I have three more rides to write about before I forget! My goal is to write the same day I ride; I am here and now giving myself permission to not always meet my goal–good enough is OK sistah!
So, last Wed the 5th we had another great ride. Luna was so composed that I almost wanted to move onto trotting, but I managed to convince myself that keeping to the walk–until the walk is REALLY boring and mastered–will pay off in the long run. After all, the only job this girl has ever had is to RUN. I’d like her to learn, and feel supremely confident, that her new job is to be adjustable and comfortable at the prescribed gait of the moment, and I think there’s no use overlooking the walk. How many horses NEVER get a good walk, after all? I could barely get Roadie (sweet Roadie! First best horse in the world, before Luna) to walk consistently. I believe that if I want Luna to get a good walk, it’s worth it to stay at the walk until it is a piece of cake.
So we finished on a short and sweet good note that day.
The next day, Thurs, I was so glad that I had not moved onto a new gait because holy moly the arena was infested with Goblins. Big, Scary Unpredictable Goblins in the form of the neighbor’s peacocks waking up and coming down from their roosts. First they would SWOOP out of the trees and barn rafters. Then a moment of peace. Then they would SWOOP up and appear on the arena wall out of thin air. Meanwhile, Guinea Hens (reportedly, I could not see them through the noise-amplifying tin–but my friend told me it was the Guinea Hens) were landing on the arena roof with mighty thuds and screeching of Hen claws along the metal. Even I thought that was unnerving.
Perhaps needless to say, I simply did NOT have Luna’s brain that day. I was very conscious of the need to make sure I had her brain in order to stay safe–and my guardian riding angels were with me that morning as I sat out spin after jolt after crouch. I was extremely grateful to find myself still with “a leg at each side” after each anti-peacock episode. (This was also the first time in my life that I hated peacocks.)
So we worked on brain and safety instead of anything else–“trot” was right out of the question. I love our one-rein stop, though: If she get’s in a tizzy, I bring her around, and the moment she gives and slows I allow her back on at the walk and it always works. Sometimes we need more turns than others, but I’m getting better at catching that micro-moment of true give which allows us to resume the forward motion at the desired gait–still WALK. As with all training, it’s the timing of my release that is so important. It feels great when I can just feel the moment of her give and allow her to relax into it.
Eventually, she was standing at a calm, lengthy halt when a new peacock appeared directly in front of us on the arena wall yet again. She just looked at it, not a tense muscle in her, and I was more than delighted to bag any future peacock work and hop off. A good girl, but not exactly a fun ride!
Our last ride was yesterday, Monday, and I just wanted to have a short go-round to get more rides between us and the goblin ride. The best part of the ride was that after I was tacked up, and as I led Luna to the arena, Blair said, “Mom, can I get on Luna?” which of course I answered YES!! He’s never asked to ride before. He sat on her for about a second, she took a half-step and Blair immediately wanted to get off. But as we drove from the barn later, he said that being on Luna was really cool, and that maybe next time he’s walk around a little bit.
Anyway, Luna and I did fine; nothing too exciting either way. I want to keep making sure that she enjoys our work and finds success at walking, not frustration at not-jigging. I have ground poles around the arena for her to walk over at random, which I hope are helping her develop that “5th leg” awareness of rating herself to an obstacle, knowing she can cross anything with confidence, I want this girl to be confident and trusting; she’s such a good girl. So we had a brief walk that night and called it good; Blair didn’t want to stick around to watch more anyway.
Hoping for another ride tomorrow! There’s so much to write about this stuff! I haven’t even touched on any “philosophy” stuff yet . . . how riding is a metaphor for living . . . .