Monday, February 4, 2013

I finally did it!!

We had a perfectly beautiful, spring-like weekend to welcome in the month of February.  I awoke early Saturday morning to find sunshine streaming through the bedroom windows, the smell of freshly brewed coffee and a fire in the wood stove.  Rise and shine, indeed!!  My hubby was already outside feeding the horses and cleaning their stalls, so I got to relax by the fire, enjoy a cup of hot coffee and watch the horses eat their breakfast in the sunshine.  What could be better?

We had a bit of breakfast and decided to take the dogs and head up into the woods for a brisk walk.  The place is called Raine's Tree Farm.  Ralph Raines is an old guy whose family has owned this property for many, many years.  He posts signs that welcomes hikers, hunters and horseback riders, but strictly no motorized vehicles.  Years ago, we used to bring our horses to these woods quite often and ride the old, and many abandoned logging roads and trails throughout.  What isn't owned by the Raines family is owned by Stimson Lumber Company.  

Remnants of an old Ford

What's left of the old Ford and the guy's pants

Posing for the camera...
 We had a nice walk, enjoyed the chance of soaking up some sunshine and getting some fresh air.  And, as always, the dogs had a blast!  They're so easy to please.  They always make me smile.

Bird seed buffet

Pretty Blue Jay

These pictures aren't the greatest, because I was shooting through my dirty, sliding glass door, across the yard, and the small pasture and was pretty close to full zoom.  But I always enjoy watching the horses eat.  They're relaxing and so peaceful.

Then on Sunday, we still had pleasantly warm temps, but no bright sunshine.  We remained fogged in until around mid-day when the fog burned off, but the high clouds remained.  It was overall a very nice weekend.  We did some housecleaning, re-loaded our firewood box on the deck, got about halfway through chopping our berry garden back, and got all the clippings hauled to the burn pile.  I made some Minestrone soup with lots of vegetables, kidney beans and chunks of chicken and had it simmering on the wood stove.  Smelled wonderful in the house!  Then we made our way down to the barn to work on the chores.  I decided to get Eagle and work with him a little bit.  He was spot-on!  This horse hasn't forgotten any of his lessons and is just so sweet.  This is only the second time that I've done anything with him since last fall.  Since he was doing everything I asked pretty much perfectly, and was so relaxed and with me mentally, I decided that it was now or never.  I saddled him up and got on him.  Now, to be honest here, I must back up just a bit.  I was scared.  Heart racing, butterflies in my stomach, as nervous as heck!  I must have stood on that mounting block for between 10-15 minutes himming and hawwing...came very close to thinking that I just couldn't do it.  I kept putting my foot in the stirrup.  Then I'd pull my foot out again.  Back and forth.  More deep breaths.  Then a little prayer for courage and protection.  I mounted Eagle.  I just sat there quietly, stroking his neck, rubbing his rump, adjusting and readjusting myself in the saddle.  Took some more deep, cleansing breaths.  The whole time Eagle did not move a muscle.  He was in freeze-frame, and just waited on me.  Patiently waited for me to get my s*#t together.  What a good horse!!!  

When I finally decided to ask him to move out, he was very reluctant to move his feet.  It took a lot of asking.  I got him turning in both directions, and we walked around the round pen a little bit.  He was being so very careful with me.  I think he realized my hesitation, nervousness and lack of leadership, and didn't really trust that moving was what I wanted him to do.  :)  After a little walking around, we stopped and just sat there for a while.  I petted his neck, and spoke to him quietly.  I asked for some bend each direction in his neck without moving his feet.  He complied with everything I asked of him.  Then I dismounted and made a big old fuss about what a wonderful horse he was!!  I was so happy that our first "ride" was a success.  It wasn't pretty, but it was calm and quiet.  That was good enough for a first ride.  

My husband was with me the whole time.  He snapped this (horrible) picture of the two of us.  Eagle looking calm, cool and collected.  Me, not so much.  I wasn't anticipating a photo opp when I headed to the barn.  So, lavender vest, purple sweatshirt, peg-leg, old, highwater jeans with my red-topped boots is definitely not
the fashion statement I would want to is what it is.  And you'll notice that I even donned my new riding helmet (just in case).  But, I'm happy.  I'm smiling, and not crying.  :)

It's a start.  Hopefully, it's onward from here.  I'm hoping and praying that this is the beginning of a long and close riding relationship between my Eags and me.  I'm a happy gal (even if I do look like a dork).

Lorie @ Cingspots


Kate said...

Eagle sounds like a star - he did a very good job doing what you wanted (deep down). He looks like a very sweet boy. The only thing I care about in your picture is your smile . . .

Grey Horse Matters said...

Woohoo! Good for you! Eagle is a special guy. I'm so happy you had a wonderful first ride on your boy. It can only get better from here.

You look fine and I'm so happy you wore your helmet. It really completes the outfit.

Annette Mickelson said...

Good job working past your fear and getting on. I would have been apprehensive as well -- maybe more than apprehensive... I've never started a horse and the idea of the first time sitting on one would scare me. I'm impressed. ..and you don't look like a dork. I dress like that all the time. Its called "real" ranch clothes.

aurora said...

Hurrray!! You did it! Teaching a horse to be trusting and willing, is a special gift. You waited until the time was right for both of you, kudos!! It's more then a start, it's a great start, short and sweet is the best. I bet your floating on cloud nine! I'm doing the happy dance for ya, and think your hubby took a great picture. He captured a special moment, and the only fashion statement you needed to make is that of wearing a smile!

Raine's Farm looks like an enjoyable place, how nice that they share it with other's.

C-ingspots said...

Oh thank you all so much!!!! I am pretty much on cloud 9, still today. :)
And, I'm very anxious to do it again!

Lori Skoog said... name is Lori! Sounds like we are making very similar soups and salads. You are making me want to ride and I congratulate you for having such a good experience with Eagle.

Where does your music come from?

Lori Skoog said...

It's me again. Just checked your answer regarding music on your prior post... Right now I am listening to Wild Horses and love it. Funny that you can't hear it. Do you have your speakers on?

Carolynn Anctil said...

Look at you two! I'm envious. And, I didn't even notice your outfit until you mentioned it - I saw your smile and your handsome horse and that's about it.

Paint Girl said...

That is so great!! I totally know the feeling, I have been there when I broke Chance and now with gentling Rio. So many emotions!! And being happy and on cloud 9 is a wonderful thing!! I am so happy and proud of you and Eagle!!

Jenn said...

YAY! Grats on the first ride! I knew it would be no big thing...he's got a brain in his head and you have the patience. Here's to many, many more!

I LOVE that birdhouse with the moss on the roof. Very cool.

Gail said...

What a wonderful place to explore. Glad you are having great weather.

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Yee haw, yahoo and a happy dance for you Lorie, You did IT. I knew you could. You look so good up there on that gorgeous mustang. Bless you for OVERCOMING your fear. My word for the year is overcome. All of your pictures were lovely, especially the birdhouse one. Blessings to you, Lea