Sunday, January 9, 2011


I know I've been the worst kind of slacker, not only with this blog but with my horses too, a lot of the time. It's been almost a year. I was so excited about having Storm, and maybe getting to ride with Russ. I'm going to tell the story of what went astray.

Not long after my last entry, Russ got on Abbey for maybe the second time (and probably something like his fourth time on a horse at all). We were in a small pasture. Both he and she were doing really well - no problem mounting, and she was moving around nicely for him. I was so excited to ride with him that I got Storm tacked up and was going to lunge her a bit before I got on. At some point amidst all of this Midnight got herself caught in the fence, spooked everybody, I dropped the lunge line, and Storm went charging around our little paddock, past Russ and Abbey twice. Abbey didn't spook till the second time when Storm went pretty close. She took off running, Russ didn't know what to do (I failed to teach him solid braking methods), he was yelling, Ab bucked, he went over her shoulder, broke his collarbone, and ended up incapacitated for nearly two months.

I had so much guilt about this... so many things that seemed like "you should know better" in retrospect. And my confidence is pretty shaken; even though I have a little dreamboat Arabian to ride, I've only ridden about three times in the past year. Abbey is also spooked and the one time I tried to get on her she was having none of it, so I think we are going to need professional help (there is a really good natural horsemanship trainer very close, so when finances recover from multiple illnesses, and the weather is not crap, we are going to be calling Pete Dillingham).

Around September I discovered I have degenerative disc disease and I was laid up myself for almost another two months, and my neurosurgeon says I really need to not fall on my head lest I end up paralyzed, so no riding much beyond a walk. Between these two things, the lost wages, the lack of confidence, the fact that we really only have one rideable horse now, the fact that Russ won't be riding till probably next year because he's used his vacation time... well, it hasn't been a good year for me with the horses.

Not that I'm neglecting them. I'm there every day and if the weather's decent, we are playing on the ground. Abbey's learned a lot of tricks, including playing ball with us. Clicker training has proven to be miraculous with her -- talk about motivated! We're considering teaching her to drive, in case riding becomes not an option for me because of my neck, at least until the surgery's done.

But here we are in the dead of winter when my fingers are freezing off and I am DYING to play with them more than I can, and even to ride Storm. I've been watching some videos and reading a new clicker training book.

Coincidentally, today I got a message on Paperback Swap from the wife of one of my favorite horse authors, Joe Camp. I loved his book, The Soul of a Horse, when I read it about a year and a half ago (if you haven't read it, DO IT). Kathleen mentioned he has a new one, The Soul of a Horse Blogged. Turns out, they are now in middle Tennessee, AND they're now mustang people. How cool is that!? Can't wait to get the new book. Go get yourself one!

So a thank you to Joe and Kathleen for the extra inspiration I needed to really jump on the next good day we get weather-wise. These two amazing people are doing great things for horses everywhere, and I just wanted to drop in a little appreciation. His blog is great, and that's inspirational too. I had intended this blog one to follow my first year with my horses, but like I said, I've been a slacker, and frankly, kind of depressed. It's crazy. I've wanted horses all my life and I feel like I've wasted another year.

Oh, hey, a plug also for Parelli Connect. It's a great way to keep track of your progress with your horse, and connect with other natural horse people in the process. To be honest, I'm a little nervous because I don't know how the fact that I'm combining clicker with Parelli will be received over there, but you know what? It's working for us. I think it will do wonders once we add in a little confidence. So if you're there, you can look up "chivalry" and find us.

Warmer weather can come any time now, we have a lot to do, even if it's just hanging out being a horse with the horses.


Kerrin Koetsier said...

Sounds as if you've had a year of mixed blessings. We're going through some similar adjustments as we're realizing that we can't get to all our horses, especially with some health issues developing in our family... all I can say is thank goodness for groundwork!!

I'm glad that you're enjoying Parelli Connect. I'll 'follow' you!

Kerrin Koetsier
Parelli Central