Friday, November 03, 2006

Barrel Racing with Lena

So our day started with a hard run-in with our retaining wall and a flat tire, but it ended with us finding something that we like to do, and that Lena really loves to do.

The car is a whole other story that I think I'll leave off of this blog for now, but Lena had a blast and was really, really well-behaved on our outing, which made for an interesting and fun day all around.

These folks are part of the "regular" crowd, at least as I saw things. We were newbies and Shannon gave us instructions and advice before we started out.

I - as you'll surely see in the pictures - was petrified, Steve got several good chuckles out of it, actually. Lena, on the other hand, was mostly calm, very interested, and generally paying attention to everything.

I have a competative streak, I know this, but I think my nervousness actually stemmed mostly from not wanting to tell Lena the wrong thing to do. As it was, Steve went out and - in his relaxed way - showed me that Lena knew what to do.

I went out for my two time-only runs and trotted her slowly and carefully through the pattern, letting her lope out of it after we circled that last barrel. She was awesome. She didn't fight me, she responded to my body, and allowed me my nervousness without getting into a feedback loop with me.

Steve loped her through the barrels and she switched leads beautifully without even being cued to do so.

Fast forward to the pole bending, same basic scene. I kept her slow throughout, Steve let her loose. That horse flew coming out of the poles and loved every second of it.

My few concerns revolve around keeping her sound and healthy, so I told Steve that if we decide to do this more often, I want to learn more about body work to keep her healthy. I saw a lot of horses getting run really hard, which isn't bad, but I'd like my friend Lena to stay strong and healthy her whole life, so I owe it to her to learn what I can to help her do that.

One of the funniest things, though, was Lena catching sight of the cows in a field next door. Her big, expressive ears went up and she watched them with a significant amount of attention. I guess she figured if she was out at a show, there should be cows involved.

Not this time, Lena Rey, but maybe next.

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