I've been a bit down in the dumps and I don't really know why, I think it's a combination of things, e.g. the quad incident, the loss of the chick, and then, primarily that I had a riding lesson again yesterday with Nicky Hunt. It has to be said that Barnaby has improved greatly and is much straighter in himself, which is wonderful. It's just that when I get on him I feel like my riding is really bad. I have, without doubt, picked up some bad habits from riding Max for six years, but my one bugbear is that I still can't keep my legs still when I trot, and I've been working on it for a year. The trouble now is that people think I'm continually legging the horse on, but actually I'm trying frantically to keep my legs still and nothing works.
I have also seen several pictures of myself where my toes are turned out. I know why this is, though, and that I keep on riding with my heel, so I'm working on keeping my toes turned in, but it hurts! I've also had the feeling that in order to make Max move, especially on a circle, I must tap him with my ankle, so I keep on lifting my heels up when I ride. I've seen myself doing this, too, and am trying to train myself out of it, and to use my calf muscles instead, and again, this relies on me keeping my toes in. I'll be walking like a bowlegged chicken before you know it. You'll recognise me in Chesterfield High Street, anyway.
Mr O said I had a 'very defeatist attitude' and proceeded to depress me even more by telling me how well he rides. Well, that's nice. I resisted the temptation to tell him that it's his fault Barnaby is in such a state, because that won't achieve anything, will it?
But it is far from all bad, and I am determined to look on the bright side. The best thing is that after losing the little chick in the morning, one of the ones in the incubator hatched out at tea time. I quickly scooped it up and ran outside with it and popped it underneath Penny. She looked mildly surprised, but tucked the little thing underneath her and started cooing at it. I went out again an hour later and managed to hoist her skirts up and peek at the little thing and it had dried out and was cheeping, which I took to be a good sign. Penny pecked at me mercilessly.
I've been out this morning and let Peggy and her babies out for their morning exercise. Peggy began parading outside Penny's hutch, as usual, when Penny drew herself up to her full height (rather than her usual convincing impression of a whopee cushion) and her little baby plopped out from underneath her and began cheeping. Penny wore a smug, "In your face!" expression and continued cooing to the love of her life.
Peggy was distraught and began pecking at the cage. "I am the only mother here!" but her babies were jumping up and down, trying to get a better view of their new cousin. One of them even jumped on Peggy's back to have a better look, but Peggy shook it off and stalked away. Penny just smiled contentedly to herself, and so did I.
I took Barnaby out for a hack this morning, and now all is well with the world. It must be quite confusing for him, as he is now mine, but it's not like he's gone to a new home, is it? His dad is still there in the background, but now taking much more notice of Zak, obviously. He came in with me this morning and I felt that he was totally mine. He has trained me to scratch him in all the right places before I tack him up. Usually it's on his belly and around the top of his front left leg, but today he wanted me to scratch his ears and his top knot. His bottom lip was quivering in ecstasy. I swear to you that if you take the time to do this, he is much more co-operative and agreeable. It's easy to think, 'I don't have time to do this,' but what else have I got besides time? If you take the time he is a doddle to tack up and be ridden.
I have spent some time recently reading some of my old posts about being very nervous about riding Max, and I could hardly believe it was me. I am a million miles from that now, and riding Barnaby is my utmost joy. He is so bold and beautiful, I do wonder what it's like when people see him in the street. There was a man building a stone wall near Jolly Farmer's this morning, who stopped to watch as we went past. Is he thinking, 'Don't that woman's legs jig about when she trots?' I don't think so. The old gentleman further down stopped his conversation to wave at me as I went past. A true horseman, if ever there was. We turned round at the bottom of the lane and steamed home. There's nothing like it for lifting the spirits, is there?
And I've been fine ever since, really.
Last Tuesday I went to my card making class, and didn't really like what we did, as we used 'Dreamweaver' stencils, and I was hopeless at it! I did manage to make a few things to use, like this glitter flower card:
However, I went again last night, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The theme was 'Patchwork' and these are the the two I made. The funny thing is, I am getting the urge to do things with paper, that you would normally do with fabric, and then these came along. The stitching is a stamp, which I will definitely be buying (in August!) as these were really easy to make, and are a brilliant way of using up your scraps.
I am reading 'Love In The Time of Cholera' now, and really enjoying it. It bears no resemblance to the film clips I saw, which is interesting. This means if I get it out on DVD I'd better not inflict it on Mr O. It was bad enough sitting through 'Babel' and 'Revolutionary Road', I don't think we'll survive another pointless melodrama (we have enough of those in real life, without watching them on TV as well!)
And, as everything comes to him who waits, it is, of course, pouring with rain, and I am loving it!