Monday, June 6, 2011

The Sound of Music + Fearless

My laptop is broken. MY LAPTOP IS BROKEN….WHAAAA! For the last 3 days I have been unable to check out email, FB or what my blogger friends are up to on a regular basis. I tried using My Husband’s computer, but I can’t read his screen (he has very teeny tiny type) and I hate his chair. I am writing this at work – shhhh! Don’t tell anyone! :-)

I had a fabulous weekend – hope you guys did, too. The weather couldn’t have been better. The sun was out and the temps hovered around the 25C mark. Absolutely glorious. I have Friday afternoons off May until the end of August. I headed out to the stables Friday afternoon and gave my guy a good grooming. Usually there is NO ONE at the stables on Friday afternoons, so I don’t ride (yes, I am a chicken). But last Friday, there were a couple of helpers in the old barn stacking hay in the loft, so I tacked up and rode in the front paddock.

Gem was full of beans and anxious to get outside. For the first time in a long time, I had to reposition him a couple of times next to the mounting block before I could get on him. When I got on him, he actually started to walk off before I was positioned in the saddle. I made him “whoa” and I backed him up and then made him wait. Then we started off walking. He was prancing. After a long work week, I was suffering with computer body fatigue and had no wish to wrestle with Gem. I had a light-bulb moment….I remember one of the trainers at a clinic telling a girl to hum to calm her horse. Why not! At first, his ears were twitching back and forth (what the heck is that noise?!) and then he starting listening. He started relaxing – it was subtle, but he wasn’t pulling on the bit any longer. I started enjoying myself (I think it helped me relax too!). The tension started to leave my shoulders. I started to relax. Don’t ask me what I was humming to him, but it morphed into serenading my boy. Yes, I belted out “Killing Me Softly”, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, “You Are My Sunshine”, “Jingle Bells”, ”Into the Night”; I know the words to these songs. :-) The helpers got an earful, no doubt. Not sure if my voice was carrying over the small hills and pastures, but I was having a grand time in the sunshine and I think Gem was, too.

My Niece was dropped off for the weekend Friday evening. We did some running around on Saturday, planted the rest of the annuals and watched two of the Twilight movies over the weekend (we are both in Jacob’s camp). My Niece made an interesting comment after the movies; she doesn't like that Bella needs to be saved by guys all the time. That's my girl..... :-)

My Niece brought her boots and helmet with her, and Sunday we went to the stables. She has been taking English lessons once a week since February and wanted to show me what she had learned. I dusted off my Courbette saddle for her and put it in the trunk. Geez, I had forgotten how much lighter English saddles were compared to Western! My Niece groomed and tacked up Gem. I was SO impressed! We led him outside and after tightening the girth, without any hesitation, up she got! I walked beside her for one lap (it made me feel better) and then she continued to warm Gem up at a walk and then started posting trot. You know, she looked pretty darn good! I admired how she managed Gem and how he responded to her. She has to work on her legs and heels down (hello?!). However, her hands were excellent and when she was posting, she was on the correct diagonal every time. Gem did everything she asked. My Niece explained the importance of having contact with the bit, showed me how to do a 2-point and explained why when you are JUMPING you shouldn't lean into your horse's neck before the jump because may get bonked in the head as his head comes up to go over. She's been taking lessons for 4 months! Boy, I wish they sold that fearlessness in a bottle.

Indulge a proud auntie.....

Warm up

Posting trot

Gem thought she wanted to lope but she convinced him it was a trot she wanted.

More trotting.....

All done!

Aren't they adorable?!


  1. The reason I like my english saddles better is beccause they are so much lighter haha! I'm a wimp! I'm gonna have to remember to hum next time i get nervous in the saddle! that's a good tip!

    and If I haven't told you this before Gem is a beauty!

  2. Ditto what GTTR said: Gem is just gorgeous, Wolfie. Love his build, frame and range in that second picture.

  3. 3X Ditto! They BOTH look very happy. How fun to share your love of horses and riding with your Niece. I also love music when I ride, it immediately relaxes me, which relaxes my horse. I am re-engineering my paddock into an outdoor riding arena and will be installing outdoor speakers. Then I'm gonna sing at the top of my lungs! :)

  4. Oh Noes! I truly hope your puter is fixed ASAP!!

    Your niece is rockin that riding! Way to go!

    And of course, have to agree with everyone- that Gem is a handsome bugger. Lots of presence to him, even when not hamming it up for an audience.

  5. Great pictures. Those two look great together and look like they were really enjoying their ride. Only 4 months of lessons and she looks pretty good and very confident.

    I used to sing to Erik all the time. It does relax both horse and rider, I enjoyed the singing but don't know how much he did. I have a very bad singing voice.We put speakers in the indoor with soothing music and it's really nice. I try to keep it to just music, no words or I'll get distracted, no attention span anymore I guess.

  6. Hello everyone! Comining to you via My Husband's computer! For some reason, his security stuff won't let me long in normally, so for the next few days I am Anonymous! I will pass on your flattering comments to Gem. You know how he likes to hear how handsome he is! :-)

    GTTR - I had forgotten how much lighter! But I can't keep my legs still in an English. I pitch forward....there are scrape marks on the side of that saddle that show how bad my balance is in English, :-(

    Muddy K - I love that picture. I love how Gem looks and I love how my niece is smiling!

    50+ - My niece had such a great time. I thank my lucky stars that Gem is so least with the younger set! Great idea out the outdoor speakers.

    Mrs. Mom - She is rockin', isn't she?! :-) I am going through serious withdrawal not having my laptop. It goes into the shop tomorrow!!!

    GHM - She is absolutely confident. I am envious. :-) You used to sing to Erik? What a nice memory. I am sure he didn't care if you had a challenged singing voice. ;-)


  7. I think it is so nice that you have such a close relationship with your niece. Those memories never fade, I have a favorite Auntie that could do no wrong and I love her dearly. Different than a Mom. I could confide in my aunt and know my secrets were locked up tight. Gem is such a trooper!

  8. Oh i sing when I get nervous!!! My old instructor said you'd get so focused on singing, you wouldn't care about what the horse is doing.
    Loved the pictures of your niece!!! Just goes to show you how good a job you've done with Gem, he can cart around a semi-beginner!!

  9. Mary - After our ride, we went for lunch. I said to My Niece that I really appreciated her giving up time with her friends to come visit. Her response was she didn't mind because she really liked to hang with me. I hope it stays that way. :-)

    Minus Pride - Too funny! What do you sing?? I appreciate your comment about Gem...I hadn't thought of it that way! Thanks!

  10. Gem looks smashing in red!

    Kudos to your niece for looking so good after only taking lessons for 4 months. She does look very confident. That photo where Gem wanted to canter looks like he's trying to do something else and she's just calmly taking care of business.

  11. My favourite is the scarecrow song from the wizard of oz. I started on Merlyn the other day, but I was too damn nervous, I wan't sure he needed any more reminding that I was not his owner :) I could while away the hours....conferring with the flowers...

    I think we should stockpile songs with a bootful of confidence for such days. Songs to make you ride with the confidence of youth!

    Gem is indeed looking very nice!

  12. Shannon - Red is his colour, isn't it?! ;-) Re the picture you are referring to...Gem always does this hop before he starts loping/cantering. She just sat back and reined him in, cool as a cucumber!

    TCP - Congrats again on your great ride! I definitely need to expand my song repertoire.. ....consultin' with the rain.... :-)

  13. SOOO adorable!!! One of my goals is to have Miles steady enough to put a beginner *with SOME experience on him. What a good Gem and your niece looks wonderful.

    Friday afternoons off all summer? Trying not to hate you a little for that:)

    I love humming/singing when I'm riding. I tend to do it either when Miles is really really up, or when we are both super relaxed. I still remember the first song I sang to him when I got on his back for the very first time (talk about nervous!).

  14. Sarah - Doesn't she, though?! Gem is such a good boy when it comes to younger people. He was "fresh" when she got on him and he was still patient with her. I am delighted to hear how many other people use singing as a calming tool!

  15. I'm a Home, Home on the Range fan myself.

    He is BEAUTIFUL and your niece is riding so well! She's clearly a natural. Lucky girl to have such a wonder auntie and horse (does that make Gem a horse cousin?)!

  16. I second that your niece is lucky to have a lovely aunt who lets her ride her horse. I wish I had an aunt like that lol. I've only ridden English saddle apart from my first ride which was in Mexico where there was a western saddle which as a non rider I thought was great. I thought the saddlehorn was there just for me to hold onto, didnt realise the original purpose was somewhere to hang your lasso. Would be interesting to try it again having been riding regularly for a year now.

  17. Breathe - I forgot about Home on the Range! I will add that to my song list. :-) I think she looks pretty good on him. From a selfish perspective, I am hoping that this friendship really blossoms. It will mean I will get to see my niece more often!

    JanLou - Nice to hear from you! Hope you are well. I can't say I like the weight of a western saddle, but I like the security of it. Give it a go!

  18. 4 months & she knows about jumping?!??! Wow! They look good together, you're right to be proud auntie :D Fingers crossed, you get to see more of her & maybe you could go on rides together! Joy xx (the original Anonymous!)

  19. Hi Joy! Crazy, eh? She has been jumping over cavellettis! Not every lesson, but still!