I try to get out everyday to watch Rick work with Kyra. I am amazed and teary most every day. She changes and grows before my eyes. The gentle progression of training is incredible. I was kicking myself the other day for not doing this sooner, for trying to do-it-myself. Then I realised that if I hadn't tried to do it, I wouldn't know how hard it is. It looks so smooth and natural when Rick does it.
So he put a saddle on her on Tuesday. Today (Thursday) he put a leg over her back and sat briefly. She was totally unconcerned. Mostly she was angling to get more neck scritches as that is one of the things that he is doing while on her back. Some of the things she is doing, I did with her over the years. But I never put all the pieces together. She looks really good in the saddle and has been much less concerned with it than she has other things. The portable mounting block plopped down at her side is completely no-big-deal. She just about killed me when she was "cute-ing" for more scritches. She is so beautiful.
He has not put a bit in her mouth, but she has been ground-driving with the reins clipped to her halter. She is turning and working really well. It just blows my mind. She's getting stronger and more fit. It is so cool to see. Her mind is getting much stronger as well. At first when she didn't understand what Rick wanted her to do, she'd get upset and take off. Today, I could see her being confident even though she didn't understand something. She kept trying until she got it right without getting upset.
I realised/learned something, again, today. Getting upset is not productive. There are times, thankfully fewer, when I hit a wall with my brain injury. I need to remember my wonderful horse and stay confident that I will work it out. I need to keep calm and centered and focus on what are the alternatives? Given this situation, what can I do to create a positive outcome. I particularly need to keep this in mind when I am put back in contact with her. Which intimidates the heck out of me right now. But I am also so looking forward to the idea that I will ride again. It has been a ragged hole in my heart to not have that in my life.
Orders are still coming in. Smaller and much more custom. It's the time of year when it is really hard to stick to our "no retail" policy. There just isn't time for customers to find and contact a local gallery and have the gallery process a custom order. It's been a rough year, but we are still here.
There are so many things that we could do better. More customer contact, more follow up, new pictures on our website. But there are a lot of things that we do right, and we are still here!
The Spring shows start so soon after the Holidays that tomorrow I have to start the final design process on the stone necklaces that will be at the shows. As tired as I am, I'd rather do them now than have to design under pressure first thing in January. I will do more than 9 but less than 15 different necklace designs. I have to be willing to do the same one over and over in case one gets chosen by a catalog. We try to limit ourselves to only one catalog as the repetitive work is amazingly boring. I know that I do the same process over and over but somehow having different designs to work on keeps the process fresh. Doing 200 of the same design puts me to sleep. I know it happens, I also know it doesn't really make any sense. We are really spoiled that our customers let us do the designing rather than having to make 10 of design number XY. Some folks do tell us really specifically what they want but we try to talk them out of that as soon as we can.
Entries are due for 2 upcoming mead only competitions: the International Mead Fest and Meadllinnium. I got tapped to judge the Home Mead Makers competition at the IMF, which I am really thrilled about. But I can't judge any classes that I enter. So I have really had to sit down and think about what I want to judge and what I have to enter. Pamela and I won 6 medals in 4 competitions this fall for our 3 braggots (a beer/mead drink). We got 3 golds, 2 silver, and a bronze. We swept the braggot category at the Queen of Beer competition! We learned a lot from the judging sheets and hopefully put the learning into practice for the entries for the upcoming shows. The IMF is THE show as far as I am concerned. The judges are actually knowledgeable about mead. We got some really sad and silly comments from the judges from one local competition we entered where the judges very clearly had no idea what they were tasting. Mead is not wine and it is not beer. Even braggots are not mead and not beer. So for sure, we are entering our braggots. I will make the final decision tomorrow as I need to get the entries off!
Okay, I am a bit obsessed. It is such a perfect storm for me. Science, chemistry, art, cooking, and something living that needs cared for. And it is such a perfect hospitality to offer a glass of a homebrewed beverage. And bribe. A bottle of home brewed mead is a fantastic bribe!