A fresh start
February 5, 2011 Leave a comment
I believe that Winston Churchill is credited with the saying, “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.” Today was my first ride after a two week hiatus, and boy, it felt great. It wasn’t an eventful or even particularly sophisticated ride. But I am happy to report that my position is still solid, and I remember how to steer (with my inside leg and outside rein!)
I decided to capitalize on the time off by trying to erase the left-rein-hanging issues I’ve been having, hoping that the time off would also diminish learned responses from Maddie. So, I made a very focused effort to stay.off.that.left.rein while also not giving away the right rein. Going counterclockwise, I held that outside rein, kept my inside leg active, and made a point of giving the contact in the left rein continually.
Mads was clearly appreciative, stretching very nicely into contact. I encouraged her, giving her rein and riding her in a lower frame (we both need to regain fitness), and we went around with nice contact, and more importantly, a marked lack of neck-bracing and rein-hanging. Toward the end of the ride, I was really able to get her moving, adjusting her gait with half-halts, and alternately asking her for bigger and smaller strides. Despite the time off, she did really well, bringing her back up and rounding very nicely. I do love how sensitive this mare is, and wow, she really takes a half-halt well.
I’m looking forward to our ride tomorrow, and then am hoping to re-establish my routine this week, starting with a lesson on Monday. However, the weather doesn’t look like it’s going to cooperate fully – we have another stretch of hellaciously cold weather coming mid-week. My personal cut-off is 10 degrees – below that, I’m not interested in riding. But those cold nights are good for groundwork, so we’ll likely have some un-mounted work on Tuesday.