Posted tagged ‘aging’

Long Winter’s Night

December 24, 2015

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The days are getting longer. It will be a month before we really notice, but I have faith this is true. It has been too dark these past weeks. The sun has gone missing.

I rarely get to the barn these days. Even the weekends have been consumed with commitments outside of my control. And when I do get there, riding is been limited as my foot continues to heal. Or maybe I’m avoiding something.

I worry about Jigs and what this funk I’m in means for our relationship. If I’m honest with myself, it is like a temporary separation. I feel guilty I’ve been so preoccupied with non-horse issues.

When I do visit, he seems glad to see me, but truly, it is the treats in the back of my car he desires.  A gelding of few words, he’s never been overly affectionate.  He’s impatient with grooming, not naughty, but I get the feeling he just tolerates it. In the 7 years we’ve been together, I’ve never found his “sweet spot.”

Most horses have one- even Pepper. His lips would quiver in ecstasy when I scratched the side of his withers. This from the horse that hated all things human. It was the only time I felt he liked me.

But Jigs tries to be above all this. Unless food is involved, it is all the same to him. Or maybe not. The other day we were in the ring playing at ground work and unbeknownst to me, my glove fell out of my pocket. The gelding of few words didn’t miss it. He picked it up and gave it to me. I was stunned.

He really is a good boy. I just need to press through this dark and be patient for the sun to return.

 

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

Equine Mind Reader

August 8, 2015

Something strange freaky happened today while Jigs and I were finishing a 9 mile ride.  We were heading home by way of  a rocky trail and 800 feet of highway.  I walk on the road with Jigs because there is too much traffic. I just don’t bounce like I used to.

I was wishing for a trail to cut through the woods that would avoid the power line and the 800 feet of cars whizzing by.  A few years back we found a footpath to an abandoned archeological dig but it was not passable. We tried bushwhacking a few times to find a shortcut from the site back to the barn, but never found one.

I no sooner let go of the thought when Jigs turned into the woods. Huh? Why not humor him? We had time. Sure enough, he found the old dig site and a TRAIL leading to the train tracks that pass near the pine grove trails and the barn.

I was stunned…..   Is Jigs able to read my mind???  Now wouldn’t that be the ultimate partnership?

We rode beside the tracks and out to the pine grove, avoiding the steep, rocky, power line and the highway.  It was a bit unnerving because freight trains use the tracks. There was enough room to avoid them, but thankfully, there were none.

It’s not a way I would go again because of the trains.  While the horses see and hear them frequently, I’d rather not take any chances.

It was a strange ending to an otherwise great ride….how the heck did that red pony know what I was thinking…….?  If he can read my mind, why can’t we side pass stage left????

In th Woods

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.

Trick Training

May 23, 2015

The hard winter was followed by a difficult spring.  My insecurities didn’t help, but I am healthy, alive, and looking ahead to summer.  Looking ahead…

As we age, options narrow. We get regret.  One day we wake  and realize we are not young in a world that prizes only youth. The face in the mirror is not the face in our mind; it is, unfortunately, the face others see.

Scavenger  Hunt 2015

Steady Jigs kept me grounded through all the drama and fear.  We’ve attended a few rides and versatilities. We’ve ridden in the ring and on the trail.

AND we’ve been practicing the “HAT TRICK.” I drop the baseball cap, he picks it up and hands it to me. We’ve been working this for almost 2 years on the ground. This week, he finally handed it to me on his back.  It wasn’t an accident, he did it 4 times and again last night when the ring was crowded with other horses!

I don’t know what the future will bring. I can’t control what happens around me, only my response to it. But I do know, even those of us who are not young, whose faces are lined and sagging, whose bodies are thicker, slower, can still teach the world a trick or two.

2015

January 1, 2015

New Year’s Day. It’s the day I take the ribbons off Jig’s stall door. He had a decent 2014. We managed to get a few first and second places at different small venues. More importantly, we had fun.

For most people this is the time for resolutions and goals for the coming year. While there are some things I will continue to work on (cantering), my real goals are to be kind and have fun. I think if I can manage to these two things, 2015 will be fine.

We can’t control the events that happen to us, nor can we foresee them. What we can control is how we react to the chaos that happens around us and how we treat others. My hope is that I do not forget that in 2015.

Happy New Year!

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Second Place

August 17, 2014

Jigs and I have been practicing on cantering between obstacles.  Today we managed to pick up the canter from a standstill with little effort. Two years ago I would never have imagined we could do that.

We’ve been attending local versatilities in preparation for two upcoming fairs.  We never finish first but usually ribbon.  Our times are too slow for speed events and I’m okay with that.

A few weekends ago Jigs and I were in first place through three rounds.

The last rider was fast but her horse was not cooperating and my time stood.  She decided to pay for another round since a trophy was at stake.

Her horse went through the first half of the course beautifully and it looked like they were going to beat our time by at least 45 seconds.  One of the obstacles was to switch balls from cones, but she came into it too fast and dropped the ball.  It was an led ball that flashed blue when it it the ground.

Our time held.

The rider paid for another round. I sighed, “let’s go untack Jigs, I think I have some carrots.”

We finished second.

It happened again today.  We finished second.

For me it is not about ribbons or a $6 trophy; it is about getting better.

We don’t compete against others; we compete against ourselves.  Our goal today was to canter between obstacles and we did.

I’m proud of my guy!  Like proverbial wine, we are getting better with age, albeit a little slower than everyone else!

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Mid Summer Blues

July 27, 2014

Summer has been awkward at best- full of kids, work, and not as much riding as I would like-different from the past few years. Circumstances change. People change. Routines change.  A subtext of disappointment is running in the background like a virus.

And there is MUCH work to do. I have only two weeks to clean up brush and pressure wash the house.  It should be a day job but I still worry I won’t get it done.  I’m a bit lazy.

Over the past 30 years I’ve become comfortable being alone.  I don’t envy others’ relationship dramas. I prefer solitude like the introvert I am. But when there are projects like this to be completed, I can feel a bit lost. It is times like this when I think it would be nice to have someone to help figure these things out.  So I end up procrastinating.

It’s funny; I’m not like this at work.  I’m obsessive about getting things done. As a student, I completed papers and assignments days early.

I’ve never pressure washed a house before. So like the younger generation, I turned to How to Videos on YouTube. It seems easy…..

We’ll see.

My grandsons have used YouTube how to videos to mixed results. There are several skateboards in the cellar in various states of disarray.

Maybe I have time to hire someone….

Persistence

June 18, 2014

Persistence  sometimes pays off. Jigs and I spent the last two months practicing the rope gate and the pedestal in preparation for the NEECA Versatility.  The result was we now do both well.

We nailed the gate Saturday!  One of the judges noticed a hesitation.  She was right, we did hesitate, but we did it and our scores were as high as they could be with me riding two handed!

No pedestal, bummer.  We were so ready.

Our performance was good enough to win the Novice Division!  Whoo Hooo!

NEECA Versatility 6-14-14

NEECA Versatility 6-14-14

I am really proud of my little red pony!

Judges’ feedback was my scores would have been higher if I neck reined and rode one handed.

This was the first competition where my horsemanship skills were judged. I faired a bit better than I expected.  Yes, we did miss the obstacle with the lead changes.  We got one lead, not the other.  My fault, not Jigs.’ I didn’t pick up the canter quickly enough because I was not committed to cantering at all. I’m just excited that we did canter!

I have two videos of the performance and I can see where we need to work. That’s what I like about Versatility, there is always something new to work on.

So I’m at a crossroad. Should Jigs and I work on neck reining? I’m worried I’ll have to move from my snaffle to a shank bit. Not sure I want to do that. One trainer referred to it as moving to a grown up western bit. Will that change our relationship? Will it be too much pressure on us both?

He clearly enjoys these events. So do I. But do I want to do the really (especially for this old woman) hard stuff to get to another level?

Last night Jigs and I rode down to the water so he could play. He enjoys hacking the trails too.

Maybe, just maybe, we can do both.