Friday's trip to see the mare was nothing short of spectacular. Summer has finally
arrived in the PNW and forecasts were for sunny skies and temps in the low 80's. Add to that the fun of flying with Dad behind the controls and a day at the barn?? Heaven...
Dad is about as neurotic with his pre-flight routine as I am double and triple checking the trailer before heading down the road. I suppose you can't be too careful with flying machines, but my brain does start to get impatient after 30 minutes of inspecting bolts and wiggling the wings...
|literally running a hand over the entire plane|
Hard to complain though, when all the effort is just to get me to the mare for a few precious hours :)
I did have a brief moment of insane self awareness as I stared at my (chilly) ankles in the morning sun...
I'm not working.
I'm standing in my Pikeurs and boat shoes, waiting for a plane
to take me to my horse
I mean, my coffee had gotten a little cold, but really, on a scale of one to awesome
. I was pretty much pinning the needle over on awesome...
|cold ankles, but not complaining|
I thought the flight would be pretty calm and I'd get some quality father/daughter chat time in, but as it turns out, there were more little cessnas in the sky than bugs, so Dad put me to work reading charts and monitoring the air traffic around us. I did however, manage to snap a couple of pictures. I seriously cannot convey how flipping gorgeous Washington State is when the sun decides to actually shine.
|better view than I get from the highway!|
|final approach to the landing strip (and mountains)|
Cowboy Man sent one of his helpers to come fetch us, so I got a nice update on Miss P on the short car ride over to the farm. She's still grumpy, her ribs still hurt, but
she's stopped biting people for no reason (well done mare!).... There's been a bit of arena work along with her trail rides, but P is still spending most of her time off property and learning to "expand her mind."
Mostly a good report I think.
The best part of my day might have been right when we got there and I hopped out of the car to immediately go running off toward the herd and find my pony. I called her name once, got a huge ear prick, (slight nicker) and immediate scampering trot to come get a scratch and some kisses. Now, P's interest in me might be because I haven't been the one making her work hard these last few months, but really, nothing validates the time and energy we pour into these animals like a little, teeny, tiny bit of recognition. (thanks P).
After my little love fest, I grabbed Miss Mare and brought her up to the barn.
Seriously, cutest face ever. She continues to look calmer and more relaxed each time we're out there.
Her feet look great, her coat looks great, she's a little skinny, but hey - the girl is running around non stop now, so I guess that's to be expected.
Since we decided to head out of the trail, we quickly tacked up Miss P, and Aspen, who is actually one of Dr. Finn's horses who she has spent the last year plus rehabbing. I should have taken pictures of the guy, but he is C U T E. big old Dutch horse who was imported for ungodly amounts of $$ as a Dressage prospect. I guess he was pretty good (got to 4th and PSG) before his brain shut down and he got reaaaallly angry about being in a stall all the time. Now he's back to his natural self and is a supremely impressive mover. Lucky me to get to work him out on the trail!!
P seemed good, she was standing nicely at her hitching post and tolerated a lot more currying/pressure on her ribs and girth area than she had previously with me. Though, when the saddle came out she still put her best bitch-face on and tried to eat the thing with her grain-mush-vitamin covered mouth.
|Still clearly not a fan of saddles...|
Once we are all cinched up, it was trailer time! Every bone in my pony-club body freaks out a little at the thought of hauling sans shipping wraps and in full tack. Not to mention in a rather small (though open) stock trailer without being tied at all. (whaaaa!? I might have been stripped of my rating and thrown out if I ever tried something like that).
But I consoled myself with repetitions that pony-club is not the only way... it's not the only way, it's not the only way.... And the thought that we were literally hauling 5 minutes down the road to a park. (breathe).
P was slightly suspicious of the new digs, but hopped right in and even turned for her classic trailer pose, which might be one of my all time FAVORITE moves that she has.
|"look! I got in!"|
God damn she's cute. She even helped out by turning herself around by the time we got to the park.
|ready to play...|
Anyway, the ride was great, I tried not to obsess too much about the INSANE GROUND COVERING GAITS of Mr. Dutch Boy, and focus a bit on P and Cowboy Man, but it was hard. P was a good girl (mostly), though she did try to just stop
It was a gorgeous ride with lots of hills, trees, and a few pretty open fields. P was a champ and even surprised us by being really super brave when reassured about walking by scary, scary objects (dark shadows, trees, squirrels..). She also navigated some fallen logs like a champ (which I guess were absolutely a no-go the lat time she saw them) and managed to keep her wits about her when a massive snake scooted across the trail in front of her.
All in all a really good, quiet, successful ride. She was a queen, and I'm feeling great about how much happier she is looking under saddle.
Back at the ranch, we chatted a bit about next steps and what's on the horizon. Cowboy Man still feels like P has progress to make in the herd. She's still not a super social member (she doesn't have a buddy to groom with yet) and even though she follows the group around the property now, she still hangs to the outside and isn't put in the pen with them at night yet.
Ideally, she wouldn't even start her "training" until she was totally integrated, but we opted to not wait for her remedial social skills to totally develop. Also in an ideal world, we'd be waiting for "all" of her bodywork issues to be worked out before putting her back to work in any meaningful way. But it's not an ideal world, so we're trying to run all three processes simultaneously, just bearing in mind her issues and sensitivities when considering how much to push her.
Big fun new exciting goal?
a Mountain Trail clinic being held down in Eugene Oregon in the middle of October.
If you're not familiar with Mountain Trail competitions, essentially they set up an obstacle course (with hills, logs, ditches, curtains, water, bridges, waterfalls, etc) and you ride the "course" letting your horse figure out each puzzle and navigate each question. It's sorta like cross country, but much... much... slower. Also there are things like opening and closing gates.
I guess you're scored on how smoothly and calmly your horse gets through each puzzle. The ideal ride being a nice combination of the rider guiding the horse, and the horse picking it's way through the course. It sounds neat, and it sounds like a great mental exercise for the mare. If she's gaining confidence and really locking in, I think we'll haul down for a few days of clinics and a practice show at the end of the weekend.
Here's a cute explanation of the discipline
that i like, mostly because it shows Fjords doing it! (adorable)
Even if we don't make it to this clinic in October, I really like the concept and I think it could be a really fun outing in the Spring. Who's with me!?
Finally, after an AWESOME lunch of burgers (from the farm's own beef), it was time to head back to the airport, and skadittle back home.
but honestly, what a fabulous day. Good time with Dad, gorgeous flights, and a cute, cute mare.
|Seriously gorgeous scenery...|