Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reflections, Revelations and Relaxation!

Thanksgiving has come and gone and I'm only a couple of pounds heavier because of it...joy! That's not too bad because Christmas is only mere weeks away and I KNOW I will just keep adding to the pounds I happily lost this year. But besides fabulous food and family bonding, I thought (as I do every year at this time) about the things I was thankful for. Family of course tops the list while my boys (ponies and puppy) are a close second. I said a quiet prayer for the ones not able to be at Thanksgiving this year...my grandmother (although she passed a few years ago, she was always with us at this time and loved this holiday), my friend Kay, and my Uncle Mike we lost last month to pneumonia although he was a survivor of Vietnam and Throat Cancer. I miss them all greatly even though I know they look down on me every day. But I think besides just people, I am thankful for the experiences I have been able to have this year whether they be equine or not. I love my family, my boys and my life. It seems to just get better all the time!

Enough of the reflections, onto the revelations! The day before Turkey Day, I was able to squeeze in a lesson with Lynn on DJ. It's always so pleasant taking DJ out, he is the perfect traveler. I'm talking self-loader, no drama, hauls like a dream perfect traveler. And with just me and dad, it makes the whole process a lot easier. Well, we got there and started warming up and then it was immediately off to work. The first lesson was just an evaluation. Because she knew what she was dealing with now, we immediately started on bending and flexing exercises for his tight little body. Travers, renvers, shoulder-in and half-pass were repeated through the entire session of trot work which really seemed to get easier since the last time we came for a lesson. The canter work started on the forehand and sluggish. After some editing (i.e. fixing how the rider was using her reins to speak to her horse, sitting up and back in the saddle, and working on getting his hind end more active and underneath him) the canter became more up and out and active! Hurray!!! We ended with some nice relaxed trot stretching and a plan for next time...do everything we did in the lesson and the flying changes shouldn't (in theory) be so...exuberant :)

The part of the lesson where Lynn addressed my hands can be considered my biggest revelation. It was fascinating! She stopped me, took my hands and showed my little things that she did that spoke volumes on the reins. I had always thought I had quiet hands, and apparently I do but that is the problem...they are too quiet. I can move my fingers but only in just a couple of ways which obviously wasn't doing the trick. Now I have a whole arsenal under my belt and boy, are they helpful! Since the lesson, while riding both my boys I have been kicking myself to remember the techniques we discussed in order to be more effective in the saddle. I'm happy to announce, I have a had some pretty fabulous rides lately!

After Thanksgiving, I decided to take 2 days off for myself. No riding just checking on the boys and administering meds when needed. My mom and I decided to brave the mall on Black Friday and managed to survive with 1 Christmas gift and a few very good deals on sweaters for us :) Then I got sick and had to take another day off. I started back yesterday with some great rides which was a lovely way to start "back to reality".