Dressage journal, 9-26-2013

Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013

I left work, dressed for riding horses, and as usual, I didn’t have much energy. All the workouts take their toll by the fourth day, and sometimes I am less than enthused, at least on the surface. I just go, and know that the minute I get around the horses I will want to ride.

Thursday was a crazy weather day. The wind had been blowing hard all day. Out at the riding academy there was a windstorm in the morning that left everything covered in a thick layer of dust, and all the jumps toppled in the jumping arena . The dust was still swirling when I arrived, and I thought the horses would be spooky. After I got on Inky, though, she only spooked once, at a pigeon that was on the ground next to the arena that suddenly took flight. It made that weird flapping/warbling noise that they make when they take off quickly, and since Inky hadn’t been able to see the bird in the shadows, she was startled by its sudden movement and she moved sideways quickly. It doesn’t bother me, I just move with her.

Tonight I started to feel like there was a glimmer of a real dressage rider inside me. Inky was collected most of the time, and I could feel how much easier it is to sit in the proper place when she is “rounded” and underneath me. I already knew this, but trying to keep her there is always a challenge. I have found that if I start her out slowly, walking for a while to get warmed up, and then practicing bending by walking serpentines, really helps. She’s probably as old as I am in horse years, and maybe she needs to warm up properly to be flexible. I know it takes me a while to warm up and be ready (in all sports), but I have always been like that. I am more of an endurance athlete than a “short and quick” athlete.

Once Inky was warmed up, we did leg yields, which were far easier this week than last. I had to ask which leg I was supposed to be pushing with because it was not intuitive for me. But then I “got it” right away.

We worked for an hour, and toward the end, Inky let me know she was “done.” That was okay, so was I at that point. Plus, there were two other people trying to work in the arena, so it was time to go. I took Inky out of the arena, but walked around the outside to cool down so I could observe the other riders while still working on my form. Even though Inky was relaxed and on a loose rein, I thought I could still work on how I am supposed to be sitting and moving. It does work, BTW, to always concentrate on practicing what you are supposed to be practicing while you are doing it.

I cooled Inky down, pulled the bridle and saddle off her, and then rinsed her off. The wind was still blowing when I put her away, and she seemed happy that it was somewhat cooler. She was especially happy to get back to her hay, and of course it helps that I give her peppermint treats, usually when I get her out of her stall, then right before I get on her, and then at the end of the evening.

Cotton fields:

Finally, I got in my car and opened the sunroof to the darkness above me. At the end of the street I marveled at the white cotton puffs hanging on the plants in the field there, then I drove the busy roads home. Most of the way home is wide open desert, and I could see far to the horizon where clouds were gathering. I hoped for at least an overcast sky in the morning, and maybe rain.

Clouds silhouetted on the horizon:

In the morning, we had the pleasure of a few clouds, but sadly, no rain.

Can’t wait to get back in the saddle next week.


One thought on “Dressage journal, 9-26-2013

  1. I had to laugh at part of this post. You said, “It doesn’t bother me, I just move with her”, which I found really funny. Why? Because the alternative would be for her to move and you not move, which would leave you falling to the ground ignominiously. Sure, of course I know what you meant, but sometimes, it is more fun to let me mind follow its own course.

    In your cotton fields photo, my mind going its own course led me to an old song I haven’t heard in over 40 years. “When them cotton fields get rotten, you can;t pick very much cotton.” Yes, I admit it…I am old.

    BTW, I like the backlit shot of you and Inky. And the dust that had blown in adds to the shot, so in that regard, it was fortuitous.

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