Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Let the Dancing Begin


I’m not a big one for New Year’s Resolutions, but recently I’ve been thinking about what I can do to make my life with my horses more enjoyable. We’ve had so many health problems these past months, and it has diminished the time I spend doing things that I like to do with Silk and Siete. I’ve felt more like a nurse and a pooper scooper than anything else.

If you’ve followed our adventures, you know that in the darkest hours, I’ve questioned why it is exactly that I own these expensive, delicate creatures. Freezing my fingers while I use the syringe to give Siete her meds or shoveling frozen nuggets out of the corral as the wind whips through me, I ask myself how much longer can I keep this up. I often remind myself that when I decided to get this horse, and to keep her baby, it was for better or worse, for as long as they live.

Yet, every day, I take note and really appreciate the patience and the trust that Silk and Siete show me, even when the weather or physical discomfort becomes severe. They stand quietly in their stalls when it’s too icy to let them go out. They don’t have their winter shoes yet since it snowed before the farrier could come. I warn them not to run and slip on the ice, and they listen. At night, as I walk through the snow to the barn to throw them a couple more flakes of hay, their heads poke out of the top of the stalls, and they nicker happily to give me the warm, good feeling that I’ve done the right thing.

The past year has taught me that I don’t need to be out riding to be fulfilled by the time I spend with my horses. My consistency and efforts to stay calm no matter what is happening pay off when my horses willingly respond to whatever I ask them to do. Just the other day, as my husband and I led the horses into the pasture, my sister-in-law’s 120 pound dog ran up unexpectedly and raced in circles around us barking. Neither horse moved or showed any anxiety. The rest of my life can be rocking with turbulence, but out in the barn, I am always welcome.

So, my resolution is to take this relationship to the next step with Silk and Siete. I’ve been studying how people train their horses to follow them and dance together. While it intrigues me, I’ve been afraid to try it. I’ve worried that without a halter and a lead rope, Siete will get so excited that she’ll trample me. I’ve been concerned that Silk will refuse my request, and I’ll feel like I’ve failed. During the past 12 months, we plodded along, and we made it through. In 2009, I’m ready to start dancing.

17 comments:

the7msn said...

Sounds like a grand plan - can't wait to see a video of y'all waltzing around the corral.

Some of the best times I've ever spent with Lyle and Hank have been out of the saddle, playing soccer or sitting atop the fence while they swarm below vying for butt scratches. People think when you have horses at home, all you do is ride...which is so not true. For me, the taking care of them part is just as fulfilling as the riding part.

I hope your new year is filled with good health for your horses and your family.

detroit dog said...

Yay!

I think what's best is the relationship that you and your horses have built together. I can't imagine that you can do any wrong in their eyes. And I suspect that they appreciate the challenges every bit as much as you do.

So congratulations on your commitment, and your resolution. And best wishes for wonderful dancing in the New Year!

Cactus Jack Splash said...

My favorite saying is "Life isn't waiting for the storm to pass...it is learning to dance in the rain"
Looks like you will get to dance a lot. Getting to dance with Jack is one of the best things in my life. Hope you have as much fun.

Le Cheval Endiablé said...

It's a great purpose. I have never met someone who have tried this.
It will be very interesting to read your posts.
Have a Happy New Year !

AnnL said...

I look forward to hearing about you dancing with Siete and Silk. Just remember, it's not the end goal (in this case the finished dance) that matters, it's the journey. I know your journey will be filled with adventure, trust, and joy.

Happy New Year to you and your family.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Dancing with your horses sounds like a great plan, I hope you will be setting up speakers with country music,(just kidding). Remember to dance like no one is watching!
I know how you feel about not getting to ride too. It seems when I boarded I rode at least two horses a day, but now that we have our horses at home I can count on my fingers how many times I've been able to ride.
I guess everything has a trade off. I wouldn't give up being able to care for my horses the way I think they need to be cared for and hanging out with them is priceless.Unfortunately, there is so much extra work, there's not much ride time.

billie said...

You've had a tough year with the girls - I certainly hope '09 brings lots of joy and dancing - I know you'll all be happier and healthier for it. Enjoy! And happy new year.

Callie said...

Good for you! What a resolution! Happy New Year to you and yours, my good friend, Victoria. We all should be dancing!

Spartacus Jones said...

Just being in their company is a balm for me. Feeding, mucking out, it's all good.

On the matter of "dancing," I think you may be in for quite a treat. This is one of my favorite things. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

sj

deejbrown said...

Dance while you can! Even if it's with a pitchfork!

Esther Garv said...

Sounds like a great new year's resolution!
I agree with Linda that a lot of the fun of having horses at home is spent "off" the saddle!

LJB said...

Happy New Year. Once you figure out how to dance with your feet on the ground, then you can figure out how to dance while riding them.

I was going through photos taken at the therapeutic riding program where I work, finding the moments when horse, leader, and sidewalkers are all in stride together. The start of the dance!

I find the winter is a time to experiment with improving communications. I'm not likely to be riding much, so I'm always thinking about other ways to connect and enjoy. You're on to something!

Ophelia Keys said...

Happy new year from Australia!

Speaking of dancing, I just saw Australian Paralympian Georgia Bruce dancing with her horse Rumba. They have a wonderful, playful relationship.
http://www.horsetraining.org/
(there's a video of them here further down the page).

Just spending time with horses in the paddock is so valuable - and frankly, they probably enjoy it more than riding anyway!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Victoria I'm very excited for you and I hope your plans go wonderfully well.
I did a You Tube tour a few weeks ago of folks dancing with their horses and was very intrigued.

I can't wait to get back up and ride my horse, but it might be quite a long time until it's safe and my knee is strong enough. Maybe Dancing with my horse could be a first step before the riding begins again?

I envy you right now, in a good way, that you are able to spend time with your two beauties in the barn, though. Our barn is a long way from the house and up a steep hill, and with all the mud and melting snow, it's an impossible venture in my condition.

I wish our entire property was fenced so that Baby Doll and our other critters could hang out here beside the house.

My favorite times with my horse were in the evenings, grooming her while she munched hay. She seemed to enjoy this as much as me.
I miss the smell of my horse the most and burying my hands into her fur. sigh.

It's not forever right?
And until then I can stop in here to read about and see you dancing with horses :)

~Lisa
New Mexico

Maria said...

Good luck with your dancing in the new year. I'm delighted that you've been inspired to do even more with your horses and I'll be looking forward to seeing how it all goes...for better or worse :)

Nor’dzin said...

I was so delighted to read this post. This was the very reason that I decided not to move Red to a working livery yard. I too want to learn to dance with him and believe I can achieve this. It would not have been possible with him on working livery because they would have trained him in their methods to produce a good riding school horse, and I would simply have been an occasional visitor. I want a relationship with my horses as much as I want to enjoy riding them. I look forward to reading about your dancing in 2009.

Gecko said...

(sorry I'm so far behind, still trying to catch up!!)

Dancing with your horses sounds like excellent fun! You have no idea how excited I am to start reading how you've gone!!

When you mentioned the times when you've questioned why you have your animals, I can most definetly tell you your not alone. Just like the times when I've tried creeping past my neighbour's place on Bundy with all the dogs in tow, riding quietly and quickly so I won't have to go and talk because i'm in a rush...but of course the dogs have to become deaf at that time and wander over the say hello and blow thy cover! =S LOL we've gotta love them don't we!