Saturday, November 28, 2009


The weather outside is frightful! For the desert anyway. It's windy, overcast, and cold. Too windy and cold to ride anyway. So I have time to catch the blog up on what's been going on.

I moved my horses from the only commercial self care boarding facility in 29 Palms to the base stables. Not a bad facility but it's further from my off-base home. Why did I move further away from home? Oh the usual, the neighbors taught my super gregarious thoroughbred how to rear AT PEOPLE for food and the BO sprayed my horses with water when it was hot (but just a sprinkle- enough to make them water phobic but not enough to actually cool them off). Hello! Call ME if you think my horse is having problems with heat!

So the TB went to live with his other mom in a herd of 5 on 5 acres. I still get to see him and ride him but not like having him with me. I never thought I'd miss him as much as I do. But he's sane again and is in the best living situation for him. The two mustangs went through 10 days of quarrantine in the busiest environment I could imagine for them. Helicopters flying low, a paintball field, gaggles of running shouting men, big trucks driving by and garbage dumpsters emptied not 15 feet from their corrals. By the end of it, Phantom didn't bother to even get up when the dumpster was emptied.

So I pretty much let my horses sit until October. With turn out of course but I had this stupid problem with overheating everytime I tried to do anything outside.

So I decide to get on Shazaam in the roundpen and all the work I've put in on Moose is paying off- NO FEAR! Just walk-trot but more for his lack of muscle than my fear. I need to recondition my poor horses now. Then the following week, I got on Phantom in the arena and I don't know why I expected him to act like a butthead but he was a perfect gentleman! Walk-trot and no taking off even though I gave him the room to do so if he really wanted to.

So what changed about the horses? Nothing. I'm the change.

I still feel more confident riding full seat in a western saddle BUT Jessica helped me with half seat from another perspective (with my body) and it feels better. Skill increases confidence which leads to improved skill and then greater confidence. Sounds stupid I guess but positive cycles that feed themselves are things we should actively seek. We find negative self-feeding cycles all the time.

Part of the problem with feeling confident in half seat is that I'm (ahem) pushing maximum density... I couldn't snow-ski in my current condition either. I'd likely tear an ACL trying. So the extra 10 lbs I gained over the summer because I've been sitting on the sofa HAS to go.

Of course new public stable = new drama. It's enough to make me physically ill though. There are people there that have to be stirring crap all the time. I'm seriously looking for horse property to rent. I'm ready to handle my horses on my own without fear- even when Shazaam is exploding and even when Phantom is being belligerant- I'm good.

There are still firsts I have to go though. I have to ride my horses on the trail and I have to be able to take them places and ride them before I feel like I'm closer to 100% rehabbed of my fear but I KNOW how to go about it now. I have a safe path to get there.

I'll be taking Phantom to a local show n go in January. I'll update our progress here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


There are fundamental changes happening within me. Still. As my confidence slowly builds my horses change. There is virtually no spook left in Shazaam, no mischief left in Phantom (unless he sits without work too long) and Maximus still tests me every time I handle him and ride him but his tantrums under saddle are humorous: kicking out when asked to go forward. He gives up soon enough. I have him walking out and trotting out nicely and with life in his body.

I owe this to 2 people. A wonderful woman who rides 4th level dressage and has been kind enough to put me on her schoolmaster bareback and help me with some centered riding techniques. It's helped me understand the balance point of my older and very different body as well as how my body relates to the horse and how my individual muscles affect each other. This has been huge for me and I think that with this I can go on to tackle the next hurdle-whatever that may be. All I had was 4 rides with her. I pray that someday there can be more.

Then there is Jessica my regular riding instructor. She has been riding Maximus for me so that he gets the experience he needs. Of my 3 horses, he has the least amount of experience working under saddle so this time with Jessica is crucial for him. He has never been as coordinated or athletic as the mustangs are so I'm grateful that she is putting time on him. He will be SUCH a nice horse by the time he is 8 years old.

So they know. The horses know if there is one drop of fear or insecurity in you and this has no place in human/horse interactions. Of course not that we should not seek to preserve ourselves but that we should accept that there is risk but much less risk if we practice safety and feel confident.

How easy is that, right? One thing is to know it in your mind and another to know it and live it in your body. I'm getting there. Slowly but surely.