I is a proud mama today.
This past week was kind of rough — inventory last weekend, on top of a nasty cold bug…followed promptly by a terrifying snowstorm, another stomach bug (my immune system hates me), bad (but fixable) news about my car, and my debit card being hacked. Today could not have come fast enough.
Okay. I take that back. I accidentally left my inventory alarm active on my phone, and guess who got a really startling wakeup at 5 AM this morning? That was a little too fast, thankyouverymuch.
So, I rattled around in bed until 9, threw my stuff into my bag, and made the trek to the other side of the state. Sadly, due to said car issues, I have to stay off of highways. My passenger side tire has a tumor of sorts, and this is Bad News because if it goes kablooie at high speeds, I’m screwed. This meant that I missed a very important baby shower for a very important friend, and I was a sad panda about that. Kate over at The Adventures of Lucy is one of my all time favorite people and I am SO EXCITED that she and her husband are going to be welcoming a little girl into their family! The world always needs more horse crazy little girls! If you don’t already follow her blog, my suggestion is to go on over and give it a read. Her journey with Lucy (also known as Lulu, and occasionally, Lucifer) is inspiring and totally worth reading beginning to end! Some day, with my oodles of free time (har har), I’ll whip up a post about the day I got to ride Lucy!
Anyway, knowing that I was missing the baby shower was just the icing on the cake, so I knew barn time was needed, pronto. I very carefully took backroads up north, and upon arriving, didn’t even bother grabbing the wheelbarrow to do stalls. I ducked straight into the paddock and snuggled into my horse’s shoulder. Smart pony was smart and tolerated her mother hanging on him for quite some time. He’s either learning to like it, or he’s figuring out that if he stands reeeaaaalllly still, the crazy human will eventually leave him alone and go do productive things, like clean his stall and get him food.
I bounced through stalls and did a pre-flight check of sorts out in the paddock with him. Usually I reserve Saturdays for ground work and concentrated training. He’s a space cadet during the first day of the work week, and he needs that time to get back into gear. He was surprisingly soft and responsive to me as I lunged him, asking for changes of direction and multiple gait changes on the end of the line. He threw the brakes on immediately each time I asked him to stop. He backed up and yielded both his shoulder and hindquarters without a fuss.
So. I got on.
After scraping him off, that is. He’s starting to lose hair. I cannot WAIT for warm weather and a big bucket full of shampoo…
We fussed in the yard for a bit, not doing much more than playing. Now, when I say the “front yard”, it’s not the flat expanse of land that most front yards are. It’s a pretty impressive hill. So, we went upppp the hill, and then cantered along the top, and then doooowwwn the hill. He was being VERY good — he wasn’t popping his shoulder, trying to barrel through me to get back to the barn, or any of his normal tricks…so I said “screw it!” and off onto the trails we went!
He is such a little energizer bunny out there. There were lots of reminders to “walk please”, as he would much prefer to gait his way through life these days. The horse that needed lots of leg to go is no longer! I didn’t even have my dressage whip, because it has mysteriously disappeared…aka, I think I left it on the ground last weekend and it is now underneath another foot of snow.
I made a last second decision to head to the rail trail. I really wanted to put off going there until the weather was better, because riding the rail trail is a magical experience that I wanted to reintroduce myself when it was warm and sunny and lovely out. Again, I said “screw it” and turned him towards the rail trail.
Getting to the rail trail is a ride in itself — we head up the trails behind the house, head down a trail that spits us out on a dirt road, and then we can hit the rail trail from that road. Thankfully, the roads were clear and the forest trails were LOVELY from snowmobilers, so it was a nice ride down the hill and down the road.
Once we turned onto the rail trail, he picked up and settled into a nice, swingy walk. He was very much interested in moving out into a gait, but he’s out of shape and I’m out of shape, so we took it easy for the first few minutes.
Then I couldn’t exactly help myself.
I don’t regret it. He was all kinds of thrilled and moved out into a lovely, gliding running walk. He seemed so happy to be out playing! He wasn’t naughty and never quit “talking” to me, but his ears were pricked and he just wanted to go.
It wasn’t long until we came upon a couple of snowmobilers. They were polite and pulled over, waving their hellos as we walked past. Simba tipped an ear at them, and then tried to reach out and poke one with his nose. Okay, so we’re not afraid of snowmobiles. I’ll take it!
|This is the rail trail. It is a bazillion miles of long. mostly straight, mostly flat, railroad bed with the ties pulled up. The footing is pretty much awesome the entire time and you can just GO. Awesome place to ride!|
We hit the bridge and I decided it was time to turn around. We gaited our way back to where the snowmobilers had stopped to chat with one another, and just as I was about to call out to them, I heard more noise behind me. I pulled Simba over to the side, expecting them to at least slow down. Silly me! They zipped past us at mach ten. and despite being obviously concerned with the zoomy monsters that were flying past him, Simba contained himself to only a few wiggles and a giraffe impression. I gave him an extra big pat after that one.
We walked back down the trail towards the road, and for the first time since getting him, I was able to get a nice, swingy, relaxed walk out of him with a loop in the reins. He was very happy to march along, and a couple of times he even walked with his nose on the ground like a big ole’ bloodhound. I was too busy laughing to correct him…he really is fascinated with snow and will “snorkel” in it if given the opportunity when I’m working him on the ground. Weird pony is weird!
We walked back to the forest trail, and started to make the trek back up the hill. The first climb is a smidge steep, but it levels out eventually to a gentle incline. Today was a day of impulses, apparently. He was still feeling good so I asked, gently, for a canter. He flailed momentarily and I stayed with him until he rolled into a nice little lope. I let him hold it for quite a few strides until we hit the last open bit of trail before ducking into the trees. I got up off his back, kissed, and off he went!
He’s got an awesome gallop, if anyone was wondering 🙂
We walked him on a loose rein after that, and he had his breath back long before we hit the front yard again. I dismounted and hugged him in all his grossness for being a good, good boy today! He seemed to really enjoy being out and about and took all of the things I threw at him in stride. He contained himself during a scary moment and didn’t even offer to be naughty or come unglued at the thought of picking up speed. Very, very proud of my little yellow monster!
|D’s Duett is still proving to be a lovely saddle to ride in, despite my own shortcomings. Cute yellow(ish) horse!|
Tomorrow I plan to ride again, but I also plan to try and scrub him down again. His belly is perpetually wet with pee and that just can’t be good for him. The second it gets a little less icy out in the paddock, he is going outside. I also plan on getting my damn camera out for the first time in 2014 and actually, you know, using it to take some pictures. I’m totally uninspired because it’s the middle of winter and no one wants to pay for pictures of the yak-like horses that are dirty…and I really don’t want to take pictures of my yak-like horse that is dirty either! Warm weather needs to come soooon!