Thursday, January 28, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
"Oh Lordy, she's kissing me again?" Puts on tolerant face, eyes at half mast.
Yesterday dawned bright and sunny with 70 degree temperatures, calling us to ride. I got out to Linda's and the wind gusts were blowing us over. Easily 35-40 mph. But, nothing was going to stop us from riding (because of rain, mud and schedules, none of us had ridden in 2 weeks...HORROR!) so we set out and tacked up. Jackson tends to spook when it's really windy, but I thought to myself, "Oh well, he'll have to get over it, and I will too, because WE ARE RIDING!" Other than him trying his, "I'm going to back up so you'll turn around and put me away," antic at the onset, he did great! I just did a few circles to make him think he was getting his way, and then finally just gave him a kick and a stern "Walk On!," and he started walking across the big scary pasture with 3 feet of dried grass.
We rode over to Lorri's to pick her up, but didn't do any arena work or jumping today (OK, I did trot cavaletti) but the wind was miserable and it just wouldn't have been fun to hang out there. Not even for jumping. Lots of nice scary noises to freak Jackson out, but he did well with them all, even the rumble of the tin roof on the barn that would have scared me if I were a horse! Lots of good bomb proofing experiences were going on at Lorri's yesterday, including her husband burning the Christmas tree (yep, in the wind! we all just shook our heads over that one, even his wife...MEN! ;) but of course, it helped that he had been there several times before. Still, I was impressed with his calm, (somewhat on alert, but calm) demeanor and "spook smarts." I usually am prepared to sit at least one big side spook, possible 360, or crow hop a ride. That is just my horse and his breed, and I think I am fairly adept at it. I have never fallen off from one of those...although I almost did yesterday, read on!
Monting from the "off" side. I don't use a mounting block too often, but wanted to start that new experience with a nice leg up!
The three of us decided to head out into the back 40 where we often ride, it offers lots of trees, and just a nice ride. There are some super nice paths to trot or canter and a huge open field for practice and fun. We didn't hit the field due to the wind, but had a nice time the first half of the ride meandering along trails and talking. Lorri's horse Ozzie, (also an AngloArab like Jackson) kept having issues with invisible things on the trail, which Jackson decided not to imitate multiple times, despite being right behind her. That is just Ozzie, and Lorri is such a terrific rider that she is unfazed by her antics.
So we got to the point in the ride where we decided to go at a nice pace and trot for a couple of miles. Through trees, sharp turns, up and down ditches, through water, all kinds of fun stuff. Jackson still wasn't having any part in Ozzie's antics, just being my sane reliable mount. YAY! Then we came around a bush, and Ozzie dropped her left back hip and just moved out to the side. Huge side spook, or whatever you want to call it! Assuming Jackson was not going to imitate it, I didn't expect it, but I guess the back burner in my mind said, "Hang on!" cause darned if Jackson didn't imitate the very same movement! I sat it and lost a stirrup, but I was thinking while it happened, "Hmmm. What's the best way to fall off here?" I have less weight and more inner core muscles to thank, (or heck, maybe just luck) for sticking it! And then the culprit of the spook showed himself. Linda's dog Zelbar had gotten loose and skulked after us, making his appearance known in a sly way...
Linda on Traveler her new 3 year old QH/TB
So, once that got sorted out we had a pleasureable, uneventful rest of our ride. Oz proceeded to make Lorri work, especially when we put Jackson in the lead; she believes that since mares RULE and all geldings DROOL, she should be in the front. She will let Jackson ride abreast of her, but she wants to be in charge. Jackson could care less. He loves to be the one forging the trail, but he gives to bossy mare Oz easily, he just doesn't care that much! Lorri cracked me up. She made a comment, saying, "How do we have the same breed of horse, and yours is so sane? He never spooks!" This was after the spook with the dog, but she is correct. Jackson doesn't have half the issues with MONSTERS that Ozzie does. Who knows? Ozzie is a gem in the arena to take a dressage lesson on, but she can be hell on the trails. Lorri handles her fine, and you can often hear a giggle as they are disappearing around the corner at a full out gallop or some other crazy gait, so I think they are a match made in Heaven! Me, I'll stick to my horse on the trails, and ride Oz in the arena! :)
It was great to finally ride; talk about JONESING for something, and I'm glad that we still had fun in spite of that infernal blasting wind!
OOPS! Once again forgot to take my camera out when we were on the trail, I'm a bad blogger! You'll have to settle for the before the ride pics, which Lorri missed as she was tacking up! Next time!
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Here's a funny thing I ran across, does any of it sound familiar? :)
THE BACKYARD RIDER:
Usually found wearing shorts and a sports bra in the summer; flannel
nightgown, muck boots, and a down jacket in the winter. Drives a Ford
150 filled with saddle blankets and dog hair. Most have deformed toes
from being stepped on while wearing flip-flops. Has a two-horse
bumper-pull trailer, but uses it for hay storage, as her horse hasn't
been off the farm in 6 years. Can install an electric fence, set a
gate, and roll a round bale, solo. Rode well and often when she used to
board her horse, 5 years ago. Took horse home to "save money" and has
spent about 50 grand on acreage, barn, fence, tractor, etc. Has two
topics of conversation -
1) How it's too hot/cold/wet/ dry to ride.
2) How she may ride after she fixes the fence/digs drainage
ditches/stacks 4 tons of hay.
THE NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP DEVOTEE:
Looks like a throwback from a Texas ranch, despite the fact that he
lives in the suburbs of New Jersey . Rope coiled loosely in hand in case
he needs to herd any of those kids on roller-blades away from his F-350
dually in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Cowboy hat strategically placed,
and just dirty enough to look cool. Levi's are well worn. "Lightning"
is, of course, this natural horsemanship guy's horse. Rescued from a bad
home where he was never imprinted or broke in the natural horsemanship
way, he specialized in running down his owners at feeding time,
knocking children off his back on low-hanging branches, and baring his teeth.
The hospitalization tally for his previous handlers was 12, until he was sent to Round Pen Randy;
after ten minutes in said pen, he is now a totally broke horse, bowing
to the crowd, and can put on his own splint boots (With R.P. Randy's
trademark logo embossed on them). R.P.R. says, of all this, "Well,
shucks ma'am, tweren't nuthin'! It's simple horsemanship. With this
special twirly flickitatin' rope ($47.95 plus tax), you'll be
round-pennin' like me in no time!"
THE ENDURANCE RIDER:
Wears Lycra tights in wild neon colors. The shinier the better, so the
EMTs can find her body when her horse dumps her down a ravine. Wears
hiking shoes of some sort, and T-shirts she got for paying $75 to
complete another torturous ride. Her horse, Al Kamar Shazam, used to be
called "you bastard" until he found an owner almost as hyper as he is.
Shazam can spook at a blowing leaf, spin a 360, and not lose his big
trot rhythm or give an inch to the horse behind him. Has learned to
eat, drink, pee, and drop to his resting pulse rate on command.
He has compiled 3,450 AERC miles; his rider compiled 3,445 miles (the
missing five miles are the ones when he raced down the trail without
his rider after performing his trademark 360). Over-heard frequently:
"Anyone have Advil?" "Anyone got some food? I think last year's Twinkies
went bad." "For this pain I spend money?" "Shazam, you bastard-it's
just a leaf" [thud]!
THE HUNTER RIDER:
Is slightly anorexic and trying her best to achieve the conformation of
a 17-year-old male in case she ever has a clinic with George Morris.
Field marks include greeny-beige breeches and a baseball cap when
schooling or mud-colored coat and hardhat with dangling chinstrap when
competing. Forks over about agrand a month to trainer
for the privilege of letting him/her "tune" up
the horse, which consists of drilling the beast until it's going to put
in five strides on a 60 foot line no matter WHAT she does. Sold the
Thoroughbred (and a collection of lunging equipment, chambons, side reins) and bought
a Warmblood, a ladder and a LONG set of spurs. Talks a lot about the
horse's success in Florida without exactly letting on that she herself
has never been south of the Pennsylvania line.
THE DRESSAGE QUEEN:
Has her hair in an elegant ponytail and is wearing a visor and gold
earrings sporting a breed logo. A $100 dollar custom jumper (also with
breed logo) is worn over $300 dollar full-seat white breeches and custom
Koenigs. Her horse, "Leistergeidelsprun dheim" ("Fleistergeidel" for
short) is a 17.3-hand Warmblood who was bred to be a Grand Prix horse.
The Germans are still laughing hysterically, as he was bred to be a
Grand Prix JUMPER, but since he couldn't get out of his own way, they
sold him to an American. His rider fell in love with his lofty gaits,
proud carriage, and tremendous athleticism. She admires mostly while
lunging. She lunges him a lot, because she is not actually too keen to
get up there and try to SIT that trot. When she rides, it's not for
long, because (while he looks FINE to everyone else), she can tell that
he is not as "through" and "supple" as he should be, and gets off to call the
chiropractor/ massage therapist/psychic, all of which is expensive. But
he WILL be shown, and shown right after he perfects (fill in the blank).
The "blank" changes often enough that the rider can avoid the stress of
being beaten at Training Level 1 by a Quarter Horse.
Is bent over from carrying three saddles, three bridles, three bits,
and three unrelated sets of clothing (four, if she is going to have to
do a trot up at a 3-Day). The hunched defensive posture is reinforced
by the anticipation of "a long one" a ditch and a wall, and from living in her
back protector. Perpetually broke because she pays THREE coaches (a
Dressage Queen, a jumper rider, and her eventing guru, none of whom
approve of the other) and pays trailers/stabling/ living expenses to go
600 miles to events that are spread out over 5 days.
She is smugly convinced that Eventers arein fact the only people in the
world who CAN ride (since Dressage Queen's don't jump,
the H/J crowd is too afraid to go OUT of a ring,
and the fox hunters -- a related breed -- don't have to deal with
dressage judges). Hat cover on cross-country helmet is secured with a
giant rubber band, so she can look like her idol, Phillip. Her horse,
(who has previously been rejected as a race horse, a steeplechase horse
-- got ruled off for jumping into the infield tailgating the crowd -- a
jumper, a fox hunter, and a polo pony (no bit stops this thing) has two
speeds: gallop and "no gallop" (also known as stop 'n' dump). Excels at
over jumping into water, doing a head first "tuck and roll" maneuver,
and then her horse, exiting the complex (catch me if you can!), before
his rider slogs out of the pond. He often stops to lick the Crisco off
his legs before continuing gaily on to the merciless oxer jump just
ahead. Owner often threatens to sell, but as he has flunked out of every
other English-riding discipline, he will have to be to a barrel racer.
"Saddle (n); An expensive leather contraption manufactured to give the
rider a false sense of security. Comes in many styles, all feature
built-in ejector seats.."
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Allison & I discussing a lesson
I'm going to be honest. I have a problem. It is something many of you can probably relate to, or not, depending on where you want to go with your horse and what type of riding goals and dreams you have set for yourself. Here it is. I have huge expectations of my horse and myself. That is good, but I think I get too serious at times and am not stopping to appreciate what we've accomplished, and the joy that is right there between my legs (oohhh that sounded a bit...off :) and at the end of my reins. I am IMMENSELY impressed with how far Jackson and I have come in just one year, but sometimes instead of appreciating that, I find it not enough, and wanting more, more, more.
Here is a quote that I love from Mark Rashid's book, Horses Never Lie.
And I must give thanks and kudos to Bre over at G is for Greta for making me my fantastic new banner! Check out her blog, it's wonderful! And thanks again, Bre!
Sunday, January 17, 2010
As a dog lover/owner I am forced to laugh and post this poem to be enjoyed by those with my same warped sense of humor! From the picture I'm sure you can see who rules the roost in my house!
Walking the Dog
Two universes mosey down the street
Connected by love and a leash and nothing else.
Mostly I look at lamplight through the leaves
While she mooches along with tail up and snout down,
Getting a secret knowlege through the nose
Almost entirely hidden from my sight.
We stand while she's enraptured by a bush
Till I can't stand standing any more
And haul her off; for our relationship
Is patience balancing to this side tug
And that side drag, a pair of symbionts
Contented not to think each other's thoughts.
What else we have in common's what she taught,
Our interest in shit. We know its every state
From steaming fresh through stink to nature's way
Of sluicing it downstreet dissolved in rain
Or drying it to dust that blows away.
We move along the street inspecting it.
Her sense of it is keener than mine,
And only when she finds the place precise
She signifies by sniffing urgently
And circles thrice about, and sqauts, and shits,
Whereon we both with dignity walk home
And just to show who's master I write the poem.
I recently aquired a very cool book: The Equine Dictionary. With each of my posts I'll post a new word with its definition. Today's I know, but I like, so I will post it!
pas de deux: A dressage term: a freestyle dressage program ridden by two riders.
I have a keychain that says "Just Deux It!" and one day Lorri commented that I was catching up with her, one day we would be ready for pas de deux at a show. I'm so sure.... :)
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
(I can honestly say I have no idea how many times I've fallen off in my life, that would be interesting to know, then I could make it my lucky number! Probably in the 20's or 30's somewhere! Since the age of six...)
Check out this humorous list of 10 simple exercises that will help you become a better equestrian.
10. Drop a heavy steel object on your foot. Don't pick it up right away. Shout, "Get off, Stupid, GET OFF!"
9. Leap out of a moving vehicle and practice "relaxing into the fall." Roll tightly into a ball and spring to your feet.
5. Hone your fibbing skills: "See hon, moving hay bales is FUN!" and "No, really, I'm glad your lucky performance and multimillion dollar horse won the blue ribbon. I am just thankful that my hard work and actual ability won me second place."
4. Practice dialing your chiropractor' s number with both arms paralyzed to the shoulder and one foot anchoring the lead rope of a frisky horse.
3. Borrow the US Army's slogan: Be All That You Can Be -- bitten, thrown, kicked, slimed, trampled, frozen...
2. Lie face down in a puddle of mud in your most expensive riding clothes and repeat to yourself, "This is a learning experience, this is a learning experience, this is ..."
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010
A people sometimes will step back from war, elect an honest man; decide they care enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor. Some women become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best efforts do not go amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to. The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.
This is my hope for the new decade. The last one can BEGONE! May it do just that please. Really bad times have plagued the last ten years! Time for the earth to enter new orbits, the moon to do something new and unheard of; something! Not everything has been bad, but trust me on the fact that it was a decade of survival and not much else! I am looking forward to looking back on most of it!
May Peace happen for us all!
So while you all are making your resolutions and goals, I am just praying and hoping I am heard. Peace, oh blissful peace....
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I just bloom where I am planted out there, and especially love working with the Developmentally Disabled folks as that is where I have 12 years of experience. Having my son full-time has put a bit of a damper on volunteering, especially during the school year.
I currently fill in occasionally, clean tack when I can, and went out last week to help clear trails on horseback for our annual Mounted Scavenger Hunt. I miss my classes! During the summer I was involved in one two hour class for an at risk youth who had been abused, and a two hour class for an autistic child (age 8) and his brother (age 10). Sometimes we forget that the sibling needs a little horsey therapy too! I enjoyed these classes as we taught horse care from the ground up. How to act around a horse, how to groom, tack up, and then the culmination--Riding! My son's brother (age five) has been diagnosed with autism, and I would love to see him out there riding too.
In the future I plan on working on my instructor certification. Sadly, not being able to volunteer as often has put a HUGE hold on that plan for right now. However, I will not give up on those plans, and in the New Year will work to make my volunteering committment more frequent. With summer creeping up, there will be more classes, and I won't have to worry about being there when the kiddo gets home from school to do homework, dinner, and ensure a proper bedtime. I can bring him along and have him clean stalls!! :)
Below is a news article regarding the Horses for Heroes Program, and a quick video featuring football player Mario Williams who made a generous donation.
If you want to see more about the facility and it's programs, go here .
Wounded warriors who are part of the Warrior Transition Battalion at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio are benefiting from equine assisted therapy at Triple H Equitherapy Center thanks to a $15,000 donation secured by a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Jeff Harris of Kerrville, Texas, contacted William Hutton, Los Angeles, who is a friend and Purple Heart member about the therapeutic riding opportunity at Triple H. Hutton sought financial help from longtime friend, Robert Irmas, who represents the Audrey & Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation, also located in Los Angeles.
Irmas said the foundation is honored to be part of Triple H’s Horses for Heroes program. “Providing support for our wounded service members is a high priority for us and we take this obligation very seriously,” he added.
A few troops who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have participated in therapeutic riding at Triple H over the past 18 months including Staff Sgt. Chris Edwards, Sgt. Omar Avila and Cpl. Javier Rivera. All three suffered extensive burns and other injuries when Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) detonated under their military vehicles. They continue to receive treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.
But like the true heroes they are, these soldiers are more concerned about how their injuries have affected their families than the impact the disabilities have on their own lives. They are upbeat as they work to recover a sense of normalcy and they are proud to have served their country.
Avila, who grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, says that the therapeutic riding he’s done has enabled him to walk longer distances. “It’s another way of doing therapy that doesn’t feel like therapy,” he says with a smile.
Rivera says that equine assisted therapy is a great way to take his mind off of what has happened. He has fond memories of horseback riding growing up in Puerto Rico and says “I really look forward to coming out to ride.”
Edwards said he could feel the stretch in my scar bands immediately. He said he was excited about getting more disabled veterans interested in therapeutic riding.
Located about 20 miles northwest of San Antonio near Pipe Creek, the riding center provides therapy for children and youth with special needs, adults recovering from injuries, and most recently wounded warriors. Triple H Equitherapy Center is the only nonprofit center in the San Antonio area to be fully accredited by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). It is one of only about 200 NARHA designated premier therapeutic riding centers in the country.
Please contact Executive Director Richard Dosher at 830-510-9515 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about making a donation to the Triple H Equitherapy Center or to inquire about their Horses for Heroes program.
Texans Defensive End Mario Williams presented a $10,000 donation to the Center for Citizen Leadership's "The Mission Continues" program at an event in Houston in March 2009 hosted by Esquire Magazine and Armani. Our Veteran Outreach Coordinator, Mathew Trotter, who is a volunteer for our organization was on hand to help accept the gift.
"The Mission Continues" featuring Triple H Equitherapy Center's Mathew Trotter