Friday, July 15, 2011

I miss you, Niki!

Ziggy/Henry and Jet are BFFs
Since Niki has gone out on maternity leave, I have been doing horsey day care duties. This is how my first week went:

1. On Wednesday, Monte the farrier came and shoed several horses. NOTE: Monte is a VERY good farrier.

2. An hour after being shod, Frostie was not just lame, but two-legged lame. She is very sensitive about the nail placement. Monte had to reset the nails, pour iodine into the holes and give her some bute.

3. I gave Ziggy (renamed Henry) a turnout and spent an hour washing the dirt out of his coat, not to mention the dreadlocks I had to comb out.

4. On Thursday, Cody threw the shoe that Monte had put on Wednesday.

5. While we were waiting for Monte to come back out, Sue's horse, Gracie, decided she did not like her new shoe and started limping.

6. As an act of solidarity, Elliot started losing the packing out of one of his shoes.

7. I tried all week to ride Snoopy, but by the time I got all the horses done each day, I was tired and there was no one around to hear me if I fell off. I don't require a lot of supervision. I just need to know I won't lie in the arena, moaning, for more than an hour before someone finds me.

8. Cody also broke out in hives again, so I had to medicate him and monitor that.

9. Elliot, again feeling the need to be in with the In Crowd, developed grunge all over his butt that had to be scrubbed.

After a week and a half, I texted Niki. "Your job is hard."

I'm sure she's still laughing about that.

At the end of today, I got an interesting phone call from a lady interested in riding lessons for her two sons, seven and twelve years old. I explained our program: a one-hour private lesson which consists of learning to groom, and ride.

"So, how long is the actual riding," she asked.

"It depends upon how quickly they get the horse ready, but usually it's 30-40 minutes."

"And how many lessons until they know how to ride?"

"I can't really say. It depends upon their motor skills, balance and focus."

This eluded her. "But how long on average would you say?"

"I have no average. I have some students who are fairly proficient by the fourth lesson. Then I have some that take months."

"Well, how long are you out on the trails?"


"We don't ride on trails. We ride in an arena."

"Oh, an arena," she said. "Like for racing?"

"No, there's no racing." I've never had to explain an arena to anyone, but I tried. "An arena is... a dirt area surrounded by a fence."

"Oh, okay." Then she stunned me. "Well, let me talk to my boys to see if they want to do this. They've never even seen a horse."

I'm fascinated: She obviously had no knowledge of riding, and her sons had not requested this activity. What possessed her to think of trying this?

Stay tuned to see if she calls back for an appointment. In the meantime, I miss you, Niki!

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