Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meet Wesley

Memorial Day Weekend was great in all respects. Boyfriend got to go trout fishing Saturday, we then went to visit a friend at her new apartment which was a blast. Sunday was spent entirely outside with Boyfriend's Dad's tractor brought out to help burn down more of the brush pile - there was a constant billow of smoke in the air all day long. Monday I had lots of things planned so I left Boyfriend at home to keep working the property with the tractor, and I headed out at 8:30. I arrived at Sarah's about an hour later, with Melissa there sporting her new tattoo (she was actually there to ride Sarah's new pony, Karma), Sarah (with a kitten stuffed in her bra), and one of her students ready for her lesson. After a chat, we all bucked up the energy to get to work. Cleaning was uneventful, except for the exceptional talents of one grey horse who managed, with perfection, to urinate in his feeder.

Chores done, I begged for some water from Sarah, and ate the apple I brought. I decided that with no Milo around, Wesley would be a suitable receiver of the apple core. Especially since I was to ride him today. After a breather for a little while (Sarah works her cleaners hard! Two hours non-stop), we then took Wesley into the cross ties and saddled him up. On a downward slope, I remembered how big the horse is, fumbling just a moment with the saddle mustering the effort to swing it onto his back. Sarah is a good couple inches taller than me, so her large horses suit her stature. I'm sure her saddle-swinging abilities are far superior than mine, especially considering she lifts them multiple times a day as opposed to my once on my 15.3 hand horse.

Saddle and bridle on, Sarah wanted to longe Mr Wesley, who had Sunday off. She says this is the type of horse who should be worked twice a day daily, and I believe it. He's not bad, just very active and with a busy mind, she says A.D.D., but somehow to me that seems derogatory so I'll just say he has an active mind. The goofies worked out, she handed the reins to me and I mounted, with the mounting block for assistance.

The lesson was great, but instead of the minute-by-minute details, I'll instead describe the ideas that were further solidified for me, because they can always be translated to Milo. We worked on the lope serpentine exercise that I sheepishly admit I have not worked on in months with Milo. It was a great lesson to be reminded of its importance on Wesley. Wesley is a lead changing machine, who I had to stay diligent in keeping in on the lead I asked for throughout the serpentine. Finally, I managed to keep it and get straight work, including his hip which likes to float out to protect his hocks. Another good reminder to ride from the rear and always know where every part of the horse's body is at.

Another sharp reminder was the importance of where my hips are, and to maintain a soft or neutral position, never letting myself lock into one position. This happened once, maybe twice, and it was always evident that Wesley locked up too, so Sarah would direct me to go back onto a circle and torso twist until his back and mine freed up again. He is so sensitive to body placement, being as that is how Sarah always rides him, that he is a great reminder of my own body and how important it is to be in control of my own.

This lead into the importance of engaging a strong core, so Wesley can do likewise. We loped a while in my lesson and I had to maintain a stabilized core throughout - it sure is a workout! But a good reminder that because of it's difficulty, I havent been consistent with it in my riding of Milo. Had I been, it shouldnt have been so noticeable when on Wesley. And as an added bonus, when my core was stabilized, Sarah said my lower back was beautiful, soft and not tight. So making sure I'm working my core is even more important to maintaining softness through my lower back, a place I hold a lot of tension.

Finally, Wesley is similar to Milo in that he would rather not stay on the right rein for outside support, and instead likes to challenge me to ride off of the left rein, a terrible habit of mine anyways. But when I do that it is shockingly evident that he is not on the correct aid, and I get absolutely no bend in his body. Another good reminder to ride the outside rein, and only correct with the inside rein, not ride off that one.

Wesley was a tired boy by the end of the lesson, with foamy sweat and all. But I diligently groomed until he was dry and clean again, and back into the stall, and fresh water, he went. And since I think it's only right you all can meet "the other horse" I got a couple of crappy photos from my phone.

Where are my treats??
More on the rest of my Monday later.

1 comment:

smazourek said...

I'm getting a huge kick out of that second photo of Wesley. What a character!

Interesting point about engaging your core, I'll keep it in mind.