Thursday, September 17, 2009
I did the honors today of giving Mona her fourth ride. This is a BIG bay Arabian two-year-old filly—she's probably already 15.1 hh with legs for miles. She's a beautiful horse with a lot of exuberance, and a sweet personality. It's hard not to fall for her.
But as she is not mine, and will be going home as soon as she is "ready", I have to keep some perspective.
Today, we learned that blue tarps blowing in the wind are nothing to worry about. We also learned that if a wagon goes by with a flat tire, it sounds like fluggedy flump, fluggedy flump, fluggedy flump, and even though it sounds scary, it isn't. We learned to pay attention to the leader during (un)controlled catastrophes. (Any "old-timers" remember that task from the earlier Level One assessment?)
I did the usual warm up, with emphasis on the Extreme Friendly Game (Lite version). Because of the wind and everything flapping around us, I wanted to be sure flappy flying things didn't bother her before I got on.
Nothing of note to report. Accepted the saddle like an old pro. I rode in my own Circle Y today with one shim because she is narrow in the withers and a bit downhill. It fit her quite well and solved the slippage issue I'd had with the BM's saddle. (The scary thing is, the Circle Y is the saddle I've been riding Cheerios in, and he's much wider—as soon as my inheritance comes through and I find one slightly used, I'm buying a Parelli Natural Performer or the earlier version; perhaps this is why he has trouble cantering?).
I played with her mouth a lot to prepare her for bridling. She's been bitted once. Not by me. The girl who did first ride tromped up to her, shoved the bit into her mouth, THEN asked me if she'd ever worn a bridle. When I went to bridle her the other day, she wasn't having any of it. So, I worked on trust, touching her tongue, rubbing her gums, rubbing the noseband of the hackamore on her mouth, and holding the hackamore like I'd hold the bridle so she gets used to the method.
I waited until the BM was done giving a lesson before mounting, and had the BM nearby to help. Like before, I had the BM lead Mona while I did a passenger lesson. Youngsters are so wobbly! They don't know how to balance a rider yet, and it's disconcerting. But she did well. We walked and trotted. Once she learns how to carry me, she'll have a beautiful trot with those long legs.
Then I tested rein positions, and I was IMPRESSED. She picked up Direct, Indirect and Lateral Flexion LIKE THAT. With NO encouragement from the BM on the ground! She also figured out Back Up pretty fast. Just a step or two was all I asked. She's getting it.
I think what surprises me is that I'm really good enough to teach her that, and have her respond to my focus, my leg/body, and my soft rein guidance.
You mean... maybe I really can do this?