Happy Weekend, friends!
I’ve been so busy working to make my car down payment and afford the crazy taxes that I’ve barely peeked out from behind my laptop in the last couple of weeks. That said, I do have some exciting news and a few other favorites to share!
1. I have a job doing trail rides again!
Back in February when I found out the place I worked last year wouldn’t be re-opening, I Facebook messaged another local trail ride barn to see if they were hiring for the upcoming season. No luck, but while I was working on my laptop at the coffee shop last Wednesday, I got a new reply from them asking if I was still interested in a job.
This is my new friend Winston!
Pretty sure you can guess what my answer was. They had me come out Thursday to do a ride so they could see that I was competent and I could see if I wanted to work there. So far I like it a lot. They have a great setup, good horses, the trail is mostly shady (a life saver in the summer heat!) and they only do one hour rides. I got used to doing two or three 2-hour rides in a row at my old place, which is exhausting. We’ll see how much I love it in a couple of months when I’m saddling horses in 100+ heat index temps, but for now I’m so, so happy to get paid to ride again!
I went in for my first day last Saturday. Getting there at 8 a.m. is rough for a night person, but it’s only about 15 minutes away from my house, as opposed to the 45-minute drive I had to the old one. I’m pretty comfortable with the basics of the job, but I do have a LOT to learn in terms of learning the trails and getting to know the horses’ personalities and where everything is. The other guide that I was working with asked if I felt like I could take our second group of the day out by myself and I was obviously like “LOLZ not if you ever want to see them again!” Definitely need some practice leading when I can have someone experienced in the back pointing me in the right direction.
I worked with an awesome horse named Bailey that day, and I LOVE HIM. He’s a little grumpy, but as a guide horse he is a DREAM. When you’re riding in the back, you often have to move up and down the line of riders to help people whose horses decide to stop for a snack or give some quick instruction. Even though he didn’t really know me, Bailey was instantly like “Ok, I don’t know who you are but clearly you’re in charge now so cool, let’s go.” and he instantly went wherever I asked, at the speed I asked for, without question. GIVE ME ALL OF THE BAILEYS PLEASE. I’m excited to try out pretty much all of the horses, but I may have already found my new buddy.
Bailey is the paint in the foreground. That’s Egor in the back – he’s apparently top dog in the herd hierarchy, and I kinda love him.
And yes, this seems like an odd photo because the horses are also used in the outdoor play that’s been going since the 1960s. That means they get to hear gunfire and run past a burning cabin and all kinds of things that would usually freak horses out. They’re good dogs, Brent.
One amusing story from my first day – there were storms predicted for that afternoon, so we were unsure pretty much all day on if we’d actually do our last scheduled ride of the day. Eventually we officially called it off, and about that time the show for that evening also got canceled because of the weather. (It was supposed to be opening night. Bummer!) We took the horses back to the barn, which requires two trips that take about 15 minutes each (Remind me to fill you in on THAT sometime. It’s a crazy process.). Our livestock manager was on hand to help us untack everyone, which was awesome because a) saddles are heavy, y’all, and b) untacking 12-14 horses takes a while. Saddles off and put away, horses put away, and a quick chat with some fellow employees and I was back in my car and heading up out of the homestead. As I was about to leave one of them pointed to the super dark clouds in the distance, which made me really glad we had canceled.
It’s like a 2-3 minute drive from the barn back to the highway when you don’t have horses with you. As soon as I made it to the intersection, a few drops began to fall. The SECOND I pulled back onto the highway… WHOOOSH! Within a minute or two, you could see waves of water blowing horizontally across the road. People were pulling over to park on the shoulder with hazard lights on because it was so intense. (My new car was AWESOME AND I LOVE IT. I never felt safe in my old car in bad weather.)
Not kidding, y’all – if we had waited just a few minutes longer to take the horses down, I would have been stuck sitting on the back of a pickup holding 5 horses while being pelted with intense rain. Could not have been luckier unless I’d magically made it home before the rain started! Quite the end to my first day!
2. My old riding boots have been literally falling apart since last fall, so I was in desperate need of new ones. The problem is that actual nice boots are $$$$$, and I needed something comfy to wear for trail rides ASAP. I don’t walk anywhere near as much at this trail job as my last one since we use a truck to lead the horses up from pasture, but comfy boots are still a must. I’ve never found cowboy boots to be comfortable and I wanted something I can use for dressage lessons as well, so I was going to just grab some $40 paddock boots from Amazon to get me by, but then I came across these:
They’re definitely more of “fashion” boots than real riding boots, but y’all… THEY WERE TEN DOLLARS.
$10.78 to be exact. I was SUPER skeptical, to put it mildly. First, I almost never order shoes online because comfort and fit are so important. But TBH these look exactly like other pairs that are listed on Amazon for $40 and up, and returning is always an option if they don’t work, so I gave them a try!
The package arrived this morning and I was pleasantly surprised! There’s a definite faux-leather smell (I’m guessing it’s polyurithane or something?) from the package sitting out in the heat, but otherwise I’m really pleasantly surprised!
You can tell they’re not high end, but they’re definitely on par with what you’d find at Target or Kohls for $30-50.
It’s too hot out to wear boots, so I just photographed them while sitting in bed. #Lazy
As you can kinda tell, they have just a tiny bit of slouch to them. My main problem was finding boots that would sit comfortably under jeans when I’m doing trail rides, but also look ok over English riding breeches. These don’t look quite right for English, but they’ll work until I can afford real boots! (C’mon, good day of tips!)
You can find them here if you’re interested. The price varies depending on what size you order (Right now size 9 and 11 are available for about $13 and the other sizes are sold out.) I kind of wish I’d ordered two pairs now – one to destroy riding and one to actually wear in the fall!
3. I’ve traded in working from the library for working from the local coffee shop.
I order a whole lot of sugar and caffeine in a cup and curl up in the back room with my laptop for around two hours. Sure, it costs around $5 each time I go, but I get more done in those two hours than I will in six hours of working at home. It’s worth it.
4. I don’t have much to share this week since I’ve basically just been working, but I’m using this last item for a celebration – I finished paying my down payment on my car! (If you missed that post, they gave me a month to come up with the $1,200 down payment that would bring my payments down to where I wanted them.) I’m now working on coming up with the $900-ish that taxes and registration are going to cost, while also making sure I have $200 set aside for the first payment that’s due in like a week.
When I get THAT taken care of, we’ll super celebrate. I need to do it ASAP since my temp tag already expired, and driving around expecting to get pulled over at any time freaks me out.
Hope everyone has a safe holiday weekend! I’m working (shocker), but I may actually take a day off next week! Oooh, ahh!