Friday, September 6, 2013

Zero to Hero?

OK, not to quote Hercules (or as I prefer Herakles, the Greek form of the name), I have been trying to hopelessly get the semi feral horse and the semi feral human (me) back in some form of shape besides round.

I recently have switched to an earlier shift at work, which is great because I now have time to ride after work.  Unfortunately, this means I now get a lot less sleep because I haven't managed to figure out how to commute, ride, shower, eat, do something domestic (and not in that order) and get somewhere close to 8 hours of sleep.

But I will enjoy the riding. 

I am far from a perfect rider.

I have a lot of faults that I am desperately trying to correct.  I used to ride some difficult horses and started a few colts, so I end up looking down a lot and have a tendency to have my leg swing a little too far forward.  I had a back injury last year, so I also spend a lot of time guarding my back.

This meant that while I was riding my accident prone little horse, I was upsetting her balance with my crappy balance and I was finding myself getting frustrating.  She was erratic in keeping a chosen gait and wasn't willing to soften and seek contact.  We more resembled a monkey perched on a giraffe, rather than an elegant horse-rider pair.


I'm sure I'm still in giraffe mode, but I finally kick started myself with an honest riding lesson.  And sure enough, semi feral horse started off semi feral, but actually resembled more of a horse by the end.  And I truly discovered when I sat back (up), kept my elbows back, got rid of the soft puppy paws and looked at someplace besides the dirt, I actually could ride.  Go figure.

Easier said than done.

Tonight, I took SFM (Semi Feral Mare) out to the outdoor.  Seriously a big step.  SFM has very little life experience, except for eating grass and making babies.  We rode out from the indoor and while she has been out on the trail a few times, she has not been out by herself.  She is also very timid.  It took a few minutes to convince her that the Bobcat isn't so terrifying and has nothing to do with its feline counterpart.  We made it down the driveway.  Then we were stalled by the in gate to the outdoor (go figure).

I realized that the barrel jumps were just too much for a little grey pony's brain to handle, so I walked her in and off we waddled around the outdoor.  She had a good time looking at all the scary jumps and couldn't figure out which ones to look at the most.  The barrel jumps ended up being the clear winner though.

My goals are simple.  Better equitation and being soft with my body, while trying to instill confidence in my horse.

We weaved and walked around the jumps.  Worked on less giraffe, and more bend and using her body.  We trotted.  I decided to sing (and good thing no one else was there because a dying frog could sing better than I can) to try and keep focus and I think it's a bit soothing to the horse.  Maybe not, but I kept a nice steady trot much better that way and I remember to breathe at the same time, so win for me.

We waddled over some of the ground poles.  Poles with stripes are more terrifying than poles without.  But less terrifying than barrels on the ground. 

Overall, pretty good ride.  I keep my expectations low, hah, but it's all a good experience for me.  I've had a chance to ride some phenomenal horses, but I am finally learning a lot about how to correct my habits and become a better rider so the next time I have the chance to ride or show a "made" horse, then I can achieve more from our partnership. 

And on the homefront--I was probably more domestic than normal.  Loaded this dishwasher, made dinner, and prepared the crockpot for tomorrow.  The horrors of becoming too civilized!

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