Thursday, April 25, 2013

coyote tracks

I'm going to have to start carrying my phone with me when I walk the dog through the woods in the morning.  This morning there were muddy tracks coming up out of the marsh, crossing the boardwalk, then back into the marsh.  Only one track was really distinct and I tried to memorize the way it looked as well as could so I could look it up when I got home but it would've been nice to take a photo and have an exact image to go on.  I looked up images of tracks from the animals I've seen in the woods and it fits coyote the best.  Why do I need to be able to recognize tracks when I already know what kind of animals I've seen?  Because it's fun.  No other reason.  Just like one of these days I'm going to learn how to rope a cow.  Anyway, these are skills that could potentially come in handy during the zombie apocalypse.

I'm going over the top in my attempts at gardening this year.  I have one little sprout coming in from my pumpkin seeds and like the obsessed gardener I am who is damn well going to have pumpkins for Halloween this year without the powdery mildew killing my plants, I went out and sprayed it with my magic potion I created from some research on organic ways to prevent local fungi.   This one - which may or may not also work for black spots on roses - is a combination of half gallon water, half tablespoon each of baking soda, dish soap and organic horticulture oil (or if you don't have that you can use vegetable oil).  I'm actually going to spray all big leaf plants this year.  I also found some organic slug bait (made with mostly iron) and sprinkled that around the beds I've already planted.  OK, I poured it in what seemed like big amounts but that's what the instructions said.  I WILL get some lettuce this year before the slugs do, damnit!  I've been concerned about organic slug bait just because any ole company can buy the "organic" certification and still get away with using a smaller amount of dangerous chemical - or even worse using them and nobody checks up on them to find out.  Anyway, the ingredients look natural.  Now I am just concerned about the iron leaching into the soil and changing the ph.  I don't know enough about chemistry yet so I need to look that up.

The nice perk of being unemployed again is I can go out every day to see Maiden.  I'm giving her the day off today because I'm visiting an old friend and running some errands. We're going to talk about going to the Buck Brannaman clinic in July in Cle Elum - I already sent in my check for reservations for the dinner/social mid-clinic (squeeeeeeeee!!!!).   We can't participate because it's been full for months but we can at least spectate one day.

Anyway, it's been nice to be able to work with and ride Maiden more.  The last two times I've ridden her it's been pretty busy in the arena with the Western riders.  They set up some trail obstacles and cavelettis and I walked Maiden over them a couple times to see how she did and she was hesitant on the taller obstactle first, but when I said it would be ok she was just fine and walked right over it.  She's a very sweet, trusting horse and really listens to me which I think is so wonderful.  I trotted her over the cavelettis once and it felt amazing to have her pick her feet up at a trot like that, but I was worried she's not in good enough shape to be ridden over them yet (I would think we should work on lunging her over them until her back is stronger) so I only did it once.  Still it gave me a split second reminder of what she's capable of as her back gets stronger.  She was trained so poorly years ago before my friend, H. got her that she uses her body completely wrong.  And H. just rode her on trails so she never had any need to get in shape.  It's fun to show off to H. how far Trainer K. has already brought Maiden in just a few months.  Yesterday when we were lunging at a canter she actually stretched her neck down and engaged her back for a few strides which she hadn't been strong enough to even attempt to do a few months ago.

Something I was thinking a lot about yesterday was how last Friday when I worked for crazy-ass-bitch-dressage-trainer (CABDT) for one day she must've said a hundred times "Horses are not pets!"  I know she was just trying to instill in me a healthy fear of them.  She wouldn't let me talk (literally - she'd just interrupt me and say I was supposed to be listening or she'd just walk away) so I never did tell her that I'd learned from my own mistakes over the years that horses are unpredictable and you need to always be aware and watch for signs of what they're going to do.  My instincts are definitely not as good as professionals like Trainer K (and even she gets hurt sometimes) as far as dodging and getting out of the way but they're getting there.  I'm always completely aware of what horses are doing when I'm near them - I'm always aware of what their body language is saying and I'm always ready to get out of the way in a split second.  I don't need any more gigantic bruises, broken toes, broken bones, or second degree rope burns on my palm.  Does that guarantee I'll never get hurt again? Definitely not - but I am very aware at all  times what this gigantic animal is doing and have learned to move my body out of the way with lightening speed if I need to.  I will probably get hurt again because that's just life, but I'm not just stupidly standing behind horse doing stuff to spook them or putting my feet right where they can get stepped on.

Anyway, I figured that is just the way it is when you're a working student (kind of like the military).  You don't talk - you listen.  But CABDT would not let up on this ridiculous "Horses are not pets!" rant.  At one point I felt like saying "What kind of pets have you had???"  I think it would've been more realistic to say "Horses aren't cuddly stuffed animals" because I've never had a pet that I could just toss around and not use some sort of safety measures.  Even rats can bite and they're pretty harmless.  And chinchillas - good lord did I get a nasty bite from one of those as a kid!  I have a pitbull for god's sake.  I had to train her and I still have to be the "alpha dog" with her because she's really big and freakishly strong and powerful.  Even trying to give my 18 year old tomcat his daily medication can be dangerous as far as having your arms ripped apart.  I don't know what kind of pets CABDT has had but apparently none that you have to actually train and work with like all the pets I've had.  Or she is just clueless on how to take care of pets.  She's probably one of those people who has little dogs that she doesn't train and just lets run around out of control and if they were bigger they would've been deemed a "dangerous dog" long ago.   I don't have "pets" that are just animals that live in my house or yard and I dump food into their bowl once a day.  I live with animals that I train and mentor every dayfor their whole lives - just like I do as a mom.  What's the point of living with animals if you don't have a relationship with them?  And why would someone do that to a pack or herd animal anyway?  Dogs and horses WANT relationships and as their owner or handler I owe it to them to have a real relationship with them where I am mentoring them and setting boundaries and god forbid actually communicating with them on their level and showing affection.   I don't think CABDT even likes horses.  She seems to view them as mechanical objects that she works with and that's it.  I think she's a horrible horse person.   I had doubts about that the first day but blinded myself by optimism because I wanted so badly to have a job as a working  student so I lied myself that it would be fine.  But it gnawing at me even after that first day that she is a crappy trainer - not even a trainer.  Just someone who says she is.  There are a lot of people like that who claim to be trainers but all they do is take horses and bind them up with a bunch of devices and claim they are "training" them when all they're doing is forcing their bodies into a certain position.

She also didn't pay me for that first day.  She claims that we agreed I'd work the rest of this month for free to see if it worked out.  Which we NEVER talked about nor would I ever agree to.  She's a real piece of work that lady is.   Of course now in the aftermath other horse professionals are saying they're not surprised because they see her as a poor trainer and a bitch but there's this code of ethics that you don't put down your colleagues in the horse world.  Oh well.  It's reminded me that I need to not lie to myself because I think I want something so badly - I can't magically make it what I want just by lying to myself that it's not what it is.  Big life lesson.  Ugh.

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