PostHeaderIcon JR’s Journal – Wil E Coyote!

   September 18,  2004
JR and I are going to participate in our first Level 3 clinic with premier PNH 5 Star Instructor, Dave Ellis. I decided to practice a few things that Dave had us do last year. I was riding the immortal Velvet in that clinic.Here’s what we had to do. In the 40 acre hay field, we had to do drop to a walk lead changes around the perimeter of the field. This is a flat field. When you are in the middle of this tract of land, you can’t see where the grass ends and the bordering road starts. It’s not a square, it’s a rectangle. It’s L O N G, but plenty wide too.I had no trouble with Velvet last year. We just went around the perimeter for short canters. We stoppped and walked a bit and then cantered on the other lead. I did notice when we all lined up after the first run that some of the people were glassy-eyed. (I found out why they were glassy-eyed after I rode Jr around that field.)

We rested for a goodly amount of time and then we went out again. We did this SEVEN TIMES! We counted each lead change to see if we improved. Velvet did 75 lead changes on the 7th round.

This is what I decided that JR and I should practice. All alone, we went up to the hay field. I headed him easterly and told him to get a left lead canter.

This is the Wil E Coyote part: JR saw that huge expanse of grass. He was the only horse. He was fresh.

Wil E Coyote leaps up into the air, hangs there a minute and takes off so fast you can just see some dust. That’s exactly what JR did. I thought he bucked, but no…HE LEAPED into the air and took off at nearly 100mph. Yep. I had a stiff brimmed hat on and it bent the brim back. It looked like I was in a hurricane.

Here’s what my body did. My shoulders came up and touched my ear lobes. I went rigid. I hung onto the reins for balance. I rode two point. I’ve never rode two point before and only had the slightest idea of what it meant. What it means for the western rider is that your knees are locked, every muscle of body is rigid and you are sort of standing up and leaning forward! All of this is very illegal in my world. You need an independent seat. It is considered a hanging offense when you hang onto the reins for balance. You do not brace any part of your body.

I pulled JR back down to the walk and did it again. JR alternated between being Wil E Coyote and the RoadRunner all around the field. He slowed down a little on the far side of the field when we went in a westerly direction and passed the turn off to the barns.

We rested. We did it again. Attempt #2 was better. Only half our departures looked like the RoadRunner..beep beep! We rested.

Attempt #3 was way better. We had a few Wil E Coyote departures but mostly we had a soft canter where I could relax for almost the entire distance before we dropped to a walk.

The only way I managed to continue the RoadRunner trip around the hay field is the great Parelli air pad which does not let your saddle slip around and my practice in the push passenger lessons invented by Linda Parelli. This has helped me get brave enough to endure this kind of adventure. I’m not proud of the way that I rode, but as JR and I do this again and again, he will turn into a light fluffy cantering cloud instead of Wil E Coyote or the RoadRunner.

The day after, I developed knife-like pains in my shoulders and upper back by noon These are knife pains of fear and rigidity!

Good GAD! Do you know how old I am to be doing this kind of stuff!!!


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