I wish that last night I had had my camera with me when I first arrived at the barn and saw her hanging her head over the gate of her paddock with Jesse, her new boyfriend. She was NOT wearing a halter. Remembering that I had specifically asked that her halter stay on because she is known for being a little difficult to halter/catch with new people (or so I thought, anyways, apparently she has proven otherwise!), I told another girl at the barn that I was sure that it was in a pile of poop and that she had removed it herself. It was, afterall, a brand new halter just put on her for the first time on Sunday when I moved her. I scanned the paddock and eventually found it, sure enough, stomped into a pile of poop under one of their shade trees. She let me walk up and put it on her. I had a lesson on the big Friesian mare and had hardly enough energy to ride her (I have begun a running program this week... stupid. LOL), so I didn't ride Bronwyn but did give her a good grooming and turn her back out.
I have to say that this has been nothing but good for her so far - putting the halter on, catching her in the pasture, letting the BO (a man (strike 1) who is a stranger (strike 2)) work around/handle her, hardly bats an eye when the dogs at the barn are making noise (dogs were previously a non-negotiable "absolutely NOT!"). I think the busy-ness of the barn will ultimately help a lot of the spooks she still has, and am really looking forward to seeing further positive improvements in her disposition as we work here!
I woke up this morning to SEVEN texts from my coach. Fearing the worst, I opened my phone to find the photos that she had been happily snapping away whilst I groomed last night had been sent to me - here are a couple of my favourites (and then I PROMISE that my sister is going to bring her camera to the barn tomorrow!):
|In the process of measuring her - I guess she sticked at 15.2hh which surprised the crap out of me!|
|Looking pretty pleased with my mane-brushing work!|
My Friday Favourite (and I know I am not consistent with these, no matter how much I promise I will be!) today is the group Riders 4 Helmets. Saturday, June 9th, is International Helmet Awareness Day.
When I was about 14, two things happened - a dear friend of mine lost her brother following a riding accident, and our governing provincial equestrian association, NBEA, implemented a rule that any junior, regardless of discipline, at any sanctioned NBEA show must wear a helmet. Previous to that, I did not even own a helmet, and spent a good deal of time on horseback. I went with it easily due to events in my personal life, and my mother embraced it wholeheartedly and began to wear a helmet on every ride as well. Since then, I can count on one hand the number of times that I have mounted up without a 'brain bucket' on. (If you're curious, it has been twice - once when I took kids to 4H camp and did not know I would be riding - the horse program did not have enough helmets for me to have one on one of the rides we went on, on the other, I did wear a helmet, and once when I had photos taken of myself on Bronwyn.)
This next part won't make me popular, I am sure... I do believe that it is your right to choose not to wear one, I just don't know why you would choose not to. I have heard a lot of reasons why people don't wear them, and if I am honest, I don't think any of them are good enough. There are people out there who will aggressively say that you're being overcautious and going to get hurt if you wear one (the last time I checked, people don't get hurt more often when they wear seatbelts in a car...)... others that say they don't like them and they feel uncomfortable (with the range of helmetmakers out there, you can find something that will fit, be comfortable AND be in your price range without a whole lot of difficulty), some "can't afford" to buy a helmet (if you can afford your horse, you can afford your helmet - you can get them as inexpensive as $40!).
With that said, I don't judge anyone who chooses not to wear a helmet - that, again, is your right to choose. I don't, however, believe that you should let your children ride without a helmet, even if the child "chooses" not to - but that is a whole other kettle of fish.
Accidents happen - even with professionals - look at Courtney King-Dye. From the R4H website:
Olympic dressage rider Courtney King-Dye suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) in March of 2010 when a horse she was schooling tripped and fell. She was not wearing a helmet at the time. King-Dye’s accident inspired the creation of Riders4Helmets. The goal of the campaign is to educate equestrians about the benefits of wearing a certified, properly fitting and secured helmet.
They are doing some great stuff for helmet awareness out there. Life is dangerous enough as it is, why tempt fate?