Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Beginnings

The day of Moonie's death was actually earmarked as Maz's arrival at Carlos Tabernaberri's for restarting. It was a day of high and mixed emotions, and the last fortnight has been difficult on many levels, the least of which was coming to terms with being temporarily horseless.

On Saturday, Maz and I participated in a clinic Carlos held on his property. Although the mare had only been working with Carlos for two weeks, I felt it was a great opportunity to do some ground work with her, understand Carlos's "techniques" better for when Maz returned home, and to socialise her. This last aspect was important, as her report card to date at Carlos's was "does not play well with others",  and she needs to be comfortable in group situations.

After a week of classic Melbourne winter (grey, wet, windy) Saturday was simply perfect: cold but dry and sunny. I was surprised at how emotional I was to be with Maz again, but under the circumstances, perhaps I shouldn't have. The morning's ground work went without a hitch. Maz had umbrellas, classic plastic bags on sticks, whip cracking, flapping Australian flags, and a quad bike to contend with. She passed with flying colours, although the stockwhip pushed her boundaries somewhat. As expected, her fore and hind yielding was great (she's been doing those tricks for years), but lunging on a 3metre rope was tricky. I caught myself stepping back to create space at the start, rather then making the mare create the space. Lesson learnt!. And trying to get leg yield in hand, first up on the fence, without a stick to touch the hindquarter was difficult as well. The mare didn't get it, and in real life, I would start her on the circle, making her step outwards, then progress to the fence.

photo by Marty Schiel

After groundwork, we progressed to bareback riding. I get a giggle at how many people have not ridden bareback and haltered. I must confess though, my riding skills are very rusty, and when Carlos suggested we go for a ride, I was keen, but quietly shitting myself. Maz is not consolidated in any way with her ridden work, is fussy, and ready to say NOPE! in the flinch of a back muscle. But if Carlos thought she'd be ok, I had to trust him.

Carlos rode her first, and although she propped and flexed her back in a "No thanks", she was obedient and calm.  Then it was my turn, and Carlos led me like a little kid. When he decided it was time to let me loose, I had a minor, silent, inward conniption, but it was now or never. We didn't walk far, only for a few minutes until I felt Maz's back tighten up and it was not untightening. We drew to a halt, I gave her a pat, realised what we had just done, and slide off. It was a pretty awesome moment.

photo by Marty Schiel

After the debacle in Nov/Dec last year, it was great to see Maz pretty chilled out, happy and confident in herself, learning to be riding horse.

photo by Marty Schiel

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