Friday, March 30, 2012

Fun at Fannin Hill Farm

A couple weeks ago, my trainer took a small group of us to Fannin Hill Farm where we schooled our horses over cross country jumps, or in my case, practiced trotting over and jumping small obstacles. (Baby steps!) I’ve been to Fannin Hill several times before, and Tank and I always have a blast there—I don’t know if it’s the change of scenery or what, but we usually wind up riding at a higher level than we do at home. Like people, horses like a change of pace, so usually we all—horses and humans—have a terrific time. This day was no different. (Special thanks to Holly Bryan for sharing her photos from the day.)

Me and Tank

 For me, Fannin Hill is the perfect combination of challenge and safety. Each section of the farm has a number of jumps of various sizes and styles and plenty of room for each rider to jump or not as she sees fit. If you’re not jumping, you can trot or canter on the flat, or simply hang out and watch the others. You’re never too far away from “the herd” so your horse doesn’t get anxious about being left behind, as he might on a trail ride. There are also hills to walk up and down (good conditioning for the horse). At Fannin Hill, I’m more easily able to step outside my comfort zone—maybe because of the extra adrenaline or the element of trying to keep up with girls who could be my daughters!



Doesn't Tank have a beautiful face?
My lesson buddy Emily, with Jessie:



All dressed up to go home (in protective shipping boots and helmet):


The positive effects of a visit to Fannin Hill carry over into my riding at home—I have more confidence in myself and my horse and we usually take a step forward in our work together. And what could be more fun than spending time with my horse and some of my horsey friends? As Gayle, our trainer said, “Aren’t horses the best hobby ever?!”

What have you done just for fun lately? Did you step outside your comfort zone? What did you learn?

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8 comments:

Claire M said...

The first thing that comes to mind for me that is similar to your working with your horse in this special environment -- is when I flew to New Orleans by myself to be with you, Laure and others in a special environment to practice our sketching, painting, and journaling. It also gave me more confidence to do pages on my own once I returned home.

Your experience with Tank sounds so fun!!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Claire--I treasure experiences like New Orleans and Fannin Hill. They're fun in and of themselves, and have lasting effects--just like you've found following New Orleans.

Timaree said...

I can imagine it wouldn't be easy to find places to go with a horse to meet with people too. I have a big dog and she isn't welcome everywhere. She is nowhere as large as your horse either!

I painted my nails a pretty blue today and added flower stickers on a few of them. Although I am painting them to keep myself from biting them, it was more for fun doing blue and stickers!

Cheryl Gebhart said...

Your friend got some great shots of you and Tank. It sounds and looks like you had a great time. I never knew you had to put protective boots and helmet on a horse, but it makes sense.

Laure Ferlita said...

Great shots of what looks like a phenomenally fun day!

I've always been curious about the effect of a different environment and how it inspires us to a new level, whether is horseback riding, sketching, hiking or something else.

Thanks for sharing your day!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Timaree--You're right, it's not easy to find places to take horses. There is a growing lack of open space that can be used for trail riding in particular.

Your nails sound beautiful--that's a great way to work on changing a habit!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Cheryl--We did have a great time. I'll pass your compliment on to Holly!

A horse trailer can be a dangerous place--very easy for a horse to get kicked or stepped on, or if he's tall enough, to bump his head. And that's not even taking into account the possibility of there being an accident!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Laure--You're welcome! It was awesome. I think a change of scenery is usually inspiring and takes us out of our ruts, so our creativity can flourish. I need to do it more often.