July 02, 2010

Horses and Gaits, and Horses and Gates

Today I had a fairly tough ride on Divine. It started well with circling and figure eights that were on the money then it seemed that Divine was drifting further away from my aids. She wouldn’t circle she moved outwards and away. Apparently I was pulling her to the right with my hands but I was doing that leaning thing again with my ribs out to the left, so she went left. At times she did seem to just be dominating; Laurie got up on her and discovered that fact, so she worked her through some issues and then I got back on, struggled a little but ended on a good note. I still feel a bit beat.

Sometimes what I’m supposed to do just doesn’t make sense to me, if a horse is going left and I don’t want them to why do I need to pull the left rein? Something about getting that shoulder back but it’s not intuition for me yet, not natural and very hard to remember. I get confused. Divine is trained for a more vertical head carriage, when you squeeze with the left and then the right rein (a slight see-saw motion) gets her into position. I honestly don’t remember this ever in my lessons as a kid. I had to keep asking for her to relax her neck and collect. At the trot she kept trying to walk whenever I asked for her head and also had one spot in the arena she kept trying to get out of the circle. Honestly I don’t know what I’m doing wrong; I’m getting confused by Laurie. Maybe it’s this dressage type angle that is getting me confused, it’s so new and just seems to contradict what I thought I knew before. Honestly though, dressage should be a basis for all other disciplines, my hunt seat should not have been that different, perhaps I just don’t remember well. It could also be Divine is more sensitive and emotional than the other horses I rode so any mistakes I make are amplified. We might not really click and that could be it too. Oh well, I’ll keep trying.

After I untacked and groomed her Laurie asked me to put her in one of the outdoor stalls and then feed her some grain. The gate to the stall was a little odd and I couldn’t figure out the chains but finally managed to get it securely shut. It seems that most stables have different types of latching devices on their stalls or gates, it’s like a puzzle to figure each one out! Well apparently I didn’t figure it out because Divine was getting so upset being away from her friends that the gate came open and out cantered the mare. I rushed out of the stable to see her grazing in the area near the arena. Laurie told me to get her halter, and then I approached slowly from behind and patted her. Laurie haltered her calmly and we both took a sigh of relief. We walked back to the gate and Laurie showed me how the chains worked. They weren’t supposed to be attached together which is what I did. One loops over a slit in the gate, and then through a hole. The other just attaches to itself. I felt like a complete idiot. I’d finally figured out the arena gate and now with the heat it’s getting harder and harder to latch. Now this gate on the stall gives me issues and a horse gets loose. Uge!  Not a very good day for me.
Pstar hooves
I decided to go say hello to Pstardancer and take some pictures of her  striped hooves since they are so cute. That was really hard to do though since she seemed so interested in the camera that I couldn’t get her positioned right before she would try to sniff what was in my hand. Plus the dirt on her feet made it hard to see the stripes. She was really sweet which cheered me up from being a complete gate idiot. So, trouble keeping Divine in a steady trot gait with a relaxed neck and trouble figuring out all the various gate latches. Why can’t all the gate latches be the same?

Well tomorrow my hubby and I will head to an Arabian horse show in Estes Park! That should be fun!  So till then, tootles!


Anonymous said...

Using the outside rein to support is sort of counterintuitive - but think of it this way - the head and shoulder sometimes (often) tend to go the opposite direction, so if you use and inside (opening) rein, the outside shoulder may head even more to the outside. Supporting with the outside rein (not really pulling) while directing with the inside rein and using a bit of inside leg often does the trick.

There's another case where this head turns in/shoulder pops out thing can actually be useful - when leading. If a horse is tending to want to encroach on your space from the side while leading, it often helps to tip the nose towards you a bit as the shoulder will then usually move away from you - again a bit counterintuitive, but it usually works for me!

Dreamy Horse Crazy Gal said...

Good to know! Just hard getting back into this riding thing after a long time not riding regularly! As Dori on Finding Nemo says, "Just keep swimming". LOL. It's making sense, just need that click, ah-ha moment! Thanks!