Saturday, September 25, 2010

Simple pleasure

Thursday I was in need of horse time. But I'm still not eager to take Smokey out on long alone rides, and I knew I was mentally exhausted, so I didn't want to do any real training.

I just wanted to be with my horse.

The horses were in the process of getting fed, were done with grain but jonesing for their hay. I filled a bag with hay and hung it in the alley so I could brush Smokey and he could eat.

When I first came to this barn I didn't get the "hang a bag of hay in front of your horse while you tack." I was really against it because it seemed the horses were very distracted. But then I realized that with an endurance rider its all about shoving calories down those horses and you want them to eat. I still have certain expectations of behavior when I tack up and I will occasionally remove the bags, especially if the kids are around.

And you know, they are just fine, hay or no hay bag. They don't revert to really bad behavior of squirting around without hay. And while they are a bit distracted with the hay bag, they know when you're serious and it doesn't take a whole lot to convey that.

Anyway, Smokey was eating and I was brushing and it seemed like the saddle and blanket were even more than I wanted to deal with.

Does this happen to you? Do you go through times where the simplest thing seems far too intense and burdensome?

I grabbed the reins and headed over to the round pen. Smokey was very good on the ground. We did a little testing in the round pen. He was already latched on. So, I rode him in the round pen bareback.

I'm not a confident bareback rider and missed the security of my saddle. He sensed this and was a little all over. I got down, put on my helmet (which I'd forgotten to put on), and tried again. Much better. I relaxed and he was still a little forward. I decided all we were going to do was work on brakes. Sometimes Smokey takes about 5 minutes to get his power brakes on (it's all ABS before then). And his reward would be the minute he have me a nice soft stop I'd get down. we probably worked on it 6 or 7 times, and there it was.

I slid off. I saw that sink in as I took off the reins. Then I sat in the middle of the round pen and sent him off - not to work, just to wander. At first he looked at me, waiting. I changed my posture, "releasing" him.

I wanted to do what I never do. I wanted to sit there and just be there. Soon enough he wandered the round pen, nibbling on a few shoots that had shot up from the rain. He took off spontaneously at a trot. He sniffed different parts of the ground, unraveling what mysteries were buried there. Horses who had run in the pen, working, focusing. Rabbits wandering in for a bite of something different. Dogs who rolled in that spot, then ran off for adventure, possibly involving the aforementioned rabbit.

He hung out at the gate, then wandered toward me. He came up to my left shoulder from just behind me and gave me a few good sniffs. I acknowledged him and he left for more wandering. Then, after a bit, it was time to go. I kissed to him, he came over and we walked together to get his halter.

It was a good time, the kind that makes you think you can get through another day.

As long as you can work some horse time into it.

16 comments:

Kate said...

Very nice - what a good feeling! He seems like such an honest and sweet horse.

Carol said...

I know exactly what you mean about tacking up seeming too much, when you're just so tired but want to ride or be with your horse. When that happens I give our draft cross a quick brush and hop on bareback. She's very comfortable and with little effort I'm in heaven!

Jessica said...

I have had a lot of days like that myself, and I don't think it hurts them for you to show up and not ask them to work hard.

At least you didn't just skip the barn altogether. They notice that way more.

Funder said...

What a sweet story! I love to hear when my friends remember to just hang out and enjoy their horses. :)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I've been low on energy lately and am afraid to do anything, because I don't want to attract or create more problems, so I've just been limiting the majority of my horse activities to daily hugs. We have tens of thousands of motorcycles in town and we are hearing sirens racing past our house to scrape someone off the pavement every few hours. With that level of activity, I don't even want to think about getting out there on the roads with a horse trailer. If I ride, I ride at home and deal with the construction next door. But those days when I have the strength to lift a saddle are rare.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Sounds like you really have good rapport with Smokey. I like to hang out with my horses when I feed them and wait for them to finish their mash. It's a good time to talk to them, brush them, and just love on them.

I often get lazy and do the minimum grooming and jump on bareback or with a bareback pad. You might want to buy one of those. It's less work and weight than a saddle but gives more security than bareback.

Leah Fry said...

There are times when even grooming is too much. All I wanna do is just BE with them. Sometimes those are the most rewarding times.

Wolfie said...

There's absolutely nothing like horse time. I don't know how I did without it! It's magic.

Rising Rainbow said...

Just the thought of bareback makes me tense up. I guess it's my age. Still sounds like you did good.

Jan said...

Breathe, oh, it sounds like you had such a nice, laid back time with Smokey. I, too, love it when I spend quiet, special time with my horse, just brushing him and chatting. Let's them know how much they are appreciated by us.

Muddy K said...

Really perfect description of recognizing the impulse toward simple, pure horse time and then having it in an uncomplicated way. I get it completely. Great post.

Susan said...

Great post.

aurora said...

Sounds perfect!

morningbrayfarm said...

It must have been fun just "being" there with him. :) Love reading your stories!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sounds like a great day and a good connection for the two of you. Funny how the helmet gave you a sense of security and confidence. Sometimes I feel the same way, too.

~Lisa

Shirley said...

I do that a lot with Beamer, just go to his pen and hang out with him, giving him some loving and skritches and telling him he's the handsomest boy ever. He loves it!