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Riding, Roman

[Riding] Rocket-Powered Roman

As the subject line implies, I was back on 'my' horse this week.

My aunt very helpfully watched the puppy for me this evening, and I headed off to Evergreen for riding. I got there, and the stables seemed almost deserted! I had known my instructor, Kara, was going to be gone at a show. I hadn't realized that so many people who weren't at the show were sick; there really was no one else in the barn when I got there. At first, I was worried I might've missed some memo!

I went into the barn itself, though, and checked the board; there was my name, with 'Roman' next to it. Evidently, my classmates were gone this week... but I was back on Roman, which made me happy.

So I went and got him out and started grooming him. At first, he did the usual "I'm a grumpy horse, I don't want to be taken out of the stall" routine. So I turned as if I was going to go, and Roman's eyes got *really* wide, and he reached out to catch my helmet by the chin-strap and hold me there with this "I'm sorry I was joking don't go!" expression. I gave him a hug and then led him out to the cross-ties.

After a bit, the stable helper showed up... but she didn't know who my substitute instructor would be. Usually Jan's the sub when Kara's out, but no one knew where Jan was. As I finished tacking up, another one of the instructors passed through, and said she'd do the lesson. I went into the arena, walked Roman to warm him up... and just as I was about to mount up, Jan showed up from having been caught in traffic.

Jan always focuses on individual elements of riding. "You're leaning about three degrees off where you need to be," and so on. This is in contrast to Kara, who will focus on big picture: "You need to improve , and then we'll have the groundwork for ." I think I always make the biggest progress when I switch between them, since I can put both sets of information together.

So this week was all working on fine-tuning my posture and balance. Between this and what Kara's had me working on, I was able to communicate even better with Roman. Some of it may be also that Roman was more willing than usual to cooperate. Whatever the reason, we were able to really open up: Roman can trot faster than some horses can canter, and we were going full-tilt for Roman. Jan actually had me try to canter at the end, but while Roman was willing to trot without making me fight him for it today, he just wasn't willing to break the trot-canter barrier.

We rode a course at Roman's top trot, though, and were in perfect synch. Jan then made me ride part of it trotting in two-point, while calling things ('back one degree! Lead with the belly-button!') to correct little elements of my posture. It was rewarding, but at the end, both Roman and I were wiped. I KNOW I'm going to feel this one tomorrow.

Afterwards, as Jan's usual class came in, I took Roman out, groomed him, took off the tack, and was muchly nuzzled. Roman was very pleased to get his traditional cookie, and didn't fidget at all when I gave him the coat treatment I usually do. Then I put him away, cleaned the tack and stowed it, and gave all the usual crew their carrot and apple treats. Helped put away and clean up other stuff because we're so short-handed this week, and then made my way home to relieve my aunt from puppy-sitting duty.

The puppy was glad to see me; apparently, she hadn't really eaten dinner because she was unsure where mommy was, but as soon as I was home she was willing to eat. Then she ran around a bunch, flopped over in the kitchen and went to sleep.

And I think now her mommy is going to get some ibuprofen and do the same!
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