Friday, October 19, 2012

October 18th - 8:51pm

We got to ride today! Again just at the walk breaking up the footing but I so miss riding when weather forces us out of the saddle. I was on Mauro, Luli, Cor Lit and Nacar. Worked on walking forward, halting, getting the horses to stretch and reach into the contact. Martin quizzed us on what the definition of contact and I failed miserably even after having him explain it last week. I think its because it is an easy concept to think about and incredibly difficult to learn because it is all feel. It is the soft, consistent, elastic contact between the riders hand and the horses mouth. But that is not enough to really have a real working contact with the horses. If my horse is behind my leg, doing what it pleases and barely listening to me then my hands can be as soft/elastic/consistent as possible and its not going to get me anywhere. The horse needs the drive from the hinds created by the legs to power up and through his topline. Only then can I really take a contact that can be accepted. And the contact isnt just at one fixed point. The horse has to be able and willing to follow my hands if I give them more rein to go long and low or less to bring them up and together. The topline working and stretching is so important. And was a big part of what we did today. Moving the horse around, encouraging them to stretch into whatever length we ask and creating the base for work in faster gaits.
And since I failed so amazingly as giving a sort, correct answer about contact, Im going to start pushing myself to study all the basic riding books I have access to here in more depth. Ive read a ton of horse books but Ive never really analyzed one. Now, however, Im going to make myself do it. No more missed questions. And as Martin said again today, how can you expect to teach a horse something if you, yourself, arent totally clear on what it is. And he's right of course. This job has be going back, thinking and reviewing more than I ever thought I would.
And on a side note, my grasp of the metric system has apparently not improved as much as Id thought it had. I havent been checking myself lately by converting things to inches/pounds/ect as I had thought I was getting better at just recognizing things in meters or grams. We went to the store today and I bought two kilograms of bread rolls for the other girls and I. Didnt realize exactly how much bread that was till the handed me a gigantic bag. Not a big deal since we can just freeze it was was a reminder to take the second to do the conversions before using a system Im not overly familiar with. But Ill never forget how much two kilos of bread weighs now!

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