Rachel "Sparks" Blackman (seattlesparks) wrote,
Rachel "Sparks" Blackman

[Riding] Roman, Solo Redux

Today was a gorgeous day, almost 70 degrees (21, for my Celsius-minded friends), with clear skies.

Traffic was light on the way to the stables, so I arrived quite early, and when I got there... they were oddly empty. I found Kara trimming manes, and she exclaimed in surprise that I was the first student of hers to show up all day. Every single earlier class (and indeed, my classmates), no one had shown up. No clue why, other than just random chance.

As a result, I spent a bit of time helping Kara by bringing in horses who were out, and taking out some for their turn, and groomed a pony who had found very interesting bits of vegetable matter to roll in as she quite cheerily tried to eat all the dandelions and clover growing near the fence. Poor Cloudy. She's in the English-style barn (doors opening to the outside) across the way from the school barn, and her stall looks out onto a lovely patch of clover which she cannot reach to eat. Never mind that she had lovely fresh feed in her stall; when I walked her back to her stall, she just about pulled me over as she made a mad lunge for the clover.

Kara noted regretfully that since I proved to be her only student, we should've gone on a trail ride; the school borders a nearly 500 acre equestrian park with many riding trails, and has a trail right from the school into the park itself. Alas, by the time we realized no one else was coming, it was a little too late to do the trail ride properly. Kara's promised that if the weather stays warm, we'll do one later.

Instead, having a solo lesson, we concentrated on just synching Roman and I up better. I tried walking him without stirrups or reins, just trying to steer with balance and legs. I tried trotting him without a dressage whip (he doesn't respect riding crops), which took effort, but was successful. We trotted the obstacle course. And by the end, Roman was actually flying at full trot speed, which is unusual for him (he's /fast/ when he wants to be). By the end of the lesson, Kara'd worked both of us pretty hard... not to real exhaustion, but just to that 'okay, yeah, I'm ready to stop' point.

Took him back out, groomed him, gave him his coat treatment and snacks, and visited with Chester and Coalby for a while. At first when I was grooming Roman, my thighs were so tired I just sort of leaned against him, and he leaned back against me, and Kara laughed when she came by and saw us propped up against each other.

I also spoke to Kara a bit more about things. She noted that Roman actually has two people willing to ride him regularly now (the other has even decided to half-lease him), and she thinks it's done him a world of good; both of us come in even when not riding to spend time with him, and he's less fidgity and seems a lot happier. He's not neglected normally, or even denied exercise, but most people will only do one or two lessons on him before asking for a different horse; really, having consistent riders he can bond with makes a difference.

In addition, I asked Kara about coming in at other times to help out aside from my stable volunteer work on Saturdays. She's lining me up with some of the other stuff at the school, such as equine first aid tutorials and whatnot, and I'm going to be talking to the person who coordinates all the volunteer work about some other volunteer duties. Whee!
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