First ride on Xena!!!!
So I haven't been doing a whole lot of real playing lately... nasty weather. I took her out for the first time since the storms and she put on a spectacular show of rearing straight up, bucking, extended trot, having a fun time. Didn't try to get her to do anything that day. The only real stuff we've been doing online is advancing sideways. Other than that, just going for moseys and hanging out.
So Sunday.... It was a really calm day, sunny out, no wind (you can see how this horse can make a less savvy someone into an avoidaholic), so I went to chill with Xena in her pen. She was totally left brain from the get go. Played all seven games, and responded at phase one or two. So I got sit on the fence, line her up next to me, and get on! The difference in that day was she was really acting like a partner. I could feel it. Why not, it's time to ride. I swing a leg over on her right side, sit there for a few seconds, get off. I feel pretty confident, so I turn her around and get on her left side. No problems!!
I decide to give her a carrot. She takes the first one from my right hand just fine. She's standing so perfectly still, I'll give her another from the left. Great lateral flexion exercise! ;) I reach in my pocket and pull out another carrot. Apparently I'm much less coordinated with my left hand. I reach down to give it to her, hear a CRUNCH, assume she took it. But I have a confused look on my face as I can't get my hand back. It matches the confused look on her face as the carrot won't come with her. It wasn't until then that we both realized that the carrot is on the ground and my finger is between her teeth. That CRUNCH was my nail snapping in half. I pull my finger back and examine it, there is a very definite tooth mark on the bottom of my finger, bleeding, the broken in half horizontally nail on top, also bleeding. But, true to my nature, I just sit there and try to stop the bleeding. Within a few minutes it does. Ehhh, it just needs a band-aid. I have 3 other horses that need played with. Then I think... you know actually if I keep playing, it's gonna get dirty and infected, so I probably oughtta go home and wash it. THEN I realize - Oh! All this time I've been tending to my finger I'm still sitting on Xena, who isn't eating and hasn't moved a muscle! What a good partner.
I jump off, give her lots of kisses for being such a good girl, the last carrot in my pocket (with my right hand of course), and go home to wash it out. I was back 4 hours later with a band-aid on it, playing with horseys!
All in all, success! The horse that dumped professional predators, that put people in the hospital with broken bones... I survived my first ride on perfectly, bareback in a halter!!! But then the bloodshed comes from me trying to feed her a carrot. Yay irony!!! LOL.
So the rest of this week has been me adjusting to not using the middle finger of my left hand in daily life, and playing with the horses very carefully. It's funny how much you value lightness and politeness when you've basically got to hold the rope either with a pinky or a thumb. Last night I was doing some things on the self assessment check list with Xena, since she very easily does all the level 1 things, is even bored. With my good hand holding the rope, we accomplished opening an umbrella on her head, flapping a trash bag around her, everything in Level 2 friendly. I'm playing with sideways with my feet still. 3 steps so far! And we regularly play on the 22' line. Learning is such a parabola. It starts out painstakingly slow in the beginning, but once it gets going, you learn twice as much twice as fast, each day! So I'm leaving our first real ride till next Sunday. Thanks to Linda's recent blog about preserving confidence while she was recovering... If you try and see if you can do something that you may not be ready for, and you find out you can't, you've set yourself up for failure. But if you set a date you'll be ready to do it by, and leave it alone until then, you preserve your confidence. That's what I'm gonna do, because I want at least partial use of my left hand before getting back on. And, I want to stick to my original declaration of not really riding until we're a well established level 2. Won't be long now!