Monday, October 29, 2007

As I was saying...

It was bound to happen.

I had it in my head, given all the good signs we'd had recently that I would be able to get up on Mikey. He'd shown no aggression or even antsiness the last while and seemed eager to have me do things with him.

Even on Sunday, when we arrived and the boys came up to the gate for pets and cuddles, when I whispered to him that I was going to ride him, he took himself off to where we usually saddle up. I laughed and pointed it out to D. "I think he really understood me." D agreed and we unloaded the saddles and other tack and the girls and I ran off to do an errand before riding.

Darling Son and his g/f had come out to do some riding. She claims a lot of riding experience and since MY experience with horses makes me wary of anyone that goes around claiming they are 'an experienced rider', I limited her to Jack to avoid any drastic proof to the contrary. Son got up on Mel and it was comical as Mel put on his 'I'm stubborn I can't hear you' ears and stood around a lot.

Son hadn't seen the horses yet, and thought Mikey was the nicest looking of the bunch. :) His tastes (in horses and MOST other things (with a couple of notable exceptions) usually jibes with mine so I wasn't too surprised. DD#1 has it bad for palaminos, and DD#2 isn't into horses anymore after getting dumped rather soundly by Cricket. B and L are into the sorrels and chestnuts, although L has shown interest in a lovely blood bay filly that Carol has bred. A full sister to Jack, by the way, so maybe her taste will change. B's interest in sorrels might well be because Jack is such a sweetheart of a horse.

L was all cute on the phone, talking to her big brother. "You can use my horse," she intoned in that matter of fact, yes I do own the world voice of a 6 year old, "but you can't be rough with him. He's a good boy and if you ride him right he'll behave." Mel's take though, is the harder you work at making him GO, the less likely he will be to do so.

Anyhow, back to the Mikey incident. I got Jack and Mel saddled and Son and G/F up. Turns out she's not too bad on a horse. A little rusty and no idea of schooling or how to train, but would make a decent miler. Son had fun with Mel, although eventually he did get a trot out of him.

Mikey seemed a bit on edge when I saddled him, but I put that down to the green grass they'd been turned out on. (Nice, that it was done, but I do wish they'd ask us first. We sort of wanted to keep him on the low side of energetic :P and he's an easy keeper so really wasn't in need of the greenery.) Still, I was visualizing and all confident as I saddled and bridled him. He took the bit with his usual gentleman attitude and although he twitched a bit with the pad I really didn't think too much of it. Till later of course. Hindsight, thy name is truth.

I led him around and he seemed okay. I shifted the saddle back, making sure nothing was pinching and yet there was a tenseness about him. Still, nothing I can't deal with I thought. Off we went to the small corral. You know, the one with the slab fence. The slab fence just like the ones they use at feedlots. You know, where he'd been injured, and had that whole 'we'll ride him till we buck him out' episode where he went through one of those slab fences? However, that's where I'd tried to mount him before and he'd seemed ready to take me, so it didn't cross my mind. Until later. See above note regarding hindsight.

I discouraged son from leaning on the gate and watching me. Mikey had been bucked out and 'watched' a few times so I was trying to avoid any of the 'tells' that he'd dealt with before. I guess I forgot about the slab fences at feedlots. Sigh.

I placed my stool and he stood, as always, but as I put my foot in the stirrup and started to shift my weight to his back he trembled and bunched. I stepped off, but the stool wasn't solid in the ground and I overbalanced, falling back on my ass.

I had him facing into a chute and that's probably what spooked him as well as the slab fence. He hunched and popped, reared up and pivoted and there I was sprawled out on the ground pretty much under him. It's an awesome sight, let me tell you. But one I'll gladly not repeat. He pivoted as far as he could, I could see the muscles in his hind legs straining and the twist of his fetlocks. I'm not sure that he looked down at me, but I know he knew I was there.

I rolled, it probably all happened in an instant, he came down, despite seeming to have hung suspended in mid air till I could get around to moving, and his front hoof caught my thigh as he came down. Pinching it rather than slamming down on it, which probably saved me from a broken femur, but leaving a very good simulation of the old charlie horse, not to mention the flower bloom of a bruise that is just now starting to green and yellow at the edges. He bucked away past me. I think I felt the wind of his hooves on my cheek as I continued to roll up against the fence, but that could be the drama quee... er storyteller in me.

By the time I scrambled to my feet he'd bucked across the corral, reared and hung again, trembling then bucked again. D was on the other side of the gate, hands up, calling out to him to Whoa! Even though he respects that I need to do this myself he's always watchful and he was soothing him by voice already as I got to my feet. I threw up my arm, as I really had no wish to be trampled by him darting across the corral after that narrow escape and he came to a halt, head down, blowing, then off he went again. He bucked past me, banging up against the fence and finally stood blowing and snorting, trembling from hoof to ears. Slowly we approached him and managed to get the reins over his ears.

He stood there, trembling and all I could think was 'he thinks he's going to be beaten and he's going to hurt anyone who tries.' That is probably the saddest thing I've ever seen a horse doing. Even a cast horse, or one down with colic isn't quite so shorn of its dignity as one trembling with the anticipation of a beating. *sigh*

My heart cried for him. I stroked his poll softly, slow, easy strokes till his snorting softened and the tenseness eased ever so little. I leaned down and blew in his nostrils and he almost ducked his head, but then sniffed at my scent and the trembling eased a little more. "I still trust you," I told him, stroking the outline of his blaze with my fingers and his ears twitched, head lowering into the caress.

He was still quite spooked, and never really calmed down the rest of the time we were there. D was going to try to mount him but he was still too nervous, trembling and shifting his weight when he tugged on the saddle. He did rest his knee in the stirrup and lean his weight and although that went alright, we're still back to word go, again.

More ponying, more lounging, maybe some driving from the ground, and hopefully a deep snowfall at some point where I can wear him out enough to ride the buck out of him. He's still an eloquent equine, I'm just having a little trouble with the dialect but I'm confident we'll find a common language soon enough.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Eeek! Two for One. A Mikey update.

Just in case the previous post is a little too weird for some :) I'll update you on Mikey and Me.

The other evening after work we ditched the kids and took off for a ride. We've been saddling Mikey here and there over the last while. Although sometimes we don't do anything with him to get him wanting to be saddled. The last time, D got up on him and rode (read nudged him gently into following the rest of us on Jack and Mel (the girls took turns on Jack bareback) till Mikey stopped, waited till I came and led him back and got off) him a bit.

Note, at this point in our assessing of him and reconditioning him back into a usable trustworthy horse any ride that ends with D's feet hitting the ground of his own accord is considered a success.

To be fair to ole Mikey though, he's not offering any indication of being MR.BIG BAD BRONCO HORSE , but his reputation precedes him and we're not inclined to take any chances. He is a big, strong boy and should he decide to launch anyone off his back they're gonna go, so better safe than sorry even though it's unfair to the sweetheart I see in his eyes.

Anyway, back to the other evening. I was up on Mel and D got on Jack. I'd saddled Mikey with an older Eamor we've been lent and put on a bridle over his halter. I'd left the shank lightly looped over the rail while I saddled Mel. Without thinking I mounted Mel, rode up to the rail where Mikey's shank was looped and pulled it off. Really, for all the precautions and carefulness, I instinctively trust him to be a good boy. He came along with no problem (no surprise to me, of course, but D made mention of it) and off down the road we went for a ride. Jack was getting a lesson in how that long grass was tasty and so long as he didn't stop to graze he could snatch a mouthful here and there. Mikey came up on my left side, easy as you please. Mel was a little put out that he had to walk on the road instead of the grass but there you go, Mikey's heftier and sort of shoved him over. This trapped my leg between the two of them.

Never one to waste an opportunity to take a chance :) I rubbed and tickled, nudged and poked my boot into Mikey's side. He didn't even flick an ear. He was just glad to get out of that paddock and go with us for a change I think. The ride down to the next road went without a hitch and we even trotted a bit.

As an aside, I find this a little bit funny as Mel is the boy that pulled me out of the saddle while being ponied off Blaze. Ironic even? But he was good, and Mikey was excellent, staying right in place and giving no indication of MR.BBB at all.

Turning Mel out I saddled Jack and rode him (for the first time... another strange realization as we've had Jack for a while now, and even before that became official we treated him as though he were ours. I guess in all of it, I just left him for the girls to ride. He's a great little horse, a type of which I'm fond and could ride his jog for hours. B was a little annoyed that he'd jogged for me, as she gets trot and trot faster mostly :)) while leading D on Mikey.

Honestly it all went so smoothly that I do sometimes wonder what all the fuss is about. I really think that were I not being such a weiner about mounting horses (still left over anxiety from a while ago... if you ever fall off, get back ON NOW...) I could just throw a leg over and away we'd ride, Mikey and Me, without a problem. He nudges me and gets between me and the horse I'm trying to mount and gives me such looks that say it all. "Quit being such a chicken and let's go, let's go ride for hours like we both want to, find our quiet places within ourselves and let my back be the salve for your soul." (what can I say, he's an eloquent horse at times :))

Stay tuned, he's bound to buck me off eventually :P


how there's so many of 'us' and so very few of 'them' and yet, they rule the worlds we walk in, talk in and live in.

I didn't move around as a child. Actually had I not skipped a grade (cruel, unusual punishment that I hope the teachers involved spin in hell for)in elementary school I would have graduated with 7 of the 11 children I began kindergarten with. Not that I fit in terribly well before that happened but that was pretty much the kiss of death as far as my ability to find any peer group acceptance for the next 3-5 years. You know, jr and much of sr high? Definitions were drawn early on. I am a social pariah. People meet me and pretty much ignore me immediately. It's not something I'm seeking sympathy for, or whining about either, for the record, just stating a fact I've come to believe.

I've gone to any number of work related banquets, get togethers, birthday parties, even family reunions, weddings and funerals, pretty much any place where people congregate and sat alone. Time after time. Oh there's usually some kind soul who will attempt to engage me in conversation, but when I notice the tightening around their eyes and body language that screams 'let me go now' I make some excuse and allow them to have done with their good deed.

The odd part is, I believe I'm a gregarious person. I strike up conversations in elevators and standing in line at the store all the time. Pleasant, leave 'em chuckling or smiling conversations, that pass the time but do little more. Fact is, I'm not shy. The other fact is, I don't much like people, in general. Guess it's only fair they don't like me back, much. :)

This doesn't mean I don't have friends. I do. Very good ones, now that I've grown up enough to realize what really makes a friend a good one. Most of them are online. The odd few that aren't, worry about me for all the time I do spend on here.

I'm not whining. I am who I am. Online, when I don't have to 'look' a certain way, 'act' a certain way, 'dress' a certain way I fit in. I shine in fact :). I am a cerebral person. Like many of my online REAL friends, I don't care what people look like (mostly :)) how they eat, or what they wear. I care about what they think and how they articulate that...essence of themselves.

Sure, sometimes I crave human contact, but I don't live alone. I'm not an "untouchable" or afraid of being touched. I did have a touch of agoraphobia at one point but the meds are good (KIDDING!) (well mostly anyways). I work with the public, albeit mostly on the telephone, and I'm not bad at my job. I handle their issues, leave them smiling when I can and hopefully with a good impression of the business I work for. But it's all very superficial.

Maybe that's my problem. I dislike superficial people. I want to know what you REALLY think, not what's considered socially acceptable. When I get to liking someone I probe. I ask questions that socially one does not ask. I make assumptions but not based on just little whims of mine, assumptions based on body language, and syntax and expression. I catch little things like a hesitation before a word or a turning of the body and I interpret them into my assumptions, constantly processing and tossing out malformed assumptions to replace them with new ones. That probably makes people uncomfortable.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Me and Mandy Patinkin are through.*

He's done it again, damnit. Got me all hooked and excited about his characterization of Jason Gideon on CBS' Criminal Minds.

And now, this wonderful character is gone from the show. His every emotion, nuance, expression conveys more than most actors do during an entire movie. And it's over.


I first 'discovered' his career after seeing The Princess Bride (1987)and doing some research into the cast. That's when I realized that I'd already discovered and overlooked this treasure in Alien Nation (1988) and yes, I know that Princess was filmed and released first, but I saw them in reverse order. I was intrigued by this talent. This ability of his to pour everything out without it becoming maudlin. So rare. The only thing that gets to me more than his deadpan monotone repeat of "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father prepare to die." is to hear him discuss his preparation for the scene, in which he tells of how he decided that instead of the 6 fingered man he would be killing the cancer that killed his father. Of course, the other actor (Guest?) was rather convinced that Mandy was going to kill HIM. ;P

Oh my.

I was hooked. I was greedy and I wanted more. My joy was loud when I found him on Chicago Hope, another incredible character, Dr. Jeffery Geiger. The talented, eccentric, slightly crazy neurosurgeon with the sad, sad fate he carried with him every day.

And then he was gone.

Just like Gideon on Criminal Minds. I settle down to watch the season opener and a disturbing truth begins to percolate. He's leaving the show. I've learned not to read anything about the shows I like, (what is it with these idiot writers who have to OUT incredibly annoying) so I had no idea that he was leaving the show.

I listened to the 'letter' narration and watched the last scene with the gun in his hand. The sadness in his voice so achingly accurate as he wrote to whoever he expected to arrive at the cabin to find the letter and I knew it had to be Reid. Who else would it be? The others don't have the dependency on Gideon the way Reid does.

I swear off him during the week between the first and second shows of the season. I'm disturbed and annoyed that he will allow his character to commit suicide. I feel he's got more 'credit' than that. I'm all but petulant as I watch and becoming ever more intense as I lean towards the screen. "I knew it," I yell, disturbing my family more than you might expect :) when Reid reads the letter and the show brightens, cutting to the diner scene.

How will you know indeed, Mr. Patinkin?

You'll be back. An actor/performer such as yourself can't just walk away. Or so I believe.

*And so will I.