Saturday, March 28, 2015

Reinspired in Spring

I haven't been doing a lot of riding lately, mileage wise. Until today my saddles and endurance gear have literally been gathering cobwebs since the last 50 at the end of February. I suppose I've been a little demoralized by that last ride, also busy with work, a sick dog, and some fun shenanigans of course (see 24 hr Oregon trip ).

Boot fitting around the countryside is fun, best done with a traveling pal
 Fortunately, regardless of riding time, keeping 6 1/4 horses on 21 acres means that I'm interacting with them each and every day, and really it's that daily minutiae as much as satisfying training rides that fulfill my horsey heart. The variations in my herd mean that even if there aren't currently miles to rack up, there are small, important things to do here and there too, aside from daily maintenance. 

Like first walk-about and front hoof trim for Apache since his arrival a few weeks ago. He was wide eyed but so sensitive to handle that I literally wiggled my fingers at parts of his body and they twitched and shrank away in response. Quite interesting, nothing out of line, I'm always pleasantly surprised by the forgiving lightness in hand that Arabs who have passed through many hands can still have.  He is a breath holder for sure, the type to freeze and seem briefly impervious to humans, then, as you can nearly see him turning blue, he draws a deep breath and licks and chews and looked to me for encouragement. Personally I'll always take a freeze and assess over a disappearing act! 

uncertain but oh so willing
"I'm not too sure about that, but if you say so"
Moving to other pasture residents, I sold a saddle this week and booked Scrappy into the quality endurance vet about an hour away from us, for next Friday. We'll start by imaging his back area where he's getting sore and go from there.  He's been enjoying pasture time with the fillies and is looking great; I seriously can't wait to know one way or the other how much riding we might be doing..or not.
Sheza is just weeks away from her *fourth* birthday!! Wild. Rory turns 2 at the end of July. They've become buddies when it suits Sheza, like itchy times,  otherwise Rory is a pretty independent cruiser type, more likely to be with the goats or off by herself.
I needed some horse time badly yesterday so I pulled Sheza princess out for a front hoof trim and a little round pen session. She is so funny and onto the program in there, to even get this photo below--which really was just the result of wanting her to do anything more than stand and eat--I had to clap and kick dirt at her, after ramping my cues up that far. She doesn't bother to kick or buck or gallop around hardly at all, which is both ingratiating and sort of a head scratcher. It was quite reassuring when she spazzed about and tired herself out before checking all the right answer boxes, as opposed to giving all the right answers without trying or expending any silliness. Clearly the human needs to keep ahead of the horse, but I'm not entirely sure how all the time.
No really, MOVE!
ho hum, fine then
using that nice butt nicely :)
 beast mode

 what now?
 What now was jumping up on my big filly girl and enjoying a totally relaxing span of time, minutes uncounted,  no miles logged. Just my horse, eating, breathing, and my body slowly unclenching and my back straightening, as the cares I had brought with me onto the horse were slowly breathed away. Even the most dramatic Arabian can teach us about serenity now.
 Re-inspired by my time with Sheza yesterday, this morning I loaded Blaze and Sheza into the new trailer and hauled down to the fishing hole with my husband and the dogs. He fished and ran the wiener pack while I cruised a leisurely 5 mile loop around with the horses.

 bikers! One group polite, one group rude. filly did great
 why cover ground when you can eat though?
 I wasn't quite talented enough to manage photos or film of the half hour we took to cross the stream halfway through. Sheza has done minimal water crossings and tip toes around puddles like they're acid, so I knew a stream crossing would be worth doing. At first I turned her loose and rode across the stream, just to see what she'd do. It's wide and safe and I know she's too needy to run off alone, which was all true, but she didn't deign to even put a toe in. Blaze and I meandered back across the stream,  hooked her up, and then he stood patiently in the water for about 15 minutes while she gradually eased her way into the water, sometimes giving me just *intent* of moving forward which I vigorously rewarded. She tried a few dramatic pull backs at the water's edge before actually getting a toe wet but she's so aware that EH-EH-NO! means NO, she would come back forward immediately and get closer in yet when she heard it. Sure enough 20 minutes in she calmly had her front hooves in and was snuffling the water. She did one good little hop up out of the water on the full crossing but then was convinced to stand and lick and chew, and I felt no need to belabour the point considering her age and experience.
greeting crew back at the rig <3
Blaze felt that was an entirely sufficient 5 miles and Sheza was *hungry*
The rare husband pic! Two of my favorite guys
I'm enjoying spending some time with my Sheza girl again as her birthday nears, and looking forward to getting some answers for Scrappy next week--as well as working with newbie Apache some more. At the moment my only endurance ride plans are camping at a 2 day ride in July with Sheza but things change quickly, so stay tuned!

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