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I swipe at a stray feather caught on my lip. (cough, cough)
What was that? A canary? Yellow? Nope. Haven’t seen it. (cough, cough)
Alright. Sigh. You’ve caught me.


Are you happy now?

Why? Why what?
Oh. Why did I swallow it?
Because it was singing. Duh.
This is my tale to tell. Not his.


Ahem, so let me fill you in on things.

I audited the NEDA Spring Weekend with Olympians Michael Poulin and Carol Lavell and then I had the greatest ride! Even my instructor thought so.

“I can’t believe how round he is! You definitely learned something this weekend.”

The praise is well earned but before it totally goes to my head let me explain. I was riding the wiggly horse. He’s a small Morgan that isn’t as well trained as the mare I usually ride. Uh, that means people – okay, kids – don’t usually get him pulled together. I haven’t ridden him in, um, months and I totally nailed it! He was round. And I mean round.

I was really thinking (literally) about shoulder in as I was cruising around the arena. This really got him stepping up and under himself. It was amazing.

Now this got me thinking. Why was I able to get – and keep – him really round? It’s hard for me to do this consistently with the mare. Is it size? Does size really matter? (snicker) Hey! Get your mind out of the gutter.

I’m serious. The mare is pretty big and he’s more my size. Petite.
Or… am I learning a lot on the mare that translates well to other horses?
I guess the mare has a lot to teach me still.

Regardless it was a great ride. Even if the canter was a little choppy. He’s so unbalanced that cantering to the left I felt like he was splaying his legs.

Hmm, don’t tell my husband but I may have a new boyfriend.  😉

I was finally introduced to haunches in. It was a very amicable meeting and he reminded me a lot of his cousin shoulder in. So much so that I managed to confuse the two. Much like a mother calling all the kids by the wrong name. Sigh.

Let’s get started with haunches in down the long side. Inside leg at the girth, outside leg in third position. (Is this ballet?) A little more incline…not bad. Straightening before I reached the corner. I approach the next long side and set myself up for haunches in again. But wait! What’s wrong with this picture? I’ve switched myself around. My outside leg is now my inside leg and vise versa. Instead of haunches in I’m doing shoulder in (a very good one by the way). Or maybe haunches out? I don’t know how to do that yet. Do I?

I continued to practice haunches out…no in!

Discovery: I’m right handed and had a really hard time when my left leg was outside. Maybe it was stiffness in my hips but my left leg did not want to move back into third position. I should also mention that this is the horse’s stiff side. She likes to hang on the left rein. I know. I have the callus to prove it! Of course that also proves that I’m not riding enough with my seat. The evidence says so. Dang it!

Anyway, it all reminded me of the whole right/left thing. You know what I’m talking about. “Turn left. No the other left!” Yeah, that. A math editor I once knew said that we confuse right/left because we learned them too early. Our minds weren’t ready. Is it too early for me to learn haunches in or am I just fishing for excuses?

rocco2My barn has a wonderful school master. He’s a seventeen year old, 16.2 hands, Danish Warmblood gelding. Well schooled in Flying Changes, Piaffe, Passage, and Half Pass. He has an outstanding trot, a wonderful canter and was shown at Third Level, NEDA in 2004.

In my last lesson we were working on straightness on the quarterline, centerline and diagonal. I noticed that my 20 meter circles were much better. My weight stayed to the inside while I was bending him around my leg. I also remembered to give with my inside rein. He was able to give me some wonderful extended trots because he was so well balanced. The power behind them was incredible! I felt like I was riding a cloud.

With this horse I’ve worked on Leg Yields, Shoulder In, Shoulder Fore, and Turn on the Fore. My sub-instructor was so happy with the lesson that she wants to video it this week. If all goes well I’ll post it here as well as sending a copy to my instructor in Florida.

Stay tuned!

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