Her and I

I used to cry before I got on her. Every single time. The fear would snake through me, freezing my feet to the ground. My heart would start hammering so persistently in my throat that I had to choke it down. It was a struggle between something that I wanted so so badly and yet was so afraid to do.

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She is a clever and canny girl. The type that stands stoically still while you brush and saddle her. And waits, ever so patiently, for you to place your foot in the stirrup. Ever so patiently for that last possible second, the very second your weight was solely reliant on that foot, and she would side step, or move forward, so you would be hopping along with her.

I never was that agile. I changed tactics, tried to pull her up to the deck and jump on. And wouldn`t you know it, she would do the same damn thing. I either landed on her ass or on my own. The whole thing was so bloody frustrating that I was in tears most of the time. Every stumble was a kick in my teeth, in my dream of becoming a horse rider.

“Confidence is key,” they said,”when you are dealing with a horse.”

Pretty hard to build confidence when you can`t even get on.

I received a lot of bad advice in those days. I just couldn`t see how smacking a horse, and making them submissive, would work. I never even tried it. I couldn`t. It`s a special relationship between horse and rider, one built on trust, not fear.

We hashed it out one weekend, her and I. It was a battle of the wills, a battle of patience and persistence. I kept asking her to stand still, kept bringing her back to the same spot whenever she moved. The first time it took two hours, repeating the same steps over and over and over before she would politely allow me to get on. I would ride in her a circle, dismount and repeat the process all over again. The next day I switched it up, took her to the edge of the deck, the fence, the bumper on the truck. and repeated the whole process over and over and over again.

We grew a lot closer that weekend. We grew a lot of trust in what we could expect from one another, a lot of faith that in what we could accomplish, together. I don`t recall her pulling that trick on me since then. But if you come over, and would like to go for a ride, don`t expect her to give you the same courtesy.

NaBloPoMo Day 2:When was the last time you did something brave? What happened?

Harmony

I spend a lot of my spare time just watching the animals here. Most of the time, it is just for pure entertainment.Here is a goat playing King of the Castle…

She did that for a good hour, jumping on the back of any ewe that was lying down and challenging any lamb that came up to her.Or how about the ducks…

…that bravely linger by the dogs, stretching out their necks, hoping to sneak a piece of dog food. They use their beaks to nuzzle through the wool of resting ewes to find bits of grain in the winter; in the summer, they gingerly pick  flies off of their legs. The one in the picture was just poked in the eye.

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Or those precious first moments, like this curious lamb that snuck up onto a sleeping Simmie. Note the little goat that was about to lay down with her.

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Kuma and Indie like to play together, each of them will chew on the other`s foot or hoof until Kuma becomes too excited, elicits a play-bow and runs off. Indie chases after her, running and bucking down the driveway. Indie is special like that, she plays with everything.

It never ceases to amaze me or amuse me, how well everything gets along here.

For The Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony

 

 

Victorious!?!

For the Weekly Photo Challenge: Victory “focus on the win, the victory – that moment of glory and pride you’ll remember forever.”

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2011: a life changing experience for me

I didn’t squawk when the opportunity arose to go on a girls-only, weekend long riding trip. But I couldn’t prevent the self-doubt from seeping in the week before I set out to leave. You see, whenever I was working with my horse, my hubby was always there, in the background, cheering me on. He was the one who would push me forward. He would give me a thumbs up, or a smile, when I was doing well.  He would pat my back and gently shake my shoulders until my eyes met his and say “I know you can do it” or “See, I knew you could do it!”  His confidence in me was unwavering, and I doubted that I would be a success without him.

Let me back track a bit; there are some things you have to understand first.

  1. I didn’t grow up with horses. I didn’t know squat about them. I knew that they had four legs, were pretty and that people could ride them (people can ride anything, if you know how to ride! I did not know how to ride!) I purchased my first horse eight years ago, because I was a child once, a child that had wanted a pony. Let me tell you, it wasn’t just a steep learning curve; it was more like a plummet straight down with a laborious, and painful, crawl forward. Inch by bloody inch.

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    Mybaby
  2. Mybaby has always had a bag of tricks up her sleeve. She is sneaky, and will get you the second you let your guard down. Right around this time, she was practicing the art of lying down, while I was riding her. Trust me, it was real fun.
  3. Mybaby loves water! And she does not discriminate against size! It could be a lake, a wide stream, or free standing water in a field after a heavy rain. If it makes a splish-splash sound, it is like a signal to her brain to have a bath. Also real fun, especially in the fall, when it is cold.

The weekend was nothing less than spectacular. By the third day, my apprehension had lifted and I was feeling incredibly relaxed. When we came up to the small ravine, I thought “we got this.” I brought my feet up higher to prevent them from being dragged in the mud and gave her a bit more rein.  Her first step pitched me forward (it was quite deep) and I put my hands onto the saddle horn for stability. I looked up as her hind end came down into the water. Our eyes connected and I knew! I saw that mischievous glint! I opened my mouth to say “Don`t you dare…“ but she just smiled at me, and rolled to the left, effectively dunking me into the water.

This wasn’t just water; it was very muddy and mucky water. So mucky, in fact, that my boots sunk and became lodged into the ground. I had to simultaneously pull on them with my fingers, and heave up with my legs, so I wouldn’t lose my precious leather boots to the murky waters beneath me.

Now I know my horse was feeling pretty victorious at that moment. I could see the pleasure in her eye as I sat on the ground and began to remove the clumps of mud from my boots. But nothing, nothing, will ever compare to the glory I felt when I realized that one of my lifelong dreams had finally become a reality.

 

Pay It Forward

Need to lighten the mood after yesterday…this is a good one…take a minute to watch the video! I need to go find some kleenex…

Margaretha Montagu's Workshops and Books

Would you be willing to risk your life?…

Would you be willing to risk your horse’s life?…

…to lead more than 100 horses to safety, including pregnant mares and foals, knowing that you and your horse would have to swim part of the way? Knowing that all previous attempts have failed and that 19 horses have died already?

Would you?

(my apologies to those who have already seen this video, but it is so moving that I feel it should get another airing – photo: Peter DeJong / Wyoming News)

Day 10 of the #FeelingGratefulChallenge for Horse Lovers

A post appeared on a Friesian horse forum, asking if any one was willing to undertake the rescue of more than 100 horses that are stranded on an island in Holland due to flooding in very bad weather.  It was urgent, the horses had been stuck for a few days and were…

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A Mother and Daughter Moment

Allogrooming – indicates social grooming between members of the same species. Grooming is a major social activity, and a means by which animals who live in proximity may bond and reinforce social structures, family links, and build relationships.(definition from wikipedia.org)

In response to the weekly photo challenge: connected.