And you do the Hokey Pokey right? Not. We are not in college anymore. We are trying to ride and train a young, BIG, green horse. We must be crazy.
I had Ms. C hop on Ike yesterday to give him a tune up and to check his (read – our) progress. I mean, let’s face it, Ike’s progress and success is only as good as what the rider can bring out of him. If the rider is an uncoordinated klutz, then poor Ike doesn’t stand a chance at understanding the subtleties of dressage. Ms. C on the other hand has forgotten more about dressage than I will ever know. Her input on our progress is invaluable. We talked about her ride while I commuted home – could not think of a better way to make the commute more enjoyable. The good news is that I have not caused any irreparable damage to Ike’s progress. The bad news is that we still have a lot of work to do to confirm the basics. Ms. C noted that when she watches me ride, Ike can look phenomenal and well beyond his 4 years…and then she rode him and was quickly reminded that he is a young, green horse who is only 4 years old. His big heart and good nature belie his youthful body and lack of strength and stamina.
It was heartening to know that he tried his same games with her – an equal opportunity tester as the case may be. He tried to bully his way through her hands, drop off contact, suck back, lean on her thigh, ignore her half halts, and ignore her half halts. Did I say that twice? Why yes I did. Fine tuning the half halts is going to be one of our areas of focus for the next few months. That and teaching Ike to move his shoulders into a rudimentary shoulder in and shoulder fore. Guess we will also need to teach his rider the subtle movements necessary to move his shoulders. The books make it sound so simple to set up a shoulder in position; it is as if you give a simple half halt, shift your thigh, and Ta-Da, the shoulders have moved. Truth be told, it is more like, grip reins tightly, half halt, half halt, wiggle your bottom, try to position legs, grit teeth, (then a miracle occurs), and Ta-Da, the shoulders have moved. It is that miracle part that I struggle with the most.
You could say that riding is kind of like learning a new dance except for the fact that your dance partner weighs 1200 pounds and when he steps on your toes, giggling shyly is not your first response. The dance continues tomorrow with my weekly lesson.