December 01, 2009

The elusive art of riding

And finally...we have got snow!
It is just a thin layer, but together with some cold, clear weather and a lovely FULL MOON - I am a happy girl!
Sometimes I dream of living in a more southern part of Europe, but when I get all the rain like we have had lately, I change my mind.
I want a real winter.
With snow that lights up in the dark.
Frozen, nice hard ground, not mud where your boots get stuck.
Maybe the Alps then.
A nice, white winter, but a shorter one, and closer to the Mediterranean.
Wouldn't hurt.

I think I might have found the reason for Fame's antelopiness.
If so, it is embarrassingly simple.
It has been so muddy lately that they probably stand still most of the day when outside.
Hence, too much energy when ridden.
I did not think of it until today when one of the girls remarked that Fame and Othello had been playing around a lot when she was to take Othello in. (The ground is now frozen.)
Oh, well.
We'll see.
After riding her half an hour down to the new riding hall on Sunday, working her over an hour and riding back again she still was bursting with energy.
Taking moose-length steps when walking, pretending to get scared and jogging, and when I let her canter up a small slope she just took off, jumping left and right and playing around like a two year old.
Stupid thing.
But she did concentrate a bit better in the work, TG.

Riding is an elusive art.
This autumn I have learnt a lot, but it has also been frustrating at times.
Fame has become stronger but also tenser, which has forced me to evaluate my riding.
The horse I had this spring, is not the same I have been riding this autumn.
Conclusion is: I have been fiddling too much with my hands, and too little with my legs when trying to get her to relax.
I feel that I am still out on an exploring trip, but we are closing in on the riddle. I had a good session on Monday when training for Annie.
I also have to be quicker to give the rein. It is so easy to tense up yourself when your horse is tense.

I had another good session on Sunday, with another trainer, AK.
I liked her too.
My tool box is always ready for a refill.
AK wanted me to take another approach when Fame tensed up. She asked me to collect and then ride forward and soften on the hand.
While Annie wants me to ride through it, keep the leg on until Fame softens.
I do not find the contradiction frustrating.
No horse is alike, no situation is either.
We just have to find out what works best on that horse, at that particular time.
I suppose that is why riding is so intriguing.

"Ever changing, each horse is different, each day, each hour, and each moment. Few activities can be so full of surprises as riding. Nothing can be less predictable than a horse.(...)
We never reach our goals in riding. Riding is like shooting a moving target, and if, and when, we hit the bull's-eye the thrills are incredible"
Dressage Principles Illuminated, Charles de Kunffy


Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm glad you finally got your snow. It does look pretty and anything is better than rain and mud in my opinion.

I like the Charles de Knuffy quote. It pretty much say it all.

Sometimes it's not easy to see which horse comes out and how to deal with the horse we have on that particular day. They are all different and training is always an ongoing process to find the best way to 'hit the bulls eye'. Things seldom go perfectly but when they do it's a great feeling.

Wiola said...

Ah, I miss that bright, clean feeling only snow can bring to any winter.
It's very true what you said about various methods working on different days/times.
However, I do think that deep down horses aren't as complicated as we often make them and all it takes is to find a good, comprehensive but simple training system that will compliment your horse, his temperament and talents.

Someone told me this clever thing a couple of days ago: "Horses always do what they did". If they come to the arena each day and are allowed to buck that's what they will do next day. If they spend 30 minutes a day fussing with the bit that what they will do next day again.
If you want to break a habit either in yourself or a horse you need to make a proper change, do something different.
Experimenting and trying different approaches is good.

Love the photos :)

Kate said...

I agree - I much prefer snow to cold rain, although I could do without our stretches of below zero F temperatures.

Sometimes when one of my horses is too energetic, I try to deliberately lower my energy to balance things out, and if it works the horse's energy level comes back to me and we end up in the middle.

trudi said...

woohoo snow, looks great. A total aside; I heard a report that said Oslo was the most expensive city in the world (moving up from second place before)

So I hope the jobs going well, ;-)

mugwump said...

-Conclusion is: I have been fiddling too much with my hands, and too little with my legs when trying to get her to relax-

me too.

Irene said...

Det blir ju ljusare med snö o hästarna slipper bli så smutsiga.

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks for your comments all!

GHM - thanks.

Wiola -I just have to mull a bit over your comment. I feel something interesting to discuss here, but time is late. I'll come back to you!

Kate - yes, sometimes it helps to lower our energy. But sometimes they just have to get that energy out too!!

Trudi - so we have won the first place now, hmmm.
That's the reason why you are invaded by vikings the second time around in France, you know ;-)
(Hope they behave slightly better this time)

Mugs - thanks. Warms the heart to know I am not alone!

Irene - och vi slipper mugg. Pust.

DQwannaB said...

I get so much out of your posts...and the comments left by your readers! Thanks!

allhorsestuff said...

I are so right...ever changing us and horses!
I was talking to my sissy about the horse she gave me..and what her thing is now...she does what i was taught to do(by her) evaluate for pain opr fear...then procede...I let her talk and told her the measures I have taken..and concluded spoiled ,sour horse! She has to help me with her this January..wish to the mean time..riding anothers horse in lessons to get myself correct enough to be guilt free when on my mare!We shall overcome her mindblocks= together!
Really like what Wiola said...!
Love your place here!!