Sunday, March 15, 2015

Reflections- Riding Solo

Luna has been out on a trial with a new family for exactly one week now. So far, they love her. When I know for sure they are keeping her I will share more of the story. It has been an interesting experience, and one I was not quite prepared for emotionally.

My Boy got his teeth floated and I was VERY happy that the vet said he looked amazing for his age! He definitely had some sharp points but in general his gums and teeth are very healthy. No skin lesions or melanomas in his nether regions and he didn't even need a sheath clean! And his eyes looked good. So happy to get this report.

After the vet appointment, we moved My Boy home from the boarding stable and it was nearly two weeks until I rode him- pretty sad considering I was at the barn nearly every day to see him while he was there. I have decided that having to make the additional effort to get away and go to the barn for "horse time" was far easier than just pulling the horse out of his paddock in my backyard!

The Nurtural bitless bridle I ordered finally arrived! After a fitting session and some groundwork work in it, I determined was good in it to try a ride (I will share more about the bridle in another post.) We saddled up and headed up the hill towards the trails on our property. Solo.

{My Boy in his new gorgeous leather bitless bridle from Nurtural. Ranch Boy Jr. got to sit on and hold the reins for a photo opp. He was actually very excited to see me on a horse!}

Let me give you some background. I have always been afraid to ride on the trails alone. What if I got bucked off and a bear ate me? I always felt "safety in numbers." But when the weather started getting sunny while boarding, I just had to venture out on the lovely, long dirt road in the woods that the stable was located on. There wasn't always someone around to ride with. We hand walked the route a few times first. On our first ride away from the barn, My Boy eagerly walked out. We had awesome rides, just the two of us. In fact, the one group ride we did with 6 other horses was the worst ride we had the whole two months. He jigged, pranced, and was generally an anxious mess the whole time (as was I.)

We had such a great ride yesterday, back here at home. We explored the woodsy area, kind of blazing little trails through the carpet of damp pine needles, in search of antler sheds. Our neighbor had recently found a huge elk shed on their property and I was determined to do the same. My eyes were constantly scanning the ground and the serious number of broken branches (which resemble antlers) for the golden ticket. My Boy just moseyed his way through it all. At one point we flushed a dove, and it's partner 10 seconds later. I jumped about two inches out of my saddle at the flutter of wings. My Boy didn't flinch. Another time we ran into a small herd of 12 deer who watched us, and My Boy watched them then walked right towards them when I asked him to.

{Look closely, you'll see little deer bums!}

Don't get me wrong- I can ride My Boy with groups, we've done groups of 2 to 20. But there is something so wonderfully peaceful about just the two of us on the trail. We have to rely on each other for confidence- there are no other horse, human, or herd dynamics to deal with. It helps that I am lucky I have a calm horse that doesn't spook at things. The most he does is raise his head to look at something- maybe startle "in place" with a splaying of the feet- but nothing that I can't handle or work through. He doesn't have a pasture mate to leave and worry about right now. I can't really put my finger on it but we are just both so relaxed- the most relaxed I might have ever been on this horse. Riding alone, facing what we might out there on the trail together, has instilled a confidence in me that I have needed being in the saddle so sporadically much of the past two years while pregnant and raising a young infant.

I am so happy to have horses back in my life in this way. I know now that no matter what, other children coming along, the continued change in development of being a parent as kids age and get busier, these things will change my life, but they can not change the passion I have for connecting with horses. That time is my escape, my therapy, my peaceful relationship with nature, I NEED it in my life. When things get busy, I have to remember that just an extra few minutes at feeding time petting my horse or mucking his paddock or just watching him while he eats- those simple, minute moments can be the bridge that connect me. I wish I had figured out all of this earlier. But we can only move forward, and now I know the path I want to take. My lifestyle will be highly centered around horses due to the nature of the family business, so it's not like horses can ever leave my life again. Rather, it's how I chose to have them be in my life, the commitment and effort that I make, that will prove to be most rewarding and beneficial to the horses I own.

All philosophical, deep thoughts aside, back to reality. It is a dreary wet day, and chilly! I am so glad I made the effort to ride yesterday when the clouds parted, the wind picked up, and we got a bit of sunshine because it does not look like that will be happening today! I put My Boy's blanket on because he has no shelter right now.  I have him in a smaller paddock while I attempt to let the big pasture rejuvenate and grow some grass. It was pretty damaged over the wet winter from the two horses being in it. I'm going to make a cup of spiced chai and read a new book I got at the library- Horse As Teacher- The Path to Authenticity.

"The authors come from a variety of horse backgrounds, but there is a common thread- they all see the simple truth that these magnificent animals, throught their presence and grace, can raise our consciousness, peel back the layers to uncover our true selves, and show us how to shine with brilliance."

Hope your weekends are cozy and fabulous!

Ranch Girl


C-ingspots said...

So good to hear from you! I totally agree about riding alone, just human and horse. This is the best way to really develop a deep, trusting relationship, I think. It's been a while since I've been able to ride on my own because I don't exactly have a trusty steed yet...but we're working on it. Just today, one of the people I had contacted in hopes of working with Eagle and me, called! She's very busy now, but will have time around May end...I am so excited!! My confidence needs bolstering, and the only way to get past that is to ride, ride, ride. Your little boy has gotten so big!!! And it looks like you have beautiful places to ride!! I hope one day (hopefully soon) to live in the central part of our state where the riding looks similar to yours. The book sounds good - enjoy! Looking forward to hearing more updates about everything. :)

fernvalley01 said...

I love riding alone, haven't done a lot of it in the past few years but just you, your horse and the sounds are the most peaceful thing I can think of

50+ Horses said...

Loved this Post! You nailed my feelings and thoughts perfectly.

It's not all about "the ride". Spending time with your horse is also special.

I believe riding alone creates a special bond between the rider and the horse, allowing them to both grow.

Kara said...

I love riding alone too! It's a different relationship. I wanted to let you know I commented on your comment on my blog.