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February 19, 2015: Alys on her High Horse

It was a day in which the best laid plans turned asunder. It was also a day in which I gave some serious thought to the phrase “being up on one’s high horse.” Of course, being a horse person (saying ‘being a pony person’ isn’t yet in vogue, but give it time) gives this phrase a two-fold meaning. As in, “thinks she knows a lot about her subject matter, which in this case is horses and is flaunting it.” No, I’m not flaunting – I’m still my humble self. But I’m becoming aware of the fact that I am starting to externalize what I’ve internalized.

I had good intentions today – I’d planned on buckling down and getting some marketing done. I was going to do what poet Allen Ginsberg suggests and “put my queer shoulder to the wheel,” and do what someone else suggests and “put my nose to the grindstone.” Had I done this,

I would have ended up minus a nose and a shoulder. I sensed that this would look awful in photos. So I ended up blowing off marketing.

My (instead) horsey day began with Pete and my taking Raudi and Hrimmi for a walk on Mr. Siggi’s trail. By 10 a.m. the sun was shining brightly and the air was warming up. The walk went well. At times, Raudi pulled away from me, to sniff poop and grab at dead grass. I was quite cognizant of this because my agility scoring was lower than it may have been otherwise – I was told by Vanessa Bee, the organizer, that at times I held too tight to the line. All rightly, I thought, we will work on this. I’m now thinking that if Raudi and I make headway in this respect, that this will be huge. Recall, as I said previously, just a few years back, Raudi’s getting away from me was routine. It is serendipitous that at that stage of our “career” that we would be working on this, and that agility training is what brought this to my attention.

My high horse – everyone should work on training their horse to walk on a loose line.

Got back home – Vickie called and said that her treeless saddle had just arrived, and asked if I wanted to go to the Sindorf Center and see how it fit Hunar? I said yes, and so together, we went to the Sindorf Center. There, for over an hour, I watched Vickie ride.

My high horse – The saddle seemed to me to be tight in the withers and it bridges a bit, meaning there are places where it should, but does not touch the back. Also, the knee rolls seem to me to be too far forward. This may not be problematic in the dressage arena, but could be a problem on the trail, where the rolls would be most needed.

While at the Sindorf Center I watched an instructor work with a younger rider and her tall dark bay horse. He appeared to me to be part thoroughbred, and was very energetic. As the lesson progressed, the horse became increasingly more energetic, rather than the other way around.

My high horse – The horses’ getting increasingly more agitated caused the rider to take an increasingly firmer grip on the reins. This caused the horses’ head to come back behind the vertical. I’d recently read that a horse in this position has a hard time seeing. This then explains why the horse became so nervous after doing a few jumps. This got me to thinking – the top level instructors in our area don’t do groundwork with their students. The students get on, they are given a lesson, and then they get off. If I was an instructor, the focus would be equally on body awareness, both in relation to the rider and to the horse. My sessions would of course be quite long.

Vickie came back to my place with me and we went for a trail ride on our trails. This then allowed her to try out her saddle on the trail. She said that she thought that it fit just fine. I rode Tinni because I did the Grizzly Camp Loop yesterday with Raudi. It was a nice ride on our lovely trails. We had four dogs with us. Tinni was energetic, especially on the return trip home. However, he remained well behaved.

My high horse – yesterday, while out on the trail, I met up with a bicyclist – a very fit and trim woman, maybe about 30 years of age. She remarked that she hasn’t taken her horse out on the winter trails “because he’s too high strung.” All I could think was if you own them, you should get them out. Otherwise, you are doing them a disservice.

I went to yoga after our trail outing. I walked in the door of the yoga studio and there was a neighbor of mine, a woman that I’ve dubbed “the professional adventurer.” She said “good day” to me and I replied It’s always a good day when I get in a ride.” Her response to this was, “Well, I went riding today!” My response was then “It’s a whole different matter when you ride a horse you own!”

My high horse – my response to my neighbor seems like it was rather innocuous, but it was not. It’s like this:  you clean up after them, feed them, ride them, fret about every little perceived thing and about every real big thing – and then you bond with them in some strange and inexplicable fashion. And furthermore, you become attuned to their moods, their health, their likes and dislikes, their inner and outer psyche in a way that you do not if you ride said animal occasionally. My friend knows this for she’s a very smart woman.

Now all the above sounds like I’m way up there on my high horse. I am, but limitedly. There’s a danger in thinking that one knows all about anything, for then one ceases to learn. But my realization that indeed, I do something about horses is in my case both healthy and life-affirming. For years I’ve been acting like I know nothing about horse care, medicine, riding. Well, I know quite a bit – the trick is to keep learning and sharing information with those who are also wanting to engage in equine give and take. So for now I must maintain a low profile. It’s a good thing that my ponies are short, otherwise, I really would be up on my high horse.

Next: 51. 2/20/15: Two Steps Forward

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