I have missed the view between these incredibly cute, fuzzy ears!
There is so much I want to say... so much I have on my mind... but I don't want to turn this into a long, boring, rambling post, so I'm going to try to keep it short and to the point.
I started reading blogs again yesterday, trying to get caught up. I am months, almost a year, behind on a lot of my favorite blogs. I feel so bad for getting that far behind, but life happens I guess. I hate to say it, but I did use the mark all as read button in my blog reader. :( I am still going to try to catch up on a bunch of blogs, but it might have to be one a week or something like that.
I've been feeling really sorry for myself lately. I was really happy and optimistic back in December because I was leaving a job I absolutely hated that was killing me emotionally and destroying my back physically, but then the horses got sick, then I got sick (took three weeks and antibiotics to get over a sinus/ear infection and then the side effects from the antibiotics, finally feeling normal again!), then they started working me nights at the new job (which I was told I wouldn't have to do) so my sleeping schedule is screwed up and my insomnia is kicking in big time (I'm very dependent on a predictable eating and sleeping schedule to keep myself happy, sane and healthy)... so a lot has been going on and I have been getting really depressed (vitamin D deficiency doesn't help... I have started taking my supplements again though). I was even starting to wonder why I have horses because I never do anything with them and thinking maybe I should just sell them, but I realized what I was doing and sternly told myself to knock it off. It was just the stress and lack of sleep talking. I would regret it if I got rid of my boys.
In the midst of my huge pity party I read Nicku's blog Polka Dot Periodical about her having to euthanize her best friend and I realized how big of an ungrateful idiot I was being (go hug your horses guys). So I decided to get over my funk (easier said than done, but a wake up call helps and having a weekend off to spend with hubby for the first time in six weeks helps). Then I read about the 100 Day Horse Challenge (I shortened it to 100 Ride Challenge in my title) over at Gray Horse Matters (post here) and was considering trying the challenge to find my elusive motivation. She told me to just do it, because I had nothing to lose and everything to gain (she also asked me to come back to blogging which was so sweet and helped inspire me to want to write again), so I'm going to do it!
The 100-Day Horse Challenge originated with Linda at Beautiful Mustang (post here) and the goal is to improve your horse skills through riding and/or training horses, at least 100 days out of the year. A day in the saddle always counts towards the challenge, but anything else has to demonstrate that you're working toward an objective, rather than just hanging out. Considering I hadn't ridden Chrome since October 4th which is FIVE months this is definitely something I need to do (if not he will always be green! He needs experience!)! So our first ride was today.
There is a TON of rain coming (like days on end, maybe up to 6 or 7 inches!) so I knew I needed to hurry and ride this morning, so I just threw his bridle on and got on bareback. I will be completely honest.... I was kind of scared... I haven't ridden bareback much since I fell off (he spooked and spun while I was riding bareback over a year ago... how has it been a YEAR????) so I was very tense. Every time he looked at something, tensed, the dog came around a corner, the squirrels ran through the leaves, a neighbor horse neighed, the donkey brayed, etc. everything made me tense up and/or flinch! It was crazy.
I only rode 17 minutes at a walk with a couple of short trots. Then when I saw the mail lady drive by I used it as an excuse to get off and get the mail (I can't open the gate from his back very well, so I got off, then couldn't get back on because he's too tall). He was a little tense and stiff (he's very out of shape and was just trimmed), but he was fine. He's a saint to put up with a ball of nerves hanging on his back. I was consciously forcing myself to relax my muscles from the waist down, but I was definitely carrying some tension in my shoulders and neck (good thing we don't work on a contact yet lol).
After walking up the driveway and back (he was very eager going up because he could smell the neighbor horses and hasn't seen them in a long time) I stopped him in front of the house and asked him to flex laterally and then worked on backing up some. Then I spotted my mom standing on her porch and laughed because I didn't know I was being watched. Talking and laughing with her calmed me down and that's when I was able to chill, stop being hyper aware of the environment and trotted some. She also said he was very pretty and getting so light. I love when she compliments him because she's not a horse person (she likes them, will pet them and thinks they are pretty, but she doesn't want to handle them) and doesn't see him very much because she doesn't go out to the pasture. I love my mom, but I definitely didn't inherit the horse gene from her hehehe.
Anyway, it was a nice, short, uncomplicated, get back into the groove kind of ride. Challenge accepted! :D
Sorry for all the chattering that I said I wasn't going to do lol. Here are the pictures.
He melts my heart!
I forgot to mention I rode Chrome over to the pasture fence to see Rocky. They sniffed noses and Chrome nibbled on Rocky's face. Then Yankee came running up and started harassing Rocky, jumping on him, climbing his back legs, doing his stupid goat noise thing, etc. It pissed Rocky off! He pinned his ears and Chrome thought it was something he did, so he spun away. I squealed in fright because spinning while riding bareback is how I came off a year ago! I stayed on though lol. He wasn't cantering sideways this time so that helps haha. Then I was able to snap the above picture of Rocky going after Yankee. I hate to admit it, but I laughed!! I have no sympathy for the goats. They bring it on themselves.
Which reminds me of a story my mom told me. One evening when I was at work mom was in her front yard looking up at the pasture and Chrome was laying down. Rebel was being obnoxious and torturing Chrome, not letting him nap. She felt sorry for Chrome because the goat was relentless. Chrome finally stood up, grabbed the goat (by the neck? back? not sure), picked him up clear off the ground and THREW him!! She was shocked! I wish I had seen it!!! I'm so glad to hear that Chrome stood up for himself because the goats are total pests and it's like they get away with it 99% of the time. I wish I had that on video because I have never in my life seen a horse throw a goat! It's kind of intimidating when you realize how powerful their jaws and necks are!
When I put Chrome back in the pasture he turned back to the fence and immediately started offering smiles. He is so cute!!
Here is what he offered. I wasn't really ready with the phone so I missed the better efforts.
Then I picked some grass and clover as a reward for his efforts and asked him one more time and got this (I was ready that time hehe). I love him! He is so cute!
So if anyone else is interested in the challenge please join us!! I know we're getting a late start, but it's still possible and even if we don't finish it in 2016 we can still do it in 365 days. :) I'm looking forward to giving it a shot. I really want to improve Chrome's fitness (for his benefit) and get him more experienced about the world and riding in general (for both of our benefit). I obviously know that things can happen such as getting sick (heck he's already had the staggers and I've had a sinus/ear infection this year so it's fresh on my mind that this is a possibility) or injured, so if it doesn't happen I'm not going to beat myself up or consider myself a failure. It's a challenge, a goal, nothing more. No pressure, deadlines, perfectionism (hard one for me to fight), etc. We are going to have fun and work on improving our relationship and training. That's the whole point of the challenge after all. Wish us luck!! :D