Oh my Goodness, I am a blogging machine. I have this desire to get everything I am thinking, feeling, witnessing, written down so I can go back to it later on when shit falls apart again. With horses, this moment is inevitable - just a matter of when.
But for now, I bask in the glory of having a wonderfully sweet, comfortable, soft, standardbred gelding. Yes, I said comfortable.
My eyes are all big and dewy. Its love, plain and simple.
Last night was a short, but great ride. I love that I can get to the barn, fetch my trusty (yes, very trusty) steed, groom, tack up and be on his back in no time at all. I guess I am used to having green horses who can't be caught, stand for grooming or tacking, must have groundwork before getting on - etc- the whole process is time consuming, and the actual ride is quite short. I like this version much, much better.
I started out doing my long-hole #7 walk warm up, and even that is getting better. I focused on letting go of all my tight muscles, while asking Ben to stretch down into loose contact, no more giraffe's at the barn. I think that rule has gone a long way in fixing some things about him too. I'm not forcing him to do anything, but I just done want him sticking his head up and twirling his head around like he loves to do. He can have all the rein he wants, he just has to be at level or stretching down.
Shortened back up to hole #5 and began our trot work - the softest warm up we've had to date. It was lovely really. We were sharing the arena with one other rider, so I was forced to do more circling. I realized that I don't mix it up nearly as much. No thinking part of my brain is turned on when I'm riding, unless it has to be - like when I am sharing the arena. I tend to get into a paralyzed numb state during which all I can compute are simple concepts like manipulating a body part - not to say the proper execution of moving that body part happens in a timely or correct manner.
But ah yes, with my brain tuned in a bit more, my body feeling loose, Ben feeling quite comfortable, we rode around. I worked on our transitions both up and down - using the television concept my trainer imparted on me last week. You know what, that shit works. Every time I think about "changing the channel" our transitions get better.
Another revelation I had while sharing the arena- I could carry on a conversation while trotting. THAT, my friends, is new for me on this horse. Not only do I have enough control of my horse to produce recognizable speech vs caveman-esque grunts and noises, I have enough wind to do so. How awesome is that?!
After our playing with transitions we attempted getting down the centerline again. Still not quite there, but closer, by a few feet. We can also halt squarely and trot off.
At this point, the hay truck came down our driveway with a few ton of lovely alfalfa - covered in scary blue tarps. Normally this is not a big deal as our hay barn is quite a ways from the arena...but this particular hay was getting stored close to the arena. While we were waiting for them to back in and position themselves, my friend and I rode around the arena in pairs at walk and trot, and made plans to do a Pas de Deux. Ben thought working in pairs was the most fun ever, as long as he had the outside track. The inside track is just too small for him in our arena.
I definitely feel like something about the pair of us has changed, for the better. No doubt we have a ton of work to do. But we're getting closer...