Bluebird Day

I received hard news from my boss on Friday: a coworker, a senior manager I supported and was mentoring me a bit, was found dead in her home.

For this and various other reasons, I desperately needed a good day, a smooth day when I didn’t have to worry about a million things and everything just moved…easily.

Today delivered and I seriously lucked out in every way. Truck and trailer are both roadworthy, sealed, organized and basically as good as they get. Flash loaded more or less willingly (I’ve mostly accepted that he’ll load cause he’s a good guy and not because trailering is fun or neutral for him), and I got zero traffic up to Washington.

I had managed to snag a mid Monday lesson with a new trainer, Rebekah L., And boy both she and the facility she trains out of were definitely worth the drive! The sun was shining and it was warm enough for Kade and I to have a picnic lunch in the grass while we relaxed from the drive.

Rebekah is the first new trainer I’ve introduced myself to in years, and this time with my own horse! My main goal for the spring is to get Flash and I to a solid, well matched place, so we can pick up from there when I come back from pregnancy recovery in August. Might as well make the most of our arena time while we’re stuck there, and today’s outdoor arena was just… breathtaking. I don’t go for hyperbole much, but the sun was shining, the views of the hills were beautiful, and the footing was fantastic. I just wish it were a tad bit closer and we’d be there all the time!

Flash trailered well, relaxed while we waited and I tacked fuzzbutt up, and only called once to the horses all around him. He had a few opinions under saddle, but nothing to budge even my out of fitness butt. Rebekah gave me one main pointer that I was desperately needing-carry your hands! Huh, so that’s why I lurch forward at the posting trot, my hands were way too low!

Flash and I have tons of work to do, but there’s a well trained, happy partner under his blonde, cookie hogging exterior and I’m more excited than ever to bring it out. Good boy Flash, very good boy 🙂

View from the ground

Life has tossed a few loops at me this summer, from Kade's second broken arm, job loss and Tom hopping back and forth to Phoenix, not to mention the unreasonable heat and wildfire smoke hanging over everything. I'm writing this on my friend's living room, PNER Green Bean mug full of coffee in one hand, kid playing on his iPad and stuffing his face full of bagels and remarking on the ducks once again taunting the dogs.

I picked up blogging (again!) as a way to remain somewhat publicly accountable for my new exercise plan. Since my last post I've only put in two solid bike rides, although I've been working out a different way; horse back riding, schooling horses in the ring, on my feet or in the saddle a good chunk of the day.

I have so many horse people I look up to, from the newly Tevis buckled Jala Neufeld to my old Fjord and Dales farm owner Marcy Baer, still going strong in Vermont. I have long held an educational view, accepting I will never know everything about horses, but by golly I'll spend a lifetime trying. Due to this I always look around the horse world from a learner's mindset, hoovering up everything and filing things away for later. I rarely toss anything out as complete hogwash, always mindful of the
occasionally huge leaps between disciplines.

There are a few basic things I hold to as someone whose goal is to be called 'horsewoman', mainly being mindful of the horse's point of view in what we ask them to do; letting predators on their backs, trailering to strange places, tolerating everything we toss at them, and always trying to keep their comfort levels in their terms in mind.
So for someone who still and always views themselves as a learner, it's taken some doing to gracefully accept that in a small way, I do have some wisdom and knowledge to share.
(I swear this isn't a humble brag post, stick with me!)

Since my day job was cut, I've been spending the bulk of my days helping a friend with her still relatively new boarding facility up in Washington. And by helping I mean giving lessons, evaluating horses, and giving horses some tune ups. Me, giving lessons! Helping other people not only be better riders, but figure out how to enjoy their horses more.
Despite the heat, long hours on my feet, a general weird feeling to be teaching people *cough* mildly older than myself, and a weird case of what was probably pink eye…. I've loved every moment of it, of watching concepts click in someone's mind or seat, of hearing owners gush over how much calmer their horse is. Even Tom has seen how much calmer and happier and flat out excited I am, and is fully supportive of trying to make this training concept work, however we can.

I've been in full on research mode the past few weeks, reading and plotting and mulling ideas about *gulp* setting up an actual horse business. I have already identified my niche- kids and reriders or older new riders, people who want to work on themselves and making their lives with their horses easier and more enjoyable. I know where my gaps are as a rider and horse person, which is why I'm as dedicated to learning as ever. I still have big goals for myself (Tevis 2020 anyone?) but this doesn't discount what I do know.

Part of this post was to finally process how I feel about the whole experience (weird! Excited! Happy!) but also toss my little shingle into the wide ring of horse people in the Pacific Northwest. If you find yourself looking for lessons or boarding near Olympia Washington, give T and A Ranch a look. It's the facility I would build given the time and inclination, and it's a fantastic place to learn to ride or keep working on things 🙂

See ya on the trail!

Learning lessons

Sunday was a normal day for us, as in I bashed heads with my dad, got a new car (Possible codename: Emerald Queen), & nearly lost my child in Target (trying to find accessories for said new car). Wait, did I just admit that in public? Lost my child? For five minutes in a busy box store, I didn’t know where my child was. Pause a bit before you call CPS on me; a few good things came out of this, past the near heart attack & tears.

  
This incident more clearly defines my personal parenting struggle between two types. I could be a helicopter which people seem to expect these days, which goes against my basically lazy inner Cali girl. More & more I lean on my own hazy memories of slipping the bounds of my supervision when I was Kade’s age & wandering the Arizona desert with only a probably confused, definitely long suffering dog named Major for company.
As Tom & I stood a few feet away & watched Kade search the aisles for us, we waited for him to turn his head two inches & spy us, I was in a way testing him. Could he figure it out, how to seek us? How much tether to give him, considering the huge, wild ride of kindergarten poised to jump us at the end of this summer?

  
Kade didn’t see us (or there would have been no tale to tell), instead he headed off uncertainly down a different aisle. I shook my head as I headed out to collect him, but the panic only set in when he wasn’t there. No matter what the statistics say, I watch too much Criminal Minds. I understand the potentials in this situation, but there’s still the struggle. How much do I protect, from everything, & how much can I start teaching him now to fend for himself, to engage the brain resting in that pretty blonde head? What is appropriate for this child at this age, compared to his desert wandering mother, farm wandering with two older bothers’ father, or Tom with two older sisters in a sleepy farm town?
In that five frantic minutes with the worst trotting through my mind’s eye, & I can say this now with pride since the panic has (mostly) passed, Kade proved he does listen to me, & remember. I have two main rules for when we go out-don’t leave a place unless you’re holding the hand of whoever you went in with, & if you can’t find us, find an employee or cop & tell them you’re lost. It was the second one he put into use on Sunday. He found a women with a red Target shirt on, clearly an employee & not a random Joe Schmoe, & informed her he couldn’t find his Mommy.
Thankfully the tale ends there, as Tom overheard her calling a code yellow & found him that way, & then here came Mommy to scoop him up with no panic evident on her face.
So there’s the good news out of all this; he can handle himself fairly well in such a situation. But I’m going to teach him how to do a proper search, or just stay in place, for god’s sake child!