Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rested Up and Full of Beans

The Big K, Brockle and Mugs have Gttyup surrounded. Photo by Summersmom
I think I can safely say, the first Big K/Mugs clinic and haycation was a crazy good success.

We had a blast. We all liked each other (how couldn't we? we're awesome). We had a damn fine group of riders, which opened up the parameters of what we could do and so we did it.

Tim thinks the Mugwump bloggers make for a crackerjack clinic and is already talking about next year.

Most, certainly not all, but most of our time was spent on the horses. We had breakfast at 7:00, saddled up and rode until lunch. Then ate, and were back at it again until dinner. Both Friday and Saturday, we were saddled and riding after dinner too. Sunday had people riding until they were dragged off the horses, jammed into a trailer and hauled off.

I'm going to be bold here and say everybody went home happy.

Once they quit screaming, "I don't want to go!"

There was no groundwork, no saddle fitting, no mind melding or massage techniques. If there were any carrot sticks, $90 halters or 60 foot round pens, they were discretely hidden and only brought out to play with in the dark, after hours, in the privacy of your own tent. Ew.

If I'm going to be honest, there may have been a temporary roundpen on the place earlier in the week, but Odin took care of that -- another post for another day.

However, there were plenty of creek crossings, cattle gathers, slide stops, lead changes and departures, and fun in the cattle pen.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

If I want the best relationship I can with my horse, it's going to come from riding.

Rinse and repeat.

If I want the best relationship I can with my horse, it's going to come from riding. Lots and lots of riding.

I watched it happen with one rider after another during the clinic. Confidence grew as fast as the smiles and the stories just flew about how cool our horses were.

This wasn't idle bragging, it was everything from the rush of discovery to the renewal of faith in an equine partner.

Here are some examples of what I heard.

"I could really feel the sweep from side to side when Tim was helping us cross water, I can't wait to try it on a cow!"

"My mare is really trying to put those changes together, I knew she could do it!"

"I can't believe somebody is actually telling me to let him go and speed up. What a rush!"

"I just decided we were going, and she pricked her ears and headed where I told her, happy as could be. We were both happy and excited, instead of scared and worried."

I'm telling you, just typing all those exclamation points makes me tired, and that's truly how the conversations were going.

I found myself smiling again and again, over a steady slide down a teeny, tiny, itsy bitsy rock face, (yep, another post), an eager leap up an embankment with a cow firmly in my horse's sites, the feeling of being bone tired until I was back in the saddle, then ready for anything. Being reminded how all of this vaquero stuff comes together and creates a little bit of magic and can only happen when I'm pushing myself and my horse past our safe little boundaries.

So, Mugwump is off the fence on this one. I want to ride.

I want the feeling I get on a horse I know inside and out that only comes by hours and days and months in the saddle. The feeling that we're a single, six-legged, two-headed unit and we still challenge ourselves every chance we get.

I think you should ride too.

If your horse is turning seven and you're still not on him, invest in a trainer, and get him started. Any one of the Horse Whisperers who tries to tell you a green rider can safely train a green horse is full of crap. There is a reason you keep buying videos instead of riding. Deep in your heart, you know little Foo Foo just might send you to the moon. This tells me you are a smart person who wants to live.
So get him started. Then get on and start riding.

I watched a solid partnership between horse and rider, not only start to form, but unwind and take off running during this clinic. It was incredible. The talking, scratching, bonding moments took place while this team was forming, not before, and definitely not instead of. Horse and rider came to the ranch with the same, "What have I done and who the hell are you?" look in their eyes. When they left, those two were just shiny with their confidence, trust and mutual admiration society.

So here it is. The official proclamation.

 Horses are adventure, horses are a dare, horses keep us moving forward. Turn off the Horse Channel, put down that damn clicker, saddle up and head down the trail.

Heading on out. Kacy and Summer


RuckusButt said...

Here, here!

Anonymous said...

Exactly! Get on your horse and ride, have fun and don't constantly think about what you should be doing or teaching or thinking. Just get on and ride. Don't get me wrong, I work with my horse on everything you mentioned but it is not "school" it is fun, for both of us. My horse can sit all winter and come spring I can just hop on him and ride, no games, no longing, just riding.
Glad everyone had a great time wish I could have come, the scenery alone would have been worth the clinic fee.

paintarab said...

ahhhh. Your making me miss riding even more!! I'm pregnant and thus not riding. My horse and I go for walks instead, buts its not even close to being the same.

Heidi the Hick said...

I'm so glad you wrote this!!! (Even if I couldn't be there in person). Been thinking about this so much. I find my horses seem to like me best after a hard challenging ride. I don't know why. Maybe just happy to have me literally get off their back. But I do like that feeling when I'm standing there rubbing the forehead of a sweaty horse. And any ride is better than no ride. I'm so happy to hear your weekend went so well and selfishly glad to hear there might be another one!!

Heidi the Hick said...

Wait - full of beans - is that what you guys are all weekend? Blazing Saddles campfire scene???

mugwump said...

no campfire -- fire restrictions -- no beans, except of course, The Bean, who is a little farty, but otherwise pretty OK.

Helen said...

Be afraid Gyttyup, be very afraid!...
...and how about the colour on Madonna? Is she bred to be in a tourist brochure for your wonderful landscape? (Joking!)

Stuck here in an office in Australia and very. jealous.

Greenie said...

I want to do and be what you wrote in this post so bad it hurts...

zebradreams07 said...

There damn well better be a next year! And I'll be there if I have to ride to Montana!

mugwump said...

Greenie- It's the wanting that gets us places, in the mean time, it keeps me writing.

JJ said...

Right on! Glad you had a great time :)

Mona Sterling said...

This post really hit home with me. I'm going to be working on making some changes in my pony situation so that when opportunities arise, I'm saying 'yes' more than I say 'no'.

gtyyup said...

You'll never get the feel unless you just do it...ride...lots of it. I need to ride more. As soon as I harvest the weeds out of my arena...

KD said...

A big AMEN to this advice; "Turn off the Horse Channel, put down that damn clicker, saddle up and head down the trail."

I don't ride as often as I'd like, but I ride as often as I can.

Cindy D. said...

yes yes yes

Peanut said...

What a great post; I'm glad to hear that the clinic was such a success.

I have a little mare that's been very challenging for me. I ride with the trainer that started her whenever I get the chance - he always pushes me way out of my comfort zone, yet he has so much confidence in us that it carries us through. It sounds like you and Tim provided the direction, confidence, and support that everyone needed.

What a beautiful place, and unusually green for late July in Montana.

I can hardly wait to hear what Becky says about the clinic...

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