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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
:runninghorse2: So, first, I should mention that I am not completely blind. I am "legally blind" which means I can't drive anymore and everything is blurry. It's like some people are without their glasses. But I'm only that good in one eye--the other is just light and shadow mostly and my "good eye" is not quite the same as someone without glasses, because I have a medical condition that makes things weird. However, I've now been at this level of vision for about 12 years and am really used to it and my brain has adjusted. I manage to go hiking by myself (with my Guide Dog, but she is not working and off leash, but sometimes I call her back and hang on to her collar to get me through tricky lighting or footing. This, along with the disease that caused it (Reactive Arthritis with a side dish of Fibromyalgia) and various other nagging medical conditions, has led me to a big drop in confidence and big feelings of failure and feeling useless in my life. I've been on disability since 2007--I worked full time while disabled for many years, but finally, when I was forced to go into a wheelchair for a few months--while being at this level of vision and spending 2 hours each way to work with public transportation--I had to say "Enough!" Not being one to every say "quit", I got myself "healthy" again. Rode my bike every day--yes, you heard that right. Heart pounding, being passed on the bike trail by 80 year olds and 5 year olds! (hey, when you can barely see a blurry 4 feet in front of, you tend to ride slow). I walked a ton--until I got severe plantar fasciitis in BOTH feet. I took herbs, I ate healthy, I fired most of my AMA doctors and stopped the drug merry go round. My eyes finally stabilized after a decade of continuing flare ups and pain and different vision levels every month so I could never adjust. I got a lot of rest and finally got my spark back. I met a man and got married and moved to a big city (yuck). I was now 38 years old and ready to "be me" again, only better. I wanted a HORSE! This time I wanted my OWN horse, I was sick of riding everyone else's horses--nice as that was. I rode other people's problems, I broke my wrist in my mid 30's falling off a horse out of stupidity. After a couple of years, my husband decided he wanted to be a hobby vegetable grower on a larger scale (most of our postage stamp lot right now is vegetable garden) so he was on board with moving to the country! And BAM, he was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer a couple months later. Several years later, we are still in this house, he is 95% better. I am probably worse (I'm 48 now and perimenopause is kicking my butt!) and he sees me handling and riding horses for a week on a trip we were on and finally realized "my wife needs to get horses back in her life". So, busy and stressed as he always is, he told me to find some way to start being with and riding horses again and he would drive me. We decided once a week would be enough, since I'm so out of shape anyway. I searched for leases we could afford and that would be a good fit for me--how was I to know that the few horses people were leasing in my area were all high level performance and show horses? I found a couple that were good trail horses--but they wanted vast amounts of money for the lease--ridiculous amounts. I thought about buying my own horse and boarding it--if I could find cheap rough board. But then, since I've worked with horses, I know all the things that can happen--vet bills, special feed, special equipment, farrier fees, hauling fees, unexpected stuff. And not being in good control of my own animal's life was not a good fit for me--the born nurturer and caretaker. Former Veterinary Technician, degree in Wildlife Biology and Zoology. Former zookeeper, former big cat keeper and trainer (hands on with many of them). I raised and trained my own Guide Dog b/c I couldn't stand the idea of someone else raising my dog. I'm a bit of a control freak when they are "mine". I want the best of everything and I will spend every waking minute researching diets, tack fit, footcare, etc. Stress! So nothing happened for months. No horses, I lost hope. Then one day I placed an ad on Horseclicks about my need for horses. While checking my ad one day, I did another random search for lease horses and BAM! again, enter...Draumsyn! A 13.1 hh, 13yo Icelandic mare. For someone who wanted a Clydesdale or a Percheron, this was a bit of a letdown. But i did know about Icelandics, so I arranged to meet her and try her out. Then I read everything I could get my hands on and every video I could find with Icelandic horses in them. You would be surprised how little there was. Hmm....Icelandics were really unique and "mysterious"! Even better for my adventurer's soul who never wants to follow the crowd.



Then , I rode her. Ah-mazing! I'd never had the chance to ride a gaited horse before. Well, one TN Walker who was so stiff and sore it felt like he was walking over boulders--that didn't count. LOL Draumsyn has all 5 gaits (walk, trot, tolt, flying pace and canter). She went really well for me that first day and the owner, a young woman in her late twenties, was very impressed my riding skills and seat--as I told her I hadn't done any real riding for many years. I felt great! Then, I found out that since I could only come out once per week--she was cutting the already somewhat affordable lease price by HALF! Woo Hoo! I was in business! I got to have all the fun and not have to worry about any of the logistics and finances of having a horse--and I get along so great with D's owner. What a sweetheart--both of them.



Then, on my second ride, D was a little bit stubborn and a little bit nervous about corners in the arena. Then, on the 3rd ride, I found myself spending half my time fighting with her as she acted barn sour and tried to constantly go to the exit gate. Then, one more visit went super well--"yay,", I thought, "we've worked thru it and now we're a team"!

And then the next visit it all started going to hell in a handbasket. Enter FEAR!......to be continued!

These pics are from the first day "tryout".
 

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That was a great first journal post, and D is absolutely darling! I completely fell in love with Icelandics when I visited Iceland this past summer and got to ride one. There is nothing quite like the tolt - it had me grinning from ear to ear the entire time. I'm considering owning one some day.

I also lease. I completely understand the feeling of one day going great, then new challenges, then seemingly fixing those challenges, then either new or old challenges returning.

I can't wait to read more about your journey with D.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I will follow your journal with great interest because of my very very dear blind friend and all the fun we had with horses together (and many other things like doing plays and shows together). I miss my friend so so much. She died when we were about 36.

So sorry to hear that! It sounds like she was an amazing and brave woman!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That was a great first journal post, and D is absolutely darling! I completely fell in love with Icelandics when I visited Iceland this past summer and got to ride one. There is nothing quite like the tolt - it had me grinning from ear to ear the entire time. I'm considering owning one some day.

I also lease. I completely understand the feeling of one day going great, then new challenges, then seemingly fixing those challenges, then either new or old challenges returning.

I can't wait to read more about your journey with D.

Yes, I was hooked when she was tolting that first day! I like Flying Pace though too--going fast without cantering! Of course I can barely get her into Tolt anymore--she just goes right into Pacing.
 

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What a great first journal post. Definitely excited to hear more. :) Sounds like you definitely have the right attitude. Working through things makes everything worth it. Great pictures! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So, I am including the first video of my riding Draumsyn. This was the third or fourth ride on her and the first day I tried riding in just a halter. I had thought some of her issues were bit related. Her bridle was rather tight (as I'm told Icelandic's bridles are) and they have this tight little chin strap that holds their bottom lip rather tensely and "pinches" a bit. It's a regular snaffle, so the bit itself isn't that harsh. But she didn't like having it put on and whenever she saw the bridle coming, she dropped her head to the ground and swung it to the other side. Hmmm. Being that I have turned over a new leaf in horsemanship, I wanted to see if the bridle was part of her problem in being stubborn and antsy sometimes. My last ride she had also chewed on the bit quite a lot and was yawning and stretching her mouth. I have quiet hands normally, but when she got stubborn, I had get a little tougher and then we just fought. So, I screwed up my courage, trusted my instincts, and the owner and all her stories about this horse and got on with just a flat halter and a dog leash for reins! (my "hands-free" dog leash is built exactly like reins, with clips on both ends and is 12' long--so 6ft reins). D went beautifully for me most of the time that day. We did the outdoor arena, and she was a little nervous about the farm equipment parked next to it--I think? Here's the thing--I don't see well. I can tell there is equipment there. I can tell the closest one is a hay elevator (or whatever you call that very tall motorized ramp that sends the hay up to the second story LOL), but I have for the vast majority of the time, lost my fear of the "unknown" amorphous shapes that I encounter in the world, and I now trust that every stick and shadow I see is not a snake in my path. LOL So, all I'm saying is, she's not getting this "nervous" thing from my vision problems--because that doesn't scare me. So, she hates that one side of the arena. I walk her around in hand a little before riding. I show her the barrels sitting on the edge--let her touch and sniff them. I'm so proud of myself for helping this horse get calm, giving her what she needs to build her trust and faith in me. I'm feeling good. And I get on and she goes great--at least to the point that I would barely know I was riding her without a bit--she responds well, stops, turns, all that. Maybe I'm direct reining a bit wide on the turns without a bit (pulling the rein more straight out). But a couple times as we pass the exit gate, she stops and refuses to move. Just absolutely stuck. So I turn her and then turn her back and then the other side and back, and I experiment with more heel pressure. Until now, I had really not wanted to kick her at all if I didn't have to. I eventually started giving just small, soft kicks--not that it seemed to matter. Anyway, we got going again. I even had her tolting (although I'm not sure I had much to do with it LOL)--but I did "coax" her into the right gait somehow and I was having a blast! We pretty much sidepassed all the way down the far side of the arena every time, but she kept moving and we kept going and I felt like we were improving and I wasn't letting her "run the show", but I also wasn't being mean. "I will be firm but kind" as Julie Andrews sings in Sound of Music! And only a touch of fear in my ocassionally as she shied away at the corner a few times. I did not have a very confident seat yet and was riding with a very tense butt and every turn we took at more than a walk I slipped a bit and got nervous--but then righted myself and felt fine again. I wanted to tolt or trot or pace through those tall poles, but I didn't have the seat for that yet. Turns out, it only took about 2 more rides to find that seat and feel more secure.



Anyway, I was feeling proud, but also unconfident about letting anyone see this video, as I knew I was not riding very well and barely felt like I knew what I was doing. I'm much more used to neck reining a big Western style horse. But I've done a little English riding and studied it a lot in videos so I thought I could just learn as I go. I fooled D's owner anyway! LOL But I didn't want my Mom's cousins wife who is a big league horse trainer and Gran Prix dressage rider (and her daughter got a job at 18 working with a Royal family from Belgium or Denmark who had a place in Florida--training and riding their wildly expensive horses. So, horse training--and high level is in their genes. And I have them as FB friends and know the mom quite well and didn't want to "show off" my lack of riding prowess, no matter how personally proud I was--and happy. I have secretly watched that video dozens of times as a form of "pinching" myself to believe this was really me and I was so happy to have this horse! And even more secretly, I wanted to evaluate my riding skills and see if I could tell how I could improve, or if I "looked" ok. At this point, I was still feeling amazing and amazed by the whole thing. Oh, and I also looked fat in the video LOL! I am all leg and when I sit- I just look all squished up--plus I have my front pockets of the jacket stuffed with gloves, my hair piece, sunglasses, a bag of carros--etc. I was floating and apparently, all things that float or fly, have to hit the ground (and sometimes crash land) eventually.



Next ride, Fear finally found me and snuck up and bit me on the keister! More on that next time.



In the video, please forgive my smartphone illiterate husband's banter. LOL Oh, and for those that don't know (I didn't when I started leasing her) Icelandic horses don't "bend" well. They don't have a lot of flexible lateral movement, so you don't usually lunge them for instance and they would never be barrel racers or pole benders. D makes pretty wide turns around barrels and poles and stuff, but that is more anatomy than anything I think. I've learned to work it with it and minimize it, within her limits. She is also well voice trained, and that's how I move her between gaits for the most part. Hope this video link works! The last picture I call "Horses!" as a not to Elizabeth Tayler in National Velvet when she stepped onto the race grounds for the Grand National. I am SO happy to be in a horse barn regularly--the small is just so full of joy for me!

 

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You look like you're having such a great time with her in that video, and she is such a cute little mover! I love her little tolt - it looks so smooth and fun. Do you know if her preferred gait is tolt? I know Icelandics usually have one.

I know Icelandics are stubborn, plus she is a mare (I prefer mares, actually), so I can imagine you definitely will need to stand your ground with her.

I'm pretty sure reading your journal is going to make me even more obsessed with Icelandics than I already am (which already includes: following multiple Icelandic farms on Facebook, part of a group of Icelandic orders, and reguarly checking Icelandic sale ads.)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You look like you're having such a great time with her in that video, and she is such a cute little mover! I love her little tolt - it looks so smooth and fun. Do you know if her preferred gait is tolt? I know Icelandics usually have one.

I know Icelandics are stubborn, plus she is a mare (I prefer mares, actually), so I can imagine you definitely will need to stand your ground with her.

I'm pretty sure reading your journal is going to make me even more obsessed with Icelandics than I already am (which already includes: following multiple Icelandic farms on Facebook, part of a group of Icelandic orders, and reguarly checking Icelandic sale ads.)

Well, I think pacing is her favorite gait now., I thought it was Tolt, but I have trouble keeping her in tolt before she switches to pacing. Her trot is almost non-existent though--that usually turns into a tolt very quickly. Icelandics are fun!
 

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So before I continue the saga of my time up til now, I need to mention today. I went out to see Draumsyn and had planned to just walk her around the farm, around the arenas, spend time with her and then eventually saddle her and ride for maybe 15-20 minutes with my husband leading us for the first few minutes--to put us both more at ease. Instead, I get out to the fetlock deep muddy paddock and find a problem. Loki, D's little brother ( a gorgeous black Icelandic--bigger than D) came right over for petting and carrots. I usually have to go all the way across the darn mud pit to get D. Today, she was laying down in her shelter--in poop and pee and a little mud. Yuck! But as I was talking to Loki and getting ready to walk out there, she had come out and walked halfway to me. So, I got a carrot and coaxed her a few more steps. All good--she mostly came to me! I guess she doesn't hate me. LOL Or at least she loves carrots! I started putting the halter on and was horrified to see her left eye! I have pics I'll post later. It was gruesome. A festering, pus oozing wound on the outside corner and the inside corner was filled with gobs of yellow pus and eye gunk that had fun all the way down her face to her muzzle and gunked up her forelock! And she wouldn't open the eye and when I lifted her lid, there was no eyeball--it was rolled up in her head and I got a little frightened thinking maybe it WAS gone, or destroyed. Keep in mind that I was Vet Tech for 13 years--small animal--but I did help out with some horse stuff and I worked in several large boarding stables where I had to medicate and help the vet, etc. So I'm not a ninny when it comes to this stuff.



So I got her out of the paddock and immediately had my husband help me take some close up pics and I sent them to D's owner. I thought this was one of her days off from work, so I texted and called to see if she could come out--or just call the vet. While I waited to hear back from her, I walked D all over and even let her loose in the indoor arena while I sat on one end. She explored a little, but kept coming back to where I was. Good sign I think! Then, we walked a little more outside, then I took her into the outdoor arena and let her loose again. I took off walking and she just followed me, at my heel. I walked up on the teeterboard--she walked up on the teeterboard. LOL Then she stopped to pose for some pics on top of it. LOL



So, still hadn't heard back so decided I was just going to go ahead and clean the eye. Took me 20 minutes to get most of the gunk cleaned up and determine there was definitely a wound on the outside corner. There was crusted gunk all the across the eyelids. Her inner corner was sore from all the crusty tear build up. She has some allergies and I usually have to wipe her eyes with a little warm water when I'm there--just a little bit of crustiness from minor weeping. But this was looking like full blown conjuctivitis. I think what may have happened is she was trying to scratch or rub the eye and ended up wounding herself--her shelter has a big hole in it with some jagged boards. I thought they were fixing this!! Anyway, finally heard from the owner and she came out to check. Then, we medicated D with some oral antibiotics and some topical meds. Vet coming out tomorrow--so hopefully no emergency fee for Brianna (the owner). I just happened to be going out tomorrow again anyway, so we are both going to meet out there and assess things. I probably won't ride tomorrow either.

Here's the thing, I have been forgetting who I am with this horse. I am Animalia. I am strong, confident and don't take BS from animals or humans. I am kind and sweet with them, but I don't overcoddle and spoil them--they need to behave within a framework of discipline--for their benefit as well. Working on this health situation was right in my wheelhouse and felt natural and confident--it's what I do. So that also helped me find the rest of me. As we walked and I got the treats out for positive reinforcement in the areas D didn't like to go--she got too push a few times--rooting for treats and being lippy (not bitey though) and sharply said "NO" a couple times. I haven't done this with her yet. She listened. Then, I tapped her sharply on the nose once--with one finger--and it was really just a tap--she flinched and jerked and stepped back and I said "yeah--watch it, you do need to behave!". Instead of being scared by her having a mini-tantrum.



I think all of us this will actually help her trust me and follow my lead better. I've been so namby pamby with her and she was taking advantage. Yes, I'm nervous, but I told her today (yes outloud LOL) that just b/c I made her nervous about a situation because I was feeling worried--didn't mean she was allowed to pull and run and spin. There is nothing to be afraid of in that stupid wagon wheel or white metal sign! Throwing a tantrum (hey, she's an Icelandic--so it might not seem like much of a tantrum to an Arabian owner, but for her it is) is not acceptable nor even needed. Firm but kind. Everyone needs to hear the word "No" sometimes--wheither it will spook them or not.

So, we'll see how she responds to me tomorrow. Nice to have two days in a row with her. Even the owner said she was being a snot today--and not just because of her eye. My theory on her "snottiness" the last month is that the farm locked her out of her pasture. They shut them into the front part of the enclosure--the dirt part. She LOVES to eat! Not sure how much hay they get, but there are no slow feeders and she's out there with two pushy geldings so not even sure how much she gets to eat in a day. She's not skinny, it's not that. It's just that after being used to grazing most the day, at your leisure, for enjoyment, to suddenly be locked out -- and forced to look at the candy store just a few inches away must be torture! When I have her out--she looks for any tiny blade of grass to snag. She's just obsessed. I guess I would be cranky too. Maybe this is the real reason horses get crabby in Winter--b/c they get locked out of their pastures. :)
 

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Glad you had a confidence booting moment and I hope her eye injury is not serious. OUr horses also act like fools when locked off of the pasture for the winter. Their natural instinct is to eat more when the weather turns and humans lock them up with less to eat!
 

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Sorry to hear that about her eye. :sad: Probably was trying to scratch it & of course, hurt herself. They do the darndest things! Glad she let you near it though, & was a good sport through it all. Hopefully it is nothing serious, let us know how the vet visit goes today. I can tell she definitely trusts you. The fact that she kept coming back to you, is definitely a good sign. :) They know good humans!

It makes sense that she was acting like that, could definitely be the frustration of being locked off the pasture, no doubt, & having to compete with the geldings.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, apparently we've avoided a Vet visit. I have nothing to do with calling the vet, paying for vet fees or anything. But my horse's owner met me there again today and the eye already looked much better after one dose of oral antibiotics and some betadine on the wound. The wound is pretty nasty--but not huge. About the size of a dime or so. I brought my "kit" today and washed the eye and wound with a homemade wash of filtered water, sea salt, xylitol and iodine. All in small amounts. I put this in my own eyes so I know it's safe. And it kills bacteria and clean really well--and I was able to just squirt it all over the wound and her eye at the same time so get a good flush. Then, goldenseal/myrrh cream (herbal antibiotic and anti-fungal) and some saline in the eye as a final rinse. We got the crust off the wound so were able to put the ointment right on the sore part. D did NOT like this, but she could be so much worse. She didn't try to run us down or kick us or even bite us. Just fussed a lot. She did clock me in the face a couple times while throwing her head around, but no injuries. :)



Good sidenote, having the owner there to talk to for awhile about all the little issues I've been having with D has boosted my confidence some. When she told me that a little girl (like 7?\ who has no horse riding experience at all, is riding D sometimes with no issues whatsoever, then I felt silly. But B (the owner) assured me that D is a very sensitive horse and picks up on the slightest change in your energy or mood. If you're scared she's scared. Etc. Or, she sometimes senses weakness too and then tries to get away with stuff--like most horses. So, I spent a lot of time with D today just walking around, lunging (ok, now her owner said I could try lunging her, I thought she said earlier that Icelandics didn't lunge well). Anyway, D is not great at lunging, so I worked with her on that today, and did some more playing in the arena and with some obstacles outside. I was very proud to get her to stop with all four feet on the tractor tire platform! She's a really good horse. The owner shared some stories about her own fears and how D picked up on it and hassled her. So it's not just me. It's just that now they work great together after all these years. And I KNOW now that if I am confident and relaxed, D will be too and will go anywhere I want her to.



So, she had a LOT of energy today--and was all sassy after the eye treatments. So even after all the stuff we did around the farm, she was still raring to go. I wasn't wanting to ride her initially, but she seemed fine. So, I saddled her up and put her on a leadline and my husband led us like a pony ride around the arena several times. All was good. Then, I went on my own and all was great! We did great! She was obviously enjoying the work and I was able to relax quite a bit with my husband there in the arena with me, encouraging me. I rode for only about 10 minutes or so--didn't want to overwork her at all--despite the fact she seemed fine. I had some moments of pure joy and bliss as we tolted around the arena! Then, I practiced mounting and dismounting. Trying to be more fluid and get stronger. D was a champ--she just stood there for all of it (probably secretly laughing at me!). LOL Then I put her away and left with joy and contentment in my heart.
 

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I am not an expert, and I panic easily and I know nothing about how Icelandics should move. All of that being said, to me she looks lame in front, especially in the walk. I am not sure which leg but I think left. Could some of the more experienced forum members take a look? OP, please don’t take my word as gospel, again - I am not an expert.

She is really cute! And looks like a lot of fun to ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I am not an expert, and I panic easily and I know nothing about how Icelandics should move. All of that being said, to me she looks lame in front, especially in the walk. I am not sure which leg but I think left. Could some of the more experienced forum members take a look? OP, please don’t take my word as gospel, again - I am not an expert.

She is really cute! And looks like a lot of fun to ride.

That's ok, doesn't hurt to ask. Actually, that video that I have posted was right before she DID come up lame a bit. I think it was the next week she started limping. But then she got better within a few days. We got a really early, REALLY cold snap here for a couple weeks and D WAS acting stiff and she felt "choppy" when I rode her. So I asked her owner and she said she does have some stiffness in the Winter, and has been checked by a vet, but she told me it's not actual pain. So now I am warming her up before I ride more and that seems to help her move more fluid. I too have no experience with gaited horses, so I wasn't sure if what I was feeling was normal or not. She was also being a sassy pants in that video to some extent, so I wonder if it was just that she wasn't moving fluidly because she was being balky? When we turned around to go the other direction, that was because I didn't want a video of me fighting with her all the way down the side and basically sidestepping all the way down. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #18
One more post to continue my earlier sagas with D! So, the Fear Factor. I don't know for sure how many times I had ridden when this next incident happened. Maybe 6? I was feeling joy and rapture at every visit. I made another video to see if we looked any better riding together--and I had bought her a new black halter to ride in and real reins this time, so we looked more "official". LOL (see video) I was watching riding instruction and tips videos during this time too. I watched one about mounting. According to the professional in the video, I had never mounted a horse correctly in my life. LOL Thought I would try her tips. So, on the next visit, I got on the mounting block. D, as usual, stood there like a total pro, with no one holding her. I examined her back, tried to place my hands in the appropriate ways from the video and do the proper weight bearing before getting on, and I got scared. I got all "in my head" and then all of a sudden, fear started surging through me like I was walking around at night, in a lonely, dark place with a serial killer stalking me. What???? The normal way I mount D is by getting on the mounting block and just sliding my leg over--I have to actually slide down a bit because it's a tall block and she's a short horse. So I don't put my left foot in the stirrup first in this case, before I swing over. That day, I couldn't even do that then! I kept standing there dithering and finally D got nervous or twitchy and moved off. We tried again, and again and again. I kept just standing there, making movements towards mounting and not making it and her walking off. Called my husband to come help me--hold the horse and help me feel safe. That ride went just "ok". I felt some fear the whole time I was riding and she fought me a little more. Now, before people think D is an awful handful that I have no business riding...when I say "fighting" I just mean out of the 30 minutes I ride, she'll have one or two little head tossing/refusing me tantrums. I get her back and track and everything is fine. Except sometimes she flinches at some of the corners, or shies away a bit and I have to use some leg pressure to keep her on the track. In these cases she doe listen to me and my leg pressure, but she is still nervous about the whole thing and tense.

So, fast forward another couple of rides that were getting gradually more tense and more fearful for both of us and I decided to do some obstacle work, which D loves apparently. She was more relaxed doing that and less fearful than just riding around the arena and going near those "scary" corners. LOL On this particular day, time was running a bit short so I rode in the arena for a while and she seemed to be going pretty good, and it was our first (and maybe last) warmish day at around 50 degrees, so I wanted to ride outside a bit. D has always lived outdoors, not in a stall, so she likes outside better too--normally. Since there was no grass showing again and all she wants to do is eat since they locked her out of the pasture 3 weeks before, I decided not to go back in the fields near the trails--since I would have a fight on my hands while she kept dropping her head to graze. So I just rode around the farm--it's a big place. We got to one area and she just absolutely had a blow up and pulled hard to the side, and spun on her back legs and took off the other direction! I got jolted pretty badly and had fear now pouring thru every cell in my body. But in the moment, I guess I knew what to do. Muscle memory kicked in and I didn't come off and I got her under control quickly. And then, shaking like a leaf, I rode over to the car, got my husband and had him walk with us. I was NOT going to get off at that point. We rode another 10 minutes or so and then I had him do a short video of us again--to celebrate the fact that I didn't lose my cool, and my body didn't betray me. I was celebrating! I was so happy this had happened b/c now I could feel better about my riding skills, even in the face of some real danger. This is the video in the blue jacket--really just being silly and having fun. My husband is the goofy narrator. LOL He's been wonderful thru all this!



Problem is, although I was so elated at how well I had done and figured our problems would be over. They got worse the next visit or two and I was not a happy camper. Scared silly and even afraid while leading her that she would blow up and knock me over or step on me or whatever. I went thru a really bad time as some have seen some of my posts. But, I am now feeling much more on track. I am not going to deny my fears and say I don't have any. But I'm starting to get my mojo back, and D is responding better. When her owner shared a story about how brave and calm D is in scary situations, and then how she acted up horribly at a show ring with nothing scary happening, I felt better about myself. The show ring problem was the owner--B--was having stage fright/performance anxiety in front of a crowd. LOL This little horse is a total empath! An untrained child can ride her safely because they have no fear and she'll take care of them. But get someone more experienced who's struggling, and she has to hassle you until you work thru your garbage! I guess she's a great teacher actually. Learning and growing are not always pleasant, but they have to be done for life to be pleasant overall.




 

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Winter! It's kicking me in the backside this year! I am in late stage perimenopause (haven't "cycled" in a full year now). I thought a year meant you were done, but a @#$$%! nurse told me last month that now it's TWO years! So, why do I bring this up on my horse journal? Because it just figures that when I finally get my heart's desire--a horse to lease---my body would be hating the cold. I have hot flashes. Nightmare ones. I have been known for the last 10 years as "Mrs Freeze" by my husband because I run warm and like to keep the house at 65 in the Winter if I can. And the bedroom is about 57 at night. But now, I am rarely a comfortable temp. It's either shivering from a deep cold inside (cold flashes) that lasts for a half hour sometimes, or, I'll get all bundled up and and finally get warm and stop shivering--and within 5 minutes I'm ripping EVERYHING off because I feel like someone just dropped me in a boiling stewpot! My cats hate me this Winter. "Make up your mind Mom--blankets on or off!" So now, since we got Winter so early, I am struggling even worse. I have never been this wimpy about the cold. And now I have to go out and spend several hours per week outdoors, trying to be "limber and agile" around and on a horse--while retreating like a turtle into my clothes--hunched shoulders, numb/frozen fingers and toes. It's not even Christmas and I'm so looking forward to Spring! LOL



The good news is that my "fear" seems to have ebbed away. I feel more in control. I trust this horse--as long as I can trust myself. Here's the big problem with me and fear--I'm BRAVE, but I am not FEARLESS. I have always had a lot of fear and trepidation and my talent has been to do the thing I'm afraid of anyway--until I'm not scared anymore. I push through it. With a horse though--especially an extra sensitive one--it's not enough to just "push through it" and do the stuff anyway. I need to get rid of the fear and not feel it anymore--or I risk making the horse unsafe. What a weird conundrum. And what a wonderfully weird opportunity for growth and advancement of my psyche and soul! Around horses I WAS always fearless in the past--I guess I was too naive to know how dangerous horses could be. I started so young. Being around horses was so wonderful for me because it didn't cause me fear like so many other things. Now, I have to deal with "age" and the worry about safety. Boo Hoo!



And Winter. Fear and Winter, sounds like an existential dark comic. Can't wait to get through all of this to other side. Spring and Fearlessness! Ahhhh!!!!!
 

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Oh, and in other news, I'm working on getting some lessons. Turns out--what are the odds--there are TWO Icelandic horse farms that own, train and do riding instruction--all within 30 minutes of me! I am talking to one lady about coming out to me, she knows my horse's owner and as met D. The other one is more expensive and probably wouldn't come to me--except for a BIG price increase. But she actually did some training with D and riding instruction for her owner. Either way, I will be able to take lessons on D or on another Icelandic--which is the next best thing. Really am loving Icelandics!
 
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