When we moved here 3 years ago I was excited about the number of fields that surround my house. I had visions of riding Prize through the fields – not quite visions of the wind flowing through our hair as we gallop into the sunset, I tend to think more of training for trail rides – but you get the idea. I talked to the neighbors and got permission to ride there. I’ve scouted out some areas on foot to see if there were passageways between the fields. There aren’t and I tripped over a dead horse once but I still had plans.
She needs to get in shape. This horse is fat. I want to take her to Morab Nationals in Kentucky in October. I want to show her in the Morgan Sport Horse class. She will be judged on her body type against a standard of an elite athlete. Right now she has a body that makes me wonder if I should just answer yes if the judge asks me if she is pregnant.
The problem is that even though I have plans Prize and I have never set foot in those fields. I guess that’s not quite true. Little Miss Can’t Stay in My Own Pasture has been in one of the fields several times and I have had to retrieve her but we have never ridden in the fields. WE got outside and ride down the driveway and in the yard but not in the fields.
Why? Because I’m a wimp. I would be the world’s greatest rider if I didn’t hate falling off so much. It makes me super timid. I would plan to go riding outside and then Prize would toss her head one time too many and I’d decide to ride inside. She hates riding inside so it makes her act bad. Vicious circle.
But today we did it! I still sort of wimped. I want to ride down the road and go to a big field but we went to the hay field behind the house instead. Riding Prize outside is rather like riding a drunken moose. I think there are three ways to walk down the driveway – to the left, down the middle, or to the right. Prize chooses all three at once. She weaves her way back and forth. I’m sure any of our rides down the driveway are at least twice as long as the length of the drive. She’s also much bigger than I’m used to trail riding. She’s 5 inches taller than Spirit. She has a big, loose-limbed stride she uses when outside. It is not comfy.
Usually outside riding time is her reward for being good in the arena. But today we went outside first. We headed to the field and I was composing my blog entry in my head. (Like you’ve never done that?)
She was wonderful. I don’t know what I was worried about. She’s not afraid of anything… @#$#$%!
Reality intruded when she bolted. But she isn’t very fast so she bolts slow. I tipped backwards but hung on and had her under control in about 10 feet. Good thing too or it would have been another 3 years before we got back out there. Then we rode around for about 15 minutes and headed back to the barn.
In the arena I decided to press my luck and work on her canter. She prefers not to canter. The last few times I’ve ridden her she has gone out of her way to avoid cantering. I ask for it and get a bone jarring very fast trot. I thought the problem had to be my body position because she could canter just fine without me on her. When she did the fast trot it didn’t help because it threw me all out of position.
I also used my brain and figured that if I had a client with a horse with these problems I’d recommend adjusting her back. I did that on Monday. She was a mess. I couldn’t clear her entirely but I’ll keep working on it.
So today I wasn’t expecting much. I sat up straight and asked for the canter and she cantered! No bone jarring trot. Not one stride of a canter and then back to a trot. Just a canter from a walk. It isn’t pretty enough yet for the show ring. But when she takes it I just want to let her go and not be fussing at her yet. She didn’t get it right off every time but got it several times in each direction.
She got lots of hugs and “Good Girl!!!”s which she was totally unimpressed with. It is close to her nap time and she wanted to go back to her stall.
Kentucky here we come!!