Thursday, December 31, 2009

Getting to Know You. . .

Getting to know a new horse is always so much fun. Finding their qirks, likes dislikes, and what makes then tick.

I was messing around taking pictures and I discovered a cute little upside down Micky Mouse on Kinsey's lip. Although nobody else believe me because she is a very mouthy girl and any time I try to show them on her her little lip goes a~wiggling!

But see here, cute little Mickey Mouse.

Kinsey love salt, girl after my own heart. Pretzels are a favorite of her, as are peppermints, apples, carrots, peppermint ( she really love peppermint), other assorted horesy treat. Although her barn mate's owner's rock hard ginger snaps did not make her approval.

Another thing Kinsey likes to do is jump. Yes she demonstrated this about a week ago when she was turned out in the indoor and leaped over the 3 ft gate and ran out the door to enjoy some nice turnout time. Lucky the power to peppermint came to the rescue. Which leads to Kinsey's 1st dislike. She does not really like to be caught. She is a little anxious about humans on the ground.

She is also anxious about humans her in her stall. It is really sad to see her trying to avoid the people in her stall. She looks like she wants to hide in the corner. I just reminds me that both Kinsey and I have things to work on.

I am getting anxious to ride her. I have decided that I will ride her in February. Not a completely arbitrary date. I am hoping to drop some more weight and let her get in a little better shape.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holding Back

I am so mad at myself. Why can't I just get on Abby and ride? Why? I don't know. There are lots of excuses. Do any of them have any merit? I don't know that either.

Today a very nice woman came to look at Abby. She really seemed to hit it off with my girl. Abby was on her best behavior and the whole time I was talking to this woman I was thinking, why can't I use Abby this way? Why can't I just saddle her up and go down the trail? Why?

We walked out through the snow, walking through the barn, past the chickens and donkeys. Gates are frozen and I have to clean out the barn. Things that have been difficult, because my wrist is still so weak, have been left undone. Abby, the big beautiful black mare, stood with her mini friends eating hay. We walk right up to her and rub on her, she searches us for treats. Abby love attention. Loves the pets and scratches.

I get the halter and lead out. Abby, being the naughty "pony" she is starts to dart away and I show her treats. "OH," you can hear her say, " You have TREATS, okay put the halter on." That's my girl, ruled by her tummy.

We look at her and then I let her loose to trot around. Big beautiful high knee actioned trot. She is so beautiful when she moves. She stops and blows, billows of hot steam stream from her nostrils. Eventually she retreats to the barn and I have to go back and chase her out.

The woman, have I said she is very nice?, she asks for the lead and does a little in hand work with her. Abby backs and trots in a circle, stops and turns the other way. Abby is a good girl and does everything asked of her. The woman seems to know what she is doing. She like how Abby is on the ground but is cautions but wonders how she is under saddle. I don't even have Abby's saddle out here.

"She's so big!" "Looks like a full draft!" "I don't know if the trailer or stall will fit her."

We talk, the woman and I. She has a camera and takes lots of photos of Abby. Abby stands next to me as we discuss if Abby will meet the woman's needs. Abby stands a bit behind me and rests her head in my arms. I love her. The woman is really interested but is going to look at another horse and see if she can find a place that could accommodate a big girl like Abby. Abby rubs on me.

Back in the house the woman has left. I am left feeling cold. Not just from the weather but thinking that Abby might leave. She might find a new partner and I will never have conquered my fear of riding her. I still can feel her under me and remember the few rides I had on her and how much I enjoyed them. Where did it go wrong? Is it fair to keep Abby when she could go on and be used? My head says to let her go, but we still need to talk to my heart.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Five Horses We Meet in Life

This has been repeated on several blogs I read. I really love reading about other's 5 horses. Here are mine: I wrote the parts in yellow.

The Five Horses We Meet in Life

1. The Intro Horse
We each came into horses in our own way, but it was always with a horse leading us. This might have been a friend’s first pony, or perhaps it was a draft horse on a farm you once visited It might have been a real-life meeting, or an imaginary one.

The first time I saw a horse up close it scared the crap out of me. Really! It was at a riding stable and my sister took lessons there. All the horses were in standing stalls. My sister wanted to put me on one but I was terrified of the big beasts. It stirred something in me though. Soon all I would talk and read about were horses. A few years later I started taking lessons at that very same stable.

During this time I had my very first horse. He lived in the meadow down from our summer cottage. Thunder was the name of this steed. To me he was a beautiful horse but most other just thought he looks like a felled tree. I spent many an hour astride that trunk and had many adventures.

2. The Experimental Horse
Once you had crossed the line between “Darn, they’re big!” and “Wow! Can I try that?” you found yourself face-to-face with the horse that would suffer through your early attempts at figuring out the whole horse experience … wherever this horse came from, he probably didn’t benefit from the encounter as much as you did…

There would be three horses here. All from that same stable, High Style Stables. Two where pintos. Buttercup was a little palomino pinto pony. She was one of the first horses that everyone at High Style rode. She was a good pony that knew her job. Her only fault, if you can call it that, was that she would give a little cow hop if you touched her with the whip on her butt. She was sweet pony though. The other was another mare, Daisy. Daisy was also a pieball pinto and just a little more advanced that Buttercup. I learned an awful lot from those two girls. At I ended my riding at High Style with my third favorite horse, Sadie. A dark chestnut mare who would roll if you did not ride every stride. I learned to pay attention to my horse with Sadie.

I never made the connect before between those three horses and my love of chestnuts, pintos, and mares. Funny how our earlier memories effect us, even unconsciously.

3. The Connected Horse
The first horses we meet don’t really connect with us, nor do we with them. Those are experiences in survival and tests of endurance. The Connected Horse is the first horse you truly bond with. This is the horse that sounds a chord that lives so deep in you that you might never have heard it otherwise…

Rebel's HopeThis was my first real horse~Rebel's Hope. She was my dream, my life, she is the reason I was able to make it to adulthood. Without Hope I doubt I would have made in past my teenage years. During those years I could always say I had Hope. She was just a big red horse in my backyard but I had Hope. Hope taught me how to really ride, how to trust, how to feel the wind in my hair. She was not always an easy horse, especially during the early years but as I gained her trust I found out what it meant to really have someone trust and believe in you. There will never be another Hope, and it has taken me a long time to learn how to live without Hope. I think I am learning though.

4. The Challenger
Into each horseperson’s life, a little challenge must fall. You’ll have read that one final training book, bought yourself a clicker and heading rope, and there you’ll stand, arms crossed, assessing the situation as if you actually knew what the situation was. It might be difficult to believe, as you are flying down the aisleway on the losing end of a braided cotton line, but you actually need this horse in your life…

Each horse has given me challenges. My first ride on Hope left me in the middle of a field with my left stirrup, but no horse. A TB gelding I had I eventually sold after owning him a short time because he was more than I needed at the time. But I think this one really has to go to Abby.

Abby has been a challenge. This is the first horse I got seriously injured on. Well technically I was not on her when I got hurt, but you get the idea. I have not given up on her yet. I have plans, no money, but plans. I hope that I can overcome this challenge or at least send Abby on in the best possible way to have a happy home with someone who can deal with the challenge.

5. Your Deepest Heart
There will come a time when you will look at yourself with a cold, appraising eye, and you’ll have to be honest about your continued ability to deal with The Challenger and other difficult horses. At that point, you’ll seek out the horse that will be your soul mate forever… You’ll have bought him the most comfortable, best fitting equipment… Maybe you’ll still go to shows and ride – brilliantly or barely – in the Alzheimer’s class. Maybe you’ll just stay home. Whatever you do, one day you’ll realize that after all the money you spent on animal communicators and trainers, you only had to stop and listen and you would have clearly heard your horse’s thoughts and desires…

Obviously Hope would fit this except she did not come after my Challenger horse. I am hoping that this horse is Abby, except Abby is my challenger. If not then Kinsey. I really did have to look at what my actually abilities were when I bought Kinsey. We have not reached the point that I can clearly hear her thoughts, but I am sure enjoying getting to know this red mare that looks so much like my heart horse, Hope. They are not the same, and honestly I wouldn't want them to be. Hope was so special that nobody can take her place in my heart. I do hope though that Hope can allow some room in there for me to love another.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Weighty Matters

In my readings about fear and riding, weight issues have been slapping me in the face lately. Horse Illustrated and Practical Horseman both have articles about fear and riding. The article in PH is called, "Winning the Fitness Battle." Becky Holder tells about her healthier life style. Even in That Winning Feeling by Jane Savoie she talks about fitness.Add Image

For me fitness starts with weight loss. Really, I have to loose weight. I do not wish to disclose how much as of yet, you will notice there are no photos of me on this blog. I do have a lovely "before" shot with Abby. I hope in the spring I can share that with an "in progress" photo. I am very healthy otherwise, but weight. My heart, cholesterol, liver, kidney, and other functions are all great. I am just fat.

For me, weight is a big reason for my fear. First of all, I know I look like crap on a horse. Oh come on, we know when we look bad. I look bad. That is negative talk though and so I have changed that in my mind to, "I look great on my horse." I know with that positive self talk it is only a matter of time until it is true. My mantra is, " I am a healthy and fit woman." Maybe I should ad, " I look great on my horse."

Amazingly, as I tell myself that a few times a day another strange thing happens. When I feel hungry, the little voice in my head asks me, "what would a healthy person eat?" I then find myself reaching for an apple rather than a handful (or bagful) of potato chips. It really is weird and takes me aback a bit. I know in time that it will be second nature. I kid you not, some of that crap actually works!

My weight also effects how I sit on a horse. Seriously, it is hard to ask much of a horse when you feel like you are too heavy to be up there in the first place. Then, to be perfectly frank, my larger than average thighs and thick posterior make it difficult to do many of the things that dressage asks. For example, sit on your seat bone. Hell I can not even feel my seat bones. I am not sure I have them anymore, much less know if I am sitting on them. Or feel the horse. Again, it is like sitting on a bunch of quilts and trying to feel a pea under the mattress. That may have been easy for a princess, but I am not a princess.

Bitching about my weight while I grab some pizza and beer is not going to help though. I had to be serious and decided that riding again is very important to me and like anything worth doing it takes effort. So I joined Weight Watchers. It works, when I do it that it. Really. I just need to actually do it. I don't think that most of the weight loss programs really work long term, but with WW you actually learn how to eat. Again, I just need to follow it.

I also invested in a Wii. I have Wii Fit Plus, Wii Biggest Losers, and some other Wii Play. When I first decided to lose weight and I knew that I would have to exercises I went out and got some videos, only to find out that I was not fit enough for the videos yet. The Wii games really meet me where I am now, keep me motivated, and help me to keep exercises. On a bad day I really like the boxing game on Wii Play. Just pretend your actually beating the hell out of whoever is stressing you, SO much fun!

So really what it comes down to for me is that in order to feel comfortable on a horse, I have to lose weight. I find that highly motivating, and one of the the keys to weight loss is finding what motivates you. Got my motivation, got my program, let's rock!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to all my fellow equestrians from the crew:

Abby is a 7 year old percheron x paint mare. She stands 16.1 and and is truly a character. I bought Abby expecting to trail ride and do a little dressage. All she would do is spin around on the trails and after being used in a therapy program she lack her basic training to leg and rein aids. Very sensitive to imbalance though, it makes her nervous. This is the girl I came off of and broke my wrist. Abby may be a substantial girl, but she lacks confident. That is the problem, big horse and big girl and either has confidence. That will change though!

Next we have Kinsey. This is my newest charge and she is my "confidence" builder horse. Kinsey is a diamond in the rough. She was a lucky find by a friend who pointed me to her. Kinsey is a stock type horse who is about 10 years old. She had a baby and done trail rides. I am at least her 4th owner and she has developed some trust issues from the ground along the way. Undersaddle she is as steady as they come, although I admit only my friends are riding her as yet. My time will come.

This final horse is CJ. He is a friends horse and is another steady eddy. This handsome quarter horse gelding has navicular, but is still ridable and seems to really enjoy his job for the most part. CJ is just a good ol' boy who really does know his job and tries to do it the best he can. CJ will let me just walk around on him, but listens through my nervous. I look forward to being a better rider to CJ.

As a side note, I am sure his owner wishes I would use a better picture of him. He really is a handsome fellow and this one does not do him justice.

I have also have three mini and two mini donkeys. I may talk about them too, and will introduce them when I do.

So from all of us to all of you and your equine friends. . . Have a very Merry Christmas!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Blog moved


I am moving my blog. I just like some of the features here better. My old blog and webpage can be seen here .

Anyway so I'll cover the basics over again:
I am a fearless rider, or at least that is what I am striving for. I am a typical entering middle age rider. I grew up with horses and they have always been an important part of my life. Then I had a few falls off a TB gelding I owned awhile back and realized, WOW, I'm breakable. I don't heal as quickly any more and this tb is too much for me!

It was a horrible realization, but I knew I could not survive without horses so I down sized. Miniature horses! I still have three: Ike, Madison, and Rocky. They live and home with me and I really want to drive them more. Ike knows how to drive and I want to teach Madison. Rocky is very little and just my bud.

The minis were great, but I wanted to ride. I so I traded two of the minis I had at the time for a riding horse that turned out to have neurological issues. Well, really undiagnosed neurological issues. My vet really felt that was the issue. I also realized that I did have some fear issues. So I started taking lessons.

Those lessons were going so well, I was back up to cantering on a lunge again. It was wonderful. I was so happy that I had not lost my seat and started to feel so comfortable again. I decided it was time to start looking for a horse. I found a nice Percheron mare that had been used in a therapeutic riding program. She had developed a few issues, but heck she had to be pretty calm to be used in a therapeutic riding program right?

Wrong! First of all my trainer turned out to have some mental issues, so I dropped her. Abby was good for the most part, except she was very strong. Without and indoor and having such a large horse that rips up the ground I had a hard time getting on her the following spring. One excuse lead to another and they continued for two years.

Now I had a large, strong, mare who had sat for two years. I started doing work with her on the ground but decided I either had to ride her or sell her. I love her to pieces and so finally this fall I got on her. My fear was stronger than I though. I was thinking that if we took things slow that it would be fine.

Long story short ( I know too late) I fell off and broke my wrist. Most of this is on my other blog.

Now I am healing mentally and physically. I have a new horse and yes I still have Abby.

Tomorrow I will do a list of characters.