Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Summer in the rear view: Life, death, and fall changes

My summer was so busy that I only posted twice in three months, and didn't ride much more than that, either.  Mostly it was because I was working so many hours taking care of the kids I nanny for, but I also was trying to maintain freelance writing work over the summer, plus I had a lot going on in my personal life.  My older kitty was sick all summer long, requiring a lot of care, and finally had to be euthanized the week before the kids went back to school.

All in all it was a whirlwind summer and I'm glad it's over.

In other news, you may have heard about the outbreak of vesicular stomatitis, which has been affecting horses in Colorado (and Texas too, I think).  Last I heard there were well over 200 cases in Colorado; for a while there, they were getting 10 or so new cases every day.  It was scary because there seemed to be no stopping it: The disease is spread by flies, so locking down a property wasn't helping, although they were still quarantining the affected properties.  A lot of horse events were canceled this summer, and many properties -- my barn included -- stopped allowing anyone in or out, even for trail rides.  None of the horses at my barn has gotten it (knock on wood), but we're all hoping for an early deep freeze to kill the flies.

All summer long I was waiting for the kids to go back to school so that I could go back to my usual schedule, but when fall came, it brought with it more changes than I had bargained for: V. has decided (under pressure from her mom, I think, who isn't horsey and has been getting increasingly resistant to her riding all summer) to stop taking riding lessons.  For now she is going to continue to lease Rondo and ride when her schedule allows, but I'm not expecting that to last long.  She hasn't had a practice ride since school let out for summer, and I can't imagine she is going to get any better about it now that she doesn't have lessons to force her to ride regularly.

In addition, her parents are cutting my hours to three afternoons a week, starting in mid-October.  (This may also have had something to do with the decision -- or at least the pressure -- to quit lessons, since they are on one of the afternoons that are being cut, and her parents have no interest in taking her to the barn.)  This comes at a relatively bad time for me, as I actually need the hours (or at least the income) right now -- and I'm halfway expecting them to want to reduce the lease amount (or stop it entirely) around the same time, which will be a double blow.

I'm not sure yet what I will do to make up the extra hours.  I have a couple of potential opportunities for part-time nanny positions, and I also may consider doing another partial lease on Rondo if they reduce it or drop it entirely, but I'll be pickier about that, since I don't want just anyone riding him.  Additionally, I intend to look at my freelance opportunities.  I already have one regular gig lined up for fall, and I hope to be able to find more once I start looking for work again.  I have been missing freelancing full-time for quite a while now, and I always wanted to go back to it once the kids didn't need a nanny anymore -- I'm just concerned that the timing isn't good.

In any case, the kids are back in school now, and although I've been working on a house project that has taken up a lot of my spare time, I expect that to end next week.  Once I have more time to myself, I intend to start spending more of it with my horses again!



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