Horsey Therapist

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The mares today

I kept in mind some things I heard from Libby Lyman last night, during my rides today on Sofia and Kacee. Both rides went really well.

Although Libby described riding on a dirt road type trail, I had to create mentally a trail in the arena because that is where I am riding. So I mentally defined an area from the arena fence to about 6' in as 'the trail', and then gave Sofia full power to take me along that route. When she veered, I let her veer until she was 'off the trail' then I asked her to think back to the trail.

I realized how much she's accustomed to making decisions, living most of her life in the herd without much time getting with human plans. It's fun to witness her progress as she finds she can let go of her ideas and have a perfectly pleasant time going along with mine. I'm learning how to set it up and wait for her to let go, not forcing the issue, but maybe upping my energy if she gets heavy on a rein. That seems to help her find it sooner.

I also realized once she finds an answer, she'll assume I'm going to ask the same question, and offers the same answer. It took effort for her to let go of the idea to repeat an action we had just done. In other words, she's not just traveling with me wondering 'where now'?

So, riding the line today meant riding the path. Sticking to a line would feel too constricted and would set me up to be correcting too soon, too often. It made sense while I was doing it though I'm not sure I'm communicating it well right now.

Another thing I played with based on listening to Libby was waiting until I felt Sofia commited to slowing down, before I asked her for more speed again. That was interesting to be thinking about as I rode. She gave me lots of trotting today!

Regarding saddles: Sofia did fine in the western today, and Kacee did well in the dressage. Although I felt tilted forward -- uncomfortable! The saddle does not seem to impinge on her shoulder action at all.


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