Monday, December 05, 2011

lessons in riding, 12

Taking a brief break from holiday shopping posts to talk a little bit about riding the Big Bay.

He's had two weeks off after his corneal scratch and then his chiro work. The scratch healed well, and during that part of the break I rode Cody several times. I truly dislike the dressage saddle I normally ride Cody in, so I used my Thinline sheepskin pad on Cody along with Keil Bay's saddle, and one cold day pulled out my sheepskin seat saver pad - instant warmth in the saddle and it's been nice having the cushioning. I think riding Cody a number of times while NOT getting to ride Keil Bay set me up for a big realization.

The first thing that happened was I realized how tall he is! Cody is 15.3h and Keil is 16.2h - the difference seems much more than those few inches. I put my 2-step mounting block on top of some carefully arranged cinder blocks, lowered my stirrups two holes, and for whatever reason my fidgeting about the mounting process has stopped. It's no surprise that once *I* stopped fidgeting so did the horses.

I'm not sure why I had my stirrups up two holes while riding Cody but it felt glorious, notably glorious, to have them longer last night. I felt like my hips had opened and my legs grew longer, and everything just "fit" perfectly.

We had a hoot owl calling in the woods, night fell quickly, and Keil Bay was extremely alert and forward. There have been times when I felt nervous about this combination of things if I haven't been riding regularly, but last night I was so happy to be back on Keil Bay I was thrilled. We warmed up and then moved into some trot work. Cody has a smooth trot but I find it hard to post because the stride is so much shorter than Keil's. It felt like I had returned home after a journey - posting to Keil's trot. I was really enjoying the cadence and the ease of the up-down. It wasn't the best ride we've ever had but it was wonderful to be feeling his movement again. On some level maybe after what happened with Salina and then Keil's swollen knee and scratched cornea I just appreciated every moment that much more.
Tonight we had another ride and this one was quite stunning. Keil was alert and very forward again. The interesting thing is that he was not spooky. Just alert and forward. We did a good warm-up and incorporated a lot of serpentines into that. I'm not sure if it was the warming up or just the forward, but when we went into trot things got better than good very quickly. We went right into the power trot, but the most surprising thing was that when we trotted on the left rein, on a 20m circle, Keil was completely supple and I think we had probably the best work going left that we've ever had. He got soft and round and his bend was perfect, and my rising trot spontaneously shifted into sitting trot because his carriage was so perfect there was just no rising motion to be done. When I sat and his back came up beneath me, he went even rounder, got softer, and we went a full circle in what felt like pure schwung.

I am still feeling the effects of that perfect circle. Sitting here typing I can still feel exactly how it felt.

Lesson: sometimes you don't have to work for good things. Just get on and let the magic happen.


Grey Horse Matters said...

When you get rides like that it does feel like magic and stays with you afterwards. So happy for you and Keil Bay to be back together again and having wonderful times.

billie said...

Thank you, A. I hope this happens for you and Dusty when she recovers completely!!