Thank you everyone who commented with empathy and understanding after my last post. Cliché as it may be, it really does help to not be the only one stuck in between this particular wretched rock and a hard place. Unfortunately nothing is going to change that situation but time.
Thankfully there’s always horses. I had a good lesson on Wednesday going around in circles. At first we tried starting Tarma out in her bit while my trainer rode, but she told us in no one uncertain terms she wasn’t putting up with that. So we switched to her normal bitless bridle and she got down to work. We even managed a short jaunt around my trainer’s on site trails, much more relaxing for us both!
Tonight was almost better. Sometimes when I get to the barn after dinner time Tarma says “no thanks it’s past my bedtime”, and sometimes, like tonight, she’s all try. I set up some barrels and her second biggest nemesis, the pool noddle, and we just played around with them. I set them up in different configurations and asked her to walk around, over, and back through. Once Tarma picks something up, she usually keeps it, even harder things like tolerating a pool noddle between her back legs.
I also counted another victory with how she handles the wash rack now. When I first started hosing her or her feet down she was not a fan at all. So one day I decided to ground tie her, and give her the choice of how she wanted to position herself. I also think the streak of stupid heat we had, where I hosed her daily, changed her mind about it. Now when I soak her feet (ugh, they get so dry!) and groom her, I just let her ground tie. She knows she can walk away but she stays and is mostly relaxed, though I do get side eye if the brush hits a snag. Those moments, along with eating up trail on a loose rein, show me that we’ll be alright, and fills me with the warm glow of partnership and work well rewarded.
Not to totally bury the lead, one of the biggest lessons I learned from loosing Flash and Cyrus is to always seize the weekend, even if it’s a bit of a stretch. A friend of mine helps run Equine Trail Sports events, obstacles and such, and posted that she needs obstacle judges next weekend over in Sisters. Attending a few of those is one of my goals for Tarma and I next year, and there’s no better way to get your feet wet than volunteering. I did have a hesitation about taking Bernard with me, but I roped the same friend who went to Quinn into going with me. Between her, Kade and myself we should be able to keep everyone entertained and fed for a three day trip to the dry side. This will also be the first time I’ll be using the panels I bought off another friend so we’ll see how that goes for Tarma. Wish us luck and hope to see some of you over there!