Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ruby proves to be a jewel of a Standardbred

I last wrote about Ruby, a 9-year-old Standardbred mare who has come to learn how to be a saddle horse. Ruby was brilliant on the track, winning over 50% of her races, making her a statistical superstar. Then she went off to be a brood mare for a few years.
And now?  Well....if she could talk, I think she'd be a little like Dororthy in the "Wizard of Oz," when she says, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."
The first day we put a saddle on her, Ruby didn't seem to think too much of it. Best Husband in the World got right on. Although Ruby at first seemed not to know how to walk with someone atop, she figured it out quickly. That first day we stayed in the round pen.
The second day, I rode Ruby while my young friend, Megan, rode my horse, Scarlett. Since we were going to take a mile walk down the road, I thought Ruby could use Scarlett as a lead horse and confidence builder.
I guess I should have asked Ruby's opionion on that, because she instantly took the lead, boldly walking out and leaving Megan and Scarlett to continuially have to trot to keep up.
On Ruby's third day under saddle, I took her alone to Cronan Ranch, 2500 acres of paradise just a 10 minute ride from the barn. Ruby loved it. And again, I experienced her amazing, ground-gobbling walk. This horse has the most comfortable and speedy walk I've ever known!
The only thing Ruby wasn't too excited about was the American River. The sound of the water rushing by--and then seeing it--scared her a little. What I loved is that she didn't turn and bolt the way my thoroughbreds did. She just stared and blew startled snorts out of her wide nostrils.
I was actually able to get her next to the water. To get her in the water, we're going to have to call on water girl Scarlett for guidance.
Ruby learning to trot in side reins
Ruby at the big, scary American River

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meet Ruby Red Dress

I have to say...last year did not go so well, mostly due to my having a horse fall over on me and breaking my ankle in several thousand painful places.
As I near the one-year anniversary of my injury, I'm still not 100%. Moral of that story? Be careful.
The other thing I've learned over the last year is that our brains are very connected to our health. Simply put, if I wake up thinking I'm in pain and will these tendons ever heal and oh, I hurt...the result is that I get exactly what I think about. I start out in pain and I spend the day that way.
However, if I wake up and spend 10 minutes (or 30) focusing on health and well-being...that's what I get. I truly feel like a completely different, vibrant human being. I feel in charge of my pain, instead of the other way around.
If you are coping with any kind of pain in your life--be it physical or emotional--pause for a moment to imagine yourself as you'd like to be. In my case, I envision myself standing atop an enormous boulder, strong and completely free of pain, with my arms raised in triumph.
I feel the emotions of that vision, and let strength and wellness flow into me. When I am tapped into the emotional feeling of energy and power, I repeat this thought:
"I am healthy, feeling energized and pain free."
I say it over and over in my mind, continuing to pull positive energy from the vision of wellness I've created for myself.
And as a new Standardbred comes into our life, I am also saying, "My body can easily support me as I mount up and ride."
I needed this mantra the other day as Best Husband in the World and I spent our first day with Ruby Red Dress, a 9-year-old chestnut mare who has never before been ridden.
Ruby was a winning harness racer until a minor soft tissue injury derailed her stellar career. For the last four years, she's been doing a fabulous job raising babies.
And because her owners want her to have a full and interesting life, they sent her to me so that she could learn to be a riding horse.
I'm already in love with Ruby and tomorrow I'll tell you why. But first, here are a couple teasers...some "before" and "after" shots as Ruby, who's lived in a pasture for the last four years, spent Day I in the beauty salon.
 Ruby Before
Ruby After