A pause in a speech can punctuate your words. A pause in movement can help you to recover your breath.  Taking a break during the work day can help you mentally recharge. And sometimes you just need to pause from writing because your “to do” list is overwhelming and you feel too scattered in your thoughts to put something cohesive on the page. So please accept my apologies for disappearing for the last few weeks.  Ike and I have been busy and there is much to share.

Alison and Ike May 2016 by MelanaThe weekend after our first licensed show, I signed us up for a schooling show. Hmm, perhaps that might have been a bit too much for my big man. He had a bit of a temper tantrum during our lesson with Ms. C and jigged his way around the arena. When I finally asked for canter, he gave me more of a hand gallop. “He’s been planning that,” was Ms. C’s observation. Thankfully, I shut it down and we were able to refocus him enough for some productive work at the trot. In the last month, our travers has really strengthened and Ike has shown some effort in our medium trot. Unfortunately, Ike was not over his tantrum and I dealt with the attitude for the rest of the week. In the remaining days leading up to the schooling show, he started to show additional signs of stress by bolting when asked to perform the movements he struggles with – most notably the left lead countercanter.  Hmm, it was shaping up to be a challenging schooling show.

Mother Nature also had a bit of a tantrum because that Sunday in May felt more like a Sunday in November. It was downright COLD and very breezy at the show grounds. As you can imagine, that created quite the electric environment at the show. Our canter transitions were more along the lines of canter explosions. When Ike gets on the muscle, it is all I can do to quietly suggest canter.  Needless to say, that our tests were not some of our best work even though he did manage to show a lovely stretch down walk. I know, go figure. Too bad we couldn’t maintain that relaxation in the canter. The best I can say about the day was that thankfully I stayed astride.

PreaknessAs a result of Ike’s out of the ordinary behavior under saddle, I opted to give him a week off after that schooling show. We’d been going fast and furious on the show circuit this spring (four schooling shows and a two-day licensed show) and perhaps the boy just needed some down time to reflect on his recent work. The timing worked out well since my work commitments had picked up to keep me away from the barn and my husband was taking me to the Preakness!

What a fun weekend that was. As you can see, I did dress for the occasion although Mother Nature again made it not the best weather day for the full experience. (Can someone please have a talk with her and see what she wants and or needs to mellow out this crazy weather?) The weather didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the attendees. Congratulations to all the winners that day and my heartfelt condolences to those who had to say goodbye to their horses before the day was through. I can’t imagine having to face the loss in such a public setting.

And speaking of losses, lately it seems that I’ve had too many friends who have either lost foals or had bad news about the health of their beloved equine partners. There are also the tragic losses that you hear about at horse trials and shows. I either well up with tears or have downright sobbed when hearing the news. I pause for a moment and think about how sad my friends must feel and wish that I was there to give them a hug. There is something about these amazing creatures that gets under your skin and into your heart like no other animal. These animals are ten times our size yet allow us to pursue our passions on their backs. They carry us down centerline and over the jumps. They gallop and let us feel like we are flying. They allow us to pause from our busy lives and just live in the moment. So, even while you struggle to learn that new movement or get your strides right to the jump, never forget to be grateful for your horse.

Click here & check out what's new at SmartPak!