Punks Kid Rock is the registered name of my American Quarter horse gelding, Rocky. This blog chronicles our adventures together,
as well as stories from my horse past and, occasionally, a tidbit from my non horse life.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Feels like -30

This week in weather, the northern part of the United States is freaking COLD.  There are wind chill advisories in red all over the place, saying not to go outside unless it's absolutely necessary.  Weather channels were all over predicting it was coming, so the day it was supposed to start dropping in the afternoon, I went up to the barn in the early afternoon- what can I say, I like to sleep in.  It also didn't seem too bad at my house.

At the barn, the wind howled, rattling the roof and snapping nearby tarps viciously.  Snow tornadoes lived and died in the arena, and I huddled in the warming room knowing that my plans of a quick trail ride were this side of crazy.  Instead, I took my boy in and switched blankets from his medium weight to his heavy weight.
Now he's in Hollyberry plaid to keep him warm! Silver put two round bales without hay nets in each pasture so the horses can eat to their heart's content- and to warm their bellies.  Still, I felt bad for Ella's dam, Liza, and for Ella.  I don't own a blanket that would fit Ella, but Rocky's extra would fit Liza fine. I tried to go up to the house to ask Silver if she thought Bryan would mind me putting a blanket on his mare, but she wasn't there.

I decided I would put it on anyway, especially because her coat wasn't as thick as it could have been.  Liza was skittish about being caught, edging away from me as soon as she saw me coming with a halter.  I scooted her off with my lead rope, but the second she considered not running away I backed off. Other horses nuzzled near to say hello, but she was a suspicious lady.
Exhibit A: Rocky is happy to see me :)
She finally allowed me to walk up to her and put the halter on.  Her eyes were wider than they should have been, but she accepted it.  My mom was nervous, and tried to convince me not to put the blanket on her.  She was convinced I was going to get kicked in the head; a possibility, I'll grant, but I kept a close eye on her and took my time making sure I wasn't scaring her.  When I walked her over to where my mom stood holding the blanket, she started to side step anxiously.

My mom started tugging on her, trying to get her to stop. I took the lead rope away from her, telling my mom to let go.  I allowed Liza to move her feet but kept my hand near her eye to keep her away from me.  As soon as I wasn't trying to force her to be still, she stopped and stood quietly.  I handed the rope back to my mom and told her to keep her hand up.

Liza was still a bit worried until I tossed the blanket over her back and starting rolling it out over her back.  As I worked, her eyes got soft and she obligingly moved so the wind would blow the straps closer to me, not away.  She seemed to realize that the blanket was keeping the worst of the wind from chilling her, and stood still to let me strap it on her.

I finished, praised her, and let her go.  She stood with us for a few seconds, accepting the neck rubs, then cantered back to the hay pile.  Within a minute she was chewing happily on hay.  That night I sent Bryan a message letting him know what I'd done.  He seemed okay with it (through type, anyway) but assured me that "she was used to -30 so she would have been fine."

I'm not sure how horses "get used to" -30, but I know she would have survived the few days of freezing temperatures without a blanket.  Wild horses do it every winter, without a constant supply of easy hay and water.  Except for the ones who die, but that's life in the wild.  Anyway, I felt bad that she didn't have a blanket on, I had an extra, and I used it.

I should have asked permission before doing it, and that is where I become overly helpful.  I see something I think is fixable, and I "fix" it often without thinking of the human element.  Liza is not my horse and I did not have permission to touch her, specifically, only Ella.  However, if someone had done me the same favor, I would have been grateful.  Thing is, I still have what I am going to coin as "helper's guilt."


Here's a fun maternity test for everyone.  This is Ella (the filly whose butt is facing the camera):

Which mare is her dam? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

We Built This City on Ice and Snow

I went up to the barn yesterday, bundled up in all of my winter gear and excited to work with Rocky and Ella. When I got up there, Ella's owner had her out already and was just about done messing around with her.  We chatted for a bit, and as I was talking I gestured upwards with one of my hands.  I noticed Ella shy away a little, eyeing me suspiciously. I continued the movement over and over.  My arm swished past my body, making more noise than usual due to the fabric of my jacket.

Ella edged away, her ears back and nose in the air.  I followed her, keeping roughly the same distance as the one that had startled her.  When she stopped trying to sidle away and seemed to relax a little, I stopped waving my arm and rubbed her neck.  She blew out softly, already seeming to understand that a neck caress is soothing and means that she has done the right thing.  She flinched a little when I repeated the exercise, but didn't try to move away again. Her owner, Bryan, remarked that he had never thought of desensitizing a horse with something as simple as an arm movement.

We talked about it for a few minutes, and I encouraged him to foster her natural curiosity about things that he knows won't hurt her. If she is spooks at something, let her walk up and smell it. She'll learn to investigate things rather than run away from them.

I asked if he minded me working with her in the round pen, and if he wanted to watch.  He was happy to hear this, and led her through the barn.  She snorted and went sideways a little when exiting the other end of the barn.  Bryan was going to keep leading her to the round pen, until I stopped him and had him let Ella smell the potted plant that had made her shy.  Within seconds she was trying to eat the brown, brittle plant stems. I reiterated that every spook is an opportunity for learning, and the more she is shown that the horse-eating-thing she spooked at will not hurt her, the calmer of a horse she will be.

We let her go in the round pen to buck and trot around for a few minutes.  I also wanted to see what the footing was like without putting pressure on her to follow my directions.

Half the round pen was icy, but the other half seemed okay.  The last time I had her in the round pen, she had cut across the pen, skipping the now icy half completely.  I decided to give it a go, and stop if the footing became too much of a problem.

She remembered some of the lesson from four days previous! I had to walk up to her to encourage her to move out the first time, but after that all it took was a snap on the ground with the whip in the center of the round pen to send her off when she was getting sticky.  Once she purposefully walked in the correct direction off just my point, most times it took pointing and clicking to achieve it.

Ella was doing pretty well going right, so I decided to work on sending her to the left.  Unfortunately, she became braver about the other half of the round pen when traveling to the left.  I had to back off completely when she went over there, as the ground was smooth ice with a dusting of snow.  Several times her feet slid around.  I finally decided that I needed to stop the lesson.  I wasn't able to cue her properly and she was putting herself in danger on the ice.

I moved on to desensitizing her to the lunge whip.  She was fine with it rubbing down her neck and sides, but was flinchy when it touched her butt.  When I rubbed down her left hind leg, she kicked out when it touched just above her hock. I kept rubbing when she kicked, so she tried to move away from it while seriously considering kicking again.  After a few seconds, she stopped her movement and stood still for me for a good 10 seconds.  I took the whip off her leg and praised her.  I put it back, and she huffed out a breath, then relaxed.  She didn't try to kick out the rest of the session.

It's moments like that when I know I'm doing the right thing here, teaching her not to kick and how to relax. Bryan had said he picked her feet without a problem before I got there, but I worry that he trusts Ella a bit too much.  He also doesn't know how to desensitize a horse properly, and would have removed the pressure when she struck out rather than keeping it on, effectively teaching her that if she strikes with her feet, scary things go away.

Ella also tried to push into me when she got uncomfortable with what I was doing. I curbed this by keeping my hand at her eye level.  Every time she attempted to push into me, I tapped her face with my hand.  Ella would throw her head back in alarm, but back off.  After a few times of running into my hand, she figured out that she needed to keep a respectful distance.

By the end of our desensitization, she was standing quietly while I flipped the string of the lunge whip over her back and butt, then dragged it back to my side.  I let the string flip around the far side of her from me, curl under her belly, and then I would drag it back across to me.

Overall, I'd say we ended on a successful note with her desensitization.  I had her stand tied for a bit, and she pawed a little at first but then stopped.  I was able to release her after only 10 minutes or so, when she stood quietly with one hind leg cocked in relaxation.  Smart filly.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fanciful Dreams

I have been writing stories off and on since I was a kid.  In high school and even college, I waited for someone, anyone other than my parents, to tell me that I had a "gift" and should pursue writing.  It never happened. Of course, I could pull a Michael Jordan and try to pursue it anyway- but that is only a good story if it works out.  My compromise is this blog.

Every night before I go to sleep, I write in my head until I am no longer conscious.  It's probably a bad thing that my own stories put me to sleep, but I look forward to that time every day.  The other great part of that is snuggling with my husband in our soft, warm bed, but I digress.

I have an idea for a book.  A nugget of an idea, that has been thought of by several other people.  There may even be growing interest in the type of story I would tell, but I am not sure if it has been done convincingly yet.  I doubt I could do it justice myself, which is part of why I feel comfortable sharing it with you folks.

A romance novel, complete with steamy sex scenes.  But, you gasp, that has been done! (That's what she said.)  Well, yeah, it has, but so has almost every other story idea.  I mean, come on, Pocahontas and Avatar? Same movie.  Anyway, I have a few twists to my story to make it unique.  First, the woman is curvy and overweight.  Many people have said they were doing this and made their protagonist as size 8.   Um, no, that's not at all what I am getting at- size 8 can still wear designer clothes.   I'm talking a size 16 or so that has to buy bras at Lane Bryant and eats cheeseburgers realistically- as in, she gains weight or has to exercise.  

That's step one, or twist one, whatever you want to call it.  The second?  Her love interest is skinnier than she is.  In all of the books, if the woman is "curvy," the man is built like a chiseled refrigerator who has a thing for "big" boobs.   I don't mean that the man is going to be wimpy (because who could stomach THAT?!), just more average-build.

The third?  They will have a realistic relationship.  Now, I don't mean the horrible realism of Prime, which left me wondering why in the world they had billed that movie as a "romantic comedy."  More like "depressing drama." I'm talking about having the occasional fight over something stupid, kissing in the rain when her mascara runs, etc.  The goal is charming realism.

I also want to include a scene with one of those domineering guys, super sexy in appearance but likes to control their partner in a creepy way, you know the type.  *Cough*ChristianGray*Cough* I want to portray them as not sexy when they are too controlling, and kinda rape-y.  Which is pretty much how I felt about 50 Shades of Gray. Christian and Anastasia made me want to slap them both.  Okay, maybe not Christian because he would enjoy that, so not-slap him.  But I guess Ana might get a kick out of that, too... oh, hell.

Confident= sexy, Creepy Controlling= rape-y.

I don't have much more than that at this point. Maybe I should set it during the zombie apocalypse or something.  And I already hate that idea.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Disclaimer Aside

Today's post is going to be a bit random, and likely not very horse related.  Disclaimer aside, I have little snippets of things I would like to say, that would not make a good individual post but will add up to one, probably weird and hopefully not horrendously boring...thing.

I saw Les Miserables with a friend last week, and it was very good.  I have now added the soundtrack to one of my Pandora stations, and Pandora insists that almost every song is now from Les Mis.  I just went through four songs in a row that were from the movie, and all I really wanted to hear was Red and Black, and Can You Hear the People Singing? Or whatever they're called.  I woke up this morning with Red and Black in my head, except I couldn't remember what came after the colors, so I tried to make up lines.  "Red... the color of...scarlet hues!  Black! serious as a heart attack!"  Yeah. I think the original lines were better.

I am really excited to see Hansel and Gretel this month. I'm not sure what day it comes out, but I'm hoping it's not as terribly disappointing as Snow White and the Huntsman.  I got a free movie pass after seeing Les Mis, because there was something wrong with the movie projector and the screen had this weird red tinge to it.  At first, I thought it was part of the Will Smith movie they were previewing about the future, but I guess it wasn't.   The movie ended up starting 10 or 15 minutes late, which was good because I was 5 minutes late to the movie and got to chat with my friend in the beginning instead of stage whispering an apology and then shutting my face.

I discovered something a little odd about my friendships the other day.  Many of my friends have moved away from our hometown, or we all graduated college and went back to our respective corners of the world.  I am not the best at keeping up with people, but will occasionally realize I haven't spoken to someone in ages and send them an electronic note of some kind (read: Facebook message or wall post).  Maybe my taste in friends is generally terrible, with a few good exceptions, or maybe I am easily left behind, but most of my friends do not respond.  Rather, they seem to drop off the face of the Earth, never to say hello again.

Indeed, people whom I valued greatly have ceased contact with me, almost as if I have done something terrible?  By "people," I am referencing at least five people that I can think of right now.   By contrast, a girl that I stopped being friends with in elementary school wanted to friend me on Facebook.  To explain the oddness of this a bit further, I stopped being friends with her to her face- I told her that we are not friends anymore because she treated me terribly.  She would give me the silent treatment for the rest of the day if I said or did anything that she decided she didn't like that day.  I would beg her to resume speaking with me but she would coldly refuse until I had sufficiently groveled.  I hate to think of those days still, and have vowed to never lower myself like that for someone again- at least, not for someone who clearly had so little respect for me.  The final straw in our friendship's camel's back was when she sent me a note across the class that said "I hate you."  Nothing else, and for no reason.   That was when I walked up to her at my next opportunity and told her we were through being friends.   The rest of that year was pretty lonely.   When she Facebooked me a few years back, I was understandably startled.  See? The people (okay, person) I would be happy to move on with my life away from seek me out, and my "close friends" vanish without a word.  What gives?

I made banana bread a few days ago, and I cannot get it to be like my mom's.  I have finally accepted that, while my banana bread does not have the moist, delicious top like my mom's, it is still tasty and worth making.  My banana bread is more like... well, bread.  Dry topped but with yummy banana flavor, just add butter.   Somehow, my mom's banana (or cranberry) breads have distinctly spongy-soft top rather than a hard crust.  I use the same Betty Crocker recipe that she does, too.

My hands are cold.  Not Kristen Stewart waifishly chilled fingers due to proximity to sexy vampires.  More like, "Ohmygodwhyareyoutouchingme?!" cold.

I sliced the bottom of my pointer finger open on the side of a can of tuna last night.  I was trying to pull the tuna can top off where it was still attached to the bottom by one tiny, stubborn strand of metal.  I succeeded in separating top from bottom, but the top snapped away suddenly and left a clean cut across my finger.  It immediately welled with pink blood.  I went through three band-aids last night and have a new one on this morning so I won't keep opening it up whenever I move my finger.

I am reading Mindy Kaling's book, "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?"  It's funny, and clever, and you should read it if you like those sorts of things.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The First Day

Yesterday, I had a day off before going back to work for another four days. (I work an odd schedule. I work four, ten hour shifts per week which means that some weeks I will work 6 days in a row and other weeks I will have four days off in a row.)  Anyway.  I was planning on taking Rocky out, doing some groundwork and then hopping on for a quick ride.

When I went out to get him, he had his nose buried in hay.  He greeted me, then went back to eating with the apparent hope that I would allow him to finish his meal.  As I went to move him off the hay, Ella walked over to say hello.  Her eyes were bright and she seemed to say, "You came here for me, right?" 

My plan was to start working with her next Tuesday, when I have several days off in a row and the lessons would have a better chance of sticking with her.   Rocky's absorption in food and Ella's eagerness for human contact changed my mind, and I slipped Rocky's rope halter over her head.  It was a little big, but I tied it off so it sat correctly on her face.  She came with me without hesitation, until we got to the gate.  Then she seemed a little unsure of herself, and needed guidance to know that she should turn around outside of the gate so I could close it.

I took her to the round pen, and Ella made soft snorty sounds as we walked.  Her tendency was to want to crowd me, warning me that if she were to get scared she would likely try to climb into my lap.  I urged her gently into her own space.  I let her go in the round pen for a few minutes on her own.   She snorted, bucked, and moved around the space, spooking herself at the same place three times in a row.  Her yearling antics were fun to watch.  She tested the fence, nibbled at stray grass that poked up around the pen's posts through the snow, trotted with high steps before throwing a buck and running across the pen, only to stop and smell the ground again.

Once she seemed to accept the boundaries of the space, and lost some of her wide eyed look, I entered the pen.  My plan is to start slow and basic, keeping the lessons simple.  

We started with Ella moving in the direction I point, and to continue moving that direction unless I specified otherwise.  She spent a lot of her time looking out of the round pen, but within a few minutes she was starting to get the idea.  I began by pointing to the right, waiting a few seconds, then clicking while pointing, waiting a few seconds, and finally snapping the lunge whip against the ground.   The first five times or so that I asked for her to move out, she ignored my pointing and vocal commands completely.

After that, she started to turn her head so the outside of her eye could see me.  It was beginning to occur to Ella that this two legged thing was not going to leave her to her own devices, and was instead insisting that she move in a specific direction.  I did not make any effort to control the speed she moved at, only the direction her feet were moving.  Sometimes she scooted off because I ended up snapping the whip directly behind her butt before she would go.   Other times she slid off at a walk after the first sound of the whip from the center of the round pen.

Ella liked to stop to smell a pile of manure on one side of the pen, and then stare out of the pen at her pasture just across the barn yard.  On the opposite side from her pasture, she would cut across the round pen and consider coming in to me.  I directed her feet to keep going when she would get stuck somewhere, and only asked that she stay at least the lunge whip length away from me when she cut across the pen.

After she followed my direction based on only my point-and-click, I invited her to come in to me by turning around and walking away from her.  She immediately came off the fence, smelled the ground and then went to stare off at her pasture mates- who, by the way, were all staring back at her.  I let her breathe for a minute, then went back to asking her to go to the right.

She responded better, still needing the occasional sound of the whip to motivate her but starting to figure out that she has two chances to go before the whip would come out.   Ella walked off after I pointed, and I invited her again to come to me.  This time, she came halfway across the round pen to me and stopped, watching me.   She let me approach her and I rubbed her neck on both sides, praising her for listening so well.   Her skin was warm under her thick winter coat, almost to the point of getting sweaty.  Her breathing was harder than usual, blowing in hot streams on my hands.

For her, she had gotten a lot of exercise.  She had played around in the pen before I asked anything of her, and then had walked, trotted, and occasionally cantered of her own volition but in the direction I wanted.   As a now-former pasture puff, her time in the round pen with me was hard work.

I stopped rubbing her neck, took a few steps away from her, and crooked my finger while clicking.  She didn't know what I meant but, being the friendly filly she is, took the invitation and walked up to me again.  I clipped the lead rope back to her halter, and that was the end of her round penning session. 

I walked her through the barn, which she blew at uneasily.   I stopped and let her stand to look around several times.  Her eyes were wide but she followed me with minor hesitation.   Ella was then brought to a tie ring, where I let her stand tied for about half an hour.  I got Rocky and fiddled around with him while keeping an eye on Ella to make sure she didn't hurt herself or loosen her lead rope too much. 

She pawed at the ground, whinnied to nearby horses, and once pawed with such a big step that she put her foot over the bottom tape of the arena that she was tied next to.   She reared, scooted back a step and was free of the arena tape.  Ella stood blowing with her head up, waiting for someone to do something.  When she discovered she was unhurt, still tied, and that no one was coming to "save" her, she looked distinctly disappointed.

I caught her cocking a hind leg in relaxation a few times, but as soon as she saw me coming to release her she began to paw again.  Ella earned her freedom from the tie post out of luck, as the stallion on the property needed to be brought in and I was asked to move her.   She walked nicely back to the pasture, but made the mistake of whinnying at her pasture mates on the way.  I had her back up a few steps, taking it slow so she could decipher what I was looking for her to do.

Overall, her first day went very well.  She seems interested in learning, and is much calmer about the process than she should be considering her lack of handling.  Here's hoping the rest of her training continues as successfully as her first day! I'm curious to see how much she remembers when I take her out on Tuesday.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Fear Place, part 2

Before I continue my story from The Fear Place, I wanted to throw out a quick update to Ella. Yesterday, I finally heard back from her owner, who said that he is happy to have me work with her!  I am really excited to do this, and will definitely be posting our progress.  Unfortunately, I work a lot in the next week and so will not get a chance to start working with her until next week.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog entry.

The fear had taken over my mom.  Tapper had stopped when he reached Rocky and I, but a part of her knew that she should redo the hill.  The panicked part tugged quickly back on Tapper's reins, and he obligingly backed under a pine tree.  Snow tumbled down around my mom, and she had to hunch forward under the branches.  Her eyes were wide and I could tell that her mind had fractured with fear, not processing the situation clearly.

I suggested that she dismount and do some ground work, joking about "surviving the experience."  Her terse reply of "No shit!" told me where her head was, and it wasn't ready to ride.  She got off, and proceeded to lunge Tapper going up and down the hill.  Her cues were a little off, and she would tug him toward her at the bottom of the hill.  He obediently would turn and face her, but she hadn't meant to tug on him.  She would briskly send him off again, and he was starting to get agitated from all of the mixed signals.

I asked if she meant to pull him in, and she said no.  She stopped doing it then, now that she realized what was going on.  I told her to change his direction more frequently, which helps him to relax and gives her more to think about in terms of cuing properly rather than just letting Tapper trot around her.  Within a few turns, Tapper's eyes were quiet and calm.  He was doing what she asked without issue, but my mom hadn't completely left The Fear Place yet.

I pointed out that he was behaving himself and seemed over "his" issue.   She slowed herself down, and was able to agree with me.   I told her that instead of riding straight down the hill, which seems to make her more fearful, I suggested riding circles on it.  She ended up going down the hill to the side of the main trail where the slope wasn't as steep.  She rode up behind me, stopped and looked at me.

I told her to go do it again.

She let out a reluctant breath but she knew I was right.  She went down the hill twice more, each time becoming more confident as Tapper didn't put a foot wrong.   Finally her smile was back in place, and she was able to laugh about the experience.  I reminded her that she needs to work on just going up and down that hill until it gets boring for her. She said I was right, and that she would plan a time to do it one of the next times she went to the barn.

Working through fear isn't easy, and I'm not sure if it's something that ever completely leaves you.  With horses, nothing is ever guaranteed other than the fact that they can be unpredictable.  I love them anyway.

Sorry for the poor quality of this image, but it was the only one I could find of it! It's from Bonnie Timmons' book, "Hold Your Horses."  I recommend every horse aficionado own a copy. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Fear Place

I think we have all been there.  You took a new route, did the wrong thing at the wrong time, had something completely accidental happen.  Sometimes you luck out, and nothing bad comes of it even when it should have. Other times, you get hurt, perhaps even end up in the hospital.  Life can be like that, but with horses, the chances of getting injured go way up.

People handle these things in different ways.  Some are able to get up and go on like nothing ever happened.  Others are devastated, so traumatized that they give up riding for life.  Of course, there is every nuance of feeling between those two extremes, and most people land in the middle.

I had a bad fall while cantering that still causes me back pain now and again.  It has been over 6 years, and I am 90% over it.  I still get a little clutch in my belly before asking for it for the first time in any particular ride, but then it smooths out and I'm okay.

My mom's bad fall is something she is still working through, and it's what I wanted to highlight today.  I happened to be there for her fall, and have been helping her work through it since.  I had to dig my way out of my own worm hole, too afraid and ashamed to admit my fears or to know how to ask for help.  Now that I am on the other side, it is gratifying to reach out and offer empathy, support, and guidance.

Mom and Lady (ironic name) were going down a hill behind Rocky and I.  We were close to the barn, coming back from a very short trail ride. My mom is new to horses and to Lady in particular.  When Lady began to trot down the hill, it scared my mom so she attempted to pull her to a stop.  Lady was a dominant personality mare that my mom was learning to handle, but she hadn't been able to really gain Lady's respect.  Instead of stopping, Lady swerved to the side of the trail.  By this time, I had heard the hoof beats behind me speed up, so I had turned around in the saddle to make sure they were okay.

I saw Lady tuck her nose a bit, then kick out with both hind legs three times in a row.  By the third kick she had effectively bounced my mom out of the saddle.  She fell hard on her back and right side.  I was off Rocky and next to my mom as fast as I could be, where she gasped for breath.  Remembering what it felt like to get the wind knocked out of me, to try to stand up while hard fists were closed around my lungs was scary by myself.  I coached my mom to take slow, shallow breaths rather than claw for a big filling one.   I told her to stop trying to get up and just focus on getting air.

She listened, staying on her knees with her hands on the ground in front of her, trying not to cry and moan in pain while getting the necessary oxygen.  After what seemed like forever, but was probably 30 seconds or so, I could hear her breathing even out.  She was still half panting from pain but it was no longer as panicky.   I grabbed Lady then, and helped her slowly stand up.

We traded horses for the short walk back to the barn.  I didn't know if Lady would try to rush or push her way back, but I knew Rocky would be gentle.

I ended up taking my mom to the hospital, where they admitted her for two days.  It was one of the scariest drives of my life; I wanted to go fast to get there quickly, but take turns and stop carefully.   She had severely bruised her kidneys and they were worried she may have internal bleeding.   She was released after two days with painkillers and no internal damage other than bruising.

Since then, she has purchased a new horse named Tapper and gained new horsemanship abilities.  She is still learning, as all of us are, but has come a long way.

A few days ago, we had completed a decent trail ride with no mishaps.  Tapper started to trot down the same hill Lady had over a year before, and my mom panicked.  It brought back all of her memories of her fall and even though he stopped when he caught up to Rocky and I, only 15 feet ahead of them, the fear had taken over my mom.

To Be Continued...