Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Horses, Not Knitting

Let's see...

Went to the barn for a trail ride with a new riding buddy tonight but wound up working on our horsemanship due to Extreme Skeeters. It is May, people. The skeeters should NOT be out in full force like this yet. It was a massive cloud of them. Now, we'd prepared well, we thought. Marinated the horses in fly spray. Applied copious amounts of Deep Woods Off to ourselves--despite a warning label that says, I shit you not, "hazardous to humans". This stuff claims to ward off West Nile Virus.

And yet, we were lunch. We left the property, took five steps into the woods and WHAMMO! It was the $3.99 All-You-Can-Suck Buffet at the Golden Corral. My poor horse. He pitched a fit. He made it perfectly clear that he was completely and utterly miserable, would not STAND for being attacked by miniature flying vampires and told me in no uncertain terms that if I insisted on continuing, I'd be doing it on my own because he had no intention of going anywhere but home.

Normally, I'd have a conversation with him and re-establish my leadership and invite him to consider that my plan is to hit the trail. But all four of us (horses and people) were too preoccupied slapping ourselves silly. I apologized profusely to my horse and we headed back down the lane.

Actually that was probably a good thing. I wasn't too upset about it because I can handle one or two bites, but not being divebombed like that. I itch just remembering it. The ride would have been miserable for all of us. And my new riding buddy had a horse who was nervous about the trail. Her horse needed to do some confidence-building exercises, and mine needed practice in listening to me rather than Hoovering the grass, so we rode up and down the lane. The bugs weren't with us.

My new friend's horse benefitted greatly from the experience. She (the horse) went back to the barn calmer and left-brained, and they ended on a good note. The horse will be better next time for it. Honestly, I'd rather work on my horsemanship than trail ride, anyway. I realize that's not the way most of the boarders at the barn are, and it took some convincing before M conceded that it really did NOT bother me at all that we didn't hit the trail. So many are so focused on one thing: it's a goal. They go out to ride, and dammit, they'll ride, no matter the weather, no matter how their horse is that day, because it's all about the ride. They pay good money to board so they can ride, and they WILL achieve their goal even to the detriment of the relationship with their horse.

I'm the complete opposite. I'll abort a planned ride if my horse got up on the wrong side of the corral. If I'm on the trail and we have an issue, I'll stop and do whatever it takes to work it out, even if it means getting off and walking my horse for a bit, or backing up, whatever. If I have to take my horse back home because he's having a bad day, I'd rather go fix the issue and have a better ride next time than try to fight my way through it like so many others. My attitude drives most of the "ride or die" boarders crazy ("just get on and MAKE him do what you want"), which is why the longer I've been doing Parelli the less people I have to ride with.

But that's OK. Because my relationship with my horse is far better than theirs is, and it shows. They all think it's because he's older now (he's 10; M's horse is 18 aka "should know better" according to their beliefs), or he's "learned", but the real reason is, I've learned. He's been ridden by people who let him get away with stuff that he doesn't do around me because he knows who the leader in our herd of two is. I never have to "catch" my horse (or have trouble with it)--he comes galloping to me when I call. He'll follow me around of his own volition, because he wants to be with me.

That's magic.

There are approximately four socks in progress and on the needles at the moment. One is the second sock from last year's Christmas Knitting Fiasco (can I just say I think it'll be a handwoven holiday this year?); one is for mememememe; and two are being done for someone else (test knitting). I hope it won't scare the person for whom I'm doing the test knitting (if this blog is in their blogroll) when I admit that this was my first experience using the Two Circular Needle method. I thought I'd hate it.

I don't.

I love it.

That really surprised me. I love knitting on DPNs but 2Circs seems to go so much faster! It helped to have Cat Bordhi's book on hand. (For some reason I thought this was the Magic Loop method, but a bit of research on the Internets cleared that up. How many ways CAN one knit a sock? One needle, two, three, four, five...)

Great. I have 4,000 sets of DPNs that I got specifically for my sock-knitting endeavors. Now I have to go out and buy 8,000 pairs of circulars because of course I must have every size and they must be Crystal Palace--although I'm currently using *gasp* Susan Bates aluminums *cough*cheap*cough* because I wasn't sure if I wanted to commit to multiple CPs if I didn't want to use this method past these test socks.

Will this be the moment I cave and forego CPs for Addi's? Time will tell.

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At 9:57 AM, May 30, 2007, Anonymous danielle said...

I loved reading about your relationship with your horse; I enjoy seeing people who don't feel that animals are just beasts of burden and that they have different moods and needs like us.

On the knitting front, I knit exactly one pair of socks on 2 circs before switching to magic loop, for no other reason than I only wanted to buy ONE $13 Addi Turbo instead of 2. Congrats on learning a new method!

At 3:33 PM, May 31, 2007, Anonymous tiennie said...

I am a feast for mosquitos! I can't stand summer evenings when they are all out.

If you like 2 circs, you might love magic looping! Only 1 circ is needed!


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