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Riding, Roman

[Riding] Return of the Roman

As the subject line implies, I was back on Roman this week. It was funny; when I first went into his stall, he got all happy and affectionate, nuzzling me and clearly being glad. Then I brought in the halter... and he paused, looked at it, and got this 'oh, right, I remember the routine, I'm supposed to act all reluctant' and went back to munching on his hay.

Tacked him up pretty quickly (and checked on the thrush, which is greatly lessened) and got out into the ring. Kara's decided that free-form lessons work best for my classmate and I -- our newcomer was missing this week, so it was just the two veterans on our usual horses -- and so we pretty much got to use the obstacles she'd set up as we wished.

Roman was picky at first, since he'd gotten to be out in a field eating hay and really didn't want to do any work, but he picked up reasonably fast. Riding Banjo last week actually helped me a lot; I was able to tell more clearly what behaviors were due to my cues being less clear than they could be, and which were just Roman being Roman. For instance, if he cut a corner at the same place in the same way Banjo did last week... probably my fault. If he just moves progressively inwards each lap to try and trot smaller and smaller laps... Banjo didn't, so that's probably not my fault, and is just Roman being Roman.

It helped a lot overall, and by the end of the lesson, I felt my steering had vastly improved. So, to test this, Kara set up an obstacle course involving small jumps, and had us spend the final fifteen minutes running through it. The course involved things like heading across the ring on some strange angle, over a jump to a specific point on the opposite wall and stopping precisely at a specific angle. Made for an interesting, and different, challenge since there were two places we had to come to a stop at a specific angle and then continue on.

But it definitely made us concentrate on the finer details of steering!

After the lesson, Roman made his usual fuss while being groomed. ('I love you, I love you, COOKIE NOW PLEASE, I love you, where's my cookie? If you loved me too, you'd give me my horse cookie! Cookie? Please, cookie? I can see the bag from here! COOKIE! COOKIECOOKIECOOKIENOW! *sigh* Fine, I'll wait. Waiting, waiting... waiting... ho hum... waiting... YAY, COOKIE! *munch* ...more, please?') However, he also was unusually affectionate... kept nuzzling the back of my neck, and wasn't entirely happy when I was out of his sight.

The stable owner passed through, and laughed. Still, I was really glad to be back on Roman... he's harder to ride than Banjo, but there's just something about Roman's expressive, drama-queen personality that I find very endearing. :)
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