Taming the Trails

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Our first clinic was a success. The topic was Taming the Trails and it went over really well.

The morning started out a little questionable when Jim and I headed over to the deli where we planned to meet Jim McDonald. At 8, which is the time he wanted to be there, my phone rings. I answer and he says "Next time I tell you I don't need any help, please ignore me."

We finally get there and get everything together even though we're about an hour late getting started.

We had 7 people in the first group, and began in the arena doing lots of obstacles and things to help the horses become more comfortable. We finally headed out on the trail. The group was a little bit rough at first with a couple people having control problems with their horses. We also ended up cutting the ride a little shorter since we were spending more time practicing different skills on the trail.

One person came off, it was the woman that I help so much in class. She was very cute because she hit the ground after her horse jumped the bottom of the ravine we were working in and hollers "I'm ok! I'm ok! Look Bella didn't run off! Look! I'm Ok I'm Ok!!" It was really funny, and she jumped right back on after that and continued to work on the exercise.

We continued on our ride and there were visible changes in the group over the course of the ride. Everyone was doing terrificly well at keeping their horses evenly spaced so no one was crowding anyone else.

We headed back in and were coming to the creek crossing when I heard commotion at the creek ahead. I looked up and saw Mariann's horse Pi just lying down in the water. Everyone was hollering for her to kick him to get him up, and he thankfully jumped up without rolling. Everyone was laughing pretty hard but was thankful that she didn't get wet as it was pretty darn chilly!

We returned and put the horses into the trailer minus saddles so that they could take a break and eat some hay. I looked at Jim and asked him who's idea it was to do this twice in one day! He agreed that it wouldn't happen again! We ate some lunch and the next two people in the class arrived. I was surprised to find out that it was only them that signed up, but pleased since it meant a bit of a breather for us.

We got ourselves ready again and they were waiting in the arena for us. It became obvious very fast that both of them were much less experienced than most of the crowd from earlier. We began by going through the obstacles. This time since there were so many fewer people we could actually participate in the obstacles as well. That was pretty fun to work on the different things.

Since it was getting darker and colder due to the cloud cover we headed out on the trail. It became quickly obvious that the two women weren't prepared for the trail. When Jim was talking to one of the women about relaxing more on her horse she responded that she couldn't because every time her horse started to get excited, she would become afraid. At that point the trail ride stopped. We headed back over to the field so that Jim could do some personal work with each of the women. They were lucky since they ended up with a personal lesson from Jim!

I spoke with the woman that was so afraid later after I untacked the horses and was hand grazing them close enough to half way hear what was going on. It turns out that she is pretty unexperienced and is going through a tough time in her life as well, her husband passed away a year or so ago and her mother is sick too. It was obvious that she understood that she was the problem in the situation but had no idea how to correct it. I gave her a few hints and tips here and there, and consoled her as best I could. I spoke with Jim about it later and we tried to develope some strategies to assist her even though she was further away.

It was a very successful day, despite the fact that it was interrupted when Jim called me and let me know that the truck had broken while going through a pothole coming back with our lunch. He had returned home to do some things and was planning on picking me up from Jim's farm later. The truck was in the shop at that point, and he learned that it was a 250.00 repair, with a 1000.00 repair that needs to be done some time soon. So that was pretty yucky, but it didn't dampen the day.

Later that day I learned that one of Jim's wife's relatives share my first and middle name which was pretty spiffy to discover. I have never met anyone that shares my name that precisely.

It was a good day, but I was bushed by the end. We won't be doing two sessions for a clinic any time soon for sure!