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October 10, 2012: Random acts of Kindness

After riding, I decided to go and check out the Sindorf Center, a local riding facility. I have taken to mis-using the word facility when referring to our place and to more specifically, to our compost/manure shed. Ours really isn’t an equine facility, nor are any of the outbuildings facilities. I have delusions of grandeur that rival those of Walter Mitty, a James Thurber character. For those in the know, ta pocketa, ta pocketa.

The Sinfdorf Center can rightly be called a facility – it has a 24 stall barn, a heated arena, and a spacious tack room. It was the brainstorm of a group of horse owners, who envisioned the ultimate horse boarding set up. Now they have it.

I figured that I’d go over there and see if it was possible to take lessons because Raudi and I are now in need of an assist. Right now, there isn’t much more I can teach her or she can teach me. We’ve reached an impasse of sorts. I am very proud of how far we’ve come together, but I think we can go further.

Well, I went into the center and politely asked a woman who appeared to be in charge if I might talk with someone about taking lessons. She replied “both our trainers are now out of town.” I thanked her and left.

As I was getting back in my truck, a figure in a green turtle neck and breeches came running towards my truck, and then called out my name. It took a second, but I realized it was Sharon Sandlon, who used to board at Moose Creek Ranch, where I was formerly a pen cleaner. I hadn’t seen her in four years or so.

If ever there was a good ambassador for a horse facility, Sharon was it. She showed me around the place, and we talked about various riding options, one being my leasing a horse for lessons in the winter. This immediately made me think of what Pete would say, that “five horses is more than enough!” But I kept quiet, and let Sharon talk.

She next got out and put a horse named Rascal in the cross-ties, remarking that I might take out a quarter lease on him. I then considered saying “which quarter? He does have a nice head.” But again, I kept quiet and let Sharon talk.

She suggested that I ride him. I said yes because I never say no about riding another horse, no matter how fearful I might be. I had reason for concern – this horse was, compared to mine, huge. And with head held high, he was ever larger. I’m not used to this. I’m used to my half-pint ponies.

Sharon agreed to ride Rascal first. As she walked, trotted, and cantered around the ring, I saw the end results of years of formal training. Her butt was squarely in the seat, her shoulders were relaxed, and she sat erect. She made riding Rascal look easy.

I knew from experience that riding well is not easy. This was affirmed when I got on him. He immediately started to back up. Long ago, I decided that when dealing with horses, that it’s best to leave one’s ego outside the facility. So this is what I did. I could tell that his owner was not impressed, and probably later nixed the idea of the quarter lease. And, I don’t think that Sharon was overly impressed either. It’s not that I can’t ride – it’s that riding a big horse like this, for me, was a big change. It was like hopping on a giraffe after clinging to the back of a Koala bear.

Afterwards, Sharon and I continued to discuss other options. We finally decided that while the weather’s good, that we’ll truck Raudi to her place, and that she’ll coach me. Coaching as opposed to instructing, because for insurance reasons, she can’t teach. This hardly seems fair, but I will find some way to reciprocate.

Doors close, doors open. Working with Sharon will be good – we’ll be able to see where Raudi is at, and if lessons with a trainer is a workable option.

I learned something important from this experience, and this is the importance of being personable. Sharon’s spending time with me is an example of how someone brightened another’s day. Seems to me that this is where change, inner and outer, begins.


Next: 305. 10/11/12: I Don’t Get It