Sunday, September 22, 2013

Curious? Yes. Brave? No.

Last night as Brett, Richard and I were leaving for dinner the sun briefly broke through the clouds.

The rain started up again later in the evening, but for a moment we had magical light.  I walked under the trees and by the streams to see how the property shed the water that had fallen steadily all day.  This property doesn't shed water; it drinks it.  I could feel the ground under my feet, under the oak leaves and under the grass, sighing as it gulped the water into its parched throat.

Back at the porch, I noticed a rainbow lifting into the dark sky behind the barn.

Brett who rarely never gets cold didn't see the need, but Richard and I out-voted him and lit a fire in the wood stove.

The storm moved out overnight, leaving snow on the Sierra mountain peaks and a sun-drenched, but cold, fall morning in Pleasant Valley.

The arena had drained well, despite the .70 inches of rain, so I grabbed Winston's halter and went to the oak pasture to get him.  He had other things in mind.

Winston reluctantly roused himself from his nap and I tacked him up.  Brett and Richard were busy moving furniture from the dining room into the garage so we were solo in the arena.  I tacked Winston up without incident and he stood quietly at the mounting block.  We walked past the dogs and he just flipped an ear in their direction.  As we rode next to the donkey pasture, Tuffy galloped up to the fence, bucked and raced in a circle.  Winston didn't care.

As we approached the dressage court, he balked.  He stopped and I felt his energy rise.  I wasn't sure if he was going to race backwards or buck but he sure as heck wasn't going to go forward, to the big dressage court, at the end of the property BY HIMSELF.  Brett called over to me to get off -- he could see the energy I was feeling.  Instead, I asked Brett to take the reins and walk us into the arena.  Winston was good with that... until Brett left.  We were alone -- horrors!  The energy and fear started building underneath me.  Winston is brave when I work with him on the ground but, for some reason, it doesn't translate well when I'm on his back.  I hopped off, grabbed the lunge line, and walked him to the far end of the arena.  He was unsure, but ready to trust me -- honestly, I think it has something to do with him being able to see me.  I worked him pretty hard just in case he was partly thinking he could get out of work.  Winston has a stubborn streak and you cannot win a battle with him.  It isn't my style to battle, but I needed him to trust me, respect me, and obey me.  When he was forward, obedient and relaxed we stopped.  I think we'll be riding with Mufasa a few more times until we try solo again.  He needs to be bored with the arena before we go in there alone.  I'm not interested in being bucked off again. It's not good for our relationship, for trust, or for my back.


  1. Good call - no reason to take chances. I've also found that (contrary to what a lot of people believe) that groundwork has very little carryover to ridden work.

  2. Those photos are so beautiful .
    It is such an uneasy feeling when we are on a horse and feel his energy concentration surpasses his connection to us .
    When the connection and trust is in sync things seem to go so smooth don't they. Finding the right balance to keep that connection is always being fined tuned .

  3. Smart move. Love the color in your first photos...maybe that rain will put some color in your grass.

  4. You read horses well - sometimes we dont have to ride - just establishing the relationship has to be good enough for us to call it a day :)

    Love love the golden colors - beautiful!

  5. Oh, what beautiful light in those photos...just so peaceful and soft. We've been having rain for the last week, and a lot on Sunday. Sure feels like it's too early to be this cool and wet. I do believe that groundwork carries into what we do on their backs. It's just a different perspective for them, but it does help. Glad you got off and had a good session.


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