Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Glori's First Big Trail Ride


I took Glori on her first trail ride off the farm, ever.  I had attempted this years before, but she displayed such anxiety that I could not even ride her.  To be honest, I was scared to death that she would do the same kind of thing again.  But I needn't have worried.  Glori's behavior was picture perfect! She even remained calm as we rode along side the highway and a huge semi passed us.  Our ride lasted about 4 hours.  I'm encouraged that Glori and I will make a trail riding team yet! work on that pace of hers!

I rode Glori on her first ever, off farm, long trail ride.  She was perfect.

Olga rode Bobbie.

We stopped for lunch about half way.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Dream Come True

I'm sure she doesn't realize it.  She's just having a fun day with her friend, Dayna, who spent the night.  But this day, is a dream come true.  This day, is one I've been dreaming about since she was three years old - the day she first got Cindy and my mind started imagining what the future would be like. 

When I was 10 years old, I had a friend who had ponies.  When she'd invite me over, I was simply beside myself with joy.  We rode those ponies all over the countryside and it was some of the most wonderful fun I ever had.  I didn't have a horse of my own, but I pretended her pony was mine.  It was those days with Sabra and Nellie that cemented in me the joy and love for horses and riding that I have never gotten over.

It was eight years ago that I began imagining that someday, ClaireAnna would be able to share that kind of day with her friends.  I hoped that there would come a day when she'd have a friend over, and the two of them would get up early, saddle up a couple of ponies and head out for the trails.  Wouldn't that be something?!

Today was that day!

Getting to this day has taken patience, planning and discipline.  I've had to very carefully guide my daughter along the road to confidence and knowledge in horsemanship.  Cindy was a young pony, only 2, when we got her and Claire was only 3.  We could not just plop her up there and let them go.  And ClaireAnna was not naturally fearless on a horse.  Some of the things Cindy did scared her.  We had to go slowly with both of them.  We started out with lots of leading. 

I walked that princess on her pony all over this farm!

And they became friends.

We eventually graduated to me riding while ponying Cindy and Claire.  I don't have any pictures of that because I was on a horse!  We did that for many months.  Then we moved up to me walking alongside as Claire rode Cindy herself. 

This ride is one of the very first times that ClaireAnna rode independently as Ted and I walked along.

Eventually, Claire started riding lessons.  Cindy had two 30 day sessons of training at different points along the way and the two of them became a team.  They've done some clinics, 4H shows, lots of trail rides, camping trips, and jr. rodeos.  They've grown up.  Together. 

 During these growing up years, we made the decision to breed Cindy and she had a colt in 2008.  She named him The Grinch.  

And a new friendship began. 

Here is Claire riding Cindy, while Daddy walks the Grinch.  We did a lot of this.

As ClaireAnna grew in her confidence on Cindy, she was also developing her relationship with The Grinch as he was growing up, and looking forward to the day she would eventually ride him.  We had him started when he was three. 

This is their first ride together.

We started all over building confidence, his conficence in us, her confidence in him, and my confidence in them.  We went slowly and took a full year to transition Claire from Cindy to The Grinch.  For a long time, we took him every where they went and just tied him up.  Then I started riding him at arenas and on trail rides while Claire continued to ride Cindy.  We took him to her lessons and she rode him in the round pen and then the arena and eventually on a trail ride. 

This is the first time she ever rode him outside an arena - their first trail ride with trainer Brad Palmer.

In the spring of 2012, Claire and I hit the trails hard with the goal of giving both ponies lots of wet saddle blankets and Grinch the trail confidence he needed.  We started out me riding Grinch and Claire on Cindy.  Then we started switching horses mid ride, and eventually Claire on Grinch full time.  In June of 2012, the transition was complete when she took him out after a 2 week layoff and got up on him with no lunging and without me getting him started.  He was perfect!   

This was a pivotal trail ride on the red trail at Lonesome D.  She rode him for five hours and he was awesome and we both knew that day she would be riding him from then on. 

So today was the day!

Claire invited a friend over.  And when they got up this mornig, we saddled these two ponies and off they went! All by themselves! It was a great day! And my heart is full!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why Me?

I couldn't fall asleep last night.  Too many thoughts racing through my head.  But it wasn't what you're thinking......

I had come to bed late after enjoying some time playing around on the Internet.  I snuck into my bedroom where Ted, my sweet husband of 28 years, was sound asleep.  I grabbed my pink, sleeveless, cotton nightie.  The one my girls gave me, with little flowers all over it.  It is so cool and soft when I slip it on.  I just love it.  I wear it every night except on the nights that I wear the green one exactly like it. 

Once I put on the moisturizer and lip balm that I keep in my dresser drawer, I turned off the closet light.  Then, I adjusted my pillow...well, all three of them.  I sleep with two body pillows and one for my head.  The one for my head is squishy and soft and perfect.  I laid my head on it, flipped back my hair, pulled my favorite comforter (One I've had for 20 years) up over me, and relaxed into my bed. 

It was still really hot outside, but last night, the temperature in the house was cool and comfortable.  Ted had the bedside fan blowing upward to circulate air and the whole room felt so refreshing after the long, hot, August day.  It smelled great too, from the freshly washed cotton sheets on the bed and the scent of a delicious, new candle my dear friend gave to me that was sitting on my nightstand...Cupcake, I think. Yum!

As I laid there in my bed, enveloped by every kind of comfort, I realized that my hip, the one I've had twice replaced, was not hurting.  Not at all.  In fact, nothing was hurting anywhere on my body and all I could feel was sweet, pleasantness with all of my senses.  And then it hit me......Why me?

Somewhere, right now, someone is sleeping without a pillow...or a blanket....or even a bed.  Someone is too hot or too cold because they've no electricity, no air conditioning or fan or heat.  Someone, somewhere went to bed alone....friendless....or terrified. Someone can't sleep because they are worried, depressed or in pain. Right now, someone is sleeping in their dirty clothes, or in no clothes at all.  Right now, someone, somewhere is trying to sleep in spite of the stench of the open sewer just outside their glassless window, or pangs of hunger, the buzzing of too many mosquitoes or a very real danger lurking near by.

Why me?

So I started thanking God for all the little things that were making me comfortable right then.  Electricity. Air conditioning. Fan. Fresh air. House. Roof. Soft bed. Clean sheets. Favorite blanket. Pillows. Soft, clean nightie. Dresser. Moisturizer. Lip balm. Candles. Friends. Cupcakes. Painlessness. Husband. Happiness. Joy. Peace.

And then I spent some time imagining what my life would be like without each of them...........

And praying for those that do not have them.

Why me indeed.

Last night, I couldn't sleep because of the fact that I was so very comfortable! But even more so, because I was keenly aware that I was not uncomfortable.  It was my intense gratitude for all these undeserved blessings that kept my mind occupied.  And right on it's heals, was the compassion that filled my heart for those who are in uncomfortable and even unbearable situations.  I am so grateful to God for the reminder that "there but for the Grace of God, go I," and that even the smallest comforts are blessings that should not be taken for granted.