Do you ever ride your horse and wonder if anyone is home or if they have left town and headed to the beach for a long weekend? Today, as I rode Ike in our lesson with Ms. C, I felt like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off asking questions to the class, “Anyone, anyone?” I would ask Ike to half halt, and I would ask again and again and again and….well you get the picture, and he would just keep rolling along as if I hadn’t asked. I could imagine him sitting at one of those high school desks in economic class with his head on the desk with a puddle of drool under his mouth. The lights were on but no one was home.
Ms. C had us doing exercises to help control Ike’s shoulders – square turns were challenging since my half halts were going unheeded. “Ask again, be louder!” My arms and legs started to hurt from my efforts. I finally had to down transition to the walk in order for Ike to respond to my request and then attempt them at the trot again. Ugh, I will need to take some ibuprofen before going to bed tonight. We also worked on my timing since I have a tendency to be a little late in preparing Ike to feed off on a square turn/circle/centerline. Half halt a few strides before you feed off or turn, not right as you get there. It sounds easy enough, but as we are trucking along, I get so worried about missing the letter that I forget to do my preparations. I guess that is why people like me take lessons from experienced people like Ms. C so that they can keep us on track.
We definitely need help with controlling Ike’s shoulders at the canter. His right shoulder can be very dominant and today was one of those days. When I ask for the right lead, that right shoulder collapses and our 20 meter circle quickly becomes a
15, 12, 10 meter circle. To the left, that dominant right shoulder pulls us right so we have those half ovals or full egg shapes. Ms. C had me carry a short whip in my right hand and keep it at the shoulder to encourage it to stay more upright. It did help, but I do sometimes have a hard time keeping my reins at the right length, squeezing my fingers and holding onto the whip. Feel like a klutz. Thank goodness Ike is so forgiving.
Can you guess how we finished the lesson? Stretch down trot!! Ike was tired at the end of the hour, so we actually did have some positive moments in our stretch down. I need to remember to sit tall and to not lean forward as I encourage Ike to stretch more. That just causes him to trot faster and faster and get out of balance.
We will be back to trailer loading practice tomorrow. I also need to pick up my show coat from the dry cleaners. Hoping they were able to get the horse slobber off that right sleeve.