Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 10 - Contentment

I am endeavoring to become more content with the pace of my journey with Cricket. Sometimes it is so hard because I want so much and I know my horse is incredibly capable. But we're not there . . . yet.

Last night my resolve to continue for thirty days was challenged. I was a little tired from a great Pilates session. It was dark. The arena was empty with the lights off. It would have been so easy to feed the horses, turn them out and just head home. But I made a promise to myself and so I decided for some groundwork and maybe bareback mounting friendly game. A simple plan with an excellent chance of success.

Cricket's Touch It on the 22' has gotten really good. We had some confusion last night but it was her making a little assumption between two objects that were very close together. As soon as I 'splained to her "not that one, but the other one," she said, "why didn't you say so?" Yesterday was day seven of that pattern so it will be somewhat laid to rest only to be pulled out occasionally until is start working it at L3 with the 45' line. It feels good to tuck that accomplishment in my belt.

We moved on to Figure 8 - I think this is day four, I'll have to go back and look at my journal. It started pretty sloppy and I had to remind Cricket that I did, in fact, have a plan. Once she hooked on, she started giving me better drive and draw responses. I think the pattern might have been a bit claustrophobic for cantering but she offered a little. When we quit, she offered me a good run on the pattern with me at the end of the 22'.

I moved on to the weave. I didn't have the energy to set out a big weave so we just had a small row of cones and I asked her to walk the pattern. I tried to stay as close to the end of the 22' as possible. She did really well, only missing about two cones in the four or five times we did the pattern. I need to work more on using my energy with her at greater distances. I don't want to have to rely on my stick to push her shoulder over.

As part of my program to get under saddle cantering better, I decided to throw in a couple of circles and ask for upward transitions. We started at the walk and moved to the trot and then to the canter. Both her trot-to-canter transitions were very smooth with no pop of her head. I allowed her to canter until she smoothed into a nice three beat rhythm. The right lead took longer but I just left her alone and when she relaxed, I disengaged her and brought her in. It was some of the best cantering she's done in a long time.

We finished at the pedestal with some bareback mounting friendly game. Cricket has taken to pinning her ears at bareback mounting. So with a pocket full of cookies, I started a friendly game of jumping up and down, flopping over her and eventually swinging my legs back and forth down her side. We did this from both sides. She was a complete angel. I was pleasantly surprised at how well she accepted it.

It was a good day and I am happy with how she is progressing with my consistent attention. I'm going to try and ride tonight but might not get back on her until tomorrow. Regardless, I will be pleased with whatever horse shows up.

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