The Mile Long To Do List

Ike Dec 11 2015

Where has the time gone?  It is hard to believe that it has already been three weeks since the musical freestyle clinic, and that there are only two weeks until Christmas.  This is the time of year that my riding schedule goes from five or six days per week down to three days, four if I am lucky.  Many factors play into this schedule shift, and while it drives me crazy, I don’t think Ike cares that he is now a part time worker.

First of all, the sun’s earlier departure from the sky really wrecks havoc with my ability to ride after work.  Most days I can get to the barn with enough time to ride 30-40 minutes.  However, the angle of the setting sun means that half my ride is spent riding into the blinding glare.  Ike usually has a moment of pause as well as we turn.  We both squint and I pray that no wildlife decides to pop out and say “Boo!” during this momentary blindness.

One of our dogs has been in desperate need of some obedience work, so I took advantage of the slow down in riding to sign up for a 6 week Canine Good Citizen Class.  We practice as best we can with our two other dogs “helping,” but there has been progress.  Two more classes to go and it looks like he just might pass, shocking as that is to myself and everyone who knows Brownie.

My work schedule right now has also gone from a steady 55 mph to the white knuckle 100 mph with deadlines of yesterday.  I suppose if work had to get busy this is a better time than May or June when show season and riding is in full swing.  Since this also involves more time on the dreaded Interstate 95 in the Washington DC area, perhaps it is best that I am not riding as much.  The more I am on this god-forsaken road, the less I am tolerant of poor driving displays by other commuters.  Needless to say that I am a bit stressed upon arriving at my exit.  PSA:  I believe that turn signals are STANDARD EQUIPMENT on most automobiles and trucks, yet the use of this piece of equipment seems to have declined.  If we look hard enough, I’m sure there is a direct correlation to the increased use of cell phones while driving.

In lieu of riding on high stress days, I find that just spending time with the boys is enough to return my blood pressure to normal levels.  Grooming is an excellent moving meditation.  When that is done, this happens:

Brotherly Love

And, lest I forget, December is also when the holidays and all the things that accompany them invade my to do list and probably everyone else’s as well.  Shopping, wrapping, more wrapping, finding Christmas cards, completing Christmas cards, baking, decorating, cooking, eating, regretting all that you ate, post office visits, family visits, visits with friends and the occasional party or two.  Most of the necessary stuff is done and now it is on to the baking and cookie decorating.  Ike’s favorite fan club will be here next weekend for an afternoon of cookie fun!

And, while I am not riding as much, I do find that when I do find the time, it is with much more purpose and focus.  I already have an eye on next year and what we want to accomplish.  I’ve set a lofty goal of achieving at least one score in the 70th percentile range for Second Level.  I know it won’t be easy, but I am hoping that the effort to achieve that will pay off later when we move upwards to Third Level.  <===Do you see that???  I actually mentioned Third Level?!  I’d love to think that we will give Third Level a go by then end of 2016 as well.  Guess we need to start thinking about flying changes on command and not as you please (Ike’s favorite way right now).

Stay sane my friends, the relative peace of January is right around the corner.  Fingers crossed that the weather is cooperative so we can continue to enjoy some saddle time!