I just wanted to give you all a casual update on what has been going on with me and my family. My last few posts have been, well, boring. But that’s only because I’ve been super busy growing a baby, delivering a baby, and now caring for a real-life-sweet-little-urchin of a baby girl. Emmalee Belle. She was born on May 22, and is as healthy and as beautiful as can be. The Lord really outdid himself this time.
Life with a newborn can be challenging. Throw in a four year old, a business, and three of your own horses to ride and it gets downright crazy. For the most part, our new family of four has adjusted smoothly and quickly. I rode Hot Rod and Kona up until the last two weeks before delivering, mainly due to the enormous amount of rainfall we had here in Oklahoma, and I worked in the barns up until the day before I delivered. After Emmalee was born, I started doing barn checks and light feedings three days later. Six weeks in, I’m riding three times a week and back to feeding everyday. Not bad! I could not have done any of this without my amazing and supportive husband. Thank you, Brad! This is three days after she was born. My body was still so swollen and puffy from all the fluids they gave me. Check out my monster feet and hands! Yikes!
Now, after weeks off from riding I have started to put together a new riding program for each of my guys and make a new list of goals individual to them both. As a mom, I know there’s nothing more frustrating than putting a puzzle together and realizing you have missing pieces, and that’s about how I feel with my horses right now. So, the last two weeks I have been running through a mental list during my rides checking off the skills they have and making notes of their missing pieces so to speak. Here are a few of Hot Rod’s “holes” to work on:
1. Loping off immediately from a halt with collection
2. Performing a working trot that is quick and lively without being nagged
3. More quick and precise back up
4. Performing a lead change without baubles or a step
You’ll notice that most of those things are polishing skills he already possesses. In my mind, this means they are primarily rider concerns. I have not asked enough of him. I know he can physically do these things and I know he understands when I ask him. So it’s up to me to show him it’s time to clean up and polish our rides.
Kona is a different story. Though Kona is “broke” according to any cowboy’s standards, he definitely is not finished. Here is Kona’s list of “holes:”
1. Precise steering with a neck rein
2. Trotting off immediately when cued
3. Performing a half-pass and side-pass
4. Performing a turn on the haunches
5. Not acting gate sour
6. Loping off immediately without baubles
7. Giving the face without false curling of the neck
I know what you’re thinking, “how do you even ride that horse?!” Well, it’s not always fun and it requires focused concentration. Which is exactly why I have neglected him. Tonight I rode him and reminded myself that every time he’s naughty it is an excellent opportunity for him to learn and me to grow as a rider. I have considered sending him to a trainer, but I know I can accomplish these things myself. Now that it’s on paper, I know exactly what I’m working towards each ride with him. Even if we work hard for two weeks, we will make huge progress.
I love starting new routines, setting new goals, and watching hard work pay off. So here’s to a new baby and new goals! Happy summer, everyone!