Sunday, September 8, 2019


As I told the story of my epic weekend, my friend laughed like a hyena and said, "Oh you have to write about this one!"

"Everyone" has these moments, "Everyone" can relate, "Everyone"... And I wonder, who is this "Everyone'?  So, I put it off, tried not to remember, eeked the story out to some trusted souls - barn folk, friends who step in as your non-licensed therapist and maybe a work mate or two.  And yet, this nagging need to confess is so strong, like if I tell you, it will have never happened.
Shanti and with the Happy Young Professional riding

Maybe this "Everyone" is some horsey counselor who will heal my wilted aching ego...

In short order, some folks have said that I am unlucky when it comes to horses (I can argue that but its off topic now.)  In short order, after Maisy passed, I got another horse - a five year old Canadian Warmblood who just keeps growing.  She is the sweetest thing, as fancy as Sugar and Maisy with the brain of an old campaigner.

Three weeks after getting her and heading out on our first off-farm adventure, I break my knee cap (another long story and no, I didn't fall off).  12 weeks later, I am ready to get going again and Shanti puts her foot through farm equipment and is stall bound for 2.5 weeks while her wounds heal (another story).

Here comes the epic weekend. This Lil Red-Haired Girl is so sane, I am ready to go xc school (little stuff but something) with the Bestest Barn Owner Eventer.  We choose her quiet, seen-it-done-it-and-it's-all-good Prelim Pony to be our companion.  The theme of the day was to just have a quiet, good time.

This dear sweet, quiet Prelim Pony really decided that we were too slow in getting ready and he wanted to get going on his time.  So... he sat back on his hind legs and jumped out of the trailer while I was putting the bridle on Shanti who was in the stall next to him.  Wait, did I really emphasize that he sat back and jumped...  when he hit the end of his halter, it tore but slowed his trajectory but not his desire.  Hanging on the breast bar, he sat back again and finished the job galloping away with pieces of his halter streaming behind him. 

Shanti was cool as a cucumber.  She was not going to let some inappropriate jumping stop her from exploring.  My Big Girl Panties were probably dangling from the pieces of his halter strewn about the parking lot so xc schooling became a quiet trail ride.

In discussing the day with the Goddess of Equine Yoga, she suggested that a day like that required shots of the alcoholic sort.  Instead, she invited me to join her and a friend for a woodland jaunt on two trusty, non-reactive steeds just a short trailer ride away.
Sigh...  I have no clean Big Girl Panties.  But, this is Shanti and she is so easy, so confident, so calm.  I must do this or become just another middle aged woman doing ground work and riding in the indoor for the rest of my life.

Someone posted on my FaceBook page, "You better be careful!  Things always seem to happen to you!"  Sigh...  Really?  I have enough Demons lurking in what appears to be a sound mind and you need to bring that up?  Sigh!

Is this where I tell you that I forgot to release her from the trailer and when she unloaded (self), it snapped and she slipped off the ramp shaving hair and skin off her recently healed leg?  Do I tell you that she was bloody and I was sure I ruined her?  

And so begins the catastrophicism...  Release the Demons!   "Your fault!  Your fault!, Your fault!"  "BAD day!" BAD Day!"

The Goddess of Equine Yoga came over and said "She's ok!.  I'll hold her still so you can get on". And we went out for a ride. Two Dependables (horses and humans) and UL Event Rider (local) whom I admire and hero worship a bit.  I want to be the cool event rider just like her.

As we ride alongside a 5 acre of so pasture, UL Event Rider casually says that the two mares in the field may come galloping at us.  The Demons scream, "WTF!, we are going to die!"  

The mares come out of their shed, tails flagged, screaming and galloping straight at us.  Shanti tightens for a second and then looks at them.  And off they go to do one more round just a bit closer to us.  And Shanti just looks at them.  And off we go.

We ride along a shallow river and UL Event Rider tells me that she would do gallop sets in the river.  My hero worship and longing grows. I tell worn stories of Sugar and I (as eventers are known to do) and I feel that I belong to this club.

At a stream crossing in the woods, I am sure that Shanti is going to launch across and the Demons are reminding me that "things always seem to happen to me" and I have the vision of her launching and me falling off and so on.  So, as we cross I feel her gather her hind end and I see saw the reins to prevent the leap.  

Shanti stops and for the next 40 minutes, I cajoled, encouraged, imitated Tik Maynard, spanked, circled and leg yielded to no avail.  The horses left and Shanti remained planted.  My uninvited "friends" kept screaming in my head that this was going to end up a disaster.  I was tired, my recovering knee hurt and it was fruitless.  

At one point, she spins and slips in the mud...  {{{Please "Everyone" be gentle.}}}  I lost it.  Now, I didn't quit or curse or storm off and go home.  No, I bawled like a baby, sobbed uncontrollably while weakly saying, "I can't, I can't, I can't".  Heaving chest, sobbing, tears streaming down my face which was buried in her mane or as low as I could get.

I didn't quit.  I was just humilated... totally and completely humiliated.  Ego?  There was no ego left and I am not even sure I have one now...(I do but that is another story.)

Finally, with a lunge line attached to her bridle, the Village, "encouraged" her to cross with me still snifflling and maybe crying.  She launched.  I stayed on and we continued with the trail ride.

As I gained my composure (well, I don't think I can ever face them again), it was a very beautiful ride, with good conversation and lovely company.  I began to feel like myself again and able to send the Demons away.

Then, someone said...  "Do you remember the time we hit the ground bees?"