So, the hubby rides motorcycle with a group of great guys from church. This makes me super happy because, number one…I feel he’s safer in a group and secondly, he’s met and made some great friends!
So it came as no surprise when he came home from a breakfast ride and announced that one of his buddies wanted to bring his wife and granddaughter out to “the farm”. No problem I said, we’ve got baby chicks! What 7 year old little girl can resist that?
The agreed upon day arrived and before they actually set out, the church biker buddy asked if it would be ok if his granddaughter brought her BFF….
EVERYONE knows that two seven year olds are twice as much fun, so ….Come On!
The car pulled up an hour later and two adorable little girls flew out. Now mind you, I’ve been a teacher my entire life, so I was grinning from ear to ear. My husband and his buddy beat a hasty retreat to the man cave in the garage, and the sweet wife/gramma and I corralled the girls for their tour of the farm. First thing…baby chicks!
You just KNOW they were a huge hit…..the girls learned to gently hold one, stroking very softly, squeals of delight. Yup…scored big points there!
Next up, a visit to the barn. “Can we ride your horses?” “Ummm, no honey…today is a visit, would you like to feed them some carrots?”
And after a lengthy discussion about the type and amount of horse poo that needed to be mucked each day, we headed for the house and a cold glass of water.
I casually mentioned there was a horse that they could ride in the living room.
Whoosh, scamper and bam…two little girls ran through the door and climbed like squirrels all OVER Winston!
Now dear reader, the delight of a seven year old little girl having her first riding lesson is, well, precious.
Little girl #1…”Watch, I can get on Winston by myself”!
Me…”Ok, cool!, if you can do that then you need to learn how to hold the reins correctly”….. and what followed was rapt attention to every detail of safe riding 101.
Little girl #2….”My, turn, MY TURN!… See!, I can get up all by myself too….”
So for the next hour two adorable little girls took turns clambering like squirrels up onto Winston, held reins correctly, walked and trotted with perfect transitions and no rein snatching. What a joy!
It was a revelation then when the gramma wanted to ride Winston also…and she had a blast! You know what, it also re-awakened her love for the times she used to ride regularly in years past.
After cold drinks, more chatting and gathering up a dozen eggs for them to take home, I also gave her the name and number of my trainer and friend Karen. You never know…
Now an update on Belle. She’s a Mare!!! MARE owners get this.
Last week, sweet Belle was compliant, I trotted her and felt pretty good. This week I lunged her first and she grew horns between those pretty dark ears. Ok…not that bad, but it set my anxiety level up a notch. Karen…the world’s best trainer/coach/friend….totally understands me and where I’m at right now. She hopped on first, and Belle was of course….lovely.
Now Karen has the body mass of a flea, really.
So, I mounted up, with a tad of apprehension and….. you know where this is going…
It’s ok, Karen talked me off the ledge….and my mantra….”get closer, stay longer” was put into practice yet again.
You see, while Belle was rehabbing, I had planned to take lessons on a few of Karen’s horses. It’s good to ride other horses…
But I fractured my wrist in January. (Non horse related) And my lay off extended the non riding time.
Brains are funny….I had a bad wreck years ago when I was bucked off a mare I owned. I worked through getting back to riding, another horse….more time. Eventually buying Belle and working our way up to the top of the Western Dressage tests, attending clinics…having a blast.
But Belle started having some physical issues and finally I decided she needed an extended rest and rehab.
So here I am today, months later….anxious.
But……getting closer and staying longer. Because I want to get back to where we were…safely, happily… and Winston and Karen are helping me work through it!
Here’s a brief video of more core work with Winston…
And…..maybe….next week a video of Belle and I!!!!
News Flash….blog update!
Karen and I have a twice a week schedule until I’m “back” to my old comfort zone. Tuesday was the lesson mentioned above. Today….. I lunged Belle as usual, using more of the arena and circling at each letter, went both ways. In my mind I was preparing for what was going to happen next because Karen had disappeared and then come back with my other dressage whip. Yup…..I was going to ride first! With a dressage whip in both hands I mounted and started off at an ambling walk. The two whips are meant to pre-empt Belle’s old habit of throwing a shoulder out when she wants to evade. The mere presence of the whip is a deterrent. My very wise trainer had us walking, trotting, changing across the diagonal and doing LOTS of transitions. I know it was purposefully to make me stop over thinking and just focus on riding. I love Karen. She knows me well.
I didn’t burst into tears at the end of the lesson, but I sure wanted to…for JOY!!!
Advice to riders with fear or anxiety…find YOUR Karen. Find that one qualified, wise person who has your best interest AND your horses best interest in mind….who will listen to you and “read” you and your horse. Pray about it, and then go find that person….or BE that person for someone else!
Here’s my latest completed painting….