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.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pure joy.

Hi folks!

Okay, I have to jump ahead this time, and then I'll give you a long overdue Solomon update.

Sunday was a big day for me! I got to do something I had never done before. Something I thought I would never get to do!

I got to LOPE!

All right, I'll back up now.

When I got to the ranch, I chatted with Bo and DeDe for a bit, then went and filled water troughs. I helped move horses, leading Leo to a pasture. He tried some stuff with me, but I was firm with him and he listened.

When I was done with all of that, I pulled out Solomon, who had been nickering and whinnying every time I came within 150 yards of his pasture, hah!

I'm going to show you his condition now. Topline is still horrible, but you can't see his ribs. You can feel them when you press. I want him to gain more, but he is gaining!

Meanwhile, the Little Bay Gelding and Remmy were chasing each other around and boxing. LBG was pretty interested in me though.

Solomon, nomming down his senior feed.

So he has these big bulges in the sides of his neck near his head. He always has. Is that normal muscling or not?

Next Solomon went to the roundpen. He did his usual leg-locking at the gate thing because he didn't want to work out, but I just told him he had to anyway.

We did some roundpenning, walking, trotting, cantering, and he did fine, but I didn't make him work too long in this hot weather. Then he had to steal my hat, of course.

He has a lot of fun taking it and scooping up sand with it. He likes to hold it in his teeth and toss his head around.

And how could I ever resist this face?

After roundpenning, I went to the middle of the pen and did my kata. A kata is a series of moves one does in karate- a sort of ritualized one-sided combat. It is a form of moving meditation, and it not only teaches the body how to move and fight, but it also makes the body much more supple. If you want your horse to be supple, you have to be a supple rider!

Solomon found this fascinating. He wanted to have his nose in my hair the entire time, and was trying to stay glued to me as I spun and shifted. He did a pretty good job of it, too! It made the two little wheels in his head spin a lot, I tell you what.

This turned out to be a really good idea. It helped me so much when I rode!

After I put Solomon away, it was time for Teddy Bear.

Tedders was in a really mellow mood. She didn't really want to leave the shade at first, so she planted her feet, but I made her do a circle and said "NO NONSENSE TEDDY BEAR," and then she was just fine. A good girl. I think that I have finally started to find that authoritarian side that one has to project with horses at times.

I had no problem grooming her. She picked her feet up for me and let me brush her out with no drama and no wigglies. She was half asleep.

After I had her all groomed up, I sat in the shade and meditated until Bo came out of the house. Teddy Bear napped.

We saddled her up, and Bo gave me a great lesson on how to mount from the ground. I'll be posting the video of that, but I have to get it up on YouTube, and it's a really big file.

Teddy Bear was so good that she stayed stock still the entire time.

Then it was time for me to mount. She was saddled, and I had this feeling. I wasn't sure, but it was a feeling...

I mounted up and we spent some time getting the stirrups right. I found neutral. Got myself feeling nice and centered. Bo told me that we weren't going to worry about steering at all- that he wanted me to remain in the center, keeping balanced on the horse's spine.

First we did some walking, then some walk-trot transitions. Bo roundpenned Teddy Bear while I balanced on her back. After a little while, he started having her turn and spin. Lots of rollbacks! It was challenging, but fun. I hadn't had the chance to ride in a while, but I was surprised... I still have a long ways to go, but I felt like my hips were a lot looser, a lot more supple. Then I realized it was because of all the martial arts training I'd been doing!

So there we were, trotting and spinning, and I was grinning my head off. I looked at Bo and he was smiling too. He said "Okay Ev, something really special's going to happen soon, so be ready for it," and I said guietly "YESSSSSSS" because I knew!

He got us trotting around and then he made the kissy noise. Such an amazing feeling! I was ready for it. I'd been watching and watching and watching.

I didn't do really well with moving with the horse, but I was determined. It was like being on an oscillating rocking chair moving at 25 miles an hour. So much fun! I worried about bouncing, but the second time Bo had Teddy Lope, I really felt like I was moving with her, and not bouncing! The third time I was behind the movement and I did bounce. Teddy was such a good girl though. She didn't act up, despite my newbie riding. She was a total doll. And I was simply elated.

Thank you so much, Bo. I didn't think I'd ever be able to do that. I will never forget that day!


Maggie--Mae said...


You are an inspiration!

Terry said...

Good for you! All of your work is paying off.