Friday, December 08, 2006

pas de deux

in my new training routine with keil bay, I'm on a 3-day work, 1-day off schedule, with some pretty specific exercises that build from one day to the next. tuesday we did lots of walking, very forward and engaged, with crisp halts, a bit of leg-yielding, and various figures. some trotting on a loose rein. wednesday we added trot work, mostly walk-trot-walk transitions, and one bit of canter to stretch things out. turns on the haunches, turns on the forehand.

we have also added some leg and neck stretches for him on the ground, and a tail pull exercise that stretches the muscles along the top of his back.

yesterday, my daughter and her pony joined us for the warm-up and intensive trot work with more canter added in. it was windy and quite blustery at times, so both keil bay and the little man were initially preoccupied with leaves blowing in circles and especially the back field, which they seemed to think might be brewing monsters.

but... no hind issues for keil bay any of these days, and the trot/canter transitions were very good, primarily b/c I am working on how I ask for them.

we ended the work-out on a whim that turned to zen - pas de deux.

we rode side-by-side, keil bay on the rail, and the little man on the quarter line, since his stride is so much smaller.

it took a bit of experimenting to get them matched at the walk and trot and canter, but once we got the hang of it, started clicking. interestingly, keil bay figured out what we were doing and began to collect himself so as not to get ahead of the pony. and the pony extended to keep up with keil bay. what began as work soon turned nearly effortless, and we added changes across the diagonals, which required keil bay to move ahead and the pony to slow and then come up on the inside again - hard to describe but quite beautiful in motion. like a perfectly rendered poem.

in one wonderful moment, keil bay extended into his big trot, and the pony cantered to keep up. while not perfect pas-de-deux, it was perfect in other ways. me showing off keil bay's gorgeous trot, my daughter with her near-perfect position at the very lovely canter this pony has when he turns it on.

after the ride, my daughter and I were remarkably attuned as we moved on through the barn chore routine, without words, mind-reading back and forth as I had a thought of something that needed doing and she did it, and vice versa.

horses have magic in them.

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