Thursday, April 30, 2009
Since dentist day, a few things have happened that have interfered with horse time and riding, but I've also let way too much time go by without getting back on Bar--or even Lena.
Work is crazy, and since I'm new, I feel like I can't just wander in late (dusty, fragrant, cheeks smeared with horse snot, etc.), so can't really stop at the barn first. Most nights I can get out of there by 5:30, but that doesn't necessarily give me time to ride (not if I want to spend time with Steve before he goes to sleep, that is), though I can usually work Bar in the round pen at least. There is also the challenge of being tired and preoccupied after work and not having enough focus to be able to give Bar the work he needs, and stay on while I'm at it. I know, I know. This is what most horse people deal with on a regular basis. I didn't realize quite how good I had it.
Then, two weeks ago, my dad went into the hospital because he was short of breath. Long story short, his health is very poor all the way around, but if he hadn't gone in, they wouldn't have found (and removed) a tumor on his lung. He's home, now, but I was down in Berkeley a couple times last week, too. It doesn't seem like that far away, at least not until that drive home.
And, yes, this sounds like a lot of excuses, even to me. I used to just get on and ride Bar, and we did okay--until that first time he dumped me. I know he and I have done a lot of great work together--over the last six months in particular--but I haven't been on him enough, and that's really what we both need.
One bright spot? Last Sunday, after I worked him in the round pen, I started goofing around with him and trying to pull/push myself up on his back. I'm either not strong enough, or don't have the technique down (Steve says it's the latter), but either way, he just stood there patiently while I tried. On both sides, no less. He kept turning around to see if I'd made it up there, yet, so I had Katie come over and used the mounting block to actually get on him bareback. No reins, just Katie holding his lead. He stood there just fine until I kissed at him to give him a carrot (and get a nice neck stretch/bend out of him). Oops. Even then, he danced for just a second, trying to do what both of us wanted--move forward for me, or stand still for Katie. I could tell Katie got a little nervous, but I concentrated on relaxing and holding on, she calmed down, and he just settled and held still. I got off and gave him a big hug.
I've played with that a couple of times since, and he stands perfectly still while I drape myself over his back from both sides. He turns around and looks at me as if to say, "Do you need a boost?" but he doesn't bolt and he tolerates my silly shenanigans with good humor and usually a snuggle, too.
The other bright spot is that Dad is home from the hospital now, which is good because he was getting really bored and grumpy. Seeing him go through this, not knowing how it will all play out, makes me realize I just need to get on with it. Life is too short and Bar and I are both too special to waste any more time with excuses.