dancinghorse: (Rocket)
[personal profile] dancinghorse
I've always likened riding Pooka to flying a Starfury with warp engines engaged. Apparently this is visible to others, because Evil Gelding's rider observed this morning that "He looks like a bomb about to go off."

He is making distinct progress, and improving in significant increments. After a ride when he yanked my entire chain, locked his neck on the left and did his best to fly into the fence, and generally played some very old and very irritating tapes--my arm ached after that ride, and my fingers had actual tendinitis--I decided to Take Steps, which included a neck massage before rather than after the ride, and no more letting him make like a bulldozer. Thanks to Ephiny, who is quite a bit larger and quite a bit more dangerous, pound for pound (and slam for slam), I've learned to get my weight into my feet, breathe, and not fight back. Fighting back is not a good idea with a horse who has the full testerone-powered neck, either. No way I'll win.

So next ride he got the massage till his neck was squidgy and his eyes were melty, then to the ride, and we still had the pull and the drag, but less so. And less again the next time. And so on.

And today we had walkies Out, then a short ride Out, though he became jiggy on the way home (another old tape: lock his back and sproing me up off it). And so into the arena to calm down, with bendy bits and not fighting back. And lo and behold, no more bulldozer.

Now we can work on the rest of him, including the sproingy-back trick and the locky-shoulders trick. And then we'll have a horse we can work with, rather than a Starfury with its controls locked in Warp Factor Ten Zillion.

I thank Ephiny for this. She actually allowed me on her back on Wednesday, having determined that I had sufficient Zen to be granted the privilege. There were still many moments of more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger, but she was content at the end.

I've concluded that Ephiny is an Enlightened Master. Since we are on no schedule with her, and since she's outright dangerous if we impose our human agenda, both S and I have been letting her do the teaching. We spent months, and I am not exaggerating, tacking up, prepping for rides, and spending the entire session, every session, on the ground, in hand, breathing, grounding, and modulating our aids to the merest whisper of a nearly silent whisper. Asking, "May I mount?" Being told No. Usually by spinning fiercely off the block, or just not approaching it at all.

It was extremely frustrating until I got Gabriella and Pooka going. No way I was riding until I had learned the lessons she was bound and determined to teach.

Those lessons were:

Breathe. Don't hold your breath.

Get your center of balance out from between your ears. Pour it into your feet.

Forget the task-orientation. My biggest flaw as a rider: Get task in mind, go stiff, stop listening to horse. Get in horse's way. Perform task badly or not at all.

Spine in a Line. See above re. Breathing and Balance. Crooked spine means horse off balance means horse leaning on human means horse gets flipping means horse freaks out. Straight spine, no freakout. A little bend goes a long way.

And oh my, does all that translate to riding. Does It Ever.
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