The Joy of Circles
I had managed what sometimes seems the impossible, both children were down for a nap at the same time! I turned the TV on to play Sesame Street for the next couple of hours and laid a drink and a snack out on the table in case the oldest child awoke and searched until I found a shirt with a snapping pocket to hold the baby monitor in case the younger woke up. I caught Princess Onna and let her graze in the yard while I saddled. Everything was set, I was going for a ride. With one last walk through the house to make absolutely sure everybody was ok I mounted up.
Princess Onna was in fine form. She pranced in place on her tip toes and her back was humped so high it was like sitting on a beach ball. I pulled her head around and moved her hind quarters over and let her circle a couple of times then we started off again. The wind was blowing steady enough to cool the first eighty degree day of the year but not quite howling. The first leg of our trip took us between feed bunks and cattle on one side and equipment and stacked railroad ties on the other. Having decided she was done being contrary she walked down the road without flinching.
Down at the Quonset my part time mechanic husband was spending the weekend fixing the corn planter with his father. They were within range of the baby monitor. With Onna standing, not quietly but standing, I yelled up to him as he sat in a tractor cab just inside the door to tell him where I was planning to ride and that I was leaving him the monitor. I lead Onna up to the four-wheeler as we squeezed between the drill and the building. I turned the monitor on and sat it down to make sure it was placed where it had reception. Just as I remounted we heard a child squawk. I said a few choice words and waited to make sure he was really waking up and not just stirring. He was definitely awake. So much for my ride.
Rushing back to the house I was trying to balance hurrying to get to a crying baby and not running my horse back to the barn. Which is the more important priority? She has a good fast walk and it’s a short distance, I think we got there as fast as was necessary without teaching any bad habits.
Dismounting I dropped my bridle and left her to mow the lawn as I hurried to the child. He had decided he was starving. Keeping an eye on the horse out the window while he ate I mourned my lost ride. But The Goblin Child was still asleep. I keep hearing about my friends and friends of friends who ride with their children sitting in strollers in the arena surely I could manage. Sure I don’t have an arena but I have a driveway and a shaded spot out of the wind to set a car seat.
8 sat happily watching the branches of the big pine tree sway in the wind while I sat happily in the saddle. We, the horse and I not the child and I, worked on turns on the hind quarters and stopping. Knowing the guy who started her I can guess the sort of things he would have installed, knowing that shes been a trail horse for the decade or so in between and probably not practicing roll backs, I don’t know what she can do, what hasn’t been taught and what she just doesn’t feel like doing. I am enjoying finding out.
Three? years ago before starting Nev I was burnt out on training and just wanted to ride. Starting Nev got me in training mode again. Losing him took away any opportunity to train. One does not “train” Coyote to do anything, it is beneath him, he decides what he is willing to condescend to. Now here I have, if not a colt to train, and maybe not even a horse that is any more willing to accept instruction than Coyote is, at least something new to play with. She is light, relatively, and responsive and what, powerful maybe? Coyote can bolt with a rider, at a walk. She gives that same feeling.
We have moved the garden this year and the old/usual garden plot was sitting there beautifully worked so we claimed it for our arena. I put her on a circle and we walked. I have come far enough that I no longer work on head set. That lesson took awhile to learn. She deviated and we worked harder. She got mad that I would dare to tell her what to do and trotted. I realized how long it had been since I trained horses and cowered in fear of her breaking into a canter. We worked on staying on our circle while she chose to walk or trot and I thought of everything that could go wrong if we crossed that magic line into a lope. It’s one thing on Coyote, he’s not scarey no matter what he does, and he does a lot. I didn’t want to go any faster on a new, more than slightly rotten horse. Then I got over it.
The next time she wanted to go I let her. It was great, we may have paced more than loped but what ever. I wasn’t afraid anymore. Right about then 8 started to fuss. Our ride was over but it was alright I had accomplished more than I had ever hoped for. I had loped a circle.