Friday, August 14, 2009

Back in the saddle again

After a long, dry spell of very little riding and no schooling to speak of, Russell and I have gotten to "dance" together again this week. Nothing fancy - neither of us are in shape for that - just good, basic "forward, straight, soft and through." I have done all kinds of riding in my life (I've been horse-crazy since birth), but nothing is as satisfying as dressage to me. When it's right, it really does feel like ballroom dancing looks - beautiful, smooth, energetic but effortless. Power and grace. And to think that a creature so much bigger and stronger than me will willingly partner with me in this dance fills my heart with joy and lightness. Of course, when it's not right and you have a bad ride for whatever reason, it can color your whole day the other way. Funny how completely our interactions with our horses can affect us (or is it just me?)!

I have to admit I've found it hard to be motivated to keep up with schooling Russell now that I've taken showing out of the equation. Showing is expensive, so I'll be hanged if I've made that commitment and don't do my best to have both me and my horse ready for it! And if I am consistently working on improving our partnership, I really appreciate the feedback from the judge on the test sheet. But what now, now that I'm not showing? Well, I've always felt a responsibility to my horse(s) to keep them exercised; it's just not right to let them sit and atrophy in mind and body. Besides, feeding and caring for a horse is an expensive proposition; what a waste if you don't utilize what you're pouring all that money into! So I'm making the commitment to get back in the saddle again to school more regularly, for both our sakes. I've always said I want to be one of those gals who is riding in her late eighties, so I'd better keep my abilities and body tuned!

This blog was started for the sheep, though. Oh sure, lots of other topics come up, but I do try to keep sheep and related fiber arts at the fore. I've long thought about doing a dressage blog; maybe now is the time. Chronicling the "dance" with my equine partner may help replace the motivation showing once gave me. If that is the main purpose, then I wouldn't even have to make it public, although dialogue with others who have similar interests is always stimulating. Anyone out there reading this interested in following along?

Like my paddock boots? I have another pair just like them, only the zippers are shot. I love the ease of zip-up boots, but must admit the zippers fail before the rest of the boot is worn out. The local shoe repairman charges something like $35 to replace ONE zipper (and as you can see on the right boot, he doesn't do a very pretty job), so I've been keeping my eyes open on eBay for a replacement pair. Reviewing horse-related products could be another part of a new blog....

Just in case anyone NOT interested in horses is still reading, I'm happy to report that I'm "back in the saddle" in the knitting and spinning departments, too. Yesterday I wound off the alpaca singles and started plying, AND cast on a new knitting project:This pattern is surprisingly fast and easy for such a beautiful result!

What's this? Okay, true confession. Yesterday afternoon I met Rick so Brian could ride with his daddy for awhile, and found myself within a few miles of Woodland Woolworks. Still weakened from the yarn fumes at Sock Summit, I followed the siren call and ended up with this skein of Jitterbug sock yarn in a dark, mysterious mix of greens. (Hey, it was on sale!) As Pioneer Woman would say - "Help me, Rhonda!"

That's it for now at . . .

13 comments:

seashells said...

Ride and write on Michelle, I will be reading, whether it be sheep, yarn or dressage.

Jenny Holden said...

I'd love to hear more of your training with Russell! I agree with you completely about the importance of having a "reason" to ride. My best friend has that gorgeous Luso stallion, classically trained by one of the best in Portugal and she isn't competing with him at the moment. He's completely going to waste because she doesn't have the motivation to really test what they can do! Glad your ride went better than mine this week!

Doreen said...

Keeping up with one blog is time consuming - trying to do two or three can get confusing. I have been following your blog for quite awhile now and I am not a sheep person and I definately am not interested in knitting. But I love reading about the sheep, your horse,your dog, your gardens, the chickens, etc. etc. In other words the variety is what makes it more interesting. Why can't you write more about your horse and dressage on this blog. I for one would love it.

Christine said...

I wouldn't mind reading along about your dressage dance simply because it's something I know nothing about. I'm always open to learning something new.

BTW, I just love that second photo. So graphic with the mane all to one side like that.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I'm taking all your comments and my own thoughts on the matter into consideration. Doreen, sometimes the uninitiated say that dressage is as boring to watch as watching paint dry, so I wonder if my ramblings about the philosophy and application of it would be as dull for some. If I do start a second blog, I doubt I would post to it as often, and if some aren't interested, they wouldn't have to visit.

melanie said...

I'm going to follow where ever you lead, sister. As much as time allows. I love that sock stash is pulling you in...didn't you say green was not your color? That's right...just keep them away from your face... which at our age, is a pretty easy thing...

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

That's right, sister; I can wear anything on my feet that I can stand to look at, right? :-) And that dark, dark green is going to look smashing with my new black Dockers this winter! Now if all these gift knits and other intriguing patterns would just quit getting in the way of the socks . . . I've even started a queue on Ravelry, finally!

Nancy K. said...

I LOVE reading about your adventures with Russell! Although, I'm quite content to follow them amid your wonderful sheepy exploits. I so admire that you use him for both dressage AND trail riding. I remember when I used to have a beautiful, little Arab mare that I loved with all my heart (her name was "Majik" ~ it's my sign in on yahoo) and there came a time when I wasn't riding very much. I felt quite guilty until a fellow horsewoman pointed out: "I seriously doubt that your horse is standing around thinking 'I wish she'd come strap a hunk of leather, tightly around my mid-section, put a chunk of metal in my mouth and climb up onto my back and make me go around in circles'....! I guess I hadn't thought about it THAT way!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Nancy, I have known horses who would just as soon you leave them alone to graze all day. Others are more like border collies; they WANT a JOB! Most are somewhere in between, I think. But still, I think it does their body (and mine) good to have regular cardiovascular and gymnastic exercise, and they are less likely to be injured, even just running in a pasture, when they are fit.

Joan said...

I would be happy to follow a dressage based blog but also find your posts about Russel here interesting and fun to read (BTW, love that second pic of him listening to you.) I agree with the riding, I've missed it so much and am so happy to finally be able to get back in the saddle now that Annie is getting more independent and my mom has just retired on the 5th so is a lot more available for babysitting! :) I've been riding atleast once a week now, and am so glad to be back in the saddle.

thecrazysheeplady said...

I too fell off the wagon so to speak when I retired Handy. Big mistake and you would regret following that trail. We had a cute little black paint horse dumped on us this past winter and something in him spoke to me and I decided to give him a chance. He spent 30 days with a trainer to get him "started" and now that he's back home, I'm using him as a reason to get back in the saddle.

I have a second blog reserved because I want to do a spinning/knitting/weaving... challenge spot. Sort of an ongoing Tour de Fleece where anyone can sign in and set a goal and then feel "obligated" to report in. Would you be interested in starting something similar with riding? That way, maybe you'd only feel "obligated" to check in/post once a week, which seems do-able (although notice I haven't got my second blog up and running...;-).

Just a thought. Regardless, enjoy your pony while you can.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

What a novel idea, Sara! Explain to me how it could work, since it's a new concept to me. I do know that what I'm thinking I want to do for myself (kind of a training log, as well as more philosophical thoughts on dressage) doesn't really fit here on this blog. I've reserved the addy, but haven't posted anything yet. I wonder if your idea could be incorporated INTO my dressage blog, like the "Sunday Stills" photography challenge.

C-ingspots said...

What!!?? How could someone NOT be interested in riding and horses??? Perish the thought!!!
Harley and Annie and I went for a nice little ride at Flying M yesterday by ourselves. It was very nice not to have to worry about anyone else, or the dynamics of riding with other horses. We had a very good and relaxing time. It does Harley (and me) good to ride alone...he relies on me much more.