It must be spring because a recent grooming yielded horse hair. Not SOME horse hair, not a LITTLE horse hair but drifts, scads, clouds, tons and tons and tons of horse hair. It’s coming right off with the barest touch of any kind of brush you want to use. The shredder blade is best because it doesn’t have long enough teeth to catch the hair and hold into it, like the dog brush I’m also using to try dislodge some of the dirt on Mo’s skin so that Leah’s trimmer doesn’t get ruined again. Someone asked me how long it took to groom him. It’s not how long it takes, it’s how much time one is willing to spend on the task. time for the lesson to start? Time to go home? Then grooming is done.
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I hung out during a lesson the other night. Not one of my better decisions because it was way cold. It was an attempt to provide moral support to a friend who would have been working out there (to me, it’s out there) on a cold dark night, so I sat in on her class (she taught 5 girls) and sorta kinda help direct traffic once the lesson was over.
Watching the students and their parents reminded me of the days when I tool lessons, and in those days parents did not stay. They did not stay at birthday parties, they did not stay at lessons, they did not stay at sports practice, they did not stay at Brownie meetings or choir meetings or play with the children.
This is no longer the case and has not been the case for about 20 years, but I’m not used to it. And it was colder than . . .oh my goodness the swear words I could use to describe the cold! . . .so it was good that the girls had some help with putting away saddles and such. And I sympathize with the families that have to pick up one kid from one activitiy and then get on the road to pick up the next kid from the next activity (no one goes to bed before 10:30 p.m. anymore either and I really hate to see that as well). But I don’t sympathize with parents who give their kids directions while the kids are in class. The child should have only one teacher at a time. I believe this because I myself cannot listen to more than one person at a time. And the teacher can’t tell the parent to be quiet.
Fly predator update: They are on order. The first batch should ship in April
Gabby update: She is fine. I give her a treat every now and again and wonder at her prehensile upper lip.
Participated in a clinic last Saturday — really, really good. The instructor, the other student, and I all clicked, as Leah put it, just clicked. Tracy and I took a clinic with this instructor a couple of months ago and we both heard “Put your hands down! Put your hands down” pretty much the whole time. After the 1st clinic, Leah asked me to think about what all of my instructors tell me. Pretty much, it’s “Put your hands down! Put your hands down!”
It’s that tension issue, it’s that curling-up-in-a-ball-because-that-seems-safe thing that I have been. Doing. For. Years.
I still do it, but now I can *feel* myself do it, I can counter act it, I can sit back in the saddle and, heck why not, take up a handful of mane at the base of Mo’s neck (if that won’t keep your hands down, I don’t know what will), and just ride. Flapping my legs helps also because (again at the teacher’s insistence) because while you are flapping your legs, you are also keeping your seet.
When the class was over, I grabbed Mo’s big muzzle and kissed him. I kiss him a lot anyway, but it was a fierce love, you-ragged-little-horse kind of kiss. Mo was fine with it.
Eugh! Leah dulled her clipper blades on Mo’s amazingly awful hair. I will reimburse for the cost of sharpening. He looks like a particularly messy haystack, plus he’s curly like crazy and sweats like a human.
At the barn, there’s a little fellow with a crooked back and a withered leg. His name is Little Bit, and it seems like one thing after another happened as soon as he was born. He was the living one of a twins, then something went wrong with his leg, then he got better, then something happened to his other leg, then his dam died before he was weaned (he was close, I think). At his worst, he stayed on the floor and wouldn’t eat. But something kicked in, and he started eating, so he’s still part of the barn today. One leg is thin and delicate and fragile, the other looks healthy enough. One hip is much higher than the other. But he goes out with the two healthy colts — who pick on him. Nip, quick, bite, block him from the water. The kind of thing that makes you want to step in and fix it.
Enter Gene the adult quarter horse. Gene is, I think, between jobs. I don’t know how old he is or which students ride him or what his speciality is (quarter-horsing!), but when the little guys are in turn-out, Leah puts Gene in there with them and Gene protects Little Bit. When the evil colts pick on the weak one, the adult runs them off, takes care of the little fellow.
It’s a three-hanky kind of thing, makes you well up and wonder about stuff, about the emotional complexity of non-human animals. What goes off in Gene’s mind when he sees the stronger ones pick on the weaker ones? It’s not maternal because Gene’s a he, not a she. I used to say that I wish they could talk, but horses talk all the time. It’s knowing how to listen, I think.
I was sorting books the other month after spending a long weekend cataloging (try Librarything! It’s so much fun!), when I found the hank of cleaned-and-dried Mo tailhair behind some books, and realized I’d never sent it out. It’s time! I’m going to send everything off to Twisted Tails this week and get my bracelet underway. According to the Web site, they’ll guarantee Christmas delivery as long as they’ve got everything by October Something-or-another. I also need to sort the change in my change jar (I’m sure I’ve got enough or close enough), because that’s the point of the change jar — to save enough for a horsehair bracelet.
I tend to twist up my body something fierce while trying to turn Mo. My shoulders do odd things and whatever the heck it is I’m doing just doesn’t work. The other day, Leah tried another comparison, this time with playing “Chicken” in the swimming pool. You know, how you’re up on someone’s shoulders, trying to get them to go towards your opponent, but sometimes you lean way over the side — and you make your person lean way over too and then you fall off. In the water, yes, but you fall off.
I’ve got a ways to go on making this idea of playing Chicken work, but it was a small “ah” moment. Not “eureka” or even enlightenment, just “ah” and then I was able to move my body in just the right way and good old Mo moved. No pretzel body, no yanked head (his, not mine), it just . . .worked. Ah.