Sunday, September 12, 2004

Decisions, Decisions!

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Sunday, September 12th, Part One:
Seems I'm still catching up on this blog with old news. In brief: after determining that Cheerios was healthy, it was time to determine whether or not to keep him. I've been toying with selling him for a couple years now. Obviously I must not want to sell him very badly, because he's still here. :wink: About a month ago, I went on a trail ride with Nora, the lovely girl who has been leasing him for the past year or so. She and Cheerios get on quite well, being that they are both redheads LOL. I'm happy with her as a leaser (lessee?) because she's very considerate of Cheerios as well as of me. She's even taken over his farrier appointments, which for the unemployed (me) is a great help. So we went on this ride, great ride, feeling good, and when we got back, I decided it was time to try riding him again. I'm sure I posted last year when I rode him around... yes, the day Nora first came out to test-drive him. That was at the trot.

Well, this time, I got up to a canter. Without fear. TA-DAAAA!!! Yay, me. Still having stopping problems. He stopped by almost slamming his head into the barn. We have a LOT to work out. His trot, however, is still awful. I tried sitting it. Hey, I can sit Wildflower's fast trot, albeit uncomfortably (I'd rather post that speed), so I figured by now, thanks to all the Fluidity work I've been doing, I'd be able to handle his trot.


Riding his trot is like riding a jackhammer with a stutter. An even trot is 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2. His trot is 1-2-1-2-1..2-1-1-1..2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1--1--2-1-2-1-2-1-2. Very jarring. It would help if he could trot an even rhythm, then it would just be about his up and down bounciness. But he has both going at once. Bounciness plus lack of rhythm (must be a white boy inside LOL). So it's darn near impossible to ride.

My observation at this point is that:
1. He was a green four-year-old when I bought him (and I was neon green as well)
2. He'd been taught basic commands (this means walk, trot, canter, halt, back up, and stand still) but just enough so that he'd be saleable (like using the Berlitz method to learn a language before your trip overseas)
3. Then he'd been trained to chase cows (roping horse)
4. He'd never been schooled in how to carry/balance a rider for long periods of time

Part of that contributed to my fall waaaaaay back in 2001; and the fact that nobody's known enough to be able to teach him how to carry himself with a rider for longer than two minutes is the other part. I still don't think I know how to teach that, but I have an idea that flatwork, aka the Circling Game, might help.

After that ride, I decided that although I was now relieved to know I could ride him without fear (at least in the safety of the arena), I no longer wanted him because he wasn't fun to ride (aka smooth, even, relaxing). So I'd made up my mind I was OK with selling him. At least, I was using that to justify selling him, which I was being pressured to do by my parents. I've been unemployed for almost 28 months now with only brief respites (six weeks at my old job last year and three weeks on a work-for-hire project last month) and up until June, I had my housemate's contributions along with whatever freelance I pulled plus my parents' contributions allowing me to survive. Without the housemate, and with limited freelance, it's been up to my parents to help, since Unemployment Compensation ran out years ago. They aren't interested in supporting two horses, especially when I'm not even using one. They'll allow me to keep the one. So it's been very upsetting to me. I don't want to sell because I truly believe that with enough PNH under my belt, I'll be able to help him finally and build a great relationship and have TWO amazing horses to ride. Then I can learn roping and cutting and start living my dream.

So I was all set to sell, resigned to it. Even had a potential buyer lined up, who'd actually contacted me about it. My ex-housemate's sister (XHS) who is also my hairdresser. We hadn't even negotiated prices yet. I figured it was only fair to give Nora the opportunity to buy him. When I explained the situation to her and the possibility of XHS buying him and continuing to allow Nora to lease him, Nora countered with the offer to take him on as a full lease. Well, gee, if the two biggest repeating costs are being handled by the leaser, then I have no reason to sell except if I want or need some fast cash. The only worry ahead is shots in the spring, and by then, who knows where I'll be?

Cheerios has been given a reprieve.

Sunday, September 12th, Part Two:
Now We're Getting Somewhere...

With Wildflower, there have been significant improvements made. Not without a few bumps in the road, however. Since deciding to amp up the progress in Level Two in preparation for the Bruce Logan clinic in October (did I mention I'd signed us up?), we've had an interesting, frustrating, rewarding month.

Originally, the clinic was advertised as a standard Level One & Two clinic format, meaning he'd be there for four days, and days one and two would be a Level One clinic, days three and four would be a Level Two clinic. By "standard", I mean that anyone studying that particular level is welcome regardless of how long they've been at it or how much they know. Clinic formats are as follows:
• "Intro to Level #" means it's appropriate for the very beginners in that level who have been at it for a couple weeks (say you just passed Level One and are just beginning to use the 22-foot line in Level Two) or for people who've never even tried playing the games (Intro to Level One), have nary a clue, and might have just brought their horse blindly in and bought the equipment a half hour before the start of the clinic.

• "Level #" means it's appropriate for those who have been playing with that Level for awhile and it's to help fill in the holes in your education and answer questions.

• "Adv Level #/Intro Level #" means that you're near to assessing out of the Advanced Level and/or just started the next level up.

Uh, more later, I just got a life-altering phone call... a good one, no worries... more later...