Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Good Times, Bad Times


You know I have had my share . . . That seems to be the theme of the past few months, horseback and life in general.

Here in the Midwest we have experienced pretty much the same winter everyone else has, colder than normal and just bitter to be out and around. I have made it to the barn a few spare times and yet I have found myself cursing a high spirited horse who jumps around on the trail and behaves like . . . a well fed horse not getting much consistent work of any kind!

The “glamping” thing is coming together. That’s a new term for me but apparently it is the hot term for those of us who like some comfort and “purty” when we camp. Mine will take place in the back of my 14 foot stock trailer and it’s coming right along!

This tent cot will set up inside the trailer, double protection from monsoons and such!  There’s a lot more in store and I can’t wait to share pictures with you guys of the deal all set up! I even have matching carpet and drapes! Well, my trailer does, anyway.

the tent cot


There’s been a couple decent rides with friends, already and looking forward to a social season, hauling my horse around, hopping on my other equine best friends, such as Bling, lovely Saddlebred mare owned by my friend Christine Shenefield. Bling never has to worry should she ever be in a need to find another place to lay her lovely head! I adore this mare! We are on the right in this photo, supporting Christine and another of her lovely mares, Sky, getting across the Bridge of No Regret! Yep, that’s my faithful Axel photobombing in the middle!

Across the Bridge of No RegretChristine, Sky, me and BlingBling and the Bridge

Corie, Christine and I have a blast on the trail. Much laughter ensues and the weight of whatever is laying heavy on our shoulders is lifted at least for as long as the ride lasts!

The three amigos

The Three Amigos bringing it in!

Late winter, some folks got together to do some trail trimming. I am not much good for that kind of thing, I’ll break a branch if it offends me as I ride by but that’s usually as good as it gets. Nonetheless I went along for the ride and another friend brought me his very handsome dun gelding Badger to carry me on my way. In this photo, I am ponying another cute dun, Butter, who was being a little wayward. She was really great for me, and I got the privilege of being her guest rider on the next outing.  Looking forward to seeing you next week, Butter!

Butter and Badger


Each of these horses hold a place in my heart, and I could not be more grateful that I have been able to open my mind and learn a little about how to communicate and get along with these wonderful animals. I set up opportunities to “talk” to them. Look, here’s just a little pressure, give to it, and look! I give right back to you! This can be easy! We can have fun!

Oh yes, I can be stern when need be, and I hang on hard to Peter saying “Direct them! Do not correct! Direct!!” When I can stay true to what I am taught, things work out pretty good.  Makes my heart happy to feel them solid under me, knowing we have a partnership going on and faith in one another.

In case you are wondering, Royal is far from back burnered. I HAVE managed to drag myself through the winter blues to get at least some little things done with him. I have gathered a couple of interesting facts about us.

We are going to need help with the trailer thing. Still. He hates and fears it to the point he can’t even walk by without it wrecking his day. We have a plan for that.  Colleen and her great gelding, Smore, are going to show the way here, and I can’t wait for my horse to be at peace and calm about something that upsets him so very much right now.

I have a different horse in the arena than I do on the trail. This blaze of inspiration went through my mind as he almost leapt out from under me, startled out of his wits by . . .the approaching dog we have ridden hundreds of miles with. So, what is different between one geography and the other? Tons.

In the indoor arena, I often let him blow off steam at liberty and then bring him back to me as he gets ready. He can spook, booger, snort, stare icily at any little thing he wants without interference from me. And get over it.

After a hard work

By the time I am in the saddle, he is 100% willing for me to be there.

When I ride on the trail, we do groundwork, but it’s on the line. I get after him to keep his attention focused on me and never mind the outside world. There is definitely a place for that too, but the horse I get on after is not at all as happy to see me.

after dark


We are barely speaking to one another here, after a far too eventful 2 mile ride that saw more unintentional (on my part) lateral movement and airs above ground (very intentional on his part) activity than I ever need or want to experience again in our lifetimes.

Riding with Peter Campbell is very high on my priority list of what gets done this year. Two classes in Archie, MO, coming up the first weekend of May and two classes in September in Lincoln NE. I am counting on Peter to take us the next step of the way. 

One thing I have discovered, on a whole lot of levels. Quitting is just not an option. It’s off the table.


Anonymous said...

Good to hear from you. This winter has been very hard on all of us and can't wait for it to be over. Also will be looking forward to your reports on the trailer loading issue. Red and I have had some recent breakthroughs involving me offering him softness before the brace begins - in both our bothersome first walk/trot transition, and also in "loading" into the wash stall, which he was very anxious and braced about. The training seems to be sticking, which is very good and will help us, I think, in the trailer loading issue, where he does load but in a very braced manner. We'll be trying that out next week . . .

terri mackeogh said...

Good luck! I bet it holds. Looking forward to hearing how that goes!

I am also looking forward to Royal's progress. The best part of where we are right now is that I know there is more out there than I know about and I know where to go to get it!