Monday, December 15, 2014

Un livre captivant

It's afternoon and although I generally have a plethora of things to write about (and in fact have a dozen or more unfinished works-in-progress to post) I find myself trapped in this strange sort of lethargy that occurs when I get into a particularly fascinating book. I'm reading Shantaram and it's one of the most amazing works of fiction I've had the pleasure of reading this year. Simply delightful. I'll write about this weekend since recapping events is somewhat easier than generating new information and writing instructional posts.

This weekend was both odd and wonderful. Skipper tossed her student who then got stuck in the stirrup and dragged a ways - that sucked. But kid was totally fine and Skipper is officially retired from my retinue. Which also sucks. She's one of my best horses when she's good... but unfortunately she spends a lot of time not good. Especially lately.

We then free-jumped pony a bit and that was fun. I like watching horses who have felt too cooped up sort of unwind and let themselves be free.

When I had my group jumping lesson one of the horses got free as we were putting his bridle on (mostly my fault, silly instructor, why would you do that in the arena?) and he went gallivanting about. Oops. So before the lesson even started all the horses were very... up. They were more like kites than horses. But the lesson went well. We worked on jumping through the chute without our reins. Sitting up, using our core, trusting our weight down through our stirrups. What magic it can be, to let go of the reins and just experience the horse underneath us. I think it did good things for my students' balance, which of course was the point!

The holiday party on Saturday was delightful. I love seeing my students interact and it was neat to hear some of their stories in a different framework than I get to hear them.

Sunday was an easy, good morning of lessons and I had a good ride with Camou - he's starting to feel so good. For like... ten strides at a time. Which is WAY more than when we started with him. I'm having hope.

Basically we're still working on dressage's creed of LEG MEANS FORWARD NOW but even just increasing his reactivity to those aids is doing wonderful things for his self-carriage and engagement. He has a stubby little neck and a predeliction to turning into a snail when I ask him to stretch onto the bit (yes, thank you horse. I ask for more contact and you respond by showing me just how nicely your chin meshes with the crease in your chest...) but he is so athletic and fun. Not upper level dressage sort of nice, but in the end I see him being a supremely rideable, fun beast.

This week I'll be focusing on lengthening and shortening at the trot a bit because the trot-canter transition might have been overschooled a bit and at this point he'd rather pop into a canter than give me a longer trot stride.


This whole training thing is such a ridiculous balancing act, fixing one thing only to go back and fix something else. It's like a crazy puzzle, you know?

For me... holy COW I need to keep my reins shorter. I'm putting electrical tape on them or something... it's pretty bad. I also am either going to shorten my stirrups and jump in them, or put a dressage saddle on him for the flat. That strange middle length is doing nothing good for my lower leg.

A potential lessee rode (and even jumped... ! ) Tango on Sunday. It went okay.

He was a spaz, but she couldn't have been more delighted with him.

Back to Shantaram. Have you ever read a book that is a fantastic love letter to both the dark and the bright sides of humanity? That's what this book is to me. It's beautiful. It's dark. It's filled with many characters and stories and a depth of reality that is breathtaking. I cannot break away.


  1. i just tried the chute thing in a lesson and it was sooooo helpful! glad your students enjoyed it too. bummer about Skipper tho - always a shame to lose a lesson horse like that...

    1. No kidding! And hey - I actually got the idea to do the chute from your blog, so thank you very much! I'd been meaning to for ages but seeing what a nice change it'd made in your riding I finally put the effort into doing it for my clients.