Friday, March 14, 2014

Self Exploration

Phew! I have some catching up to do. I have another post to follow about my birthday, but I better catch upon this one first!


Little Miss Tre left for her new home this past weekend! After this experience I can safely say I am NEVER EVER EVER doing the buying and selling thing ever again, EVER. It was a horrible, frustrating, money-bleeding experience, and I never want to take part in it ever again. She went to a great place, but not for what I wanted and not within the time frame that I wanted. It was a learning experience for me, but mostly all that I learned is that while it seemed like a great endeavor, it was not, and I am not made of the stuff that horse sellers are made out of. I am never. Ever. Doing. That. Again.


Doing this also gave me some good insight into my own workings though, and for that I am grateful. I realized at some point that I am really just a one-horse kind of person. I really like just have one single one to spoil and dote on. It's very hard for me to have two that are both in work at the same time (having one retired one or one youngster plus a working one is a different story, that is doable). I don't know, I'm just sort of... horsey monogamous, I suppose. Only having one means that the one that I have doesn't have to want for anything. Only having one means that I can take as long as I feel like every day, because there isn't a time constraint. 

From here on out, it will just be O, and of course Pmare when she comes home. Obviously, at some point in the (way distant) future, that will change in some way or another (I get rich, somebody dies, something unexpected happens, etc), but not now. Now is a time for conservation instead of excess. Now is a time to focus on building up the things I have instead of trying to reach for outside things. 2014 looks like another huge year for personal and professional growth, and not surprisingly I am feeling a little wiser with every passing day. My 29th birthday was yesterday.... hard to believe I am approaching the end of my 20's. What I know today is certainly far more than I knew at this time last year, or the year before, or especially five years ago, or ESPECIALLY ten years ago. Ten years ago at this exact time, I was waiting for my brand new horse Metro to arrive from Canada, while doting on my old man Quincy. Five years ago at this time, I had just recently moved to Connecticut, and was prepping young Gogo for her Novice debut in Area 1. Two years ago, I had just moved into a house with Future Hubs and was wondering how in the heck I had survived a year already in Texas. Last year, I was about to get struck in the ankle with a rock and have everything in my life completely change for the better. At the end of my 20's, I am seeing that everyone was right - your 20's is a RIDICULOUSLY dynamic period in your life. It is a time for growth, a time for huge decisions, a time for successes, and a time for mind boggling mistakes. A time to really figure out who the heck you are, and where you want to be going with your life. I know that I will change every year - that's just life - but I know a lot more about my older, wiser self now than I did my younger, more irrational self. I am also old and wise enough to know that I am neither old nor wise in reality, and that I don't know nearly as much as I used to think I did. 

Anyway, I digress. 


The past two weeks has been absolutely insane. I was sick for a week and a half, which threw off all of my appointments, and then the weather tanked which didn't help any of the complexity. I then ran myself ragged trying to catch up with everyone, and finally everything is back to normal. In the interim, I only had time to lunge a few times and go for a quick hack, but hey, at least it was something! This week things have finally gotten back to the normal level of crazy, so I've been happily back in the saddle. 

O doesn't like to do the same thing every day. If she lunges two days in a row, she'll be much worse on the second day. Same thing with flatwork, or conditioning - some combo of being bored and using the same muscle groups makes her much less pliable on the second day. She seems to do quite well if you space out her more intense workouts with either a day off or some very differing kind of work. After our dressage ride on the 1st (a Saturday), she had a day off on that Sunday (when the weather tanked), and then on that Monday we went for a 5 mile hack. We checked on all the new baby cows (so far there are 14 new little squeezy cute beef tips!), trotted over some raised poles, patterned on the barrels for a little while, and then called it a day.

It was REALLY COLD, and I had to practically peel my frozen self out of the saddle. Is winter over yet!?

The rest of the week passed in a whirlwind of business. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, she had off, and Wednesday and Friday she lunged in the Faux-ssoa. Putting a day off in between the two of those sessions was very helpful, although I did think that on the second day she was a bit less cooperative than she had been on the first. We worked on our usual stretching out, trotting and cantering over raised poles, and relaxation.

(If you couldn't tell from the change in background weather/scenery, those were taken on two different days.)

On Sunday (the 9th), I decided to try a little experiment. I had the idea long ago (meaning, a month or two ago) that I should try a pelham on O for some flatwork. This pelham has a short shank and the same Happy Mouth mouthpiece as the snaffle I ride her in. My idea was that I could ride off the snaffle, and then would have an extra bit of "excuse me whoa there wild animal" with the curb if I needed it. And that was a good idea, of course, but in reality it seems as though O has recently really connected with the idea of a half-halt. She stretched out and took a nice contact, moved off my leg, took half halts from my seat perfectly well, and was in general just fantastic. I ended up tying up the curb rein and just riding off the snaffle anyway, because I had a horse who was listening to my body and just taking a nice relaxed contact with the snaffle. I was also surprised to find that we have leg yields in both directions, really nice ones! I didn't know we had them... we certainly didn't have them before. Not sure when she picked that up, but she did!
She was great. Back to the regular snaffle, because all good dressage-y things come from a simple snaffle and that's how it should be!

She sure did look cute though!

We had another lunge, which looked quite a lot like this (although this was taken a few days earlier):

Awwww good mare.

We also had a fun day of desensitizing with a rope and playing on the barrels. She has started cantering the barrel pattern and is REALLY pretty good at it all things considered. I tried to get a video of that, but unfortunately all I ended up shooting was a long video of the sky. But, at least I got a short clip of playing around with the rope!

Caveat: do not be this lax with your own personal safety unless you really know the horse. I'm being very sloppy about safety in this video because I know this horse and I knew she wasn't going to do anything. Still, that doesn't mean that something unexpected could have happened - practice safety!

You can see that she's not particularly keen about it flying around near her head, but it won't take long for her to get used to that. I am a total goob with rope handling, so I won't be swinging around off of her anytime soon, but this is a good place to start. Not surprisingly, she didn't care about it much. You also get to see some very poor leading skills on my part... I suppose I've been letting her be too lazy with the leading as of late. I will get back on that now that I have noticed her trying to drag along behind me.

Phew, I think I caught up with all of the riding stuff!


  1. Happy birthday Andrea, I hope you and FH had a fabulous day together. You're right about being a twenty-something - pretty sure "the roaring twenties" would be better used to describe this stage in one's life than that decade in history. Congrats too on how well you & O did in your enduro ride! Anyone spending just five minutes on your blog could see how deeply & comprehensively you care for your horses, don't let others' myopia hurt you. xx

  2. I agree completely! I am also totally a one horse person. It seems I need to keep relearning it though haha.

  3. One is just so much easier on the pocket book and the clock and the emotions... unless the one gets hurt and then you're really screwed. :-/

    Glad you are having fun.

  4. Happy Birthday, sorry the sale was such a hassle. At least its over with now!

  5. Happy Birthday!! I'm also a one horse person. Having more than one just makes me feel like I'm being stretched in a hundred different directions. :)