Looking back again! 9:16 a.m. 2003-04-22

From October 29, 2002: Correspondance between myself and my former riding teacher (who gave me a pony that I subsequently returned to her last September!). Sable is now ensconced at her place in New Mexico, where she teaches English at a Junior College. This was her response to an e-mail I sent, asking about the pony!

Sable is doing well. Getting plush & furry. Dropped enough surplus weight for me to be able to locate & identify withers but kept enough to be winter-ready. Although she is carrying more fat than I would like for spring or summer, a horse or pony should go into winter with extra weight. If they don't, then they can require as much a 50% more calories per day to cope with worst of weather. Going in with extra weight means that winter feeding quantities do not run significantly higher. Mind you, I still have reservations about feeding her 100% alfalfa hay - the cheapest available here - as that seems the equivalent of putting airplane fuel in a VW.

The temperature here is usually about the same or lower than Santa Fe, depending on what direction the incoming front is coming from or headed. I ordered a turnout sheet from State Line Tack - one of the rather pricey windproof/waterproof dealies made from the same kind of materials used for mountaineering & backpacking gear. Just came today. That, plus her considerable insulation - fat pads can be a good thing - should do the trick. And she won't have the annoyance of being shut in when she would rather be out.

There are several good east/north windbreak areas around the house, the best being on the southside of the house. In the worst of weather she can come into the former goat room (now dog condo). I should order rubber matting for the floor. My plan to construct another shelter bogged down, which was just as well since the first place I had in mind was not a good choice and I will most likely go with an overhang at the southside of the house. Plus, I can stretch ad-hoc tarps over the top and n/e sides at the end of the small paddock, as well as a couple of other options.

Have no fear that I will cease reminding either of you about sending Sable's papers, but haven't heard from Nicole recently. For all of the early melodrama and protestations (a specialty) about our reclaiming Sable, she has not really exhibited much interest in the pony.

I am swamped at school at the moment. It is very annoying how much students can resent actually learning, especially if it (as is generally the case) requires any kind of effort on their part. Although all for engaging the learner and making learning as interesting and exciting as possible, I do not think education should become infotainment. Those who do periodically complain about my being too demanding (yes, it still happens) never saw me teach riding - and would no doubt be shocked. I think to myself - if you only knew what I am really capable of…

On the other hand, teachers who get my students the next level up are generally pleased and even the major pissers & moaners often come to me the next semester to thank me for not having cut them slack.

I am glad to have my schedule scaled back enough so that I have the time and energy to enjoy Sable on my days home.

Note: Nicole was another former riding student and interim custodian of the pony. After her divorce, she placed the pony with a friend that raises Paint horses.

And here is my reply:

Good to hear from you, and I'm glad that Sable and you are readying for winter! As I mentioned earlier, we are in the middle of getting new carpeting and linoleum from our apartment complex. Taking apart the house and putting it back together, as well as having to go BACK to the dentist to repair a crown they flubbed make for a very busy week.

I think that Nicole is just relieved to have the thing done with. Actually, at the same time that I wrote to you, I sent a polite, but direct e-mail to her asking her to 'fess up if she didn't have the papers, and to forward them to you if she had. I am still looking on this end, and just reminded her that she could save us some time and money if she would just be straight with us. I have heard not a word.

In response to your challenges in teaching, you're preaching to the choir. Try multiplying your challenges by the middle school mentality, and you have my situation. So far this year, I have been called down for comparing a student to a dog (unfavorably - had something to do with attention span and the frequency of having to get his attention...) and I have actually cursed in class (I have been searching for a nice way to say "bullshit" when referring to the quality of the answers submitted to me...-I've settled on "nonsense,"- even though it is unsatisfying.)

Today, I have begun to explain to my 8th graders what a "day laborer" is, and how they may soon be following that career choice. ;-) I've even gone so far as to explain the location of the choicest corners in our fair city to pick up day work!

I am happy Sable is there with you, too. I have looked at a couple of places to take riding lessons, but right now, we are in the middle of planning on buying a house or condo. There is a possibility for a zero-down loan especially for teachers, so we will stay in the apartment for one more year, then look for something.

I have actually inquired about flamenco lessons.... I hear that there's a Flamenco festival in Albuquerque in the summer. Don't know about that, but there's a great flamenco troupe here in Atlanta. Haven't heard from them yet, so we'll see.

It is so interesting to look back on past journal entries and see what has changed since.

-instead of waiting a year to look at houses, here we are, bidding on a condo at this very moment!

-Nicole still hasn't come forward with Sable's papers, even though we had some encouragement a couple of months ago when she said that she had found them...

-I took 2 flamenco lessons, and quit. I know, I have issues.

-I still have not restarted riding lessons, and haven't shown any interest in exercising polo ponies, which is free.

-I got over my initial frustration with my 7th graders, and "dog-boy" has come around, but is slacking a bit as the end of school draws near.

-Some of my 8th grade boys are still candidates for the day labor pool.

Not that there's anything wrong with that!

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