Anytime I go for a while without riding a horse, I get the itch to ride. The last time I rode was 10 days ago. Then I got sick. Then I got busy catching up on all the things I didn't do when I was sick. I've also had to contend with a string of "special" days, meaning holidays, birthdays, and special events that change people's schedules and routines. I'm anxious for things to get back to normal. I like predictability.
Every morning I wake up with a couple more items to add to my To Do List. I dream about things I should be thinking about during the day. For some reason my brain does better organizing thoughts when I'm unconscious. I had totally forgotten that when I was dragging the sand in the arena, the truck engine was letting off a burning smell. I parked the truck and that smell was out of sight -- out of mind. It suddenly hit me in my sleep that I've owned that truck for one year and three months and have never taken it in for an oil change, because it has so few miles on it. I only drive it when I have something to haul. So, now I added getting an oil change on my To Do List.
We've had a local celebration going on all weekend, and my neighbor to the south approached me last week to forewarn me that he would be having a get together during the day on Saturday at his house and a party with about 50 people that night. He told me to just let him know if it gets too loud. Only once before had I ever had a neighbor have the courtesy to give me a heads up on some upcoming activity that might affect me. He was even nice enough to invite my husband and I to the party. We didn't go, because his friends and coworkers were all in their 20s and 30s, and we knew he was just being polite by inviting us. This is the same neighbor who forewarned us when he was going to have some demolition done on his property right after we moved in. It's rare to find a people as respectful of others as he is.
He had set up a horseshoe game on our property long before we moved in. I'm sure he had permission from the previous owners to do so. One day when I was having him show me the property lines, he offered to remove the horseshoe pit, but I said he was welcome to leave it where it was because we weren't using that part of our property. He ended up using it during his get together. Ironically, I think I was louder doing my chores than he and his guests were playing horseshoes.
As far as the party goes, I expected to see cars parked up and down the street, and hear loud music and voices until the wee hours of the morning. My husband offered to let him use the part of our property behind his house for parking as long as no one blocks our driveway or the street. He said it shouldn't be a problem. Sure enough, he was able to squeeze all his guests' cars into his front lot.
As far as the party went, I couldn't hear anything from inside our house, and when I took the dogs out, all I could hear were voices. It was probably the world's quietest party, but I heard laughter, so I know people were having a good time. And I was surprised to step outside this morning to find half the vehicles still parked in his yard. I guess it was a sleepover party. What a nice gesture to your guests if they've traveled a long distance and planned to drink.
I found it amazing that one considerate neighbor could have a party that is quieter and less intrusive than any random activity by my obnoxious neighbors at my old house. Those old neighbors were constantly spooking my horses merely with their persistent presence. Each time I checked on the horses during this new neighbor's gathering, they just seemed interested in what was going on, but not worried or frightened. Horses know who they can and can't trust, I guess. As long as people act normal, my horses can deal with them.
I had the itch to ride that day, but didn't because I was expecting a lot more activity and noise. I'm planning on making reservations for a trail ride through the mountains sometime within the next couple of weeks. My neighbors to the north wanted to go with me as long as the route doesn't include any steep, narrow trails. I still have to look into that. They love horseback riding, but haven't been able to ride their own horses in years because their horses are ancient and lame.
Going on an organized trail ride through a local stable should get some of that itch out of my system, and theirs if they come along. When my trainer and I have ridden my horses over the past three weeks, their hooves have been ouchy since they had a fresh barefoot trim. We had to keep the rides short and sweet, so it will be nice taking a half-day ride on a stable horse in a scenic area. My farrier recommended who to request for our guide -- someone who knows the history of the mountains.
When I bought the new cinch from Weaver Leather, it included an offer for a free video called "Ride Safely on The Trail" featuring Stacy Westfall. I went to the website to order it, and experienced deja vu. I realized I had ordered that same video in the past. After locating the video in my DVD collection and popping it into my computer, I was embarrassed to discover that I never viewed it. I guess, as usual, I got busy and the DVD became out of sight -- out of mind. All the information given was what my current horse trainer has been teaching me over the past two months. So, now I have something to help reinforce my memory after the trainer is done with her job.
The video was also interesting in that, whether intentionally or not, it showed the difference between a horse that went out on the trails for the first time with ground training and one that went out on the trails for the first time without this particular method of ground training. The horse with the ground training was much more confident, comfortable, and safe to ride.
I don't think the DVD could have replaced the trainer, because I forget so much just carrying information from a book or DVD out into the arena to work with my horses. It really helps having someone observing me to catch the subtleties that make or break a lesson in horse training. Since horse training is all about timing and body language, you almost need an experienced horse trainer to act as a mirror. Once the correct actions and timing become second nature to me, then I'll know it's time to cut the cord.