Monday, September 28, 2009

Job News

3 months ago Paul was head hunted by a competitor of his current employer. After numerous interviews and negotiations we had written off the whole idea because the numbers just didn't make sense. Last week the company came back with a better offer so Paul has decided to take it.

Unlike many industries, you cannot give 2 weeks notice. When you decide to change employers you are terminated the day you give your resignation. Today is the day that he hands in that letter and he starts his new position tomorrow.

We are very excited but also a little apprehensive. The position has the means to put us in a much better financial position but there is no safety net, it's straight commission which is something we've never done before. If he didn't know the industry or hadn't been doing the same type of job for the last 3 years I don't think we would have even considered it. But he has had a very tough year with his current employer and was going to be losing his biggest accounts as of the first of next year. He had been looking for second job for a few months so we would be in a better position when that happened and wasn't having any luck. The new position will allow him to have only one job and I can continue to stay home! We prayed about it and made the decision to go forward, we have faith that God will provide so we are trying not to stress.

School time

This is one of those hurray for homeschooling posts!

I actually buckled down and started school 2 weeks ago. I ordered the few books that we needed, high school stuff is expensive, and it arrived last week. I haven't had time to plan out our year yet but we had a number of things that I wanted to finish up before we started anything new.

Lorna is out riding this morning so I figure that she's doing PE and getting some socialization at the same time since she's working with the endurance trainer :) As I talked to a few of the girls that ride in our gymkhana club over the last few weeks I was saddened by how rarely they get to ride. They have to get up for school around 6am and they don't get home till after 3pm. They also have tons of homework so there really isn't any time for them to ride during the week. Even their weekends are spent catching up on homework and other things that just don't get done during the week. They don't have time for much of anything. That is in contrast to Lorna who rides every day (she usually has time to ride more than one horse), she gets to volunteer at the vet once a week, and she gets to go out to work with the endurance trainer once a week. She's having absolutely no problem keeping up with school, still has time to read for fun, participate in Sweet Adeline's, and has started sewing a crazy quilt. Oh, she also gets paid to ride someone else's horse once a week since it needs more exercise then they have time to give it. Sure there are some days that are busier than others but we have the flexibility to rearrange things if need be.

I'm not saying that homeschooling is perfect because it does have its drawbacks. With a little effort to find opportunities to supplement what I do at home with the kids, I think they are getting a well-rounded education with lots of free-time to explore their own interests.

Friday, September 25, 2009

September Gymkhana

Our first show of the season was last Saturday and it well for our kids. Paul has been voted on to the board for the club and volunteered to help get the arena ready ahead of time, this along with the fact that I help run the booth where we take money and record times on show days, means we are starting to see some of the things that go on behind the scenes which isn't so fun. We are trying really hard not to let this affect our attitudes...

Malachi and Amigo have worked together most of the summer which was evident! Their times are still improving and the patterns were very clean for the most part. One of the things that Malachi learned this show was that when you are going faster and you need to stop in a certain area you need to let the horse know earlier. He blew through the back of the chalk keyhole because of this. Other than that they did great!

Lorna rode both of her horses. Lorna worked really hard with Sierra all summer and I could see a major difference. They seemed more comfortable with one another and the patterns went really well. Lorna is extremely hard on herself though so she is not thrilled with their times even though they improved most of them. They received high points in their division because they were consistent. Lorna's going to work on letting Sierra go a little more so they can get a bit more speed but stay controlled.

Lorna's new horse, Studmuffin, did remarkably well considering he had never done any of these pattern before and had never been in an arena to our knowledge. He listened well to what Lorna wanted and by the end was starting to anticipate what Lorna was going to ask of him. One thing Lorna has found is that he works better with spurs. She's able to get him to turn obstacles with very little pressure and the turns are better. Spurs aren't really used to kick the horse with, generally you use them to put pressure either with your right or left leg. When you use your right leg the horse understands you want to go to the left. Some people may use them to kick their horse hard but any tool can be abused. Lorna doesn't need them when she's out trail riding Studmuffin but will be using them for gymkhana so she doesn't have to pull on the reins and bit so much.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Horse Events

I've held off posting about Lorna's adventure with the Jr Queen competition because of all the emotions involved.

Short story is, she didn't win. She is glad that she tried it but it isn't something she wants to ever go through again. She put a tremendous amount of time and energy into practicing and getting sponsors (although we drove her to the businesses it was her responsibility to do all the asking) and the day itself was really long. She took this very, very seriously and most of the other girls didn't so it was frustrating to watch her lose. I can't even say that she really enjoyed the day itself because of the way everything was handled. We are very proud of the way she handled herself throughout that day though. She was a very good sport and made sure to fulfill all the duties asked of her even though she knew she had lost long before the winner was announced. I can't say the same for most of the other girls. I am very glad the whole thing is over and we won't have to be hauling a horse out that direction every week.

That said Malachi had a very good evening at our gymkhana awards banquet tonight. He and Amigo placed 4th overall in the club!

He also received awards for 3 events, attendance, and participation.
Lorna and Sierra received awards for attendance, participation and one event.

In other horse news Lorna bought a new horse a few weeks ago.

She really wanted a horse that could be ridden everyday and one that she didn't have to be careful with since it is so young. The new horse is exactly that. Lorna is still riding Sierra 4-5 times a week and working on a number of tricks but she isn't pushing her very hard because she is only 3.

The new horse's registered name is Shaka Zulu Spirit (not our choice). We've been calling him Studmuffin because he was a stallion when we got him. We had him gelded 2 weeks ago and he has healed up nicely. He has a tremendous amount of energy and is really quick to learn. When Lorna first got him he would walk, trot, and stop. Now she has him loping, backing without any resistance, and side-passing in both directions. He's been ridden out with Amigo all over the neighborhood and they get along pretty well. Because they are of similar size they keep up with one another most of the time. Once he has some more weight and muscle on him he is going to make Lorna a really great endurance horse. We will find out pretty soon whether he enjoys gymkhana or not :)

Lorna's internship at the horse trainer's place has come to an end. Not through any fault of her own, the trainer just doesn't seem to have the time or inclination any longer. Although Lorna is a bit disappointed she has another opportunity that has kind of taken it's place. She's been training with another woman for an upcoming endurance ride. It's been a wonderful experience and she is learning a tremendous amount. I love it when Wednesdays come around because Lorna always comes home with a very large smile on her face. This has given her an opportunity to see a very different style of training and riding. This has led Lorna to alter a few things in what she's been doing with Sierra and she has seen some wonderful results!

Lorna continues to volunteer at the vet 1 day a week. The summer has been very slow so she hasn't had a tremendous amount to do there, we are hoping things pick up soon.

That's pretty much all the horse news. The new gymkhana season starts next Saturday so I'm sure I'll have more to post about then.