE. I think Aria bascially said ‘if he’s afraid, I should be afraid too!’

We decided to let them blow off steam and run around like the fools they were being. Aria worked up a sweat but still had energy to burn, unfortunately the big jousting horse only lasted about 2 minutes before he called it quits so we went for a nice bareback ride until it got dark. Looks like we’ll be tackling some scary geese this week. Pray for us.