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

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[Riding] Reforming Roman

Gonna try and make a quicky post for yesterday's lesson before I go to today's. As the subject line implies, Roman got himself in trouble. Tsk!

See, in the past, Roman's been in the stall at the end of the stable. This space is longer than a normal stall, so rather than try to squish two smaller stalls in, they made one really big one. As long as I've been riding, this has been where Roman's been housed.

This stall also borders the indoor covered passage from the stable to the indoor arena. Horses coming out can be heard from Roman's stall, but have a blind corner to come around as they enter the aisle. Roman, some time ago, discovered that he could run his teeth across the bars or make other ungodly noises and spook horses as they came around the corner. He thought this was funny. He was informed it was not. He clearly failed to care, as all previous disciplinary action produced no change.

Earlier this week, he spooked one horse too many.

When I entered, Roman's nameplate was still on the door of the stall. I grabbed a horse cookie and stepped in without thinking to check... and found myself face to nose with Bayley. "Uh, hi, Bayley. You aren't Roman," I observe. "Where's my horse?" Bayley did not give any relevant answer, but made it VERY clear nonetheless that while I was allowed to leave the stall, the horse cookie in my hand decidedly was not going anywhere but into his belly.

Wandering the aisle, I found Roman in one of the normal stalls clear at the other end, moping around. I was puzzled, until I tracked down a staffer who told me of his latest spooking escapade (managing to get a horse to tear off out of the stable). I informed Roman he had no one to blame but himself. However, I did notice that his apple lick was still in the old stall, and went to retrieve it. Bayley had gotten possessive of Roman's lick, and reached out to take the cord in his teeth, refusing to let go. I finally managed to convince him to return the lick (and found him a peppermint one elsewhere), and placed it into Roman's stall.

This mollified my brat somewhat.

Grooming Roman proved to be an experience. The 'currently being used' hay bales are stored right outside his new stall, and Roman was nimble enough to grab from the top bale even while in the cross-ties. Getting him bridled was a bit of a struggle, since he was much more interested in getting More Yummy Hay. Still, got him bridled in time and off into the ring.

It was stupidly hot (though my new riding shirt is nice and light), but the indoor arena had just been watered. It was still damp enough to be cool, which was nice. (Though made for fun picking out of hooves after the lesson!) My instructor is away at a show, so we had Torquemada again.

I got to spend much of the lesson changing gaits and practicing smooth transitions. ("Walk to C, then trot. Post to A, then sit the trot. Now up-up-down! Back to a walk at K!") By the end, I was certainly feeling the burn. Then it was time for the canter.

I'm still finding myself reluctant to use the dressage whip, since I know Roman will try and buck me off. But he will deliberately go into an extended trot when I ask for the canter, just to avoid having to canter. This time, it was suggested I refuse to allow it; if he went into an extended trot, drop to the walk immediately and then ask for the canter again rather than trying to urge him to the canter out of the trot.

This made for a comical progress. Walk walk... trot TROT TROT TROT TROT TROT TROT... trot?... walk... walk... TROT TROT TROT TROT... walk... tr... walk. Walk. Oh, fine, CANTER, but I'm gonna pick up the wrong lead, so nyah... oh, FINE, right lead, then.

After three laps of that, Roman finally surrendered and I got a good lap and a half canter out of him, though part of it was on the wrong lead until I managed to convince him to change leads. We were, alas, going to the left by that point which is always harder to get him on the correct lead. He's a little stiff to the left, though not enough to warrant taking off on the wrong lead as often as he does.

We finished, Roman breathing hard for once. (If he just did what I asked, neither of us would be so tired, darnit!) Walked him around the ring a bit, then took him out, took off his tack, and took him outside to graze in the lovely weather. Brought him back in, groomed him and got him put away, cleaned tack, all that good stuff. And then?


One had been freed up, and so the trunk of my Beetle no longer resembles a tack chest. All my horsie snacks, all my grooming stuff (I've become enamored of Oster's new stuff, in particular, and am slowly replacing all my grooming gear with it), my helmet and my dressage whip are now in a nice little locker at the stable, and I have reclaimed the trunk of my car. Not that I routinely carry much in the car, but it's nice to have the option again. ;)

Anyway, today it's grey and chilly and rainy, and I'm feeling tired. But I'm going to go to the stables after work /anyway/ rather than calling in, because I know I'll feel better after a ride.
Tags: horses
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