We Sizzle in the Summer

Today, Sara and I headed back to the lovely Watts Way arena for our fourth Working Horse Central show. I’d hoped Drew and I had improved enough to get some significantly better scores, but, I’ll have to be satisfied with knowing we’ve improved regardless of our scores. I’ll just keep trying.

We did have fun!

The big highlight for me was watching Saragorn and their blossoming partnership. Now that Aragorn is feeling better in his feet, he’s just amazing to watch.

She also had fun. One of the auditors was kind enough to take these great photos for us.

They were beautiful during the dressage patterns, and would have been even better over the obstacles if it weren’t for “user error.” Many of the competitors had some lapses, so she wasn’t alone. It was still great to watch.

He’s in such good shape.

As for me, I remembered most of the patterns for dressage, but honestly, I’m just not good at running beside a horse, and have no idea how to do some of the requirements I was unaware of. So, bleh. I tried. And he turned right much better!

There are no photos of that, so here is Drew looking cute.

I did way, way better on the obstacle portion, getting lots of 8 out of 10. Drew trotted, too, though apparently broke gate (started walking) but I had a hard time noticing. I dropped my whip, but still did 3 barrels the harder way. I was proud. I even nicely changed from leading him on the left to the right.

Barreling. I’m behind him.

Unfortunately, I totally didn’t do one of the easiest obstacles. I even prepared for it! But people were asking Sara questions as she called the numbers, and skipped it. I got a 0. No one even told me!

We did well checking the mail.

I’m not upset about that, though, because stuff like this happens! I just know I’d have gotten a very good score if I’d done that right. As it was, I got a good one. Sigh.

We RAN when we were done. We were so happy. That’s before we realized the oopsie. I can’t believe I can run that much.

We got to meet some new people at the show, which was fun. We also got to see great improvements in some familiar faces. At least one horse was so calm and compliant and her rider so composed…it was hard to tell they are the same pair!

Hard work pays off!

Every single horse had such kind and caring human partners! Even when mistakes happened, the riders were patient and encouraging to the horses. I was very impressed.

Another beautiful horse with a great bond with his rider.

Now for the highlight of the show. The final part is where riders see how quickly they can go through a set of obstacles. There are many ways for this to go horribly wrong. But damn, Saragorn put on a real show. Sara didn’t play it safe, and Aragorn was up for the challenge. They NAILED it both in execution and speed.

I’m the old woman reading the obstacles Sara

There are no photos of this, because I was calling the order of obstacles, but when Sara finished, she urged Aragorn into a canter and took a victory lap, waving gleefully. It was great. Sara said it was a lifelong dream come true. I was so happy for her!

My happy friend.

I guess it’s time to dust off my self esteem, which is low for reasons not having to do with my poor horse and his need to learn more. It’s more than the return to the Dark Ages. I’m needing some encouragement and had hoped for some today. Eh. Humanity is hard. Look at these horse pictures.

We are so grateful to Tarrin and her family, the lovely scribe, and everyone else who helped with the small but mighty Summer Sizzler Show. It was hit, but the show started early and got through it!

Happy judge and scribe

I’ll treasure my happy moment when I thought Drew and I had done well!

Drew looking particularly bony at 5:30 am

Book Report: Two Horse Books That Apply to Everyone

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I recently finished two books by Crissi McDonald, a horse trainer and clinician who lives in Colorado with her husband Mark Rashid, who wrote the previous books I read. I had a theme.

Here are the books.

I think they are self-published, but the quality is quite good. She must know a good proofreader. The books are Continuing the Ride, in which she talks about recovering from a bad injury from a horse accident, and Getting along with Horses, which talks about how your attitude can affect your experience with horses.

Here’s Apache. We have had a long and challenging relationship, but we will always like each other.

McDonald is an engaging writer who has honed her craft through blogging and participation in writing groups. In fact, Getting along with Horses started out as blog posts. Good idea! She is good at both telling stories and sharing what she’s learned. I’ll sprinkle some quotes in this review. Here’s one (and I forgot to get the page number, but it’s from Getting along with Horses.)

Riding a horse, or being around horses, is a shared experience. Horses are power sheathed in silky coats. They sweat, they feel a full range of emotions, and they’re accepting of humans and all our crazy ideas. They can’t be fully controlled. And yet. The thrill of a gallop is a freedom mutually felt. The serenity of grazing is something we can be included in. As we share experiences with our horses, we come to see the world through eyes that aren’t blinded by our particular definitions of the world. This world doesn’t belong to just us. We share it with every other living creature, plant, and river. Being with a horse allows us to consider other ways of life, and what is important to them.

Crissi McDonald, Getting along with Horses

What made me happiest is that much of what she says about working with horses applies to dealing with humans, so I got lots of food for thought about dealing with people around me as well as my equine companions.

Andrew. We’re a pair. I love him intensely.

When McDonald talus about recovering from her injuries I could see how her words would help anyone dealing with trauma. She shared how giving herself permission to go as slowly as she needed to go actually sped up recovery. And I love that she didn’t bring anger or blame into the discussion. Things just happen and dwelling on blame just makes it harder to go forward. That is not just a horse thing!

Dusty always seems concerned about something. Look at the wrinkles around his eyes and mouth. But he loves attention.

Fear makes it hard to do your best with your horse partner, but it’s so reasonable to have fear. Horses are unpredictable, large, powerful, and easily frightened, themselves. I’ve had to work through my own fear with Apache after my own fall (not a bad one at all) and my lack of confidence in both him and me. No wonder we’ve had all the issues.

Mabel is doing so much better. She’s not shut down, asks for attention, and has life in her huge eyes now.

What I like best about these books is that McDonald doesn’t come across as preachy or authoritarian, just as a fellow horse lover who’s trying to figure things out, just like you are. She’s also willing to follow her instincts, even when they aren’t all scientific. I do that, too.

When she talked about the importance of your intentions in horse work, I felt relief. A lot of people avoid that, since it comes across all woo-woo or something. But intent has always been a powerful force in my life. Just because we don’t know how something works yet doesn’t make it real. Like gravity and germs, you have to get to the point where people can measure things! I digress.

Two Quotes That Apply to Us All

I’ve written a lot about the importance of remaining calm in the midst of chaos. During the coronavirus pandemic, the chaos waits for us every day. We see that the pleasures and places we thought would always be there no longer are. We watch the numbers affected by the virus go up. No one knows where this
train stops. Or even pauses.

As much as anyone can, I’ve tried to stay informed without
spinning emotionally out of control.

Crissi McDonald, Getting along with Horses, p. 105

My Favorite Topic!

Name-calling a horse, or anyone for that matter, may be borne of frustration or anger, but I can guarantee you that the only result will be to perpetuate an adversarial relationship. Name-calling is a lack of imagination, it shuts down our innate curiosity, and it smothers learning. Wanting to have a partnership with your horse and name-calling are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Since when does seeing your horse as an enemy to be vanquished yield a harmonious and pleasing relationship?

Crissi McDonald, Getting along with Horses, p. 19

Anyway, these two books felt like hugs to me, much needed hugs. I feel validated on my path with horses, and I have new insights to help me on that path. Guess I better go follow Crissi McDonald on social media!

Get to Work, Little Horse

Today was hot, but it was lesson day nonetheless. I took the time off work, because it’s so nice to have Tarrin come here and work in our environment. There were only a few distractions, such as this extra-cool spider eating a grasshopper! It’s a brilliant jumping spider, and it must have really jumped!

I’m impressed

Apache did very well in his lesson. Since I was ON him most of the time, I didn’t get any photos, but I was really happy that I got to learn a bit more finesse in moving him around. Once I got the hang of what I was supposed to do, I was thrilled to see how well we could do things together. We were trotting around three barrels and up and down the barrel slalom like a pair that knows what we’re doing! He got pretty tired by the end, especially since he’d also done a lot of jumping and trotting over things.

Look, Night Dreamer is up on the wall!

We had to go on a walk, though (and I felt bad about making Tarrin walk, since she’d been stomped on by a young horse over the weekend). He walked down the scary paddock like a pro and even got most of the way back before losing his sh**. He’s getting a lot better! And I coped.

But, I wanted to take a nap.

Drew had a real day, though. He had to wear the saddle again for the first time in quite a while. His rest time is over. Time to build muscle. The saddle may be a bit big for him, but it will be fine for now.

Do I HAVE to?

Tarrin warned me he might have a bit of a baby horse fit about wearing the saddle, but he didn’t have a major one. I was able to deal with anything he did, and he got some good jumping and trotting over the poles in. Then he got to learn a new skill. Poor Drew’s brain. Tarrin taught him how to do the three barrels activity with me sending him around rather than running with him. That’s gonna make things much easier on this chubby old woman, once we get the hang of it. He had a bit of trouble at first and decided that the way to get it over with was to canter the whole while. Tarrin coped, but I sure couldn’t have!

I’ll go fast then I will be done

Eventually, though, that little boy was doing it with a minimum of fuss. You could just see his brain going, “Oh, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing.” He got tired enough and processed enough that in the end, I was able to do it. Of course, I had to practice all the movements (you have to switch hands, back up the right way AND direct the horse’s movements, too). Minor success was had!

After I insisted on showing Tarrin all the other stuff we have been working on, like standing at the mounting block and backing down a corridor, we decided to hose him off. Poor Drew, I turned the thing on him and it made a scary noise. But he eventually settled down enough to drink out of the hose, so I don’t think he was traumatized permanently.

Slurp slurp, maybe I’ll learn to drink like Goldie. Note the water droplets in the air!

As Tarrin was leaving, we took bets on how long it would take him to roll in the dirt. Well, he was annoyed it took me so long to get his halter off (he stomped, not something he does much), so I knew he wanted to do it. Yep, less than five seconds after he was freed, he was down.

That’s better.

He was so darned happy. I couldn’t hold it against him, since he’d worked so hard!

Hoping I feel better soon and can talk about more deep stuff that’s going on. But hey, horses are always good.

The Flower Fairy Goes Art Walking

What a pleasant Saturday! I started the day fairly early for me, so I could go work with the horses before it got over 100° F. I ended up hanging horse signs up in the tack room, rearranging my horse playground and round pen, working with Drew (who now wants to nip me while we trot right, so that got dealt with) and working with Apache, who rode all the way over to the edge of the woods today. He is now comfortable in most of the front pasture.

My spotted buddies

As a reward, I gave him a nice cool bath with my new horse bathing attachment. We finally have the hose available to where that works out. Apache was displeased that I made him stand around to dry while I cleaned his saddle and bridle, but they look good now.

My clean tack. Hard to see but it’s there.

Then, since Apache’s bath had cooled me off, I took pictures of how nice things are looking around here.

After all that I was too hot to do much, so I swam in the pool while it was still cool. I think that thing is my lifesaver.

After I rested a bit, Lee said he wanted to go to the first Art Walk in Cameron, which was held in the remodeled building that used to be Bea’s Kitchen. Wow, they’ve done a great job with the place. Here’s the restored signage.

Big words!

The interior is gorgeous, and they made really cool light fixtures that allow you to see the ceiling tiles. And upstairs, there are beautiful new windows. It’s gonna be so cool.

The Art Walk was so much fun. Anita, Lee and I all had a great time meeting old friends and making new ones. the artists were all very interesting people, too. One woman lives in Maysfield, down the road from us and makes interesting jewelry. The rest were painters. Each was different in focus, ranging from sweet watercolors to cleverly subtle social commentary. I got a watercolor and was happy to learn the artist gives classes!

It’s a marsh.

Lee and I both really liked the work of one of the artists, Randy Robinson. We learned he only started painting not that long ago. His work had movement and great light, because he studied Rembrandt’s style in Europe. I got to talking to his daughter and learned they live in nearby Milano and have lots in common with our family. All the stuff you usually don’t think you’ll find. What luck!

Then, when I was off with Anita, Lee secretly got the painting I loved the most, which was of a horse in the night, spooked (says the brochure) by finding a human lying in her field. It really captures the wildness and bemusement. And you just want to pet that muzzle.

I love that it’s off center, too, from the viewpoint of someone on the ground. Yeah. I wore a flower fairy dress. It has pansies with faces, and Alice in Wonderland.

We talked more later, and I kept thinking he seemed familiar. We started talking about plants, and then it all became clear. He’d joined the Master Naturalist group during my presidency and come to a few online meetings. I introduced him to Carolyn Henderson, our current president, and we hope he starts coming to meetings.

Me and Randy and Night Dreamer

Well what a coincidence! We are all friends now. I’m so happy to keep meeting like-minded folks out here. Like anywhere, diversity’s out there and it makes for a stronger community.

Happy to be here

In addition to the Art Walk, the model railroad across the street was open one last time before it moves elsewhere. All the tiny buildings were set out where you could really look at them, and there were folks explaining which modern places the models of 1930s life depicted.

Anita looks at the back of St Monica’s church

The details on the buildings are quite charming. There are prisoners at the jail, a wedding at one church, and a nun at the Catholic Church. My favorite is a woman hanging laundry.

It will be fun to see the rebuilt model of old Cameron!

As if this wasn’t enough fun, we even tried a new restaurant. Yes, it’s Mexican but it’s different Mexican! I had chicken in Mole sauce. I hope Veracruz lasts.

Fed the horses of course. Look at the moon!

My Baby Made Me Proud

Drew and Aragorn attended a Working Horse Central clinic today with Tarrin. Clinics are always fun because you learn so much from the other students. I’m now glad Apache couldn’t come, because Drew and I learned so much and he was just amazing.

That’s right, I have a clue. A Drew’s clue.

Everything worked out so well! Aragorn was able to canter and do all the new things he was asked to do, even though he’d thrown his therapeutic shoe. I was very proud of him and Sara.

We lucked out and the weather was cool-ish and cloudy for the first two groups in the clinic. We missed most of the first group due to not wanting to leave that early, but we did get to chat with people we’d met before, plus got to meet interesting new folks.

Drew is watching the dremel tool in action, as Julie worked on Aragorn’s shoe

I really enjoyed the second group, because they were doing things I’d never done before, and I could watch and learn from them. They did backing up zig zags, which I now think I could do, walking over a tire, which some horses did NOT like. Both gave me a good insight into how to gently teach new skills. Every single horse made it over the scary tire! Here are some photos of the cool people and their horses in the second group.

Our group was me, Sara, and the woman with the gray Arabian mare we’d met before. By that time, the sun was out, so I was glad for my fancy sun shirt. I was worried that there wouldn’t be much Drew could do in hand. Was I ever wrong!

First we practiced our dressage stuff, and I learned a better way to back him straight, plus we did our circles great. Ha! He got annoyed at me for keeping him out of my space and tried to nip back. That got shut down. I think our next show will me much better.

Then we did obstacles, most of which we’d never tried. That was so much fun. The zig zag backing up was cool because I was supposed to do it from outside the obstacle. We figured it out!

There was a jump, which I had to do from outside the jump, then at a canter. He did so well. We both were confident. I smiled and smiled. And I got Drew to do a zig zag side pass without using a dressage whip to guide him. He turned on the forehand! He turned the other way. He got applause. It wasn’t great but he DID it.

No photos of all this, so here’s my new bougainvillea.

The best one, though, was the dreaded tractor tire filled with sand, which they had to approach straight and then go through. I was surprised that it was so hard for the horse and rider pairs but learned so much watching them work through it. Patience worked! Even horses who were spooked by it got through.

And here’s a dragonfly I saw while waiting our turn.

As for Drew, I’d already walked him over it twice when we were warming up, so Tarrin said I had to do it on the long rope. To my surprise, he went over it repeatedly at a trot in both directions with me just directing him a bit. Everyone praised my rope handling and how I followed him. Holy cow! I’ve really gotten better with all that practice. I used to be so bad at this! I was so proud of both him and me. We are becoming a real team. Drew really seemed to have fun. What a guy.

After the clinic I got to watch Tarrin make a new hoof treatment device for Aragorn. It is very complicated and involves flames, mixing glue compound, molding, and hotness. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but Aragorn seemed happy. He really liked a cushion thing he was putting his feet on. It looked very comfy.

And I got to hang out in the pool with Lee later!

We were tired people and horses when we got home, but so happy. I had two wonderful horse days in a row. Wooo.

Pain, Worth It

I seem to be dealing with the hurt of my lost friendships by replacing it with physical pain to distract myself. I’m pretty sure I have a stress fracture in my foot, because it didn’t bruise much, but hurts unless I wear supportive shoes. And falling in the hole definitely sprained my second toe on the other foot. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I also twisted all my back muscles. I’ve been walking around all hunched over like a person my age. Ha ha.

I did buy these cute boots.

To help me stop slipping and sliding while I’m trotting beside Drew, I got the fine Justin boots above. They qualify as Western boots, but have a rubber sole that will give me traction in sand and arenas. Plus, turquoise and black! Drew’s theme colors!

Too cute!

I’m just pushing through the pain and doing fun stuff anyway. Anita and I went to the local nursery today and I got some bright and happy plants. I hope that cheered her up a bit.

Photos of the plants are to come, when it’s light. I was too busy all day to take photos. There was lots of work, Zooms with friends, and fun chores like hauling horse poop. I think I should have dumped this load sooner.

Growing a mushroom crop.

But, everything is clean, including the trailer. I even towed it all the way to Sara’s tonight! That’s maybe a mile on the main road.

Here we go

It wasn’t all work today, though. I managed to work with both horses while waiting for Trixie to come do feet this evening. Drew really paid attention in his last lesson, because since then he’s like a new boy, with no more Zoolander problems. We turned right at all speeds, transitioned between gaits, and stopped on a dime consistently. There was no crowding or pushing. All his lunge line work was spot in today, too. He got the reward of being done quickly, because he did exactly what I asked!

We were all tired, too.

Apache, well, he was an absolute DREAM today. We had the best ride of our lives today. It was relaxing and fun. I think he may be a bit woozy from all his shots yesterday, because he was not terribly interested in trotting fast. But, he trotted when asked, and did his jumps like a man. We rode all over the pasture with zero issues. Once or twice he started to go astray but all I had to do was refocus him. It was GREAT. He’s becoming the horse I knew he could be.

I’m tired, but a very good boy.

It’s been a good week of spending time with all the horses. Even Mabel and Dusty are enjoying all the togetherness.

Nap time.

When Trixie got here, she was able to just do Drew and Apache’s feet. She has only one good hand after being scratched by an angry cat that didn’t want to get in a crate to go get neutered. Cat scratches go septic so easily! I’m amazed she could get anything done, so I’m happy to wait for Fiona and Dusty. But Drew is now ready for the clinic tomorrow, since Apache’s Coggins results aren’t in yet (not surprised).

I’m more ready after pain pills and a visit to Carlton’s favorite chair, the massage chair.

It’s really great to enjoy all your tasks so much that pain is inconsequential. I just looked at the sunset and felt better. I’m content right here. Where I belong and am loved.

Sunset over chickens

Apache Goes to the Big City

I was browsing through my horse material when I saw something that concerned me: Apache’s Coggins certification had recently expired. Oops. Horses that travel need those to ensure they don’t bring a bad disease to other horses. For non-horse folks:

A “Coggins” is a blood test that detects antibodies to the disease Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). This is a virus that can cause affected horses (or donkeys) to have fevers, anemia (low red blood cell count), edema (stocking up), or weight loss/muscle wasting.

https://foundationequine.com/blog/2014/3/4/why-does-my-horse-need-a-coggins-test-if-we-dont-travel#:~:text=A%20Coggins%20Test%20Form,or%20weight%20loss%2Fmuscle%20wasting.

Of course, Apache is scheduled for a clinic on Saturday. Shit. Since all his other vaccines were done at the same time, I figured I’d better get him looked at sooner rather than later. I hadn’t been worried, because Lee had been saying he would schedule the vet to come do all the animals soon. Soon hadn’t happened and Apache’s time was up.

Wait, am I a goner? No!

Lee was nice enough to agree to take me and Patchy into Cameron, where Dr. Amy and her mobile vet office are on Thursdays. I was really proud of my old boy (he was born in 2005). We got out of the trailer and just hung out together.

A car with a puppy in it, our rig, and the mobile veterinarian office.

He didn’t act bothered at all by all the traffic, the thump-thump radios, or the smell of barbecue (that made me hungry).

I have grass. Grass is good.

There was a young Siamese cat on the lot where the trailer parks. It had obviously never seen a horse. Apache was very interested in the kitty, and the kitty crept closer and closer until it got to the edge of its comfort zone, at which point it studiously cleaned itself. Cutie.

We waited an hour (there is always an emergency going on, and today’s was an old lab). I don’t begrudge the time, since I remember how long she spent sewing up Harvey when he was hurt.

Apache was deemed in good shape and declared beautiful. He had a few fly bites, but Amy see asid she could tell I used fly spray. And he needs to get his teeth floated, so that will get done when Amy comes in two weeks to give all the ranch animals their shots, spay Goldie, and take care of other issues.

He posed for his Coggins drawing like a model, too. Like a man, he took all his shots without flinching. What a guy.

I’m beautiful.

All in all, I think he actually had a good time hanging out with me, meeting new people who told him how pretty he was, and eating new grass. And he will be all certified healthy in just a little while. A little late for Saturday, though, so I’m prepared to take Drew and do the whole clinic on my feet.

Back together again.

Lessons Learned, More Positive

Yesterday’s lessons learned were pretty hard to take, but I’m doing better today, other than being a bit overly warm from outdoor activities, dealing with a sore foot, and realizing I am developing swimming muscles thanks to some sore thighs. I survived five straight hours of work meetings, too, so I feel like a marathoner. Who would have known?

Fiona’s exercise routine

Today I learned lessons on both my horses. What a great thing it was that Tarrin was able to come HERE and do lessons! She went to Sara’s and did her horses, then came here. Nice.

I was pretty danged hot.

Having lessons on our property was especially helpful with Apache because we could work on his problem areas here at the ranch. And work we did! I am feeling really good about our relationship and can see that I am making a lot of progress with him. It only takes poor Tarrin a hundred times to tell me something before I get the hang of it, but I am getting there and starting to be much better at correcting him before he gets a chance to try to get out of doing what he’s asked to do.

I’m proud of me, too. But tired.

I’m also much better at not letting myself get upset or feel out of control. This is making all of us happier! We walked back and forth all over the front field like pros, and even did well in the “scary” dry lot pasture going away from home. Coming back, we did a thing where he got to have nice, loose reins as long as he walked calmly, but if he started the squirrelly stuff, he’d have to make circles whether he wanted to or not. I think I gained a lot of confidence doing that and he figured out I was not going to quit. In the end, he calmly walked back to the tack room. Tarrin and I were both pleased. I’m glad she is going to come back a couple more times in June.

I am so displeased that the training lady found out where I live that I THREW my food on the ground!

Drew got a workout, too. We spent a lot of time on right turns. While I was out working on the turns, I finally remembered Zoolander was the guy who could only turn in one direction. My mind isn’t totally going after all!

I can turn both right AND left. When I want to.

I now have many more tools in my toolbox to deal with Drew leaning into me. We will be doing many, many right turns, if I can keep from keeling over from trotting with him in the Texas sun. He also got some reminders of how he is supposed to behave when going in circles on the lead line. He quickly became a model citizen and made me proud. We have some fun stuff to work on that will make our show scores so much better.

I want more.

There will always be ups and downs, but I sure am enjoying working with horses. I never cease to be amazed at how much I learn about myself while doing it. The confidence I’m gaining is helping me deal with all the hard things in life, too.

I learned a lesson about spilling my food.

Ouch, More Than One Way

The day started with an ouch and ended with a painful long-term one.

These two are hanging out so I can quickly get them for a lesson tomorrow.

I was planning to go ride with Sara this morning and ran late, but I had Apache clean and saddled in time. We were walking to the mounting block, which is in the portable round pen. As we entered, the stirrup in the right somehow caught in a panel and started following us. That rightfully scared him and he jumped. Jump number 2 landed on my foot. Ouch.

The inner part here used to be next to the outer part.

He got free, though, and said “oof” then stood still. I got up and went over to him and hugged him. He was fine! I got on him and went over to Sara, apologizing for not making it to the gate so Aragorn wouldn’t have to walk near our horses.

The longer grass shows the former outline of the pen.

We regrouped and had a nice calm ride, since Aragorn is working on a hoof issue. I was really proud of my horse and me. In fact, my foot felt fine in my good shoes. It only started hurting when I took the shoe off.

I forgot to put a picture of Harvey on yesterday’s post. Here he is with his favorite pillow.

The other hurt is one I won’t go into detail on, but I found out I’d lost a friend through misunderstandings. For the second time in recent experience, someone got very angry with me due to associating me with someone else. Assumptions were made and even when it turned out they were wrong, I was guilty by association.

The good news is at least this time I know what happened, how it came about, and that there’s not a thing I can do but apologize for things that came across wrong. Sigh. I hate losing friends I really cared about.

On the other hand, I’m no longer in the middle of something I don’t understand and can move on. I’ll just hang out with people who know I’m me, not anyone I’m associated with.

I made my nails cheerful. So there.

These lessons are always painful, even when you’ve made progress on your desire to be liked by people who matter to you.

Ouch.

Drew and Sully Part 2: The Good Gray Horses

This morning Sara and I took advantage of the cooler morning temperatures to film the second part of Drew and Sully’s in-hand virtual show. She was going to do Aragorn, too, but he lost one of his fancy shoes that is fixing his foot issue. Tarrin spent a lot of time on that shoe, and showed Trixie how she did it, but horses get into stuff! They’ll get it fixed. But for today, she could not film Aragorn and ride with her new saddle. Boo.

Ready to do their show, and matching Sara’s classic old truck perfectly.

We both agreed that setting it up was a lot more work than anticipated. I really appreciate that Sara has a dressage arena set up on her part of the ranch and has kept it so nice. It’s a lot of effort, not to mention scooping poop and arranging all the other stuff we’d need. For my part, I had to bring both Drew and my stuff from my house. It’s too close to trailer him, but far enough that pulling the wagon with my stuff in it was hard. Drew, though, did fine walking beside the wagon.

I like this. It has my halter and a banana in it!

I’d hoped that walking over to the dressage arena would be enough warm up for Drew, but I don’t think it was. He ended up being a bit “spirited” when we tried to do the patterns the first couple of times. Once he pushed himself out of the arena boundary (BZZT – disqualified), and the other time, he pushed me all over the place when we were trotting and just didn’t seem to want to turn left, sort of like that model in the movie who could only turn one way.

I did a lot better than yesterday, though, and kept calm. It helped that I got rid of some of the distractions. For one thing, I wore different boots, which were more comfortable and less slippery. Sara let me wear her hat that has a string on it, because the wind kept blowing mine off. And I figured out a way to deal with attaching our number, even though I apparently left my actual number in Sara’s tack room. Geez.

Our pretty gray buddies Notice my shoes. I took my boots off the second I was finished getting videoed.

Luckily, after getting the pattern down, Sara set off with Sully and did a spectacular job on the pattern, PLUS the video software thing worked and caught it all. Winner! She trotted so calmly and did the backing up part perfectly, after not doing it well at all every time she practiced. Yay, she came through when she needed to. What a gal! She’s only had four lessons, so she is both an easy-to-train Andalusian and has had great work done by Sara. Trixie, who owns her, should be so proud!

After being tied up to the truck and watching Sully (and looking chastised), Drew and I tried again. I used his regular halter this time, and maybe that helped. He did a GREAT job on his pattern the last time. I was so proud of him. Our mistakes are mostly things we aren’t good at yet, but otherwise, he did well and so did I. I talked to him and that may have helped, too.

Apache took all the water, Suna. I want some.

We both ended up with smiles on our faces and felt like the hard work was worth it. Teamwork made the dreamwork as we helped each other and encouraged our gray beauties to do their best.

I love you, Suna. Thanks for the cookie and reminding me we have two water troughs.

I’m glad the next show is indoors, however. And of course, I am very grateful for all the support from our extended equine community and our families, which allows us to have this fun.

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