Friday, August 1, 2008

The First Casualty of Strange Place Phobia

The first casualty of strange place phobia was... pinkie fingernail! I trailered Lostine to her second night at the Fairgrounds and she jumped to the side when she saw a pile of manure. My pinkie finger hit the horn of the saddle and bent backwards, then broke off. Yum.

I was supposed to meet K there, but ridiculous things kept happening to make me late. My boot lace broke, so I had to hunt down another one that was the right size. Then the horses refused to be caught. When I finally caught Lostine, my neighbor wanted to talk. She invited me over to ride in the evenings with her granddaughters. I thanked her. By the time I got to the Fairgrounds, K was already off on her trail ride. I stopped the truck by her and rolled down my window. She said, "Stop right here and come with me!"

I explained that I brought my mare this time and needed to lunge her for a while in the arena, so she left without me. I lunged and lunged until I was bored. No one was around, so I didn't dare mount. I had my cell phone stuffed in my pocket, but if I'm unconscious I can't exactly call for help. So, I walked Lostine around the entire arena practicing the "Whoa" command since she forgot it last night.

I then put my foot in the stirrup and pretended to mount, practicing "Whoa" over and over, so that she wouldn't take off as soon as I swing my leg over. The instant I saw the ears of K's horse rise above the horizon, I swung my leg over and started my ride. K brought two dogs with her, and I know that somewhere in Lostine's history she had been attacked by a dog. I met K at the fence, and told her that. Lostine was apprehensive at first, but then saw how relaxed K's horse was around the dogs, and she followed suit.

K rode her horse to her trailer while I walked, jogged, trotted, and cantered Lostine. I was surprised to see that K put her tack away. I wasn't that late, yet she was wrapping up her ride right when I was starting mine. I could tell that she didn't want to leave until I was done riding, but she also wanted to get home, so I cut my ride short. I probably got in about twenty minutes riding in that arena. I'm thinking I will start riding with my neighbor's granddaughters. At least there will always be someone around, so I don't have to worry about riding alone.

K wants to meet me Sunday night for a ride outside of the arena around the entire Fairgrounds where there are buildings and various roads, arenas and pens. She wants me to bring Bombay. I'm not so sure he's ready for even more unpredictability, but I know I have to introduce the next step at some point. As K pointed out, the days are already getting shorter and winter will be upon us in no time. I have to take advantage of her help while I've got it. What do you think? Should I take that leap of faith or wait until Bombay masters settling down in the enclosed arena before venturing out into open spaces?


Flying Lily said...

Definitely go. he will probably surprise you by being calm as glass. And if he isn't, you can always get off & walk for a bit till he settles. She's right - summer won't be forever!.

We have this concept "horse time"; it means with horses NOTHING EVER happens when you plan it to happen, but approximately 45 minutes to 2 hours late. Or even the next day! LOL If I really have to be somewhere with horses, I add a 2-hour window of "what might go wrong" time, and I am usually able to make it only 45 minutes late...

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

I'm with flying lily. Go...and if Bombay gets too fractious, get off and walk him awhile.
Have you thought about taking more than one at a time? Perhaps there are small, safe pens to put the other horse in while you ride one? We do that a lot with horses that haven't left home a lot. Just haul them along and leave them tied to the trailer or in a pen if they are too freaked out by being someplace strange. It helps them a lot just to go. Of course, it won't work if you think that having a herd mate within hearing range of the one you are trying to ride will make him more nervous.
Sounds like K believes you are ready for the next step.

OnTheBit said...

I am with everyone else. I say go for it. Only for the fact that you are NEVER going to get more relaxed about riding outside the arena without doing it. If you wait until next year to try it you are still going ot be just a nervous only it will be one year later. And Bombay is not going to get better about seeing new things without actully seeing them. I used to be so nervous around horses that I would only walk. It took troting and seeing that nothing happened to get me to want to trot...and then cantering when nothing bad would happen to get me to canter again. I have been with my trainer for 12 years because she is the one to show me that being nervous when mounted isn't the end of the world and that I just needed to take is slow. And now I am like crazy bareback galloping through the fields. It just takes time and it is up to you how much time you want it to take. It sounds like you really want to push your limits so I say go for it!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I am hearing a consensus here.

Lily - Thanks for the "horse time" calculations.

BEC - I actually used to take two horses at a time when I had my kids to help, and back in the day when Gabbrielle went right in and out of the trailer. However, I'm just learning now how to trailer one horse by myself and want to master that before tackling two. If I don't have anyone with me, I'm worried that if there is a problem with one horse while I've got my hands full with another, I might regret it. If I knew that K would stay with me the entire time, I'd take the chance, but she likes to do her own thing, and I don't want her to feel like she has to babysit me. I may be up to that in a few more sessions. I'm just so happy right now that I can trailer a horse without having to beg for help, and that I can do it on a week night when I'm exhausted from work.

onthebit - I totally hear everything you are saying and have been feeling it these past few weeks. I would have never dreamed that I'd be cantering Lostine at the Fairgrounds so soon. So, I know I'm making progress, but when a horse spooks at a pile of manure and nearly breaks my finger, I have to wonder what will happen when a rabbit bolts out of the brush or a stray dog charges us. Plus there are all the off-wheelers who have been showing up to rev their engines and spin their wheels. I told K I don't want to die just yet, and she said she doesn't either, so I guess she wouldn't be pushing it if she felt we could get her killed.

Mrs Mom said...

NM- I am going to pass along a couple of thoughts, that I used with my lesson students.

First: If you believe you will fail, you will.

Second: If you believe you and your horse will have an awesome ride, you will.

Third: If you anticipate disaster, you get a disaster.

Fourth: If you anticipate greatness, you get greatness.

Picture in your mind- now, while falling asleep, or anytime you have some spare "mental moments", you riding Bombay, and every step going smoothy. Bombay being caught easily. Trailering perfectly. Tacking up like a gent. AND then Riding Off Perfectly. SEE every step of that trip- over and over, going perfectly, and that is what you will get. I promise.

It has worked for me for years now, and my students as well.... Master this NM< and there will be nothing in life that can stop you!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Mrs. Mom - If you promise that, I'll believe you and give it a try.

Twinville said...

I'm probably not the best person to be telling you to just get up on your horses and ride. But I want to see you get out there and do all the things that you dream of doing. I want to see you succeed, not just for yourself, but for me, too.

For every postitive experience you have, I see what can be possible for me, as a 'newbie' rider.

I'm cheering you on, for you, and for all of us women just starting out on their own horse riding journeys.

Carpe Diem!

AnnL said...

Go for it!! And, I second what Mrs. Mom says, visualization really works. Especially with horses, they're very in tune with us and our thoughts/anxieties. There was a book that I read many years ago, written by Jane Savoie. It's all about using visualization to improve your riding. It really does help.

I hope your finger is feeling better.


Mrs Mom said...

Yes M'am NM, I Promise you- see only a perfect, wonderful, awesome, joy-filled, smooth, well behaved ride, and that is what you will get! ;)

Now, don't "try" it-- just DO it! ;)