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...|
|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 make...it 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