Hey world!! It's me that person who hasn't blogged regularly since September because she hasn't ridden regularly since then either.
If you read my post almost a month ago, you'll know that both my horses and I have been having some physical issues. Well Firefly was able to come out of stall rest this week. I've been putting her in the round pen every day to play a bit. She runs around and has fun and acts normal, it's just the skin hasn't completely healed back over the tendon injury yet so it doesn't particularly look like she should be doing too much. I'll have the vet out to give her the okay to get back into real work soon as I can though. Xena's still getting eaten by deer ticks which leave these nasty bumps on her, and I'm not too sure about putting a saddle on top of them. She might be fine bareback though, if I could find the time to warm her up sufficiently.
I was looking back through all the posts I never published here because they were half-written when I abandoned them. The last time I rode Firefly was October 18th. I remember it.... it was raining and most of the horses were in the barn. I saddled her up when it was barely sprinkling but soon as I got on it started actually coming down. But we didn't care. I hadn't done much cantering on her, and I knew that I should get more used to her gaits, so we went around our perimeter at a nice gallop. Not the fastest she can go I'm sure, but it was good to feel how she works. After we had run around, I took her underneath some big trees in the back pasture to keep us from getting soaked, and it had been fun just sitting on her while she grazed.
The last time I rode Xena was a few days before that. The first day, I played with her for over an hour, played with the saddle, pushed her around the front of the barn and pasture, then put her bridle on and got on. She felt like she would be better exploring the front between the barn and pasture than she would have in the arena. So we played some figure 8 between trees, trotted a little, and went grazing. The next day was one of those days that you can tell by the expression when you walk into the barn that your horse is in a good place and you can probably just saddle up and get on. And that was the first day I ever just saddled her up and got on. She was perfect. She was LBI to the max. We walked around the trees, which she wanted to eat. We walked around the front yard, which she ate. Then we played friendly game with Gertrude.... I don't think I've introduced Gertrude yet. "She" is a 1942 Farmall tractor, bigger than my horse, and when turned on makes this ungodly vomit-like noise. I remember Xena didn't care about "her" at all, and was more concerned with leaning over her to snatch an apple off the apple trees.
And then, you know, that's when it all kinda fell apart for us - Xena got sick, I got sicker, and Firefly slashed her legs up. I won't lie to myself and say everything's all better now... but it hasn't gotten worse yet. There's optimism for ya!
Anyway, soon as Firefly is cleared for duty, you all get to watch us (laugh at us, perhaps?) as I try to take a level 2 horse to level 4 in 6 months. It will happen. It will happen if it drives the both of us mad, and I'm certain it will! My confidence is not misplaced though.... for the following reasons: 1. On one post I never published, I had had my second liberty session with Firefly and also had finished teaching her every single thing on the list of stuff in level 2 in all four savvies. That was after maybe 5 play sessions. It was the second time I'd ridden her freestyle and I said I could audition level 2 with her that day and pass. 2. Long time loyal readers (I love you, I don't know why you stick around) may know I reference a horse called Roxie quite a bit. She was an ex-racehorse and to this day probably - no okay, I admit - THE number 1 strongest relationship I've had with any living being, and the biggest achievement of my life. She is the reason I decided to become a Parelli Professional. She was about level -7 when I met her, and after 8 months she was the calmest, safest, sweetest, best trained horse in the barn of 70-something where she lived. She isn't mine though, sadly, or we'd have passed level 4 together some time last year. So whenever I start freaking out about how I've got 6 months left, I remember that Firefly is an already quite calm horse with loads of good training, and just needs time spent learning different Parelli stuff... and I've done this very thing with a crazy horse, with beautiful results.
This brings me to my next warning point for all of you lol! As I drive myself clinically insane with bringing Firefly through the levels and spend likely more time in the saddle than not, I'm going to be writing here what is always going through my head - the horses I've played with in the past. Because I'm sure having the main point of this blog be about a problem horse who when we can walk around and also not die at the same time is considered an accomplishment, certainly doesn't showcase the best of my abilities. I used to work at a barn which held 70-something horses. I worked at the riding school the barn offered. I rode every one of the barn manager's 28 horses. My friend and I were the sole excersize riders for all of them. The way my life in Los Angeles was, is that my friend would wake me up at around sunrise and we'd go to the barn and between the two of us, work every one of those 28 horses before the barn closed at 10 pm. We'd go galloping through the Hollywood hills nearly every day. I certainly wasn't as savvy back then, since it was before having Xena and unlimited time with my own horses, but I will say I was a pretty darn confident rider. Too confident at times I'm sure. Most of the owners of problem horses in that barn came to me for advice. Nearly every one of them now has a relationship with their horse that they can atttribute to Parelli. Xena, however... Xena became mine.
So here we go, story time! Every post will contain some anecdote of some horse I've done something with. This week I'll take you through the whole story of Roxie, since remembering her is usually what reminds me of why I do the crazy things I do.
Thanks for sticking with me!