Boy am I glad that I did!
I arrived to a quiet stable as all the horses were out . It LOOKED to be a nice day.
Once I went into the tack room...I noticed the grease board note from a stable mate saying-the arena would be busy from a certain time to a certain time, for a lesson.
OH! I began to breath shallowly...the trainer is one that I -HAVE- no desire to think about, let alone set eyes on again. She was part of my demise at a former, volatile boarding facility. a I can say with certainty, she is my enemy. Her ways, that to me are evil and divisive, I want NO PART OF! Though she may be a talented trainer and gives much to her students- she pitted herself against my mare and me, caused me much grief, again coming to mind, as I thought of her now.
It really brought up some murky, dark feelings and as I hyper ventilated, ther in the tack room , now wondering if I should leave, or go on a ride? I had very little time to prepare for riding, the time was near to the lesson. I had arrived unaware of her coming at all! You see, I was not wantiong to "act nice", and probably would gurgle up a growl and hiss.
I quickly collected the mare.. She met me at the gate...love this! I tried to have a chipper attitude, but intended on getting the ----outta the vicinity asap. Routine was discarded. I skipped allowing the mare into her stall for a bite, a pee and a groom..I set to dusting the muddy areas off . Bridle, saddle, girth area's only and WALLA...Off we went in less than 15 minutes!
I can't say I was happy doing a quickie groom, but I can say -the mare flinched not at my record time of grooming and tacking..she probably couldn't believe it herself!!
Once on the trail, I redid all the poor tacking up hastily done in the barn and picked the mares feet. I mounted and rode down the hill , she was willing. I planned on Walking with her on the ground, once we hit the bottom of the hill. We needed to investigate the disintegrating LAND BRIDGE over the creek. Her mane was disheveled and muddy...
There were people down there, she noticed with me. She was hesitant, and stopped with head high.
I have learned to not push when she is investigating with ears and eyes. If I leave her to it, I will have a quiet mare, that will soon be willing and ready to move on. Unlike last year, at the "Trail Trials",with a certain time to get through obstacles before we "Timed out".
That forced discovery of new obstacles made her balk and unwilling, as she overloaded with me pushing her to go.
I must now be full of patience again, for her to feel confident in me again, allowing her the investigative time, like I used to!
She walked on, shortly after looking and breathing in, what sort of animals they were.
The folks walking the trails below us lived near and heard of the LANDBRIDGE problems. They had discovered/removed a Beaver's Dam, making the creek flow over the LAND BRIDGE, helping it to fall apart. NOW, we could see the large holes to avoid. I walked her over the bridge and remounted...off we set off...to new trails I had been wanting to discover.
After crossing the road, and arriving at the first of many ponds in the Fishing Club lands,
we ran across these Canadian Geese that made a standoff to the mare and I.
The mare became very hesitant again. These two geese, they actually took a steps towards us! They made themselves puffy and large.
I knew I had to act fast or I would not be able to convince the mare we were over them , in the order of things.
I whooped it up, swinging my arms, and acting as if it were a cattle drive- not unlike the impromtu one-LIKE THIS ONE-.. a few years ago, meetimng cattle on the road. Only.. this was a goose drive!
They finally conceded -and yielded the avenue to our trails. The mare was so good to step one step towards them, as they stepped one step away from her!
We watched them swim away in places, we surely would not follow!
Once again, we were on our way. As we headed into a wooded area we'd never been in before, the mare became very uppity. Unusually so-looking back behind her, acting like she wanted to bolt forward. I was alert to her actions, something unusual was afoot or could it be in the AIR?
We proceeded over a log that was down, a nice one for jumping later on in the summer after this trail dries out. It is on a perfectly straight stretch , nice for cantering and jumping.
I had to get off...she really was acting badly, as when we went over the log, she jumped it unexpectedly, and cantered a ways before I could pull her up. I had the bitless bridle on and also, had it set to nose piece only. When I got off to remove some brush from the log, for the way home (should we come this way back) I changed the nose piece to under the chin, for a bit of leverage since she was able to run through my seat, voice and bridle aides!
The mare looking back over the log we just flew over....what do you hear, my mare???
I think it was the strong voice that got her to stop eventually..and while I was on the ground - she was awesome to stay at my shoulder and not push past me . Also, she moved away from me, as I stepped her direction. She remembered the work we have been practicing!!
We went on and I eventually got on again...to only get off again. This new trail was rutted with motor bike evidences and it was very slick. So I walked it with her and also marked the directions we had come from, with breaking branches of the trees near the right side of any turn, to show me to go back that way. We then came to the very pond we had walked near the geese, but now we were on the other side. AND, what a slick steep hill we had to go up. I decided to use this TEAMWORK METHOD WE LEARNED 2 summers ago. In dicey situations, I have been able to relpy upon the mare using it!
AWESOME, she was awesome! The mare thought for a second to canter up the hill, but I reminded her of my frail human stature, holding onto her tail!
She calmly walked up the hill, as I held onto the long rein and tail. I am so Proud of her for working with me, in these times of adventure!!!
Once up the hill, sadly, we found a dead end! NOW, goiong down a hill as such as we just came up, is a wee bit harder.
She and I looked at it from above and I told her to take it easy on me please...
She looked back at me, before we decended the slick, steep, hill~
She literally SLID, about the whole way down, with me hanging onto the bareback saddle pad for my upright ballast. She seemingly looked at me at one point- making sure she did not hurt me.
I couldn't have been happier with her, for again, she was working with me, not cantering down the hill loosing me.
She stood perfectly still ,after she sidestepped up to the log I was standing on.
Once aboard, we went awhile and when we hit that particulare area of trail she acted out the first time, she began to get very uppity and I could tell, she wanted to bolt homeward again! This behaviour while alone on solo, is NOT NORMAL for her! WHAT IS WRONG? I felt myself becoming upset and fearful, as this behaviour made me scared- on this slick trail.
I had to breathe and think calming thoughts..be much calmer than she was able to, for whatever reasons. I stopped her, she turned around voluntarily, to calm herself. I asked for a head down, for her to release her adrenaline.
She stood calm with head down for a time. Good girl. I told her so, gave her a treat I remembered to bring along. I turned her to go again. She went for a short time, but again became so round with excitement. I stopped her, turned her and took another deep breath- wondering IF we would make it home today??!!
I knew that I would be fine, I had things up my sleeve- but the time it was taking training, may take more time than light in the day!!! "Though" ,I thought, "we had an extra hour due to Daylight savings time!"
Onward again, and she was able to remain calm this time as I presented her with a "Loosey Goosey body"- and NO FORM WHATSOEVER of resistance or pressure.. that was hard for me bareback!!
As we made it to the Jump log, and I decided to dismount. Good choice. We went on down the trail till I found another mounting stump, mounted again and went forth. We only had 20 minutes before the lesson would be done and the Troll gone.
Once out of the woods..she calmed down tremendously so!!
I had seen a large "BARF" on that trail. It looked to be canine and processed food kibble like. I have seen enough cat barf to know what kibble looks like, in that form! So Something seemed to be around, something in the DEEP WOODS to disturb her. Now in the open, she was good.
We crossed a dike between two ponds and headed out to the open on a newly graveled road..the SKY..it surely did look foreboding!!
She was great the whole way back and I thought about the way she had been in the woods... that was a terrible feeling, thinking of being dislodged and having her loose, I was very upset for that behaviour. It was very odd, like I said, for a solo ride!
Now things were fine...and I could feel rain, and some wind rising too. Once we got into the softer footing of the woods you see ahead of us here, we trotted and cantered a little to beat the weather...that seemed to be coming on.
OKAY..this is where it got massively dicey... to remain calm myself, let alone the mare!
We got nearer the stable's trail system, but still were not to the LANDBRIDGE I knew I'd dismount for..to keep the mare from misstepping into one of the holes.
WE HEARD IT FIRSTLY...It sounded as if a jet was coming near us, and from high up... the mare became pensive and mee too...NOW WE GOT PELTED WITH HEAVY, SIDEWAYS RAINS.
I let her rip, galloping up the last road. I stopped her on the downhill, towards the LANDBRIDGE, now insight. THEN again, the sounds of something really LOUD COMING OUR WAY. I thought to dismount but before I could, It HIT THE TREES VIOLENTLY SO!!! WIND GUSTS OF ABOUT 30-40 miles per hour, I don't know, maybe more..all I know is we saw these massively huge Evergreen trees, say 200 feet away, bending over like straw...the mare and me, we both were looking and CRACK, one or two of them just snapped! Washashe whirled to take off as the massive, broken tree top flew through the air, scaring us both.
Somehow, (thank you LORD)I had the presence of mind to pull as hard as I could, while she was whirling, to the right, and away from the LANDBRIDGE! She flew, galloping up the road we just came from!
It was okay, I totally don't blame her for that and as she settled back to a hastened walk - I knew- NOW- was the time to JUMP OFF!
She was not quite as attentive to me on the ground as she had been , but now was not training times..now was living times and getting back to safety times!
We scaled the solid parts of the LANDBRIDGE and then I had to make a decision..mount for the huge hill or trust her to safely pull me up, without bolting. I chose the later, placed the rein on one side of the bridle and put myself behind my mare..she looked at me for a second, I told her to go on and go...she began to pick her way up the slick hill. SHE WAS AGAIN AWESOME, taking care to not go too fast! At the top, were more of these lone, large Evergreen trees, that maybe did not have the root systems to stay upright and DID HAVE LARGE branches catching all the wind!
I prayed again for this stretch of trail...we were OH-SO-CLOSE to the stable! She hesitated not and I then began to run with her, as fast as I could for home, and away from all the overhead trees! MADE IT, WE MADE IT!!! She and I were soaked through, but happily alive.
My stable mate, who took the lesson that day,was in the aisle as I came into the barn. She exclaimed happiness and relief to see me and then told me about her lesson . Her mare had been so good to listen to her too...while the large sliding doors flew up and away from the stable, in that huge GUST of wind. She also told me another stable mate had not returned yet...now I was worried. I untacked the mare, put her wicking, full body sheet on her..and prepared myself to go looking for my stablemate. JUST THEN- she showed up...looking like me, a soggy cat! Praise God...we all were safe and we set out to get all the horses inside with NO POWER and lighting...Lines were down, no doubt, and the fallen trees took them.
All the while, as I drove home again..I prayed thinking of all the displaced peoples of Japan. This Gusty event, was NOTHING in comparison to the upheaval and losses of life and all known to be normal life, for them. I am thankful for the survivors and thankful for the assistance the world is offering..and really actually, more thankful they asked this time.
BELOW IS A note from JANE SAVOIE... I signed up to receive her "MOTIVATION FROM MOSHI" online every week. Moshi is her wonderful Friesian horse.
I had remembered it as I was very upset with the mare and wondering if I'd make it back from the trail ride, with the new antics she was pulling-solo with me.
ALL THE HIGHLIGHTED AND BOLD area's..like this in my POST, are what I was thankful for over the fact =I was fearful/ upset in some of the ride.
"A winning attitude isn't hard to achieve, but it does take some effort. For some reason, many people find it easier to wallow in negativity than to make the effort to turn things around and be positive. Horses aren't like that. We don't think about the past or the future. We just live now.
I've noticed Jane using the tools she's learned and developed over the years to change her attitude. You see, even Jane has bad days. But she doesn't stay in a bad place. She's learned how to consciously change her thinking, and, therefore, change her experience.change her
One of Jane's most powerful tools is deciding to have an attitude of gratitude. She'll tell me how much she appreciates me, my soft coat, my powerful muscles, my long, pretty mane, and my work ethic. She'll go on and on about how good my tempi changes are, and how wonderfully my piaffe is developing. Even when I make a mistake, she'll tell me how grateful she is that I willingly try my best. Yes, gratitude is the fastest way to turn a bad day into a great day.
So today, look for things to be grateful for. It doesn't matter if they're big things or small (like the fact that you're breathing!). Just pay attention to all the good stuff in your life. There's no faster way to turn that frown upside down than developing a sense of gratitude!
Now get to the barn! Your horse is grateful for your attention!
Your friend, Moshi"