Friday, March 7, 2014

Rainbows and Butterflies

I have too many things I want to write about right now. I want to share about our ski trip. It was a blast! and my husband had all kinds of cute quips comparing skiing to riding in order to help me ski better. I also want to participate in the blog hop created by L. Williams from Viva Carlos. But before I can do either of those things I have to write about my lesson today because it was AWESOME!
The weather today was in the mid-fifties which right now feels pretty close to perfect. I had to go out to my sister's place first as Ghazal and his buddies had a meeting with the farrier. I think I might need to start giving Ghazal a little bute before the farrier comes or something to help him. He behaves very well but he is having a hard time standing on three feet for any length of time. The old man is 25 years old this year.

After that I headed on over to see Loki and got saddled up. The first part of our ride was pretty uneventful other than we were riding outside for the first time in weeks(!). I sort of expected him to be pretty up but he was no more so than usual. As we warmed up Lori reminded me to do lots of changes of direction and to keep his mind focused on me. (I needed to be his birdie - Thanks for that one Cob Jockey) The more I got him focused on me and what we were doing the more he slowed his rhythm down and paid attention.

Next we worked on leg yields. First I need to make sure that Loki is straight and then ask him to move over then I had to ask him to go forward again. When we first started Loki moved over right away but that was more because Loki was happy to simply drift back to the rail and wasn't truly listening to my leg so that is why I had to make sure he only moved over a little and then forward again. It got better and better each time.

Finally from the leg yield we worked on canter and all I can say is that I have never ever felt this canter before. It was soft... it was magical. We worked both leads and to the right was not quite as soft but still much better than ever before. To the right has always been the harder direction for us.

After that we did do some jumping. At first Loki did get a little "fresh" and tried to rush, not a lot, but a noticeable amount. I had put a neck strap on and I made myself use it so after a few times over, once Loki realized I was NOT going to pull back on him he did start to settle and we moved on.

Finally we moved to a small vertical (about 2'3") and we trotted over it a few times. And this was another truly magical moment because we trotted the jump one last time and right after Loki was absolutely the softest I've ever felt. I wish I could explain the feeling but after we landed from the jump it was as if Loki paused and said "okay, what next, Mom" and I asked him to just canter a small circle and we ended on that very positive note. Our intern was watching and she commented that she had never seen Loki and I look so in sync before. Truly I was on cloud 9.

I know I'm not doing justice in my description. I don't feel like I rode any differently than normal other than using the neck strap when we jumped. It was just like something clicked into place. I hope we are able to build on it and that it isn't just a fluke of the moment!

Of course there are still plenty of things to work on. For one thing we only jumped single fences and I know that we will struggle again once we start putting courses together again. I also need to work on keeping my joints loose. Apparently I listened a little too well to the "keep your heels down" mantra. I tend to jam my heels down and lock my ankles which makes them pretty useless as shock absorbers.

I know there is so much more but this is already way too long. I just had to get it down so I can remember it. This is why I ride and why I love it so much, these moments when things just come together and as our intern said you get "in sync" with your horse. There is just something magical about it. (I've used that word a lot!) And I really wish I had gotten some pictures even though Loki was a sweaty stinky mess by the end. I am starting to wish I'd gone ahead and clipped him now that the weather is finally nice!