Sunday, September 9, 2012

Music for Horses

A couple weeks ago was Trainer K.'s birthday I was trying to think of what to give her because she's so busy she doesn't want the standard gift certificate to a spa or a book to read which are my fall-back gifts, so I finally decided on a gift certificate for the coffee stand by our barn and a cd with theme songs for all her horses she trains.  Toad was easy - "We Found Love in a Hopeless Place" by Rhianna.  And Jovi was easy too "Fuck Authority" by Pennywise.  Tasha (who my daughter rides) was easy too "The Lady is a Tramp" sung by Ella Fitzgerald because Tasha is such an old, cranky matron who give a shit what people think about her (but that attitude comes from mature wisdom).  I think Tasha might be more like me than I initially realized because that is a song I would use to describe me too!  M.'s Lipizzans were a challenge.  But after some thought "Get Jiggy With It" by Will Smith seemed appropriate for Gemini who is the one much further into his trainer and Piaffs for fun and Levades when he gets excited.  Especially the line "don't try that - you'll hurt you-self!" (or something like that).  I finally decided for Favi (the newer Lipizzan who has far less training) "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey because he's got the emo-ironic-hipster personality thing going on to me, and is trying very hard to "earn his white" (which we decided is a euphemism for progressing in training and building courage and confidence - since Lipizzans usually turn white as they get older).

I had a lot of fun putting the cd together but what surprised me was that Trainer K. seemed to really like it (she's not very good at pretending she likes things she doesn't) and M. snatched it up and ran off to put it on the old stereo in the arena.  I was pleasantly surprised that people liked the songs I picked for their horses.

Yesterday M. came out and took photos of everyone who signed up to get a portrait of them and their horse.  M. is by day a business analyst but is also a very talented hobbyist photographer.  Obviously I got my photo taken with Toad but Star said I could get my photo with Rex, her little mini stallion because I love him like he's my own horse.  He was very cranky when I drug him out to the grass where they were taking photos because he'd been eating so I'm hoping they got some cute photos of me trying to cheer him up and kissing him on the nose while he grumbled.  Toad had never been out to the yard where the photos were being taken and instead of using her halter I put her bridle on because it is so pretty so it was all around weird and new to her (being led on a walk in a bridle).  There were also no houses out where we were so she was very suspicious.  She did very well considering.  We got up there and B. was getting her photo taken with her horse she leases and the owner of the barn was in front of her (and off to the side of us) waving an empty plastic grocery bag in the air to try and get the horse's attention.  This of course practically sent Toad into a panic but she rallied and let me calm her down.  Then it was our turn and we walked over to the sunny spot in the grass and the owner of the barn steps up and starts waving this empty plastic grocery bag in front of Toad and of course Toad started spinning around me until I told the owner he had to stop doing that because he was scaring my horse.  He grumbled that he was just trying to help and stomped off.  Toad wasn't really into standing still but she tried and I'm sure we got some good shots out of it.  She was relieved to go back to her stall - well except when we passed a fan that was blowing air into a section of the barn and when we walked past it and it blew straight onto Toad's side she bounced straight up in the air on all fours for a second.  D'oh!  It took me a minute to figure out it was the fan blowing on her that spooked her.

I finally got to ride her in training again on Friday after a little more than a week.  I'm frustrated about not getting to ride her more.  It would be a lot better if I could ride her three times a week because if more than a few days go between me riding her I start to get nervous about riding her again and I don't want to get into that space where I'm afraid to ride my horse. 

I wanted to get my photo taken with Toad under saddle but the light wasn't good enough in the arena so I was dressed to ride and managed to finagle my way into riding Maiden, the horse that B. leases.  Maiden's owner was there which was helpful so she could give me tips on how to ride her.  Maiden is a rescue horse who is supposedly trained to 2nd Level dressage (which is a higher level than most of the horses I've ridden).  She was hard to ride at first though and I know what B. was talking about that is was humbling to be riding her.  Any imbalance on your seat and she did unexpected things.  When I first got on her she wouldn't walk forward and when I used my leg softly, that didn't work so I gave her a tap with the dressage whip on the left, she started turning in sharp circles to the left.  There was lots of having to shift my balance with my seat to get her to move in the right direction.  Apparently, I was leaning too much to the left because we'd be going what I thought was straight, then we'd turn a little and suddenly she's be making tight circles to the left until I shift my weight to what I felt was to my right but was apparently more in the middle of the saddle.  That was actually something that was pointed out to me in the clinic with Beth Glosten was that my weight goes off a little to the left in the saddle.  It was challenging and I got into that mode where I didn't want to get off of her until we successful trotted around the arena in the pattern that I wanted - which thankfully did happen sooner rather than later for B. and Maiden's owner's sake!  What I didn't like about riding her was you had to use your leg much harder than on Toad and I prefer to ride horses where I have to practice being quiet and "whisper" with my leg because I need a lot of practice at that.

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