Archive for November, 2016
I ushered the opera Marriage of Figaro the day after the Trump / Clinton presidential election. Facebook was burning up. I felt horrible on that morning as I was planning on celebrating our first woman president…not! I decided that I couldn’t even ride Cisco as I might take my sadness and grumpiness out on him. But I did go to Cisco and was lucky enough to have multi world champion trainer, Erin Patterson, ride him. When I went to the pasture to get Cisco, I forgot about the election. After I watched Erin ride Cisco she gave me a few pointers on more finesse.
After Cisco was done, I watched an old friend take a lesson with Erin. You could feel her happiness to be back involved with horses pouring out of her pores. It has been a long long time since she got to ride because life got in the way.
I went home and watched bits of Ellen and Steve Harvey while part of me tried to nap.
It wasn’t long before it was time to get cleaned up and get my usher outfit on.
The Marriage of Figaro is a long opera. The first act is an hour and a half. Then there is a thirty minute intermission. The second act is over an hour. At intermission I was asking the patrons if they loved this opera. One woman stopped and exclaimed, “This opera is great and just what we need on a day like today!” I have to confess. It took me a full thirty seconds or so to remember the nation’s anger, my anger and sadness and fear of facing a brand new scary world.
So, if you are feeling hatred, sadness, anger etc, The Marriage of Figaro is in it’s last week. I recommend that you get tickets and soak up the magic of the amazing opera voices, the clever and tricky plot and laugh at all the humor included in the opera. Also, since it is a long opera, you probably won’t get home till the next day, so that takes nearly an entire day of not being sad, scared or mad at the USA political system. Go to the Opera!
I tell people that a new book is not possible because the humor of a person new to horses is gone. Maybe that theory is flawed. I might have had two humbling experiences just today and the last time I rode. I might have dramatic, pathetic and humorous stories, even now. You be the judge.
I decided to change bits today on Cisco’s bridle. Cisco made certain that he was involved in the exchange. He had his head mostly in my lap while I was trying to do this. Figuring out how to get the bit on the bridle and then the reins on this Wonder bit is complicated for me. I think they must call it a Wonder Bit because it makes people like me wonder how to install it correctly.
Finally, I got done and put the bridle on Cisco. Whoops, the bit must not have gone into his mouth. No, the bridle was too long and the bit just fell out of his mouth. I made the bridle shorter and put it on again. Hmmmm, the bridle still appears too long and the curb strap came no where near Cisco’s chin. I said, “The heck with this! I’ll just ride him bridleless today”.
I haven’t rode bridleless for quite a while. It appears that I have been assuming Cisco has been following my leg and body position (rather than the reins) quite well, but when you ride bridleless, you find the truth. I hate the truth. But the truth defines the journey!
Cisco and I were still impressive without the bridle but there is a lot of room for amazing “betterness”! (Yes, I just invented that word!)
I need to put more balance in my riding. I’ll be balancing my time with and without the bridle from now on.
Cisco had a nice weekend with this home herd. He and I went back to play today. Over the weekend, I had some alone time with four of my bridles. One of them had another bit all perfectly hitched up to the bridle. I was able to see how my bit should have been put on the bridle. With my old dirty used bridle with the reins that are slowly rotting, but with the correct installation of the Wonder bit, we are ready to ride!
I have rules for proper saddling and mounting a horse. The saddle rules are as follows: The horse must canter or jump over something along with tightening the girth at least three times. I followed the rules. Cisco cantered both ways in a round pen. I tightened the saddle gradually at least three times. The saddle was secure when I mounted. If the girth would have been loose, the saddle and I would have fallen off the horse during mounting.
Cisco and I spent a long while practicing skills in the arena. Near the end of our session, I asked him to canter. I had this strange feeling that my body couldn’t keep straight in the saddle. I stopped and scootched the saddle back straight on his back. We cantered off. Hmmm, I still had a wee problem with keeping my body balanced in the saddle. We stopped and walked for a moment when I heard banging. My saddle was making a banging noise. My saddle is normally a nice and quiet saddle. It has never made a banging noise. I checked those little straps that hang off the saddle. Nope, they were not causing a banging noise. I looked at my cinch. Good Lordy! My cinch wasn’t secured on the ring correctly. I had Cisco creep toward the round pen and I got off on the round pen panel. I climbed down the round pen to solid earth. I went to the other side of Cisco and looked at my girth. Good Lordy! My girth was not secure. It was not tight. It was barely even touching Cisco. I had been riding purely balanced on Cisco’s back with no anchor for the saddle. If he would have spooked sideways, the saddle and I would have left his back. If I had asked him to jump over something, I might have had quite an experience! I followed all the rules of tightening my girth. I broke the rule of securely fastening the strap to the saddle. I didn’t twist it around the ring at all. Good grief, protect me against brain loss!
What will happen the next time I ride Cisco? I am taking applications for guardian angel!
Why did Velvet canter every time I asked her to leg yield at a lesser gait. We were walking, I asked her to leg yield and she tried to canter. We were in the next gait up, I asked her to leg yield and she tried to canter. Then I realized I was asking her to leg yield with force in my legs. I remembered that I thought about the difference between a cue and asking for a faster gait.
I’ve been thinking the same thing about Cisco lately. How am I cueing him to leg yield and how do I cue him to canter. It seems to me that I’m doing the same thing for both of those tasks and we are having a problem with it.
Today, I remembered that Velvet had already taught me the answer. The answer is heels. Velvet taught me that I should touch her with my heel to leg yield. She tried to teach me to squeeze with both legs with my left or right heal in the correct position to ask for the left or right lead.
I also figured out today that when I am asking Cisco to keep fox trotting instead of slowing down, I should bend both knees and ask him to keep going with a gentle squeeze. My goodness, it worked today. We stopped breaking gait when I started bending my knees. and squeezing.
There are a few people that will understand this mumbo jumbo.