A fence post a day, keeps the doctor away(or, brings them to you faster than what you'd like). Lemme tell you, lifting tree trunks, I mean fence posts, is harder than it looks. It's called MANual labor for a reason: a MAN was meant to do it, not a woman(or teenage girl). Good thing I love manual labor outside,eh?

Today was technically my very last day at the stable and riding that handsome devil Cody. In the course of six-seven months he has given me lots of ups and downs but we both persevered through it all. My favorite quote, 'everyone wants happiness,nobody wants pain;but you can't have a rainbow without a little rain' applied to our rollercoaster of life. The rain was worth it. 

I didn't go ride one last time today, Julie, Cody's caretaker,needed assistance putting in fence posts and clearing her yard of debri,leaves and trees. I love doing manual labor outside. I've trimmed trees in our back yard, pulled weeds, planted a mini garden,mucked out our dog pen,cleaned our shed and given general TLC to out backyard. My allergies limit what I can do, but, being very contrary,i pull weeds anyway and do other yard work. Julie's place is a wee bit different than our small backyard. She's got five acres. I utilised my Wonder Woman strength and lifted woefully heavy posts, heaved several large, rotted,boards and raked and pulled trees up. I managed to avoid getting stuck by too many thorns,however my back will be complaining tonight. Next week Julie will be moving all three horses to her place, I hope to help, and, if she does it in the morning, I probably will. But she's doing it on Good Friday, which, as Christians, is a day we take time to observe. 

Yesterday I rode Cody, in the cold, windy, weather. He did pretty good for me considering wind usually makes him act jumpy and very unfocased. But yesterday I could've gotten away with not lungeing him as he acted and listened very well for me. I hoped to do the 'your final ride, so let's have a perfect canter'  canter, but it resulted in a very bouncy,fast canter. I have a hard time keeping him on a circle(half is him as he takes advantage of this, and half is me not being very coordinated at all), and keeping him in a canter. When he does canter he steadily speeds up, tosses his head, and will slow to a trot or just stop completely. After that, getting him to canter again is near impossible and very turbulent. At that point I drop the subject as anymore pushing results in very hostile replies from Cody. I'll move on to another task,be it weaving, circles, patterns or working on sitting his fast trot without 1)pulling the reins, and 2)bouncing a lot. I just want to end with a good note. A half our before I got off, Jeanie,Jordan and Jeanie's Clydesdale mare, Tilly, came in to ride. Cody always acts his worse when Tilly is present. I don't know if she sends off a rebellious vibe, if her being only four affects his attitude or if all geldings act up when mares are present, but I know I've been most worried when Tilly is present. Her presence usually guarantees Cody will break into a canter, or refuse to stand, or start getting tense and pawing the ground as he backs up when I say to stand. But yesterday he listened to me as though she didn't exist. It wasn't until I went to get off he acted up, refusing to hold still. After a two minute discussion, he relaxed, stood still and I got off. Cody enjoyed a juicy apple while being brushed down. After that I brushed Rosie girl down.

She loved it and loved on me(after spitting celery onto my boots). I read two articles about nickering(until Rose I didn't know what a nicker sounded like). The first article said not to get happy when a horse nickers:they're nickering for food, not you, and everyone carries food. The other article said to get happy and excited when a horse nickered. 'When a horse nickers it's because your presence comforts them and brings great pleasure. They love being around you and with you'. Oh, and the final article said all horses nicker for anyone who's nice to them. I decided to test these theories with ALL the horses at the stable, so for a week I brought no treats. The tally of nickering horses was as follows: Rose, hers being the loudest and longest; Jac, his being next loudest and longest; Phayth, a moody Arabian mare; Tilly, the Clydesdale; Guinnes, a hyper Thoroughbred gelding; Leo, an unpredictable Paint gelding; Duchess, Rose's grumpy dam;and lastly Cody, his being short and too the point. I know a nicker is a sign of affection,and that if a horse doesn’t know you well or like you they usually won't nicker. I disagree with the first article and agree in a luke-warm manner with the second. I think when a horse nickers they like you, whether it's a mutual feeling I don't know, I don't know much about the nickering language. 

Jac enjoyed a huge, green apple, and after loving on Rose, who pouted when I left; loving on Cody and visiting with Jac, I left for the last time. Now, I'll schedule time(finally) to shadow a vet and in the summer I'll volunteer at a therapeutic riding center,(and hopefully ride Cody some more),. 

I'd write more, but my arms are a little sore and shaking,so I'll end with: Six months of bliss have ended. Six months I spent learning and growing. Six months of tasting what I want so badly for a life, motivation to extend in highschool and college and in a job to get my land and animals. Six months finally meeting others who are as obsessed with horses as I am. Now, I'll work towards my other goals, graduate highschool, attend college and start progressing to getting my horses. 

Until then, have a happy ride! 

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Comment by Paula Stevens on March 28, 2015 at 5:50pm

Thanks Jackie... you've no idea how encouraging your words have been through all this,and the fact that you even read these and comment on them means the world! I've no doubt I'll be back in the saddle, I waited three years I can wait again. :) 

Comment by Jackie Cochran on March 28, 2015 at 5:44pm

I am so sorry your current riding situation is ending.  I''ve been through that a few times.

Hang in there, you WILL get in the saddle again.  Hey, you have been making real progress, now you KNOW you can ride an uncooperative horse.

Take care!

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