Saturday, June 20, 2009

Two years ago today.

Two years ago today, I rode Mac for the last time ever. Two years ago today, I was trotting stirrupless around the arena when I felt his knees buckle. Two years ago today, we were making jokes about Mac's clumsiness and my latest fall. Two years ago today... I remember it like it happened yesterday.
I don't think I rode on June 20th, 2008. The memory was even more painful back then, just a year after. I did ride today, however. It felt a little strange and I thought about it a few times, but it didn't involve the terrible discomfort that I thought it might.
I feel really sad now, but that's because I'm thinking about it. I remember the feeling of his knees buckling, knowing instantly that he was going down. He fell straight on his knees. When he stopped moving, I was still sitting perfectly astride as if nothing had happened. I was too shocked to move. Mac decided that he had to get up whether I was going to get off or not, and I fell off to the side when he was about halfway up. I scraped my hand on the wire fencing and my right leg started swelling from banging it up against something. I was so scared for him. Jean came out of the house and asked me what happened. I had already told Larry that Mac had been stumbling a lot. We finally proved that something was really wrong. I got back on after checking Mac's legs and comforting the poor boy. I didn't know that it would be our last ride.
I guess I'll talk about Stella now. I'm thinking about writing a nice memorial thing for Mac and posting it on July 15, so I guess I'll save all of my fun stories for then.
Stella and I have been on a roll for the past few rides. She's been absolutely wonderful for me. I've taught her to do a free walk, and she lowers her head whenever I ride on the buckle. She's been relaxed in all of her gaits, rounding up, and basically being the fantastic horse that I know she is. We've been working on our circles, and I've been working on not leaning into my turns at the canter. Because I'm correcting that, she's not leaning into our turns at the canter. It's amazing how much a rider influences her horse's performance.
I'm excited about the Quarter Horse show in two weeks. Hopefully Stella will continue to behave herself there just as she's doing at home. If she behaves this way at the show, I'll love her forever. Ah, I love her forever no matter what :) I'm so lucky to have someone like her.
I should add that Stella gave her first pony ride on Tuesday. Shelby came to the barn for a lesson, and we started her out on Tina. She got a little scared when Tina broke into a fast trot, but we comforted her and she was okay after that. She kept saying that she "almost fell down." I was scared that she was going to fall off too... I would've felt responsible for it. I know, I know :P Then, we put her on Sissy for a second ride. She had fun with Sissy, especially when Larry asked Sissy for a showmanship-style pivot while Shelby was riding. Shelby giggled the whole way through, and the sound of her laughter made me all happy inside. I do love seeing little kids learning to ride. Then, Shelby said she wanted to ride Stella. I figured she'd be okay as long as I longed Stella, Shelby didn't attempt to use her legs, and I held onto Stella at all times. I tacked Stella up in my English saddle (The kid had never been in one and wanted to know where she could hang onto. I told her that the pommel would make a decent handhold.), longed her, and gave her a stern lecture on how she was to behave with a small child on her back. Stella isn't a malicious horse by any means, but she is much less predictable than your average horse. I told her that she was to do everything in her power to keep the child on her back and that she would make me very proud if she could give Shelby a safe, fun ride. I feel that she understood the gravity of her job, because she didn't so much as snort as long as Shelby was sitting astride her back. As I was tacking up Stella, Larry half-jokingly told me not to "ruin a good thing." That made me very nervous, but I really think Larry had about as much faith in Stella as I did or he wouldn't have given the okay to put a kid on her back. I did have to tell Shelby not to run up to Stella and not to move her legs at all once she was mounted. Stella works off of very light leg aids, and I feared both for Shelby's safety and Stella's comfort if I allowed the child to attempt to cue Stella herself.
She really is amazing :) She's just not lesson horse material right now, and I'm not sure she'll ever be the kind of horse you can just put kids on.

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