I have swung on a lot of pendulums. Pretty sure I am born an all or nothing kind of girl. That’s got me a lot of places I wanted to go, quite a few I didn’t and stopped me cold in my tracks from realizing my biggest dreams.
Well, some of them. A person gets older, wiser, dreams change.
I am something I never thought I would be. Content. I have a wonderful marriage, a job I don’t hate going to that pays me enough to overlook the days I’d just as soon not. I have a dream horse in my pen. Wonderful friends of the real and true variety. Warts and all. Grown kids that I love and am deeply proud of even though their life choices are sometimes different than I would have them be. What parent doesn’t say that at times?
So yeah, a great life. Finding the balance to make it all work is ever tricky. I am one to overestimate resources of time, money, energy. Then when I run out there’s that old urge to bury my head in the sand until the trouble passes. Unfortunately, when it passes like that almost assuredly a bigger deeper trouble follows in it’s wake.
Horses, you might ask? Don’t worry, I always talk about horses in the context of working out the life stuff. It’s not separate, it cannot be. Who I am in life, I am with my horse.
As Royal slowly healed from the sarcoid treatment I grew ever impatient to have a project. I was searching for a second horse to develop, bring along and not the least still looking for redemption for the ones I have let down along the way.
A friend of mine contacted me about riding a lovely little Halflinger mare she’d picked up. It was broke to drive, had a little riding. Turns out, not much riding and none that I would call of any good kind. A testament to the Halflinger breed which are bright intelligent draft ponies Shasta’s good nature allowed her to let me help her overcome her worries.
Trying to get anything like consistent riding on her was almost impossible for me. One of those true type friends had to remind of the rough stretch of health issues I dealt with last winter and more this Spring. “You thought you wouldn’t be tired?”
I hadn’t really thought about that or the two and a half months I mostly sat around and waited for Royal to heal. I was physically, mentally and emotionally out of condition.
I showed up , suited up and did my best. Thank you so much Peter Campbell for showing me different and better ways to help a horse relax it’s mind. It took some doing but when Shasta let down and decided to trust me, the rest was gravy.
She went from barely tolerating being saddled, all flinch, gasp and skitter to calmly wearing her gear, packing me crunching my plastic water bottle at will and just generally happy to get along. Her first trail ride looked like she’d done it 100 times.
I told her owners the truth about me owing them more riding whenever they need it on her. I watched one ride her and she got along as nice with him as she does with me. Not exactly the job I meant to do but what I did was good and I definitely learned more about respecting limitations!
It’s nice to know I can still help a horse. Along those lines, another deal came up.
If you follow my blog you will remember a nice pair of Paint geldings we used at the ranch last year parking cars for the yearly hay rack rides. I started out on a tall young horse named Huey full of doubt, insecurities and instabilities. He’d come along nice enough I lost my ride to one of my crew and took on a different horse.
I felt for that troubled horse. He had a soft heart and wanted to buy every deal I had to offer him. I told him then I would help him if I could. There were no deals to be made at the end of the season. I turned him loose one last time, petted his neck and wished him well.
Today, he’s standing in my pen beside Royal. The deal I was looking for last year turned up this year. I had turned him over to God as I understand or don’t, to watch over and care for and that Power saw fit to deliver that nice horse back to me.
He doesn’t know much at all but is kind and wants to be gentle. Took him on our first trail ride yesterday with my dear friend Corie and her trusty Zip horse. We put over eleven miles on our ponies. That was once barely enough to saddle for but in these days, it was plenty! They were slow miles. We were considerate of my young unconditioned horse and he did super, He’s a Zen horse in the making.
My plan is to bring him along and find him a home. I will enjoy riding him but only one horse or maybe two own my heart enough to get a forever spot.
Speaking of the forever horse, how is Royal anyway? He’s aces. We got the go ahead to ride my saddle club’s annual show the day before. I had ridden him lightly the previous weekend but I was concerned about aggravating the newly healed sarcoid spot. Until I heard from the vet, no more riding.
With that permission, I had one evening to prepare for the show. Of course, I had zero expectations. I put his western bridle on him with the flashy silver curb solid mouthpiece bit and we rode about an hour refreshing him on what that meant.
Day of the show, I haul the training horse too and by the time I get there, it’s show time. No warm up. We barely make it in the ring for Showmanship. I forget to square him up for the judge, and no surprise, we don’t place. He was light and soft on the halter rope and I could not have been more pleased with him.
English Pleasure? He’s high as a kite. Jumps gleefully sideways at a barrel laying beside the arena, snorts and side eye’s a kid running to his mom. Ask for the canter and he bucks joyfully. Only gets two little hops in (so glad he’s not a natural bronc) and I have him yanked up and put right. I stare steadfastly dead ahead willing the judge to not see us. He did.
English Equitation we are in game mode. He gives me everything I ask for. We were in second place the judge told me until during the rail work. I thought we had picked up the wrong lead, broke him down and in a stride, had him in the correct lead. Third in a very competitive class. Way to go, Royal!
Trail class was again a disaster. I just don’ take the time to settle him like I should and I get what I get. He was silly in places, brave and bold in others.
We garnered a fifth place in Western Horsemanship in the wonky big bit. Royal gave me halt to canter transitions, correct leads on the straightaway, not once but twice. Again, I could not be more proud of my horse.
Coming off a two and a half month lay off, he catches his stride far more easily than I did. Our dressage instructor was very pleased with him in our lesson. “The mark of a horse coming into his own, “ she said, “when they can lay off like that and come back and ride like he just did.” Coming into his own. Happy making.
Striking the balance is ever going to be my challenge. I want to bring Huey along, continue to develop Royal, take on more duties at the barn as I expand my role there. To not over spend my resources? I’m still working on those skills. It sure is fun right now.
There’s one more thing. I took a chance and tried some samples of a product several friends have tried with good results. It’s called Thrive, a vitamin and supplement program. I have tried a lot of this type of thing and have never felt they either worked at all or didn’t enough to justify the cost. This has for me, in a major way. It puts a whole another level into the resource pot. If you are curious about it, have issues with fatigue, digestion, weight issues, I am happy to share my experience with you. Hit me up on Facebook if you know me there or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s been a total game changer for me and a bunch of people I know.