Monday, May 3, 2010

This is going to be a FUN month.. this challenge comes at a very busy time for us on the farm - with spring time STUFF that must be done... but I am determined to try as many challenges as possible. BUT then again--- Denise... the mini challenge came at just the RIGHT time. My sweet Keri lately has been struggling with the intense pace of most of our trips. We cover a lot of ground and only have certain time frames to complete our trips. Sometimes, this year, she's not fast enough. I have been saying and planning for years -- 2 years anyway -- I need to start her replacement ... EEEEKS. Every time, I would say -- OK tomorrow I am going to ride Luna (her daughter) or Fiona .. but I LOVE Keri.

The emotional piece is huge and I procrastinate. Keri and I have especially bonded over the last 2 years with our aging process :) as we grow old together we love each other more.

She was there for me during my in jury and healing.... what can I say -- we are a TEAM.

When this mini contest first was announced, I went and signed on with Keri and me. Over the month of April - I gave that a lot of thought.. it's a challenge after all... how challenging will it be to use Keri ? What will I learn -- how will I grow ? Is it really going out of my box to fall back on my familiar ? All month -- I agonize... ridiculous :) I could use OYY Luna and learn to bond with her - she's Keri's daughter and one of my offspring raised expressly for me to use as Keri's stand in .. Or I could always choose a horse and work on the ground - I considered OYY Sweet Dreams Baby.. .(Mari is her barn name) she's a beautiful cremello who will be a mount for me someday and a lesson horse. The work would be great for her and I. I also briefly flirted with the idea of working with a young gelding we have for sale. That also would be the ground work section.. he'll certainly benefit from the extra sessions and he adores me in that school boy crush kind of way-

silly boy. :)

As Denise will affirm -- my very LAST minute down to the wire decision... I am selecting OYY Fiona for my partner this month -- also expressly bred for a possible replacement for Keri. She is out of our Chip - and a wonderful very much loved mare Teena - who the entire family rode and had fun with. We all loved Teena, she was absolutely a member of the family... and Fiona is a curly replica. She will be a lesson horse someday also - but this year, she still seems a bit immature for the demands of therapeutic lessons. She's had some training (minimal as she was never for sale) and she has been out on the road a few times. I had myself pretty well worked up (YES... like all of us -- I have anxieties about my safety.. .) -- am I going to love her ? Is she going to be good to me ? How much am I going to miss Keri ? Is this going to be a chore or a delight ? BIG SIGH... I'm committed.. I already signed on for this.. it's going to be fine :)

May 1st.... the big day -- Zoe and I went for a nice energetic trot over the mountain to check out a trail we are thinking we can take Nimue and the cart on -- with brooks to cross .. it's going to be so much fun. There was only 2 problem areas that we could see -- at the start of the mountain trail, it's well washed out with a cobblestone effect all uphill. That's going to be tough on the cart.. and we may have to get out and walk beside the cart for a mile. The other -- to complete the loop -- to get past this padlocked gate... we'll have to unhitch Nimue and some how drag the cart separately through the opening.. we are planning maybe Wednesday -- not part of the contest -- but .... This may be our last big Keri Teasel ride for awhile ..

Return to the farm -- and here it goes.. a deep breath for me ... camera for Zoe -- I am mounting my new horse of the month and going for it. My first goal is the big ring and the figure 8's. Fiona has never done a figure 8-- she's not particularly well schooled in ring work .. She serpentines down the driveway (you know how green horses won't travel in a straight line ? ) Enters the ring and I can feel her hesitation and I know a lot of it is coming from me as well. Looking at this photo - I think I am feeling too serious... this is supposed to be fun . Fiona looks beautiful here though --

I give myself a big girl scolding.... and as we warm up - I'm loving the way the saddle fits Fee.. and she's listening to my leg (pretty well) .. On the bottom half of the 8.. she does try to dash out the gate. :) Typically little girl green horse stuff.

I feel accomplished enough and pleased enough to brave putting the shortened version of our little video here for scrutiny :) Just a partial 8... all 3 figures would be a mite tedious.

Whaddaya think Zoe ? good enough ?

wow... as I cantered back up thedriveway -- I am feeling part way there.. I am not completely immersed in this horse but I did accomplish a nice ride. :)

Sunday morning, Zoe and I ride the 6 mile loop - this will be Fiona's 5 miles. Poor thing- she gave it her all but the day woke up already hot and humid and she was tired for the last mile for sure. I don't know how to document a 5 mile ride on video (hey.. I love earning points ) The first mile she had to look around at everything -- trot, stop, trot, stop... I learned just how much I could push her and by mid-trip I was using the crop rather freely with a tappity tap. (wow is she her mother or what ? ) We had some nice canters.. I encouraged her to walk out without having to break into a trot. That was a bit tricky for her. Zoe was astride the "T" man .. and half way out - Fiona and he were trotting and walking aside each other -- that's great .. they'll make super trotting partners. Did I miss Keri -- surprisingly NO.. yikes I should feel guilty about that. Just abandon my wonderful mare because of her age and limitations.. what will I do when I have to experience that ? When I get left behind because I am too old ?

3/4 of the way into the journey, we try the brook. It's quite a steep incline from the road down to the brook and Fiona was a champ-- sitting right down on her butt and bracing carefully. She has never been on a brook walk before.

I am feeling so proud of her, I don't have time to feel any nervousness. She hesitates but listens to my asking. And as we stroll down the opposite end -- eureka... we find deep water !! I intend to bring Fiona over to the river crossing that we just did with Keri and Elektra -- but that's a LONG trip for her -- so not sure she'll be in shape by the end of May for that. What a fortunate discovery.. a bit of deep water close to home :) We go back and forth through the deep water several times.

I know this is a rather lengthy entry... but meaningful for me and I so wanted to share it all :) Would I have ever switched off... tried a new mount ? Stepped out of my comfortable Keri box ? without this little challenge.. I'd like to think I am mature and brave enough ... but I so love Keri -- and do have insecurities about my safety .... in all honesty.. it would not have happened so quickly without the MAY contest. I feel so successful and accomplished... I am proud of Fiona and -- bashfully proud of myself. :) The real crux of the issue is .. habits and patterns - grabbing the easy first.. and the BIG emotional piece of riding someone other than Keri. With my beginning passage into the elderly years... I struggle with those issues as well... can you teach an old dog new tricks ??

Finally -- And like the Pointer Sisters -- " I'm so excited and I just can't hide it " Isn't it so great when we surprise ourselves with our capabilities and meet a new goal ? Thank you Denise -- and don't forget my gift of a daughter who is always supporting and encouraging me too.. (who does not have a clue what it is like to reach 60 years of age and still put aside your worries) AND carries the camera and records my new baby steps. :) Yay for ALL of us RAC'ers.

Now - speaking of Zoe -- she has chosen to work with OYY Queen Jane Approximately - who is just turning 3 years of age. It's her goal to be riding Queen by the end of May. I'll take lots of photo's and video of her and her new partner .. but She's going to do all the blogging herself. we have to work out the logistics of that (I'll have to e-mail her the photo's so she can use them) -- but in the meantime, here's a couple of photo's of her and Queen.

Here's Queen returning from her first trail ride with Zoe !
It will be fun to keep track of the journey - Queen and Zoe- from here to the first intro level test maybe in the fall.

Enjoy ~


  1. I am FREAKIN' out with excitement for you Betsy!!!! THIS IS SO AMAZING! I was so worried you would find this challenge too restrictive in only using one horse - BUT you have risen to the challenge (as always!) !!!!! Way to go both of you!!! BTW, Fiona is HUGE and GORGEOUS!!!! So is Queen! You & Zoe are such a delight. Thank you for your hard work - I know you will inspire others!

  2. Betsy, Fiona could be a Dream clone!! Susan trailered over here yesterday for the first time, and I showed her around this neighborhood for a couple hours. It was very warm and humid, so the horses were sweaty when we got back, and the black flies are fierce here right now. Susan will be posting to the blog, and she has at least one picture! My husband went to say hello to AhD, then came to Dream where I was tacking her up on the cross ties and said to Dream "You are much heavier than the little boy in the back yard."

  3. Way to go Betsy and Zoe!! I can't wait to follow you throughout the month. Especially if you sneak in some time with Nimue in the cart!! I especially love those posts. What you get Nimue to do in the cart is my goal with Linus!! Denise is right, you definitely are an inspiration. Good Luck with Fiona and Queen. Excellent choices to "rise to the challenge" and they are both so gorgeous, Queen looks like a refined, curly Clydesdale!! Beautiful

  4. Betsy, you and Fee look beautiful together. I think you have now outdone yourself in inspiring posts, and I look forward to hearing of your journey with Fiona this month. I agree with Donna that Queen is a beauty, and this is a great opportunity for Zoe to get in some blogging time! Thanks for your call to me on Saturday morning to kick start me into re-duct-taping my camera and blogging.

  5. And in T shirts no doubt!! Very jealous!! We still have snow past my knees in areas and ICE.. :(


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