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

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Light as a Feather

Despite all I have to do to get ready for camp, I squeezed in a little time to ride last night.

I'm introducing new feeders to Bleu and Cricket and it's taking some time to rework the routine and figure out how much to feed and how to incorporate their supplements.  Last night I decided to feed Bleu and, while she was eating, monkey about with Cricket.

In her stall, at liberty (while Bleu and Dillon were eating), I put my bareback pad on and then slipped the halter on.  I grabbed a CS as we entered the arena.  Our warm-up consisted of 2 HQ yields, 2 FQ yields, 2 back-ups and handful of circles in each direction, a little at the walk and a little at the trot.

I tied the 12' into reins and got on.  And I had one of the best rides.

Cricket was amazing.  She was soft in her trot and so responsive to my focus and leg.  I used the rein - light contact through the weight of the rein/snap - to shape her a little.  We had beautiful turns, relaxed forward and just general lightness.

She got a little forward and Ed helped me use some lateral work to soften and slow her.  It took me out of my comfort zone - allowing her to be forward and shaping it rather than shutting her down.  On the curves, I pushed her ribs so she floated out on the curve, taking her inside hind and stepping deeper.  I could really feel her power up from the back but at the same time, she took that energy over her back and softened through her neck.

Almost all of our "work" was at the trot.  I don't usually trot turns bareback.  But last night, I just let go.  And it was fun.  I was relaxed; Cricket was relaxed.

Standing still, I did some isolation yields, mainly the HQ, and with no input from me (i.e. totally slack rein) she responded with no forward motion.

I am so pleased with Cricket and with myself.  It's time I stopped being so critical - of myself, of Cricket of everything.


inchwormwv said...

Sounds really nice, especially the relaxed part...

Parelli Central said...

Wow! Sounds like a wonderful session. If you don't hear from me before the camp, have tons of fun and learn a lot (and say hi to Carol from me!)~!!!!!!!!

Petra Christensen
Parelli 2Star Junior Instructor
Parelli Central

Naturally Gaited said...

I just had a moment to catch up a little on your blog. Wow, what a change in you both. :-)

Please let us know how camp goes. Enjoy yourself, your horse, and your time off!


steveandtania said...

HI Lisa,

What was your riding level before you started Parelli and how has Parelli help you in the saddle (or now bareback!)?


Lisa said...

Tania - I had been taking riding lessons on and off for about a year before I started PNH with my TB, Moose. That was 9 years ago.

I'm not a naturally brave person and Parelli has helped more with my confidence than anything else. My biggest issue in riding is not skill but rather believing in myself.

I think it's very difficult to teach correct riding dynamic in a home study program. I choose not to follow a good deal of PNH "instruction" on riding. I've found other avenues, methods that dovetail nicely with the PNH principles, that seem to suit me better. And the proof is in the attitude of my horse.

What has helped me the most is working on myself OFF the horse. I took (and will soon resume) instruction from an awesome Pilates insructor. Getting in better touch with my body has done more for me than any riding lesson ever.

steveandtania said...

Thanks Lisa, Great advise on self. I too need to improve my confidence and was thinking of taking riding lessons but am concerned with all the conflicting information I receive.

Lisa said...

Tania - check out instructors in your area and see what they have to offer. Obverve the way they teach, talk to the students and notice the condition/attitude of the lesson horses. Talk to the instructor about philosophy and how they approach riding. You might find someone who can help you without compromising your principles. The only way to know, however, is to go out and see.

I'm taking lessons from a Centered Riding instructor and I LOVE it.