No, not THAT end, just the end of tax season.
The Suburban Cowgirl in real life is a tax preparer and the past month has been spent cranking out tax returns for the clients who requested extension for the 2011 tax return. The corporate deadline was September 15, and the deadline for personal returns is 8 days from now, October 15. And then I will get my life back until it all starts again on January 1.
This has been the busiest and most hectic year I think I've ever lived through in my life. But it hasn't been all work; I've had eight months of weekly dressage lessons, never missing a single week since I started. And that's a good thing because it is making me a better rider and has restored my confidence in my riding and got me past my nervousness about riding Dawn when she wasn't in a 100% compliant mood.
These last few weeks on Dawn have been interesting. She's had her fourth dressage lesson and is still doing well, although we've had a couple of tense moments when a particularly sexy gelding caught her eye in mid-lesson and I had to do some circling to get her attention back on me. But there hasn't been a bolt or a crowhop even once, just a bit of tension and animation a couple of times.
I'm looking forward to the end of tax season, and the cooler fall weather that has just begun, so I can start riding her every morning and working on cantering and teaching her to collect. But she's getting better at yielding to the bit even with just being ridden once a week for the last couple of weeks, at the lessons, and not in between. She generally does best if she is ridden several days in a row so I'm looking forward to seeing how much progress she can make once my time is my own again.
My boarder, Vanessa, wants to ride today so I'll take a break from the taxes later on and we'll go out. Her horse has been ailing lately and is finally released for work again, so we plan to ride out on Dash and Dawn and pony Dakota off Dawn. Hopefully that will work out. Dawn usually gets along with everyone, whereas I think if we tried to pony him from Dash, she would likely kick at him, since she is the Queen and he is one of her subjects and she is adamant about keeping her subjects in their place.
Dawn doesn't think she's superior to anyone so she shouldn't care if he's walking alongside or behind her. They've shared a corral fence since April so she knows him better than Dash does.
The weather should be nice for this ride, highs in the low 80's, blue sky with a few clouds, no wind to speak of. And it will be a short ride since Dakota has been idle for a couple of months while she sorted out his problem. But it will get me away from the computer for an hour or so.
And at some point I need to light the pilot in the heater and fill up the woodbox and get a chimney sweep log to burn in the woodstove and get the ashes from last April out of there and get ready for winter. It was 35 overnight and I wore a jacket to feed the horses for the first time this morning.
It's just such a shame that the nice weather goes with ever-shortening days. It would be lovely to be able to ride till 8 when the temps are in the 70's, but the temps are in the 90's when the days are long and the 70 degree days go with a 6:30 p.m. sundown, reducing to 5 p.m. (and 50 degree days) by the winter solstice.
My hay is bought; I shouldn't need to buy more until next June. I pray the prices will be down next year. These last two years of droughts and fires and floods and heavy monsoons have kept the price at an all-time high, more than double the "normal" price. If this keeps up, it will be horrible for the horse industry because soon only the 1% will be able to afford horses at all. I'm barely outside the 47% and can barely feed the two I have left after leasing Dottie out. If this economy doesn't pick up soon (Obama hasn't done anything for us, maybe Romney can -- at least his wife has horses) I suspect a lot of horses will be taking that one-way trip to Mexico after being sold at an auction for ten cents a pound. And the sad fact is that once people get out of horses, they rarely get back into it. Ranches, once subdivided, will never be turned back into pasture again.
So pray for good growing conditions next year and a stronger dollar to keep so much of our hay from going overseas so people can continue to own and enjoy these wonderful creatures that give us so much pleasure.
And now . . . back to the tax returns.
And that's the latest from the Ranch.