Sunday, May 16, 2010
Friday night the kids and I drove to the barn, where they played tag with Billie Jean, the mini donkey, and Perzy and Stan, the dogs, while I rode. At one point Sug and I were being chased down the arena long side by 2 kids, 2 dogs and a donkey -- was hysterical to watch in the arena mirrors! Thank heaven's for my rock-solid, sweet tempered mare! She wasn't thrilled with these shenanigans, as she hates the donkey, but she's a good sport and willing to put up with most anything if the kids or I ask her. Our friend Christine joined my barn pal Libby and I for a few post-ride gab session, and the big kids watched the smaller kids play. Libby, a most stupendous Adopted Auntie if there ever was one, taught the kids her pencil trick and we all giggled as the kids tried to master that, and then the loon call (easier said than done, and very messy!)
Saturday was back to the barn for the kids and I. They played commando in the fields with their animal pals; I had a group lesson with Libby and her horse Stratego. Considering I've only taken a few lessons since Sug's been back in action, it went fairly well. We actually jumped - YIPPEE!!!! Sug was sooooooooo excited to be jumping again (she fancies herself quite the Grand Prix mare) that she cavorted around the ring, bucking and snorting ans snaking her head. The jumping-on-a-circle-and-counting-strides exercise became more of a Jump-one-two-WHOA-four-EASY, Sug-six-giggle-WHOA, Sugar- Jump - Dangit horse!- two - for the love of Pete, mare! - four - five- HORSE!!!
I couldn't get mad at her, as she was clearly just so excited to have a job again after almost a year in her stall recuperating, and I was just so happy she was feeling so good. Not to mention, I was also pretty darn happy I stayed on through all her shenanigans. I'm at the age where involuntary dismounts and unwanted contact with terra firma hurt significantly more than they used to and require more than band-aids to fix.
This morning was fairly ideal, as mornings go. I got up, made myself a double strength latte and headed down to the barn (by myself!) for some quality time with Sug and a trail ride with a barn buddy. We took our girls all over God's Half Acre, and the mares loved it (except for the scary bridges, clearly there were mare eating trolls underneath those bridges.) We trotted down dirt roads and cantered through fields in the manner I remembered doing when I was a kid. A couple of times I was tempted to hop off and take her playing in some of the watering holes we passed. Only the knowledge that I might not be able to get back in the saddle and the fact that she HATES the water prevented me.
When we got back I gave her a bit of a spa treatment -- clipped her muzzle and ears and gave her a massage. One of my good friends is an equine massage therapist, and has shown me some ways to help relieve Sug's stress points. I love spending that kind of time with my mare, taking care of her, learning what makes her feel good, and just bonding with her.
All of this had me thinking about how lucky I am. I have two beautiful children that share my love of horses and animals with me. We have such special times at the barn together, something I hope holds us in good stead during the turbulent teen times to come. I have wonderful friends that I've met through my horse and the barns that I've been at, friends who have become family. I have a wonderful friend in my mare, a creature whose love I treasure and strive to continue to deserve. My love of horses has created a wonderful extended family for me and my family.
All in all, you can't get much better than that.