Monday, December 8, 2008

Skating and riding

It is raining but just cold enough for the rain to turn into ice when it hits the ground. That is one thing I don't like about riding in an indoor arena that is detached from the barn. Sometimes after rides, I open the arena door to freezing rain or a blizzard. I can't hear the wind howling about outside the arena so, other than a couple extra flicks of Limerick's ears, I am oblivious to weather changes as I ride.

Before walking back to the barn with Lim, I told her to tread carefully. I walked slowly and so did she. I think I was more afraid of slipping than her. Field boots and ice don't go well together.

Winter is making Limerick stiff, but after fifteen minutes of walking and trotting on the long rein, then five to ten minutes of light collection and a few strides of cantering, she is ready to go. With each passing week, she grows into the athletic horse that had been in hiding for the past couple years. At the end of rides, she is hardly drawing a deep breath.

Soon, she will be ready for some lessons. Unfortunately! My checking account is not.

At work today, I remembered I have 101 Arena Exercises on my bookshelves somewhere. I think that until I can afford a couple lessons, I will work through the book. Before heading to the barn today, I flipped through it quickly and saw a page dedicated to a leg yield at the canter.

Leg yield at the canter! Lim and I haven't done that in a million years.

And although I felt like I was moving all over the place (but probably wasn't), Lim gave me a couple nice, collected leg yields at the canter. Good girl! I think more than anything, I want lessons so I know I am not bouncing and jerking around like a fool. Reassurance is nice but not worth $50 an hour...right now.

I am finding that the more in-shape Lim becomes, the more my saddle is prone to sliding forward. I added one shim each to the forward pockets on my Mattes correction pad and it helps somewhat, but the saddle still moves forward a bit. Lessons can wait but a saddle fitting session may not.

As I left the barn today, slipping and sliding on the ice in the parking lot, I turned and saw a black horse, loose, confused, skidding around on the ice by the upper barn. In the blue glow of the snow and barn walls, everything glistening with rain and ice, the horse seemed like a dream. And then a woman appeared, spreading her arms, gently herding the horse back into the barn. My heart galloped for two more beats then slowed. Horses and ice don't mix, either.

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