I wasn’t able to blog last night, because a storm came through and knocked out cell reception for most of the area. My phone kept saying SOS and I told it to calm down, the towers would return. I sure am having the Internet issues! But indeed, I got to enjoy the cool clouds.
It looked like tornado weather, and indeed, it was. Friends had a brand-new shed hit by a small one. It missed their house, though, so it could have been much worse. It’s hard to get used to so many scary weather events so close together, though.
We managed to get through the storm just fine. It was a very fast one! When I woke up this morning, there was more weather news. Tarrin contacted all of us who were signed up for a clinic at her ranch to let us know there were going to be very strong winds today. She let us know we could put it off.
We all said we’d just show up and hope for the best, much to Apache’s disappointment. He was not at all interested in going anywhere or doing anything this morning and kept bopping me with his head until I had to get firmer than usual with him. I managed to get most of the mud off him, including huge globs nested in the base of his mane. Not the most fun start to a day, but I’m happy to report that the rest of the day was a lot better!
He is always happy to go to Tarrin’s, and he got to head over with his buddy Aragorn. Sara drove today, and we always have a good time together. I ended up in a great mood all day, myself, and enjoyed meeting some new folks and their horses. There are some real success stories in the latest bunch of training horses!
After relaxing for a while in his luxurious (in his mind) stall, Apache came out to do our part of the clinic with me, and he was an absolute dream. We started out learning the newest dressage pattern that we’ll use in the next shows. We did it really slowly, stopping between each section, to help the horses pay attention to our cues. I enjoyed doing it as well as watching the other two riders in my group, one of whom was just starting out on her horse after training.
It was a great feeling to know that we’ve come far enough along to be role models of calmness as things blew around and spooked other horses. Tarrin made sure to share that it wasn’t all that long ago that Apache was nerved out at lots of random things. Meanwhile, he nearly fell asleep when it wasn’t his turn, even when something blew by and hit his leg. What a guy? Yeah!
The second part of our session was learning to do small circles precisely and teach the horses to pay attention to us rather than memorizing a pattern and blasting through it. That was a lot of fun for us, especially when we got to trot it. Apache and I have really made some improvement, and I was so happy to try these new things and refine how we do them. So much learning!
After our turn, we had an educational session where Tarrin showed us what a horse with severe hoof issues looked like on the inside. Camina the dog really wanted to eat that demo horse leg. It’s really cool that a horse can contribute to education after it has to be put down. It’s like they live on.
Another thing we did was each of us stood on two scales and had to practice balancing so that each scale read the same. This was not at all easy. We also found that slight shifts of our hips made the scales move many pounds. What this demonstrated was that our shifts can really affect our horses, and also that their shifts can also affect their performance.
The folks in the last, most advanced, group in the clinic focused on this balance and helping their horses get not only straight but balanced before doing activities like beginning a canter from a stop.
Now, this annoyed each of the horses as far as I could tell, but it was fascinating to watching both horses and riders learning to refine their balance.
Then they all cantered around those barrels we trotted around. Wow, some of those horses are beautifully trained. Aragorn did a great job as well, even though he’s just learning. Sara loves this photo I took of them together.
Of course, since it’s City Nature Challenge weekend, I snuck off to take photos of the plants and insects at Tarrin’s. I saw so many butterflies, and a gorgeous scarab beetle that visited my jacket. The ladies I was sitting with were fascinated with me looking at it, photographing it, and figuring out what it was.
The only negative was that I keep touching plants and really should check to see if they are nettles BEFORE touching them. Ow. There were also some very spiky trees that are either Hercules Club or Spiny Ash.
It was a really fun day for all of us, even the horses. We didn’t let that awful chilly wind slow us down!
Sara and I spent much time when we got home telling our horses how proud we are of them. These are the times to remember when things get challenging again!