Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ridin Really Wide

Got a new saddle with some of my Christmas money, my first new saddle ever in my life. It's not a real saddle, it's like a bareback pad, squishier, called a treeless saddle.

It's so WIDE on already WIDE Maggie that after about half an hour in the saddle there is actually no way I could get off. My legs are stuck straight out that way.

So I have to do some stretching, throwing my legs to the sky and having someone shove them out in the splits. And hold them that way. Til I break, or they loosen up.

Friday, January 20, 2012


After that disastrous day out with Maggie where I decided turning her into a bag of dog food would be the kindest thing I could do with her - the next day I went out with Nigel on the trail.

Except for spooking at a parked boat (seems boats are the most TERRIFYING SHAPE, and I'm thinking she had a terrible boating accident when she was Agent 91, Super Spy), she did excellently well - she does so well with a friend horse along. It wasn't until 45 minutes into the ride, when we were heading back in from a new trail, that I could relax, I could feel my legs come down from up in my shoulders and actually touch the sides of Maggie's stomach. I believed in her instead of being scared. Alot of my problems are me. She's just being a horse that never did anything or saw anything before these last 5 months. She's just being honest. And honestly, all she needs is a buddy for trail rides to get her comfortable (she keeps telling me with body language, pretty specifically) and on days I don't have Nigel or someone to ride with, I can just do circles in the street near my house, where she's comfortable. You know, read her signs and do what she can do, and build up our connection. But I have to believe in her and tell her so by being relaxed. Believe in me. Too.

So lying in bed that night I realize, oh, wait, she's my 4-H project. My 45-H project, since I'm way old to be in 4-H. Like my friend Chris said, just pretend you're taking a class in things you're scared of, and your mind will open up. So she's a 4-H project, and that gives me some balls.

Also, she's been having some fungus that is making her rub all the hair off her face so I've had to rub her down with Listerine twice a day, which I don't know, gives her really fresh breath. So my hands smell like an old man Hebrew Choir, seriously, old man fresh.

Love hate relationship, I'm just going to try and stick with my project. Why is worrying so ample and buxom??

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Brother, Would You Sell a Friend?

I don't know what to do about Big Fat Maggie. Mostly, if I sell her, I'd want to name the new horse Maggie. If there was a new horse.

She's just big and difficult and I'm old and senile-ish. I have no right being up on a green horse. I should be up on an old senile horse. Definitely.

The problem is, I've spent MONTHS with this horse. And she needs maybe another 5 months of me not being afraid. It's like she's reached giant toddler stage, so she knows SOME rules, but she doesn't want to really listen to those rules all the time. And she's 1400 pounds.

I don't know, gentle reader. I just got a used bareback pad to fit her huge gut off ebay. Of course, in the week that I decide I probably should find an easier horse to ride. So I have to wait at least til it comes so I can use it once. Before I get a smaller horse. Anyway. Luckily there are plenty of horses out there, and two friends are interested in taking my horse. So no money would be lost or spent. But it's hard to sell a friend. Especially, what if she's destined for greatness? But she is a really pushy horse. I wouldn't mind a less pushy horse.

Okay, more later.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

52 New Things

My friend Spew is going to do 52 Meet Ups this year. I decided I'm going to try 52 New Things. One new thing a week.

I'm behind a few weeks cause the year already started. But I can count meeting a new friend - I did that today.

The next thing is going to be ice cream. I'm almost sure. I want to try unicycling. Anything out there you're going to try??

Right now I'm going to try and be on time picking up Lilly. That's a new thing.

Friends for Mags

Maggie has a new friend. Well, two new friends. It's been 5 months since she got here - and yesterday we went out on the trail with another horse and my friend Nigel. He borrowed the horse from a neigh bor. (Get it "neigh" bor?) Anyway, he came and picked me up on horseback, just like in Sense and Sensibility. I'm hoping he brings a carriage next time and then changes the neighborhood into a scenic valley with a Lake of Shining Waters, and has fresh sandwiches packed in a basket. I will then disappear completely into my imagination. But as Anne says, that's all we need. My trail rides will still be full of shining lakes and verdant valleys. Who cares if we live next to the dump.

I was nervous to take her out with Nigel, who I thought as a boy and an ex-jockey, wouldn't baby us but would instead make us do dangerous stunts, but of course he hasn't BEEN a jockey in several thousand years, and we just walked along the trail. Also, I was afraid that Maggie might somehow cause a scene, fight, freak out, I had never seen her really with other horses, and what she did was very funny, all she did was hurry up to follow the other horse with her nose almost imbedded in the other horse's butt, and that's where she wanted to stay. Goodyou'rehereI'lljustfollowyoudon'tmindmynoseIloveyourbuttit'sgreat. Thank god that horse wasn't a kicker, Maggie would currently have no face.

I should mention that Maggie was extremely oily because I had freaked out thinking she had chicken lice (a great soup if you're sick, by the way) because she was rubbing all her fur off, and so I went out the night before and dusted her with this white powder until she looked like a Ghost Horse, and then she was still itchy the next day and I looked up lice and I looked up itchy horse butt (as I'm sure you all have) and then I found some sane person online that said um, dandruff anyone? So I checked her mane and tail and she had a ton of dandruff, which I had kind of thought but who listens to intuition these days - since she had come from a wet environment (CO and N. Dakota) and ended up in weirdly hot January in California - yes, I think scratching all your dry skin off until you push the fence off it's brackets is in order.

So I washed her with Head and Shoulders and then doused her with mineral oil on the itchy spots, and now I could fry an egg on her and it wouldn't stick (very hard to get her over the stove). So that's how we went on our trail ride, me on the greasy fat horse and Nigel on the refined ex-polo pony who didn't mind my horse's face in her ass. Noble, it turns out, was not only her name.

But it was the first trail ride with company, and it helps to have reinforcements, why have I forgotten that? Because I couldn't afford reinforcements. But it is so much better. Except for one dog who charged the fence so much as we passed that Maggie, who was patient patient patient until finally just flipped out and bucked and stormed forward but I had the One-Rein Emergency stop in my new bag of tricks that I've learned as Scared Rider, so I ripped her head to the left and aimed her at the opposite fence (which was coming at us rapidly) and she contained herself. She is a very mellow mare most of the time, she only has these momentary explosions and leaps forward or some very exciting nonsense for about three strides, enough to outdistance her panic, and then she stops, panic-free, the panic is now three strides back, and I'm now choking on my own panic, but she's fine, ready to keep going now. Thanks. And I keep thinking, thank god the kids aren't on her, but duh, of course the kids aren't on her. This is WHY you're on her. She'll be good at kid riding when you're done at training. In time.

So we'll work on that. It's only been a few months. The more exposure, the more it's eh, that's just a stupid dog.

And then 2nd friend, today I met Lottie, who is looking to do some horse bonding and responded to my craigslist ad for horse help. I wanted someone who wanted to come out once a week and play with Maggie in exchange for a bale of hay, to help with her costs. I couldn't have found a better person - she's a sweet girl/mom, college student, just wants to braid Maggie's hair and put ribbons in it. Time away from her kids and work, to relax. Maybe eventually to ride, but for now, she just wants to bring a bale of hay and play for a little while and get to know her. Perfect arrangement. Perhaps later, she and her kids can move into the tiny apartment being built onto our house, and marry Tim, the construction worker who already lives there. Heheh

Friday, January 06, 2012

Could Fear Wait Over There, Please?

I took a bunch of kids ice skating today. We also went Monday, and it seemed like Monday was more fun maybe because it was Monday and not today, where everything is fresher and we had to compare it to Monday, the better day.

This time there were six pairs of skates to tie on six different people, and I'm not kidding, a half hour later I finally finished. Leaving only and hour and a half to skate the 50 bucks I spent to get everybody in. There was one kid that should never, EVER have soda because he talks so fast anyway, having him talk while hyped up on soda was like traveling on the Millenium Falcon on hyperdrive. It was kind of amazing to behold.

But I didn't get into this blog to talk about the skating, this is my Maggie blog. I didn't get to ride or work with the Mag today because the kids were home and there wasn't that hole in the day that I could jam a 1400 pound cowhorse into. I did manage to lay on the diving board face down in the sun with Lilly wearing SpongeBob pajamas at like 1 in the afternoon. While Emma was in the treehouse, and Nathan was riding around the neighborhood collecting Christmas trees to bring home and cut up with a chainsaw. (The urban boy's firewood gathering.)

Maggie has been here almost five months, and getting on her everyday, whether I want to or not, just being a robot and doing the same things over and over so it becomes routine, has helped to shape her into a riding horse. She's 80% there. She still has maybe 19% I Want to Do Things My Way in her mind. But she's learning. I ride with about 20% fear. I'm trying to reduce that. I took Hank with us to give her some company, and I spent so much time yelling at the dog who kept wrapping himself around poles and stepping all over his leash, that I forgot to be scared, I was too busy being angry and yelling at him. It was kind of refreshing, to have the immediacy of anger to focus me away from the internal dread of getting bucked off. I might take Hank more often, it made an hilarious circus train of a ride, I'm sure all the people passing in cars on the street were amusing by Cussing Girl with Dog and Pony Trailside Show.

I should maybe designate a recepticle that I could place my fear in as I head out to ride, and retrieve it later, because it sure takes over everything. Maybe I'll put it all in the mailbox. Maybe I can accidentally mail it in with my Netflix and never have to see it again. Until I rent it next week. Dammit.

Aside from Maggie having an itchy neck and butt and scraping all the hair off those places, she's a healthy and fat individual. So far.