Saturday, March 27, 2010

the Big Bay brings balance

Yesterday my daughter and I rode together. As usual, she was on the pony's back and riding for at least 20 minutes before I even managed to get tacked up. She's riding bareback, so her tacking up is minimal, but I do tend to get caught up in grooming tasks, and yesterday's was brushing out the Big Bay's tail.

We did more walking and more tuning up of response time to light aids. In between the bits of work, I rode through the back field and around the paddock back to the arena with my daughter and the pony. Going through the gates (all open) is always a practical opportunity to use various skills to make sure that one's horse goes through the middle of the gateway. After the first couple of times, Keil adjusted himself as we approached without any guidance from me.

The back field has a nice slope, so I made sure we went up and down and got in some work on the hilly part. We again did mostly walking, but I added in some trot again, and found it very comfortable and nice to ride.

On our last two circuits through the back field, my daughter wanted to canter, so I asked Keil for trot. He was on a slight incline, very balanced at the moment I asked, and it was truly like driving a sports car and feeling that smooth shift into higher gear you get with a big engine. We were walking, then we were trotting. Gliding.

I asked for a walk again as we went through the gate and he shifted down effortlessly. Then I asked for trot again. Back to glide. Then walk as we approached the barn and Salina.

It was another of those rides when we found that perfect marriage between riding in the arena using dressage and the training scale, and riding out. When the horse is in balance, when the aids are light, subtle, and the horse is "on the aids" - and when all this happens within a practical application, the end result is just stunningly beautiful.

The moments when it all comes together that way are the reason I ride. The physical balance carries over into mental and spiritual balance, and like meditation, it's incredibly rejuvenating.

IMPORTANT ASIDE:

Today Salina turns 27 years old!  Happy birthday, gorgeous girl!

And this post is number 777, which seems perfectly fitting now that I notice it.

18 comments:

ponymaid said...

Billie, please wish the happiest of birthdays to a grand old girl! Any news of her daughter moving into your orbit? Things seem to be aligning in that direction - by any chance is her daughter seven years old?

billie said...

Thank you, Sheaffer - I will pass on the birthday greetings. I just got back from the store with apples and carrots so we can create a birthday tub for Her Royal Highness, written with all due respect b/c she has earned that title - it is not me being snarky! :)

CharlieHorse said...

Happy Birthday Salina ! !
Plez give her a carrot for/from her distant cousins in Virginia, Cookie and Lady-O.

Enjoyed your description of your ride - so lovely - I kept thinking that Big Bay must be really pleased with you :)

Lady-O gets called "The Pony" more often than her name...wonder why that is? One boarder speculated that it is because Lady-O has the distinction of being the ONLY pony at the stable...another thought it was like a title, kin to "Your HIGHNESS" - which fits, given her chutzpah :)

billie said...

Thanks, Beth! She had her regular lunch tub (already filled with good stuff - beet pulp, oats, wheat bran, alfalfa pellets) rimmed with apples and carrots, and in the center a huge handful of freshly picked green grass from the best spot in the yard. And I sang Happy Birthday to her. A little later, all of them will get some apples and carrots to help celebrate.

That happens with our pony too - he's the only pony - so I should capitalize it when I write it - The Pony. :)

CharlieHorse said...

If I could afford it, I'd get Lady-O a gentleman pony-friend so she'd have a friend her size....and to mess with the minds of those who call her "The Pony" :)

'Course then, probably they'd just pluralize it to "The Ponies" - LOL !!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Give Salina a big hug and kiss from me, she's a treasure.

Your ride sounds magical. I love when it all comes together like that. Those are the days that you remember with a special feeling in your heart. I'm sure the big bay and all of Salina's friends got to share in her birthday treats. It sounds like they all deserve a reward for a lovely day.

billie said...

Beth, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a herd of true ponies. And other times I am thankful we have just the one! He's got enough pony personality for an entire herd... :)

billie said...

Thank you, Arlene - they all got dinner tub party favors in honor of Salina, who also gets a nearly full moon for her birthday!

CharlieHorse said...

On the one hand, it would be crazy fun to have a little herd of ponies - I've a definite passion for ponies, always have - and I think that was one of the subliminal things that attracted me to Cookie - She looks and acts a lot like an over-sized pony :) Totally "huggable" :) (huggable ? is that a word? LOL)
On the other hand, I was once in a position to have many horses, and found that the more I had, the less personable they seemed as I had less time to spend with each one. Even now, with just my two girls, I don't feel I give each the attention they crave and deserve. I do dream of Cookie having a baby someday...but one dream at a time...first, my farm :)

Rising Rainbow said...

Happy Birthday, Salina! That's pretty cool.

Sounds like you had a great ride. What a nice way to start off spring.

billie said...

I can see it both ways, Beth. In our case when we had just the two here, Keil Bay and Apache Moon, it felt even more important to give them attention, because I knew exactly what they got from one another, and while it was positive, it wasn't quite enough, if that makes sense.

The herd we have now is a more diverse mix of personalities. Keil has very different relationships with Cody and Apache, and a much different one with Salina. The donkeys are little but so different each one really does offer a different kind of companionship.

We would never have hauled Apache to Pony Club activities if we hadn't gotten Cody, and now we have a good mix so there's always a good combination staying home no matter who takes a trip.

However, there are four humans here to offer time and attention, so that too makes lots of combos possible!

If this crew got any more personable I'm not sure we could manage! :)

billie said...

Thank you, MiKael. It felt good to be riding again.

Deborah Pipes said...

the Big Bay sounds like a wonderful gentleman...

i always love to hear about the Donkey Boyz. such clever, lovable rascals!
do you have the Donkey Boyz tagged as such? one day i would like to wander through several of their stories....

billie said...

Deborah, he is mostly a gentleman. He can get pushy sometimes (mostly involving treats) but if you ask him to step back, he will. He has an air of aristocracy about him that I especially love. :)

I never used the tag function on this blog and that was probably a mistake, because now I will never have the time to go back and tag every post. The idea of having them tagged from now on upsets my sense of completed order. So... it's one of those places where you are invited to browse and I suggest random clicking on the archives to get a taste of serendipity in what comes up for you.

Matthew said...

There is something amazing about the relationship between horse and rider than can happen when all the burdens of expectation, agenda and preoccupation are lifted. It is a joyous expression of being and I always enjoy seeing it and hearing about it.

billie said...

I like the phrase "burdens of expectation, agenda, and preoccupation" and the idea of those being lifted while riding. Or even handling. It does allow for magic to happen.

transitiontoharmony said...

re: "lifting the burdens of expectation, agenda, and preoccupation"

Isn't that an occasion of (blissful!) detachment from ego? I only manage it for moments but it is THE goal in my riding - in my life come to think of it :)

Happy birthday to your 27 year old! We sent our 34 year old across the bridge last week. She was an unforgettable spirit who inhabited a pony body for a while :)

billie said...

Thank you - and godspeed to your pony mare!