Sunday, November 27, 2011

the value of being still or silent or leaving alone

I think this blog needs another name change and another focus.  Things are going quite well and I just don't feel like talking about it.  Although I did have a lesson with notPierre a while back.  That was fun and productive.

I have a story I want to tell.  I don't think I've told it before on this blog but if I have, too bad, I need to tell it.

At that moment I hadn't ridden in, oh, about 5 or six years probably.  I was doing what was perhaps the most stupid placement of my career in social work, and ironically it was at the place I would later work.  Talk about holier than thou b*llsh*t.  Anyway.  The "thing" that day was to take all these kids to a local stable to ride.  With a lot of kids they had to dig deep into the stable and they pulled out a horse that they said needed an experienced rider.  I held up my hand to volunteer for that job.  Before I got on I asked them what his problem was and they said that he was fine, really, he just refused to stand still so that he would move around while everyone was waiting to get on, get started, and get off.

So I got on him.  And sure enough he moved one way and then another and tried to walk and jigged his head around and did anything at all except be still.  And I did what I do.  Whenever he was still I left him alone.  Whenever he moved, I blocked him.  Within just a few minutes he was standing perfectly still.  One of the workers noticed and called the others' attention to him.  Being still.

We had an uneventful trail ride.  There was only that.

You see, you do not have to micromanage everything in the whole wide world.

You just have to know when to shut up.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

four horses

Well, five if you count Inky.  Four horses to ride every week.  I'll be trying to ride them, well, so that they get ridden 3Xweek which could include rides by other people.  That is, for me, a lot of riding.  I LOVE IT!

I also love it when cowboys call me "girl" and say they'd fight for me.

And I've almost saved enough money to join Parelli for a year and then I'll be doing and sending off a video for my first levels, and a humongous clinic is in May.

And, you know, one just never knows what all could happen when one brings a magical horse onto the place and changes the whole dynamic.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

begin again

I should have a photo, perhaps, of my nice orange carrot stick and it's nice savvy string.  Or of my nice blue natural horseman's halter and it's nice white flecked with something 12 foot lead (with heavy swivle snap).  Anyway, I don't.

But I do have those things now, because someone had an extra stick/string and someone else switched from Parelli to Anderson and had the halter/lead and was willing to trade it for a few rides on her horse.  A horse, by the way, that I really like a lot.

Increase has pretty much just had a month off.  There were at least two weeks I was working at both farms, and then another week before we really figured out a schedule that worked for us all, and then, well, I do not find change easy.  And the whole family had to adjust.  I kept telling the husband, just wait, just be patient, it will settle out.

It has been a good change.  I might say a very very very good change but I really don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.  It isn't like I came from a horrid situation to a great one.  I just moved from one barn to another, both good barns, both populated with compassionate horsemen.  But I went from no opportunities to opportunities.  I work and care for horses, including stalls and troughs, of course, but here I also have the opportunity to ride and train, and I already have the chance to begin teaching too, with hopefully more of that to come as we develop a few lesson horses.  So, yeah, pretty much everything I said I wanted to do, I get to do, and with prospects for ever more.  And that's awfully nice.

Anyway, Increase had her first Parelli session today.  I am certainly not fluent yet but at the same time, I think I'm understanding.  I've watched a good bit of the level one DVDs from several years ago, and gotten to observe a number of people play with various horses.

Inky is scary smart.  And we didn't do much.  But as Duke looks more and more forlorn, I'm not even looking to sell her yet.  She's my project at this point, to see what I can do with her.  She was great.  Hopefully we'll get the language of Parelli together.

I guess I need to ask what it is I need to do to do my level one.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


There is a lot I need to write. I have a new job. I didn't even get fired when our van quit and I missed several days because of it and that was quite literally my first real week of work. In fact, what I have is more opportunities, which is exactly what I've been wanting and yet here I am, finding myself a bit surprised at having them.

First of all, there's Parelli. Looks like I'll be trying to level up (a phrase I use mostly because it tickles my children because it sounds like I'm a character in a video game). I'm now watching videos and working with horses and trying to get that "mother-in-law" look down. I have to say that the more I read and the more I see the more I agree with Parelli, even in areas that surprise me. They surprise me not that we agree but that they are things that are biggies for me and lo and behold, there they are in his program. Like being willing to change. Like being willing to sit with frustration, to be conscious, to not force and to let it come. I mean, I so get that in LIFE. So why not with horses. It really feels quite mystical, being willing to be open and to go in unexpected directions.

I'm already riding more and hopefully we'll also be working out my teaching there. The work is far easier (which means fewer hours -- but hopefully that will all be offset by riding and teaching), the horses and the people just as delightful. In some ways, I even seem to be home more (though I'm working more days) and the being home is a good thing.

I miss a lot of people is the only thing. I hope they'll come see me.

Inky better watch out . . . (she's mostly had time off with me being so stretched so thin lately).

Friday, August 5, 2011

there ya go

And so, yes, we did the show thing. I did not even try to school her under saddle considering we'd only had a few rides AND so much new was already being thrown at her in a two day time period. She did wonderfully.

Friday morning she walked onto this teeny tiny trailer. She walked off at the barn, walked through the barn, grazed through the front yard, walked across the trail bridge and the carpet, was a champion. She stayed in a stall although it was a bit confusing for her to do so I think. The only thing that really freaked her out the whole and entire time was someone getting in the loft right above her head and throwing down hay right in front of her stall. Oh, and we'll have to work on the running water thing.

She scored a 69.2 with good comments from the judge. Her body condition is, of course, still lacking, and she has a lot of developing to do.

But her going to this show changed my life. My boss tossed off a comment about Inky that not only wasn't true but was made in such a way that, well, she would never had said that to anyone else in that way ever. It made me redouble my efforts to find a different job and sure enough, I did and I should be riding more horses and we'll see where else this adventure takes me.

I've got nothing bad to say. I've had a great run at JEF, I have loved it there, love the people and the horses and everything, and I'm very sad to be going and yet, well . . . .

After all that horse show stuff, Inky got back on the itty bitty trailer, although that took her a minute. I think me working her through that helped to get me the new job. She was awfully glad to get home -- she ran up to Duke, sniffed noses, then laid down at his feet and rolled.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


She's had her first ride. She's had her first bath. Hopefully her first horse show will be next week. I will try to get a new halter photo soon. She is insanely curious, and calm in her excitement if that makes sense. She loves to touch you and occasionally gets clobbered from the nipping which isn't really nipping but threatens to become.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Miss Perfect

I really shouldn't have put that goal in there in that last post . . . because look back a bit about what I hoped to accomplish this year and know that NONE of it is now even POSSIBLE. sigh. Well.

But Increase changed the dynamic now didn't she.

And what I really want to say is just how perfect she is. Which makes me laugh because, you know, horses and horses and people are people and perfection is a long straight line not to be found in this old round world but still, she's perfect. She is funny without being obnoxious, curious without being pushy, smart without being mean. She has that wants-to-please thing that is so great about horses -- now that she feels like she can trust this place and her place here, and me and Ro, she's like, "What can I do for you?"

Today she wore a saddle for the first time. Today she cantered on the lunge really successfully for the first time (in that she'd cantered before but this time with some confidence, at least in one direction). Today she long-lined, just a bit, for the first time.

She also had some backsets as they say. She pulled at the tie for the first time in a long while, and she did it about four times too. But she was never upset by what made her pull or by the pulling itself or by the not getting loose. I guess that was all, really. She objected just a bit to the bit going in her mouth (which caused one of the pulls) but then again, it has been in her mouth three times so far.

She is doing so well.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

saddles on and not on

We have a goal of going to a horse show July 30, showing in hand and schooling under saddle. And no, I haven’t saddled her yet. But she is responding to everything so very well. I think, really, it is just the consistent handling. She knows where she is, that she has friends, that she has food. It has been several weeks since she tested being tied (by sitting down and pulling). She’ll work with Duke picking right beside of her and she’ll work on the other side of the farm away from him, where she can neither see nor hear him. My daughter is feeling confident leading her which is good since she will be on the ground with me in the saddle.

I haven’t ridden Rol in a few weeks. There are lots of excuses, like how hot it got there for a bit, and how hard it is to do all the work with that many horses and ride in the heat with no help, and how I have to borrow a saddle, and blah blah blah. Excuses are utterly irrelevant. I think the truth is, Lisa thinks allowing me to ride the girl is something she is doing for me, and it is but my riding her and showing her also does something for Lisa and Lisa doesn’t recognize or acknowledge that and I’m tired of the one sided stuff in that relationship. So I talk to Rol and I think about riding her but I haven’t been on her. And probably won’t be.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

not quite buying it

Parelli, that is. I mean, I'm downright hostile to their trademarking everything under the sun, and their aggressive marketing. But I'm willing to learn anything that will prove helpful and a number of things that will not. So I audited the clinic since it was free to do so.

And I'm interested in the techniques, but again find myself hostile to the insider lingo, and to useless and (worse) meaningless platitudes like "you have a 50-50 chance of being right."

Ah, but I was impressed with the clinician's handling of one unruly horse. While it may be a Parelli euphemism that the horse is never wrong, he just is, I can tell you right now that when a horse tries to bite me or strike me or otherwise attack me (which that particular horse has), that is the wrong answer and I don't give a darn what else is going on in his life right then, it is still the wrong answer. And my response to him would likely be hell no. I'll tell you, even upon reflection, I believe that horses, dogs, children, friends, bosses, even chickens, occasionally need a hell no! I sometimes need a hell no. But I willing to listen, and I'm willing to learn to say hell no in a different way too. I was impressed that Richard's response to the horse did not raise the volume but did suppress the behavior. Some. I'm not convinced. Yet.

My biggest question about the whole thing is, what the heck is the purpose? I know, I know, the relationship. That's like the NPR sponsor who is promoting a more peaceful and verdant world -- who isn't doing that? Of course it is about relationship. A plethora of insider lingo and dance steps does not a relationship facilitate or a purpose make. The purpose that I can see is the enrichment of the Parelli's and the people willing to jump through their hoops to do these clinics. I certainly would have felt ripped off if I'd paid $75 to be in the beginner "clinic". The afternoon individual sessions were much more worthwhile to the participants from my perspective. But dressage is not an end, it is a means, an improvement to the horse and the way he goes. I don't have any real interest in getting my horse to do figure eights in front of me, or in riding bridle-less. I don't care about that. I care about performance, whether that is dressage, cross country, barrel racing, or cutting. That's what I like, being good.

Another thing I was impressed with was the last lady in the afternoon and how she danced with her horse. Not that it sold me on Parelli but it reminds me of how sensitive to pressure horses, indeed, pretty much all animals, can be. Of course, they must be sensitized and not desensitized to it to actually be that way. Like mindfulness, it is a natural state but not a common one. But that lady and her horse definitely knew their Parelli dance. There are also dressage dances and cuttin' dances and lots of other dances and, as Corinthians might say, none is without signification. Which also means there is no more signification to Parelli than Parelli. I think that's what it means anyway.

Lisa had the chance today to describe all the stuff going on around JEF to several different people. I was not included in any of it. As a Parelli clinician would say, information, neither right nor wrong just is.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

I could have named her Progress

She was quite excellent on the lunge line today, very obedient and willing. She is in general an impatient horse so she's usually happy when she's doing something. She wore a surcingle for the first time today with no problem. She's got walk and trot, not so much canter yet -- which is fine, she's willing and too much willingness to canter would mean she was running away which I am glad she is not. I just positioned my apprentice on her sticky "corner" and it wasn't really sticky anymore.

Her former owner called me today. I'd mailed a note to her only on Monday. The consignor was a man so I'm pretty sure this was his daughter -- she sounded young. She said she'd bought the Inky from an Amish man up the road when Inky was four months old. She rode her some last summer. When I asked her how she was, she said, "Well, she has a mind of her own," so I'm not exactly sure what that means but it is a quality Inky most surely does have. She's been to one local show. Inky is a Saddlebred, not a Standardbred . . . the vet got that wrong on the coggins the girl said.

So that totally explains how she's been handled quite a bit and yet had very few manners. We're working on it. I am totally enjoying it. Adding Inky to my herd has helped me see horses as part of my work, not just my enjoyment, and that too is nice.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Rode today, just a slight ride, and while I've no intention of blogging every ride this year, I think this was an important one. I keep getting out of the groove and I'm hoping today was back in it. We just walked and trotted as she hasn't been doing much and the arena was sloppy, changes of bend, staying round, stretching, transitions. She was wonderful.

Monday, May 16, 2011

acting like an adult

I swallowed my reticence and asked. And it may, eventually, come down to tying her up in an unbreakable way until she submits (or breaks her neck), but it may not. And if it does, it is good to have affirmed that, yes, sometimes it does. And to still have a few more things to try first. And to have the idea reinforced to look for the thing to reinforce.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I didn't feel like talking to not-Pierre anymore, at least not here. I don't need a gosh darned dag blamed intercessor.

I have a horse. Not a draft horse, not a trained horse, but a horse I hope to break and sell. I have a real opportunity to fail.

Here's how it happened: I went to the draft horse auction, which I always do. I saw Mary who I never see, and Billy and Dowd who I always see, and Ang who I sometimes see. We walked around the sale barn and I picked out the horse I wouldn't buy this year. I always do that, see, pick a horse that I think for some reason or another will be undervalued that I think I would buy if I did such things. The first year I went it was a pregnant Percheron. One year it was a donkey and I actually got ready to bid but the bidding very quickly went higher than I was willing to go. I don't particularly remember the other years but we always get photos of them.

This year even the good horses weren't selling for much, and she was skinny. Then she was friendly, cuddling up to the bars to be petted as we went by. And I just thought her legs were magnificent, her angles good. Then she picked up hay off the floor without splitting her legs. When I went to the check-in to find out about her, she was put in as a four year old Standardbred. I'd thought she was younger than that, mostly because she was so skinny and her legs were so long compared to her body. But four meant work with her right now, not later. And her bare feet were solid.

I went back and forth about it. I could imagine that my eyes were playing tricks on me and that she really wasn't so nice looking. I didn't have a way to get her home. I don't have the money to keep her, not really. There was every reason not to do it, mostly that we don't do things impulsively, especially not things like buying a horse. We actually left, got almost to the car, and then I got turned around by my family. Then they had to leave and I almost did . . . then handed them the keys and stayed. I would bid.

Mary and her friend Suzanne were with me. And another lady that one day I will run into again (short silver hair, open friendly face). The auction had actually forgotten this horse and she went in last. I asked the guy taking her in to trot her so I could make sure she didn't pace. She trotted. I sat down and said I'd bid when it hit $25. When the auctioneer intoned "sold" I said "sh*t". I knew nothing, NOTHING, about this horse. What in the heck had I done?

I first started solving the problems -- get her home. I had several options -- there at the sale, someone would take her . . . if I would pay them. Likewise, there were other people I could hire. I checked with friends but one had left already and Ang had a full trailer already. I called Dowd, our neighborhood patriarch.

Now, I'd seen Dowd that morning at the sale, so he knew where I was. The conversation went like this: "Dowd, this is your neighbor CG." "How ya doin'?" "Dowd, I just bought a horse." "I'll call my son and see where the truck is. I'll call you right back." I didn't even have to ask him. He called me right back too. "Yep, it's there. So I'll just go down and get it, then I have to go to 58 to get the trailer, then I'll be right there. You're still at the fair grounds, aren't you?" "Yep, Dowd, I am. Thanks."

Then I went and paid for her. Then I moved her to a different stall in the sale barn with some hay and sat down on a hay bale in front of it and waited on my family to show up. My emotions were bouncing -- elation, excitement, worry, panic, and all around nausea. Would she even load in a trailer?

When my family walked in all full of anticipation and curiosity about what had happened, I cracked a grin and they knew. "We own a horse!" When Dowd got there, she walked right on the trailer. She pawed when tied and so far that has been her worst habit. She got off the trailer and walked over our bridge.

Our adventure had begun.

She isn't an easy horse but so far I'm not disappointed in anything. I still look at her and think, yeah, she's a nice horse. She's slighter than I might like but she's athletic. She's smart enough to give me concern because when horses are smarter than their people, they are both in trouble. She spirited but handles well. She's got opinions but listens. She's impatient. She's curious. She doesn't tie well.

The not tying well had been giving me a fit. So I dreamed a solution last night, a better one than tying her up until she submits I think, although I will reserve that. The two affirmations that keep playing in my head are: Mary saying, "I believe you love them all," because I do, no matter the breed or discipline, I like horses; and my daughter saying, "There's nothing you can't do," when I said, "What if I can't do this?" I have to be a little like Dory and "just keep swimming".

I don't feel like I have anyone really that I can ask questions and opinions of. "What would you do?" There is not a horse person in my life who I trust that much. Funny that I have said that I don't think Lisa really trusts me (enough to let me bring Gabby home and break her anyway), but I have a reticence to ask her things. I mean, she never asks me my opinion about anything. When I called her from the sale, she said, "So I can assume this is a work horse?" When that wasn't correct, "So, I can assume it drives?" When she'd seen a few photos of her, her first opinion was that she was way older than four, and then that "she looks content" -- not nice or anything like that, just old and content. When I said I still liked how the horse was put together, she said, "Well, it doesn't matter how she's put together -- she just needs a home." And when I said I hoped to sell her, she said, "Well, if you can't sell her, you'll have to teach her to plow." Later she said the horse might have to be "re-homed". (just for the record, I hate nouns like "home" and "gift" used as verbs -- hatehatehate). And the name she suggested for the horse was "Minnie Pearl". So I'm finding it difficult to find any respect in that.

So we named her Increase.

I have an idea how to work with her on the tying thing. I lunged her for the first time yesterday. She's sticky on a corner that would lead back to the field but otherwise she did quite well. I just have to try to work with her about every day and figure it out.

She is so absolutely gosh darned athletic I can imagine her jumping the moon, galloping cross country not afraid of anything, or just moving extremely well for dressage. A girl can dream.

Monday, May 2, 2011


and then Rol got wonky (as in not lame exactly but something not quite right) and I quit riding at all. I figured I might have lost my ride entirely.

And then I surprised myself most of all by buying a horse. And perhaps the most interesting thing is who believes in me and who just cannot see it. At all. Walk on. It is my life to live.

And now it seems perhaps I will get to ride Rol and work with my new horse and that is just alright with me.

Although I did consider changing the name of this blog to something to do with my great uncle Noad, who did believe in me, who said of me, "That girl; put her on your worst horse and she'll still out ride you."

I'm doing fine.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

no horse show

so there is sort of a horse show this weekend and I'm not riding in it. It turned into a "fix a test" which is nearly as expensive as a full clinic lesson, and frankly my issues are bigger than finessing a test. Well, and I'm not heading to a rated show or anything -- I'd rather just ride and improve (not that I'd give up an opportunity mind you but Rol and I together aren't headed there).

And then the weather hit and the show ran long and my clinic ride got canceled. Which also is really just as well -- it was pushing me financially and I'm more happy to spend the time with my family, and doing the things we need to do.

Something shifted.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

just give me a month

it isn't that I have it all figured out, but I feel at peace with myself about it. I was mad for awhile that my vulnerability was responded to with defensiveness but I've finally been able to see that as a measure of her vulnerability. If that makes sense. It does to me. So it is a place with more room for grace.

Grace is a good thing.

I have been riding regularly, and it is going well actually in that I feel like she's responding and we're making progress. The show this month has turned into a ride-a-test and so costs nearly as much as a clinic lesson and so that made me gasp but I did know it would be more expensive. So I do still want to do it but I'll consider just doing a clinic lesson instead -- an hour for just a little more money. Or a lesson with a judge on the test that I'll likely be riding the rest of the year (which would mean, probably, that I'll go for T3). None of that is decided though.

I will say that bear skin works well.

Monday, March 21, 2011

ride CG ride

Well now, that was different. First thing; "CG, would you get on Tully at the end of my ride so I can see how she moves?" Sure thing. Second thing; "Are you going to ride today?" She said that because I guess I haven't been on in three weeks, certainly not since "the incident", absolutely not since the "little chat". She'd asked last week if I was going to show in April and I responded with a southern non-answer that I think drives her yankee self crazy: "I'd have to get on a horse to do that, wouldn't I?" I'm relatively sure she didn't understand then (long parenthetical deleted) what that meant, but later I think she overheard me say to someone who asked why I hadn't been riding that I'd had trouble finding my motivation for the past couple of weeks which might have been a direct enough reference for her to catch it. I don't know. Anyway, she was very nice to me and asked if I would be riding and I said, if I have time, I have to get home before very late so husband can try to fix the fuel leak on the van. "I'll catch some stalls for you," she said. And she did. And I had plenty of time.

And it was all wonderful. The details are that getting to do it made me doubt myself more than I have in the last few weeks. Those words aren't quite right. I know I can really do it, I just need to feel my way and I worry, I guess, about getting thrown (or throwing myself) too far into it, over my head . . . But I also know, deep down, that I can.

Husband said that if Lisa was going to change our relationship, it would be only slowly, and that is fine with me. What I mistrust is the appearance of change without any real change. But I also mistrust too much and too abrupt of change. So I'm still in the market for a job. But Lisa is one that I'm "interviewing" by her actions. And right now the first she heard of a new job wouldn't be the two week notice.

Friday, March 18, 2011

$8/hr doesn't buy you a friend

My sleep is extremely variable in its quality. Sometimes I sleep like a log. Sometimes it eludes me. Sometimes I dream, sometimes I remember, sometimes I don't. It just varies, and yes, seasonality counts although it isn't really the seasons but the time of the year that the veil is thinner.

I remember the first time my dreams warned me of something. It was just a bad work situation, a situation that had been most excellent and that in a period of a few months had deteriorated to untenable. Ah but I'm tenacious so I was holding on, trying to make it be better. So my dreaming self took over. Every single night I was being chased and things were blowing up. Chased. Blown up. Shattered to wakefulness. Until finally I figured it out. It is work doing this to me, creating these dreams. I made an appointment with my boss. He blew me off. Three times. I turned in my two week notice and then was sick for two weeks. When I'm done, I'm done.

Sometimes being done comes slowly like that. Sometimes it comes suddenly, like it did the other day. About 9 am on March second. Done. Still, the realizations come more slowly.

So last night I had a dream, a very vivid dream, and I really hope to heck it is just a warning dream and not a prescient dream. My dad told me he had some bad news for me, that Riddle and Rood was suing me for sixty-four million dollars. Now, just so you know, my dad's been dead eleven years this year, and Riddle and Rood is the huge veterinary practice across the street from the Kentucky Horse Park. As I was absorbing that (because even in a dream I'm trying to make it make sense -- why was Riddle and Rood suing me? why 64 million? what makes them think that's even in the realm of possibility?), Daddy said he had some more bad news, that Ashley (the new very good rider at the barn who Lisa has her latest shine on) had been working for them. This somehow meant that she was behind it. Oh. Ok. Deep breath.

Then I went to Rainwater, an old friend who is a philosophy professor, and he measured me for my shoe size. Yeah, now, that's more like what a dream is supposed to be like.

I have dreams. Real dreams, and some ability to back them up. I laid them on the line. I exposed myself but if anyone at all didn't realize those dreams were there, they were willfully blind. While she's been good to me, I've been good to her, and for her, too. By my becoming entirely vulnerable, she exposed herself, and how little regard she has for me, naked. I've been paid for my time and that and a "thank you" at the end of the day ought to be enough.

It isn't.

So I'm here putting my skin back on. It fits. Skin is like that. Although it may be a bear's skin.

Whenever she's nice to me, I don't believe it anymore. "Thank you" stings. $8/hr just doesn't buy you a friend. Still, I love the barn, the horses, and, yep, the people too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


This is kind of a place holder in that this happened today but the bulk of this story happened already and I haven't written about it yet. But here's what happened today. Heather was at the barn talking about a horse and a student, trying to fathom through what is going on with them so that she can help them. In the midst of it she said to me, "CG, you see them here, you come out and teach her and maybe you can see what is going on." Me, who was just told it would not ever be possible for me to teach, train or ride there. I did not talk to her, yet, about it but obviously she quite naturally sees me as a competent professional, a peer not an underling.

Husband said, "Write this down. Lisa is the only person who doesn't see you that way and you need to collect the evidence so that you believe yourself." Or something like that.

I gotta get back on that horse and ride.

Which, another funny thing today. I talked to Rolinette about the situation, more in depth than I had to this point. And I told her I wanted and needed to hear what she had to say. But of course, she just looks at me and listens with that soulful eye then walked over to me and put her forehead on my chest in the most amazing way. Later, after I'd taken her out of her stall to clean it (rain kept everyone inside today), taking her back to her stall she stopped, she looked in the wash rack, and she tried to go into the wash rack. That's where we'd groom and tack up if I were to do such a thing. It was her way of telling me to get back on that horse and ride.

I truly needed both those things.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

or maybe not

maybe. maybe not. Maybe that's how it always is. Time for something different maybe. As much as you hate new things. Time for something different. Time for something. I am here only for as long as I'm amused and I was very not amused today.

Monday, February 14, 2011

time for me to fly

We've had a couple of rides, plus she's been ridden by another woman a couple of times -- another decent rider. As always, Rol is beautiful, willing, eager even. She did pull a couple of "what's a transition" moments, and she actually bucked into canter . . . but hey, we're not stomping into canter -- we have an actual transition and so we work from there. And she stretched better -- for a longer period of time and hopefully maybe even with her nose going forward a bit too? I know she did some nose forward on the hills and I'm hoping to take that feeling and develop it in the arena.

Goals: hmmmm.

Well, with Rol I just want to make progress. I should read the gosh darn new tests because I don't even know where we are in them. But to continue to work on the stretchy circle, changing bend smoothly, add some lengthening, confirm and make more obvious our lateral work. Improve my seat and work on sitting a bit more trot. Rhythm, Relaxation, Connection -- that bottom of the training pyramid. Impulsion, Straightness, Collection -- that too. I want clean transitions up and down. I want to play with walk-canter-walk transitions. Just consistency, solidity.

In my dream world, when we have grass I'd bring that red mare home and break her and take her back at the end of the summer and see how very far we can come in that amount of time. In my dreams, I could show her in the novice level of the fun show. In my dreams, next year my daughter could.

I would love to coach someone through this show series.

I hope take a lesson or two from Ashley. I would hope to be able to take some from Andre. I hope Lisa will teach me, well, I'd love to get a lesson a month. I'd love to work on how I'm riding, form, position. Oh heck, while I'm dreaming, I'd love to jump regularly again too. I'd like time on different horses too.

I am a cowgirl and proud of it. Pulling a shoe off in the barn isle the other day it hit me that I'm pretty value added. Be secure in that value, and always learning more.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I want to thank an old friend who remembered and who reminded me.

She said:
One of my most vivid memories from school is from a breeding class - there was a young stud colt, chestnut who we were trying to get to mount the dummy and different people kept trying to get him to do it and he wanted to but kept backing off at the last minute and we were all standing around watching and trying to figure out why he wouldn't get up on it. You watched him a while and when they gave you the chance to see if you could do any better you took off the chain shank, hooked it to the ring so as not to hit him in the nose when he went to the dummy and he was able to finish what he wanted to start but was afraid to because of the chain. You have good instincts and have the ability to watch, access and come up with something that may just work where nothing else has. Trust that. I sense that you are unsure of how much to say - and I know you have an opinion ;) - about what you see. I find that with me, I don't blow my own horn enough and worry way too much about what others think - good thing about getting older is that the holes in the filter get looser and things start coming through that wouldn't have when we were younger. Remember that colt and how you were the only one who could see the reason for his hesitation and could fix it with something so simple as to take the chain off his nose.

I remember it this way. We had partied the whole and entire night before and I was in sad shape to be handling a horse. Our plan had really been to show up to this class and hide in the back. But I was standing there in the freezing cold watching this, and I could see that chain rattle and that that was the exact second that this stud would back off. So I raised my hand. I knew I could do it better. I knew.

Now, you have to understand that what I did was "against the rules". The rule there was, if he's a stud, he has a chain on him, period. It wasn't a big deal but it was like the rule, if in a barn, have a hard hat on. There wasn't any breaking of it. I ran to hide more times for not having a hard hat on in a barn. I got caught breaking curfew one time and I think the punishment was not to ride the next day or something. No appeal, just do it. The place was run like that. I learned a lot from it but won't willingly submit myself to that sort of thing anymore. I don't much like rules, and never did. I made a career in high school breaking them and mostly not getting caught. So there I was, some form of hungover, raising my hand, and walking up to this stud and taking his chain off.

He mounted. He did his business. He dismounted. I put the chain back on. The teachers then discussed with the class what I'd done. I was cocky, no doubt.

I wished I'd asked more questions then, and listened more, and had a clue. I wish I had now a bit more of that walking up there and doing what I know to be right opportunity, but then again, I'm not in a class. When I doubt myself it isn't that I doubt my ability but I doubt ever having the opportunity again to put my ability to use.

And I have just as little clue how to get that done now as I did then it seems to me.

But I do know a few things:
  • life with horses is better than life without horses
  • nothing, not even horses, is more important than my family
  • there will be opportunities for me to step up
I love you ms. berry of the open range. I am very glad you are here to remember with me. May we grow old, on horseback, with our families, together.