Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sleeping Dragons

What is it they say about sleeping dragons? Oh right... let them lie.  Or at the very least, don't shove and pull on them until you FINALLY convince them to stand the heck up.
Pia says - You're early, it's still nap time, not running-bucking time. go away

This is what I showed up tot he barn to.  Actually I guess she was flat out on her side.  I got one cute nicker before she laid back down like "yes, yes, I see you.  Is that all?"  Every other horse I've had is fairly responsive when I bug them while they are resting.  Usually I flip into 12 year old girl mode and cuddle on the ground with them for a few minutes before I disturb them (there's something just so darn cute about big hunky horses snoozing in a ball). 

Any other day I would have let the mare laze for a few extra minutes while I collected my tackand said hi to the other horses.  
Yesterday however, I was on the clock.  BO graciously agreed to bump my lesson up to 4pm, which meant I ditched work early (yesssss), and had exactly two hours to tack up, ride, cool out, untack, clean and get my butt back in the car so that I would make it before curtain time to the theater...

I clucked.  Mare did nothing.

I kissed.  Mare did nothing.

I walked in the stall and started shoving her neck.  Mare pinned her ears.  
Then did nothing.

Finally I put her halter on and gave her a tug.  Mare did nothing.

Finally I shoved her neck AND tugged on her lead.  And the Mare, queen of naptime, finally roused herself to her feet.

Pia, nose down, firmly ignoring my pleas to wake the !@#$ up

In my head I thought that maybe this was a sign of calmness, and that we would have an easy peasy ride sans sedatives.  

Oh how wrong I was.  It just took me a while to realize it..

P was a gem in the crossties, aside from being a bit girthier than normal.  She was even super calm walking to the ring, and mostly a gem on the lunge.  The litmus test of the all-telling canter transition was good.  I got two head waggles, but otherwise she was pretty steady, relaxed as we trotted more and didn't pull any shenanigans with our canterwork (all good signs).

Of course, just as I went to get on, our other fellow Wobbler in the barn was getting walked by his owner and going for a little adventure down the road.  If you recall from previous posts, this is exactly the sort of not-actually-interesting-thing that set Pia off into dragon mode during our hand walks.  (Rad).

Pia immediately turned into a snorting-farting-giraffe-dragon-monster as Mr. Wobbler friend meandered down the driveway.  We had a few kicks, but mostly I indulged her terror and let her stand still until her buddy was out of sight, and apparently immediately out of mind.

Then we got to work.  This was our first zero-ace ride in a while, so I was expecting a lot more tension (which there was), but I was also eager for the increase in energy (which there also was).  it took about 10 minutes of shallow loops and serpentines to regulate the trot and really get her to round her back.  The good news was that she barely picked her usual fight of refusing to go forward.  The bad news was the obscene amount of tension in her neck.

We kept the warm-up brief, then popped back into our leg yields, then eventually into our leg yields-shoulder in-canter excercise.  

Annnnnnd that was that.  Cute napping horse totally gone, crazy dragon beast totally present.

I'd like to take a moment and pat myself on the back for some seriously quality bronc riding.  I'd also like to pat myself on my back for the continued use of a running martingale which I am fairly certain has now saved my life/dignity multiple times.  

P was a terror.  Any significant leg aid for the transition was met with some buck/levade/bounce moves, though I sat hard, kicked her forward and had serious conversations regarding her inappropriate reactions.  Essentially, when she freaks out about a leg aide, I've started tattooing her with whatever spur she objects to and yelling like an idiot (in my low "man" voice).  It seems to work.  

However, she's also a clever girl, so she's started to cue her canter departs off of my outside rein (for shoulder in) and, if I offer a voice command, off of that.  It's "ok" for now, but I really don't love the fact that I'm lessening my leg even if she is listening to my seat and my hand nicely.

We worked through each explosion well.  She's much better about her left lead, than her right and the absence of any ace in her system resulted in a lighter, more balanced gait when we did get it.  The main drawback was the distraction/tension created everytime the mare went vertical.  My challenge seems to be getting the squishy, soft contact back after I address her buck/levade/bounce moves.

Aside from the obscene aerials (again), the ride was nice.  At no point did I feel like she was going to unseat me (continued pat on back) and we actually got some really nice transitions (eventually) along with some lovely leg yields and a decent attempt at stretchy-trot as a cool down.

We've got one more lesson today before I take off on a "business trip" to Palm Springs (I assure you that my tan/golf time will greatly exceed my "work time"). So I'm crossing my fingers that we get a good solid ride in today, hopefully with a little less dragon action than yesterday.

All things considered, for our first being day drug free and coming off a day of rest, I feel ok about yesterday's ride.  Next time however, I might just heed the advice and let sleeping dragons lie....

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on staying put during all her acrobatics! It sounds like there were some really nice moments in between.


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