Horsey Therapist

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Riding in the snow

It was warm despite the snow falling. Quiet really, a Sunday afternoon with little traffic passing by. I rode Sofia again. Thanks, Sweetheart, for volunteering to join me again today! Although I wonder if she volunteers because she knows it means time away from little Bo who is relentless about keeping her away from the other horses, except those few times when Kacee joins them. Picture Kacee in heat and Rusty inattentive or in some unusual condition such that he lets her wander off.

Our ride was a delightful continuation of yesterday's ride. Her walk was freer, her transitions into trotting were easier, her time spent trotting was longer, and most importantly, she was emotional comfortable with most of my requests. I am starting to imagine what she'll feel like when I ride her on a flat, even surface. I suspect the rutty, frozen sandy footing is not the most pleasant thing she's travelled over! I added some posting trot today, which bothered her a little. She is extremely sensitive to my body position -- will stop on a dime if I shift forward or to the side.

I'm still riding her in halter and lead rope, and today did some steering, experimenting with 'educating her neck', a phrase I think I picked up from Leslie Desmond. The information from the 'reins' on the horse's neck can tell them direction of head and neck, and lift of withers/elevation. I'm sure there is more to this and will share when I learn about it. Meanwhile, if I energize the outside rein a little, that is enough to initiate a turn to the inside. Likewise, if I pick up on the reins, Sofia is getting ready, lifting her withers, engaging her mind, and most of the time waiting for directions from me -- forward, backward, left or right.

I look forward to when she is steady with a posting trot as she's a big horse with big strides and I'm eager to learn to ride that well, in addition to riding the shorter strides of the short-backed Morgan trot offered by another of my favorite horses.


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