Saturday, June 16, 2007

A good day to ride...

A crowd showed up at The Ranch tonight, a crowd of people looking to see some hot stuff horseback riding action.

I was apprehensive about getting on this time, and so I had my father stand in front of him while I mounted. If you're scared of your fifteen hundred pound pet, the best solution is to stick your father directly in his path. But Zydo did nothing, he stood at the block looking bored and wondering why my dad was standing where he was supposed to walk.

My cousin was out tonight with two City Boy friends and I wondered if perhaps his friends were impressed by seeing me ride. Really, though, I suppose that it was kind of boring to them. I suppose if he had been a bronc, or if I had been leaping fences or if he had been snorting and charging about the yard, they might have been more impressed.

To the untrained eye, riding on the flat is very boring. I do love riding on the flat, for a variety of reasons. To someone un-knowing, it looks like I am just trundling around the ring on a horse without much purpose or direction.

In reality, I am actually controlling fifteen hundred pounds of pure muscle using prompts delivered through my eyes, legs, and hands. My legs and hands direct each turn, each tip of the head. The horse actually turns in the direction that the rider looks in. Is my hand gentle on the reins that attach it to the piece of steel going through his mouth? Do I gently guide him through corners, turns, bends, serpentines, figures of eight? Or do I yank him, aggravate him, make him toss his head and dip his shoulders?

I suppose that the very thought that little old me can eventually have the skill to half-halt, passage, piaffe, and leg-yield my way around the ring, and that this can all be communicated to my best boy with the gentle motions of my hand and leg is what really amazes me. That through feeling my legs on his barrel, my bottom on his back, my hands at his mouth, he can develp a trust in me that I will never hurt him, that I will give him the supports he needs to go forward, and that together, we can ride through anything that comes up in our path...

I live to feel that day. I live to feel his power beneath me, to feel that I have the power to direct him in that way. I live for him to have complete and unbending trust in my directions.

That I may one day convince something that is fifteen times my size that I know what I'm doing and that together, we can do beautiful things ... This is what I love about riding on the flat.

[Equestrian, Dressage, Horseback Riding, Beginner, Trust, Horse Communication]

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