Hot nails, high jinx and humility

As has been the pattern this past couple of years, we reach the point of getting back in the saddle and something goes awry. Weather, lameness, work, human illness … we’ve experienced all in more than copious quantities of late.  This week is proving no exception!

It has been said on numerous occasions that I am unusually patient about many things. Well, I think that some higher power is testing to see just how far that patience can be stretched. This past weekend, as with so many before, my mother and I prepared to finally get to sit on the Appaloosas … and, as on all those weekends past, we were once again foiled! First, in the form of a “hot nail” in Nash’s front hoof. For those not acquainted with such things, this is a nail that went in just a bit too high in the hoof wall – think sliver under your finger nail, only you have to walk and stand on it. This should be easily remedied, and the horseshoer will be coming tomorrow … fingers crossed that takes care of it!

That left Coffee – no problem, at least one of us would ride … right? Except, Mr. Coffee decided to get a little too silly for his own good, and ended up on his side while cavorting on the lunge line. Nothing serious, but a slightly stiff shoulder has him briefly sidelined. And so, another week passes with no riding.

The most rapid  positive progress is made by the rider who is so psychologically balanced that he is prepared for a long period of training, governed solely by the progress made by the horse.

Waldemar Seunig, Horsemanship

On a more positive note, Miss Tally is really responding well to the long reining/ground driving. She is beginning to stop and turn from a very light touch – and that’s on a bitless bridle that’s hardly more than a halter. Our biggest challenge, at the moment, is when she reaches her “I’m done!” threshold. But the long lines give me much more ammunition to keep her engaged, and to be insistent when I have to. The dramatic improvement in the lightness of her responses confirms my choice to remove the bit for awhile.  As our communication reaches these new heights, I begin to have even greater confidence in her future under saddle.

There is no ‘instant’ dressage. One should count in years, not days. It is patient daily work that pays off in the long run.

Colonel Bengt Lundquist

I struggle to stay positive, with the seemingly unending stream of roadblocks that keep cropping up. You would think that with three horses of riding age, we would have at least one to sit on at any given time … wouldn’t you? It certainly leads to many a moment when I ask myself if the whole thing isn’t just a ridiculous idea – trying to get back into serious riding, late in life, working full time, with a property full of critters to care for. Maybe someone up there is trying to tell me something, with all these roadblocks? I work with a lot of people who go home at night and crash in front of the T.V. and spend their weekends reading books, drinking beer with friends, or seeing a movie. Certainly sounds like an easier life!

But, I just have to hear Noble nicker for me, or see Tally focus on me while listening for her next cue, and I’m a goner again. I’ve known the feeling of soaring over a “perfect” fence, and felt the easy power of a piaffe … and I want those things again! So, God … or Fates … or whomever is behind this testing, you’ve got me! I’ll keep pressing through the challenges, enjoying the moments that I can. After all, as much as I love books, they won’t nuzzle my cheek or snuffle in my ear!

Be good to your horses!


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