Posted by: shannonc | March 30, 2009

*Happy Dance*

Today, milestones in Pippermintland!  Milestone city in fact!  Hmm…that sounds like a good capital for Pippermintland.  I’ll have to look into the paperwork.

  1. We used the whole, entire ring – even the scary corners!
  2. I walked him on the BUCKLE!
  3. Wait for it…yes…TROTTING!  Both directions!

What flesh-eating fungus crossed the blood brain barrier to prompt such outrageous risk taking, you ask?  Well, I think it was weather-related.  It must have been 50-something today, and it was sunny in the afternoon…this passes for heavensent during March in New England.  :)

The progress of this infection might have been supported by a few other factors, too.  I rode Pip in the afternoon, but in the morning I got on both Blue and Kisses.  Blue for the first time all year, Kisses for the second.  I rode Blue bareback, because his saddle is at Pip’s.  Kisses got hacked out, and we ventured allll the way to the road.

Kisses, a large pony Welsh-X project about ready to find a new home, has been happily surprising me.  His history is somewhat indistinct but he came to me highly circumspect about the world.  I’ve had him about a year and a half now, and have spent most of our time together working on building his confidence.  His insecurity came out as rushing and spooking – he has a decent pony spin in him, which takes work for me to stay with, thanks to my having a little too much upper body for his size.  I’m like Wile E. Coyote:  when the pony jumps off a cliff, my legs drop with him but my upper body still houses my center of gravity and wants to stay up in midair just off the ledge for the camera to film :). 

Fast forward to the present.  Pony has suffered many trials of blanket, saddlepad, clipper, vacuum, and vet desensitization, self-loading lessons, experiments jumping pool noodles, and last year not only hacked out alone regularly but also happily led the pack on a couple of hunter paces (happily, for him.  Everyone else wanted us to hurry up already!).  But lately they all have spring fever, I’ve been on him one time in the ring, and am pretty certain that being a flight animal, he hasn’t actually forgotten how to spook.  So it was with some trepidation that I asked him to walk through the field to the driveway and onward.

My inside voice was asking, “are you sure this is a good idea?” to which the devil on my right shoulder replied, “really: he’s not going anywhere!” and the angel on my left shoulder answered, “well then, be smart, because I’m not afraid to whip out the I-told-you-so.”

Hoping that I’m hiding this cacophony from the pony a little better than I hide my love of longe work from Pip, I stuff the noise into a corner and instruct the inside voice to cue the “ride like you expect the horse to be good, but be ready if he isn’t” tape:  keep the lower back strong, the feet on the dash, the reins shortish but the arms soft, and the legs on the pony’s sides.  With the outside voice I opt for reassurance and encouragement:  good pony, you remember this!  Cluck-cluck.

Pony, alert but sane, marches along.  We walk, we trot, we navigate over some remaining snow and ice, we say hello to the deer and the cars.  Wait…is the pony enjoying himself?  Is this my life?  It IS my life!

Thus fortified, I return to the barn and peer through the stall bars at the grouchy, mud-caked llama that passes for my early-spring TB.  Being Blue, he’s sulking because the pony is getting all kinds of attention that he isn’t.  But I can’t ride him, because it would be utter insanity to jump on bareback when he hasn’t been ridden all winter, or even turned out yet today.

“You are a very slow learner,” says the devil-voice, yawning.

Who am I to argue?  As soon as I am on his back, steering figures with my feet and sitting his trot like I was up there yesterday, I feel like I’ve just put on my favorite, softest, most comfortable pair of jeans.  The ones that, unaccountably, make me look good even when I feel fat and ugly.  And it occurs to me:  pretty much no matter how bad you are, a schooled horse will make you feel you can really ride.  And pretty much no matter how good you are, a leg-salad horse will make you feel like a spider on crack trying to cross its web in a hurricane.

So it was feeling like an Olympic medal winner that I swung a leg over Pip’s back in the afternoon.  No problem buddy, I just recalled that I have half a clue about what I’m doing!  Welcome to the capital of Pippermintland…Milestone City.  I’m thinking of renting an apartment here.

I was once Leg Salad

I was once Leg Salad



  1. Too many wonderful things here to list them. Love the story (been there myself — recently) and I love the way you write! :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: