One Year with Lady
This blog has really become a Lady love fest lately, but today marks a special day. One year ago, I decided to take the big leap of buying a new to me horse. At the time, an 11 year old sorrel mare, a trained cutting horse, who had been sitting in a pasture for a year, using that time to specialize in obesity.
She was a little older than I wanted, but she was so quiet, and so nice to be around, and I thought maybe she would be a really nice partner for me, and would be able to help me fulfill my dreams of finally starting to show. In the blog post from last year I wrote, "So, to now put a big investment into another horse? It was hard, and emotional, and some days, I'm still not 100% ready and there with her. But, I think, over time, it will get easier, and she truly is just a nice horse to be around - she makes me feel content, and happy. So I think, for right now, that's all I can ask for. "
|Big Mama the day I bought her|
Like any horse-rider combo, we didn't click right away, she's a little reserved, and she definitely still rolls her eyes at me sometimes, but after going through my archives of photos, I've realized the key to really getting with your new horse is selfies...
Lots & Lots of selfies...
I promise you, given the sheer volume I had to choose from, it apparently worked for us.
In late October I moved Lady to my boss' ranch, and we managed to survive cattle drives, and winter together. I worked Lady on cows maybe once before winter hit and we shipped ours, then we banged around on the flag until late November. December we spent long trotting in hay fields, and working some of that belly off that Lady likes to keep around.
Then in January, I timidly asked my boss if he thought we could show in the winter series, he said yes, and the rest is history, we started showing!
|At our first show, we marked the first of many, many 60s we have since accumulated|
Lady & I banged through the winter series cutting with a lot of low scores, and a lot of learning experiences, but it was good for us, because somewhere towards early Spring I started to really, really trust my horse. I started to just let her do her thing, and work on my own riding, and now thanks to that mindset, I can now work on both of us a little bit more comfortably.
|From the Winter Series Cutting.|
Photo by: Sandy Hansma
The hours, and hours, and hours of working on and thinking about our craft finally paid off in early June when she won me my first buckle, and first two cheques. It came at the right time, because I was starting to wonder if we'd ever achieve our first success together! Of course, as I've detailed in this blog, she then had a colic episode, and I gave her five weeks off to get some well earned rest and just be a horse for awhile. Now, after three weeks of slowly legging her back up, I can start working her again, and I'm so excited to pick up where we left off.
Somewhere, in between hauling down the road, trotting down fence lines in the snow, quiet moments in her stall, warming her up to show her, cooling her out, baths and down time in the arena, Lady and I have become a pretty strong partnership in the year I've had her. More than just a horse I can go show, Lady has become, in a year, one of my most treasured companions. She is kind, and sweet, and trustworthy, she is gritty, and hard working, and sometimes goofy. She loves water, she is a camel in horse form, and she loves cutting cows, and i'm pretty sure that she loves me too.
Lady has been turned out with her buddy in a big turn out that follows the path of our km long driveway, it takes about five minutes to walk out to her turn out and she's generally way down at the end, so I have to hike out to get her. It has become our routine that I grab her in a halter and then swing on to her bareback, using any device I can find to boost me. The other day it was a rock and I scrambled onto her back, spurs hitting her sides as I swung over her neck and scooted back. I clucked at her to walk on and away we went down the driveway, past the dogs, and big garden with a spooky scarecrow, and around the lawn mower running and beside a vehicle all the way to our tack room. In that moment, I had the comforting feeling that Lady would truly take care of me in any situation, that even though she can be stoic and quiet, and even though she sometimes questions why I feel the need to ride her all the time, especially bareback! haha, she is the type of mare that thinks her duty is to keep me out of trouble, and she has done such a good job of it this year. I am so thankful for her. Every day I look forward to next show season with her, and then the future of hopefully being granted the luck and blessings to ride her babies.
|I love this photo because I think it embodies her heart and try|
Photo by: Sandy Hansma