As I've mentioned before, riding horses is amazing therapy. For me. Most of the time. Every once in a while, you just have a darn frustrating ride, I guess you can't win 'em all! Most of the time though, it is very therapeutic. Last night was one of those incredibly therapeutic nights. I have been more than a little crabby and stressed this week. Our last drill practice was cancelled because there was a long show at the arena, so it had been a week and a half since I last rode my horse. I think it was going on three weeks since I rode my horse on my own, not at drill practice. How sad is that?!?
The weather here has been absolutely miserable lately. Gray, windy, cold and rainy. Very, very rainy. Besides the weather absolutely sucking any motivation to ride my horse out of me, and the depressingly short days, I've been really busy with other things. Trying to take advantage of the last bit of nice weather to get some yard work done and I have been working on getting my kitchen painted. The kitchen is taking way more time then I thought it would. I spent most of last week picking colors and prepping it for the painting, then I spent most of the weekend painting it. Monday I touched it up and pulled all the tape off. I still want to give the counters and floor a good scrubbing before I move everything back into it. Because of that, the whole rest of my house looks like the kitchen barfed all over it. Or has just plain been neglected because I've been so consumed by the kitchen. I have also decided that I'm really not such a big fan of painting. It kinda, sorta, really sucks. I love the end result, but there are so many things that I would rather be doing then actually painting.
I know, I know...excuses. They are like...ummm...noses, everybody has one. We have another show in the winter reining series coming up this weekend though so getting on my horse this week is just not optional! Last night there was a flag clinic at the arena. I love flag clinics! They are fun, a good workout and a fabulous tool in reminding my horse to use her damn butt again! After our stop at the last show, this clinic couldn't have come at a better time! The boyfriend definately needed the saddle time to. He's been so busy hunting that poor Sugar has just been hanging out getting fat for a month now! She has always been very athletic looking and a little harder to keep weight on then the other two, but she has actually put some weight on and looked like I think a horse sitting in the pasture should going into winter. Of course, as soon as she started working last night, she sucked that gut right in and looked her ideal working weight again. Not sure how she managed that.
Both of the girls were a little snorty and spicy when we first got there, but it didn't take them long to warm up out of it. By the time the clinic got going, they were both working really well. Midori and I totally hit our groove, which is always fun! I could tell I hadn't ridden in a while though. I felt like I kept dropping my shoulder or leaning to the inside and I kept catching myself looking down more then up. Since I felt like I was doing that, I couldn't hardly blame Midori when she dropped her shoulder or stumbled thru something. I really had to think hard about keeping myself straight and balanced. It's amazing what just a week and a half off from riding will do to your body! I felt like Gumby up there for the first couple laps, trying to figure out where my legs and arms and body were. Probably didn't help that Midori was a bit of a wiggle worm during that to, but again, I blame myself. It's a lot more productive then blaming the horse! That's usually when you get one of those darn frustrating rides!
Anyways, when it came time to work the flag, which Midori had been watching intently during the other riders turns, she decided to ignore the stupid thing and run right past it. We had a quick little conversation that went something along the lines of "Um, HELLO! That flag thing over there? Ya, you're supposed to stop and turn with it! Remember?!? It hasn't been that long since you did this on buffalo!" Luckily, she's a good listener and it only took two little conversations for her to catch on. But then she started anticipating the turn, instead of waiting for the flag ("cow") to turn her. It was fun and good experience to work her thru those issues though. We worked on shaping and getting her to really use her butt to stop, which is never all that hard with her. She just needs a little reminder sometimes and it's always easier when more then just my butt and maybe the rail are involved. Overall I was very pleased with how she worked and how quickly we were able to correct our little issues. The trainer said he really liked the basics we have, that we did really good. I didn't listen in to see if he told everyone that, but I like to think we were a little impressive for how little we really do with cutting. The first time I ever worked the flag with Midori, the trainer that did that clinic said she was amazed that that was our first time ever and that Midori has the kind of natural talent she looks for when she's picking young cutting horses. Again, I like to think she wasn't just blowing smoke, but I try not to let it go to my head.
So after a good almost two hours on my horse I had all but forgotten all of my worries and crabiness and stress. None of it even crossed my mind the rest of the night. Not even when I got home and had to wander thru the maze of kitchen crap in the living room or shove the mountain of laundry waiting to be folded aside so I could snag a spot on the couch to sit down for a minute. I was totally, completely relaxed and I'm sure if it hadn't been past my bedtime already I would have been chipper. I sure woke up in a pretty good mood this morning. I love it that riding horses does that for me.