Jan. 5th, 2007 09:32 am
pyrsandponies: (Default)
This was in my inbox this morning - author unkown according to the send trail I'm on ;)


A Simple Statement: "I Ride"

I ride.

That seems like such a simple statement.

However, as many women who ride know, it is really a complicated matter. It has to do with power and empowerment. Being able to do things you might have once considered out of reach or ability. I have considered this as I shovel manure, fill water barrels in the cold rain, wait for the vet/farrier/electrician/hay delivery, change a tire on a horse trailer by the side of the freeway, or cool a horse out before getting down to the business of drinking a cold beer after a long ride.

The time, the money, the effort it takes, to ride calls for dedication. At least I call it dedication. Both my ex-husbands call it 'the sickness." It's a sickness I've had since I was a small girl bouncing my model horses and dreaming of the day I would ride a real horse. Most of the women I ride with understand the meaning of 'the sickness'. It's not a sport. It's not a hobby. It's what we do and, in some ways, who we are as women and human beings.

I ride.

I hook up my trailer and load my gelding. I haul to some trailhead somewhere, unload, saddle, whistle up my dog and I ride. I breathe in the air, watch the sunlight filter through the trees and savor the movement of my horse. My shoulders relax. A smile rides my sunscreen smeared face. I pull my ball cap down and let the real world fade into the tracks my horse leaves in the dust.

Time slows. Flying insects buzz loudly, looking like fairies. My gelding flicks his ears and moves down the trail. I can smell his sweat and it is perfume to my senses. Time slows. The rhythm of the walk and the movement of the leaves become my focus. My saddle creaks, and the leather rein in my hand softens with the warmth.

I consider the simple statement; I ride.

I think of all I do because I ride. Climb granite slabs, wade into a freezing lake, race a friend through the Manzanita all the while laughing and feeling my heart in my chest. Other days, just the act of mounting and dismounting can be a real accomplishment. Still I ride, no matter how tired or how much my seat bones or any of the numerous horse-related injuries hurt.

I ride.
And I feel better for doing so.

The beauty I've seen because I ride amazes me. I've ridden out to find lakes that remain, for the most part, unseen. Caves dark and cold, beside rivers full and rolling, are the scenes I see in my dreams. The Granite Stairway at Echo Summit, bald eagles on the wing, and bobcats on the prowl add to the empowerment and joy in my heart.

I think of the people, mostly women, I've met. I consider how competent they all are. Not a weenie amongst the bunch. We haul 40-ft rigs, we back into tight spaces without clipping a tree. We set up camp. Tend the horses. We cook and keep safe. We understand and love our companions, the horse. We respect each other and those we encounter on the trail. We know that if you are out there riding, you also shovel, fill, wait and doctor. Your hands are a little rough, and you travel without makeup or hair gel. You do without in order to afford the 'sickness,' and probably, when you were a small girl, you bounced a model horse while you dreamed of riding a real one.

I ride.
pyrsandponies: (Default)
Run walk! True, honest to God four beat, elevation up front, head nodding from the poll, back engaged, teeth clicking RUN WALK.

Only four or five strides because then I thought "OMG YES!" and it was gone ;) BUT WOW!


(And then we got off to rescue the pulled wool seat cover from Indy).

8 days in a row of riding =me in HEAVEN. and my GOD that horse!!
pyrsandponies: (JJ huh)
So tonight, little Miss JJ was in the back paddock area near the pipe pen stalls to have her evening grain. When she was done, I asked her to leave the stall, which she did. and then she promptly walked to the back of the paddock area by another stall. It was exactly the opposite direction from the gate I was asking her to go through.

So I took a longe whip with a long lash, and used the lash like a lead shank around her neck to invite her to the gate. We do this routinely.

Tonight she repeatedely said NO! don't WANNA! with very rude ears and looks, and with showing me the ends of her that should not be pointed my direction. For a few mins I just quietly worked with her. But she was clear: she did NOT want to leave. She wanted to stay in HER ROOM! (she often spends the night there with extra hay and nice clean shavings to sleep in. But with the weather so cold, she's been spending the nights out with everyone else, because the water trough has a deicer in it - her buckets in the back would freeze quickly).

So, I figured rather than having a big fight, she could stay. I carefully secured all three stalls so she couldn't go in, and I got her a couple of buckets of water. There was no special treats. She could stay, but it wasn't going to be the taj mahal tonight! ;).

And i went to aikido (which was great! I even managed to enjoy a class of only teenagers and the instructor!!). When I got home, I noticed the JJ was asking very politely, but also VERY CLEARLY to please be let out.

Which was when I realized I couldn't see any other horses -- I'd forgotten to shut the gate, and they had all decided to head out and help themselves to more hay. Poor JJ couldn't join them!! ;)

I brought the others in, locked the gate, and let the more than ready to leave JJ out. She apologized PROFUSELY for her earlier fit of pique and was deeply disappointed she too couldn't go out in the field....

I think the lesson was learned!!

ETA: Hey, [ profile] dancinghorse -- what did Oreo think of his blanky?! and are you frozen yet?

My Joy

Dec. 1st, 2006 03:07 pm
pyrsandponies: (Joy)
Joy was all kinds of awesome for the farrier!!

I was SO. DAMN. PROUD. and she was terribly sweet, too. Joy used to be SUCH a trauma to shoe. And now look :D.
pyrsandponies: (JJ huh)
I read this this morning, and thought some of you might be interested, too. I think this applies equally well to aikido, for the record ;)-- and after my frustrations with aikido of late, the passage is timely.

I have come to believe that talent is not a thing, but a process. […] This suggests that our ability is determined not so much by what we have got, but by what we do with what we have got, and this is the province of the mind.

Riders very often blame their bodies for problems which really belong in the mind – or at least in the body/mind system. Only in our language can we separate the two; in reality there is no clear distinction – attitudes affect postures, and postures affect attitudes. All of us have the physiological equipment required for riding. What counts is how we use it, and efficient use of a less well designed body beats inefficient use of a perfectly shaped one. […] Suddenly I realized that I was not alone in my despair or my frustration: I now know that practically all riders share this inevitable part of learning, and I regard frustration very positively, because without it – in a situation where everything is already perfect – there is little motivation for new learning. Problems arise, however, when frustration involves so much discontent with oneself, and so much envy of others, that it blocks the learning process altogether: in their inextricable way, body and mind together produce the problem.

I now believe that talent is a certain way of approaching learning, so that you perceive what happens between you and the horse, discover what works and what does not, and choose to do the things which work. […] When learning is effective it develops your confidence, your perceptions, your speed and timing: it brings out the best in you.

- Mary Wanless. Ride With Your Mind: A Right Brain Approach to Riding. pp.1-2
pyrsandponies: (JJ huh)
But do any of you (or your friends) have a copy of _Equine Color Genetics_ by P. Spoonenburg that you want to sell? My dear friend D needs a copy for a breed group she is working with, and is looking for a used copy (it can be the old edition ;). And I know that SOME of you have horse libraries like mine ;).
pyrsandponies: (JJ huh)
I've been reevaluating how I feed salt and minerals to my horses. and so, I was wondering what you all do?
pyrsandponies: (Joy)
[ profile] kerlin and I have been reminiscing today. About Walter Farley's Black Stallion series of books. And, as I was looking up some info related to our conversation, I discovered The Black Stallion Literacy Project

The first grade program instills the love of reading in first grade students by combining a live horse experience with the reading of Walter Farley's books Little Black, A Pony and Little Black Goes to the Circus.

On the opening day of the program, children are taken outside when the horses arrive. After a brief introduction to the horses, the students are invited to come and pet the horse. As soon as they have touched the horse, they are given their hard covered book. They are told that when they learn to read the book, they will be taken on a field trip to spend a morning with several horses.

In approximately 30 days, they are then taken for their "second touch", where they will learn about feeding, grooming, shoeing and tacking horses. During this trip, each student will have the opportunity to read to one of the horses, reinforcing the pride in their accomplishment. Students will then receive a copy of Little Black Goes to the Circus after returning from their field trip.


The fourth grade program promotes the joy of reading while improving comprehension. It is well documented that the improvement from basic reading to the ability to read a "chapter book" is one of the most important academic transitions in a child's education. To motivate the students to make this step, the Black Stallion Literacy Project has developed a comprehensive program involving the novel The Black Stallion, the Frances Ford Coppola movie The Black Stallion, a live equitheater performance by Arabian Nights Dinner Attraction featuring Walter Farley's Black Stallion and a curriculum that meets National and State teaching standards.

A 6'6" stand-up is provided for each class on opening day. The children are then given their copies of The Black Stallion, Hoof Notes, a description and history of the Arabian horse and a letter to parents explaining the program and encouraging their participation. Teachers are encouraged to make the BSLP a multi-disciplinary project, including reading, art, writing and even music in their classroom.

Fourth grade teachers receive the BSLP supplemental curriculum and teaching exercises at teacher workshops. This supplemental curriculum includes a book study guide for all chapters in the book, a list of horse related resources, a screen play for a portion of the movie, a story board and a host of ideas that are all adapted to fit state standards.

The program concludes with a field trip to the Arabian Nights performance, but the students' enthusiasm for reading continues long past the program. Participating schools report not only an increase in enthusiasm for required reading, but also a dramatic increase in the use of school library books.

After each program, the BSLP executive assigned to the project meets with the LEAD team to assess the program and improve the implementation for the following year.

Cool, eh?

And, I also ran across this quotation from Walter Farley:

You ought to pursue your hobby . . . not become a lawyer so you can spend your spare time pursuing your hobby.

That is indeed something worth thinking about ;)
pyrsandponies: (Default)
Classic Equine Saddle Bag

That looks like it would protect on the plane....

Alas, chances my local saddle shop will have it? SLIM. And I can't get stuff shipped here by tomorrow ;).

Dreaming is fun though!!

ETA Hmmmm. We have wheely duffle bags. ANd foam. Hmmmm! I bet I could jury rig something.... Hmmm. May still go to tack shop at lunch though, just in case... *EvilGrin*

Ohhh!! ETA 2 there is a wheely version!! WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT!! SOOOO COOL!! I tend to take my saddle with me, you know. And not always my horse. It's TOTALLY justified lust. ;).
pyrsandponies: (JJ huh)
So, I am headed back to Calgary this weekend to work on the Sooper Seekrit Horsey Project.

And I need to take my saddle. I am flying.

Do any of you have any experience/suggestions for packing a dressage saddle for a flight?
pyrsandponies: (puppy!)
So last night, when I got home, the propane truck was there to fill the tank that powers the stove. I was all *meep* because he was DAMNED close to the carport. Turns out he had already hit (and likely broken) the gatepost on the horses' paddock. *eyeroll*

This morning, I put Indy and Cassie in a newish field (with the lamb-ewes) for the day. Indy went in first, and Cassie was guarding the bone she has been savoring all week -- the bone that Indy WANTS. Cassie allowed me to put the bone in the field for her, and went in herself. She then went over to bury the bone in the loose dirt, barking at Indy if the usurper dared get too close. Indy watched her bury it.

I hear much barking and kerfuffle as Indy kept trying to sneak around after the bone. And even when Indy was NOT there, Cassie would stand there barking (unusual for her) telling the world this was HER bone and stay away. Whenever Cassie moved away, Indy would sneak around, and Cassie would go TEARING towardsd her barking the "GET OUT YOU LITTLE SNOT!" bark. At one point, I looked, and a very put-upon Cassie was sitting directly on top of the dirt pile where her bone was buried..... :D.

By the time I left for work, Indy was chewing on the bone....

And driving into work, when I was still coming down the hill from our house, I was rather surprised to see a cow grazing on someone's front lawn. Then I went another 1/2 km down the road (where the road up to our house joins with a forest service road, which provides access for logging, recreation and cattle grazing land. And there was a stock trailer parked on the side of the road. And two old style cowboys on their horses, pushing their small herd of cattle down the road ;D. I opened my window and hollered to them that they had one more up the road (I'm sure they knew, but I like to be neighborly!) and one guy hollered back "Ok thanks!" -- though he was clearly focused on what he was doing.

But I figured it was the perfect start to the day. Horses and cowboys, oh my!

But these cowboys were not NEARLY so GUH as the *SWOON* guy in the Rambo ad I linked to yesterday, sadly ;).
pyrsandponies: (Joy)
The squee heard round the world (or at least in Arizona.)

First off, at lunch, I went to Chapters. where I bought Shattered Dance by our very own [ profile] dancinghorse -- the Final book in a WONDERFUL trilogy (even if the second one WAS a middle ;P) about fat white ponies who dance ;) And war. And changing times. And stuff. There might be some romance, too. Trust me, this is worth the read!

When I went to Chapters, the book, which had only JUST been released, was NOT on the shelf, but the computer said they had 5 copies. So I found a clerk, a lovely woman who turns out to be a retired librarian. She looked it up on the computer, saw it only arrived on the 19th and figured it would be on a cart somewhere. And she helped me find it. And was rather bemused by my barely contained excitement! (I LOVE my inner child, and since she rarely visits anymore, well....;). And then she put the rest of the copies on the shelf where they BELONG!

And then, second off, I come back after lunch and follow [ profile] lostvoice's link to Where I try one of my random "wonder if this is out on DVD yet?" searches. To find out that YES! The first season of McLeod's Daughters (a GREAT aussie tv show -- strong women, cute men, and HORSES! what more could a girl want?) is coming out -- FINALLY on Region 1 DVD. YAY! YAY! YAY! It's in the preorder stage but *SQUEE*.

And with that, I return you to your regular programming. And hand out ear plugs for those who find the squeeage a bit loud!
pyrsandponies: (Joy)
I have promised [ profile] kerlin a post about Spruce Meadows last weekend. I haven't made it yet.

So, to provide a place holder, I will provide a link. Because one of my first actions at Spruce Meadows, under the guidance of the lovely Dianne, was to purchase the most WONDERFUL shirt, from a company called Miss Filly

From their website:
Miss Filly Manifesto

We believe that horses transform mind, body + spirit. Miss Filly donates a portion of our sales to support girls and women through initiatives with horses. Joy, freedom, grace, trust and confidence are special gifts from horses that help us realize our dreams.

At Miss Filly, our passion is horses.

Central to the Miss Filly Manifesto is the belief that horses transform mind, body and spirit. ‘Fillyanthropy’ and supporting our community is a key raison d’etre of the business. As a result, Miss Filly donates a portion of its sales to support girls and women through initiatives with horses in our community.

As you might guess, this is a company I could get behind. The owner ran the booth at Spruce Meadows (which really? Is like the horsey shoppers wet dream. [ profile] foalstory, you'd think you'd died and gone to heaven -- with an exchange benefit and EVERYTHING!;), and she was VERY. VERY. Cool.

For myself, I bought this shirt - called Miss Trinity which I love for its fit (as I was leaving the bathroom with it on, having gone to use the mirror there to confirm I liked it, a woman said to me "nice figure!" -- in that instant, the shirt was SOLD ;) and for it's "mind, body, spirit" message. and for the fillies, of course! And the shirt was EXCELLENT to have when a CHILLY storm blew in later that day (During our TWH part of the Showtime breed demos, of course! Go Bill for keeping a reasonably green 7 year old gelding from blowing up in SCARY wind and blowing banners and rain and people running out of the stands!). I LOVE that shirt. the quality is AMAZING (American apparel makes the shirts).

And on Sunday, I took [ profile] electricland to the booth, knowing full well she'd choose something to buy. And she did. And I swooped in and paid for it, as her birthday present (I'm not gonna be late this year! YAY! ). She selected Miss Sheridan which is understated and elegant and suitable for urban wear, while being unmistakeable Filly at the same time! And which makes Ell look quite stunning, to boot! (speaking of which, you MUST see Miss Bootylicious shown in the baby style because OMGSOCUTE! :).

So ya, check out their site. View the catalogue. Dream! Even buy stuff! You won't regret it!
pyrsandponies: (Default)
C got a great shot of Shaughns, and since my darling girl has been short shrifted in the "photos on LJ" department, I shall share it:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

She looks every inch the Ayrab here, eh?
pyrsandponies: (Joy)
Those of you who are horsey, and probably those of you who read this journal regularly, will understand that horses have Personality aside: I am borrowing [ profile] dancinghorse's use of the wayward capital for emphasis. Many thanks for the effective technique ;). . And that is Good.

Geldings have personality, but fewer hormones, so they tend to be the even keel members of the horse world. They also tend to be the lowest on the totem pole if they live with mares (and stallions cannot abide by geldings. They are a Threat.) So in our little horse society, Beau has opinions, but he is fairly used to being told (by the girls) that they don't count, and he is also exceptionally kind and well meaning and he listens to his humans, mostly. Though occasionally he hides in the field at dusk, hoping that we shall not find him and he can graze all night ;).

Mares are often disparaged in the horse world for having excess personality, and strong opinions. I find this terrible, and I am one of those people who LOVES mares. I love the ways they think (or occasionally DON'T think when there is a !!BOY!! nearby and they are in season -- and the !!BOY!! needn't be intact to be intersting ;) and I love working with their intelligence and their opinions. Even when it can be infuriating, it is rewarding. And in the horse world, Mares Rule. Stallions are allowed to believe they head the herd, but the head mare really runs the show. And stallions are only allowed to do their thing at the favor of the mare -- if she says "yes, please, sex today," he can have his fun, and she may have hers. If he pushes the issue, he may well wind up missing some rather crucial parts. At the very least, he'll be nursing a hurt pride and likely some bruises. No really does mean no in equine circles ;).

Ayrabs are, as a breed, known for being smart (and often flighty/hot/spooky but this is, I believe not excessively true -- my walkers are WAY more so that way than my arab). And Opinionated.

This means that an Ayrab Mare who leads the herd is an opinionate thing. And also a wonderful amazing partner when you work with her, rather than trying to tell her what to do. I joke in semi-seriousness that with darling Shaughns, we have a 60-40 split on who is leading. And who gets to be majority leader on any given day just depends.

But of late, Shaughns has been feeling Neglected. And so, she is More Opinionated than normal about things.

Viz yesterday at lunch. I go to take her out to the field (she'd had hay in in the AM, and stayed in when everyone else went out because she is a little rotund these days). I intended to put her in a field with Beau, a field we access by passing through the field that Juno and Joy were in.

Shaughns happily accompanied me into the first field. And then PLANTED HER FEET when I asked her to continue onto the second field. No. she said. I'll stay here she said. Take my halter off NOW she said. I am NOT Moving. I am bigger than you and more persistent and NO.

15 mins later, much patience, one moment of complete and utter frustration (never ANY use with Shaughns, who looked at me bemusedly as she knows that even when I am at wits end I would never hurt her or get too strong in my requests), a stroll down the driveway and several different attempted paths, she deigned to accept that the field was the only place she would be allowed to eat. (The one rule was she could stand there, but her head could not drop to the grass). And she accompanied me to the field.

But ai yai yai! There are days I wonder WHY I love my mares so. Geldings are lovely. But I will always love mares. *eyeroll* There is just something so rewarding about them. Even when they are CLEARLY looking at you and saying hey, twit, I am WAY smarter than you. Quit being so silly ;) We'll do this my way or not at all
pyrsandponies: (JJ huh)
I ate some mint Oreos at lunch. And now I feel all guilty ;)


pyrsandponies: (Default)

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