Barefoot and Pregnant

Well, Baron’s going barefoot and I’ll never be pregnant again (hallelujah!). I just thought it was a cute title. But the point is, I’ve decided that Baron is going barefoot for the winter. I’m not riding enough to justify keeping shoes on him and it will save a pile of money. With shoes on the front like he currently is, it costs me $75 every 6 weeks. If he’s barefoot, it will only cost $40 every 6 weeks for a trim. That’s a big difference and I can save that money for riding lessons!

I will keep you posted on the transition to bare feet!

A Little Post About Family

Ever since I made the decision to stop stressing about my horse  and enjoy him, I’ve felt a sizable reduction in stress. I went to the barn the other day and spent a few minutes scratching Baron’s “sweet spot,” a spot on his upper lip where he loves to be scratched. If I get it just right, he throws his head in the air and pulls up his lip. I can see his Jockey Club tattoo and I’m reminded that before he was my pet pony he was a professional athlete at the racetrack. He is most certainly enjoying his new life!

I’ve carried over the theme of stress reduction to my “other” life as well, meaning the life where I’m a wife and a working mother of a 2 year old and a 6 month old. This time can be the busiest, most non-stop, stressful period of my life or I can choose to slow down and enjoy it. Building a family has been a wonderful surprise for me. I was never a “kid person,” so the enjoyment my kids bring has shocked me. It’s a heck of a lot more fun than I ever imagined, especially when I get to share my love of horses with my kids. I love that my two year old first said the word “pretty” while watching Baron graze in the pasture. As a “horse person,” that sure does warm my heart!

I spent some time this week thinking about what kind of family I want to create. What kind of wife and mother do I want to be? What sort of things do I want my kids to look back and remember about being little? First and foremost I don’t want my kids to be junk-food addicted video game zombies. Kids need to play outside and even though I live right smack in the middle of suburbia, I’m lucky enough to be 2 minutes away from the barn. The barn has dirt, mud puddles, field mice, trails through the woods, scrap wood for fort building, and of course, horses. It’s the exact sort of environment that every kid needs and too many city kids miss out on. My kids are lucky to have a place they can go get dirty!

Some day I would like my kids to have a pony. I want them both to take English riding lessons, but tooling around bareback on an overweight, obstinate Shetland is a lesson in itself. Lessons are great, but some of my best childhood memories involve riding a semi-broke diva mare bareback until she decided she was done for the day and bucked me off. Just getting out there and RIDING was the best feeling, even without the fancy trappings, plush barns and high-priced trainers. I want to give my kids the best of both worlds- the lessons and the days at the barn where we ride for the sheer pleasure of sitting on a horse.

I firmly believe that life with horses is the best life and I can’t wait to share it with my kids!

Lovely Ride on a fall day…

It is gorgeous in Georgia today- trees are at the height of their fall colors and the temperature is a perfect 65 degrees. I got a quick ride in, maybe 25 minutes, but like I promised in my last post, I ENJOYED it! I decided to work on rhythm and forget about riding the test patterns. I rode big circles around the outside of the ring and started out trying to get a steady walk rhythm. Someone left a very helpful comment on my post called “I Never Was Good at Geometry” and suggested singing to find the rhythm. I modified this and tried counting out loud. At the walk I said “1,2,3,4” steadily over and over. I have no problem finding the rhythm; I used to sing and play a little guitar. Communicating that rhythm to my horse is where I’m hitting a snag. So today I counted out loud and tried a little exaggerated hip movement with each beat. I “pushed” a little with my pelvis on each beat to try and get Baron to feel the tempo I wanted.

I think it worked quite well. My goal was to get one full circle with no variation in rhythm and we were able to do it several times. There were times when we lost it (he got distracted by the other horses off in the distance, he heard a car door slam, etc…) but we were able to maintain the rhythm for much more than a few steps. I was very pleased.

I tried the same thing at the trot as well. I counted “1,2,1,2” out loud and concentrated on posting to the count. We’re still kind of a mess at the trot, but we did get some sustained rhythmic trotting around the big circle. And then just for fun I cantered for a little while! There’s nothing like a good canter to end the weekend on a good note!

Resignation.

I’m not resigning from blogging, don’t worry. (All 3 of you who read my blog, ha ha.) I’m resigning myself to the fact that until my life changes I’m not going to get anywhere with my horse. I have spent the last 6 months, since my second baby was born, mourning the fact that I don’t have enough time to spend riding and that I’m not getting any better. I’ve gotten more and more frustrated as time has passed and my horse sits happily in a pasture not learning how to do anything except get fatter.

When I spent four days in the hospital with my son, I had time to think about my life and my priorities. Quite simply the horse cannot be a priority right now. I have to focus on raising kids and working. I’m under quite a bit of stress with my day to day life and I’ve been adding to it by trying to make progress in riding and feeling like I’m failing.

So I’ve decided to ENJOY my horse. If I don’t have time to ride, then fine, I’ll groom him for 10 minutes and be thankful that he’s mine. I’m going to stop worrying about whether he’s learning anything and whether I’m improving. All that will come when my kids are a little older and my life is less crazy. For now, I’m going to enjoy the fact that Baron is my dream come true, the culmination of a childhood filled with pony fantasies!