Posted tagged ‘responsible horsemanship’

Driving Lessons

August 24, 2014

A year ago tomorrow, Dad died. It feels as if it was yesterday.  Zac was playing in his first Football game.  I was going to watch a half then catch some of  Caleb’s game. I never made it.

I got the call that he had been unresponsive at the nursing home and was being rushed to the ER. I left my daughter and her family to meet my mother at the hospital.  He was gone before I got there.

It was unreal.

Yesterday I went to the Marshfield Fair to compete in the annual versatility. The course was hard and riders were taking the full six minutes only to get the time disqualification. Jigs and I did okay in our first two rounds but not perfect.  It was a long day; I scratched our third round and went home.  There had been only one perfect round when I left.  I have no idea who won and I don’t care. Jigs did okay, that was enough.  Our score was 85 and we finished well under the time limit.

We returned to the barn late afternoon.  As I was backing my car out, I misjudged and cut to wide, nicking the corner of my friend’s stock trailer. The steel trailer was scratched, but okay;  my seven month old car, not so okay. There’s damage to the rear panels that will require body work.

I felt horrible- upset I hit my friend’s trailer, upset my new car was damaged.  All the while, Dad was in my mind.

The boys had their first games of the year at the same time today. I decided not to go to any of them. Instead, Jigs and I went on a trail ride. It’s what I do when my mind is unsettled. It was a lovely late August day, grapes and drying leaves.

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After the ride I visited Dad at Saint Luke’s Cemetery.  There were flowers and the usual Patriot’s flag. A day short of a year and I am still in shock.

As I was leaving, a long buried memory surfaced. I was 15 ½ and preparing for the driving test.  Dad took me to the cemetery to practice turning and backing up. He got out of the car, grabbed a beer from the six pack he had brought, threw me the keys, and walked up the hill. “You drive by yourself. These corners are pretty tight.  I’ll watch from up here. Don’t hit anything,” he said over his shoulder.

I suspect he’s still watching me. He must have had a good laugh at my poor turning yesterday.

Miss you Joe.

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Of Troll Bridges and Poison Apples

October 28, 2013

Sunday Jigs and I competed in our second ACTHA ride of the year. It was well worth the 4:30 am wake up and long drive to Bear Brook State Park in New Hampshire. (Thanks Carolyn for driving.)

Jigs was antsy when we arrived, spooking at nothing and breaking Angel’s lead rope.  Not a good start to the day.  I gave up the idea of riding in costume, even though we’d ridden in costume the weekend before.  I’m too old to play dress up anyway.

The troll bridge was obstacle one. You had to walk calmly to the middle of the bridge, which was over running water, stop, pause 5 seconds, and then calmly walk off.

Carolyn and Angel performed perfectly.

“Walk on Jigs… WALK, not trot… Whoa.”

Jigs, “What rimes with whoa? NO, not stopping.”

“WHOA,” I spun him around mid bridge and we stop stopped.

Sheepishly I smiled at the judge, “didn’t say which direction we needed to stop.”

Jigs and I scrambled off the bridge.

Obstacle two was a Halloween version of the Cowboy Curtain.  No issues.

The Poison Apple was the third obstacle. Jig did not get the Poison part.

The challenge was to accept the POISON apple from the Judge’s assistant, and drop it in a cauldron filled with water – a variant of the Frog Pond. You had 45 seconds to complete the challenge.

Jigs decided he wanted to EAT the POISON apple, nearly biting the assistant in the process. She told him no.

Disappointed, he noticed the small pumpkin marking the start line. A slightly larger POISON apple?  He tried to eat it.  A vision of him picking it up and dropping it in the cauldron floated in front of my eyes with the thought we would be disqualified.  Might have been worth it to see the Judge’s assistance reaction.

“It’s not an apple Jigs.”

We walked to the cauldron and I dropped the apple into it.  Jigs sighed. Lost opportunity.

“It was poison anyway Jigs,” I consoled him.

The rest of the ride went well.  It was a trick or treat ride with treats for horse and rider after each obstacle.  Jigs liked that part, though he thought he should get my treat as well. Jigs discovered it’s fun to pull a skeleton behind us… weighs less than a Christmas tree.

We did good enough for 4th place. Not bad although we didn’t score as well as the Spring ride (when we didn’t ribbon).  We have some stuff to work on…. especially stopping in the middle of bridges over running water.  Perhaps a trip to Douglas State Forest is in the near future…

Or maybe there really was a troll under the bridge and Jigs knew it.

Here he is enjoying lunch:

Jigs eating Lunch

“I’m starving…”