Saturday, December 11, 2010

Twinkling Dancing Demons

Thursday was a bad day all around. Work was stressful (oh the joys of a full time non horse related job to be able to afford said horse), the weather was crummy, and I was tired. But I hadnt seen Milo on Wednesday due to our company's Christmas party, and I was hoping he would cheer my mood up.

Unfortunetly, sometimes when you see your horse when youre already in a bad mood, it can makes things worse rather than help your mood.

The arena was full, I was frustrated with Milo's schenanegas (lets stare at every other horse in the arena and forget how to go forward). But looking back now, he probably wasnt paying attention because I wasnt being the type of leader he needed or wanted, so he decided to check out and do what Milo pleased.

Friday was another stressful work day, but I fortunetly was in better spirits anyways, and through spending an hour cleaning pastures was able to get it mostly out of system. Sometimes I really appreciate that hour spent on reflection. Its just a small moment once a week where I dont have to talk to anyone, and I can just reboot. It wasnt raining either which was a major bonus.

As a side thought but something I wanted to mention, I had been previously battling the ever increasing problem due to daylight savings time. Getting off at 4:30 than needing to clean pastures after work was undoubtedly not working out. But I was able to get my boss to agree to let me come in an hour early on Fridays, and therefore get off an hour earlier in the afternoon. This has been such a lifesaver! Not only can I look forward to a seemingly shorter work day, but I have enough daylight to properly get the pastures cleaned, the water buckets scrubbed and filled, and still be able to ride Milo without feeling like its getting really late. Win win all around.

So after my cleaning, I brought Milo into the barn and groomed and tacked up. He was in a cheerful mood, enjoying his grooming session, but not acting all excited. When I went to lead him into the arena he suddenly spooked up behind me. What the...? I stopped and turned around to see what the issue was. He was intently staring at the newly strung Christmas lights, including flashing strings of lights, a lit up dancing rocking horse, and music playing Christmas tunes. Ahh. So I let him over to the not to joyful decorations and let him have a look. The rocking horse moved, he spooked in place. The blinking lights came on than off, he swiveled his head in their direction. Than he finally decided nothing was going to eat him, and tried to play with the rocking horse.

Milo's confusion to how this could possibly be joyous and merry. 

There was a boarder riding and a gal longing. I walked around the longer chatting with her for a while as warmed up Milo. He was a little jittery at first after the life altering experience with the freakish light up horse, but soon settled down and let out a sigh. Then I started working a bit on his counter arc and he surprisingly picked them up really well. OK Milo lets up the anti a little bit. Worried I would make the same mistake on Tuesday and move up too fast, I just kept him on the same circle and trotted him smoothly, keeping him from bulging the shoulder out (which he finally is starting to stop doing every three steps). Good Milo! He dropped his head down and stretched his back up. It felt great.

Good job Milo, lets get your back lifted with bend now. So I asked to the right first. What? He asked and lifted his head. But I had made a promise to myself after a frustrating ride the night before, I again needed to pitch my reins out and ride with my seat and my hands, everything works so much better when I do. So I resisted the urge to force his head back down and instead squeezed with my legs and bumped his back back up. Than tried for the hip again. There! A perfect two or three steps! Good Milo!! That was his hard direction too! I walked him the other direction on the circle for a small reward, than asked for a trot. After a round or two, I than asked for the lift and bend to this other direction. Bam! There it was! Good, good Milo!! After all this frustration with it this past week, I needed to just heed my horse's advise and give him some time. He was trying for me after all.

Than the arena miraculously cleared. Maybe I could work on that loping exercise Melissa had done and Sarah had showed me? I knew if I talked to her later and she asked how the lope went she would be disappointed that I hadnt even tried it yet. Again concerned with possibly pushing my luck too far, I pushed his hip in and asked for a right lead lope (this was the side he was moving very oddly on). He loped right off and after a bump or two with my legs, lifted up his back and dropped his head down. He went right into his freight-trane blowing and was actually moving a lot better than last Friday! Maybe a week of some lifted work, and effort on my part to stay off of my forehand and sit in the saddle, really is starting to help him move better. I loped him a few circles and this is where the outside rein was really starting to sink in with me.

We were loping to the right and cutting across the arena. I asked for the turn with my leg with little response, so picked up my outside rein and just lifted it a bit to emphasize that turn. Than I bumped a little with the inside rein to tip his nose a bit to the inside. There dropped the head, and here lifted the back. Wow. That really does work! I tried it again when crossing the centerline. And it worked even better this time. I tried to figure out how the serpentine loping exercise was going to work in this arena, being as its not very large. But I attempted anyways. I turned him down the center than positioned him to change direction from the right track to the left. I help my outside leg in lope position however, but just laid the rein on his neck to direct him as if I were going to change direction, than actually continue back on the right track. First time didnt really get any results but a swishing tail and a hollow Milo. By about the third or fourth try, he finally lifted up those shoulders and tried to stay round. Good Milo! A small walk break, than we tried it the other direction.

Same phenomenal response with my new handiwork of outside rein. It was really cool. Than I positioned him up the center to try the serpentine exercise to the left, and on about the fourth try, there! There he pushed his hip in and lifted those shoulders! I stopped him and said good, good Milo, giving pats and scratches. Milo sighed. What a good boy.

Cooling out I brought him into a tiny circle to work down into a spin. He spun nicely both directions, this time starting to think about really planting a foot down. It was great. I cooled him out and called it a done deal. It was a great ride. It just goes to show how giving him time to work it out and get his body ready really does yeild results. It was just one of those rides where everything came together, for both Milo and I. Not to mention, he is finally carrying the elevator bit nicely and holding it well. Just great all around!

1 comment:

in2paints said...

Haha, Milo! You silly boy! I can only imagine what was going through his head when he saw that thing... too funny!

Sounds like you had a wonderful ride and he's really starting to understand. He was probably just as relieved that he understood as you were!