On the way into the arena, my horse manages to grab a nibble of the rose bush, almost every single time. My trainer marches my horse right past the rose bush. . . . While I am still meandering around the arena in a stretching trot frame, my trainer is doing leg yields, serpentines, spiral circles, shoulder-in’s, and other bending exercisesRead More
. . . Usually, my physical body has to play catch up with my mental acquisition. The ironic part of my circle frustration was that until my body proved it could be done, my brain refused to accept the concept that I could keep my horse on the circle through using my outside leg and rein aids. . . .Read More
. . . But today, I figured something out . . . the constant stress had translated into physical tension and was making my riding deteriorate. . . . I had always assumed riding helped me release tension; it was humbling to realize and understand that instead of expecting my horse to absorb my stress, I have a responsibility as a rider to come to the barn without dragging the stress of my life with me in a tension-locked body.
. . . I decided to be like a frog; I literally took my outside thigh away from the saddle in a highly exaggerated release of leg, and at the same time, I pressed my lower leg firmly against my horse’s side and – WOW! . . . I practically fell off my horse as I hugged him from the saddle, laughing and crying at the same time.Read More
Quick quiz: You put your friend, your husband, your daughter, your niece, anyone on a horse for the first time. What is the first thing you teach them? You give them the reins and say: Kick to start. Pull left to go left and pull right to go right. Pull both to stop. Right? Of course that is what you do, no matter what you know. . . .I was never taught that there might be another method in which to communicate with my horse. . . .Read More
. . .The feeling of an effortless flying change is one of those almost indescribable moments in time. . . .Today, I gave my horse a liniment bath and walked him back out to his pasture, quietly savoring one more step on my journey. I now know that today is still a beginning. I have more flying changes to ride tomorrow.Read More
. . . Simply put, without gripping or holding on, I had no notion of how to sit in balance on top of a moving object with an opinion that rarely matched mine regarding gait, speed, and direction. . . .Read More
When the rains stops Universo and I will head out the arena gate . . . Inevitably, we encounter deer and wild turkeys taking advantage of this small oasis in the middle of neighborhood construction. Once we stopped and shared stares with a hawk sitting on a fence post. Another time, a fox ran across the driveway. An occasional turtle sunbathes on a log and frogs jump into pond scum just in front of Universo’s hooves . . .Read More
Today my mental epiphanies began to translate into physical epiphanies.
This morning I drove to the barn determined to ride with a positive attitude and an open mind. I wanted my open mind to examine my body and my horse’s responses when riding; I decided to listen to myself and my horse.Read More
My instructor says that I should be able to ride a flying change whenever and wherever I want to in the arena . . However, Universo takes over and changes whenever and wherever he wants to in the arena.Read More
Then there was that one magical moment in my lesson: My stomach muscles held and my seat deepened as my legs continued to drive into my resisting rein aid, the minute I felt the hesitation of my horse, I released my holding seat, and used a driving leg into a yielding rein - and, the result was incredible! I felt my whole horse’s body change as the hindquarters lowered creating more engagement and lighter steps.Read More
…Okay, here I go. I am cantering down the long side of the arena. Now I am concentrating on holding with my seat. About the time I reach the corner and round the long side, I am concentrating using my driving leg aid, and then I remember to hold with rein. Down the next long side, I release the rein or provide an opening with my hands, drive with my legs, and at the last minute, remember to open my hips and allow the increase in motion, which I think I was actually supposed to do first, since the order of sequence is always: seat, leg, rein. Apparently, it takes me roughly one lap around the arena to half-halt! I don’t know how I am ever going to execute one single half-halt before the corner, much less the multiple ones that my instructor is asking me to execute around the arena…Read More
I keep on learning new skills! But, once again, the skill of applying the leg aid it is not as easy as it sounds. We started by working on my seat. Then we focused on my legs. After all of my body parts were moving in concert with each other and following my horse’s motion, I could concentrate on closing my legs for a canter leg aid. For me, it helps to feel like I wrap my legs around my horse’s barrel and pick him up under my seat using my legs. Now I feel like I am making the canter happen with some control over the length of stride and activity vs simply following the canter. I have leg aids in canter!Read More