Monday, June 22, 2009

Winding Down

Only Three More Days

Three more days of classes and then I am officially a retired teacher. Trouble is I still have one final exam to administer and grade, then I have to average up those grades and submit them. There are a few other paperwork things to do as well kind of blocking me from the full realization that I am at the end of a long career. As I drove home tonight, I realized this will be the first time in 55 years that the end of summer will not be the beginning of a new school year for me.

I started going to school at age 5, and took no breaks on my way to a university degree. From there, I started teaching at once, never out of school for more than a summer break. This is going to be a very strange September.

The sun finally came out today and while it was hot, there was a breeze and it wasn't totally miserable when I did get home. I changed clothes quickly and headed out to ride.

The arena is still super wet. Tucker hates to go through the puddles--he will, but he'd rather avoid them. And frankly, so do I. That meant quite a bit of restrictions as to where we could really do some serious work. It isn't fair to ask for too much in the mucky wet spots and there were far too many of them scattered about. Still I did concentrate again on keeping him forward. I had a few minor issues now and then but I am not sure if it was the footing more then true resistance. Tuck kind of breaks his rhythm in the wet stuff...even when he is on the under saddle some of the little disobediences probably stemmed from that.

I did, however, get an "accidental" flying change again and Tuck was definitely thinking about doing something like one or two when I changed rein at the canter. I am undecided as to when to really start trying to school them but for now, if he offers on his own, I'll just go with the flow. At any rate, we had a good workout.

I rode Chance afterwards, deciding ahead of time to simply concentrate on getting him to flex down into the bit, no matter what. He still seems to feel he needs his head and neck to change gait and sometimes even to turn. Then, because his head it up, his back is down and he loses momentum and gait. It took a lot of determination on my part and some strong corrections to get him to stay down and round at the trot so we could try it in a canter depart. The right lead was not so good, but the left lead, after I worked the right until he was round, was pretty darn good. Then, to finish off, I went back to the right lead for another little bit and it too was pretty good.

Now, mind you, this requires a great deal of rein work, and strong balance and control on my part but once Chance gets himself there, everything feels so easy. I figure, as I've said before, with about two weeks of regular work with my demanding he stay round, he is going to realize how much better it feels and that will be that.

Chance is a very bright boy and while he actually is a pretty willing worker, like most horses he will prefer the easiest and most comfortable way of going. Every horse I have taught to stretch down into the bit has affirmed to me that it is how they prefer to go. How much nicer it is to lift their backs under the rider's seat and carry themselves in a relaxed, athletic balance.

Chance is a clever fellow. It took him all of about ten minutes to figure it out tonight. Now the trick is to see if he will try it on his own tomorrow.


  1. I feel better reading about Chance this is probably whats going on with Ali right now and if I just keep correcting him and flexing he will learn its actually easier.
    Im sure it will feel very strange for a while not having work in sight but you'll get used to it and probably wonder how you managed to get everything done when you were working!

  2. It might be a big adjustment to not ever have to get up in the morning and get ready for work. I think after a while you will really enjoy all the free time you have to work with your boys. Sounds like they had some good lessons today.

  3. Anonymous7:31 PM

    I've been retired for a while and the adjustment has taken time. I love your detailed descriptions of your work with the boys, and hope those will continue, and that you will have more time to work with them!