Thursday, May 22, 2014


Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today?
Today is a gift. That's why they call it the present.     -Babtundi Olantonji
After our bout of on-again-off-again Not-Quite-Right-ness, you can imagine how grateful I am each time I saddle up and Fancy Pony is comfortable!

When riding dressage, it is easy to get caught up in micromanaging your horse's movements - quality of gait - balance - what have you.  To counteract that tendency, I try to warm up once in a while with NO DEMANDS.  Warming up is about getting the muscles and joints moving and fluid, right?
I take my reins in one hand at the buckle and hold the pommel of my saddle to avoid undue influences.  My only requirement is that my mount stay in the gait I have dictated.  The rest is up to them.  They choose direction, even!

So, after a few walk laps and long diagonals, I picked up the trot.  Fancy Pony lifted herself and floated away, carrying me along for the ride!  I reveled in the feeling of freedom!  She took us around the arena.  She took us across the diagonals.  She took us in circle and serpentines.  Then she took us over cross-rails!  It was totally her idea, and it was smooth as silk.

Then, we cantered...  She was quiet, slow, loose...  Swinging through her whole body...  Previous incarnations of this exercise featured a horse falling on her forehand and racing faster and faster as she tried to catch herself.  I laughed out loud as we cantered and cantered - and then she took another cross-rail!

That was to the left...  To the right, she was fast!  Not out of control, but on the verge of losing her balance and falling completely on her forehand.  When she took the cross-rails, she landed on the left lead.  Even if she was going to turn right, she landed on the left lead...  Eventually, I picked up my reins and micromanaged to get a right-lead landing.  It took 3 tries and required that I ask for bend - bend - bend through the body with each stride to the base of the fence.

I guess I know what we will be working on, now!
Without this periodic experiment, I wouldn't realize this was happening...

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