Wednesday, November 12, 2014

long & low & loose & forward, II

Two years ago we did this test.  We are doing it again.  And adding the one that adds canter although she still has issues with it.  She's come a long way and I've learned a lot despite doing the same test still.  Horse show week.   Long and low and loose and forward.  Sit back.  Have fun.

And this time I get to take the girls!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

only a four hour panic attack

It was only a four hour panic attack.  It reminded me of a time long ago but that wasn't what it was, not exactly anyway.  I was scared because I was sitting there watching the class I was supposed to be in do things that I knew would be challenging to impossible for my horse and me, and instead of being in that class, we would be in a MORE advanced class where I KNEW we weren't going to be able to do . . . anything?  A lot anyway.

And so I had a panic attack.  And then I relaxed into it.  Show me in clear relief what I do not know and how to get there.  Of course it wasn't comfortable.  I felt like an idiot, an incompetent, a boob, a failure, defeated.  I knew just being there, however, was good for Jin.  And so we just went through it.  And I didn't cry.  And the other participants were nice and tolerant and (for the most part) helpful.  And I certainly did get a handle on what I didn't know.

But more, I *think* I got a handle on what to do about it.  Parelli has felt mostly like trying to learn and speak to horses in Spanish.  I don't know Spanish.  There are things that aren't that different; there are things that are.  There have been things that I don't understand how to understand.

And I just don't do things mechanically very well -- I either understand or . . . I don't.

Monday, April 28, 2014

there's always another dance baby

I am older and I am in horses and so while I am occasionally inspired by people who are older than me who are still very active in horses, I am also very aware that I am older, that I am finite, and that this life is finite. 

And so I do what I can. 

Sometimes I long for things I can't have or can't do -- could I not go to about 12 clinics a year, could I not apprentice with someone who knows a heck of a lot more than me and is actually willing to share that knowledge (even if I have to do it in short spurts because I do have a life too). 

I am constantly aware of what I do have -- the opportunity to ride more horses than I can ride, the ability to be with horses and good horse people every day, and the care, the care of horses. 

And I am constantly aware of the precariousness of that situation.  Anything could happen.  Just like it has in the past.  Who knew?  Who knew? 

And who knows?  And so that is possible in the future too that due to the finiteness of one thing, there will be another . . . thing

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

fear and hope (PTSD)

We have a smallholding, and for a decade we had Duke, a Belgian, who helped us work it. He was blind in one eye, and had some ring bone so he was never 100% sound, but we didn't ask much of him -- just to plow the garden in the spring (for which he got some bute) and pull the occasional log. He had a good life and enjoyed himself with our goats (he was a goat midwife, I swear) and our donkey. Then, after a decade, he got to where he wouldn't eat enough and died.

So then another Belgian, Bill, was looking for a home so he plowed our garden one spring, then came to live with us in the fall. But in December he fell and broke his leg just above his hock and we had to kill him.

So we went one year and just worked our corn field by hand but at the fall auction I found Rose. She was just an old, gentle BelgianX mare. Because we didn't know her history, she went to the facility where I do some work so we could drive her in an arena for safety and confidence (for me) for the first time. She had checked out as a wonderful animal and we were ready to bring her home when she colicked, her stomach ruptured, and the vet put her down.

So everyone has been looking for a suitable animal for us and our farrier found one, Clyde. I just got a call today that Clyde's coggins came so he is ready to come to us. And it scares me to death. Oh, there is no way I won't do it but it hurts everything there is in me. It is like the older I get, the more the hurt just builds up or something.  The kindness makes me cry and the fear makes me cry and maybe I'm just pre-menstral.

May we have years and years with Clyde the Belgian.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Why I Am A Working Horseman

A while ago someone said to me, "So you're a professional horseman."  And that statement caused me to hiccup, to stammer, to say, "Well, I clean stalls too."

I suppose that my contact with "professional" horsemen hasn't left that good a taste in my mouth.  I hadn't really realized that until faced with that question.  It is like the term "cowboy" -- it can be a  term of great derision or a term of great respect but you rather need a qualifier to tell which one.

I've noted the term "working" used as the qualifier for "cowboy" to delineate it from wannabe or pseudo or weekend or play pretty or dress-up or whatever cowboys.  I've decided that I am a Working Horseman.

When I show up to a feeding, I'm not trying to finish as soon as possible and get out of there.  Rather I like horses and I like being around them.  I want to notice how they are doing, are they drinking, are they pooping, are their eyes bright, are they curious.  The "Professional Horseman" often misses this part, and especially the part about poop.  When I ride, I'm concerned with how the horse is doing, and why that might be, and how my relationship with that horse can improve that, rather than what the next showing will be like.  I pay attention to the horses out in their fields, not just for their beauty but because that is a huge part of a husbandman's work.  I make sure the hoses are drained even if I'm not working the next really cold day.  I pay attention.  I do less sooner, or at least that is always my ambition.  I do not think it is someone else's problem.  Because to me, horses are not problems.

I am also not trying to convince anyone of my invincibility.  I'll be honest as to what my opinion is even if I know you won't like it.  I don't think anyone is below me.   Whatever it is that you know, I'm interested in knowing it too.  If your horse is looking good, I think that is great and I want to know what went in to it.  I'm not in a competition and I'm not in a hierarchy.

"Working" implies a level of aspiration.  I'm working on it.  I haven't arrived, and never will.

Thus I am a Working Horseman.