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Feel the Rhythm

Saturday morning, I went to my friend Sue’s, where she and other artists had set up their work for an art show. I wish I could show you photos of the cool stuff there but, alas, I sent my camera to Canon for repair right before I stopped at Sue’s. You’ll just have to check out her art blog to see some samples. She also recently painted her studio and that’s pretty cool too.

I couldn’t stay at the art show long (just long enough to buy some earrings), before I had to run to the stable bearing gifts of humus and flatbread. Okay, not gifts, but my portion of the potluck lunch we were having between the morning and afternoon clinic rides being taught by Mary Beth Williams.

I didn’t ride until 1:00, right after lunch, so I didn’t eat much. I was pretty nervous and didn’t feel like eating anyway.

I haven’t had a lesson for eight years, while the other riders are actively competing in dressage and eventing with horses actually bred for that sort of thing. Enter Maery, with her jeans, Wintek saddle, and quarter horse Tennessee Walker cross. Don’t get the wrong idea. My fellow riders are not snobs and do not look down on me. It’s probably more a me looking down on me issue.

If you’re not interested in horse stuff, you might want to skip the next 4 paragraphs as it gets kind of long.

Anyway, I told Mary Beth I wasn’t showing and had no plans to.  I merely wanted to help Luke be more balanced and comfortable for his sake and mine. Mary Beth agreed with me that the Tennesee Walker was causing part of the problem. The Walker can add a nice lift and lightness to a trot, but can add extra beats you don’t want to the canter and the trot can switch to gaitedness when switching gaits or when Luke gets unbalanced or nervous. I also said that I couldn’t take up much contact with the reins as that would make Luke throw up his head, stiffen, and start gaiting.

I was hoping Mary Beth could explain to me what was going on and give me some exercises to fix it. What she did first was have me shorten my stirrups and work on staying farther forward in the saddle, while keeping my feet farther back. I ride the way I do as self protection from the pain in my knees, hips, back, and shoulders, but it turned out that I could do what Mary Beth asked without causing pain, at least for an hours ride anyway. She also had me shorten the reins so I felt like I was practically down to the bit. When I would ride past the mirror, I could see the position was not as extremely forward as it felt. And the thing is, the switch was magic.

It helped free up Luke’s back and he looked and felt awesome! I didn’t recognize my little oddball horse. Of course, we have tons of work to do. The Walker does make it hard to do a 3 beat canter so I’m just supposed to mainly work on setting up for the canter and only do a few steps of canter, then back to the trot, as the first few steps of the canter are okay. I was told the point was to build muscle memory of the right way to move and prepare him for additional canter work.

I learned so much in that one lesson, like turn, then straighten, turn, then straighten (all done very subtly). That helps with Luke leaning inside or overbending. And the same applies with leg yielding out. I was doing too much too fast. And we worked on getting a couple steps of faster trot to get his back legs going, then back into slower (not slow) trot. We even got some hesitation in his trot where it felt so light and cool.

Can you tell I’m really happy with my one lesson? Now if I can just pull off the same thing on my own.

I finished off my Saturday by going to an after art show gathering. There was food on the grill and four different groups played on a stage in the woods with the river flowing behind the musicians. And boy was the river flowing, fast and high, with all the rain we’ve been having. It was a wonderful way to end the day.

Sunday, I was in heavy camera withdrawal. I mean the above narrative would have been a whole lot more interesting with photos! Right? How am I supposed to go for 3 weeks or more without photos?!

So I bought a little Nikon Coolpix and took a few photos of Java, one of my favorite victims, I mean subjects.

And this.

I went for a walk with Java and came home to find my front door’s window shattered. It’s double paned and the breakage is on the outside. There’s a screen door outside this door. I don’t get what did this. It’s so spider webbed that there’s no obvious start point for the breakage. Temperature’s in the 90’s? Java jumping on the door inside weakened it and there was spontaneous breakage? 
I don’t know. And I don’t like “I don’t know” with stuff like this. So tape is protecting the glass until I get someone to put in a new door (pronto) without such a big window (or maybe no window). 
A security system is soon to come.

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9 Comments

  1. Sounds like you had a great lesson! I wish I could afford lessons again, especially now that Fritzy has decided that bucking is good to do at the lope, which she has never done before! But I will have to handle it on my own.
    My OH bought a Nikon Coolpix, he loves it. I was actually shocked that he bought himself a camera!
    I would be a little freaked out about the door window. That is scary. We have glass doors in our bedroom and off the living room. Solid glass, but not sliding glass doors. It scares me sometimes that someone could be lurking out there or break in a little too easily. But I love how much more open it makes my house.

  2. Your lesson sounds great! I used to love going to jumping lessons, where I began with learning how to ride english. It sounds dumb, but at the time I had a really stressful job, and really liked being told exactly what to do and how to do it for an hour– Simple things like how to hold my hands.

  3. I, too, don’t like not knowing the cause of bad things like that window breaking. Weird. I hope it wasn’t an attempted break-in though. *shiver*

    Sounds like a great lesson. I want to take some mroe lessons, too. I think everyone can bebefit from lessons, even those who are experienced, as there are always new riding techniques to learn (or unlearn) for both rider and horse.

    I used to have ‘chair seat’ in my previous saddle, which threw my balance off…and probably contributed to me falling off when I was riding Baby Doll last year.It was mostly due to my Plantation style saddle, though and the placement of the stirrups.

    My new Abetta saddle has the stirrups placed perfectly, so that the heel lines up with the rider’s ears and hips. I feel much more balanced and comfortable in this saddle. I also like the faux suede seat, which gives me a little more sticking power. hehe!

    I don’t know how you’re surviving without your regular camera. It becomes a 5th appendage, doesn’t it?
    Remind me to invite you to any get togethers we have here. I love flatbread and hummus! yummo!

    ~Lisa

    word verification: unhave

    Opposite of have?

  4. ps I was going back through your nold posts to catch up and noticed the post with weird and disturbing letter to you. Not to scare you, but do you think the broken window and the letter have anything to do each other?

    If I were you, just to be on the safe side, I’d report both the letter and the broken window so in case anything else weird happens, at least you have it documented with the police.
    They can also have a police car do random drive bys to check on you and your house.

    Please be careful, k?

    ~Lisa

  5. Paint Girl -You can afford the lessons if you only take them every 8 years like me. Seriously, I hope to take a monthly lesson. Maybe if you can get someone with a good eye to watch Fritzy they can help you figure why the new issue. Is it pain somewhere? Or misbehavior? Or something else? That’s what I wanted to differentiate. I know how frustrating the puzzle can be. Good luck!

    Sue – I know what you mean. It feels good to be able to fix something following a few simple words of advice from someone. That’s what I love about riding.

    Lisa – Yes, lessons are sure good for a tune up. Glad someone understands about the camera. I felt wasteful getting another to tide me over but when you take as many photos as we do a backup is a good thing and this one is small enough to always have in my purse. As for the scary stuff, I’m taking steps to protect myself.

  6. Yep, sounds like your first lesson was quite the winner. It’s amazing all the tips and tricks one can pick up in a short time.

    I’m so sorry about your door, it looks like ya’ll had a great weekend otherwise.

    Take care and have yourself the best week!!! :o)

  7. That riding lesson was just the ticket. Sorry about the door…what an introduction to the neighborhood. It’s long past the time when that cloud should pass over you. Time for sunshine and roses.

    How are you doing with the fence for Java? I’m so glad you have her. I’d love to see more shots of the house since you have settled in more. You can send them to my email.

  8. Sometimes that can happen when a rock is thrown by a lawnmower. It happen to me. I think the clue is that only one pane of glass is broken..not both of them, if it were a burgler it would have been both panes of glass. However it never hurts to have a security system either.
    It sounds like your riding lesson went great! That is a good thing Maery! 🙂

  9. Lori – Still waiting for the fencing materials to arrive. It’s been so long that the utility markings that were done are about gone. I’ll try to take some house photos but I haven’t done much in the way of decor. And I’m still waiting for my dining room table to get refinished.

    Far Side – The glass is a mystery since there is a screen door on the outside that is undamaged and something would have to get through it before the glass could be reached. Regardless, I think the security is a good idea. I’ve had too many weird things happen to me in my lifetime to feel very safe without it.

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