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

Friday, January 28, 2011

Yippie Yi Yea

Last night was a fan-damn-tastic ride.  There's just no other way to put it.

I'm becoming more comfortable with the sticks.  So much so that I wish I'd done this ages ago.  In fact, I wish I'd been riding with sticks from the very beginning.

It's not so much that pushing Cricket is better than pulling her or that the sticks reinforce other cues.  It's that riding with sticks has been such a catalyst for letting go.

Last night, while working on Follow the Rail at a trot (one stick, reins looped on the saddle horn), Cricket broke into a canter.  More than once.  I knew it was coming, I could feel her gather for the transition.  And I just allowed it and rode it back to the trot.  I rode the whole event without grabbing for the reins or the saddle horn or doing anything other than going with her.

I put down the sticks to work a little more on our canter and I was able to ride her left lead with more relaxation and flow than ever before.  We did a few runs through the Question Box and then some FTR at the canter.  I played with both leads and then played with some simple changes through the center.  Our downward transitions are a little awkward but our upward transitions are great.

For the first time, I was able to ride her left lead totally freestyle.  I still don't feel in total harmony with her but that will come.  That I can even think about my shoulders and hips and lower legs is a miracle.  A year ago I was still surviving her canter.  Now I'm relaxed enough to think about what my body is doing.  It's amazing how far we've come.

Yippie Yi Yea, in deed!

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