Monday, February 02, 2009

Well, It Wasn't Pretty!

I was wrong - today was as nice as yesterday. Not quite as warm, but the sun was shining. Two whole days in a row of promising weather! I was determined not to let two such days go by without getting on my dear mare, so I got the stalls done in good time, came in to eat a light lunch and change, put my paddock boots on and went back to the barn. Now, the rest of the story will explain some of why I don't ride very often! Why does it have to be such a big deal to do such a simple thing?

I'd set out my tack and needed to bed a couple of stalls - Gracie had to come in, and Gladys is turned out with Monster and I know I can't leave her out on her own. As I'm preparing for that, Gladys decides to warm Monster up for me. Kind of her, really. This translates as Glad doing laps in the snow and Monster mostly restricting herself to airs above the ground.

I am still determined to ride, despite being aware I will likely have a crazy horse on my hands. To help out, it's just the right temperature out that the snow is sliding off the roof of the barn periodically. The horses seemed to be used to it though, so I'm thinking maybe that won't be an excuse - for the horse that tends to look for excuses!

I bring Gladys and Monster in and give them a few minutes to settle down with some hay and warm water. At this point, Twine - due to foal in two weeks Twine - decides that wasn't acceptable, starts yelling and she and Clever are now being silly. Needless to say, now *they* have to come in, because I can't very well let this broodmare leap around like that. I quickly bed their two stalls and bring the two goofy mommas in. Thankfully Jubie and the three boys out back were just quietly observing all this craziness, so they get some hay to encourage such behaviour, though I know it's unlikely to last once I'm actually riding.

There used to be a day that it would take me half an hour to forty-five minutes to get ready before I rode, because regardless of the fact that no one was even likely to see us, my horse had to look good! Well, I've gotten over that, because otherwise I would never get to ride. I quickly knocked Monster off, picked her feet and noted how badly her mane needs to be pulled, then tacked her up, trying not to wonder if this really wasn't such a good idea given the events so far! Boldly go!

The racehorses always crack me up. Let's face it - these horses see everything at the track. Bring them to the farm, however, and suddenly, the sight of a rider on a horse is shocking! The two chestnut boys and their bay yearling protégé came barreling over to accompany us as we rode up the fenceline. I was counting on the deep snow to keep Monster somewhat focused, but she was getting pumped. She really didn't believe I wanted her to leave them behind, but I pushed her on through the little pathway to the fields behind our property and on we went.

I wasn't sure exactly where we would go, because I hadn't been out to clear all of the low-hanging branches, and riding through brush on a horse that's kind of high can be a bit treacherous! As I'm considering our options, I feel her growing to twice her size as she spots a neighbour on snowshoes out walking his dog. Yes, Monster – bred and owned by a dog trainer, raised around dogs, has seen dogs every day of her life that she wasn't at the track – thinks dogs are somehow evil and out to get her. At this point I know the best thing to do is head in a different direction and ease our way back home (ease perhaps not being the most appropriate word choice) because now is not the time to confront her irrational fear of the canine. So off we go across the field, at which point Monster would really like to get her head down and buck, and I'm firmly suggesting she not try it! I wonder what the snow-shoer thought of my conversation with the crow-hopping bay mare!

Back we go in the direction of home...all of ten minutes into our ride. I take her into the front paddock and just walk her around for a while, both directions, jog her a little. I have to say she's nicely warmed up at this point, and clearly happier now that she's left the dragons – and scary Labrador Retrievers – behind. To be fair, this is a horse I typically longe for 20 minutes before attempting to get on, so the timing was about right! The photos you see here (we had to have proof of me on her back!) were taken after all the interesting stuff was behind us. The pictures would have been a lot more fun if some of the moments out back had been captured. I really should wear one of those head cameras for something truly entertaining!

So you see...not the idyllic celebration of a day promising spring that I might have hoped. I know with Monster that's largely an illusion. Add to that the drama provided by her stablemates and despite being on her back for less than half an hour, I think I'm exhausted! I think we still both quite enjoyed ourselves.

No big plans for tonight. Monday nights I let myself have a night off, of sorts, to actually sit in front of the TV and watch 24. Time to get some dinner and hope I'm still conscious by 9:00pm!


Judy Wood said...

Maybe not pretty, but at least you *did* it. My experience of being on snowshoes in the vague vicinity of horses would suggest that the snowshoes added to your problems. There is something about a person on snowshoes that makes a lot of horses hysterical, and if Monster was looking for excuses, it sounds like that brief ride provided quite a few!!.

Linda Shantz said...

The snowshoes probably did threaten to send her over the edge! We were pretty close to it. I've forgotten what it's like to ride a quiet horse! Never a dull moment with Monster. She has a reputation to keep up!