Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Last week!

Hey folks!

So last week I got to RIDE! :D

See this?

This is a happy Ev. A happy Ev who should probably invest in some sunglasses. I'll have to remember that the crow's feet I'm getting are crow's feet of JOY.


The weather was a little on the schizophrenic side that day. It would rain and then get hot and sunny, then it would get really windy and cloudy, then sunny, then rainy, then clear again.

Bo told me to go get Teddy Bear and see where she was at. I went out to her pasture and she would. Not. Budge. I tried a number of tricks that I use with Solomon when he locks up, but none of them worked. I thought about it, and decided that I didn't want to end up with a big huge conflict, and that I'd defer to Bo and DeDe on it. I came out and said "well she won't move, maybe she knows something I don't."

Leo was set to give someone a ride later in the day, so DeDe said maybe I could groom up some horses instead. I said that would be great, 'cos I do love grooming up horses, but I think she might've heard a bit of disappointment in my voice. I try to not be a demanding princess, you know? Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. There are only a couple horses on the ranch that are right for me at the moment, as a novice rider of size who is still learning how to balance properly. Like, Vinnie? I think he could probably carry me just fine. Maybe Jewel too. But neither of those horses is appropriate for a new rider such as myself. Teddy Bear and Leo are both very well-behaved overall. Tedders is quite the babysitter, and she and I have been getting to know each other.

I went and got Breezy, and groomed her up. When I sprayed some show sheen in her mane, I covered her eye so she wouldn't get stung by the spray. At first she wasn't too happy about this, but I think she pretty quickly figured out that it was a good thing that would make her more comfy. I like that mare- she's really sensible.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw DeDe moving Teddy Bear. Tedders was acting up and getting circled, but she was out of her pasture.

While I made Breezy look nice and skritched her itchy itchy forehead, Bo and DeDe trimmed Teddy's hooves, which she took great exception to. She was in a pretty bad mood, haha. They were firm with her, but what I noticed most of all is that they solved the problem by giving her time to get used to the idea that she was going to have to get her feet done, and she was going to be working. Sometimes you just have to give them time to adjust their own attitude. If you can get them to acclimate and accept, you can avoid a lot of conflicts.

So eventually if was time to put Breezy away, and Bo threw a Saddle on Teddy Bear and had me get on! Teddy was feeling calm and laid back at that point.

Now I often have weird and serious expressions on my face whilst riding. I'm focusing hard, and we're working on slightly more challenging stuff now. I promise I'm happy and not grumpy, haha!

Oh hey look, proper riding boots.

I know, I know, no helmet. L____ at the ranch keeps dropping not so subtle hints about wearing a helmet, heh! "I've come off a horse badly a few times. THANK GOODNESS I was wearing a HELMET." *pointed look at me.*

When I was at Hossmoor I always wore a helmet, pretty much, when riding. I think I forgot once. Most of the boarders there wore a helmet. None of the trainers ever did, from what I recall.

I know some of you feel so passionately about this. I'm sure some of you will continue to call me foolish for not. Eh.

What WAS more of a source of distress was that since I didn't think I was going to be riding after all, I did not don the uh, proper support. Sensei did take a video of me outside of the roundpen trotting on Teddy Bear behind Bo, with Bo resolutely looking straight ahead, haha. I am SO not putting that video up on YouTube. It borders on obscene. Ooooops. Doesn't look so bad from above!

I swear that I am not eating a chili pepper or something in this photo. I am just thanking Teddy Bear for putting up with my noobishness and carting me around.

Teddy Bear has a big solid butt. It roans out in the summer. I mostly like my form in this picture, but I need to lower my hands a bit, and maybe move my heel back. Heels are down though! Back is straight, I'm not staring at Teddy's ears, and my legs are getting better at draping. With shortened achiles tendons it's hard to get my heels down AND get my legs to relax, but I think I'm getting better at that.

I could use a saddle that has a few more inches to the seat, haha! But other than that, I'm really liking how I'm sitting in this one. Need to even the reins a little bit, and maybe turn my knees out a bit to match my toes being out, but other than that, not too bad I think.

Oh look, I am cracking a smile!

I believe I was in the saddle for a good 30 or 40 minutes. Bo wanted me to spend time in the saddle, just get used to making every movement purposeful, and not squirming unnecessarily. The horse will read and interpret every movement and shift. A soft, sensitive horse, especially, will read and respond to many cues that a green rider is not aware that they are giving. Furthermore, the horse will learn to respond to these cues, and the green rider will end up training the horse to do things they do not intend to. As Bo says, a green rider can ruin a finished horse.

So now it is time for me to work hard at rising to the level of the horse. Physically, I am more able by far than I was when I first arrived at the ranch. I also have a long way to go, but between working with horses and martial arts, I'm making a lot of progress. Bo says that we are well beyond the idea of therapeutic riding, and now we're working on real riding.

I'm doing things that I thought I would never be well enough to do. I am finding my joy.

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