Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Little Push

Sometimes, no matter how convinced your heart is that you'd like to do something, your brain stops you. And all you need is a little push.
I saw my boy for the first time in a week yesterday. I walked out to his pasture determined not to let the fact that I have both a Calculus and Physics test tomorrow get in the way of enjoying my favorite horse. Luckily, Blue agreed, as all I had to do was call "BOYS!" to have him, Tex, and Sequel all gallop up to greet me. Fortunately they're pretty gentlemanly - they each stopped clear of me and didn't threaten to run me over like some others I know would.
I have decided to try coconut oil on his mane and tail - he's part Appaloosa and has the hair to prove it, and he likes to rub his tail anyway, so what did I have to lose? Coconut oil is a natural oil that is unique in its ability to moisturize and nourish hair from the inside out - yes, it permeates into the hair. I bought a 1 lb-tub at Wal-Mart for $10, and the less you use the better, so I consider it a worthwhile investment, especially since it's only applied once a week. I wiped the excess on his hooves...apparently people report it's a great conditioner. Unfortunately I forgot the fact that coconut oil congeals below 76 degrees...and today was one of those 69 degree September days. >:-(
After an uneventful warm-up, we began the lesson with lots of lateral movements. That means shoulder-in, shoulder-out, haunches-in, and haunches-out. This gets Blue to really listen to leg cues, and of course really makes him collect and use his back if he is to do the movement properly. The result of this is that he was very willing to round up at the trot and canter and move freely forward. His trot today was pure ecstasy...I like the feeling, and it's happening more and more!
And, as it often does, this transferred to our over-fences work, as well. Though, annoyingly, he did canter the trot jump, as he tends to do when he thinks we're not jumping fast enough, he picked up a nice pace and we hit a nice pace to the warm-up oxer.
When we jumped our 2'6" course, we were very consistent and got all of the distances I aimed to get! He was very responsive, and I have had none of the hesitation or crankiness that I had last week that contributed to my stress. Of course, the footing was much better today, too, so that could have contributed. Hey, I'm just happy to have the horse I know and love back, and not that cranky bronco!
Then, probably the real subject of my entry today, three of the jumps were raised to 3'. I have jumped single 3' fences but never more than one in a lesson, and since I was just thrilled to have the horse I had lost briefly back, I was a bit nervous. Six inches is kinda a big difference! My heart rate rose, and I told my trainer I felt uncomfortable. Yet, at the same time, I knew if I didn't try, I would be mad at myself. Trainer told me, "Please, just try and if you have trouble we'll lower them." After hemming and hawing, I finally just decided the worst that would happen is that he'd refuse and I'd fall and we'd jump the lower jumps.
I think we only got tight to one jump...the rest were pretty good and consistent! We did have to hustle a bit to make the distances, but, hey, the horse was responsive, so why not? We still drift a bit to the left down the line, but that's fixable. I'm mainly proud at my horse for supporting me and myself for just sucking it up and trying.
Best part is, my trainer is going away for a week in October, so although I won't have a lesson, I'll be staying in the house at the farm all week, meaning tons of time to ride and generally be with the horses! Yay!

No comments: