Friday, June 17, 2011

Surgery and Horses

 I was up at 530 this morning, to take Ken in to the Surgery Center (what?  You can't call it a hospital any more?) so that his knee could be operated on.  Considering that it's been over 6 years since his first knee was fixed up, I think it's pretty good longevity for him to have been tooling around on his last remaining 'original knee' this long.  A lifetime of basketball catching up on him as he approaches 50.  Not so bad.
Of course, you like how I made this all about me?  *I* had to get up at 530.  *I* had to drive to the surgery center.  *I* had to go to the pharmacy to fill his prescription.  Heh.  Boo hoo for me.

Truth be told, I should get up at 530 every day.  I already got so much done!  I still have to switch the bedroom around, so that Ken can sleep on my side of the bed, and be closer to the bathroom.  That entails me moving the mountain of crap from my side of the bed, too.  Now it's time to get the violins out.  Play a sad, sad little hard-knocks-life tune for me.  This is gonna be a mountain of work.  And I'd better get moving.  Looks like he'll be ready to be picked up at 10.

Too bad I won't be able to get him then.  I'll be off to Half Moon Bay, dropping Kelly off at her English Riding lessons.  We found a new place to go.  A friend of mine recommended this Therapy Horse barn, that also does lessons, and it's FANTASTIC!  I took Kelly out there on the weekend for an 'evaluation', and she loved it.  I guess when you sign up for an "Evaluation", it goes both ways.  The program director took Kelly through her paces (such as they were, as she'd never been in an English Saddle before) on a dressage pony, evaluating her skill set, and what she needs to learn, and Kelly (and I) got to evaluate the facility, and decide whether it suited our needs.

It did.


First, they saddled up Bob the Wonder Pony, and Kelly got a lesson in how to measure stirrups.  Apparently, you can get a good idea by making a fist, and when you punch the saddle, the stirrup should hit your armpit.

Then it was up into the saddle, to see if she could walk without falling off.

Good so far.  Let's see what chaos we can breed when we move up to a trot...

I know that the purpose of these lessons is to sell the ranch, and make you feel like if you just invest heavily, you can be the next Olympic hunter-jumper champion, or some such rot, but this woman was SO encouraging, and SO positive about Kelly's abilities.  I don't think Kelly's smile could get any bigger, as she was being praised left and right.

The teacher really put her through the paces.  Walk, trot, canter, and right up to counting the strides in preparation for jumping  (oh, when Kelly was asked 'what your goals are, with riding', her response was "I'd like to be able to jump"  Jump?  What?  Does our insurance cover that, honey?  Are you certain?).

The director took Kelly on a tour of the facility.  Did they walk?   Heck no!  "What?   Dismount?  You came here to ride, right, Kelly?"

It's a great place.  Built onto the side of a hill.

And did I mention the goats?  They're hilarious little ranch managers.

I was impressed.  Enough to ask about vacancies in the summer camps.  I guess they're having really low enrollment this summer because they don't offer full-day camps, just half-day intensive riding lessons, so there's availability in nearly all the weeks.  Including a "Learn to Play Polo" camp.  Hmmm.  The volunteer polo instructors were there when we were talking at the end of the lessons, and they introduced Kelly to their two 'retired polo ponies' that live at the ranch, and encouraged Kelly to step into a new adventure and learn Polo.

Maybe at the end of the summer.  For now, we're just doing a last-minute sign-up for this week of English Riding Camp.

She keeps saying how lucky she is.  How great I am (to which I say "Thank your father.  He's the one paying for it".  Heh), and how much fun this summer is going to be.  And she's plotting to see how she can get all her friends to come to this ranch, too.  A number of her friends take riding lessons, but the places that they go are either (a) more than a 40 minute drive away, and/or (b) freakishly expensive.  I'm hoping that this place will be reasonable, because it took me EIGHT MINUTES to get there yesterday.

They take really good care of their horses, too.  I like to see that.  I kind of wish that the place she goes trail riding had that time of time and commitment to the horses.  Maybe this will encourage her to work for change at that place, too.

It's a great find, nestled into the foggy coastal hills.  Kelly's already ready to go back, and there's still an hour before camp starts today.

Coco says "Y'all come back now, ya hear?"

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