Monday, February 6, 2012

Big Pony Club.

Photos courtesy of Sassy Shots' Stephanie R.
Life has been super-full and busy these past few weeks. My weight hasn’t moved since the 34lb mark, except to go up or down by a few pounds here and there. It's probably due to my being a complete hog and eating like a savage, but I could be wrong. I’m keeping an eye on it though, and trying to discipline myself (while trying not to think about the sack of Orange Milanos in my cupboard behind me). I can only say that I guess, maybe with the prettier weather, or whatever it is, that I am coming out of the weird low-grade fugue that has been hovering over me for almost two years. I’ve been inordinately grumpy, and I know this. There have been moments of better moods here and there, mostly when I’ve been intermingling with people in my comfort zone.

I haven’t been able to spend much time with my horse this past month, which is awful. He is my therapy, and being away from him makes the fugue harder to overcome. But these past few days have been kind of nice, I have to admit.

It’s strange to say this, but giving up on the whole pregnancy and adoption thing, as sad as it is, has also eliminated a surprising amount of stress. It’s weird, but not having to worry about it, and think about it makes the whole thing easier somehow. We’ve decided to let the chips fall as they may for the next couple of years, and when things get better for us financially, we can look into adoption again (hopefully with a kinder, more human caseworker on our side).

That doesn’t mean it’s not still on my mind every day. This past weekend, for instance, I spent time with two adorable girls who reminded me how much I love spending time with children, and how fulfilling it can be to be around them.

My BFF Stephanie II asked if her boyfriend’s girls could come and meet Tag, so we arranged for them to come to the stable to meet him and have a little ride. Once upon a time, when my family owned a riding club, I used to instruct. I enjoyed it immensely in spite not always being reliably committed to it during my teens, but hey, I was a teen! I’m a pretty good riding instructor, and I taught Pony-club for a long time too, working with kids and ponies. So it felt natural to work with the kids and help them feel confident around horses. Tag being a big stampy boy also helped them develop a bit of confidence too in his own way.

Tag is doing what he's known for; attempting
escape from the purgatory of grooming. He is good
at undoing knots.

When we got there, Tag was in his dirty stall looking bored. I hadn’t ridden him for a MONTH. He was pretty mellow though, thanks to the warmish day, and he behaved on the most part. He does however, look like a massive scraggle-muffin with his winter coat and uneven roach. I’ve been cutting down his mane with scissors lately because my clippers just aren’t strong enough to make it through the broom that is his mane. Nonetheless, I set out the brushes and the girls helped me brush him down (Alizabeth could only do his lower half, but she managed well enough).

Then I threw the saddle on him and let him run on the longe for a few minutes to make sure he wasn’t in one of his moods that might endanger the girls, but Tag is a pretty good horse on the most part, and usually only misbehaves when he’s challenging me and I'm making him do things he doesn't want to do, which is good because he seemed to like the doting attentions of the two girls.

Invariably, we hucked the small one into the saddle. I started by leading them. I had to twist my stirrup leathers ‘round twice for Alizebeth’s teeny legs. Her heels barely cleared the edge of the flap. LOL. Then After a long time leading, I eventually let them take the reins (when they were confident enough to let go of the pommel), and ‘steer him’. They both did wonderfully, so I unclipped his lead rope from his halter and let them ride him without my help, but with me at their side all along. They were in the saddle combined over an hour.

I did not ride myself, but I confess, I didn’t mind. I forgot how much fun and how gratifying giving riding lessons can be. And teaching them the proper way, right from the start is the way to go. I too often see new riders being taught the wrong way by instructors that obviously have been taught the wrong way themselves; stirrups too short, back too arched, stiff seat, strange positions, toes sticking out like Charlie Chaplin... it’s hard not to stick my nose in and say something, but I have to curb my tongue and let things be. I’ve gotten dirty looks at my barn several times for correcting people, which is obnoxious on my part, but when I see those bad traits being taught, I see only danger. There’s no connection when a rider is too stiff, when the back is too arched, they’re not ‘sitting deep’... it’s frustrating.

A little sitting on him bareback does wonders for balance and confidence.
It also teaches riders to relax their legs and ride long.

Both girls took to Tag’s long strides quite well, and were riding all by themselves (with me nearby of course) by the end of each lesson. They were quite proud of themselves. I was quite proud of my big boy, who behaved like an angel, as if he knew that the little people on his back were in his special care.

When the other wasn't riding, Stephanie II put them to work cleaning
Tag's stall. Nothing says lovin' like child labour!
We ended the day with a fatty dinner at the Huckleberry Inn at Government Camp. It was a nice day. When Alizabeth snuggled on me, and used my markers to colour pictures, all I wanted to do was tuck her under my arm and take her home. Get her a pony and tiny Jods and paddock boots. Sew her regency dresses and elaborate Halloween costumes.

Oh well. :) A good thing is that I went into Marshall’s and bought myself some jeans on Saturday before I hit the stable. They were on sale for $10. Two, almost three sizes down from what I wore before. That was a great feeling too.

Yeah, we’ve had some stress these past months. We were named in a lawsuit along with our insurance company (but we’re protected, they tell us), we have tight bills as usual, new boss at work, my computer died (which is AWFUL!)... but I’ve been feeling okay. Managing to muddle through.

Oh! I nearly forgot. Before all the horse stuff on Saturday, I followed my husband on his motorcycle so I could bring a new tire to the dealership for him to install on his bike. I went home via downtown Portland and stopped at Zupans to discover that they carry the Lars Belgian Sugar Pearls. Methinks some waffles are in order soon!

1 comment:

A Baronets Daughter said...

i will be over to your house for waffles immediately. :) Ill bring cookies in exchange.


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