Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lots of Lungeing

Good Reports and Good Ups and Downs

First, school. I now have about half of my students' reviews of the play and they are all raves. The kids really liked it. A few even said it was the best thing they'd ever seen. When I asked them if they were being honest, they insisted they were and we had a nice, short little discussion about it all. A few of them were not quite clear on all the stories, but either I or the other students were able to explain things to them and apparently that made them like the play even more.

So, what did they like? The acting impressed them for certain. They really felt the actors brought the characters to life. And they seemed to like the fact that everything was very current and with circumstances, characters, and events they could relate to. They felt the characters were real teenagers. While the play was sad and intense, they made some insightful comments about how insenstive the news reporter was and how important is was that she learned to care about people by the end of the story. They liked how the film was integrated into the live action and, as I've heard before, weren't quite sure whether our adult actor who appeared on film was actually an actor or a real person who had experienced the tragedy.

All, in all, from what I can tell, the play effectively relates to teenage audiences and was quite a success in getting them to think about safe driving practices and how precious life is.

One girl stayed after class to talk. She told me the play had turned out to be sadly ironic for her. Apparently a day after she saw it, one of her friends was killed in a car crash on the way home from a night of bowling. She said it made the play's message hit home to her. I felt so sad for her and gave her a hug. She had gone to the girl's wake over the weekend and could not get any of it out of her mind. The girl who was killed as a passenger and too young to drive yet...circumstances similar to one of the stories in the play. Kind of chilling when you think about it.

We also received an email from one of the teachers in another school about how powerful the play had been for her. She had lost several family members in auto accidents. She thanked us for carrying the message to the kids about how easily mistakes behind the wheel can have tragic consequences.

One more performance on May 26 and then "Stick River" goes to bed. I will be marketing it to some other play publishing companies soon. Now that I have worked out all the little issues in the script and know what works on stage, I think I have a very saleable product.

Since I went to the chiropractor after school. I opted out of riding. My lower back was out of alignment too, probably a partial result of trying to straighten myself on the horses. Either they, or I, or both are at fault for being crooked. At least for the moment, I am straight. With a day out of the saddle, maybe I will fix myself enough to be straight the next time I get on.

Instead, I lunged. I gave Tucker a good workout with quite a bit of trot and canter. Then, I set him at four trotting poles I'd set up. They were slightly elevated at one end which made him have to pick up his feet and flex his joints as he went over them. He looked quite nice the first few passes until he started to get silly. I tried to tell him cantering the poles just wouldn't work, but he tried anyhow. When that failed, he went back to trot and managed enough good passes to finish up.

Then, I set him at a jump of about 2'3". Just a single pole with wings on the side to both keep him in line and for me to slide the lunge line over so it didn't get caught. Let me tell you, Tucker is one nice jumper. As I've said before, he stays relaxed, judges the distance well on his own, and sets himself up for the effort whether from the trot or canter. He makes it tempting for me to want to do some more serious fence work with him, but I don't think my knees could take it and, I'm not sure I want to add the risk any more. Ah, well. Sometimes I do miss it.

I lunged Chance next. He has some issue with his right hind leg. I have had the vet look at him and he can't find anything wrong, so it's either something high up or a difficult to find muscle thing. For now, the solution is to leg him up. Sometimes he starts out fine, and on other days, like today, he starts off with quite and irregular stride. I have found that after he canters, the trot is often better, so I suspect something muscular.

I let him choose his gait for the first few times around and he cantered a bit on his own. Then, I brought him back to the trot and gave him a good work on either rein. I must say, his canter on both leads was very soft and relaxed. I do know it's lovely to ride and it has improved quite a bit to watch since I first started him.

Although he is a hand shorter than Tucker, I did not have to reset the trot poles for Chance. Granted, he had to stretch more to make the stride as opposed to Tucker's having to simply lift his legs more, but they were just fine for him. He too got a bit silly with at least one attempt to canter them...an escape from the work the trot demands....but overall he was much more honest about going over them without always being on the perfect line into them.

If Tucker is relaxed about jumping, Chance takes a nap. He uses the minimum energy necessary to get over cleanly and loses most of it on the landing side. He is brave and honest, and does not even seem to think about either stopping or running out. Again, it's such a pleasant picture he tempts me as well.

Now I know how my sweet Russell R. felt when he was too lame to jump anymore. Ah, to be young and sound again, so we could jump together....my horses and I.


  1. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Jumping was fun! But I'm really not up to it anymore, particularly on my mare, who's green over fences and really doesn't like it that much. Amazingly, none of my falls since I've gotten back to riding have been over fences, even though I did a lot of showing - they've all been on the flat (there's one for those people who only wear helmets when jumping!) - but at my age I'm not into taking risks.

  2. must get some polework sorted myself.

    glad the play is a hit again, and i do hope you get it taken up professionally....