Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Finally Getting It ... Until the Rains Come Again?

Monday I was so pleased with our ride. Last week I hardly was able to ride, only a light hack on exploring roads and trails, a short longe session, and a quiet (and short) bareback ride. Monday I was planning on trying to get us back onto our consistent work schedule.

It was beautiful out. I had spent the morning cleaning stalls at Sarah's with some ice packed snow still littering ditches and pastures. The sun was out, but the temperatures were still cold. I was pleased though - no rain or snow! Unfortunately, I was scheduled for a closing cart shift at work that evening, so I knew it was going to be a long day. I halfways debated on even working Milo too hard. I only had two hours before needing to be on the clock at work, but I was eager to ride.

Another boarder just left the arena, and Milo's stall neighbor was just taken from his stall for a walk down the road. Milo was not pleased about him leaving.

Milo's neighbor, Torik. A Fjord. 
I knew we needed some longing before work. From the quiet week we had before, and Torik (Milo's stall neighbor) leaving, Milo was high as a kite. He barely stood still long enough in the cross ties for me to saddle him, even threatening to pull back once. Once in the arena, I just snapped the longe line to the halter and pointed him out onto the circle - he shot off like a rocket throwing in a kick out for good measure. He loped, and loped, and loped, and loped. Very unusual for Milo, who I have to practically beg to lope two circles on the longe line, smooching all the while.

He finally settled down a notch and trotted, trotted, trotted, and trotted.

Eventually, he came down from his high and puffed a bit as I let him walk.

Now it was time to get on. And he was fantastic. My bareback ride from late last week was probably the first time Milo felt cadenced and balanced when working in this new arena. He repeated that ride in yesterday's and I was so pleased with him. It seemed even with the excitement of Torik leaving he hunkered down and focused on work. It gave me an opportunity to focus on my body too. I made a few observations:

I need to focus more on my entire body's position (particularly when turning or arcing) instead of concentrating so much on my seat bones. Allowing my hips to turn into direction and my upper body and shoulders really allows Milo to follow suit. It, in turn, concentrates more weight on the inside seat bone anyways. I discovered that simply putting weight down onto the seatbone not only did not cut it, but actually created a lean in my body, where I push my inside shoulder forward into the turn (I envision the barrel racers when he lean into the barrel with their shoulder). Realizing this really helped me to ride more balanced and centered over my horse then before.

It was a fantastic ride, and come Tuesday I was really eager to repeat it. But today was wind and rain, not a forecast I care too much about having an indoor arena, but Milo was having none of it. Hot right out of his stall again, he again got a longe, although considerably quieter than the previous days'. The wind and rain, and the subsequent noise of it hitting the roof and sides of the arena, sent Milo into a whirl. He became so hyper sensitive to everything: natural nosies, cars driving by, dogs barking, everything sent Milo into a spook, splayed legs, or tension. I lost count the amount of times that he flinched, ducked, or spooked into a spin around. Of course, today I had decided to ride bareback too. I tried to just keep the ride quiet and calm, only working at the walk and finishing with some showmanship work.

That's right, showmanship work. I dont know why but yesterday I had an incling to try some showmanship when we were done with the ride. I was pleasantly surprised when Milo seemed as sharp on it as the days when we were in 4H and showed performance. Hmm...I had a thought. Why not try showmanship at the next schooling show. I was already considering going into a few more classes (it's a secret until then though!). So today I worked on some of the elements again, and again my horse was focused on me and working well. It was a good end to the spooky ride. But I cant help but notice how incredibly spooky Milo has been in this new arena. Its hard to think about knowing just the last week before we moved I felt we were having a breakthrough with our work. Now I feel like we are slipping back again, at least until yesterday's ride. Maybe we can work through this spooky new arena and get back to where we were?


Mare said...

Those are nice sized stalls! I love Norwegian Fjords! And of course I love Milo:) I'm sure you next ride will be wonderful. You just have to take the good with the bad.

paint_horse_milo said...

Its a nice place. Im happy here even though its not as "fancy" as where we were at before. Milo (all the horses really) is treated so well, the BO asks me every time he sees me if theres anything he can do for me, and if everything is ok. He says he really likes Milo too and is really happy we are there. I think Milo has just needed some time to adjust to the new situation, but at least it is obvious that he has made friends. The good thing, however, is that when I take Milo away he is fine, its that when Torik goes away he is upset.