Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tales for a Rainy Day

Today is my first horse trainer's birthday, and it is making me sentimental and reminiscent of all our great times together.  Robin introduced me to the world of pony club, eventing, and even adulthood when she took me under her wing when I was seventeen.  She helped to convince my parents to buy me my first horse Cody, who I miss dearly, and who amazing is still alive today at 30.  This is a shot of me riding Cody back in my pony club days in Iowa.

I owe Robin and Cody so much.  They both helped to shape the horsewoman I have become today, along with everyone else that has helped to mold me along the way.  Each trainer that has come into my life has added another piece of the equation, and the journey only continues to blossom as I progress in the never-ending quest to improve.  Cody was the consummate babysitter, who didn't have a spook in him to save his life.  He did, however, have quite a productive buck, especially when one insisted that he canter....he challenged me early on to be a fearless little rider.  He was a bit of a lazy horse, and took an awful lot of convincing to jump up to the Novice level, which is where we eventually ended up.  We only ran a Beginner Novice event together, but schooled many times beyond that level.  I will never forget our most victorious day of cross country schooling at Lois Pienkos' farm, when we jumped the Training level turkey feeder and the scary-looking bench.  Cody was a star, even in his 20's, which is how old he was that day.

I visit him every time I go back to Iowa to visit my family.  I don't know for sure if horses remember people, but I could swear that he remembers me.  He now lives at Miracles in Motion, and totes around handicap children in a therapeutic riding program like the saint that he is.  One of the volunteers there told me the last time I visited that he had to remember me - that she had never seen him perk up to the extent that he did as I loved on him.  I owe that pony everything.  He was my sounding board, my shoulder to cry on, my teacher and confidant.  I miss him all the time, and I am so grateful to have had him in my life.

Now I have progressed to new teachers.  I have new trainers, and new horses, which are the ultimate teachers.  April is teaching me every day to rely on my seat and leg, and to quit relying on my hands as a method of control.  She is teaching me to trust when it might still be a little scary, and she is teaching me to be correct and change all sorts of old habits that were established from years of riding pretty much on my own.  Last night we rode in the dark, in an unfenced field, on a big sloping hill.  We ended up cantering a gorgeous 20 meter circle, where she was relaxed through the back and coming through behind.  She is such an amazing mare, and I really look forward to our future together!

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