Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lessons, Lessons, Lessons (& Clydesdales!)

After work yesterday I microwaved some leftovers, changed clothes, and headed for the barn. I got there about 5:15 and got ready to ride. There were surprisingly few people there at that time, which was nice, since I prefer to have some room in the ring and to not block the aisle for everyone!

Henry was great, although not as steady in the contact at first. We worked on a lot of bending, circles, etc and then did several trot-halt-trot transitions. After a break we worked on leg-yields, shoulder-in, then haunches & half-pass. Still not quite right but it is amazing how well he will "sit" and slow down when I am asking him for lateral stuff. I had a really hard time using my right leg for this stuff. It almost feels like the inside of my right thigh is thicker or something? I end up turning my toe out just to be able to get a good feel on his side, which is troubling. I have theorized in the past that this might be because of driving, and using my right leg for gas/ breaks (therefore that leg's muscles get worked more, and so are bulkier) but I might be a little nuts to think that.

We took another break and worked a little in sitting trot, again with the trot-halt-trot transitions and then into a rising stretchy trot. At this point, people had started to come in and tack up for a 6:30 lesson taught by the BO, and she came out and saw some of my ride. She commented that she was very pleased with the stretching work and that we had come a long way in the past couple of months with it, which is true, and thank GOODNESS I have finally learned to PUSH him at the stretchy trot and hold his front end up so he doesn't fall all over himself. She then said that my trainer (her daughter) had commented on how nice of a horse he was, which combined with a similar comment from the farrier (relayed to me via another instructor/boarder yesterday) made me all warm and fuzzy inside :)

I gave Henry another walk break and then we did one or two canters each way, concentrating on uphill, steady slow pace, BENDING etc, but by this point riders were starting to bring in their schoolies for the 6:30, and Henry was getting tired (even broke once or twice) so I finished with one more stretchy trot around the arena - and he was so tired I had to push him to keep the trot! Normally if I go large with a stretchy he will prick his ears and *ahem* extend the trot unasked for...

I took his tack off and decided to take him out into the arena for a walk, to see if he would roll, even though he wasn't warm. He dug around a couple of times like he was going to roll, sniffed around for that perfect spot, but in the end decided that watching the lesson get started was more interesting! There were six riders in the lesson and not all of them felt like giving Henry any space to potentially roll, so after a couple laps we went back to his stall. By this point, two boarders had added their horsies to the already circus-like ring, so I was REALLY glad I had gotten there early! I cleaned his bucket and gave him some warm water, started to put his stuff away, and then when I went to groom him saw that he had taken half a flake of his hay and STUFFED it in the bucket, and was proceeding to take dainty little bites. Whatever makes you happy, buddy!

Two of my 7:30 college lesson riders (Fashion Boots Rusty Rider and Medieval History Practical Horseman - see Jan 27 post for more info) showed up while the 6:30 was still in progress, so I had them go into the barn to start grooming their schoolies. They were very eager to be able to ride which is awesome. They really are great students. The three other riders (Finance Major Linebacker, No Gloves International Relations Major, and Quiet Architecture Major) came right on time and all had matching gloves! Evidence, they said, of their dedication to the sport ;)

We got two more horses groomed and tacked, and I borrowed one from the 6:30 lesson, and once everyone was finally out in the ring I showed everyone how to mount. All of the guys in this lesson went from never been on a horse to steering, stopping & starting, and decent position in about a half hour. I was impressed. The best part was, the QAM had asked last week if he could wear cowboy boots to ride in (sure, why not...) and HE DID! Granted, he had a wicked chair seat, but those boots looked good :D

During the lesson, MHPH asked how much horses weigh. I gave him approximate weights for several of the horses in the ring. Then - "What about Clydesdales?" This guy is OBSESSED! He asked if we had any last week, to which I replied that no, we didn't, but there is another local college that has some. He asked if they would let him ride them. Umm... probably not. In honor of MHPH and his zeal for learning and love of Clydes, I give you the following Super Bowl Ads:



and my favorite of the night (seriously made me tear up a little!)

With that, I am off to prepare for my 5:30 lesson with my trainer, and try to think of some interesting things to work on with my 6:30 BegInterVanced college lesson. I'm starting to look forward to Spring Break!

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