Wednesday, December 12, 2012

on-going process

Also known as: it is about the journey, not the destination

I haven’t been in the saddle for a couple weeks. I’ve been in pain. I did ride bareback last week!

At the walk.

For 15 minutes.

Then I was done.

So, my physical therapist says my sacroiliac joints are out of whack. The left one moves too much, and the right one doesn’t move enough. The solution to this? Strengthen my core. *sigh*

I’ve been strengthening my core since 2003.

So, let the healing process begin. It will be slow. Painfully slow. Because my day job requires me to sit.

At a desk.

All day.

I’m still measuring progress by whether or not I can put my own socks on. Once I can put my own socks on, progress will be measured by whether or not I need to medicate on a given day. In the meantime, I’m left to train in my mind.

I’ve been training with Jean Froissard. He has been expounding on the differences between the French and German schools while demonstrating how they are both classical horsemanship. He also breaks down, very simply, the purpose of each aid for a given movement. That doesn’t mean the horse is going to do what you asked if you use the aids just so… Which is why he also explains the building blocks to teaching your horse how to respond properly to each of this aids! Yes, Yes. I’m reading his book. I am still mentally processing his explanation of the “5 rein aids.” He describes the outside rein acting as a “neck rein” which flipped a switch in my brain and resulted in one of those ‘AHA!’ moments. Having Western riding experience, it made perfect and completed the picture of how to encourage the horse to “fill the outside rein” with his neck.

I’m also training with Jane Savoie! She makes great information available through her website and weekly e-mailings. One can only apply so many new tid-bits at a time, so it’s nice to have the weekly letter with some new idea or even just a reminder of what you should already know. Jane is a big fan of testing to make sure the horse is holding up his end of the responsibility.

I rode again this week. Bareback. I knew it wouldn’t be a long ride, and my horse is so fluffy and warm…

Anyway, since I knew I would be limited to mostly walking and a tiny amount of trot, I tried to focus on testing our basics. Is he truly on the bit? I apply the connecting aids, and then I feel the lift and give, so I slacken my inside rein. He stayed bent and on the bit! For something like 7 or 8 strides!! On top of that, I felt as he started to give it up (before he totally lost it), so I could apply the aids again. I’m sure he was confused by that slack inside rein, but I always forget to test that super-basic tenant. Lucky for me, the old man is usually happy to play along with whatever craziness I throw at him. He’s not thrilled with the walk-only work. His favorite gait is canter. So, he is not-so-patiently waiting for us to get back to more interesting work…

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