Monday, November 30, 2009
Sofie In Slow Motion
Sofie says: "Posing for pictures makes me sleeeeepy...."
On Saturday Sofie and I returned to the Big Field for more fun in the (almost peeking out from behind the clouds) sun. She was in a pretty good mood, cooperative and relaxed. She was not sure she wanted to be caught, but changed her mind when she walked up behind her half-Friesian friend Piper, who decided to kick at her (I swear, that horse kicks more than any horse I've ever seen in my life). Sofie immediately pivoted around to face me, as if to say "You can catch me now." Funny horse.
I warmed her up with a little free-longeing in the indoor arena. I decided to just carry a lead rope and see if I could get her to respond and maintain her gait without me running alongside her with a big whip. She did well...she was not an energizer bunny by any stretch of the imagination, but she mostly responded to my voice cues and maintained her slow trot pretty well, and it was fun to try something different.
She was great for the tacking up process, which makes me think she must be happy with her new-old saddle. Actually, she did something I don't think I've ever seen her do before. I put the Wintec on her back, and she cocked a back leg, dropped her hip, and totally relaxed. Hmm. Nice. She was eager for the bit, once again...she used to be really hard to bridle, throwing her head around like crazy, though she always accepted the bit once I actually was able to get it near her mouth. When I started riding her again post-hoof rehab, we figured out that she would open her mouth for the bit if we just held it below her lips. All her head-flinging was due to her not wanting to have her head handled (something she's pretty much overcome) and maybe also frustration and trying to communicate that she would rather not have a finger stuck in her mouth when she could just open it herself, thank you very much. Anyway, she really likes her bit, and the only time she flings her head now is when her stupid human (me) is too slow to present the bit. Or sometimes she flaps her lips with eagerness...
Out in the Big Field, she was happy, but a little hesitant. She trotted without any complaint, but she didn't move out like I know she can. It felt like she was saying "I like it out here, and I want to trot, but this is as fast as I can go." And that was fine. She was trotting willingly, maintaining her gait and her rhythm, why should I push her to go faster? I know she's capable of "forward", but she had done a lot the previous day, and she was a little sore. I'm actually happy to see her slowing down when she is sore, instead of getting all tense and racing around. So I did a little trot work, until she started to feel reluctant, and then I walked her around the Big Field and the Big Yard, just enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. By the end of the ride she was moving out nicely at the walk, and we had accomplished a lot of stretching (she will stretch down at the walk, but is still learning that she can relax at the trot and canter).
I was also happy with the way I handled things. In the past (as recently as a couple weeks ago) I have gotten very upset when I had a less-good ride after a good ride. I think I have finally figured out that good rides will not continue for all eternity, and that a good ride normally means that the horse uses muscles it doesn't normally use, or works for longer than it normally does, which will naturally result in some stiffness/soreness, hence the less-good rides following good rides. Not exactly rocket science, but the mental aspect of riding has often been my downfall.
Today will be my final ride in the Big Field. Yes, it's sad to see my lovely riding place reclaimed by the jerk geldings. But it also means that the mares will get to reclaim their larger area. Hooray for that.
A BRIEF MESSAGE FROM THE DAMN FREAKING WITHER EATING SADDLE:
Hey, it's me, the Fhoenix Soft Tree dressage saddle. Don't I look gorgeous? Meghan gave me a super special cleaning. It made me feel, like, totally special. She must really love me. Except I thought I heard her muttering something that sounded like "You will never torment my horse again, you damn freaking saddle." Which made me confused. But I'm sure I just misunderstood her. She would never say such a thing about me, because I am an amazing saddle. Everybody knows that.
Oh. Wait. Meghan just handed me a note. Apparently I'm supposed to tell you that I'm looking for a new home? Wait a minute. FOR SALE CHEAP?!!? WHAT IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN????