Lessons from Icarus

DD has been plodding along on lessons but nothing special.  I had been seeing the decline in wanting to go to the barn and I was confused.  In fact I had been the one taking lessons for the past couple of weeks and truly enjoying it.  I needed outside help, someone that would understand the demands of a horse crazy child.  I called mom.   Mom listened as I told her what was going on and my sneaking suspicions about DD being just burned out on lessons.  I asked her if I was ever like that.

“No, you were like Icarus and the sun.  You demanded to be at the barn as much as possible at all times.  Horses defined your childhood and even after the accidents you always got back on.  Even if you couldn’t ride you were at the barn doing something, anything to be near them.”

“Did I push too hard?”

“Maybe.  Get her time in the saddle with no one telling her what to do.  See if you can just get the communication between her and the horse.”

My mom got it.  I had known from the start DD wasn’t like me.  She didn’t look up random breeds of horses and know all the coat patterns and combination of markings each of the breeds had.  But she was also a year younger than me when I started.  Maybe its just not her time.

She’s got a session with pony tomorrow without a trainer and without me telling her what to do.  I’m betting she’ll be out of the saddle in less than 30 minutes bored.  If she is then we’re done.  I will continue to take lessons, I’m not giving up horses again.

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Pegasus had wings

Its been hot and eegadds have I not been writing.  DD has been doing her lessons and she’s learning but she’s not having fun.  With temps in the 100s being cranky is normal for her and when she gets cranky I tend to get cranky too.  But she had a magic lesson on Thursday oh it was pure love and wonderful blissful laughter and smiles.  She hasn’t laughed like that in a lesson in ages.  Snow was perfect!  He was so happy to see her and she was so happy to see him.  I’ve been trying to stay back a bit and only help when I need to.  Like when he careens off to the closest grass patch 7-year-old blonde child in tow.

J has been working on transitions with DD and trying to get Snow to just work with DD a little.  Oh he was perfect today though.  He went from a working trot to a canter with no buck and sustained it for half the ring as well.  That’s when this glorious sound tinkled out of DD’s mouth and she was smiling from ear to ear.  She was having fun and the little pony was too.  He was showing off with her and she was loving it.  We pressed our luck with another trot to canter transition and he was again perfect.  If we can maintain the magic she can do the training test on him.  We can dream….

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Smiles and Pony Love

Its been a couple of weeks since I have been at the barn.  I just can’t stand looking at Aimee’s empty stall without crying.  She’s the first horse I have lost in my adult life and considering I tear up instantly at even the stray thought of Thani I didn’t stand a chance at recovering from Aimee that quick.  DD is handling it decently for the moment.  I have a sneaking suspicion a darling little white pony is holding her steady.  He was super excited to see DD today, trotted up and took her proffered grass bribe and went into the halter like a dream.  I was wary until I realized he really was that excited to see her and I did give him a hug because I had missed him too.  DD just loved on him and kissed him and he walked right out of the pasture and into the lesson.  He was speedy and DD worked on getting him to slow down.  Then she decided she was done with the lesson and stopped listening to J.  We took her stirrups for the last 10 min and I watched a miniature of myself try and find her balance the exact same way I do.  Except she is VERY right handed.  I tend to fall into the circle and off whichever side is the weakest for the horse.  DD falls right and only right.  We are going to be doing more lessons sans stirrups its good for her and speedy ponies.   She was ALL smiles at the end of the lesson and Snow got a bath and hand grazing which I think is his favorite part of the entire day with DD.

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Then she was gone

There are living creatures that come into our lives that leave footprints so huge on our hearts we never forget them and always work to control our emotions when we think of them.  I am devastated to say Ms. Aimee is gone from this world.  It’s actually been a week since she left and I am still crying.  Aimee was one in a million and will never ever be replaced.  She was 32 when she passed and in the end she didn’t suffer, its one thing we can always wish on our loved ones.  She was the first horses that guided DD’s hands and seat to a love of dressage.  She was the one who was helping me regain my seat and the love of riding I had lost.  She was a queen from start to finish and would only be accepted on her terms and her ways.  Aimee is survived by all the people she ever influenced and taught, the children she loved and the adults she was patient with.  She taught the children life time lessons and reminded the adults we are never to old to learn.  Beautiful movement and beginner friendly she found a love of teaching and she was good at it.  She never dropped a baby and laughed at the antics of adults.  She was the big white horse that came with a jaws theme to other horses and she critiqued both riders and horses from her paddock near the arena.  I will miss you, I will never forget you and I hope your next life is as good as this one was!

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Children should not drive

welcome to the dog days of summer.  Though why they call it that when my dogs refuse to leave the comfort of the air conditioning like the rest of us is beyond me.  Temps have been reaching astronomically hot temps and we’re not even into August when it gets scorching hot.

Kiddo has been semi busy.  Looking at our budget this year we realized we could either provide DD with 1 week of summer camp or every weekend riding for an hour like normal.  DD picked the riding every weekend instead of taking the summer off.  My bank account thanked her and she’s been rewarded with a decent amount of barn time.  With it being so hot though she hasn’t been real keen on going out there that much.  I don’t mind either way so long as she gets the saddle time she wants.

DD has been riding Snow man for 3 months or so now and Trainer J has seen some improvement and a lot of proof DD is just not ready for the pony.  It doesn’t help Snow is really not a beginner pony and throws every test imaginable at you all while looking cute.  He also hates cantering, the one gait DD needs a helluva lot of practice in.  Being a trotting demented welsh DD has the walk trot transitions down pat most days.  But there are two issues DD needs more than anything to work on.  Steering and walk to canter transitions.  Trainer J and I were rolling through the horses she could learn on that would be safe for her.  Sho would work but she has issues sticking to his seat and Trainer J doesn’t want another confidence douser.  Walk to canter transition is what dumped her the first time and it took us 6 months to get her back in his saddle.  Enter Chongo, I really do love this little gelding.  He was a stallion until about age 11 and broke his neck somewhere in there and survived that as well.  He’s 31 years old and though he gets the cush life now his early years tell on his body badly.  Chongo is safe, slow, and careens around the arena like a drunkard on Christmas.  She’s going to be alternating between Chongo and Snow to work on her upper arm strength and I have been letting DD workout with soup cans as well.  She knows if she gets stronger she can control Snow 100% better and she loves that pony soo much.  So come on you lovely drunkard horse teach my kiddo to drive.

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Momma’s Instincts

Pony was in rare form today.  He whinnied when he saw DD (nothing new).  DD was able to move him from stall to wash rack without him taking off with her.  He didn’t even pin his ears back when I tightened the girth.  Now on most horses moms would be dancing down the isle knowing their child was going to have the lesson of a lifetime.  I know better, I adore Snow and would easily do anything in my power for him.  He knows this and expects it as his due.  He is after all the only pony in the stable and is adored by all.  We walked Snow out to the arena and a quick beeline to trainerJ.

“I am expecting at least 1 buck.  He’s in a really good mood today.”

”  Really 1? ”

“Yes maybe 2 either way he is going to. ”

Off I went to get the arab mare tacked up.  I like this mare, she is rotund like me and her mom likes her that way.  I like that she is beautiful no matter if she is covered in sweat or not.  She looks like a show horse, moves like a queen, and doesn’t know she has a back end.  That is where I come in, being western we do lots of circles and barrels and poles.  She engages her back end nicely with me but her nose is up in the clouds.  Trainer J doesn’t like it, I love it!

Around we go and I’m working on the frame thing and DD is working on getting her shoulders back.  Her seat is way better since the lounge work last week and now its a matter of posture.  Pony makes you work and its a lot to concentrate on.  Into the canter we go and up his pony butt went.  Mom instinct kicked in on me

“Eh! Pony!”

Arab mare pulled up short thinking she had done something horrid.  Pony cantered and risked a glance at me.  I waived my dressage whip at him.

“Sorry Trainer J instinct there I promise to be quiet now.”

“It’s okay just really don’t go after him with the whip then we will have a rodeo.”

” I’ll try and refrain myself.  ”

DD cantered a few other times and pony tried to trot off with her but she handled it quite well.  When we were done he got his normal carrots and a bath and another 20 minutes being hand grazed.  I’m tellin ya his life is amazing some days.

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Circle Love

This Saturday was a blah day.  Everyone has the junk except me and mini me.  I had told trainer J I would start being there on Saturday to make sure the kiddos get the right horses at the right time and looking correct.  Yeah haven’t actually made it out there yet.  Hopefully going into summer though I will.  When we got there Trainer J was definitely blah.  I wasn’t sure if she would be okay with my idea.  Since riding Snow DD’s posture had gone way down.  She was having to concentrate more but I wasn’t happy with the posture or the stirrup issues.  At least once in every lesson DD’s losing her stirrup.  The stirrups fit her but her foot position is lacking.  I suggested lounge line work.  Trainer J agreed completely.  She knows DD’s posture is important but more is her seat.  Snow does not do lounge line work so back onto Chongo she went.  Chongo is the seat expert, he is very unforgiving for those who don’t have one.  He will not adjust to save you and he will bounce you out of the seat with that springy Arab trot.  He also LOVES lounge line work.  Up we went and I had DD walk him out.  Chongo looks like a drunkard for the first 10 minutes of any workout.  “Can I trot yet?” ‘No!  A good warm up is important to you and your horse.  It lets you adjust to your horse, collect your thoughts and keeps your horse from injuring himself. ‘

Trainer J gets her on the lounge line and around they go.  DD is getting bounced all over the place and quickly adjusts to a decent seat.  “Buddah belly Darling and I want you to sit the trot this time.” DD was not frustrated and Trainer J was merciless in the corrections.  By the end DD had completely adjusted her seat and I was tempted to ask if we could let her ride on Snow to see if it stuck but DD was exhausted.  Trainer J went to eat so I elected to call Mom and have DD scheduled for this Tues.

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