long day

Nov. 20th, 2008 08:38 pm
dancing_crow: (Kaboose)
Well, considering I was thinking I didn't want to do any of the things I had to today, I did great at many of them.

I attended Yoga thinking that it would be a win if I only did child's pose for the hour. But I went through most of the class, and worked hard, and felt much happier when I was done.

I knew I had to stick my nose in the neck of a horse, so I located my winter riding britches which was a good thing because I'm pretty sure it was about 29 degrees fantastically farenheit at midday. I rode Kaboose who started out tight and cold and spooked by the wind. After a good deal of trotting, she loosened up and settled down, and we had some really nice work at the trot and canter. With the cold there was one corner of the ring that was treacherous - a thin bit of mud over icy mud - and we had to be clever to avoid it. But I got some really nice bending in the canter, and a bunch of nice forward, brisk canter transitions. It is all about sitting and waiting for her to bring the canter up to me, not leaning forward to encourage her or anything stupid like that. The more it feels like I am waiting, the more clear and definite the depart is. Then the kind mare worked with me for a lot of sitting trot practice. This is one of those places where riding a horse is nothing like riding a bicycle. I remember being able to do this. I remember being good at it, and flexible in the back and solid in my seat. And now I am stiff and clunky on her back unless I am thinking about my seat Every Single (Fucking) Stride. So I practiced exactly that.

I rode Ruby just a little too. Before I did that I tried to get her to trot next to me around the ring. She freaked out at some leaves at the end, yanked the reins out of my hand and galloped madly around before stopping and walking up to me with the reins around one foot and stopping with her nose in my hand looking slightly embarrassed. I untangled her and we tried again. She was eyeballing me so hard she nearly tripped a couple times, but she did fine after that. And I rode her, walking and trotting, in straight lines and circles. She is such a baby, and doing so well.

It was family circus tonight, but poor Al spoinked something in his back and the girls were experimenting with a sling, so I ran through my trapeze routine twice, which was all I had strength for, and my hands are wrecked and I will have some awesome bruises tomorrow but I am tired and happy.
dancing_crow: (Default)
Another lesson today. I rode yesterday, just hacking about, on a little gray Arab mare with only one eye. She had her right eye removed because it had a tumor, and she is oddly lumpy around the ears and jaw as well. I did not carry a whip, and spent a lot of the ride booting her to get her off my leg, but we had some very nice leg yields and should-in. My sitting trot was vile, and our canter departs were catastrophic. Her eye issues make it more worrying going to the right than to the left. We finished on a much softer trot than we started, so on the whole we did well.

I was slated for another horse today for my lessons, but she had the goofies and couldn't be caught, even by the teacher. So I rode the one eyed mare again. With supervision, and a whip, we did much better. Mara (teacher) speaks of particular movements or sequences as unlocking the horse. Before unlocking they are harsh, and after they become much softer. Last week a particular shoulder-in unlocked the horse, and we spent the rest of the lesson doing much nicer work. The same kind of lateral work helped unlock this horse. The leg yields went from stiff necked, nose out and wiggly shoulder to much more forward and rounded, more wrapped around my inside leg. She is much softer to the hand than last week's pony, and easier to get forward. When it is going well, it feels like I am driving a wheelbarrow, almost pushing on her mouth rather than pulling or holding. We worked on some canter transitions, and really just holding the whip made a huge difference, plus holding with my shoulder blades to keep her from running through my hands.

The title references my own dreams of horse ownership as a child, where I always pictured myself mounted on a gray Arab mare. Of course, I never came close to that - strictly grade horses all the way, backyard keeping, 4H and Pony Club on a budget - I'm sure you'd recognize the drill. I loved them all. But I mentioned to Mara this dream, and she rolled her eyes and said "That was all I had - I'd have loved a different horse..."

So here I am riding gray arab mares. They are up-headed and wiggly in the shoulders, but have some lovely moments. I am hugely amused.

I also had yoga in the morning, where the teacher asked us to remember the last time we were joyfully embodied. My mind leapt to my lesson two weeks ago, on the bay grade mare with a real extended trot, in the sun, in the outside... and before that to two years ago on a little chestnut Morgan doing an extended trot outside in the spring sun... good things to remember. Nice also to remember being competent riding.

Made up for by circus today. I started tired, and everything hurt. But I finally nailed the upside down wrap-the-fabric-behind-your-back move, having practiced it resting gently on my head. And two one-minute handstands against the wall. Free standing head stands. And the beginning of a new trick. Of course, the new trick hurts, because everything hurts, but eventually it will not be so distressing.

loong day

Mar. 4th, 2008 08:29 pm
dancing_crow: (Default)
After waking around 3:00am when the front came through and heated me up (I keep thinking I am getting hot flashes but so far it has been misuse of the thermostat and other external issues. I'm grateful) I was up for early Y exercise, which I am attempting to use to improve my strength to weight ratio, from both ends. It would work better if I didn't love dessert so much. I had scheduled myself for a yoga class, and Wendy wanted to take the horses to an indoor riding ring to get started on the spring training schedule and it is (finally) a Circus day again. I contemplated skipping one or another of these things, but I'm glad I didn't.

In yoga we did a bunch of hand stands. I start them differently, which kind of bugs the teacher, but she is mostly OK with it since I warn her what I'm going to do. I can do very respectable handstands against the wall, and head stands almost anywhere I can put down enough padding. She had us experiment with forearm stands too, so I told her "I'm going to give you heart failure now" and kicked up into a forearm stand proper. I was insufferable. But polite.

At the barn we got it cleaned in record time and then the woman came who wanted to buy Dakota. She is nice, peaceful and cheerful. They would work well together. With the ice and snow there wasn't a lot they could do, but she walked up and down the path and around the manure path. A woman came with her who said she did massage and communication. To my huge credit I didn't laugh at anything she said until I was home. She did do some interesting stretches and manipulations, and found a very tight muscle along his armpit (?) that would explain why he always hates having the girth tightened. Standing around in the snow, my feet got colder and colder and colder. I started in almost shirtsleeves, and finished with my lined mittens on and the spare car sweatshirt I keep for emergencies and I was still shivering. After the they left, Wendy and I hooked up her trailer and took Dakota and Flash to another farm to use the indoor. It felt a little odd because it was the barn I pixied at last year, but we had fun, I think. Flash was compeltely deranged - Wendy had him on a 20'lead, and he was goggleyed at first and then bucking and farting and leaping about in fabulous ways. I lead Dakota around the indoor one each direction, using cookies to bribe him, and then hopped on bareback. He was also a bit bug-eyed, but he handled it much better. He was most disturbed by a bucket catching drips in the ring. He likes buckets because buckets mean food, but this bucket made a ticking noise every time a drip hit it, and he'd flinch as if stung, and then approach it again. We mostly walked, and did some small trot circles, keeping well away from Flash's flashing hooves. We returned home just in time to tidy everything away and run fetch children.

I circus I spent an exhausting 45 minutes working on learning new tricks on fabric. It is amazing how hard the first time is, and how grateful I was to be able to stop and breathe and then come at it again. Al said he admired my determination, which is nice of him to say because I was feeling singularly lumpy and incapable. Yet I managed to accomplish the tricks I had worked on before with a certain level of grace and style. Practice practice practice. Or two blocks down and cross the street. I'm not sure there is a market for circus at Carnegie Hall.

I am pleased to be home and I'm going to bed. The morning comes much too soon.

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