Friday, March 13, 2015

On the Importance of Practice: a Riding Fool, with Delightful Dawn, Magnificent Missy, Premier Pie and Radiant Red

I'm going to run out of alliterations someday soon . . .

I'm a riding fool, I admit it.  Some people at my barn say I'm crazy, and some of my friends who don't  do horses ask, with a look of concern on their faces, "you spend how many hours a day at the barn?"  Sometimes I explain, and sometimes I don't.

I don't just ride - for me riding, and spending a lot of time with my four wonderful horses, is a delight and also a spiritual practice - I'm present with my horses in a way that I'm rarely present anywhere else.  And riding is also the practice of an art form - my goal is to get better - more connected with my horses and less in their way - slowly, every day, and that doesn't happen without practice, trying things, failing and succeeding, and without the guidance and input of my teachers - my horses.

Today was a four-horse riding day, and it was splendid.  It was a lovely, sunny day, with little wind and open arena doors - we made it to 60F!  I changed coat/fleece/windbreaker combinations at least three times during the day.  The horses are still carrying most of their heavy winter coats, so we didn't work that long.  The pastures are a half muddy/half icy mess, so no riding outside yet.

Dawn was up first, early in the morning.  We had a lovely ride, working on some more sustained trot work, and also shortening/lengthening at the trot.

Missy was next.  I just got and rode, after only a little bit of leading work.  Dawn didn't call for her today, and Missy only called once.  Her forward at trot was pretty much automatic, and we worked on her stretching down and bending.  Bend to the right is still a bit harder for her, and I suspect that she's tight in her left shoulder and left neck.  We'll have a chiro appointment after her teeth are done in a couple of weeks.

In the afternoon, I came back to the barn and rode Pie and Red.  Pie and I had an excellent session with lovely, forward, soft trot work and some very nice relaxed canter work.

Red, despite the warm weather, was raring to go.  We did a bunch of very nice stretching down trot work, and his canter was delightful on both leads.  Then we did some more trot work and some trot/walk/trot transitions, working on carrying the energy forward into walk and taking up trot again on my exhale.

Couldn't ask for a better day with horses.  And I have another post in the works - outside in? or inside out?


  1. Riding all 4 on a warm day- sounds perfect to me!

  2. It does sound like a great day riding.

    I understand how some people just don't get how much time we spend at the barn with our horses. There have been many disbelieving looks over the years. And also some "Oh, you poor thing, you have no life because of your horses" looks. So let them think we're crazy but I can't think of a place I'd rather be than with my horses most days.

  3. What a delightful day. Soon you will be able to ride outside and then a whole new world of experiences will open up for everyone. More room and more adventures.

    I admire your fortitude and dedication....says she who has not ridden in a year.

  4. Kate, you are such caring and committed horsewoman! I give you credit for having the discipline and energy to do what you do. All four horses are very lucky to be a part of your life. We have not experienced 60 degrees had to feel great.

  5. You don't have to explain it to us! Sounds like the best possible way to spend a day. And I know what you mean about being "present" around the horses. They make it so easy to do!

  6. I agree! It's so much more than just riding...


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