Monthly Archives: December 2016

T’was the Night Before Christmas…

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the ranch,
Nothing was stirring, not a creature nor branch.
I in my midweight-1600-denier-waterproof- breathable-high-wither blanket… snuggily all over,
A great buy on eBay (courtesy of Dover.)

I nestled down deeper and started to dream,
With visions of jumping or so it seemed.
But what to my wondering eyes should appear
But an old man in red with friendly reindeer.

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A snowdrift blocked him from making his route,
His team pulled hard but he could not get out.
“HAY!” I exclaimed, from slumber I bound,
“I learned jumping this year in my hunter round!”

Santa rolled his eyes, “Without rider you’re idle,”
“To meet each jump correctly, you haven’t even a bridle.”
But I recalled our lessons, my greenness was waning,
My amateur kept talking while we were training.

So they hitched me up to the front of the pack…
“But I need to school first, I will be right back!”
Jumping some bushes after doing some flat,
Long spot, then short spot and end with a pat.

I waited calmly while they hitched me again,
“A loud voice calls my number, I’ll tell you when.”
One deer turned around, “Good heavens, really Son?”
“Okay, you’re up next , One hundred-and-one.”

We courtesy circled and I steadied my rush,
And cantered the first fence, a well flowered brush.
Then up the next line, an even five-stride,
Have you ever changed leads with some deer by your side?

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My mom would be proud, this course would just rock her,
And down to the last, a luminous oxer.
Wheeeee, we were long, I pulled my legs tight,
Keeping Santa and reindeer with sleigh in flight.

We landed quite softly, with sleigh contents of Yule
Remaining in tact thanks to my lovely bascule.
I broke from the sleigh, they continued their cause,
The reindeer and Santa in heavy applause!

“Good boy” my mom patted as I opened one eye,
She was there Christmas morning with treats and I sigh.
Have a wonderful new year whatever your endeavor,
Just do it with carrots and apples forever!

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Thanks Giving

Arriving.
New place.
Need my space.
Taking it all in.

The rains.
Refreshing at first.
The stall?
Foreboding, claustrophobic, anxious.

Now…
The stall.
Friends with heads out the door,
Soft nickers… dinner coming.
Snuggily shavings,
Sharing carrots.
Giving thanks.

“Engagement” Rings

If I had a dollar for every time someone said “Engage his hind end!” or “He’s not engaged!” or “He needs to work on his engagement” I’d have enough to retire and write a book on the subject.

For me, I get to the barn and I engage with my horse, talking to him, handing him his greeting carrot, asking about his day, running my hands down his leg, picking his stall, refilling his water, all the while caressing his forelock, giving him a pat as I walk by.

Stretching, grooming, saddling… he’s an OTTB so he has something to say about every aspect of preparation… very engaged!

And now mounted, we start by stretching his body in a long and low walk, touring the arena (quite engaged in his surroundings) and starting with some circles and bending.blog_article_engagement

As we both get our kinks out, we start a Conversation, beginning with my Mind to my leg, hand and seat (oh and my voice)… to his Mind, front end and hind end.

Our goal is that in time, my hand and leg control his body in perfect synchronicity, like dancing. I’m leading but he’s a fraction of a second behind, and I let him lead every now and then.

Elasticity in collections, extensions and power with no resistance… only a comfortable pleasant contact in my hand and a supporting, fluid leg.

A trainer once gave me the analogy that my leg should not be jabbing and not completely off. My leg acts like it is filled with water, a squeegee waterbed leg of supporting, pressing
and giving… reacting to his body, his body reacting to mine.

Engagement for us is when we are acting in partnership with another, resulting in the marriage 🙂 of my mind, body and spirit to his.