Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Just trying to catch my breath

Yes, I'm singing that old familiar song again.  We've been overly busy the last couple of weeks, and I just feel like my head is spinning.  Our first camp-out of the season has come and gone.  It was glorious!  I really couldn't have asked for more.  The preparations went smoothly, we didn't forget anything, and travel was relaxing,  in part to our borrowed truck and leaving early Saturday morning instead of rushing out on Friday evening after work.  We were much more relaxed this way, got a good night's sleep, fresh from the shower and a quick breakfast on the road.

We went to one of our favorite spots, Mt. Adams and the weather was just perfect.  The horses were fresh and enjoyed themselves immensely, and so did we.  Missy overall did fairly well.  I was giving her some pain meds several days in advance of our trip, and all the days we were there just to provide a measure of comfort from her heel pain.  We only had to cut one ride a little bit short because of a fairly long uphill climb that left her head bobbing, so I got off and walked her for a quarter mile or so and then we did the jog pretty much all the way back to camp, which was down hill.  It ended up being a perfect distance for a first time out and we were so grateful that it went well.

Ladde did amazingly well!  He was sound, happy and only spooked at a couple of trail buggars.  :) Both hubby and I commented on how absolutely happy he seemed.  Ears pricked straight ahead, hips a-swinging while he led the way down the trail.  Good times!  I cannot express how thankful we are that he's doing so well.  If you would have told me this was the way it would go last winter, I wouldn't have believed it.  It was so good to see our boy moving out and navigating the mountain trails again.  It really does seem like a miracle to us after all we've been through in the past year.

In other news, I've been riding Eagle regularly.  I'm taking weekly lessons with Jessica and we're working very well together.  I'm very relaxed and comfortable with her instruction, and she doesn't hesitate to call out orders or improvements that can be made while I'm in the saddle.  I appreciate that so much.  Eagle is just picking right up where he left off last year.  In fact, I do believe that the winter off just cemented all his lessons and did him nothing but good.  You do not have to ride a horse absolutely with regularity to ensure they remember what they've learned.  I've seen the proof in the pudding.  He really seems to enjoy his sessions and just takes everything in stride.  Phenomenal horse, I'm just sayin'.  He isn't perfect, does have a bit of a stubborn streak, and seems to "have my number" at times.  Nobody's perfect.  But overall, I couldn't be more pleased with his progress - and mine.  I'm feeling more and more confident and comfortable all the time.  We're making strides in that department as well.  I've been riding regularly in the big ring and it's going overall quite well.  I have my moments, and he always knows, when my confidence falters, but I'm learning to sit deep, relax my body and just take a pause and breathe deeply when I get fearful, or tentative is probably a better word.  He is amazingly keen at picking up on my emotions, sometimes quicker than I realize them myself.  Amazingly intuitive creatures they are!  So sensitive and so very good at reading us.  Way better than we usually are at reading them.  He's teaching me a lot.  We've had "issues" come up, and they differ with the day.  Forward was my first obstacle, and we've improved that a lot.  Then straightness was the issue that came up.  We're still struggling with that one, but the last lesson he wanted to turn on his forehand, again and again and again.  I wasn't quite sure what to make of that.  Now, if he pulls that, I give a quick and upright little lift of the rein and some pressure with that same leg.  When he straightens out, I release just as quickly.  We've also struggled with the nose "rooting" that he does, and that's greatly improved with assertive and increased leg pressure to drive him forward instead of pulling on the reins.  I am so guilty of using too much rein and need to improve my leg skills significantly.  We both have lots of room for improvement, but we're progressing steadily, and that's what counts.  We just have about 3 weeks before our clinic, and I'd really like to feel confident and know exactly what to work on there.  They always ask, and I'd like a definitive main objective to focus on.  Right now I have several, but we're honing that list rather quickly.  I don't want to have too many issues and feel like we'll benefit if we narrow it down to 1 or 2 main objectives.  We'll see.

Tonight is our lesson again, and I'm hoping that we ride out and around the orchard tonight.  Jessica will ride him first and then we'll probably switch horses and I'll ride him afterwards.  I've always become much more timid outside a ring with Eagle, but this is my main objective - to ride him out on the trails and feel confident and ready for whatever happens.  Wish me luck, or better yet, keep us in your prayers will you?  :)  Ready or not, I'm looking forward to getting this "first" behind us.  Our weather has been "over the top" HOT lately, and this seems like an enjoyable way to spend our lesson rather than focus on just work.  We can accomplish a lot while (hopefully) having a little fun outing at the same time.

Speaking of unbelievably hot temperatures...of course we've been putting hay in our barns.  Like clockwork, hot days mean hay days.  That's how we spent last weekend.  We put ten and a half tons of beautiful grass hay in the barn.  One barn is full and one more to go.  Think we'll be getting the last two deliveries tomorrow evening.  My arms and both calves are just starting to feel a little better after all the dragging and lifting of those bales.  I'm just thankful that I didn't hurt my back, and at my age I'm still willing and able to store hay.  Well...willing might not be the most appropriate word to use, but you get the idea.  I'm super thankful that our weather is on a cooling trend, so that will make the job go easier for sure.  We were 98 on Saturday and just hit the 100 degree mark on Sunday.  Good heavens, but it was miserable!  Way too early to be this hot.  Today is more reasonable, think we're in the upper 80's or so.  Still too warm for my personal preference, but we're heading in the right direction.  Upper 60's with a chance of showers are forecast for this coming weekend...Amen to that!  And hopefully, we'll have our year's supply of hay safely tucked in the barns and that's one more thing I don't have to think about for a whole year.  Phew!

This weekend we have family coming in from out of town, so we're planning a little birthday party for my great-nephew's first years' celebration.  BBQ and birthday cake Sunday afternoon at Willamette Park, which is about an hour or so drive from us.  And then, the adults will meet up for dinner Monday evening in Portland.  I'm looking forward to a relaxing and entertaining evening in the city where the most difficult thing I'll have to do, is decide what to wear.  Sounds wonderful to me!


Grey Horse Matters said...

You have been busy! The camping trip sounds like it went well. so happy for Ladde and you. Your work with Eagle seems to be progressing very well too. Congratulations! Have a great ride outside of the ting in your lesson. I'm sure you and Eagle will be on the trails soon. And have a great time at the clinic. Hope you cool down, it's way too hot here too. Though we should cool off today for a change.

aurora said...

Glad you squeaked a blog update into your busy days, and you didn't even melt doing it! Sooo happy you got to see & feel Laddie in all his glory out on the trail again!! Give the big guy a hug for me! Camping trip was just what all of you needed. We also typically leave in the morning for a fresh start. You are doing a lot of riding Lorie, must feel so great!! I hear you on the firsts, but they are often the most rewarding. You will be just fine without borders, take a deep breath & trust yourself and that awesome horse of yours! Love the progress you shared, all of it - Eagle, Jessica - and yay to hay!!!

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

My goodness, you have been busy. The camping trip sounds like it was just what you needed for some fun away from home. We had a very hot few days too and now it's cooler...much more comfortable for riding and everything else. I hope your orchard ride went well. Summer fun!

Linda said...

Wow, you are kicking butt with your riding! I've been getting lazy and preoccupied. I can't believe Ladde did so well on the trails. I'm shocked!!! You and Eags are doing everything perfect--slow and steady. You'll be on the trails in no time. Exciting to think about doing a clinic in 3 weeks--that'll be a great milestone!! I'm so happy to read about all your many horse adventures, and you're right, time off doesn't do any harm!

Gail said...

How wonderful to be in a favorite place doing the things you love.

T.L. Merrybard said...

Lovely news re you and Eags, Lorie, well done!