Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Even Better

Today was a bit of a repeat of yesterday.

JR was in the field when I arrived and though he kept grazing and watching me approach he did turn and walk towards me when I got about 10 feet from him so that made me feel important. :)

He rode fairly well. There was a horse (and girl) I didn't recognize and JR was more interested in them than in our work so it took a while to get him on task but eventually he began to focus. I spent more time at the lope again and was again struck at how less worried I was than before this week. Remember all the times he'd stumble at the lope or race around or refuse to bend or drop his shoulder and lean like he was going to fall? And remember that during those times I lost what little balance I had? And how when he wasn't actually doing those things I was anxious about when they were going to happen? I'm sure it's a combination of my strength and balance improving and HIS strength and balance improving, but what it has done (and for some reason seemed to become suddenly and strongly evident) is allow me to concentrate on WORKING the lope, not just surviving it. I've been able to do that well enough at the walk and trot, reinback, and even a (if not wonky) pivot. But until yesterday, every time we would lope I would be afraid. I knew it at the time, but now that it's been gone a few rides it feels REALLY different and is extremely empowering. I can WORK the lope now which means I will begin improving even faster. He's got the lope in him and instead of me getting in his way I can stay in balance helping him with effective aids instead of flopping hands, tense legs, and a wobbly seat. He was still too fast, but we'll work on it. I did lope off from a stand still and he did surprisingly well. I'm sure I can thank KAT for that.

I had another little victory: I opened and exited the gate while mounted! I've done it before by unlatching it and pushing it out and exiting (leaving the gate wide open which I cannot do when there are other riders in the arena), but because it was on the inside of the latch mechanism and not latched (it's the kind that the pin of the gate goes in between to pieces you pull up so you can open the gate either way) I was able to position him so I could grab the gate with my right hand, pull it back, pivot him around to point OUT, give the gate a hard enough shove IN so I could get through before it swung back closed! Luckily it's a slow swinging gate so it wasn't like I had to throw the gate and then bolt forward. Then I took the long hack around the farm again. I even went out past the scary bulldozer. He was VERY alert again but he went where I pointed him and he felt like he was willing to trust me even when I asked him to go between the scary giant poo pile and the giant weird looking yellow monster machine.

Good things.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you are making good progress not only with your lope but with riding out alone. I have riding issues similar to yours. I'm getting better but still have good and bad days. Looking forward to better weather and more time in the saddle.