Archive for September, 2013
I’ve been out of commission for five weeks. For the first few of those weeks, I could barely make it out to the barn. Horses did fine. They have plenty of grass and water.
Lucky has had five weeks of being Mr. Dominant Boss of the world. ”I’ll move when I want. I am boss of the world, sun, moon and solar system.”
Today, I’ve been declared officially well. My first day to ride. Lucky and me. Lucky having a tough time doing three correct hind quarter turns. That’s one test of a horse that is ready to ride and their respect of you. Can they move their hindquarters three full steps with back legs crossing. Crossing those legs under is a sign of respect. One cross under, two cross under and a no cross under. Start over…start over etc. It took a wee bit of time before I got that respect.
Lucky faces me and looks away. A sign of disrespect. Look away from me…I ask him to move his hindquarters three times in a row crossing his legs. Finally, he looks at me and I’m able to rub his head, his ears and tell him what a great horse he it. He knows I’m the boss…at least for a few minutes.
Lucky circles at a trot and looks outside the circle instead of at me. It’s called disrespect. We do some hindquarter yields while he is trotting and finally he manages to look at me most of the time. I ask him up into a canter and Lucky goes into his fake little bucking horse imitation. We change directions when he goes into his tantrum. He pulls away from me three separate times. I chase him around the yard until he comes back to me… except when he ran and hid in the barn.
Five weeks without me being the dominant partner. I am weak but still alive enough to get on a horse ready to ride.
Finally, I put on his bridle, walk to the trailer and climb on. We argued for a while about mouthing the bit or paying attention to the reins. Bending, Bending Bending. I remember John Lyons three day clinic and his quest for the participants to complete 1500 miniature “gives”. Lucky needs 1500 miniature gives. Sadly, neither of us could live through that. Way way too boring.
We went to the bushy apple tree and walked around it…at a leg yield. We argued about most everything. Finally, we were able to walk around the apple tree doing a fair leg yield without arguing. I rode back to the trailer and got off. I was too exhausted after taking off the saddle and bridle to put his halter on.
I tried to lead him by his lower lip, but he balked at that. Then I just put my hand under his chin and led him to the barn. I led him at liberty crossing this stuff called grass. He came right along with me. I fell in love with him all over again.
He got fed grain in the barn. Tomorrow is another day. It’s night now and I”m still alive. I’ll have a little more strength tomorrow.
I had a blinding flash of the obvious! Ground Work with Lucky is all about getting his respect…RESPECT!
I don’t know if I can make it thru three full clinic days of getting his RESPECT.
We are in the early 90′s. Cell phones are on the verge of being invented at a price a regular person could afford. They were a little bit bigger than what we are used to now. In fact, they were a bag phone. They came in a soft bag and you could plug them into the cigarette lighter in your car. Cell phones came into our lives and nothing was ever the same again. My husband bought my phone for me as a surprise. His thought was that I needed a phone when I was out there in the cement jungle. I was very very pleased and had to come up with something to carry my bag phone. Sad that I don’t have a picture of my bag phone on the front of my bike. Few were the adults that rode a bike with a bag phone. I was pretty proud of myself. Some of you know how I love to advertise myself. Well, I used to ride the bike trail that followed I-435 in Johnson County. When I was at a place where I was fully visible to the six lanes of traffic, I stopped, opened up my bag and called my husband to report that I was doing fine. My conversations were just long enough for about a million Interstate commuters to see me. I could hear them comment, “Look! There is a woman on that bike and she has a phone!”
Oh, I was the coolest road biker ever…with my mountain bike!
On my road adventures, I was nearly killed twice by a truck and a car who thought bikes should not share the road with motorized vehicles. I was riding in a busy area in the Olathe area and a truck with a large flatbed passed by me so close I could have gotten splinters from the flatbed wood of the truck. I had no where to go…no shoulder. Another time I was headed south on a busy 4 lane road in Johnson County. I was trying to get out to the country roads. A car passed me so close, it made me gasp and of course mad. I saw that car turn into a gas station ahead. I reved up my leg engine and made it to the gas station before the driver woman could leave. She had a young son in the back seat. I asked her “WHY DID YOU RIDE SO CLOSE TO ME?” She replied, “Because you don’t belong on the road!” (Lordy). I replied, “So you tried to KILL ME? ” I also rolled my eyes in disgust and looked at her young son in the back. Then I left and proceeded on my ride. I still hate both of those drivers. When I see a bike rider on the road, I make certain to give them their full lane when I pass. It’s better than killing them.
I discovered another trail in the Johnson County area. This trail was totally flat. This trail is north of I-435.
I’m having to take my bike somewhere else to ride. What does that mean? I have to transport my bike in my vehicle. Vehicles are a little crampy for a bike. No problem! Buy and have a bike rack installed! Another happy bike store and presto, “Have bike will travel!”
Although I’ve made it sound like I’m nearly as good as the pre-drug Lance Armstrong, that would be a lie. I was still very not in shape.
I’m happily pedaling away at my new bike trail. I come upon a runner. I am catching up to a runner. I’ve never passed anyone yet. I slowly catch up to the runner. I tell him I’m coming and “You re the very first person I’ve ever passed”. He says “that’s great”. All of a sudden and little dip in the road and a little hill gets in my way. The runner gains more of a lead ahead of me. “DRAT” The runner turns his head around and Yells at me, “You can do it…Come on!” The trail flattens out again, I put the pedal to the medal and sail past him. ”Congratualtions!” he yells as I pass him buy and increase my lead.
I’ll never forget passing my first runner. I have bike high!
I had gained a bike rider co-worker friend. I was not yet up to riding with him, but we chatted about bike stories. He told me some of his favorite stories. Number two favorite story was when he swallowed the biggest insect in the world while he was riding, and it got stuck in his throat. He had to stop his bike and gag for a while to get the bug to go down the throat hatch. Number one story was the mud ride. He had the click-in shoes and pedals. He was pedaling along far from home and there had been a lot of rain which made a lot of squishy ground. His bike veered off the road to the ditch. He would have crashed badly, but the ground was so soft, his bike sunk and stopped. He was thrown forward and couldn’t get out of his pedals. He hung there for a while. It reminded me of the same thing that happened to me when Sage fell on her knees and propelled me forward. I couldn’t get my feet out of the stirrups and hung down her neck for a while. Oh the memories and stories we had to tell!
He was aghast at my park police story. I couldn’t wait to tell him about my triumphal ride at the park with my new click-in pedal shoes. Alas, it was not to be a triumph story.
With my new power shoes, I pedaled to the park. I went corvette race track speed down the park road hill. The conqueror returns to the park! I went to the trail and decided to ride up that short vertical trail. On I went. I pedaled up the hill. Wait. I pedaled up the hill slower and slower until my bike stopped our forward momentum. When the bike stopped, I was shocked and so were my feet. There was no signal from brain to feet. Feet stayed locked into the pedals and the bike crashed to the side. CRASH to blacktop trail. Sadly a hiking couple were there to watch in horror. Thankfully, nothing broke. More leg skin was scrapped. More blood was shed and there were no leaves near my crashed body to stop the blood. One thing was good…my feet came out of the pedals on the point of impact. The horrified couple and my horrified self determined that I could stand up. I apologized for scaring us all so badly. They went their way. I walked back down the steep hill to the level ground and hopped back on the bike. Good Lord….
I managed to ride out of the park without the park police seeing my bloody legs.
My co-worker was quiet when I ended the sad tale. He took a deep breath and said, “Susan, I think you should take off those pedals until you get more experience on the bike. You are just not yet ready to handle those pedals.” He said this in just the right way, sad and rational. I had no choice but to agree. The inner park police rage continued, but it would be a while yet before i won.
I didn’t ride to the park on weekends. There were plenty of other roads and other trails to find.
VERSATILITY OVERALL PLACINGS
Working Horse High Point: Co-High points
Youth Versatility World Grand Champion Toddy’s Velvet Perfection, Nichole Copple, Fair Play Mo for Susan & Terry Engle, Pleasant Hill Mo
Speed High Point- Ferrari’s Red Ruby, Montye Mickelson for Montye Mickelson, Kissee Mills MO
Working Horse High Point- Co-High Points- New York City Slicker, Gertrud Merk, Bavaria Germany for Waland & Lynne Burger, Stockton MO
Amateur Versatility World Grand Champion New York City Slicker, Gertrud Merk, Bavaria Germany for Waland & Lynne Burger, Stockton MO
Working Horse High Point- Nathan’s Ovation, Jennifer Vaught, Fair Play MO for Susan Engle, Pleasant Hill MO
Open Versatility World Grand Champion- Nathan’s Ovation, Jennifer Vaught, Fair Play MO for Susan Engle, Pleasant Hill MO
Amateur Ranch Horse World Grand Champion Toddy’s Velvet Perfection, Nichole Vaught, Fair Play for Susan & Terry Engle, Pleasant Hill MO
Open Ranch Horse World Grand Champion Nathan’s Ovation, Jennifer Vaught Fair Play Mo for Susan Engle, Pleasant Hill MO
RED HOT OUTRAGE! FLAMING HATRED! DEATH THOUGHTS to those park police. I am stunned. I am a thin and beautiful person in my mind. Those park police laughed at me falling off my bike. I had blood running down my leg. They laughed. Maybe they laughed at the thought I couldn’t get out of the park on the long side. Maybe they laughed because a curvy woman fell off her bike. Good GAD!
I probably peddled home at nearly 50 mph in my rage. I thought about how I could pedal up the other side of the park road. By now I had been devouring bike magazine ads. I have found all the gadgets. I have even bought some of them at the lucky bike store. Why is the bike store lucky, you ask? Because my addiction means I visit the store and spend money!
I have discovered the answer on my rage filled home ride. I stomp into the house and corner my poor unsuspecting spouse. I yell the story of the laughing park police at him. I tell him that I need these special pedals and special shoes. The bike accessory inventors came up with special shoes that attach themselves to special pedals. Normal pedals are powered by the down push of one’s legs. If your foot is attached to the pedal, you get 50% more power. You have pulling force when you bring your leg up to make those bike wheels move. ”That’s what I need!” I yelled. There was no argument in my husband. He didn’t care if I attached my feet to the pedal or not. He tried to show sympathy about me forgetting to apply to brakes when I stopped. I can imagine thrill he was experiencing picturing his “crazy wife” story to his guy co-workers. Oh I know he couldn’t wait to go to work the next day.
They know my name at the bike store now. I appeared and told the owner of my rage and what I needed. We picked out my special shoes. He kept my bike to install the special pedals. ”Vengeance would be mine!”
I picked up my vengeance yellow bike the next day. We came home and practiced. I learned there is a bit of an art to being attached to one’s pedals.
- Twist the foot to the side to get loose
- Twist the foot to the side before you dismount from the bike
- It is possible to free both feet at the same time
- Bike riders always put the same foot down on the ground when first dismounting. Make certain that is the foot that is twisted loose from the pedal
Like I said, there are a few rules to follow when riding with attached pedals. No problem. I mastered all of them and no blood was spilled. I was ready for action!
There I was at Shawnee Mission Lake luxuriating in the beauty, the speed and the accomplishment of getting here. I rested. I continued around the lake and started up the hill on the other side of the lake. Oh my. This is awful. This little hill just keeps on going, up and up and up. This was in the time before communication other than a phone at home attached to a wall plug in. I was trapped in the park. I peddled. I got off and walked. I peddled. I got off and walked. Several lifetimes later, I made it back to the park entrance. Lordy! Thank goodness no more hills were between me and home. I made it and I was a tired piece of biking software! I was humbled but not beaten.
Two or so days later, I resumed the quest for bike adventure. I biked to the park, turned right and sailed down the short steep hill to the lake. I rested. This time, I took the same road back. The other half of the road around the park was longer and one continuous long uphill climb. My return up the same side road did have a steep part, but it was mercifully short. In time, I got so I could bike up the short steep hill in gear twenty one. Why don’t those big inventors come up with a thirty one speed bike? I was complaining about hills to my spouse and his suggestion was to buy a little motor that would make my bike wheels turn forward. Oh wouldn’t that have been fun! Men and their machines are so predictable…put a motor on it and go faster / further.
I discovered a bike trail at the park. It started out with a nearly 90% steep hill. I always had to walk up that short little steep hill and then I was on the beautiful bike trail. Oh the happiness. I loved that trail. I biked to the park. Went nearly 100 mph corvette speed down that initial hill on the road. The road took me straight to the trail and off I went to the end and returned and then biked my way out of the park and home.
I had developed a training pattern. I was developing a few more tight spots (muscles) on my thighs and calves. In the meantime, I ventured to the lucky bike store time and time again. I bought a speedometer and a rear view mirror.
Weekends at Shawnee Mission Park were busy. Many cars came to Shawnee Mission Park on the weekend as did I riding my flashy yellow bike. I did notice that signs were posted on the weekend to make the park road into a one way road. Cars were to travel around the park. They couldn’t coast down the hill, enjoy the lake and return the same way. They had to motor around the entire park. I heard no cars complaining about the steep hill return trip.
One weekend day, I was struggling to get out of the park up the short steep hill. I hit a flat place and sped up a bit. I saw a Park Police car coming towards me. Suddenly the car leaped over to my side of the road and put on the siren. Good Lord! The police car was aimed right at me! It was screaming “siren” and headed right at me! My brain screamed as I tried to get off the bike. Sadly, I forgot to put on the brakes. I stepped off the moving bike and crashed to the ground. I struggled up, looking at blood streaming down my leg. I grabbed a leaf and tried to staunch the blood. Both park policement were out of the car. They were talking to me while I was struggling to stop the tiny spurt of blood.
“This is a one way road and you are going the wrong way!” I looked at them. I said, “I can’t ride out of the park on the other side of the park. it’s too steep.” There was absolutely no sign of understanding or pity in either park police face. It did occur to me then that I could walk out of the park on the short side. I mumbled my apology, picked up my bike and started hiking. The park police car went on its way and I heard the sound of park police laughter behind me.
Oh My GOD! They laughed at me. They were laughing at me!