Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lunge Lessons from the Abyss

In an effort to deepen and educate my seat, this week and much of last week was spent in a combination of lunge line lessons with and without stirrups, and much off lunge riding without stirrups.  (An aside-- when your trainer says "ok take away the stirrups" in 100 degree Houston summer heat you get immediate street cred from any barn buddies that happen to be within ear shot.)

DON'T WAIT is the take (to-the-barn-not-home) lesson.  From the mounting block I need to raise my expectations that Rijkens will be prompt off my leg and light in my hand.  If he isn't, I must create stored energy in him with my strong position, and even-ness in both reins (no knitting).  The rider must create the energy and brilliance in the horse that a really startling spook, such as from a semi truck or other very scary object, would create, but that it is controlled and submissive.  Yes I know it's not easy but if there is ever a time where I can cultivate this kind of awareness between a horse and me it is definitely with Rijkens.

Added to the lunge lessons and stirrup-free riding at home this week and last, my barn buddy Lisa has graciously allowed me to pick up a weekly ride on her wonderful horse Nate, a very close cousin of Rijkens.  The focus of those rides also has been to get to the point in an efficient way (a must-have in this Houston heat) with an emphasis on collection and engagement through the bio-mechanics of the centaur human-horse dynamic.

                                Nate in his stall before our ride: