Friday, January 01, 2010

Today I made my commitment to RAC 2010 start off with a bang (thankfully only figuratively) rather than a whimper. I have not ridden since I came off a horse in August 2008 and badly dislocated a finger. I have allowed many things to get in my way – starting a new full-time job, marriage of one daughter, birth of a grand-daughter, and then breaking one & spraining the other ankle. When I am so long off a horse my fear increases, as I’m sure is the same for everyone. Before I came off in 2008 I had managed to get myself riding a few short minutes each day: 15-30, for almost a month, and my confidence was increasing, my fear decreasing. But, as I think we all know, once that crack in our armor is there, it is easy to allow things to “get in our way” and that crack widens. There is only one cure for it, and that is to break everything down into short bits, be with someone you trust, and take it little by little.

Today, I began mixing the glue to help patch that crack in my armor. I knew that many of us Curly lovers would be out there enjoying a Curly at the same time, so I prepared myself. Chuck went with me, as I need his quietness, his support right now. I selected *Walker, who is his lady because I knew that if she didn’t listen to me, she would listen to him, and seek him out if my fears got the better of her. I also chose her because she genuinely cares about not hurting a human, and has HUGE understanding of our spoken language, even if her training is not “top notch”.

Once down in our field of snow, I mounted and discovered that the sprained ankle hurt far more than I had anticipated. Obviously, I will need to stretch that out in ways I had not worked on! I sat for a few moments and just soaked in the position; I’m definitely out of shape, and coupled with increasing age and, I admit, weight gain due to being more sedentary with my job, I know I have my personal work cut out for me. We have always ridden *Walker in a rope hackamore as she is sensitive to pressure and generally listens well. I had Chuck tie the lead as a rein. Then I had him lead us around a bit. Once I felt a wee bit more confident, I asked him to step away. I knew that *Walker would follow him and so I tried to just go with her flow; being more a passenger and less a leader. Then we stopped and I asked her to stand, while Chuck stepped back to take photos of us. She typically poses when asked, lol. Then we walked to him when I said, “Go to Chuck.” Again, I had him move away; again after a few moments, I had her follow him. At that pointed, he backed-up further and motioned her away. She turned left and we circled around, going a short distance before coming back to him.

That was all my confidence could take and I was ready to get down. Unfortunately, I did not have a graceful dismount as my energy went up while I worried about how my ankles would take to the shock of dropping off of her. It was obvious that I communicated this to her as she got a bit antsy. There was nothing to do but drop off her anyway, so I dismounted as I have always, kind of a modified Squirrel (Centered-riding “emergency dismount”). I was surprised that my ankles did not hurt as much as I had been worried they would, and of course she calmed down.

I was only on for perhaps 10 minutes, but it was 10 minutes more than yesterday. Of course, I will need to keep going to do better, but it is a start.