Wednesday, August 6, 2008
All My Riding Sins, Confessed
We traveled today for our gaited horse lesson and fun training experience at a Rocky Mountain Horse facility 2 hours away. My friend K, her lovely daughter, and her horse who is Johnnie's Partner in Crime in the pasture accompanied me & John. We passed through all the stages of clinic grief: (1) Loss of the dream "My horse and I will be praised to the skies!" (2) Successive failures to accomplish the tasks assigned, excuses offered; (3) Humble struggle to do something, anything, that will show your horse to his advantage; (4) Liberal servings of humble pie, seconds available.
The first surprise of the day was putting Johnnie and his Partner in Crime into this beautiful plastic? covered arena, where it was at least 15 degrees cooler than the outside. This gorgeous facility had a washrack, 3 stalls, a huge neat and tidy tackroom and a bathroom, inside. PLUS a huge riding arena with delightful footing. It was horse heaven in a way.
Then Johnnie got brought out to have a demo about the sections of a horse's back and what different lengths of "working spine" mean:
We got to see some real Rockies, who looked like sportscars compared to our tankers:
And at last I will confess all my riding and horsemanship sins as I learned of them today:
1. My horse is too fat. Fat gaited horses get stifle and hock issues. Diet for Johnnie asap!
2. John does not bend any where near adequately, from the neck. He needs a huge amount of work on reaching his neck down, and from side to side. He is stiff as a board. I always thought this was his conformation: I called him my Oreboat. But no, he can do it, I just need to insist.
3. I use way too much hand, not nearly enough core, seat, leg.
4. I nag, I don't ask intelligently.
5. I don't know where his feet are at any given time. "Move the feet, move the mind" but if you don't know...
So we have a ton of homework to do! And it rather rocked our world, to hear someone knowledgeable tell us so clearly where we fall short. But we are pretty determined to do the best for our little gaited partners in Crime so we are going to work for one month then go back for another lesson. And maybe try to go for a trail ride in Governor Knowles State Forest while we are down there. It's a good plan! And I saw this gorgeous rainbow on the way home, quite the good omen don't you think!