Saturday, March 15, 2008

the dream team

Yesterday my daughter and I went to the barn at noon to get ready for lessons, and we didn't make it back inside the house until 8 p.m.

She and the pony are making such good progress. He's relaxing more and more into each ride, and getting very comfortable again. It's good seeing him move so well, and it's good watching my daughter ride. She has such a quiet, balanced seat, and she is totally focused and pretty much unflappable.

When I took Keil Bay into the arena, he was distracted by the other horses getting hay in the back field, and I was frustrated that we had to start with that. We power-struggled a little bit and I expressed my frustration to our trainer, Marlis Amato, who talked me through the power and wisdom of taking small steps and watching for the small improvements. Which of course I know, but it's good to be reminded while actually sitting in the saddle, and held to the course I've chosen.

Keil Bay responded immediately to my quieting everything - seat, legs, hands. His walk became rhythmic and relaxed, and he began to lick and chew. We worked our way up to sitting and rising trot, with the focus being the same quietness. Doing less of everything so that he could really hear/feel the lightest requests. As promised, by the end of the ride, we had made tremendous progress, and I was reminded again why I am so happy with Marlis' work. By taking each step slowly and with care, we end up so much further along, and with a happy, engaged horse.

What I especially admire about Marlis is that she is always looking for a way to get lighter. We discussed getting an even milder bit for Keil Bay, and I'm eager to head to the tack shop later and make that purchase.

A like-minded friend came by to lesson on Cody, and I sat at the picnic table by the arena and talked with another horsewoman, Kate, while my daughter sketched. The afternoon sun was golden and perfect, and the occasional snort of the horses in the back field was the soundtrack to this very lovely afternoon.

At the end of the day, standing in a circle by the barn doors, talking horses and behaviors and communication, I realized again how very fortunate I am to have found this group of horsefolk, which extends to include our chiropractor, massage therapist, veterinarian, and hoof trimmer. It felt yesterday like a sacred circle, and it made me happy that my daughter was part of it, absorbing the wisdom and energy of strong women with passion for horses and for their work.

8 comments:

Rising Rainbow said...

That's pretty cool you have such a great group and what's good for the horse is the core of your connection.

billie said...

Thanks, Mikael, I so agree.

Grey Horse Matters said...

What a wonderful day, I love days like that where everything is peaceful at the barn. Good friends, good conversation and a good ride for everyone,it's so nice your daughter is included in this group. That's what is so nice about this connection with horses, it brings us all closer together with a common goal but it also gives you such a warm feeling and makes the whole day worthwhile.

billie said...

Arlene, it still takes me aback sometimes, that we have our place and that the quality of the life here, so very often peaceful, is this good.

Sue said...

Billie,
It was indeed a golden day and as usual, you captured it with perfect eloquence. I too felt the sacredness of the circle and was loath to leave it. I can't thank you enough for allowing me to share in your many gifts: your horses, your beautiful farm, your wisdom and most especially, your friendship which feels almost life-long, even though it's only been a few months and a handful of meetings.
I wish you many more such perfect days.
Sue

billie said...

Sue, you are very kind - thank you for bringing your light and wisdom to the circle.

(and we're sort of related, you know, via the Corgis!!)

Matthew said...

I am joyful that our daughter is participating in this beautiful experience.

billie said...

She's fortunate to have this experience at such a young age.