Monday, October 31, 2011

On Learning

Last week we didn't ride as much as we have been, mainly because we had the vet out to float teeth on Tuesday and we wanted to give the horses' mouths a break after that. Then went to Chicago for the weekend. So I have three rides to cover today. We rode last Sunday, Tuesday before the vet arrived, and again yesterday. Each time we rode on the strip. Each time Steen was quite good. Last Sunday there was a big tractor taking up our prime loping space, but the last two rides we've worked on the lope as well as the walk and trot. We've been working on getting the soft feel at the walk, which Steen is finally starting to give with at least some degree of consistency. We've also been working on transitions a lot. He still picks up the trot unasked from time to time, but it is nothing like the epidemic it was a few weeks ago.

the vet was several hours later than expected, so the boys got to kill time grazing

Tomorrow is November, and November always starts to feel like the end of the year for me. My equestrian goals for this year were to continue to work on becoming a better rider and to spend at least 100 hours in the saddle. Until this year, I never thought to keep track of how much time I spent on horseback so really I haven't the faintest guess as to how many hours in the saddle I've accumulated any given year

However, I do I think this year has been a big one. For one thing I feel like I've learned more this year about horsemanship than in the previous 20 combined, and for another I feel like I'm finally riding with an understanding of quality. When I was younger I'd climb on a horse and just go. I'd go for longer rides and cover more distance, but my riding wasn't focused or deliberate. I thought a good rider was someone who could stay on a balky horse's back and get it to go somewhere it didn't want to go. While I still absolutely love trail riding and covering ground, my definition of what makes a good rider has transformed. I'll turn 30 in a couple of weeks, and the older I get and the more I learn it seems I only see more clearly all the ways in which I could still improve.

Ride Times:
Sunday: 0:40
Tuesday: 1:00
Sunday: 1:00
Horseback hours YTD: 87:05

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