Monday, May 28, 2007

Baby Steps

The monkeys in my head have been furiously writing blog posts, at times keeping me awake and at times taking my concentration away from whatever else it was I was supposed to be doing – working, or even worse, driving. Time has been at a premium lately, and typing with my left index finger and my right hand stifled my creativity for a bit. Now that I am using typing as part of my self-inflicted hand therapy I can get rid of some of the posts taking up precious gray matter.

As I posted before, my trainer Willow got on Miss for the first time on April 6. Since then she has continued to work diligently with her and, thanks in large part to her hard work, I was able to get on her myself on May 20. If I hadn’t broken my finger I think it would have been a little earlier, but nonetheless, right on track based on the timetable we had set up back in January.

You’ll note there are no exclamation points in that last paragraph. Honestly, that first ride was more than a little discouraging. I hesitate to call it a ride; I literally got on her and walked around the arena a few times. I think my trainer was a bit nervous because she hadn't been ridden in a week and my finger still hampers my left hand's reining capabilities. Willow makes it look easy, but I see now that she needs a lot more training before she is able to understand and be able to do what I am asking her to do. Of course, I knew that she was green when we started this process, and I know that for a 7 year-old who hadn’t been ridden in 3 years she is making remarkably quick progress, but…well, this is all about me, isn’t it?

If I do say so myself, I am riding pretty well on the horses they use for lessons, which are by default very well trained. But riding Miss is a whole different story, I feel like I am learning to ride all over again. I must say that she is extremely comfortable to sit on, which in the long run is pretty darned important.

I think there was just too much emotion built in to that moment. That morning before we went to the farm D and I had breakfast with a friend then wandered two doors down to an upscale jewelry store that was having a big sale. A necklace caught both of our eyes and we walked out a few minutes later with a tear-shaped white gold pendant with a quarter carat diamond at the tip. It’s absolutely gorgeous, an early birthday present and to help celebrate The First Ride. Just a little pressure, not much.

The next day I had a lesson in the late evening. I was just packing up my stuff when we heard a great racket from the birthing stall. Willow immediately knew that the pregnant mare was “casting”, meaning she had laid down and was unable to get her feet under her in order to stand, and was kicking the fence of her stall. I stifled the urge to say, “You mean she’s fallen and she can’t get up?”, instead giving the experts there a few minutes before I headed over to check on her, where I witnessed the last push and pull and the arrival of a perfect foal. It was remarkably quick (less than 5 minutes), and remarkably clean. I suspect you don’t want a huge Come Eat My Baby, She’s Right Here mess out in the wild. The umbilical cord broke the first time the mare stood up, since working scissors without opposable thumbs would be a bit of a challenge. Within 90 minutes the filly was standing up and taking her first wobbly steps, her legs completely out of proportion to the rest of her. Geez, it takes us humans, what, a year to stand up?

Ruby is criminally cute, as you can see by the first of many pictures I’ll share with you. She is one week old today and is thriving. As you can see she has the same unusual blaze as her mother.

Yesterday Willow lunged Miss then brought her over to the mounting block to get on. It took her a good 5 minutes to get her to stand still. I was not so secretly glad that Willow was having so much trouble, otherwise when it happened to me I would have thought it was my inexperience. Miss was very quiet and Willow was able to walk, trot and even canter (for only the second time) so when I got on we walked for a bit, then Willow put the lunge line back on her bridle and we trotted, which made it feel like I could actually call this A Ride.

If you want to see a short video of me posting at her gorgeously floating trot, let me know in the comments and I'll email it to you, I'm not going to put it up on you YouTube.


  1. Dear Donna, it's good to hear you've had your first ride. I hope and trust things will get better and better for both of you. I hope, too, that your hand heals completely and doesn't give you any more trouble.

    The necklace sounds absolutely gorgeous. And that foal just takes my breath away -- it must have been amazing to watch.

  2. I'd love to see a picture of the necklace if you feel up to it. And thank you for that foal, it definitely raised a smile.

  3. That Mother/Baby picture is darling. I've got a friend with a young gelding that has that same "hoofpick" on his face. They call him Hook.
    Sorry the finger has cramped your writing and your riding. The necklace does sound wonderful. I'd love to see your trot movie.

  4. oh my gosh, the foal is gorgeous.

    Is that you and Miss in the last picture? She is nice and full.

    When I was learning to ride it always amazed me how slowly progress came.

  5. How exciting that you are on Miss! I think it's great any time we can ride our horses, even if it's just a walk. It'll come trust me. By this time next year you'll have a hard time remembering when you didn't ride her.

    The baby is gorgeous. How lucky you were able to witness it. Cute markings as well.

  6. Hi,

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  7. I'm so glad you were able to have your first ride. Don't be knocking those walk only trips around the arena as insignificant. One of my first of those led to a diasater it took years to overcome.

    The riding will always be about you and the horse as a team. The people who understand that are much better riders than those who don't so it's a great goal.

    Congrats on seeing your first foaling. They are truly an amamzing experience. I'll never take them for granted.

    Glad that you're back to writing. Missed you.

  8. Donna is back! With lots of exciting news. You gotta post a picture of the new bling, it sounds lovely. Baby is adorable and glad you had your first ride. Mine was a couple weeks ago and I think I held my breath the whole time, forgot how to post, and even managed to brace in the stirrups...but we are making progress and you will to:-)

  9. Sounds like you're making progress with Miss. And that little filly is cute and has incredibly long legs.

  10. Hey-since you’re a YouTuber, you might want to check this out… There’s a video company that’s recruiting YouTubers and if they like your stuff, (and they should) they will actually pay you when your video gets a hit. Here’s their link… It’s about time the people who make the videos get some of the money instead of it all going to YouTube!

  11. Hey, I'm Ani. I wanted to let you know that I've added a link to your site onto the side bar of my own. As a survivor I'm trying to connect with as many other survivors as I can, such as yourself. My main blog is at if you want to check it out. If its okay with you, could I add a link to your blog there also? If you'd like you can add a link to either of my blogs here. Thanks so much.

    ~ Ani

  12. So beautiful, Donna!

    No time to chat, but wanted to let you know I was thinking of you.

  13. What a gorgeous filly! And I'm so sorry your finger is still giving you fits. That sounds awful.

    And I hope that riding Miss gets better as she adjusts. I wish things were easier right now.

  14. I'm so glad that you got to ride your horse, that must have made you so happy and proud!
    That little foal is just the prettiest thing, and how amazing that she has the same markings, isn't that funny how nature paints?

  15. I don't think I've seen anything this precious in a long time! You must enjoy them very much.