Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day of Delight and Mystery

Do you ever have days where everything feels right, goes right, especially when it comes to the horses? I had one of those special days today, even though it was very hot and humid. I rode Maisie first. We did some excellent trot work for about 15 minutes on the field behind the barn. Then we went to the arena - she helped me open the gate to the arena by side-passing up to it - and walked around for a bit of rest, including walking over some poles to help muscle up her stifles. Then a bit of a test - we went back to the field - first she helped me open the gate wider by nudging it with her nose a couple of times - I learned she could do this when she wanted to help with our joint gate enterprise at a Mark Rashid clinic one summer - and we trotted some more. She was great - no speeding up, no rushing, no problem. And then, since things were going so well, we did a couple of nice canter circles to the right, her easier direction. The depart was perfect, the canter was perfect in pace and balance, and the downwards transition was pretty good too. That's all we did as she isn't completely fit yet, but it was great.

Then we went on a short trail walk. It was perfect; sun, breeze, horse moving perfectly underneath. She feels better than she's felt in a long time, if ever, moving freely and responsive. I feel good too - in balance, my posting is effortless and almost involves no movement on my part, and the canter was lovely too. I was of, and part of, the horse, and the horse was of, and part of me - there was no separation. Oh joy!

I gave her a nice rinse off - she was very sweaty - and let her graze for a few minutes. Then I groomed Dawn, who had a nice coat of dried mud. Yesterday when I worked with her I got the distinct impression that she was bored with the ground work - "woman, what are you waiting for, let's ride!" So I took her at her word and saddled her up - now, mind you, this is the first time I've saddled her up since last fall, although my daughter's ridden her (bareback on the trails) some since she came home from college. Before I got on, I led her (very briefly), doing a bit of crazy walking and then lungeing her at the walk over a few poles. Then I just got on. She stood like a rock at the mounting block until I was on and had my stirrups adjusted.

All we did today was some circles and simple patterns around cones at the walk, and also some walking over poles. After riding Maisie, riding Dawn is odd - you know how if you ride mostly one horse, that feels natural and all others feel odd? - she's much smaller, but wider, and has a much broader, sort of wallowing gait - more lateral motion. And she's stiff as a board - very little lateral flexion and almost no softening to the bit - she either braces or ducks behind. She also has a lot more potential power behind than even Maisie does - she's very athletic and well-put-together and if that can be harnessed, she can do anything - dressage, jumping, anything (although she's very afraid of jumping - hence the issue with poles - due to some very bad experiences with our prior (not lamented) trainer). She invited me to get on and ride - that's a powerful invitation from a powerful and sensitive horse and I am honored - so I feel things will break loose in her and me and allow us to work together. (This, by the way, is the horse that kicked me in the face last year, almost exactly a year ago - see this post for more about that.) She also got a nice rinse off before she had her dinner. This was magical as well - I was not at all worried and neither was she: there was no separation, just an attempt to understand each other and bridge the distance between us.

A very powerful and almost mystical late afternoon with horses - may there be many more like it! There are no days that are better than this - I don't care that I'm tired and hot and that my back hurts - those things don't matter at all. May you also be blessed with moments like this with your horses.

15 comments:

  1. The ideal...how many times does this happen? Good for you! I'd like to have a similar experience with the two horses I ride (not enough).

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  2. Your relationship with each of the mares is based on mutual communication. You take the time to both ask, and listen to the answers. You don't rush or force things. I would expect you to have many more delightful days!

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  3. What a wonderful day you had with the mares! So glad that you were able to enjoy it :)

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  4. Isn't it amazing when everything just "clicks"? That's my very favorite place to be with my horses :o) I just came across your blog this morning, saw Mark Rashid's name and started reading - I absolutely love his books! And you got to go to one of his clinics? Oh you lucky thing, you!

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  5. Perfect Kate!!!! Your Maisie and Dawn are the sweet girls. I live for days like this. Keep this post in a special place on your computer to revisit and enjoy again! I get the sense that Maisie and Dawn are in an especially happy place now that they were reunited.

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  6. Those are the moments we all wait for and all want more of. Sounds perfect.

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  7. Don't you just love having days like that?

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  8. I love those clicking days, or even those clicking moments. Those ones where I say to myself, oh my gosh! she is doing what I asked! lol

    With mares those moments come slowly at first, but soon build to where they come more and more often and you honestly feel a connection because you know the horse is working with you because she wants too. That is why I love mares.

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  9. These times when we can put it all together and enjoy a willing partnership are to be treasured - I can't imagine being happier to win a gold medal when Val and I click like you did today :)

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  10. That's fantastic! I love it when it all comes together and a magical mystery tour happens with the horses we're working with. I don't get this often enough but when I do I am so grateful because it gives me the motivation to keep on going and see how many more good times we can have than not so good times. I'm glad you got to experience this special feeling with both Maisie and Dawn. And may you have many more.

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  11. Those are the days that keep us all coming back for more!

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  12. Magic....glad you got to experience it yesterday.

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  13. Great to hear you had such a good day. I know exactly how you feel about the perfect feeling you had. It's pretty special when everything comes together like that.

    I love Maisie's gate opening assistance! What a clever girl. And Dawn is developing some pretty impressive trust in you. Well done.

    May you have dozens more days like this to treasure.

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  14. Pinch yourself!

    Are you sure you're not dreaming?

    hehe!

    So glad that you had such a great day with both horses.

    ~Lisa

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  15. love those great days when you really connect with your horse or when a training session or ride goes just right.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

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