Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Subtle Changes

I had an interesting session with Cresty today. It was an absolutely gorgeous evening, and I was really looking forward to doing something.

Tonight's session was all about the subtle changes I saw. If I focused on the broad picture, I'd find it really easy to get put out about it, because in the actual broad spectrum of things, tonight's session wasn't that special. My tiredness and lack of savvy in some areas, combined with Crest's bi-polarness, and some downright embarassing fluidity mistakes and problems probably made our session tonight kind of iffy. But the subtle things are really key in the end for this one. Keep that in mind as you read forth.

Haltered Crest up and put the 45' line on him. I'm really beginning to like using that with him instead of the 22' line. When he's on his game, he's excellent out quite a distance out, but when I need to, I can reel him in and do what I need to. Anyway, tonight, Crest was feeling really arrogant, but was sort of walking the edge of cocky and unconfident at times. If I got dominant or assertive too much, he'd flip to RBE. There's got to be happy medium, and I guess that's what's so challenging about him. Anyway, I feel like I'm getting more savvy at reading Crest's more subtle changes, and that I'm handling things better. The first subtle sign of this came in the fact that the time it took for Crest to look ridable was considerably shorter, and his physical state was MUCH different. Usually by the time he's ready to ride, he's puffing and sweating like crazy from all the RBE flight and LBE exuberance he's been throwing around. Tonight, he wasn't breathing hard at all, and he was just a little damp in the chest area, not even enough to consider wet.

I hopped on, and the second subtle change was I noticed he lined himself up for me to be on the uphill side to get on, and stood totally still. Mr. Mischievous usually is the first one to either A) move away, or B) prance or walk away while I'm trying to mount. So yay, easy mount.

As we rode off, we had some minor impulsion issues, I think they were a little RBE. I noticed tonight that when I did my 180's on the fence, all I had to do was start the change in direction, and Crest would immediately calm down. The one time he didn't, is the one time I caught another subtle change in him. I realized that I was a little bit tight in my body as I was doing it (like, BARELY noticeable, I was bracing in my neck and shoulders a little bit), and as SOON as a released that tension, Crest's head went down, he started to blow, and his stride settled in. Oh wait. No. That's not a change in Crest. That's a change in me. Sorry.

I asked Crest to trot, and if it hadn't been for my extremely poor fluidity on him (BIG BOUNCY HORSE! AHHHH! I will NEVER let that DIE!), it might have been another lovely, near-flawless ride. However I'm a little tight in my body (Had a softball game tonight), and so that didn't add. But anyway, I really focused on keeping my energy even and relaxed as we went. And man did it do something.

Another subtle change I noticed (in me this time) is that I've gotten much more in tune with how my body and emotions affect Crest's body and emotions, because see, Princess is a LBI with some Extroverted tendencies, and she doesn't feed off of that the way he does, and for 5 years, I've gotten away with absolute MURDER, because she doesn't give obvious feedback. Now that Linda pointed it out, and I've paid attention to how I feel when I ride Crest, I'm realizing just what a nervous, emotional, slightly tight rider I am on him. Talk about humbling!!! Ah well, progress is being made, but it might not be pretty at first.

I guess the high point (and another subtle change) I noticed (and ended on) was the fact that late in the session, Crest started to blow and obviously ask questions in his body, and I could ask him physically and mentally for a sittable trot. That is not something I've been able to do with him EVER, I usually just have to take what he gives be because getting into a battle for speed is NOT WORTH IT with him. To be able to ask for a slow trot is just GREAT. He gave it to me when I asked, by the way, and then came down into a walk and to a halt without my using my reins.

Session over. Crest followed me up to the barn and hung out with me while I put things up for the night.

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