Tuesday, December 30, 2008

more sunshine, thank the heavens, and finding balance

It was SO nice to be able to open up the remainder of the round bale and the shavings pile today so they can air out, and equally nice to see horses walk without necessarily doing that little hoof slide in the mud. There are still a few really mucky areas, but much of the ground is drying out a bit.

Keil Bay came up for his ride, later than I had planned, but I was determined to get it in before dark. I made sure to focus while tightening the girth, decided to ride in halter and clip-ons, and then forgot my half chaps.

At the mounting block, Keil did not want to stand again, and he kept looking around at me as if he were concerned I was going to re-enact yesterday's drama. Once again, I followed him with the mounting block until he stood still, which took him backing the entire 6 meters from H to the end of the arena. About the time he realized he couldn't go any further and stood still, a hunter in the hundred-acre wood shot off one huge boom. The Big Bay stood nicely and didn't get silly, and I mounted without incident.

I'm starting to think I really do want to get a bitless bridle and try it out with him, as there is something truly lovely about his head and neck and the way he carries himself without the bit. It's very subtle, but there is a slight lack of tension that may come from no bit, or it may come from me not having mastered consistent contact, but it's enough of a positive change that it makes me want to have it all the time.

He was checking things out beyond the arena again, and it was a nice test to see if he would respond to my gently "sponging" the reins to get an ear flicked back. He did. I remain surprised at how much better lateral work is without the bit. I'm still not sure why, except the lack of tension surely makes it easier for him.

Meanwhile, my legs felt really loose and light, and my pelvic joints felt much looser today too. I didn't realize until after I got off that the lightness of leg was probably not having the half chaps on, and the increased flexibility has to do with getting saddle time in every day for a few days running. Given that, I am hoping to keep this rolling.

I also put a sheepskin seat on my dressage saddle and it feels pretty good. I noticed some difference at the canter yesterday with it.

All that said, the house is a Total Wreck. This is my ongoing challenge. When I write and ride, other things fall apart. When I take care of domestic duties, I don't write or ride as much.


Grey Horse Matters said...

We joined you in a sunny day today (38) but may have a snow shower tomorrow. So glad you got to ride, and things went so well.
As for the house vs. riding and writing. The house will be there for a long time, but if you don't ride and write when you can...

billie said...

Thanks, Arlene - I need the encouragement to let the house go. :)

jme said...

here's another vote for letting the house go! reading and writing are so much more important!

glad the bitless thing is working for you and keil bay. i like to ride without my half chaps sometimes too - i feel like it makes my leg stronger but more sensitive, since you can't grip as much without chaps... they make jodhpurs for adults, if you can find them, and they're really comfy to ride in :-)

billie said...

It's funny you mention jodphurs - I was thinking yesterday about a pair I had when I was young and wishing I had them, in my size now.

They were a wonderful army color khaki - that odd mix of olive and tan - and the fabric was sturdy and soft, with just a bit of give to it. The waist came up and was flat in front, as they zipped on the side.

They did balloon out but were flattering (then, not so sure they would be NOW) and the legs fit perfectly below the knee - they had buttons, a row of 3 down each calf.

I do sometimes ride w/o the half chaps, but at one point the leathers were pinching. I think now that my legs are back further that wouldn't happen.

You're right though - it's interesting to change things up some and notice the differences.

And I truly appreciate the vote to let the house go. My kids and I are working on a new plan for the new year, and if I can get everyone solidly on board to do their part each day, it won't fall too far. :)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Hi Billie,

I hope you do try out the Bitless. I wish you lived closer and I'd let you try mine.
When I've used a bit on my mare, she is more stressed, anxious, and plays with it, which causes her head to move all over, too.
With the Bitless, she is calm, relaxed and her head reflects that.
It's even funny that she slobbers and foams, even though she has no bit. It's just because she's so relaxed and is licking, chewing and is able to focus more on subtle requests from me, instead of preparing for possible pain from a bit.

I'm glad you were able to enjoy a nice ride on the Big Bay. Good for you keeping up with it, so your body stays physically fit.

Housework will always be there, but you can't get back that quality time with your horse, which also keeps your body supple, your mind free and relaxed, and gives you fresh air, too.

New Mexico

billie said...

Lisa, that would be nice, to borrow a bitless bridle first. The Big Bay has a very big head, so he needs the over-sized one. Part of my dilemma, really, because Keil, Cody, and the pony would need 3 different sizes, and ultimately I'd like one for each.