The One With the Really Sweaty Horse and Rider

It might be November, but Ike and I managed to get so sweaty (and I’m assuming a bit stinky) at our clinic that on the drive home, my husband insisted that I wait in the truck while he us grabbed something to drink at the local Valero. Hmm, maybe I dressed a bit too warmly for the occasion.  I had forgotten that we’d be working in an indoor arena which effectively blocks the wind and stays a bit warmer than the ambient temperature outdoors.  I wore my FITS winter riding pants, my Mountain Horse winter boots, 3 tops and my Horseware Ireland wool sweater.  (Note to self:  Remember this combination if I need to sweat off a few pounds in record time.)  Ike is not clipped since we ride outdoors in the winter, I don’t want to have to play “guess which blanket to put on the horse” every day, and let’s face it, I’m too lazy to clip.  So yet again, we looked nothing like the winter riders in all the horsey mail order catalogs I regularly receive.

All our sweaty efforts were worth it.  We attended another clinic with Rebecca Langwost-Barlow.  Overall, she is very pleased with Ike’s progress.  Can you guess who needs the most work in our team of two?  Yes, you guessed correctly.  It is me.  Shocking.  I still like to overuse my inside rein which overbends Ike’s neck.  When I do think I’m straightening his neck, I end up throwing away my contact and leave Ike to decide how things are going to go.  It doesn’t matter what gait we are traveling.  I also have a tendency to cross my outside rein over Ike’s neck trying to correct what I’ve done with my inside rein.  Arrrrghhh!  What mayhem I create for myself.  I then get so hung up on what my hands are doing that I forget to effectively use my legs, and my shoulders start to shrug as they tense.  Becky kept after me the entire lesson just as Ms. C does – these ladies know how to drag the best out of Ike and me.  While working on the left lead canter, she even resorted to having me hold my SOS strap with my right hand while she told me when to half halt.  It took a few minutes, but I finally figured it out.  Ike leaned in on my inside leg a lot less and, surprise, surprise, his neck was straight.  I think I actually turned him using my outside rein and leg rather than pulling with my inside rein.  We then achieved similar success with the right lead canter.  Cool.  Nice to find out that the SOS strap can save me in other ways.

This was most likely our last outing for 2012.  The holidays are upon us and I’ll be sweating the details to get everything done on time.  Maybe I should wear my riding attire as I shop, wrap, and bake, and sweat off those extra Christmas cookies…


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