Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Time Away & Back Again

I hadn't mentioned it on here yet, mostly because I've been waiting to scan in a fantastic picture that I know is somewhere in the family archives, but I lost my grandmother two weeks ago and it's had a larger impact on my family than deaths usually do.(that sounds weird, but it's true)

I don't really need to delve into it here, but my grandmother was the matriarch of our family and probably responsible for any of my relatives accomplishing much of anything.  She was a take charge sort of gal who didn't relish in anyone putting any constraints or leashes on her.  She blazed her own trail and while I could fill a volume with her contributions to Seattle, among her bad-ass accomplishments that I feel capture her spirit were enrolling at the UW at the age of 16, moving to NYC on her own in order to work for the Red Cross and live in a boarding house where she managed to befriend the entire art scene (notably Peggy Guggenheim), she survived polio (with 3 kids under 5 chasing her wheelchair..), returned for a masters degree in her 40's and started the Seattle PBS station, built numerous charitable organizations in our community, and (of course) was always the consummate horse woman, having been raised at the local hunt club.

I'll give her a better post when I get that damn photo that I have stuck in my mind.

Anyone's passing should be accompanied by the appropriate level of grief, consideration, thought and growth, but losing my Dad's mom leaves a larger hole in my heart and weight on my mind.  Since my family doesn't have much of a church, we decided to escape to our home in Idaho to stare at the river, look at the pretty mountains and just spend some time with each other over games of cards and good bottles of wine.

I gotta say, it wasn't the most relaxing trip (family getaways rarely are), but it was really nice to log some together time and allow our hearts and head to think about our loss, and also how we move forward.

However, the time away meant no ponies for me - which has the unintended consequence of removing my best "de-stressor" as well as the closest thing to a church that I've got.  It's difficult for me to decompress and digest my daily world (friends, relationships, family, work) without my time in the saddle (or the cross ties)...

Regardless, I appreciated the time with the fam, but had worse barn-withdrawals than I'm used to.  Maybe it was the extra emotional load..

We got back late Sunday, so I scampered out to the barn first thing Monday and wrapped my arms around the mare.  I gotta say, she looks AMAZING.  Her toes are freshly trimmed (and I think look great), her coat is nicely shed out and shiny, and I swear that her topline filled in juuuuuust a little more in my absence.  I totally failed to take pictures of her feet or her neck, but I'll get some updated shots this week.

Prairie was a good girl in the crossties (in her rope halter) and didn't even seem to mind that I pulled her out of her sunny paddock when no one else was making their horse work (I still don't really understand how a barn of 40 horses is so empty so much of the time..).

I hadn't ridden outside in a while so we headed for the big ring and Prairie bravely marched around it (scary jump corner and all).  S managed to ride the mare nearly every day in my absence, and man - could I tell.

Prairie was balancing herself a bit more and her transitions (oh, her transitions!) were right there.  I was so excited that I just kept doing them and reveling in how light she was in the bridle and how soft she was (especially downward...).  The magic all died when another rider finally showed up (holiday weekend anyone!?) and politely asked if she could set some jumps.  I saw no problem with it, but apparently Prairie was feeling less accommodating as she "offered" a lovely canter half pass when the standards started moving around the arena.  The bright red wings were particularly offensive and resulted in total-loss-of-brainpower for about 30 seconds every time the girl or her cute dad relocated one. 

I was sad that we lost focus, but it ended up being a good opportunity.  Prairie had to stick her big nose on every offending object and we proceeded to spend the rest of the ride weaving in and out of the jumps, trotting past flower boxes, over ground poles and way-way-waaaay too close to that awful red wing oxer.

In good news, she was "offering Passage."

In bad news we ended the ride with the mare really heavy in my hand and me totally not following through with any of my "ah-ha's" from last week. 

Today I head out for some bodywork.  The little dog gets her treatment and so does Prairie.  Tomorrow I'll pack in a ride, then Thursday I get to GO SEE PIA!!!!!  I haven't seen the lady since our field trip to Eugene, so I'm anxious to plant kisses all over her nose.

Also, we're having a strategy session with Cowboy Man, vet and myself to come up with a realistic plan for Pia and decide when exactly I'll bring her home.  Since... I really want to bring her home.

Whew.  I think that's most of what's happened.  Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend!


  1. I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother. She sounds like she was an amazing person. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  2. Oh I'm so sorry about your grandmother. What an incredible woman! It's so hard to lose the matriarch, I know to well. Thank goodness for our ponies. Take care~

  3. Losing the matriarch in the family is as tough as it gets. I'm looking forward to seeing the photo. Time spent at the lake sounds so lovely though, and it's good that you got to decompress a little.

  4. So sorry for your loss!
    I can definitely relate. My 23 year old brother was killed in an accident on May 12th. He left behind a wife, a 5 month old baby, and another baby on the way. It's been a tough road grieving this loss and I imagine it has been for you as well.

  5. I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother. She sounds like she was an amazing woman. :)

    Don't feel bad for ending the session on Prairie the way you did. You were desensitizing, so she shouldn't have to be focusing on dressage at the same time. We have to break things down into small steps for them so they can be successful. :)


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