A Good Foundation

Okay, now this is the post that I've been itching to write.

And I feel like it deserves a preface, before I start lavishing myself with praise:  my equitation generally sucks; I make a lot of mistakes and my horse is a fucking saint; and I firmly believe that a solid 90% of the writers of the blogs that I read could ride my horse and get as much or more from him as me.  I'm just too selfish to offer up that opportunity.  :)  (Okay, fine, if any of y'all find yourself in south Georgia and are begging to ask my OTTB for the right-lead canter depart, you are my guest I'll consider it.) (After you sign a waiver, of course. (: )

Many, many years ago I was on a fox hunt riding a strange horse.  The horse was trained to be ridden by a Whipper-in (the guys that keep the hounds in line), so he was completely put-upon to be in the field.  After he had a bucking spell during a pause, I was invited to ride with the other Whips.  At that point, I received my first non-trainer compliment in regards to my riding: I had a great seat.

Old photo: Just a random foxhunt, on Duffer.
That was at a time that I was taught the importance of thigh and knee gripping, which was later changed to calf gripping.  So, there's been an definite evolution of my seat.

Old photo: A sweet little Irish Sporthorse mare, during a time that the Kid was injured.
On Friday, I worked the Kid pretty hard.  It was a ten minute walking warm up, a long trot set followed by some stirrup-less trotting.  And then I asked him for the left-lead canter.  He had some grumps picking up the correct lead, but I can't remember a time that he was naughty about the left lead.  So, yeah, he unexpectedly exploded and I seriously think that if my heels hadn't be adequately down and my weight back, I would have launched over his shoulder.  It was so unexpected.

Because he was so naughty, I had to ask for the transition again.  And then twice in the other direction.

Old photo: canter depart.
Saturday, he wasn't nearly as naughty.  I took him out to the dirt road to do our downward transitions and then down to the meadow.  He had two hard spooks, the second of which resulted in another bucking spell. Again:  I was prepared with a strong lower leg, as he needs a little oompf to maintain a forward trot on the super scary dirt road.

Old photo: Spooking at the standard.
Ps.  Hand-me-down chaps and the broken heel on my boots really makes my heel position look deceptively better.
On Sunday, he was having issues with the flies.  I think my little formula works pretty well, but I had completely neglected to spray his underside.  He was doing those dramatic kicks forward.  Is it just me, or are those kicks almost worse than bucks?  I get launched forward.  And, since I never knew when they were coming, I kept those heels down and calves pressed in.  Between the intermittent stirrup-less laps (I'm not strong or confident enough yet to do more than one lap - I feel like I'm slamming his back and he generally gets really hollow) and the two-point that I've been practicing, I feel like my seat is infinitely stronger. Woo!

Oh, yeah.  Another tree fell.
Last night, I was torn between going out on the dirt road and practicing extension (which we haven't done in, oh.. forever) or staying in the pasture and jumping.  Jumping won.  He actually just trotted over the little crossrails in the beginning and then brought up his knees toward the end.  I took him through all the stretches, sprayed him down again and applied liniment to his back and hamstrings.  He gets a much-deserved day off today.
Just a wee bit veiny.
Navy, for the win.

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  1. YAY Navy!

    Love remembering the past and how it brought us to the rider's we are today.

  2. Woo hoo for a good ride! Love the old pics :)