Friday, July 30, 2010

Hot Times, Summer in the . . .

Well, not the city, but hot times, for sure! As the season develops, I find myself spreading my time more or less equally between the Log Barn Stables in Plattsmouth and the Shady Lanes Ranch in Crescent, IA. Would be hard pressed to find gigs further apart, really! Both are satisfying, both allow me to do what I do best, work with horses, people and do a little growing of my own along the way.

Of the many cool things that have taken place, I turned 50 this year!! Some of my best friends in life came to celebrate with me (there were some missing faces, but they are far away and I understand). We rode Cunningham Lake, Colleen and I both on our graduating 60 day horses, and we had the best of times! Hoping it's not the last time I get to ride with Annette, who is abandoning us for her homeland, Texas. We'll miss you, hon.

Probably the very coolest thing of all, is that we are expecting our first grandbaby. My daughter, Sarah, is due to deliver here in the next couple of weeks. She and her guy (we love you, Justin) are having a bouncy, healthy little girl, and we cannot wait to meet her, blessings to you both, darling!

Like just about everyone else I know, I have succumbed and built a Facebook page. Due to that, I am in touch with several old childhood friends, and my best old riding buddy from that era came out and spent a week with us, early this summer. Lisa and I had great plans to camp with Corie Nelson and our other friends from Horsetales, but weather and more complicated logistics that we could overcome ix-nayed that plan. We still got in some riding and had a great visit. Pretty cool to pick up pieces some 30 years down the line and find we still have much in common.

My lesson program has swiftly filled, which is extremely gratifying. I have long loved the "ah ha's" and "light bulb moments" of helping horses figure out people. Now, I am getting a lot of joy out of helping people do the reverse. There are mostly children in my program and where once I would have told you I wouldn't have the patience for kids, having barely survived the raising of my own, I have found working with the young ones to be rewarding and just a whole lot of fun. I have some adults as well, and people who really want to develop that special relationship that is possible with the horse, well, let's just say it's hard to charge them for it, but somehow I manage :-)

I am still riding the bay horses I started with late in Spring! Between heat and rain, and figuring out improving time management, I might be setting a record on how long it takes to put a ride on a horse! I don't say this because I am at all happy about it, I am dedicated to turning out a proper product, my clients have paid for horses that ride and ride well, and that is what they will get when the colt and filly return home. We are making progress, riding outside of the arena as much as in, but still not where I want them to be for responsive handling and they need to see a little more of the world before they head back north.

My latest set of trainers is a 6 six year old Percheron/Paint cross mare and a 15 year old Thoroughbred/Trakehner cross. I will be starting the mare under saddle, and doing a refresher course on the gelding. Saddled the mare yesterday. She was halterbroke as a two year old and has had little handling since. I have found this mare to be incredibly sane and decent. She is one who is really helping me develop my feel and timing. If I ask her, show her how, and give her some time to process, this horse has done anything I want. If I rush, or get impatient, she shows that she could bow up pretty easy, but it's not what she wants. We have got along famously so far, and yesterday was no exception. I asked Derek to come up with his camera, as I thought we might get some exciting shots when she found out that saddle was coming with, no matter what. I have been preparing her to saddle since I started working with her, and yesterday was just a smooth evolution into the next step. Pricked her ears curiously at the flappy navajo, didn't mind it on her body anywhere. Has had a rope around her belly and been led with that, so the girth was no big deal.

We got pictures of a pretty gray mare moving around with a saddle on. I was very tempted to just climb on, she gave me absolutely no sign that would not be okay. I will build a little foundation, first, make sure she respects the halter rope and that I can turn and stop her. I think this mare is going to be delightful. She'll be for sale, when the riding is over, as my client is thinning her herd and going to reduce down the Paints she loves to breed and wants to show.

The gelding is a nice horse too. I saddled him Western even though he has hunter/jumper training, I am still more comfortable in those than I am my dressage saddle. Did all the groundwork, but I am not sure how long it's been since anyone was on this horse. My husband and I have an agreement, first time on, someone else is present. I don't want to be one of those trainers found in a round pen or an arena because I took a chance when no one else was there to dial 911. I take a lot of precautions to not GET in that condition, but horses are horses, and the green ones, well, why would they not be even more so. This afternoon, if I am not stormed out up there, I'll get someone to come down while I ride him. I think it will be just fine.

Derek, at Log Barn, built a water crossing for us to train on! I am so excited about that! Log Barn has so much to offer for a training facility, in many ways. The trails are perfect for a young horse learning the ropes and will be good for my clients, when they are accomplished enough to venture out. I need someone to come with me on a good steady eddie and accompany me and those good bay horses on the trails. My husband may get pressed into service for this one, or even my accomplished but contrary and horse reluctant son! Arron was actually on Ginger the other day, trying out a new saddle. He has a cheaper made one, and is finding out, the better your equipment, and having it fit you and your horse, the more comfortable the ride! We had a great time, tooling around the trails. Ginger has developed into a true died in the wool go to girl, and gives lessons and carries husbands with equal aplomb. She even deals well when I climb in the saddle and decide to work on some of the fancy stuff I am learning up north.

Speaking of that, I am riding with a fantastic instructor in Crescent. Jose Lopez is new in town. He's Argentine, and has lived and ridden in Europe as well as some big barns on the East Coast. Jose is riding out of Karen Nielsen's Sunset Ridge Stables which is adjacent to Shady Lanes. Jose is an extremely accomplished horseman, specializing in jumping and dressage. I am finding him to be that next good teacher to assist me in my never ending quest to be the finest horseperson, at the end of the day, that I possibly can. We are putting together an introductory clinic for Jose, August 14, at Sunlight Ridge. $60 to ride a two hour session, of which there will be three or four. The fee pays for the ride and all day attendance. Jose can solve just about any horse problem you might have and is fun and adept to work with. I can't encourage my friends more bring their horses, or at least come audit, which is free. Let me know if you want a spot, they are filling up fast!

I am having the best of times this summer, crazy busy, long hours, but it's what I live to do. I have a trailer for sale, extra tall two horse, some saddles and a really super nice Palomino gelding, trail horse deluxe. Somehow I managed to acquire another horse, along the way, too! Bashful Flower, I kid you not, is a three year old retired race horse, LOL! Retired not due to any injury, he's completely sound but as the fellow I bought him from said "go ahead and ride him, Terri (much disgust in his tone), he can't run fast enough to hurt you!" After a very undistinguished career of five races, Bashful is going to develop into a super nice, quiet minded saddle horse. Rode him the other day, he was a lamb. Plan so far, bring him along, find him a home. Might make a fantastic Pony Clubber, we'll see.

I am booking for September training, can offer spots either north or south, for your convenience. Log Barn offers a large, open lot and round bales for board facility, up north, I have stalls and an indoor arena, as well as trails. Let me know if you would like to book a space for your horse. My lesson program is currently full, but I am taking names for my waiting list.

Hope you all are having as much fun this summer as I am, heat and rain, be darned!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like lots of good fun and good work. I also think of my horses as my trainers, more so even than the other way around.