Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Autumn arrives with silliness

Autumn in Northern California is beautiful. Not perfectly predictable, but beautiful--kind of like my friend Calabar as a matter of fact.

What horse do I feel like being today? Hmmmm.
Daytime temperatures are in the 80s today, but yesterday it was a bit cooler and breezy. Monday was a lot like today. At night it gets down to the 40s and we are just starting to see the fuzz that will become (I hope) good winter coats on the horses. Rumor has it, crisp fall air can also lead to bouncy horses.

On Monday, it was warm enough for just a tank top when I went to ride my faithful steed. There was all likelihood he might be a little high because he hadn't been out much since the week before and he hadn't worked very hard when he'd been out. While he wasn't on the moon, he was determined to do what HE wanted (jump) not what I wanted. Since he wasn't listening particularly well, I wasn't particularly inclined to trust that he would jump and behave versus jump and go careening around the arena at a mad gallop. As it turns out, he did behave and we didn't even have to argue much.

Tuesday, however, was different weather and I had a different horse. Cooler, with a bit of a breeze--very nearly sweatshirt territory! Calabar was goofy and bouncy in the cross ties, where normally he is quite content to stand still--as long as I'm not massaging him. It really should have been a clue.

Peter had a lesson going on in the indoor, but since we're not allowed to lunge in the outdoor arena and I wasn't getting on that horse without doing some ground work, I took the brown horse into the arena anyway. He was calm at first, and he's been absolutely no problem the other times we've been in during a lesson, but last night? Holy moly. Buck, fart, spin, buck some more.

"Can you catch your horse?" Peter said calmly. (Hard to ruffle that man, thankfully.)

"I'm trying," I said. Normally, this is not an issue. Normally, Calabar is happy as a clam to quit running and come to the middle. (There are sometimes treats in the middle, you see.)

Not yesterday. Yesterday there was energy to expel. Luckily, the lesson was nearly over when we got there and I did eventually (okay, it felt like forever) get the brown horse to come in and stand still while they finished up.

Then I let him go again and go he did. Zooooommmmmmm! Spin. Zooooommmm! I left him for a few minutes to his own devices while I went out to my car and he stopped completely. When I came back, he was standing in the middle, back leg cocked but looking vaguely worried at being alone.

Okay, then.

We actually stayed inside the round pen and worked on spiraling down to the middle and spiraling back out at the trot. He was super elastic and forward and using his hind end, which was nice, but not necessarily relaxed. Of course, neither was I which likely had something to do with it. When he would get fussy, I'd kick him up to the canter and he just felt like he could go forever--even if it was in circles--until FINALLY I felt him begin to wind down. We spent more time trotting than normal and it was big and bouncy so I spent more time posting than normal--something my thighs insist on reminding me about today.

Today, as I said, is warmer so we shall see what horse I have today. I don't know if it's the weather or just him feeling good. I am glad for it and realize there is a challenge for me in this--go for it with him, even if it's just a little bit.

This is hard for me, as many of you know, and I have to try to do it in a way that still lets me feel somewhat safe (or as safe as riding any horse ever is). Jumping is fun and we both like it, but sometimes he isn't in his head enough--or at least doesn't appear to be--to make me feel like it's a good idea. Then again, when I finally let him do a jump the other night, even though I wasn't convinced he was going to cooperate, he did and we could then go on to other things.

I really don't feel like getting hurt again. Not only is it painful, it usually means I can't ride for awhile and that isn't good for either of us. However--not to jinx it--I've managed to stay on through all his latest antics and it's likely that means a) he's not trying as hard, b) I'm better at reading him and redirecting the energy and c) my butt is stickier.

Deep breath. Big girl breeches. Let's just see where this takes us, shall we?

1 comment:

lmel said...

Isn't cool weather fun--it brings out all their antics. It's all part of game, I think. And even when my boy is being squirrely and whirly, I chalk it up to him feeling good, and I like that. Our horses are velvety soft every morning now, a reminder of colder days heading our way.
Hang in there!