Friday, August 16, 2013

An ex-racehorse named Calabar and his spotty friend Lena

Lena Rey was our first horse. She is big and beautiful and knows it. She likes to run fast but it is good for her mind to slow down and focus. Her friend Calabar is the opposite. He needs to speed up to get his mind pointed the right direction.

Oh, he looks good in black and white
Funny we have ended up with two such different horses, but then again maybe not.

Allie and Lena moving slowly--Lena is listening very hard
When Lena starts to amp up--usually by the gate and almost always before I've asked her to--I turn her. We do serpentines or circles, sometimes across the whole darned arena for awhile. Because once she starts going, you've lost the concentration battle and there will be no more learning thereafter for either of you. Sometimes this is okay. Steve likes to just go out and ride and enjoy each other and the freedom of the gallop. I tend towards a little more work on my part and that requires a little more concentration on Lena's part. I can't work on my position and my posting if we are galloping. She can't work on her long trot and transitions if we're galloping. "It's good for you," I say. "Pbbbbbbrrrth," she says, blowing air out in a big sigh of resignation. Actually, I hope it's relaxation but my guess is it depends on the day.

Calabar rarely amps up. He would prefer to stand in the middle of the arena and watch other horses do all the work but he is always willing to be saddled and--once we get rolling--he works for me. And he works pretty hard. He is learning collection at the ripe old age of 13 and it's not so easy for him. "Why can't I balance with my neck, it's what I've always done??" he snorts. I explain that it's much better to use his whole body and he says that would be easier if I wasn't such a spaz in the saddle, but okay.

Beautiful boy, goofy rider
Yesterday, I felt a more balanced horse than I've ever felt. We long trotted over a pole both ways without even the slightest hesitation or hitch in his stride. Then we cantered over it both ways without hesitation. He flowed. I mostly went along with him and must not have gotten in his way too much.

He's not perfect. I have to get him moving and then ask for collection and contact, but that's okay. He's building up his muscles and learning to support himself (and me) and we'll get there together. He is trotting lovely circles in frame and his canter (yep, still cantering in the outdoor, woo!) is beautiful. It's better when I remember to bend and relax, but he is tolerant of my stiffness in a way he hasn't always been. I think that means that somewhere along the line, this horse and I have bonded.

I know it means we're moving forward on our journey together.

And as for Lena, she and I are remembering how to ride together, too. That's good for both of us and is probably good for Calabar, too. Lena teaches me to slow down and focus. Calabar pushes me to, well, push us both.

What a wonderful thing to have two such amazing horses in my life, each of them showing me something different about myself.

3 comments:

Kate said...

I really like having my three horses to ride - it keeps me honest and makes sure that I'm consistent and effective with all of them. Sounds like you guys are having a really good time!

American Girl said...

It does sound great to have more than one horse, because they each teach you something different.
P.S. You guys look great!

lmel said...

Isn't it amazing how riding different horses can teach you different skills? It's a long process, I know, 'cause I'm in the same boat with my guys. I actually find Harley to be a different kind of ride depending on whether we're in the ring, solo on the trails, or with a best buddy. He's a pistol when cantering in the woods with his girls--it's back to the races! Enjoy those canters! Yeehaaa!