Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, November 19, 2012

In the Arena #133 - The swing of things...

A pair of pretty days magically appeared in the midst of our current storm fest (more on that later) so Val and I got back to work in the arena, freshly leveled and dragged.




We warmed up on the buckle using the full arena with zero balky steering moments. A first! All the bareback work must be paying off - keeping me more centered, even and balanced. I know I'll have to bring the saddle back, but for now the bareback pad is my good friend. My frequent uneven / off-to-one-sided-ness usually reflects itself in steering glitches. It feels good to be conquering this posture problem.

We picked up contact smoothly. I focused on keeping my seat bones plugged in, maintaining elastic rein contact through my elbows, supporting Val with inside leg / outside rein and looking up and through his ears. Val listened to my leg, without needing the whip, when I asked for more energy. I engaged my core to ask for the halt.

We utilized the cones, leg yielding through and turning on the forehand around them. The leg yields worked well as long as I remembered to make space for Val to move into with the inside leg and rein. Basically our ride approached softness. I think Val was glad to be back to work. I was thrilled and couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. Dressage!!






The next day was more of the same - and equally successful. We even got the beginnings of some bend. I often have a tendency to throw away the inside rein, but with the correct amount of contact we achieved deep corners and lovely accurate circles. My favorite moment was when asking for a more energetic walk, Val offered me a lovely trot transition, (once again) confirming when I don't block my horse with hands or seat he is happy and willing to be forward.




After a scary fall during our work on the canter this spring, I think am sure I've been guilty of giving Val mixed messages - saying one thing with my voice, legs and whip but the opposite with my hands and seat. Hopefully we're turning that around now. The plan is to get our fitness back plus keep moving toward softness, flow and forward.








  
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So far we've kept up our new five day a week schedule. We've practiced grooming and clipping while ground tied. Clicker trained playing touch-it with scary windy stuff, and even done trail walks combined with patience while clearing away fallen limbs. Challenging in light of this crazy weather...

...because, we're on our third nor'easter since the hurricane. It's been blowing 20 - 30 mph for most of the last three weeks. It seems we're paying for the heavenly fall we had prior to Sandy. Latest word is the (paved) road may not be ready until March. Although we can brave driving during low tide only, daylight only, 4WD only - on the sand, if we don't mind driving through some sea water sometimes... when the road is open. I kid you not.


Taken this morning

Coming soon - tour of the farmette + meet the other residents, the long ago promised trim post, updates on the nutrition / medical front... how not to lose your marbles when you're stuck on the island and the wind won't stop blowing...

13 comments:

in2paints said...

Love the pictures!! Well, except for that last one... it's crazy to still see all that water across the road!

I'm glad to hear you're having so much success with the bareback pad. Bareback riding can definitely make a huge difference. I plan to keep it in my schedule too.

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Holy cow..stay safe and sane! Looking forward to the updates!
LOVE all the pictures of you two together :)

Martine said...

I'm pretty sure having a horse will stop you losing your marbles when stuck on an island during an atlantic winter...
Sounds like you are making progress, I am a firm believer in consistent and varied work, it only ever fails if there is an underlying physical or mental problem

Girl With a Dream said...

Glad that you had a good time in the arena! The weather sounds to be awful for you! Hope that it picks up soon

Val said...

It is really coming together for you and Val! That sounded like an awesome ride. I hope the weather lets you get some more saddle time. I did not know you were experiencing so many nasty storms.

Looking forward to your other updates!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Great bareback riding. It sounds like it is all coming together for you and Val! So happy for you.

You are really having some nasty weather..stay safe and sane.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Holy Cow, your third nor'easter since Sandy?! You are made of tough stuff!!

Annette said...

It sounds like you and Val are making great progress. I can't believe that last picture... Wow! and Yipes!

billie hinton said...

I had no idea you were having ongoing rough weather out there - I have been so busy and then out of town I guess I haven't been keeping an eye on the weather the way I usually do!

Sounds like you are making the best of things in spite of the wind and washed out road though - loved reading about the rides.

Terry said...

Your arena footing looks perfect!
Glad your rides are going so well. You both look happy, and that's what it's all about.
That last picture? Scary!

juliette said...

Love the description of your rides - Val and you are working together and finding the perfect communication.

Unbelievable weather - crazy driving in sand and surf - wild! We always say here that the more beautiful a place is, the more crazy Mother Nature is in that location. We live in a rather boring place in PA weather-wise and it isn't too beautiful. You seem to get a lot of treacherous stuff so it must be absolutely lovely. Can't wait for the tour!!!!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Just stopping by to wish you and Val a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Victoria Cummings said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and Val and all your loved ones!

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