Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Thursday, December 30, 2010

In the Arena #42- Putting one foot in front of the other

Yesterday flew by in a flurry of "it's finally decent to be outdoors" weather related activities - primarily the job that pays our bills (landscaping). I did manage to squeeze some barn time in, mostly spent dragging the arena which was much worse for the wear after our freeze-a-thon of the last few weeks. It will need another session of dragging when the sand has dried out a little more. The moist sand filled the treads of my tractor up and it would quickly bog down...

After the tractoring, Val and I had a wonderful groundwork session in the future new arena area aka bermuda triangle of horse eating monsters. He was all business and gave me his full attention. Lots of transitions, circles and lovely trot work where Val kept with my pace perfectly. He was rewarded with some puny grazing + some, several, a ton of treats. As we returned to the paddock, Cowboy ambushed us with a serious buck and fart barrage when we came around the corner (as per usual). Val barely even moved his feet, looking to me for support. I couldn't have been more pleased. What a good boy!!


I did some kind of damage to my knee yesterday afternoon while exercising off  holiday indulgences. There was an audible crack and a weird overstretched rubber band-ish feeling. Insert curse words here. I think I hopped my weight off of it quickly enough - time will tell. I can get around okay but I can't straighten it out with all of my weight on it without feeling like it might buckle. Bummer...

Nothing was going to keep me from riding today, although many things tried to. As I was picking Val's feet someone suddenly appeared from out of the woods... a guy who is working on a new trail next door. He spooked Val who promptly stomped on my foot hard... yes the same one as the bum knee. Luckily I had proper footwear on and was standing in sand, just some nasty bruises to come. It really really hurt, as in I shed some tears while finishing picking feet. My horse was so sweet - nuzzling me, quickly offering his feet before I even touched them. It did seem that he could tell I was hurting. The good side of tb sensitivity :)

Once I figured out I wasn't crippled, I finished grooming and scrambled on. Still working on that elegant bareback mount. :) I was hoping that no stirrups would make my knee feel okay, and that was thankfully the case. Since the whistling workman could show up from anywhere at any moment - I kept the ride brief and to the point.

Transitions, turns on the forehand, keeping the neck straight, contact... our usual routine. I have to constantly remind myself that until we have our arena with safe footing we really can't get into good condition, either of us. Without being in good condition and having safe footing, our sessions must be limited.

It is so easy to get impatient. And patience is not one of my strong suits. I'm hoping that my cautious approach is still moving us forward... solidifying our foundation, so that when we have an ideal workspace, here as well as at my trainers, we will soar.

  • I want to progress, but not at the cost of my horses health, mental or physical. 
  •  I want to progress, but acknowledge that only when my physical (and mental) selves can work with the coordination and subtlety that dressage requires, will this happen on a regular basis. 
  • I want to deserve the willing cooperation, partnership and trust of my awesome horse.
  • I want to earn our accomplishments in due time, when we're both ready, and not before. There are no shortcuts.
After all, dressage is about the journey, not the destination. These are my New Year's resolutions... what are yours?

Val and I wish you all a happy, healthy New Year!


  1. Great post. I laughed (audibly) at the "Bermuda Triangle of Horse Eating Monsters." We have, at least, one of those here too!

    Last year my resolution was just to get up on my mare. The first time I got on her... she bucked me off! So she spent quite a bit of time with our trainer annnnnnnd I was able to ride her all summer long, no problem. I suppose for the coming year I would like to feel more confident on her, develop the trust that I feel she wants to give me and to just be better about (almost)daily workout sessions with her. Oh and more groundwork! :)

  2. Ouch! I hope your knee isn't seriously hurt. Glad you could ride.
    Great list of resolutions. You've inspired me - I'm going to write some too.
    Happy New Year!

  3. Hope your knee's OK - and have a great New Year!

  4. You and Val have had a good year with only more great things to come. All your goals are sensible and sensitive to your horse, I'm sure you'll both enjoy your time together this year. Liked your Bermuda Triangle analogy.

    Hope your knee and foot heals quickly and you get more rides in if the weather is good.

    Wishing you and yours a very healthy Happy New Year.

  5. I hope your knee and foot are okay. at least Val isn't a really really really fat Sire(:
    P.S. Funny post!

  6. Wow - hope your knee and foot are both okay! Happy New Year!


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