A Taste of Summer

I have no real excuse for completely missing out on posting anything last week. But don’t fret, Eli and Conrad are doing fine! Last week was just weird all around with unseasonably cold and wet weather and oh yeah, the whole pandemic thing is really altering our collective reality, huh? I never thought I would be so invested in making fashionable face-coverings decisions. Anyway. Eli got his vaccinations and some bone juice, and it is FINALLY warm enough to satisfy his delicate constitution.

he of many faces

I had a very enjoyable ride on him on Sunday. I don’t usually ride on Mondays, but I think I will today because it’s warm and rain is in the forecast again starting on Wednesday.

I do kind of like orange with dark green …

State and local governments here are considering a gradual return to business as usual. I am not sure how I feel about that. Although my own lifestyle has not changed much, I do recognize there are people out there who really would like to get back to work and I can’t blame them. I have been so very lucky to have access to my horse. I know not everyone has that luxury right now (on top of the luxury of paying for a horse) and I am not sure how well I would be doing mentally if I couldn’t get in some daily pony time.

I wouldn’t necessarily need the saddle time, just interaction with Eli usually brightens my mood. Even if he is being a grump. That’s like half his charm! Riding is my only exercise, though, so getting in the saddle is a benefit. And even if all we are doing is walking and trotting and strolling around in the wildflowers, I still like to wear bright colors to improve my mood. I do miss having my black DeNiros in the rotation because a snap need replacing. As far as I know, the shoe repair shops around here are still open, but I have been hesitant to go to even the essential businesses. Again, I am lucky to have such a choice.

I REALLY need to shampoo his mane

I did something over the weekend that had more of a benefit that I thought it would — I avoided national news. That significantly improved my outlook, even if only temporarily! I suggest everyone try it, if possible, even if only for a day or two.

 

Happy Birthday, Eli!

Okay, so, Eli’s birthday is on April 6. Makes this post a little late, but what is Time-the-Illusory-Construct in these days of WFH, grocery delivery, and endless streaming of morally questionable content?

He earned a thorough grooming earlier this week:

He is not a fan of shedding blades, but I had no choice.

 

Sooooo innocent-looking …

I did spend almost an hour grooming him. Shedding blade, soft curry, “stiff” (still not that stiff for Mr. Sensitive) brush, soft brush … hoof pick & brush, tail goop, tail brush … He still wasn’t completely clean but I did discover that is coat is, in fact, still bay, and even a bit dapple-y.

He knows which direction the treats come from … he’s literally staring at my tack trunk. I think I probably slapped some hoof goop on him, too, just after this.

So for his birthday, Eli got cleaned up a little and lots of cookies. He is SEVENTEEN going on toddler.

Scaling Back but Feeling Full

Nothing like a pandemic to make me thankful for what I have, and to show me just how much of my life falls into the privileged sphere. I am one of the lucky few whose routine has barely changed, and what has changed so far has been mostly for the better.

I still get to work! This alone is immense, as many millions of people will end up unemployed as a result of the pandemic, if they are not already. Just like some people may not survive COVID-19, I fear that many people may never recover economically from this crazy situation. But addressing the pandemic is much more important than addressing the economy in the immediate future, as difficult as that may be for many, many people.

Conrad gets a few more walks. I don’t think he minds. He’s not too happy at me about working from home and not paying more attention to him because I am at home. But my home office area has a couch he can nap on. He’ll figure it out eventually.

I am still able to go to the barn to see Eli. I know barn access varies from state to state right now and many people are relying on barn employees for all of their horses’ care. Lesson programs in my area have been suspended at many barns, but some barns are still allowing access to boarders.

So what am I scaling back? Driving — my commute either involves a drive in to work three days a week with little traffic, or a really short walk over to my desk at home. Running everyday errands — I am avoiding this if possible. I have a bracelet that needs fixing at a jeweler and a snap on a tall boot that needs replacing, for instance, that I’d take to a shoe repair place. But this kind of thing is on hold indefinitely. Riding Eli — Eli can be a bit spooky, as we all know. I am limiting his under saddle time to just a few rides a week when the weather permits it and keeping the rides at a walk or trot. I am going for low impact and minimizing risk. I do consider his exercise as essential pet care and it’s also my outdoor, socially-distanced exercise anyway, so I do not really feel like I am skirting any stay-at-home orders in my area with this. I understand that MANY people may disagree with my interpretation of the local stay-at-home orders. However, I am at the barn at times when few other boarders are there, and I am only touching Eli’s stuff, so I am minimizing risk in that way, too. Eating out — oh how I miss Mexican restaurants. I am not on a budget that allows constant take-out, as much as I would like to do that to support the restaurants around here that I like to go to. This does seem to have the benefit of cleaning up my waistline a bit, at least. Visiting friends — I don’t visit very many people, and now I am hardly seeing friends in person at all. I am not going to rule it out completely because when I do visit friends, it’s usually one person in a private residence and it’s to watch streaming stuff, drink wine, and catch up.

I find myself asking daily the question, “Is this really necessary?” A lot of the time, whatever it may be, it is not really necessary.

And here’s my last little editorial thought for the day: Even if inadvertently, COVID-19 is showing us a path to mitigating climate change. We are quite obviously capable of making many of these changes for the long-term, if there is even much of a long-term to look forward to.

That being said, I CANNOT WAIT for all the restaurants and bars to reopen! When that happens, maybe we could all consider tipping at 30%-50% for a month or so if we can swing it. I also want to go to ALL THE MUSEUMS and donate $$$ to their programs and collections. I miss having a Manhattan at Lamberts. I miss the Austin Opera. I miss meeting up with somebody for lunch downtown on a weekday. I MISS QUESO. But we could all stand to drive or fly a little less after all this craziness subsides, right?

Another Great $20 Shirt

Eli doesn’t care what I wear

You may have noticed that I really like mesh. I like a motif on this blog and on my instagram. I also like long sleeve shirts that protect me from the sun but are made of stretchy, athletic material that encourages evaporation. So this means I like the Tailored Sportsman sunshirts, Asmar shirts, and some of Kastel’s shirts (although not so much lately). But what do these shirts all have in common? At $65, the Tailored Sportsman shirts are the least expensive out of those. My plastic says “ouch.” I could use a less expensive alternative, couldn’t you?

Enter Amazon late-night shopping on my phone. Talk about a habit I need to break … but every once in a while something good comes of it. And hey, right now? Amazon is open for business. At least today, ha. While browsing through athletic tops for women that don’t break the bank, are made well, and fit normally, Amazon suggested an Aurique shirt (an Amazon brand) with a fishnet-type mesh at the upper chest and forearms. And it has thumb holes! And the arms are long enough for me to actually use the thumb holes!

i loff thumb holes

The top is surprisingly well-made for the price I paid — it was one of those “Today’s Deals” deals and I paid around $14, but they seem to go for about $22 when not on sale. The lower hem is sturdy and looks good not tucked in, but isn’t too thick to tuck in, either. So I can wear this top with breeches or Botoris. The fabric is an athletic mid-weight — probably best for spring and fall in Texas. I think it might be too heavy for summers here, but might be okay for summers up north.

It comes in black … and no other colors. I’d love it if it came in other colors, like a fir green or a pale pink. Maybe dove grey and deep indigo, too? K, thanks, Amazon.

 

 

Sunset Rides are Back!

This little dog is determined to be Eli’s friend.

Although I haven’t got a picture of a sunset yet!

With the time change comes more light after work. The best part about DST is that I get to ride Eli right around sunset during the summer. As long as the light doesn’t get too low — twilight makes Eli a little more anxious than usual, even though he has zero evidence of lions existing in Texas. Okay, well, I guess there are mountain lions. But not really around the farm where I board Eli. And the coyotes don’t start howling until after sunset. So he has no excuse.

Well if it’s cloudy, how am I supposed to see the sunset!

Eli continues to do well without the front pads. The footing was downright exquisite on Sunday afternoon, and Eli felt great. I skipped riding Monday because that’s what I usually do and it was drizzling, which Eli hates.

*exquisite*

Eli’s dental appointment is scheduled for next Wednesday — I have that whole week off work. I planned to take that week well in advance, in order to avoid corporate SXSW crowds downtown … now I’ll just avoid downtown and unofficial/alt SXSW crowds.

Doomsday Prep Strategy Number One

Doomsday Prep Strategy Number Two

I am not sure COVID-19 warrants all the cancellations, but nobody wants to be the guy that said, “It’ll be fine” right before everyone gets sick. I certainly braved some crowds for cake …

It was really good cake. Really, really good.

Who knew a cafĂ© in Bastrop would be so hoppin’?

I do enjoy seeing pretty sunsets from the back of a horse! Y’all might be sick of between-the-ears sunset shots by August …

Is Winter Over Yet?

Ready to take Eli’s clothes home and have them cleaned.

I can’t say I am looking forward to 105F. But I am looking forward to warmer temperatures in the evenings. This would mean more riding for me and Eli.

Maybe we’ll get to ride on an actual week day?

I have some tentative good news — after two weeks of rest for his RH, Eli seems to be sound and quite willing to work. Not only that, but the farrier removed his heel pads up front. His soles look good, he has a little more heel, and he doesn’t seem to be foot sore. I hope this holds up.

NO PADS WOO!

Of course, we are expecting storms and a lot of rain in this area Tuesday night into Wednesday, so this evening might be the last chance to ride for a few days.

It’s almost bath time weather.

The next thing on the horizon for Eli is a dental appointment — just his regular float, but also to check on the chipped tooth, which does not seem to be bothering him. Hopefully, he will get to keep it!

 

Weekend Rides Like Spring

tongue out every day

In contrast to the cold rain of today, this past weekend was spring-like, warm, just sunny enough … for sure the kind of weather that Eli likes to work in. Okay, Saturday was on the chilly and misty side, and Eli was a bit of a goob for it, but on Sunday and then again on Monday our rides were quite pleasant.

sorry about the smear on the lens

I did notice on Tuesday evening that he had a little bit of swelling around the fetlock of his right hind. This … is not good. Although I can’t feel any heat in it. Perhaps the rainy weather forcing time off work for Eli is a good thing? I’m keeping an eye on it, wondering if another ultrasound might be a good idea. Or maybe I’ll just give him a few weeks off and ice the fetlock daily and see if the swelling resolves.

forever working/failing on lifting the poll

Eli was going to get shoes on Tuesday, but that got postponed until tomorrow. And again, with how rainy it is, it doesn’t really matter. His feet seem to be in really good shape. I wonder if I can credit that to the alfalfa, too?

From tshirt weather on Sunday to puffy coat weather today

Eli also got some new fluffy Eskadron fetlock boots. I should probably clear out my fetlock boot collection next and sell some of the ones that Eli rooster-walk-hates! I am keeping all the Eskadron ones, though.

 

Alfalfa Over Everything

I don’t think it’s all that unusual to have a picky-eater OTTB. But Eli is really taking it next-level. I changed his diet a while back because he went on a little grain hunger-strike AGAIN. So he’s been getting a flake of alfalfa with his morning and evening meals (sorry, wallet). He still gets a small amount of senior feed and the regular amount of hay, regular meaning what comes with board — 2 flakes in the morning, two flakes at night.

Well. Guess who eats most of his alfalfa BEFORE touching his senior feed.

To the best of my knowledge, Eli has never had to compete for food and is extremely polite during feeding times. So in some ways, it’s not surprising he has the luxury of being picky, and is a slow eater in general. But not eating grain first? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. … Definitely not with my other 3 horses over the years.

Eli just REALLY loves alfalfa, I guess. He does eat his grain … eventually.

Now, I am sure we have all heard anecdotes of alfalfa making a horse cuckoo bananas, but I have not noticed that at all in Eli. (Rice bran DID have that effect on him.) Honestly, he looks to be in the best weight of his life, and in some ways he seems calmer, almost. I have only been riding sporadically, and even without getting on for a week, Eli comes out ready to work (and play a little) without much nonsense. Unless it’s cold, then forget it. I think that has to do with Eli hating cold weather and not so much with diet.

It was like 80F on Sunday and Monday. Eli likes it!

Of course, it’s about to be cold and rainy for the rest of this week, so I know the earliest I might get to ride would be Saturday. Hopefully it won’t rain too much and the turnouts will stay usable.

I honestly wish I had discovered years ago that alfalfa seems to be a good choice for playing a major role in Eli’s diet!