Where to start?! I guess at the beginning! Sam had yesterday off. He got some new shoes on. I like our new farrier but he takes an hour and a half to shoe him. Sam doesn't do anything wrong, he stands like a gentleman for the entire time but the farrier just seems to take his time. That didn't leave me with enough time to ride before work and the afternoons have been soooooo hot, so he had the day off.
This morning I woke up once again with butterflies - I think this is going to be a common occurrence for a while so I think I had better just get used to it. I caught Sam and he had a spring in his step being led down to the tie up rail. I saddled him up and mounted. I made him stand once I had mounted for a while. He did this without too much fuss. We made our way up to the round yard, we did a few turns, small circles on the way. In the round yard I just practised turning, stopping, going, my position. While in there Sam saw some horses out in the road - a good 500m away - he grew tall, tense and I will admit I started to get a little worried. We hadn't spoken about what to do when this happened in our lesson. I stopped, breathed tried to relax and asked Sam to do a lot of turns, moving away from the leg, turn on the forehand, hindquarters. I really didn't feel like I achieved anything. He did it all he was just as tense doing it. This I am sure will improve in time. Because of this incident I was questioning about going out into the riding paddock. I had a canter in the round yard and thought I would see how he walked down to the riding paddock.
We got down there not a problem. Once again he slowed right down once I turned him towards the gully crossing that leads to the 'arena'. I pushed him on using my seat and I had to give him a big bump, small reaction but at least a reaction. When we got over the other side I walked him over some small logs, used the tractor tyres as things to practice turning around, figures of eight etc. Roadworks were happening on the main road so that gave him yet another distraction. I pushed him up into a trot and just concentrated on legs forward, sit up straight, head back, relax those shoulders, one, two, one, two. I asked for a lot of figures of eights and concentrated on making them round, even, no falling out or in. After a bit I felt him settle, slow down and concentrate. Then an amazing thing happened. I thought I had felt Sam lift his back and work before but nothing like this. We were on the left rein working around all the show jumps. I guess it would be about a 50m circle. We were trotting and it felt very even and rhythmical. He was round and soft and I remember trotting around and smiling. Thinking this is what it is meant to feel like! This is what I need to feel all the time! Mind you this lasted for about a third of the circle. I was very excited! I could feel the power underneath me but it felt contained and safe!
I did feel this through out our ride but not for as long. But it was there!!!!!! We had a canter and the right rein was terrible. He was leaning on the bit but I found he listened when I half halted with my seat and started to really come underneath himself and start to carry himself. I also felt my position was better. I felt that I didn't have to work as hard and that Sam was no longer able to pull me forward. My shoulders weren't as sore so I am guessing I wasn't as 'tight' this time. I also took Sam home a different way. Through a gully I have never taken him through before. No problems at all!!!!!!!
I am heading off to Melbourne tomorrow night and won't get home until Saturday night so Sam will probably get those two days off as well. I am going to try and get up early and ride in the morning but not sure if I will have time. I am doing a first aid course tomorrow. Figured it was a good thing to have up my sleeve!
Happy Horses!!!!! :o)