Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I came, I saw, I rode... and Conquered

Labor Day weekend.

It was our last real weekend together as a family until Thanksgiving. The Bean is taking 18 units this semester in addition with his normal full-time job. I expect I'll catch glimpses of him between now and then, but that's about it.

He graduates in May and we both agree it just can't happen soon enough.

Since there is only one real way to celebrate a three day weekend, there was little doubt where we'd go:



Am I sounding like a broken record yet?

The DragonMonkey shows every sign of becoming a full-fledged member of the horseaii society. (Mugwump, did you come up with that phrase or did you hear it somewhere else?)

He didn't sleep at all during the nearly three hour drive up to Bakersfield.

"Howse? Horwse? Wide Horwse? Wide Horwse? Pet Horwse? Niiiice, howrsie. Niiiice. Ride? Ride Horwse?"

It was cute at first, but after three hours I was almost wishing horses didn't exist.

We saw Cotton's new filly, who at three months old is growing up to be quite the little looker.

I finally got a chance to ride Willy, Ms. Pal's three year old son. I took a couple of hurried pictures, which I promptly forgot up on a camera chip in Bakersfield. The pictures are hurried, because I WAS hurried. There was a horse. And he was about to have a saddle on his back. And my butt was going to be in that saddle.

Who can be bothered with photography in a moment like that?

Willie is, sadly, quite handsome. I say sadly because I'd like to own him, but he's out of my league. He's 15.2 and will probably end up 15.3, huge (and not finished filling out yet), beautiful head, kind eye, intelligent, beyond sweet, great feet, and packaged nicely with a stunningly flashy deeply silver red roan coat. He's the kind of horse that markets easily, goes for good money, and then sells for even more money when he's a little older, if someone doesn't keep him for liffe. DARN.

The ride was great - Willie was fresh - quite fresh, actually. I surprised myself by swallowing the butterflies and actually enjoying myself. Immensely.

I got up on an extremely fresh three year old I've never ridden before and took him out on trail. We set off in a long trot and worked on headset while Bunnygal rode the unflappable Rocky (her stallion) alongside us.

I feel like I crossed some sort of milestone in my riding. Two or three years ago I would have been miserably nervous, which would have fed Willie's energy. I would have battled him into a jiggy walk and be scared I would lose control the entire time. Instead, I got on, raised my eyebrows as I felt the loaded bomb of a horse beneath me, and took off at a trot to get rid of some excess nerves. Willie settled right down, and we both had a blast.

The next day we went out to visit MaryJane, who is currently in training. Remember MaryJane, Rocky's first foal?

Well, she's not a gawky yearling anymore. It's amazing to me how much she's filled out in a year.

She's in training with a local cutting trainer who says she's doing well. Very well.

She still has her fancy buckskin roan coloring.

And she's still sweet.

Really, really, really sweet.

I think the DragonMonkey and I both fell a little bit in love.

I had to separate the two of them when she started licking his head and making his hair stand up on end.

I also got a chance to hang out with some cows. I like cows. Yeah, they're not the brightest animal on the planet, but I like the way they look at me as if I'm the most fascinating creature to walk the face of the earth.

Whenever I see this:

THIS is really what I see:

(if you have crappy eyes like me, click on the photo to read their thought bubbles)

See? The sky's even brighter and the field is even yellower when cows are around.
(It has nothing to do with me learning how to use a photo editing service, either.)

Of course, the horse the DragonMonkey and I both really fell in love with on this trip was Ms. Pal.

I mean, how can you not? She's just so stinking sweet.

Sweet, sweet, sweet. I wish I were better with a camera so I could show how she'd lower her head and close her eyes and just melt into the clumsy little pets that the DragonMonkey kept bestowing on her.

She's just a total sweetheart.

Ms. Pal's always kind of taken a backseat in Bunnygal's herd. After being greenbroke (and poorly at that) as a two year old, she took a hiatus as a pasture ornament and broodmare. She throws her great conformation to every foal, and most importantly, she gives them her incredibly sweet, willing attitude as well. I always enjoyed visiting with her, but there were always flashier horses who captured my eye and attention. Recently, Bunnygal started riding her again. She probably has about twenty or maybe thirty rides on Ms. Pal over the past couple of months.

When we first arrived at Bunnygal's place I immediately noticed that Ms. Pal was standing tied at the rail with a saddle on her back.

Normally I don't like getting up on anything less than a well-trained horse. I don't have any real lessons under my belt aside from the helpful critique's Bunnygal's been giving me over the years. Not only does it make me nervous to be up on a greenbroke horse, but it really emphasizes how little I know. I hate that feeling of getting up on a horse and feeling it deaden up and go numb beneath me because I'm not being precise with what I ask.

On the other hand, I've been hanging around Ms. Pal for years now, and I was dying to try her out.

I hopped on, and WOW. I'm beginning to realize it may not be the horse, so much as the way Bunnygal trains, but WOW. What a "click". Even though she probably knew less than any horse I've really ridden it didn't seem to matter. She was light and responsive, steady, and approached everything I asked of her with her customary sweet, willing attitude.

When we trotted I had one of those moments where I felt my center of balance sink deep in the saddle and it felt like nothing could make me fall off.

I love those moments.

Afterwards, we gave her a bath and let The DragonMonkey walk her around until she dried off. Considering it was 100+ degrees and the middle of the day, that didn't take long.

I will be really sad the day he outgrows the "menial tasks are fun!" phase.

I also learned that roundpens are good for more than working horses.

I want a roundpen in my backyard now.

I can't really figure out how to end this blogpost, since it wasn't really anything more than me sharing some photos and blabbering on about how much I like horses. I know, I know, it's not exactly thrilling stuff. I promise that it's only a matter of time before I spastically embarrass myself at my work office or say something idiotic in public. When I do, I'll be sure to share it with all of you. Maybe I'll even find some old Jr. High photos of myself and we can have a "geek-off" and see who was the nerdiest.

I bet I'll win.

Meanwhile, I am going to shamelessly plagiarize from Haiku Farms , and since I live down in Southern California and she lives up in in the Northwest (and is therefore too far away to retaliate by throwing something at me) there's nothing she can do about it, either:

Life. Is. Good. ©



Blogger Veronica Foale said...

It looks like the perfect weekend.

September 8, 2011 at 12:14 AM  
Blogger JJ said...

Beautiful horses! It sounds like the perfect weekend!

September 8, 2011 at 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great weekend. And I loved this post just as much as all your other ones.

Course I will talk horses for hours with anyone who will listen to me and not walk away shaking their head, or run away ....... well you know :D

September 9, 2011 at 12:26 PM  

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