Thursday, June 30, 2011

Horse Thoughts

Okay I've had about 6 false starts on this post now, for some reason I can't quite phrase what I am trying to say. Maybe coz its 5 pm and rather warm for thinking. Yep, I'll blame it on that. The gist of what I wanted to briefly write about is the contrast in focus between having a mare and foal to work with and then having a horse (my gelding, Blaze) that I am actively pursuing endurance riding (at least LD) with. On the one hand I have my filly who I try to at least spend time with 3 or so times a day, in addition to the halter, ponying, tying, etc work. She is so fickle and can't decide if she wants to be friendly about half the time, so its all about slow, quiet patience with her. Then I have her mom, Desire, who is being an absolutely fantastic mom but is ready and willing to transition back to a saddle horse, and I am so dying for her to become that again as well! She is a really smooth and exciting ride and I am so looking forward to our future trail miles. But I have to be patient with that drive as well, since my filly isn't even 3 months old yet and I can't quite whisk mom away yet! Then there is my steady fellow, Blaze, who I have come so far with in the last 2 years, and I am sure will go many more miles with yet. In his case my focus is pretty much just on miles at this point. I do little tune-ups in the arena (almost said I like to do them, but really I never quite LIKE time spent going in circles, though I know how important it can be) to keep him attentive and not just going into ra-ra-race mode every ride, but for the most part we saddle up and hit the trail, whether its here out our front gate, at the lake, alone, in a group, doesn't matter. Of course when it comes right down to it, my approach to all three animals is basically the same, and slow quiet patience applies to them all, and myself, at some point during almost every interaction we have. Its just a re focusing of energy depending on which horse I am dealing with. I have to digress a little here and say I feel quite fortunate that I am able to experience this rich diversity in my own little horse herd and I am really looking forward to the coming years, hopefully spent with all of them. I was telling my husband this morning that I think its almost better that little girls who love horses don't get them when they are young, because that awareness and appreciative feeling for the great gift of a horse just isn't there as a kid. I think we all know of parents who get their little girl a horse or pony and then end up shouldering the burden of it. Of course no one generalization applies to all horsey girls, but I know I spent my childhood playing with horse toys, pretending I was a horse, and treasuring my one riding lesson a week that my mom, a business owner and single mom of four, somehow managed to get me to. My riding horizons opened up even more after moving from Maine to California when I was 10, as my next door neighbor had a FAT old Arabian mare (seriously, never seen such a big hay belly before or since) who I spent hours and hours riding. I got my very own first horse in high school and as much of a blast as that was, I know I didn't fully appreciate it and sometimes whined and didn't want to go muck her stall where she was boarded, but hey, that's high school right? Anyhow, looking at the halters on their hooks in my own tack room next to my own wash racks and then turning to look out at the fields and my sweet gelding, gorgeous mare, and stunning little filly--well, I guess I just feel darn lucky and grateful!!
All that aside, I've done 20 fun miles of riding on Blaze this week, as well as riding Desire bareback for the first time which was such a blast. I plan to do that again tonight when it cools. Tuesday it absolutely poured and yesterday it was cool and cloudy, which was a really nice break from the heat. Forecast for 4th of July weekend is 100+ degrees and lots of tourists so my horses and I will be laying low and staying cool for the next few days!

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