Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In the Arena # 108 - Oh happy day....

The weather was too beautiful not to ride today. Sunny, 75, a nice breeze. Lest some of you think it unfair that we're having such a warm (wonderful) winter - never fear. The conversation in the post office and around the grocery store aisles these days goes something like,

"Yeah, it's been pretty - but you know March is the worst month. It'll blow non-stop."

"Well, we're gonna pay for it - always do. Remember that mini hurricane we had in May a couple of years ago?"

Sad that everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Anyway - we might be paying for it already. I've used fly spray on Val's legs most every ride this winter. And I'm trying not to scratch numerous mosquito bites as I type this.


Today was likely our last saddle-less session for a while. (delivery scheduled for tomorrow afternoon!) I couldn't have asked for a better ride.

My focus today was hands - position and how they affect contact. We began with a relaxing on the buckle warm-up. The transition to contact was smooth, and there were minimal steering issues. (!) I set out a cone course to help me visualize and keep the ride interesting.

Also, I used a suggestion from SchoolingYourHorse and thought about pointing my firmly on top of the rein thumbs - down towards the bit. As far as I can tell, this helped me to keep the line from the bit to my elbow straight, but here's the thing. It keeps the line straight on both planes, related to my wrist. Perpendicular to the ground - wrist not broken up or down viewed from the side - and parallel to the ground - not broken towards or away from the withers.

It worked. Val appreciated the quality of contact, steadier than usual. He rewarded me by working over his back for much of the ride. I celebrated by sitting the trot. He seemed to prefer my sitting today. I find that I can migrate forward on his back with my fledgling bareback posting technique, which results in head tossing.

The most exciting part of the ride was when Cowboy came barreling down the fence line behind us out of nowhere, squealing. Val lunged forward giving me a few strides of unsolicited, twisty bareback canter. Being the mostly sensible fellow he is, his reaction was short lived. I happily stuck right with him! We capped off the ride with some following the bit down stretchy trot... :)

After our ride, Val got a minty fresh liniment rinse. Then we did some trailer loading practice. I love my horse. He self loads beautifully now. I attribute this to two things. He thought "Oh hai - maybe we are going to do something interesting finally!" and gingersnaps. My attempt to video this was a giant fail though. Because most times I'm too spastic to manage a video camera, and because Val discovered the stash of cookies I set aside in the trailer and hoovered them up instantly.

Back to the paddock for a buck and fart race with Cowboy. A-nother video fail. But I did get this picture. Can I say, uphill + suspension?! Hey Val, let's do that together!!

Yum - sexy neck! ♡


  1. That is quite a sexy picture of Val!! Can't wait to hear about your first ride in the new saddle!!

  2. He's such a beautiful guy! Hope the new saddle is everything you've hoped for.

  3. A beautiful day on a beautiful horse and a beautiful ride. Who could ask for more!

    Hope your saddle is perfect too.

    Great picture of your handsome boy.

  4. I can't believe how much you are able to do bareback! and good job sticking that unsolicited canter excitement. Enjoy your saddle and tell us all about it when it arrives!

  5. Great ride. Good luck with your new saddle. Remember to mix in some bareback still - so much fun!

    Good for you for riding the Cowboy chase out. Sounds like fun!

  6. Val looks lovely and it sounds like you had a wonderful ride! Here's to more 75 and lovely days (and no hurricanes, lol!)

  7. That is a glorious picture!! Mosquito bites already?! sheesh.

  8. Gorgeous photo!

    I'm more than a bit jealous of your weather. It's been pretty warm here this winter but with rain. It's been warm enough to ride but too wet to actually do anything. Sigh.

  9. Absolutely sexy neck! Gorgeous.

  10. I just love your blog, your horse is beautiful too!

  11. love that neck! yah for the new saddle arrival. I thought I was getting a new to me saddle until the seller said, after I told her I wanted it, oh by the way there's a big ol' tear on the underneath. Wah! I was really looking forward to another saddle.

  12. Thanks for that thumb tip for improved contact. I'm going to try it. Sounds great.
    What a great ride you had, and very impressive that you easily stuck to him during Cowboy's unexpected appearance. What a good boy Val was to calm so quickly.
    That picture says it all - WOW. Good job!
    Looking forward to reading about your new saddle...

  13. Yum sexy everything!!!! He is gorgeous. That picture is awesome. :D Totally makes up for the video fails hehehe.


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