Cider Mill!

We had a very exciting adventure. Dave, my daughter, Lexie, and myself, had planned to ride our horses to The Parshallville Cider Mill. The biggest reason that we were going on this adventure, was because Lexie had expressed an interest last year. On our way home from the farm, we had passed the convoy of horses, wagons, and vehicles on their way back from the cider mill. Lexie noticed them, and asked if maybe sometime we could do something like that.

Since I now have Petey, to go on these adventures with, I thought it would be a fun thing to try. Because the ride was organized by Dave’s friends, he found out the details and we signed up. And, there were many things that I both learned and observed, but two of them really stuck out..

We were ready considerably earlier than the convoy was ready to pass the farm drive where we were planning to join in. So the three of us, took a small walk on our horses up Allen Road. It went smoothly, and was very fun. Horses were calm, riders were happy.

As we were waiting, our horses were getting a little restless. And the 10-year old was getting a little restless also. Finally, when the time was right to join up, my horse wasn’t so sure this was a great idea.

One of the big reasons why I wanted to share, has to do with what we learned from the mobile confidence course. I was on the ground, planning to get up on Petey, after he saw the approaching party and was calm enough for me to get on. That worked, and we set off walking with them.

There were some things that I am willing to bet my ex racehorse, ex jumper, had never seen before. One of those things was a mini pulling a cart. And on the cart, were some Flags. There was also, golf carts and lots of kids around. Some of them were getting piggyback rides, complete with whooping and hollering.

My big brown horse let me know that this was a little above his comfort zone. Because of what I learned from the mobile confidence course with the water hazard, I knew he got much more comfort from me when I was on the ground in these really tough situations. So, I did an emergency dismount and he and I walked in this manner all the way to the cider mill. The information and lesson I learned from MCC helped make us have successes as a horse and human team.

The second reason why I wanted to share this is really just a proud mamma moment. As we were walking around in the group, or rather, jostling in the group, Lexie was pretty uncomfortable with the unfamiliar horses very close to Anny. I am pretty sure that we were joined by some people that did not have much horse experience at all. This was pretty overwhelming to Lexie.

She mentioned to me a couple times that these people and horses were not supposed to be so close to horses they didn’t know. Really and technically, she was right. She also said at some point in time, that she didn’t think these horses were very happy. That she would think about that, whether or not the horses were enjoying this experience, was what I was so proud of.

So, the three of us left the mill before the rest of the group, from Lexie’s suggestion. We had a great trip back, I was even able to get on Petey after I led him a few minutes. (I know now that in a crunch, I can get on him without a mounting block!)

I had one other great moment after the ride. We had turned our horses out, and I was filling water tanks. As one was filling, I saw my big brown horse grazing near by. I called his name and started walking toward him. He lifted his head and walked to meet me. Such a good boy, Petey! I will call the day a great success…..and much fun!

our newest development

We had our final Cowboy Dressage clinic for 2017. I think my head is still on tilt from the whole experience. Phil did a super job giving us all some homework for the winter, and stretching our relationships with our horses to deeper levels. Our clinic group has become like a family and it’s wonderful to witness and be part of everyone’s journey.

Last month, pole dancing was our big surprise and challenge. This month, there was more. Phil had a tremendous learning experience the weekend before at a clinic where he was a participant and brought us some new stuff. He shared what he learned, many of his thoughts and offered ways for us to bring this ideas to our horses. We had lots and lots of great discussions throughout the weekend.

Petey and I were challenged quite a bit over the weekend. Of course, Phil did a fabulous job of not pushing either of us over the edge, and his patience was deeply appreciated. Especially when I rode in a hackamore for the very first time. That was an eye opening experience for both me and my big brown horse.

In the morning on Friday, I think I might have surprised Phil when I asked him about the hackamore and let him in on the fact that I had never ridden in one. I ride Petey in a side pull most of the time and wondered what the difference was between that and the hackamore. So, in the afternoon, Petey was lucky enough to be able to wear Phil’s hackamore.

I was very surprised. I liked the feel of the hackamore. It is sure a different piece of equipment that I had ever been introduced to in my dressage based background. Of course, a very big reason that I liked it was because my horse seemed to like it. It gave us a different feel and the lateral movements that we were focusing on were much better for us with the hackamore than the sidepull. I still have much to learn, and much to adjust to, yet so far, I love this new to us tool. I am so grateful for yet another incredible weekend of learning and fun with my horse!