Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine

I had a makeup lesson on Saturday. I have to say, I was a bit nervous! My lessons and riding have been sporadic because of the weather and it seems like forever since I had a formal lesson. LA knew I was a wee bit anxious, but once I settled into the saddle it all came back to me. :-) Gem was excellent and responsive. The number of times I had to ask twice was minimal, and really it was just me refamiliarizing myself with where the buttons are. LA had ridden him on Friday, so he was loose and his mind was in the right place. Our loping was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. The two other students, who were new to me, said that Gem was beautiful and we looked good loping :-)

I was actually a bit stiff yesterday from lesson on Saturday! Wow, it sure doesn't take long for your body to forget....well, at least my body anyway. I went out to the stables late yesterday morning. His stall is at the very back of the barn. We sort of have this little routine now when I arrive. As I walk down the aisle, I watch the top of the stall divider, I say "Where is my beautiful boy? Where is he?" I can see his head come up and with his ears erect. I repeat, "Where is my beautiful boy?" and he quickly sticks his head out the top half of the stall door. When I get there, we sniff and blow at each other. We have a little chat and then I start hauling his tack and grooming supplies out of the tack room.

The ride yesterday was a bit of a non-event. There are two riders - mother and daughter - that have no manners when it comes to riding with others. I dislike riding with them. They aren't nasty, just self-absorbed and thoughtless. It was just the 3 of us in the arena, but I was only able to get up to a decent trot a couple of times. They were either loping all over the place or changing diagonal or stopping on the track to chat. At one point, the mother was loping large and the daughter was in the middle doing spinning and aggressive back up while I was trying to eek out a spot to do ANYTHING. Both of their horses are spooky, so every time snow came off the roof, they would jump. Oh, and the daughter has some weird ring tone on her cell phone. When it rang, it made ME jump along with her horse. What is with that? Aren't you supposed to have your phones turned off when you are in an arena??

We all basically dismounted at the same time. They went out ahead of me - I had to stay and do a little poop clean up. After the door was shut, I loosely looped Gem's reins around the saddle horn. I looked him in the eye and asked him to "wait". I then went and got the poop scooper and wheelbarrow and started my chore. I kept peeking at him to see what he was up to. He was interested in what I was doing, but he didn't move. I went up and down the arena and was finally able to put the wheelbarrow back. He continued watching me. I went and got my coat on (yes, I usually ride without a winter coat - yes, I am a nut), put the mounting stand back, and then turned and looked at him. He raised his head a little, looking straight at me. At this point, he had been standing in the middle of the arena for about 5 minutes. I outstretched my arms, wiggled my fingers and asked him to "come". He walked straight into my arms. GOOD BOY!!! I wrapped my arms around him and gave him big scratches. It was perfect.

This simple exercise of asking him to wait and then come was validation that our bond is getting stronger. He did it because he wanted to and, I would like to think, because he knew it would please me. :-) There have been a number of posts over the last few days about loving your horse. I loved him the moment I saw him. Absolutely. My Husband accepts that there is another man in my life. Gem obviously doesn't fall that easily...his love has to be earned. I am patient. I suspect that it will take some time still. However, based on the last couple of months and in particular this past weekend, I think he's starting to reciprocate. :-)

Happy Valentine's Day!

23 comments:

  1. Sounds lovely (except for the other obnoxious boarders)!

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  2. I love how you greet each other.

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  3. I think you're wrong about Gem, I think he already loves you and trusts you. When his ears prick up and he puts his head over the stall wall to greet you, when he waits and then comes to you for a hug, it all says "I love you".

    By the way rude riders in the ring ruin everyone else's ride. Why don't you speak to the barn owner and ask her to post some rules of the ring in there where everyone can see them. Including no cell phones unless they're off. Good luck.

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  4. I am impressed that he stood still that long! My guy is a little wiggle worm. That is awesome.

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  5. True love! The little greeting ritual between you two says it all. :-)

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  6. Good to hear about your lope!!!
    I think I would like to teach Sugar how to "stay"...I wonder if a three year old would have any part of staying anywhere?!!!

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  7. Good morning!

    Kate - It was a good weekend in spite of the obnoxious boarders. They sometimes join in our trail rides and they make me so nervous because they just start loping by everyone and because their horses are so spooky you just never know what is going to set them off.

    Annette - It is so funny to see him react. I get a kick out of it. It starts our "chat" with a smile.

    GHM - Your comment about Gem already loving me really warms my heart! Thank you. Now that I have confirmation that their behaviour is not acceptable, I think I will mentioning posting rules to LA.

    Golden - I was AMAZED that he stood so long! And, it wasn't like he had fallen asleep...he was interested in what I was doing.

    Detroit Dog - I know it sound silly, but I sort of look forward to it. :-)

    Minus Pride - Thanks!! I will admit that I have been working on "wait" since Gem and I partnered up 18 months ago. He used to rush out of his stall, so having him wait and then walk on became a priority. He's a quick learner and rushing me has not been a problem for a long while. Practicing it in the arena is hit and miss though because most times I am not alone. Sunday was a total surprise to me!

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  8. Shannon - I know! Can't wait to see him tonight. :-)

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  9. It sounds to me like you already have his heart, too. That's a very sweet relationship developing. I've been there with rude riders. Actually, often my daughter is one of those and I have to take her aside and remind her to go the same direction and be courteous to others. I think teens can be prone to it, but you'd hope the mother would try to teach her. :/

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  10. Hi Linda - I am hoping that I have his heart! The thing with these riders is that the daughter must be heading close to 30 and the mother is in her 60's. You would think that they would know better. I have been in the arena with teenagers gone crazy and you can remind them and reason with them. These women just don't get the subtle or in-your-face hints. Sigh.

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  11. I'm so glad I read all these lovely posts today, with love letters written from owner to horse, yours included:) Gem sounds like such a sweet boy.

    I've been there with those riders that are less than considerate with sharing space. I sort of look at it like a video game...Miles and I are in our own game of Paperboy (if anyone remembers that one!). Anyway, it sucks. Worth it to have an ending like that though:)

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  12. Hi Sarah - As I get to know him more, I agree, he is a sweet boy. :-) I was very pleased to end a crappy ride on a positive note!

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  13. Hi Wolfie,
    I don't know if this will help you out when you talk to LA about posting some rules but I did this post a long time ago on how to be a good boarder. Thought you might be interested, here's the link:
    http://greyhorsematters.blogspot.com/2008/07/how-to-be-good-boarder.html

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  14. GHM - Thank you!!!! I really appreciate you taking the time. I read it and it will definitely help. BTW, I am a pretty darn good boarder. :-)

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  15. Hello Sarah, I did a little horsey doodle of your Gem the other day...just a quick one filling a few minutes but I might come back to it....sweet photo of him! I'll keep you posted if it ever turns into more!

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  16. Hello TCP - Thank you so much! It's a very good likeness. I admire your talent.

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  17. What a sweet moment! I love those little affirming moments when you know the bond between you and your horse is a good one :) It's what makes it all worth it!

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  18. Aaawwww!! You two sound so cute together! I could think about feeling jealous but I just want to smile instead at the obviously wonderful bond you & Gem have :D

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  19. I'm with GHM that you already have the love of your horse. You may still have things to learn about each other and to teach each other but the bond is already there. Now it's just a matter of growing it which will be an ongoing process.

    Riders without consideration for others are one of my pet peeves. I hope you can get something worked out that makes this better.

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  20. Teaspoon - Thinking of it still makes me smile. :-)

    Joy - Thanks! April is right around the corner.....you will be back at your lessons in no time!

    RR - It's nice to hear that. Gem and I are in the learning more about each other stage, for sure I am ooking forward to it! :-)

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  21. Oh - Gem loves you! Very nice Valentine post - I have so enjoyed reading all the horsey love stories.

    Sorry about the rude boarders. I guess if you look at it as a challenge and training opportunity that could make it seem better lol. GHM's list is a good one!

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  22. Hi Calm - I appreciate you saying so! :-) I agree - GHM's list is a good one.

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