dancing horses

dancing horses

Saturday, October 24, 2015

I Ride Irish

First of all, let me say that I have been riding Carmen pretty regularly. She's really doing well. Not that every moment is awesome but she's trying.
 And I'm trying.
 And we both appreciate that the other is trying.

Yesterday she gave a startle and a scoot forward. Rather than grab with my legs and hands generally being stiff- this time I was able to stay relaxed. As we lunged forward I said: "this is not what I had in mind. Where are we going?"
Carmen: The trolls are shooting arrows at us- something hit me in my nether regions. Thank heavens I save us
Me: That was the leaves blowing off the tree. Not Trolls. 
Carmen: oh. .... Let's never speak of it again. 

And back to work we went. Today she was a bit tenser and more distractible but also more responsive. Later in the ride I asked for a canter and she leapt forward into a tense and scambly canter. My body immediately tensed in result but my brain knows that one of us has to relax and it has to be me. My body, however, thought that my brain was an idiot. So as we cantered along I first engaged my core, that stabilized my seat. After that i could relax my legs to they were following and then, at last, I got my hands to follow her movement and not grab. As soon as I got it all together she relaxed into her canter and we could work on bend and maintaining rhythm. Roz comes tomorrow to give us a lesson and I cannot wait for our next bit of homework.

After we were done I took her back to the barn. Irish was already in his stall. Cynthia has not been feeling well so couldn't ride. When I had two geldings they kept each other exercised. But I've come to realize that mares don't run around for fun like geldings do. At least Carmen doesn't. Irish needs some exercise and I had been planning to go for a run but I realized that instead I could take the old guy out for  spin. Both he and Carmen looked surprised when I brought him out to get him ready.
Carmen: hey. this is weird 
Irish: I know. I hope she's just grooming me. ...Nope there goes the saddle. 
Carmen: but she only rides me! 
Me: It will be fun Irish. 
Irish: *sigh*

It took me a bit to get used to the feel of him. It's VERY different from Carmen. He was stiff, of course. I got to work on getting him to loosen up through changes of bend and some simple leg yields. Right away I noticed that he was quite happy to rest the weight of his head on my hands. Ow. so through the whole ride I kept reinforcing that he was to carry his own head - like he does all the time when not being ridden. Also there was to be no cheating on the outside rein. As long as it stays consistent so does he. Slowly we worked up to leg yielding through trot, carrying his own damn head, and transitioning up and down. I noticed that I had a much easier time sitting his trot than I used to. That meant that he was not tense. We finished up with some beautiful simple changes of lead through trot both ways and shoulder in/haunches in at a walk. Carmen gave a few plaintive whinnies while we  were working but was not too stressed by us being gone.

Given that he's not super fit it was a good work out. I enjoyed being able to get on him and work on some things. I think we both enjoyed ourselves. I will have to ride him more often.

I'm still your favourite, right? quick answer before she gets here. 

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