Friday, February 15, 2013

Worse to (Much) Better

It's funny how sometimes the worst day is followed by one of the best.

This morning, I was scheduled to give two tours at the museum on ancient Greece, Rome, and Mali to two classes of third-grade students from a local elementary school. I didn't do an excessive amount of preparation, because I have given this particular tour a zillion times already this school year, but I got to the museum about 45 minutes before opening so I could run through the possibilities with the other docents scheduled at the same time. We all agreed on our routes, and then, when the kids arrived, we split up our groups and off we went.

I don't think I've given a better set of tours this year. It was fantastic! I was in full-on storytelling mode, asking good questions, engaging these kids in the myths of the Greeks, the technology of the Romans, and the culture of Mali. My students were great listeners, extremely well-behaved, interested in what I had to say, and asked really insightful questions. It was wonderful, and I felt terrific. I really, really love this work. What a great morning!

After the sushi lunch I didn't get to have yesterday, I went to work for a little while. Well, THAT was as it has been recently: frustrating. I did get a few things done, and I did get my new printer hooked up in my cube, so that's something, at least. Yay for not having to walk across the office to the printer in the kitchen!

Later in the afternoon, it was time to go out to the barn for Wren and Kira's lessons. We brought my Dad along, who is visiting this week, because with the weather shifting tomorrow, we aren't sure if Sunday's show will be held, and I wanted him to be able to see the girls ride.

Wren was excited to ride her old friend, Keepsake, who was the very first pony she rode, and who is retired now, but was feeling well enough for a confidence-building ride today. She was nervous and anxious about grooming Keep, who barely moves a muscle while standing in the cross-ties. She was nervous after she got into the ring, and she didn't want to trot at all, but she managed to stay on and keep herself together for the length of her lesson. Afterward, it was like nothing had happened; Wren was grooming her pony independently, picking the hooves, brushing and hugging her, and it was really great to see her more confident.

Kira did a fantastic job riding Beau, and she really looked like she was having a great time, all smiles and confidence, as she trotted around the ring on the big Belgian.

Travis took both of the above pictures with a Canon Rebel T2 that he borrowed from a friend for his photography class. After seeing the pictures he took with only a few minutes' fooling around with the instructions, I have decided we definitely need a DSLR. And I need him to come to one of my lessons so he can shoot pictures of me jumping Champ. I really want to know what that looks like, even if it's ugly as hell.

On the subject of jumping Champ.....a friend of mine had some really good insight and inspiration for me on the subject of my favorite school horse. She said, "It seems that if it makes you that miserable that this isn't meant to be, it might just be a timing thing. Maybe he needs you. Remember that horses are a mirror to our soul, and they will show us everything about ourselves....When I had those [bad] days it always hit me, [my horse] wasn't just put into my life for nothing."

Champ had kind of a nutty owner before he came to be our trainer's school horse this past fall, someone who moved barns every year, and who apparently yelled at him a lot, and kept him blanketed and covered up in boots and sheets and all kinds of equipment. Maybe he's scared, or just not confident. Maybe he doesn't understand his job, or what I am asking him to do, and maybe he wants to do his job, but we aren't communicating well. Honestly, I think sometimes when he's being a total putz and not moving forward, he's telling me he needs a longer time to warm up before we really start working. Or maybe he only feels warmed up after we jump a few fences, and THEN he's ready to do some forward-moving dressage practice. Or maybe, like me, he just wants to get out of this %$#@#@! riding ring and go for a trail ride!

Maybe I just need to relax and listen to him a little while longer.

I mentioned to my trainer that maybe I wasn't ready for that horse trials next month, and she scoffed. "You don't have to look pretty, you have to stay on and finish. And you stay on."

I don't know. It's a lot of equipment (mostly show clothes) I still need, and a lot more practice. I guess I can give it another week's lesson and see what happens. Yesterday was the first time I had jumped a near-complete course of stadium fences in....sixteen years. Holy.....has it really been that long?

Probably I should cut myself some slack.

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