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Riding, Roman

[Riding] Return of the Reluctant Roman

My aunt, who is a lifelong horse nut and was an avid rider when younger, is understanding of my need to be at the stables and helpfully watched the puppy for me again this week.

And this week, Roman was back to his old tricks; whatever slack I was cut last week, he wasn't repeating. I still managed to get him going with somewhat less effort thatn before, and Kara noted that my posture was improved overall... but pointed out my primary weakness. Whenever Roman balks and I have to 'argue' with him, I tend to look down at him (and ruin my posture in so doing). That and I'm still too much of a light touch with the whip.

FJ was visiting this week, and went to the lesson with me; she rode Banjo, and got to canter. We had a floating student -- someone who volunteers at the stable in exchange for riding lessons whenever her schedule and theirs line up -- as well. Both FJ and the floating student were more advanced than me, and were up to cantering. Kara feels I'm almost there, but doesn't want to try me cantering on Roman for my first canter lessons.

I asked why.

Turns out the patched hole in the arena wall that I've noticed in the past was left by Roman, who took objection to being told to canter once before and kicked a chunk of the arena out. Didn't hurt anyone, but expressed his opinion pretty clearly. I'm still willing to try cantering him -- a decision Kara respects -- but I'll also respect her call that when she moves me on to cantering, she wants me on someone other than Roman the first times.

In the meantime, seems my rides on Roman are more important now; the poor guy's not getting enough exercise. The person who was half-leasing him no longer is, and since Roman is not an overly popular lesson horse, he's not seeing huge amounts of regular action. (This means the staff has to exercise him, of course.)

So I, er, asked Kara if she thought I'd be ready to half-lease a horse at some point. She feels with a few months more experience (both as a rider, and as a stablehand), I might be ready for such a thing. So I asked about Roman, learned a bit more about him -- one of the aisle helpers had told me Roman was 16, but evidently he's actually not even quite 13 yet. (So he *really* has no excuse for the obviously-faked drama-queen 'I'm so old and tiiiiired, take pity and let me rest... pant pant wheeze cough...' routine he occasionally tries.)

Poor Banjo was really all sweaty. The clippers are broken, and Banjo's winter coat has come in so thick he looks like he's half Norwegian Fjord and half bear. So FJ had to spend quite a bit of time cooling him down and drying him off; in the meantime, I cleaned tack, took a turn at cooling Banjo down, went and picked up dinner at the Chinese place, and talked to Kara about half-leasing and stuff as above.

Then it was back off, across the lake, home again to be with the puppy. Who ran around like a lunatic, tried to eat my dinner, and then curled up atop my foot and fell asleep. Then got up and proceeded to piddle in the hallway. I will be so glad when I finish housebreaking her...

(And next week, I get to give the puppy precautionary de-wormer! The vet assures me that this will be less of a production with an 8-pound puppy than it was with a 1400-pound quarterhorse...)
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