Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Three rides to talk about. I really need to get in the habit of updating this more regularly but oh well!

The first was last Thursday, I went up to Gentle Giants and rode Carley. Well, first I brought horses in from the field, hayed and watered, then I rode Carley. We had a really good ride, which I was pleased about. Near the end, I gave her a loose rein and tried steering her with just my leg and seat. Which was sort of hit or miss but I think she got the concept, she was just more interested in going the direction she wanted to go.

I've been keeping my rides out at GG to around a half hour or so. I guess I could make them longer but I always feel like I might be taking advantage or something. That and I sort of get to be at a loss for things to do. I hate to just make them trot around and around the arena. I suppose next time I should think ahead and set up trot poles. Or visualize us doing serpentines and smaller circles and things like that to keep it interesting. And gait transitions.

Yeah, I think about all this stuff now....

Probably a big part of it is that I'm still very much a student and very much in "listen for what the instructor tells you to do" mode and feel weird having a whole arena to myself and having to make it up as I go along.

What do you do when you're just riding in the arena?

Other than that, Monday was riding lesson day at Columbia Horse Center. I had thought I was going to ride Confetti (one of the "Intermediate" horses) but a few last minute changes apparently led to me riding Valentine (one of the first horses I rode there. He's a dear old boy. And apparently used to do some pretty high level dressage which is cool.) instead. Which was a good thing because in a class of six people? Only two of the horses that night were "leaders". Valentine and one of the others. So Valentine and I ended up in front for most of the night. But at least he's quite willing to be there and I didn't have to push him about it. Didn't even need to be carrying my crop, really.

My favorite part was near the end when we had to pull our stirrups up over the saddle and work on a sitting trot with no stirrups. Kristy mentioned that Valentine was likely the bounciest in the group but she didn't think I'd have a problem with it. And I didn't! (My sitting trot used to be horrendous, bouncing all over the place, so I'm really pleased that it's become easier for me.) I still wouldn't want to ride Mickey's trot sitting (pogo stick!) but I feel better about doing it in general.

Last night was back to Gentle Giants where I rode Treadway for the first time. He's also a nice old boy. Twenty years old, Percheron cross, former eventer. And apparently he has a hard mouth and very light sides.

We spent the entire (no more than twenty minutes) ride trotting. Except for right at the beginning when I mostly got him to walk around the arena both directions. He was determined to trot. He'd even trot verrrrry slowly so it was "like" walking but...two beat gait. I posted about it here.

Eventually it seemed to be we were both getting more frustrated with each other than anything. Me feeling like I had to really hold him in and hang off his mouth and him wanting to go. I got a good suggestions in the thread I linked to that I'll try next time we ride. Relax, take my leg off him more, shorter half halts. (It's quite possible I wasn't "squeeze-releasing" as much as I thought I was so he was just getting continual pull.) I'm also going to ask someone to really stay in there and watch, at least for a few minutes, and remind me of the stuff I should be doing. ;)

That said, I figure I'll be riding Big Red tomorrow. May depend on how early I get there. Early enough and I could ride before evening lessons and then again after. Hmmm.

Sailor seems to have an adopter. This has produced mixed feelings. I'll have to give him extra love until he goes.

That's the only problem with being at a horse rescue. The horses aren't supposed to stick around. So you grow attached and then have to say goodbye. Which I knew going in but still.

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