September 29, 2010

Oh so excited!

So October 9th Steve and I are headed to Denver to see "Cavalia", basically a show that is Cirque de Solei with horses from my understanding.  I can't wait to see enchanted Andalusians, Lippizans, Friesians and Arabs....heck I have no idea what breeds will be in the show but I cannot wait!!!!!


I also recently received an invite and two complimentary tickets to the Clinton Anderson Walkabout tour which is a clinic on horsemanship and training to be held in Denver that same weekend!!!  So we plan on heading up on Saturday early to check out the clinic and see what we can learn and then that evening be enchanted by beautiful horses and I'm sure a few beautiful people!  Oh yes a great horse weekend is coming soon!

September 27, 2010

Nose to the wind and trot!

Willy was happy to see me today. His winter woolies are coming in more each time I see him. The day was pretty warm so I felt bad for him in all his fuzziness. I took him in to groom, he’s always covered in bits of hay and lots of dust so I take my time getting all the dirt flicked off his coat. Another gal came into the indoor arena to groom and tack up the mare she was leasing. We didn’t really talk just quietly groomed our horses in the coolness of the ring.


I got Willy tacked up and walked him around the yard practicing several stops. Sometimes I ask and ask and ask and after 10 or 20 steps he finally stops. I’m doing everything I know to ask him properly, I sit deep and press with my seat; and squeeze intermittently on the reins. As he keeps moving I apply more pressure to both seat and reins. I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong, Divine responds well and I’ve done practice with her but then again she’s collected so stopping more quickly is perhaps easier.

I took Willy out to the neighborhood I like to ride in. A truck was backing up into a driveway to deliver hay and Willy wasn’t sure how to react to that. I reassured him and moved him slowly past the offending vehicle. I asked him for a trot, which started out fine as I posted but then the choppy pace increased to such a jarring nature. I asked him to slow a little but he just tossed his head and hollowed his back even more until I finally got him back to a walk instead. I need to get a lunge set and work on him with collection, I find it hard to practice sitting trot or posting trot on him with his neck up, nose out and back hollow. It can’t be comfortable for him either, it’s not an efficient way of moving and as a previous endurance horse trotting so stiffly I would think would have been a detriment over miles of trail. I tried several more times at the trot with Willy being just as ornery. Instead of feeling like I was fighting with him I decided to stay at the walk and enjoy the day.

We did some side passing or more like lateral movements to the side of the road but he was having some issues responding to that as well. Once I got back to the stable I worked on him with turn on the forehand and some side passing. He did a decent side pass to the right but really had difficulty doing it to the left, he kept wanting to back up. I wonder if I can work on that from the ground too, perhaps ground work will help with a lot of the issues I’m having with him. I’m not experienced enough to know if his trot is just his trot or if it’s so jarring because he is uncollected. Even when Divine is uncollected her trot feels smoother than his. Now Danilla, the Arab/Mustang mare I tried out to possibly lease earlier this year, had a trot to die for, ground covering but smooth. It was very easy to sit and I hadn’t done as much work on the sitting trot at that point! Oh well we’ll see how things go with Willy.

After the ride I roughed up his sweaty areas and walked him around the arena to cool down a bit. With his halter and the long lead I had I figured I’d see if he knew how to lunge. He didn’t, he kept trying to follow me around instead of moving off from me. I grabbed one of the school whips and used that to coax him away from me I didn’t even have to touch him with it. We eventually got it and I lunged him around in a small circle for a bit until his coat was dry and cool. Then I groomed him smooth and rewarded him with many carrots as I put him back into his pen with his buddy Two Socks. I think I can work with Willy a bit and see how things go with getting his trot more collected or at least more ride able, it will teach me a lot in the process.
Willy eatting hay with Two Socks at the right

I talked with Steve a lot this weekend about horse ownership, something about going on a trail ride on Saturday and the drive up there made it prime time to talk horsies. My goal for getting a horse is spring of 2012, hopefully then I can begin the search for a horse. I’d like to be able to buy the truck and trailer at that time too but we’ll see what we can find. I’ll most likely have some money saved towards the truck but I’ll go out and buy a horse and then later that year get the trailer and truck once I have the rest saved up. I want to buy both with cash so they won’t be a top of the line set just something that works well. The truck will be an older model with miles on it but mechanically sound, same thing with the trailer; nothing fancy just something to cart my horse out for a trail ride.

It seems very doable if I concentrate on getting the horse and worry about the truck and trailer later. Previously I wanted to get them all at the same time because of my desire to do endurance riding but if I get a 4 year old horse I really can’t do longer rides anyways until the horse is 6 years old per AERC rules. The first year or two I have the horse I really should work on basic dressage training in the ring and where ever I have the horse I’m sure there will be trails or places to ride nearby until I have a rig. I’ve seen that some people even have 3 year olds that are started under saddle, granted I wouldn’t want to ride them too hard for a year since they are still young but I find that interesting and I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or not. In Equus it was stated that the last bones in the body to fully calcify are the vertebrae and that tends to be around age 5; the cannon bones calcify sooner but still, at a young age you don’t want to put too much strain on their legs and tendons. I guess with the current plan a 3-4 year old might be the best age for me to look, with the intent that at age 5 I would start working on limited distance training and at 6 maybe doing the first distance ride.

I’m just thinking out loud. It’s such an exciting prospect and fun to plan for owning a horse as a definite thing! Steve even seemed up to the idea of getting a second older horse (I’m thinking a cute quarter horse, paint or grade horse) that he could learn to ride on and my mother or friends could ride; so a beginner safe horse. Eventually he wants his own Arabian and to join me on the trail but we’ll have to see how much he gets into it. Oh to dream! 2012 is not that far away so I need to get planning and working hard on the debt snowball! Allrighty then, I’m off to go do that!

September 25, 2010

A Mule. Really?

Steve and I went up to the Lake George area to go on a western trail ride with my mother and one of her friends.  It seems like it has become a tradition of my mother and I to go for a ride when the leaves are changing up in the mountains.  This Sunday is Steve and I's 1st year wedding anniversary so it worked double time to be able to head to the mountains for a nice ride.
Them are big ears!
Once we paid for our ride the four of us headed over to the corral to be assigned our horse.  They usually have one guide leading and then another following, we had a young man in his early twenties, I would guess, leading the ride and another, older cowboy, that would be following up the rear.  We were assigned our horses as the cowboy rattled off the names; I was to ride Bertha.  Uh-oh.  I feared the worst and it was true, I was assigned a mule.  Now I have nothing against mules but I prefer a horse for a horseback trail ride.  The ride began and I realized one of the only charming things about Bertha were her big ears.  She was content to just plod along slowly, backing up the line of horses and ignoring my every effort to entice her into a more moderate pace. 
Mom on a beautiful Haflinger

The day was nice and warm with cool breezes, a bright blue sky accented with dark green piney mountains and golden aspens.  Throughout the whole ride I was kicking and prodding the stubborn mule, to get her to walk faster than a snails pace.  Eventually I resorted to tapping her with the ends of the long reins to get her to move forward, begrudgingly of course and only for a few paces.  Oh what a pain!  I think I've been spoiled with Arabians or at least forward horses in general.  I could never stand to own a horse that doesn't want to move onwards! 
Steve getting set on his mount


The ride was only an hour and I think everyone had fun aside from me being irritated at an unresponsive equine.  We hugged my mother goodbye and headed on to some other mountain fun to celebrate our anniversary.  At least tomorrow I get to ride my sweet Willy!

September 24, 2010

Relax

What an awesome lesson today!  Laurie had me on the lunge line with Divine and we mainly worked on relaxation.  She had me work in the 2 point position while keeping my legs relaxed and not pinching with my knees.  She had Divine transition from walk to trot and back again.  During the beginning I tilted forwards in the 2 point because my legs were indeed gripping but slowly as the lesson progressed my legs began to relax. 

I did sitting trot then 2 point and then sitting trot again, all the time concentrating on my legs and relaxation.  It's amazing how different your seat feels when you are more relaxed.  Your body can truly go with your horse instead of tensing up and flailing about (yeah I never do that! ;-)  )   Later we worked on posting trot with the emphasis on keeping my legs and body relaxed.  Transitions and change in "type" of seat really are times when tension can creep in and ruin a steady seat.  The more relaxed your body is the less likely you are to actually fall.  Makes sense once you are on the horse and feel it!
Hi Brownie, how are you doing?

After the lesson I gave all the mares carrots.  Divine was very excited about the carrots and kept moving Brownie off so I had to go around to the far end of the arena to get Brownie her goodies.  The other mares pretty much took their turns at getting the treats.  Laurie has decided to take Brownie off the market and keep her as a broodmare/riding mount.  She's a sweet mare and apparently a favorite of her kids so it was a good decision.  I'm heartbroken that Pstar is going to be sold, though I understand the reasoning behind Laurie's decision.  I'll just have to soak up the sweet loving personality of Pstar while I can.  Again I'm not in a position where I feel comfortable buying a horse, as I've said in previous posts, otherwise I'd be tempted to purchase her but the price is a little high for what I want to spend on a horse.  Pstar is of excellent breeding and would be an excellent broodmare, something I doubt I'd ever use one of my horses for, so the price is actually cheap for the wonderful mare she is.  I have to keep reminding myself that my horse will come, someday.  I don't want to spend more than $5k.  Granted I may not find a horse with the bloodlines of Laurie's horses and it may end up being a part Arab but that's fine with me, I'm not looking for a breeding prospect or a champion show horse just someone to love and with whom I can share the trail ride of life.

Anyways, I wandered over to Laurie and Eksodus.  Laurie was scratching his withers area and he was in seventh heaven.  Eksodus leaned into the scratch and arched his neck in complete happiness.  I worked on his rear end and he seemed to like that.  He's a beautiful boy, so elegant and tall at only a year old.  His mane is becoming more flaxen each time I see him.  He's just gorgeous!  Again....my horse will come...I have to keep reminding myself. 

What a relaxing day.  It started with a lesson that felt almost like a yoga session and ended with my husband and I getting nice hour long massages....can't find anything to complain about that!

September 23, 2010

Bare Essentials

There are so many ways to ride a horse: English, English country pleasure, hunt seat, dressage, English side saddle, western, western pleasure, roping, western sidesaddle and then you can get into the country specific ways to ride a horse such as a Peruvian Paso or the Arabian horse. Most times riding a horse involves a saddle of some sort. The saddle provides, theoretically, comfort for the human rider and comfort for the vehicular equine; though there are arguments against this in regards to both species.

I remember only two times riding a horse bareback. Once was a when I was around 12 during a Breyer horse show at the 4-H grounds in Loudon County Virginia. The horses stabled there were used for therapedic riding; which I had often helped along side my mother during the summer months. My favorite horse was a Meiko, a bay gelding that was very gentle and sweet. I simply adored him but of course never got to ride him. A group of girls were out in the paddock during the lunch break and a couple of girls were mounting up on the horses bareback. Peer pressure or just pure desire to be on the back of my handsome steed led me to hop up on Meeko and ride him around the paddock; though the ride lasted under a minute. He trotted a bit and then I dismounted at the first call of alarm from other kids that the adults had caught us in the act…uh-oh. I don’t regret it; even though we were not allowed to go ride the horses, for our safety I’m sure, it was still a thrill to ride my love!

The other time was right after a lesson on BC, my favorite chestnut Thoroughbred lesson horse from my later riding years as a kid (I think mainly late middle school early high). When BC was all groomed down my instructor let me hop up and ride him as she led him to the pasture. BC was 16 hands, maybe a bit shorter; not a really tall height for a Thoroughbred so it was easy to get boosted up onto his red back. The ride was short and sweet and slippery if I recall.

This past Sunday I decided to try Willy out bareback. I was pretty tired from spending a week for business in Atlanta, GA and I had not seen Willy for 14 days so I wanted to have a nice relaxing ride with him and not work too hard. I missed not seeing him the last Sunday so it was good to see his sweet little face again. I groomed him up in the indoor ring and bridled him. He sort of looked at me like I was forgetting something as I led him off to the mounting block. I stepped up on the block and swung my leg over his back and kind of scrambled around to get in the right position, yeah this was easier when I was a kid! Then I walked him around the ring doing circles and figure eights while concentrating on the movement of my seat. I could definitely feel his backbone along with his muscles as he swayed front to back and side to side. Honestly, I don’t think bareback is the most comfortable way to ride. I see a lot of people using a bareback pad or a blanket to sit on but then to me, that’s not bareback so why bother; just put on a saddle. We lazily walked about the ring for a bit before I dismounted and fetched the saddle to get some serious work done.
Sleepy Willy

My main goal was to keep him trotting continuously in the ring. He doesn’t have a problem on the “trail” but going in circles he trots for a bit and then wants to quit. I get a pretty big work out trying to squeeze him back into the trot so I brought my old faithful crop with me to use as a reminder. Just having a crop in the hand often times is enough with most horses but the occasional tap after Willy ignored my legs also did the trick. I was tired and I’m sure Willy wanted back to his hay so I groomed him down and brought him back to his pen. Until next week my little bay friend!

How to Fence with a Horse

In college I thought about taking up fencing but never got involved since I was busy with an outdoor club where we did backpacking, hiking etc. It’s still a sport that seems like it would be fun to learn but I hadn’t quite intended on learning “fencing” during a riding lesson on a horse!! My lesson on Divine started with circles and transitions, I’m still working on asking her for collection and working on me realizing when and how to best collect her to keep her in a consistent pace.


We started down the sides of the arena to work on the all more difficult aspect of riding a horse, going straight. This seems to be an issue for a lot of riders, go figure, we work on circling all too often so that when we, as riders, want to go straight we have issues getting it perfect. Granted I walk straight all the time on Willy but it’s not the collected “dressagey” (to use a word from Laurie ;-) ) type of walking straight. Since delving into this dressage type world I’ve learned a lot, anyone can ride a horse but to ride well in the classical sense is kind of like comparing ballet to break dancing. Dressage is the ballet of the horse world and I’m certainly not even up to par with the “training” level classes; not that I want to show but still, I digress.

When walking straight it’s amazing how my body reacts to being near the fence along the arena in this “walking straight scenario”. Fearing for my knee’s safety I get an extreme sense of panic and pull Divine in towards the arena and away from the fence….ah but not really away from the fence..turning her inwards actually pushes her to the fence. After several times of being banged into the fence and hearing Laurie repeating the same instructions, (“turn her nose towards the fence!”) which frustrated me even more I dismounted and Laurie explained and drew in the dirt what was happening. My brain was so alarmed in the saddle that the instructions, which on the surface seemed counter intuitive, just blew through my mind as my aggravation escalated.

In a nutshell if a horse is turned away from the fence line the arch they make actually puts my knee into the fence, whereas by turning her nose into the fence she arches in a way that puts her nose and rear closest to the fence and my knee is in a safe, happy place. “Okay….I’m kinda getting that” I think as my adrenaline lowers and Laurie mounts up to actually show me what she means. Divine was apparently throwing a wrench into the game as well. She wasn’t properly responding to my aids; the ones Laurie had been telling me to use and that I was trying to apply to the best of my harried mind. Laurie worked her through it and showed me what she was doing. She then had me stand in front of Divine along the fence as she walked up the arena towards me. I could see that turning Divine's nose towards the fence and pressing with the outer leg really did get her away from the fence. I think the movement of Divine’s head towards the fence freaked me out in my panicked state so that I didn’t let the action follow through enough to finally realize that yes, indeed those aids will get my knee back to safety. Sometimes you just need to actually see things you know?

I mounted up and practiced around the ring, getting Divine near the fence and then pushing her away from it. It was like magic! We ended the lesson with a figure eight at the trot. I kept to sitting the trot and worked hard at getting Divine to perform the exercise at least one time around while being responsive to my collection aid and keeping at a steady trot. YES! We did it and perhaps now I have actually learned how to “fence” with a horse; though I think I’ll leave the rapier to the real fencers, that could hurt on horseback!

September 22, 2010

How to Lunge a Horse

Now I'm not talking about the type of lunge whereby you take forward steps "in place" at a gym, while trying to impress some hot guy, thereby straining your hamstrings.  I'm talking about exercising a horse in a circular pattern on a long lead for training or exercise purposes.

Lessons learned in lunging a horse

1) Fold the excess lungeline in your hand rather than looping it so you don't get your hand caught in it if the line pulls out for some reason (i.e. horse freaks out and runs off)

2) While the horse is working in a circle around their person, that person walks a small circle in the center.

3) Push the horse with your body language: moving behind the girth will encourage forward motion or a faster pace, staying at the girth will help with maintaining the pace, stepping ahead of the girth signals to slow down or stop.

4) Don't pull the horse around with the leadline, your are "pushing" from behind

5) If using side reins to help with teaching headset and collection start looser and work up on a new or untrained horse

6) Lunging is a lesson in communication both for the rider and the horse

7) Go both directions so you don't work only one side (muscle group) of the horse.  And so you don't get too dizzy!

I found it quite intuitive and had a good time lunging Divine with just a halter and then the bridle with her "bitted up".  I'll have to try lunging Willy sometime to start working on him with collection.

The video below is one my mother took back in April.  Laurie is lunging Divine.  Sorry no pics or videos of me lunging a horse yet!

video

September 20, 2010

Loss of a Mini-Friend My Gerbil Benny

I haven't posted in a while but I have several horse posts in the "queue", I was planning on writing some this afternoon but a small little friend passed away today.  Benny (Bennigan) was one of two gerbils Steve and I purchased 3 years ago.  Earlier this year we put his friend Nibbler down since he had a huge tumor and infection going on.  Nibbler passed away in his sleep last night.  Yesterday he was running around, chewing on cardboard and snacking on seeds; I guess it was his time and I'm glad he went peacefully.

I know this is a horse blog but I love all critters, big and small and each has a special place in my heart.  I'll post my recent horse blogs soon I'm just not in the spirits to do so right now.  Every creature that has crossed my path and shared their life with me, has become a part of me so that when they pass on it's always hard to say goodbye.  Benny will be missed but I hope that somewhere he and Nibbler are cuddling in soft tissue paper shreds somewhere.  Give your critters (large or micro) a hug and kiss everyday, they are precious.

September 07, 2010

Silly Saddles

I've been on the lookout for odd tack, funny tack...anything that would work for the blogger of Tacky Tack.  Hopefully she got the email I sent with these two pictures below but if not maybe she'll hear about this post and do a blog about these silly saddles.

The first is a saddle made by Wintec, I'm sure it was long ago.  Today they might hang their head in shame having this image come back to haunt them.  I have to say the Wintec saddles I've tried have been very comfy and I seriously want to check them out when I buy a new saddle for my future horse....of course the saddle will be in all black!

This other saddle was a velveteen fabric.  I honestly don't know what to say!  It's been at Equiline, a used tack store in the Colorado Springs area, for a while now....about 6 months or more!  Don't get me wrong they have a lot of nice saddles, these are the only two I've seen that have been a bit "odd".  I love the store and glad I was able to snap these pics.

Of course this last saddle makes me think of every horse lovers dream!  I know this is always on my Christmas wish list!

September 06, 2010

New Area to Ride In

Willy really seemed to enjoy the grooming session today.  He had a particularly itchy area behind his pole on the far side at the base of his mane.  I curried the area and he leaned into the brush, closing his eyes, a pleased grunt uttered on his happy horse lips.  He was so cute.  His dirty coat took a while to clean, I ran some hand wipes on the dirtier areas to bring off some of the dirt that I just seemed to be moving around with brushes.


Willy Ear
 I purchased a new bit for the bridle, an egg butt snaffle that is a little bit milder to see how it works with Willy.  Once he was tacked up I mounted up and worked him around the indoor ring.  I tried to get him to trot consistently around the ring while I checked out my position in the two mirrors on the wall.  I was having difficulty with keeping Willy at a nice trot, so I decided to take him outside and try a new "trail riding" area. 

Willy Nose
One of the Friesians
I took Willy right down Meridian instead of left.  We crossed over Garrett.  The footing on the side of the road was not quite as good as I would like so we crossed over Meridian onto the east side.  I was planning on taking Willy down the first dirt road a bit to get off the larger street.  He stopped several times on the side of the road, looking around.  Even though he was a trail/endurance horse in his prime I don't know how long it's been since he regularly went out on rides.  At this stable he probably stays on the property most of the time so I can understand his apprehension when we go somewhere new.

We turned down the dirt road and I asked him for a trot.  I worked on posting but his trot was really quick and choppy so I was having a hard time.  I tried slowing him down with my seat and hands but he threw his head and nose into the air with very little rein pressure, nothing different there really.  We finally got back to a walk but with him hollowing his back, and stiffening his legs.  I was using the same aids that have worked well on Divine.  Though I know that sometimes my aids aren't perfect and Divine lets me know by being a bit more bumpy she has more smoothness than Willy and I think that's from her collected gait.  I really want to work with Willy on collection, I'll have to see what Laurie says at my next lesson since we are planning to work on lunging Divine.  We trotted a few more times with the same results even though I tried to change my seat and aids a little bit.

Beautiful Friesian head
We walked back to the stable and I worked on lateral movements with Willy on the road.  To make him move laterally to the left I turned his head slightly to the right and pressed with my right leg; to make him move laterally to the right I turned his head slightly to the left and pressed with my left leg.  He and I did pretty well considering!  We finished our ride and I got Willy groomed and put back in his pen with many carrots.  Of course I had to give a few to Two Socks his stall mate.  I then went on up to the top of the sloped property to visit Lorraine's Friesian mares.  They were very sweet but hard to take pictures of since the light was bad and since they kept following me and nuzzling the camera!  I can see why she loves them so much, Friesians are so beautiful and her mares are so gentle.  I went to say goodbye to Willy, collected my tack and headed home.  On my way out a man with his daughter asked if it was always so quiet here, this was the first day he was out here with his daughter leasing the grey horse, Misty, Willy shares a stall with.  I told him yes it was usually nice and quiet here.  Hopefully that girl will learn a lot from leasing a horse like I have so far!

Colorado State Fair

My parents and I headed down to Pueblo for the State Fair.  I hadn't been to one since I was about 5 or 6.  There weren't any competitions going on at the time we went but we visited the animal barns.  One of my dreams that ties in with horses is that once Steve and I buy some land, we'll give homes to other farm animals.  Steve wants a donkey, I want a miniature cow and a handful of goats.  Anyone who knows me can tell you I love all sorts of animals.  Right now I own a 55 gallon tank with 5 goldfish and a plethora of other water babies, a gerbil, two dogs, a cat, and a spider.  I used to have more but my lizard and other gerbil have since past on.  Anyhow it was fun to look at all the critters and think about the future when I will have the land and ability to tend a little "farm".




The goats were awesome!  I simply adore goats!  The house on the corner where I turn up the road to Laurie's house for my riding lesson has a herd of miniature goats.  I could easily load up my Honda Civic with a few, they are so cute!  Anyways at the Fair, one of the friendlier goats got up on the railings of her pen and was eye to eye with me, rather curious about my camera.  The goats were very friendly and nice to pet.  I've read that they are good to graze with horses, they tend to eat the vegetation that horses don't necessarily touch so it's good for pasture maintenance.  I also enjoy their quirky little personalities and their inquisitive stares.




The cows were also really neat, a lot of them were huge!  There were some miniature Zebu cows, not the miniature breed I want (I'd love to find a mini Jersey or something like that) but they were still pretty cute and soft to pet.  The babies were to die for!



We also went to watch the horses, we watched two girls go over their western routines.  They did circles and then did some sliding stops.  I still don't understand why people don't where a helmet!  Anything can happen on a horse, no matter how good a rider you are or how "slow" you'll be going on the horse it just makes sense to protect your noggen.  Anyways we toured the stables and looked at one shop that had some cute rope halters.  A lady came over with her chestnut Quarter horse named Smarty.  He was very sweet and Mom and I spent some time petting him while the owner bought a few things in the shop.

Later when we were looking over some of the shop stands I found a beautiful metal horse wall hanging, it shows different colors in different lights and angles.  It was very pretty and made me think of riding in the Colorado Rockies; I love this state.  Of course after all the animal stuff we went on the rides and a had a great time but I won't bore you with that, just know that my mom and I scream in sync on the rides!  I wanted to post about the critters even though most were not of the equine persuasion they were still very fun and perfect additions for my dream mini farm!  I'll be working on the horse ownership dream first!


September 03, 2010

No Stirrups!! Ack!

Running late for my lesson I was doubly happy that Ushi was riding before me.  As I approached the stable I saw Ushi riding Divine.  Once her lesson was done I joined her and Laurie in the ring.  Divine got a nice rest as we all talked.  Ushi stayed to watch my lesson, I always like watching other peoples lessons, you can learn a lot, so I never mind having her watch mine. 
Brownie- looking cute with Legs in the background

My lesson was all on the lungeline as Laurie was going to have me work on the posting trot.  I know it's a common problem, I've seen it in magazines and at shows but often a rider will turn their leg outwards while posting.  So we worked on the proper position for my legs and the proper movement of my hips as I moved up and down in rythm to the Divines trot.  Then she had me work on sitting trot without the stirrups.  Oh the torture!  LOL.  It really wasn't too bad and actually is quite helpful to get balanced without the stirrups.  In a sense stirrups can be as much a handicap as a helpful tool.
Laurie and Gadiel
Later she had me work on the posting trot without stirrups, now it's been a long time since I've ever done that, talk about Thigh Master!  It was difficult to say the least and my inner thighs were rubbing on the saddle, I was thinking that my new jodphurs were too thin and that was causing the problem.  Laurie insisted that I had tension in my thighs therefore causing rubbing that would not occur if I was relaxed and using my lower legs properly.  I'm still amazed at the vast knowledge she has of how little things in our body can affect our seat and our horse.  She even commented about how much Divine reflected my body.  When I was tensed up she tensed up, once I relaxed she relaxed with her head and neck and the gait became even more smooth.  The lesson ended on a great note with me sitting the trot, still without stirrups and using my seat to bring Divine smoothly into a walk and then a halt.  How awesome that felt when I was in complete sync with her.  Laurie was pretty proud too and made me beam even more!
Divine should be a fly mask model!

After I released Divine back into the arena after her grooming session I loved on Pstar a bit.  Laurie had been talking earlier about a mare she wanted to purchase, potentially, as a second lesson horse but needs to find Eksodus and Mystic Magic (Brownie) a home.  If one of them finds a home she could justify getting the mare.  She seemed pretty smitten.  She also mentioned in passing the difficult decision about selling any of her horses, even Eksodus and Brownie.  It made me really hope that she'd never sell Pstar, I love seeing that mare when I come to the stable.  She's always the first to greet me.  I have no idea how she'd be to ride in the ring or on the trail but her beauty is one that comes from the inside out.  There's just something special about her.  Honestly I think there's something special about all her horses.  I just hope when I get all my ducks in a row and I go horse shopping I can find a mount that's at least half as sweet as her horses!
Gadiel gazing at the beauty of Sala