Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In the Arena #97 - Process of elimination...

Val and I worked twice last week, with a focus on the forward that has been lacking. Before Wednesday's ride, I gave him some bute, letting it take effect while grooming and tacking up. Happily, the bute didn't appear to make any difference in the quality of his movement. His desire to move, sadly, was still lacking. Frustration resulted in a mini meltdown (mine) which then led to a much improved ride. Releasing tension always helps.

And a brainstorm...  It occurred to me that there is an element of our training that I hadn't (over) analyzed yet in my last few posts. New boots. In September I ordered Val a pair of SMB VenTech Elite sports boots. Okay, we're certainly not elite, and it's a stretch to call us athletes... but the persistent drought this past summer caused super deep footing in our sand arena, which really concerned me. Horses get bowed tendons here pretty often, if over-worked in deep sand, especially on the beach. I've heard that horses work fifty percent harder when training in sand, and figured Val could use some extra support. I liked that these boots claim to stay cool, comfortable and don't restrict movement.

If you put them on right that is... There are numerous straps that attach with hyper aggressive velcro. I'm questioning the one that runs under the fetlock. I didn't exactly consult any directions about how to put them on, thinking that it should be self explanatory. Famous last words. I've since found some instruction online.

The next day we rode without the boots, without bute, and without a saddle. The ride began with Val heading straight for the gate. He hung his head over and began messing with the latch. I got the hint. No dice on a bareback trail ride though, or on arguing about heading back into the arena. We returned to the mounting block, started again and went on to have fluid, forward ride. What a relief!

A conversation later that evening with a fellow student of my former trainer put things into perspective. She has two friends, dressage riders, both facing tremendous obstacles at the moment. Not obstacles to accomplishing dressage goals mind you, but obstacles to life. They both have late stage cancer. And one of them also lost her lovely Morgan, who suddenly dropped dead a couple of weeks ago. Getting out of the house, out of bed even, can be a major ordeal for them. As my friend pointed out - they would give anything just to be on their horses these days. (At this point I felt like such a whiner!)

The takeaway... always double check your tack + your attitude. More importantly, every ride is a gift - so cherish them all!


Holiday treats :)

A good time was had by all...


  1. Very humbling indeed. It's always good to remind ourselves to keep things in perspective and take a minute to truly enjoy the moment, whatever it may be.

    I just love that last picture of your new home. It really looks welcoming and cheerful. Great treats too!

  2. Is that the Shimmy Shack all lit up, it looks very festive.

    As you say sometimes we get a reality check and realize how very lucky we are. Each ride is a gift as is each day spent with our family, friends and critters.

  3. A very nice post. New perspective is a good thing, although I would tend to agree with you about the boots possibly causing a problem. Boots on horses make me nervous. Something about wrapping material around flexible tendon and ligament. Can you drag some of the sand out of your arena instead? Maybe, Val is taking it slow to avoid straining himself if the sand if really deep. I used to frequent an indoor and then abandoned it, because the new footing was so deep that I felt like we were riding over dunes. Harley got swallowed up in the corners and used to buck to dislodge his hindend from the really bad parts. It was ridiculous, so we left.

    Love the holiday treats and decorations. Are those oysters?

  4. Mary-

    I need lots of reminders about staying in the moment. :)

  5. GHM-

    It is indeed the Shimmy Shack. I'm still working on the pictoral tour - coming soon! ;)

  6. Val-

    Actually - the footing is quite good right now. Once there is regular moisture it's excellent., but when there's no rain it really bogs us down.

    On the fence about the boots. We rode without them today... we've had plenty of really good rides with them too. I think I must master the proper application - not too loose, not tight.

    Yes, those were a bushel of salty oysters that was my present to myself and my Dad. We soaked up the sun on Christmas day in my yard, cracking oysters and loving life.

  7. You're smart to check the boots and work on fit. And I hear you about perspective. A friend and fellow Pony Clubber of daughter's lost her pony this week - he somehow got out of their (huge) pasture and was hit and killed by a vehicle. Devastating and so very sad. :/

    Love love love the Shimmy Shack all dolled up!!

  8. I loved everything about this post, from the words of wisdom to the picture of she shimmy shack lit up!

  9. I think one of the best things about these forehead-slapping moments is being able to share them with folks who know EXACTLY what you're talking about...:) Happy New Year to you and Val and your wonderful father!


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