Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

I went out to see Ashke tonight. He seemed a little down. He wasn't, however, bellowing for Cali tonight. He actually seemed pretty happy to see me and whinnied at me a couple of times. Unfortunately, the pictures are blurry and not great lightning.

Ashke was pretty sweet. He listened really well. He snorted at the snow and took quite a while to gaze around him as we were walking from the barn to the indoor arena. I'm not sure he had ever trod through six inches of snow before. He also shied at the small pile of snow at the edge of the ring every time we rode past it. All thirty times.

It's really hard to take good pictures when the horse follows me around. Also, not a great point of view.

Ashke was awesome with me tonight. We walked, trotted, and cantered. And shied. A lot. At the buckets, the poles, the funky white jump brackets and the little pile of snow at the edge of the arena.

When we first got to the arena it was very dark. I had to lead Ashke inside the dark arena to reach the lights. There was a mounting block in the middle of the walk way and Ashke tripped over it. He went sideways and snorted, but didn't come close to running me over. I love that.

He did really good under saddle. I concentrated on how I was riding and I think I figured something out. I am, possibly, learning to ride in a saddle for the first time, ever.

Now, mind you, I rode bareback most of my young existence. Or with a pad saddle. I broke and trained horses bareback. I didn't get a saddle until I was 16, so most of the time before that I rode bareback all the time and just used the saddle for the classes it was required in when showing in 4-H. That combined with Ashke's movement is completely throwing me off.

I did better tonight, but one of my issues is losing my stirrups when I canter. It's because I hold on with my knees, which in this saddle means drawing my legs up slightly and gripping the knee fenders. I'm pretty sure that's what they are for. Even when Ashke was cantering easily tonight, I was riding like that. I'm waiting for him to shy out from under me instead of relaxing and letting him go.

Cantering in the saddle is also causing my hips to flex in a manner that makes my back hurt. I'm still not completely healed from my earlier accidents and still need to build muscle across my pelvis and lower back. Don't suggest bareback now, because I couldn't do it. I just need to give myself the same amount of time to develop muscle as I am Ashke.

Am  I a good photographer or what? As I was cooling Ashke off by walking him around the arena, we worked on him turning in small circles in response to heel touches. He did great for a while until he got a bit tired of working on it. It's difficult to get him to respond to heel pressure without taking off at a trot, which I didn't want, since I was trying to cool him down.

That's my glove on the ground under him. I threw it at him to get him to lift his head and look at me. He does not look amused.

Not bad for nine months, right? His back and butt are getting bigger and he is no longer back sore at all. Soon we will be doing hills and his rear will bulk up, right?

Pictures just don't do him justice. At least, not low light, iPhone pictures.

He was trying to figure out what the hell I was doing. I think the trim on his hooves has had a huge impact on how he feels under saddle.

Don't you love this chest? We are currently feeding six flakes of alf/grass mix and two pounds of Amplify mixed with 20 grams of Lysine a day. Ashke still has feed left in his feeder - I think its some of the grass hay he was being fed. I'm glad he is getting plenty to eat.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah it does sound like you are trying to learn how to ride in a saddle. The Western way is to push into your stirrups and wedge yourself against the cantle. Having started English--I could never do that very well. I had a riding book that used a lot of visualizations, like imagining that you are dragging your heels on the ground. Or that your legs are liquid flowing around the horse. I know it is difficult to do visualizations while you are trying to concentrate on staying on top of the horse!


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