Thursday, 4 June 2009

By jove, I think she's got it!

I was much too sleepy after a big day yesterday to update, lots of happenings :)

Yesterday’s cycle out was leisurely as I didn’t head out till 2pm. The wind was strong again :( but it was in a different direction to the past couple of weeks, so they run out was just as hard but in different places! I had to stop more frequently than I like to. I’m fit for the distance but not for the hills, and being ever mindful of the fact that I have to sustain another cycle home, I tend to stop and rest my legs. It’s not so much the hills as the wind. Because on the trek home I blazed a trail! I only stopped once, I motored up all the hills and although it was tiring it wasn’t soul-destroying. All thanks to the fact the wind had died to a whisper. I was home in 45 minutes and it took me an hour on the way out. I was very pleased.

Sadly for Quadi, yesterday was Muzzle Day. I thought, since he’s worn one before, I could just head up to the field with a pocketful of treats and pop it on his head. Er, no! I should have more carefully considered what I was doing, I was trying to save time, which of course didn’t work. He was, in no uncertain terms, about to let the Face-Eating thingie over my shoulder anywhere near his head! I had to trek back for a headcollar, convince him to catch and bring him in. No time saved. Larri, you were right, the Shires isn’t great. I bought him a FS and it’s too nippit around his nose. He can open and cloze his mouth to graze but it is pressing each time. So I’ll use it for muzzle training but I think he’ll need a Best Friend’s one. I don’t actually think he’ll need it until he moves field, his workload is about to increase to normal levels soon. And he’s unrugged.

Poor boy was miffed at having to wear it. Once turned out, he proceeded to try and pick a fight with the horse’s in neighbouring fields, by trying to box their ears over the fence. Luckily I was poo-picking in order to supervise him and roared at him from across the field. One very indignant piglet then saw fit to chase his newest field companion, a muzzled little pony, round and around. I think he wanted someone to undo his muzzle. He probably should have asked someone who wasn’t also wearing one!

I opted not to lunge him since Kate was coming up and she’d brought her spare Fhoenix for me, which is working well for us until he is a more consistent shape and then I’ll get a treed. I think once I sort out my seat too I’ll put a lot less pressure on his lower back and a treed will be a better option.

Well, it didn’t start well. There was only one set of stirrups and since I wouldn’t be coming out of walk I went without. Quadi was great in that he didn’t try and scuttle around hollow as an immediate response, but we ended up there anyway on account of my riding. I was micro-managing and he ended up in a very slow, stilted walk whilst I fiddled too much with the front. The good thing was that when I ‘got’ it, his head carriage was immediately consistent. And I gave him frequent walks on a longer contact, which opened his walk up three times what I had before. We moved on to letting him make big circles in the school whilst I concentrated on following with my pelvis and back. I started to hurt. When I was on the cusp of calling it a day, Kate offered me her stirrups (I think she’d done well not to say anything to me before now, I know what I must have looked like!).

I couldn’t install the leathers under my leg on account of my disproportionately large thighs! When I dismounted poor Quadi thought we were done. Despite this he was cordial and continued to work happily once I remounted.

Instant comfort! Especially since the leathers were shorter than they ought to be for someone of my leg length, but they were entirely correct for my current riding ability.

But still, I struggled. My middle back was absorbing all the movement that my pelvis and lower back ought to be. And due to the tension in my seat from trying to stay upright, we slowed down to scuffed strides of walk.

Kate said I need to tuck my seat under me, which I already know but it never seemed to make a difference because my body (and the Fhoenix) would always throw me back into a hollow position. But I tried it. At first I looked very exaggerated in that I was collapsing my back and my shoulders slumped, in an effort to tuck under. But after a few strides I straightened up and, well, how bizarre! It felt odd but easier. I was under the impression I would have to work twice as hard as anyone else on account of my conformation.

I felt like I was in a chair seat, although I’m assured I wasn’t. My back felt much relieved. For the first time, I am aware of what my core should be doing. It was even rather pleasant to absorb his walk this way. If I’m honest it feels like I’m cheating, who knew it was supposed to be this easy?! I have to give myself certain markers in the school to remind myself to straighten my pelvis. Naturally I can’t keep the same posture for a long time without slipping back to old ways, but it’s also not something I should think about all the time. Worrying about everything at once only ever lands me in trouble!

I’m rather sad that my seat has caused my horse to move in a way that would have anyone think he lacks forward momentum. But onward and upward. He was brilliant from this point, it was so easy to ask him to relax his jaw and he maintained this for whole circles. Which is pretty pathetic by most people’s standards, but between he and I it’s really rather good.

I gave him his last Cartrophen last night. Most of it ended up bulging under the skin, but I think, through sheer luck over any sort of skill, it ended up in the muscle. Those sweat patches returned on his off side after work. He might be rubbing off of something in the stable though, I will have to pay close attention tomorrow and see if I can catch him do it.

I think I’d better stop here lest this turn into a very boring novel. But I’m pleased, still on a horsey high!

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