Yes, He Does Too

You can listen to the audio here.
Aging is definitely not all in her head… at the same time AJ can not imagine joining a gym, or, heading to a trainer, without the actual exercise, healing, and even euphoria, of being on horseback, especially in nature. It's common for “serious” equestrians to want to be fit for dressage. And, A.J. is no different. She had a new invitation to “play” dressage, on a bomb proof driving World Champion, under saddle, Sundays, before lunch! “Just go up the road a bit if you want. Or ride in the ring.” She was thrilled with a new weekly horse shift 7am -12.  It forces her to get ahead with the radio show! And, she thinks someone should be video droning the farm visits, starting at 6:00am this week in Erin.   But, does she really need to put an invitation out on instagram?

If it works, how will the horses react? It had been crazy enough trying to bring in 3 that weren’t used to being together, while trying to close the gate behind them. As soon as she saw her fellow worker with the two, in hand and none of the other herd around she shouted “I’m leaving the gate for you!”  But there was no weird weather or sounds or objects to worry about...

“More treble. Yes.” She swooned at the way he sound checked at Mariposa, and her crush is back on. “One more decibel down. Yes, thank you.” Did Joel Plaskett get a turn? If so, that part she missed.

Dressage is about flexibility and suppleness, strength and stamina.  And, AJ needs to be mobile through her spine, and flexible through her hips.

She is trying, also, to keep an open mind. Because keeping whales and dolphins in captivity for entertainment is no longer acceptable, and the entire fur industry should not exist. She is actively advocating and promoting horse welfare standards. Is the way we make them dance around indoor rings with us on their backs as an recreation acceptable? What about their live export and slaughter? AJ knows that Jill finds her hypocritical, because she is not a vegetarian, and will someday, likely, eat horse meat. Maybe Christmas 2019? She would also like to drive a horse and sleigh. And in better weather, could you drive a carriage from Hillsburg to Owen Sound? She knew a place with a barn to go stay at…

To her ideal host, at Hillside, she said,   "Oh, I have broken at least one on-line heart since then," bringing him up to speed on her love life. "And since then, I basically, just stopped looking. My social life is great and full!"  She walked few steps and turned back to add, "Don't get me wrong.  I'm o p e n, in case you want to set me up, ha ha."

Calling The One

You can listen to the audio of this story here.

"Hi, I am a busy radio/podcast producer, aspiring equestrian, and music enthusiast, who is industrious and authentic. I have a day job and a rich social life yet, I crave the romantic company of someone fun, kind, and honest. I love to laugh and all of my friends are funny. I love kids, the benefits of doing yoga and I am also an avid music and radio listener. It would be nice to meet someone who has plans to to to Europe! And maybe even spend some time making music? I love being in nature, and enjoy trips to the market, farm or grocery store, or sharing time in the kitchen as great dates. Does it scare you that I have TWO cats?  Don't worry, I'm a horse person... Are you seeking an intelligent, independent female who can colour outside the lines?"

Jill posted her on-line dating ad with a picture of herself playing trombone, and then she went out to ride for about 20 minutes walk trot in an indoor arena, on a horse who had a goat! A goat! But the highlight of the outing was how Jill had coached her backing up in the strange, she was on her knees facing backwards as the car reversed snow covered rural landscape. “The laneway is behind us at 3 o’clock,” language they use to point out loons while canoeing.

Now that AJ lived in heaven, she wondered if you could put a cat door in a screen door. Because that might make the balcony/new tree fort apartment, even one step better. Not to mention a new showerhead. She didn't even miss living in an apartment where she could watch horses in the field while she made coffee and loafed around her pj’s.
It had been a year, since AJ ditched her horse pal, because of feeling out of place at the facility. And so the owners had sold him and his life went on pretty much unchanged. Except for any continued intellectual, physical and even emotional ha ha development. She’d seen a picture recently in a horsey mag, of that place and an equine-wellness Photography workshop. A person was actually sitting down, directly in front a horse to take a close up shot. And in the same publication and ad for Equine Yoga, with a helmet less rider on horse back in a pose. NO WONDER she wasn’t a fit there, or encouraged to work on a spooky-bolty athletic horse with issues, lol.

Was she really considering letting a friend adopt her remaining cat?  They were both side-of-the-road rescues I met my first week on the job, as new receptionist, at the vet’s. They have never been very healthy specimens ha, and we lost Ricky when he was twelve. Lucie has a heart murmur and might be a bit slow. She has a lovely little squeaky meow and is very vocal. She plays 5 - 10 min per day, usually chasing a pipe cleaner or laser toy beam around. She is super snuggly insatiable cuddle queen.  She loves to be combed, has lots of sweet happy sounds.  She does not like the sound of rain or hail or the roof, and would rather be out in a storm than to listen to it. Actually, she is easily startled by (loud) noises, and does well with a baseline of background noise, like the radio.
She hates dogs, and takes a long, long time to warm up to other cats. She snores.  Shall I go on?


Trekking In Iceland, Day 2


Trekking In Iceland, Day 2

Looking at the rocky moguls and lava rocky ridges and ditches and creeks of the environment, as they tacked up AJ was wondering where exactly they would be riding.  And then suddenly they were all just running full speed over that treacherous terrain.

On the first day, AJ had shouted at her no-longer-mounted riding buddy to “let go!” and then had also had to do it herself, during “the incident.”  On the second day, she witnessed a guide with a bay named Noah, demonstrate the complete opposite of that sentiment! It was like a circus act, as he, for some reason in an instant as the herd was first released and just beginning to run, he fell off, and then held on as he got dragged, to somehow sort of stand up, and then miraculously vault on to the horse in motion.  We were amazed and he was hoping no one noticed!  Incredible! 

“Imagine riding Oliver with no reins,”  AJ was the topic of some impressed conversation that night at dinner also.  It had been discovered late in the ride that she had done the drop noseband up incorrectly, making her communication with her mount through her hands and the simple snaffle bit far less than ideal.  All she knew for the first few hours of the ride was that he was a smooth but forward horse who was disinterested in her efforts to slow or steady him.  Others were surprised to see him being more forceful, and in fact difficult with head shaking, than usual, and AJ  had just concentrated on using the horse of the guide in front of her, as a break, and trying to just ride the rhythm, instead of fighting with him.  

They crossed the river over and over and over, often in water deep enough to actually swim. And they rode alongside it for miles and miles and miles.  It was glorious!

At one point, the herd had splintered.  And as they tried to round up the rebels, one of the other guests fell off their horse.  Some riders helped that situation and the others herded the ponies that were on the wrong side of the fence towards the rest of the herd. Success!  

Then, with everyone’s attention on the fallen equestrian, one black and white pinto came barrelling back across the river to run the fence on the wrong side.  AJ was the first to notice and took prompt action.  For all her inexperience and ineptness on the gaited trek, she had a good understanding of herd dynamics and successfully, with the willingness of her mount, cut off the free-galloping individual, several times in several directions, and sent the adventurous independent loose horse back the direction it needed to go.

It was one of the highlights of the ride for AJ, when that guide said “You are a bad ass rider that could take my job!”  AJ had felt that she had not quite gotten to the point to actually keep up with the pro riders properly, but at least had become a competent guest rider, that was on occasion actually useful.

In terms of tack check though, she was also disappointed that it took her 3 days to notice that her stirrup irons were the only ones withOUT rubber grips, making it even harder to keep her feet in them…

AJ had Jill laughing imitating a joke her room mate-during-the-adventure would do, when they weren’t riding, impersonating North American riding lessons “OK, OK, OK, everybody line up, we’re going to canter.  ONE-AT-A-TIME!!! One length of the arena…” Meanwhile, how often, when we were riding full speed in the front of a herd of loose galloping horses, did a guide command: keep going, keep the speed! “I have to rush and open a gate, or fix something! You people in the front do what has to be done!”

AJ said most of her relaxing came from watching the 4 guides round up the herd from their overnight paddocks, to check for shoes, and match to riders etc.  “I feel like I can't even be bothered to ride in North America now…”