An Interesting Week.
What an interesting week it has been! And in so many different ways!
I’ve come to conclusion that I am in fact doing something right. Jack is going amazingly well, even if we still do have our little “bumps” (or as I like to call them “learning bumps”)- I’m learning how to stay balanced and calm and not fall off!!
I’ve really made a concerted effort do go back to our groundwork sessions before each ride, and the results have been a real eye-opener. I had really taken for granted the importance of asking him for his flexions from the ground, and asking him to re-balance and extend his neck, but after one lesson where I was able to refresh my mind not only as to what to do, but also re-enforce in my own mind that I was doing them correctly, the results are speaking for themselves.
So I had a “groundwork” lesson a couple of weeks ago, then in the week following I worked on the techniques at home before a ride, but then when I came to last weeks lesson it was almost like I had a different horse. We were almost able to get a full lap of the arena in a lovely, soft and long frame – at the trot. Jack was just swinging along nicely, and it was an absolute pleasure to ride to. Our canter also benefitted, which is no surprise. I even shocked myself!! I remember sitting there, and thinking “Oh my lordy, lordy loo!!! Look at me!!!!”...at least I thought I was thinking it, in fact I was saying it out loud...thankfully my instructor agreed that it was pretty good!!
When I think back 18 months ago, and I remember the new, very green horse that arrived at home, I’m really amazed at his transformation. He was a typical “teenage boy”, he was so disagreeable...if he was human it would be like taking the X Box off him, but now he is really becoming a young man. He is starting to fill out in the places he needed it, his legs don’t look as gangly as they were and he looks just ace...if I wasn’t so biased I’d say he is one of the most handsome beasts going around. Considering that last year he really didn’t have the chance to get regular work due to my illness, I think he has really proven what a good boy he is...most of the time ;)
I’d love to find the courage to take him out somewhere into a more challenging environment, and I know I will one day, but I still have those moments where I think about it, and then feel my heart starting to beat just a little harder. Funnily, it has nothing at all to do with what I think his reaction might be...I’m more than happy to admit that it is all me, my insecurities. On the surface I come across as someone who is very confident, but underneath? Hmmm, maybe not so much. It’s all bravado.
Perhaps I should mix some “bravado” up with some “Dutch courage” into a cocktail shaker and see what happens...that’s gotta be a good cocktail!!!
Also over this past week, I have seen a few things which make me terribly sad and even a little angry. It seems as though this season is really proving to be a very difficult season for the oldies and even those younger horses to cope with, especially if they don’t have anyone in their lives to care for them...they are owned by someone, but not cared for...not by anyone’s standards!!! We all know there is a shortage of hay at the moment, it seems to be the topic of conversation in every feed store and every saddlery store in my area, but the thing is, that there are options for those who are having trouble sourcing hay. I know that sometimes it means that there is a little bit of wheeling and dealing and running around, but there are options and I just wish that people would explore those options before they decide to shut their eyes and pretend their horse doesn’t exist. There are just too many bones poking through dull coats on horses with sad eyes at the moment, and like I mentioned, it makes me terribly sad and angry.
We chose to bring these creatures into our lives, they didn’t ask for it, so I just believe that we should do all we can to keep them comfortable. I’m not saying that every single horse owner needs to get silly with the care of their steed, I just think that the steed needs to be respected, and of course a part of that is to provide it with the basics...water, adequate feed, shelter. Surely that isn’t too much to ask?
So what am I doing to help those in my area who seem to be struggling? Well, I’ve decided to make myself visible to the owners, even if I may not actually see them. By that I mean, I do something to hopefully make the owner take notice. Last week I put my farriers business card into a snap lock bag, and tied it to the gate at a paddock where a lovely old grey gelding lives. He is in a really terrible state, and for a long time I’ve felt for him. He just looks so unloved. So I tied the card to the gate, left and just hoped that someone would pay attention to it. I drove past two days later, and noticed that the business card was gone. I knew it was impossible for it to have blown away, so I just hoped the owner saw it and collected it. I’m seeing my farrier tomorrow, so I’m hoping we can chat about his “new client” and the old grey gelding!
I’m not saying that we need to become busy bodies and poke our noses into other people’s business; I just want to see all horses treated with dignity, and if that means I need to drop a hint every now and again, then I’m ok with that.