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Riding, Roman

[Riding] Back to Banjo

I got to the stables pretty early, due to light traffic, and so spent some time visiting the horses I'd missed last week. Chester was very friendly, but Roman deliberately turned to face away from me as if pretending I wasn't there. When I turned to leave the stall, however, he whipped back around and grabbed my sleeve in his teeth, like 'Don't go!' Nice to know that he apparently missed me too. :)

Well, after one week away in Calgary, and the week before *that* on Chester, Banjo was a somewhat sobering experience. He's always particularly hard when there's three horses in a lesson, since it twigs his 'I must be with the herd' behavior even more. And this week, we have a new student (totally new, second time on a horse) joining our class.

After about 20 minutes of very frustrating behavior on Banjo's part, we came to an agreement. After that, I was able to trot him around the half of the ring I was in... and we did the little obstacle course at the end of the lesson nearly flawlessly (though Banjo cut a corner more than I wanted him to). It's strange not being the least-experienced student in the class anymore, and having someone look to /me/ as the 'voice of experience.'

Grooming went fine, though Banjo's not nearly as affectionate as Roman. Roman, meanwhile, is apparently driving EVERYONE bananas; his lamed foot is healed enough that he wants to be DOING things, but /just/ a little too soon to actually go out and ride. So he's making noise, being very demanding and needy, and generally a pain. Kara says that he should be healed enough next week to be ridden, though, and so I may well be on him again.

After the lesson, I asked Kara aside to talk about what I need to focus on. She says that when I'm in the free-riding portion of the class, I tend to ride better than in the structured one, because in the free-ride I'm more relaxed; I don't hold to the neck-strap, I keep my ankles positioned better, and so on. In the structured portion, I'm trying *so* hard to get every detail right, that I forget things. I hadn't thought of it that way before, but she's probably right. So I'm going to work starting next week on being a little less hyper-focused during the structured exercises.

Also spoke to her about volunteering more actively next season, and have been told some tentative times to come in and help exercise the horses, graze 'em, help bring food around, and so on. Today in particular -- which was a kind of stressful day up until riding -- really brought home to me how much being at the stables kind of balances me out. Maybe it's the physical labor, maybe it's the company of the horses, maybe it's some combination of multiple factors... but I always feel much, much better once I've been to the stables. So I think I want to be more active there this season.

Alas, I'm going to miss the work party weekend after next, I think. Re-painting all the school jump bars, with free pizza provided. But that day, I'm going to be driving down to Olympia to go pick out my puppy... :)
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