Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Long Day, Late Night

Oh wow am I tired. Long day at work yesterday, then straight home to eat some leftover pizza while changing into riding attire (which in the depths of bleakest mid-winter) includes pantyhose, thermal shirts, wool sweaters, and my new fleecy vest. Out to the barn to ride Henry, who was uptight and more sideways than forward (but not always in the good way). College lesson with 4 total newbies and a rusty rider who wants to brush up on her skills. Over to my parent's house to pick up the rest of my laundry from their (free) dryer. Home at 11, shower, fall asleep and have weird dreams about puppies (huh?).

When I got Henry out into the ring we started with lots of leg-yields at the walk. Center line to the wall. Quarter line to the wall. Quarter line to the opposite wall. Wall to center line. Quarter line to center line, back to quarter line. It was getting pretty good. Then two people came in to lunge their horses (one after the other, not both at the same time), so I took the far end of the ring (by the open door, not by the barn). We picked up a trot and tried to keep him up in his shoulders and at a reasonable pace, without me tipping forward, and keeping my hands forward. I don't know if it was because of our warm up not being warm enough for him, the other horse in the ring, or what, but he was tense. When Henry is tense he GOES. Despite my best half-halt attempts we never got a consistently nice pace for the whole night.

Every time I tried to slow him down, his shoulders would pop out to the inside or the outside. If I tried to keep a better hold on the reins he would tense up his neck and curl up, or stick his nose in the air. It felt like he was paddling around, so I would try to focus his energy into going forward to the bit without going slower. Did. Not. Work. I did trot-halt and trot-walk transitions to make sure he was listening to my whoa aids. Those were okay, but as soon as we got back into the trot for more than a few strides it felt like he wanted to take off again.

Then there was a lesson of 5 or 6 riders that came into the ring. The instructor (also happened to be the Barn Owner) asked them to stay in the short arena/ not go past F and K. Apparently one of them thought this meant to stay on the OTHER side of F and K, where I was struggling to contain my wild man. Great. She couldn't steer, either. Her horse kept drifting in and out from the track so it was almost impossible to work around her. Then another boarder brought her horse down to the circle I was on with this lesson horse. Yikes. I tried a couple of canters each way, but I knew they wouldn't be pretty. I concentrated on keeping him relatively slow, and responsive when I asked for the walk, and then I got the heck out of that ring! I had just walked him back to his stall when I saw two college-aged kids wandering into the barn, 25 minutes early for their lesson. *Sigh*

I untacked Henry and we all went into the tack room to wait for the rest of the lesson to show up. Got their liability releases signed, etc, went over rules, and learned a little about each of them. There are four guys and one girl. As I said the girl has ridden before and wants to refresh her skills. She also told me who she thought she should ride and that the last time she was at the barn they had switched her around a lot so that they could find the perfect horse for her. She didn't like mares and she couldn't ride one that was too short, because she has long legs (carefully outfitted with the most ridiculous fashion boots I have ever seen). She was a no-show last week because it was a holiday.

The guys seem very nice, if a bit clueless. One is a finance major (looks like a linebacker), one is international relations (forgot to bring gloves), and one is an architecture major (very quiet). The fourth is a piece of work. He wants to know everything there is to know about the practical aspects of riding. He's very interested in medieval history, so obviously becoming an accomplished equestrian is paramount to his learning experience. He was disappointed that we didn't have any Clydesdales, and wants to know if he can take several lessons a week. He also made a point to tell me that he was the captain of the fencing team.

We went over how to act around horses, how to safely maneuver around them in the stall, and grooming. Parts of the saddle and bridle, how to tack up. Then each of them picked a schoolie to groom and tack up. By this point it was already 8:30 (i.e. end of the lesson) and the Medieval Dude and Refresher Rider were more than a little disappointed that they couldn't ride. Hey guys, it's horsie bedtime! They told me they would be sure to get there early next week so that they could have a full hour to ride.

After they left, it was blankie time for Henry, lights out, doors locked, and go. The best (?) part is... I get to do it all again tonight!

No comments:

Post a Comment