Jello-ey

Well, this weekend was a little less busy than last week. Adam stood up in a wedding on Saturday and yesterday I hung out with Sofie, we went from the barn to shopping. I really don’t have that much to report, but I did have a fabulous ride on Charmer yesterday afternoon!

I decided to focus on riding, since lately I have been doing more liberty and bare back riding which is more for my benefit than Charmer’s. I thought that I would play with leg yields a little, since it’s been a while.. I spent a long time grooming her, I braided her mane (it keeps getting full of burrs and braiding it helps a lot) and brushed her tail out. Then we saddled and did some liberty in the arena to warm up. I hopped up and we warmed up with some walking and trotting. Lately it’s been like pulling teeth to get a decent consistent medium or fast trot out of her. She often has a nice small trot but I want to ask for a little more power and get her motor going so I had my savvy string handy to help remind her of her job. The leg yields ended up going really well considering we haven’t played with them for about 6 weeks. I got a zig-zag going in the end and she was really straight compared to when we first started playing with the concept. I set up some barrels that represented “rest” when she yielded to the barrel, she got to rest and that worked really well for her. I am not using spurs to encourage her to move off of my leg.. I am using focus, my seat, my leg, reins, and the savvy string helps support if her hindquarters drag behind. I had to keep myself in check.. so I wouldn’t start drilling her with this task. I sometimes get greedy and if things are going well, I want to soak it up and live in it for a little too long. She then gets sour and things don’t go very well. This time I gave her a lot of breaks.. and rewarded the slightest try so she felt “right” and “smart.” I decided to stop with the leg yields once I started feeling a neat sensation: Charmer started feeling like jello beneath me. For example.. If we were trotting on the straightaway in the arena and I moved my weight in the saddle to one side, her body would change shape and she would start moving sideways and then I would go to the other side and she would move the other way. She wasn’t taking giant steps.. it was more in her ribcage and her weight and willingness. I realized that she was becoming supple and soft, like putty in my hands! She usually feels like a stiff board so this was a very unusual and wonderful sensation! I was oohing and ahhing and smiling! It was so neat πŸ™‚

We hadn’t cantered up to this point in the session and I thought it would be nice for her to stretch her legs on a loose rein and asked her to maintain a canter for a few laps. The left lead is our easiest.. she picks it up with no problem and finds her comfortable place. We worked on some stops and got a few really neat ones. The dirt would fly up in front of us a little and she tucked her butt nicely too and actually offered a backup after each stop. Then onto our more difficult lead.. the right lead. Lately she has had a hard time physically picking up this lead while I am on her back. So it’s either me or the saddle or both that is casing the problem. This time though I asked her and she picked it up right the first time and she lowered her head and stretched and blew the whole 2 laps around the arena! I let her stop and dwell then asked again, she picked it up perfectly and she repeated the blowing and stretching again. Something major must have changed in her body.. I made sure I gave her all of the rein so I was not blocking her in anyway. After auditing the Karen Rohlf clinic last week.. I realize how important this is! I was very pleased and that concluded our session. I checked under my saddle to see if there was any ruffled hair.. it was perfect looking so that tells me we were riding as one.. and not going against each other. I hope all or rides are as good as this one!

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2 thoughts on “Jello-ey

  1. Heidi, I love the way you write. I can almost see and feel your progress. I know you have commented that you want to give dressage a try. From what I read, you are already “doing dressage” and you and Charm have a better start than most. I look forward to when Peace and I experience some of the same.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement Charmaine! As you know, it means so much more when it’s your own horse that you’re learning with. It’s like we are teaching each other.

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