This is a post I wrote just over a week ago and didn’t get time to finish off and publish. Better late than never, they say… so here it is.
Well, it snowed again. It’s up to the cats’ armpits again. Happily the roads around here are coping OK, even the lanes around the stables.
So once more there’s no turnout for Drifter so I’ll need to try to ride every night. Yesterday, heading to the stables I was not looking forwards to it – hanging around waiting to be one of 3 riders in the little indoor school, trying to keep us out of the path of the other riders and remember which way to pass, trying to keep him and me focusing on each other but not to the extent that I forgot about the other riders.
But it went rather well. I seem to have suddenly remembered how to ride, and he’s remembered how to be nice to ride. His memory was jogged by my having had to buy him a couple of schooling sessions so that he got sufficient exercise while I was away (1 session 2 weeks ago) and on a day when I was otherwise over committed (last week).
He went in an outline and sought the contact, I (mostly) remembered to keep my weight central, my reins shorter and to preempt his tendencies to fall out/in on circles. Of course we weren’t perfect, and there was 1 attempt at a 20 meter circle on our bad rein that ended up at least 30 m in one direction (and that school’s only 20 x 40) but all in all it was so much better. I finally seem to have got the hand of passing other riders left hand to left hand, staying off the track in walk and generally being a little easier to share an arena with so I didn’t spend all of my energy worrying about getting under anyone’s hooves and had some to spare for riding my horse.
After 20 min. one of the other riders left, and after a further 10 the other left, so I had the school to myself. Now we could really concentrate on each other and we did! For the first time I think we really connected. It was the first time I’ve had him properly on the bit (I saw him do it with a better rider before I bought him, but my inexpert riding hadn’t brought it out of him until now) and not just for a few minutes but for most of the hour.
I’m grounded enough to know that just because the last few rides have been much better doesn’t mean we’re not going to have times when we just can’t seem to communicate, but it’s good to be finally feeling like we’re making some progress.