July 25, 2010

Patrick Swayze Moves Plus More About Gaits and Gates with Willy

My riding lesson was moved to Saturday since I had to drive Steve to Denver Airport on Friday.  I rode Divine at 10am after Robin, she is another student of Laurie's.  She is quite tall, it was kind of hilarious how short I had to make my stirrups after she rode....I'm such a shorty!  Laurie had me work on the lunge line again, we worked on sitting trot and then posting trot.  Sitting trot went pretty well, I was working on relaxing my mid section and doing what we (Laurie and I) call the "Patrick Swayze move".  This move is referencing Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing and that hip motion he was so good at, drooooool,....hold on, let me take a second, mmm....sigh....okay I'm better!  This reference that came about with Ushi, Laurie and I discussing the sitting trot and Ushi mentioned a "cat sitting pulling its tail between its legs" movement; which of course caused us all some embarrassment and some hilarious laughter.....we'll not dive into that since the cat movement turned out to be much more risque then the sexy dances moves of Swayze in the 80's.  But anyways, the movement helps ones seat follow the motion of the saddle as a horse trots.  So I was trotting, doing the Patrick Swayze move and trying to keep my legs relaxed and stretched downwards to give my seat full security.  I have to mention here the immense loss to the Arabian horse world upon Swayze's death; he was an awesome horseman and a great person.  I wish I could have known him.

So we trotted around each direction then I took up the reins but stayed on the lunge line so I had some control but the security of the lunge line.  This concept worked really nicely since it seems once I work well on the lunge line at trot I tend to lose a little bit of it when 100 % on my own.  The lesson went really well!

After I untacked Divine and brought her back to her hay meal I visited the other mares in their stalls. Mystic Magic, known as Brownie, actually came up to me in her stall and let me pet her for a bit.  This was the first time she's done that, usually she doesn't seem too interested in getting love from me.  Pstar is the one who always comes up to me, her or Psylk.  Of course Sala is the boss mare so she always wants some love or carrots from me.  I enjoyed stroking Brownie's soft neck and cheek but eventually I had to head home.
Brownie (Mystic Magic)
Sunday I headed out to see Willy.  I was planning on taking him on a "trail ride" of sorts.  I got Willy and tacked him up and then mounted up to go on a nice ride in the neighborhood.  I wore jeans.  I'm not sure why, but I could barely get my leg up to the stirrup, the jeans prevented me from flexing my leg!  Never again, jodphurs are so much more comfortable to ride in!  We headed down the driveway of the stable to Meridian road.  I was going to take him down the road to Eggar and ride in that neighborhood to see how he and I did outside of a ring together.  He spooked a little at some plastic tangled up in the weeds.  He turned about and tried to head back to the stable, I calmed him down and tried to push him forward but he ended up going up the steep bank at the side of the road.  I tried to remain calm since I was a little nervous that he'd trip and fall down the bank, and subsequently on top of me.  We got down the bank, past the plastic and then made our left turn up Eggar.  I kept him at a walk for a while.  He was interested in a lot of the sights on the side of the road, a dog here, a donkey there....his ears were going every which direction.  I had to work him with my right leg a lot keep him over to the side of the road instead of the middle.  Luckily we only had three cars drive through the neighborhood.  Each was quite polite and gave us plenty of room.  Willy didn't seem too bothered by dogs running through a yard at him or sheep running around in a pasture. 

We did some trotting.  Willy trots very fast; even posting can be difficult since his stride is quite choppy.  I was having trouble with sitting the trot as well and then when I tried to bring him back to the walk, even with my alternating contact on the reins to slow him down he threw his head up in the air.  Aside from using a martingale I don't know what I can do to prevent the head tossing or to get him to slow down more fluidly and reduce the pace at the trot to something more reasonable.  I'll have to run that by Laurie, maybe she can teach me some things to help me work with him.  The ride went very well, I had a lot of fun seeing the neighborhood, I might be tempted to see what the price range is since the land is pretty horse-friendly; not that Steve and I want to sell our home any time soon but I think the next home we buy will need have acreage for our future horses.  The views were quite nice too, I could see the whole front range.  Some of the houses were very well built and well taken care of, it was a nicer neighborhood than I expected!

On the way back to the stable, I worked Willy in trot and walk transitions trying to get his gait a little more "collected" or at least slowed down to the pace of a "normal" trot.  Fast trots are just so bouncy I'd rather just go up into the canter but I'm determined to get the sitting trot down perfectly.  I'm did the Patrick Swayze move and tried to keep that image in my head when I rode; it seems to help me visualize what I need to do and release my core while in the saddle.  We neared Meridian and Willy picked up the pace but then stopped short for a second when he noticed a cute donkey approaching the fence line.  I wished Steve was with me since the donkey was so adorable he would have just died.  Steve wants a horse sure but once we get property and move our future boarded horses to it, a donkey will be the next pet to arrive.  He loves them!  Willy seemed a bit nervous at the flapping plastic again but didn't freak out quite as much as we passed this second time.  I reassured him and then praised him as we passed the evil entity.

Pyslk Noir

I rode Willy into the arena and tried to work on some circling at the sitting trot.  Willy didn't seem to want to trot, he wanted back in his pen but I was determined to at least get one round of sitting trot at a consistent gait.  We finally did a round and I felt like I wasn't bouncing too much and was really doing that "Dirty Dancing".  Then I walked Willy over to the gate and moved it open a bit, he barged right through and I rammed my left knee hard into the fence post....with a muttered curse word (I tend to have a potty mouth when in pain or fright!), I proclaimed my distaste but not at Willy, I obviously didn't have entire control over the situation.  I'll have to figure out how to open and close a gate while on horseback, never done that before and obviously I have no idea how to begin!  I gave Willy a nice grooming down and then brought him to his pen.  After I took his halter off he spent his time nibbling at his fetlocks, scratching his face with his back hoof and nipping his flank, he was an itchy boy.  Perhaps I should invest in a better fly spray?  I pet the two cute miniature ponies he shared residence with and then went back to Willy, resting my arms and head on his withers as he scratched his front leg.  I scratched his muzzle and said my goodbyes.  It was a fun day.  Lots to still learn as always, even though I've been doing the "horse thing" since I was 9, everyday there's something new.

I learned today that it's harder to keep my toes in on my left leg; something I was working on during the ride was my leg position and that leg wasn't quite as good as the other.  I learned I need to get a lesson on opening gates and perhaps what do do about Willy evading the bit by tossing his head upwards.  All in all though it was a lot of fun to get out of the riding rink.  I'll eventually expand my "trail ride" and go out towards Peyton but for now I'll keep to the neighborhoods.


TX Doodler said...

I admire your courage so much! Working with 2 different horses, with 2 different tempermants & learning to adapt=good horsemanship. Way to go! I thought your comment about jeans vs jophers funny, because I wear jeans for western riding. Between riding in 100+ degrees & having boot leathers on underneath...not always comfortable. I sometimes wonder if I should try a ride in yoga gear. Lol! I'm sure I'd get more than a few looks/laughs from the cowgirls in the barn.

Dreamy Horse Crazy Gal said...

Well I've seen these riding tights that are boot cut, they might be good for western. Can you wear jodphurs or tights with chaps over so you have the comfort but still the look?