To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

On my feet, not my seat

Twas a horse-filled day, but my riding muscles went unused. I got plenty of exercise, though!

It started with Horton this morning. As usual, I started with lunging to make sure he was both obedient and forward. I don't know if it was the brisk, windy weather, the barn cat racing across the arena, Horton feeling his oats or not feeling his hip, but after a working nicely awhile he spooked, exploded, then raced around on the end of the lunge line.

That wasn't the end of it, either. He stayed on the muscle, occasionally clamping his tail, tucking his butt, then bucking again. I decided that keeping my feet on the ground was the sensible thing to do! At the very end, he did settle down for a cool-out walk.
One interesting development worth noting. After tacking up Horton today, on a whim I tickled his tummy to see what he'd do. Larry would arch his back like a cat when I did this, the most reaction I've ever gotten out of any horse. But Horton has never lifted his back in response to tummy tickles – until today. I checked again after I untacked him, and he responded modestly again. I can't help but wonder if this new responsiveness is a result of the injections....

Next, I headed toward the coast to exercise Lance. I took my saddle and bridle just in case, but when I found myself at his barn all alone, again I decided that staying grounded was the prudent choice. So I put on his leather halter – no stud chain – and spent 40 minutes hand-walking him while working on R.E.S.P.E.C.T. I made it clear that he had to stop when I stopped, walk when I walked, back up when I backed up, and keep his mouth off the lead rope – and me. He's a smart boy, and a quick study.

Finally, we went caroling with a group from our church this evening. One of Rick's clients brought a team of Shires and a wagon to carry most of the carolers and we wound our way through the neighborhood near our church. I left the straw bales for those who needed them and used my legs, voice and camera. It was very enjoyable!


TBDancer said...

I love the reaction from others after I have flumped around the dressage court for my 45-minute lesson, then turn out my 18 y.o. OTTB to roll in the dirt (we have sand at my house, but he prefers dirt) and he runs like a maniac after rolling. He squeals, bucks, emits "bursting noises"--the whole deal. People look at me with awe, and I say something like, "Well thank goodness I wore him down."

Glad you spent time working the boys on the ground, though. They do their job, you stay safe, and "respect" is always a good thing.

And "woohoo" for Horton's "tummy tucking" ;o)

sylkan said...

Good call on the choice to stay on your feet! Horton also does a pretty good belly lift for the "cowboy chiropractic" of zigging your thumbnails down both sides of his butt. Looks like his shave job is starting to hair up as well. Tomorrow is pretty open for me. I'd be up for a trip to the coast to see Lance, or out to ride Horton, or both, depending on your schedule of course.

Michelle said...

That's exactly why I haven't turned Lance loose yet . . . with my luck he'd reinjure his suspensory – or tear another one!

Michelle said...

Yes, Horton responds to the "butt-tickling," but has never seemed to like it – he always fidgeted and swung sideways when I did that. (Didn't try that yesterday.) Makes sense given his L/S and S/I issues.

I'll call you about tomorrow!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Awesome caroling trip!!!