Monday, January 31, 2011

floods and studs

What took twelve hours to create, is going to take weeks if not months to undo. We survived the floods.....again. the worst flooding i have ever seen in almost the decade, i have lived here on the farm. While all the horses, dogs, cattle and other animals survived, the farm and surrounding area is looking worse for wear, and the clean up and damage will be ongoing. the steel gate to the horses paddock was so warped, you couldn't open it, and it took us all day with crowbars, hammers and wrenches to finally free it. Jumping poles literally ended up miles down stream, and water troughs were washed up against fences, hundreds of metres from where they were origanlly placed.

but on the brighter side of things, the weather has been lovely since cyclone Wilma finally left. On the even brighter side i have been riding my wild stallion! yesterday, with the help of my lovely boyfriend, i took Matai for a little ride around the paddock. He was an angel, he now knows how to move off the leg, the steering is all sorted, the stop and go basics are installed, and he can do turn on the hind quarters and turns on the forehand. All this while sitting on him bare back with a halter ( i did actually put a helmet on my head this time), just out in the paddock...

today though, we moved on to more exciting things than riding plain old circles on the flat. Having finished riding the other four horses by midday, i finally went out to catch Matai. he was 'helpfully' down the farthest corner of the paddock, at the bottom of a steep hill. Reaching him, and slipping his halter on, i contemplated the climb back up the hill, and thought i didn't really want to do it..Why walk when you can ride? Right? Isnt that why we have horses?

So onto the wild stallions back i hopped. After a few testing of the brakes and steering, to make sure that yesterdays lesson were well remembered, i set off up the hill. Leaning right forward, with my fingers buried deep in his long thick mane, i set him on a course up the hill. I didn't feel nervous, even though the hill we were climbing was steep and scrubby, and my mount was as green as they come, not quite what i would call broken in yet.
Matai is sensible, i know how to read his behaviour,and i understand him from all the months of ground work we have done together. I knew he would give me plenty of warning if something was to bother him, and i know he's a horse that thinks things through first, instead of blindly reacting. but most of all the little horse underneath me, felt completely at ease, and was calmly, climbing steadily upwards towards the top of the hill.
On reaching the summit he stood quietly, while i slipped off him, to open the gate. What a buzz of adrenaline even the small achievements give you, when training horses. I was so proud of Matai, my little 'not so' wild stallion.

Here are some pictures from yesterdays ride, kindly taken by my non-horsey and very understanding boyfriend.

Milo, the wild stallions paddock mate, was very interested in what was going on, coming over to say "hi" during the ride.