Sunday, February 28, 2010

Twenty Mule Team Ride-Done!

We did it! Thank you, God. Calico Girl and I completed our first Limited Distance ride, in Ridgecrest, CA. As I accept my completion award, I'd just like to thank the folks who supported me; without your encouragement, I'd just be sitting on the couch. Mom, Dad, thanks for having me. I'm so grateful to Tedi, for the gift of Calico. Robin, I can never thank you enough for 'holding my hand' while I took this big step and for pushing me when I needed it. I also want to thank Selina and Justin for the peanut butter and banana sandwich and dry socks at the second vet check, and just for being there; it meant so much. Thank you Robert and Melissa Ribley for putting on a great ride and all the amazing volunteers that endured that freezing rain, and Shawnda for the dry barn, and Stephan for the bottle of Wild Horse merlot and the cozy bed, and Thank you Calico for carrying me to new places; you are the one I've been hoping for all along; my true enduring partner. I'm looking forward to our next adventure. Oh, and thanks to the tortise for reminding me that "slow and steady wins the race" and to my guardian angel (and Robin) for not letting us step on that rattlesnake. I nearly forgot, Thank you soooo much to Brian and Nicole for babysitting Philip while Stephan was working on his Masters program and while Mama was galavanting around the desert. We accomplished all we had set out to do, so now it's time to set some new goals. Robin says the Color Country ride (Utah) in April, but we have to do the 50 miler. I'll need a big push.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Series of Firsts

It seems that every time I post to the blog in the past few months, I start by saying, 'This was the first time Cali .....'. I'm sure there will come a time when I'm sharing ride stories or lessons learned on the trail, but for now everything is a first-time for us. She went in the new arena for the first time. I cantered with her for the first time. (That was huge!) Next week will be doing our first trail ride with another horse, and in less than three weeks, we'll be doing our first Limited Distance (35 miles) in Ridgecrest, CA. It's official; I mailed the ride application today!

Having a goal, a deadline, has been a wonderful incentive to help us progress quickly with our training. I have always heard that goals are just dreams with deadlines.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

More Preparations for Ridgecrest

I got the results of Calico's blood test yesterday; she's negative for Coggins. All my paperwork is in order for the trip now. I've order a new closed-cell foam pad to use with her saddle blanket to give her a little more cushion from my weight. Also, I ordered some Professional's Choice Sport medicine boots for her front legs. I'll have to see if they will work with her hoof boots. I've been making lists of things I want to be sure to bring on the trip; for the rider, for the horse, for the saddle bags, grooming supplies, tools, feed. Selina and Justin are coming along to crew for us. It's nice to have some family support. I've spent a ton of money in the last couple of weeks, but next time I won't have to because it's mostly been on gear. I guess that's the joke, there's always more gear to buy isn't there. I think I'm pretty set for now, though.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Working with the Trainer

I got some nice short clips of one of our training sessions with Robin, working off leg cues, which incidently, are exactly opposite of how I always rode her. Robin uses a right leg cue to push the right shoulder over for a left turn. I always used a right leg cue to yield the right hind-quarters for a steer-from-rear, right turn. I guess what I really want is to be able to control the shoulders because that's what she uses to try and run over me. I'm finally getting it. ( You were right, Jenny) She also worked on having Cali remain still and then worked with the distractions of other horses. Then it was my turn, I rode her at the trot while Robin rode another horse around us. I didn't get any video of that, darn it.

Calico is Six Years Old

Today is Cali's birthday and I kinda forgot to celebrate it. Philip and Sean came out with me today, and when we got there I noticed her eye had a little scratch right in the corner. It had some pus in it. I doctored it and put some erythromycin ointment in it. I wormed her too.

I worked her in the round-pen, then we moved to the arena for our first ride there.

She was really annoyed today. Probably because her eye was bugging her. It may have just gotten some debris in it; it didn't look serious. She has a completely different attitude compared with yesterday which was calm and relaxed. I accomplished my goal though, and that was to ride her in the arena, another confidence-building excercise for me.

New Friends

This was her first time in cross-ties. There's always something new to learn. I was so proud of her the day we moved because she jumped right into a trailer she'd never seen before and settled right in to her new home.
I rode her in the round-pen the next day while Philip made friends with the barn manager's son, Elijah, and a new pony Trigger. We all had a lot of fun. I've met so many really cool folks here; they've made us feel so welcomed.

So cute, Philip always wears cowboy clothes.