February 19, 2013

Chai anyone?

This was my birthday weekend (and I have Dublin Pinnacle boots in the mail!!!!)  I took Friday off, my actual birthday, and did NOTHING.  It was awesome!!  Then on Saturday I went to the barn before having dinner and drinks with friends and my parents.  My friend Ashely and Mike came to the barn with their 3 year old son to see my Daenerys.  None of my close friends, aside from Jessica (my childhood friend) really "get" how big a deal it is to have my first horse.  To them it's just a horse.  To me, it's like having a first born child!  I have very few "horse people" as friends.  I consider Laurie, my trainer, a friend and Uschi one as well but we haven't spent much time together...something I intend to remedy!!
I felt very loved that Mike and Ashley came out to see my Daenerys.  Liam, their little boy, was a little shy about this big 1,000 lb animal but I think in time we could get him on her back to be lead around.  I'd prefer a western type saddle though so he has a horn to hold onto and of course I will make sure he has a good helmet to wear!  Dani put her head down to look at little Liam as he stood on the ground next to her.  Her head was the size of his body!  It was so cute having her check out this tiny person!  Dani is the first horse he's seen close-up and I'm glad she was chill and sweet towards him.

Before they arrived I did a little bit of lunging with Dani.  She still thinks I just want her to move her butt around instead of trot off in a circle.  We still have some things to work on in that regard, I need to make sure I'm queing her correctly.  Then I worked on her backing up from the wiggle of the lead rope.  She learns fast, I just have to learn how to communicate what I want with her.  After a little bit of work I set her loose in the arena thinking she'd like a nice roll but she wasn't interested.  She mainly just stood still and looked at various sounds or other ponies in the pastures nearby.  I decided I'd sit down on the mounting block and finish up my Chai latte.  Well, Dani couldn't be content with my attention solely on my beverage.  She walked to where I sat and hovered over me, her eyes intent on the chai.  She sniffed and then mouthed/chewed my Starbucks container.  When I was all done with my beverage I figured maybe she'd like the pieces of ice with bits of chai flavoring.  That didn't go so well she lipped it and then flehmened her response.  That was the end of that!  LOL.

Yesterday I had a nice ride on Dani.  My mother showed up to see her, she loves to see Dani and is so happy for me to finally have the horse of my dreams.  She's obviously been there since day one when I first knew what a horse was to falling in love with them to taking lessons and to finally owning one myself.  She gets it and I love sharing this joy with her!  Dani and I just walked around a part of the outdoor arena; we did some serpentines and spirals.  Dani is still pretty sensitive to my body and leg; I barely have to ask her for moving over so I'm trying to work on getting her not quite so sensitive to where she thinks I want her to trot.  I would like to work on leg yielding with the proper body bend at some point but I may need another lesson with Laurie soon; money has been tight so I've not scheduled another lesson just yet.  I need to hunker down and perhaps buy a big package of lessons with my tax return or something! 

 Dani was amazing with the mounting block!  She stood like a statue and even stayed still after I mounted.  The few times I've worked with her on this makes me even more impressed with my girl.  I know Laurie told me the high range of repetitions that would be required because it could take that long but Dani will position herself and then I can step up and mount with ease in not so many of those repetitions.  I'd love to be on the block and have herself "park" like the Fjord I test rode but that will come in time.  Right now I'm just making sure that mounting goes well.  I'll have to do some mounting from the ground again to one, check on the saddle fit and my new anti-slip pad and two make sure that she'll be good for the more laborious type of mounting!
We also worked on the one rein stop and regular stops as we circled the section of arena.  Sometimes Dani needed the reins and verbal cues but one time, she did actually stop completely on just my seat.  It will take time to get a well timed stop where she is 100% intune to me but I'm happy with the little progress we've made.  My mom even commented on her ground manners and not tossing her head while tied and just her behavior overall.  We've made progress and I know a lot of what's keeping us slower in this is my fear.

I think it's hard for anyone who hasn't had a bad fall to really understand how it is to work back up to riding, and then riding at speed.  Non-horse people for one think you are crazy for even considering getting back on a horse.  Non-horse people would just say "I'm done" and walk away.  Horse people get it that passion and love is what it's all about.  It's like the air you breath, the core of who you are...but the fear you have after falls can really tamper with your feeling of self in a way.  Sometimes the fear is not really there; falls from my past, I just got back on and didn't think anything of it really.  Other times, like after my recent falls, I've been shakingly afraid when in the saddle.

The gal who fell off her mare many weeks ago had her first ride in 11 weeks this Saturday.  She rode Tate, the very sweet older horse of Liz.  She was explaining to me how short the ride would be etc etc.  I TOTALLY GET IT!  She broke her pelvis in multiple places, to me she's my heroine!  To get back on after such a tramatic fall really gives me encouragement.  It's a scary thing, these animals can kill you, but so can driving a car, not having a carbon monoxide alarm.  To non-horse people we are insane to want to get back on but to horse people, if you give up on horses completely you are giving up such a huge piece of yourself that you might as well just leave this world.  Sorry to be so morbid but as horse people I'm sure you will all understand.  It's almost like being a horse person isn't a choice, it's just who you are!  Anyhow, be safe and any even a short ride can be a great ride, take your time and enjoy!


4RRanch said...

If you are going to get hurt it might as well be doing something you love. But as you build trust and confidence the idea of getting hurt gets further and further from your thoughts and you just think about all that you have accomplished and all of the fun you are having.
On a training note, if she just keeps facing you when you try to lunge her you need to work on moving her shoulder over. Just come toward her shoulder with the lunge whip. You may have to be a little forceful to start with until she understands you mean for her to move away. Keep up the good work. Progress is small steps.

Mare(+Missy) said...

THANK YOU for not being one of those people who would put a little kid on their horse bareback with not helmet. It makes me cringe every single time I see it!

I, too, am quite a fan of Chai:)

Christie Maszkiewicz said...

I totally agree with you mare. I'm a big helmet advocate. With adults that's harder but I plan on any friends or family having a helmet on if they choose to ride a horse of mine.

Where it gets sticky is if I can I deny a trainer or future leaser from riding my horse if they don't have a helmet? It's a awkward situation I would think, there's what makes sense to me but then free will for adults. I don't know, these are just hypothetical questions but perhaps I should just always stick to my gut..."my horse, my rules or no ride". Kids 100% must wear a helmet for sure!!

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