Wednesday, December 31, 2014

That's a Wrap

2014 is rapidly coming to a close. We've got just a few hours left before I get to spend the next three weeks remembering to write "2015".

I've been watching the mostly sappy, sometimes snarky statuses about how awesome/shitty/okay/tolerable/annoying 2014 has been float across Facebook all evening. I, of course, took the opportunity to be a sarcastic asshole, but they all have me thinking. How was 2014?

I mean...I guess it didn't totally suck? That's something, right?

Sarcasm aside, this year really was not that bad. I learned a lot, and despite the parts where I was sure I had completely fucked up the horse I had bought, everything turned out okay.

Spoiled pony was spoiled.

Looking back, I'm startled to say that my biggest accomplishment was actually Simba. When I was in the thick of everything, I would have easily told you that this horse was my biggest failure, because I failed him something fierce by not being what he needed. In some ways, that is still painfully true...however, I took a horse that had been sitting for quite some time, had kind of a shitty attitude towards everything, and legged him back into being a successful trail horse that had manners. I was not prepared to survey the year and go "oh...oh, yeah, I guess I did do that, huh?" He left me a better horse than when he came, and that's really cool for me to realize that *I* did. I had some excellent help, and he started with a great foundation, but the work he and I did together was ours. He taught me what I didn't want in a horse, and upped my riding level to, like, 40 or something (you know, when you get swift mounts...World of Warcraft joke. Anyone? Anyone??). I'm no horse trainer, but a bit of common sense and help from those around me did wonders for us both.

Oh rail trail, how I miss thee...

Selling him sucked. Selling horses sucked. That was a really big downside to this year, and it really isn't something I'd like to do again any time soon. That was a huge learning experience for me, and because of that, I will be EXTREMELY careful the next time around. "Next time around" won't be until next spring at the earliest, and probably not until the spring of 2017, because I will have to look all up and down the East coast to find what I want (I need a freak of a Peruvian -- extremely tall and extremely broad. With hair. Lots of hair). I knew that selling horses sucked, but I didn't fully understand it until I was in the middle of it. I only showed Simba to a handful of people (mostly because the others that contacted me were Not A Match), but it was enough to reiterate that people lie, don't listen, don't read, and can be generally shitty.

I am a few months removed now. My heart twinges a bit when I look at this photos, because he really was a funny little horse with more personality than he knew what to do with, but he was never my funny little horse. We spent a year working with each other and there wasn't any sort of epiphany moment when I felt like we were meant to be. He made me laugh and fume and cry and roll my eyes, but even during all of that, I never felt the spark I thought I had at one point. I don't regret him, but I also don't regret finding him another home.

Speaking of: as far as I know, he is doing fine in his new home. I say "as far as I know" because contact with his new owner has been slim to none. She hit the same explosion with him that I did shortly after bringing him home, and though I wasn't around to make a true assessment, everything I heard told me she ignored my warning about starting with groundwork to get his brain focused on her, and just jumped on. I found out the hard way that "just jumping on" doesn't work until much later. I could jump on and ride Simba on the buckle at the end of our relationship, but it took a bit of work to get us there. Since then, it's been radio silence. I mailed off the papers in early November, and at my last check of TWHBEA's "iPeds" service, he was still in my name, but a co-worker found his Craigslist ad. It's since been removed, and based on the tiny bit of Facebook stalking I've allowed myself to do, she still has him. I'm hoping they figured each other out and they're doing well, but I honestly don't know. I hate the idea of being a meddling ex-owner, and as it's no longer my business, I will stay on my side of the fence.

As for me? I am not loving horselessness, but my anxiety levels are much lower currently, and, selfishly, I can't give that up right now. Tank, the little red Quarter horse I was riding at L's found a new home with a lovely teenage girl who will hug him and squeeze him and call him lovey names like he deserves. However, that leaves me really and truly horseless for the first time since 2009. That is already starting to eat at me. I'm not sure what to do about it, but I'm considering trying to find a local (as in 20 minutes tops from my house, because as much as I love L and J and all my other fabulous friends who throw horses at me...they're all an hour away, damn it!) lease. I haven't fleshed out that idea just yet.

Late autumn ride on Tank -- I so missed these powerline trails!

Outside of horses, I haven't been behind my camera like I should be, and I haven't been writing like I should be. My audience is very small, but if someone has a request for a photography project, or something they'd like to hear about, don't be afraid to throw it at my head -- it'll give me something to do, anyway! My brainpower as of late has been limited. Christmas was unadulterated Hell. This was the worst Christmas season I've endured at my job, and I. was. fried. by the time the holiday actually rolled around. I spent the day as quietly as I could, hanging out with D, my uncle P, my cousin A, her husband, and their little boy for a few hours before heading back to where I'm house sitting and hibernating the rest of the weekend. Things are very slowly calming down at work (I haven't had a customer call me a see-you-next-Tuesday for almost a week now!), and I can think things that aren't "is it over yet is it over yet is it over yet" now.

Senior shoot I did -- world's most adorable mini!

2014 was a year of making mistakes. I learned how to acknowledge them and make steps to rectify them as best I can. I don't do resolutions, but I'm hoping 2015 is a year of starting over. It's time to rediscover why, exactly, I love these animals so much, and to rekindle the passion I once had for them.

Halloween at work -- Ravenclaw FTW!
Here's to 2015! Happy New Year, everyone!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Birthday Musings

My 24th birthday was on Sunday.

Those ears still slay me.

November 2nd means way more to me than my day of birth (5:36 am, by the mother would remind me, rather loudly, about how long she was in labor). It's the day B emailed me again after eight months to ask me to help her find a home for Image. Obviously, that home ended up being me, so it's the day my life changed drastically for the better.

He had a ridiculous amount of presence, but was usually very quiet about it. I loved that about him -- he could fill a huge space with his spirit.

I still miss him so much. I know it's holding me back from a lot of things, but I'm not ready to move on just yet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Adjusting to Horselessness

It sounds like a bad disease to me, this "horselessness".

It kind of feels like that, too, to be entirely honest. I have put a very firm, will only change if something spectacular falls into my lap, took myself off of all sale groups of Facebook, "at least one year" clause out there for my next horse. I will not even begin looking until next spring, at the earliest.

In the meantime, I'm going to flounder around a bit until I can figure out how to re-adjust to no longer being a horse owner. I know it's not the end of the world, and I know that horses are a luxury, not a necessity, but the little girl in me is waving her arms frantically going "THIS IS THE ONLY THING YOU HAVE EVER WANTED EVER WHAT ARE YOU *DOING* YOU BLITHERING IDIOT?!"

She's not wrong. My main dream in life for as long as I can remember was to have a pony of my very own. I did that, and for awhile it was awesome even with the struggles that Image threw my way. Then I made a booboo and didn't listen to my gut and ended up burning myself out.

So, burnt out but sad little old me is just going to throw herself at the mercy of all her friends who have more horses than they know what to do with. Thankfully, that has worked in the past, and is working again as we speak.

Meet Tank.

No, I'm not joking. His name is Tank. Mostly because he IS a tank.

I emailed L last weekend going "heeeeelp I am horseless and feel like a useless human being! Throw me on something that won't kill me!" Of course, she obliged willingly! Saturday dawned a bit cool and a lot overcast, but I hustled up to northern MA, shoveled a few paddocks, and then ducked into Tank's paddock to say hello.

It's been awhile since my first thought about a horse was "aw, how sweet!" Tank greeted me quietly, picking his head up from his hay. He had a gentle, albeit slightly reserved, air about him. I scratched his withers and neck and he leaned into it, pointing his upper lip just enough to let me know he liked it. If anything, he reminded me of GP.

My heart of stone softened. But just a little.

I pulled him out of the paddock and groomed him. He stood quietly, despite not knowing me or really knowing the routine, as he'd only been at L's for a few weeks. I threw my rope halter on him, and we went out to the ring to lunge.

He had a bit more of a gas pedal than I was expecting, but he was soft and tried hard to respond to my cues. It was more of an awkward fumble than the easy "dance" it had been with Simba, as he and I had figured each other out, but he was listening and balanced on the line. He struck me as smart and willing to please, but not super willing trust just He didn't offer any funny business on the line, so I shrugged and tacked him up.

It was funny seeing this big, stocky, WIDE Quarter horse decked out in my tack. My bridle fit him everywhere but the browband, but I wasn't going to fight with all of the Chicago screws that adorned L's western tack. I figured one ride with a slightly funny looking browband wouldn't kill him. L and S had arrived home at that point, and they, too tacked up their horses, and we all walked out to the ring together.

We had a few moments of "you stand there, I stand here, stand still so I can get on", but once I swung on, he stood still. It took me a minute to re-adjust...Simba was like riding a two by four, and while Tank was definitely not the roundest horse I had ever ridden, it was a HUGE change. It took me a few spins around the ring to really remember how to sit a horse like that...and to remember how much better I feel with a horse that has some substance to him underneath me.

I found out quickly that while Tank was a relatively easy, push button ride, his finessing had been ignored. He was a camp horse and/or a lesson horse at one time, and it showed. His mouth had a lot to be desired. We spent some time re-establishing what a bend was, and how to not lean on my hands when I ask to slow down or stop. He cut corners like it was going out of style, and I decided that cantering corners (the ring is long but not super wide, so the corners are tighter than I'm usually comfortable with) was not a good idea for the first ride out. Outside of that, he was quiet, responsive to leg, and even had a bit of a neck rein to him. He had a comfortable jog (even his bigger trot was sit-able), and a lopey canter that he picked up with a mere kiss.

The last time I looked through big red ears was GP.

When it came to my own riding, I was pleasantly surprised to find I was not all over the place. I felt MUCH more at home on a horse that had some bulk to him, and thus felt more relaxed through my back and thigh. I was able to sit the trot without much of an issue (or, er, so I thought...more on that in a moment) and cantered around on a loose rein. Simba had taught me that micromanaging my horse's every move was No Fun, and it seems to have translated well. I was able to effectively use my leg and seat to communicate my thoughts and Tank seemed to be listening to them by the time my "quarter ran out" for ringwork. I checked in with L to see if he had been out on the trails by himself.

He hadn't.

Oh well. No time like the present, right?

Off we went. He balked once at a puddle in the driveway, I pushed him through it, and that was that. He didn't question me again. Over anything. I was prepared to have discussions and negotiations...and neither thing happened. Good ole' easygoing Quarter horse!

He was a total gem out on the trails. He has a Quarter horse walk (so. slow!) but had enough pep in his step at the trot and canter that it didn't matter. He was happy to trot along without a care in the world, and was surefooted enough to trot down some hills and through a stream. He moved off of my leg enough so that I barely had to touch the reins except to ask him to come back into a slower (and therefore comfier!) trot. I couldn't resist a couple of canter sets down the long, flat, straight away part of the trail that I loved to gallop with GP just a few years ago.

We were cantering along at one point and I saw a big branch down up ahead. Tank had already shown me during the lunging session that jumping was NOT his thing, so I chose to ask him to slow down. I had been up in a rough two point to save my back a bit after so much trotting, and went to sit back down. At the same time, I started to say "walk."

Now, L had told me that she thought there may have been some reining training in there at some point, because he occasionally "sat down" when you asked him to stop from higher speeds like he wanted to slide. I had forgotten this tidbit of information.

The second the "w" left my mouth, Tank SAT and sat hard. I squealed and very nearly went shooting over his head. Thankfully, my seat is okay-ish and I was able to grab hold of the pommel of my saddle as he came to a screeching halt. Holy shit, it's been a LONG time since I had a horse that practically sat its ass on the ground to come to a stop. I can ride that when I'm prepared for it, but hoooo boy there was almost some dirt eating going on with that one. I started cracking up the second I was able to push myself back into the saddle. Tank looked back at me like I was nuts.

I had a shoot to get to, so I reluctantly turned Tank around after that and we cruised home. He didn't bat an eye at the deer bounding off into the woods next to us (I did), or the gunshots coming from the gun range that is next to the trails we ride on (again, I did). He stood quietly for me to dismount, hung out in the crossties, and lead back his paddock without needing a lead line.

Good pony!

It was a good ride, despite the agony my back, shoulders and hips were in the next day. I can't remember the last time I rode a horse that wasn't gaited (and yes, even a badly gaited horse is more comfortable for me than a trotting horse!), so trotting that much maaaay not have been the brightest move on the planet...but it was fun, and I felt GOOD afterwards. It didn't feel like it had been a chore and that I was forcing myself through every movement.

So, little girl inside my head, sit down and pout for awhile because horseless is going to be the norm for a little while. I'm not sure I really LIKE the idea, but that's the way it is right now...and I'll learn to be okay with it.

Especially if Tank sticks around, at least for a little while!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Happy Trails

And just like that, I am horseless again.

Couple of last shots in the paddock
Simba went off to a new, easy-going life in Vermont Sunday morning. He'll be doing gentle trail riding and living the good life with pasture and a new pasture buddy. He stepped up into a strange trailer like he owned it and off he went. It was quiet and without fanfare, and I sent him off feeling confident he'll be a happier critter for all of it.

I am...I don't know what I am right now. I'm ecstatic he has a good home. He deserves it, because he really is a lovely horse. I was not sad to see him go, as he'll be happy, so there was nothing to be sad about there. I was sad, however, to realize that I will no longer have a horse. Simba stressed me out and drove me nuts and made me want to knock him upside a head with a two by four sometimes, but he gave me something to focus on and something to fill my time with. That will take some getting used to.

I don't know, exactly, what's next for me at this point. I know that no matter what, I'm taking some time "off". It will be at least until the summer, if not until next fall, before I even think about looking again (unless something I can't resist falls into my lap, but even then, it'll have to be something spectacular). I have learned my lesson the hard way. I don't intend to repeat any mistakes, ESPECIALLY because the selling of horses is miserable and I do not ever want to do it again.

Dork pony...and yes, that black blur is yet another photobomb by Dolly the Border Collie.

It's been a long year, and I am welcoming the break. I am going to miss having something to occupy my time. I'm going to miss stalls every weekend. I'm going to miss riding the trails, seeing my aunt and uncle all the time, riding with friends whenever I wanted...but, at the end of the day, I am relieved. I am relieved he has a better home, with someone more suited to him all around, and who seems to click much better with him than I ever did. She got on him and he relaxed in a way I hadn't ever seen him relax immediately with me. I am also relieved that I no longer feel pressure (from myself!) to ride and work with a horse that I didn't enjoy. That was extremely hard, and it put me in a mental space that wasn't good for anyone. We had good rides (hell, we had great rides!) but it wasn't ever the same.

I will still be riding, I'm sure. People are already throwing horses at me to ride, left and right. Hell, right after seeing Simba off and doing stalls for the last time, I went up to NH to ride with J on one of her Paso Finos. I got to ride the funniest, weirdest critter on the face of the planet named Benicio. I didn't stop laughing the entire ride, because he was full of ants in his pants but was a gentleman the entire time. We had some rousing gallops and I was reminded as to why, exactly, I LOVE that breed so very much. He had the most deliciously perfect corto (for me, anyway), with a longer stride than most, a lovely canter, and a hell bent for leather kinda gallop that leaves you squealing with delight.

In short, it was a reminder as to why I do this. My only motivation in life for as long as I can remember has been horses. For a long, long time, it was just to own one (ANY horse at all, I didn't care about the specifics). I'm a hell of a lot more picky now, but the dream is still there. I'll figure it out.

Eventually, anyway.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sale Pending

Simba is hopefully off to VT. That is all for now because despite four days off of work, I'm exhausted.


But first, let me take a selfie.

Baby Flynn!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Game of Sales

This could also be titled: "I Really Fucking Hate All the People Ever So I'm Going to Poison Them Like Joffery Was Poisoned"


I don't usually mind playing "the game" when it comes to maneuvering my way through life. Things need to be said and done to make your way through life and I get that. It's not always fun, but it is what it is, so I just do what I need to do to get through to the other side. Some life games are easier to play than others, and most of the time, I'm pretty good at keeping my mouth shut about which ones suck.

This is not one of those times.

I really HATE playing the buying and selling of horses game. I have never attempted to sell a horse (and, everyone, you SELL a horse. You do not SALE it. If I get one more fucking email with "are you still saleing him" I'm going to throttle someone). I never, ever want to do it again. Ever. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, never ever again.

Which, of course, is an unattainable goal unless I sell Simba and never purchase another horse again. Admittedly, that's looking like a solid plan at the moment, but I know myself better than that at this point. However, once Simba finds a new home, I am done d-o-n-e done for awhile, even though I spend more than one hour a day longingly surfing sales sites online (and cried buckets when Dorada came back on the market this week AND I CAN'T GO GET HER). I am extremely intolerant of stupidity and dishonesty to begin with (including my own, should I not be paying attention to what I'm doing), and the astounding abundance of both of these things within the horse world sends my head spinning. I haven't any interest in dealing with again any time soon.

Unrelated: Simba and Flynn playing nice.

Obviously, this entire situation has made me a stabby douchenozzle who needs to be tossed into a cave for the foreseeable future so she doesn't decide to bite the head off of some poor, unsuspecting individual's neck.

Fortunately, there is one interested party at this time, which gives me a little bit of hope that this may be over sooner rather than later. She is a friend of my aunt's, and the two of them got along quite well on Sunday when they went out on a trail ride. She'll be back Friday to ride him down the road to her house to try him in her ring.

It was quite strange to see someone else on my horse after a year of exclusively riding him myself, and I found myself surprisingly sad by the prospect of him leaving. I'm not in love with this horse, but we've been able to work through our differences and are working relatively well together. I have a feeling a lot of it is stemming from the fact that I've done exactly what I'd do for any animal in my care, and have poured quite a bit of myself into him, despite the fact we're not the best match. I think, even if we were still having battles over who was king (or queen, in my case) of Pride Rock, I'd still be having this twinge of sadness over him potentially leaving. It's hard to just say "k bye" to something that's been an active part of your life for awhile...unless, of course, you totally abhor it, but thankfully, we're past the passionate hate stage.

That being said, he's not what I want. It's also becoming increasingly more and more obvious that as he trims down and muscles up, he's way too narrow for me. I need a chunk of a horse that makes my ass look small, either via height or width (preferably width), and while Simba seems to be able to tolerate my weight well, I'm constantly worried. He climbs hills with gusto and is gaiting well (really well, actually) and can haul ass when I ask him without hesitation, but I am a big girl and he's narrow and on the shorter side. Simple mechanics dictate this isn't such a hot match.

Tiny pony, big girl...thankfully, he's cute. Photo by Tullamore Photography/Kathryn Schaller
So, forward march we go. I'm not sure what Friday will bring, but if it brings nothing, then so be it. I've already accepted that I'm likely to have him until next spring at this rate. If it brings him a new person and a new home, then that's great too.

...and, hopefully, I'll learn to stop wanting to THROTTLE ALL THE MORONS WHO CONTACT ME AND HAVE A LOWER IQ THAN A POTATO.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Funny Story Friday: Simba and the Deer

New series? New series! Will I keep up with it? Probably not, but I'm hopeful!

A few weeks ago, I took Simba on a rambling ride through Mason, New Hampshire. It was early in the day, the sun was shining but the weather was comfortably cool, the bugs were on the way out...perfect day for a long ride without any sort of destination or goal except to go play.

I'd noticed lately that Simba's resistance to riding on the road was lessening, so once we had gaited our wait down the rail trail for awhile, I decided to walk home via the road. Now, this is Middle-of-Nowhere, Mason, NH. It's as country as you can get in this neck of the woods. I absolutely adore it, because I can ride down the road without worrying about risking my life or my horse's life.

So, we went down the road on a loose rein and he became more and more relaxed the more we traveled. He eyed a few trash barrels suspiciously, regarded a barking dog with a flick of an ear, blinked sleepily at a herd of horses in a paddock running up to the fence, and was honestly the best he's ever been on the road. We gaited where we could on the shoulder, but we were mostly happy to just meander along.

We hit a patch of road that was surrounded by woods on both sides, with no houses for a stretch. Simba relaxed further, as houses are the main cause of his concerns (Scary Boogeymonsters live in houses, obviously). He was practically on the buckle and was stretched out, doing his Bloodhound impression and snuffling the ground as he walked.

It was quiet and calm and enjoyable for all...for a minute or two, anyway.

There was a sudden, LOUD rustling that came from the right side of the road. We were on the left, so both of us snapped our heads to the right. Simba stopped dead. I gathered my reins hastily, preparing myself for the Ultimate Sit n' Spin.

A beautiful, elegant doe came bursting out of the woods. She was mere feet in front of us -- close enough for blind as a bat me to see the whites of her eyes. She bounded gracefully across our path, her tail flagged and panic written all over her body. I love deer, despite the fact that they're probably a pain in the ass and like to jump in front of cars (and horses, I guess). I find them beautiful and fascinating. I was waiting for my horse to lose his shit, but I was also thrilled to pieces to be so close!

I needn't have worried. Simba stood, statuesque, watching the deer practically graze his nose with her fur. His ears stood at attention and his head was in the air. I couldn't see his eyes, but I expect he wore a wild-eyed expression. His whole body was tense, and I sat deeper, juuust in case he decided to pull out that Sit n' Spin

Of course, he did something that surprised the shit out of me instead.

Just as the deer was breaching the woods on our side of the road, Simba let loose the loudest neigh I've ever heard from him. Body shaking, pulled from the tips of his toes, bounced me int he saddle kind of neigh.

I blinked, stunned.

He continued standing stock still, his ears swiveling, waiting for a return call.

I collapsed into helpless peals of laughter, falling forward onto his neck. He jumped a bit when I flopped fowards on his back, but didn't move as I howled, patting him as I rested my forehead against his mane.

When I could finally sit back up, his ears were rotating like antennae, his confusion evident. I wiped the tears from my eyes, patted him again, and urged him forward. He walked off without a second thought, almost as if shrugging. He knows that I am a Weird Human and I do Weird Human things and it's up to him to tolerate it, so he toodled on like nothing strange had gone on.

I, on the other hand, continued hooting with laughter for quite some time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

State of the Simba

It's been...too long since I last updated about blonde beastie outside of "here this is my horse he is pretty!" pictures. Believe it or not, I am riding and while it's not as much as I want, it's still something! I used to not be phased by the drive back and forth from home to the barn, but it has gotten increasingly more and more daunting. I live an hour and fifteen from where Simba is stabled, and while I won't move him because I don't trust anyone else with my horse, it makes riding during the week a right pain in the arse!

But, we're getting in as much as we can...and usually, it's solo these days, which has been good for both of us, I think. We were plunking down the road last Saturday and it occurred to me just how much had changed with this little horse in a short amount of time.

Again, I say...tolerant pony is TOLERANT.

When I purchased Simba, he was pushy, out of shape (okay he was a freaking marshmallow, haha!), reluctant to work, a bit of a spaz (okay a lot of a spaz), and generally disenchanted with the whole "human/horse relationship". He lacked focus and drive, and spent most of his time fighting me tooth and nail over...well, everything. Gaiting was out of the question because he spent 99.99999% of the ride trying to turn back for home and spent the other .00000001 of the time spooking at stupid shit or being too tense to do anything other than dragon snort at everything. He was obnoxious, rude, made a complete pigsty of his stall, and got himself many unkind nicknames (Douchenozzle comes to mind...).

Needless to say, we kind of hated each other. Like, a lot.

So, I made the decision to sell him, but kept working with him because he'd be a better horse for it at the end of the day. I kept on keeping on and tried to refrain from beating him with a 2 by 4. I'm sure he felt the same way.

Thankfully, we are both still alive and regular work has done wonders for his little pea brain. D made a comment on a ride this past weekend that I had grown to love him. I eyed her, and responded that while I'm not sure I'd use anything like "love" to describe where we're at now, we are tolerating each other with a surprising amount of good cheer these days. She laughed and said that only an English major would put it that way. I didn't have much of a comeback for that...because she's probably right!

We have come quite a ways from where we started, that's for sure. His ground manners have turned from "meh" to "obediant" quite quickly. He was a wiggly little devil on the cross ties, pushy as all get out in the halter, and had real concept of "soft" when I first got him. First of all, he learned right quick that while I may be wee compared to him, I carry a big stick...sometimes literally. You are big, I am little, so keep your bigness over there and make sure you contain it if things go batshit. He learned to not be a prat on the crossties. He quit pawing all together. He started relaxing -- he went from a lit rocket to knowing the crossties meant nap time because I was going to fuss obnoxiously over his mane and tail and coat and white stocking and other things that were incredibly boring -- and learned right quick that the Evil Finger was followed up by something sterner.

We spent a bit of time on ground work in general those first few months, and I think that was the key in reinforcing a lot in his brain. He's learned how to lunge in both directions at all gaits (walk/gait, trot, pace, FLAILOMG!/canter-thingee) softly and quietly. He learned some basic groundwork exercises and has proven himself to be quite intelligent when he tunes in and tries. Sometimes, that's right away when I put him to work. Other times, he's subjected to hard and fast commands until he realizes flying around with his tail flagged is a bad idea.

His forelock does this every time he wears his Darth Vader cracks me the hell up.

He's also come leaps and bounds in his under saddle work. D pointed out to me the other day that maybe his girth had been bothering him for a lot longer than I realized (bad pony mama!). We still have some difficulties over uneven ground, but just since switching his girth, he has either become more comfortable or has just figured out that we are both happier when he gaits like he should. He still has a myriad of gears within the gaits he possesses, but he is flopping into "hard pace" less and less. Now it's time to refine him into a consistent rack instead of his tendency to lull me into a sense of complacency with the stepping pace. What's the difference? It's a bit crude, but if my boobs are bouncing, it ain't right. A little wiggle is fine -- I mean, Christ on a cracker, they're boobs -- but if I'm in pain or getting smacked in the face despite my sports bra, we've got issues. The stepping pace makes them bounce. It's not uncomfortable, but when he steps into his rack and the only thing that moves is my hair...? Well, yeah, I want the no-bouncy one.

Gait aside, he's a buckle ride most of the time now. Once I figured out that he HATED to be micromanaged (and despised ringwork equally as much) and became claustrophobic on a short rein, things fell into place. He toodles along at whatever gait I put him in, for the most part, has quit with the stupid spooking at nothing, and never says no. We had a bit of an issue with water, but he's since figured out it's not a horse eating monster and splashed around in a pond last weekend after scaring the bajeepers out of about a million and a half frogs.

He is still an opinionated critter and will give me flak if he thinks he's being wronged in some way, but he has never, ever been dangerous. He's a passive aggressive kind of horse -- nothing he ever does (or ever really has done) has been outright dangerous or out of spite, but he is king of the passive aggressive shoulder pop or coming above the bit to avoid All the Aids. However, he's much more likely to have a discussion with me now instead of blatantly just deciding to pretend I don't exist anymore. He is happier, calmer, softer, quicker to respond, and generally more compliant. We went out on our first group ride in months just yesterday, and we were in front, in back, in the middle, and most of it was on the buckle. He didn't put a hoof wrong, outside of getting possessive over "his" mares, which earned him a solid thwack on the shoulder every time he pinned his ears. He got the message and didn't attempt it again after the third time he was soundly walloped for being rude.

D and Tory, M and Clara...aka Simba's Girls. Corona the Quarter Horse gelding was behind us.

All in all, he's turned into quite a solid little trail horse. I'm super proud of how quickly he's turned into one, too. He came to me more than a little green and definitely a lot spoiled. He was loved from the tips of his ears to the bottom of his tail, but he thought he should be the once calling the shots. Fortunately, he's not stupid and when he's not throwing a hissy fit, he takes direction and correction quite well. He's turned it around very quickly, and has surprised me in many ways in the meantime. We still have stuff to work on, as we always will, but I'm pleased with his progress in general.

He's a good little blonde beastie...just, you know, not MY good little blonde beastie.

So, that does mean that he's still for sale. We'll keep on keeping on and having adventures. Come September, I will be going with Kelsey and Harlan of Blonde Bomber Acres to Myles Standish State Forest for a weekend of camping (...this...could be interesting). I'm hoping to find someone who really wants to go to the beach for a ride at some point in the next couple of weeks before it gets too cold, as Labor Day marks the opening of beaches to horses. I have an elaborate and ridiculous Halloween costume planned if he's still around for that. I will keep riding him until the day he leaves, because it's good for both of us.

...aaand hopefully I'll suck at blogging less! Here's a picture of me yesterday...and yes, this was before drinking anything alcoholic.

Yeah, that's a giant feed tub. I'm here to entertain!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Satellite Call: A Depression and Suicide Interlude

There once was a little girl.

She was a happy little girl, maybe a little on the quiet side, but happy nonetheless. She had a mommy, and a daddy, and a little sister and she played with her toy horses and named all of her baby dolls Kimberly because it was just the prettiest name in the world and asked for a Dalmatian puppy every single year for Christmas.

For all intents and purposes, she was a normal little girl.

Then, that little girl grew up. Some bad things happened and some sad things happened, and life was kind of hard. Soon enough, she realized that maybe she wasn't as normal as she once thought. She found that sometimes, life doesn't just throw one curve throws too many to dodge at once. She got hit in the face once or twice, and once she was down, she couldn't get back up. She watched other people get hit by their curve balls, fall down to their knees...and then get back on their feet with as little as a shrug. She sat on the ground and wondered why she couldn't do the same. She became more and more discouraged, until the most she could do was protect her head from the deluge of things thrown her way, and wondered why she was so defective. She was sad and confused and tired and everything hurt all the time because there seemed to be nothing she could do to stop the pounding.

She soon felt that she was so defective, that there was just no saving her. She was a bad, bad person who just didn't deserve to be among those who could handle their curve balls "normally". She hated herself. She hated herself more for hating herself at all. Every little mistake was reason for the snarling, whirling voices inside her head to make sure that she knew just how much of a useless waste of space she was. Every compliment was met with an outward smile but an inward snort of disdain because there was absolutely no way in hell that she was ever kind, smart, thoughtful, talented, funny, or anything that made her a person worth loving. She was not worth loving. 

She folded in on herself, walling off her heart to those who desperately wanted to help her, because she couldn't bear the thought of allowing anyone to see just how incapable of living she was. She took every bit of fear, frustration and hatred she had towards everything out on herself, mentally and physically. She couldn't bear to reach out, because the darkness that surrounded her was so suffocating that the thought of trying to share it -- even just a little bit -- made an invisible hand close around her throat. So she played the part of a well adjusted adult who laughed and joked and loved and thrived so no one caught on to her secret, because once someone caught on, they would know that she was defective and defective things always get thrown into the trash.

This, friends, is just the tip of the iceberg of what living with depression was (and is) like for me.

I want you to understand that this is not something I share lightly. Honestly, I am shaking while writing this because this is HARD and SCARY and the backlash could easily make me wonder why I bothered at all...but, in light of Monday evening's news, I felt compelled to sit down and write. If sharing that I battle daily with things in my own head helps someone else, then the risk is worth it.

If you're unaware, the world lost a great man on Monday. Robin Williams, one of America's leading comedians, actors, and all around well loved public figures, took his own life. Early reports are suggesting that hanging was the culprit, but there were signs of self injury and potential drug usage as well. The country is mourning the loss of someone that we all saw as a funny, lighthearted man with the world wrapped around his finger. He had a beautiful family, many friends, and adoring fans. 

He still committed suicide.

Depression does not discriminate.  It can, and will, touch anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any reason (or no reason at all). There is no up, down, left, right, front or back, and for those of you with paths that are clear and free of the demons that reside within some of us, it is not something easily imagined. If you're reading this, and you're one of these people: that is okay. I am RELIEVED that you haven't ever had what is essentially a Dementor living inside of you 24/7, with no Patronus charm to protect you from it. Relieved, and maybe a bit jealous, but mostly relieved. 

There are those of you that do, however, understand what I'm saying. Depression is, at the end of the day, a unique and singular experience for each person, but there are similar themes that run though depression as a whole: fear, frustration, isolation, sadness, anger, and confusion. How they manifest differs from person to person, and how they wreak havoc differs from person to person. 

I am standing in front of you today rocked to the core by these events. I feel naked and insecure, because my life has been tainted by depression, both my own and my mother's. Mental illness has been in the news quite a lot in the past few years, but it has always been accompanying a gruesome, public display of violence (Aurora shootings, Marathon bombings, Newtown shootings, ect). This is the first time that I can remember that a clear case of suicide due to dealings with major depression has been front and center. I see the headlines, and I see myself, because despite the fact that Mr. Williams was a well known Hollywood star and I'm a little nobody customer service representative...our struggles were -- and are -- extremely similar. I imagine there are some of you that relate heavily to this as well. I see the reports of a man who put on such a happy front having hanged himself, and wonder just how many of those in my life are hiding things that even I can't see. That scares me, because there are so many of you that I care about deeply. I can't sit back and not do anything or say anything, even with my own struggles feeling like they're on display. 

I am no saint, nor am I cured. I am not a professional, and I can't drag you out of the darkness, no matter how much you want me to. In all honesty (and this is HARSH and I'm very sorry if this offends you), life isn't for everyone. Some people cannot escape their demons, and putting them permanently to sleep is the most peaceful way to deal with them. I understand, and while I will still try to show you all of the things that might be worth living for, because I love you, I won't hold it against you if you've done all you can to fight and are just too tired. However, if there is something -- ANYTHING -- in the back of your head telling you to fight to push forward to hope to breathe to love to TRY...please, please, please, please reach out. If it's just a tentative finger, that's fine. I can reach back, ET style, and that's that. 

If you're brave enough to offer a hand, I'm going to grab on and not let go. I have an inkling of what you may be feeling, and while I have zero sage advice (blind leading the blind here!), I will be happy to sit and listen, commiserate, tell dumb jokes, explore why our minds work the way they do, or just watch a dumb Disney move with you...if it helps, I will try. 

So, this is me, sending out my satellite call, to those of you who are lost somewhere out there: you are not alone, and you are loved. 

Rest easy, Mr. Williams. I hope you've finally found the peace you so desperately deserved.

This one's for the lonely child
Brokenhearted, running wild
This was written for the one to blame
One who believe they are the cause of chaos and everything

You may find yourself in the dead of night
Lost somewhere up in the great big beautiful sky
You were all just perfect little satellites
Spinning round and round this broken earthly life

This is so you'll know the sound
Of someone who loves you from the ground
Tonight you're not alone at all
This is me sending out my satellite call

This is so you'll know the sound
Of someone who loves you from the ground
Tonight you're not alone at all
This is me sending out my satellite call
-- Satellite Call, Sara Bareilles

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

WW: Work Bunnehs!

ajsdfhljkasd SO FREAKING CUTE (even those she peed on me!)

Friday, July 25, 2014

One Year

First time I met him, eight months before taking him home.
It has been a whole year since I laid my funny, charming, kind, little black horse to rest.

Some days, I'm certain I'm okay and have moved on. Other days, I'm pretty sure I still haven't moved from the spot where he left me, his knees buckling underneath himself as he laid down to sleep that final time. I am stuck there, my heart pounding and eyes clouded, as the grief stabs my stomach again and again and again and again and again.

Second time I worked him at B's. He always parked out when I asked him to stop.
The mourning has been an entirely different animal this time around. GP was 34 when he died. He had lived a long, full life and while we had one hell of a bond, it started off so one-sided and blossomed so slowly that I was still wrapping my head around what it meant to have a true relationship with a horse when he died. It was a soul freeing experience to even have touched on something like that, and it opened me up to what an even deeper bond could look like. He saved me and taught me what the power of love could really do. I was shattered when he moved on out of this world, but I knew, even on the worst days, that there would be another critter for me to love, even if I couldn't acknowledge it at the time.

The day I brought him home: January 26th, 2013. I never thought for a second I'd lose him just seven months later.
Then Image happened. It took me eight months after originally meeting him to bring him into my life, because I was scared shitless that I couldn't be what he needed. It took eight months for me to realize that we were what each other needed, and that I couldn't let fear run my life any longer.  It felt "right", whatever the hell that may mean. Accepting Image into my life was me, in a round about way, saying "thank you" to whatever fates or gods there may be, for giving me GP. GP saved me, and now I was supposed to save Image -- not that he needed saving in the traditional way; B had already done that and had given him many healthy years. I was supposed to help heal his psyche the same way GP had healed mine. I told him the day that I released him into the paddock at L's that I would never, ever stop fighting for him because he deserved to always have someone fighting for him. B passed that torch to me when she allowed me to take him home (god, am I ever grateful to her for trusting me) and I didn't think for a second that fighting for him was going to mean letting him rest so soon after bringing him into my care.

Funny pony roughhousing with Gus.

We spent seven months together. I could wax poetic about how brilliant every single second was, but that'd be a lie, and I've never been much of a liar. There were terrible days when I was sure I had made a huge, nasty mistake and that I was fucking him up worse. There were days where I couldn't figure out what was going on his brain and we frustrated each other to death because of it. Hell, there were days where I looked at him, and he looked at me, and I turned around and left the barn because neither of us were in the right frame of mind to even think about even being together, never mind working together.

Tolerant pony was tolerant!
Those days, however, are muted. The days that shine were the days that he placed his trust, however tentative, in my hands. The day he, with so much trepidation, shuffled up to me after a good round pen session and plunked his head in my chest. The first time I rode him without an explosion. The hours of sitting by the river or in the field or in the ring, just being together. His willingness to TRY, even if he was scared (or probably hurting) or confused or absolutely sure he shouldn't trust me. His slow but steady change from standoffish and aloof, to reaching out for me and the halter when I walked into the paddock. His hysterical, adorable little trick of tilting his head like a dog when you asked him to "say please!" His tolerance for my antics and inability to let him be dirty, ever. There was so much that I loved about that little horse that my heart nearly burst with joy every time I spoke about him. I was in awe of him and how quickly he managed to wiggle his way into my soul, despite the fact that I was still broken from the loss of GP.

Handsome is his pretty bridle!

Sadly, the days that shine are the days that cause the most pain now. I wish they could, but they're still unable to negate the emotional battle zone within my own head. I wish I could get through the fire, but I find that it's still too heavy to muddle through, even a year later. I am angry. I am confused. I am scared. It's all quite juvenile, when written down like that, but there it is. I had two extremely important critters taken from me in a very short amount of time. Life isn't fair by any stretch of the imagination, but the child in me is still trying to recover from an epic temper tantrum fueled by grief and impatience over not knowing what's next. I seriously wonder if I will ever find (or allow myself) another horse that I will love as deeply. I don't know, and I'm loathe to think about it. He taught me to chase the sun, but chasing the sun when it feels like you're running in place is not the easiest task in the world.

Photoshoot with Kate Taylor/Polar Square Designs. 
Photoshoot with Kate Taylor/Polar Square Designs
Photoshoot with Kate Taylor/Polar Square Designs

It hurts something fierce, but I don't regret him. I will never regret him or the role he has played in my life. I am deeply, deeply grateful for his presence and the things he taught me. He is, and forever will be, the funny little black horse that taught me how to chase the sun.

How much is that pooooony in the window...!
Taken July 25th, 2013. I let him go the next day.

Not every single second was lovely, perhaps, but I loved every single second. Rest easy, my sweet Image.

Love Me In Focus

Friday, July 18, 2014

Laughter is Poison to Fear

You know what makes me laugh?

Sitting on top of Simba while he tries to figure out where the hell to put his legs. We're just getting back into the swing of things now that his evil girth rub is healed, and after nearly two weeks off, he went "WHARGLBLARGLE I HAVE LEGGGSSSS LET ME SHOW YOU THEM!" I was far too busy laughing at his uncoordinated flailing to be worrying about the fact that he could potentially fall on his face. Thankfully, neither of us ate dirt!

This makes me laugh too. *wheezy breathing* Luuuuke, I am your faaather!
After riding my coworker's spicy little Paso Fino mare, Tica (big post on that coming too, eventually...), I was all excited to, ride we did! Simba and I explored the trails on the other side of the road last weekend, and ran into some literal and figurative roadblocks. All of a sudden, puddles have become a Big Scary Monster in Simba's little pea brain. To monkey our way to the trails on the other side of the forest, we have to pass by/finagle our way around a pond. There are small streams we need to cross, no more than glorified puddles. These mean we turn into a  big, snorty, wide eyed palomino fire breathing dragon. He tiptoes across the water after some encouragement, but it is terrifying and he is sure that something is going to eat him.

Needless to say, nothing ate him.

There is much exploring to be done on the trails over there, and explore we did. There was bushwhacking to be done due to recent storms and though I could tell he thought I was batshit insane, he did what I asked without too many questions. It was a good long ride due to how much exploring we did (read as: I got us horribly lost and we wandered aimlessly until I got back to a part of the trail I knew...whooops) and we were both knackered by the time we got back to the barn.

Fortunately, during our "exploring", I found some LOVELY trails at the bottom and we played with gait and canter. I spent a lot of time checking him back from a hard pace back into something that resembled a four beat gait. Like most gaited horses with a slightly longer stride, I'm finding that he has a hard time holding his gait over uneven ground. Gaiting is a lot harder for horses to do, period, so I'm not surprised, especially where he is not the most naturally gaited critter on the planet. He also does not have any semblance of "self carriage", and with his hatred of being micromanaged in any way, I have a hard time finding the balance between making him work and pissing him off completely. I am contemplating calling out Julie Dillon, a local gaited horse guru, to see if she can give me some solid pointers for helping keep him in gait and some general collection pointers.

"Rawr I EET YOU!"
His canter, however, has come along in leaps and bounds. He has put two and two together and associates the "kiss" noise with canter, so I hardly have to use leg...and he's been much better about self-rating in the canter lately. The long, grassy trails were perfect for a good canter, so I sat back and let him do his thing. We cantered around on a loose rein like old pros, and he only tipped an ear at a scary bird in the woods (don't blame him for that). He has either become quite a bit braver or has decided I'm trustworthy, because we have not had a day of true tense pony ridiculousness in quite some time, even if he hasn't been out in awhile. Thankfully, he's never been dangerous, but I really hate the feeling of having a bomb under my ass. We spend much more time riding on the buckle lately than anything else. Part of it is probably my doing as well -- I know him better, so I'm slightly more relaxed and spend more time laughing. More laughter = less inclination to be growly over his ridiculousness.

He does make me laugh, the silly little blonde beast. He's also tolerant beyond belief of me and my antics. Another coworker came by on Sunday, and she helped me chase the ponies around. It was good fun for us and the horses got some exercise.

Zooms. I haz dem.
Fabio! Wish this picture was in better focus.
Handsome pony is handsome.
One for the baby Flynn fans.

Theennnn I did this. How to Make the Internet Mad 101!

Pose shamelessly stolen from Dom. He was a superstar for letting me climb on him in a halter and leadline and plunk around. Disregard my gross feet...I helped move hay and then did stalls in flip flops. More ways to piss off the internet!
Then he made friends with Pepper the Pig! "Wat R dis?!"
He has also decided he knows how to ground tie? Okay. I'll take it!

We are having a good time and have come to a tentative truce with one another. A truce is better than nothing, so I'll take that too. He is still for sale, though I've had very few nibbles from qualified owners.

Off and running on another busy weekend -- headed to CT tonight to spent the night before going to NYC for my second Sara Bareilles concert of the week. I haven't had any time to even think about seeing the silly yellow horse this week, so hopefully Sunday we can play!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Brief Interlude

I’m usually pretty good with words. Good enough to get my point across, anyway. Today, I could wax poetic about the reason why Sara Bareilles' “Chasing the Sun” struck me so hard. I could explain about the sweet, wonderful little black horse that I loved from the bottom of my heart and how he was peacefully laid to rest days after The Blessed Unrest dropped, and how it felt like he was the one “sending” me this beautiful song. I could go into detail about how I was an orphan by eighteen, having lost both my parents separately to a physical illness and a mental disorder, and how this song reminded me that their spirits still lived on somewhere. I could say a lot of things. All of them would be depressing and entirely against the point of why, exactly, this song shook me to my core. All of them would fall short of what I’m trying to get across.

Instead, I will say this: there are few artists that bring me to tears. There are even fewer who write things that I will agree to have permanently etched into my skin. I am constantly blown away by Sara’s talent, exuberance and passion. I was forever changed by the message in Chasing the Sun, and even if I wasn’t a huge fan of Sara’s work before, I would be just based on how my entire perception of how to approach everything in life was altered in just one song.

Happiness is not something you “get”. It is not an idle pastime. It is a verb, it is something you DO – it is something you are forced to seek out, because no one is going to hand it to you. You need to work for everything good in this life, because you are not entitled to happiness. I have always said that you need to live life as vibrantly as possible, but being happy is much more than that. The words on my wrist are a constant reminder to reach for the things I want, and to not expect them to fall into my lap.

I need to chase the sun.

I saw Sara in concert for the fourth time last night, and will up that number to five by the end of the week. I cried through the entire live performance of this song. I'm a sappy moron, but I felt Image's presence and it was cathartic. I miss him so much, especially with the anniversary of his death looming so close. I go back and read the things I wrote when he was alive, and I get frustrated with myself, because the joy I felt just being in his presence radiates from my words. I feel like everything is dull now. Simba and I have reached a tentative truce and we are spending MUCH more time having fun and enjoying each other (or, well, not trying to beat each other with two by fours, anyway), but I am not his person and that is clear to both of us. Finding him his person will be a huge step in the right direction for both of us to find what we need.

Horse-centric post on the way (though I refuse to say when because when I do that I ultimately fail at getting it written/up on time).

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014



Of course, it's stifling and hot and dingbat has a nasty girth rub (bad pony mama!) that will. not. heal. and (biggest suck of all sucky things right now) my grandfather passed away on the 4th. He was ill, so he's in a better place (Jesus H. Christ that's cheesy), and hopefully with my grandmother, but there is still that hollow feeling that comes with loss. I, admittedly, did not know my grandfather well, despite the fact that my sister and cousins and I spent most major holidays running around his chair, so mostly I hurt for my aunts and uncles. I know this feel, and it's not a fun feel. It's the unfunnest feel of all feels.

I will say, however, that I will miss him taking my hand and asking me every time he saw me (without fail), "how are the hossies doin'?"

In other news, I will have legitimate content that is not boring or depressing tomorrow. I am ignoring the heat and all the other crazy New England summer things, and going riding at a coworker's on one of her spicy, wonderful, give-it-to-me-NOW Paso Fino mares.

I may somehow stuff her into the back of my car. We'll see how well that goes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I Would Walk 500 Miles...

Lies. Not 500. And there wasn't much walking. But I did about 25 this weekend with Simba.


Saturday dawned bright and deliciously cool. There were a few days last week that felt like summer -- hot, dewy with humidity, and oppressive. I bailed on riding most of the week because it has become increasingly exhausting doing so much driving. I've decided, based on that, to cut back my riding time to just Thursdays and Fridays now that we're in the swing of things. Four days a week consistently is better than nothing! Anyway, I scooted up to the barn early in the AM, intent on getting stalls done ASAP because Hannah was going to meet me at 11.

This was my first ride out with someone without D and Tory, so I was curious to see how Simba was going to be. Not to mention, it was "Monday" morning for him, and while he hasn't even been anything close to a true fruitloop recently, I was just a smidge concerned.

Hannah arrived a bit early and after we figured out where her truck and trailer should be, I introduced myself to Tucker. Okay, I know this is ridiculously dorky, but as a "small time" blogger with content that is neither intellectually stimulating or all that entertaining, it's REALLY cool to meet up with other bloggers that DO have these aspects to the entries they share. So, I say this with the upmost sincereity: NEENER NEENER I MET TUCKER AND GOT TO RIDE WITH HANNAH. *blows raspberries*

PROOF!! Tucker is such a handsome, well mannered fellow!

(Yes, I am five. Yes, I had the same reaction when I met Kate of Adventures with Lucy and got to ride Lulu. No judging!)

It took us both a bit to get organized -- her with tack preparations and me with making sure my horse had a brain in his head, but once we were mounted, we were off! Simba strode out with a big stride but was his usual "ohmigah I must snort at EVERYTHING" self when he was out in front. Hannah and I wove through the back trails, popped out onto the dirt road, and headed toward the infamous rail trail. I have been taunting Hannah with the rail trail ever since I brought Simba home, and it only took us 7-ish months to finally get together to ride it!

We turned onto the rail trail, and I could practically see the glee radiating off of both Hannah and Tuck. Go time? Go time!

Tolerant pony is tolerant.
So, we went. And went. And went. And went. I finally got to explore parts of the trail I hadn't ever gotten to before...and let me tell you, there still isn't a part of the trail that I dislike. However, we hit Pratt Pond. Pratt Pond is out in Greenville/Mason, NH and oh my good lord it is absolutely gorgeous. There was a place you could even get into the I eagerly pointed Simba in that direction.

Simba flipped me the bird in response, which honestly surprised me a little...he has been SO good about anything I've pointed him at that it was bound to happen, but I was hoping water wouldn't be his worst enemy because I love splashing in ponds during the warmer months. Oh well -- something to conquer next time!

So pretty...!

Simba and Tucker got along famously and both critters were VERY good. Tucker threw one good spook at Hannah over a surprise!rock, and Simba didn't even react to Tucker reacting. He allowed me to hold him back so he would gait and not pace and he did not have a mental breakdown. Unfortunately, it is VERY obvious that he is unable to gait at speed to keep up with anything...his gait is painfully slow, and if I need to catch up, we either go into a terrible pace or a canter. We did get to enjoy some extended canters for the first time, which was really nice and (admittedly) a huge boost in my confidence. I've been bucked off more times than I'd like to think at the canter so it takes me a bit of time to really trust a horse to go into a canter without me micromanaging them. Thankfully, Simba is breaking me of my micromanaging habit because he HATES IT WITH A PASSION THAT BURNS HOTTER THAN A THOUSAND SUNS and we had some nice, somewhat controlled canters on a loose-ish rein. Granted, the first few strides are terrible and messy as he figures out where the hell to put his legs...but once he figures it out, he holds it well. His canter has a ton of motion to it, and as he has a naturally shorter stride, it's taking me some time to figure out how to sit it.

We got to this part of the trail (which was previously unexplored by me) and we both went "CANTER NOW KTHX".

Once we got back and I peeled myself out of the saddle, I realized that twenty miles may have been a bit much for me. Simba, however, came back tired but could have easily gone for another 20 miles if I had asked. Goofy horse!

I ended up riding on Sunday as well...and that was kind of a comedy of errors. Nothing remarkable on Simba's part, outside of the fact that he was VERY good and really did not put a hoof wrong the entire ride...but between one of us getting tossed, one of us having an issue keeping ahold of her crop, three wussy horses (and then my moron) who refused to cross a bridge, and terrible, terrible wardrobe malfunction that had me free boobing the entire trail was, um, special.

Trailer parade!

Speaking of special...I have had quite a bit of interest in Simba, but very few people who I've been willing to let within 50 feet of my horse. So, the search continues for his perfect person!

I'm now house sitting right next door to the barn for the next 20 days, so Simba ain't gonna know what hit him. I hope to take him off property a few times and maybe do a fun little shoot once I give him the bath to end all baths...poooor palermeenie pony is going to be all kinds of sick of me by the time I'm back home!