Saturday, 24 April 2010

All The Queen's Horses

I've got my feet up this evening. At lunchtime I participated in a 5k race around Balmoral! Haven't run in two months due to my squiffy ankle, and barely started jogging before that anyway. So my race prep consisted of eating lots of carbs last night and this morning :)

I was running with Kate. We set off together but she peed off really quickly. I tried to keep up but thought better of it, the faster-than-expected start went straight to my legs *lol* As we doubled back along the first straight, there were Highland mares with foals at foot, running their fenceline..."Anything you can do we can do better!" They looked spectacular, and there were more ponies up the hill (which I walked due to a stitch!), again running the fence. They were gorgeous! Puddingy apple bottoms, looking rather well after winter. I must admit I could have stood and gawked, I felt refreshed and pushed on. I walked another couple of times, only for half a minute or so. My finish was 30-something minutes and I recovered reasonably well so quite pleased with myself considering I only decided to run that morning!

Being such a beautiful part of the world, I'd love to have taken photos, even on the drive. The morning started rather grey, brightening up as we left, but I managed a shot of the Queen's summer residence:

After a rest and lunch I went up to ride Quadi. I didn't want to do much but felt we both required a spell in the school. The pony was still turned out in the field the school is set into, so Quadi started off being a bit of a pain in the backside. Nothing drastic, but apparently he couldn't comply whilst someone was grazing nearby.

I worked straight into our circles and halts. I struggled to keep the bend and softness whilst halting and when I made attempts to regain it, he decided to turn on his forehand or walk backwards rather than comply. I was soft as soft could be too :( On the right rein he was hard against me, not even quick gives and retakes of one rein helped. Shallow loops were ok on left bend on each rein.

Just as I was thinking about just getting off and leaving him be, the pony was caught and magically I had a soft horse in halt whose head I could place with the merest of hinting flexions. Strange boy *lol* Perhaps my focus shifted...

From that point, when I asked for right bend I was met with a micro-resistance and then correct bend. And halts were stationary. A little trot on the left rein was nice and it was easy enough to control his pace with my seat, and still maintain his softness to the hand. I gave him a little push along the longside and the second time he offered canter. I just gave him a light seat and let him go half a loop softly before returning to trot, then walk, then halt, all without stargazing :)

On the right rein he was more buzzy so I returned to walk and shoulder in on a circle.

Funny thing I'm finding is whilst on the right rein, he is obviously very stiff but my contact is a lot more pliable and consistent. On the left he is so soft he can duck in behind the bridle but my rein contact is baggy, intermittent and lacking finesse. I daren't take more of a hold than I have to though. He's also responding mostly to my voice aid (a whistle) for halt. I guess I need to use this whilst giving the aids and gradually turn down the volume of the whistle until it's not required?

Rather a clipped post as I'm sleepy, think I'll be in my bed early tonight!

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