Archive for December, 2015
Last year I decided that forty degree winter riding would be just right for me. The year before, I pegged it at thirty degrees. I have not rode in twenty degree weather since, since…well, a long long time as I thought I was delicate.
Yep, totally insane I have gone. I rode Cisco this morning in about 24 degree weather and this afternoon again in the high twenties. Who am I?
This year is the year of the winter stall and indoor arena at Patterson Performance Horses stable not far from home. Cisco is safe, well cared for and surrounded by happy people. I get to clean his stall. That is even fun. I get to haul the manure out with my little cart that has a flat tire when it is loaded down with manure. I need to inflate that darn tire!
I cleaned his stall twice today. Cisco and I chatted. We played.
I froze this morning and didn’t thaw. My thighs remained frozen through lunch and sitting in my recliner at home with an electric blanket. Good Lordy. I went over in mid afternoon thinking I would just play with him on the ground to try and get warm. But darn it, there was the saddle just begging to be loaded on Cisco’s back. I cleaned his stall. We played on the ground and then I got on and rode. This just doesn’t happen unless I’m in a clinic or camping out at For the Horse Ranch. My thighs unfroze during the stall cleaning and ground play! I didn’t notice that I was frozen again till I got home. Hot showers thaw frozen thighs. I leave it at that.
Life is changing for me and this is good. I love arenas. I love riding in an arena. I love riding Cisco and playing with him.
Cisco spent the night in his new stall. He screamed at me this morning when I came into the barn aisle.
This living in a stall thing is going to be really good for my life. I have to get up in the morning as I must clean his stall. Cisco gets out of his stall and spends some time in the arena while I pick up the little brown “apples” littering his stall. When done, Cisco and I played some games in the arena. I get to take my time and just spend time with him, working on our invisible “feel”. “Feel” is a word used by all kinds of horse people. It is the communication bond between a verbal and non-verbal species…preditor human and prey animal horse.
When we were done playing, I had got Cisco to trot four circles around me. He was at Liberty which means the only connection between us was invisible “feel”. I got him to trot around me four times without running off. He did this both directions.
I got a chair and took it out to the center of the arena. When Cisco did something marvelous, I told him to come to me and I sat in the chair and did nothing. If he came close enough, I petted him. What are you doing in the chair, Susan? Why are you doing nothing? The reply is, “I’m training Cisco.” Doing nothing is a big reward.
We also spent time walking together around the arena. Cisco’s head was to be next to my shoulder. Again, he wore nothing, he chose to walk with me instead of running off or finding more interesting things to do. I jogged around the arena and he stayed right by my shoulder. I stopped and backed up, so did Cisco. I turned and ran off and lost him a few times. It took so some doing to get him connected back with me. This is a great physical training program for me and I was wearing my sneakers for comfort.
In the afternoon after feeding the spouse at the local cafe, I returned and rode Cisco. I rode with the reins and without using the reins. It’s called “feel”.
I would go on for a while about getting the correct leads at the canter. Let’s just say, “It’s a journey.” Once, I got my body in the proper position to ask him for the canter. I ask with a slight squeeze of my calf muscles. But, Cisco cantered off before the squeeze. He cantered when I got into the position. It made me laugh out loud with surprise and delight.
Cisco makes me laugh and he brings me great joy!