Sunday, February 27, 2011

Where Does She Get These Ideas?

Last Saturday, Cowgirl Slim was lobbying me to give her Chief for her 16th birthday this summer. Chief pretty much exists at my farm for Cowgirl Slim's benefit. She's able to use him exclusively and at will, in trade for her work as my barn baby.

A barn baby is like an unpaid internship. You work, you ride, you do whatever you're told. In exchange, you learn a tremendous amount about horses. Cowgirl Slim is entering her third year as my barn baby.

I have one barn baby at a time. I choose who it is. It is a demanding, but special relationship. It takes a lot of my time, but it is a pay it forward for all that's been done for me by RW and the vet from my childhood who taught me to ride. It is demanding of the barn baby as well. I am a perfectionist. I want things done right. I don't tolerate whining. I want that person to give it their all, every day. In return, I'll teach that person everything I know...if they stick around long enough.

I've only had two barn babies--Cowgirl Slim and Cowgirl Moe. They are awesome girls. Moe went on to hunter-jumper showing and fox hunting. I'm proud of her, but I still miss her. Moe was with me for two years. Slim came along as a student and then became barn baby about two months after Moe left for a show barn. I couldn't have asked for better barn babies, albeit two very different girls.

Moe had her own horse. She was a boarder initially. Slim does not have her own horse. Slim was at a place in her horsemanship where she needed to have a relationship with one horse that she was responsible for in order to see the results of her actions and as a mirror to her development. She needed a horse who was already trained to start from scratch with--what he knows of the farm and what's expected of him comes from her.

RW got me Chief. On the day he was delivered, Slim was the first one to ride him. I think I've only ridden him twice. He needs to be hers as much as possible.

Slim and Chief have a love hate relationship. They love each other, but I think Slim sometimes hates how much trouble he can be. It's a direct reflection of how much she works with him. When she's spending a lot of time with him, he's great. When she doesn't spend a lot of time with him, he's a pain. It's a lot like kids--you get out what you put in.

So, last Saturday, Slim and Chief were having a good day. She said,"You should give him to me for my 16th birthday. You know, as my sweet 16 present."

"Oh yeah? I should give him to you, huh? Do you have $5,000 a year to keep him up? Besides, you know I'll never give him to you outright. I may sell him to you for a good deal, but I'm not just giving him to you."

"I'll ask my parents. But, you really wouldn't give him to me?"

"No. Well, if something bad happened to me, I'd leave a note that he's yours."

"Like if you went in the witness protection program I could have him?"

"Yeah, if I go in the witness protection program, I'll leave a note saying he's yours. Just come load up the corral panels and take him home."

The conversation continued on. I won't burden you with the rest of the ludicrous requests if I end-up in the witness protection program. I have no need to worry about being in such circumstances. So, I'm left wondering, "Where does she get these ideas?"

Thanks for reading! Have a nice Sunday!

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