Monday, January 21, 2013

Sometimes Sun

In most cases, the reason lies in the hand that bothers the horse. But as we know, there cannot be a good hand without a good seat, which enables the rider to use the legs efficiently. This again is a prerequisite for good contact between rider and horse.-Kurd Albrecht von Ziegner
I am learning a lot as I am "teaching." It's amazing how much you can pick up by watching someone else do the wrong and the right things either well or poorly. The horses here are very hard to get forward and in front of the leg. It really takes a strong and confident rider. On certain horse/rider combos I feel like I spend at least a quarter of my time just waiting for the rider to get the horse into some kind of trot or at least more than a zombie walk. 

This has led to me doing a little extra riding the past week and a half. Makoto was so bad through my last couple of lessons that I finally got on him after one lesson and spent a good 20 minutes just making him move, bend and do lots and lots of transitions. He pretty much had no bend to the left at all when we started. I tell my students it isn't anything I'm really doing differently it is my body language. I am confident and my body language translates to the horses and therefor when I tell them to move they (mostly) move. It's something that just takes time to develop I'm realizing and I do keep telling my students that if they can master the horses here they will do very well when they get back to the states.

Makoto is exceptional at reading body language.
Anyways, why the sunshine you ask? Well, we've had some very beautiful days around here for a change. The rain has stayed away and on Saturday I had a no show so we decided to take some of the volunteer kids down to the beach. I rode Makoto and it was truly a lovely day. I even did some trotting in the Ocean. I'm still waiting for some pictures, though.

I've also been getting to ride Mocha a little more than usual as well. I've done three days of no-stirrup work and it is starting to feel a little more natural. I had an ah ha moment the last time I rode him. It may sound kind of no duh but I realized my thighs muscles are more for keeping myself in balance than for "holding onto" my horse. When I let my thighs relax a little bit and concentrate more on my balance I am able to ride without stirrups much longer without the huge muscle failure I was getting.

I've also been making myself do some riding with no-reins, specifically some jumping without the reins. It's amazing how difficult that is! The first couple of times my body had no idea what to do with itself. But today I was able to go over a crossrail to a vertical not only without my reins but with my arms out to my sides. Hopefully this will lead to me having a more independent seat/hand!

Also the horses got to go out ALL day on Saturday. The guy who rides Sky all the time appears to have given up the draw reins and in all things just seem to really be improving out at the barn. I know the horses will be so so so much happier if they get more turn out and Sky's life will be so so so much better without those d@*^ draw reins!!

And as if that weren't enough. I also found out that we should be leaving here a full two weeks earlier than we expected. I mean I know it is only two weeks but I was still doing a happy dance when I found out!

Just imagine the dance I'll be doing when we finally get to the states!


  1. Yes the mud terrible here!! I'm glad you're getting some nice weather though. Jumping without reins is one of the best exercises you can do to improve your seat while jumping... I need to do it again! My old trainer use to lunge me with no stirrups and my hands behind my back or doing different things, it was terrible but really helpful. Good luck! I could use some more of that torture though, I've lost lot of it training a baby. I hope loki gains some weight soon! Wiz was so fat he just got super skinny out of no where, although I'm sure its the weather and all the grass finally dying. Keep up the his work st the farm! I'm sure the kids really appreciate you

    1. Thanks!

      I wonder if Wiz hit a bit of a growth spurt as well? I can't remember how old he is exactly but sometimes they will lose weight suddenly when they are growing.

      Hopefully I'll get some updated pictures of Loki in a month or so looking a bit fatter.

    2. He's 4 and a half... buut, every one of his brothers and sisters has grown well into their fifth year. So its a good possibility. His sister just her big growth kick a few months ago, and she was born a few months before him (he was born in july- late for a baby!). So, could be. That's why I'm feeding him something with extra protein for now, to help him if he's growing.

      It's also time for worming, so hopefully after worming + food + supplements + regular exercise he'll be a fat sleep happy horse again ha. I hope Loki gets some weight on him soon! I can't wait till you get back and start working with him :)

  2. One great thing about jumping sans reins is it makes you use your body language to talk to the horse, from looking to the direction at which you want to travel, to using your weight to make a subtle course change. My instructor had me doing that in my lesson yday. I often forget to look the direction I want to go, but when I do remember to look, Athene has a much better turn. When it's an obvious turn, like down the centerline, I always look bc I want her to turn on her own, no reins applied at all, but I forget just going around the corner of the arena. The Swedish clinician I ride with, when he's here, always says, "Don't ask the horse to do something that you are not doing yourself, first." That applies to everything.

    What the heck happened to Mr. Draw Reins? I'm glad he's changed. And why did the horses get more turnout? Is someone new in charge there?

    1. I know what you mean about looking in the direction you want to go. It is one of those things that I feel like I'm telling some of my riders over and over again. If you look down guess where you're going to end up!

      I honestly don't know what has brought about all these changes but I'm pretty thankful for them. Everybody has been happier and friendlier lately people and horses.