Thursday, June 3, 2010

MOMENTUM ~ Part 2.

Last week Brooke came over for her first lesson of the season. We started out in the round pen, but all three of us were bored there very quickly. The wind was up slightly which can make a horse act a little goosey but I made the decision to trust my horse. I asked Brook if she wanted to ride in the much larger paddock area where she had been riding last year. Of course she did! As I opened the gate and led Lakota across the field to the paddock I was watching her body language. Her head came up and her ears flicked forward. She had stepped out of the security of the old boring round pen routine and she was wide awake instantly and on alert for danger.

As we stepped into the paddock I asked Brooke to stay on the fence and walk her around the large area. Lakota moved out easily at a much quicker walk. We reviewed the one rein stop, a procedure to bring your horse under control, or even to a complete stop, if they are moving faster than the rider desires. I was keeping a sharp eye on my horse to make sure that I had made a wise decision to bring them into this larger arena. Brooke looked at me as she walked by and said, “It is much easier to ride a horse with momentum.”

I did a double take and grinned at her. She was sitting very confidently aboard this spotted horse and they were a beautiful picture. “I am so proud of you for noticing the difference and very glad that you brought it up. Why, I remember when you couldn’t even say ‘momentum’ and you had no idea what I was talking about!” She nodded her head in agreement.

We were grinning at each other and I realized that I had relaxed into the situation. As I relaxed, my horse could relax. That is exactly the way it works. Yes, the wind was still gusting and yes, I knew that Lakota was paying a lot of attention to things moving in the breeze but … she also had an ear on Brooke and was paying attention to her. Lakota was stepping out with energy and Brooke had very little trouble getting her up into a nice relaxed trot. We played like we were in a real show and I was giving Brooke the usual commands one by one. “Walk your horse on the rail to the right. Reverse your horse at the walk. Trot your horse. Walk your horse. Stop your horse. Back your horse five steps. Bring your horses in and line up in front of the ring steward.”

Both horse and rider are looking good. We have a big decision to make before the first show of the season. Brooke’s mom and I are deciding if Brooke will advance to the walk/trot classes this year. For the past two years she has been participating in the lead line classes where she basically sits on her horse while I lead her around the arena. Not very challenging for the rider, but I have to walk/trot in deep sand wearing cowboy boots! In the walk trot classes they will enter the arena on there own, just the two of them …. with all the other kids of course, but you know what I mean. I won’t be that close if things fall apart. I am nervous, I wish that I wasn’t but I am.

This is a huge step for all of us.
In the back of my mind I can see a scared young horse running away with me.
“Hey, that was a long time ago,” I can almost hear my horse whisper in my ear.
I know that to move to the next level of my own horsemanship I have to learn to trust my horse.
Can I trust my horse with a small child?
Do I trust Brooke’s ability to handle this horse in that large arena?
Forty-five versus nine hundred pounds.
This is huge.
Talk about momentum, this is catapulting me into a broader relationship with my horse.
Am I ready?
…to Trust.
Hummm, wonder about the other pieces of my life?
This is huge!

* annette

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