Thursday, March 31, 2011
As I was watching the video of the Yoga instructor performing the stretches, I thought to myself, “I will never be able to stretch that far”. I saw her poise, and thought, “I’ll never look like her, with those long and graceful, almost ballerina-like, moves”.
But that is not what should matter, I thought instantly. I said the same thing out loud to Hubby, maybe to reinforce my thoughts. He said, that is correct. Anything you do is going to help your body. I know that whatever I do, I’ll be able to stretch further and not have that soreness around my neck and shoulders. I want to do this to improve my balance, which will transfer to my riding. I’ll do this for myself and not for anyone else.
As I stretched last night, (I need to change the time to mornings, but that is on tomorrow’s topic about setting a schedule), I focused on myself. I mirrored the stance of the instructor. I watched, I went in the poise, then I looked to see how she looked. I’m realizing, and she stated this also, that your body will realize when something is right. I’ll go into the pose that is comfortable and right for me now. As I learn, I’ll be able to stretch more.
Towards the end of the session, one comment the Yoga instructor said on the dvd was to let gravity stretch out your body. I came to understand that as I was stretching. Standing, and bending over from the hips, with my head down, I could feel myself relax.
As I relaxed, I could feel my back let go a little and stretched down a little, without me trying to do that. It was an amazing feeling to just totally surrender and relax, with no “holding back” and just let my head and arms hand down. I’m sure by the end of the session, I was ready to relax. In a quiet room, listening to the soft music and soothing tone of the instructions, I could close my eyes and just be there. Go into a position with breathing, stretch, close eyes, breathe, and relax. That sounds soothing just writing this and re-reading this.
I need to think about changing my Yoga time to morning. The instructor said that there is something spiritual about Yoga and stretching first thing in the morning, with the morning sun coming up and the quiet and peacefulness of the mornings. Maybe that is when I’ll do most of the stretching, but I can already tell that I’ll want to end the day with a few stretches, before my shower. I can tell that to relax my muscles at the end of the day will be just as soothing to me as starting my day with Yoga. Yoga allows the body, and the mind, to relax.
Yoga slows you down, lets you concentrate on deep breathing, allows you to slowly stretch out your body, and relax. Yoga is calming and peaceful. Maybe I’ll need to do a few Yoga stretches before riding too.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Tammy (Horsetrailriders.com) came on Friday for her 2nd lesson and to take Windy home after her 2 week “Spring Tune-up”. I worked on supple-ing (sp) Windy, getting her to start to collect and to stay collected at the trot and lope. Tammy also wanted me to get her to side pass better and to stand at different obstacles to mount.
First, let me say, we woke to a winter wonderland! (See previous blog post). At 7 am, we had 4” of a very wet snow, hanging onto the tree branches. We are glad that it was wet, because by 10, the driveway and sidewalks had melted, even though the temp was in the mid 30’s. By noon, the snow was almost gone! Tammy came at 1, and there was very little snow. Actually, the temp wasn’t that bad, and when we rode, we had to take off our winter coat. Geez, winter coat at the end of March!
I rode Windy first, showing Tammy what I had worked on during this past 2nd week. I showed her how to keep Windy traveling straight, how to keep her shoulders up, and how to travel in a circle, with a slight bend in Windy’s body, starting with the head. I ask a horse to travel with the jaw tipped back towards the point of the horse’s shoulder, without a bend in the neck.
Once I trotted and long trotted Windy some, and worked the collected trot at both speeds, we moved up to the lope. Windy takes a lot of leg to stay collected and loping, as she is still building up stamina for this. She has come a long way in 2 weeks, as her body, and her mind, can work the whole hour, staying in frame and staying collected. I showed Tammy how to stop and roll back to the outside to help to hold Windy up and not leaning into the circles.
We worked on 2 tracking (half pass), side passing, and forehand turns, asking that hip to move both directions. We walked the logs, and worked on side passing both direction.
When Tammy rode, we worked mostly on the trot. Everything goes back to the basics, and Windy rode well at the walk and the trot. Tammy circled her, serpentined, and reversed directions. Riding small and large circles. Changing directions smoothly.
As we moved up to the lope, we will continue to work on keeping Windy collected. We cooled down with working the logs, and standing quietly at the dismount.
I am very happy with Windy’s progress in 2 weeks. I am really pleased that Tammy is happy with the results. I look forward to helping Tammy during lessons!
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
The horses watched, slept,
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Photo of barn we saw. I didn't want to show any of the horses since I'm not interested in them. I pictured this barn for the construction - cement block frame, which hubby always liked due to the structure. Notice how the sides and windows were put in with the blocks turned sideways to allow air flow, allowing the horses to see each other, and to see outside. Smart planning!
A couple of days ago was our 30th Anniversary. Monday, I went looking at some Arabs, to potentially do Endurance Rides. That was a fantastic Anniversary day, to do something horsesy. Afterwards, we stopped to see Caden and take his mommy some flower plants for her birthday.
I’ve decided on looking for an Arab for CTR and Endurance rides. Why would a Quarter Horse fanatic want a different breed to ride?
Why would I want a smaller framed horse when I’m used to having a 15.3 hand horse under me? I’m used to a horse with a larger framed body and muscling. I’m used to horses who act like big puppy dogs, after some years to mature. I love the QH big stride of the trot and wonderful, deep lope. I love covering the ground in a collective, smooth canter.
Arabs are known for their endurance abilities. They are bred to cross the dessert. With a large heart girth and nostrils, they have the ability to take in a lot of air. Their fine legs gives them the agility to move. Their light muscling keeps them from tying up and their thin skin helps with cooling down. And their “want” to move out and go makes them a popular choice for those riders who want to move out.
Arabs cover the ground, ears perked, and ready to move out. No different than a sensitive QH, Arabs can move un-expectantly. Arabs have a ground covering walk, but they can trot all day. And I love a big trot on a horse. I better find an Arab who has a big trot, and loves to go!
The main reason I want an Arab is that I want to move out and go. I want to have a horse that will be competitive at endurance rides. I want a horse with a lot of heart and a lot of try.
I want a horse to be my riding partner on these fast trails for the next 5 or 10, or longer years. I have Shaggy for trail riding, Centered Riding, and dressage lessons. I have Duster coming along to become a buddy as much as Shaggy is being. And I have Starlet’s new foal that we are expecting to follow in them.
I’m looking for another horse for another reason and for another style of riding. That is why I’m looking for an Arab. Maybe looking for an Arab brings the excitement back to riding. Looking for an Arab makes me want to ride Shaggy for a different reason than for competition. Shaggy is going to be my “go to” horse for everything else. The Arab will be my “go to” horse for when I want to compete.
The search continues. And like Caden, I'll be wearing my helmet, too!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Hubby and I celebrated our 30th Wedding Anniversary yesterday! I was just too tired last night to get much posting done.
Time just flies, doesn’t it? It just seems like yesterday we were at the church, snow blowing around us, with not a care in the world. We were married at a church in the small town that I grew up near, as the small country church couldn’t seat everyone. We had some snow the night before, and some of hubby’s family couldn’t travel the 3 hours to come to the wedding. We rented a fire hall, mom had bought all the food and the hall ladies served the food. Has anyone else had Pigs-in-the-Blanket at their wedding reception?
30 years of living with my best friend. Some ups and downs, but mostly ups.
30 years of trying to make each other happy, even though there were sad moments.
30 years of Christmases, Valentine’s Days, and Birthdays.
30 years of Anniversaries. The 25th was very special, as hubby surprised me with a Surprise Party and a Renewing of our Vows. He totally surprised me with sneaking photos out of the home for a friend to make a slide show. He organized the food. He invited friends. He found some of the items from our wedding to set out! I didn’t even know that he knew we had that stuff!
Kids are gone. We are both working, and partly working for ourselves. We have been empty nesters long enough to enjoy it, and to start remodeling the house!
We try to make each other happy, but some times are tougher than others to do that. But those times are unhappy times, so we try to do what the other person wants and we try to do something “for” the other person. That is what love is all about.
We’ve come to a time in our life where we are really trying to understand each other, and what we each want out of life. We are trying to give each other the freedom to enjoy our own hobbies, yet manage to stay involved. We are at a point in our lives where we want to do things together, yet have breathing space to do things separately.
This could be a hard time together, as we are spending more time together, without kids and activities. Without extra work. And we this could be a great time together, as we have the extra time to enjoy each other. To do things together. To go places together.
To ride together. To enjoy the sunrises and the sunsets. To sit outside at the end of the day to enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of ice tea together. To lounge together in the evenings.
30 years have past. 30 years are ahead of us.
Happy Anniversary, Honey. Thanks for the special card.
Love you Bunches and Bunches.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
I’ve had Tammy’s, (Horsetrailriders.com) horse Windy here all week. She was in for a tune up on giving to the bit and collection work at the trot and lope, standing still while mounting, and side passing. Yesterday, Tammy came today to watch me ride Windy and to take a lesson on her. After we rode, we went to the field to ride.
Windy showed a little attitude at the trot, which she got corrected for, but then rode off without hesitating. She has learned to stay collected at the trot, giving nicely to the bit. We circled and made small figure 8’s, while she stayed in frame and had a very smooth trot. Coming out of the figure 8, we moved on down the rail at the extended trot. We stopped and reversed and went the other way.
Once her trot leveled out and stayed smooth, I asked for the lope. There was no kicking out and she kept her nose tucked. I am working on her stops, asking her to keep her nose tucked and stopping with her hind legs under her. She is starting to understand the moving with her body in frame is better for her. I’m wondering if the kicking out was a sign of soreness or defiance. But as I work quietly with her, she appears to understand that the collected movement is easier than head up and hollow back.
Tammy took a lot of pics and video. Hubby always said I should set the old camcorder up and video my rides. They are very insightful! I saw where I need to work on Windy. I saw how I rode. I saw how the horse responded with what I did.
Tammy rode and did very well. I had encouraged her to quiet her hands and she did a great job. I asked her to carry my hands a little higher, at the height of the horn, as this helps to lift a horse’s shoulder. I was amazed that I rode with hands a little lower than I wanted her to ride. But my hands are moving slightly, very little, and I really need to watch myself ride more often!
I had a wonderful time riding and teaching. Maybe it started because I Centered myself and started with some Centered Riding exercises with Tammy. Maybe because I centered myself and became calmer. Maybe because I centered myself and enjoyed the moment.
Tammy and Windy responded well together, and we took Windy to the point where working became hard for Windy. I talked about that with Tammy. Windy had worked physically and mentally, and all 3 of us were done. Let’s find something easy to do and be done.
The 3 of us walked to the barn. Tammy and I got a cold drink, I bridled Shaggy who was already saddled and standing quietly tied, and we headed to the field. How much fun is it to ride horses that are matched movers? I needed to be a little cautious with Shaggy, as he just came back from having a sore ankle a month and ½ ago. I have been riding him with sport boots to support his ankle.
We weren’t long in the field before Tammy wanted to move out. LOL Slow trot, extended long trot, then a slow lope for me and a little bit faster lope for Windy. We crossed the road and rode a ½ mile north, then a ½ mile west, weaving through the fields. Trotting and loping. Extended trotting and posting. Loping. We circled back around, adding another mile to our ride. Then letting a little bit loose and running. Tammy was ahead, Shaggy felt good, and I just HAD to let him out a little. Oh my goodness. Have you seen on the races when the TB is held back, let go, and he spurts ahead? Now, Shaggy didn’t spurt, but he went. I told Tammy I was behind her, then I was beside her, then I shot ahead. Tammy went sideways, lol. I pulled Shaggy up, as I didn’t want to strain his leg any more that I already had.
He is a mover. Maybe a better mover than Finny. Maybe things really do happen for a reason. We only know afterwards the “why”. All I know now is that I’m glad I kept Shaggy and I am enjoying riding him. I have always like his “looks”. He was handsome at 6 months, and at 3 years, and now. What a mover! I just need to balance my Centered Riding work, and my future dressage lessons, and the trail riding with his mind. I want to keep him as balanced and calm as I want my life.
Tammy and I ended the ride by walking through a CRP field, kicking out some deer, twice. We walked a tree lined field, enjoying the scenery. Walking back to the barn we only rode an hour and a ½, riding almost 6 miles. And the tension, and the last year and 5 months melted away, and I was in the moment.
The training and lesson day ended with 2 friends catching up, lounging on chairs, with a glass of Shiraz. The only sounds were the birds in the trees and the horses moving in the distance. The day was still warm, and there wasn’t a breeze, and it felt wonderful to just lounge.
Take time for yourself each day. I have enjoyed sitting with a cup of coffee at the end of each day, listening to the sounds outside. Today, I sat with a glass of wine with a good friend. And the peace and calmness was there.
After a deep breath, I sense the beginning of a different way of life. I life I want to share with my grandbabies. After many years with horses, I am still learning. I am learning that I am always learning.
Friday, March 18, 2011
After yesterday’s Horses Are Our Lives Chat Group discussion, I decided Savannah needs more ground work. I need her paying attention to me! And not looking everywhere but at me. (Click on name if you would like to join in the discussion or follow along).
After riding the other 2 horses, which I’ll talk about after this, I took a rope halter and cotton rope lunge line down to the lower lot. I planned on just working Savannah where the other horses were, so she had to pay attention to me.
I gave Sara my carrot stick to use, so I used a buggie whip in its place. Now, I know what it looks like to ask a horse to give its hip and I know how the horse is to respond, but I’ll sum up my time with this: Hubby asked if the horse is confused/getting it/learning or me?
I teach my horses to lunge, so giving Savannah credit, she thought I wanted her to lunge. Nooooo. When I point to your hip, you are suppose to move that hip away. Don’t lunge. Don’t run off. And Don’t run over me.
I shortened the lunge line. We went from a 20’ line to a 15’ line, and I could pull her head towards me easier when she went to lope off in a circle. I have the rope halter on, but sometimes it’s easier, well all the time it’s easier, if I use a chain over the nose for a little more control. Last year, that big girl would just turn her neck and pull the other way. The chain gave me the leverage that my body, and arms needed, so she didn’t pull away from me.
Shortening the line, and being a little quieter with the whip, helped. Finally, I got her to where she would just move her hip, and cross over her hind legs, and look at me. From both sides. So I petted her and left her looses. Enough for 1 day. Especially with me trying to hobble along and hold her with 2 gigantic blisters on the back side of my ankles, where a pair of old boots rubbed earlier in the day. I knew I shouldn’t have used them, but we were burning a little bit of brush, and they were the oldest pair I have. I was only in them for an hour, and I have the largest blisters that I have ever had! They still look nice, and now I know why. They pinch my toes, and after the blisters today, they are going in the goodwill bag!
Hubby thinks Shaggy is going to be his horse.
After burning brush this morning, the wind picked up. I free lunged Windy a few minutes, and she wanted to run. She is collecting up nice at the trot, and is staying soft and starting to extend at the long trot, instead of just picking up speed. She is starting to lope off while giving to the bit, but she still doesn’t like to be collected. Today, she gave me some kicks, and was told that wasn’t nice, and we reversed and loped off. Many times. I think she got it when one time, I reversed to the outside, and the next step was a lope step. Good girl.
I continued asking Windy (Tammy's horse, of Horsetrailriders.com) to stand still and mount from whatever I had around. Mounting block, upside down feeder, old water tank. Only when we approached something different was she hesitant. But she is learning to side pass over from the ground, and most of the time, she stands still.
Windy is starting to anticipate the side pass now. Today, I stopped and pause going over the logs, instead of just walking over them. Stopped and used some Centered Riding Breathing. Then asked for a step or 2 of the side pass. Windy likes to back up while going sideways, so I’m constantly asking for more forward motion. Anytime I work the 2 tract (half pass), I start walking forward first, then asked for the movements. My legs always need to be further back on Windy’s side, and I reinforce moving the hip by doing forehand turns also.
Shaggy is learning so fast. His lope has come a long way in less than a year. I really need to keep things slow for him, as he wants to think fast and do it. His trot is awesome, and I found myself working on the extended trot while in 2 point position. His trot will condition ME for CTR’s this year! Once again, I didn’t work him long, maybe 45 minutes, as I want to condition that leg that had been sprained a month or so ago. We loped both direction, and instead of working on him, I found myself working on myself and another Centered Riding exercise. As we lope, I lifted my shoulders, and I imagined my center going up and around, spinning backwards in a nice large pattern. I wanted him to slow down and have a lift “up” to his stride. What a difference in your own position when you do this.
I didn’t get to bring the 2 3 year olds into the barn and have them stand tied. I think I will add them to the agenda next week. But I did saddle Dixie, my 16 year old mare that I purchased last spring as another lesson mare. I took her to the field for a little over a ½ hour and for a 2 mile ride. That girl will be my extra trail horse. Point her and she goes. Down a short bank, straight down for 2 feet, and she couldn’t care. Through the fields. Ears perked, wanting to go. No whinnying. But she is out of shape and was huffing. I stayed out just long enough to get a few early sunset pics.
Next week, I’ll need to saddle both Chick and Dixie, and pony one so I can get them both to the field. I don’t pony horses, yet! But I will start. I wonder who will like to lead and who will like to follow?
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