Wednesday, December 07, 2011

lessons in riding, 13: rain is good

Today I was determined to get a ride in between my morning chores and our hoof trim/consult this afternoon for Rafer Johnson.

Rain was due to blow in today but it was delayed so I managed to get all the work done and thought I was ahead of the game to ride too. I did a quicker groom than usual on Keil Bay and tacked up. Just as we walked through the arena gate the rain started.

I have ridden in rain before but I'm generally not going to start a ride in the rain - if it starts while I'm already riding I'll finish up. But our string of great rides has been so wonderful and yesterday's canter was so beautiful I really wanted to ride today.

The wind was gusting, the rain was falling, but there we were. All tacked up and ready to go. So I got on.

I hoped it might stop, or at least stay minimal. Keil Bay went into the most gorgeous frame the moment we walked off from the mounting block. I was instantly sucked into the ride. We warmed up at the walk as usual. The harder the rain fell, the better he got.

And the wetter, but I barely noticed.

The trot work was incredible. And the rain got harder and he got better. It was bizarre! But wonderful. He seemed to enjoy the work. By that time the entire herd had come in and gathered underneath the barn shelter, where they stood and watched as Keil and I kept going. He was in total work mode. Focused, alert, completely balanced between fore and hind. I felt the circle of energy going from my legs and through my hands.

I could not bring myself to stop. We got wetter and wetter and neither of us cared. At one point we were doing a very collected trot against the rain, which was slanting toward us. It felt like the angle of the rain actually slowed us into the collected trot.

I've seen Keil Bay circling his herd in rain storms before, where he looked like the paintings and sculptures of the Etruscan horses, rounded and soldier-like, and that's what he was doing today, except I was on his back instead of watching from the ground.

At some point it occurred to me that I usually find a good note to stop on - but today, even though the weather itself was providing a huge "stop" note, the work was so perfect there was simply no way to measure when to stop. What finally did it was when my eyes got so full of water I couldn't see.

In the barn, I realized everything was drenched except the area under Keil's sheepskin pad and the area of the saddle I was sitting in/on. But I was ecstatic and so was he. His bridle was dripping when I pulled it forward over his ears. I piled his manger with hay and gave him his post-ride snack of alfalfa pellets and oats. I was so nurtured by the ride we had I didn't realize until dinnertime tonight that I literally had nothing to eat all day long.

I'm not sure what the lesson is here - except that when you feel the pull to ride, go for it. I would never have thought a ride in the pouring rain could be so incredible, but it was.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Congratulations on another great ride. It's amazing how you and Keil have been connecting in your recent rides and now this.. in the rain. Wow! I'm so happy for you both you're an unbeatable team.

It's been pouring and blowing all day here too. Maybe an inch of snow tonight. Unfortunately, I'm not as brave as you and opted to stay inside.

billie said...

I would not have thought it - he is definitely engaged in the rides this week and I wonder if he is making absolutely sure I understand that he is ready to be back under saddle and doing his 'job' with me.

He's always a good horse and a good ride, but this has been so purely good it seems like he is making a very strong point. :)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

I rode into the rain yesterday too...

We're on a similarly joyous track with our horses now - I totally related to your last few posts. Yay us! :)

billie said...