Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cricket's Gift to Me

Christmas Eve was perhaps one of the most beautiful days we'll have this winter.  I spent the majority of the day running like a mad-woman, trying to finish things up before heading to my Mum & Dad's house for Christmas.

The day after Christmas was miserable -cold, windy, snowing.  What do I do?  I head out to the barn to play with my horse.  It wasn't too bad as I had on all my clothes and the barn blocked the wind.

I gave all the horses a little hay to stoke the furnace and keep them warm.  I invited Cricket out of her stall and she clearly said, "No thanks, I'm good."  I left her stall door open and sat on the hay across from her.  Nothing doing.  I went in the arena to help someone and still Cricket stayed in her stall.  I finally tempted her out with the Carrot Stick and the promise of hay while I groomed.

We finished grooming and I asked her into the arena.  Though she was slightly reluctant to leave her hay, she obliged my request.

My plan was to play a little at liberty and then go on-line and maybe ride.  There were lots of folks there and Cricket has been a bit iffy at liberty lately.

We started with some simple "stick to me" and Cricket was ON.  She easily gave me the trot and then the canter and even maintained her canter while I walked a circle.  I stopped my feet, encouraged her on and she gave me the first canter circle we've had in ages.

She was jumping everything.  And I mean everything.  From a small barrel that was tipped on it's side to a straight rail to double down barrels.  She tried really hard to jump a single standing barrel but lost her confidence a little.  She even jumped a cone.  A little cone she could have stepped over or even on, she jumped it!

On the circle, she started offering canter so I took that and worked on some change of direction.  While we didn't get a flying change, we got some soft, obedient and relaxed simple changes.  We tried to do a full turn around the previously mentioned small barrel and she spun and then jumped it.

We played with sideways towards and she gave me a trot and almost a canter.

Everything was energetic and just full of spit and vinegar.  The only drawback to the whole thing was her headshaking.  I didn't let it bother me because I'm really at peace with this as "just a part of Cricket."  She was pretty emotional and a little RBE (awesome to see in a normally LBI) but very obedient.  The emotions, coupled with the snow blowing in her face was just a bit much for her.

We went out into the paddock, still at liberty, and played  friendly game with the little horse-drawn sled.  I put her on-line after she spooked which caused the horse pulling the sled to spook.  Nobody was hurt but I wanted Cricket to get over her skepticism.  I put her on the 22' and had her follow it much like we did the cow simulator at the Parelli Center.  The young girl on the sled offered Cricket a cookie and that sealed the deal.  Cricket's skepticism turned to curiosity and she followed, nosing the girl's boots and jacket.

What a fun day and what a beautiful gift from one of my beautiful girls.  We turned the horses out into the snow and I got to watch them all frolic, run, buck and play.  Bleu put on such a display, I laughed out loud.