Archive for February 20th, 2012

Blessing: Driving Mare

amywink February 20th, 2012

I also had a lovely surprise on Saturday. Blessing has learned to pull a tire! It’s been two weeks since I’ve seen her work and she’s improved her directional understanding and her “whoa”– which at last viewing, she had deemed merely as a polite suggestion rather than a hard and fast rule of equine deportment. No longer. she has a good stop and appears quite confident in her directions, moving without the furrowed brow of concentration.

She seems quite engaged in her training as well and inspected the tire quite rigorously, giving it a good kick as well as a bite, before settling down to business.

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She didn’t bat an eye at the some-what snake-y sound the tire made following her around the round pen.
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She’s also beginning to look remarkably like her brother:
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After her workout, we measured her and she sticks at 14′2 almost 14′3, the height of her brother. I may have a matched pair after all!

Ride to Drive

amywink February 20th, 2012

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This is the lovely Dol on a sunny day earlier in the month. In the midst of Saturday’s rain storms, I had my third riding lesson with her– in the cozy and covered arena. It is certainly a good time to take up a horsey activity that can be conducted indoors. I am leaning toward being very tired of the rain, though we now have an Official “Much Improved” outlook for the drought through May. I will keep riding if it keeps raining–though really, I am unlikely to stop riding even if it’s not raining!

I am gaining confidence and strength with my third lesson and many things are clicking into place–leg position, foot position, seat position as I get more and more relaxed in the saddle. My hands, it seems, need the least adjustment. Whew. I’m also not nearly as sore as when I began! Morning yoga has definitely helped.

At my last lesson, I noticed how much more swiftly I could tell what issue Dol and I were having and quickly correct it–getting deep into the corners and bending in the turn, for example, which can be Quite A Lengthy Discussion while we drive. It’s also becoming clear how she gathers her entire body to move correctly forward, rather than simply faking it with a nicely curved neck. Of course, it’s quite different than the experience from the box seat. Instead of watching her gather herself correctly, I can feel her collect her body and feel her elasticity in the movement. Once I get back to driving, I suspect this will enhance my interpretations of what I am seeing as well.

My obsession with driving the perfect circle did pay off yesterday when Malen asked me to trot a 20 meter circle and I was able to do it! Everything Francine taught me about driving the circle translated to riding the circle. Riding the circle underscored the importance of excellent body posture to create the circle. My tendency to lean forward and into the circle while driving is not at all practical in the saddle and thus was instantly corrected!

I have to admit that when I started my riding lessons, I thought my riding goals would be minimal and mainly a single one: stay on. But now, just a very short way into the journey, I have tripped some cognitive switch and the links between riding and driving are suddenly illuminated and the way once dimly lit now blazes much more intensely.