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The End Of This Blog

I don't think I have many readers here but, just in case I wanted to let you know that I have decided to incorporate this blog into the "general" life blog I keep.  I have been keeping two separate ones for a long time and for ease sake have decided to just combine it all into one.

I hope you will all continue to follow me over at fiesta831 as I plan to add all of you as friends so I can continue to follow your journeys.

Happy Playing!!!!!!!!

Quiet Time

I did not go to the MS Ride today.  The pain in my low back from the infection being in my kidneys was pretty bad so I decided to stay home.  I stayed in my bed until 11 which is pretty unusual for me as it is rare I am in bed past 6.  Anyway I spent the rest of the day laying low and just trying to get to feeling better.  By the afternoon I was starting to feel signs of relief!!!!!!!  The neighbors had a get together so I went over there briefly and when I came home was really missing my horses.  Still feeling a little tired I decided to just bring out some apples, carrots and brushes.

It was nice to hang out in the pasture with them.  After a bit of pampering for each I stepped on the other side of the gate and sat down in lotus position.  It's been a long and stressful week and I needed to just sit and be out there with them.  Unfortunately it is impossible to "just" sit on the same side of the gate as Tucker because he constantly wants to come in my space for scratches or nibbles etc...etc...so I usually have work at establishing the acceptable boundary.  I sat with them for about 20 minutes me on one side and both of them on the other just watching me.  It was calming and relaxing and really good therapy.  

Fine Lines

Saturday is the MS Equestrians for a Cure Trail Ride.  I've known about this ride for months.  I've been planning on going on this ride for months.  I have a little bit of nervousness about it.  Tucker loses confidence in my leadership around a lot of other horses.  4-5 is great.....more than that is a challenge, he can go very RB and get unpredictable and there could be as many as 50 at this ride.  I know I will be putting him in a situation he will struggle with but I was hoping it would give us an opportunity to play with it and build up his confidence in me and those types of situations.  It also pushes me out of my comfort zone to address this kind of behavior in him.  He usually stays pretty LB.  We are planning on going with other students so I felt like there would be understanding if I needed to get off or even retreat back to the trailers. 

In preparation for this weekend's events I was hoping for one of my "girls' night out" twilight trail rides last night and a good solid session at home this afternoon.  Two unfortunate events have gotten in the way of my plans.  Our home was broken into which has led to stress and lack of sleep and I have developed a UTI.  I backed out of the trail ride because the discomfort of the UTI made the thought of sitting on a horse pretty unappealing and I suspect may even aggravate the condition.  Today has been a scheduling nightmare between work, getting a security system installed and getting to the doctor.  I haven't played since Tuesday and still all I want to do is lay on the couch.

At this point I'm seriously feeling like I'm not going to go tomorrow.  I didn't put in the time or prep I should have this week and I fear my discomfort, stress and lack of sleep could leave me with a short fuse.  I want to be 100% for this scenario tomorrow, I want to be the best leader I can for him and I'm not confident in my ability to do so right now.  I'm also reluctant to ride because I don't want to aggravate an already painful situation.  On the flip side, are these all just good excuses to get out of a hard situation.  We'll probably both be out of our comfort zones and now I have an easy out.  We'll see what the morning brings.

The Stump

I stayed home from work with a migraine today which upset me because I was in enormous pain, I had to use a PTO day and most importantly Tuesday afternoons are one of my play days.  I always try to play on Tuesday after work because it is usually the one night I don't have anything else going on.

Finally, the pain became a dull enough ache that I considered getting out there.  I was still feeling groggy and my prescription makes me feel like my motor skills don't work right so I decided to do something that would not require a lot of energy.  I was still feeling blah and I don't think it is fair to ask a horse to put out more energy than you are willing to.  I figured some touch it with your nose with cookies stashed about would be fun and I wanted to play touch it with your feet on a stump that we have out in the pasture that I have never really played with before.  I put the 22ft line and halter on then I alternated between the two games to help keep it interesting.  Tucker figured out the touch it with your nose game immediately after finding the first cookie.  We have played it before and as an LBI it is one of his favorite games. 

Touch the stump with your feet was a little more challenging and it involved some cookies along the way.  It took a little while to get him to understand what I was asking and once he understood what I wanted it took awhile to get him curious about the stump.  Finally when we got those to ingredients it took a bit of approach and retreat and lots of thinking time to get him confident enough to get his feet up there.  He was pretty proud when he did! 

Next I moved on to a short bareback weave between some trash cans placed along the driveway.  This did not last long because I was in my sweatpants and it felt slippery up there.  I ended the session with some online close walking circles.  The session was an interesting mix of Tucker checking in with me and asking questions versus "stop bossing me around and let me go eat hay".

I played with Freckles as well and played the touch it stump game with her also.  She caught on much quicker than Tucker did as to what it was I wanted, but it took her longer to get confident about putting both feet up there.  Lots of pawing and LOTS of questions which I thought was GREAT.  She seemed very mentally engaged with me the entire time and when I took her halter off it was interesting because she ignored her hay and followed me back to the gate. 

I like playing the same game with the two horses back to back because the contrast in behavior is always and interesting comparison.

On The Journey

I didn't get to play for as long as I planned today because a thunderstorm rolled through and forced me inside.  I had intended to work in on sideways in the saddle and that was cut out of the session completely.  We did work on turning while staying in the box though.  We have four landscape timbers on the ground in a square and turning inside of them is a game I play frequently on the ground but had not asked for from the saddle in awhile.  He was a little un-confident about his feet hitting the landscape timbers at first so I just slowed it down so he could think about where he was turning and make sure he got his feet within the timbers.  It went very well considering it had been such a long time since we played it.  

We also worked on stopping when his feet made into the hula hoop or on the bridge or just straddling the pole etc...etc....  This went pretty well too.

For the most part it was a pretty relaxed session.

I also spent some time riding Freckles today.  Lance had planned on working with her but he really hurt his hip yesterday and the riding was aggravating it.  I was on her for maybe all of 5 minutes just warming her up at the walk over some of the obstacles when the rain started coming down.

Oh well.  We need the rain and it was good that we got some time in with them today.

On a side note: it thundered the entire time for both sessions with Tucker and Freckles.  I felt like that was a pretty good friendly game for them to hear that happening while being ridden.

On The Journey

I dried the chicken out AGAIN.  I have a bad habit of putting the food in the oven then going out to ride and losing track of time, hence cooking the food too long and drying it out :(

Tucker gave me some feedback while girthing that was not positive.  He kind of jerked his head and picked up a brush on the trailer well with his teeth and threw it on the ground.  I hope I just went a little too fast with it this one time and there have not been signals along the way I have been ignoring and I hope this is not an ongoing problem.  I will certainly be more conscience in the future.

Who cares about dried out chicken when the ride was so good.  We had a great time.  He had lots of trot in him tonight.  I got a new pair of stirrups (which I think will turn out to be AWESOME) and today was going to be my first time riding in them.  I wanted to start him out at the circle at walk, trot and canter to make sure there was nothing bothersome about these new stirrups before I got on.  He was favoring the trot so I just went with it.  We played on the ground a bit and when I was sure he was OK with the new tack I mounted.

We trotted ground poles, in and out of the box, figure 8's, circles and even follow the rail.  He was light and willing, easy to direct and had the perfect amount of energy.  He was happy to be going but was not out of control.  He would not break gait either into the walk or the canter it was all so push button.  I was really enjoying myself out there.  Later out of the corner of my eye I noticed the neighbor boy standing over the fence watching us.  I offered for his mom to bring him over then led him around the arena for a little while.  When he had enough I hopped back on for a few more times around the arena and ended the session with a little hand grazing in the grass and then hosed him off.

On The Journey

Tucker and I met Liz and Eli at the park after work today to take trail ride number 10.

It actually turned out to be really good because Liz was running about 20 minutes late so that gave me the opportunity to have an online ground session with Tucker where he was completely without other horses and in an unfamiliar territory.  It was so much easier for me to be creative with some different surroundings to play with.  We had park trash cans, benches, a gate, a narrow hiking only path with a fence lining both sides of the entrance.   It was pretty fun and he didn't really seem tense at all.

Then we headed out on the trails.  We really just walked and talked the whole time and it was a very enjoyable evening.  I told Liz about all I learned at the lesson and Liz shared with me how her Mother's Day went.  The horses were rock solid and it was a great night to be out.

On The Journey

My non-horse blog post and Linda Parelli's blog post where quite appropriate for one another today.

I really like this idea of being a better leader for your horse because you are in the moment, you are not focusing on what could happen but instead on what is happening.  Not only focusing on it but dealing with it appropriately.  She challenged at the end of her post to observe your behavior and emotional fitness for the next week.  I'm taking her up on it, although, as you may have read in my other blog, I was already in a place to start to make some changes. 

It's amazing how things in life circle around and tie together.  I think some of the break throughs in my lesson on Saturday led to some of my thoughts in yoga tonight which then tied into the writings of Linda.  I'm a big believer in energy and what you put out there is what you get back.

Life is such a wonderful ride!  

On The Journey

I said I was too tired and worn out to go out and play today, but I did anyway.  I just learned way too much yesterday and was way too excited not to get out there.  I'm glad I did because it was a fun session.

We played a lot of the same games we did yesterday and they were even better today.  We started with a little squeeze game with the gate and some more between the cone and the barrel, from there we went into the figure 8 and it was not perfect but I felt like I got a lot of try.  We moved on to my most dreaded game.....the circle.  I will admit I was a bit nervous at first but I took a deep breath and moved forward.  He was so nice and relaxed and I have to ask myself how much of my nervous energy was causing all that chaos.  I asked for the trot and he never broke gait and he had a nice soft look the whole time.  I asked for 6 one way and 6 the other and decided that was a good place to stop.  On to the falling leaf and we did two really nice patterns of that and I let that lead into two more circles and stopped it there.  A little yo-yo over a log and then some sideways to exit the gate.  We were about half way into the arena so he had a fair amount of distance to cover in sideways to get out and we did have some leaking forward but I was still pleased.  He was doing so beautifully that I threw lots of friendly game into the session as well.  Amazingly his head dropped to eat only a couple of times, hmmm how interesting.

All in all I would say the session lasted 20-30 minutes but it was a really quality session in spite of the briefness.  What fun horses can be!!!!

On The Journey

I had a great lesson yesterday with Parelli Instructor Linda Algire.  I always learn so much and it is hard to know where to begin to write it all down.

A Great Lesson & The PicturesCollapse )

"There is nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse." Ronald Reagan


Lance & Freckles






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