In a nutshell, since Expo, this year started out very much a repeat of last year. I brought in training horses, one at a time, at my friend, Corie's place as they were gracious enough to allow me to do. Frankly, while the weather remained chilly, it wasn't that hard to get my hours in. Then came the rain and more rain after that. Guess we are all pretty aware of the amount of rain this year. Then came the heat.
Seeing the writing on the wall, I got a job. Well, kind of. I went back to work temping which is as close to committed indoor daily slavery as this gypsy tends to want to be . . .
Instead of going through my OMG I am going to quit horse training angst as I have, year after year, I simply quit horse training. I sent a client home, that I will bring back in Fall to finish out when hopefully the heat waves and monsoons have gone their way. I have turned down more business since than I normally solicit for. I am turning away lesson clients, except for a 4-h group down in Lincoln. I have watched a lot of those kids grow up into fine horsepeople and to get an opportunity to participate in their growth and development. . . well it's more a favor and an honor to me than anything I am doing for them.
I am quitting at the top of my game. Spirit, the gray mare, featured in the photos (she was my demo horse at Expo too) has a finer ride than I ever thought possible to put on a 30 day horse. She was broke when we started, yes, but had years of not carrying herself properly that resulted in strung out, spine jarring, disconnected gaits, and while her attitude was always pretty sweet, she was the last to be picked to ride, because, well heck, it was painful! It isn't anymore. Reviewing my photos (again, thanks Corie, you are making memories for me into the days when I forget who I am and just enjoy the pictures of all the pretty horses), I see she is still heavily on the forehand, and I have some hours left to work on that.
Now, I want to put some ride on MY horses. Throwing Ginger into the Extreme Cowboy Race was kinda embarrassing to me and sure was not at all fair to her. My horses are the shoemaker's kids, they get the leftovers from my time, attention, and certainly my attitude is not at it's best, when I saddle one of them at the end of what is usually a long and trying day. I dream of continuing to study horsemanship. I am delighted that the movie "Buck" (go see it. even if you don't like movies, go see this one) is being so widely and well received. Colleen and I can tell you we knew about him before the Horse Whisperer made him so very cool. She's ridden with him while I have hung over the fence, but I have studied his videos, and him, and tried to bring that smooth philosophy of quietly making the horse feel safe and happy about working with you into every ride.
The dressage lessons I took with Missy Fladland in years past, and Jose's mix of dressage and jumping lessons put some pieces together for me as to how to help a horse really carry themselves the way they ought to, with a rider's weight. The AAHS clinic taught me how very important it is how I carry myself in the saddle and that a poor rider can never make a good horse.
Since the 40 hour work week thing and what an adjustment THAT has been (could go into a whole another blog about the changes in corporate America since my last sortie almost 8 years ago, but I'll spare you guys. You probably know, already, anyway), I am grabbing my rides when I can. I have ridden out a few times with the new Platte River Riders Southeast division, getting to make some new friends, and see some new to me trails. Took Ginger and doggie Axel camping at Rock Creek Station a couple of weekends ago. Storms Friday night (have you ever tried to sleep with a tent insisting on lying down flat upon you? not as good! the dog wanted to go home in the worst way!), and an attack of killer ticks on Saturday night ensured just about zero sleep for the entire weekend, but we rode anyway and had a great time!
There are some beautiful trails at Rock Creek. First day we rode out, we didn't find but one of them. We spent the next very intense 3 hours and a whole 7 miles climbing man from snowy river style in and out of ravines, thinking WOW, we have not ever heard of Rock Creek's EXTREME trail series! That's because they don't have one of those. We were lost and following cattle and deer trails . . . hella lot of fun, made some real horses out of some greenies, and some real riders out of folks who weren't sure they could do all that. The next day's ride was very lovely, kinda soothing, except for that whole going down the canyon thing. I highly recommend Rock Creek as a destination camp and ride spot; you won't regret it!
Riata, the grulla filly I picked up kinda on a mad whim (Royal rebound) is turning out to very possibly be the love of my horsey life. Took her to the Kerry Kuhn clinic, as I had mentioned I was going to. He had some very nice colt starting creds and I knew I didn't want to spend a hundred hours dinking around before I got back on her. She's gone from whirling away from me on day two of owning her, to sinking her head in my arms on day three. We went through zero to 60 colt starting prep at the clinic. I'd said I wanted to be on, and he said we'd probably get there. When it looked good and she was ready (with a little encouragement from him "got to get on her some time Terri, no time like the present!") I mounted up. She rode off with aplomb and handled herself all day long like I wouldn't even have dared to dream. She's been that way ever since. Hurt right now, on a damn pesky gate pin, I can't wait for her to heal up so we can get on with our journey together.
And that's pretty much me, in more or less of a nutshell. Continuing to write for Saddle Up NE magazine when I can, and there is a book coming off the back burner now that I have a trustworthy device upon which to get it writ. Stay tuned!