Saturday, March 17, 2012

Riding Miss Lily

Lily and I are on our journey together. Each time I go to the paddock she comes up to me. But she's used to a different rhythm in the stall. There the rhythm is to come in for grain, then head back out to the paddock for hay.

So it's different now, when I come in and grain her in the mornings. Now she's my horse to ride, to work with. I understand this is the transition we are in.

When she's been grained and expects to be turned back out, she walks to the gate at the far end, to go back to the paddock. I stand patiently on the other side of the stall, halter in my hand, waiting for her to understand.

It takes a few seconds. She turns around, sees me standing there. I cluck to her softly, she walks over and drops her head for the halter.

Friday I noticed something was different. Her eye. It was a little swollen and I felt the warmth. I washed it out and put in some ointment. When we were done, I stood in front of her, checking her face for a scratch or something that would show where this came from. She leaned in to me and rested her head on my chest. I gently rubbed the area, feeling the slight heat under my hands.

Lily has always taken well to doctoring (unless you try to put her foot in a bucket which is NOT ALLOWED).

She seemed otherwise in good spirits, so after a thorough brushing, we saddled up.

Stephanie was there to ride with us, which is good, since Lily is not great about solo riding, not yet. We rode out on the trails and both our horses were terrific, and we even galloped up some hills. Both our horses are ready for more conditioning and adventures, and we're anxious to get out and ride together now that I'm not limiting myself. And we both have a similar style to riding, we don't tear through the hills, but now I can finally canter for some time on a horse in whom I have total confidence.

So much so that I keep forgetting my helmet. It's amazing how much anxiety is unconscious (but yes, I'm still going to wear my helmet).

There are a few things I want to discover about working with Lily, now that I have time for her alone. I want to stop her walk off while mounting, which is good some days, bad others. I want to understand why she comes out of the trailer so quickly and see if I can help her through that fear. I want her to gain confidence in going out alone with me, at least around the close by trails.

I've got a new/used saddle coming in the mail since my saddle for her is just an old big horn and not suited to longer rides.

What I really need is to find her a fine riding halter. I have a lovely bridle for her, but she doesn't need a bit at all. I can gallop her, get her to confront things she'd rather avoid, all without a bit. So why bother?

And I don't really need a bitless bridle with the complex cross overs and pressure on the poll. She neck reins and stops with my seat and pressure. My long term goal is to ride her with a neck rope.

But for now my riding halter is just a rope (although a nicely done rope). I'd like something beautiful, leather, without the rubbing that comes from a bosal or the pressure from a hackamore.

Anyone have any suggestions?

I've followed up on Smokey and he is doing wonderfully in his new home. I'm fighting a little feeling of being a quitter lately, feeling a little like a loser. But when I was on a trip trying to find a home in DFW and the entire thing went to heck, I realized I have too much to try to accomplish in my life and that now is a time to simplify when and where I can. I need this simpler relationship, this finished horse that is willing and able, or I could get to the point I'd have felt so exhausted I'd have given up on horses altogether.

I miss my golden boy. I wonder if I'll always regret letting him go, not keeping him and sticking it out. But at the same time I know I wouldn't yyhave had that exhilaration of Friday's ride, of the gallop on Lily, riding like I did when I was a kid, with total abandon, feeling bullet proof and soaring.

Back at the barn I decided to teach Lily to lift her hoof, like I taught Smokey.

And you know what? She almost has it...


Fetlock said...

Often the right thing is not the easiest option. Unfinished horses teach us a lot, but that usually comes along with a lot of anxiety and worry. Lily sounds like a great partner for you right now.

Dan and Betty said...

Good for you. Ride Lily and just enjoy the heck out of her. And it sounds like she can use some finishing training. You made the right choice. Don't look back. You might miss the glory of the present.


shadowlake2005 said...

What a wonderful ride! I'm looking forward to your adventures with Lily. You're inspiring me to want to get my guy out, when what with everything going on and NOT going on, I haven't ridden since early January. Boy that sounded incoherent, didn't it? Suffice it to say, I had a nice ride "with" you.

shadowlake2005 said...

What a wonderful ride! I'm looking forward to your adventures with Lily. You're inspiring me to want to get my guy out, when what with everything going on and NOT going on, I haven't ridden since early January. Boy that sounded incoherent, didn't it? Suffice it to say, I had a nice ride "with" you.

Susan said...

I think you'll get through it. I once sold a horse and after a couple of weeks, I had a dream that he wasn't happy. I went to his new home to check on him and he was doing great.

Shirley said...

Sometimes we just have to live in the moment and enjoy what we have. Letting go doesn't have to leave a hole in your life if you fill it with love, and I think you and Lily are well on your way to a wonderful relationship.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Enjoy Miss Lily. She's all you need.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I think at this time Lily is the horse for you and you made the right decision for Smokey. Riding should be fun and Lily sounds like she's a wonderful ride.

John and Regina Zdravich said...

It must be incredibly difficult to give up a horse, but it seems you know in your heart that it was the best thing to do. Your connection with Lilly sounds fantastic. I am anxious to hear how the problem with her eye works out -- my Divna lost an eye a few years ago.

Achieve1dream said...

It's so much easier to give your horse the care and attention they need when you only have one, so I think this really is a good thing. Especially considering your confidence is back (yay!!!). So don't feel regretful for letting him go. Instead think about how happy he will be with the right person who has the time to give him the training you need and go enjoy Lily every chance you get. I'm so happy for you!