Equine Tuesday

Man the weather made it tough to get anything done. We had snow on Tuesday, bitter cold on Wednesday, rain all weekend… you get the point. Luckily I set small goals in anticipation of this.

Brush each horse at least twice

Sounds easy, but remember how I mentioned rain. Well rain = mud horses. Not muddy horses. Mud horses, literally. They were caked hoof to ear and nose to tail in thick mud.

Lunge each horse for at least 10 minutes each

I ended up lunging these guys on a whim. I had originally planned to fit it in yesterday, but on Thursday I was feeling restless and ready to be outside. So I pulled out a very muddy Finnegan, got him in his lunging outfit (side reins and all), and dragged him to the round pen. He was not in a working mood (hence the use of side reins to help deter some explosions), but my stubbornness and patience outlasted his and eventually I had him going in a nice, albeit a bit slow, walk. We even trotted some! I was so happy just to get him moving in a forward, circular direction rather than a backward scramble. I’m slowly learning what works best with him and what he responds to. Hopefully the next lunging session will end as nicely.

Timbre, on the other hand, was an angel. I can just throw a rope halter on her and she’ll go beautifully. She looked a bit stiff/off to the right, but to the left she went great. I had her do a lot of walking and slow trotting in big circles to work on building her muscles back up.

Work on Finnegan’s attachment issues

Kind of dropped the ball on this one. It is so hard to do this because Finnegan is SO attached. While he is eating dinner, I lead Timbre out into the paddock within view of him. He starts to fret even then. I led her out there a couple of times this week but no where near as much as I should. I really need to be consistent – lead her out the same distance, keep her there until he calms a leetle bit and then bring her back – and increase my distance and my definition of “calm” as he improves. I am a bit pessimistic on this one. Any horse people out there have any suggestions on how to deal with attachment issues?

Next week’s goals

The weather is looking a bit better than it was this past week, but not fabulous. Guess that saying “April showers bring May flowers” will be true this year, at least the April showers part.

  • 2 lunging sessions each (mud-permitting) – 10-15 min max because these guys are so out of shape, I can’t do long lunging sessions because going in circles is tough on an out-of-shape horse’s legs.
  • 2 brushings each
  • A ride?? Maybe two?! – if it isn’t too muddy T and I may be able to get one or two rides in this weekend.. fingers crossed!
  • Work on Finnegan’s attachment issues – EVERY NIGHT
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Equine Tuesday

Does anyone else feel the impatience in the air? Impatience for spring to finally grace us with her presence?

The snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils have ventured out, but the cold air still shows my breath as I shovel manure and throw out hay.

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My horses are feeling the impatience. They have been shedding enough hair for a whole flock of birds to build a bird nest castle.

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Since the forecast this week is rather grim and I will be away this weekend, I am not going to lay out daily goals. Rather a few goals to accomplish when I can.

  • Lunge each horse once for at least 10 minutes
  • Two good brushings per horse
  • Work on Finnegan’s attachment issues

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I’ll be back next week with a more detailed post of how things went and what upcoming plans we have!

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Equine Tuesday

Since I am about to leave for vacation tomorrow (cannot wait) and next week’s Equine Tuesday post will also be on vacation, I decided to write about my long-term goals.

Longeing

As I mentioned in my previous post, Finnegan is not good on the long line. He tends to quickly back up in circles or flip out. This past summer I got him going well, but then this fall he fell back into his old ways and would randomly stop and back up in circles. I could not get him going again, despite everything I tried. Those sessions would usually ended with him standing in the middle of the ring looking smug and me banging my head on the round pen fence.

I know Finnegan responds best to consistency and lots of attention. So my long-term goal with him is to be patient and keep trying. The key will be to stop on a good note, even if he’s only been doing one small good thing for 10 seconds. He loves praise and I think I need to be more free with it. Now I just have to get over my frustration and approach our longeing sessions with an open mind and the drive to succeed in any possible way.

Timbre is much better on the long line, i.e. she will actually go in a circle, respond to voice commands, and listen. Because of her foot injury, I want to ease her in to longeing since it can be hard on her legs.

Ring Riding

I don’t have a riding ring, nor do I have a trailer to take the horses to public riding ring. We live on a very hilly piece of property so schooling the horses is often very difficult. Luckily, my neighbors have a riding ring that they let me use. It is a bit of a hassle to get over there, but I am so grateful they let me school my horses in their ring because it has been a life saver a number of times. When my horses haven’t been worked in a while, they get pretty wild and mischievous (like many horses).

1381305_10201039198442017_2083886851_nT and I will be working with Fin and Tim in the ring a lot, not only to work on their behavior, but also to improve our skills and their fitness. I can’t wait to actually canter with them in a controlled fashion within the ring. Maybe by next fall we will be schooling over small jumps – but that could be wishful thinking.

Trail Riding

Finnegan is surprisingly well behaved on the trail. He tends to act up more in a ring (I guess he knows he has to work more in the ring). But he will sometimes startle at a deer running past or a dog running up behind him. He is also very tense when he is out alone, so it will be a while before I trail ride Finegan alone. He will need a lot of consistent riding before we get to that point.

Timbre, on the other hand, is the opposite of a cool cucumber. She tends to get herself worked up once we pass a certain point on the trail. She feels like a ticking bomb ready to explode at any time – certainly not material for a peaceful ride. She tries to wheel around and rush home. I do a lot of circling with her and we are slowly working our way further and further along the trail. The key is to refocus her energy and make her work a little so she can’t focus as much on her nervousness. Before a riding accident a year and a half ago, she was going really well on the trail. But now I feel like I am starting over again. At least I know she can be calm, which gives me something to work slowly toward.

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The key for all these goals will be for me to find the time and the will to confront these problems. Like I said in past posts, my confidence is not what it used to be, so while my horses take baby steps in their training, I will be taking baby steps in building my confidence. This is why I started these weekly posts – to create small weekly goals to work toward.

When I return from vacation, I will dive headfirst into working with Fin and Tim and writing weekly goals and updates.

Fitness Friday

Well this week was certainly more successful than last week! For once, I actually stuck to my schedule.

Saturday: Went for a run outside (it was in the 50s!) with Molly. I didn’t track my distance but I’d say it was about a mile or so. My knee start to twinge toward the end so I walked the last stretch.

Sunday: T, Molly, and I went for a run outside again along the same route (kinda) that I did the day before. It was such a nice weekend for running!

Monday: 1.5 miles in 17:26

Tuesday: Yoga night. I did Armilicious again because I didn’t have time to go in search of new videos.

Wednesday: Ran a mile in 11:01. My gym at work offers free classes with membership, so I went to a 15-minute On the Ball core conditioning class. I used to go regularly, but then turned my attention to running and stopped going. Boy do I regret that decision! The class kicked my butt! Planks are my arch nemesis – they never seem to get easier. Guess I should do them more…

Thursday: 2 miles in 24:21. Not as fast as I’ve gone before, but finishing it is enough for me right now.

Friday: 1.5 miles in 18:17. The rest of the week caught up to me today and I am so sore. I did a long walking warm up and took walking breaks (hence my slow time).

Next Week’s Goals

Saturday/Sunday: It seems we are going through another cold spell this weekend and my body definitely needs a break so I’ll probably do some yoga and perhaps a long walk. If it does happen to warm up one day, you’ll find me on the back of my horse.

Monday: 1.5 miles

Tuesday: 1.75 miles

Wednesday: 1.25 miles and core conditioning class (hopefully I have time! I’ll be attending a training Wednesday – Friday and don’t know how long we’ll get for lunch)

Thursday: Yoga night!

Friday: 2 miles

I just can’t seem to focus enough to run through 1 mile. I always get bored, start focusing on my aches and pains, and decide to take a quick walking break. I can’t get in some sort of “zone.” I’ve tried watching Netflix shows on my phone but still find my mind wondering. Does anyone have any advice?

Revisiting my Goals

Well there is no point in making goals if you don’t revisit them and update their progress, right?

1) Donate my hair: It’s still growing. No surprise there. I probably should get it trimmed soon, but that is so expensive!

2) Keep on running: Yes! I’ve been doing this as much as possible. I started my Fitness Fridays posts so that I could track my progress (and have something to hold me accountable). I’m running 2 miles more consistently and hope to sign up for a 5K at the end of May. T and I were going to sign up for the 10K across the Bay Bridge next November, but then I discovered I will be out of town for a business trip. So we’ll find another fun race to do – thoughts? We’re located in the Mid-Atlantic and can’t afford to travel far.

3) Move out of my childhood home: Still working on this one! We are trying to figure out our finances first (T needs a new job and I am dealing with some new expenses with Molly – allergies…)

4) Go outside and walk: I need to get better at doing this because it is so refreshing. Unfortunately the freezing temperatures have not been very motivating. Spring is coming though!

5) Ride as much as possible: See the above about those freezing temperatures. T and I did fit in two rides the other weekend. I am going to sign up for another quarter of riding lessons in the spring. My mare has been lame since July and is finally starting to feel better. She felt a bit off when I last rode her but I think it may be more from stiffness than her lameness. We will be doing lots of walking, trotting, and hill work!

6) Start volunteering: I will start this before the end of the year! I am determined to find time somehow.

7) Write: I’ve been working on a story in a brainstorming notebook. It’s been hard to find time to sit down and write, so I really should build it in to my schedule.

8) Embrace patience: I actually feel like I am getting better with this. I will forever be a bit impatient I think, but I feel more zen about things these days. I need to continue to find moments to reflect, de-stress, and sit quietly. Those moments center me.

9) Knit a sweater: I finished the front and am a couple inches into the first sleeve. I have absolutely no idea how to put it all together. By the time I finish the sleeves, my grandmother (i.e. knitting mentor) will be home to guide me (I hope!). I can’t wait to share photos of the final product. I am restraining myself from starting any other knitting projects until this one is done.

10) Develop my photography skills: I have been switching my camera to manual mode more and more these days. It’s been a challenge, but I am enjoying the experiments. Now I just need to sit down and read some of the photography books in my library.

11) Dance again: I don’t know when this one will happen, but I haven’t forgotten about it! Still hoping to sign up for a dance class some time this year.

12) Dog training: Molly and I are currently taking a Intro to Nosework class! It’s been very fun taking the subtle steps to teach her to seek things (food) out with her nose. She loves it and it’s such a good mental and physical exercise for her.

13) Read 150 books in 2014: I am currently on book number 27. T and I have a vacation coming up so I hope to get even more books read then!

14) Blog!: I have a couple of posts lined up to publish in the coming weeks. I’ve been thinking about how to focus this blog, but I really don’t know how to because I am interested in so many different things!

*15) Paint: Creativity runs in my family – my father is a musician, my mother a fiber artist, my sister an art major, my aunt a professional artist, my uncle a musician and carpenter, my grandmother a quilter/knitter/crocheter. While I am knitting and exploring photography, I would like to start painting again. I painted a blue crab for T as a surprise present and rediscovered how much painting relaxes me.

Fitness Friday

Saturday: Beautiful day! Went for a quick trail ride in the mud.

Sunday: Due to the mud, we rode some in my neighbors ring. We discovered that all four of us (T, the horses, and I) are pretty out of shape. I sense a lot more trotting in our future.

Monday: Supposed to run 1.5 miles and row for 5 minutes, but the rowing machine was occupied by the time I finish 1.5 miles so I stayed on the treadmill and ran 2 miles.

  • 1 mile: 10:47
  • 1.5 miles: 16:04
  • 2 miles: 22:02.

That’s a record for me!

Tuesday: Supposed to do yoga – got distracted and totally forgot until 11 pm! Oops.

Wednesday: The day started pretty crazily when I discovered everything was coated in ice. I went in to work late and managed to squeeze a quick 1.25 mile run in.

Thursday: A friend asked if I wanted to meet for lunch, so obviously I chose to see her over going to the gym.

Friday: Today was a lot busier than normal but I managed to fit a one miler (10:46) at the end of the day. Not my scheduled 2 miles but better than nothing!

So clearly I did not stick to my workout plan this week. For a while, I felt pretty stressed about this. But then I realized that I did not skip the gym because I was lazy, but rather because life got in the way. I feel good about what I did accomplish (2 miles in 22:02!!). But having a plan does help! So without further ado:

Monday: 1.5 miles. 5 minutes rowing (let’s try this again)

Tuesday: Yoga night! (Will be perfect after my 7 am meeting that morning)

Wednesday: Squeeze 1.5 miles in before another big meeting

Thursday: 2 miler

Friday: Rest day! (We’re going skiing next weekend. I need to save my legs since I haven’t been in a good seven years)

Keep an eye out for my first DIY post next week!

Fitness Friday

新年快樂 !

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! May the Year of the Horse bring you much prosperity and happiness.

Saturday: It was brutally cold and windy so T and I nixed a run. Instead we did a little core work out. By little, I mean very little. He did 20 push ups while I held a plank and then we did 30 situps. We repeated that again once and then we watched a movie in our pjs.

Sunday: I forced us outside to run around noon. It was in the high twenties all day and the sun was shining (better than the cloudy single digits we had last week). We ran to the end of T’s road and back (about a mile total). The road was icy, slushy, and muddy. I brought Molly along which was a terrible idea because she was covered in muddy icicles by the time I collapsed on T’s front stoop. Man it is so hard to run in the cold. I am pretty sure I did more walking than running. I decided not to time this run because I knew it would make me depressed.

Monday: I didn’t get to the gym at lunch time, so when I got home I unburied my yoga mat and did “Armilicious” for 20 minutes. I liked the workout (and realized how much I need to work on) so I will probably do this one again sometime.

(Molly thought I should cuddle with her instead of doing yoga.)

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Tuesday: Ran 1.5 miles in 18:28 with walking breaks (yes I am still so slow) and rowed for 5 minutes.

Wednesday: I didn’t go to the gym at lunch again on Wednesday either. Instead I went to Home Depot to pick up some supplies for a DIY project T and I will be doing this weekend – I will be sharing details here sometime next week!

I did two more yoga videos: Level 2 Yoga/Pilates Fusion: A Core/Hip Quickie and Yoga Therapy for the Hands, Wrists and Forearms. I didn’t like the second one as much, but that might of been because I didn’t have the focus for it at the time. I do think it was really beneficial especially since I type at a computer all day.

Thursday: Ran a mile in less than 11 minutes!!!! Quite the feat for me. Then I rowed for 8 minutes, which was the longest I’ve done yet. My arms definitely started to burn toward the end but it was a good way to top off a quick lunchtime workout.

Friday: I was so close to not running today, so close. But I dragged my funk to the gym and worked it off by running my first mile in 11:15. I kept going to finish 2 miles at 24:00 (there were definitely some walking breaks in there).

Goals

Saturday/Sunday: It’s supposed to be “warm” this weekend so I’m hoping to get a ride in on both days. It’ll probably just be a small trail ride, but that’s better than nothing. The horses sure could use the work. Maybe T and I will take a quick run to the river and back (about a mile with hills) – we shall see how muddy it is.

Monday: 1.5 miles, 5 minutes rowing

Tuesday: Yoga night! Maybe a quick mile during lunch?

Wednesday: 15-minute core class or 25 minutes of biking

Thursday: 1.5 miles, 5 minutes rowing

Friday: 2 miles!!

I’m trying to build my way back to (and beyond) where I was in November when I ran a 5K, but the treadmill is just so boring… But whenever I feel annoyed with it, I remind myself that I am very lucky to even have access to a gym during this cold weather.

Does anyone have any free online yoga routines they recommend?