"Where have you been?" she asks.
I ponder a moment before answering. Let's see... I've been to Pennsylvania and Vermont recently, done some short trips to the mall and Lowe's, but mainly, I've been shuttling back and forth between garden and barn.
I've been busy." I reply. I am sulky, feeling guilty and defensive. After a winter of snow and ice, we finally have those perfect days of sunny warmth and green growing things. Always one to bite off more than I can chew, the garden and yard projects have piled up. There were beds to be dug, lawn to be mowed and bushes and trees to plant.
And then there is Tucker.
Our first few rides were pretty uneventful, a little walk and trot to remind me that I do, indeed, remember what this is all about. We even cantered a bit on the third outing. But, in an attempt to increase Tucker's weight, I have been feeding him a lot of grain and second cut hay- horsey high-test. Add fresh, sugary, new-growth grass, and, POW! You have a four-legged rocket on your hands.
The paddocks all have repaired fences, which was another project that took quite a bit of time. It's nice to not worry that the horses are going to push over a post or hop over a broken rail. Right.
Back to riding. I took Tucker out on the road. He was very excited about getting out of endless circles in the area I call my riding ring. He jigged and bounced while I talked to myself to keep my muscles from clenching in terror. Heels down, relax your arms, keep breathing...was my mantra. And Tucker settled.
A short distance down the road there is a kennel of foxhounds. And in the yard infront of the bellowing dogs? A huge, inflatable bouncy house. Complete with screaming, excited children. My mantra changed to: Heels down, relax your hands, keep breathing, Oh My God, I'm going to die, heels down, keep breathing, don't pull! Luckily, my mount was more interested in being out. And despite my abject terror, he never even glanced at the colorful, swaying behemoth.
The next time out was not as wonderful. I tried a new trail, got lost, and had to dismount because the bugs were intolerable-Tucker would take two steps and dive his head down to scratch his face on his front leg- NOT comfortable or conducive to forward progress. I led him through the buggy field, only to find I was definitely not headed toward home. We hiked up a steep hill. I gasped for air, in the throes of an asthma attack, Tucker was barely winded. At the top, I thought I would get back on.
Tucker would not stand still. He backed, threw his hind end away from me, and generally flipped me the hoof. So on we walked, finally finding our way to the barn. I sponged him off, fed both the boys and put them out in the knee-high grass of their paddock. By 8:30, I was exhausted. I read until about 10:00 then fell into a much needed slumber.(It had been a LONG week)
Fast forward to 5:30AM. The phone rang. "Tucker is loose."
"I'm on my way." Rushing up to the barn, I found a friend leading Tucker toward the barn, while Gil frantically galloped back and forth in the paddock. I got them both settled and went to investigate how the T-man got out. It was a rail down. The opening faced the woods, away from the lush pasture, but of course he would rather go crashing through the brush...
The rest of the day was dedicated registering my truck, which took most of the day-and I still have to go back-that's a whole 'nother bunch of blog fodder. Returned home in the late afternoon, in time to run a wire around the inside of the fence and hooki a charger up to said wire, to keep my wayward pony at home. A little electric current goes a long way in keeping horses from dismantling fences. And I had to cut brush away from the wire, find an extension cord for the charger, and pick the ticks from my sweatshirt-ICK!
At least Tucker has stayed where I put him and I got over 8 hours of sleep last night!
My spring rush is winding down and I am settling back into some sort of schedule. There are still wedding meetings, pots to plant, and trails to explore, however the frantic need to do it all yesterday is passing and my new computer and office beckon.
We'll see how long that lasts! At least I have developed a healthy sense of humor at my lack of discipline.