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

Monday, September 19, 2011

Playing in the Dirt

Cricket and I got to play in the dirt yesterday.  It was so much fun!

The owners of my barn are having some major earth work done around the boarding barn.  The result of Sunday's work was two big piles of dirt where one of the terraces used to be.

When the bulldozer guy took a break, I asked if I could play on the dirt with my horse.  He grinned and said, "Have at it."  I'm not sure he really understood what I wanted but was happy to oblige.  I ran off to get my boots, giddy as a school-girl.

I brought Cricket out, hooked her to my 45' and off we went.  The dirt was in two piles, a smaller one down away from the barn and a pretty large one in the paddock.

She was pretty easy going and we started with some friendly game of just moving around near the dirt.  Cricket was pretty nonplussed about the whole thing.  I asked her to head up the big hill and up she went.  She got to the top and looked around as if to say, "well, this is different."

The front of the hill, where she went up, was pretty well packed from the bulldozer.  The steeper back side was all loose dirt.  I asked her to crest the hill and come down the steep side.  Over she went and down she scootched as if she it were an every day occurrence.

From the ground, we played with both dirt hills.  I asked her to go up and over or go up and wait before turning around and going down the way she came.  I stood on the smaller hill and had her circle around me.  She was a little confused but eventually figured it out, even jumping part of the dirt pile as she traveled around.  I played with yo-yo, standing at the top of the hill and asking her to back at the bottom and then run up to me.  That was fun.  I even asked her to back down the hill from Z5 while I stood at the bottom.

Everything was going so well, I saddled up and decided to ride on the hills.  Going down hills on horseback scares the begeezus out of me.  Cricket and I nearly somersaulted down a hill during our one ACTHA ride.  But I figured this was a good opportunity to practice.

My Crickie-Monster was an absolute champ!  She took me around, up and down.  The little hill was okay - the top had a good platform to turn around and walk back down the packed side.  The big hill was a little narrower at the top.  Our first attempt was a little nerve-wracking.  Cricket tried to go down the loose dirt but I was able to clarify my request and face her down the "ramp."  Where she stopped dead in her tracks.  I encouraged her forward and she walked calmly, straight down the hill.  Where she got lots of cookies at the bottom.  We finished our dirt play by riding up the small hill and then backing all the way down.  I took her out into one of the open fields and we did a little trot and canter before ending our ride.
My view from the top of the smaller dirt pile.

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