Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bobtail kitten anger

My last few days of "vacation" have been enjoyable.  Thursday I hung out with Matt at his dad's house which is on a river big enough to boat and jetski in.  It was awesome just relaxing around the water on a hot day and having some quality conversation.  Jet skis are the greatest thing ever - and baby ducks, and fawns.

Friday afternoon Chris talked me into shredding (a small two-person raft) the Upper Yough a Class IV-V river he is very familiar with in his kayak.  Whitewater tends to scare me more and more and this day was no exception.  I was happy and calm and then the shredder flipped and I had to swim.  I came up underneath and realized it was stuck in the hole and not going anywhere.  I didn't know where to swim to escape best - if there were any hazards to avoid - but I knew I couldn't remain under the boat.  I balled up and submerged.  Luckily came out in an okay area and got to shore.  But I was seriously freaked out.  I got into a raft with a fellow who'd been rafting that river for 15 years for the rest of it.  Still scared to death, but feeling a little better.  I survived the day - obviously - but definitely pulled my glut in the process.  Walking yesterday was a feat.  I'm rather pathetic, and rather amused with my pathetic-ness.  You never realize how much you utilize a muscle until its injured.  Silly muscles aiding my bipedal abilities, why must you get injured?

I bought my first app for my ipod.  iBird PRO for $15.  It seemed like a lot - and it is - but its such a SWEET app.  And I should have my ipod around for a long time, and should get my money's worth from it.  Super freaking awesome amounts of information in this thing.  I'm so impressed and excited.  If it makes me more of a nature-nerd than I already was, tough.

Orion's feet are looking better.  He's had a full seven days off after his seven days on.  Not ideal by any means, but with his foot issues (and his lack of an inner fat kid) it was necessary.  His feet are opening up - finally nipping that thrush in the butt!  Woke up to rain this morning.  Had planned on a morning ride, but had to wait until after breakfast.  Orion is now gimping on his left rear.  Who knows whats going on.  Gut feeling is that with all the things changing for him (fattening up, feet trimming, rate of exercise) his body is changing and he's trying to rebalance himself.  I'm happy to give him another few days to see where this goes and if he gets better.  If not...well, the vet'll be here soon.

After seeing Orion it was time to go see the colt I'll be working with for a few months.  He's never been ridden.  Beautiful - fat - red and white tobiano paint named Pegasus.  He'll be four in August.  He's had a little bit of ground work done and loves people, but nothing significant.  I've never started a horse that has never had a rider before.  Its a new world for me and Pegasus.  I'm not conventional in my methods by any means.  But he's a smart guy and ready to learn & I understand horse language pretty well, but still have more to learn.

My biggest goal today was to give him a positive experience and teach him that I'm not going to hurt him and I will try my best to show him the world and strange new things aren't so scary.  I was lucky to have Chris (aka the calmest person ever) with me.  After a brief - pathetic - lunging session I held Pegasus' lead line and told Chris to just lay over his back to see how he handled it.  Pegasus didn't care.  We repeated this two more times and Pegasus continued to be uncaring and just concerned with whether or not he could eat.  Confident that the horse wasn't worried I told Chris to just get on him (bareback).  We talked in calm voices to Pegasus the whole time and let him stand and figure it out.  He decided that a person on his back wasn't a threat and returned to eating.  Excellent.  We talked to him and let him eat for a time then started leading him around the pasture.  He bunny hopped twice but nothing significant at all.  I put on the bridle and told Chris not to pull on his mouth but just to not let him eat any more.  Pegasus played with the bit a lot and figured out that that was an okay sensation, too.  So we went on a "pony ride" per se, me leading Chris on Pegasus around the campground and back to the house.  He did very well.  I chose to end it on a positive note and left things as a brief session so he'd be happy to do more this week.

The owners were beyond thrilled with today and think its some miracle, but honestly I attribute it all to remaining calm and giving Pegasus nothing to be alarmed about - besides it wasn't too big a deal, really.  It was a great first step towards earning his trust.  Its very good that he likes people so much, too.  Tomorrow evening will be different since it will be just me.  I plan to take him on a walk again to get him acclimatized to different things and introduce him to the world.  I'm taking a bareback pad with me and hope to ride him a little more.  Slow going, letting him be himself, slowly teaching him how we can communicate together so I can direct him better.  I really want to prove to him that there is nothing to fear from a rider, or tack, or anything to do with the whole experience.  As his confidence builds, I'll give him more to deal with.  We'll see how things go.  A learning experience for all involved.  I'm excited.

Tomorrow I enter the real world.  Waking up this morning - early because I chose to - I realized that I wouldn't be able to sleep in whenever I wanted or take an afternoon nap.  I haven't done either of these things in awhile, but knowing that they won't be happening whether I like it or not doesn't thrill me.  Money will be great to have though.  I'm happy about paychecks.  This morning I was freaked out about it all, but I'm feeling a little better this afternoon after a day with horses.  I'm excited to have a schedule again.  I'm excited to have a routine.  Wake up, morning routine, maybe go see Orion briefly, go to work, come home and eat, do equine things until dark.  I'm uncertain how I will divide time between Orion and Pegasus currently.  But I know it will work out.  Orion comes first, but since he's having issues currently I can give a little more time to Pegasus at first.  Should have about three hours of daylight after I get off, so I will have to divide my time accordingly.  I'm excited - if that wasn't obvious.

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