Today was a quiet day at the farm. My trainer was at a prepurchase exam for a new horse (that she brought home with her) in the morning and at a horse show for the rest of the day. So Flynn, the horses, and I had the farm to ourselves! Flynn had fun because he got to be out all day; usually he naps in my room between breakfast and lunch, and then again until the end of the day chores. I ended up just lunging Gigi today since I didn’t want to be riding when I was alone on the farm, which was just as well because the high temperatures have returned.
Everyone need to see this.
It’s been a long time since I’ve really posted on my blog! It’s been a bit up-and-down lately with horses coming and going from the farm, making new friends, and marketing Gigi for sale. It was definitely a difficult decision to actively start trying to sell her, but we’ve had lots of lovely people very interested so far which is encouraging. I’ve also been able to ride a handful of the sales horses which is always educational.
Though we’ve had the occasional cool morning, the days have been hot and humid. My trainer and I have been comparing the number of “bombers” (huge horse flies!) that we’ve killed like Legolas and Gimli in their ork-killing competition. But every time I get the chance to take a moment, however small, to look around, I’m reminded of how absolutely beautiful it is here. Everything is so lush and green right now and all of the horses positively shimmer in the morning sunlight when they’re in their paddocks.
My main thoughts from riding lately have had to do with balance. I’ve realized that I’m not as good as I thought I was at balancing a horse; instead, I’m very skilled at teaching a horse how to balance itself. There’s a significant difference – one that I’m newly aware of – and my conceptualization of this has its foundation in the different disciplines that I’ve ridden. In my experience, in jumping, and especially in eventing, the horses are held far more accountable for their balance. I was taught that the rider has the responsibility of setting and maintaining a rhythm and steering the most logical path to the jump that they can. But the horse has to be able to maintain its own balance without hanging on the rider, running past its distances, or taking the fall for a bad plan on the rider’s part (literally). For me, therefore, it’s natural for me to want to correct a horse when it loses its balance, which manifests itself usually in the head popping up as the back hollows and the horse either speeds up or slows down. Instead of a correction, the dressage horses here need constant support; they require that the rider balance them – it’s that “riding every step” philosophy that so many trainers adhere to. But it’s a different system than I’m used to, and it creates a very different feel and connection with the horse. So it’s something that I have to work on, think about, and play with for now.