Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, February 28, 2011

In the Arena #57 - Letting go

Bad weather on the horizon (what the heck else is new) so Val and I rode at lunchtime today. He was napping when I arrived, but roused and made himself available for grooming + hay in the run-in. It must feel terrific to get groomed when you have all kinds of extra hair hanging around, falling out, getting matted up under your tack. And having lunch served at the same time - seems decadent, in a Roman empire kind of way. Dogs have owners, horses have servants as they say ;)

Trot, trot, trot! Posting, two point, sitting, posting without stirrups, loose rein - it was a trot + half halt fest. Val felt it was entirely too warm to expect that much exertion, but we persevered. Worked more on driving and increasing the contact, but still allowing with my hands. This resulted in some reaching, slight but (I'm pretty sure) it was there ;) Also pretty sure I was not always releasing my hands / giving forward in my half halts, or not quickly enough. Whenever I caught myself today I followed up a few rounds on the buckle or very loose rein. In fact, I think blocking with my hands pervaded my ride, as Val offered the rein back (when I hadn't asked for it) quite a few times. Blocking with my hands + off of my seat. Sorry Val! Luckily he doesn't hold grudges :)

I dismounted and prepared to undress Val when it occurred to me - it's warm out, Val is tired from hard work, quiet around the barn... hello - perfect time for a mini trail ride. We walked out to the small arena, mounted, did some circles there and then explored the property. Calmly. Nonchalantly. Pleasantly. Without Val's neck all tight and his head way up in the air on the lookout for imminent danger. Perfect :)

It's not that I think Val is some sort of super hot tb - he most certainly isn't. He can do a pretty good impersonation under the right circumstances though, such as our last out of the arena foray - the super train wreck trail ride. He had a serious case of drama llama going on, and bolted out the front gate almost unseating me... and this was before the ride even started.

I know that Val wasn't thinking of that today. I know it's up to me to forget about it. Every uneventful ride we have brings me another step closer to letting go... another step closer to the freedom of trail riding. *smile*


  1. You're Awesome!
    I do chuckle with what you mailed me...I have to let go in the arena..and you, out on the "open" trails!

    When I first got my mare..I was not knowing anything about how she would go out there. To my knowlege, it would be a first for her. I ahd only ridden the trail once with her, the year before, with my sister and her mare-Pantz.
    I had to try this venture alone, noone around to go with me.
    So, I would walk(me on the ground) it firstly with her. I did that a few times before I mounted up. I think she liked it, no pressure.

    You'll do it! I'm thinnking of employing the first ever answer for us to deesculate fear..we accomplished this on the trails..way back then. She got spooked and I thought to yell out "sing songy" to whatever it was she thought was there..."Youuu Whooo...Scarey beast you...We know you are there and we are Not afraid, you!" She instantly calmed down...and it was NOT the was me breathing deeply- to belt it out!
    That is what I am going to do in the arena now..Lightbulb!


  2. Oh...forgot to mention..I call it -"TRAIL OPERA" cause I make up a vibrato voice~

  3. Oh yea for good trail rides. Isn't it great when you feel their calmness...not so fun when u feel their fear though.

  4. Some good work today with Val.

    I was the same way with my horse Erik, he was a spook. We had lots of wrecks but in his last years my daughter took him hunting. He loved it and it gave him confidence. I learned how to relax and breath and not to assume we were going to have a major spook. He was as calm as could be which leads me to take the blame. If I wasn't so tense he wouldn't have been so tense. By the way I also used to sing (when no one was around of course) and it did relax both of us.

    I'm sure you two will be hitting the trails soon.

  5. Glad you got a ride in before the big storm - I had stuff going on all yesterday and then hit the storm on our way home - the lights were on and off all night for us. Hope you got through it w/o mishap!!

  6. Drama Llama! Your posts are fun to read even when Val is being a bit naughty. I do not like a bolt! Too scary. Good thing Val is so mannerly at other times!

  7. I hear ya on the contact, bleh, it's so hard that I've chickened out of using it with Coriander up to this point. Dressage trainer is not amused ;)

    I've done quite a bit of trail walking with my horses, I recommend it. Keeps you safe and provides exercise at the same time.

  8. Sounds like a really great day. When you wrote about posting without stirrups my inner thighs immediately went sore LOL. I used to love doing that stuff. Geez, I need so much work....

    It sounds like Val is doing super and I love a nice little trail ride after working hard. I think the horses really appreciate it, just like the grooming with all that itchy winter hair coming out :)

  9. I'm learning with you... letting go IS the key!


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