My thoughtful husband asked me last night what I would like for Valentine's Day. He is well aware that I have no use for jewelry, etc., and that I cherish useful things. My first responses were joking: a new gooseneck trailer with living quarters, a new horse...but in the end he bought me this new sewing machine. Imagine...a machine with a motor that does buttonholes.
I know at least two of you (Jeannie and Jessica) like me, sew re-enactment clothing, and to be accurate we sew our buttonholes by hand. Oh, they're hardcore alright, but they don't look so polished on modern attire. In response, I've had to limit any modern sewing to garments that did not need buttonholes. But this machine is heavy duty, can handle sewing leather, denim, and multiple layers of melton, and for people like me who still use a hand crank machine, this model brings me into the 20th century. I'm not in the 21st yet as far as sewing goes, but I feel ready to start tackling more modern attire. Perhaps I'll even attempt a shadbelly, and I've had some requests to sew garments for others; perhaps I could even bring in a little extra $$$ to pay for some shows or clinics.
Owen moved back to Woodwind yesterday but there was no drama associated with his return. He just settled in, apparently very bored with the whole process and like the 'tudinous teenager he is, was too chill to express any interest at all. He certainly has turned into a rather laid back sort. Today I returned him to work in the long reins since I'm not supposed to ride for another 3 weeks...we'll see how long that lasts. I just might find myself remounted by the end of the week, since I'm so weak willed. I will allow that he hasn't been long lined in something like 7-8 months, but really, did he have to be quite so lazy? He strode out beautifully toward the arena, but once there he had to pop his eyes and snort as if it were totally new. He's in very good condition, but he is so very lazy and doesn't want to burn one calorie more than necessary so I had to really get after him to encourage him to move out. I emphasized moving out at a medium trot on the 20m circle, followed by some trot half passes. His half pass left was very nice, but to the right he kept letting his haunches fall behind. I had to give him a swat or two with the whip to get him engaged, but once he was really moving well I was so exhausted I couldn't keep up, so we had to take multiple breaks.
I rather optimistically has hoped to work on canter pirouettes, and had set up barriers in each corner. My plan was to canter him on the diagonal toward the corner, and then allow the chest height barriers back to him off on to his hocks for the pirouette. But my optimism was ill placed, because when asked for the pirouette all he did was drift into a ho hum halt and turn around and give me silly looks.
I realized my plans were a little too ambitious, so instead I put him back out onto the 20m circle at the canter with occasional transitions into the super collected pirouetted canter for a few strides before rewarding him by letting him really go forward again. This was met with some snorts and grunts of his lack of appreciation. We finished up with piaffe-passage-medium trot and back again transitions, and I was pleased that he would come back to a well balanced and energetic piaffe from 20 meters away with just a voice aid.
I think I'd better inject his hocks before we get too far into the season. One amazing thing is that last year, in a desperate effort to improve his use of his hocks, we pulled his hind shoes and he has been much happier since. When he came to us he had some issues with his feet since someone had tried to make a saddle seat horse out of him and grew out his hooves very long and boxy. It took several years of patient shoeing to get his feet back to a normal shape, and perhaps he's ready to have the front ones pulled. Sure would save some $$ every 4-6 weeks.
After all that long lining I am exhausted, and may fall asleep during Downton Abbey. That would be a travesty.