Saturday, October 18, 2008

I'm behind again!

So here you go, two days in one.

Yesterday after work I was in a great mood, so I dashed home and grabbed the dog, then out to the field before dark. Champ was Not Pleased to see me and Not Thrilled about being ridden but I was having none of his lip. We headed off into the trails. My plan was to head back to the third big lake, trotting to keep the light, then turn around and head back to the truck at whatever pace seemed appropriate. Well, it didn't happen.

We got out onto the main trails and I realized that I could definitely hear some damn redneck shooting his damn pistol nearby. I rode to the second large lake and I was pretty sure the shooting was coming from directly ahead of us. Maybe it was just over our property line, on somebody else's property, but maybe it was ON our property. Either way, I don't relish being shot as a deer in the dusk, so I reluctantly turned around. Champ was extremely disgusted with me when I made him trot the circular trails on the last, unused pasture over and over again.

However! I got pretty comfortable hanging on to the horse with my thighs. I could feel when I was doing it wrong and getting pushed away from the horse, and when I was doing it right and just barely touching down before the next trot stride tossed me an inch off the saddle. Pretty cool!

Then today I got up and cleaned the house and cooked a lot. Then I tried to go to Petco to buy cat food, but I wanted to go to the new Petco in Collierville. It's on a major east-west road. I couldn't find the stupid Petco at all (because the road doglegs a lot), and Collierville creeps me out anyway, so I got frustrated and headed home. Then I decided it was stupid to go home even though I was in a horrible sulky mood and I went to the field and rode Dixie.

It was awesome. I put my grumpiness out of mind and very calmly caught her and tacked her up. I took her in the round pen and just hung out with her, with absolutely NO "energy." Wandered along both sides of her, leaned on her saddle while she circled excitedly and when she'd quit circling I'd let up, and then she was standing still and I swung up and she just stood there. No freaking out racking off full speed. Just stood, ears back "listening", kinda nervous but not really. We walked one slow circle around the round pen, then I got off and hung out some more and got back on. My friend (Poppy's new owner) opened the gate and we did just a minimal amount of riding around the field. Maybe 10 minutes total.

I feel like it's really important at this stage to slowly get her in shape and to VERY slowly get her brain in shape. Riding isn't always a lot of terror and work for her. It's hard to believe I've had her almost a year. Sometimes (most of the time) I feel like I haven't made any progress at all with this wildass mare, but days like today I realize it's a lot of plateaus with moments of amazing breakthrough. I didn't really do anything different from what I usually do; she just trusted me and stood still and it all worked.

Horses are awesome. I realize I say that at the end of every third post so I will now backtrack and tell yall why Collierville freaks me out!

Collierville is like a modern-day Mayberry. It's almost all white people who vote Republican and go to church and live in 3000-7000 sq. ft. houses and mom doesn't work cause she's so busy taking the kids to private school and soccer. I wanted to go to that Petco cause the other one is in Southaven, which is a postmodern suburban wasteland of 7-lane highly congested streets with lights every 200 yards. But that would've been better than the truly bizarre feeling of alienation I got in C-ville. I drove through there in my dirty truck with a saddle in the backseat and a happy Lab in the front seat, and it was like I was from another planet.

Also my tags went out at the end of September and I haven't renewed them yet cause I can't decide if I want to get another year in Tennessee for $150 or pay whoknowshowmuch in Mississippi. So I'm constantly worried that the ever-vigilant C-ville cops are going to pull me over for tags. But I'm white in a late-model (dirty) truck so they've left me alone so far.

Tomorrow I'm going to the Petco in Southaven.

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