Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fa la la la la

I'm in a very good mood today despite that when I went out to the car this morning I saw that someone had broken into it. Luckily, they didn't take anything because there was nothing valuable (at least on their radar) to steal. I did have our expensive equestrian riding helmets in the car but apparently inner-city car prowlers don't realize they are worth a lot. And I'm happy they didn't break a window, although I am baffled at how they got in the car since I know it was locked.

I was so distracted by the fact that the car had been broken into, and putting all the junk back in the glove compartment and under the seat, that I completely forgot to bring my coat out to the car. My husband and daughter dropped me off at the stable to see Girlfriend and went to pick up lunch and I thought for a moment I was going to freeze. But once I was moving around I was fine and it was 40 degrees out by then. Plus, Girlfriend puts out a lot of warmth so I got her groomed as quickly a I could so I could ride her and warm up.

She was really pissy since I have only ridden twice in the last month. She didn't even want to walk she was so ancy and pissy. She was jigging all over the place and I had to take a lot of deep breaths because if I get mad then we just get into a power struggle but if I stay totally relaxed and keep giving the same firm "We're walking!" command over and over again until she does it things calm down much quicker. If I give her a slap on the rump or a hard kick like I can do with Doc if he were to act up, she'd buck or bolt or both. I gave her a good hard, quick yank on the outside rein the couple times she tried to bolt and all that succeeded in doing was make her toss her head. She really is very good practice at being Zen with one's emotions, but the calmer I get the quieter I talk, the calmer and quieter she gets even though I can feel all this energy running through her body because she wants to run. But she's an old lady and she can't just go out into the arena with a rider on her back and suddenly start running without warming up her muscles.

Just to give her credit after about ten or fifteen minutes she really mellowed out and I ended up riding her with my feet out of the stirrups and she was fine. I've noticed if she gets super amped up, if I take my feet out of the stirrups it calms her right down because I'm assuming she was never ridden in competition bareback. Of course, last week when I rode her and had my feet out of the stirrups, she spooked when a flock of ducks outside the arena took off in flight in her peripheral vision, but somehow I stayed on. I was annoyed with myself because my instant reaction was to wrap my legs around her middle to hold on, but she somehow miraculously did not take that as a sign to run. Maybe because I was also simultaneously leaning back in the saddle and saying, "Sssssh ... you're ok." and I let go with my legs really quickly. But still I was disappointed that it was my initial instinctual reaction along with leaning back and saying "Ssshhh...". I'd be more proud of myself if I'd just done the latter.

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