Saturday, June 15, 2013

Lesson #34: Magical Ride

ADW spent the week with his new team in NYC so it was just me heading out to Greyden this Friday. And what a Friday he missed out on! The weather was amazing, the traffic was more than reasonable and the lesson was awesome. The only downside was that I didn't get to take a nap during the trip out. hehehehe.

Everything was going so well that I even made it out a few minutes early and got to stroll leisurely into the stable. I walk in and Nicole says there are keetens!!! Oh man... do you remember what happened the last time I was at the stable and the resident female feline had a litter? I'm a big mushy ball of goo. The kittens are semi-feral and need socializing so we're encouraged to pick them up and cuddle them and love them to bits. I pick up a little black one who's hissing and trying to run away from me. He's adorable. I just want to take him home and keep him forever! But, I don't have the place set up for foster a kitten since I've gotten Bucky right now and he's not exactly "living here" yet.

Anyways! Back to the purpose at hand: I am riding my unicorn tonight. And what perfect timing, I'm wearing my unicorn shirt:
Strive to be the best you can be!

Aspen's seemingly in good spirits today but as usual, isn't keen on leaving his stall (i.e. hay) to go out. Who would be, right? An endless buffet of your favourite food and peace and quiet with some privacy! To get us off on the right foot, I reach into my pack to bribe him with a snack--a preview of what's to come! Since ADW isn't in, I bring 2 carrots all for Aspen!

We start with our usual warm-up of trot (posting and/or seated). I love riding Aspen because his gaits are seemingly smooth compared to some of the other horses I've ridden. That is, if one can get Aspen forward thinking. I nudge and nudge to get him to move and while I feel he's speeding up his pace a bit, he's not really taking to moving quickly... as if taking advantage of the situation and pretending that his effort-filled walk is in fact, a trot. The funny thing is that at one point, he spooks at a fly that zips by him... for serious. This bomb-proof boy makes a funny skittish skid to the side when a fly zips by him. LOL.

The warm-up is always necessary... Since we each ride once a week for 1 hour, it's physically a big difference from the moment we start, to the time that the warm-up is (considered by Sheri to be) done. And it makes sense because riding uses a different set of muscles that a desk jockey wouldn't; so it takes a few to regain the muscle memory. The warm-up consists of a longer seated trot duration and today, the bumpy ride isn't as bumpy as I dislike. I find myself seated well and not bouncing about. I focus my weight down my heels and I feel like things are coming together better.

Then we do these transition up exercises of walk to canter. From stop, we are told to use the inside leg and apply pressure while they're walking and then... swing the outside leg back and goooo! Talk about immediate transition from first gear to third! W00TW00T! But, we don't only go up, we also go back down and the objective is to "stop on a dime" or do as few trot steps as possible. The aids that she tells us to use are pull back on the reins, tighten your seat and rigid-tize your body (yes, I just made up a word). I'm finding that with the gait transition like this, I'm not getting as solid a seat and my leg tends to ride up with the inside leg. I work harder at trying to keep my weight appropriately through my heels while centering my balance. It took a few tries to get it together and it's still not quite right but I'm going to take the victory that I didn't fall off and was able to maintain the canter.

Then we move onwards to the Cavaletti and the X-jump in a line. Sheri says our objective is to 2-point over the jumps but to sit in between them. We start in a trot over the line. Then we move onwards to a canter over the line. And finally, we add in the box jump--all at a canter speed. Aspen decides it's time to add his mile-long fart to spice things up and keep it interesting. Oh Aspen. However, this was possibly the most exhilarating 20-30 seconds all week! Aspen leaps over the jumps and continues to move forward in a canter until I tell him to stop. The thing is, these jumps probably aren't higher than maybe 1 ft from the ground but trust me, ontop the horse, it feels at least 3xs higher.

What a great lesson. To round things off, we use the trail to get back to the stable, for the first time. It was a nice way to cool down instead of walking the ring. We walk the lush perimeter and end up back at the stable. The un-tacking goes well and man! Aspen's a total treat HOG. Kent takes out carrots for his mount and Aspen actually walks up to Kent prompting for Kent to feed him! hahaha What a joker. Anyways, that just means that he's gotten a lot more treats than usual.

I am so excited from this lesson that I am pretty sure I have smile plastered ear to ear as I pull out of Greyden to head home... :D


  1. I love that picture so much! It's the same as your tshirt ... it makes me so happy!! I also love that you made up a word in this post. Awesome-sauce :-)

    1. right? i totally need to print it out and keep a copy at my desk... it'll keep me going! esp on a day like this... mondays are the worst just because they're monday!

  2. you'll be a super jumper in no time! be the unicorn!

    1. yeah! i'm so excited because it's so much fun!