Monday, May 14, 2012

Life Long Problem

Memories. . .

I love walking down memory lane and taking in the sights and sounds of days gone by. Reading this post about a little girls first time riding a pony made me think about the first time I met a real live horse.

Oh I saw parades with the horse prancing down the road near my house on the Forth of July. Blue and red and white ribbons in their hair. I stood in awe of them as they clipped clopped down Main Street. Even going to the little pony rides at the fair. Docile little fuzzy ponies that wouldn't move faster than a turtle pace. I loved that. I don't remember any fear of them.

My first memories of fear of horses occurred the first time I met a horse live and up close. My sister was taking lessons at a local stable. She was in her teens while I was still only about 9. High Style Stables was a local stable that catered to the saddle seat crowd. The upper, much nicer barn, was box stalls for the boarders. Most stalls housing a tall lanky saddlebreds.

The lower barn was for the schoolies. It was not half as nice. Looking back, I am a little ashamed that I supported a stable that kept their horses as they kept their schoolies.The schoolies were kept in tie stalls unless used for lessons. No turn out except for once a year. I think on Christmas they let the horses out into the one field  This was before I knew better.

This day I remember walking to the barn with excitement. From the outside I could hear shuffling of hooves and people talking. It was dark in the barn. I couldn't see anything until we walked in. As my eyes adjusted to the light, the sweat smell of horses greets my nostrils. Cobwebs decorated the tie stalls, which were bearly big enough for the horses to lay down in.  The walls between the horses were solid all the way to the ceiling by the horses head and half way by their backs. It gave the whole place a rather cramped feeling.

So looking down the aisle all the horses tails, as well as what came out under those pretty tails, was in the aisle. Not that there was an unpleasant order, as it was ventilated well, and the aisles were cleaned regularly, but horses poop. I see all those horse butt sticking out is what made me feel a tad bit of trepidation. I knew what horses could do with those back legs.

My sister wanted to put me up on one of her favorite horses. That meant walking into the tight space of the tie stall. My head was right at belly level, right at the level that if the horse shifted his weight, my head was going to be trapped between the wall and his big belly. I don't think either my mother or my sister was really looking at the situation that way. At the time I don't think I would have been able to tell you why I was scared of these big animals. I just remember looking at those big feet not far from my little feet and feeling like I had no where to run if the horse moved.

In the end I don't think I got up on a horse that day. I was scared of them. I guess that might be where it all started, my slight fear of horses. Yet I left that day wanting see horses again. I loved them even more. The next time I went into the stable it is when I got my first lesson in riding, but that was a few years later. After my sister had stopped riding.

(not my photo ... )

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tranitional Haflinger Horse Race

Picture it ... a field of golden ponies all running like thoroughbreds. It happens. In Meran, Italy the race  season is kicked off at Maia Racecourse of Merano by these noble little ponies running like the big boys on Easter weekend. With much fan fare, including a parade through the streets, the Haflinger star in not only a horse raise, but demonstrations of western riding and even a trotting race.

 In this video we see the snippets of the whole spectacle. The first half shows the parade with people in traditional costume playing music as the they walk through the seats. Many beautiful Haflinger ponies are show cased in the procession also. With riders of all sorts and sizes. At marker 3:17 we see a pair of cute girls. One in traditional dress and the other just a tot riding in a western saddle. The parade ends with a street cleaner.

Then on to the races! Men and woman ride these golden wonders what is sure to be an exciting race.I love to see the Haffies on their way to the field. In America these would be the ponies leading that big race horses to the track to at this track today, they are the stars. This next video shows more of the race and even tells a bit more about it, unfortunately it is in German, but it is still fun to watch.
 Apparently at the Meran Mais Racecourse they also have a Haflinger steele chase. Now that would be something to see too!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Had a ball!

It has been at least 6 months since I rode her. Six months of her lazying about the pasture, getting a little grain treat here and there. Maybe pulled up to have her feet trimmed but other than that, she has been living the life. Today I show up and realized this is why I have Corrie. We pulled her out of the pasture and did a little grooming, saddled up, little ground work and got on.

Corrie was wonderful!

One of the first things I spied is that my trainer got one of these balls. (Sorry I left my phone in the car so I couldn't take pictures.)  She sniffed it and nudged it. Was a little worried about it rolling toward her, but we did a little ground work around it and she was fine.

Hoped on and walked around the arena. She was just as quiet as can be. Looked at the paper bags in the corner a bit. We faced them, took baby steps toward them until she touched them with her nose. After that she was fine with them.

I didn't do a lot of work with her. I rode her around and played with the ball. My trainer came out and rode with us.

Corrie didn't like my trainer's horse. I don't know why. She was letting her annoyance be known too! I started playing with the ball. She would rub on it. Eventually she would would send it flying with a good nose push. After a few of these nose pushes we noticed that she only pushed it to my trainer's horse when he went by. She is a character!

Mostly I just walked around. A little trotting. Corrie has not been worked in forever and right now she is going to be worked only 2 x a month. Not enough time to really "do" anything but enjoy her. And I plan to. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

 These are my Valentine's Present and Past 

Abby and My Mom

Ike and Madison
Remington Steele
Rebels Hope

Sunday, February 12, 2012

NEXT Weekend

Oh I really was going to go. I just forgot one little part of planning in the midwest, check the weather before you make plans, and not just noting the temperature. It was supposed to be in the lower 30's today. Not bad for this time of year.

Yesterday was so cold a trainer I know canceled lessons, and she will ride in anything. It was only supposed to be in the 20's but still. I thought she would ride in that. I thought to myself, I better check that weather again.

Sunday forecast:

Mostly Sunny Hi 30° RealFeel® 16°
RealFeel® 16°???
Ummm ...  Okay I admit it. city life is making me soft and if I am planning on not going up every weekend maybe I should choose a good weekend.

Next Sunday ... 

Hi 42° RealFeel® 45°

That is a bit better. And I have Monday off.

NEXT weekend it is.

I am actually really disappointed. I have been jumping around the house singing I am going to see Corrie for a few days now. Mike thinks I am a bit strange and says he understands but of course he doesn't. Not his fault. How could he possibly understand this strange attraction for a beast that literally could kill you if it wanted too. Not that Corrie would have murder on her mind, unless you are keeping a handful of peanuts from her and then I think she would only think it.

I have been down every weekend for awhile now. It is really taking a toll on the both of us. I just could not figure out what it was. Looking forward to the weekend is the highlight of the week. Then it would come and their would be an ache down deep that just couldn't be satisfied. I needed something. When the realization came, my horse, I just miss my horse. I decided to take action. Why sit around acting like I don't have a horse when I do ... she is just far away. So I can't see her every weekend. Once or twice a month? I think I can do that. Makes the money I pay for board at least a little more reasonable.

Until next weekend Corrie ... I miss you!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Damn It I DO still have a horse

I still have Corrie and this weekend screw that my car is aging! Screw that it is a 2 hour drive! Screw that it cost a lot in gas! I am going to see my horse Damn It!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Finding Horses Where I can

This weekend was another one of those weekends that I just needed to get out and do something. I wrote about it on my other blog, Country Girl in Chicago. We went to the Oriental Institute of Chicago. A fabulous museum and I managed to find horses.
This was a very large relief from Assyria. There were several reliefs from this time period that I found very fascinating. 

  The next three are all from the same relief. They are beautiful and portray nobles hunting lions. This first one gave me a bit of pause. I was unsure why the driving was using three reins. On one of my favorite horse sites someone pointed out that there are three plumes. I had missed that. So this chariot is being pulling by three horses.

This one is actually behind the first one. So these riders are following the chariot. Notice no saddles. Below you can get a bit of a better view of the bridle and the  tack that was on the horses. Looks something similar to some arab costumes in the  modern day arab shows.
Here we have moved on to Persia or Iran. The bridle here is rather interesting as in the bit that was used. If you look at the nasty bit below you will immediately feel sorry for the horses of this time period. It is really rather hideous. The center ring was for the reins, the holes above and below the center ring are what held the bride to the bit, cheek pieces basically.

This bit really is nasty. The mouth piece is lined with lots of metal points.
These final photos show the first saddle that uses a tree. It is a Nubian saddle and the next photo shows how it is used.

Well that sums the horsey part of my trip to the Oriental Institute of Chicago. I really love to look at the history of the horse and how he has worked along side of man. How we treated him and what his role was.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Regrets ...

Today I was thinking I am not so much disappointed about my life at this moment, just the fact that the 10 years before that I really wasted. There was so many little things I could have done during my 30's that I didn't.

Speaking mostly of the horses, I had a wonderful little driving pony that I let sit for most of his life. Ike was fully trained when I got him. I had a cart, I had a harness, I did not have experience with driving. I wish I had looked harder for a trainer to help me with driving. How much fun I missed out driving him!

All I said for all of Madison's life was what a cute little driving horse she would have been. I had the time. I had the experience to start her out. I would have been getting more experience in driving if I had just done it with Ike.

Now where are those horses? I can not even type it. I still have a hard time thinking about it. So much wasted talent and life. Both mine and theirs.

Those are just two of the many examples that is hard to swallow now. Where did the time go? Why didn't I just get up off my ass and doing some of those things? What am I missing out on now that I should just do?

Monday, January 16, 2012

What to do without a horse

I guess we all have times in our lives when we can't have a horse in our life. I have decided I am not going to run from who I really am this time. Or as Story put it "deliberately suppressed the horse crazy girl." I am not going to do that this time.

So what is a horse crazy girl to do?

Well youtube is wonderful! I wish I had this as a kid!

I LOVE this video of a mini barrel racing!

This one makes my heart ache, but I love it anyway:

I visit one of my favorite message boards: Ultimate Dressage
Very knowledgeable people from all levels of dressage. From the lowly backyard rider to the FEI level riders. People from all over the world. And we talk about everything from how to get your horse to walk nicely on a loose rein to why they are lame. From what we ate for breakfast to how to handle the most complex problems. Great group of intelligent people.

I am able to start reading blogs again. Some of my favorite are listed ... well ... here ----->

Watching horse movies is always fun. Found this one on Hulu the other day: Shergar

I listed Corrie on Craig's List again. I listed her cart too. *sigh*

But I am still a horse crazy girl. Link

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Life without horses ... I don't think so?

My bag that I take to work everyday has this motto on it. I take that bag and put it in a locker everyday while I go and do I job that I admit I love to death. Then I goes bac into my car. I bet it is has been so long that it doesn't even have any horse hair left on it.

That bag along with a fleece pad that is now used as a dog bed, and a few other objects are just remnants of a life I used to have.

"Your the only girl I know who has hay in her car." Mike said that to me the other day, and a little spark lit in my heart for just a beat. I remember getting hay and stuffing it into my trunk. That was then.

I have been thinking about this blog often and all the friends I met doing it. I miss blogging and I miss reading everyone else's blog. You guys really helped me to grow.
My heart is so conflicted when it comes to the horses now. It is an ache that hurts so much when I think of them and often I just don't. For a long time I would watch youtube videos and get a far away look. "Watching horse videos again huh?" Mike would say. If he looked closely he would have seen a few tears escaping too. It took several months but I have put up some of my horse art around the place and even brought a picture of Hope and of Rocky. Just now he walked out from the bedroom and ask if I was okay. This is really hard to write.

Corrie is for sale. I don't know what else to do with her and it breaks my heart. I wish I could find affordable board around here, but honestly I am not even sure how much I could see her. "Affordable" board is around $400 a month. If I got to see her every weekend that would be $100 a ride. I could take lessons for less than that and not have to worry about the rest of the care. It is not the same though. Not like having my own horse.

I don't see her now. I have not seen her in months. Not since last September. I trust my trainer and I call to see how she is doing. Everytime I drive to Wisconsin I see my mother. We have next to no time together and then I have a 2 hour ride back to Chicago. Now my car is getting so bad I am not sure I want to risk taking it on an extra 4 hour drive.

I did have someone come to look at her. A therapeutic riding place. The shook maracas around her, and crumpled papers, and played with balls. She was awesome I am told. They loved her gaits and her manners. But in the end they didn't even want to try her for 30 days because she walked too slow when lead. In hindsight I should have had Sensei work with her between their visits to have him get her to lead the way they wanted her to, but I didn't.

I love Mike with all my heart. He is the sweetest guy I have ever met and he seems kind of taken with me too. I am happy here in Chicago with him. I am very sad to be without a horse. It is like a part of me is dying. Some how I want to find a way to take lessons or at least be able to visit a barn.

My weight is still an issue and gives me pause about going to ride at a stable. Money is also always an issue. I guess I will have to see what the new year brings. Life without horses? I really hope not.