Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Where Did the Time Go?

And Not Just the Daylight

Somehow, I have not managed to ride since Saturday. I did cut back on Chance's bute and finally stopped it altogether, so I do need to do something with him to see how sound he is with no medication.

Sunday, I was supposed to join Chris and Larry on an Arabian trail ride, but Chris's young horse had pulled up lame after a rather exciting incident on the trails here the day before. He apparently spooked at a plastic bag and managed to lose Chris. Then he tangled himself up in some plastic silt fence set up with stakes along the new detention basin the Turnpike built in the field. (Wrong place as far as I'm concerned, but that's a whole 'nother story.) The trail there has been filled in with quarry stone--the bigger chunks--and Nordisk did some dancing on that as well. Since he's barefoot, he may have bruised himself a bit as well.

So, we did not venture off on a long ride somewhere. Instead, because Nordisk was stuck at home, Chris and Larry decided to ride in the arena at their barn. This gave me the opportunity to give Larry a riding lesson on his horse, Juan.

Juan is a great horse for Larry. They both love to run and have a good time, but sometimes things get a little out of control, so my goal was to help Larry improve the security of his seat and learn how to better steer Juan to keep control of his body, not just his head.

Life gets tricky with all this sometimes. Our riding weight and position in the saddle makes a huge difference as to where our horses go when we ask them to turn.  And getting them to bend correctly through the body on a turn can be critical for both our balance and theirs.

The key is generally the outside rein and getting the horse to step into it through his body as he bends around the rider's inside leg.  For the rider, getting the concept can be difficult as we all want to use an indirect rein on the inside to push our horses over so they don't fall in on a turn (Make motorcycle turn.).  This doesn't accomplish much as all it really does is ride the horse's head and neck with the rein when we should be riding the body.

Lockie Richards, my favorite trainer, helped me with my PJ on this one. PJ tended to fall in badly on his right shoulder. I keep hearing Lockie's voice in my head, "Drop your right knee."  This lengthened my right leg against PJ's side bringing my aids from seat, to thigh, to leg against him to hold the shoulder and his body from falling in. I used this memory and technique to help Larry correct Juan and, even though it was hard work for Larry--it's kind of counterintuitive in some ways--it worked and when both Juan and Larry were positioned right, Juan not only turned well, but he also came on the bit.

I do add something else which is a bit unconventional. I have the rider spread both hands out to the side. This keeps him from using the inside indirect rein and it places the outside, supporting rein as a kind of "wall" on the outside to push the horse's body into.  Add the idea that the two reins are a set of tracks and the rider needs to ride the horse between the tracks and the image of how to steer the body without depending solely on the reins becomes clearer.

At any rate, Larry did a super job and Juan was a wonderful teacher.

We worked a little on canter as well, striving to get Larry more seated in the saddle moving with Juan by keeping his heel down and leg under his body instead of gripping with his lower leg back and his knees. Gripping with knees and thighs tends to push the rider out of the saddle rather than sitting him down and "into the horse's motion."  Flexible joints allow us to sit a horse's gaits, so muscle tension--except for positive, not defensive tension--bounces us in the saddle.

Hopefully, I helped a little. I'd love to work with Larry again since it was so much fun. And teaching makes me think about how to ride better myself, so that's always a good thing.

I had my knees injected again today and a chiropractic appointment later so I did not ride again today. I swam on Monday, walked for about an hour on Tuesday--and picked up a bunch of corn from the reaped cornfield, so I am not totally lacking in the exercise program. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, and I am considering a swim, but I do have to take it a bit easy after the knee treatments.

What I do need to do is clean my bedroom and organize/sort my clothes. It's a huge job, and as many of my horsey Facebook pals have noted, for a horseman, working in the barn is much more fun than cleaning house.

Sure looks it around here. *G*

1 comment:

  1. I haven't ridden since Saturday either. You know I thought when I got older I'd have so much time, not so.

    Sounds like Larry and Juan had a great lesson with a knowledgeable teacher :) I'll bet they would both benefit from more lessons. Hope you get to teach some more.