Sunday, January 30, 2011

Above the fog

WOW...we have really been socked-in with a dense fog here, in and about the greater Portland, Oregon area. Can't even see across a field to the other fence line~


Makes the air still, cold and damp. And- It makes Me want to hibernate longer..and not function into my days completely as I have planned to. Like walking my "Streak"..something under 3 miles. Or keeping my food content better and lesser ...I become a bear, wanting to bulk up in fat or carbs..NOOOOWA!
I am trying to STICK to the PLAN!


So, I have MADE MYSELF go on out to the stable these colder, darker days...to find THE SUN waiting for me! It is the familiar "Inversion" of  clearer weather- that is found as you go higher up...above the dense, city layer of fog!

It totally revives me, seeing blue skies..and makes me want to move more and function.

After getting to the stable and finding the sun waiting there for me...
I go out to the gate at the turn out field..call the mare in. She actually has come to me each time, NOT MAKING me loose my boots in the sucking, over 12 inch deep -trough- of -mud the horses have made in one of the runs .
I LOVE that she comes to me...even though she has to come through that!
We tacked up twice , earlier this week...and here is another thing I LOVE about my mare.


My sister taught her to lower her head for haltering, grooming and bridleing..she willingly does this for me. (of course, she also gets a nice peppermint treat too...making her lipstick pink for the ride.

We left the property, looking back upon the nice red stable and blue happy skies, peeking over it~


I had some new goals for us planned this particular day.
I have been riding more with a new bit my sissy brought for me. It is a solid peice of straight steel with a half spoon. A Metal Mullen. I use a rubber one, but I know it is too large for her small palate.
 I think if I use a bit for training sometimes on the trail, and  not just  in the arena..my mare will not associate the arena with being different. I am choosing to only use this one and my Waterford Link bit.
I prefer the bitless bridle, but for refining the bit is best, and like I mentioned, I am trying to define what exactly my mare finds so repulsive about the arena.

So, my plans are for more contact on the trail and less preoccupation(hopefully) from the mare to why and where we take that course of action.
 I think I have caused some issues, being so lax in asking more from the mare. So when I do in the arena work, she becomes disturbed and reacts to it. It's just a theory..and I shall find out soon enough. Since I have stopped using the saddles that do not fit, she has been MUCH BETTER about many of the things on the trail that made her become unmangeble. That is a confirm-on that pain removed.
I am going to give it 30 days and see if there can be a different mare developed by a different rider atop her , in other ways as well.
Changing me to change her... I have been reading Mary Wanless "Ride with your Mind" lately,  It has really opened my thought process up for a better relationship with my mare.
This is our normal trail stance below..long with light to no contact.



While it feels so good...I have become a sack of potatoes upon her. A very Happy Sack though I may be,  when I go into the arena,  she feels one that is not a  relaxed sack, but a tight one that may not be place well atop her.
I wish to now create a different me in response to her hollowing and coming up in defiance. She wishes not to be trapped..well, I will not give up my calm, soft peripheral focused framework , I say.

I am loving reading Mary's descriptions about pelvis positioning  and the horse's back. How it is  my "Self Carriage" with my pelvis that creates a "jigsaw puzzle piece" the horse fits into and how it changes me from a sake-o-potatoes into something that only fits correctly together with my mare, when she  meets me with her piece of the puzzle.
By holding myself firmly in place(my core , not hollowing my back- but pushing my pelvis forward) I make it impossible for my mare to evade, by changing her shape.
It also frees up my neck, shoulders and arms, so I depend not on the reins for my horses correct frame. Riding back to front instead of otherwise.

You are gonna laugh at me..but I have been using my  "Pelvis push" all over my world... walking down the hall sitting here, as I write you,even waking up and doing it sometimes. It makes my back longer ans straighter, my ribs come down towards  my hips and my shoulders relax back as well. 
If it is the horse's back that determines it's carriage..then my puzzle piece will be ready and I also will keep a Soft Focus...a Peripheral left brain one that can feel. I need less of an ultra focused eye upon her !
In the Book( I have had for 5 years) and just started to read again, Mary Wanless quotes an Old Zen saying.

"When the pupil is ready the teacher will
appear."

Though I have had many teachers, I may not have been ready for what they taught. Now, these words from Mary, seem to be making total sense and in perfect timing for our arena we moved to.


She quotes Lars Sederhlom for the visual picture I'm liking, "the rider's  role is to act like
  "A Framework around the horse- rather than a load on top of him: by doing this she holds his body in shape, holds the circuit complete and transmits the impulse of his step with out interference."


So, my out door rides will be more intentional training than trail relaxed. I have made the mistake of only drawing the reins taunt for changing gears or trouble.
I have taught her that, contact is not relaxed.
That is going to change.

We had an excellent ride with intention...my new pelvis position was really accepted well by the mare...she responded to my asking for shorter strides then longer..and even volunteered a trot a few times, without coming up, which really told me something about how I was riding. I blocked her with my hollow back and seat. I had more contact then ever on a trail ride. She did well and loved it when I fianlly let the reins gently slip out, for her neck and head to go straight down to the ground.
 She also loved  it for this time of filming~

video

We finished up, went on home then I turned her out into the arena for a roll. She was too tired for that.

video

I gave the mare a day off then went on back for round two...I had some plans for my 5 mile ride but then, One of my border friends showed up, and as we groomed and talked...she decided maybe to ride out.
This is she on Skye last summer, when I invited the Painted Forest  Stables group, to come to the beach on me~

Skye is a Quater Horse, that stands nearly 17 hands tall

Willow-Skye-Maddy

Her Gelding Skye, has been recovering from a severe injury for the past 5 months. He apparently rolled into a wire ratchet used to secure our fencing in the paddocks. He almost cut clean through his  left rear tendon. Through MUCH PRAYER, surgery, stall rest, ice, massage and Micro current therapies...he has received the miracle of healing! My fellow boarder has been hand walking him on hard surfaces all winter...then she changed to the arena . She borrowed my Soft saddle at first, for the arena rides and Cavaletti
exercises.



This day was to be her FIRST ride on the trails, I tagged along, scrapping my training agenda for this special event!
 Wa loved my relaxed, photogapher stance.
My friend hand walked Skye for any slopes.


She got on and we were off....I was interested to see how my mare would act around a new horse.


We walked next to each other a few times...they both kept ears on the other and told the other to stay at distance.


Wa was alright with being behind as well.


We did as much as a level circuit as we could ioncluding around one of the nearby ponds


Then on homeward


My friend dismounted for the road nearest home as the large rocks were hurting Skye's toes. My mare had her hoof boots on.


Brave..she walks right into the water..I won't anymore as I got an icky toe fungus doing it too much, and riding with wet socks! I stay atop for such now!



I was proud of Wa- this day, for being able to contain herself in back.
When We returned...poor Maddy mare was still stall bound with a hoof abscess. She blew it out that night, thank goodness.


I hope weather conditions for you have been good enough for some horsin' times.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Concur/conquer Wild Things

My sis and I finally got to go out riding -in this new year.
She comes to Portland every week for her few days off...but all have been bitterly cold, grey and wet, so trailering and riding together-not an option. This day  brought shadows...ooou nice bright ones!


Flooding rains in Oregon let up. The Grey skies with misty, dense fog lifted...just for a few hours.
 I drove quickly out to the stable...the mare and her wonderful buddy Theo, were in the farthest back field...wayyy back there!


I went to hooking up the trailer firstly, and  then, retrieve the mare in from the field so I could assess the " accumulated mud quota" upon her  and estimate my grooming time before I left to pick up Pantz and my sis, from her barn down the road.

Wa mare and Theo were grazing and enjoying being out in the sun as I arrived...they kept track of me as I hooked up the trailer.


When I finally went out to get Wa...the two horses ran around a bit...


....then met me at the gate in muddied spender!



 Neither one likes to be alone...so, and tend to get to running and worried as the other gets taken away. The day was so nice and I knew- they had been in most the week...so I opted to leave Theo out this time...he protested with calling and pacing as I walked away with his girlfriend, my mare.

This is what typically occurs, as I appear to the mare (she was too busy with Theo in the field, to do it out there)...she empties her bladder.


I like that she does this...because, if she forgets..she gets antsy on the trail. She has rarely ever asked to "GO" while I am riding her. And sometimes she will, if I do get off to "GO". . .
We "GO" together... too funny, and that would win us the $10,000 prize..but be too X -rated!

Today, with my sister and Pantz mare, we just walked the 5 mile loop.


 Both mares are out of shape(mostly Pantz). My Goal was to go near the "WILD THINGS" that scared my mare so badly the last time out that she bolted- and I had to stop her and come back to face them off again. We did...but she is VERY PENSIVE now about this area of our ride.


Pantz went first.




Wa was lagging behind..hoping to turn and be first on a dead run- should things get ugly.....


The noisy and wild onslaught started....and my mare became very tense, trying to turn away...
These identifiable animals are in deep cover, with  thick under brush, and that adds to the scary nature of the noisy creatures!



Pantz was not as taken aback as my mare. Mine remembers some volatile creatures like these, that were allowed to chase and bite her at one of the creepy barns I boarded at.
Here they are..5 barking dogs that run up to the fence and threaten to bite.


These animals were kept away from her legs by chicken wire mesh. Of course, she did not know that the first time..but she will eventually be able to mostly ignore them...I may squirt a water gun their direction..that could help to cure their rushing up to us too!



It always helps to have a solid trail pony to help with the jitters of
one that is unsure, Thanks Pantz!


So, all in all it was a nice ride and we took a little photo op, after eating a spot of lunch in the sun.
I forgot to bring my latest gift for photography...so these photos come to you...from a "STUMP in Oregon"!



I really can't wait till my sissy moves up here...mom gets her help and we have some neat-o-times !


I just checked in with some of my fav blogs and WINTER has struck again...so take heart in this post, your sunny days will be back, I promise!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Time. . .

. . . it has been a flyin' along in this new year!

I have been, outside of working mostly,  spending all my time with family.
 Mom landed in the hospital again, for a day and overnight. Turns out she had overdone it and the pressure she felt in her chest- was not her heart. Whew!
And amongst the new years stresses-
My sister's quest for selling a property at the coast she ended up being the steward of,  may have a buyer . This is the 3rd or 4th offer. The first offers were full price. This one comes at a great loss but yet, it is what is standing in the way of her moving back up here to the Portland area.
It has been a huge drain on her time and energies with lawyers and paying bills and finding out - the condo association fees  had not been kept up- is what has caused all the toil. No bank will loan on them with the deficit.
So this past year and half has taxed her and us all. Hope it;'s finally over, as our mother truly does need her near to help out with life. Mee too!

My sister andf Nephew had birthdays last week...20 and 60 years on this earth!

We did a lot of wet-weather-dog-walking. My sister has a Blue Cattle dog and a Whippet.
Fun times!



The skies have been beautiful and also, full of drenching rains..in record proportions~Thus, keeping me from too much outdoor riding.


The mare and me have gotten to go out at least once week. I am so loving the bareback pad riding...it just makes me feel euphoric for some reason. Funny thing is ..now- I am nervious to ride in a saddle again!
I have made some arrangements for my new saddle...still have some saving to go, but am slowly getting there.
And finally...here is a phone picture of "We Belong"...we got our nameplate for the stall this week...made me feel permanent, and very good!


So, that is about that for us here...wanted to let all know I am alive...just having some winter blaws.

 Next time, I'll tell ya about the wild animals we've concured while riding in the rains of Oregon.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy Neigh year to you too!


Out and about on a Cold New Year's day ride,
When  all of a sudden we spy,  two Paint horses, Oh my!


They did proceed closer still, till a conversation did ensue!



New years greetings upon the trail this day we found,
what a nice surprize,to our riding alone!


My Girl and I tracked many things this day...
through fields we went,



and forests covered in white, we did see.


And also glancing over,
familiar territories.


We did seek out new places as this trail held some tracks of it's own,
..so we followed...


until finally, we turned to go on home.


Yet another name sake displayed for us to admire and sigh
~ contentment with~

A Painted Forest Sky!


Then I decided to use my stable mates cute little party hat on the mare;



..and in my heart and aloud I did say,
"How very blessed I am this New Years day,
 residing happily carefree,as I had prayed!"




I  do also pray you all well my friends, and with a fine New Years Start!
And please don't worry too much about my rhymes,
they will cease sometime soon, so take heart~

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