One of the trainers at our barn needed a bit of barn help. Did I mention she’s a terrific instructor? Positive. Cheerful. She knows how to use her words.
Given some of the life events over the last year or so, I haven’t um, exactly ridden much. Oh I’ve been packed around daily. Not the same as real riding.
Riding: that state in which you tell the horse what to do? And meandering doesn’t just “happen”? And tack is involved? And you sit upright, instead of laying your head on horse’s butt while he grazes?
Trainer put the word out she was looking for someone she could teach to help her out on the ground, preferably with some horse knowledge. If we knew of anyone, let her know.
Ever the mature 3rd grader, I thrust my hand in the air and waved wildly. ”I will!! I will!!”
In front of other people. (Sadly, I am not exaggerating. Points for enthusiasm?) Gah.
Momentarily taken aback, she said, “Really…?” Pause. “You want to…?”
I had one horrible moment of very adult embarrassment, presuming she was thinking: “How will I politely get rid of this ancient broad who might fall and not get up?”
This is usually an agreement for the 20-something beginning rider. Not the 50-something sort-of rider that trainer has watched dozing on Hudson’s butt.
Luckily, she was actually thinking (or so she claims): “It could work? I won’t have to spend so much time training…”
I can do many key things: bandages, blankets, basic grooming, lunging, tacking up, read body language, and stay out of the strike zone. I don’t panic. I’ve uncast horses, treated abscesses, can give shots, eye medication, deworm, check capillary refill rate and know when a tendon is iffy.
Most importantly, it’s possible I’m the best carrot-dispenser on the planet.
It’s the riding part I’ve never quite gotten down.
Hudson was a bit put out. He’d begun to enjoy doing a lot of nothing outside his paddock. After our first few rides however, he came out of the arena on jetpacks, proud as proud could be: every stride swung with “I’m a working man. Did you SEE that? I am AWESOME.”
You sure are, buddy!