Saturday, April 16, 2011

Good horses are like good food


My life is pretty much horses, horses and more horses. I work my ass off from dawn until dusk, riding and teaching and taking care of horses just to break even. Then on the weekends i go off competing. Balance is hard sometimes. But there is one other thing i have time for and enjoy, cooking.


I'm not going to lie, i make a pretty darn good lemon meringue pie and yummy Mexican with my own home made tortillas, in all honesty i think these two dishes are the only reason my boyfriend puts up with all the time i spend horsing around. I love making my own pickles, chutneys, jams, and am currently addicted to my homemade Hot chili and capsicum jelly. For me there is something just so satisfying in making a meal, or baking a pie, or bottling my own garden produce. Something rewarding, in making something that everyone else can enjoy, its instantly gratifying with baking and cooking.


You start with a recipe, clear cut instructions. you add a certain amount of ingredients, in a certain order, and mix a set way. You put it in the oven, cook for a clear amount of time, then have the satisfaction of having something you made to eat, or give as a gift, or feed someone else. It is instantly rewarding, and to me relaxing and satisfying


With horses the results of your work can take, day,weeks, months usually years before you have something to show for your time. Think about it you break a horse in, ride it, train it, eventually if your like me, take them to competitions. Your looking at about a year to that point. To go through the levels of competition, will take years and years, if you get there at all. You have personal achievements. It is defiantly rewarding, but you work harder and the results are sometimes less obvious and take a lot longer to come around.


Their is no exact recipe for training a horse, i spend a lot of my time perfecting the technique, learning more, and wondering if I'm on the right track. There is no set preparation or "cooking" time, some horses will take a long time to learn certain lessons, while another will breeze through learning a new skill instantly. As far as ingredients, like cooking, the better the ingredients (training) you put in usally the better the end product will be.While there is an order to how you should train a horse, like mixing dry ingredients before adding wet, when it comes down to the tiny nuances of training, the recipes starts to get very vague and it comes down to an instinctive feel to make sure it all comes together in the end. Also like cookbooks there are many horse training manuals, with different recipes for the same thing, and it takes a bit of experimenting to see which method works well for you and gives you the best end product. It can be a bit of a mine field to begin with, a lot of guess work, patience, practice,experimenting and dubious results, before you get the perfect pie (or horse) to show for your efforts.


The point of all this, my wild horses are in that stage, where your just mixing everything together, if you were baking a cake,someone would come look in the mixing bowl and all they would see is mushy wet liquid at this stage. The physical differences are huge, they look completely unlike the horses that arrived almost a year ago. But they are not yet a baked cake.


Its that boring stage where you slog on teaching little things, the stallion getting more comfortable with ridden work, turning better, moving off the leg, refining the aids. Fern is just starting to learn all the groundwork in preparation to being ridden in the near future. There is not any exciting achievements to tell of, there are definitely day to day break throughs, that i am aware of, but to anyone else would be nothing awe inspiring. They are both going great, learning quickly and easily and are basically fantastic horse to work with. But defiantly still in the mixing stage, not yet a beautiful iced cake that you can proudly display to all you friends.