Our family went to Kirkland on Thursday to spend the evening with one of my BFF's families and their friends. Usually we hang out around our house and BBQ with our neighbors but they were going out on a boat for the day so we actually traveled somewhere. Ever since a bad experience years ago where we were driving through downtown to get home and some teens through a fire cracker under our car as we were driving by and it exploded only seconds after we drove over it I've not wanted to go anywhere on the 4th because there are too many stupid people with explosives. That and since we live one block from the "war zone" (unincorporated county land) I'm always a little paranoid about our house and leaving our pets alone in said house.
Anyway, our house is still standing, our pets are ok and we had a lot of fun. Until we were all sitting out in the cul-de-sac setting off those little family fireworks like the little fountains and spinning things and being super safe with a big chalk line the kids couldn't go over and a big bucket of water to put the spent fireworks in ... and someone called the police because it's illegal to have fireworks in Kirkland. Valid I suppose but I do hope that the folks a couple blocks away with the home-made bottle rockets and the huge rockets that explode in the sky got busted too. We were not capable of burning down anyone's house so busting us was not going to do much good for public safety unless they busted everyone else. Anyway.
The amusing part to me was when the car drove up and turned on its lights my first thought was to jump up and grab my daughter in my arms and run. Then I realized I'm in my 40's and don't do stuff like that anymore so I stayed put and we all listened to our lecture and the policeman was very nice and recognized we were not capable of burning down anything with our little family fireworks and did not issue BFF's sister or husband a citation. But we packed it in for the night. The kids all ran inside crying and declaring "The cops ruin everything!" and I tried to explain the whole "they're just upholding the laws enacted by the city council and mayor and they're just trying to protect us because stupid people with fireworks are really dangerous so because the stupid people won't take responsibility then we have to have a blanket law that covers everyone equally. So really it's the stupid people's fault." Somehow that ended up translating to most of them as "Ok -the cops don't suck, the government sucks" which seems to be the amount of logic-forming ability that most adults have, so I just left it alone and figured their parents would have to help them figure it out.
I went out to see Maiden in the morning and she was pretty anxious out in the pasture with neighboring fireworks going off. It was not helping that Gandolf was in the paddock next to her freaking out. She seemed to feel better once she was in the barn and didn't react when the fireworks would go off while she was in the barn. But when I took her out to lunge her she was all over the place and every time a person walked by the front door in the arena she would freak out and scoot away, start bucking like crazy and take off running full speed in her circle (and she only stayed in a circle because I dug my heels into the ground and held on and used my whole body weight to resist her running off into the lesson that was going on the other side of the arena - apparently she was coherent enough to listen to that pressure). The funniest was when *two* people walked by the door and she jumped straight up in the air and practically fell to her knees (like she was trying to duck under the half wall) then popped back up and started bronco-ing. I wish I had a video of it! Needless to say I did not ride her on Thursday!
I did ride Misty for a few minutes which was nice since I haven't ridden her in over half a year. Her leasee was doing a practice ride and trying to get her to stretch and getting frustrated. I asked if I could ride her for just a few minutes - I wanted to try the hand position that Trainer K. has been having me work on to encourage Maiden to stretch. It took me a few minutes to adjust to riding her again and more to riding in the leasee's saddle. She has knee blocks that force your legs back to the right position where they're straight down and you have that nice line from your shoulder, hip, ankle. But the problem with me is that when my legs are back like that in a straight line where they should be, I'm not quite strong enough or limber enough to maintain that position correctly when posting so when I tried to post I'd pitch forward more than I'm comfortable with. It felt good for walking because it really stretched my adductors and opened up my pelvis area, but I'm just not ready to post correctly in that position. Still, the saddle felt really good when we were walking.
Anyway, once I adjusted to that I positioned my hands where Trainer K. instructed and increased my contact with a little leg and whooosh! Misty's neck stretched right out. Her leasee squealed out a "How'd you do that?!" and I showed her how Trainer K. has me working on positioning my hands and explained what she had explained to me about following a straight line to the bit. It was fun to talk riding with another student and do that "now you try" with riding. I haven't done that in a long time. Usually I'm just practicing by myself - even if there are other people in the arena practicing too I'm working on my own thing. Or else I'm taking a lesson. So it was a nice change to talk about what we're learning together and work on our riding together for a little bit.