Saturday, March 19, 2011

Even coffee is not motivating me

I'm having very little motivation today. I did get up and take the pitbull jogging down the trail in the woods to the park. She went a little crazy when she saw the creek and wanted to go jump in, but it's too cold for her to be swimming and the creek is really high right now and the current is really strong and the pitbull has only been swimming a couple times so I'm not so confident in her abilities.

I went to play Bunco at a neighbor's house last night and had a lot of fun. So far I still feel very at home here and have not experienced any of that "freak in the middle of the suburbs" feeling that I secretly feared and many of my friends were sure would happen. My neighbor's daughter has a rare disease called FOP which I am still upset about that there would be such a horrible disease. I felt like crying when my friend, K. told me what it was. But I must remember kids are resilient and as long as she is happy that is what is important, and she seems perfectly happy right now at five years old and not at all worried about her future. My neighbor had a little saying on her bathroom mirror that said, "If there was no change there would be no butterflies" which puts things in perspective a little.

My daughter went for her second riding lesson yesterday but it did not go as well as the first. She was very tired from having a sleep-over the night before and I was being very controlling I think while we were tacking up the horse and it just put her in the wrong frame of mind for riding. Plus, Tiny, in her annoying little Shetland Pony way was feeling really hot (for a pony) and took off at a fast trot with my daughter and she started crying about how Tiny wouldn't listen to her and how she couldn't stop her and she wanted to quit out of frustration. So, her instructor walked over to the end of the arena where she was and stood right in Tiny's path and said, "Ok, you know how to stop her. You won't let her run me over, right?" and my daughter stopped her. But she was so frustrated and angry and tired she just started crying really hard and saying she was a terrible rider and couldn't do it. Luckily, her instructor has kids and she turned to the stands where I was sitting and said, "She's exhausted, isn't she?" and I said yes, she hadn't slept enough the night before and her instructor said, "That's what I thought. Let's stop for now and let her rest." She didn't get mad or frustrated herself, she just recognized that she was tired and cranky and out of control of her emotions because of it.

I was instructed to buy her riding gloves because she's holding the reins perfectly but it chafes between her ring and little finger. I've been wanting riding gloves too so our instructor recommended Gift Horse Saddlery since I haven't found any I like at other places I've looked.

I gave my notice yesterday to move Girlfriend over to this new stable at the end of next month. I'm pretty nervous about it and I'm worried that Girl won't be happy, but she's a lot like my daughter - very sensitive and at times anxious - but she does adjust to change really quickly. I'm concerned that Ziggy might seriously freak out for a day or so. He freaks out now if I take her outside to sunbathe and eat some grass and he can't see her. She'll be in a stall next to a Lipazzaner who is as royal and elegant as Girlfriend feels she is. I'm sure it will be fine and since this is such a good place for my daughter to take lessons it would be good to have everyone at the same barn. Plus, I like her teacher and am now going to be her only adult student.

Two of the kids from my old stable are taking lessons there and were taking a double lesson together yesterday when we got there to tack up Tiny for our lesson. I spent some time talking to their parents and it was a little surreal having so many familiar faces at a new barn. There are a lot more younger pre-teen kids there since this instructor starts teaching kids as young as 4 years old, and so far they seem like nice kids. It's just new. New always makes me nervous.

I went for my second lesson with V. the new instructor on Thursday. I woke up at 1am the night before stressing out about having to ride her horse, Rolls again. And I even considered some ways to get out of the lesson. But when I got there it wasn't rainy or windy which helped, and I just straight out told her I was scared of Rolls. But I went out and got him from the pasture anyway. I said it would help if I was alone in the pasture with him and put his halter and all that on myself instead of having her do it and hand him off to me. She agreed and just loomed around on the other side of the fence. I gave him a carrot (hoping to bribe him into being calmer) and was very even and deliberate about my movements and watched him for any signs of being anxious. It seemed to really help because he was a lot calmer with me. Even when I rode him he was a lot calmer. And he didn't even spook the whole lesson. There was one experience where he was trotting and he stumbled on one of his back legs and that scared him so he just leapt up in the air. I stayed on (although lost my balance and lost my stirrups). I didn't even know what happened at first - all I knew was "That felt unusually bumpy ... wait - why are we flying?"

I took most of the lesson on the lunge line because I'm too scared of Rolls to trot on my own with him yet. But after our lesson V. told me to walk him around off the lunge line for a bit before getting down. As soon as V. took the lunge line off he stopped and waited for me to get down. When I didn't, and actually kicked him and asked him to go, he put his ears back and stomped his front foot. I said no, and kicked him and told him to go again - once again, ears back, foot stamping. I tried it one more time and he did the same thing and I thought, "Great! Now he's pissed off and he's going to throw me!" So V. came over to get him to walk and I said, "No, I need to do this on my own!" and she said, "Good girl!" and walked away. So, I sat for a minute to give him time to chill out and me time to compose myself, then I kicked him three times fast and said, "Walk on!" in a firm voice and sure enough he started walking. Half way round the circle he stopped, snorted, pinned his ears and stamped so I did the same thing and said, "We're going to stay out here all night until you go all the way around this circle at walk." And sure enough he did it! I was proud of myself.

I noticed yesterday in my daughter's lesson that she talks to Tiny just like I talk to horses I ride. At first when Tiny was trying to go faster my daughter would sit back, give her some half halts and say, "We're not trotting yet, Tiny. We're walking. Just walking. I didn't tell you you could trot yet." And she sounded just like me! So cute!

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