Yesterday, I left work two hours early to head to the barn to help out with a work day. I had intended to leave much earlier, but that didn’t work out. I still put in about four hours of work straightening fenceposts, tamping down new gravel around fenceposts, restringing fence line, and generally hauling heavy stuff where and when asked. We had dinner at the trainer’s house afterwards. It was good hard work and a nice way to meet more people at the barn. I am often the last person riding in the evening and have really only met a small fraction of the other boarders and riders.
Said work took us right up until dark, and then we went for dinner, so I did not ride. Ugh. Tonight I’m meant to go to New Hampshire after work but I am putting my foot down and riding first. (Words cannot express my deep desire to simply stay home and ride my horse and maybe possibly relax for a few minutes, but the boyfriend’s family expects me in New Hampshire, so off I go.)
Tristan’s back feet have been chewed up quite a bit more, and I can’t figure out what’s going on. I talked for a while with one of the barn workers who raised the specter of white line problems. Greeeeeat. He is not sore, off, tender, you name it, but his feet don’t look good. Talked to farrier last night, who was going to take a look today, and stocked up on vinegar with which to apply White Lightning regularly for a while – can’t hurt. (And here I’d been kicking myself for buying that bottle back when his front feet were recovering from being in the boots – seems I was just stocking up for the inevitable.)
My life right now can be summed up by the first 15 minutes of my barn shift today: barn manager hurt her back and is immobile, other helper did not show up, and then a horse and I had a disagreement about his fly sheet. I was standing in precisely the wrong spot and he swung his head into mine with enough speed and force that I saw stars.
I finished putting the sheet on him, staggered outside, hunched over, and spat many, many mouthfuls of blood into the grass.
The good news, 5 hours later, is that we got help with stalls, and the spikes of pain in my skull are a dull ache. Also, no loose teeth, and I have a really spectacularly impressive fat lip with swelling up to my nose. So at least I have proof? I tried to take a picture but none of them really came out.
On the one hand: I helped out with chores again today, and there were only two of us, and it was a completely packed and busy six hours. I was too tired to ride and came home and have been mostly flopped on the couch re-reading Pride and Prejudice.
On the other hand:
– all those calories burned!
– I have my first 30 minute lesson on Tuesday! I am incredibly excited to get back on track. It will be almost 11 months to the day since my last lesson on Tris.
– last night, we cantered all the way around the ring, once on each lead. I could’ve kept going forever.
In state of the foot news, farrier will trim him in the next few days, cutting off the plastic shoes with clippers, dremeling out the epoxy, and then we’ll see what’s left. He could go back in another round of glue-ons, back to regular shoes, or back to barefoot. It depends on how much foot is left after the trim and what quality it is. Here are pictures from this morning.
I did my first full set of barn chores this morning, something I haven’t done in…five years? Maybe a little bit longer? Whew. Turnout, stalls, water, sweeping, bringing back in, topping off water. A little over 4 hours, which puts some time in the bank for lessons when Tris is ready. I watched lessons while eating a granola bar, including a faaaaaaancy Andalusian gelding working on his trot, and then took Tris for a road hack that would’ve been longer had the bugs not discovered us halfway through.
Since I last swapped barn work for lessons, I’ve divested of some of my barn work gear. In particular, the rubber muck boots I used to use are long gone; they were $10 boots from Walmart to begin with and they leaked constantly, so I chucked them a few moves ago. I have no idea what happened to my work gloves. My raggedy jeans have too many holes even for the barn. I did chores this morning in my riding gloves (I use the leather palm/crochet back kind) and Ariat Terrains and a new pair of jeans that I’ve retired from daily wear to barn wear. Only the jeans worked out. The Terrains, much beloved as they are, are not built for chores and my feet were swampy and swollen and aching by the end of the day. The riding gloves did reasonably well but the way the stitching was done my fingernails kept bumping the tips of the fingers and now my fingertips hurt quite a bit. (*world’s smallest violin*)
That puts me in the market for some new stuff. I stopped by Tractor Supply on my way home, hoping to pick something up since I’ll be working again tomorrow morning and since I had a 10% off coupon. I tried on all the boots I could put my hands on and every.single.pair. was too big for me. I do not have small feet! I wear an 8 or 9! And yet, everything was women’s size 10 plus. WTF, people. Ditto again on the gloves: all the kinds I liked were floppy and too long on my hands. (Admittedly, I have short stubby fingers and small hands, so that is not unusual.)
I struck out again at Agway in the boot department – though they had some, none worked for my feet and if I am going to spend actual money on these and do hours of chores in them I want them to be comfortable, not barely adequate. I did much better with gloves, picking up a pair of sturdy but kind of cute teal/beige gloves that will suit nicely, for under $10.
So: any suggestions for good chore boots? I may go back by Tractor Supply and find a salesperson tomorrow afternoon – everyone was jumping around busy on this summer Sunday and I wanted to get home – or I may widen my radius a little bit and try a few other hardware stores; there must be a few more farm supply places around that I just haven’t found yet.