How I Spent My Birthday (June 1st):
Today I discovered the thrill of jumping into a blissfully warm swimming pool (but still cooler than the current outside temperature!) fully clothed. My French teacher hosts a picnic at her house at the end of the school year for her upperclassmen French students. I happily attended and spent the early afternoon having fun with my high school friends and discussing our excitement for tomorrow’s graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, I neglected to bring a swimsuit because I did not realize her pool would be open for swimming. The other guests, however, happily solved this problem for me. While dangling my feet into the water from the pool deck, I suddenly found myself falling though the air and hitting the water. I was not upset in the slightest. Who wouldn’t seize the opportunity to swim around for a few seconds…minutes…an hour? It’s a party! To make the occasion even better, today is my birthday! I turn eighteen years old today! (Guess what else? I share a birthday with Marilyn Monroe! Isn’t that neat?) After returning from the party and drying off from the impromptu swim my parents greeted me with a few wrapped boxes. Upon opening them I found a zebra striped tanktop and pajamas, a pair of jeans, a t-shirt that glows in the dark, and a plastic critter tote to keep my guppies in during tank cleaning or transportation. Finally, to finish off my day, Dad drove me over to the stable. I saddled up Adam and galloped around in the field. We sailed over a lot of the new cross-country jumps I stacked up during the past week. I am pleased to report that he tackled the 2’3″ jump behind the stable without any problems. When I find two perfectly sized logs I’ll raise it about two more inches. After clearing that jump, Adam pretty much understands where he is headed. He clears another fence on one side of the upper pasture before continuing up the hill. At the top of the hill sits my two newest jumps, the first eight inches high and a twelve inch one following it. Both fences will be raised to around 2 feet high once I haul enough logs over there to complete them. After completing today’s ride, I am pleased to report that Adam jumps rather well. He appears to understand the task expected of him and put effort into clearing fences.
My birthday was not the only special day celebrated during this week. Adam, as of Mat 30th, turned fourteen years old! Since school ended for seniors on the day before, I only had to attend a graduation practice in the morning. After practice I could spent any amount of time desired at the stable.
How Adam Spent His Birthday (May 30th):
Early in the morning, Adam presumably eats in the pasture. Since this is his most enjoyed activity, he spends as much time as possible consuming grass. When the temperature rises, he returns to the barn and stands in the shade besides Madam. He really does not care to leave. I arrive at the stable and carry my tack outside. Adam watches as I approach him with a lead rope, clip it to his halter, and lead him out of the stable. Before anything else I present him with a large carrot, fresh from our home refrigerator. Happy Birthday! Adam gleefully accepts my gift and it quickly disappears between his lips. I tack Adam up, close the stable door, and prepare to ride. Since there is an optional Senior Picnic held for my graduating class at a nearby park, I decide that Adam and I could take a nice trip along the roads and through the park. After making sure I bring a lead rope along and clip it to his halter/bridle, I lead Adam into the yard from the pasture. I lock the gate behind us, check my girth, and ride onto the road. Adam has not ventured along the road since his last county fair trip. He cautiously observes his surroundings and steadily travels along the familiar route to the park. He passes a barking dog, but this does not agitate him too much. Adam keeps walking, makes another turn, and continues past a farm with its pastures teeming with cows. The cows and Adam briefly exchange gazes from afar. Adam does not care too much. He begins to show annoyance after traveling a few more feet. After hearing noise from a large, loud piece of farm machinery Adam pins his ears and steps backwards. I urge him onward. Adam circles twice, tosses his head, and finally presses forward. He is within visible distance of the next intersection and, to his dispair, the upsetting machine. Adam, fed up with this travel plan, plants his four hooves firmly on the pavement. He refuses to move in any direction. Coaxing with my dressage whip does not entirely work. In the end, I have to dismount and push him around in the opposite direction. Walking him away from the terrible machine still does not fully calm him down. Fearful of getting thrown onto the road, I decide to walk Adam home instead of riding him again. When we return from the disastrous trip, I remount with plans to ride over cross-country jumps instead. Adam, however, desires to protest my decision. While riding in the lower pasture he scoots over to the gate and rubs his shoulder up against it. He looks out towards the road. This behavior is usually his way of expressing “I would really like to see what is out on the road today. Let’s go!” I keep Adam moving forward his attention switches back to the jump before him. He clears this one. By the end of his cross-country workout, sweat drips from nearly his entire body. After walking around the corral to cool down, I untack him. Then I hook up the garden hose to the pump and treat Adam to a bath. Adam, familiar with the hose, stands quietly. The bathing process indicates that today’s ride is over. Now he has the freedom to spend the day’s remainder either standing in the barn or eating. He stares at me with his comical bug eyes while I put all of my tack away, lock up the stable, and walk towards the van to drive home.
The ending to both birthday segments remains the same: jumping in the field! While it may not be Adam’s favorite activity, it sure beats walking past a petrifying farm machine.
Thank you, Adam, for fourteen years of great memories. I know we have many more spectacular stories ahead of us in the future.