Thursday, February 21, 2013
A Girl of Steel
Kelly put up the round pen by herself. She said, “That’s it; I’m not waiting anymore.” We’d been here for two months but hadn’t been able to get to it. We had to put up fences, bulldoze dirt, and find places to put all the stuff sitting in the middle of the barn that we used to keep in the garage because we don’t have a garage here yet. We had to paint, unclog bathtubs, fix windows, change faucets, and put up a mailbox. (The mailbox might have been a bad idea because it was promptly stuffed with bills.) We had to repair the washing machine (washing machines are always broke when I move to new houses, even if they are brand new, which made me madder at Slow Bob for extorting me for mine), install a dishwasher, and change light fixtures and light bulbs high up on the roof of the barn so we could see where we were walking at night.
I’m not even talking about the unpacking. I’m not talking about finding hay, a farrier, a vet, a doctor for the humans, the dump, a new bank, an oil company, and motor vehicle where we went back and forth a half dozen times to change our licenses, registrations, and get the vehicles inspected. Of course the van failed because Kurt didn’t get all dressed up and lead the guy on like I did. So then we had to find a new car mechanic. I still don’t have one of the trailers done. It still has Virginia plates on it and is, in fact, illegal. So the round pen was low priority.
But Kelly was itching to ride because it turns out we’re in a real horse community and she joined the 4-H club and Future Farmers of America and made friends with the other girls in town who wear blinged-out belts, pink camouflage caps, and barrel race like she does.
But I wouldn’t let her get on any of the horses until they’d been worked in the round pen first. They had been sitting around for months twiddling their thumbs while we packed and unpacked and were jumping out of their skin being in a new place and on a busy road where a whooshing car made them all throw up their heads and take off. The perimeter of the property was not fenced in yet so there was no safe place to ride if someone bucked while Kelly was texting and she fell off. Even though she swears she never texts when she rides.
I’m a worrywart mommy. She’s got the helmet and the emergency-release stirrups and I insist on working a horse in the round pen first after he’s been off from work for any length of time. It’s not the same as on a lunge line. In the round pen, they can really blow off steam. At the least, you can see what you’ve got under the hood. Some people might say I’m overprotective. I don’t care. It’s a dangerous sport. She’s lucky she’s riding period.
So she put up a whole sixty-foot, steel round pen by herself. She had to drag it over, panel by panel, from the other side of the yard. I have no idea how she got it started and got the first panel up. You have to hold the first one up so you can attach the next one to it. Then you angle them like a Hallmark card to keep them standing while you get the third one. You can’t angle one panel all by itself so I don’t know how she did it. It’s a job for two men! But it’s up now and she’s been riding. She rides most days, trying to get her horse conditioned so that she’s ready for the barrel racing season.
Now I have to figure out how to get her to put the stall mats down. I’m thinking, how can I link the stall mats to the prom?