Posted tagged ‘aging gracefully’

Marshfield Fair Horse Versatility

September 1, 2017

We didn’t win the first-place buckle; we didn’t get the red ribbon, but I’m thrilled with our yellow Marshfield Fair Versatility Ribbon. My goal was to finish better than 5th as in past years and we did!

Marshfield Fair Versatility

Marshfield Fair 2017

More exciting was that we were the only horse and rider to accomplish three clear rounds!

The course contained a technical obstacle that required slow and careful steps- a “merry-go-round” with boards set on a barrel with jump cups. The goal was to go all the way around without knocking them down. Navigating it required concentration. Until round 3, it had tripped up the faster and more accomplished riders.

The funny thing is we had practiced a similar setup at home and, every time, Jigs knocked down the cavaletti. I think he thought he would get extra points treats for hitting them.  I was shocked at how careful he was at Marshfield. One of the other riders even complimented me on how “careful” he is with his feet.

Jigs “careful” on his feet? As great a trail pony as he is, he is not the most sure-footed animal at the barn.

I wonder if he knows the difference between, pardon the cliché, “horsing around” in the ring and competition?

Or maybe he understood me when I told him before the first run, “there’s a bag of apples if you go all three runs clear.”  He is a clever hungry pony.

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Got Apples?

Once the better riders figured out they couldn’t rush the merry-go-round, they easily beat my time.  While slow and steady doesn’t win the speed events, it was good enough for a yellow Marshfield Fair Ribbon!

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Lazy Spring Fever

March 27, 2017

What winter? Barely any snow.  Then came March: snow, cold, more snow, cold. Rinse and Repeat.

The calendar tells me it is Spring; but step outside and it is not. The trails are a mix of mud, snow, and more mud. We are staying off so they are not damaged.

Did I mention I hate ring work?

But trotting in circles it is.

Ugg.

At least we got to trailer to an indoor with soft footing and protection from the wind.  More trotting and maybe a few strides of canter.

Me:  “I’m not sure….”

Jigs:  “Come on, you can do it…”

Me:   “Let’s slow down and practice trotting on the outside.”

Jigs:  “Canter?”

Me:   “Not yet”

Jigs:  “Please?”

Me:  “…..okay… canter”

Jigs:  “Do I have to?”

SIGH…..

Bikes and Horses

July 5, 2016

My non-horse friends think I am a pony obsessed lunatic. They could be right. I am rather fond of my pony. He is wonderful. I could not ask for a better partner- equine or human.

Today we loaded up my grandson’s bike into my Jeep, Jigs in the trailer and headed over to Upton State Forest to ride/bike. Upton State has a mix of trails but I figured if we stayed on the gravel roads, my grandson would be able to ride comfortably.

Before we left, I told Jigs, “your job is to keep the boy in front of you.”  He took that literally. It was fine downhill when we had to trot to keep up.  It wasn’t so bad on the flats, well, except for when my grandson did serpentines. Jigs followed right behind him, doing his own serpentines. This horse hates serpentines.

boy and bike

The issue was uphill. What goes down must go up and for bikes, not so easy.  Jigs really wanted to stay behind him.

I did not.

I wanted to lope up the trail.

It took a lot of leg. When Jigs got beside the bike, he broke into a trot again and tried to swing behind the bike. More leg to push him straight. More leg to lope.

We stopped at the top to wait for the boy. The whole time Jigs was watching for him. When the bike came around the bend, Jigs sighed deeply.

boy and bike 5

Riding in March

March 20, 2016

Ah, Spring. Even with the abnormally mild winter, the joy of Spring is real.  Of course there is snow predicted for tomorrow, but March snow doesn’t last and only serves to underscore the delight of sun and warmth.

Saturday was the first off property ride of the year! More to come, I hope. We rode with 10 friends, the largest group we have ever gone out with! The horses were all excited but remained in control. Jigs even wanted to go and we got the BIG trot going.

Jigs and ap 3-19-16

Douglas State Forest March Ride

Yes, my calves are sore, but out again we went today, this time alone. I chattered to Jigs the whole way. One of his ears flipped back to catch my words.  We were two old friends catching up.

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Old friends

The warmth and  light have returned!

Autumn Hiatus

October 28, 2015

The last two months have been frustrating. After our last versatility in August, Jigs came up lame.

Marshfield

First an abscess,

Heel

then a case of white line.

September and October- the best time to ride in New England, and we missed most of it.

Arrggghhh….

Naturally I went through the usual paranoia and obsession. Convinced I had permanently broken Jigs, I drove my vet crazy.

Then, thankfully, he was sound again mid October.

Sunday we got to play dress up and attended our first off property ride in months.

Great Pumpkin Ride 2015

It was a great day, with great friends.

I was psyched! Next up, the Turkey Trot…. love riding around cranberry bogs…..

Sunday was perfect- a costume ride and home in time for the Patriots’ game.  I even had time to finish laundry…

Yep, laundry.

Housework gets you every time.

My ankle rolled as I was carrying an EMPTY clothes basket down the cellar stairs and I fell.

Broken Foot

Broken foot and another 6 week hiatus…….  Jigs probably thinks he hit the lottery…..

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

July 1, 2015

On the Road Again

Okay, I’m no athlete. Jigs can attest to that.  He compensates.

A local trainer I admire recently told a friend he likes Jigs a lot because he is “forgiving.” The best horse for “your friend.”  I took this as an insult wrapped in a compliment.

I’m not a quiet rider. My hips are uneven, I lack body strength and I’m pretty old. I don’t trust enough to relax at the canter. I let the noise of the day get in the way.  And did I mention I feel pretty old?  Too old to ….

My head is full of can’t, won’t, don’t….

But the trainer is right. Jigs is the best horse for me.

Last week we were bareback in the woods and a couple of deer jumped in front of us.  I was not paying attention when Jigs jump sideward.  Of course I slipped, nearly falling off. Jigs didn’t let me fall.  He pushed me back up with his neck.

Yes, Jigs is the best horse for me.