Teamwork

Lungeing the new Pixie pony helped out by my team of Kona (holding the rope for me) and little Lula.

Lungeing the new Pixie pony helped out by my team of Kona (holding the rope for me) and little Lula.

I am lucky to have a great team of my family, friends and barn mates behind me as we go to shows, make decisions about our farm and our life.  This was brought home to me in many ways over the last several weeks as I have struggled with getting back to whole after my shoulder surgery.  So many  times, in so many ways, people just stepped in and helped when we needed it.  From friends and family that offered to help out at the farm, to those that simply held the door open for me as I made my way up at work through multiple keypass doors to my office.

Today we tried lungeing the pony for the first time.  Lauren was riding Feather and Bruno was romping up and down the fenceline on the far side of the arena.  It was not an optimum learning environment.  I was in the arena with my loyal companions of Lula and Kona.  I got Kona on Valentine’s Day.  I had surgery the first of April so I have not been in the ring working horses much since Kona has been around.  Lungeing is an art of moving a horse off his hind end in a circle around at the walk, trot and canter.  It is a way to exercise, educate and improve the horse without being up in the saddle.  We did not know if the four year-old pony had much instruction in lungeing.  It is sometimes difficult to manuveur the horse as you keep yourself in the center of the circle while constantly urging the horse forward.

I was surprised as I moved Pixie forward that she understood the lungeing concept as well as she did, but what surprised me more was that my “team” of poodle Kona and dachshund Lula were right there in my little circle.  It was a hazy morning promising to be the first hot day of 2013.  I handed Lauren my phone to try to snap a shot of my determined entourage that kept pace with the pony and I throughout the entire work out.  My favorite part was when Kona took hold of the lunge rope and stood resolutely behind me, making sure the pony did not pull on my shoulder or dash away.

Teamwork-I am grateful!

My team working the pony under the endless sky.

My team working the pony under the endless sky.

Habits

Kena and Lula have a habit of sleeping after dinner.

They say it takes three weeks to build a new habit.  I have pondered this in many situations over the years.  Like when I decided to quit eating red meat.  It was hard but after three weeks, it really didn’t matter. Of course, I just managed to do this for Lent, but still. Then there was when I started swimming laps again, it was so hard to get myself to the pool but  after going twice a week for three weeks it just kicked in.  It became easier.  It became a habit. 

I have now had my mom here for over three weeks.  My schedule and routine (of which I am little obsessive compulsive) had to change.  It was really hard for me.  To be able to get to my mom’s every day I could-which I have now decided is every day but Tuesdays (Lauren goes on Tuesdays) and at the best time for her and I (the hour right before dinner), I had to adjust my work hours (thank goodness for the ability to do so).  But I had the most difficulty with adjusting my sleep schedule so that I got up an hour earlier each day.  I now get up at 4:00 am.  Yes, every day because horses are creatures of habit and creatures of habit with bad stomachs that act up when not treated in a routine manner. So, I feed them and the rest of the animals at the same time every morning.   I do go back to sleep on the weekends-I am not crazy.

All and all, the new routine is working fine.  I actually wake up on my own, no alarms, at the appointed hour.  My internal clock has re-set.  The day moves along quickly and I am usually at my mom’s close to 4:00 pm.  It gives her something to count on that I will come most days before her dinner.  We can visit and then I can walk her to dinner being sure she is set up in her spot in the dining room.

We have a new routine at the barn as well with Mickey back in the work rotation.  On the days Lauren has school, we ride in the evening.  Saddling up everyone but Kid.  She works one horse and I, the other.  Whichever one I ride Lauren will get on at the end and do a little more fast work or jumping.  Then I get Mimi going, doing some ground work.  Some man pulled off the road in his truck last night and watched us work the horses.  We got that a lot when we first moved to our little farm.  I could just imagine the conversations in those trucks.  “Hey, have you seen them jumping horses?”  “Isn’t that something!” 

Last night it was probably perplexing to the watcher, as I was lunging Mimi, moving her around in a circle at a walk and a trot. I was really pushing her, trying to get her to break into a canter.  I am sure I was quite comical as viewed from the road.  I had my whip in one hand, the lunge line in the other and was walking along behind the pony urging her forward.  When the horse gets good at this, (as my old boy Cupid was) you could stand still in the center of the circle and the horse would walk, trot and canter at your bidding.  Mimi and I are not even close to that kind of effortless work.  I think I get as much exercise as she does.  As I pushed her along to try to get her moving faster, I had to move faster as well.  It was successful, she cantered for the first time, but I got dizzy-going round in circles and a real workout.

The horses, just like me, are getting used to the new routine.  For Feather and the Mimi, getting them to understand that there is work to be done most days, is important.  Some days we do not get much further than saddling and have them stand in the arena but it is all part of their education and I think their acceptance of work. Spontaneity is not my best attribute.  In three weeks, lacking any vet decreeing otherwise, Mickey will head back to the show ring.  We will see if everyone is settled in the routine by then.  I can’t wait to see how far little Mimi has come.