Archive for the ‘poetry of apaul’ category

Unicorn Horns

June 18, 2018

Jigs and I snagged third in Sunday’s versatility.  Not terrible, but not competitive.


3rd Open Division

After only two riding lessons, I am not confident to canter between obstacles. But I AM more aware of my lack of riding skills.  My body lurches too far forward and my legs curl too far back.  Watching the video of our run was painful. Ugg.


Beep Beep Beep or Back Back Back

I’m having doubts that I can get better.


Cracking the Egg

But we had fun, even managed to sneak into the Atlantic Ocean to cool off.

That’s the whole point, isn’t it? Relieving stress? Not creating it?

The minis at the versatility were so damned cute. Watching them helped me forget my shortcomings. And there was a horse with a UNICORN HORN!  A lovely, shiny rainbow horn.

Ebay, Etsy. I searched  and found they are out there. Unicorn Horns. For sale! Realize your fantasy. What color should I order?

Jigs would  ABSOLUTELY hate having a unicorn horn.

He was not thrilled with the flowers I clipped to his mane or the bright blue biothane tack or the turquoise saddle seat. Okay It’s me who is not too keen on the seat and horses don’t see color that well.


Waiting Our Turn

As I told someone recently, I am one of those aged women who try to relive the childhood we wish we had with glittery tack.

If I can’t be a good rider, maybe I can distract myself with sparkles?

There is another versatility next weekend and a trail competition…. Best to stick with the riding lessons. Better for Jigs, better for me.

Birthday Post

January 12, 2018

I will be 60 tomorrow.

A milestone.

Tomorrow is my birthday

I don’t feel 60.

I still feel like that horse crazy girl the other kids made fun of- the girl who galloped through the playground pretending to be a wild horse.

I still feel like the horse crazy girl whose parents wouldn’t, couldn’t understand.

I still feel like the horse crazy girl who cried for weeks because her parents chose a swimming pool over horse camp.

I still feel like the horse crazy girl who fell off the borrowed, nasty pony mare every day, without loosing faith. The mare who taught persistence and how to ride bareback because there was no saddle.

I still feel like the horse crazy girl who loved an appaloosa yearling- love a first sight in the bowels of a horse trader’s barn. The little horse who saved my life.

I still feel like the horse crazy girl who had to accept college over heart’s desire.

me and freedom-2

I still feel like the horse crazy middle-aged girl who loved Pepperoni. Who bought Pepperoni even though he had uveitis . Pepper who taught me everything- Pepper who taught me that love means letting go.

riding with caleb May 2008 017


I still feel like the middle-aged grieving girl who walked around a corner that fateful February and found the red pony- the red pony with the “here I am, what took you so long” look.

I still feel like the middle-aged woman who was stunned to win a saddle because her red pony really was the best horse that day- we were just having fun.

24831354_1675553325835180_3288200004806443111_o (1)

I still feel like the middle-aged woman who stresses about how work and family keep her from the red pony.  The woman who dropped 26 pounds for her pony’s sake.

I am the one day from 60-year-old woman whose red pony threw half a flake of hay on her, as if to share his dinner- birthday eve gift.

I will always be that horse crazy girl….

August Again

August 22, 2015

“When August burning low / Arise this spectral Canticle..”  – Emily Dickinson

It is the end of what I suspect is my last vacation of the year, maybe the last vacation for a long time…. Who knows what the future holds?

I took the week thinking it would be cooler Mid-August, but it is New England, after all, and it has been as hot, if not hotter, than the week I took in July.  Heat limited ride time- I admit, I’m a wimp.  Heat bothers me. When we did work, it was to master obstacles hung with shiny, metallic fringe in prep for a versatility in two weeks.

We did sneak in a 10 miler in Ware. It was cool in the woods and we returned before the full force of sun hit.

Ware, MA August 2015

I was exhausted and slept for hours.  I rarely nap and suspect root cause was a bit of heat exhaustion.

We also lost a $70 boot in the mud- another sign of strange August weather. Usually by now the mud is long forgotten. Not that Jigs needs boots. His feet are so hard that abscesses pop out his coronary.

This morning I am sitting at the car dealer getting an oil change and two new tires.  It’s a luxury to be able to sit and not stress about having to “be somewhere.”  Isn’t it odd I’m enjoying a trip to the car dealer?

It feels like most of my life has been lived in a constant state of stressing about where I have to be, what I have to do. It’s exhausting. And yet, I have no right to complain. I know others have not had the opportunities I have and I am grateful for my life.

So, if there is a little too much heat on my week off, I won’t complain; I’m just happy for any time with the red pony.  And I suspect he is grateful the chance to grab a bit of grass when he thinks I am not paying attention.

Grass Diver

Heart Human

June 6, 2015

We all fall. It’s an inevitable part of riding.

Last night warming up for a versatility run Jigs spooked and I went off.  He spooked at, of all things, a board in a tire rut in the grass.  The rut must have seemed like a canyon to him. The board?  Who knows what he thought.

We were trotting- a medium trot, not fast, not slow. He stopped short and jumped back. It wasn’t even a massive spook, but I tilted sideward and off I went.

I’ve ridden out bigger spooks.  I should have stayed on.

Surprised by the ground, I mentally checked for injuries. Fat does have a purpose.  I got up and walked it off.  Jigs stood there stunned.  He didn’t move or try to run away, despite all the lush green grass.

This has happened before. He stays by me when I fall and seems confused I am not still on him.

The first time I went off we were cantering up the trail and he jumped to to the side. I didn’t go with him.  He stopped and looked down at me. “What you doing down there?”  He was extra careful with me for months.

I got back on last night and did our two runs before going home. I was a bit sore and distracted. We didn’t do well time wise, but he did the obstacles without fuss.

When I fell off Pepper, he didn’t stay by me.  One time he ran back to the barn causing everyone to go out and look for me. They found me walking back, muttering to myself.  When I broke my ankle Pepper ran off to a patch of grass and began eating.  At least he didn’t go back to the barn.



On his back or not, Pepper wasn’t interest in humans.

Not Jigs. Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing but Jigs genuinely seems upset when I fall off. He is my heart horse. A part of me suspects I’m is heart human.

Versatility - wagon wheel.

Versatility – wagon wheel.

Snow Globe

February 25, 2015










The world spins;

snow falls.

Lungs flush,

steam puff,

odorless, dry.

No birds sing,

shake wings

in the low sky.

A distant plow

beeps back

red glow.

The world spins,

snow falls:


The Gate

March 30, 2014

Saturday Jigs and I trotted over the obstacles and even jumped a few times. (He still thinks the object of the cavaletti game is to STEP on them.  In his mind he’s 100%.)

And yes, we cantered a tiny bit.

The gate was one of the reasons for attending the clinic so we spent time on it.  We do almost okay if we approach the gate and side pass to the right.  No so much to the left. My right leg is weak and he takes advantage, ignoring and running through my hands.

I got help from one of the clinicians.  He quickly saw my issue.  I was trying to side pass instead of moving his hind end over. Baby steps before running. Amazing at how clear things become if you break them down into smaller bites.

We’ve got homework this week.  Rather than focus on the gate, we’ll practice moving haunches to the right- the gate only after that is perfected.

He also noticed I favor turning to the left.  “Turn right, not left.”

More to work on… Jigs and I can do this.

Learning to be patient

Learning to be patient

Over Thinking

February 23, 2014


Warm.  Yesterday. Today. Yeah.

It’s now the big snow melt.  Icy mud.  But who cares?  Spring.  It will be here in less than a month!

And it is lighter at end of day. Not that I get the benefit with my work  schedule.  But spring and, soon to follow, summer are coming.

Yesterday was the first installment in a Versatility Clinic up in Orange, MA. Too much ice and snow to warm up, but Jigs behaved himself, sort of.

I learned that I have huge holes in a few areas (like stopping, cantering, side passing….), but was pleasantly surprised at how well Jigs did. We stood, all four feet atop a pedestal- twice, but somewhat by accident. Wish we had a photo  but when we tried to do it on purpose in front of the camera, I fell apart. The clinician said –“you do better when you’re not thinking about it.”

That’s what happened at the Eastern Regional Ride. My brain got in the way. Jigs ran through my hands and the obstacles.  The year before we were having fun and my brain was shut off.

So why does the brain interfere with feel? Instead of being in the moment, I get thinking about what’s next and cue too early, too late, too stiff, or not at all.

This is really hard, but I suspect really worth it.


October 25, 2012

Trust is a noun of confidence, reliability, and strength. Trust is a verb of belief and hope.

Trust does not come easy. Sometimes it is a two lane highway- if you don’t look both ways, you might get run over by a Mac truck.

There is an element of faith in trust.

Trust can be earned.

My sorrel pony trusts me.  He trusted me enough last weekend to do ALL 10 obstacle the first time. He got a blue ribbon for this and two additional blue ribbons by the end of the day.

Trust is a gift.

It is reciprocal. I trust the sorrel too- we are partners.

That, too, is a gift!

Of Baths, and Fly Masks, and Warm Spring Days

April 14, 2012


We have another off property ride tomorrow and I want us to look our best. I even cleaned up the saddle.  Gotta love Spring Cleaning at the Barn.

When Jigs was relatively dry I turned him out into the pasture. Normally he is patient and allows me to put on his fly mask but today he was off to drop and roll in the dirt before I had a chance.

I trailed after him with the mask and a sigh. So much for riding a clean horse tomorrow.

“Don’t bother to get up on my account Jigs,” I said as I approached the horse who was now upside down, feet skyward.

He didn’t.

Mask now on, he continued his after bath roll.

Jigs enjoys a good roll. He lets everyone know with grunts of pleasure and frequent farts.

He got up, shook off the excess dirt, and walked over to Lucky.

Lucky is a relatively new horse in the herd. He’s a sorrel like Jigs but bigger and more timid.  He also likes to play.

Jigs seldom plays.  He nipped at Lucky’s cheek vigorously.

“Take it off.”

Lucky nipped back.

“TAKE IT OFF” Jigs insisted with bared teeth.

They jousted with their mouths until Lucky finally grabbed the Velcro and the mask was off.

Jig immediately turned and walked off to graze.

My grandson was watching from the gate.

“Jigs is pretty smart,” he observed.

I nodded in agreement as I let myself back into the pasture to get the mask that was now on the ground.

“Too smart, if you asked me.”

Smarter than an average………

April 1, 2012

Two weeks ago it was in the 70s- near 80 on one day.  The herd has almost shed out.

Then the cold returned.

And unfortunately, spits of snow from above.

So out came the blanket Friday night.

Jigs H-A-T-E-S the blanket.

(In fairness to me, I only make him wear it when he is going to be out in the wet.)

Saturday morning was rainy and cold. I was running late and didn’t get to the barn to take off his blanket until afternoon.

There was Jigs, no blanket.

Hmmm….  Stormy still had his.  Spotty too.  And Willow. And Elle.  And Angel.


Worried Jigs had managed to rip it off in the field, I checked the stall door.

It was folded neatly over the blanket hanger.

Later I received the following email:



So the brilliant creature that Jigs is, he is able to ask to be naked.


Carolyn asked me to toss the crew out, if it cleared up. The boys had to wait for the compost loading to be finished. Jigs spent this time talking. A lot!! He was louder the closer I was. I looked in on him in case something was wrong.


All was OK, but he would touch his chin to his chest then talk a ton. When I clearly did not understand what he was saying, he resorted to biting his blanket /talking and repeating this multiple times.

When I said, do you want your blanket off, I swear he nodded. When he was naked, he let out a big sigh and licked my hand.


How frustrated he must be that humans are so slow! lol