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

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Little Catch Up

Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love the cool, crisp air and the delicious kaleidoscope of colors.  My house looks out on sweet rolling hills, occasionally dotted by cows and streaked with deer.  The world gets so sleepy, pulling the dark up over her shoulders, preparing for the winds of winter.

I love fall because even as the trees shed their leaves, the promise of spring grows.  Without the bleakness of winter, there is no glory of summer.

Much has been rolling through my mind since I returned from my camp at Carol's.  It was a bit of a hard learning experience for me.  As it turns out, I didn't so much "take Bleu to camp" as I "didn't take Cricket."  And there's where things fell apart for me.  It may seem a trivial change of words but the attitude inherent in each statement is significant.

I've been in a quandary about Bleu -wondering if she really is the right "second horse."  And in all that, maybe I've inadvertently put the strikes against her.  As Second Horse, she sits somewhere lower than Cricket, somewhere "other."  And that's not doing either of us any good.  I'm still not sure but I'm taking some time and being at peace with my uncertainty.

I played with Cricket the other night and it was okay.  She refuses to maintain a canter on-line and I just have no idea how to fix this.  I'm tired of fighting the same fight with her over and over and over.  At liberty she was better but still . . .  On-line she side-waysed (is that a word?) over four parallel poles, straddling each one.  Then she backed of the pole, keeping her feet on either side.  Pretty cool!  But she's always been good a the slow, thoughtful things - that's my precious LBI.

I jumped on her bareback and bridle-less.  We rode the halt while I worked on this weird issue with the carrot stick.  From the top of Zone 3, when the stick is in my left hand, if it comes towards her she bites at it.  Never on the ground; never when the stick is in my right hand.  'Splain that one to me!

My biggest, funnest news is that I bought a new saddle!  All the pieces just fell into place and I'll be getting a Natural Performer in about 3 weeks.  It will fit both horses and I'll have a western saddle again.  I can hardly wait.  I'm so hopeful that this will help me advance my riding in ways I just haven't been able to do with my English.


Tina said...

Here's finally somewhere that we diverge...I can't wait for Dixie to be my second horse. I think it will suit her LBI-ness well to not be my main focus. Also, I'm looking to get rid of my western saddle because I need an English to advance my riding. LOL. I actually didn't like my NP at all - other than it's pretty - so I'm curious to see what you think of yours.

I do, however, sympathize with your lack of canter longevity. It's something that is high on my list, as I won't be able to get anything else fun done without it - like FLC's. Kristi Smith told me to ask for less in order to get more, and it works to some extent. I can get 1.5 laps at neutral to the left Online on the 22' rope. I start the day by figuring out how much she's willing to do on her own, then ask for 1-2 steps more the next time around. Then 1-2 steps more the next time, until she finally does what I was asking - whether it is 1/2 lap or 10 laps. Linda had a good article on neutral in the latest ST, too, and it made it clear to me how much I micromanage the canter by doing "traveling lunging circles" and I don't think Dixie appreciates that, so we're really stressing neutral. So, my plan is to really get the trot responsibilities good over the winter (I don't have a lot of room for cantering until the snow is gone) and then hit the canter hard come spring. I'm also going to Pagosa in June for 2 weeks and if we haven't solved it by then, it's going to be a big goal for me while I'm there.

Good luck, and if you have any successes or AhHa! moments, please do share!

Lisa said...

When I got Bleu, Cricket was supposed to become "Project Pony" and Bleu was supposed to become "Primary Pony." That hasn't happened. It doesn't help that Cricket has been fabulous under saddle lately. Cricket is my heart and soul and it's hard to switch gears. I'm getting okay with it, though.

I sold my last western saddle to get my RP for the exact same reason. Cricket loves her RP and so do I. I cannot put a high enough recommendation on these saddles. But my issues have a lot to do with confidence (another point where we might diverge). I need to feel safe going FORWARD.

The NP felt good each time I've ridden in it and it fits both horses. A friend is riding hers in Centered Riding lessons and she's able to find a good seat. An independent skilled saddle fitter has told me that this saddle (not so much the Fluidity) is really going in the right direction as far as fit from the horse's perspective.

I need to find some new strategies for the canter. What I'm doing just isn't working. I'll check out the article and see if that helps. I, too, feel I'm nagging, pushing, begging the canter. It's frustrating because lately she's been so willing to canter under saddle. My girl is such an enigma!