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Riding, Roman

[Riding] General Catchup

No riding for me this week. With the horrible storm we had yesterday, they closed the bridge and I couldn't get across the lake (and it turns out the stable was a mess anyway). My instructor just called, too... with the huge winds last night, and much of the area without power (I do not know how I've dodged that bullet and have both power and Internet still!), the stable's completely without power, and had some of the pastures torn up. So, no lessons today either.

That said, all the horses are fine. I'm told Roman is moody and irritable about having been cooped up inside, and Derby evidently was pretty blase about the whole thing.

Still, I've not been missing other lessons, so here's a basic catchup! With the cold weather, we've been focusing mostly on flatwork; Derby's a little stiff from the cold, so it's not good to jump him. However, the cold also makes Derby... well, crazy.

Derby is sometimes off in what the instructor and I call 'Derby-land.' Derby-land can be a pleasant place where he just sort of meanders slowly, or it can be a place where he is convinced he is the Second Coming of Seabiscuit. Usually it sort of varies; during the summer, you start out with slow-and-daydreaming Derby, then he sort of 'joins you' and actually is on the same page for about 10-15 minutes, and then he gets hyper and becomes Seabiscuit II, trying to roar around the ring as fast as possible when you ask for a canter. Which is usually about the sign that the lesson's over, and as the instructor would say, "Nope... we've lost him again."

However, as soon as it got cold, we saw slow-and-daydreaming Derby completely vanish. Now all we have is Seabiscuit II; you get up on Derby, ask for a trot, and OFF HE GOES! Needless to say, my instructor -- who apparently has a mildly sadistic streak -- has decided that this means the main focus for the winter is keeping Derby at a slow, controlled trot.

My thighs hurt.

That said, I've been steadily progressing in my ability to keep Derby at the pace I want, going where I want, even when he's off in his own little world and thinks he's at Churchill Downs. Transitions between the gaits are increasingly smooth, and I've been able to do circles and serpentines fairly consistently, despite Derby's 'I MUST STAY ON THE RAIL! ON THE RAIL! OFF TO THE FINISH LINE!' mentality right now.

Coalby finally went off to her new home; all reports are that Coalby, Chester and Bayley are quite content in their new situations. My instructor's horse, Kim, was also shipped away; my instructor trains horses on the side, and someone's interested in buying Kim, so is leasing her for a trial. Scooby, the other in-training horse, remains. Coalby wasn't being used for lessons much anymore, nor was Bayley. And Kim was never a lesson horse. Chester's loss was the hard one... and now we have another. Banjo finally was retired.

Banj, however, was not sold. Banjo is, alas, a terrible horse for the person who owns him and let him be used as a school horse. They're, put simply, an awful match for each other in the ring. But, Banjo was the first horse she owned, and she and Banjo truly love each other. She always doted on him at the school, and every time she walked up to his stall, Banjo's eyes would light up. I had guessed that when it was time for Banjo to be retired, she'd never sell him. And indeed, she hasn't; there's someone near her house who had pasture-space, and Banjo is now there, where she can continue to visit and dote on him in his retirement.

But with Banjo's loss, the school is starting to feel the pinch for good lesson horses. So budgeting has been worked out, and sometime in the next few weeks, we'll be getting some new horses. (Assuming the storm didn't do any damage that requires the budgeting be redone... ulp!) Once there are new horses... that frees up some of the existing lesson horses for half-leasing.

Including Derby. So, once we have some more horses, I'll be half-leasing Derby. Derby's really a better match for me, in terms of riding, than Roman is. But Roman's still my bud, too; I always visit with him before my lesson, and come to give him treats and a rubdown after I'm done with Derby.

Now I have to wait until next Thursday to ride again, though. I haven't missed a whole week of riding in a loooong time. :(

Hrm. I need to make a Derby userpic for riding, since I'm still using a Roman pic!
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