Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sometimes You Have to Fall, If You Want to Fly


I'm convinced that the difference between our younger horse-selves and our older is that at some point we became more afraid of falling than we did excited about flying.  What's more, we traded "having fun" for "knowledge."  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that I've become more "mental", as Buck Brannaman would say, but there has to be a balance or what good has my new, smarter-self done for me or my horses?

So, yes, I fell today--day 7--in the soft, cushy snow--and I had a blast.  But more on that in a moment...

Before I went out today, I read my blog posts from last year (2016) and what I saw was a lot of thinking.  I also got out there and did stuff toward the 100 day challenge--so there was a fair amount of doing, too.  What that effort and thinking produced, however, was this desire in me to not only be out there clocking days and "training", but to be having fun in the process.  Real fun. Be-a-kid-again kind of fun.  Make mistakes.  After all, my young-horse-self made lots of mistakes, even fell a few times, but she also had great horses and great fun on her horses.  

On day 5, I rode Cowboy bareback in the snow in the north pasture with a friend and it went GREAT!  A little walking, a little trotting, some very sore legs, LOADS of fun!



It was 5 degrees F when we went out there that day, and it warmed up to 12, but the warmth from Cowboy kept me oh-so-toasty!



Yesterday, day 6, I spent 20 minutes with Beautiful Girl haltering, unhaltering, leading, picking up feet, approaching, retreating.  It didn't seem like much, but she needed the work. And. that work paid off today.

My Goal Today (Day 7):  Ride Beautiful for the first time ever--Ride Beautiful in the snow.  (Major long shot, but I figured I'd test her each step of the way and see how far we got.)  Have fun!!

My husband volunteered to go out and help me, and his presence there was just enough to throw her off and make her insecure...and harder to catch.

What's going on?  Why are there two of you?


Let's walk, Beautiful.  Walk, walk, walk.


No need to run, Beautiful.  See me?  I walk.  You walk.


 There.  There.  Look at  me.  Look at the halter.  It's okay.


Avoiding doesn't make me disappear, Beautiful.


 That's better.






Why is he there, mom? 


But mom, how tall you are!


The better to jump on your back, Beautiful Girl!



See, this is fun, Beautiful!  Fun!  Fun!


It was so fun, let's do it again.


I'm still me.  I'm still with you, just on top of you.


Uh, it's harder to stand up when you're on me, mom.


What you don't see in these photos is that I asked my husband to lead Beautiful Girl with me hanging over her back.  (Both photographers were kind of busy.)

Yes, I fell jumped off.   Multiple times.  Sometimes I landed on my butt in the soft powder.  I always got up smiling and reassuring her.  My jumping-falling startled her, but we did it over and over so that she would know, it's okay.

It was fun, lots of fun, but I knew I wasn't ready to throw a leg over and go to the next step.  We continued the leading to the mounting block overturned trough, with me on top of the trough like a 7 foot monster, then me hanging over her back, rubbing her, jumping off onto the ground--until she was relaxed and comfortable with it.



The moral of the story today was GIVE IT A TRY!  Have fun.  Experiment.  End on a good note.  Make lemons into lemonade.  Be willing to fall.  Be ready to fly.  But know your limits.  Tomorrow is another day!  And the day after that and after that and so on!  Just keep going out there.

Here is some video of my husband leading her back to me as I stood on the trough.





And, at the end of the day, Beautiful Girl didn't want to be put back in the turnout.  She stood at the gate and wanted to give me a kiss.  I'd say that was successful.


Something I almost forgot.  We almost lost Red on day 5.  I'd been out riding Cowboy in the snow and he was out with the other horses doing fine.  When we put Cowboy and Penny away, we went in to get lunch, but about an hour and half into it, I looked out and saw Red down.  I ran out there and found him stuck and unable to get up.  I ran to the barn and grabbed a shovel and a rope and I dug out the ground around his hooves and then when he tried to get up, I threw the rope around his neck.  Then, I waited until he gave it another try (he was cold and exhausted) and I threw all my weight against it--which gave him the extra he needed to get up.  He was woozy and wobbly, but as you can see from this picture today, otherwise A-OK.  He will not be turned out again, however, until this snow and ice melts.  He's 37 this year.  37!!  I'd like to see him make it well into his 40's--or as long as he's willing to go.

14 comments:

  1. That's a great session for her! She is a beautiful girl. I'm glad that you were able to save Red- that must have been very scary!

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    1. It was scary. At his age, I always wonder if it's going to be the big one, but so far, it hasn't been. Had I been at work, though, he wouldn't have made it. I felt so incredibly thankful to have been home from work that day.

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  2. Good sessions!
    37- wow he sure is getting up there, good thing you spotted him down and were able to help him.

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    1. Indeed! I was so very lucky to have been home. Now, for the most part, he'll be in. Although, one of the horses did spring him free this morning! They're pretty good at getting the gate latch up.

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  3. That was a great training session with Beautiful! Poor Red he must have been scared. So glad you could save him before something bad happened. 37! He looks wonderful.

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    1. Yeah, he must been very scared, but by the time I got there he was just exhausted and breathing hard. He's a 4 year old in a 37 year old horse body. He's the still the herd leader--when he's on all fours.

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  4. A great and successful day! Give Beautiful a big hug for me :-) Glad Red is OK! He must have been one scared guy. He looks great!

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    1. Red covers up his fear with anger. When he got up, even on his wobbly legs, he immediately pinned his ears at the other horses and made them part ways. He'll go to his grave putting them in their places! LOL. He does look good for 37, doesn't he? Oh, to turn back the clock!

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  5. Beautiful looks pleased. Good for you for not shutting down your riding progress in the winter. Poor Red. He must have got down on his soft couch, and couldn't get back up. That actually happened to me last night, so I know how he feels.

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    1. Yes, that's exactly what happened. He chose the wrong place to lie down. NuzMuz, the only thing helping me keep my sanity in this, the worst of winters, is being out there with my horses. Otherwise, I would get pretty discouraged by this constant cold and snow.

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  6. It is -20*C here (4*F) with a windchill that makes it feel way worse, so I'm just gonna live through you vicariously today, Thanks Linda! Awww, you on Cowboy in that second pic where he's on the move - you both look SO HAPPY!! I agree, if I HAVE TO (gonna do everything not to, but IF I HAVE TO) come off sometime this year, let it be soon or at the end of the year so that I can land in nice floofy snow!

    Quick thinking probably saved Red; good job Linda.

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    1. Dear Lord. You have it even worse than us. We'll be -7 tomorrow night, supposedly--warming to a balmy +7 by day. The only thing helping me stay positive is bundling up and going out with the horses--even for our short sessions. I keep thinking that this will make the spring weather--which can be rain, wind and cold--seem somewhat good. But then again, I think I dislike rain, wind and cold more than I do cold and snow.

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  7. 37 -- wow! Reading and looking at the pictures of you with Beautiful Girl reminded me of my work with Tex in many ways. I think part of my success with him is that I have no agenda other than relationship and fun. I'm going to remind myself to keep that mindset. Using a snowy day to work with Beautiful Girl was brilliant.

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    1. Yes, it has to be fun. I was thinking today that I have it pretty good. I have my old faithful to play around on -- Cowboy, I have my younger, but somewhat steady, Leah -- and I have my Mustang, Beautiful Girl. So, I get a little bit of everything--all the different stages. It's pretty nice, really!

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