I have all kinds of training posts, thinking about stuff posts and so on that are half way done.
I am ADD in my thinking these days, so I flit around and create obstacles in every aspect of my life.
You guys aren’t the only parts of my life I’ve been spacing out on, believe me.
BUT! I have been riding. Riding and riding. Not training (much) just going and doing. I think about things while I ride. Where I’m heading, how god-awful awkward I am when I rope, finding little holes in my training that have led to pretty problems with my horse in the show pen.
I take delight in my horses. All three are a joy to ride, good minded and solid in their own way.
So I’m still circling and dodging many of my self built obstacles but I do have a bit of a tale to tell.
The kidlet (excuse me, I mean Clare) my good friend Kathy and I went for a trail ride on Sunday in the Garden of the Gods park.
There was weather expected in the afternoon so we got up at Oh-my-God thirty and had our horses trailered in, unloaded and saddled by 9 a.m.
There were all kinds of little niglets and weight to this ride. Clare wanted a ride with just the three of us. As she prepares to pull away and get on with her growing up she has become sentimental.
Kathy is essentially Mom#2 to Clare and Kathy’s daughter, Sarah, is her horse riding buddy and soul sister.
We all felt the weight of not having Sarah with us. Of course she was hanging at a beach house in Florida. I don’t think she missed us as much as we missed her.
So this carefully constructed plan had started with a good dose of sentimentality hanging on our saddle horns.
The next little knot was tied around Kathy’s neck. Two and a half years ago she was body slammed into an iron corral rail at a high speed (remember Captain?).
She spent 2 weeks in ICU and came out thoroughly shaken. Kathy spent almost a year simply taking care of her horse Rosie. She fed her and cleaned her pen, groomed her and enjoyed her, but didn’t, couldn’t ride.
She finally came out and rode with me for her first time and everything went fine, but she was still afraid.
Rosie is a wonderful, quiet minded, goofy little horse. She is Loki’s half-sister and Kathy has owned her since she was a few days old.
Kathy trained her herself, with a little riding from me and the rest through instruction and hard work.
Rosie is a fun little horse who can spin on a dime, will toss out a dolphin buck here and there to remind us who’s who and has enough cow to keep Kathy on her toes.
She is also Kathy’s dear friend and was totally OK with staying at a walk until Kathy was ready for more.
I conned Kathy into giving up her self care barn and moving Rosie to my barn. She has been riding more and more and getting her “ride” back. I have my favorite person to ride with.
Clare and Kathy both wanted to run up the valley, the same one I ran Sonita up.
So we had that little niggle to contend with. Kathy hadn’t let Rosie run since her train wreck. She looked a little strained.
This was a big next step for my arena baby. Both Clare and Kathy were better about getting their horse out than I was. Madonna looks at this trail riding as a huge adventure. She hadn’t had to tackle anything like these rocky, steep, trails before, so I was hoping she would still like trail riding after today.
So off we went, excited and eager, our little niggles trailing behind us.
The ride was fun and the park, as always, breath-taking. I noticed a few things.
When your horses are barefoot you can see them feel the rocks to find the best path. I kept thinking how a shoe must flatten their foot and take away the feel. Because all three of us ride on a loose rein it was interesting to note how careful and thoughtful each horse was about finding the best path.
All three horses would put their noses down like a horse doing the bridge in a trail class. They would snuff and look and then pick their way.
It was so different than my old way of tightening up in a tough spot.
These days our horses never scramble, never panic, they just kept going along. As long as we stayed centered and aware they did too.
We didn’t have a single refusal all day. All three horses willingly climbed bare rock, dropped down a 2-foot ledge and crossed all kinds of bridges.
A wonderful feeling came over me. I realized my fear has subsided.
I had no thoughts of danger, no times when I had to force myself to relax, nothing. Kathy and Clare were the same. Of course the kidlet is always that way. But here we were, two old fifty-something ladies, cruising along.
My mojo is back. I have come back to being a happy, confident rider. Is it because I only ride my horses? Probably.
But I’m working my colt, easing my fried ex-show horse through her anxieties and riding my Madonna, who although is wonderful, can be a lot of horse.
So it’s not all cake, but I’m not afraid anymore. I trust my horses and my ability and they trust me. Cool realization to have riding on a beautiful day in a gorgeous park.
We came around a bend to the bottom of the old reservoir. Kathy was looking pretty anxious, so I suggested we lope a few circles in the field before we headed out.
Clare made a face but did it anyway. Kathy got a little tight and Rosie picked up the wrong lead, but she fixed it and pretty soon all three of us were loping lazy, loopy circles in this beautiful field of green grass.
“Screw it,” Kathy said, “I’m going!”
She and Clare rode out of their circle and headed up the hill. Madonna and I followed behind at an easy lope.
They sped up with every stride and soon were flying.
My little yellow horse watched with interest but stayed in her lope, comfortable on a loose rein.
She sure isn’t Sonita.
“C’mon,” I said, “we’re way behind.”
With a scoot of my seat she took off up the hill after them.
On the way home I looked over at Kathy. She sat in the back seat of the truck, a sly smile on her face.
“What are you thinking about?” I shouted over the chug of the diesel.
“We had to look so cool running up that hill,” she answered.
Talk about mojo.