Thursday, December 24, 2009

Embracing the Inner Cowgirl: Cross Training to Curb Bordem

Yep, it's offical, I have definetly lost it.

Since being home from college on winter break I have probably only ridden Johnny 4 times in the last two weeks. There are a few very valid reasons behind this: 1) I promised him a break from his 6 day-a-week training schedule that he's been on at school 2) I have no where to ride him (i.e. no arena) 3) The ground is frozen and not quite covered with much snow, therefore it is slippery and icy instead and Johnny, with his new front shoes, is a klutz to begin with so the last thing I need is a broken leg. And lastly...4) I miss Emmy.

So, since Emmy is now naked and shoeless, I have been riding her around on the trails and such, mainly just walking with a little jog here and there. She offically has not been ridden in almost 4 months so shes REALLY out of shape and her feet still get sore from the lack of shoes, but she doesn't slip much on the snow/ice so she's pretty sure footed. I started riding her western a couple summers ago when she was mysteriously lame for 3 months and no one could figure out what was wrong with her. She's not much of a western mount...although she does have a pretty nice jog and a reasonable lope (sometimes). Despite the fact that she went back to being a Hunter later that year, I think that in her old age she's come to quite enjoy the western, there is NO WAY I'm wearing breeches in this weather.

Anyway, the point of this entry is to tell about how a reconnecting with a childhood friend named H inspired some new cross-training for Emmy. H and I grew up riding and eventing together, but when the barn we were riding at kind of fell apart business-wise, our entire group of friends packed up our things and our horses and we parted ways. Thanks to Facebook, we managed to reconnect almost 4 years later (3 years since the last time I saw her at a horse show...she had a yearling QH showing in halter) and exchanged phone numbers. Before I knew it she was pulling into our barn drive Tuesday and we were saddling up for a snowy trail ride and a trip down memory lane.

H has gone a long way from our early eventing days and made a 360 into the Quarter Horse world. Her family had since moved out to the township, purchased a few acres with a barn and gone horse shopping in Pennsylvannia where they came back with three QHs. She now has a coming 5 year old, 3 year old and a 2 year old, all foundation bred for roping, cutting and reining. I told her how I kind of missed the days of us riding western through the woods when we were kids and she admitted that she missed having a well schooled horse to jump with. In the end, we made an ultimatum with each other "If you teach me how to jump again," H told me "then I will teach you how to rein and cut cattle." Fine by me! I've always wanted to get back to my cowgirl roots...

It wasn't until I was oogling over an episode of Heartland (best TV show EVER) where they were team roping when it really hit me.

I have ALWAYS wanted to learn how to rope.

See? I told you...offically off my rocker. I blame her entirely.

Next thing I know, I've got an old practice rope and Emmy all saddle up in the front yard. Surprisingly, the spooky little mare was totally fine with me swinging the rope around...she didn't even mind so much when I accidently hit her in the head with it, nor did she blink when it went flying past her face onto a fence post. It wasn't until I went to coil the loop back in that she decided she'd had enough of the roping game...besides, that thing crawling towards her in the snow was DEFINETLY going to EAT HER.

It actually wasn't too bad of a spook...just a classic Emmy spin sideways, but as strange as it sounds it gave me joy to see her react to something. She's 22 (going on 23) years old and a dead broke hunter mare. The past year or so has been...oh I hate to say it...but it's been kind of boring with her. Not that I don't appreciate a good, well trained horse, but she is literally "broke to death" in her old age...and who can blame me, right? I can't help it if I like a little spunk every now and again. Even though neither one of us is ever going to be competetive, or even good at this whole roping thing, it's something new for us to work on, and trust me, Emmy's bored with her retirement and ready for a challenge. Despite the fact that she goes outside all day and always has plenty of hay and toys in her stall to occupy her, she is still slowly eating her stall door in protest.

I'll let you know how the whole thing works out ;)


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