Saturday, April 02, 2011

lessons in riding, 2

Yesterday I had a fair number of things to get done and ended up walking out to the barn to ride in the late afternoon. Keil Bay came in and stood at the gate, waiting to be let in to the barnyard and barn aisle. I groomed him in the barnyard, as he was covered in dried mud - between dust and horse hair and wind it was quite an undertaking. About the time I brought him in to the barn to tack up, one little thing got in my way and I felt my frustration level skyrocket. It's not really important what it was, but had nothing to do with the horses. Let's just say it was a middle-aged mother- teen-aged daughter moment.

I didn't want to ride in that mode, so I unhaltered the Big Bay (who seemed confused that I was leaving) and quietly came inside.

As I sat here doing some work on the computer, my body began to tighten up. From ankle to neck, I could feel each set of muscles progressively contracting. It was the exact opposite of progressive relaxation. I was still agitated internally - I had wanted to ride, had gotten all my chores and errands done, and although it was windy out and the hay tent was blowing up like a blowfish with each gust, I felt Keil Bay and I could handle it.

But I allowed one small thing to get in my way.

At that point I decided I was too tense to ride anyway. Time passed. It was going on six p.m. And I thought, well now it's too late to ride. But then something hit my mind, like an actual little missile of thought that came from someplace else, and it was: it gets dark later now. go ride.

So I got up and walked right out to the barn. Every bit of tightness in my muscles left. And when I glanced around to see where the Big Bay was, I saw him standing right by my bedroom window. I hadn't even glanced outside when I'd been at my desk, I'd been so drawn up in my body tightness and agitation. He'd come down there and, I think, summoned me out of my mood.

I finished grooming him and picked his hooves and tacked up. I'd decided to use his old eggbutt snaffle - I have three bridles for him now, one with his loose ring double-jointed snaffle, one with the old eggbutt single joint, and his Rambo Micklem bitless. He didn't want the old eggbutt. He raised his head away from it, and then when I asked him to put his head down, he did, but closed his teeth. So I got the bitless and he stuck his head right into it.

The ride was good. We did a lot of big walking. He was forward but not spooky (there was a lot of flapping going on around us) and he spontaneously went into trot several times. We did a lot of walking and then did trot work in both directions. I probably go overboard building so slowly back into work with him, but don't ever want him to be sore, so I am careful when we haven't ridden in awhile.

Back in the barn, I untacked and gave him his handful of alfalfa pellets. But he wouldn't leave the tack room. He kept standing there, nuzzling me, just being with me. Even when a load of hay wheeled by, heading out to the back field, Keil Bay took a bite and then stayed put. I went and opened the gate to the paddock, inviting him to go out, but he looked at me and then stayed where he was.

I stood rubbing him and then yes, gave him another handful of pellets. And still he stood there. We visited, I put a few things away, rubbed him some more, and all the while he stood looking at me, totally focused. So of course I gave him another handful. "But this is the last one, really," I said, and then rubbed him all over his face and head.

I walked to the arena gate, thinking I'd see if he wanted to go that way to get to the back field, and he came right with me, and stood with me in the arena even when I opened the gate to the back. I'm not sure what he was saying with this lengthy visit, but I think it was this:

Don't let the little things keep you from riding. I'm here.



Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Listen to Keil Bay - he's on to something! ;)

billie said...

As usual! :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

I would say the big bay is attuned to your moods very well. He probably knew you were upset at one point during the day. When you finally rode he did what you needed him to and when you untacked him he stayed with you to make sure everything was alright with you. They are amazing intuitive animals. Glad you got to ride.

p.s. don't sweat the small stuff, teenagers can get under your skin but it will pass. I had three of them at once. They do say raising teenagers is like trying to nail jello to the wall. I'm happy they are all functioning adults, but it wasn't easy all the time. I've been told I'm lucky to have such wonderful children, I tell these people luck had nothing to do with it. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

What a great horse!

Sometimes you just have to ride and not let life get in the way.

billie said...

Arlene, thanks - he is attuned but often doesn't show it as overtly as Salina does - yesterday I think he really wanted me to get the message!

WRT teens - I know, I know. :) These two here are terrific but they have their own minds and strong wills. (no surprise there!) Sometimes one of the strong wills just needs to walk away. Yesterday it was me!

billie said...

Kate, so true.

And to anyone reading here who doesn't already know: all three of the above commenters have terrific blogs where they write about horses and riding, and I know right now they each have good posts up, so go check them out! Just click on their names to zip on over.

Máire said...

Billie, you have inspired me to write some posts about riding also.

I love reading about your relationship with Keil Bay.

billie said...

Maire, I'm glad because I LOVE reading your posts!

Matthew said...

Yay for the Bay!

ponymaid said...

billie, we know, we know - moods and feelings are like an electrical current to us - not hard to intuit at all. You did the right thing and Keil Bay wanted to let you know.

Victoria Cummings said...

Keil Bay is certainly your horse, and it was great that you listened to him and felt his vibe enough to go back out there and ride. It's so wonderful to have that connection with a horse. I swear that Silk can feel me through the walls of our house. She's got her radar on me and always reads me clearly. I'm also glad that you appreciate your strong willed offspring. I know how you feel, but it's just part of the healthy process of separating from us, I think.

billie said...

Matthew, it's always a "Keil Bay Day" on November Hill!

billie said...

Sheaffer, thank you - my own personal equine interpreter!!

billie said...

Victoria, I am the recipient of a lot of equine radar energy - keeps me rolling and keeps me happy!