The who, what, when, where and why of an equestrian

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Where does the time go?

It’s been almost two months since my last update. Yikes! How unsavvy of me.
My silence is the result of a new full time job. I’m making money to spend on my horses…that I have no time (much less energy) left for at the end of the day. It’s an ironic conundrum.

Last weekend, Sara and I played for the first time in about three weeks. Bless her heart, she is a wonderful teacher. I anticipated her being angry or resentful, like a human would be. Instead, she surprises me with a totally Left Brain liberty session with nice draw and jumping of barrels.

The more time I spend with my horses and studying the Parelli program I’ve come to love, the more I realize that this is a system for training people, not horses. It’s people that need re-education; I am an example.

The more I envision my future, the more I want to attend a course at a Parelli campus…Hmmm…

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Prior and Proper Preparation

Sara falling asleep, waiting for her chiropract.

Sara and I have been having a lot of fun lately. We’ve begun trotting under saddle, using the follow the rail pattern, figure-8 and weave. She also seems to enjoy pushing the big green ball. We’re adding trotting with the ball to our list of “Can Do’s!” I have only been able to ride maybe two days a week but we do our best to make the most of it.

Today, Sara’s chiropractor came to adjust her. After a brief bareback ride, Sara stood tied for a solid 45 minutes! My RBE was falling asleep, waiting for her turn. The chiropractor, Dr. Dawn, was very pleased with Sara and had to make minimal adjustments. She said she wasn’t sore at all in the saddle area, which is thrilling for me to hear!

What Happens When You Are Indepedent

Isn’t life funny? Wouldn’t you know, I’d have a BFO (blinding flash of the obvious) when I feel tired and snippy. But life does that. Tragedy strikes in your life and all of the sudden, when you just become oh so pleasantly complacent, POP! You’ve been thrust from your cocoon by what you thought was suffocating you.

I started this blog almost a year ago and this is the only blog I can remember writing that wasn’t about Sara and myself collectively. Hmm, how interesting! As an introvert, I am mentally charged, so you can be certain that more has gone on in my mind that I’ve let on. But why?

Personal tragedy has been part of my life lately. The ending of the relationship with my significant other and best friend. My grandfather being diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer. I found myself telling friends, “I can’t believe this is real.” I felt like I was in a waking dream – or nightmare, rather.

But it was real. It is real. And I am not in a dream and I have choices to make. After dinner this evening, I sat down to catch up on the blogs I enjoy reading, specifically surrounding Parelli. I came across a short post by Petra Christensen. Cue BFO. “What if it’s perfect that you’re not perfect.”

This notion started a chain reaction internally. I began feeling empowered. Yes, tragedy is here, but as they say – when God closes a window, He opens a door. I choose to embrace the metamorphosis tragedy has imposed. Because your attitude can strip tragedy of it’s power. Although this revelation was directed at my personal life, I can’t wait to get out and PLAY with my horses with my improved attitude!

Sara’s First Trot

I love my mare.

I wish I had pictures from the last few days.

We’ve played in three savvies: Online, Liberty and Freestyle.
You heard right: Freestyle! My mare and I have been riding!
Two days in a row, we’ve ridden for half an hour after playing online or at liberty. We’ve pushed the big green ball, played point to point, started follow the rail, squeezed through barrels, as well as yielding, halting and backing.
Did I mention today was her third ride without someone leading her for me on the ground? Full credit goes to my wonderful horse, Sara. She is so smart and willing. She makes learning fun, which is a first for me in a long time.

We walked!

Sara and I took a big step in our journey today. Alright, let’s be honest –I’m the one making it a big step. Sara took it all in stride, like her typical fabulous self. Thanks to a new friend and fellow Parelli member, we walked around with me in the saddle for 20 minutes or so. I probably talked the entire time. Hey, it kept me from holding my breath!

We had a lot of fun today. The temperature was about 60F with 20mph winds, so we played in the indoor. We almost always play on the 22′ now. Sara also offered and then jumped the large, orange “tiger” jump! It’s maybe 2’3″. Kindling her curiosity has been so much fun and so rewarding.

Unfortunately, I don’t have photos from today but I took a couple on my iPhone yesterday to share with you. Enjoy!

Dressage rider in a western saddle?

My mare is so cool.

Her saddle will, Lord willing, be here in late September. I’ve been getting on her bareback, which is not an easy task at 16 hands. The barn manager was kind enough to let me borrow one of her western saddles to use for the next 30 or so days. She walked me through how to cinch everything up, the importance of the buck strap, etc. She was very patient with me and my dressage ways.

I set the saddle up on a barrel and started playing with Sara on the 12′. Forgot my 22′. Oops!
We got some sideways at the trot, which was a first. We played with the pedestal and got some big, banging paws at it. We ended up with one foot resting on it. Another first.
We’re played friendly with the saddle pad when her left-brain extrovert came out. She decided this was much too slow and boring. She made up her own game with the pad. How long can I chew on the pad before the human stops me?
We walked around and played touch-it with the pad on. Checked out the pedestal again.
I was much more nervous about the saddle than she was. I picked it up, realized I was getting tense, and set it back down so I could lick and chew!
A little bit later, I picked up the saddle. I admire you western folk! Although this was smaller than the other saddles in the tack room, it was still HEAVY. My hat is off to you who heave that up every day.
Anyway! Sara thoroughly rubbed and scratched her face on the saddle; she was clearly just terrified of the thing….
Swung the saddle up and down a few times. Sara is still relaxing. I cinched it up, tightening it over three tries.

Sara and I took a walk. She was aware of the saddle and sniffed it one but was otherwise unconcerned. We played some Circling game, which has just gotten so nice. Darn for forgetting the 22′, though; she is so fun to watch way out there on the end of it. We played with the pedestal some more, got a foot up.
I ended the session by walking and setting her up at the mounting block. I got up and leaned over for a little while then called it a day.