Saturday, November 28, 2009

Good girl, Sofie!

DISCLAIMER: If this post reads a bit disjointed and frazzled, it's because this writer is a bit disjointed and frazzled due to having come into town in a truck whose brakes failed while going down a hill. Fortunately, this writer's mom is a very good driver, and the traffic was very minimal. But still, I'm a bit shook up.

Yesterday I had a lovely ride...the best one in a while. We longed, stretched and warmed up Sofie, then I rode out to the Big Field that is normally occupied by mannerless jerk geldings, but is vacant at the moment. Sofie had been in there a couple times on the longeline, but this was my first time riding in the Big Field. It was very fun.

Sofie definitely has her preferences as to where she likes to be ridden. She does not like the outdoor arena at this barn. She was always crazier in there when her feet were messed up, and she was crankier in there when I put her back to work too abruptly after her hoof rehab and made her sore. Even when I just take her in there to cool down at a walk, she gets tense and is harder to steer for some reason. So I avoid going in there now. She likes indoor arenas okay, but she gets annoyed with them because they are too small and there's nothing to look at. She likes trails, except when there is Something In The Distance that I can't even see, but she can, and she stares at it to make sure it doesn't get us. But she loves Big Fields. At the first barn where I boarded her, there was a tiny little arena with terribly deep footing, and a Big Field. She liked the Big Field a lot, but I got scared because I gave her a leg aid when she was cantering, and she started hand galloping, and then I pulled back on both reins (which of course didn't slow her down) and it felt like she was running away. So after that I was nervous, and I wasted a lot of Big Field riding opportunities.

Yesterday she was wonderful in the Big Field. She trotted without complaint, maintained her gait, and was even reluctant to slow down (part of that was due to her being in her stall all day on Thanksgiving due to crappy weather and overly sympathetic barn help, but hey, I'll take it). We went all over the Big Field, and she wasn't spooky or nervous, and did well on the hills and slopes. The Wintec stayed put (which is more than I can say for my other, way more expensive saddle) and she didn't seem to have any problems with it.

She didn't offer to canter, but I was fine with that because I'd rather not have her overdo it. I was happy to just get some nice trot work from her. I rode around 40 minutes, and finished up with a lovely, soft, willing trot transition (on her bad side, too!), a bit of bending, and a transition back to walk.

To celebrate our good ride (and liven up this colorless post), here is a short video from a very good ride we had earlier this month, showing all three of Sofie's gaits.

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