Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sunrise beach play-day at Ninigret pond with Jet & friends!

This morning I loaded Jet into the trailer at 5am and headed down to East Beach. 
The temp stayed around 50 degrees all night, and the temp is holding around 50 -and sunny- today!!
You've gotta take advantage of this when you live never know when the next day like this may occurr.  If last year is any indication, it's sometime in early May.
It was Jet's first time at a "real" beach, open water, waves, and block island in the background.  We got there just before sunrise, and played around for a few hours.  The wind was pretty fierce, making for some spectacular waves.  I can't believe it only took her a few minutes to decide to brave the foamy stuff and dip her toes in.  Such a brave girl.
Anyway, much fun was had by all.  Any locals reading this, you've got to go!  No rocks, and three miles of uninterrupted packed sand for galloping!  Amazing.

I'm posting the link to the you-tube video my friend Jaimie made from some of the stills:

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Enjoy!  & Go Beach Play-Day!

Friday, December 9, 2011

December = Winter Madness Onset (Already?)

Mel is enjoying her winter break.  She is all fuzzed out, with a respectable hay belly and, consequently, an "I'd rather be napping" attitude.  The past several days have been RAINY. 

I did take her out for a ride after two consecutive days of heavy rainfall and found her a bit stiff starting out.  After about 10-15min she did loosen up and so I decided to just focus on riding her straight and forward thru the smoothest possible transitions in all three gaits.  (We don't have a finished outdoor arena, so it's all outside trails or dirt roads for riding here.)  Since the trails were still under water, we are reduced to the dirt roads.  By the end of the ride, she had put in a nice effort cantering uphill and I was feeling ok about some of the sitting trot we had done.

So, December, here we are.  In the limbo that is "giving my horse down time" vs. "wanting to keep my horse stretched out and happy".  She gets noticably cranky after day three of no work and begins to look at me quizzically.  It would be different if I had a large field for her to galavant around in for a month or so...but, alas, we don't.  Her dry lot is relatively small, and even if it were larger she is not the kind of horse that is prone to self-exercise.  She's a minimalist.  Eat. Nap. Poo. Repeat.

I find myself struggling with my "inner trainer" when on these December hacks: 
Should I be doing more work in collection?  Should I be doing ANY work in collection?  Or, does she get to hack on the buckle, of course, because this is "her time" and SHAME on me for even THINKING about collection right now.  Sit there and enjoy the view!  It's December!  Nobody is going down centerline anytime soon.  :)  And then there's the jumping worries:  "Please don't forget, please don't forget...don't be ridiculous.  Jumping's her favorite.  She won't forget.  ...please don't forget..."  Craziness.  Winter madness is already setting in.

Then I remember to breathe.  I take in the view out on the trails.  I think of what Mel would probably advise, and it would go something like:  "I've already told you, I've got this. Quiet.  Enjoy the ride.  Go eat.  Go relax. Then, ask me again in March or April.  I'll be there.  Game on."
And, honestly, I know she will be there.  She's a cocky, competitive mare.  And I love her for it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving afternoon I had all to myself, so (of course) I decided to spend it out on the trails with Mel.  As we were sauntering down the dirt paths I ticked off the endless things I am thankful for.  There's the usual: health, home, family, etc...  and the more specific: Taking lessons all summer, getting to (finally) enjoy several USEA recognized events with Mel this year, having a sound and happy horse to do all of this with.

That's when the thought occurred to me that I think I am REALLY, really grateful for arriving at a point in life where I can appreciate what a magnificent gift getting the opportunity to be grateful for all of these things actually is.  Did you follow that?  Yeah, muddled, I know.  I chewed on this concept for a while today and the words are still figuring out how to communicate the emotion.

Lots of people compete in equestrian events and own horses.  Lots of people care for these horses, ride and interact with them daily.  And this is a realm where you don't stick around long if you're not passionate and driven because there's not much other reward in it.  Not many make money.  Not many break even.  Not many withstand injury.  All of us endure extreme weather, excessive labor, exhaustion and (yes) a certain degree of humiliation when things don't go right.  And then we do it again.  It's a kind of "crazy" to anyone who does not know what a deeply seeded passion is like.  But, here we are. 
And, here I was today, on Thanksgiving afternoon, alone with my horse, walking down a dirt road.  And to be able to do this...I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Today is the first day...of the rest of this blog!

Greeting all!  This is my first sojurn into the realm of blogging, so I'm begging now for your patience - as well as applauding you for your bravery and good taste in choosing to read this hot mess.

Currently, Mel and I have just wrapped up the 2011 eventing season feeling pretty good about this summer's escapades.  I plan to delve into each event we attended in entirety, in it's own separate blog. (So check the sidebar!)  The winters here in Rhode Island are at least 2 months too long, and this will help pass the time.

As for now, Mel is enjoying leisurely fall trail rides and more down-time as I frantically winterize everything around her in preparation for the loooooooooooong cold spell.

Yesterday we headed out to the "horseman's park" in Arcadia.  We had the entire place to ourselves, (which isn't unusual for an early-morning weekday) and were happily trotting and cantering all over the dang place when a car pulled into the back of the park and a man dressed in full camo got out.  We continued our "happy little canter circles" and after a few minutes the man got back into his car and drove away.  Not sure if he decided against the location, or the company.  Mel does like to grunt loudly when she canters-so probably the latter.
Anyhow, we had a great outing and I rode a fairly sweaty (and happily humming) horse back home.  I'd forgotten how easily she sweats with all of her new super-fur!  Mel can grow a full winter coat in about a week. Feathers, beard and all.  Warm bath, wool cooler and a full haynet bliss!