Archive for September 18th, 2009

Using the Outside Rein

amywink September 18th, 2009

I’ve been working on understanding Andy Marcoux’s article “The Outside Rein Demystified” (Driving Digest July/August 2008) since, oh, about July/ August 2008. Actually, I’ve taken to reading it again and again to see how much my conceptual understanding of driving has developed.

Last summer, I could understand about a third of it and the rest just made my head hurt. At the point where my understanding ended, I always felt like I’d just jumped off into the deep end of the pool without my waterwings. So, I’d shut the magazine and try again further down the road. Jerry O’Carroll and I actually discussed this article a great deal during my lessons last spring and by midspring, he was encouraging me to think about my turns as Andy had written about them (pg 17). So I went back to the article and read more, getting a little bit further, until I thought “Deep End! Deep END!” somewhere in the section called “How I Use the Outside Rein (Most of the Time) right around “please turn to page 31″.

Flounder, Flounder….

But I keep carrying this article around, every time I have time to spend sitting–waiting for my students to complete their essays or exams, waiting in doctor’s offices. Last week, I’d read further and understood further but had to leave the pool at the end of “Come Fly Away”.

Today, I had some time to sit and wait for my mother’s MRI (she’s fine, btw), and I got to the last section “Resisting Weight in Balance” and I found out I could finally swim in the deep end of the pool. Maybe not perfectly, but it was swimming and I was afloat! I read and re-read the section today, finally understanding what was happening with the outside rein and the turn:

“As you drive your horse, your outside rein acts as sustaining pressure. The horse counters that pressure by pulling it forward. If, at the same time, there is intermittent pressure on the inside rein for the horse to yield to, the result is a turn, and a bend away from the steady outside rein. That smacks right in the face of our mechanical instincts which tell us ‘pull left, turn left,’ so it can be difficult to convince our body to follow those instructions. Our challenge is to overcome those instincts and begin to communicate with our horses in a way that augments their balance.” (page 31)

Tomorrow, I’ll see if I can apply what I understood today!!

After The Rains

amywink September 18th, 2009

As much as I loved the rain and the resulting mud, I am happy to be getting back to driving tomorrow. Life interrupted this Friday’s planned drive this week for both Mary and I.

But, not tomorrow. Tomorrow, it’s back in the driver’s seat.

I hope Will is looking forward to it as well. He’s been extra frisky this week since the temperatures have cooled down considerably. Next week, we are looking at highs in the low 80’s again after a cold front arrives on the first day of autumn.

Last week’s rains have triggered new growth all over Taipan Station and the horses left their round bale for the pleasures of new grass. Wednesday, I walked the pasture with the dogs and looked over the changes in the pasture.

In the yard, the rains soaked the ground enough to get the mushrooms popping up all over.


Down by the stock tank, where water will eventually rise, I found what I think is Chinese Lantern.

Swarms of happy bees were feasting on the pale pink blooms of this plant in full bloom now. Any ideas?

And Wonder of Wonders, there’s water in the bottom. Here it is this week, after 4 inches of rain finally fell:
In August, this was all you could see:

I eventually found the horses at the far end of the back pasture, enjoying the sunshine and green grass.