Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Friday, December 3, 2010

In the Arena #38 - More bareback therapy + my little cookie monster

Is it just me, or does time really speed up over the holiday season? Don't blink or it will be over. That's how I feel these days. I stole a few hours yesterday for another bareback ride. When I got to the barn, this is what I found (see lower lip) :) It took a bit of doing to motivate him but eventually Val got moving. He happily munched on hay while I groomed and tacked him up.


My plan for the ride was to concentrate on position, especially the legs. I spent most of our ride like this: Okay, is your heel down? Where's your leg... at the girth? Behind the girth - why? Not gripping with your thighs are you? Calf on... is your foot parallel to the horse? Not leaning forward are you? (I was ) And repeat. Add "rig up mirror at the barn" to the to-do list :)

I'm struggling with how to hold my lower leg when bareback that allows me to aid well while not creating tension. My seat and thighs feel great, very relaxed... lower leg needs work. And it is my sincerest wish that in the future I develop a more graceful style when mounting bareback. :) At present it feels pretty sack of potatoes-ish. (poor Val)

Besides focusing on position we worked on circles, straightness and contact. The contact felt super good yesterday - subtle and sensitive. And Val agreed... lots of mouthing the bit plus some reaching... moving out at the walk more that usual. I noticed towards the end of the ride that I had forgotten to put on my riding gloves, so had ridden barehanded. I wonder if that's why my contact seemed easier to maintain and much improved? Easier to feel really.  Maybe the gloves are getting in the way somehow... decreasing my sense of touch, or dexterity. I'll have to see if it's a matter of causation or correlation - but whatever it was I liked it. Overall a very productive ride.


Ummm, isn't it cookie time?

Pretty sure it's cookie time...


 Isn't this where you keep the cookies?!
I K-N-O-W there are cookies in here!!!
                                  ****************************************

This is also the time of year when there are drastic temperature fluctuations. Wednesday it was in the seventies... Thursday morning in the low forties. It's been flip-flopping this way for a few weeks. This kind of weather can disrupt eating and drinking habits. Colic weather. Val hasn't been finishing his hay, which I chalked up to how warm it was. Also not drinking nearly as much water. This had me worried, but thankfully this morning it was back to normal. I'm wondering if I should be adding salt to his feed? He does have free access to salt and mineral blocks, but I've know some people supplement salt. Any advice about salt and quantities would be appreciated! (Do I need to go to micro-managers anonymous?)

Also, the blanketing issue is here again. Thankfully, I'm more clear on this subject. I'm not going to blanket until it's below thirty night and day - a light blanket. And anything below fifty five with rain, he'll get the rain sheet, added layers as needed. That's my plan and I'm sticking to it :)

Oh - I can't forget our spa session the other day! I pulled out the clippers and clipped for the first time on my own. Val was a champ after a mild overreaction. I clipped his muzzle and bridle path with him loose in his stall and me balancing on a turned over bucket. Living dangerously lol. What a good boy and soooo handsome :)

14 comments:

Kate said...

If you add salt to the feed, use the plain (not iodized) type. I used to add about 1 tablespoon a.m. and p.m. to Maisie's feed to encourage her to drink. Some people also sprinkle salt on the hay. Heated water is often a big help as well.

Love the pictures!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I love the pictures of Val, he's such a handsome guy.

It does sound like you had a productive session and are really loving your bareback pad. Good for you and Val! Wish we had your weather here, it's starting to get really cold at night. We don't blanket unless it's going to be wet out, they all have such thick coats it's not necessary.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Kate-

Thanks for the salt info!

Luckily we have well water. It's around fifty five degrees all year - warm in the winter and cool in the summer :)

Muddy K said...

Absolutely wonderful pictures.

I'm totally into letting my legs just hang when I ride bareback, and I mean really hang, utterly relaxed. They find a solidity of their own and then it seems to take so much less movement to apply an aid. It's that old saw about imagining how you'd land -- on your butt or on your feet -- were Val suddenly to vanish from beneath you.

So you're really enjoying that bareback pad, huh? I'm thinking it might be time to put one on my Christmas list.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Arlene-

I thought about you folks up in the frozen north after I posted... sorry if I sounded like I was bragging ;)

Carol said...

Aww, that first picture is adorable, and all of them are very cute. He's such a pretty horse.
I add salt as Kate outlines. Riding bareback, I just let my legs hang in a naturally relaxed fashion.
Sounds like you had a great ride.

billie said...

I too add salt, but I purposely use the iodized b/c I'm also balancing my iodine in the horses' diets and use what's in the salt to help achieve the total needed.

The amount is based on NRC guidelines plus some extra, broken down by potassium, sodium, and chloride amounts for maintenance and also for supplementing to adjust for sweat loss for horses in work and/or in summer heat.

I've read that most horses can't get enough salt via licks b/c they'd have to lick many hours a day to meet their needs.

It's not micro-managing to begin to question ways of horsekeeping and wanting to get more exact about things! :)

(says the woman who has 4 scales and a calculator in the feed room, LOL)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Muddy K-

Glad you liked the pictures. Val was in posing mode :) You should definitely tell Santa about the bareback pad.

When I'm just hacking around I let my legs hang... when I'm schooling, I have been attempting to keep heels down and calf on... as if I'm in stirrups but without the effect from putting weight in the stirrups. Hope that makes sense :) A suggestion from my trainer to get even more benefit from the bareback time.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Carol-

When schooling bareback, I'm trying to keep my leg on and heel down, same position as saddled but without weighting the stirrup - a suggestion from my trainer. It REALLY opens my hips! Hacking around I let it all hang :)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Billie-

Thanks so much for the info. We're adding salt and vitamin E now :) I'm looking to upgrade my scale as well lol!

Chloe said...

Hey cool blog, just read it for the first time....gave me a giggle (in a good way) when you described your arena situation....i kinda have a similar problem...except mine is huge uneven paddocks that have two types of conditions mud or rock hard....anyway check out my blog www.wildhorseproject.blogspot.com
it is my journey to take my horses from the wild and teach them dressage

Rising Rainbow said...

I went through a stage riding gloveless because I could feel more. It was helpful. Now I think I only ride using gloves when it's really cold.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Hi Chloe-

Thanks for stopping by :)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Hi RR-

I will be doing the glove experiment again :)

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