I feel my year of travel has begun! Physical travel, spiritual travel, day travel, long-term travel, fun travel, work travel (sort of), travel to new realms of possibility… Oh, that’s right I am an extra in the next Star Trek.
LOL LOL LOL nawwwwww, wish so but alas, no.
Sam is headed off on a journey of a lifetime for someone with his
particular hobby (photography). Just shy of two weeks in and around Yellowstone National Park. And staying on a dude ranch at
that! And believe me Dear Heathens the ONLY reason I am not turning three circles widdershins and saying “I divorce thee I divorce the I divorce thee” is because he is in charge of scoping out NEXT summer’s adventure which will include a dude ranch and much MUCH more riding than he will be doing.
During this return to single (aka crazy cat lady) life, which will be the SECOND longest time I have been alone in years (refer to blog entries during my Balance Cleanse in the Living Well blog when I was alone for five days this winter) – oh god that sounds pathetic doesn’t it? I don’t mean for it to I LOVE being alone.
Anyway – travel. When he returns we go immediately into Stay-Cation mode for the annual week-long camp trip, then in late July a possible overnighter for me at a conference downstate, the journey to the end of
land (aka the beach) in August, a two day concert trip in September, possibly the Ren Fair in October, more camp weekends scattered throughout all this, November will find us in Florida AND New Orleans, a holiday get-away close to home is planned for Winter Solstice and in January/February someplace warmer for
a week or so….
OH.MY.GODS I need to learn to pack a better suitcase. What can I say. Experience junkie. Admittedly.
And speaking of experience I am wondering about the soul lately. What is it without experience? What is it without fostering hope and intentions of living well? Define "well" you say – I define it as whatever makes you feel alive.
For me it includes working hard and I do mean AT work. I love my job. I mean, sure, sometimes it is stressful and I think we can all agree that people mostly suck but I still love it. Why? Because I like solving
things. Mysteries I call them. Because that sounds better than “stupid people things” even though that is what most of them boil down to. I like getting to the bottom of stuff and sitting down people that can’t
communicate with each other and fostering some sort of agreement. Oh, you say – I thought you worked in parks and recreation! LOL well, I DO! So, at least I get to do these sorts of things while NOT sitting behind a desk pushing paper. Mostly.
So, I like to work hard and I like to play hard. I love to sweat, smell horses, ride, run, jump, twist, turn, I like to
play awful guitar (I’m not very good), read books that disturb the shit out of me, cry, scream in fright at stupid scary movies, laugh, save toads from being run over in our garage, chase crows, dig in the dirt, hike….NOT do the laundry just to be a rebel. LOL.
Life is made for living and living is only for awhile so why not travel through it with ALL of your emotions intact? Least that’s what I think is necessary…
My horse's mouth is now a no metal zone. Max has been on his bitless bridle now for almost a month. We have done all gaits with it. He has given numerous lessons using it from adults to nine year olds. As one of them described the change in him from bit to bitless - it seems like he trots more like he likes to trot, he doesn't stop as much - ahhhhhhh, perhaps because he isn't inadvertently being "told" to stop by the bit when little kids lose their balance or shift their hands too quickly or too much?
We'll never know for certain because, of course, he cannot speak but it has been a good thing for us both.
Trust. Going bitless requires trust. Because the "experts" and the traditional riders will all tell you the value of a bit. They will go on and on about how the bit will assist in proper form, in what we call "framing", which is part of "collection", neither of which have a damn thing to do with a piece of metal between a horse's teeth.
Framing and collection refer to the manner in which a horse carries himself. Mainly, that the horse is using his hind quarters for his energy and strength. Important when jumping out of the way of snakes and mountain lions. Important also when jumping for sport and in overall muscle development. I think of framing and collection sort of like doing proper deadlifts as a human. You use your butt and legs for a proper dead, not your back. Just like when you are lifting heavy things to move them.
But, it isn't the bit that is doing the framing is my point. Yes, part of it is the manner in which a horse is holding his head, therefore neck, therefore....and all that can be achieved with the help of a bit. BUT it can also be achieved without it.
I had a friend once and we used to ride her (very young and by young I mean 2 and 3 year old) horses on trails with nothing more than those rubber "training" bits. That is all they ever knew and they were fine. People used to scoff. What if they spooked? What if? Mine did once in a field and I fell clean off. He ran to about 20 feet away and started to graze. LOL. Another time he spooked at a starting motor and I turned him in a tight circle and calmed him down. The point is - horses will do the SAME things with or without a bit. The difference is in what comes after they do those things.
Max did not go "crazy" without his bit. He didn't buck and he didn't "disrespect" his riders. Well, anymore than he normally plays with them. LOL. Max is a fun horse and will always have just a little bit of colt left in him. That is one of the fabulous things about this horse. The only difference I have noticed without a bit is that when he gets distracted by, say, our riding instructor eating donuts (one of his forbidden favorite treats) beside the fence, it is just a bit (no pun intended) more difficult to get him to not climb said fence in hopes of her sharing.
Riding cues are the same. Everything is the same. Well, except that when you DO make a mistake or are thrown off balance (as anyone who rides knows happens no matter how experienced you are) there isn't metal clanging against your horse's teeth and jaw. I worried about all this frankly mostly because Max does give lessons regularly. And, unfortunately, I am not in complete control of his life. Remember, technically I lease Max. I don't own him. I wish I did but, alas, that is not our relationship right now...
So, anything I can do to further his training, our relationship and the knowledge that he is safe and well I will do. Max has gone from a Western only horse, with a semi-harsh bit, single rider and use of spurs to a multi-discipline, multi-rider horse with no spurs and NO bit. Pretty good for a pony life upgrade in my opinion.