Saturday, October 31, 2009

My tongue unleashed!

Unlike Mel, I haven't been prewriting posts for this glorious moment. I've just been thinking about what I'd write when I was through with the pictures.

Come to think of it, I think I owe you one more day of pictures. Well, consider this an interlude.

After Champ died, everything horse related got SO HARD. Champ was supposed to live to be at least 30, and I was going to ride him (lightly, as needed) til he was maybe 28, so I had over 10 years to get Dixie to calm down and work with me. She was definitely my second string horse - I didn't know enough to work with her, and I wasn't a good enough rider to teach her anything, and she needed time to get used to normal humans asking normal things of her.

Then in March it all changed.

All of a sudden I had one nutty horse and hole in my heart, and I still really needed to ride. So I rode. I still liked Dixie - she still made me feel like the Queen of the World, like she did when I bought her - but every time I got on her I missed my Champ. All summer, riding was a chore - a thing I needed to do, for my sanity and to make her a better horse. I read and thought and analyzed what I was doing and how she was responding, and I cried as I drove out to see her. Less and less as time went on, but still.

Then we moved out here, and I didn't get to see her at all for six weeks, and it was horrible, not having a horse. Then she was here, but she was in quarantine, so she needed to be ridden lightly ever day, just so she could get out of her tiny paddock, so I rode. And she appreciated it. She was glad to see me and she gradually, almost imperceptibly, started reacting properly to my cues. And I gradually started to figure her out.

Dixie is a headstrong mare, and I am a somewhat timid rider, and we clash all the time. But I am getting better and better at realizing when she's being a bitch versus when she's scared to do what I ask. When she's scared, I let her stand still and think about things. When she's a bitch, I am a bigger bitch.

Sometimes we can steer around the individual sagebrush clumps with a leg and a neck rein. Sometimes she blows me off and crashes through them. Sometimes I keep my hands quiet, but alive, and ask her to pay attention to me. Sometimes it's like I'm drowning and the reins are my lifeline, and I haul on them in panic. But very gradually, over the last two months, it's been more of the former and less of the latter.

But more importantly, I am delighted to see my mare. And she's happy to see me - ears up, alert, sticks her nose in the halter, stands quietly while I groom and saddle her. We are, finally, a team. Sometimes we hate each other and grind to a halt, but after a few minutes of both of us practicing deep breathing, we come back together.

I found my joy again. I hope you have your joy, which is probably your horse. And if you've lost it, I hope you find it again soon.


  1. AAaaaaaaah. Thanks, Funder. I needed that.

    And yes, it HAS been a long road for Fiddle and me--she was "spoiled" by previous owners and had some very bitchy behaviors (bite/kick/balk) that had to be eradicated..and all the time, I was missing Story.

    Your post is lovely.

  2. Oh Funder, I really appreciate your transparency.I have always been sore-hearted for you, loosing Champ. He was the best and now your Little mare...she is actually teaching you-about you! Like mine does. When you make the connection, like you have, it sings sweetly!
    I am a bit teary for the simulartiies too. While I have Christmas trees to crash through vs Sage brush/ the mind set of why, is the same.

    All was very good to read and I do look forward to riding with you here always~

    Smiling for/with you my friend!!!

  3. sometimes you have to mourn; then you can move on into the present. Someday you will do the same for Dixie; making way for the new horse in your life. That is just the way it works.

  4. What an incredibly sweet and uplifting post! Thanks fo writing it. I wish you and dixie many many years of joy ahead...


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