Monday, May 19, 2008

The Vacation Situation

I only get a couple of weeks of vacation time each year, so when I have the time off, I want to use it wisely. This week is the first vacation of 2008 for me. I planned it around a horse show that I wanted to see, but did not realize that it was the week before Memorial Day. Usually I avoid planning my vacations around holidays, because I like to ride my horses while on vacation, but if a holiday is nearby I have to contend with tourists stopping to watch me ride and doing stupid things that scare my horses and endanger me.

My goals for each vacation include:
1. Rest and relax.
2. Do some things I always want to do, but never have the time.
3. Do some things I have to do, but never had the time.

It got to be just about 4:00 PM when I realized that I had spent some time on the R&R and on doing things I have to do, but I still hadn't done something I want to do. I had just received an upsetting email from telling me that the room I reserved for two double beds was changed to a room with one single king. My mother told me that she has to have her own bed, so it looks like I will be sleeping on the floor. I called several different phone numbers to try to correct the problem, but was put on hold indefinitely. I gave up and went outside to ride a horse, hoping that would lower my blood pressure.

While riding Lostine, a bunch of cars pulled up in front of my neighbor's house. Lostine could hear people behind the barn, but couldn't see them, so she was on alert. I could feel her nerves buzzing through my legs. The voices got louder as people approached my side of the street. A woman and a toddler popped out from behind the barn and Lostine screeched to a halt. The woman crouched down to be on the same level as the toddler, and Lostine pinned her ears forward, arched her neck, humped up her back, and started snorting. I tried to urge her forward, but she kept backing up.

I contemplated asking the woman to stand up, but decided it was my job to get my horse past this fear. I continued to push Lostine forward, but she didn't release her death grip on the ground where she was standing until I said, "It's okay."

I thought that moving her up to a trot would get her mind back on her work, but she just wanted to take off. I pulled back harder and harder on the reins, sat back, said "Whoa!" and squeezed with my upper thighs, but she just tucked her nose into her chest and kept going faster. "Damn! I have no brakes," I said to myself, knowing that my choices were either to let her go and hang on until she settles down, or turn her in circles. I wasn't particularly intimidated, so I decided to ride it out. It wasn't easy to keep a steady seat, because I had just cleaned my saddle and it was slippery.

By now the woman had the toddler sitting on her shoulders and was pointing at me. I just smiled and pretended like I had complete control over my horse. There are a lot of things I love about Lostine, but she is the first in a long line of very hot halter horses, and even at 20 years of age, she still has all that fire in her. Her flashy red coat matches her personality.

Once she settled down, I worked on single-reining in tight turns and backing up. Each time I asked her to do something, she humped up her back as if ready to throw me. Memories came flooding back of that Labor Day when I came off Bombay and broke my arm. It was the beginning of a one-week vacation just like I am now at the beginning of a one-week vacation. I didn't want to take my chances at having an accident that would cancel my vacation, so I dismounted. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day.


onthebit said...

man that stinks...both the hotel thing and the ride! I think it is good that you wanted to ride it out. And it was also probibly a smart move that you got off after you taught her she had to keep going and before she really starting breathing fire.

OneCowgirl said...

Next year consider a riding vacation
I've done two tours (Spain & Mexico with this company and they've been great!! I want to do the ride in Botswana!

Pony Girl said...

Good you stuck with it. Tough when a horse is distracted by something and won't focus. It's hard to stay calm when you feel like your horse is going to lose it. I love, love, the pictures in your last post, especially the ones of the 3 grazing with the mountain in the background....very cool shot!

Abraham Lincoln said...

This was an interesting post to read and I also marveled at the excellent photograph.

Resting Racers Ranch said...

Oh my gosh, I would have had a heart attack! I'm such an inexperienced rider! Glad it all worked out for you.

BTW, Thanks for your prayers for our family last month.

Callie said...

Good that you are so in tuned to read her cues and made it a safe ride. Better to caution on the side of error and it sucks the interuptions and distractions so nearby.

Twinville said...

Yikes! So much for lowering your blood pressure getting a ride in!
I'm relieved to hear that nothing really bad happened, though.

My neaighbor and I went riding for a couple hours over the weekend and we hardly saw anyone. But at the end of one dirt road, we were getting ready to turn aorund and our ran a child, a Mom and husband, another man and 3 loose dogs! Barking, barking and growling at the horses.
Finally one of the men leashed up the most eager dog and then he walked the dog right up to my neighbor's horse's nose. And then the dog was licking his nose.
Thankfully her horses are pretty calm. But I think if I had been on my own horse, it might hvae been a more tense situation.....

But I'm surprised with the crazy things that people will do when they see someone on a horse (or walking a llama..hehe). And it's even worse when they bother you or invade your privacy while you are on your own property.

Sure wish your Mom could get over the 'My bed" syndrome thing, though. A King bed is huge! She won't even know you're there. hehe

Here's hoping tomorrow was a better day, too.