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.
Avoiding doesn't make me disappear, Beautiful.
Why is he there, mom?
But mom, how tall you are!
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.
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
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.