Sunday, October 7, 2012

Camping with Lily at the Storm Ranch Ride

We can come here any time. There's grass.

Hey folks. Lily here. Me and Miss B went for an adventure. Tell you what, it was about time. I had to give Miss B a little bit of a hard time about getting in the trailer since there wasn't anybody else in there.

No kidding. I thought you were going to 
run over me for a second.

Well, you didn't have to get all physical on me.

Girlfriend, if you're about to run me over, 
I'm getting physical.

Fine. I jumped right in after that, didn't I?

It was quite a sight. I was worried you
were going to run through the back wall.

I can move when necessary. And it was really necessary. But between you and me I was ready to get the heck outta dodge, if you know what I mean. We got these two new horses and there's a bossy skinny mare now and couldn't wait get some space from that attitude, know what I mean?

I don't think I've ever seen 
you so happy to get your halter on.

I'd have put it on myself if I could've figure out the knot.  

So here's the thing about the trailer situation. When I ride in the trailer solo, I like the back spot because it's closer to the door. I don't mind the ride, but when it's time to exit the trailer, I waste no time. And if it's a long way to the exit, it makes me nervous. Now, I don't get nervous since Miss B loads me right there with the door on my tail.

Everybody's happy. And no one
is getting run over, either.  

This is my neighbor, River. She kicked at Cibolo once. She's got a red ribbon on her tail, say's it's bad girl bling.

When we arrived I decided immediately that this was a real good place. Grass was EVERYWHERE.  Miss B  sets up her electrical yarn thing and I notice we are under a big tree.

That's thanks to Miss Donna. She got there early.

It was a nice spot. Plenty of company, lots of hollering, nice shade. Tough not to like. Then Miss B said we were invited to go on a short ride. We don't do much long rides since my shoulder is a little touchy, but I was excited to hit the trails. It's been a long time we've been somewhere new. We were going out with Miss Donna and her little "I think I'm still a stallion, look at me" skinny horse. I give him the eye roll treatment. Please hon, I like a horse with a little meat on him, ya know?

Oh geez. Are you in heat, again?

Not yet. But it's always around the corner, you know.  

Anyway, we hit the trails and pretty soon we hook up with two more riders. Before you know it, we are trotting down the trail. I feel great! I show these horses how to make some time in a nice long trot that would've brought some ribbons in the show ring. They are all young ones, so I ignore all their snorting and dancing around. Trail's calling, boys, we got miles to go, don't go wasting energy!

You were very calm. Everyone was
 impressed. Even about the chair.

It was a chair. Goodness, you'd think these boys never been out of the barn. I took the lead a few times, then had to circle back when I out trotted them and they got worried. But I felt great. Trotting all that time, no problem!

We headed back and had some food. Miss B and Miss Donna went to the rider's meeting (which they should really send the horses to, in my opinion, since they're doing all the work). 

Can't argue with you there.

Darn straight. Another thing I like about camping is I get all kind of special stuff. Extra carrots. Watermelon. That kind of thing.

Although we learned you
 don't like cheese nips.

At least I gave them a try. Next morning, Miss B went out first thing to do something called scribbling...

Scribe. I was the scribe for the
 vets at the vet check.

Were you scribbling?

Well, I tried to be neat, 
but they talk fast...

Like I said, you were scribbling. I worked my way through my hay. Every now and then a real sweaty horse would come back, saying they'd been riding for miles and miles. I was a teensy bit sore from yesterday, but Miss B said we'd ride around camp later, just looking for some grass or something.

We rode a little, but I don't know, I just was off, I guess. Miss B took off the saddle and after lunch went for a walk. I think Miss B wanted to see how I was doing. We found some nice flowers.  But when I did some circles to the right I was feeling it a little, so we figured it might be time to take it easy.


Still I trotted those trails. I'm on the road back, I think.
I hope so.

We're both ready to head out for more adventures.

Darn straight.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Respect, Trust, and Journeys

Everyone in this picture looks contemplative, 
even the dog who is on her first pony ride.

I was thinking today about Lily.

I've been working with her to get better about lifting her rear feet, something that has been sketchy for a while.

It got me thinking about how I can get her to do things that she's otherwise reluctant to do with others. This time I am focused on working with the farrier to bringing her along.  Last time she danced around like crazy and it took a good deal to get her to a point where he could trim just a bit on her hinds. This leg sensitivity all started when her shoulder went out, I suspect that her lameness had made having her hinds stretched back painful and she's guarding against it.

She has that kind of reaction to things. Guarding.

So I've worked for a few days on getting her to let me hold her leg against mine. We've come a long way over the last few months, she never yanks her leg out of my hand any more. She now offers them a bit more politely. But the minute I touch them to my leg she worries and pulls, somewhat gently (in horse terms), putting the hoof down, always careful not to step on me.

This is how I know it's not a mean spirited thing. She practically falls over to avoid stepping on me.


I'm at the ranch with the farrier. It's beginning to rain, dashing my hopes for a leisurely training session with the three of us. There is no real shelter where we are, so we have to be practical.  I hold her hooves while he uses the nippers to cut off the worst of the wall. She holds her hooves nicely, only one pull away, which we attribute to fatigue. She won't rest against me at all. We're not there yet.

He straightens up, the half moons of her trimmed toe littering the ground around us. Her hooves are a bit ragged, but as usual he's done an amazing job. "They aren't pretty, but they will be fine," he says of her rear trim. His Spanish is lilting, his handlebar mustache accenting his perpetual smile.

 We are working to bring her to a better place together. It'll take time. "Es mucho mejor," he assures me. She's much better.


It's got me thinking about respect. To be honest I don't know if Lily respects me.  She trusts me, but that's different, isn't it?  She knows that I won't let anything bad happen to her.  She knows that my requests will be pretty reasonable. She knows I will pay attention when something is bothering her and I'll react appropriately, I'll take her concerns seriously, dismissing them only when they are unreasonable (we do not spook and resist the canoe. it's a canoe. deal with it.). The rest I'll work with her to get through it.

 Like the time she was nervous to have her teeth floated. She had usually had a little calming med beforehand, but the dentist was just taking a quick look. No way, Lily said, head held high, eyes wide, searching me out. At first I tried a stern approach and then woke up. This is Lily. That doesn't work. I took the file from the dentist and gently touched Lily with it.  She calmed down. Then I handed the file back. She was ready. We proceeded to get it done.

Now I lay her hind leg against mine to clean out her hooves and she goes longer and longer each time. Each time we make it past another goal post.

I need her to move past  trusting just me to trusting the farrier and the dentist. Not sure how to get there, maybe since her shoulder is better that will help. But I imagine it's a lot of what we are doing now. Taking time. Doing things step by step, not skipping a single thing. Only then moving on. Horse rules, horse time.

What we have going on, it doesn't seem like respect at this point. It's not that level of surrender, or maybe my idea of respect is a "I will do what you say no matter what" kind of thing, part fear, part dread, part discipline.  Maybe what we have is a step on the journey. Maybe it's a whole other journey.

Damned if I know which. But it is something to think about.