Horsey Therapist

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Horse time

I have the time. I claim to have the inclination. My current goal? To live my dream. Instead of feeling envious of a friend who rides 10 horses a day, I can start right here at home and ride up to six a day! Clever of me, eh?

Last Tuesday, Soli -- the been-there-done-that Haflinger rock, errr, I mean, tank, errr, I mean pony -- volunteered when I went looking for a horse to ride. I had thought I'd ride Rusty again and see if I can make progress on the move-with-life aspect of our rides. But there was Soli and heck, I haven't ridden him in ages, and he might be just the one for a simple equitation focus. Which he was! More light and responsive than I was expecting, and I only had a short time for riding so I didn't push him to carry me on and on and on. I stretched my hips at the walk and practiced a large, controlled posting motion, and that was about it.

Wednesday it was Bo and Sofia who got my attention. First I groomed them, then I trimmed their feet. Then I saddled them, each in one of our western saddles, and took them out to the arena. Sun! Warm air! Delightful winter day.

The biggest horse here paired up with the smallest horse here. What a pair. Actually, if it were up to her, she'd hang out with some of the other horses as she gets along with them all. But dear little Napoleanic insecure Bo drives her away from anyone she approaches, myself excluded. I think he thought about that once...

I left with more questions than answers after time with Sofia. She has so much draft in her, if the world went her way, there would never be a reason to hurry anywhere. So what does she think of me when I ask her to liven up and heck, go someplace?!

I remembered part way through my ride with her to have a purpose. First we checked the metal caps on some fence posts around the arena. Then we 'hurried' from one gate to the other, where we rested, then I had to 'hurry' to the other gate again. We ended with some medium trot strides -- hmmm, maybe 6 or 7? A big progress as she trotted off relatively easily and her ears went from listening to forward for most of those strides.

One question I sit with (and sometimes I'm actually sitting, going nowhere) is how to get some changes without offending the horse. Groundwork or riding, with Sofia it's la la la la (laid back) then whaaaaaaa??????? (worried but moving). I've seen her act differently, really I have, but I feel so uncreative at times, unable to motivate her to take me places.

But that doesn't stop me from trying!


At 11 January, 2007 13:56, Blogger ZinniaZ said...

the only way I have found to motivate a slow horse to want to move is to do frequent walk trot transitions. actually, a step back form that-- start with walk halt transitions. about five steps of walk, then halt. five steps of walk, halt. i go around the arena a FEW times doing that. then the horse likes the idea of walking. Then the same thing in trot, about ten steps of walk, then ten of trot, ten of walk, ten of trot. if you do that for even five minutes, the horse will be much more interested in trotting. it gives them a lot of GO. i do not know why. i think some of the secret is in fine tuning your body as you repeat the exercise. less hand, more seat for asking for the transitions. by the end you might be able to just tip your pelvis forward to downward transition and tip back with a very light leg or up. this builds energy like nothing else. happy energy that a whip cannot create.

At 11 January, 2007 18:05, Blogger LJB said...

I will give this a try!


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