Whump II

By virtue of falling, I discovered that my left leg is weaker than my right. Had my left leg been an equal to its mate on the starboard side of my body, I would not have fallen when Mo spooked last night. And what did Mo spook at last night? Why, Mo spooked at another horse last night. It’s just a small horse, too, about a year old, cute, wouldn’t hurt a fly but Mo Didn’t Have Anyway of Knowing That, Now Did He? Espeically With That Woman On His Back Who Was Sitting Funny.

I was sitting funny because I was riding with my right leg out of the stirrup. When I do half-seat, my right leg burns, which should have been a clue. Instead of interpreting this clue, I was just cheerful about my left leg muscles not bothering me. Leah suggested that I ride around with my right foot out in order to strengthen the left. I was also trying to post like that (which I kinda sorta did) and then, while totally distracted and all over the place, Mo saw fit to defend himself from Things Unknown (aforementioned colt) and off I went.

No bruises or torn flesh this time. Got back up as soon as I was sure I could do so, went to Mo, kissed him in the nose, and finished the lesson with my crop tucked in my boot. Didn’t want to add to things.


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OK, nearly ready for the bracelet

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.

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Outside, on real dirt

Two weeks ago, Leah told me “We’re going to step our of our comfort zone tonight.”

“Ha!” I said, “And who is ‘we’? Got a mouse in your pocket?”

Such hilarity was not appreciated and Leah calmly ushered me out of the nice sand outdoor arena into the bottom, where, last year, I screamed my head off when Mo took off through a pond and up a hill. “Scream” is too nice of a word. Actually, I wailed pitifully and the sound made me want to smack myself, so I stopped and hung on as per my teacher’s instructions. “Hang on, Leslie!” were her exact words as Mo tore up the hillside.

But we were both under much more control this time, going up and down little slopes (“Are you sure he can do this?” I asked, the slope looking to me as if it were 90 degrees, easy. “Yes, Mo will be fine,” said Leah). Plus, Leah was right there with us the whole time, figuratively holding my hand. 

And he was. And so was I. Fine, I mean. We walked down little hills and I was coached not to lean too far back (not like the cowboys in the picture), because it pinches Mo’s back and he can’t really do much. We trotted on dirt and around a jump, and I went into half-seat for our climbs back up the small hills (haven’t sat half-seat in For Ever so I mostly couldn’t balance) — and we even kinda-sorta jumped up the little incline with the “stair-steps” dug into it. 

“OMG!” I said, “Did we jump?”  (I do NOT jump)

“Yes!” said Leah.

But what was the best was trotting up a gradual hill. It was so smooth. Going up hill gave Mo real suspension and in half-seat, it was like we were floating, gliding along, soft as feathers on on the wind, like birds skimming just above the ground.

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The Right Story

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.

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Mo’s pal Buddy

When I take Mo out of his stall, his neighbor, Buddy, complains. The poor little pony squeals and carries on as we leave, and squeals and carries on when we come back. It seems that if I call out to him, “Hey Buddy! Don’t worry! Mo’s having a lesson!” or “Hey Buddy! Don’t worry! We’re on the way!” he calms down a bit. I guess he’s learned the sound of my voice and knows that it means things are OK Mo-wise, that he’s not loosing his friend, and that he’ll get a treat because he bunks next to Mo. They get scared, I think. Leah told me that Mo was depressed after his previous roomy was taken away and never came back and maybe Buddy would do the same if Mo never came back. Ugh. Sometimes all I think about is the end of things and how sad it is that the horse companions will die some day.


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Scratching Mo’s head

Sometimes, when I’m early, I just stand in the stall with Mo and rub his head, between the ears. He doesn’t do anything except blink and I take the blink as a sign of relaxation. It’s nice to just stand there with him, both of us breathing, me rubbing his head, him blinking and standing still.  Quiet old horse (sometimes).

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Ohioana Book Festival May 10 2008

It’s going to be fantastic! You can find out everything you need to know at http://www.ohioanabookfestival.org. We’ve got award winners, people who are going to win awards, people you’ve heard of (Harvey Pekar! Will Hillenbrand!), people you haven’t heard of but will hearing more of, and some genuine cult figures (Harvey Pekar! Gene Logsdon!). There’ll be food, music, merriment, coffee, books, face-painting,  Q&A with authors, and all kinds of stuff!

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