Monday, April 25, 2016

Learning Curves

Just in case you are somewhere south of 55, heading north to catch up and you have an idea there is an age where you get past having to grow up and catch the learning curves I am here to tell you that is so far not the case.

You want to get a little humility, take on an activity that might be related to what you think you know but not quite.

Last weekend I was invited to join a group of friends to go horse camping. I have watched these groups of my friends go camping and riding together for years and years. Yes, there have been some tales of misadventures here and there. I knew I would likely make newbie errors but I had no idea I could make so many in one four day period of time . . . no time or interest in every single one, here's the highlight reel.

First enter the prep stage. There is the Royal factor. He is not any better in large groups than I am. He takes things personally like his human. When he thinks he is being dissed, he very honestly and true to his nature flips the freak out. We are both working on our social graces but I was not sure he was the horse to take on this new adventure.

The alternative was Just Sam. A three possibly four year old off the track Thoroughbred who has very recently come into my life. As in Monday, last week.

Sam raced for the last time about two weeks ago. This would also not at first glance be the horse to take, either but one or the other, right? Or, stay home which had also occurred . . .

Sam rode quiet in the indoor Monday night, exactly as I was told he would. Tuesday morning after I say good bye to my Orthopedic surgeon ("it's up to you now" ok, thanks doc, see ya) Greg Queal at The Riding Center takes a quick ride out with me to see if Sam can handle the open outside world.

Turns out he is unfazed by all except gaited horses and electric temporary pens and we won't know that until later.

Here's some tips for anyone else about to be newly camping with people you do not know well except maybe one.

1. Build a bigger pen than you think you need, flag the hot wire so your unsuspecting colt won't stick his neck under it turning your pen and all adjoining into fashion accessories he'd rather live without. Especially if there is a highway nearby.

2. Make sure if you take the greenest horse on the planet, you either arrange to ride out separately or be prepared to handle what happens when fire breathing gaited horses (Sam said they were, I myself personally saw no actual fire) leave the country in front of you when they innocently pick up their gaits to catch up with the riders out in front of them.

3. Don't expect people to play by your rules when it is their party. In fact, take this one and apply to all aspects of life. The tricky part to this is sometimes I am not aware I have that expectation and neither do they. What is obvious to me is not to them and vice versa.

There were a ton of laughs, good times and my friend Corie and I found solid gold under us when we took our greenies out for a quiet ride, just us. Bader Park, just north of Grand Island, NE is a pretty camp. The trails are low laying and they flood when it rains but are safe and it's not only acceptable to ride them when under water but a huge part of the attraction.

Tell me there are not kids going home with nightmares from this guy  . . .

Since Just Sam was unimpressed by a couple strands of hard to see hot wire, he spent the entire weekend tied to the trailer. Fortunately I have some excellent horse camping training from my CTR friends and I kept him as comfortable and safe as possible. When I finally caught on (at least one night late) that thin coated pampered baby horse really wanted a blanket against the damp chill nights, he was a lot happier. Thank you Robyn for the blanket and the bute!

Sam made the trip as a horse that I would possibly develop and find a home for, recoup some of the financial losses from the Huckleberry mishap. All I know right now, is maybe stupid money could buy him but it would have to be really stupid, like buy me a trailer stupid. Other than that, he's home. What a mind that horse has. You do not find them like this every day. Glad I know the difference with horses and I surely know the value I am looking at here.

Let me say again. Last race, two weeks ago. Zero transition to trail horse but here we are.

Water well above the knees along some of these trails. Sam is as tall as you think he is and I still picked my feet up a couple of times.

My friend Tammy Musil who was there with the Goddess of Horses incarnate ponied Sam who then decided he worshipped the ground Epona gaited on. There was a lot of offers of help and friendly support as we figured stuff out . . .

My biggest takeaway from the weekend? Going to leave them right here for your reading, growing and self development enjoyment. Until next time.


Shoofly said...

Thanks for a nice re-cap of your weekend. Nothing like spending ride time with supportive friends. I get to do that next weekend, for the first time this year, and I can't wait to get there! Sam looks like a good boy. Did he get tangled in the e-fence? Bravo will be tied overnight for the first time in two weeks, though we are practicing in the daylight. ;)

Good Hands said...

He got tangled in the fence, I got tangled in social situations. We both got a little stung and learned a lot. We both also had fun and we will continue in a good forward motion :-)