Today was gorgeous but as it turned out by the time I got into the arena it was overcast and gray again, and then dark, and an hour or so after our ride it started raining! Which I wasn't expecting at all. I was even more glad we'd ridden when we did after the rain started.
Bay was very alert again and moving well. Tonight I felt two very
distinct things that may be contributing to our good rides. My legs feel
very secure. And by that I mean secure in terms of balance and
evenness, but even more than that, they feel like they are an
inseparable part of the motion. As we were trotting, I let my focus land
on my legs - and I experimented. I could easily go from a loosely
draped leg to a gentle hugging leg to a completely open leg without
changing any other part of my body. I had the ability to shift very
subtle things without anything else going askew. I'm not sure exactly
how to describe it, but the closest word I can come up with is
effortless. In a way it felt like my legs were not there, except if I
chose to think about them and note what they were doing.
I've put the saddle a touch further back lately and I wonder if this is making a difference.
After warming up and doing a fair amount of trotting,
we finished with some 20m circles at the trot, and happened into a
routine of rising trot around the circle, then changed direction through
the circle at the sitting trot, then picked up the new trot diagonal
going the new direction. We did this for a number of rotations and it
was the rhythm of the change from rising to sitting to rising that best
illustrated this effortless leg thing for me.
well be that my body and Keil Bay's body are in better shape and in sync
physically more than we have been for awhile. It definitely feels that
The other big thing that feels different and good
is my hands and the contact I have with the reins and the bit. It feels
like my arms and hands finally caught up with the rest of my body, and
something that seemed elusive to me previously (specifically the amount
of weight to have in the hands, and contact without pressure, not
throwing the reins away, etc.) has suddenly just happened without me
paying much attention to it at all. One thing I have done is ride with
different bits (basic eggbutt snaffle, loose ring double-jointed
snaffle, bitless) as well as different reins (very soft web reins;
thicker, stiffer web reins, very soft curb reins) to see what works
best. Interestingly enough, my least favorite reins, Keil's very nice
but slightly too big for my hands web reins are the ones that now feel
the best to me. What changed? I don't think the size of my hands changed
but maybe the way I use my hands and arms is making a difference in how
the reins feel in my hands. Everything just feels softer, easier, and
We're also riding with the Thinline Ultra sheepskin dressage pad,
and I am riding with my sheepskin seat saver pad too - and although if
you measure the thickness of all these "things' between my seat and
Keil's back, it's thicker than ever, it feels like less. I can feel his
back and I can feel my own seat bones much more clearly than I have ever
been able to feel them.
It's an interesting exercise to try and sort out what is making things work well, as opposed to why something isn't working.
But it was wonderful to roll into the new year with a good ride, on the
very best horse in the whole world, feeling truly thankful that all
these pieces are, for the moment, in sync.