Posted tagged ‘women’

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.

IMG_20170826_165155877

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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Happy New Year

January 1, 2017

January 1, 2017. New Year’s Day.

2017 is a precipice that I can’t see across or below.

Distracted and without focus I stumbled through the ravine of 2016 with Jigs at my side. Together, we got through, despite my obsessions, despite my fears.

Worried about saddle fit we acquired our 6th in as many years. The last two saddles were too big for us both. This time I went with the western tree with English rigging. It’s much easier to girth up and puts even pressure on both sides. I think this one will work once I figure out the shims.

And because I’m impatient, I purchased the one in stock- the one with a blue suede seat and bling. So not me. But in November I threw caution to the wind and purchased a matching blue headstall. Jigs looks handsome in it. Add an orange pad and reins for hunting season and we are a color rush team. Getting outside of my comfort zone was healthy.

Jigs is 14 this year. We are entering our 8th year together. A long-term relationship takes commitment. We have our disagreements, but always have each other’s back. This fall was especially hard. Commitments kept me from the barn too many nights and some weekends. It is one of the reasons at this point in my life I must board.

Horses don’t care if they are ridden.  They are content if there is food, water, and good pasture. Do they notice when their humans are not around? Based on my own observations, I believe they do. When I’m away for an extended period, I hear barn tales of “naughty” Jigs. A few weeks ago, when I was unable to get to the barn for several days, Jigs let himself out of his stall and helped himself to a bale of hay. He tried to sneak back into his stall when the barn manager arrived. He knew.

And he knows the sound of my car. I often find him waiting for me at the gate while the other horses graze in the back of the field.  He will leave his herd and run to me when I call. And then there are those days when he is sleeping in the field and doesn’t get up when I go to collect him. It is comforting to think I am not considered a threat. I usually sit by and wait for his nap to be over. Why rush when the pasture is full of sun?

So, yes, it is mutual relationship, with give and take. Whatever is over the precipice, I cannot see now, but I am optimistic and full of hope for what is there.

jigs-getting-a-drink

Turkey Trot Myles Standish State Forest

Neato

November 25, 2010
 

Great Pumpkin Ride 2010

Costume for Great Pumpkin Ride Grafton MA

 

Great Pumpkin Ride

The past few weeks, I’ve been getting up early(way too early) to soak Jig’s foot and wrap it before going to work- first the Right; then the Left. Abscesses- painful for Jigs and for me.

It’s been a frustrating Fall. Jigs missed some rides. First, we couldn’t go camping because he tore a muscle, then he missed a couple of trail rides. He recovered, but ended up with abscesses in each of his front hooves a few weeks later.

Jigs missed the rides, but I was able to borrow Neato, an old lesson horse, and went with friends. It was fun. Neato even got to wear the costume I had made for Jigs to wear on the Great Pumpkin Ride. We took third place- Rocky and Bullwinkle. And we had our photo in the paper! How cool is that?

Neato is fairly push button. He’s an old Arab who loves to go. One of the folks at the barn refers to him as Tigger because he’s so bouncy. I can’t sit his trot. It’s like trying to stay still on a giant pogo stick.

Taking another horse on the rides has been good for me. Jigs is not finished, and after judged rides, I often end up frustrated by my inability to get him to do something (like side-passing). I don’t take out my frustration on Jigs; I just feel bad about my own skill gaps and start second guessing if I’m the right partner for him. The marble in my head rolls around if he “had a better rider he could do so much more….it’s not fair to him; he’s such a great horse…Wah wah, poor me.”

But Neato does just about everything you ask him, if you ask him correctly. He’s been good for my confidence. I even tried showing Jigs that Neato can side pass. Jigs was not impressed.

Last weekend Jigs stared us down when he saw me loading Neato in the trailer. Do horses get jealous?

Neato is a neat horse, sorry for the pun. Not everyone enjoys riding him because of his bounce. He also likes to go faster than he should. He’s really quite speedy for a 26 year old. There are some teens who ride him every week. They love to canter him around in circles. He always obliges them with good humor. He even tries to jump for them, but it’s not his thing.

Now Jigs in the ring is a different story. He HATES ring work. My guess is that he finds it boring or just plain, stupid. I can hear him thinking, “What’s the point of going round and round to nowhere?” Things he does well on the trail, he will flat out refuse to do in the ring. It’s a battle to keep him going at the trot, let alone lope all the way. He’s even been known to throw a stubborn crow hop in protest.

The truth is I hate ring work too, so it works for both of us. We only do enough of it to practice the stuff we are learning to do together.

Today Jigs is much better. I took the wraps off and let him out with his herd. He gingerly trotted down the field, stopped, spun around and launched himself at a gallop, ears pinned, at one of his herd mates just to let them know that he was back.

Neato watched him from his paddock, sighed,  and then turned to look at me, as if asking me something.

Today is Thanksgiving and I am really thankful.

Yes, the past few months have been frustrating, but Jigs is a really cool horse. We have lots of rides ahead of us. One day I’ll finally figure out how to tell him to side pass.

And in the past few months I got to know Neato. He made me feel much better about my ability to ride. If Jigs had not had these nagging issues, I would never have gotten to ride him. I’d have still been rolling the marble around inside my skull, ‘not good enough, not good enough.”

I’ve been thinking about the look Neato gave me today. Was he wondering if I will ever ride him again? Was he wondering if I was happy to have my buddy almost healthy again? Or maybe he was just wondering if I had a treat for him?

I’ve become quite fond of Neato. Maybe he senses that. He really is a neat horse. Like many older horses, he still has a lot to give. And more importantly, he wants to give it!

So in addition to being thankful for my family, my grand boys, Jigs, I’m also grateful to Neato for making me feel a little more confident and for not making me feel like a foolish old lady trying to relive her childhood passion.

Pretty Neat-o.